Snow day, the sequel

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We got another inch or two of snow over night, which combined with all the hills and the lack of equipment for snow means another snow day today for my district.

I am prepared!

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The best part is that the kids’ district didn’t close, just has a late start.  So I’m going to get a few hours in the house all to myself!

During yesterday’s work reprieve I dug out a box with my youngest son’s quilt-in-progress that hasn’t seen the light of day in many, many months.  The pointed comments about chilly weather, upcoming birthdays, parental neglect, and brothers who already have quilts finally got to me.  Who knew a 10 year old could be so naggy?

When last seen, the Ocean quilt was in the process of having borders added to all the creature blocks. That was April of last year! So yesterday I finished that up.

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I still have no design wall, but a bare floor area in the living room is working for now.

The idea my son and I worked out is that the blue stashing gets lighter as the quilt goes from creatures in the depths of the ocean to those on the sand.

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Adding the sashing is easy enough, like the world’s thickest log cabin rounds.  (I love the fabric being added in the bottle picture above, because I think it looks like sea anemones.)

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Some of the blocks still had the paper backing on them, so that gave me some Olympics TV time as I removed all of that.

At long last (I started this quilt in January, 2015) this project has reached the ready-to-quilt stage.  A big, sarcastic Finally! from my son is still ringing in my ears.

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I am intimidated by the idea of doing detailed quilting on the creatures while wrestling all the bulk of a big quilt, so I’m going to try quilting them in smaller blocks and then attaching the blocks and putting on the backing.  It will definitely be more maneuverable under my sewing machine harp.  My current plan is to quilt just the creatures, and then, after assembling it, put the background quilting in so that the backing is quilted also. Fingers are crossed.

If I lose courage, I can always go work on the snow fort.

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Sudden snow

A surprise snow day!   They sent us all home from school at noon, worried that the sudden snow was going to cause havoc for the buses later in the afternoon. So now I’m at home working on my Olympic wrap, and watching the Norwegians win every medal that requires a cross country ski. E236EF19-F7C2-4B60-8730-0A004EB8005E

I’ve passed the halfway mark on my own Olympic efforts, but unless we have a lot more snow days this week it is going to take an Olympic miracle.

Misc.

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One skein of Sockulent got me through the first branches chart repeat on Understoried, and through the men’s aerial skiing, which looks terrifying.  How do they get the nerve to hurl themselves so high and twist so much!?

The Chinese New Year means we are now in the year of the dog, my husband’s year.  Cute Theo photo in honor of the holiday:

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And, finally, I would also like to introduce what may be the first ever clarinet/guitar duo.  At least the first I’ve ever heard of.  They have big plans to take the music world by storm, as soon as they learn a few more chords.

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Olympic fever

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I am not a sports person.  I can identify many of them if I see them – “That is a baseball!”  “That is a hockey puck!” “Look, that woman is bicycling!” – but I don’t know a lot about the rules, players, or records.  My life feels okay, despite this.

Yet, I love the Olympics.  Not the player bios that all seem to have tragedies-overcome-redemption videos that NBC dwells on far too much, but the actual Olympic events.  I watch the Super G, even though I don’t know what the G stands for without a quick google.  I watch the biathelon with my son, who is intrigued by sports that require weapons.  I spent a lot of time this week discussing curling with my friends.  (We all want to try curling, mostly for the teflon shoe sliding. )

It is weird, and not easily explained, but every two years I get all settled in and watch non-stop sports (with breaks for night, and work) and then I forget all about sports until the next time the flame is lit.

There used to be a knitting Olympics.  I don’t know if it still exists online, but people would start a project during the opening ceremonies, and race to be done with it before the flame was extinguished at the end.  I decided to do a knitting Olympics project this year.

Snow colored yarn seemed appropriate.  And an outdoorsy sort of pattern, since all those skiers and snowboarders are going to be out in frozen nature for their competitions.  Plus I’m back on a lace knitting kick.  Understoried, the wrap version, fit all the right criteria.  I cast on during the opening ceremonies.

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And, like a crashing speed skater, I quickly realized that I will not be bringing home the gold.  How did I think I could knit 1000 yards of fingering yarn in two weeks?  Especially since right after I began, I had to stop to knit a hat my son demanded for an upcoming camping trip.

I’m on the 8th repeat of the first chart of Understoried.  The chart requires 14 repeats.  There are four or five more charts to come. I am announcing now that this wrap is not going to get finished by the end of the final ceremonies.  I’m going to be that last struggling athlete across the finish line.  Sometime in March, maybe.

But it is lovely to knit, and it is growing, albeit slowly, and I’m still going to call it my Olympic wrap.  Someday, when it is done.

My son’s hat was a much speedier knit, and my official finish for the week.  I’ve knit a number of hats from this pattern in the past, and it never fails to please.  Stretchy so it fits many head sizes, adaptable to any yarn, a little twisted stitch cable detail to keep it from being boring.  It is a winner, deserving of time on the podium. The pattern is Jesse’s Christmas hat.  The yarn is a random unlabeled green from the stash that my son chose.  I’m just now noticing it is remarkably similar in looks to the one posted on the pattern’s website!

I knit the finished hat, and also began the unfinished wrap, while we were in Seattle this weekend.  We watched the opening ceremonies from our hotel room and then spent much of the weekend out revisiting favorite tourist sites – eating crumpets and smoothies at Pike Place Market, watching the octopus at the aquarium, going up in the waterfront ferris wheel, and riding across the Sound on a ferry.  It was a really wonderful break, and the kind hotel bartender even let us have control of the cable remote so we could keep the TV filled with alpine skiing and curling matches in the evenings while we met up with relatives.

We’re back at home now, and back to work, but there is a four day weekend coming up quickly, so me and my knitting will be parked in front of the TV, cheering on the best of the best.

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A finish, a start, and a revival

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My finish this week is my Aether shawl.  I’m sad to have finished it.  I loved the yarn, loved the pattern, loved the process.  And I suspect, if the trend continues, that I will love wearing it.

The before and after shots show the magic role blocking plays in lace knitting!  This shawl has a six foot wingspan, and that is after I skipped the final pattern repeat.

I finished it up in Seattle where I joined my fiber friends, Paige, L1 (AKA Seattle Leslie) and L2 (AKA Oregon Leslie).

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(A sample picture of the necessities for a knitting weekend. Plus wine.)

We spent most of the time hanging out with our knitting, but we did take a break at one point to drive over to Carnation, for a first time visit to Tolt Yarn and Wool.

It is a warm, friendly shop, and a sweater knitter’s dream.  So many beautiful yarn lines, worsted and woolens in a rainbow of solids and heathers.  Whole sections provided enough colors for any fair isle project.  It made my fingers inch to take up a project with lots of cables or complicated multi-color patterns.

There were less of the highly varigated or speckle dyed yarns that are the recent craze.  It fell into more classic styles in the yarn and in the samples.  It made for a very pretty shop.

So what did I buy? Yarn made of nettles. Not soft, not pretty, but it intrigued me. I think it will someday become placemats, or a table runner. They should be hard wearing and drapey after repeated washing.

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My new knitting start is another pair of socks, to become the tote bag project.  There always needs to be a portable project in my tote bag.  These will be made from another skein of Knit Picks Bare that I dyed in jars, this time in turquoise, gray, and a gray-blue.  The free pattern is called Petty Harbour, and I have knit it before.  It is a simple four row repeat, which is what on-the-go, frequently interrupted knitting needs.

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My revival is my handspun sweater that has languished in a bag in the craft closet for months.  I’m not sure why, other than it has so many different balls of yarn attached that it takes some effort and space to keep untangling them all.  The pattern is simple, the yarn wrangling is not.

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Just a simple raglan cardigan-to-be, made entirely from my handspun yarn.  It is using up a lot of the single skeins that had been piling up.

Overall, a yarn filled week.  That’s never a bad thing.  🙂

Kiki Mariko 2 finished

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After multiple trips through the washer and dryer, my second Kiki Mariko rug is finished.

As you can see from the picture at the top, it is a little bit wonky. The felting came out a little bit unevenly, but I think I’m going to say that just adds character.  And this is a rug for us to rub our feet on when we come in from outside, so perfection is not required. It is really soft and dense and squishy, all that a rug should be.

And it used up nine skeins of bulky yarn, making a nice dent in the excessive yarn stash!

It amazes me how much felting shrinks and tightens yarn.  It is almost a third shorted than it started.  This is what it looked like before it went into the wash the first time:

Rug before felting

(It wasn’t as distorted as it appeared in the photo – the flare is an optical illusion due to the angle I took the pic from.)

I felted it as a tube, putting a cotton line through the ends to tighten them and reduce the ruffling that can happen at the edge of felted projects.

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It worked better at one end than the other, but trimming took care of some of that later.

After four washes, I cut the tube along the center of the steek.

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It was really wildly shaped at that point!

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Another trip through the washer flattened it out a lot more, and then I trimmed off the steek remnants and evened out the sides.

It is supposed to have a blanket stitch edging to finish it off, but I don’t know that it really needs it.  It isn’t going to ever unravel – the individual strands of yarn are fully stuck together.  My other idea, just for looks, it to add a canvas binding.

But for now, I’m going to use it as is.  My toes are happy!

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Blue Planet 2

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I distinctly remember the first time I watched high definition television at home.  My husband, as a reward for a new job, got a horrifically large (to me) TV and signed up for an HDTV cable package.  Nothing about seeing news anchors’ pores that clearly seemed worth the money to me, and I don’t watch televised sports that aren’t the Olympics, so that didn’t do it either.

And then Planet Earth from the BBC came on.  And I never looked back or complained about ridiculously large electronics again.

It was so beautiful, so big and clear.  I watched every episode and related show repeatedly.  Then Blue Planet came along.  I’ve watched it almost every year since.  Giant screens and HD and BBC nature shows were meant to be together.

This week, at long last, Blue Planet 2 finally started broadcasting on BBC America.  I missed it on Saturday – because apparently I should spend time with my family on the weekends instead of the TV because I love them – but the wonders of on-demand cable meant I could watch the first episode on Tuesday.

And then I watched it again with on Wednesday with my kids.

This is not knitting television.  I could not work on even the simple garter lace shawl I normally would have had in my hands because I didn’t want to miss a minute of the visuals.

I actually twice rewound the section with a turquoise wave in slow motion, just to see it again because it was so beautiful.  And that was before the surfing dolphins showed up.  I want to BE a surfing dolphin.

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I do not want to be this bird.  Be warned, things are not going to go well for this bird.

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Who knew that fish could be so clever?

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And then there is this fish, with a life cycle far out of the ordinary, and a face I’m not sure even a mother could love.

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I can’t wait for the next episode, knit-blocking as it may be.  I may have to watch the first episode again to tide me over until episode 2 is available.  The kids can find their own dinners, right?  I need to find out the fate of the mama walrus!