Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A knitting celebration


A few weeks ago at Knit Knite Rosane showed us the Dreambird Shawl Pattern.  I instantly fell in love with it. It has short rows and colors, what's not to love?  Others liked it but no one else was enamored of it but me and Rosane.  We decided to spin yarn for it so it would be totally unique.

I kept vascillating from one colorway to another without actually settling on any one.  Just couldn't make up my mind.  The pattern calls for some mohair blend for the main part, maybe in a tonal, with color in the feathers of the bird.  Jim volunteered to spin some kid mohair for the project.  ummmmm  so soft.
               Meanwhile I still hadn't made up my mind.

Then a couple weeks ago five of us cleaned out Ruth's stash. It took over 3 hours of sorting, sorting, bagging, identifying, sorting, reminiscing and pricing.  We wound up with 7 large tubs of fiber, spun fiber, started projects, unstarted projects, yarn and accoutrements.

The next weekend we displayed it all at the Black Sheep Garage Sale.  We sold quite a bit, reducing the stash by about 2 tubs.  Of course we also had to have some for ourselves, adding to the very nice total going to Hospice.

I came away with some heavily angelina-ed glitzy batts not made by me, some silk, not dyed by me and other neat items, some actually dyed by me.  I just had to start spinning the batts and fell in love with the rich intense coloring.  AHA!  So that's what I've decided to use for my Dreambird.  Such a fun spin.

I've got about half the batt done so am now spinning the silk as there was way less of that.  The yarn on the left was spindle spun by Ruth.  Might need to ply in some purple silk eventually but think it'll look just fine in the feathering.

Becki took home some tussah silk but I've managed to talk her into letting me have it to ply with the kid mohair.
Does this pic look upside down to you?
Still haven't figured out what color to dye the silk/kid but it'll come.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Knitted Flower

The snow is gone from our yard and the woods.  The pond actually has some water showing and one or two brave daffodils have come up about an inch. Oh and some wood ducks are swimming in a vernal pond, poor dears.  I am declaring this winter over (ducking quickly). Mind you it's not really spring either, maybe mud season, but hey…..

So in honor of this day I worked all morning on a knitted flower.  Many of us have seen some beautiful crocheted flowers and Abigail, who is a crocheting goddess, assures me they aren't hard.  But…….

Plus I'm so addicted to Icords right now that I wanted to make one out of them.

Spring Flower   

With about 20 yds of scrap contrasting or project yarn and appropriate dpns:
We'll make two - 2 stitch tubular traditional Icords of 15" & 13each.

I used DK for the multi and worsted yarn for the pink layer but any yarn will do.

Cast-on 2 sts,
Move/slide stitches to right end of dpn.
The yarn will be on the left, bring it around to the right and knit those two sts. 
Repeat, tugging on the tail after each iteration and making sure the first stitch is relatively tight.

After 15 inches, (Put on some music and the time will fly.)  tie off leaving an 8" tail and make another of 13-14".

Thread a tail into an embroidery needle. Fold the tube back and forth so you have a relatively equal 5 or 6 petal looking object.



Thread the needle through the center folds to hold the petals on each flower in place. 
Do the same with the second tube.
   



Put the smaller flower layer on top of the larger one.

Thread the two together.  Add a nice bead for a center.
and attach it at will.



Monday, March 31, 2014

New Puppy?

Jim came home a couple weeks ago saying he saw a flyer at Greenstar saying that 4 shar pei needed new homes immediately as their Dad had died.  Oh my. Oh my.  And this was Jim bringing up the subject.

We researched shar pei as all I really knew was they were the wrinkly dogs and got skin diseases because they had been bred for too many wrinkles.  Well they are lovely dogs.  Great temperaments, adapable, don't need a lot of  exercise, smart and only medium sized, topping out at 55 pounds.

I called the number and it turned out it was the guy's partner that had died.  He told me a long sad tale about his partner having heart problems, being disabled, having started with 4 shar pei, then an accidental mating and his partner insisting on keeping all of the pups.  Long story short, his partner passed suddenly in February leaving this guy with 9 dogs and grief.  He realizes he can't take care of so many so posted them for adoption on RescueMe and put up posters.  The dogs had no experience with cats but he said he was bringing some down from Rochester for a meet and greet with another person from our area and would get in touch when that was arranged.  We still have not heard back from him.

Alas that got me onto the rescue sites for shar pei.  Saw a wonderful dog in a Westchester Shelter who was not neutered and they wanted $450.  Nope, not for us.  Plus, Nancy, who runs Reverence Training, advised us not to get a shelter dog, but only one that was fostered so we could ask a lot of questions.

A couple days later I got another email telling me a shar pei /lab was available in NJ.
I don't know about you but I just couldn't resist this face.  And his name is Magoo.  How perfect is that?

So we discussed it and decided to wait overnight.  We actually waited two days but I just couldn't get that face out of my head.  Could you? We called the rescue people ( shar pei rescue of VA) and asked a lot of questions.  All the answers were great. He loves cats.  He is so smart.  He is being fostered.

The major hold up is that he has lyme and heartworms.  Well - we were told to fill out an application and get a home visit.  Application went in immediately and we are waiting on Cayuga Dog Rescue for the home visit.  Our vet gave us a glowing rec.  So we were put in contact with his Foster Mom.
 He actually is being fostered in VA, not NJ, but either place is approx the same distance away.  We were told he was going in for his first injection this week and then in a month would be neutered and then we could come get him.  That sounded like about 6 weeks which is a lot of postponing of gratification but his Foster Mom sent me lots of pics and a video so we could look at him and she gave us updates too.
Alas the protocol for heartworm has now changed.  The vet started Magoo on Heartgard a week ago and want him on it for 3 months before the first Invecticin Injection, then a month of quiet - like crated quiet - and then two more injections and another month of crated quiet.  Then if all goes well he then can be neutered.
Now we are talking 4 months.  We had the choice to take him now but we would need to find a rescue friendly vet and take the responsibility for his recovery.  We read up on heartworm and got really scared.  If he doesn't stay really quiet he can have an embolism and need emergency work.  He needs to be watched a lot.  I hate crating dogs.  Nancy says she wouldn't go through it again.  My sister says NO.  Then Jim said he just couldn't deal with the responsibility and tension.   So today I told Laura that we definitely wanted Magoo but would need to wait until he was neutered.  
Big Sigh  

I am a bit down after being excited for the last week or so and don't know now if our decision to wait will mean another family will take this guy.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Coastal Cap

The Iknitarod and Iditarod were fun, exciting, interesting and exhilarating this year.  We are talking already about next year's fun and maybe adding a new category called Checkpoint Challenges.

Winter is still not over, we got another 1.5 inches yesterday and it never went over 20 degrees.  Sheesh.  I find I spend a lot of time in hand knitted caps as they keep the heat in really well so we don't have to spend so much money using the propane back up to out pellet stove.  The stove can keep the house at about 60 and then we need the gas for more.  This winter that has turned out to be a rather expensive option. Anyway….
For the Iknitarod I designed a cowl and a cap.  Giving out presents and prizes is such fun.  So I'm gifting you all with the cap pattern right here.


Coastal Shell Cap

A simple but interesting cap that knits up quickly and keeps your head nice and toasty
.
Needles: US 4 & 6   16" circs
approx 125 yds fingering / sportweight yarn. 
Gauge: with larger needle, 5 sts/in Little Shell Ribbing B
Size:  S(M/L)  For a Medium, use M/L numbers but US 3 & 5 needles.
Notions:  markers, opt. bead or button for top of cap.


CO 90(105) sts using stretchy or long tail cast-on. Join without twisting. Place BOR marker.

Little Shell Ribbing A (5 sts x 4 rows) with smaller needle
Continue in the round as follows:
R1 & 2: *k3, p2*  [90(105) sts]
R3: *sl1-k2tog-psso, p2*  [54(63) sts]
R4: *(k1, k1tbl, k1) all in the same st, p2*  [90(105) sts]
Repeat Rounds for 1.5 - 2 inches ending with R2.


Little Shell Ribbing B (15 sts x 12 rows) with larger needle
continue in the round as follows:

R1 & 4: *p2, k3*  [90(105) sts]
R2: *p2, sl1-k2tog-psso*  [54(63) sts]
R3: *p2, [(k1, k1tbl, k1) all in the same st]*  [90(105) sts]

R5 & 8: *p1, k3, p1*
R6: *p1, sl1-k2tog-psso, p1*  [54(63) sts]
R7: *p1,  [(k1, k1tbl, k1) all in the same st]*  [90(105) sts]

R9 & 12: *k3, p2*  [90(105) sts]
R10: *sl1-k2tog-psso, p2*  [54(63) sts]
R11: *[(k1, k1tbl, k1) all in the same st], p2*  [90(105) sts]

Repeat Rounds 1- 12 for approx 5-6 inches, ending with R4, 8 or 12.


Sea Scallop Border (11 sts x 4 rows)

K 1 round reducing sts evenly by 2(6) to 88(99)sts
*p2tog twice, (M1, k1) 3 times, M1, p2tog twice*
K1 round
Purl one round.

Decreasing the top
*sl2 pwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k8* around
k1 round
*sl2 pwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k7* around
k1 round
*sl2 pwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k6* around
k1 round
*sl2 pwise-k1-p2sso, yo, k5* around
k1 round
Changing to dpns or 2 circs when sts become too tight/few on the needle.
Continue in this pattern until you have 16(18) sts remaining. *k2tog* around.


Cut off 8 inches, putting thread on embroidery needle. Then gather the remaining stitches twice, tuck yarn to inside and knot off.  Add optional button or bead. Tuck in ends and enjoy.
sarabasha@earthlink.net  ©  Susan Sarabasha 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Iknitarod Summary - Day by Day from 3 -15

Managed to get about a quarter of a Iknitatitty done day three plus got the second sock to the cuff. Background image is of the Finger Lake Checkpoint 3/3.

Over the Mountains
Finally got the hang of knitting and reading at the same time. I learned with the Iknitatitties. Size 6 needles with worsted and mostly stockinette. I'm so pleased to have crossed that barren land to smooth going. Also got 2 inches of cuff done on Jim’s socks while listening to a book. 3/4

Heading west
Actually completed both Iknitatitties and sent them on to the Cancer Resource Center here in Ithaca. 3/5

The Yukon
One of Jim’s socks is now completed. 7 more inches on the other should do it. Then I get to spin and start a new cowl pattern. The cowl may turn into a KAL. We shall see. 3/6

Yukon to the Coast
Looks like Martin Buser will be sledding down to the coast today. 3/7
My accomplishments for Day 6 don’t look like much as most of it got frogged. I did sample swatch, after sample swatch, after sample swatch, trying to get a good combo of patterns going for an infinity cowl. Actually some didn’t even make it past a few rows or even out of my Moleskine graph book.
These are the two that won the First Into Typed on the Computer Award sponsored by Lillie and LouAnne who supervised it all from the windowsill where they could keep an eye on the turkeys too. They gave me a dead mouse for a prize. sigh


Sliding to the Coast 
 Aliy Zirkle - First to the Coast Award
It’s an exciting and fast race this year. Who of the top five will get to Nome first is anyone’s guess. Icy ribbon coming into UNK is way better than frozen tullocks. Wonder what the route along the coast will be as the sea ice seems to be either unstable or not there? KAL prototype is coming right along.


Icy Ribbons
 I didn’t get as much done yesterday as I had hoped. Took my 8 hour rest instead. Wanted to complete the second sock but still have 3 inches to go. Also need to start spinning the bfl/silk in Alaska On My Mind. Since Wednesday looks to be a big snow day (10-18 inches predicted) I am sure I will do a lot of mushing then and catch up with the pack. 
One of John Baker's Dogs

Coasting
  Have my WIP, the socks, finished. The infinity cowl is planned out and started. So 3 out of my 4 challenge items are done. The spinning of some fiber into yarn is left. Had planned that for Wednesday before I knew this race would break speed records. However, since we are having a storm on Wed, spinning will be the perfect Iknitarod activity. 
I think a lot of today will be spent watching the Insider or the Nome Web Cam as the top 10 and 20 come into Nome. 
Dawn on Norton Sound
Major upset.  
Jeff King scratched within 20 miles of Nome in a ground blizzard with winds at 65 knots.  



It's not over until it's over
Not near the same weather as on the AK coast but sheesh it’s NY for heaven’s sake, not Canada. 8-13 inches forecasted!!!! I hate March snow storms as they are so warm and heavy. We have the generator ready for the inevitable loss of power.
So the AK on My Mind fiber is ready to for spinning during our Snow Day. Hope to get 3 oz done. 
Aliy Zirkle smiling after her third 2nd Place Finish in a row.  She was just happy to have not been blown off the Sea Ice into the Golovin Bay.

Middle of the Pack coming into Nome
What an exciting and interesting race this is. Such stories. 
Love seeing the musher's children added to the sleds on Front St & riding in to the arch. 

Remember the Libby Riddles Story? Very similar weather. She snuck out leaving the other mushers in the shelter and forged on alone to win the race. 
Libby welcoming Hans Gatt into Nome.  Half the fiber is spun into singles.

Back of the Pack
330 yards of alpaca/merino/silk now spun and plied and ready for ‘blocking’. 
Heading into White Mountain for a well deserved 8 hour rest. 
Picture is of coming into White Mountain checkpoint.

Last Mushers In To Nome

Monica Zappa rookie, 2nd from Last.

Lisbet Norris, rookie,  next to last, running Sibes

and Marcelle Fressinau, rookie,
Red Lantern Winner coming in (see lower left)

The Lantern Has Been taken down.  
All the pups have been fed treats and bedded down in kennels and straw with handlers watching over them.
Well deserved Banquet is tonight.

Now to deal with Iditarod/ Iknitarod Withdrawal.



























Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Iditarod/Iknitarod Days 1-3

The mushers are exlaiming about how difficult the trail is for the mushers and the sleds.  They say the dogs are having a great time though as it isn't boring and the terrain without much snow is easy to run on, but hard on booties.  Nic Pettit damaged a knee and his $2000 sled is a mess.  Aaron Burmeister also damaged a knee and lost his team for a bit there.  Martin Buser banged up an ankle somewhere along the trail.  He's not sure if it was the Gorge or the Steps as he didn't stop until the next checkpoint.  One musher said the race is so fast this year because where there isn't dirt there is ice so no drag and virtually no stopping either.  DeeDee Jonrowe has scratched in Rohn after a hellish descent that banged her up considerably.  Some mushers that have made it into Nikolai are saying that  other mushers might think twice about continuing.  The ones in front think the trail might be a bit easier from now on.  We shall see.  www.iditarod.com

Those of us doing this race from our chairs indoors are clicking away.
I started with Jim's socks, done only to the gussets.

and now both are at the cuffs.

I also decided to make a pair of Iknitatitties, in bright pink, to honor DeeDee Jonrowe who survived a double mastiectomy and has been mushing for 30 years in this race. So sorry she has scratched (only the 3rd time in all these years).
One is done and the other is halfway completed.
And that screen shows the Iditarod home page back up after what is being called a 'nefarious group' (we all know who that is but are refusing to say their names so they don't get publicity) hacked into their system crashing the site for most of the Offical Restart Sunday evening.

A most exciting race continues.



Friday, February 28, 2014

Titbits

A few months ago one of our regular Wednesday night knitters was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Fortunately they were able to get it all and she is doing very well.  However we felt helpless and didn't know what to do until one of our members found Titbits on Knitty.


Huh?  Well they are knitted prostheses to put into bras so women who have mastectomies can also look balanced or wear a bra with two to feel more 'normal'.  We immediately glommed onto this idea and made quite a few while knitting at Panera's.  When we presented ours to Deb (along with matching undies that we purchased :^)  Remember those Day of the Week undies from when you were little?) she loved them and as soon as she healed a bit started wearing them.

BTW we have modified the pattern a bit, of course.  We found the stone inside made them a bit lopsided and the Icord nipple needed to be quite a bit smaller.  We also went with the one piece option over sewing the back on.

Then Deb spoke to someone at the Cancer Resource Center, in Ithaca, who said they would like to have them there too.  Aimee also contacted them and now our Titbits, in all sizes and colors, are available for free to anyone needing them in our area.