winter

winter

Friday, February 27, 2015

My first doily!

I used a size I crochet hook and sport weight yarn for this project. The finished diameter of it is approximately 10 inches.

1: Chain 6 stitches and slip stitch into the first stitch.

2. Chain 4 stitches and then do 1 double crochet in to the ring. *Chain 1, double crochet* repeat * 11 times slip stitch final chain into the 3rd stitch of the first 4 stitches. (It should look like a spoked wheel with 12 spokes and a space between each spoke.)

2. Slip stitch to first space. Chain 3. Double crochet into space at base of the chain. *Chain 1. 2 double crochet into next space.* repeat * 11 times. Slip stitch final chain into 3rd chain of beginning of round.

3. Slip stitch to first space. Chain 3. Double crochet twice into space at base of chain. * Chain 1. 3 double crochet into next space.* repeat * 11 times. Slip stitch final chain into 3rd chain of beginning of round.

4. Slip stitch to first space. Chain 3. Double crochet twice into into space at base of chain. *Chain 2. 3 double crochet into next space.* repeat * 11 times. Slip stitch final chain into 3rd chain of the beginning of round.

5. Slip stitch to first space. Chain 3. Double crochet 3 time into space at base of chain. *Chain 1. 4 double crochet into next space.* repeat * 11 times. Slip stitch final chain into 3rd chain of the beginning of round.

6. Slip stitch to first space. *Chain 1. Single crochet into space. Chain 1. Single crochet into first stitch of cluster. Chain four. Single crochet into fourth stitch of cluster.* repeat * 11 times. Slip stitch final chain into first chain of round.

7. Slip stitch to first chain of the first chain 4 section. Chain one. Half double crochet into space. Double crochet into space. Treble crochet into space. Double crochet into space. Half double crochet into space. Single crochet into space. *Chain two. Single crochet into chain 1 space. Chain two. Single crochet into chain 4 space. Half double crochet into 4 chain space. Double crochet into space. Treble crochet into space. Double crochet into space. Half double crochet into space. Single crochet into space.* repeat * 11 times. Slip stitch into first chain of the round.

8. Slip stitch to first treble crochet stitch. Chain 5. Treble crochet into single crochet after the first 2 chain section. Chain 5. *Slip stitch into treble crochet of next cluster. Chain 5. Treble crochet into single crochet between clusters. Chain 5.* repeat * 11 times. (There should be 24 loops about the edge of the doily.)

9. Chain 1. 2 half double crochet into the first chain 5 space. 1 double crochet into the space. 1 triple crochet into the space. 1 double crochet into the space. 2 half double crochet into space. 1 single crochet. (7 stitches into the chain space, counting first chain as 1 single crochet.) *single crochet into top of treble crochet. Single crochet into chain 5 space. 2 half double crochet into chain 5 space. 1 double crochet into the space. 1 triple crochet into space. 1 double crochet into the space. 2 half double crochet into space. 1 single crochet. single crochet into treble crochet of next cluster. single crochet into chain 5 space. 2 half double crochet into chain 5 space. 1 double crochet into space. 1 triple crochet into space. 1 double crochet into space. 2 half double crochet into space. 1 single crochet into space.* repeat around edge. (There will be 24 clusters when finished, on on each loop.)

Break yarn and weave in ends. Block lightly and enjoy. This pattern is for free use. Please note that it is from me with a link back.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

This afternoon.

Pictured to the right is my project for the afternoon. That dark colored skein on the niddy-noddy is the Icelandic sheep yarn that I was talking about last post. On the spindle is the Border Leicester that I mentioned. I am considering plying this on itself. I'm not fully decided yet.

Before the spindle is the next one I'm sampling. It is Teeswater, if I recall correctly. It washed up really well. I'm going to card it and see if I can get it to spin up well on the turkish spindle.

Aside from this, I have been knitting a shawl. I don't have any pictures yet, but I'm about half finished with the section I'm working on. After that I have the border to do and it will be finished.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spinning Notes: Icelandic Sheep

Last month, I washed, carded, and spun up 4 ounces of black Icelandic sheep fiber. I don't think carding it was the best decision. The fiber came out a bit snarled which made for an uneaven single. I thought the fiber was completely black when I got it. Upon washing, I discovered that it had grey in it as well. I was hoping for a completely black single but the grey added some pleasant contrast in the single. The fiber took four washings to get completely clean. There were some second cuts in it, but not enough that I lost much fiber.

I spun it on my new turkish spindle and plyed it with my cd spindle. I think I am in love with the turkish spindle. It worked out really well. I was able to get the whole 4 ounces onto it with out running out of space. I was a little concerned as it has smaller arms then I was hoping to find. I think as I get better with wrapping the singles on to the spindle, I will have less difficulty with that. I spun the Icelandic sheep fiber with a z twist. The single ranged from light fingering weight to a heavier fingering weight because of the slubs that developed in it. I plyed it with an s twist with some size 10 cotton crochet thread. It is white and makes a nice little barber pole effect with the dark single. I think it's pretty pleasant, to be honest.

I haven't set the twist into the yarn yet. I will be doing that today. I will post pictures of the skein when it is dry.

Spinning notes: Border Leicester

I have 4 ounces of border leicester wool that I spun up yesterday on my Ashfort student spindle. I spun it with a z twist. The weight of the single is between laceweight and fingering. I will be plying it with some number 10 crochet cotton. It washed up really well with a bit of dishsoap in the water. The raw fleece wasn't all that smelly. It had a good amount of lanolin in it. My hands came away a bit softer after the business of washing the fleece was over.

It started out a very yellowed color. Upon two washings, it took on a nice bright white. There was a bit of sheen to the fiber that I thought was pleasant. I carded it with my handcards. I was delighted to find that it carded relatively easily. I thought it was going to be a bit of a problem because it is a longwool breed but I was wrong.

I did find that the single has a little bit of halo to it. I don't know how much of a halo it will have after plying and the twist being set. I do believe I over twisted it, though, which makes the single a bit more coarse in texture then I had wanted it to be. The next time I spin this fiber, I think I will try it out on the wheel that my MIL gave me for yule. The long staple length should lend itself well to the long draw that I have to use with it. I used a short draw technique for spinning on the spindle. That may have contributed to the over twisting of the yarn. I will post a picture of it after it has been plyed and set.

I'm not sure what I am going to do with this sample. Maybe I will use it to knit something. I will, however, be saving it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I should buy earplugs.

As of the present moment, my eldest is having a melt down. He's been screaming and sassy since he got home from school. I don't know why he is acting this way. It's been a few weeks now that he's been having bad behavior. It is worse on school days. I was just going to ignore his being obstinate but Cuddle Bear just keeps acting up more.

He right now is perseverating on what will happen if he misbehaves and being sassy. 45 min later, I was able to get back to this. He's much calmer now. I don't know what to do about this business of my boys being so difficult. This morning, I lost my temper with Snuggle Bug when he was fighting me about getting ready to go to school. I strained my wrist a bit picking him up off the floor when he threw himself down as he was screaming. I had some difficulty keeping them from wandering off as we were waiting for the bus.

I don't know what has come over them. Over the last month or so, they have been sassy and having meltdowns. I can't seem to figure out why they're doing it. There hasn't been any changes to their routines. They haven't been having problems with sleep or had any changes to their diet. (Because some people theorize that artificial dyes and flavoring agents cause behavioral difficulties in autistic children.)

My youngest has been getting fixated on watching television. We've limited the videos to only during the hour before dinner. Still, he's been awful tempermental over the whole issue. We have had a lot of fussing and temper tantrums over the videos that we watch. It seems to have gotten worse. This really has me thinking about limiting their video time to only on the weekends.

I didn't really want to get a television but the in-laws gave us one for yule. At first, it seemed to be helpful. The boys were behaving really well and not messing with it. When the novelty wore off, they have been trying to poke at it and generally mess with it. I won't get into the way they try to mess with the PS2. Let's just say I have to hide the controller so they don't possibly break the thing and we flip the switch at the back to kill all power to it so they don't play with it.

I don't know what to do about this mess. I feel very frustrated and like I'm somehow doing something wrong. I just want to have things going a little more smoothly here. It seems like no matter what I do, they just get more prone to tantrums and stuff over the last little while. It is very discouraging.

I know that their autism makes things challenging. I try to not get irritated when they get 'stuck' on topics. I try to stay calm when they have meltdowns and not take their misbehavior personally. I know some of it is normal kid stuff. But this is hard and I just can't seem to find a way to work with it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fimbul winter, is that you?

Well, we're under a winter storm warning until 6pm today. This makes week four of snowstorms. We have a fair amount of snow on the ground from the last two storms. I think we're up to a few feet. It's not quite to my knee but we're also not right in the lake effect area. My sister-in-law over in Attica has snow that's almost as tall as her youngest child. That's almost elbow deep snow.

Now, the problem isn't snow fall, unlike the folks downstate who are going to get the brunt of this storm. Nope, we have to be concerned about windchill. It's about 2pm right now and the temperatures are hovering around -5 deg Fahrenheit (-20 C). Tonight, I'm pretty sure that we're going to see temperatures below -15 deg F. I'm glad that putting up the curtain across the back door is keeping some of the cold out. We've a gap around the door that is large enough you can see daylight through it.

I have the blinds closed to keep some of the chill out of the main living area of the apartment. Still, I am awfully chilly right now. I'm sitting here at the desk with my warm slippers on over my thick socks, a blanket in my lap, and a sweater on. I'm half tempted to go get my cotton gloves (the white ones for keeping moisturizer on my hands instead of the pillows) and put them on so that my fingers aren't so chilly. I am not going to go out and do laundry at the laundromat today. It is just so cold that I think sitting at the laundromat before those big windows would be painfully cold for me, even with my wool coat on.

I am a bit stalled on my manuscript. My deadline is the 19th and I have about 60 pages to write. I have hit something of a block right now and the kids have been distracting me. With the boys being on break from school this week, I don't think I'm going to have enough mental focus to get this thing done by then. I'm kinda upset with that. I really wanted to get it done before Moura, and it seriously looks like that won't be the case. I am a bit nervous about this manuscript. I worry that it is going to come off as my attempt to peddle my own ideas and push some measure of politics onto the reader. This is the exact opposite of what I'm trying to do.

I think this is just the jitters that come with getting towards the end of this thing and getting ready to send it off to beta readers before publication. I think I'm going to quaff my hot chocolate and put on some music that is inspiring. Then I'm going to do my best to get a few more pages written. I may not be able to finish this by the 19th but I can get as close to done as I can manage. I just need to keep trying. After all, editing is where things really get polished and take shape.