Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I know, I know it's been forever since I've blogged. I even began going through pix I've taken over the last couple weeks to create a single huge catch-up post. It soon proved to be overwhelming. Waaay too many things to tell you, waaaay too many knitting FO's to show off, even if I do have pix of less than half of them. Suffice to say, I didn't really plan on doing any Holiday knitting, but with the many days of being homebound due to snow, ice, blowing snow and power outage I did in fact get a LOT knitted. Nearly everyone at our big family x-mas that was psotponed until Sunday, got a little something handknitted by me, those who didn't as well as some repeat "customers" have placed their orders for more. It's really nice to have some goals in mind when picking up the needles and casting on.

OK enough catching up, on to the real reason that finally prompted me to write a new post.

Vindication. It is an excellent motivator. Yes, I'm feeling snarky and smug. Joe has thought I was crazy for nearly a year, now I have proof it is not so. OK it is true in most aspects in my life I am in fact a tad bit "touched" but there is this one thing for which I was thought to be crazy, delusional, or perhaps merely hallcinating but now I have proof that he was grossly mistaken in doubting me.......Last year I saw a black bear not too far from the house and now I have proof that the creature does exist. On the Quad City news tonight they showed pix of the bear. Here is a link to the story.

Ahhhhh I feel so good right now. Crazy for crazy's sake is one thing, crazy because of doubt is damaging to one's psyche.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

14+ Hours

This is what a somewhat neurotic (ok, ok, totally nuts) mother does while her baby is driving 14 hours (in good weather) across icy roads,


through sleet and snow,


in a high profile vehicle, with winds gusting 45mph.


single digit temperatures,


from IL to PA through highly populated deer country


at night.


Sexy Vest almost done.

Non ravelry link here.

She made it safe and sound. Me not so much, all that driving can really get to ya. Did I mention, I wasn't actually in the car with her, I was here at the Hermitage the whole time? Um yeah, I'm a total nutzoid freak.

So Gillian is gone, off to spend Christmas with her bf's family. (sniffle, sniffle) She/they have been here since the day before Thanksgiving. I really don't think I'll be able to make it until next Christmas before I see her again. (sigh)

Sunday we had a just-us family dinner, just Joe, the kids and I. And darn if the weather didn't turn bad. Rain, to sleet, to snow, with minus 20 something wind chill. It was a crazy day, high of 53 degrees, which is crazy in and of itself in December around here, dropping to 9 degrees in a matter of a few hours. Needless to say no one was going to be driving home in that weather. I bet it's been over 10 years since all my babies were sleeping under the same roof. To say I loved it would be an understatement. Lots of food, laughs, games, and teasing. Ha, I even made doughnuts the next morning and I know it's been at least 12 years since I've made doughnuts!

By the time the plows and the salt trucks came by the next day (yesterday) the oldest kids were itching to get back to town and get to work having missed half the day already. While Gillian and Nick finished packing up the jeep for their journey eastward (following the bad weather I might add), I finished Fences another vest Gillian had picked out from my Ravelry queue. No photo of that one, they literally walked out the door and got on the road the second I clipped the very last end. Maybe she'll send me a photo after she has blocked it, IF she remembers how I told her to do that. :o)

To answer a question or two regarding the video of Hiram and Bart working glass....

The long "rope" or "snake" of glass they are pulling at the end of the video is how a "cane" is made. Canes are one method that can be used to add color to the glass, and there are several ways to go about it. I'm afraid to explain it any further cuz I might tell you something really wrong! I can get mixed up fairly easily, Bart began working "hard glass" on a torch, what the video shows is the guys working "soft glass" from the furnace. There are some techniques which can be used in both torch work and furnace work, and there are some that are used with one and not the other. If I told you anything more I'd prob'ly get it screwed up. Suffice to say the rope thingy they are making is a called a cane and it is one of the ways they can add color to the glass cuz all the glass in the furnace is clear. Another way to add color to the glass would be rolling the hot glass in "frit" which is crushed colored glass that comes in many grades of coarseness (fine almost talc like to pea gravel size) In the video at the 5 second mark there is a shot of a several canes they had already made. They look like multi-colored Barber poles. One of the end shots is Bart cutting the long cane they had just made into lengths that are easy to handle.

Here are a couple pix of some pieces Bart brought with him on Sunday.

I'm fairly certain my vase got it's coloring by rolling the hot glass in frit. The rock glass on the top right is a different coloring technique but I can't remember what Bart called it.

I'm pretty sure canes were used to add the color in these paperweights but I could be wrong. Exactly how a straight, long slender cane becomes all these magical swirls, loops, and zig zags engulfed within the depths of a solid glass dome is a mystery to me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Braggin'on my boy

....again. But I'm pretty sure you're gonna love this.

Toraason Glass from Videogénique on Vimeo.

The one in the lighter shirt with the ball cap on, is Bart Grawey my son. Hiram Toraason is the other dude whom I love as a son.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The real thing

Just had to share this with you......

The Oompa Loompas:

Felted Mousetraps

Ya gotta love snow. Less than 15 minutes and all of these hand felted on the wash board. I didn't even break a sweat!

Reading clockwise from the top, little blue bootie with a stripe (cuz I ran out of lt. blue) is the one I like the least. It's OK, but not perfect, and I would prob'ly look for a regular old knitted bootie pattern to make if I was in the market for that kind of thing. The large orange is an adult size (woman's size 6/7) same as the original just a shorter cuff. The little blue one is a toddler size (if I remember what that looks like) without the tall cuff. A "slippy" rather than a bootie as my kid's call them. The large grey is an adult size (woman's 6/7) of the "slippy" variety. In the center is a little larger than a toddler, maybe something for a 7 or 8 yr old.

I've proven to myself that I could do it. Now what. Well there could be many of things to do actually. I've got lots of finishing ideas, which I'm pretty sure I mentioned before, like some embroidery, needlefelting, and the like, not to mention how easy it would be to do some colorwork in a pair of these. Then there are some shaping things I'm considering, like rolling some edges and maybe some cutting and putting in zippers, buttons, or eyelets and lace them up. I also have a pair of flipflops I bought at the end of the season ridiculously cheap for the sole purpose of becoming soles on some felted slippies. I still have that "real" boot possibility nagging at me as well. But to be frank, I think I'll make a PAIR before I actually begin any of the finishing things I have in mind! lol IF I get around to doing that, (giggle/snort) you gotta remember something about me, 'the proving it to myself' is a much greater thrill for me than the end product. If you still don't believe that, just take a gander at my boxes, drawers, chests, and closets that are full of UFO's and samples of techniques :o)

I think I'll spend the rest of the day, working on my Nutkin socks, maybe spinning something, and prob'ly attacking a set of dpn's with some wire cutters, and sandpaper to make them shorter. I switched last night to magic loop method, on the Nutkins. Those 7 inch dpn's kept threatening to poke out my eye out and I could no longer stand the intimidation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Catching a minute

Today seems normal. It's quiet. But that will be the exception for quiet a while now so I'm snagging this time to update you on what's been on the needles and on the wheel.

This pattern is named Nutkin and you can find it here. There is a chart as well as written instructions for the stitch pattern, but really once thru a couple of rounds you'll have it memorized, it's a very intuitive stitch pattern, thus, a mindless pattern. :o) Love it when I find a "mindless" pattern with so much bang for the design buck. It goes very fast too, case in point, I start this sock last night!

Oh if you're wondering about the white edge at the top, that's just the waste piece I knitted for the tubular cast on. I didn't do the hemmed cuff like the pattern says, I did a tubular cast on with a little bit of 1x1 ribbing.

I finally got around to spinning and plying the pencil roving I dyed when Joyce came for a visit. It's the last pic of the post and the roving that I dyed using the spray bottle method.

The color is close but not quiet right. It is a little less blue and a tiny bit brighter. There is only 264 yards so I haven't figured out what to make yet.

I did work up one more variation of the mousetrap in an adult size. This one is more of a clog style slipper. Now with all the snow we got yesterday and the day before, felting all these "one off sculptural pieces" (giggle/snort) will go fast. I really like using the snow when felting it just makes things go so much faster.

Off to felt the sculptures and finish this sock.