Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday's Garden

Before we get to some autumn photos, I just have to ask, "What happened to my attention span?"

In the last couple of days, I've worked on my MS4, my Kauni cardigan, a gift scarf I'm making, and some plain socks I've been carrying around. Okay, that's not too bad. But, becoming aware that it's not too late to send in a Red Scarf, I not only packed up my finished scarf, but I started another one. I received beads in the mail that I'm planning to use for a Swallowtail shawl and by some stroke of sanity, I have resisted casting on for that yet. BUT, I've been fascinated by Shelly Kang's sock yarn blankie for the past year, and I idly checked Ravelry to see if there was a group for it. There was, and guess what? They have organized swaps all the time so you can get little balls of sock yarn scraps to use for your blankie. I was worried that I wouldn't have enough variation in yarns if I just used the leftovers from socks I've made. Well, that was all too much to resist, so I joined three swaps and have made two squares since yesterday. Part of today was spent rolling sock yarn leftovers into 5 gram balls and labeling them. Here are the two squares and a ball for the next one.

It takes about 2 grams to make a small square and the swap I joined for November is calling for 5 gram balls. In any case, they're very small. Someone had the idea that even if you haven't made socks yet, you can just wind off a tiny ball of yarn and use it for your blankie. What a concept!

This was my sock yarn stash last January (and I'm sure it's grown just a little), so I don't know why I'm so worried about swapping to get more little balls.

It appears that I can easily obtain all the balls I need right in my own house, but it's all about the variety, isn't it? It's fun to make the squares; doesn't take long and they're so cute! I know, instant gratification for when you're in the middle of a sweater project and the two sleeves somehow are coming out different widths. Hmmm, take a break and knit a blankie square.

We took a nice walk in our lovely autumn weather today and I took a few more colored leaf photos. I'm getting obsessed with these too, but I guess that's harmless. This I found interesting: I try to get a photo of the kids dressed up for Homecoming in front of the dogwood trees in the driveway. It's the same time of year, but the last year's photo shows that the trees were redder
than they are this year. I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for that....

It's probably the photographer.

This little maple tree always turns the prettiest color. Today, DH and Buddy waited patiently while I took a photo. Later I noticed the political sign - I am hoping that indeed this will be a season of change on lots of fronts.

This is always one of my favorite trees in the neighborhood. It's hard to get a good photo of it, since there are a lot of power lines in front of it. It turns the most beautiful shade of red, and it's a really big tree.

I love the contrast between the yellow maples and the huge fir trees around here. I never get tired of looking at them.Finally, I just can't get enough of the color variations on each plant. It is indeed a beautiful time of the year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not too late after all

for the Red Scarf Project, that is. Cathy-Cate was kind enough to alert me to the fact that just yesterday the deadline for receiving scarves was extended to December 15th. My red scarf will be blocking today and sent out in the mail posthaste. Thanks for the heads up!

(That means that there's still plenty of time for those so inclined to knit a scarf for this year, too.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday's Garden - autumn version

Yesterday I actually got out into the garden to do some work; today I went out to pick some last tomatoes, rasperries, fill the bird feeders, and take some photos. In the spring I documented the blooming of the famous driveway pink dogwood trees, now it seems only appropriate that I follow the progress from green to red.

While I was out, I decided to photograph some of the other pretty colors in the yard. I like the contrast between the evergreens and the deciduous trees here - it seems to make the colors stand out even more.

Here's one of our japanese maples in front of the laurel hedge:

And a big-leaf maple in front of another one that hasn't started to turn yet. There are also some big fir trees back there.

This is my little red smoke tree that's been transplanted a couple of times in front of one of the nandinas. Nice contrast.

Back to knitting, I find that I still have projects that I haven't documented here, so here goes. I showed the beginnings of the child's raglan sweater I made, and also a half-finished tulip sweater in a previous post. Here are the finished objects:

I had quite a bit of yarn left when I finished this sweater, so made some little mittens to match. The sweater will go for my new baby cousin, and I'm hoping his big sister will enjoy the mittens.

I also test-knit a hat for my pal, Cathy-Cate. The yarn was soft and beautiful, but the hat came out to be child-sized. It will be warm and snuggly for some little person this winter. You can find several versions of the hat on her blog.

And finally, my progress on Mystery Stole 4. This is my stole up through clue 3. I've slowed down a bit on this project - I think the whole thing looks a little busy when all put together, but I'll probably go ahead and finish. I can't see taking out all the work I've done, especially all of those beads. Looking at this, I realize what a long way I have to go!

All for now - Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Okay, so I pat myself on the back sometimes for my charity knitting. I do it because I like to try new patterns, designs, and techniques while helping others. One of my first charities was afghans for Afghans, to which I still contribute as much as possible, and another was the Red Scarf Project. I've donated to this worthy cause twice and sent scarves the last two years.

This year I dutifully chose some beautiful, bulky, warm, red yarn and started making a scarf. I knew that the scarves had to be mailed during September and October, and I was way ahead. Since scarves are easy I decided to design my own, making a combination of cables and ribbing. I can't remember the exact progression, but I started this scarf about four times, ripping it out for one reason or another: The cable was too big, the stockinette wasn't even, the edges rolled up too much, the yarn was too thick for the pattern, etc., etc. You get the idea. I finally hit upon a pattern that worked well and was easy - knit, yo, k2tog, repeat. It made a lace pattern that wasn't too open, laid flat, and looked pretty good. In between other projects, I continued on my scarf.

Then came the problem. A few days ago I went to the Red Scarf Fund website to double-check the due date, which I was sure was the end of October. It wasn't - it was the 15th of October and all of the scarves had to have been sent in by then.

I'm hoping that there was as large a response to this project as there has been the past two years, because my red scarf is still in Seattle.

My scarf will be the first one there next year.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Knitting Roundup

I've been bad about posting knitting content lately. I looked back and it seems to have been August when I last mentioned that all-consuming obsession of mine. I guess I've been too busy knitting to talk or write about it. So let's see how the summer wrapped up.

Summer of Socks: I ended up with five pairs, which is very good for me. I think I already mentioned all but the last pair: My Lacy Rib socks. I started these socks at The Loopy Ewe's Spring Fling last April. There was a sock design class given by the inimitable Cookie A.

Cookie was fun to meet and full of energy and good ideas. We all picked out a pattern or two from a stitch dictionary and began. It took me awhile, but I finally got the pattern organized over the right number of stitches, using the right size needles, and finished my socks. They're quite simple but I like them. I used Zen String Bambewe in the Blue Norther colorway. I love this yarn. I'm not sure if I got it from The Loopy Ewe or Zen String directly, but it's great.

My five pairs of socks in all their glory. I made the mistake of putting them in an available spot of sunlight on the carpet that day, and well, you know what happens. Buddy had to show how that spot should really be used.

How can dogs go to sleep so fast? He's resting his cheek on the Spring Forward socks, which are pretty comfy.

I'm working on Mystery Stole 4. I'd put a link, but it's too late to sign up this year. This is another learning opportunity for me, as I've never worked with beads before and beads are required on this stole. I'm using Chewy Spaghetti laceweight yarn in the Sullen colorway, which has beautiful hints of blue and lavender when you look closely. My beads are No. 8 seed beads in a dark sapphire rainbow color. They're shiny and subtly different in shade. I got them from the Beadwrangler, who has wonderful, quick shipping and reasonable prices. Here's my progress through Clue 2.

I'm off tomorrow for a week in the desert, so hope to make some good progress on it then. I'm a little behind, as Clue 5 came out last Friday, and I'm still on Clue 3. Oh well, it's not a race.

Speaking of races, our Dishrag Tag team, Phaster than Phelps, wasn't. The last I checked, 10 teams had finished and we weren't one of them. Our box should arrive today at the end point. It was fun; our team wasn't as chatty or involved as last year's, but it's still a fun game. Here's the box as it was getting ready to leave my house.

Well, I've used up the time I gave myself to spend on blogging today, so I'll have to finish my knitting wrap-up next time. We're scheduled for a few more days of rain, so it's a good time to head south.