Monday, November 30, 2009

Today on Cat TV . . .

We've had a wonderful growing season in eastern South Dakota this year. The corn field behind our house is the highest I've seen for some time. Unfortunately, the fall has been too wet to go out and harvest it. The farmer got out before Thanksgiving and made a few swipes, but finally got out in force today. This was wonderful news for my oldest cat, Hans. He loves watching large machinery. He's been at the back window most of the morning watching the harvester. If I talk to him he turns politely to acknowledge I've spoken and goes right back to watching. His partner in crime, Greta, is not at all interested and is sleeping in a sunbeam.

Off the needles: I've been working a ton of hours (enough that I wish I was paid hourly instead of a salary!), so not much knitting has been accomplished. Buffalo Gold yarn company asked me to test knit a pattern for them so they'd have enough product for upcoming trunk shows. I was more than happy to help them out. The shawl above is the Wildflower Lace Scarf designed by Evelyn Clark and made out of the Wichita Mountain colorway of Buffalo Gold Lux Laceweight. It's a great pattern and wonderful yarn with which to work.

On the needles: I'm working on socks (I know, big surprise) using bamboo yarn and my own design. I'm not real pleased with the bamboo. It's starting to look shopworn just from knitting. But I'll post a photo when they're done and washed. Hopefully, this is just a temporary thing. I think this will be Pair No. 27, or maybe 28 in the 52 Pair Plunge III.

Also on the needles is the Herbivore shawl by Stephen West. I'm through the first section and into the second. I hope to have this finished this week, as it sounds like the super-cold weather of winter is going to hit later this week.

On the wheel: A few months ago, I drum-carded some of the colorways which did not sell in my Etsy shop. I coming to the end of that and I'm very pleased with the results. I used blues and purples and greens and turquoises - very cool eclectic mix in a three-ply yarn. Film later.

52 Books in 52 Weeks - so close and yet so far. I'm on Books 49 and 50, but not quite done with either. Hopefully, next week, they'll both be ready to review.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

52 Books in 52 Weeks Update

I've been having some problems uploading photos to blogger tonight, so I went in through a back door for the sock photos. I apologize for the change in format. I hope I figure out the problem before my next post.

Since I finished two more books this week one excellent/one not so good, I wanted to post anyway.

The first book I finished was Murder List by Julie Garwood. This is book 47 for the year and a real disappointment. Fortunately, I got this book for free on a special from e-books or I would be angry I wasted money on it. I understand this author usually writes romances, which are not my cup of tea. It may be that influence on the plot of this book that made it just about unbearable for me, but I "gotter done". The plot revolves around a wealthy, good-looking young woman who makes out a list of people she'd like to see murdered, she loses the list and guess what happens. Of course, she gets the man of her dreams at the end and a lot of people she doesn't like get eliminated from the face of earth. This plot just hit me wrong on so many levels.

But the second book I finished was probably one of the best books I have ever read. Book No. 48 is The Thirteenth Story by Diane Setterfield. There is a thread of Jane Eyre and the theme of being an outsider which runs through this story. So if you love the Brontes as much as I do, you'll love picking this thread up, losing it, and picking it up again. The story is set in modern day Yorkshire, but tells a tale of twins which covers a good part of the 20th century. It is fascinating to the point I felt guilty if I didn't have time to read some every day. This book called out to me like a good friend to open it up and sit down with a cup of coffee and spend some time catching up. The marvelous thing about this book is that the author leaves no loose threads at the end. One leaves The Thirteenth Story knowing what happens to every character, however minor, with the exception on the storyteller's mother, which is telling in and of itself. I highly recommend this book. I usually take every fiction book I read to the used book store to trade - but not this one. It's a keeper. I'm going to visit again.

Taupe is the Color of My Life

Labyrinth Socks
Originally uploaded by bruggerknits
Taupe seems to be the color of my life, whether I want it to or not. This pair of socks is a prime example. Incidentally, this pair is Pair No. 27 in the 52 Pair Plunge III. The pattern is Labyrinth, designed by Wendy Johnson (aka Wendy Knits) and the yarn is Luxe Grrl by Tempted in the BonJour colorway. These are sport-weight, so are a bit heavier than I usually make/wear.

But it's the color that's important. I got this yarn as part of the Tempted at 3am Sock Club. I groaned when I saw the colorway. Because like it or not taupe is the color of my life. This taupe, mixed with a little pink, immediately brought me back to the bathroom of the house I grew up in. Even the fixtures were taupe (as was the outside of the house). As you can see from the photo the walls of our current house is a little different shade of taupe (as is, again, the outside of the house). Every house, with the exception of one, has either been taupe or was painted taupe after we lived there. Currently, our entire house is taupe. It was that way when we bought it. One would think I really liked taupe, but I don't.

Incidentally, great pattern, I made it a bit smaller than the women's small and great yarn. I usually don't use sport-weight for socks, but the cashmere in this yarn will make it all worthwhile.

Baby Lace Socks

Baby Lace Socks
Originally uploaded by bruggerknits
I apologize for blogging this way; but there seems to be a problem with loading photos into Blogger this evening so . . . This is Pair No. 26 in the 52 Pair Plunge III. It's made from my Sheepish Fibers Big Foot in the Lemon Drop colorway and it's based on a knitted baby sock from a crochet book from the 40s. Given the confusing directions in that book/leaflet, I can understand how people became disillusioned with needlearts.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Survived Halloween!

Halloween night in East River South Dakota was a beautiful night with an almost full moon, little wind and warmer temperatures than we've had for a long time. Oh, and it was a Saturday night - but you probably already knew that. It was a good thing I bought four big bags of candy because I was out by 7:30 p.m. People were driving up with van loads of kids. Some of the vans had license plates which were issued in counties 50 miles from here! Granted we have a lot of children in our neighborhood and I know most of them at least by sight, but there were a whole lot more than that. What was really great was that 99% of them dressed up and a good number of their parents who were taking them around were dressed up as well. All in all, it was fun, but it was hectic!

I Off the Needles: I did manage to finish two more pairs to the 52 Pair Plunge III challenge. Pair No. 24 is based on a pair named Emily's Socks in the 2-At-A-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. I am busily using up scrap yarn in any way I can. Another example of that is the pair to the left, No. 25, which is made from a left-over sock blank and some scrap Wildfoote by Brown Sheep. I recently counted up my full skeins of sock yarn (not counting what I have for sale in my Etsy shop) and I have enough for 18 pairs of socks, which still brings me a few short for the 52 Pair Plunge.

On the Needles: I've just started Pair No. 26 which is a pair of baby lace socks rewritten from an old crochet book (still can't figure out why I book entitled "Crochet" has knit patterns). But then after deciphering the pattern I can understand why needle arts kind of died out for awhile - those that needed patterns were just frustrated! These socks are in what is leftover from a skein of my Big Foot yarn. After this pair, I'll be half-done with the challenge!

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book No. 46 - Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain. I usually don't include the fiber books I read in my 52 Book Challenge. I'm making an exception on this one because I am fascinated with the whole concept of Yarn Bombing. I first heard about it a few months ago and admittedly, was a bit put off by the term. It is not destructive as one would believe from the term bombing. Initially, I thought planes flew overhead and dropped skeins of yarn on the unsuspecting. While I rather liked the thought of German sock yarn being dropped into my yard, there is a very constructive side to this medium and a very artistic one.

We have all viewed graffiti and for some the graffiti is a form of vandalism, but for some people and for some graffiti, it is a beautiful form of street art. Unfortunately, in our town we have freight trains going through frequently (usually during rush hours) and frankly, the only positive to this for me is the graffiti on the cars. I am awestruck. Someone has taken an ugly thing and made it beautiful (at least to me, I'm sure the railroads consider a crime). Yarn Bombing does the same thing. Suddenly small forms of knitted or crocheted work show up in unexpected places. Knitted feet on the base of signs, cozy-like garments on hand rails and parking meters, scarfs on statues. All are provided with a bit a humor.

Yarn Bombing has not only the patterns and photographs, but also vignettes on how others are bombing. It's a great book to get any fiber artist thinking. I am currently working on a yarn bombing project for my office at work. For now, I will simply say it is seasonal and will come down after Christmas. I'll post pictures when it's up.