About The Country Wife Blog

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Adult Surprise Jacket: Finished!

My Elizabeth Zimmermann "Adult Surprise Jacket" is now finished!  Considering the gigantic nature of this particular jacket, it is amazing that it is completed so soon.  The class which I took at Country Woolens in West Lebanon, NH began in November and ended early in December. I was NOT done at the end of the class, but finished up this morning.

The sweater was constructed of many different colors of Hilda Yates' farm Bartlettyarn worsted weight from her sheep fleeces which she gets spun and dyed in Harmony, Maine.  The colors all go together so well.

While making the sweater I made a few alterations in the pattern, and found that one of them was a real mistake.  (There is a spot where you are to take off 3 inches of stitches for what will be the neck drop.  I thought I needed more of a drop, and used 4 inches.  Turns out I was wrong, so I had to knit in some filler, which was not particularly lovely, but did do the fill in.)

Another alteration/change in order of knitting, was that after a while I began to tire of the never-ending knitting for the girth (having QUITE a bit of girth to cover) so I decided to stop that part and and finish the sleeves, knitting down to the correct length.  Another mistake!  Because the girth was not completed, when I folded up the sweater to gauge how much longer the sleeves needed to be, I overestimated how long they needed to be.  SO...now I have sleeves with a lovely thick inside cuff of about 3 1/2 inches.  If I had just continued on the girth until finished the sleeve length would have been correct.  Oh well.  Extra warm wrists  I do have in mind to pick up stitches along the inside of the wrist back up perhaps 5 inches, knit about two inches plain then knit about two inches of K2,P2 ribbing, which will close up the kimono-like sleeves around the wrists so snow and wind will have a harder time coming inside.  Since this is going to be my winter coat, this seems like a great idea!  We shall see.

Finished Adult Surprise Jacket--ready for snow, which is arriving as I write this caption!
The final thing I did differently was to make some after-thought pockets.  Being rather a short person, I wanted the pockets up high where I could insert my iPod when walking outside, so I needed to make after-thought vertical pockets.  I was concerned about the logistics and sent a note to Schoolhouse Press for suggestions.  Meg Swansen herself, wrote me back!  She (and they all) is such a lovely person.  Truly she and her whole family and family of helpers are so helpful to anyone with a knitting problem, especially with Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns.  Thank you, Meg, Cully, and All!

Outside pocket detail.  Just the thing. Thanks for your help and encouragement, Meg!

The Stork!

A couple of weeks ago M H sent me a photo he took with his cell phone in the middle of the night on the OB floor at the hospital.  It was  a darling mobile of a stork holding a cute baby bear in a blanket.  I had been invited to a baby shower and thought how delightful it would be to make this.  I went onto Ravelry and put "stork" in the search engine.  There were MANY stork patterns, including the exact one that MH sent me, so of course I downloaded it immediately.

Thinking cap on, I decided that a nice wool stork would not be the thing for a new baby.  I also had thought not to make a mobile, imagining that the nursery was all set up and another mobile would be redundant, so a toy stork for the baby was what I decided would be just the thing.

Starting in immediately with some soft white washable acrylic yarn, I made pretty quick progress.  As I arrived at the head, I had to hold off because the pattern required stuffing the head before moving on to the beak, and I did not have any conveniently located stuffing (not in workroom, not in cellar, not in garage, maybe in attic but being too scared to go up the tiny pull-down stair and not wanting to involve others, I decided to pick up a new bag at the store...) so I had to stop for the weekend. 

As I was thinking over the weekend I decided to make some alterations in the pattern, particularly the wings.  Because the original pattern is intended to be a mobile and have chopsticks to give it stability, I realized that I really did need to make changes, so after acquiring the stuffing, using the stuffing, and completing the project, this is the final result--a little silly, but just the thing for the baby to hold in her hot little fist (by the neck, which I decided not to stuff for just that purpose):
Stork lying on the MacBook, ready to deliver!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dishwater Soup

OK!  Well, today I really did it!  It was getting toward supper time and I was busy with other good things...such as folding tons of clean laundry, watching a Cheryl Brunette YouTube video on knitting  mitered-square afghans, mending clothes, picking up the workroom, taking care of...you get the picture, nothing particularly stunning, but busy with this and that.

SO, supper time was rolling around and I needed to do something rather quickly.  Because we had a number of small dibs and dabs of leftover goodies in the refrigerator I decided to make my mother's "Refrigerator Soup"--taking all the leftovers, putting them into a large pot, adding broth and giving it a taste.  In this case it did not taste like much, since things have been a bit bland lately, so I added some of the leftover broth from the Christmas ham, some potato/onion broth and a packet of onion soup mix.  NOW it has some taste, though a bit heavy on the salt side.  It really does taste pretty good.

Unfortunately, it looks like dishwater.  Dear one ate one ladle and called it a day.  Because I did not want to have hurt feelings over this, I moved upstairs to do some last picking up, and a few more stitches on the reupholstering project (remember that wingback chair I started on in June?  Still going.  Need a pneumatic staple gun, or to sew on the piping by hand.  I am currently sewing it by hand.  Kind of grim work, that...!) then got sucked into the computer...finished some installations on the Windows side, and now am ready to go for broke on the verifications of family history data.

There, you see, no hurt feelings here!  It really was icky-looking soup.  When you make refrigerator soup,  you had probably better not put so many things into it because: 1. it may not look good, 2.  it may not taste good, and 3. you may have a HUGE pot which you either need to eat up yourself or feel guilty about throwing out...and it is my considered opinion that the birds at the bird feeders will not help you out...nor with the squirrels who rob the bird feeders instead of eating their own summer's supply.

No picture today.  It would probably put you off your feed for some little time!

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Mitten Project: Completed

Saturday night before going to bed, the local mittens were completed!  It was with a sense of real satisfaction, delight, even, that I finished these mittens.  I had started the red and blue mittens  first, way back in October, but put them on the back burner so I could complete the five pairs of traveling mittens and the hat.  (I was so happy to put those travelers in the mail on Wednesday and was assured they would arrive at their destinations on Saturday...though so far I have not heard of any of them arriving! Since everyone is expecting them, I suppose they do not need to be under the tree on Christmas, but I had hoped they would be waiting for the little girls and boy.)

Now it remains to be seen if the recipient is still happy with color selection.  E asked me yesterday what colors his were to be as he did not remember what he had requested. 

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Miso Soup...what a surprise!

When I was visiting in Utah a couple years ago S, T, and A took me to The Blue Tuna or some name like that..The Blue Something, anyway, where we had miso soup.  I was much taken with it.  I purchased the ingredients and tried it on my own.  My own was not that great.  The first few times...

Fast forward to Vermont this fall:  soup time is on!  Fall and winter soups are wonderful.  We often have soup for supper.  While looking on YouTube for miso soup recipes, I learned that often Japanese people eat miso soup for breakfast.  Light bulb goes on here!

So, now I am having a cup of miso soup broth for breakfast, and other times a day.  It is delicious, and filling.

Here is a picture of my ingredients and the mug of soup:

For my actual recipe, go to Grammie's Kitchen and Bedtime Stories.

Braided Knit Ball--FINISHED!

About a year ago I saw a very clever braided knit ball online. I wanted to make one for the grandchildren.  The pattern called for six strips of stocking stitch knitting that were 20 stitches wide by 68 rows long in worsted weight yarn.  Since I happened to have a little yarn around the house (!!) I knit up the strips really quickly then put them together.

Well....putting them together was a somewhat discouraging project...1. because I could not follow the directions and 2. because with six different yarns, the 20 by 68 rows produced different lengths--four were alike, and, surprisingly, the other two of different yarns with MUCH more drape to them came out  way longer so the ball did not work

Enter Cheryl Brunette on YouTube with her Braided Ball instructional video.  Since I had kept the dismantled ball on the table by the computer for months, thinking I would figure it out sometime, I immediately pulled out a needle so I could do the braiding and grafting of stitches.  In no time at all I FINISHED!!  I am so thrilled.  The children will love it when they come to visit. I might even make another one.  We now have a grandkitten.  I am wondering if she would like a braided yarn ball...?

Here is a video of the completed ball:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Selbu Modern: FINISHED at 1:05 AM!

For more than a month I have been knitting furiously on Christmas mittens (nine pairs) and one hat.  Just now I have finished the knitting and weaving in of ends and have put the hat to block on a plate.  To me it looks beautiful.  I think G will like is.  She knits and will recognize the effort and love that went into it.  Don't get me wrong...the mittens are also filled with loving stitches, but they are much more pedantic, though enjoyable to knit.  As soon as the hat is dry, I will mail off the western packages...well, as soon as I find the one missing mitten...hopefully on Saturday.

Here is a picture of (both sides)  Selbu Modern in green and blue Baby Ull yarn which I purchased at Country Woolens in Lebanon, NH, a thoroughly wonderful shop run by a great lady:

The crown of the hat worked out beautifully---62 rounds of pattern stitches.   Lots of ripping out and re-knitting when I was visiting with people!

Notice that the cast-on round was done in contrasting color.  It makes a huge difference...at least to me!

Now, on to the next projects...