Home stretch

The Ivy League Vest is almost done. Only a few more thousand ends to weave in. It looks great and it is still in the 20’s in the morning so I wore it with the ends waving in the breeze yesterday. It’s fitted and won’t give much room for, ahem, expansion so I want to block it right. A see a woodworking project coming up, unless this planter stand is the right diameter to stretch the sweater.

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I found these instructions from Knitting Beyond the Hebrides to make a simple wooly board from dowels.

So here is a truncated picture, to exclude my jammie’s and waddle neck, of my finished vest.

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I used spare time yesterday to begin a tea cozy. I’ve become a tea totaler and always have a towel draped over the teapot. Then I found this adorable pattern and have plans for knit vases and flowers to cover all my kitchen appliances.

This off the shoulder sweater is complete. Not for me but will look wonderful on the recipient.

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Another adventure in steeking

I am rounding the home stretch with my hand spun fair isle vest, the Ivy League Vest designed by Eunny Jang. It is knit like a tube with placeholders where the arms and head will be. When the knitting is finished, you cut apart the placeholders and turn the tube into a vest. It’s a fabulous, fitted pattern with a lot of lessons learned along the way.

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Because I used all sorts of yarn, which could be slippery, I stabilized the knitting by crocheting stitches on either side of the planned cut before I snipped .

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Then I gingerly cut between the crocheted border and it worked! A mantra from my surgical days resurfaced. Don’t cut unless you can see the tips. Works on knitting as well as bodies.

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The pattern included waist shaping, happily I could use a few decreases, a deep “V” neck and fits like a glove, or a vest.

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Spring things

It’s hard to believe it ‘s Spring in the Adirondacks. We have two feet of snow on the ground and the temperature was three degrees f today.

But the sun is stronger, the days are longer and I have heard a few new bird songs.

My gift to me is a fair isle vest, knit with three commercial yarns and three handspun skeins (one skein was dyed from all the onion skins we collected during our three month idyll at Deal Island Lighthouse, Tasmania).

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My cleaning and organizing obsessions continue. This time in the spice rack. Last fall, I hung several bunches of herbs and peppers to dry and it was time to put them to use. One big mistake I made was not labeling them in the fall when they looked like the actual plant and not dry , shriveled weeds. I could confirm sage but the rest were more subtle. One I made into a tea to sample and am calling it Lemon. Perhaps it was lemon balm or lemon basil but Lemon it is. I’ve called two unidentifiable bunches parsley. One may have been parsley and the other possibly cilantro. Who can tell?

Once the herbs were store in jars, They needed to be easier to find. I keep my spices in two baskets: one with sweet spices for baking; and the other with savory spices for cooking. I could never tell from the top what was in each of the jars. So I decided I needed to label the tops. I was able to use a permanent marker for the later tops and opted for nail polish for the black tops.

The nail polish did not work so well so I had to get creative with the names. Chili powder became “Hot”, Rosemary became the picture of a rose, garam masala is GAR M. I hope I remember my creative code.

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Snow is great and the private ski area right next door was open on Sunday so we threw our skis on our shoulders and walked next door to go skiing. Just pinch me. I had to relearn how to use a rope toe, a very fast rope toe. I brought old leather lined mittens for the task but they weren’t strong enough. I had to trade them in for a pair of industrial cowhide gloves which worked beautifully
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Perspectives

When I think of a movie or TV show, I often think of its one quotable line, even if it’s wrong. An old time favorite movie is The Red Balloon, which was shown at least each grade while I was in elementary school. The other was Nanook of the North, another classic. Anyway, for years I thought the Red Balloon’s quote was, “It is balloon!”. However, the movie was French and there was no dialogue. I later learned it came from the not so classic TV show, F Troop! Oh well.

Today someone posted a photo from the Honeymooners with Ralph and Norton in chef’s hats. Immediately I thought, “But can it core a apple”? Which brings me to today’s post. I have and will be visiting family and, like Goldie Hawn in Saving Private RyanPrivate Benjamin, “I never go to someone’s house empty handed.” However, when I looked up Saving Private Ryan, the more memorable quote was reportedly, “I did join the Army, but I joined a different Army. I joined the one with the condos and the private rooms.” Ah well, so much for my perspective.

So here’s what I’ve been working on.
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Placemats to grace a new home.

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Mohair merino ballet slippers from a pattern from Bev Galeska, queen of felted knits. These slippers await felting to shrink to fit one pair of feet in the new home. Felted clogs are still in progress for the second pair of feet. And,

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This cute little berry hat to warm the head of a new little one.

I’m coordinated

While on or off the slopes. I finished my Malabrigo mittens to match my upside down, tumbling block hat.

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Tres chic. Very warm and soft. Now I’m thinking of using up all my soft scraps in stranded hats and gloves. Worsted weight knits up so quickly. Only 42 stitches around for the mittens!

The winter weather is finally turning in my favor. By that I mean, we have a decent snow cover and I have a chance to use my season ski pass. I admit it. I’m a princess. I enjoy skiing midweek, early (snowboarders are either still asleep or in school and I won’t fear them scraping behind me at breakneck speed on the hill); when there’s enough snow covering crust or ice so I don’t hear myself scraping down the slope, and when the temperature is at least a balmy twenty degrees. It’s a lot easier keeping warm these days and not because I’ve switched to anything high tech. As a teen, I skied in cotton(!) thermal underwear, probably polyester or cotton socks, leather mittens and often went hatless so my hair could flow in the breeze. May have looked cute, but I froze my tuchas off!

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Now I wear wool from head to toe and am warm as a sheep.

On a final note, my stunning red bathing suit was a smashing success. Looked stylish and felt great, while I continue to be the worst, but most improved, swimmer in the pool. And you can bet I am the only one in a homemade bathing suit.

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No idle hands here

I seem to have a lot more time now that I am no longer running a cat hospice. Sad but true. I wallowed for a day, maybe it was just a cold coming on, then got back to work.

Who wouldn’t be cheered up by three little fair isle hats knit for my friend’s daughters?
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I played around with twined braids, stranded colorwork and thoroughly enjoyed the design process. I was surprised to find how well small fair isle motifs work up in worsted weight – and fast too.

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Then I decided to finally knit something for me again. It’s a hat made with combination of tumbling blocks stranded and twined knitting made in super soft, smooshy Malabrigo worsted yarn.

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The optical illusion didn’t really work though. The shadows seem off, I think I have to swap out my lights and darks. I tried flipping it upside down and they still don’t really look like blocks. But the stranded color work keeps it warm and even pretty on the inside as well.

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The yarn was so soft, I had some leftover and I’m tired of my old mittens so I designed a non-delusional mitten to match, with the palm lined in alpaca. Luscious.

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Conditions have been good for skiing, skating and playing indoors. I finally tried a no-knead bread recipe. It couldn’t have been easier and made a country style, hard crust bread, sturdy enough for sandwiches. I had to stir it once and fold it once! Hoo boy. I highly recommend it for a day when you are hanging around the house.

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My digital VHS movie conversion was a huge success. I laughed, I cried, while watching them all. Plus I found inspiration. Tim’s been looking for comfortable skates, since the ice is so good this year, to no avail. Then I saw a movie with my brother at 4 or 5, at Christmas, wearing an army helmet and strap on skates, skating around the basement. So I looked up strap on skates for adults and they exist! There are two types, shown here. One can be latched onto any hiking boot and the other uses cross country ski bindings. Just like Hans Brinker. He ordered a set of the cross country ski type. I just have to find him an army helmet.

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Time to fill a void

My big knitting project came off the needles this morning, an Aran sweater designed by Alice Starmore, Irish Moss. I love it and hope my daughter does too. I missed my self imposed Thanksgiving deadline, but made Christmas with time to spare.

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Sewing it together went perfectly. The pieces matched up and my finishing technique has improved over the years. The shadows the cables create are wonderful and now my wrist has a chance to rest from all the twisted purls the pattern used.

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Although it went pretty fast, I finished just in the nick of time. I have deferred lots of little projects and some weaving because I was so focused. Now I have created a void that beckons to be filled. Here’s a starter. Pirate hat, redux. The right size this time? Second time’s a charm.

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Big sweater, little sweater

And a hike in between.
I finished the front piece of daughter’s Irish Moss Sweater. It’s a beautiful pattern, still not quite memorized.

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Yesterday, I took most of the day off. I took a six mile walk with hiking buddies, spread 400 pounds of topsoil in my new raised bed and planted 110 daffodil bulbs.

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Today, I completed my Ob/gyn AND menopause certifications. Another interesting fact: menopausal women tend to lose hearing in their left ear first. What’s that you say?

I’m working on a sweet baby kimono sweater. I bought the pattern because I loved the textured band and couldn’t figure it out when I saw a sample. Now I know.

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Now, I’m off to another swimming (umhmm) session. My mantra is: BREATHE! Farewell.

Adirondack fall

Adirondack fall is a brief lovely season. With six weeks until winter, we had our first light snowfall this weekend and the temperature dropped to 17 degrees f.

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My Irish Moss sweater is well underway. There’s a tiny chance I may memorize the pattern, but not yet. I love the alpaca-merino, soft, light and warm. So does Shirley.

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I got around to pickling the venison heart today. I boiled it for several hours with a carrot, onion and celery, then poured a brine over it and let it sit under a weighted plate all day. Next it’s to the fridge. Tasted yummy.

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We’ve received a bounty of winter squash from our farm share and I baked my first pumpkin pie of the season. My Oxo good mill did the hard work. Funny how the pie came out though.

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We’ve had a few picnic dinners in the cabin but haven’t screwed up the courage to sleep in it yet. Lots of excuses- have to get up for work, too cold, forgot my sleeping bag, etc. one day. Tim writes about it here.

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