Friday, May 6, 2016

Angel Sweaters

     This week I spent my time working on 2 Angel Lace cardigans.  They're both raglans worked from-the-neck- down (what else?) but without any ribbing.  You can see the design details clearer in the lower photo, the light pink one.  Both are V-neck, with 3/4 sleeves that have lace trim.  The raspberry one is a size 3 with matching buttons done

in a worsted weight Red Heart acrylic.  The lace cuffs on that one are wider and can be worn folded up or down. I got lucky with the buttons...Walmart had marked them down to $.75 a card because they were 'discontinued spring items.'  I bought all the cards they had and have enough buttons for a couple of sweaters!  The pink sweater is a size 6 months, also in a Red Heart acrylic but the pink buttons that
were on sale clashed with the yarn color so I used white pearl buttons instead.  I also didn't make the lace cuffs as wide.  I'm pretty pleased with these 2 sweaters because I designed them.  Or, more accurately, adapted 2
designs to create them.  Not bad for a 1st try??  I'm planning to take them to the shop on Sunday when I work.  Hope they're received well! 
   In the meantime, Jeff has been spending his week shopping for seeds and plants for the garden and watching YouTube videos getting ideas for his garden and greenhouse.  Now if the weather would warm up he'll get busy and rebuild the greenhouse. 
  Oh, we now have a raccoon who visits us nightly.  Jeff saw it last night but Fanny hasn't been outside when it came around but she has been hesitant about going outside lately.  I think Fanny's the only dog I know who has an armed guard to accompany her on her nightly toilet.  I don't think the greenhouse and the raccoon will be compatible but....

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day!

   It's May Day...and it's raining!  And not very warm.  Oh, well, Spring in the Great Northeast, huh?
   I spent yesterday in the shop in Cooperstown.  I kept the door open all day and was chilled to the bone by doing that but the aroma of the soaps and lotions makes me sneeze and my eyes water so I didn't have much choice.   It was a mildly busy day and I met some nice people...I even felt sorry for the couple from Arizona who were really feeling the almost-60 degree temperatures! 
   I replaced the Crazy Stripe baby socks that sold...proving that I spent too much time trying to match the stripes, and adding these 2 infant  
sweaters.  The pink one
is a size 3-6 months done in 100% cotton and the white one is a size 6
months done in a cotton/acrylic blend with the flowers done in embroidery floss.
I'm still working on a blue size 3-6 months sweater in 100% cotton with cables down the front.  Hopefully I'll have it finished by the time I work again next Sunday.
Got to do some more
baseball and flower hats, too.  They were good sellers in April.  In fact, April 2016 was the best April I've ever had as a knitter...working alone or with my mom!
    My 2 Crocus Shawls are in the shop ready for Mother's Day.  They're both done in acrylic and I    really like them.  (If they don't sell I have no qualms about keeping them for myself.)  The top shawl is
done in Red Heart True Teal on US 9's and is the better of the two.  The one in the bottom photo is done in Red Heart Denim but on US 7's.  I'd like to try this shawl again with a cotton blend.  Have to see what 
I can find.
   When I got home Jeff and Fanny were waiting for me...or for supper since I was planning to stop at Price Chopper and get a pre-cooked chicken coz they were on sale.
Jeff had worked on the new greenhouse getting the wood for the bottom/frame.  He had planned on getting 2x12"s for the base but decided 2x6"s were more economical.  Next comes the cattle panels for the upper frame.  Since there is only 1 dry day forecast for this week I think the greenhouse material may be collected but it won't be put together until the rain stops.  In the meantime, the seedlings in the parlor are doing
well. Those are white potatoes that are trying to
grow over peppers and will probably be put in their permanent home...a large plastic tub...soon.  The sign for our favorite local greenhouse says it opens today but Jeff was there 
yesterday and came home with  these peppers, red cabbage and onions sets and a long list of what he'd like to plan this year!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Guess I'm Better Off Knitting

   There are times I would like to leave my little house here in the little woods and go far, far away.  How far and where I haven't a clue, just away.  Then reality sets in and the idea of clearing out 54 years of life in this house scares me.  (And Jeff hasn't even unpacked all his boxes, yet!)  Today is one of those 'I want to get out of here' days.  I've been doing a little Spring cleaning...a little at a time, here and there, and I realized even this little house is too much for me. 
   We have a mouse visiting again in the kitchen.  I just saw it run across the floor for the 2nd night in a row.  Tomorrow I better get some D-con...before it's friends and relatives move it.  The usual spring ant invasion was last week but I got some Terro and that put a quick stop to it.  I'm ready if the 2nd wave happens when the weather warms up again! Now if I can just get Jeff to shut the screen door before he opens the inside door, maybe we won't have a bat visit in June.  And this house is so poorly insulated that these last few days when the temperature was near 70 outside it wasn't close to 60 inside.  I had to open a window to let the warm air in!  Ah, living in an old house in the country....  
   On top of it all, my mortgage company sold my mortgage to another company and they tripled my monthly payment.  It's now $200 more than my total monthly income!  A little unrealistic, huh?  Especially when they call and ask to speak to Josephine. (Mom was the co-signer.)  I've been tempted to answer 'so would I but she's been dead for almost 3 years' but I didn't think that would help. (And yes, the old mortgage company was notified of her passing but they didn't bother to tell the new one...or the new one didn't bother to look in the file at her death certificate!)   Anyway, we've been going round and round for the last 2 months and now they're threatening to foreclose.   I don't think they realize what they would be getting.  Hopefully, we'll be able to work something out so we can stay here...or find someone to buy this place and let us rent it.
   So today after cleaning house a little, feeling sorry for myself a little and baking a cake, I went back to my knitting.  At least I know I'm getting somewhere when I'm knitting!  Then Judy called from the shop to tell me I sold a sweater, a hat and a pair of baby socks...all today.  Guess I am better off knitting!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

When Things Go Wrong

   I'm waiting for this week to get better.  It all started Monday morning when I had to do a INR...the first one I've done by myself... and I ran into some trouble.  Well, not exactly trouble, just nerves and I ended using 6 test strips before I got an error-free reading.  I kept following the instructions but the first 5 times the monitor timed out before I had gotten enough blood on the strip...and once you've got blood on the strip the monitor says 'error' and the strip is no good.  Finally, I massaged my finger until I had a nice big blob of blood sitting on it, then I hit the button on the monitor and waited for the signal to drip the blood onto the strip.  I quickly turned my hand over and PLOP the blood dropped right where it was suppose to!  I calmly hit the 2nd button and waited for the machine to give me a reading...2.7 (my normal reading) came up.  I called that in and had to admit...when many strips I had used and then listen to a min-lecture on telephoning for help when I need it (as if it would.)  Sharon, the nurse at the clinic at Bassett, was much more encouraging than the one on the telephone.  And the monitor company wants me to test weekly but Sharon told me to do it bi-monthly.  So that's over until May 9th.
  I finally finished my shawls but because they are knitted out of Red Heart acrylic they can't be blocked.  They look ok but more like scarves than shawls.  Oh, well.  Then I tried to knit an adult sweater.  I had some cotton but I couldn't get the gauge right using the needles the pattern called for so I changed needles. That didn't help so I changed needles again. Finally I got the right combination but after 8 rows I couldn't keep the pattern straight.  So, then I changed yarn and that kept the pattern thru round 13 but I lost it after that.  I don't really like doing a ladies summer sweater in acrylic yarn so I'm not too upset about it.  Later I found some cotton yarn in a pretty lemon color (in the right weight and on sale) on the Patternworks site so I decided to order it.  We'll see how that works out.  If it doesn't I can always use the cotton yarn for baby bibs.  I think.
   Hey, I managed to fry Italian chicken...or Angie's chicken...for supper tonight without any problems so maybe my troubles are finally over.  Let's hope so.  Maybe I'll give that sweater another try....


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Still Busy

    Jeff got the holes for the nettie cups centered...I helped put the red chalk lines on the pipes...and cut yesterday after he went back to Lowe's and bought another hole saw.  The one he got earlier this month was
'just' too small for the nettie cups he's got and he didn't want to go to the hydroponics store in Utica to get smaller ones.  (I think that makes at least 4 hole saws that I know about, but hey, he doesn't say 'how many size 7 knitting needles do you have?' so....)  Today he was going to move the greenhouse with the help of our next-door neighbor but that didn't work out so good.  When I got home this is what was left of the greenhouse.  Granted it
was moved to the back yard but our neighbor was in such a hurry...he didn't even listen to his friend who was helping him...that some of the PVC 'ribs' got broken at the joints.  And one of the 3-tier corner boxes in the front had seen better days, too.  Fanny's trying to figurer what hit it! 
   Jeff was not happy with the day's activities.  We had been talking about getting a couple
of cattle panels and
putting them over the PVC ribs on the green house to re-enforce the structure but now we can just  start over and build the greenhouse like he built the woodsheds.  Today Jeff over-did the physical stuff and his back is hurting...bad.  I don't know when he'll be able to rebuild the greenhouse.  In fact, he's talking about asking the doctor about surgery to correct his back problems!  And that's something he hasn't wanted to do!!
   While Jeff was having fun destroying the greenhouse and his back, I was sitting in the shop in Cooperstown.  Since it was such a bright sunny day I had the door open, the music on and merchandise on display out front and on the side of the building.  That got some people into the shop but no sales.  Around 1pm we had our first sale of the day.  The person I was suppose to share the day with didn't show up on time and we had to call her.  Seems she forgot and would be late.  Since I had only planned on being there half the day, Judy sent me home and she stayed in the shop until the other woman arrived.
    I had gotten my size 6mo lemon cable sweater in Red Heart acrylic finished and hung up.  There isn't a hat for this one yet but I'll do one before I go back

to the shop at the end of April.  I switched the hoodie that was on display, too.  This is the more traditional Black Sheep Sweater that was
was always a good seller.

I think the turquoise hoodie is a little too bold for some people.  Oh, well, I like it!  I got to spend most of the morning working on a shawl...another Crocus Shawl this time done on US9's with Red Heart acrylic Real Teal. 
    I just pulled it out of
my tote bag and managed to pull half of
the stitches off the needles! (And there are only 68sts on that US9's!)  I think it's time to switch to a circular needle!  The tension is looser with the US9 and the pattern detail looks much nicer.  Hopefully I can get this done before the end of the month, too.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The New Gutter Garden

Jeff's been busy these last few nice days building the new gutter garden...using PVC pipe!  Here's he's gluing in the end caps with the float valves attached.  This is what a 'float value' looks like. (below)  He's been

looking for these valves for a couple of years and finally found them online
for a reasonable price (I think he ordered more than he's going to use right away!)  And here are the pipes attached to 2x4's so they will sit flat...or nearly flat...on the ground.  Next Jeff has to

to cut holes...with a hole saw...where he wants each bag or pail to sit on the pipe.   Then the 4 pipes will be attached via tubing to a rain barrel and the system will be self- contained and self- watering.  No more open water for mosquitoes to breed in or Fanny to drink from! He's planning on having 2 of these in the greenhouse...when it gets moved and re-skinned and one alongside the garden. He's going to reuse the pails and plant bags from last year when he can and he's got dozens of pails from the dog shampoo shop that was on the corner of Dewey Ave and Mohawk St last fall if he needs more.  Every time we go to Walmart Jeff looks at the extra large Rubbermaid storage boxes...the $20 ones...that he thinks would be perfect for growing potatoes in, but I just can't believe he'd spend that much for a plastic box and then drill holes in the bottom of it for netting cups! I'll keep you posted on that front if he decides to do that!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Always Something To Do

   Yesterday I decided it was time for new business cards after I was told that one of the girls in the shop discovered...and corrected...the phone number on my present cards.  I never liked them much but
My 'new' business cards

never thought about the phone number being wrong!   When Jeff moved in last August he brought his TimeWarner account with him and so the phone number came, too.  (Doesn't make much sense to have 2 phone numbers for 2 people in a 6 room house, does it?  Besides, we both have cell phones, too!  How many phone numbers do we really need???)  Anyway, I've tried before to find a stock design that would work for a knitter and there's really not much to pick from.  This one isn't actually a 'knit' design but it's better than the one I'm using now!  I'll have these in the shop by the end of the month.
   I sold 1 sweater and 2 hats the first weekend the shop was open and last night got out the lemon Red
Heart acrylic yarn and started another 6 months raglan-from-the-neck-down cardigan to replace it.  I think I'll move the cable over a little and put in more seed st around it...when you have only 19 sts on each front to work with there's not much you can do! Cables can't get too complicated!  (After Judy gave the group a lecture at the meeting about being sure to put the description that's on the price tag on the sales slip so the crafter will know what sold, the salesperson who sold those baby hats just wrote "hat" for those sales eventho I put 'lav flower on pink' for a description of a pink baby hat with a lavender flower. Oh, well, maybe we ask for too much?)

   I finished by French Iris Shawlette last night, too.  I think it will be mine because I did it in Red Heart acrylic on US7's and the tension in the lace is a little tight.  I could rip it out but I think I'll just keep it and try the pattern again with a larger needle.   Acrylic
doesn't block but I think
I'll wash it and see if it relaxes before I make a
final decision. ( The
long edge rolls, too...and it's a slip st, garter st edge.) I can see this shawl in a pale color (gray or green) done on a US9, maybe?  Let me

finish the lemon baby raglan and then we'll see.  I work Saturday morning in the shop...splitting the day with someone...and there's no way I can finish the baby sweater and a shawlette before then so I'm not going to worry.
   Jeff's seedlings are
doing well...and probably very happy to be inside where it's warm and dry since we had rain, snow
and freezing temperatures this past weekend.  These are white potatoes...that developed 'eyes' in the bottom of the last bag of potatoes we had bought.
This week he got some seed potatoes (Kennebec, red Miokia and red Norland)and they are sitting in the sunny east window in the TV room warming up...getting ready to 'eye' and sprout.  Jeff got a couple of ideas for new ways to plant potatoes off of YouTube and is itching to try them. If you've never eaten 'fresh from the garden' potatoes, you don't have any idea how really good potatoes can be!