Celtic Cable

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Isn't That Just Ducky!


It's almost winter here in Baltimore. Georgie Girl has to wear her sweater during the day now, not just in the morning when it's colder. We're actually quite fond of cold weather, because we can go on long long walks without having to find shade to rest in. Georgie Girl is a short-nosed dog with a black coat and a heart murmur, so she overheats pretty fast in warm weather. But in the cold weather, she is at the end of her 16-ft leash and wants to run! If I stop, sometimes she whimpers for me to hurry up. We love to come to the duck pond by the high school. Yesterday, I brought some bread for the duckies: 

Before I got the bread bag out....

And after I got the bread bag out.

I'm not a duckologist, but I think there are two or three different types of ducks and a few different flavors of geese out here.

This big fella is pretty aggressive. If you walk past him and you don't have a bit of bread for him, you might want to pick up the pace.

Here are a few more shots of the duck pond.

A tree that might not make it through the winter, judging by the roots.

The last of the pretty foilage.

Yikes, I gotta go ... those ducks are coming at me like torpedoes, and I'm out of bread.

So, here's some knitting. I decided last week's wrist warmers were lonely, so I made them some mittens. I use a generic mitten-generator pattern from a tutorial in Knit-n-Style's 2008 Jan and Feb issues. You just start at the top with about 8 stitches and increase to desired width, knit to thumb, do some funny stuff to make a thumb gusset, then finish with a cuff. These will be finished tonight and worn to work tomorrow. Made from Berroco Sox sock yarn in a nameless color ... just a number. Why do they do that? Half the fun in selecting yarn is the funny colorway names! This should be Purple Nurple or something like that.

Here is half a pair of socks for my friend Jeff, for his Christmas gift. I won't worry about him seeing this, because he NEVER READS MY BLOG. Edgar Allen Poe Cat is included for interest, because there is little interesting about a half finished sock (My own improvised pattern, which I call "Boring Sock Pattern," yarn by Vanna. Vanna's Choice? I think that's what it's called).  Color is a little darker than shown. On a side note, I'll have to get a bigger lens to take a picture of them when they're done. Jeff has enormous feet. Like a clown. He has no need for skis, with feet that big. Good thing he never reads my blog!

And a hat for me. I spun the yarn earlier this year, but I'm too lazy to search out what exactly it was. I know I bought it at Sheep and Wool and really loved spinning it up.

The love affair between Georgie Girl and Petunia continues, though I suspect for Georgie, the bloom is off the rose. I think she'd just like to sleep alone again.

I was listening to "Dirty Jobs" while I write this, and I just heard Mike Rowe say "Wherever there's hot oil, there's a dirty job to do." Really got my interest, until I realized he was talking about making potato chips.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Ta - Da! Chevron Lace Fingerless Mitts, pattern by Lynn A. Evens, from my new favorite book:

These are for me...I've made three or four fingerless mitts but always gave them away. There are SO many patterns I want to make from this book, and I have barely touched the last two pattern books I bought. It's like an obsession, purchasing books. These one-skein-wonder books have me by the neck. I can't resist them, they're like crack. Molly the Cat is also a fan.

I am still working on the simple garter stitch shawl:

I don't have any more knitting projects to show ... I've been caught up with studying. But here's another picture of Petunia ... looking so innocent ...

Her work here is done.

Bye from Spinster Beth's House o' Pets!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nearing the End of a Long Journey

In the fall of 1987, when I was 18 years old, I registered for my first college course at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

In the fall of 2010, I registered for the last college course I needed for a degree, at American Military University. Today, I applied for graduation. 

     It has been a very long journey towards this degree, mostly because I was young and inattentive and easily distracted. I have attended two brick-and-mortar schools; PCC in Tucson, and McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. For the last three years and 4 months, I have been taking online classes at AMU. I used the GI Bill for almost all of my education, but I exhausted that back in August. I have taken 19 classes at AMU, and I attended the other two schools for roughly three semesters each. Once I grew up and settled down, education was easy! It's certainly wasted on the young. Then again, so is youth. And common sense.

     I can't believe I'm almost done. Six more weeks to go in my current class, and I'm finished. I'll have a Bachelor's Degree in English, which is not quite an accurate description. It should be Literature, not English, and it didn't focus exclusively on British and American literature (by the way, we need to reclaim this word ... or someone needs to tell Border's Book Store that Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts do not belong under a sign that reads "Literature").

     I am currently reading "Spoon River Anthology" for the class. It's a collection of very sly poems. Last week was "A Rose for Emily," which is one of my all-time favorite short stories (take that, Homer Barron!). Next week is "Heart of Darkness," which I have exhaustively covered in another class. We were also issued "Waiting for Godot," but I don't see it on the syllabus anywhere. 

     Okay, on to the knitting!

A silly hat for a silly 5-year-old boy ... my design: 

The "I-Ran-Out-of-Blue" socks for an almost 11-year-old...

The "Oh-Crap-I-Mixed-Wool-With-Acrylic" socks, in random patterns for a random 8 year old...

And a pair of pink socks for a little girl who is unclear on the concept:

For pictures of the socks on the feet of the boys, see their mom's blog. The toes look funny because I am really bad at the Kitchener stitch, so I just bind off on 2 needles. I like to think that reinforces the toe.

Something new for me: 

Damn cat.

It's a simple shawl with merino-bombyx silk I bought at Maryland Sheep-and-Wool, and spun on my Kromski Prelude. It will be a triangle, and I will block it a bit. I like to wear shawls over my wool coat in the winter, it brightens up the drab of winter. 

Thanks for visiting! I leave you with Uninterested Cat ...

And Immodest Cat.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Steeks Away!

I did it!

The initial marking .... between the first and last rounds.

The button band markings ... ignore the brandy ...

Sewing the steek; four rows altogether.

The center line is where I cut:

I spent a month and 8 skeins of yarn on this sweater. I pulled back rows when I made mistakes, even when it meant going back and destroying an hour or more of work. I scrutinized the cables for errors. I redid the colorwork at the top THREE TIMES because I messed up (I don't read charts well). I actually used a row counter on the arms so they'd be exactly the same length, instead of winging it (which is what I do with socks). I drank the same amount of brandy when working on it, so that my tension and attention would remain the same. And now I have to cut it?!

I loathe the bathroom-shot, but it's the only mirror in the house. Overall, the sweater is a bit large -- one size down would have been ideal, but I don't mind it as it is. It is excessively warm (Cascade Peruvian Highlands Wool) and I took it off as soon as I was done photographing it. Like nearly all of the posters in the Ravelry Big Girl Knits group, I'm not fond of the neckline, but I am so happy to be done with the sweater that I'm leaving it as is. The button band was easier than I thought, and looks pretty good, I think, except on the K rows bottom and top where it rolls up a bit.

Side note: I had a heckuva time with the sewing machine. I spent literally ten minutes trying to figure out how to drop the foot. Literally. I almost called a friend to help. I couldn't find the instructions for threading bobbins, so I had to figure it out on my own, but I didn't tangle the thread and everything worked fine. It was overall very easy to do, and I'm very glad that I did a project that required learning new techniques. And now that I know how easy steeks are (for this project, anyway) I won't shun other steeky projects!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Don't Know if I Can Do This

My progress on the Bountiful Bohus has been quite fast ... I started it on 10 October, and this is where I am now:

It fits nicely, though the armpits are not yet sewn shut. I pulled it over my head, and it was nice and loose, but not too loose, and the arms went all the way down to my hand (it was meant to be 3/4 sleeves, but I don't like those). It's a wonderful pullover. Only one problem ... it's not meant to be a pullover. It's a CARDIGAN.

I have to cut my lovely sweater up the middle to make it a cardigan. It's much faster to knit in the round (going around in a continuous circle on 2 circular needles, no purling) than it is to go back and forth (knitting one row, purling back). I am not a fast purler. In retrospect I could have adapted the pattern to make it a cardigan, but that would require the use of my mortal enemy, math, and math's crafty evil sidekick, graph paper. And colored pencils, which are really kind of fun.

Here is the wiki entry for steek. They are commonly used for arms, but in this case, it's to make a cardigan out of a pullover. I get the gist of it, but I am not a seamstress! I have a sewing machine ... a nice little Janome. I just can't get the hang of those little bobbins, and the thread usually comes out all tangled, or I just mess it up somehow. But there's no way around it -- I don't trust my hand-stitches to something this important. I'm going to have to bit the bullet, down a shot of brandy, and just have at it.

Not today, though. Maybe tomorrow. Here are some more lovely pictures of the sweater, pre-steeking:

The pattern didn't quite turn out right, but I'm not sure where I went wrong. It looks okay from a distance.

And I didn't mess up the cables.

So, there is that ... an almost finished object. I have to steek it, cut it, then knit on the button band and install buttons. This is probably going to be the most tedious part of the sweater, but I look at it optimistically. I'll be learning three new techniques. It's good for the brain to learn new things!

I don't have any other FOs or WIPs to show. I have been consumed by this sweater. I will finish out this blog post with what was the alternate subject: "I Just Want to Make the D**n Bed."

Making the bed is a daily activity that drives Petunia insane. Flipping covers around is for her like waving a cape in front of a bull. No matter where she is, she comes flying into the room and up onto the bed, diving underneath the covers, wild-eyed and crazy.

She looks calm in this picture, right? Like she's napping? Trust me, she is not. She is waiting for me to reach down to straighten the cover, then she'll attack.

At least the dog is calm.