Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Francis Revisited

francis rev 1

So now that I'm going to commit to blogging again, I think it makes sense for me to start with my most recent finished object, Francis Revisited.

francis rev 4

Once I started to find my knitting mojo again, I pulled this pattern out of my "to knit" pile and cast on with yarn from my stash (Cascade Pastaza). What a bonus ... finding a pattern that would work for yarn I already had and like.

So mid-September I cast on and off I went. Earlier this year I learned the magic loop technique for socks (fodder for another post) and used that to do the sleeves. Let me tell you, sleeves have never been so painless.

francis rev 2

I have to say, you can't beat a top-down sweater knit in chunky yarn. It doesn't take a lifetime to finish ... instant gratification (or at least 6 week gratification in this case) is what I like!

francis rev 3

I used Cascade Pastaza for the sweater. I had a seen a few other people use this on ravelry. It was a great choice. I got gauge and I really like the slight halo I got from the lama content. I'm definitely shedding a little bit, but nothing like my part angora sweater (which I honestly should just frog so it stops taking up closet space).

Looking for a quick, easy sweater to get yourself going? Want something that looks soft and smooshy? You may want to try out this sweater in a nice fuzzy yarn.

My rating: Gold star!

Francis Revisited by Beth Silverstein
US 10 and 7 circulars (sleeves done magic loop)
Cascade Pastaza (6 skeins)
(50% lama, 50% wool)
Colorway: (lavendar) 300 (lot 8189)
Cast on September 16, 2010
Finished November 6, 2010 (funny... that's exactly one year after the last project I posted here on my blog... spooky!)

Mods: I did full length sleeves with no increases/decreases. I just knit straight down from the picked up stitches and then ended with 12 rows of seed stitch. I also did 12 rows of seed at the bottom of the sweater.

Ravelry details here.

Monday, November 08, 2010

A one year absence anniversary

Wow... one year! How the time has flown. Today, the anniversary of my last post, I feel compelled to post and to try to start blogging again.

to ply orange bfl fiber

Lots has been going on over the past year (and nothing too). Work has been crazy busy and that's the primary reason this blog has sadly been abandoned. Over the past few months I've slowly starting carving out a little time for recreation though. Interestingly, this has come less in the form of knitting and more in the shape of spinning! Yep, that wheel I bought some years back has been getting some exercise and I'm really loving it.

My last post showed that I finished the cinnamon bay bag. To be honest, finishing the blanket killed my knitting mojo for quite some time. Too much stockinette in the same color, over, and over, and over (and over). =]

mendenhall washed merino fleece

Switching into spinning, and then get this, actually knitting with my own yarn -- that my friends is inspirational! In later posts, I'll catch you up and show you some of what I've done.

Yesterday though was one of those great fun days (and spinning and fiber related). The Torrance Fiber Festival happened and I went with a great group of women (the Southern California Fiber Fiends on ravelry. We got to see and touch all kinds of beautiful fiber and yarn, had a great lunch, and got to laugh and talk about all kinds of great topics. I'm so glad they let me join them in all the fun. I came home all energized and excited about life.

And those feelings my friends certainly beat out stressed and demoralized (which is what I often get at work)!

Looking forward to posted here again in the near future.

p.s. today's lovely pictures are purchases from the festival this weekend. To-Ply's handpainted BFL roving in oranges and Mendenhall merino washed fleece. Goodies for future fun!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Cinnamon Bay done

Yes friends, a near miracle ... I have finally finished a project again.

Between the craziness at work and the work at work I feel like there have been weeks in a row where I have knit not one stitch. About two weeks ago I decided I just had to finish my biggest UFO and went to the task.

I'm pleased to say that the Cinnamon Bay beach bag blanket is done and turned out pretty nicely.

Today was a beautiful day outside so we thought it would be great to take some photos and the dog and our outside kitty, Ricki, decide to help out.

Quite photogenic aren't they?

The idea of this blanket, knit from the center out, in the round, is that an i-cord drawstring runs through the edging and you can cinch it up into a bag. Nice idea if you want to use it as a beach blanket because it becomes one less thing to carry.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with this one. The jeannee is a pretty nice yarn and the color is really great. The final project looks quite nice too. The bad news, like any large blanket, it takes a long time. Not a great thing for me since I was so busy and then bored with miles of stockinette. I was never so glad to get to edging ... it was very exciting! I think this would be cute even knitted to a smaller size without the drawstring for a child.

Cinnamon Bay beach bag blanket by Carol Feller from Knitting in the Sun
US 8 dpns and circulars
Plymouth Yarn jeannee (about 16 balls)
(51% cotton, 49% acrylic)
Colorway: (lavendar) 0023 (lot 37841)
Cast on June 18, 2009
Finished November 6, 2009

Mods: Nothing major. I did stop a few rows short of the recommended number for the large size bag because I was worried I was going to run out of yarn. Turns out I had plenty.

Ravelry details here.

And time passes

It's amazing how quickly time can just get away with me. Every semester I say that time goes faster than in the previous year. This year, I really mean it!

Work is still crazy busy, me having said the word "yes" to far too many people and too many projects. I'd say Spring will be better, but I'd probably jinx myself. =]

Everyone around here is good... the whole animal kingdom: cats, dogs, chickens, and people all happy and content. And after ummm,, maybe 3 months, I finally have a finished project to show (next post).

First, let's have fun with the chickens shall we?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Life as normal (or not)

I'm taking life around here just like the chicks do ... one step at a time.

Life doesn't feel very normal right now. I actually feel like someone pressed the time and a half button. I have twice as many things to do these days and not so much time in which to get it all done. This of course makes for a lot of undone "to do" lists.

I am still trying to carve out time for myself, and the chickens, and the cats, and the dog (and of course the spouse ... that's a given... =]).

The hens (and they are now officially hens) have all started to lay now. Beatrice continues to lay almost every day (I think she's only missed about three days in the 3 weeks she's been laying). Ada and Bettina are still just getting started but seem to be getting into the habit. But man on man, are they loud in the morning. I knew roosters were loud but I had no idea that hens could make such a ruckus. That egg song phenomenon ... that's just part of the story. There's also all the agitation that happens before they lay and the chatter that happens when one's in a nesting box that another wants to get into. Crazy chicken talk I say!

Last weekend (not yesterday mind you, but a week ago), S and I took off one afternoon to catch a little down time. We needed to sooth our souls with the Pacific.

It was a great time to go. The marine layer started coming in so it was cool and overcast, almost foggy on the beach. The lights came on at Santa Monica pier while we were there too which made for a nice view. Ahh the ocean ... she is calming.

The other really nice thing S did for me was we went on a yarn visit when we were in Santa Monica. For the first time, I visited Wildfiber and WOW is this place great! The picture on their web page does not do the place justice! The yarns... the colors... the softness. I could have purchased a million things.

Instead I settled on one smallish purchase... some Manos is this fabulous green color. I'm not sure exactly what I'll make, but it's going to be great to knit with. It will be nice to get back to some wool. All summer I've been working on an endless stockinette stitch blanket in a lavendar cotton. I'm sure it's going to be nice when it's done, but it's past finished already. Luckily, I've only got 12 rows left ... now granted every row has about 700 stitches, but hey it's only 12 rows! Gotta look for the little things these days you know. =]

Monday, September 07, 2009

An encore

We were thrilled with the first egg. Today, Beatrice laid a second! Still the most dainty, cute little eggs. We got another "egg song" encore as well. Yesterday I read that this in not uncommon. Here's an example I found on you tube.

The joy!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A month of good and bad

A month ... time certainly has raced past me over the past 30 days. Back from vacation and into the vortex of work. School started last week and the weeks prior to the start of school are always crazy. You know, everyone has to do everything that didn't get done the rest of the summer? I survived, only a little worse for wear.

Around here, we've had happy and sad events.

This morning we had a happy event which prompted me to post. Beatrice, our most "developed" girl, laid her first egg!

Here she is, the proud egg, layer shortly after the big event. We've been able to tell that she was almost ready to lay for the past couple of weeks (her crown and waddle have really come in and reddened up). The last couple of days she's been very noisy, so noisy I've started to worry that maybe we were wrong and she was really a rooster.

This morning, even before we opened up the house she was really loud. In fact, she was in the laying boxes when I went out to let them into the run. I could just tell today would be the day. She went out into the run for a few minutes and then went right back into the house. We heard lots of squaking and after one particularly loud bout, S wanted me to go out and check on her. The noises that came out of that girl for another minute were very loud exclamations. Then she scooted right out of the house, ran to the morning snacks, and left behind the cutest, most perfect, dainty little egg (pictured next to a regular grocery store egg in the picture below for comparison).

Instincts are really amazing. It has been fascinating to watch our girls go through the different stages of development and just seem to know what to do. We didn't put the laying boxes onto the house until they hit about 18 weeks (which is the earliest hens tend to lay) and Beatrice just went right in, checked it out, and seem to know just what it was for. The girls left it alone until this week and then I could tell Beatrice had been in there just checking it out, scratching a bit, nesting. Now she's a layer. Sigh ... where did the time go? My guess is we still have another week or two before another hen starts to lay.

Also, on the happy news side, we have another baby addition to the neighborhood ... a baby peacock.

The mom has lived in the neighborhood for quite some time. According to some neighbors, years (or another female at least has been here for years). I first saw her about a year ago on a morning walk. You never knew when you were going to see her, or what part of the neighborhood she'd be in, but it was always great to catch sight of her. About 2 weeks ago, driving home from work, I saw her walking in a yard along with her new little companion.

It's unclear to me whether she has an owner/caretaker in the neigborhood or if she really just lives wild in the neighborhood. I've seen lots of houses putting out water and feed for her. As far as I know, there is no male peacock in the neighborhood. There apparently was at one time, but no longer. So, either this girl is another immaculate mother or perhaps the fertilized egg was brought in for her (maybe by an owner?). It's a bit of a mystery, but a happy addition. I've only seen the pair three times so far, but every time is a treat.

Finally, some sad news. Earlier this week, we lost one of our own four girls. One of our reds, Althea, passed away. She just collapsed on Sunday morning last week, and despite a visit to the vet and some care, just didn't make it. We buried her under the budda and think of her often. We were quite worried that the other girls might also fall ill, but so far, no signs of any problems (and with Beatrice's delivery today I'm feeling more optimistic).

So we're remembering our lost friend and enjoying the companionship of the rest of our little family. Good and bad together... I guess that is how life is.

I hope everyone out there is enjoying the end of their summer and having a good labor day weekend.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Beaucolic Maine

Maine is a beautiful place. This past week we took our second vacation to the New England state, caught up with friends and enjoyed the quiet.

One of the big highlights of our trip this year was that we went to see and stay in friend SLO's new house (she's about 1 1/2 hours north of Portland on one of the coastal peninsulas).

She arrived at the house about a week before we did to move in and start to clean up. The house is 200+ years old and just adorable. She has water access, 5 wooded acres, and the house sits up on a bit of a hill surrounded by wildflowers. It is the most adorable thing ... makes me want to pick up and move to Maine. (Of course I realize I've only seen Maine in July and August and the winter is just a bit different). The ruralness of this part of the state is so appealing to me though ... very relaxing.

That lovely view is the meadow next to her house which she gets to look at outside her kitchen window. Pretty nice hmm?

That's S, another of our friends, and SLO after dinner one night.

Of course, I should disclose that our vacation included a bit of elbow grease too. We offered to help SLO paint the exterior of said 200 year old farmhouse. That picture is after we had finished ripping off the remainder of vinyl siding (the easy parts of which were removed about three years ago), taken down the guttering, and scraped off all the old paint. That scaffolding got moved around a lot and was the best tool we invested in all week!

After filling in all the holes in the wood, caulking all the seams of the house, replacing several clabbards, and priming, the house started coming together. After a good coat of paint, re-screened doors, replaced gutters and several other side projects we ended up with the beauty you see in the top picture. A beautiful home for sure!

Of course, no trip to Maine would be complete without lobster either!

S and I can't wait for our next trip!