Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Episode 20 - Snow & Such

Hello everyone!
Had some snow that covered the ground this past week, but the temps warmed up and we received some rain, so guess where that went?  Here's hoping for some more white stuff.

Fiber Conquests

The Mystery Cowl KAL is done.  The cowl now has a name:  The Sartorial Cowl.  The word "sartorial" means 'of or relating to a tailor.'  My cowl is blocking---I'll be adding buttons when it's dry.

I'll be starting a couple of pairs of fingerless mitts for some of the men in my family for holiday gifts.  The pattern is from Knits Men Want by Bruce Weinstein.  The book gives multiple gauges for the projects which is extremely helpful when trying to use up stash yarn or whatever is on hand at any given time.  I'm going to be using my own mill-spun yarn for these projects:  a warm dark grey yarn from Harvey's and Dugel's fleeces.

Work on the Fine Feathered Cloche by Linda Cyr continues (Clever Crocheted Accessories by Brett Bara). 

I'll be starting another hat from this same book (another gift, most likely):  The Sedimentary Hat by KJ Hay.  This hat uses two colors---the main color will be, again, the warm dark grey yarn from my sheep and a cream-colored yarn from Maple's fleece.

No news in spinning or other crafting as these have taken a back seat to the holiday rush gifts!

What's happening on the farm and in the barn?

Well, we had a yearly vet visit this week.  The sheep received all their shots (vaccinations) and they were checked over.  Bentley, our Golden Retriever, also had an exam and some blood drawn to check for parasites---he was good as gold (no pun intended!)

Seymour is in good health and will be off to visit 4 other BFL lady sheep on another farm this Saturday.  The farm is owned by a friend and I made her no promises about his verility.

The DH and I had to take a hacksaw to Harvey's wayward horns after the vet left.  His horns grow straight into his head unless we chip away at them every now and again.  He is, certainly, my most genetically-mutant sheep amongst the bunch---but he is our first and only (so far) lamb born on the farm and so, he's kind of special to us.........his fleece is beautiful too---and when you're a spinner, that's a good reason to keep on keeping on.....

Chickens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! have arrived!  Oh, it's so good to have chickens back on the farm again.  We have four---all different breeds:  Golden Comet, Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, and Bard Rock.  Can't wait for the fresh eggs again---yahoo!

Our wild birds have been coming to the feeder (which I just re-hung for the year) in droves.  We have mostly chickadees and grey jays---it's great to watch them though.  We had to move the feeder already because Cooper was chowing down on the feed that was dumped on the ground---makes for a very high fiber diet for a dog.

Sleeping on the Job:  Cognitive changes due to anesthesia

The studies that are out there right now are inconclusive---in other words, is this phenomenon caused by anesthesia, surgery, inflammation, or a combination of these three.  A lot of times, the cognitive changes are already there and anesthesia serves to "unmask" what a person has successfully been able to hide or compensate for.  So, it may be what the patient brings to the table as this type of phenomenon is most common in the elderly.  Sometimes, just some soothing words are enough to calm a patient who is experiencing emergence delirium.


Folks, remember, we are having a giveaway for the month of December.  On New Year's eve, I will be choosing one lucky listener to receive Cast On Bind Off:  211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting by Cap Sease.  All you have to do is go on over to the Counting Sheep Podcast Group on Ravelry (please join us!) and leave a comment on the thread---tell be what your favorite cast on and/or bind off is.  We've already had some great comments---thanks!

Geo-Georgie comes to visit

Cooper with Geo-Georgie
I was given the opportunity to participate in a 2nd-grader's homework assignment and I had a blast.  The 2nd-grader is Daniel, the son of a dear friend in NJ.  Geo-Georgie is a cartoon turtle colored by Daniel----I took Georgie on a picture-tour of some sites in Windsor and on the farm and picked up some old photographs in town to send back to NJ with him.

So that's all for this week...........take care!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Episode 19 - A Renaissance

A rebirth of hiatus from the podcast has lasted way too long:  late spring, all of summer, and most of fall.  The podcast has been "reborn," but with the same segments; new material.  Thanks to everyone for sticking by me and waiting for another episode to pop up!  Episode 19 had a rocky start with my recording the intro 5 times before 'getting it right.'  I'm using a different microphone (the built-in one rather than the headset).  Let me know if the sound quality is better, worse or just the same!  So, let's get on with it, shall we?

Fiber Conquests

In knitting:  I am actually participating in a KAL!!  Woo-hoo!  Well, I've tried this before---I had a lack-luster showing during the Ravelenic Games where I foolishly thought that my break-neck schedule would allow me to finish a simple knitted vest in two weeks during the summer!  The joke was on ME. 

The KAL I'm in right now is hosted by Star Athena (on Ravelry) and it is called the Mystery Cowl KAL.  It's pretty simple:  I ordered the recommended yarn from Blue Moon---it's a bulky weight Merino yarn called De-vine, but I suppose you could use any bulky weight yarn.  I think the colorways offered by Blue Moon really make this project shine.  My colorway is Currier & Ives, which I wasn't fond of so much in the skein, but the cowl is looking really good.  Can't post any pictures yet as it is a mystery after all----will post the finished cowl when it's done which should be this week.  The KAL consists of 3 clues;  one released per week on Tuesdays.  The last clue is due this Tuesday!  It's been fun to see this develop! This cowl will most likely be a Christmas gift for someone in my family.

If you'd like to participate, here's the link for the KAL info:

Small sock started in class
In other knitting news:  I took a class with Beth Brown-Reinsel at WEBS as part of my Expert Knitter's Certification Program.  The class was Twined  which is a Swedish knitting technique whereby two strands of the same color yarn are twined around each other, and creates a warmer, denser fabric than conventional stranded knitting. So cool!  In class, we started and worked on a very small sock to learn the technique-----but there is no way this sock is going to fit me and I'm all about utility, so I bought Beth's Twined Knitted Socks pattern that she designed herself.

Beth is a lovely lady and a wonderful teacher with the patience of a saint.  I pondered to her out loud about designing a Twined-knitted sweater for my Capstone Project----she was so gracious and offered to be a consultant for me!  Beth lives right here in Vermont----she's 'just down the road' from me..................maybe, if I get crazy enough to hold a Counting Sheep Podcast Retreat someday, I can convince her to teach at the meantime, find her info here:

Crochet Corner:

So the gauntlet has been thrown down at work for a hat contest at this year's Holiday party for our anesthesia department.  No men need apply------------because they are having their own contest which involves facial hair. 

The start of my cloche
Of course, I cannot BUY a hat to wear, I have to make one right?  I'm crocheting the Fine Feathered Cloche by Linda Cyr out of Clever Crocheted Accessories.  The book is full of do-in-a-weekend projects and there's not a dud in the book.  I'm loving the stitch detail on the cloche which is finished off with grosgrain ribbon and some sort of floral pick of choice---mine might be holly berries or some such thing.........I'm using Lamb's Pride Worsted in Seafoam.

Well most of you know about my great intentions of joining the Knitmore Girls' SPAKAL---what an Epic fail on my part.  Work on Harvey's fleece has stalled because it's far easier to travel with my drop spindle in tow which already has another project on it.  The roving on my drop spindle is so old---I'm not even sure if I dyed this roving or if I bought it (how pathetic is that?!?)
BUT, it's almost all spun up and it's destination you ask?  It will stay as a single and I intend to crochet the Boho Blocks Cardigan by Valentina Devine from Interweave Crochet Magazine Fall 2006.

In Crochet Shirret:
Had LOTS of interest in the Shirret at the shows---I demo the technique and display some of the things I've made.  I'm brainstorming big time about writing up some of these patterns so stay tuned for more of that----------I'm lucky to have my own personal photographer (the DH) on hand to help with the self-publishing!

I am learning Rigid Heddle Weaving via an on-line class through Craftsy.  Not to worry, this is not going to turn into a podcast about weaving---just trying to burn through some stash quickly.  I mention this only because I want to encourage you to visit the Crafsy website and take a look at what they offer in terms of learning new crafting techniques.  I'm really enjoying this platform---it allows you to view the video, pause it wherever you like, rewind it, view it again, bookmark it, and take notes right on screen.  In addition, you can e-mail the instructor with any questions you have and posting pictures of your finished projects is highly encouraged.  I was firmly convinced that weaving was not for me after two different several-week classes on basic weaving.  What I found is that I needed some individual attention/instruction in order to learn to weave (I guess it's just how I'm wired) and thankfully, Craftsy has provided such instruction.  Really, I'm not a paid spokesperson for Craftsy (although I wish I were! ;-), I just love this learning platform---I've even learned how to make cheese----and I'm now a cheese monster!  So go on over and check it out!  If you hurry, all classes are $19.99 until midnight 11/26!

What's happening on the farm?  In the barn?

Cooper is what's happening!! Our new, bouncing, springing, Golden Retriever puppy arrived early July.  He settled in well and graduated from both Puppy-K and Level I Obedience.  We had great intentions of going onto Level II Obedience and then taking a test to see if we'd be a good therapy dog but alas, the classes turned out to be more exhausting to me than they were to Cooper.  Cooper had fun with all his dog friends at class and now has bonded well with Bentley (who at first, was a bit indifferent to his presence).

Sheep:  No new babies at all---which begs the question:  is Seymour interested in anybody but himself?  We fought the good battle this summer trying to rotate the sheep on pasture so that they had enough to eat---the drought was challenging.  They are eating hay now and are pretty happy I'm sure that they don't have to go "searching" for suitable grass for a while.  The vet comes for a farm visit this Thursday to give shots and to make sure everyone is healthy---it's our once-a-year visit.

On a sad note, we've lost all of our chickens to a very hungry, very tenacious raccoon.  We had started to free-range our chickens in the spring so that they could get out on the lawn to eat bugs and do their chicken thing.  I guess the raccoon caught wind of this and it was one disaster after another with the last three chickens being carried off in October.  We are planning on reinforcing the housing with cinder blocks dug deep----should resemble Fort Knox when the DH gets done with it.  We'll try again in the spring with starter pullets---looks like we can get chickens from the supplier as early as March---that will be nice since I am now totally addicted to farm-fresh eggs!

In gardening news, the garden has been put to bed for the fall.  It didn't really do well this year for two reasons:  the drought and my lack of keeping up with watering and the lack of rototilling in the spring.  So, we did a "lasagna" compost this fall.  We layered newspaper, chopped up leaves, and then compost on the garden.  We're hoping that this rejuvenates the soil and gives us some good crops next year.

Sleeping on the Job

Being supportive is such a simple concept and yet it alludes us sometimes.  It can simply be, listening, not offering any advice, just being there for another colleague or individual at work.  I have, in my not-so-distant past, been in management.  Management, as a career, and I do not see eye-to-eye.  Perhaps it's my German upbringing, but I don't have a great deal of tolerance for having to tell any of my colleagues how to do their job----I just assume that if you are a professional, you should know your job.  So, now as an employee again---a nurse anesthetist whose job is to give anesthesia without managing other colleagues---I can see both sides of the coin.  I am sympathetic to the trials and tribulations of managing and I understand the daily 'trenchwork' which, quite frankly, isn't too bad at all.  Anyway, I find myself, more than ever, being supportive to those who have the onorous job of managing others.

Book reviewCast On, Bind OFF:  211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting by Cap Sease.  Published by Martingale 2012.  160 pages.  Retails for $27.99.  Two thumbs up for this book.  I like the idea of having so many options when it comes to starting and ending.  The author has provided great illustrations (for us visual learners) as well as text (for those of us who excell at following  the written word).  Also, the purpose of each cast-on and bind-off is explained---that is to say, should you want a more structured vs. a more stretchy effect.  I love some of the names given to the various techniques; some are named after the people who invented them.  The index is a great resource if you need to reference one of these techniques quickly. The book is spiral-bound which is a great feature since the book will open flat on a surface and tuck away nicely into a bag.

We are having a give-away of one copy of this book to a lucky listener.  In order to enter, please go over to the Counting Sheep Podcast group in Ravelry and leave a reply on the thread:  "What is your favorite cast-on and/or bind-off?"  On New Year's Eve, I will use a random number generator to select the winner of this book.

Hurricane Sandy:
This storm hit the mid-Atlantic area hard including New Jersey, my state of origin.  I spent many a summer day at the Jersey shore and many of the photos I've viewed on the news in the current weeks have been heart wrenching.  My heart goes out those affected by the storm.  My parents and my sister and her family reside inland and thankfully, are safe.  They had some downed trees as well as long power outages, but it all pales in comparison to those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.  Like Vermont with Irene, I know those folks will prevail---keep the faith my friends!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Episode 16 - Comittment

Just a few days left to leave a response to our "Name the Sheep" contest! Contest ends midnight on February 29 and I will be drawing a name (via random-number generator) on March 1st and podcasting that day! Shocked? So am I! The winner receives a sweater's worth of our own yarn---hand-grown here on the farm---from our Shetland Sheep. The yarn is worsted weight and you have a choice of color---creamy white or brown-grey (I've been corrected on this color!) Here's a pic of the two colors:

You can leave your entry here by commenting on the blog or on Ravelry under the thread in the Counting Sheep podcast group. Good luck!

Fiber Conquests


Sizzlin' Hot Hat continues to be stalled.......I really do love doing this colorwork, but have been trying to meet other fiber-related deadlines. The ribbing for this hat is 2- 1/2 inches and once I get past that, I can add my own creativity with fish! Stay tuned for future developments!

What HAVE I completed? The Citron Shawlet
te!! YAAY! This item is the January project of the "Christmas Club" I joined up with at my LYS. February's project is the Jabberwock Scarf and I've bought the yarn: Cascade Lana Bambu (79% wool, 21% viscose from bamboo) Color #2. Pattern is a free Ravelry download. I actually started this after podcasting and have some pictures---you'll see that there is a different, unique pattern on each side.

Another project I completed is the Slip Stitc
h Baby Blanket that I was making for a baby shower. Made the deadline on this one by the skin of my teeth. The gift was well-received by the mom-to-be. Pattern is from 60 Quick Baby Knits.

Work on the Eco Vest has stalled as well & that's because of my enrollment in W
EB's Expert Knitter's Certification Program (yes, CRAZY, I know........welcome to my world!) The program consists of a curriculum of 15 core courses with 3 elective courses. Toward the end, you design your own sweater as a capstone project. This semester, I'm taking a course called: Top-Down Raglan Sweater from Measurements. The course text is Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker which is back in print. My top-down raglan is going to be a cardigan and I'm using yarn from my stash: Cascade 220 in a lilac color (#9541)---a total departure for me!

In Crochet:
The Dusty Snowflake Throw progress has stalled as well, but, hey, I'm only human right?

I promised in the last episode to get going on some kind of crocheted garment. Well, I found one: The Swain Sweater from the Winter 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet. The design is by Megan Granholm and the technique is tunisian. Hook size is L or 11 (metric size: 8mm). The yarn is unique and probably not readily available anymore (I went stash-diving big-time on this one). Let me explain: Many moons ago when all the trouble was going on in the Balkans, the Green Mountain Spinnery teamed up with an organization called "Rainbow Socks." The "Rainbow Socks" project offered hope and income to refugee women from the Balkans through the sale of their handicrafts in the U.S. GMS produced a yarn called "For Kosovo" as a commemorative and I am the proud owner of several skeins of this yarn. I'm glad that this special yarn finally told me what it wanted to be. Ray couldn't resist being part of the picture for this one:

In spinning: Drop spinning some Cormo fiber I picked up at the New England F
iber Festival this past fall.

What's happening in the Barn and on the Farm?
Fergus antics
Due date for Sayda???
Haircut for Bentley
Hershey & Midnight have a Valentine's date
Chickens continue to be productive

Sleeping on the Job
Comittment to oneself----my comittments are yoga and walking everyday!! What are yours?

Yammer: Our Knitting Community
Until next time............

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wintry Mix

These show notes are a couple of days late......sorry folks---had an podcast upload glitch with one of my browsers and that took me two days to hash out. Took me another couple of days to get all the pictures I've said before, sometimes I just can't get out of my own way!

Thank-you everyone who has participated thus far in our very first contest!! I'm just loving all the names that you have come up with for our newest little fellow here on the farm. Your support means so much!!

Fiber Conquests

In knitting:
My Wintry Mix Sweater designed by Amy Herzog is done and I am lovin' it!! Done up in Berroco Blackstone Tweed colorway "Steamers." Fits well, and it was a joy to knit---although I miscalculated how much time it would take to knit up the collar---the collar truly makes the sweater.....I'm sure you'll agree!

My second Sizzlin' Hot Hat designed by Lucy Neatby
is going at a glacial pace as I've been distracted by other projects which have a deadline as you will see....

I've joined a 'Christmas Club' for knitters. The concept is simple----knit one project a month and stow it away to give to those lucky someones for Christmas 2012. Hoping this will fare better than the Rockin' Sock Club did
last year (update: have YET to finish a pair of socks from the Rockin' Sock Club--even though there were only 6 pairs to knit for the year! Shameful!). Anyhoo, the January (ergo, the first) project is the Citron Shawlette designed by Hilary Smith Callis. I've been woefully late-to-the-party on this one because it basically went viral on Ravelry soon after its release on Knitty in 2009. What can I say? I'm not a big shawl person---inhabitants of New England tend to gravitate towards sweater-knitting. I must say though that it's been a good knit---using some cool laceweight merino by Ella Rae---AND it looks like I might just get it done by the deadline!! Fingers crossed! Wish me luck!

Have been searching around for a project to use my very limited supply of mill spun 'Fergus' yarn on. Fergus is our brown Shetland wether (neutered) sheep---it's a very lovely shade of brown and I thought I deserved something made
from it since he's not the easiest animal to keep----recall the 'Fergus' damage that my DH has to repair on the barn every spring when Fergus decides he's had enough of winter and repeatedly bashes his head into the walls of the barn. You have to wonder what goes through their minds.............I digress.......the project, oh yes---I decided upon the Eco Vest by Katie Himmelberg which is in the book Knitting Green. The pattern came to me via a free e-book download from Knitting Daily which is a daily e-newsletter put out by the folks at Interweave Press---I think I subscribe to 4 of their magazines altogether. Anyway, the Eco Vest is a great knit---4 row pattern repeat which is easy to memorize and this is going to be one cozy vest---pattern calls for Size 10.5 needles, but I've gone down two sizes as usual as I'm always the loosey-goosey knitter.

I've been invited to a baby shower for a fellow co-worker who started with me back in 2008. I was in quite a quandary over what to make whe
n I heard that she loves handmade things. Lucky for me, my LYS, White River Yarns, helped me out. Went in last Saturday an purchased enough Cascade 220 Superwash yarn in the appropriate colors to make the Slip Stitch Blanket featured as project #59 in 60 Quick Baby Knits (a review of the book is in the Yammer section of this episode of the podcast). Loving this project and REALLY crossing my fingers about getting it done on time---shower is February 8th!!

In Crochet:

Made some progress on my Dusty Snowflake Throw---added another row of snowflake motifs to the throw with some speed bumps along the way. This is a join-as-you-go throw and I don't have a lot of experience (read: none) joining motifs as I go. So I had a couple of false starts, but I think I have the hang of it now.

In spinning:
Still working on the dog hair from my sister---the ultimate procrastination project as I don't enjoy spinning dog hair much...just sayin'. But the sooner I get the dog hair done, the sooner I can move on to other wonderful fibers!!

What's happening on the farm and in the barn?
Listen into the podcast to hear me go on about some mishaps that happened with our newest addition to the flock. Also, where are the birds this winter?

Sleeping on the Job: Settling in to being a 'full-time' worker at just one place of employment. May use this segment in the future to talk about the phenomenon of pain.

Book review: 60 Quick Baby Knits

Thanks to everyone for tuning me to you again soon!