Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So Long April

Since I last posted we had another foot of snow on the 17th.

 Then for a few days the temperatures warmed!

And on the 24th and again yesterday, we had more of this:

I'm not very good at taking movies and my camera isn't the best so it is difficult to see the snow falling.  That's ok because you really don't want to see snow this time of year anyway, right?  Besides, today it is raining and all the snow is now gone except for patches here and there in the woods. The finches still have their winter colors though, and the frogs in the marshes are not peeping yet, so I know that winter is not over for us. No buds on the trees either, and the evidence of winter kill on lots of evergreens can be easily seen.

Saw the doc yesterday.  It will be another two weeks before I can start putting 50% weight on my ankle with crutches and the boot cast, then two weeks after that I can start putting my full weight without the crutches but still in the boot cast on it.  You tell me, does this make me a Bionic Woman or a Borg?

I have been studying diligently.  I took and passed FEMA classes IS-100, -200, -700, -800, -802, and -230 through the Emergency Management Institute.  I am having a hard time getting through IS-250 (ESF#15).  Haven't figured out yet what I am getting wrong, but later today I will study all the class material again and see if I can finally pass the class.  Also, I've worked my way through half of of Gordon West's Extra Class ham radio license study guide, and so far, I am not having a hard time understanding the material. I actually dreaded opening that book because I thought I would be hopelessly lost, but I am moving through the book fairly easily.  I used the ARRL books to study for my Technician and General class licenses, but Gordon's book is much easier to study with.  I think it may be the way he organizes the material.  Whatever it is, I like his book. It would be really nice to take the Amateur Extra exam this June down in Wisconsin Rapids instead of December!

I am about knitted out.  The last big project I have is almost finished.  Last Fall I had an idea that I would like to experiment knitting a sweater designed on body measurements instead of following a standard pattern.  I took my measurements and decided to try making a traditional gansey style sweater using worsted weight yarn. I decided to incorporate the seed stitch, basketweave, 6 stitch cable, and honeycomb stitches because I thought those stitches would make a nice "beekeeper" sweater.  (I read that the occupation/status of a person wearing a gansey could be told from "reading" the patterns in the sweater worn.) I worked up separate swatches of each stitch to figure what needle size I needed to use so the stitches looked nice AND met the gauge requirement to equal my measurements.  Once that was done, I started knitting the sweater, periodically checking my work to be sure it matched my measurements. (It was not easy!) It was interesting working a gusset into the underarm and then picking up and knitting in the round all the sleeve stitches after the shoulder "saddle" was sewn in and working from the top of the arm down to the wrist. This was something I have never done, but I can understand why the old knitters knitted the sleeves this way. As sleeve cuffs naturally saw a lot of wear, being able to remove only the cuff stitching to replace it instead of having to take the entire sleeve off the sweater and completely re-knit it was very practical. And it would have been easy to take a quick "fitting"  to be sure everything was coming right.  Very left-handed thinking and it makes me wonder if the knitter of the first gansey sweater was a "southpaw"! It is hard to describe a project without pictures so I will post a picture of the sweater for you when it is completed. Right now, I would like to tell you how I work the honeycomb stitch because the way I do it is not the way I have found it done on the Internet.

Honeycomb Stitch

Multiple of 4, plus one stitch each side for edge

K2R (knit two right):  Insert right hand needle in front of second stitch on left hand needle and knit, then insert tip of right hand needle in front of first stitch of left hand needle and knit.  Slide both stitches off left hand needle together.

K2L (knit two left): Insert right hand needle in back of second stitch on left hand needle and knit, then insert tip of right hand needle in back of first stitch of left hand needle and knit.  Slide both stitches off left hand needle together.

Row 1:  K1, *K2R, K2L, repeat from * to last stitch, K1
Row 2:  K1, Purl across to last stitch, K1
Row 3:  K1, *K2L, K2R, repeat from * to last stitch, K1
Row 4:  K1, Purl across to last stitch, K1
Repeat rows 1-4 for pattern.

Note:  If you work this stitch in the round, rows 2 and 4 are knit across instead of purled.

Well, it's starting to get late so I'll let you go.  Wish I had some gardening to talk about!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That

We've had 14" of new snow since I last wrote here:  3" one day, 3" another day, and an 8" dump.  Fortunately, the temperatures have risen considerably and the snow is noticeably vanishing.  Tom says the deer are out all over.  He even saw a big snow hare crossing the road on his way home from doing the grocery shopping. I know that Spring is here because the County has enacted the road weight limits and it is officially "mud season".

I have been knitting up a storm.  Here is another doll I made, this time, for my niece, Grace. I gave this doll corn yellow hair with nice thick side braids and matching stockings.  Her petticoat and apron are raspberry; skirt and body are lavender; and her shawl and bonnet are lilac.  I also gave her blue eyes.

Yesterday I decided to take a break and spend some time working my way through some of the free FEMA classes I need to take as prerequisite to taking the ARRL emergency communications class.  I managed to work through both IS-700.a and ICS100.b and pass them, but it took me all day.  I used to be able to race through classes like these; I had a near photographic memory at one time, but now I have to read and re-read before the information sinks in.  Drives me crazy. 

I keep telling myself to enjoy my down time.  My surgery on the 19th went well and at my post op appointment, Doc gave me a different cast and said no weight bearing on my seven screws and metal plate ankle/leg until he re-evaluates it at the end of the month.  And no driving till the end of May.

Ugh! I miss my chickens and it's positively killing me not to be able to get outside and into my greenhouse. Still, there is a reason for everything and I just have to figure out what I'm supposed learn from the situation.  Maybe Universe felt I needed this extra time to rest because (as the line from Shakespeare's MacBeth runs) "something wicked this way comes" and I need to be ready for it. I don't know. So, I prop my leg up, look through the living room windows, watch the snow disappear, and keep myself busy as best I can.

I'm sure I can find something interesting here.

Talk to you later!