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February 2006

January 2006

more winter days

When the days are as nice as they've been, I want to spend time outdoors.  The snow isn't deep enough to snowshoe and it's been a bit too icy to want to strap on the X-country skis.  That leaves walking, and it's been just perfect.  With a pair of gaiters and layers of clothing, the woods are warm and out of the wind, but it rips across the fields.  Even so, the temperatures are about right.  Just as the snow started to fall yesterday, I drove visiting family the 1 1/2 hrs. (or so) to the airport.  By the time I made it back across to the Kingdom, the roads were covered and slick.  Everything was blanketed in new snow.  As what seems to be the pattern of all storms this winter, by morning the temps had risen and rain was making it a heavy to remove mess.  By late afternoon, fog rolled over the hills, and wow! another beautiful walk. 

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Thanks to all of you for your suggestions for the use of the cranberry dyed yarn.  About the time I was going through books searching around, my sister mentioned a scarf she had just finished.  It was lacy.  I wanted lace.  It won't begin to use all 900 yds. but it looked like fun.  It is.  I've gotten the first three repeats done.  It isn't long enough to see the color shifts in the yarn yet, but they're coming.  The anticipation is keeping me interested.  I missed having a lace project on the needles.  It's a good project to offset the stockinette Funnel Neck.  A little of this, a little of that.

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I worked for longer than I was happy, trying to chart the pattern on the computer.  I mad my "graph" using word, then tried to fill in the little 'cells'.  Hours, I tell you.  With 54 sts, to the pattern, I couldn't keep it on the page.  Finally. I just charted it by hand.  If anyone has experience using a program for this, let me know, please. 


winter days

I am knitting, re-skeining yarn I dyed last week, and looking for the perfect pattern for this striped tweedy Cranberry yarn I just finished.  Any ideas?

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The weather finally changed to absolutely gorgeous, definitely winter, bright, *snappy*, days and starfilled nights.  This has me spending more time outdoors in the woods.   All of that beautiful powder on top of hard pack makes it perfect for winter tracking and just walkin' if you don't mind the single digit temperatures.  Here are a couple of shots from late afternoon yesterday.

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midweek

What a strange winter.  Every time we get a little bit of snow, we follow it with a lot of melt.  My driveway was down to dirt level before the January thaw last week, if you can call weeks worth of warm weather the "January" thaw.  The frost started to come out of the ground, the ground water flowed freely from the sugar bush and flooded everything.  At night it froze.  Generally this is the prelude to sugaring and mud season.  Not this time.  Now, inches of ice cover the ground.  Another six inches of powdery snow hide the ice.  Family has come to visit, to ski.  My niece and I have made sled runs.  You can go extra fast with the underlying ice.  I've resurfaced the sled run, shoveling yards of snow into the sudden drops at the edge of the pond. The subsequent jolt was way too much fun for me.  When I need a break, we walk in the woods checking the tracks, naming who has been here overnight, this morning, since the last time we looked.  My back is making strange cracking noises, I'm black and blue and stiff as a board.  I wonder how much Advil I need to keep up with a 9 yr. old. 

My neighbor has taken to feeding his sheep with rolled hay this year, something new for him.  I saw this group as I drove by yesterday.  Little groups like this one were scattered around the field, kids circling a giant bowl of shredded wheat. 

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While wishing for winter, I'm forcing reminders of spring.  This bunch was cut last week.  Time to check the early budding on the pussy willows down on the dam.

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Project updates..
1. The ribbed V neck is sitting, waiting..
2. The Funnel Neck: ACTIVE
3. Backyard Leaves: ACTIVE, just not AS active
4. Dreaming of new projects:  NON-STOP
5. Knitting on the machine.. in progress
6. Dyeing: Yep, and more on the way.
7. Spinning: slow but steady


Monday morning and a meme

Claudia, thank you.  Thank you for a wonderful afternoon. Not eveyone would be brave enough to open their home to a loud, buzzing hoard ( the noise could be heard outside, down the street) of fiber bloggers.  Scary just to think about it.  I did not take my camera out of my knitting bag.  I'm sure pics will be all over the place. 

That said, I've been tagged.  I generally don't do these.  Here goes.

The Meme
Four jobs you've had in your life:

  1. Darkroom Manager and Printer
  2. College Teacher
  3. Architectural Designer
  4. Print Curator

Four movies you could watch over and over again:

  1. Chocolat
  2. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension
  3. Tea with Mussolini
  4. Out of Africa

Four places you have lived:

  1. Pennsylvania

  2. Rhode  Island

  3. Vermont

  4. New York

        
  5. Four t.v. shows you      love to watch:
  1. Alias
  2. 24
  3. X-Files
  4. Northern Exposure

Four places you've been on vacation:

  1. Turkey

  2. Mexico

  3. Honduras

  4. China

Four websites you visit daily:

1.-4 Blogines and all my feeds

Four of your favorite foods:

  1. papaya
  2. Cheese, cheese, cheese
  3. Chocolate
  4. does really good coffee count,      Okay.. mangoes

Four places you would rather be right now:

  1. Machu Pichu
  2. Petra

  3. Cappidocia

  4. Yucatan

Four bloggers you are tagging:
   Only  if you want to guys......no pressure;-))
 
1.  Cindy 
2.  Laurie
3. Cathy  
4.  Vanessa 

I have no idea why the spacing came out so wonky.. I could play with it all day, but, hey, I've got to get on the road.


techno frog

I wish everything in life were as easy as frogging.  Recently technology, particularly wireless technology, that harbinger of a life of freedom from the weight of hard lines and paper, Cd's, albums, tapes, writing instruments, on and on and on... well... it's put me here. Do you remember the ads that showed business people in their sports clothes, relaxed, sitting on their decks, overlooking the mountains, sipping coffee (or whatever) with wireless laptops, sending and receiving info, doing business, magically across the mountain passes?  Remember??

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This is where all that has gotten me.  I'm strangling in the stuff.  I have never successfully set up anything wireless the first time, maybe any time.  My networking skills are nonexistent.  I need to frog it.  Know what I mean?  Have you been here?? OMG!  "Wireless" is an oxymoron.  Behind everything wireless is a whole mess of wires.  Believe me, I know.  There isn't any handy techno man in this house.  C knows that when he comes in at the end of the day, if I'm standing at the computer (not sitting) with a murderous look on my face and I don't even turn to him when I say, "Don't say a word, just keep on walking" that he'd best keep on moving, the computer has me again.  AGAIN! 

I just wanted to post a bit about that as an explanation of where I've been lately. My new technologically grand toys are beating me.  They are eating up my time.  When was the last time a pencil  or let's say, a princess phone (remember those) did that to you?  Never.

On a brighter note,  Betsy, this is for you.  Finally, huh?  I've gotten some dyeing done.  The other is still in the pot.  It's an experiment; it's for me. 

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"B" is also for B.A.C.K.  The back of the Funnel Neck is finished.  The front is on the needles.


easy going

The stockinette stitch.  (I know, I know, a load has been written on the subject. But, since each of us gets to a particular point in our own time, this time is mine.) NOTHING can replace it for relaxing, productive knitting as a second preoccupation. Got that? You know, knitting that is done while talking, while watching a movie or TV show, or while doing any other activity that requires your attention. Stockinette rules at times like these. The yarn just keeps slipping through my fingers and inches accumulate in the knitted cloth. Perfect! The other evening, I was switching activities as C flicked through the TV channels. When I watched, I found myself knitting and purling in the traditional style. It requires no more than a casual glance every now and then. When the TV was of no interest, and I resumed listening to my audio book, I automatically switched to the Continental Style.  I tend to watch what I’m doing more when I use this method. I’m not concentrating on watching, just sort of keeping the stitches in my peripheral vision. Switching methods was natural.  NO thinking involved, just knitting on auto-pilot.

The other thing that made this all work out so well for me was the change of needles. I was using my straight Walnut needles; lovely with most yarns. With this stretchy, boucle-esque stuff, the needles tended to grab, to stick a bit too much. Again, while watching (sort of) whatever C had tuned into on the tube, I catalogued my circular needles. Out came my Addi Turbos. No more stick. The stitches don’t grab the needles. Everything slides on by the way it should.

My mechanic used to tell me; there’s an ass for every seat. Knitting projects are the same. There is a project for every occasion. When I started writing this post I wasn’t planning on getting here, but HERE I am, illustrating just why we all need to have more than one project going at a time. I am so glad that I decided to start Sally Melville’s totally stockinette Funnel Neck Sweater. It’s been a pleasure to NOT think, 107 stitches of auto-knitting. I’ve plenty of projects that I can switch out to when I want to concentrate. Works for me.

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I won’t bore you with more shots of the red sweater hanging from a new location. Yesterday was gorgeous. It was warm, the sun was shining and we needed to be outdoors.  In the morning the cats and I went out to explore the open areas around the house. The going was easier for the cats than in previous days. The snow had hardened up enough that they could run along on top, crashing through only occasionally. My going was somewhat harder, a bit of a workout.

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Later, in the afternoon, C and I went for a real hike. We had not had the time to go through the cedar woods after last autumn’s devastating storm. We plowed our way on foot, forgoing snow shoes as being unnecessarily cumbersome for the packed snow, up the town road to our border, then cut into the woods. Although lots of trees were down, it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. I suspect we won’t be so lucky when we get to the firs, but that will wait for another day. We walked for a couple hours, breaking through with every step, hard work up hill or down. The porcupines had been busy. There were coyote trails on top of rabbit and one fisher traipsing back and forth across the porcie prints. Signs left by piliated woodpeckers were everywhere. And a lone snail rested in a woodpecker hole. Interesting. All in all, not too much for such warm weather under the spell of the full moon.

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warm signs

A January thaw and last night’s rain melted layers of snow, revealing artifacts left like fossils in rocks through the past month or so. On the driveway above the barn, I found fox scat, still partly frozen, but inches above the dirt level. When did he visit, I wonder, last month, two weeks ago. What timeline is say, maybe 10 inches down? Melted snow is hard to determine. I would like to be able to read the layers as rings in a tree, dating the passerby. Further down, near to the frozen ground, I see the colorless body of an earthworm, almost white. Surely that was left from the last rain before the ground froze solid for the season. Boot prints, paw prints; evidence of my comings and goings crisscrossed layers, back and forth to the barn. Those, I know are mine, the cats coming with me to the freezer, gathering again the summer harvest.  I started to think about all of the summer fruits; the berries we have with our morning oatmeal, all collected last summer in the heat, in the sun. That’s when I remembered, it was time to strain the elderberry liqueur. A sip of this by the fire will bring some light into the grey days.

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And grey days we have. While friends tell me of the spring like weather to the south, sun and mid-fifties, we experience early spring, wet grey 30’s here, beautiful in its own way. (I tell myself the saturated air is good for the complexion, a good change from the dryness of the heated house. Believe me, you can tell yourself anything.)

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sometimes.. it works.


color in winter

No matter how beautiful the monochromatic days of winter appear, I just need a little more color in my life.  The Celtic Harbor hat was charcoal, the Ribbed V neck is charcoal, and the landscape is.. well see for yourself. 

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So, I raided my stash.  Several years ago I bought a bag of Adrienne Vittadini Maria, in a color I'll call Egyptian Red rather than '002'.  (I didn't join the stash busters 'along'. It's a great idea, but  'Alongs' usually do me in.) Stashbusting... I love it.  One of my great pleasures is going through my collection and pulling out something wonderful.  There's just no downside.  I figured that since I'd be a passenger this trip, I could get a new project started.  Here's the glitch in my thinking. If you travel with cats, you know that passenger = lap.  How many cats to a lap?  Who knows.. there aren't any set rules on this.  This trip, I got lucky.  Sammy picked me, Zak picked C, and Bu slept up on the coats in the back.  Sam was sleepy enough that he let me get started.  I've admired Margene's Funnel Neck Pullover from Sally Melville's Color book.  Simple stockinette, very little thinking and a perfect project for a textured yarn like Maria.  This yarn, knits to gauge on #9s.  The pattern suggests #4s.. whatever.  It knits up into a beautifully textured fabric, hardly a knitted stitch visible.  If it weren't for the stretchiness of the yarn and it's willingness to split, it would knit up quickly.

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out of the oven

C has his popcorn popper back and I have my newly blocked Celtic Harbor hat.  Yes Paula, the other popcorn popper worked just fine.. too well, in fact. C burned a hole right through it's magical paper insert.  That never happened before, and no widows!  All's well that ends well, we're both pretty happy with the results.  I tried the hat on this afternoon for the not-so-glam shots and took it off to wear another day.  I walked today I with a single layer hat, the temps have risen.. Ahhhh.. New England!

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The Backyard Leaves scarf is back.  I sat last night looking at it in absolute panic.. I'd put it away over the holidays without the notes telliing me what row I'd left off on,  half a row was completely off the needles and I'd already had a bad computer day.  I was already a technically stressed out shadow of myself.  But you know, it too worked out.  Perfectly.  I ot it back on the needles, the row was recognizable and the pattern began to make some sense.

There you have it.  C just called me, pizza is out of the oven.. yummmmm!