Friday, January 29, 2010

Coat Sweater for Bella

Seems like I've been able to finish some knitting projects lately. It is a pretty good activity for me to do on the plane. Here is a little coat sweater for my niece, Bella. I'm going to see her very soon and am really looking forward to seeing how she has grown and changed in the last year. Since she is only 1 1/2 I expect a great difference!

I normally try to do everything on circular needles because I hate to sew things up. But I thought I should get more practice so I tried it with this sweater. Since the main part was made up of moss stitch, sewing it up was a little easier to keep track of the bumps I was supposed to put together. Might want to consider this strategy again if needed.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feels like Spring

Had a nice weekend walk at the airport dike on Saturday. Last night we walked here there was several inches of snow covered with a thick layer of ice. It was precarious walking, for sure. On this day, it was really blowing at our house but it was pleasant once you got out of the Taku wind path. It really felt like spring out!

I tried to get this eagle to perch on my finger. I guess I'm lucky that he/she didn't want to!

This is a favorite spot for eagles to perch - a great view of the wetlands for good things to eat.

And in case you always wondered what an eagle butt looked like:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ruffles Purses

I find working with the tape-style yarn from Lion Brand Ruffles or Sensations Flounce, or Premier Flamenco, a challenge but in a good way. You can't knit very fast or you get messed up but it doesn't take too long to finish a project.

This one for Barb, has a beaded handle. I decided to put in a crimp between every 10 beads just in case it broke. I used a stainless steel thread so it should be pretty strong.

I'm not very good at the hand sewing. I tend to want to get it done and take too big of stitches or don't make them even. I tried to pay more attention if I know it will show. I found some mending tape that you iron on that I used to make a nice straight side. Then this is sewn together for the sides and makes a much cleaner and even side. In the past I would have tried to fold and iron a straight edge but this works much better for me.

And here is one I made for Tammy last summer. It has two pre-made handles. I added a snap-clasp that I hope works out ok.

And here is a small brown purse. There was just enough yarn left over to braid a strap for it.

and I added a black frog closure:

I have more of this yarn in other colors so I'll probably be making some more unless I find another project that needs ruffles. Tatiana suggested making a dress!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Concourse B finally open

Concourse B at the Anchorage airport finally opened sometime between my September and December trips through to Fairbanks. It always feels gook to walk around between flights to get the blood flowing to the legs after sitting for a time. With this new area to walk, you get a few more yards in.

I'm sure in the summertime this concourse will be busier, but so far I've only seen a couple people, mostly sleeping or taking a walk like me. The concourse is for the "other" airlines: Delta, Northwest, etc.

But I love the geese sculptures flying along the pathway and the shiny tile on the floor. I think these geese have a lot of character.

When I see things like this I wish I knew how to weld. My niece took a welding class and it got me thinkging about the options. I see that UAS offers it so I might have to see about it one of these semesters. I wonder how long it would take me to get from spot welding to doing something large like this!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cup Cozzies

I used up some scrape yarn and had a lot of fun making these cup cozzies over the holiday break for my co-workers. Some of these are felted using 100% wool and some are made from different weights of yarn using different patterns.

These are some of my favorites:

The red is a just an alternative k2tog for one row and yo for the next to maintain the correct number of stitches. The white and pink is just knitted and purles but I like the white hairy yarn. Maybe white isn't the best choice for covering a coffee cup though. I didn't think of that!

I love making the loop stitch (blue). I think loops are fun. The green/white is using a pattern called Broken Rib pattern where you k1, p1 for one row and then purl the next.

And these felted ones were fun too. It is always interesting to see how long something will felt and how big you have to make it to get it to felt to the correct size.

The pattern for the felted cozy came from a calendar that Tam gave me last year.

Cast on 50 stitches
Rows 1-3: K
Row 4: K8, K2tog (RS)
Row 5: P (WS)
Row 6: K
Rows 7-10: repeat rows 5-6
Row 11: P 14, P2tog, P13, P2tog, P14
Row 12-17: Knit RS, purl WS
Row 18: K14, K2tog, K11, K2tog, K14
Rows 19-21: Knit RS, purl WS
Row 22: K 19, K2tog, K20
Row 21-25: Knit Rs, purl WS
Bind off.

For the non-felted cozy I used the free pattern from Knitpics as a bases and used my knitting pattern dictionary for the pattern stitches.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rug, part 2

After finishing the rectangular rug with the loops I thought I would try to adapt a pattern for a flower facecloth and make a second bath rug. So now we have a light blue and burgundy flower to warm the feet.

I ended up doubling the number of stitches and then increasing an extra two stitches to make the petals a little longer. I think it turned out pretty good, although I did notice a mistake when I was blocking it. Unless you are really looking at it most people won't notice and I'm ok with that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Finally Finished

I have been working on this sweater for about a year now. I have to say I was inspired by Christen on my last visit to Fairbanks who said sometime about not being that far from finishing it. And she was right. Once I sat down I was able to finish in about 4 knitting sittings.

But until then, I had to put it away a couple of times because I just didn't feel like concentrating on the pattern. I had to count every row and pay attention to every stitch pattern. When you look at my notes you might think I was being really anal about keeping track but for me this is the only way I could keep track of what was going on, how many increases or decreases I had done.

For the Body:

For the Sleeve:

I think I was pretty successful in making the sleeves the same length and I don't think one side is bigger than the other - at least I hope it isn't too noticeable when it is worn.

There is some controversy whether or not the different patterns have meaning in the culture of fishing and living off the sea or religious significance. Since the different patterns stitches are selected and put together in an order chosen by the one making the garment then I tend to think that there is meaning although it might vary in interpretation.

This is what I found for the stitch patterns that I used:

The moss stitch - this was used on the underside of the sleeve and along the sides which fits with the suggested meaning or abundance growth (since it really did grow) and wealth

Tree of Life - in hopes that the fisherman will have a long life regardless of the events and occur and seem to lead to different paths. And this is the stitch in which I really had to pay attention. Sometimes, I had to do some frogging* and take out stitches because I had gone taken the cable the wrong way.

* frogging = rip-it out!

Blackberry (or Trinity) - brings in the idea of nature and the christian idea of the trinity. On first look you might not get the trinity part but each of the little berries is actually made of of three stitches that you knit together on one row and increase by three stitches in the next. So in that regard, it does make sense.

I'm not sure if this is what they would call the Trellis or ladder of success or the Fisherman's ropes for good luck - either way sounds good to me!

I couldn't find any definition for the popcorn or bobbles - I'm thinking that since it is placed right by the trellis or the rops that it represents the missing part of the circle - the fish that get caught in the ropes or the flowers that grow up the trellis...

And together:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Knitting Project for new House

I couldn't find a bath mat I liked for our guest bathroom so I knitted one up. I'm not sure yet if I want to secure a rubber backing to it or not. It doesn't seem to be slippery but I haven' really tested it out completely. These pictures doesn't show the colors very well - the gray stripes are actually a baby blue color.

I used 100% cotton yarn and size 11 needles. My gauge was 12 stitches = about 4 inches. I didn't really care about the row measurement but it looks to be about 17 rows = 4 inches.

Cast on 60 stitches with double strands of yarn. I actually purchased way more yarn then I needed (4 skeins of tan, 2 of blue, and 2 of burgandy - each one 400g/14oz and 710 yards) but I didn't want to run out and when I got the yarn and I didn't actually have any idea of how much I would need. I knew I wanted to use a double strand and it is easier for me to not separate 1 skein but to use two. I can probably make 4 more similar sized rugs. Or maybe a toilet seat cover, shower curtain, towel set and toilet paper holder. or not.

Here is what I did:
5 rows moss stitch for end border, 15 rows of stockinette stitch maintaining 5 stitches in moss stitch to continue the edge border. 6 rows of loops (actually loop row, purl row, and repeat 3x).

It was a pretty quick project and came out the perfect size that I wanted (23 x 31). I had a little trouble following the directions for making the loops in the knitting dictionary I have and found this example much easier to understand. It does slow you down but I think it is a fun stitch and I'll probably be doing more of it.

Did you notice how clean the grout in the tile looked it the first picture? It was scrubbed with a finger nail brush on my hands and knees. Just wanted to point that out!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Beach Survey

It was time once again, this last weekend, to do our monthly dead bird survey for COASST. It just so happened that we are having extreme high tides right now along with a beautiful full blue moon, high winds, and cool (for Juneau) temperatures. With some rain last week and the frosty temperatures that followed, many of the plants and trees are encased in sparkling crystals.

We like to do the survey at the higher tide because we feel that we are more apt to find bird remains and get to them before the other predators find them at a higher tide. There are eagles, ravens, crows, gulls, bears, and wolves that would probably love to munch on a bird carcass.

We found that the tide was so high that we weren't able to go our normal route and had to change directions several times. When we first came to a clearing and could see that Eagle River was rushing towards us instead of flowing down river (which would be its natural flow) we all had a feeling that we might not be about to go on our normal route to get to the beach.

We didn't have to bushwack too much - we were able to follow the tree line at the grasslands to get back to high enough ground to be on our way.

Around 1 pm - High Tide

Around 3:30 PM Receding Tide

The tide is very dramatic here - it went from 19.9 ft at 1 pm to a negative 4.3 ft by 7:30 pm. That's a lot of water shifting! We never did walk on the sand - we had to walk in the high grass and weren't able to walk the entire route. We dressed for wind but when we got to the beach it wasn't windy at all and we shed our gear. We had a nice picnic with lots of goodies and sat on our coats in the grass watching the incredible wave action.

It was very tempting to stay and take a nap but we knew we needed to hit the trail before getting caught in the dark on the return trip. There were several very icy patches on the trail and although there isn't a lot of elevation change, it does have a few ups and downs.

This was probably one of the most beautiful trips into boy scout beach we've ever had.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas goodies

I made pralines for Christmas and shared them with several people who have asked for the recipe. The recipe is from one of my Mom's friends who is also no longer of this world. It made me happy to read through the recipe which contained some comments alongside the ingredients and directions. Comments like a weather report, expected company, a description of a recent trip – just a few sentences about what was going on in her life. So not only did I made a delicious treat to share but I fondly remembered this person who was a part of my life, however brief.

Chewy Pralines
2 cups sugar
2 cups white corn syrup
1 lb butter
2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
7 cups chopped pecans

Over medium low heat, cook together sugar and syrup. Cook until candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until dissolved. Add whipping cream slowly. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thermometer reaches 242 degrees. Remove from heat and add vanilla and pecans. Drop on buttered foil to cool. Wrap individually in plastic wrap when cool. Yield: 60 pralines. 219 calories per serving.

Nice beautiful sunny day today - hardly a cloud in the sky. Had a nice visit with Tim's folks over the holidays and looking forward to seeing Lori and her family in a couple weeks. We've been spending most of our free time painting the house - we are almost done. The guest room is all set up!

RIP Velma and Lynn