Plain Jane Knits Up A Storm

A few musings about my needlecraft hobbies - knitting, crocheting, quilting, & cross-stitch along with my other love, genealogy. While growing up, I used to HATE the term "Plain Jane", but when it comes to knitting & crocheting, I've realized that I really *am* a Plain Jane in that I don't use fancy yarns.

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Location: Northern Detroit Metro area, Michigan, United States

Friday, May 30, 2008

See Why I Love This Guy??

We went to a lot of garage sales yesterday and had planned on doing it again this morning, but I had trouble sleeping last night and wasn't ready to greet the rosy fingers of dawn until almost noon. DH left a note and went without me which was fine, but just look at what he brought back!! Four large bags of yarn all for $4 for our K4 group!!

This pile is baby & sport weight yarn that will be given to Pat. Pat crochets the most exquisite baby sets & blankets so this will give her a lot to work with over the summer.

This pile is worsted weight so it's destined for hats, scarves, shawls & afghans. Our usual yarn supply store, Meijer's, seems to be going out of the yarn business and only carries about 1/10th of what they used to, so lucking into all of this for less than what it would cost for two skeins regularly is great. And I wasn't even along {bg}..

At K4 yesterday, we found that someone had dropped off a couple bags of yarn including one of fancy stuff. I combined a navy with slubs of rainbow colors with a ball of purple Fun Fur and came up with this hat.

The bag also included a number of unusual yarns in shades of green so I'm making this fashion scarf for our craft sale later this year. I think the flash missed going off so I apologize for the dark picture. Once it's completed I'll try to get a better shot. This is being knit with one strand of a bluish green worsted worked together with the fancy stuff on size 19 needles. Next to it you can see the smaller selection of reds that I hope to use for another scarf.

Here's my latest sock! Knit with Vinca Colorway #10 on size 2 Harmony double points. My usual pattern with a simple K2, P2 ribbing for the leg.

It turned out way neater than I'd hoped seeing the yarn in the skein. Instead of "garish" as I described it in an earlier post, it's "vibrant" and I love it.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A MeMe Redux

I just realized that I left out 3/5ths of the MeMe from Sallee's blog. That's what happens when I blog late at night {g}...

3. Snacks I enjoy: I haven't been indulging much recently, but I love Wheat Thins with the yummy salmon dip that my DH makes, tabouli, salsa with white corn chips, guacamole & (strange as it may sound) elbow macaroni with butter, salt & pepper.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Set up college funds for my grandchildren that would see them through doctorates if they wanted, have our private road paved so none of us (10 houses) have to put up with potholes anymore, add a sunroom on the back and plant some tall evergreens along the fence so we wouldn't feel like we were looking into the neighbor's yard behind us, order lots of yarn for our K4 group, donate a wide variety of knitting books to the local library. We aren't really into accumulating a lot of "things", so there isn't a whole lot that I want or need.

5. Places I have lived: All in Michigan: a farm a mile north of Berville; the dorms at Oakland University, Rochester; Centerline; Clawson; Pontiac; Walled Lake; Waterford & here in Lake Orion.

6. Jobs I have had: Research assistant for several profs; babysitter; file clerk; waitress; teacher; mother; electronic assembly; machine tool detailing; computer programmer; office manager for a software company; printed circuit designer.

Now for that To-Do list for today - not everything was accomplished. We put off the cemetery trip because there's a frost warning out for tonight and I didn't want to plant flowers just to have them killed by frost.

The garden did get finished, but it still needs to be raked even. It's not very big, however I'll probably expand it next year. There's an area on the east side of the house that will hold at least four tomato plants and I'm hoping to get a dozen in this spot along with basil & a couple hills of zucchini.

Here are the seed potatoes cut into chunks with an eye in each and allowed to dry overnight to form a callus so they won't rot when planted.

About half of them in a trench along the south foundation of the house. I back filled lightly so I have soil left to mound them when they start coming up.

The corner flower bed. The forget-me-nots are still blooming, the hosta is up and the poppies have large buds. This poppy was a volunteer that started showing a few leaves a couple years ago. It had one flower last year and is going to have at least three this year. It's one of the red orange ones. I wish that poppies transplanted well as I have a pale pink one with burgundy centers at the other house that I wouldn't mind having here.

This is how most of my blogging is done recently - with cat in lap.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday MeMe

Ok, it's going to be Monday if I can finish in 13 minutes, otherwise it's going to be a Tuesday MeMe.. I found this on Sallee's Knitnana Blog

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was working in the CAD department of a local company that assembled surface mount electronic assemblies for various companies. It was a good job that I enjoyed and still miss. Unfortunately, the next company I worked for - a telecommuting position doing the same type of work - saw fit to outsource the work in 2002 to someone in China for 1/12th of what I'd been paid.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

In that it's almost midnight, I'll write the list for tomorrow:

1. Water the lawn so that the grass seed that was scattered on Thursday has a chance of survival (the rain that was supposed to show up today and tonight whimped out.

2. Finish digging up the garden area so that I can plant before I head for California on the 3rd to see my daughters & grandchildren.

3. Make a belated trip to Richards Cemetery to decorate the graves of my Grandparents, Greats & Great-greats.

4. Fix a decent dinner for one of my "eat days" - 25#s down since late January!! I've been dieting by eating one day and fasting the second.

5. Small tasks: plant the seed potatoes I bought a couple weeks ago and that are now cut into sections and drying on the kitchen counter; continue knitting on the sock from the "Loud" skeins of Vinca yarn that I started this evening; update my reading list on the blog template (probably do that before I shut down for the evening).

That should keep me busy enough. {g}

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Socks, Socks, Socks

I just finished the second sock of my latest pair.

A toe-up using a variation of the Feather & Fan or Old Shale lace pattern. The standard pattern has an 18 stitch repeat, but my sock was 60 stitches around and I didn't want to either increase or decrease to obtain a multiple of 18 stitches. So, I did a K2TOG twice, (YO, K1) 4 times, SSK twice for a 12 stitch repeat.

The yarn is a "feather-weight" from Columbia Minerva that I picked up at a garage sale, 100% moth-proofed wool in a rust, gold & green heather. I used size 2 needles for everything but the garter stitch at the top of the cuff where I used size 3 needles and then bound off with size 4. On the first sock, I bound off at the end of the fourteenth repeat of the lace on the leg but it rolled out and doesn't look very good. Hence the garter stitch band at the top of this one. Now I need to go back, tink back the bind-off and finish that sock to match this one.

This is my latest stash enhancement destined for use in the Summer of Socks 08 KAL. I ordered it from Julia's Craft on Etsy - 20 skeins of Vinca superwash sock yarn in 10 colorways. The KAL doesn't start until June 21st (the first day of summer as my friend Sallee pointed out when I wondered why it wasn't starting right after the sign-up period {g}), but I'm not sure that I'll be able to hold out that long before seeing how the yarn works up. I'll probably play around with those two rather garish skeins that are the fourth down in the left hand package.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nothing Exciting

I've been working away on hats to match scarves that Frances of our K4 group has been crocheting.

These three will go with a solid red scarf, a solid peach scarf and a tan & brown striped scarf. The skein of red yarn was 8 oz, so I knit a second red hat with black fair isle as there's still enough of the skein left for another scarf.

This set is knit in a mohair like yarn that Pat gave me years ago. When I first received the yarn I knit a hip length vest with a deep "V" neck that I've worn a lot from it but that left four skeins. This set took two of them so there's enough left for another set.

Our furry kids appear to be taking turns in the doll cradle. Boomer is the most likely occupant and while Sadie has tried it out a couple times, she still prefers her rocker.

When Callie can't grab the cradle, she makes do with the back of my recliner.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Rockabye Baby

At yesterday's garage sales I found something I've been hoping to find for years.

A wooden doll cradle where I can display the doll quilts I've made over the years. This one is a duplicate of an antique doll quilt that I saw at the Historical Museum up the road in Oxford.

A side view of the cradle. I think it's fairly old but it has been put back together with phillips head screws holding the side panels onto the frame.

Whether it's new or old, it has been awarded the Seal of Feline Approval. {g}

Out in the back yard, the forget-me-nots are blooming while the purple tulips are hanging tough. The orange ones have all lost their petals and are hopefully storing up energy for next year.

And in a corner of one of the vegetable beds, the violets add a bit of color.

Just in case you think that I'm ignoring my knitting, I finished a hat & scarf set for K4 this afternoon and cast on for another set with some Wool-Ease that I found at a garage sale this afternoon. I'm almost done with the latest pair of socks and this afternoon splurged and ordered twenty skeins of Vinca superwash wool & nylon sock yarn in ten different colorways. Once it arrives, I'll be set for the Summer of Socks 08 KAL.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Who Would Have Thunk?????

If someone told me a year or so ago when I was struggling with the short row heels on the Sassy Stripes socks that I would someday join this KAL, I'd have told them that they were crazy..

Summer of Socks 08

But I did it and I'm almost through knitting another pair of socks. Only problem is that I don't have much in the way of sock yarn and the KAL doesn't start until June, so the socks I'm working on won't count. Guess I'd better slow down and save my very small stash, huh?


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Speedy Gonzales

Ok, I know that I'm not all that speedy, but it feels like it now that I've finished a pair of socks in less than a week.

Presenting the socks I cast on last Thursday night and that I finished last night (Wednesday).

Yarn: On-line superwash sock yarn. Needles: Harmony DPs size 2 Gauge: 8 stitches to the inch. Pattern: My own toe-up sock with a variation of the heel pattern that Sallee told me about.


Friday, May 02, 2008

What A Difference A Needle Makes

I mentioned in my last post the difference the Brittany DP needles made in finishing the sleeves of Grandson's sweater, well, I just found the difference between size 1 & size 2 sock needles.

My friend Sallee (Knitnana) uses size 1 needles for her socks so I thought I'd take my pair of Harmony needles for a spin. You can see the result on the right below.

I started out the toe with 12 stitches on each of two circular needles, knit my usual 5 row rectangle, then picked up two stitches at each end, and the stitches off the second circular for a total of 28 before I started my increases. I was working along when I realized that this toe was not going to fit my foot. I was getting 11 stitches to the inch instead of the 8 stitches Sallee gets on #1s. Now, I usually knit to gauge with the needles recommended for a pattern and I'm not a tight or a loose knitter. Just to see what would happen, I took the other skein of OnLine sock yarn and started working it on size 2 needles only using 10 stitches on each circular to start and working up to 60 stitches for the foot. What a difference as you can see on the left! I'm getting 8 stitches to the inch and the sock toe is the same size as the Marine Blue Heather pair that I just finished which means it will fit. I'll continue with this pair, frog the toe worked on 1s and maybe, just maybe, calculate out how many stitches and rows I'd need to make a sock that would fit on the #1s.

Out in the front flower bed, the forsythia is blooming along with the tulips & violets. The hostas have just broken through and look as though they doubled in size since I planted them two years ago for Mom.

Remember the little pink nubs that were just showing a couple weeks ago? They were the first sign of the perennial geranium which has now leafed out. Sometime soon, I have to get part of the back yard dug up for a vegetable garden as I want a few more tomato plants than Mom usually put in along with basil and maybe zucchini. It's still too early to plant - we had a heavy frost the other night but thankfully the perennials & the roses are tough and came through without any loses.

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