Musings on the Midwest

I grew up in the Midwest. The British Hubby always says, “You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest out of the girl.” I’ll always be a Midwesterner at heart. Here’s a few highlights of my favorite things to do when I visit my family.

Lightening bugs also known as fireflies. I used to spend hours chasing lightening bugs as a child. Sadly, the Midwest is the only place I’ve lived with lightening bugs.

 

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The lightening bugs would pose for a photo shoot, but the corn was willing.

Summer thunder storms. When I landed, it was in the 90’s with much more humidity than the Pacific Northwest. This creates the perfect conditions for a summer storm with thunder and lightening. A good one rolled through that actually knocked out the power for a few hours. This provided an opportunity to knit by candle light. I didn’t think to get a photo, but here’s one with my knitting and a snack on the plane.

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The food. I learned how to cook and bake at a young age. My mom and grandmother still make almost everything from scratch. In the summer, much of it comes from the garden in their back yards. I also love a good taco pizza. This is a specialty item that I’ve never been able to find outside of the Midwest. Think taco on a crust with a refried bean base instead of pizza sauce.

It’s the last day of June. I would love to say I liberated four orphans while I was in the Midwest, but I didn’t. A few just need some finishing touches. I did manage to find a lovely little yarn shop to buy more yarn. Below is hand dyed sock yarn from a local shop and cotton for dishcloths. I think I was missing the water while in the Midwest as I only bought blue yarn.

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I also decided to start over on the TdS stage one socks. Here’s a photo of my cuff hanging out with the cuff from Stage three.

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Update on other wips:

  • Earth & Sky: Finished skein two! Sadly, it’s still not long enough to start the border so I’m going to have to acquire a fourth skein. Hopefully, I’ll find a good holiday sale this weekend.
  • Chairty Malt: No progress made on this one.
  • Washington Mist: Fourth short row lace section is complete. I’m on row 2 of 12 of the end . It doesn’t sound like much, but each row is around 400 stitches.

I would love to say I can liberate additional Orphans in July, but if I’m honest I will probably just add another month on to my quest. Or maybe I can try for nine Orphans the next few months.

I’m going to leave you with a bonus chicken photo along with the normal cat picture. Oscar the chicken is sporting his cheese head.

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Stage Three Begins

Stage three of Tour de Sock began Tuesday morning. I told myself I wouldn’t cast on six new pairs of socks when I’m trying to liberate my Orphans, but you know I can’t resist casting on another pair of socks. The pattern is so neat! I also love the idea of expanding my sock knitting skills. The pattern is Diamondback Socks by Kristen Hall. Of course, I’m still working away on the cuff, and there are already 16 pairs of finished socks.

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Soon I’ll be travelling to the Midwest to visit my family. Deciding which projects to take is always the hardest part. I always think I’m going to have more knitting time than I actually do. With that in mind, I still pulled out a few Orphans from the bin. What if there is a freak storm, and I’m stuck travelling for an extra week?

My Tree Branch Cowl from last Malabrigo March was going to make the journey. This was a complete impulse cast on right at the end of the month (shocking I know). The pattern is Carnimirie by  Sara Huntington Burch. I’m using Malabrigo Rastita in Piedras. I love the pattern. I love the yarn. Yet they aren’t playing nicely with each other. Most likely it’s just knitter error. I did mess up three times on the same row and eventually dropped a stitch while cabling. This is now liberated Orphan number four. I’ve reclaimed the yarn and needle. I will revisit this pattern again with a different yarn. I sort of feel like this should be green.

Not much progress to report on the other wips. I’m thinking about frogging the Stage one sock from Tour de Sock. I’m not sure I like the brown stripes. Maybe I’m just not into brown today?

I did manage to catch Gracie sunbathing today. She shamelessly showed me her belly fluff.

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Four Orphans liberated and four more to go!

Road Trip to Portland

This past weekend, the British Hubby and I took a road trip to Portland, Oregon. I forgot to pack my camera or I would be sharing the stunning views from our Rustic bungalow. The Pacific Northwest never fails to amaze me with its beauty. While I did forget my camera, I didn’t forget to check out a yarn store. There are 15 yarn stores in the greater Portland area! I spent one morning in Knit Purl. Traditionally, I like to buy a local skein of sock or fingering weight yarn when I travel. Shawls and socks comprise a good portion of my Orphans so I know this weight will get used. Whenever I shop with the British Hubby, I end up with at least one item out of my normal comfort zone. This time was no exception.

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The bowling ball sized skein is Tough Love Felt Yarn in Graphite Gray by Love Fest Fibers. Love Fest Fibers is providing job opportunities for women in Nepal to help rebuild their lives from the 1015 earthquake. They also carry several bases that combine natural fiber with recycled plastic fiber to help keep plastic bottles out of landfills.

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The bag is a special anniversary kit exclusively for Knit Purl. Who doesn’t love special anniversary project bags, yarn and patterns?  I believe I have enough yarn to make a Rainchaser hat and cowl. I promised myself I could cast on for this if I finish eight Orphans this month. The pink was my local find. It’s Bumblebirch in Wellspring color Cranberry (the traditional fingering weight acquisition). I couldn’t resist casting on one project immediately (I warned you casting on is my favorite)! I have the start of a Risoni Bias Scarf in Thai Silk color cream.

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With all this talk about new yarns and new projects you probably thought I didn’t have time to finish any Orphans. Guess again. Here is liberated Orphan number three of June. One aviatrix hat by Justine Turner in Malabrigo Arroyo color English Rose. This is my favorite hat to give as a gift for expecting parents. Look for more of these in the future.

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I’ve been working on several hats this month. This is a group photo of three more hats I have in the works. On the left is the Giant Red Spot. It’s a Dear Hubbie hat in Malabrigo Arroyo in Jupiter. Next is the start of my next aviatrix hat in English Rose. On the right is my Foxy Malabrigo. It’s a Foxy & Wolfie by Ekaterina Blanchard. This hat is so stinking cute. I squeal while I’m knitting.

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My Tour de Socks have stalled out for the moment. Stage three starts in about nine hours. Stage two has almost 300 finished pairs. Stage one is up to 447 finished pairs. I have a pair of cuffs.

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Update on other wips:

  • Earth & Sky: Skein one is completed!  Skein two has 16.36 grams left, and skein three has been added into the mix. It has 97.38 grams remaining. Fingers crossed it’s long enough once skein two is finished.
  • Chairty Malt: 53 of 80 rows done in the square section.
  • Washington Mist: I’m ready to start the lace short row sections in part four. Soon I’ll be on the border and bind off.
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You’re not leaving without me ever again!

June is winding down. Will I get five more Orphans liberated before July? It’s going to be a close finish.

One Sock, Two Sock

What’s better than one pair of socks? Two pairs of socks! My I present my first two liberated Orphans of June. Rye in Malabrigo Rios in Vaa for the British Hubby. The right pair is Kam Chu from Tour de Sock in 2014. I’m not sure what the yarn is since I didn’t put it in Ravelry.

Speaking of Tour de Sock, stage two has started. My stage one sock had a knitting mishap. I managed to pull a needle out and dropped 1/3 of the stitches. Since I was one row past the cuff, I decided to just start over. There are now 435 pairs of finished socks in this pattern. Stage two has 20 pairs of finished socks right now. Maybe I can get to the heel before stage two ends.

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Update on other wips:

  • Earth & Sky: Skein one has 5.42 grams left and skein two has 28.98. I wound skein three today.
  • Chairty Malt: 43 of 80 rows done in the square section.
  • Washington Mist: 4 of 25 rows completed in the lace short row on section three. This week I should be working on section four.

I wound yarn today for a few gifts I need to make. Stay tuned for photos on those. My winding helper could hardly contain himself with excitement.

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Heat Wave

June is usually a very pleasant month in the PNW. The mornings are crisp, the afternoons are sunny and the sunsets after 9 p.m. The past few days have been unseasonable warm. Today’s high is around 95 degrees Fahrenheit or 34.5 degrees Celsius.  That means knitting on big projects is sort of unpleasant. It also means copious amounts of iced beverages must be consumed while sitting in front of the fan. Even the kitties have been in front of the fan.

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This is how I managed to knit the second short row lace panel on my Washington Mist. I just finished the first of five repeats in part 3. My goal is to knit the third lace section next weekend.

Socks make great knits for the summer heat. They are small, portable, and I love putting on a new pair of hand knit socks when it turns cold. That’s probably why numerous Orphans are socks. Here’s a group shot of the socks I’m currently working on. On top is cuff one for TdS. At last count, there were 63 finished pairs of this sock in the TdS group since June 1st. The pair of socks on the left is a TdS pattern from 2014. I’m on the foot of sock two which is exactly the same place as the second Rios sock for the British Hubby. I know I would finish things faster, if I stopped casting on socks. Where’s the fun in that?IMG_0348

Update on other wips:

  • Earth & Sky: Skein one has 25.64 grams left and skein two has 48.92 grams left. The skeins are getting smaller so why don’t I feel I am getting any closer to finishing this scarf?
  • Charity Malt: 27 of 80 done in the small square section.

With a little luck, the next post will have a liberated Orphan from a cooler PNW knitter.

Tour de Sock Detour

It’s June 1st. I should be working on liberating Orphans for June, but I had to take a moment to talk about Tour de Sock. What is Tour de Sock, you say? It’s a sock knitting competition inspired by Tour de France. It has six stages. Points are given based on where you place in each stage. You can compete as a team and/or individually. All the proceeds go to Doctor’s Without Borders.  My sock knitting has dramatically improved since I started participating in TDS four years ago, but I still find it a challenge to knit a pair of socks in 9 or 10 days. This year there are over 1000 racers registered. I’m not knitting competitively, but I do plan to cast on a few pairs. The real thrill comes from watching how fast other knitters can knit a pair of socks. I barely had my yarn wound and the first sock cast on when there were at least three finished pairs. I’m sure there will be at least a dozen pairs when I wake up tomorrow.

Update on the June Orphans:

  • Washington Mist: 11 out of 14 repeats complete. I’m on track to work the second lace short row section this weekend.
  • Rios Rye for the British Hubby: just turned the heel on sock two.
  • Earth & Sky: Not much progress to report here. I’m sort of hoping this one will knit it self while I work on other items.

It looks like we had a visitor while Burt was cat napping today. He’s not much use as a guard kitty.