Monday, November 16, 2009

This Was Sunday

On Sunday morning I said that I'd spin this romney wool in the washing machine and then set it outside in the sun to dry.  Here it is.  In the sun. Yeah. (Sunday was a little wierd, alternating sunny and foggy.)  I don't think it really felted, but I think it did felt a little bit.  Is there such a thing as 'partially felting?'  Anyway - I think it will be usable, but next time I do this, I'm going to spin at a slower speed.  I'm curious how much of the 6 original pounds are left and how much was oil and grease.  I decided to save the other fleece washing for spring, in favor of getting done the next item you'll see.

Bales of hay, and plastic on the windward side of the house!  You can see that the foundation of the house is rock, which means that the wind comes up the hill and then blows right through the underpart of the house.  A few months ago, blog reader Cindy (at least I think it was you!) suggested plastic and straw bales to hold the plastic down.  (One lesson:  next time I haul hay in this truck, I don't think I'll set them on end like this.  Everything was OK and I did manage to fit 10 bales in there, but I was pretty nervous driving the 25 miles back home.)

Below is the finished project.  Plastic hanging from just below the windows anchored by hay bales. We'll see how that works.  You may also notice the wooden dowels holding up the windows.  It's basic, but it works - and you might not believe that last winter these windows fell down (as in open) several times.  Believe it!  I also put a bale in front of that door just outside the right edge of this picture.  That was an incredible source of wind in the house last winter.

Then, after being productive and completing that task, I took to the knitting.  I've arranged this little project shown below so that it looks a little like a surrender flag.  The pattern I chose has a 6-row repeat with ks and ps in the same row and a cable knit c4b and c4f in row 5.  I guess it's not difficult once you know how to knit, but it might not have been the best starter project to do with chunky, uneven yarn.

For all you knitting afficianados out there, here's the gobbeldygook:
RW 1: Sl 1, p1, k4, p1, est seed st pattern - k,p,k,p x 6 sts, then p1, k4, p1, k1.
RW 2: Sl 1, k1, p4, k1, seed st x 6 sts, k1, p4, k2.
RW 3: as RW 1
RW 4: as RW 2
RW 5: Sl 1, p1, c4b, p1, 6 seed sts, p1, c4f, p1, k1.
RW 6: as RW 2

Part of the reason it was a bad idea to start with this is that I have no idea what the stitches are supposed to look like, and the yarn adds lots of unpredictable bumps.  PLUS, and this is a big one - I stopped after 3 rows on the second repeat without noting which row I was on and then tried to pick it up the next day.  Big mistake!  I knitted a few rows twice and had to pull it out, twice, before I finally got it right.  This little uneven, lumpy thing is probably going to be my favorite knitted thing, ever, because it was the first. 

I remember the first thing I ever sewed.  It was a t-shirt dress made with shirting and I gave it to my mom.  I think she actually wore it. Once.


  1. Shouldn't you cover the straw bales with some plastic too so they don't become huge sodden lumps?
    I knitted a couple of sweaters a long time ago but now you've got me itching to pick up some needles again.

  2. I remember the wild orange print corduroy poncho with the ball fringe that was my 4H project and few completed sewing project. I have gotten away from apparel, but after shopping, I always want to go back.
    Sparkless: I knit dishcloths, scarves, hats and some felted purses and I want to knit something fairly simple that I can wear, like a big warm sweater. I have gotten some wool yarn and now just need to get the nerve to start. I'm not a good ripper, so I have a pattern also for a felted vest, because, after all, felting covers up a multitude of sins!!

  3. Jordan-
    Bless you..seed stitch...I have done this on occasion, and usually don't figure out that I messed up for a row or two and then to unknit and redo...AARGH!!

  4. Oh crap! I just looked up seed stitch and my stuff doesn't look at all like that. I think I'm going to have to rip the whole thing out and start over. Breathe in ... breathe out

  5. Seed stitch is easy if you remember that if you purled a stitch on the last row, you knit it on the current row. The easy way to tell if you're looking at knit or purl is a purl will look like a "-" and a knit will look like a "V"

    The best thing to do about keeping track of rows, is (of course) a row counter! You can make your own using these directions ( or buy a nice one from someone else, like these (

    Then you will always know where you left off!

  6. Jordan-
    I find a little notebook and a pencil helps, too.

  7. People around here do not cover the bales. They can be used for bedding next spring for any animals you have. They can also be used in your garden. Sounds like you are well on your way to a more comfortable winter this year. Just use your common sense, things generally work out. I think you are making great friends there and learning new things. Life experiences mold us into who we are. One thing about your lanterns...I like battery operated lanterns and lamps better than a lantern with an open flame. Safer with animals and children around. One little bump and you have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands. Cindy

  8. Whew - I'm glad you weighed in Cindy! You know, I would have covered those bales, so I'm glad you said that's not necessary!

    Alison - I looked at the videos again and realized I was purling wrong. I pulled the whole thing out (about 2 more times), but I think I may finally be doing it right!

  9. I agree with Cindy about the bales. No need to cover 'em. They'll be perfect for mulch next summer.

    Also, you said they were bales of hay? Next time, you might want to buy straw. WAYYYYY cheaper with the same results. If you had animals who would normally eat the hay, you wouldn't want to give it to them next year, anyway, 'cause it would be moldy (and, as I said, only good for mulch). But, too, be careful WHERE you use the hay next year for mulch 'cause hay will have hay seeds in it. Straw wouldn't. (Clear as mud?)

    And, re the bales on end in the pickup? Have NO worries, my friend! They wouldn't have gone anywhere on your 25 mile journey. :) Take it from one who hauls EVERYTHING in the back of the 1-ton the hour home from town all the time.

  10. Jordan.
    I often forget to pull the yarn to the front before I purl and then can't figure out what went wrong. It is all a matter of some practice and unfortunately, often some mistakes! Keep knitting though. It's still warm and I practice on dishcloths, because I can always wash dished with matter what I screwed up.

  11. including the spelling...I usually wash dishes, not dished.

    still having problems with the fingers. Better quit

  12. Once someone told me that the yarn always has to go BETWEEN the needles when going from K to P and back again, it made a big difference for me.

    Bully for you for tackling something with cables the first time! If it proves too much, you can try the ribbed neck warmer thingy you showed a picture of a few days ago. :-)

  13. Chicken Mama - I did LOOK for straw on craigslist, but the only person selling it wanted MORE than for this hay. Good point about the seeds though!

    I had figured out the between the needles part, but was purling with the yarn underneath the needle, not on top. And I didn't realize that I was supposed to alternate the seed stitch until Karen Sue mentioned it. I was following the k,p x 6 literally - I had a row of stripes, not seeds!