Saturday, October 11, 2008

Oh Crap!

Before I get to the "Oh Crap!" portion of this post, let me rain a little happiness on you all. Well, the happiness for you spinners anyway. ;)
This would be, and is, another of my blending tests. So far it's a hit with everyone that's seen it. (Yes, all three of us. But really, that does make 100% satisfaction and if the politicians can get away with this, so can I!) This is the red/gray/blk sample on the wheel. I decided not to blend the batt a second time on the carder, but to strip off the colors from the batt and to spin the colors as individually as possible. (Yes, I know, it's kind of mucking up the "blended" batt tests if I don't blend the batt fully.....but, didn't want to be blended. So sue me. I'll try to blend a mix of these colors later. Really. I will.) So here it is on the wheel and looking ever so lovely with it's separate color sections! ( And don't you just love the sheep peering up from the wheel at you?!!!)

After completing the single, I then wind it into a center pull ball and ply it back on itself, giving myself a two ply yarn and no left overs. This plying technique's name escapes me at this time (small voice in head says "Navajo" and large voice says "nope, you're wrong. Wrong, wrong wrong!!") I'll look it up later. The shot of whiskey in the tea says, "Keep typing and ignore all other voices." Sounds like good advice to me, so I'll continue on and hopefully look up the required info later. Back to they plying technique... Besides it's name escaping me it's a technique that I'm not overly proficient at. Hopefully by the time I'm through with these "tests" I'll be better at it and more comfortable with it. One of the downfalls of it is that I have to start and finish the plying in one sitting as my fingers on one hand are keeping the stuff from knotting up, it's important that I don't put the center pull ball down, but keep plying until done. Thank goodness I have no children and no one is likely to knock on the door, requiring me to stop the process.
OK, so now the happiness. Here's the finished skein! It is 1 oz Fire Engine Red, .5 oz Silver Grey and .5 oz Black ALPACA. (I havn't washed it yet to set the twist so I have no yardage info as of this time. Future post to be sure.) Yep, I cheated. I figured, why take perfectly good white wool and dye it black when I have absolutely fabulous black alpaca.....and I do mean BLACK Alpaca that is clean and super soft and would make nummy gloves. Ok. You caught me. The husband tried to claim this as go with the red/black/grey sock yarn I dyed that he claimed.....but I beat him to it. 'Tis MINE! Mwaaaa haaa haaaa!!! I do believe I'll have a whole wardrobe of glovies for this winter!!!!
Which reminds me. Do you remember these? The first finger-tip less gloves I knit last winter. Well, it was Feb of this year which technically was last winter. Anyway if you remember, I typically wear these to drive the car in cold weather cause my hands are becoming cold weather wussies. A couple of weeks ago I got them out of the glove box on a particularly cold morning and as I was leaving for work the dufus pup managed to catch a fang on one of them and I was sure he tore the yarn and caused a run. There was much swearing and planning of his funeral as I headed to work. Driving down the country backroads is not conducive to checking hand knits for runs and broken yarn so it had to wait until I got to work. The "run" was so tight it took me quite a bit of time and two bent paper clips to clear it up and lucky for Tucker......the yarn was NOT broken. So...he lives. Anyway, this incident lead to them being lovingly washed (as they had not been properly washed at completion but had been hastily worn and then stored!) and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed again. I was getting worried due to the color coming off in the rinse water. The third rinse recieve a huge glug of vinegar and clear rinses followed. Oddly enough, they pretty much look like the above pictures so I don't know where the color came from. lol After they dried they were placed in a convienient spot awaiting frosty weather. Well, I must have been sensing the seasonal change cause they've been put to work this week for sure. Just this morning I was thinking that I couldn't wait to cast on for another pair! One for every day of the week would be nice! hehehe

The pooch is enjoying this very seasonable change in weather. He's very much a cool weather dog and loves to play in the rain and roll around in the frost. With the cooling temps he's wanting to play more and is begging for more attention in the evenings. As I was trying to unlock the door tonight he was nibbling on my ankles, which tickels no end, making it very difficult to get in the house, especially with my arms full! He's quite the ham when he wants attention to be sure! It's time to start shopping the second hand stores for new bedding blankets for him and to hastily put a roof on the dog house as he's finally decided to use it on occasion and of course it leaks from him climbing on it. Nice of him to wait until the end of Summer to make that determination! lol My mom came over last Monday and he rode in the car to pick her up. I think she was quite suprised to see how large he really is and now understands why we don't take him many places anymore. I do believe he out weighs her by at least 10 lbs! lol He was so happy to see her though and gave her many kisses in the car on the way home. She hasn't seen him in quite a while and I don't thinks she understood me when I said he took up the whole back seat of the car but she seemed delighted to see him. All went well, he showered her with kisses and made eyes at her through the living room window like the handsome flirt he is. I've gotten rid of some house plants and he can see more fully into the house now. He's a liken that!

I'm still working on Mom's shawl and yes it's still a "sshhhhh!" item. It's moving right along and I've just finished row 199. Placed marker for row 200 and I am ready to move on. Now for the "Oh Crap!" moment. Why? I ask you WhY? I've been a good knitter. I'm knitting this for someone else, with yarn I bought, for goodness sake, in the colors THEY like. This is NOT for me! So tell me....why is it that I reach this milestone of 200 rows.......with every other one growing two stitches......only to find a nasty mistake about 25 rows back?!!! This is a gift!!! Why?! Why?! Why?!!!
Well, I'll tell you why. This happened because it's a holiday gift for someone special. It's because it's my FIRST true lace project of any size. It's because I was knitting along so splendidly fast that I could complete it before the actual date required! (I KNOW!!!! ShOCK!) It's because it causes me to stop and think about what's important to the receiver vs. what's important to me. It does irratiate me that there's going to be errors in this shawl, but there's a voice in the back of my head saying, "It's your first lace, your first shawl, cut yourself some slack!" (But then again, that could be the whiskey in my tea.) Part of me wants this to be P.E.R.F.E.C.T. Another part just want's it to be done. I'm trying to make sure that I balance the one with the other and not be such a perfectionist that it doesn't get completed, but not so lax that the quality is crap. I paused the knitting process on it to look over my options. I could riiiiip it back. (Aargh. Rip off skin instead please!) I could try the knitted lace "oopsie" fix that I've seen on a more talented bloggers site, but really, I know I'm not skilled enough for that yet, so no I can't. ( Sigh ) Or, I could knit on and realize that the reciever isn't going to care if there is a mistake in it. She'll see it as a sign of the hard work that went into making it. She'll recognize the love and the sweat and the tears and the frustration of learning a new skill to make something special for someone else. Hell, she may never even see the mistake if I don't goof up and show it to her myself! So, I knit on. Hopefully tomorrow will give me enough hours to start row 201 and I do think it'll be time for a pictorial update after that.
Today was day two in row for frost in the morning. That means "Good bye Garden" for me. As soon as I got home I was out in the garden harvesting up the last of the summer squash, beans and the tomatoes. It's been a rough gardening year to be sure and there have been many let downs. While I was picking tonight I was thinking about the fact that it's October and I'm harvesting still. Granted the squash were all dinky this year and the plants didn't produce much, but really....they produced right up until frost. That's something to be grateful about. The strawberries were wonderful and I've gotten some in the freezer as well as blackberries. The green beans did wonderful this year and I've been able to put some into the freezer, so that's saying something. There are turnips out there waiting to be harvested, and the carrot I picked as a test tonight was wonderful! So not all's a complete loss. ;) It was a bit sad to not have the garden fresh tomatos this year. The tomato plants did fine as I thought ahead and had them in a more sheltered spot this year, but the weather just did not warm up enough, long enough for them to ripen fully. I had several hit the deck (literally) before they were even ripe due to the weather conditions. So I stewed on the problem.(no pun inteded.) Did I mention I'm slow mentally sometimes? Well I am. I only lately discovered that I could dry the tomatoe, green ones and all, in the dehydrator. Wahoo! So tonight I harvested the last of the little beasties off the vines. It felt good to know they wouldn't go to waste. I can use them later in soups, stews and breads and have the added pleasure of knowing that they were survivors of the "rough" gardening year.Don't they look purty!?! I fully plan on harvesting all the food out of the beds and planting with a cover crop this year. This excludes the raspberry and strawberry beds of course, but the other planting beds need to be harvested and cover cropped asap. I didn't do this last year and I think that failure combined with the weird weather and possibly some over agressive weed management caused the partial crop failure this year. I got the last of the beans tonight, so that bed can be cleaned, turned and planted. I've just got to harvest the turnips, carrots and the left over broccoli and those beds can be done. The squash tires can be cleaned out and cover cropped as well.
I'm planning on setting down and making two plans for the yard for next season. One is the food/herb plan including when to start certain plants and herbs for next season. The other is an overall plan to reduce the amount of yardwork required to maintain a pleasant yardscape. (Large words for how to make the crappy yard work disappear so I can ride the motorcycle more next year without guilt!! lol) This plan will largely include removing plants and replacing them with bark and easier care periennials or shrubs. It will also (hopefully) include a Monthly To-Do list (weather permitting!). I'm hoping to take advantage of some of the "not-nice-for-riding-but-great-for-yardwork" weather but I'll be honest with you, that weather often looks just like "perfect spinning/knitting" weather and I get confused easily. Here's to keeping my fingers crossed that it works out! ;) There's always plenty to do and often times at this time of year, I'm more inclined to work inside than out. Oh well, it's not a contest and I don't have any kids to tell me I'm doing it wrong. Lol.
Well, I do have a lot of other stuff to talk to you about, but it's nearly midnight and I'm tired so I'll wind this down and head to bed. I'll try to get some more pics to post soon. I hope all is well with all of you and that you and yours have enough to see you through. I'll be back soon as this blog has been on my mind lately. More and more I think..."I should blog that!" lol That's a good sign I believe.


Katie - The Knitting Mama said...

Hi April, thanks for looking - I'll bring the basket to this Tuesday's guild meeting! (It's actually more of a black and white - is that okay?) It is a small, so it would be $14. See you then!

Cindy said...

OK. Motorcycle riding weather is over. Where are you?