Monday, April 28, 2008

Another Shawl on the Needles

Saturday was a day spent with community projects. It was "Take Pride in Washington" Day, when groups and individuals come together to pick up litter. I arrived at the park shelter at 9 a.m. and signed in as an individual. There were lively cubscouts roughhousing, as boys will do; church groups; science classes, and then, individuals like me. It was very well-organized. I received my orange "Take Pride" t-shirt, a pair of cotton gloves, two big orange trash bags, and my assignment. My route was the recreational trail, which suited me perfectly. It was a very chilly and windy day, though the sun was shining. As I picked up trash along the trail my garbage bag kept blowing around, making it difficult to get the trash in. At one point, the wind caught the bag and all the trash I had picked up (about 15 pieces) blew OUT of the bag, littering the trail and making a worse mess. I chased after it and got most of it. What I didn't get, I figured I would pick up on the way back. I filled the bag 3/4 full on my journey. Mission accomplished. I also brought home my second bag with the intention of de-littering my neighborhood on a day that is not windy and cold.

In the afternoon I joined with my fellow pipers to play a charity event at The Goose Pit, a bar in Banner. Banner is not a town, but a fork in the road. The event was to raise money for medical expenses for Doc Holloway. I don't know the man but apparently he loves bagpipes and has been a supporter of our band. We were received well by a motley crew of pleasant folk who said they could listen to us until midnight. Uh, 30 minutes was enough!

Now to my knitting...having finished my Clapotis, I was momentarily stunned and without a project. Usually I am planning the next project while finishing the current one. Unlike many knitters I do not work on multiple projects at the same time, preferring to finish one first unless it is very difficult work. Then I like to have something mindless on the needles also.

Who could resist this beautiful yarn? It is Mountain Colors "Bearfoot" in the colorway called "Pheasant". If you have some of Knit Picks Harmony Needles, this yarn has the same colors. In the photo below my needles practically disappear. For that reason I changed to regular needles.

Apparently I am in shawl mode, as this is now the third shawl/stole in a row. First, the Truly Tasha Shawl, then the Clapotis, and now Meadow Flowers Shawl from The Knitter's Stash. The construction of Meadow Flowers Shawl is similar to Tasha only with a small and easy pattern sprinkled throughout, just to keep me on my toes. The yarn is a little too busy for this pattern but I'm going ahead with it. I leave on Wednesday for a business trip to Ohio and I need a project to take with me. I am driving myself so there won't be any time to knit in the car but there surely will be moments between meetings and in my room at night when I can pick up my needles and relax. A basket in my car holds several audio books from the library and I'll make sure my I-pod is charged and full of knitting podcasts.

I also began a pair of Jaywalker socks by Grumperina. More on those later.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

New Knitting Books

These are some of the new knitting books I've purchased in the last month or so. I purchase in spurts and I'm taking a break for a whileooir at least that is the plan. Each book had at least one or two patterns that I would make or that inspired me in some way. The baby pattern books are in hopes of a grandchild one of these days and also because I do know young women having babies. I love knitting baby clothes!

Nicky Epstein's book Knitted Embellishment's is amazing! I enjoy browsing through it.

The last photo is the area of my bookshelf with travel books and nature guides. My nature guides encompass birds, butterflies, trees, wildflowers, and constellations. I have multiple guides for birds, butterflies, and flowers. Each guide has its own merits.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Library of One's Own

I have purchased a few new knitting books in the past few weeks. It is almost embarrassing how many I have but if you figure that they have been purchased over the course of 25 years of knitting, it isn't so bad. I do actually use most of them. Sometimes I consider getting rid of some but why bother, especially now that we have a music room/library with lots of wonderful bookshelves. My husband's piano sits on the interior wall. A loveseat is nestled in the window nook. I sit at the table to look at knitting books, read, and plan projects. It is often rather messy with knitting needles, books, and wool. It is especially nice in the winter when the morning sun streams in through the window and lights up the whole room. A cup of tea by my side makes a quiet time even more graceful.
The bookshelves have cabinets below where we store photo albums, games, and puzzles.
My basket of knitting needles needs a bit of tidying up. I've always dreamed of a room like this and feel so fortunate that I have it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Is something wrong with me?

E-mails have been going back and forth among the pipers about how much fun we had at the air show and that they hope we do this again next year. Since the air show folks didn't pay us to play I imagine they will ask us back. Apparently I'm in the minority since I did not enjoy being wet, cold, muddy, and bored out of my mind for two days straight. Now if I could have been knitting during the "down time", THAT would have made the weekend more pleasant. I sound like grouch, don't I?

Today I started knitting a cute pair of baby booties from a pattern I found on Ravelry.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Clapotis

The Clapotis turned out great. I am tempted to block it but that is not recommended by the designer, Kate Gilbert. Thank you, Kate, for a terrific design! (I'm sure she's reading my blog. :) The Clapotis is the #1 pattern on Ravelry. For that reason alone I feel the name should be capitalized.
My Ravelry name is PrairiePiper if you want to check me out there.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What a Weekend!

This photo was taken as the Colors were being presented. The Star Spangled Banner was sung. We played a few more tunes and then marched off the tarmac. Our white hose were mud splattered at this point but the crowd was too far away to see that. One Day Two we wore our blue lovat wool hose which kept our feet warmer and drier.

The Prairie Air Show consumed the weekend. I left the house on Saturday at 6:45 a.m. in the chilly rain. Normally I'm a good conversationalist but I was in a cross mood. I didn't want to talk; I didn't want to be driving in the rain; and I did not want to go to the air show. The weather forecast wasn't good. We arrived about 7:30 a.m. and the volunteers that run the show weren't quite organized. We were sent to the wrong parking lot. By the time we relocated to the correct parking lot my ghillies and socks were already wet. I was so thankful that I had thrown a wool cape in the car at the last minute. Otherwise it would have been even more miserable in the wet and cold. It was too cold to knit so from 7 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. we pretty much stayed in the tent except when we tuned the pipes. Due to the weather they kept postponing the opening ceremony. We tuned. We waited. Then we tuned again. We waited again. We were supposed to play at 10:50 a.m. and we finally played about 1:15 p.m. Knowing we had another day ahead of us, I decided to leave and head for home, a hot shower, and a pot of tea. In the evening hours I finished knitting my clapotis! I will post a photo tomorrow. It turned out great.

Sunday promised better weather but the grounds were extremely muddy from the rains. Again, our program was delayed a bit but the skies cleared and the planes started flying. The Blue Angels were amazing. Now that I've been to an air show I think I've had my fill. We did not get our photo op with The Blue Angels, as promised. We have a few photos of the band on the field with the planes in the background. The last photo is me with my friend, Kevin.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Such Excitement for the Pipers!

Our Pipeband has been invited to play at the opening ceremonies of a big air show in Peoria. We will have VIP wristbands, food in the VIP tent, and front row seats on the tarmac. We also get a photo op with The Blue Angels! I am so excited! I have never been to an airshow. What an opportunity.

My current project is the famous Clapotis. For those who are new to this creation, it is an ingenious scarf designed by Kate Gilbert knit on the bias with dropped stitches as part of the texture. I am using size 5 needle in a laceweight (doubled) alpaca/silk combination from Knitpicks. It's called Shimmer (Stained Glass). I have to say this is a very slowwwwww project for several reasons.

  1. Every other row is purl and I am slower at purl.
  2. The yarn is slippery: alpaca and silk.
  3. I have doubled the yarn so I often split the stitch and have to correct.
  4. There are a lot of stitches and they are small!

I began the Clapotis about 8 days ago and have 17 inches to show for my efforts. (The finished length is 55") Hopefully I will love it when I am finished. The way the two strands have combined isn't entirely to my liking but I'm letting nature take its course.

I've been wearing my Truly Tasha Shawl around the house as well as out and about. It is now one of my favorite knitted items for myself! I have not made much for myself in recent years except for mittens and scarves. As I posted earlier I had to do the corners several times before I was satisfied with the result. The color is a true red, not pink as the close up photo might indicate.

Speaking of nature: we are still waiting for true signs of spring. The moss in our woods is greener. A few of the many daffodil bulbs I planted (Thanks, Mom) are peeking through the soil. A tiny flower called Spring Beauty is beginning to show its leaves.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Tulip Bibs

While knitting my Truly Tasha Shawl I slipped in a few baby bibs.
The "Safari Bib" is the Mason-Dixon Baby Bib O' Love. I found animal buttons and then the Peaches and Cream in a camouflage colorway. It turned out quite nice.

I've been playing around with turning the Petal Dishcloth into a baby bib. Last summer I made Leigh Radford's Petal Bib and liked the result; however, the knitting process with stitches on holders seemed somewhat cumbersome. I thought I could achieve a similar effect using the technique of the Petal Dishcloth and finishing it with I-cord ties, as Leigh Radford did. The stitches are not the same as in the dishcloth because I wanted it a bit longer and there are more rows between the petals. As I folded up the bibs they looked like tulips, hence the name "Tulip Bib."

I will post the directions for the bib if anyone wants them.

Now I wish we would see some real tulips soon around here! We had snow flurries again today.

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