Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bon Voyage 2015

I can't seem to break away from towels.  I think it's the color mixing that keeps me fascinated.
I decided to throw in a scarf for a change and watched Tom Knisely's video again on designing warp in the reed.  Let me say up front, that technique is useful for random yarns, not a warp with specific repeats.  I thought I'd save time on the warping board and also thought I could do it as easily as he makes it look.  I made a mess and it's taken me hours to finally get the sequences in their correct order and the warp threaded.  I had to move threads all over from dent to dent to make it happen.  Next time I'll wind the warp on the warping board in thread order, tying on the different colors as I go.  If there is a next time. 
I finished my stranded-knitting hat using two hands and I enjoyed it very much.  I thought it would require more attention to detail, but if you make a mistake, it shows up within just a few stitches.  I wore it on a 23 degree walk the other morning and with the alpaca lining, my ears weren't cold at all.
I offered it to son Josh and he snapped it up.  Actually what he said was, Hell yeah!

I want to make another one so pulled out my box of Harrisville lace-weight mill ends.  I have a lot of small balls but need at least 35 ounces of both ground and pattern yarns which whittled down the field considerably.
I thought these two yarns had plenty of contrast but by the time I stopped yesterday, it was obvious that the pattern was getting lost.
This morning I ripped back and changed the pattern to blue.  I want to give this to son Matt and think this is a little more masculine.  It's been a long time since I've enjoyed knitting anything as much as I enjoyed the first hat.  I hope I feel the same about a second one. 
My Keen boots performed as advertised.  I walked a mile and a half, down our street and out into the woods and my feet stayed warm and dry; the boots are lightweight and provided plenty of traction.  I got them through Amazon for $105, with no shipping or tax.  They're a bit pricey but I only need to buy them once and the secure footing takes away the worry of falling on the ice.  Worth it I say!
This is an actual field test.  Get it? :) 

I wore them yesterday when we went to see Star Wars.  I was really anxious the last time I walked in that icy parking lot but not this time.  Plus they were not too warm in the theater.  I'm not really a Star Wars fan, haven't seen the last three movies in fact, but the script in the beginning tells you everything you need to know to sit back, relax enjoy the movie.  Maybe "relax" isn't the right word.  

And so it is that another year draws to a close.  It's been an eventful one for us and I'm looking forward to what we're going to discover in the new year.  Bon voyage 2015.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

And that was Christmas!

I finished another set of towels in between other things.  The weather is gray a lot this winter and weaving really is great therapy
I decided under the conditions that I need to work with some brighter colors.  I knew I was low on the dusky lavender when I started this,
But I didn't realize I was this low.  It was three days before Christmas and since I warp from the front, the rest of the warp was already sleyed and silly me, I have no back-up cone.   What a close call.
The kids came over for our first Christmas Eve in this house.  Evan wanted to play Apples to Apples and improvised using the coffee table since the dining table was set, but we played some more on that table after the dinner dishes were cleared.  It's one of our standard go-to games.

I don't want to knit hats for sale anymore and haven't taken any to craft fairs this past year.  I'm tired of storing them and had planned to take them to Bethlehem Inn for the homeless.  Then it occurred to me that first I wanted to offer them to the kids.  Take as many as you want I said.  So they did.  We had a lot of fun and I'm happy to have my hats where they are appreciated.  Josh wanted to know if he could take hats to his drivers and I said absolutely!
Christmas morning was absolutely beautiful and we appreciated the timely break in between storms.  I took a walk out in the field wearing my 13-year-old Haflinger's with Vibram soles, the only good footing I own at this time.  I realized when I got home that the cracked sole had leaked snow into the cork and then to my foot - time to get serious about boots.  I couldn't walk in the LL Bean boots I ordered and I sent them back.  The $30 Costco boots I bought were good for cutting Christmas trees and not much more.  Ian found a review on Keen boots, and since I already wear Keen shoes, he has ordered a pair for me.  Fingers crossed!

We had a delicious roast beef Christmas dinner at Josh's - 12 at their large table.  The entertainment was Evan and his Grandpa Fremeyer's gifts - drones.  Trying to predictably fly them provided much hilarity for us and anxiety for the dogs.

The previous owners left a lot of junk but they also left a couple boxes of Christms ornaments, some that we chose to use ourselves.  I wasn't crazy about these cutsie figurines but when I found the Myrtlewood crèche and put them together, I was very pleased.  It really does feel like home now.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Oh, the weather outside is frightful.....

Cindy posted several pictures on Facebook from the NWRSA Christmas Party.  Laura and I have been friends for almost 20 years and here we are together again.  It's nice to have an old friend in a new place. 
Someone noticed these guys outside Cindy's window.  They stopped the party as we stood in the window, enjoying a National Geographic moment.
They tussled for almost an hour when the young buck finally caved.
We fit in three school concerts and a basketball game last week.  I don't know how our kids work full time and do all these things!!  It's not a slam dunk when you consider that roads, parking lots and sidewalks are icy.
And it continues to snow, then rain and then snow again.
Ian's hat is done and a success.  I knit it at 3 1/2 stitches to the inch and it's really warm with all the silk and alpaca in the blend.  He loves it. 
We've talked about getting a smart TV for the past couple of years but our little 32" had such a good picture that we just never followed through.  We're further away from the TV in this house and it's frankly difficult to see.  We had looked at this Samsung on an early Costco trip so I bought it the other day when I was there picking up a few things.  That was the easy part.
Ian had the hard part - setting it up.  We have a digital antenna for local channels and use Apple TV for programs.  Set-up took a while but it's done and we like it.  We watched Project Runway Juniors last night and really enjoyed having a bigger picture.  We went from 32" to 48" - quite a step up.
Meanwhile, I'm plugging away on this stranded knitting hat that Cindy Wasner designed.  Her patterns are on Ravelry if you're interested.  Her instructions call for the yarn to be held in both hands, the background in the right and the pattern in the left.  I'm having a hard time teaching myself how to knit English style so my gauge is uneven.  I just accept that this is a learner project and I already know I'll have to do it agian.  The white lining is Eva Fisher's fingering weight alpaca, perfect for a soft lining on tender ears.
This list showed up on Facebook last week.  I need to think of these things.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

All in a December's Day

The tree is up and decorated.  In order to fit it in we had to take my reading chair out.
We thought we'd put it in the guest room for now but it's so big that we gave up and left it in the entry.  
Today was the NwRSA Christmas party (I think that's Northwest Regional Spinners Association).  As I was getting ready to leave, I discovered that my yarn order from Georgia Yarn Company of 8/2 UKI cotton was sitting on the front porch.  I'm really sad as light orange is backordered.  Note to self - don't wait until you're out of a yarn to reorder!
There was also a second package, one from Amazon.  Leigh Tate who writes the 5 Acres and A Dream blog wrote a book on living self-sufficiently.  We met through our blogs years ago so I was flattered when she asked if I would be willing to proof read for her.  The book was outstanding, she self-published it through Amazon and I was proud to be a part of it, albeit a very small part.  Last year she asked if I would proof for her again and I'm embarassed to say that I only read the first chapter which was wonderful and then got distracted and completely spaced it.  Imagine my surprise when she emailed me recently for my new address so she could send me a complimentary copy.  She really writes well and I'm looking forward to reading this.  However, the guild meeting was calling.
We met at Cindy Wasner's house in Redmond which is thirty miles north of here.  Cindy is passionate about all things fiber and is also a Norsk knitwear designer.  Her enthusiasm is infectious.  She had emailed me this hat pattern several weeks ago but I didn't have either yarn to knit at 7.5 stitches to the inch or 20" size #3 circular needles.  I got the yarn from her today - now I just need to get needles.  I learned a long time ago never to say never, but in my head I just assumed I'd never try stranded knitting.  Which is why I never *say* never.
This is only my second time to meet with this guild but already I'm in love with them.  They've rekindled my interest in spinning as well as fiber preparation, plus they're really nice, funny and intelligent ladies.  I blended up some batts last week and spun this bobbin today.  It's destined to be a hat for Ian.  He wants a something bright when he's walking the dogs in the field.  I think this will fill the bill.
We did the pirate gift exchange.  For the first time in my life I drew #1 and the way they play, #1 gets to pick at the end anything they want and the person you stole it from gets your original pick in exchange.  This is 2 ounces of 50% Merino/50% Tencel from a local dyer called Wild and Wooley.  The tag says "Oregon Collection, Spanish Head Seascape, Fathom Ocean depths that give way to green & foamy surf steadily massaging sandy Beaches."  I can totally see that in these colors and I look forward to turning it into yarn.

Laura left early when someone called to say that it was snowing at her house.  She called back later to say that it had been a difficult drive so I called Ian to check on the weather at our house since it was only sprinkling in Redmond.  He said he was just getting ready to text me as we too were getting snow so I packed it up and came home - not one of my favorite drives.  I think it's the perfect time to start Leigh's book!

Monday, December 07, 2015

What a Week!

Ian's oldest son Doug flew up to spend the week with us and the weather was pretty cold and misty the whole time.  His work schedule changed and suddenly he had six days available and decided to spend them with us.  He's from San Diego and weather conditions never crossed his mind.  This is Dougie with Matt and Julia.  We're visiting at Bridge 99, a very small microbrewery that just recently opened.  Dougie had planned to fly into Portland, then rent a car and drive over.  When he realized he'd be driving over the Cascades on a sheet of ice, he changed his plans and flew into the Redmond airport, an adventure in itself.  The roads into Redmond were icy when we picked him up on Tuesday, confirming that the added expense was worth.
Our visit was just until Josh got off work and we could celebrate his birthday at Wubba's, a barbecue joint next door.  Birthday boy Josh and my wonderful DIL Missy!  
The food was great, the restaurant wasn't noisy and afterwards they brought out this warm brownie covered in ice cream and chocolate syrup.  The boys were thrilled.  He shared :)

We ate out every day that Dougie was here.  Saturday we put him on the plane but not before we had breakfast together at Jake's, a local greasy spoon and breakfast favorite.
Last Sunday was originally our planned tree cutting day but the cold icy weather nixed that plan, so yesterday we piled into two trucks and drove into the Deschutes National Forest above Sisters.
Josh and Ian started this tradition 14 years ago, and somehow Josh has fallen into the position of tree scout, and in fact, he found our tree for us this year.  
Trees are loaded - time to eat!  In spite of this long tradition, cutting trees in the Cascades is completely   different from cutting trees in the Sierras.  It was so much easier to get to the trees and they are different.  They seem to grow straighter with slimmer trunks so they were lighter and easier to carry.  From the time we left the asphalt to the time we returned was only 45 minutes.  We didn't hurry yet we had selected and cut three trees.
We have traditionally gone out for breakfast but this year we chose wood-fired pizza at Pizanno's instead.  Good choice!
I couldn't resist this picture of my boys chatting in the parking lot afterwards.  They see each other all the time and still have more to talk about.  This reaffirms our move yet again.
Rain was in the forecast yesterday so we decided to put up the tree right away instead of soaking it in the garage for a couple of days.  For one thing, these Cascadia trees aren't dry like the Sierra trees and don't need to be hydrated.  I think this is the prettiest tree we have cut yet.  You'll notice the eyes and ears of a curious Maddie in the lower right.
The predicted rain woke me up this morning, thundering on the skylight.  It's making short work of the snow that fell two weeks ago.  No wonder it's green here.
I plan to finally get back to weaving today but it's going to require the Ott light.  Even with the skylight my studio is dark.  What a week!  I'm afraid to step on the scale :)