Saturday, January 24, 2009

Superwash Bamboo Take Three

Last June, my #1 Favorite on-line yarn shop,, had a bag sale of their Superwash Bamboo a nice worsted weight 65% washable wool/35% bamboo for a crazy cheap price. This is one of their stock yarns but a dye-lot that came out with a shaded or 'kettle-dyed' look to it. I purchased 2 bags of the Shaded Cedar

and one bag of the Shaded Claret. Gorgeous yarns. I started out by casting on for the February Lady Sweater

but ended up ripping out and going down so many needle sizes to get a fabric to my tastes for the garter yolk, that I eventually gave up and frogged the mess. That was "Take One".

I recently decided to join Joan's Fashionably Late KAL and re-started the FLS on appropriately sized needles ('5's for me for the yoke, 7s for the lace) omitted the YO increases, ommitted the buttonholes on purpose.

It's quite least the yoke is quite yummy. I've knit, frogged, reknit, refrogged, the stupid gull-lace pattern 5 times, only making it past 2 full pattern repeats (and it's only a 4 row repeat, 2 of which are purl rows for the love of god) What gives. I can't freaking count. I don't know. So, naturally, it's in time-out for a while. That is "Take Two". And it is a wunnerful color! And I will get back to it when I'm over my fit of pique!

I needed something instantly gratifying, satisfying, something....and then the new free subscriber on-line email SweaterBabe pattern came out! The #74 Top-Down Long Lacy Cardigan. Whoo! Only free for 2 weeks, I quickly downloaded and printed it out. It was just what I needed. And the Superwash Bamboo, 2 full bags of Cedar, held double would be perfect! I swatched and swatched and wet and dried and found the best fabric on size 101/2s.

It's a roomy sweater and with my gauge calculations would make a size large come out just a few inches smaller which would be most flattering. I cast on and am loving the pattern/yarn matchup a lot.

I love the very explicit and clear instructions. I love the M1-R and M1-L that she uses for the raglan increases. They stabilize an area that tends to stretch out or feel less strong. Nice detail. I'm loving the color variations too and the sheen of the Superwash Bamboo. Let's see how this "Take Three" comes out. I'm hoping to finish up within the next 2 weeks!

Knit On!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dry Jaime Bar 1981-2009

We lost a friend yesterday. A registered Quarter-horse and dear old gentleman

Dry Jaime Bar was a champion barrel racer, an equestrian competitor, a gentle companion. He would have been 28 in March.

I am so sad for my girl. Dry was her second horse, acquired just a few months after horse #1 (Shorty) proved a bit green for her level of experience and riding at the time.. DD was just 9 years old when Dry came to live with us. He was a geriatric horse even then, but healthy and spirited.

A wonderful teacher for our horsecrazy preteen.

The girl rode him in 4H events

local parades, playdays... and became state youth champion barrel racer under his tutelage.

Upon retirement from racing (a couple of summers ago), he became a lesson horse for small children.

His gentle ways and excellent ground manners made him a perfect therapeutic riding horse as well.

He lived in our back yard, that friendly old man. He enjoyed playing with his best pal Shorty, and new friend Nacho.

He loved running and chasing at the horse park,

summer baths,

swimming in nearby lakes, and being ahead of the pack steeplechasing through the snow. He hung out at the lower corral gate by the street, hoping to beg apples, cookies, carrots, candy from passing neighbors and school children.

In fact, our next door neighbor would bring him fresh salads daily during the summer. I guess he was probably quite spoiled according to many horse people. But he deserved it.

This past fall, he'd had to have several teeth removed. He had difficulty chewing up hay so the girl took him buckets of hot mash a couple of times a day. He's had difficulty keeping weight on the past few winters.....and I think our weeks long extreme cold snap tipped the rest of the scales against him.

Yesterday, the girl went out in the morning and found him down. Despite her best efforts, she was unable to get him back to his feet. With the help of another horsey friend, she made him comfortable with straw packed under and around him. He had another big bucket of hot mash before our vet came. And a couple of double cheeseburgers with large fries courtesy of the teenagers. And chocolate peppermint kisses. Our wonderful vet scratched his head on that one and said it was one of the most loving and unique sendoffs he'd seen.

Dry Jaime Bar. 1981-2009. We'll miss you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Here's Helena

For those of you not on Ravelry, here at last is the HELENA I finished a few days ago.

This is a super easy top down knit. Very very quick knit. I think it took maybe 3-4 evenings. The yarn is mother-friendly Lion Cotton-Ease (50% cotton/50% acrylic) in a lovely dusty TerraCotta. The smallest size took less than 2 skeins. I love the new colors this comes in and have a small stash just for cute baby things. I used size 6 KPOs for the body, and size 2s for the edgings.

I must say I ADORE this picot hem on the bottom and sleeves. However, the K2Tog broke TWO, count em, TWO of my bamboo doublepoints on the sleeve hems. The picot hem gives such a finished and professional look!

I didn't care for the tie-front so I took another Raveler's idea and made a crochet double loop closure with shank buttons.

I used the numbers for the smallest size. This came out to fit about a 6-12 month old (depending on the size of the 6-12monther ;0)
It was a very satisfactory knit and I can see myself making this pattern again in the future.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Wacky Weather and Remodel Updates....

For all you Lower 48 and International readers, I truly sympathize with the crazy cold temps and snowfall you've had the past few days. I know it hit you unprepared because it's not your norm. Here in Alaska, we expect, even greet, the challenges of winter with open arms. It's part of our Alaskan culture and identity. But we too have had crazy insanity with the weather the past few weeks.

We had a huge dump of snow right around Christmas, then record-breaking, metal breaking, bone chilling, energy bill raising cold spell. -20 to -40 at night, -10 to -20 daytime. For MORE THAN TWO WEEKS we did not get above ZERO. Then, 3 days ago, it started to warm up. And rain. And hit the high 30s low 40s. And the snow melted. And the ground was frozen. So there are feet of standing water over frozen ground ice. Everywhere. The highways are not so bad, but the neighborhoods are impassible for many. Especially those living on hills/mountains. Like us. Oh, and did I mention the hurricane force winds (70+ mph) that glossed all icy surfaces to skating rink smoothness. Our schools have been closed for three days now. They were not closed in the multiple days of -20, -30 temps. They are closed due to ice. The travel danger is too great. I could not make it out of my driveway. Hah, I could barely walk across my driveway/yard. DH and DD parked their trucks at the bottom of our street and walked/crawled up the 1/4 mile "S" curve to our driveway. From their they pulled themselves up with by their hands on the fence and landscape branches. This morning they walked down with crampons on. Thankfully, the sand truck came by a bit ago. And neighbor Paul who plows our driveway/parking area came by and sanded everything well. I got a bonus day off today. I feel badly about having my patients reschedule in clinic, but they don't need to be out in this mess either. I'm off til Monday now! Whoo! I'll play bloggy catch up since I'm feeling rambly and have a bit of extra time.

I finished Reynaldo's "Churro". I love this yarn! Needful Yarns Kaleidoscope purchased from Washable wool. Sproingy and great coloring. I was s'posed to have lunch with him today but obviously will have to reschedule. I know he'll overlook my sucky round changes. You'd think by now I would've remembered to make that part be in the back when I positioned the ear flaps. Of course not. (slaps forehead). Maybe next time. I know this pattern is in Amy Singers Knit Wit, I don't have a linky for it right now, but seriously, I just do it from memory, top down, measure head for height, position ear flaps for front/back comfort.......

oh, and yes (bragging again) that is that new granite countertop in the background. So, some folks have kindly asked for a remodel update. Your patience is rewarded with a little photo tour today. It's not totally finished everywhere yet. Remodeling, I have an evolutionary process. Once something new is in place, the surroundings look shabby in comparison and need a spruce to begin, we'll go with the most complete and satisfactory part of the remodel to date, the kitchen...

You can look back at THIS POST for some of the before pics.

Here's where we are to date:

I love it. I love the double drawer dishwasher. So quiet and energy efficient. Love the farmhouse sink and the faucet. DH was afraid it would just get more piled up with dirty dishes but that hasn't been the case at all. And it's depth makes it very convenient for yarn craftiness and DD filling large water buckets for horses when the outside faucet froze up! I haven't yet gotten the cabinets full or totally organized as efficiently as I'd like. I have a piece of Raku pottery/artwork that I want to hang on the wall above the sink. We also need to touch up some of the paint that got dinged with the granite install, sand and restain the ceiling and beams where the pass-through kitchen wall came out, and remove and restain under the old lighting support braces. A weekend project.

Here's the dining room. It needs a bit more finish work but is essentially complete. (yes, I did get a new dining table and chairs....DD, known as "Jethrine" in some circles, accidently broke one of our old chairs from the old set. Sigh. And it was time to freshen up.

Again, paint touch-up, and finish trim around the windows...and a new overhead light and wall sconce. Just haven't found the right ones I like yet on that. Have FABULOUS new curtains though...I'll show you when that part's finished. Oh yeah, and have to put new covers over the baseboard heat elements (gas hot water baseboard heat).

The new hardwood flooring is just insanely beautiful. Here's a shot of the old floor (OK, it's my sealskin slippers but the floor is behind it)...

and the new.

This covers the kitchen, dining room, living room, hallway between the girls' rooms and the main bathroom. (i know, i know...nutz to have hardwood flooring in a bathroom, but the last hardwood floor there last 20+ years without much problem). Yes, I know Pearl needs a's just been too cold lately to do it...

We added energy saving window treatments in the lower living room windows. Expensive but Holy Cow they keep the living room much more comfortable...even with the extreme temps. Yes, these are daytime pics..around 11am..yes, it's our dark winter days...but we are gaining minutes of daylight every single day now...and I'll be in Mexico in less than a month. I digress again...We also redecorated with a comfortable dark chocolate easy care microsuede sectional. Very comfy and cozy for knitting, reading, napping, watching movies etc.......and we can chat and travel easily between kitchen and dining room. Love the fact that the island rolls! (no, that wasn't a scratch on the island earlier, just some camera artifact)

I still need new end/coffee tables and a different floor lamp but I'm pleased with the new table lamps and sofa pillows and such so far. We also need another occaisional chair/small armchair or something that Grandma Clara can sit in and get in and out of easily, so that's next on the agenda.

I'm binding off Helena as pics are loading up, then just to add the buttons and loops for closure. Maybe I'll add it later, or maybe I'll wait to post another day. This was long enough. So until next time....KNIT ON!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Midwife Musings.....

I met the nicest couple having their first baby the other night.
They were in their early 20s. She was petite with huge dark eyes and beautiful full smile, he was tall and lanky, with hair drawn back into a black ponytail. 4 days past her due date, she'd arrived to the hospital in good, early, SPONTANEOUS labor. Sent to walk for a few hours, she made good progress and was admitted to L&D. Heploc started for the GroupB Strep antibiotics. Sore arm. Hate that. Into the jacuzzi with her...yes, you can be in the jacuzzi with your IV...aahhh, warm swirling waters, vasodilation....hmmm...the sore arm is now much better and isn't this jacuzzi the best thing for labor. Her light brown skin glows. Her eyes close with contractions. Her partner kneels over the tub, he is only focused on her. He tells her to breathe, to go limp, massages her hands, arms, back. He holds her and tells her how much he loves her. She says she has to not yet..i can't stop she this..i tell her "HOOOO...HOOOOO...HOOO..."blowing out hard and loud...she tries it, it works...for the next hour or so we hear them together...HOOOO..HHOOOO....HOOOO.HOOOO....their sounds rise and fall in a crescendo. they are loud and in sync and their noise mimics the start of this whole thing. we smile at the nurse's desk. A bit later, after some toilet time and slow dancing's finally time. She easily delivers her more than 9 1/2 lb daughter, up onto her tummy and into her arms. Dad is ecstatic. He drops to his knees, hands raised, tears streaming. The pink chubby girl takes a wide eyed look around, then scrunches her face and screams her displeasure at this change of venue. Everyone beams. Everything works as it should and babe is happily on the breast minutes later. Seems it's been a while since I've had an unmedicated first-time mom. (Nothing wrong with that, i'm all about meds and epidurals and all and whatever it takes to have a positive, healthy, safe birth experience) Constant appropriate bedside support is a huge factor in helping moms through labor. Kudos to this brave strong young couple. They made my day.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Ooh Baby It's COLD Outside!

Well I'm back. All the falderal and hoopla of the holidays is finally over. We had a lovely Christmas and I caught the first baby of 2009 for the city at 0028 on 1/1/09! Whoohoo! I've spent the last several days de-Christmasing and de-cluttering the house. Sent bags of clothing and clutter to the Salvation Army.

It has been COLDER than snot for the past week or so. Temps have dipped to -28 (yes that's a negative number!) and we've not risen above -7 in 5 days. It's been clear and sunny in the few hours of daylight we enjoy at this time of year. And we are gaining almost a minute of daylight every single day now!

First FO of alpaca hat for a sweet young man. Araucania Atacam in Blue Granite (a blue/grey variagated) knit on size 4s for a dense fabric. Very soft. Love this yarn. About 1 skein for an 8yr old boy, probably would need another half skein for a grownup man size. I made up the pattern as I went. Deep ribbing for folding up over ears, stockinette on the crown. bottom up.

Next up, and blocking as we speak...Helena from in one of my favorite mother friendly yarns...Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. Love this warm TerraCotta color. Pattern is as easy and cute as can be. Just need to hem and do the neck/front edging and then decide upon a closure. I'm thinking double loop button closure instead of the ties. We'll see. This is for the new daughter of one of our CMAs.

One the needles is YET ANOTHER HAT. My standard top down earflap "Churro" in Needful Yarns Kaleidoscope. I LOVE THIS YARN and seriously wish I'd purchased more instead of the few measly balls I picked up. It's superwash wool, cable construction. So soft. So sproingy. So washable! Don't mean to be a yarn-ho here or anything, but if anyone reading this has any extra Kaleidoscope that they won't be using...I'll buy it off of ya...I lurf it. This hat is a going away gift for one of my favorite male L&D nurses. He just finished his MS and took a job with the State. I'll miss you Reynaldo!

There are two bald eagles in the cottonwood tree behind my house this morning. Their feathers are all fluffed up and they look fat and sassy. It's so clear, so crisply cold. I'm staying warm inside doing laundry and reorganizing the stash. I have an overnighter on-call tonight so I'll try to get a nap this afternoon before going in.

In my neverending quest to abort the depression that comes with isolation and winter in Alaska...I joined a BUNCO group. It will start on Jan. 12th. I am SO excited. I was snubbed by the Bunco queen at an office I worked in years scarred me for life. So it was a total Sally Field ("you like me, you really like me") moment when I was invited. I'm also looking forward to a VACATION in February. Why is VACATION capitalized? Because it's a real, honest to gosh, going away VACATION. I'm taking DD to Zihuatenejo, Mexico for 10 days in February. We. Cannot. Wait. Just us two girls, doing the beach. oh yeah! More on these developments later.

I'm not going to try promising to post more often. It's frankly just not in me right now. But as new FOs come off the needles, you'll continue to see just what it is that the MIDWIFE KNITS! Until next time....knit on!