Monday, January 23, 2012

Autumn Lace Scarf

I thought I would share pictures of my latest lace project. I'm tickled with the way it is knitting up. The colors are coming through beautifully and the lace pattern isn't being hidden. The yarn I'm using is one of my handspuns......a polypay cross wool yarn that I hand-dyed. The colors remind me of fall.....all those lovely shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and even a touch of purple. Of course we don't see a lot of fall colors around here with all the coniferous trees that are indigenous to the area. But we do get a bit of color. Just enough to enjoy and inspire. I ended up with 2 skeins of this really pretty yarn. About 620 yards total of a sport weight yarn. More than enough to make the scarf.
The pattern I'm using is a DROPS Design. I'm nearly done with one half of the scarf. Only five more lace repeats left to do before I can put the live stitches on a holder and start on the other half. Can't wait to see what the scarf will look like once it is finished and blocked.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Being Neighborly.......

...exactly what does this mean? Does it mean enduring loud music and noise from your neighbors until 2 in the morning? Does it mean allowing your neighbor kids to park in your front yarn blaring their music and drinking beer ? Which they will then throw out on your yard for you to pick up. Does it mean tolerating your neighbor's kids speeding by your house and screaming obscenities at you? Does it mean having to endure the neighbor screaming at you over the phone and telling you to lighten up when you let them know exactly what kind of behavior their "child" is engaged in?  Does it mean having to tolerate all this and more simply because someone doesn't want to take on the responsibilities of being a parent and would rather let their kid (and friends) run wild in the community.....harassing and destroying private property because it allows them to get drunk with their own friends. What exactly does being neighborly entail? If it entails any of what my hubby and I (not to mention the other families living in the area) have tolerated this weekend then I don't want to be neighborly and will be keeping the county sheriff on speed dial from now on.

We live in a very rural area. The smallest parcel of land around here is 3 acres. Most of the local residents have anywhere from 10 acres on up.  So we do have neighbors. They just aren't close. And we also live on a private dirt road....which used to be really nice......until the neighbors moved in and their kids started raising "kane" on it.  We have tolerated the extra traffic.....and the extra noise.....even though we are technically the only house on our road. The neighbors all live on the road above us....that "T's" into ours. They only use our road because it's a shortcut of sorts. We even tolerated the not so kind words when we blocked off the corner of our property that everyone was driving across. But this weekend. It's been something else. We've dealt with loud music until 2 in the morning. We've dealt with kids drinking and racing up and down the road. We've dealt with kids parking on our front yard, music blaring. We've dealt with kids driving by our house screaming obscenities at us. And I know we will be out there picking up empty beer cans from the front yard. The neighbors never pick up after their kids. And, yes, they do know their underage daughter drinks and drives.....and are perfectly okay with it. When my hubby called to let them know what these kids were doing he was told by the mother...."they are teenagers and that's what they do.". When he called the following night about the loud music and the parking in the front yard, he was told "it's only music. Hope you don't end up with any broken windows".  That was Saturday. Sunday morning we get a phone call from the father telling us that we aren't being neighborly and to lighten up. Never even gave my husband a chance to say a word. Just screamed at him and hung up. Funny thing is this. He wasn't even there. He was at work. So not only did he not have a clue as to what was going on, but he didn't want to hear it either.  Well, anyone who believes that engaging in illegal activity is partying really needs to take a good look at themselves.....and grow up. I can honestly say that when my kids lived at home they never did anything that could be construed in the slightest bit as rude or disrespectful to any of our neighbors. It was just the way they were raised. You respect others and their property whether their actions and/or words deserve it or not.  You know, you try so hard to do what you think is right. We both thought that it would be the "neighborly thing" to do by calling the parents first instead of the county sherriff. Guess not. Next time we won't be so nice.

Well, I feel a bit better getting that out of my system. Now to talk about something more enjoyable. Fiber arts!! More specifically, knitting and spinning!!  This year has gotten off to a wonderful start when it comes to knitting and spinning. I have knit up two hats and spun up a few skeins of yarn already. I have 3 skeins of completed yarn drying and have the most wonderful fiber blend on my spinning wheel right now. It's a blend of suri alpaca and shetland. So soft!!!! And such a dream to spin. Plus I have carded up another dreamy blend that I can't wait to start spinning. It's a blend of black alpaca, black shetland, and a touch of icicle. So far I have 4 ounces of it carded up into these wonderfully soft and fluffy batts. I have enough fiber left for at least another 4 ounces. Just haven't decided whether I want to card it up yet or not. I think I will wait until I start spinning it and then see how I feel. I'm kinda leaning towards wanting to knit a shawl with the finished yarn.

A little about the two hats pictured. Both were knitted up this year. The lace beret went rather quickly. I think it took about 4 or 5 hours to knit. Really quick knit. I used a handspun, handdyed shetland/soy silk blend that I had spun up quite some time ago. It was about a dk weight and was absolutely perfect for this hat. The pattern is from the book "Weekend Hats" (Greenery Beret)....although I didn't follow the pattern exactly. I changed the ribbing on it. The pattern called for a K1,P1 ribbing. I chose to do a K2,P2 ribbing instead. I just like the way it looks.

The finished beret is very light and delicate feeling. It weighs just a little over 2 1/2 ounces. Feels wonderful though. Very feminine. Pictured  is a close up of the lace pattern used. It was an easy pattern to remember.  I honestly can't believe how quickly this one knit up. I washed it in Soak wool wash and then blocked it on a 12" diameter plate. Those plastic holiday ones that you can get on clearance right now for less than a dollar work great for this. It's what I used and I couldn't have been happier with the way the beret turned out.

The other hat I have knit up this year is a nordic ski hat. It was knit using gray and white Finn wool. I had purchased the roving from Paradise Fibers a few days after Christmas. I was looking for something a bit different to spin and this is what Travis (the owner) suggested. We've known each other for years and he knows that I've tried my hand at spinning what seems just about everything under the sun. So it was a bit of a challenge for him to come up with something new for me. I have to say, it was a nice spin. Real fun. Went rather quickly too. I had spun up 8 ounces of the gray and 4 ounces of the white in no time. It made a beautiful dk weight yarn. Absolutely loved the way it knitted up!! It just glided through my fingers.

 This hat took a bit longer to knit because of the colorwork. It was actually my first "real" piece of fair aisle knitting. The pattern is a DROPS Design. Once again I made a small change to the pattern. I opted to make the brim of the hat longer than what the pattern called for. I wanted to be able to fold the brim up so that you got a double layer of fabric covering the ears.....for those colder temperatures that we tend to get around here this time of the year. Besides I thought it would make the hat a bit more balanced. After all, the body of the hat is basically a double layer with all the stranding that is done during knitting.

I love the way this hat turned out. It can be worn either up (as shown in the pattern photo) or slouched. I think it looks really cute slouched. The Finn gives the hat a nice heavy, yet silky feel. Really nice feel. Very luxurious.

Other than doing quite a bit of knitting....and spinning.....I have been slowly learning how to use my new camera. Still need lots of you can probably see by the photos. I will figure out how to take a picture of my finished stuff without the shadows. It's just a matter of lighting. I'm thinking I just may have to break down and get an external flash. I've been looking at one with a remote. I already have a tripod for my camera. Hubby bought one just for taking stills.  I may have to think about getting one or two more lenses.....and some different lens filters. Still playing around with all that though. There is quite a bit to learn about this new camera. Thank goodness the dachshunds are so good about having a camera in their face all the time.  :,)

Finally a thought about the new year. I stopped making resolutions quite some time ago. Just really never understood the reasoning behind it. I mean, afterall, if you are going to do something then you will do it regardless of whether it is a resolution or not. I always look at each new year as an opportunity to learn, grow, and enjoy life. Whether or not I manage to lose a few pounds doesn't really matter in the long run. Enjoying life, being happy with who I am, and always appreciating my family and friends is really all that matters. All else will come and go as life sees fit. I'm not going to stress over the things I have no control over. Doesn't do any good. Instead I will simply accept that which I cannot change and continue moving forward. Life is what you make of it. So why not make it a good one.  :,)