Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finished!! Happy Dance !!

Here it is....the sweater from Hell.  Sorry.  It was done last week, except for stitching down the collar and sewing on the buttons.  But I just couldn't bring myself to touch it one more time.  Then I had the bright idea to make pockets.  I love pockets on sweaters.  So...pockets were knitted and stitched on.  Again, it took me days to accomplish that task.

Anywho,  I guess it turned out ok.  I still don't think it's going to fit my SIL, but it's getting sent out just the same.  If it comes back, I've got another Aran sweater.  It's a "win-win" situation.




The yarn is a 3ply sportweight....2 tea and coffee dyed, 1 white; all Border Leichester.  I tried for a close-up of the buttons, but they came out all fuzzy.  The pictures, not the buttons.  The buttons were ordered on line.  They're a bronze color with the Celtic Eternity Knot symbol stamped into the metal.  Very nice, but smaller than I thought they would be.  Oh well.

It is a nice lightweight sweater.  I like it.

Now there's about a pound of Cheviot in the dyepot.  It'll be a beautiful aqua to compliment the pound of aqua/ grey/green/magenta that was dyed last week.  I was trying for grey; used black gel food coloring.  It "broke"......but I love the colors anyway!   A real nice surprise afterall.  This is why I prefer to dye in colorways instead of a solid color.  Many more options with the surprises.

Well, back to spinning.  Finishing up some BL blended with iridescent Firestar.  Then there's the vest to finish knitting.  And more roving to finish spinning.  Thank goodness our weather is going to be on the cool side next week.  At least the outside work can be put off a little longer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Am I Crazy???......or...."There's a Sucker Born Every Minute".....

Caution:   This is a Rant!!

So...I belong to a few fiber groups on FB.  This morning I get a notice from one that someone posted something.  Hmmm....I haven't read anything from that group in a long time....think I'll check it out.

Whoaaaa.....Nellie!!!  I just about fell off the chair.  And here's why:

This happens to be a page where you can advertise your fibers, yarns and knitted items for sale.  Well....this person is advertising 5# of Cormo roving for.....wait for it........$83.00 a # !!  WHAT????  Am I crazy or has the whole world (read: fiber community)  gone NUTS?????  $83.00 a #  for Cormo????  AND...it didn't matter if you bought a few ounces or the 5#s....the price was the same, roughly $5.50 and ounce.  AN OUNCE, people.

Cormo is a very common sheep, right there with Corriedale , BFL and others.   This was not dyed....not blended with silk or cashmere.  Yeah, it was roving; yeah, it was commercially processed; yeah, she said it was free of vm and very soft (21 microns).....but.....COME ON !

Now there happened to be about 40 comments.  One responded...."what, is it... gold??"  But surprisingly, most of them were very interested in the fiber and thought it was a great price....it was "market" price, and not out of line in any way, so they commented.

Ladies and gentlemen, I purchase my fiber from wool festivals, 1 or 2 small dealers, but mostly from a wholesale provider in Washington state.  In recent months, I have bought 15#s total of beautiful white Corriedale and Cheviot top.  It spins like butter and takes dye fantastically.  I bought it on sale....$14.00 per #.  The more you buy, the cheaper the price. One pound started at $18.00.  I've been a customer for many years and purchased many different wools, including Merino top....never paid $5.50 an ounce.

See, this happened years ago when I started canning our home grown veggies and fruits out of necessity to feed our family.  We moved from the suburbs of an Eastern state to a very rural area in mid-country. 

Nobody canned since 1950, except maybe those who lived on farms with 8 - 10 children.  But not surburban-raised homemakers.  Within a few years, the price of canning jars, canners, and all the paraphernalia  went through the roof!!  Why?   Because there was a big movement going on, "Back to basics" and all those nouveau riche, upandcoming, drinking the "Kool-Aid" urbanites, who thought it would be a kick, got into canning.  It blew my mind, as well as my budget.

The same thing happened when I started quilting.  Fabric, thread, patterns, and all were very affordable.  Then the quilting craze started by...you know who....and BAM....prices hit the ceiling again.  $8.00 for a yard of fabric??  $3.00 for a spool of thread??  $30.00 for a cutting mat or rotary cutter or rulers or patterns???

When I started spinning some 18 years ago, my first wheel cost $175.00.  It was an Ashford.  I just about choked, but knew it was a good investment.  You can't hardly touch a wheel for under $400.00 these days...and that's  a cheap one.   Why??  Spinning fiber and making yarn is all the rage now.  People boast about their $700 - $800 - $1,000 wheels. I now own 3 wheels, purchased over these many years.  And all on sale.  The total for all 3 would be about $1,000.  I use them constantly.  I cherish each one.  I keep them in fine working order.  I know their value and I value them.

What is going on today?  Is everyone on the "Greed Train" or are people becoming totally brainwashed as to the increasing price of things; how much they can charge for something; how much money they can make.

I've sold handmade crafts and my hand spun, hand dyed, hand knitted items for year.  The comment I hear most often is "you don't charge enough for your items".   Well, you know what?  If I make a small profit, if I love what I do, if my prices are something just about everyone can afford, if you love and appreciate what you purchased from me, then it's all good.  I'm happy.  You're happy.

I think it's time to stop all the craziness. Money. Money. Money.  When are we going to regain our common sense?  Where does it end?

I'll keep doing my part. I shop around for the best prices and supplies; buy when on sale; in bulk when necessary.  If I sell knitwear, it's a price I've never had anyone quibble about.  And people are happy.

That's it.  Just had to get it out.  But I'm still flabbergasted.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"No More Commiting to Knitting!"

This is my new slogan.....for ever.  I need to go somewhere and scream as loud as I can.

"I will never commit to knitting again."   Repeat:  "I will never commit to knitting again".  Repeat often.

The body of the sweater for SIL is done.  The sleeves are set and stitched in place; underseam sewn.  However, upon laying out, measuring and re-measuring, it occurs to me that this sweater is never going to fit said SIL!  I'm not sure; I wasn't given a definite size number, just measurements.  But little "hmm's"  and "ummm's" when questioning my brother of the size, indicates to me that she may be a bit larger than me.  And I wear and X-Lrg.

The measurements he gave me are right on.  But something just doesn't seem right.  It just seems too SMALL!

I haven't seen her in almost 5 years; I know she's taller and bigger than me.  I assume she's put on some weight.  Or is it just a man trying to figure out what size his wife is??  Men!

Anywho,  being that the sweater was knit all-in-one, there is no way to add, let's say, panels to the sides.  So?  Why not make the buttonbands a couple inches wider?  Yeah.  That'll work.  That's the ticket.

I'm in the process of crocheting the buttonbands now.  But I have my doubts this is the end of it.  There's the problem of the already placed button holes.   What to do.....what to do.....

Ok.  So the thing was started just after Christmas; spinning the yarn was still going on while the knitting commenced. It was  supposed to be done by Valentine's Day.  But my brother gave me some leaway when he said..."Easter, but no later than Mother's Day".    I'm shooting for Mother's Day.   Hopefully.....this year.

BH told me ("suggested") that I never commit to knitting for anyone again.  Well....yeah.....but I'll just tell the next person it'll be done in a year.   And then keep my fingers crossed.

It hasn't bode well that I haven't felt anything for this sweater from the beginning.  Not a lot of interest.  Haven't felt the urge to just sit all day knitting, nor the excitement of seeing it grow, anticipating the beautiful finished garment.  I have NO love for this sweater.  Never have.   And that's really strange for me.  Even after the beautiful buttons with the stamped Celtic design came in the mail.....nada.

Well, it won't be all bad.  If nothing else, I'll have another Aran sweater......that I will just love!

Pictures will be coming.




Monday, March 16, 2015

And the Beat Goes On.......

Remember that song by Sonny and Cher?  An oldie but a goodie.  And so true.

After almost 2 weeks, daughter is finally settled in her apartment.  Every box unpacked, everything arranged, all decorations up.  And she LOVES it!!  We took a shopping trip on Saturday to a different end of town.  She's never been there, but we have.  It was just her and I.  We shopped, stopped for lunch and shopped some more.  She commented a few times  "this is fun!"  "I'm having a lot of fun, aren't you?" (why yes, I am!)  "this is so much fun!"   I think she really enjoyed the day!

The sweater I'm knitting for SIL.....just about finished with the raglan arm decrease on the last panel.  When I notice something's. just. not. right.  I'm running out of stitches to decrease before the top of the front panel is finished.  Lay it out.  Measure.  Count the pattern repeats.  Look at where the stitch panels begin to decrease.  Ahhh......yes.  Just as I suspected.....I do believe I was doing a double decrease - wrong side and right side - instead of just the right side only.   So.....rip it back to the beginning decreasing stitches.  Start over.  It's only a month behind from my appointed delivery date.  Oh well......perfection knows no time limits......right?   LOL !

Went to granddaughter's information meeting by the Army for their deployment in June.  It was an all day affair.  They had several different classes for the soldiers and family with all kinds of help in many different catagories.  Very enlightening.  She leaves the first week in June for the Middle East.  Her deployment will be anywhere from 7 months to a year.   This makes me so very sad.  But she is one tough cookie and smart as all get-out.

We've had some beautiful weather this past week.  The snow is G.O.N.E. !  And except for the pools of "quick sand" all the way up our dirt road, it's been great.  Yeah....our car looks like we've been "off-road" 4-wheeling it.  Covered in mud.  No point in going to the car wash until the road dries out.  Which may take quite a while.  Rain today.

My brother (one of 5.....a twin), who just turned 60 in December, called Friday night.  He's been diagnosed with tongue cancer.  He doesn't smoke or chew.  Did love his beer....quite a bit....until recently.  Doctor said if you don't do one, then it's probably caused by the other.  I do know the past few years have put him through the "fires of hell" and created an awful lot of stress on him.  And I'm sure that didn't help any.  He went in for a PET scan on Saturday to the University hospital.  I haven't heard how that went.  Today is the appointment with the oncologist.  I hope my brother calls tonight with an update.  He did say surgery is going to be done.

And so our own mortality slaps us in the face.  Memories of our parents, grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends near and far, come flooding back.  Growing up.  It's inconceivable that 30 - 40 - 50 years have gone by.  Yes, most of our elders are gone now; we made it through the loss and the sadness.  And now we've become the "elder generation".  Now it's our turn.  Our time is running short.  Who knows what the cards hold for us.  One by one, my siblings and I will leave this earth and all those we hold dear behind.  The next generation will be stepping up to the plate.

So hard to believe.  And...the....beat....goes....on.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What a Week!!!

So everyday this past week has been spent at daughter's old apartment.  Packing, cleaning.....cleaning, packing.  And there's been appointments thrown in for good measure.

We picked up the moving van Thursday; BH and son took out the furniture and the myriad of boxes.  How can one person have soooo many boxes??!!

We couldn't move into the new place until Friday, but got that done relatively quickly and smoothly.  Even got the carpets down in the bedroom and living room.  Most of the furniture is placed where it's supposed to be. 

Yesterday we took her refrigerator/freezer foods over and put them away.  That was it.  Came home and started a pot of Pork Chow Mein for supper.  Granddaughter was coming with a truckload of her things for us to store for her.

Well, she didn't get here till 10:30 last night.  After yakking for about 1/2 hour, catching up, she, the boyfriend, BH and son unloaded her things for storage.  They left here about 12:30am.

Today, BH takes son home and I'm going to the apartment to start unpacking the many....many.....many boxes.

I hate helping people move.  I hate cleaning apartments before and after.  I hate unpacking.   But I DO love decorating.  So there is a  light at the end of the tunnel.  Because daughter and I are going to do some serious decorating!

And, of course.....thank God the weather was not all that bad for the move.  We could've had some horrendous conditions here in northern Minnesota...in February.

This coming week is filled with more appointments and shopping. Then there's the meeting for granddaughter who's going to Kuwait in May, next weekend.  Well, we'll have a mini-getaway to recoup.

Needless to say....no spinning has taken place and knitting on the sweater has been a few rows here and there.  I'm getting the heebie-jeebies.  Can't wait to get back at it.  Before Spring arrives..and there's a ton of projects to be done.  It never ends.....


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Exactly.....



Yep....that's how we feel.   From a beautiful, abnormal January right into the February deep freeze.  Funny how from one month to the next can change your whole attitude and outlook.

Well, the sweater knitting is still in progress.  Working on the right side now; still have the back and left side to do.  I try to knit sweaters in the round even if the pattern doesn't call for it.  I hate seaming.  And while it seems like you're knitting and knitting forever and getting nowhere, when you stop and put it all in perspective, the whole sweater is 1/2 done.  Not just a section.  And that's a good feeling.

I didn't tell you that granddaughter who's in the National Guard got her notice last month.  She's being deployed to Kuwait in May; she'll be gone for 7 - 8 months they say.  Only 20 from her unit got the order.  And they're all helicopter mechanics.  She's too smart for her own good.....and I'm sick at heart.

She called last night to say that the situation with her roommates has escalated; that she and her boyfriend will be moving out of their rental next weekend instead of  April 1.  Apparently, the roommates (her girlfriend and that boyfriend) have no consideration for other's property.  They have stolen a lot of granddaughter's house wares and locked it in their room; they don't do chores nor clean up after themselves.  They use all paper products and toiletries that granddaughter purchases for her own use and take food from the fridge that is not theirs.  And to top it off, the other couple are consummate Pot Heads!   She says she can't stand that smell in the house anymore.   Geezzzz.....

This kid just can't catch a break.  So she asked if we could store her household things.  She and her boyfriend will be moving in with his parents until she leaves for Kuwait.  They're planning on bringing everything up next weekend for us to store.

Next weekend we'll be moving daughter into her apartment here in town.  I see myself being there every day for at least a week unpacking and setting up.

The first weekend in March, we have an informational meeting/luncheon to attend sponsored by the Army.  We're supposed to learn what's happening with our soldiers and what to expect; what we can and cannot do, etc.   So it's going to be an overnight stay at a hotel near the Cities.  We have to leave Friday; the meeting is Saturday starting at 9:00am.  I just hope our daughter is settled and comfortable enough in her new digs that there won't be a problem.

Oh....the weather.....well, tomorrow I go to daughter's to finish the packing and some cleaning.  Tonight's low is expected to be -18 with wind chill of -25  to -45.  Tomorrow's high....-1.   Notice the "minus" in front of all those numbers.

Doesn't it figure?  Running in and out of the apartment building with boxes, TVs, groceries and other assorted boxes and bags.  Crap.

The plan is to bring her back here on Monday.  She'll stay until next Friday when she signs the rental agreement and can move in.  But BH and I have discussed that I might have to stay until Tuesday....he doesn't see how I'm going to get all that done in 1 day.  Secretly.....neither do I.   My energy level and perseverance isn't what it used to be.   Egad.

Well,  I hope you all are braving the elements, staying safe and warm.  I know....it's miserable everywhere.  There's no escaping it this year.

Spring is right around the corner.   What corner......I'm not sure.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Is it Hibernating Time Yet??............

Well....it's still winter.  We got our 2nd big snowfall of the season...dumped about 5 or 6" Monday.  And it's snowing again today.  The temps have dropped significantly this past week...single digit highs during the day; double digits minus at night.  Sheeesh.

I miss my hibernating season.  I don't think it's going to happen this year.  Too. much. to. do.

Getting all the arrangements made for daughter to move to our town.  One more week and then we'll be moving her lock, stock and barrel.  Then it'll probably take most of March to get completely set up and decorated.  You know, when you're helping a daughter set up an apartment...there's soooo many things needed.  I foresee many trips to the big box stores for this and that.

I joined 3 fiber groups on Facebook.  Yeah.  I couldn't help myself.  Reading their blogs, seeing their pictures....I just had to jump in.  They are great groups, though.  But I probably didn't need this distraction right now because of this:




The sweater for my SIL.  As you can see, I still have a few inches to go on the body before decreasing for the raglan sleeves.  And knitting 200+ stitches takes a very....long....time....per....row.  Especially with all the cabling.

Then, this week, I went and did this:



My favorite fiber supplier was having a BIG sale.  Well....I had to jump into that too.  Ordered 5#s of Ashland Bay corriedale X.  To add to the 3#s I bought on sale 2 months ago.  That also added to the 5#s of Cheviot that was on sale shortly after that.  When BH asked how many pounds of wool I think I have,  I just start laughing hysterically.  Then I tell him it's my legacy to him....if anything happens to me, he can make a LOT of money selling all the fiber and supplies.  So, see....really, it's all like an insurance policy.....made out of fiber.....and wood.


Then my sister doesn't help any.  We play scrabble on FB every morning before she goes to work.  Well, there's an hour or better of wasted  misdirected time.  Then there might be someone who wants to "chat" for a bit.  If it's my girlfriend from NY, that could mean another hour or so.   Now it's time for breakfast, a little housework, laundry, maybe an hour of knitting, and lunch.  Then a nap.   Not a good, rejuvenating hibernating nap....just a couple hours.

After supper, BH suggests a movie, a documentary, or a series we have on Netflix.  There are only 3 shows we watch on network TV during the week.  Everything else is Netflix streaming.

Well, I had to lay the law down last night.  I told him I don't see why we have to watch TV every night.  He's going to have to sit alone watching while I do some spinning or knitting, possibly in another room.  I just can't be wasting any more time.  He agreed.  So...tonight.....no TV.  We didn't really plan any other nights sans TV just yet.  Let's just take it one at a time and see how it goes.

Now it's time for that hour of knitting and then it's lunch time.  And then.....