Friday, May 8, 2015

Don't call it a comeback

Woof! Boy, this blog has been hibernating for quite awhile. I kept thinking I would take up blogging again at some appropriate milestone , but it never happened. I would get these great titles for a posr, but never found the time to get them down in print.  They lived in my head, rattling around while I attended to the needs of family life and the demands of professional responsibilities. Since I felt like I wasn't keeping up with those things, the very thought of blogging inspired more guilt. Not that I've been all work and no play.  We got a puppy, who has grown into an adult dog. I still knit regularly. Then there's the bees. After a third year of losing my bees, I was going to throw in the towel, admit defeat.  Then I decided to stick with it for Axel's sake. You see,  he loves the bees. All last summer, he loved running over to the hives, throwing off the outer cover and watching them through the screened inner cover. The only time he got stung was when he tried to take off the inner cover, which was glued down with propolis. He started rocking the hive trying to get it off.  I shooed him away quickly, but not quickly enough. One of the guard bees stung him in the neck.  Yet, that wasn't enough turn him off the bees. 
So,  since he's big enough to help out with them, I thought I would give it another go.  I repainted my hives.  I bought Axel a beekeeping suit.  I'm networking with other beekeepers. That's also why I'm blogging again. One of my past mistakes in beekeeping was not keeping a bee journal. Enter the hibernating blog. I'm still short on time. However, I can blog on the bus to and from work. During fall and winter, I often nap during my commute because it's still dark in the morning and the light is already fading in the evening. Now that spring has come, the days are so bright I can't sleep even if I wanted to.  This kind of light fills me with optimism for a productive day ahead, like a promise that I can accomplish all those ideas rattling around  in my head. It feels like the right time to translate the beautiful visions from my mind's eye to reality. 

Beautiful reality #1:  I repainted two deep hive bodies to match the color scheme of the house.

Beautiful reality #2:  Package installation day went off without a hitch. I left the house early enough to beat the traffic in both directions. The weather was perfect for it. I guess l gained enough experience from my previous installations to make this one quick and easy.

Beautiful reality #3:  I added entrance feeders with medicated sugar syrup the next day when I removed the packages and added frames  (I use the indirect release method ). Since I knew that Fumigilan -B  breaks down quickly in sunlight, I covered the jars with light weight plastic plant pots.
Beekeeping with new packages always starts with optimism. This is the honeymoon, if you will. I hope this time next year I'll be telling you how these bees successfully overwintered, instead of presenting another cautionary tale.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I had my head examined

Oddly enough, the doctors did not find all the posts I've been carrying
Oh, my God! You look like you have Dr. Seuss disease!
around in my head for the last several months. Instead, they found chronic sinusitis. That explains why I've been so tired and had so many headaches this summer. I figured they were due to having a two-hour commute and a growing infant. On the positive side, they identified certain things that are not causing my problems. For example, it's not any of the 43 airborne allergens they tested me for.

One of my friends at work told me I looked like I had "Dr. Seuss disease" after I came back from allergy testing. They marked and numbered my arm with a purple marker to indicate where they were they were testing for what.

At any rate, I'm on a long-term course of antibiotics and Nasonex. Maybe it is doing some good since I'm posting for the first time in ages.

In case you were wondering, my Hog's Watch wish came true. Wolf received the balaclava in time to get some use out of it. As a matter of fact, it arrived faster than any other package we sent him during the year he was in Afghanistan.

Now he and Stephanie are expecting a little one of their own. Despite my health problems, I set right to work on a sweater for Baby H. Since it was too soon to tell if it was a boy or girl, I tried to choose neutral color combination from all the baby hats that I haven't blogged about. One of my co-workers thought the green edging made it look more masculine, but everyone else thought it would work for either sex. It's the Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker. The yarn is Dalegarn Falk, which is a superwash wool. The buttons are dyed mother-of-pearl that I bought on the cheap from Tuesday Morning. You might notice that the stripes get bigger farther down the length of the body and the sleeves. The truth is, weaving in all the ends from the two-row stripes had me ready to weep. So, to keep what little remained of my sanity, the stripes grew. It turns out they are having a boy.

I also finally sewed the eyes onto Vova's fish hat. Now that we're entering fall, I'd better start on a matching one for Axel. The yarn is Jojoland Rhythm in color M19.

What are you knitting this fall?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Wish for Hogswatch

Dear Hogfather,

For Hogswatch, I don't want anything for myself this year. All I really want is for the box of goodies to make it to Wolf in Afghanistan at lightening speed. It would be nice if the balaclava I knit for him arrived in time for him to make good use of it.
I made it using leftovers of Eskimo from when I made the wolf jacket. It's so soft that Vova thought it was cashmere.

I guess he could still use it as a hand-puppet, if it's not cold by the time it arrives.

By the way, I found something called 'slow synchro' flash under the manual setting on my camera. It works much better than the nuclear-blast quality of the normal flash.

Here's wishing lots of beans and sausages to all the good boys and girls.



Monday, December 12, 2011

Baby Boom

A dear friend of ours was in town last weekend to celebrate a big birthday with his family. He mentioned his daughter was due to deliver at any minute. That was my cue to whip out another last-minute baby bonnet. I went with green and purple this time since I didn't know the sex of the baby. 

The little girl was born in time to make an appearance at her grandfather's birthday party. Both she and her mother looked great.

Since the last one seemed so big, I did one less row of increases and knit only two inches across the top instead of three. I also made the strap only four inches long. This one looks more like 0-3 month size. I happened to notice my gauge in Stockinette was 20 stitches over 4 inches instead of the recommended 14. That would explain the larger size.

Several months ago, I bought a bunch of mother-of-pearl buttons in various colors at Tuesday Morning. One of those happened to be a perfect match for the purple in the hat. The yarn is Falk from Dale of Norway, which is washable wool. I think it's cruel to give new parents any type of baby garment that isn't machine-washable. 

It's a good thing I have a good supply of machine-washable yarns since there are more babies on the way. I have a friend due in February and three co-workers due in April.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I meant to do that...really

Ha! You didn't think I would make it back to post again so soon, did you? I have to admit I'm a bit surprised myself.

I finished the bonnet in time, early even. I wove in all the ends and sewed on the button Sunday night. There was no feverish finishing on the bus Monday morning.

You might notice the band around the top is not solid garter stitch like it's supposed to be. I fell into the meditative flow that is stockinette stitch, but then also automatically went back to garter stitch a row or two later. Did I rip back and make it all garter stitch? No, of course I didn't. It became a design feature of alternating stockinette and garter stitch.

Speaking of design features, making this pattern in two colors instead of one was a bit fiddly at first. I knitted in green up through the first increase row. Then I added the pink on the next wrong-side row. If I had thought ahead a little, I would have wound the green into two separate before starting this little adventure. Unraveling half a ball of yarn, cutting and rewinding it while knitting is not one of the more fun things I've done in my life.

 I could have stranded it, but I didn't want to. That would make it a much slower project, for one thing. In all honesty, I just wanted to keep it simple. So, I used a simple intarsia technique, crossing the contrast and main color yarns at either end of the row. 

The right-leaning increases were leaving big holes, so I knitted those stitched twisted. I wrapped the yarn counter-clockwise around the needle before I pulled it through the stitch. Otherwise, I followed the instructions in the book for the increases.

The pattern gives measurements for the finished product, but that's not really useful unless you have the average head size memorized for babies anywhere from newborn to 12 months of age. I went down a needle size and a yarn weight and still ended up with a hat that fits my four-month-old. I made the strap six inches instead of the stated seven, which I think was still a little too long.
My co-worker loved it and thought it was perfect. I'll probably make a couple more of these since I have other co-workers who are expecting. They may or may not have the same "design feature." We'll see.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm an Ambitious Girl

There's a big to-do list in my head for today. A little voice tells me it's probably too big for one day, but there is no success without an attempt. I've been away from the blog for far too long. This little post will let me put a mental check mark on something on my list. Vova takes care of the baby while I'm at work, so when I'm home caring for him takes top priority. I love that people read my posts, but not as much as spending time with Axel. That includes cleaning up poopy diapers.

Jenny asked about the reference to the Doggie Booties pattern in the translation of the Car Booties pattern. Not to worry; all the instructions you need to make the little cars are in the translation. However, if you'd like to see Marina's page, click here. I feel guilty for not having answered that question sooner even though I'm back back at work full-time with my killer commute.

There are a couple of finished knits lurking in the background. I'm not ambitious enough to try to bring everything up to date today. On the other hand, I'm confident that this weekend I can finish, at least, one little knit for a co-worker who's expecting. She's moving to a different city and Monday is her last day in the office. It's the Baby Bonnet from Joelle Hoverson's More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. Yes, it probably would be going faster if I had stuck to a single color. My optimistic nature collided with neurotic love of intarsia to produce this little hat that looks like a rosebud with the sepals still curled around it. I'll give more details next time. I may be ambitious, but I do have some sense of time management.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Look what I made!

Well, Vova helped make him, too. This is our son, Axel. He's a beautiful, healthy boy who takes up most of our time and we wouldn't have it any other way.

In this picture, he's wearing the hooded baby cardigan I made for him. I put it on him a lot since he loved wearing it. As I had hoped, it was warm enough to ward off the chill of the air conditioning without giving him heat stroke. Those busy hands had fun fingering the garter stitch border as well as the texture of the yarn. After the second washing, it shrank a bit too much. I'm hoping I can stretch it out again.

The week before he was born, I knitted the one skein hooded baby sweater for our friends in Germany who had a baby girl in June. I really hate point-and-shoot cameras. The concept of fill flash does not exist on these devices. The only flash option these things have leave the subjects in the pictures looking like they were in the vicinity of a nuclear blast. Ahem, pardon my digression.

 The day before I went into labor, I had blocked the sweater and started on these folded booties to go with it. The aunt of the little girl lives here and is also a friend of ours. I managed to add all the embellishments in time to pass the set off to her yesterday to deliver when she goes to visit next week. Hopefully, they will send me a nice picture of her wearing the sweater and/or the booties.

As with all the kid things I make, Vova wants me to make some for him in adult size.