May 30, 2003

Blogger is acting weird... Gary

(UPDATE 2006: this is an OLD blog entry, photos have been lost, links are probably outdated, etc...sorry about that! I'll try to locate them on the wayback machine, but not holding any big hopes for that...if I do locate the pix, I'll put them in a current blog entry rather than trying to fix these antique entries...)

Blogger is acting weird... Gary is toying with the idea of setting up Movable Type on the website for the Tornadowood Gnus newsletter, but for now it's set up with greymatter... Greymatter is nice, but Gary thinks that MT has more features... we'll see! If he decides to set it up for TW Gnus, then I'll move my blog on there also...

Got a bit more done on the Sanquar vest left front... I started it on Sunday or Monday & didn't like how it came out, so I ripped back & got a few rows done on it yesterday & it's getting somewhere now! I wouldn't be surprised if I finish it sometime in the next few days.

I'm still debating what to do next... I'd like to start a tank top for myself from Cabin Fever Tank Top pattern... Alison of the blue blog is having a tank knit along...we carry the pattern on Tornadowood (update: pattern is no longer available)... here's a picture of it:

Before I start on it, I want to email the designer to see if there is a reason why I shouldn't do this pattern in the round up to the armholes....also, I need to swatch the yarn I want to use (Monte Crisco 100% cotton...not sure where I got it from, I THINK from Robin & Russ at Convergence in 1992) and if the yarn isn't suitable, I need to decide on another yarn...

I also want to try some pebble weave inkle weaving on one of my new mesquite looms. Gary them for my birthday & mother's day.

Some good news... I've lost about 8 pounds so far since I started back on Weight Watchers last month...since money is tight & I'm a lifetime member, I don't have to attend weekly meetings...I've decided to go twice a month & stop at a local drugstore to keep track of my weight loss... 11 pounds to go before I'm at my first goal...then I'll set a new goal... I'm feeling better overall & my pants are starting to fit loosely. I need to locate some pants with a drawstring that also have deep pockets, deep enough for my keys & my checkbook since I don't like carrying a purse... (maybe i should start wearing a fanny pack instead?)

Posted by Jessica at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2003

Gary made me a blog

Gary made me a blog button with me as backseat it is:

Steal it & link it to the blog if you like!

Posted by Jessica at 06:26 PM | Comments (0)

I'm still trying to decide

I'm still trying to decide what to do about the blog...I'd love to use GreyMatter again, but don't know if I trust the website's host not to crash again... I could write up my entries in a word processor & then cut & paste them so I always have a backup... not sure if I want to do this though, it would be clunky that way but it would be nice to be able to look back & know when I did what with my projects.. we'll see what happens! If I use my ISP's web space, I'll use Blog, which you can write into offline or online...

I finished the back of Sanquar last night and started on the left front. I need to look at what I've done so far with the left front... there's a small chance I may decide to rip it & restart it if it looks too messy... this is not a problem, took less than an hour & most of it was comparing with the right front.... I felt pretty confused while I was working on it because I was trying to remember what I did & I want to match the decreases from the left side & I know I messed up the count until I started making tick marks on paper... I tried using a piece of yarn with 5 or 6 loops on the needle, but I find that the tick mark method works MUCH better for me... once I get this going, it will go by fairly quickly & I may have an FO report in the next few days...all depends on TV time...

re: how to get things done with kids around: I can usually do semi-mindless knitting during TV time...if Reuven is busy (playing with his toys or his brothers) or nursing, I can usually knit then... it's not super comfortable to knit with my elbow on top of his head, but if I'm determined to knit, I will...I've pretty much designated certain TV shows to knit by...7th Heaven & Everwood on Mondays, although since they're doing repeats, I may find something else to replace this with until the new season starts again... Gilmore Girls on Tuesday... will probably watch the Amazing Race on Thursday...may start watching Charmed since I haven't been watching it..that shows on Sundays... sometimes I'll knit during Rangers baseball games or movies...

Once I'm done with Sanquar, I'll work on socks during TV time until I get enough done for Crazy Socks day at school (September or October) & get my pink Cityline socks done..and a pair for Reuven..that's 5 and we'll all have hand knit socks...I'm also going to work on the Magic Carpet sweater...will probably swatch it sometime this week. I don't expect this project to be TV knitting since I'll probably have to concentrate, at least at the outset since intarsia is basically new to me...I used some intarsia techniques with other projects & did a little of SWAKKNIT's Intarsia technique book, so I'm not afraid of the technique...

The other night, while watching Charmed, one of the girls, I THINK it was Phoebe or Piper, was wearing a cool lace cap & it reminded me of Medrith's Glover's little lace cap pattern...couldn't resist whipping out some bulky yarn & needles, but the lace gets lost in variegated yarn, so I'm going to try using some Lamb's Pride bulky in a bright lime green (what Bonnie Marie once called the "Shrek" color for her fuzzy feet)...Medrith's pattern calls for "chunky weight" yarn, and I have some old OLD Brown Sheep Naturespun chunky weight yarn, but it's pretty dense yarn & I don't know if I have a color that I like for this...I may refigure the pattern (or use a different lace pattern) for worsted weight yarn in a coral color Green Mountain Mohair... I want something for winter...I made an Aran hat from my Annabel Fox book but I don't like it very much...I used Brown Sheep wool-silk-mohair & wish I had made it as a cap & not used the rolled edge at the top... someday I'll take photos...

Sweatergirl asked how I made the alphabet band:

I used an inkleweaving pick up technique. It helps to be familiar with basic inkle weaving techniques & then you can try this:

Plan a border (I used 5 or 6 strands of the same yarn on the edges of the band)...then for your lettering area, plan a warp with 2 contrasting colors with 24 strands warped as for checkerboard: P=Pattern color B=backbround color...the white was my pattern color & a variegated red/orange/gold was my background color on the alphabet band...

border P B P B P B B P B P B P P B P B P B B P B P B P border

You can vary letter size by making the warp wider...more on this another time... (I haven't tried this yet, so can't answer how it works)

Once you have the warp ready, weave a few rows...

Make up a chart of the letters...I'll give a couple of examples how this works & will chart out a few letters on the computer & will post them another time...the basic concept is to drop & pick up the appropriate threads for each section of the letter... warping in checkerboard gives you more options for the shed holding the weaving yarn in place... I suppose you could do this using a solid background & solid foreground & picking up the appropriate yarn colors, but I have not tried that method...

Anyway, the letter A is done in 3 rows... a shot for the solid portion of the letter, then a shot for the top & middle bands of the letter & then another shot for the other solid line of the letter...

O would also be done in 3 rows... a solid line at the left, then a line at the top & bottom & then a solid line on the right...

WIth the warp I set up, you'll have 4 groups of 6 threads to form "blocks" of each letter... a chart will clarify this & I'll try to make one up in a day or so...

To do the letter A....first you pick up & drop the appropriate strands to give you a row or two of a solid background color & throw the shuttle through the shed & beat..change sheds...

Then pick up & drop whatever strands you need to get a solid line of Pattern color...throw the shuttle through & beat..change shed...

Then pick up & drop whatever you need to get a block at the top & middle of the A with the rest of the space showing the background color... throw shuttle through & beat & change shed...

Now pick up & drop whatever you need to get a solid line of pattern color like you did for the first section of the letter A..Throw the shuttle & beat & change sheds...

pick up & drop whatever you need to get a solid line of background color & throw the shuttle & beat & voila, you've got the letter A... this might be easier if I could SHOW you how to do this, but I'm not sure my camera would cooperate...

I'll try to answer any questions about how this is done...

(sigh) I just had to put a much longer piece of duct tape on the refrigerator because Reuven kept opening it... we have an open kitchen & can't keep him out of it...ARGH!

Posted by Jessica at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2003

Some possible good news: I

Some possible good news: I may try to get my blog set up on my local ISP... the bad news about that is that I don't know if I can customize my domain name or not.. I have an email in to the ISP person about that... I'm just tired of how blogspot doesn't really work that well for me, the archives are spotty & they're always busy making changes on their system, etc... I'd rather just use something like Blog & not worry about big system changes...

Rant Alert on: why doesn't anyone post messages on my tag board?? I guess this blog isn't a very popular blog & I have a crappy cheapo digital camera & I don't take good pictures... I'm on a couple of knitting/fiber related web rings & dropped the mommies ring off my blog for the time being... I'm not a prolific knitter, but a lot of that has to do with having 4 kids in the house & 2 of them are still "this side" of little (almost 2 and 5)... I don't post every day, but I don't WANT to post every day. Two or three times a week, maybe... I wonder about those who post frequently that have little kids to care for... no offense, but how do you manage to spend what time it takes to do a blog entry, keep up with a bunch of daily (?) blogs & knit or weave & still keep the kids happy & safe? Now that school is over, I may have a bit less time to post than I used to, we'll see... I try to keep y'all up to date & such, but sometimes real life gets in the way...for me, real life comes first.

I may decide to can the blog altogether, concentrate on putting related stuff on the tornadowood & any knitting projects that I do that are not related to the website (ie: not a yarn or pattern we sell), will be for whoever the knitting is for...except I like sharing it with others...we'll see...ok... Rant Off... post on the tag-board, ok?? :)

Maybe I need to get in on some knit alongs or start some? I want to do Magic Carpet or/and Elephants from Starmore's Children's Collection...anyone else want to? (AFTER Sanquar is done, but that's pretty close, like in about a week...)

There was a discussion about knitting needle sizes on one of the email lists... and it was related to how folks often have to go down a couple of needle sizes to meet Alice Starmore gauges... I'm finally trying my first Starmore pattern..just a swatch... and yeah, I do have to go down a couple of needle sizes & am still not sure how much... am waiting for a 000 needle to arrive in the mail... this is to achieve a gauge of 34 stitches to 4 inches with a sport weight yarn... I can easily get that with US 2 (2.50mm) needles & fingering weight yarn, but the silk-wool yarn that I'm using is on the rough side & I don't really want to knit super tightly with it, would rather use smaller needles & be able to pick the stitches comfortably without having to use muscle! That said: this was ONLY a swatch & the pattern I'm talking about is something I plan on doing later on...after I finish Sanquar & see about making vests for the boys...and Gary wants an Annabel Fox "Tattoo" sweater and I may try making St Brigid (or some other heavily cabled sweater) before I touch the Nova Scotia pattern from Fisherman's Sweaters...

Posted by Jessica at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2003

FINALLY some photos for y'all!

FINALLY some photos for y'all! Feast or we feast...tell your friends, tell your family, shout it from the rooftops! (UPDATE 2006: this is an OLD blog entry, photos have been lost...sorry about that! I'll try to locate them on the wayback machine, but not holding any big hopes for that...)

Here's the alphabet band cut down into more manageable visual sections:

Wendy put together a catnip mouse knit-along & this morning I took out some old Brunswick Germantown yarn that I had in my stash...took a few minutes to knit & here are the results:

The picture above is a clearer picture & shows the cable.

The second one shows the color more truly than the first... it's closer to a heathery green, not a forest green (as you can see in the photos of the cats)! Also, the 2nd photo shows the rust red yarn running through the tail after finishing the eyes. Does anyone have suggestions how to deal with adjusting pictures to eliminate that purple-y background? I tried playing with the gamma settings but that did not help. Anything else?

The cats really enjoyed the catnip mouse: Liberty got to play with it first. Littleface walked right by it & didn't seem interested at all. Yoda seemed interested but was more interested in playing with the spilled catnip than the mouse... here are pictures of Liberty & Dumbledore playing with the mouse. If you look closely, you can see the catnip that came out through the holes:

And here is Dumbledore having his turn with the mousie:

If I make any more, I'm going to use smaller needles. I usually use size 6 or 7 needles for worsted weight yarn & these were size 5 (3.75mm). The knitting was fairly dense, but catnip kept getting out of the holes anyway.

Last, but not least, the Sanquar Update:

All spread out

A closer look

Folded up

Posted by Jessica at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2003

Yesterday was the twins' award

Yesterday was the twins' award ceremony a school & tomorrow is the last day of 2nd grade for them. They both made the *A* honor roll, & Evan also got a math excellence certificate...

Micah COULD have gotten a math excellence certificate, but he missed handing in 2 or 3 or more of his homework assignments on time & got 50 on them for lateness...didn't matter that he got 100 on the papers. He did a fair bit of make up work over the last 2 weeks, which brought his math average up from around 78 to 91...he probably should be in the gifted & talented program & they tested him for it a year ago but sometimes he takes a little too long to answer questions & that works against him... problem is: when he "gets" something, he's basically done with it & doesn't really want to work on whatever anymore unless he needs to use that info for a practical application... a lot of his homework was a worksheet with the same type of problems/questions that were on the other side for his classwork...needless to say, we've had problems with homework with him from when they had "PAL" work (parent assisted learning) in Kindergarten & that was only 2 or 3 times a week... it's almost enough to drive me to homeschool Micah since the school is so unyielding about things he "has" to do.. in my mind, homework should be limited to projects after school or for children who NEED the extra work. Micah does not. I think I'd better get off my soapbox, LOL...

I do wonder if Evan should be tested for the gifted program: almost all his papers were 90 or above & he does almost all his homework in school... I'll try to talk to his teacher tomorrow: we'll be picking the boys up then so that we can give their teachers their gifts. I doubt that they read this blog (if you are one of the boys' teachers, please say HI! on the tag-board! ) but just to avoid ruining any surprises, I'll wait until tomorrow to say anything about the presents.

After the ceremony, we went to Dairy Queen & the kids had ice cream, I had a salad & Gary had a belt buster...then we went to a place where Gary buys his wood and it was the first time I'd been there: they have displays in their show room of things people made & a couple of the pieces were really cool: 2 of them were examples of natural dyes: a miniature Navajo loom (about the size of an index card) with a little bit of weaving on it & strands of the differen colors were stranded around the picture showing the different colors that can be favorite was the red onion: it turned the yarns green, and there were 2 of them, one was around $50 and the other was larger & was over $100... they also had a belt that looked like it might have been pick-up inkle was abou 5 or 6" wide & looked like a pebble weave. I'm about to try doing pebble weave, have been fussing trying to decide if I want to try it with silk yarn or cotton...Gary made me 2 looms: a Little Stick & mini-Sick in mesquite...I think I'll do the pebble weaving with cotton on the Little Stick & do some lettering bookmarks on my mini-Stick with the silk yarn...I've never woven with silk, so this will be a new experience & if for some reason I find it hard to do pickup with it, the checkerboard design necessary for doing pickup lettering is pretty by itself...

The back of Sanquar only has 8 rows left... haven't had a chance to work on it since Tuesday night, plus yesterday I was busy putting some plants into the garden. we still have more planting to do & since it's "late" for spring planting in Texas, we're only doing summer stuff like tomatoes, basil (I LOVVVVVVVVVE pesto & hope the boys will too), peppers, corn, etc... but may plant the rest of the tomato plants & a row of basil this afternoon after I finish warping looms for our customers. My shoulders are sore from using muscles I haven't used in a while!

I'll post pictures of Sanquar & the Alphabet band & the new Mesquite looms either this afternoon or tomorrow...I'm guessing that Sanquar may be done after another 2 or 3 evenings of knitting, maybe by the end of the's a pity it wasn't done by the beginning of this week because it was actually cool enough to wear it! Oh well...there's next fall!

Posted by Jessica at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2003

I've got about 16 or

I've got about 16 or 24 rows left on the back of Sanquar and then I can work on the left front & then the finishing stage. I'll try the 3 needle bind-off for the shoulders and then will put the edging on the sleeves & the main body of the vest. If it were done today, the weather would actually be cool enough to wear it (we'll be lucky if it gets to the 70s today) but I'll wait for the fall.

I have some cotton yarn in my stash, in a natural color called "Monte Crisco" and think it might make a nice short sleeved top or tank top. I think it's about sport weight (haven't swatched it yet)... once I do, I'll need to come up with some kind of pattern for it. I'm not sure what size to make it, probably large or extra large, but want it to fit comfortably, not too loose or tight, but "just right"... baby bear just right.

I was hoping to put some plants into the garden today but it's kind of too chilly & since we've been in the upper 80s/low 90s already, that might be too much of a shock for the plants. It's a bit late to start planting, but we'll have enough hot weather to get a good crop of tomatoes & such if other "things" don't get the plants first.

Tomorrow is the day they give out awards at school & I think the twins will get all possible awards this year. They both did really well, 90 or more in everything except for a few homework papers that Micah turned in late & got 50 points on (he scored 100 on those homework papers, but lost half the points because the papers were late), but he's been doing extra credit work so MAY have pulled his average up. We'll see!

I have several looms to pre-warp for customers so that the looms can be shipped. I should get that done today. I'd have done some last night, but we were having storms & I couldn't check what colors for which looms.

I've been looking at the pattern for "Magic Carpet" in the book Children's Collection by Alice Starmore & I think it will be easy enough to convert the pattern to vests. Harrison wants his with a purple background, Micah green & Evan brown (since I don't have red, though I MIGHT see about getting some red for him)..

I need to cut this short, it looks like we're getting some new weather.

Posted by Jessica at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2003

Well, no photos today: I've

Well, no photos today: I've been working on the website most of the afternoon, adding the JaggerSpun yarns to the site. They're all uploaded & hopefully without TOO many glaring errors...if anyone wants to check the site, the url is Weaving Rainbow

Also check the newsletter on the website, Tornadowood Gnus, for info about our latest sale.

Maybe I'll take photos is cool seeing Sanquar getting so much closer to the finishing stage, but I'm out of computer-energy for today, except maybe a little blog-reading or drooling over some websites!

Micah's poison ivy is looking a TON better. Gary took him to the doctor & also will do a post office run. Hopefully the pharmacy will have the rest of his allergy medicine.

Did I say that potty training was my favorite part of parenting? It's nice when it's done, but one problem with keeping a potty handy is they are also good for standing on to Reach Dangerous Items. Arrrgh. He doesn't even use the potty for what it's meant for...last night, I had to wash one of the twins' backpacks because he peed on it... Maybe I should put the diapers back on for a while and save the potty training until later? Only trouble with that is he LIKES having his diaper off...along with everything else...

Posted by Jessica at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2003

I only have about 5

I only have about 5 or 6 more blocks to do on the back of Sanquar, which leaves about 40 or 48 more rows to go...not bad! I can do about 8 in an hour...that's about 800 stitches...then I get to work on the left front & do the finish work & voila...a photo is due, way overdue, maybe tomorrow I'll give it a go.

I can't wait until I finish the back so that I can use the needle for something else! I have another #6 needle, but one of the needles is split & Gary says that superglue will fix it... it's an ebony 4mm (US 6) & I just got it a few days ago... the few minutes I spent knitting with it until I noticed the split was delightful except for the yarn catching...

I'd love some input from others about whether or not it's worth trying to do a cable sweater in the round? I want to do Alice Starmore's St. Brigid sweater someday (don't know if I'll do that before or after the Tattoo sweater or/and vests for some or all the boys)... don't know if I should try to do it in the round or not... it would pobably be heavy, once I got to the armholes & such, and judging from how awkward the Sanquar vest is, and it's really not THAT awkward to do, I might try doing SB in pieces, especially since I don't think I've ever really done a sweater in pieces! I've done a couple in the round & the Sanquar vest is somewhat awkward: it's done all in one piece from the bottom to the armholes & then the fronts & back are worked separately above the armholes.

Micah got into some poison ivy on Saturday when we were at the soccer field... Gary was standing by in case they needed another referee and I had to do some shopping & to take care of a tire that didn't want to stay inflated, so we all went... on Saturday evening, he was complaining about itching. I gave him some allergy medicine...couldn't find the Benadryl, so I gave him Dimetapp... on Sunday morning he woke up with his face swollen & one eye was swollen shut... Gary went into town for some benadryl...that & ice seemed to help the swelling go down... on Monday morning, the swelling was worse, so we called the doctor & took him in. The doctor gave him some prednisone & something else & now he's looking a LOT better.. he has a follow-up visit with the doctor tomorrow. He says his face still's kind of odd that only Micah had the reaction & not his brothers...Evan said that he was "being careful"... Harrison was with me at Wal-Mart getting the car's oil changed & tire replaced...

Posted by Jessica at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2003

Since my last entry, the

Since my last entry, the Stars have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup play offs...bummer...after the last game, I really thought that they would win game 6 and go on to game 7...maybe next year..Something about that game ticked me off: the last game was at the Duck's home ice stadium & they wouldn't play the national anthem because it had the word "Stars" in picayune is that? Gimme a break! ARrrrRRggggh! They'll play the winner of the Minnesota/Vancouver playoffs...

Today we watched Survivor Amazon & I'm glad Heidi got eliminated... it's been long coming.... I was upset that Christy got eliminated last week, but she kind of put the nail in the coffin when Rob asked her to vote against Heidi & she wouldn't commit to it... I did not blame her One Single Bit for how she responded to Heidi when she asked her to vote against Rob...I mean, during the whole series, the Evil Stepsisters were basically ignoring Christy & overall, she was a good hard worker, but was pretty neutral & once she became a threat, she got outvoted... oh wellll...I'm glad she'll be on the jury though!

I managed to do a half a repeat on the back of Sanquar tonite during Survivor Amazon...didn't get much done during Gilmore Girls on Tuesday because Reuven was all over me & I really didn't want to knit with my elbow in the air while he nursed.

I'm slowly gathering the yarns needed to do Gary's Tattoo sweater (from Annabel Fox's "Willow Lake"... I got 2 balls of Annabel Fox yarn in Ginger & Mustard from a gal in Denmark...those two were basically the only two colors that I was not able to substitute with any other soon as a check I'

Posted by Jessica at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)