Monday, December 15, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

I hope you're all staying warm tonight. It's pretty darn cold here, but not as cold as some places. I'm glad I don't live in Minot, North Dakota--I saw on the news they had an air temp of -22 degrees and the windchill made it feel like -65 or something awful like that. We had a temp of -7, with a windchill of -35 when we left for work this morning; that was pretty hard to take especially since it was 43 degrees (above zero!) on Sunday morning. That little thaw resulted in our garage door becoming frozen to the ground, so there were a few anxious moments this morning as Mr. Johnson had to use the ice chipper to loosen the garage door so it would open and we could leave for work. For any of you that live (or have lived) in colder climates, you know that it's the wind that makes it feel coldest. Here's what a wind chill of -30 does to the bubbler in the heated birdbath on my deck.
I have what appears to be a little ice volcano over the bubbler. You can see that the water is completely ice free, but the air temperature is so cold that it freezes the spray of the water that's being pumped up over the rock, resulting in this covering of ice over the bubbler. The birds still come to the edge of this birdbath to drink, but they know it's too cold for bathing. Once the wind dies down, the warmth of the water should eventually melt this icy covering away.

To take my mind off the frigid weather, look what arrived in my mailbox today:
Yea!! My first seed catalog! I took a few minutes to look through it and think about the nice warm days of next May when I'll be planting my next vegetable garden.

Here are some pictures of several recently completed knitting projects.
This hat is a Christmas present going to my nephew Charlie in California. This pattern is called Ear Flap Kids Hat and can be found at Knitting Pattern Central. The pattern is for a plain hat, but I decided to knit in a little color. After I got done with the white design, I noticed it wasn't lined up exactly with the blue design, but I don't think Charlie will notice. I'll have to remember that for next time though. (In case you're wondering, my hat model is a squash!)

This next hat (entitled "A Pup Named Phil Hat") is from the toddler's clothing section of Knitting Pattern Central. It will be going to my great nephew for Christmas. You know, I've been knitting for a lot of years, but I can honestly say that I don't remember knitting anything as cute as this ever before. I can hardly wait to see how this looks on Ethan.

The rest of these aren't Christmas presents, just pictures of projects you've only seen partially completed before. Here's the shawl I made from the Noro Kureyon sock yarn. It's a small shawl, but adds a nice bit of warmth around my shoulders. I probably should have used a plain colored yarn, because I don't think you really notice the lace pattern with the color changes in the yarn. I'm also not totally happy with the edging. The points on the edge that pulled out very nicely when I blocked it are now tending to curl up. I'm thinking about adding some beads on those points around the edge to give the fabric a bit of extra weight and keep it from curling up.

Here's the other Tam O'Shanter I knitted from Angela Sixian Wu's "Three Tams" pattern. I really like how these colors turned out. The dark colored yarn is a 2-ply worsted weight wool called Regal (part of that yarn my friend Don gave to me last summer). As I was knitting with it, I thought the yarn was a little bit rough, but once I washed this hat and put in a little fabric softener, it dried so nicely (over the dinnerplate again) and is now really soft to the touch. I'll add it to my drawer of finished projects until I find the perfect giftee or silent auction to donate it to.
Top View of Tam

Bottom View of Tam

Have a good evening and stay warm! It's time for me to go sit by the fireplace and knit some more!


NCmountainwoman said...

I just love all your knit pieces. As a relatively new knitter, I can tell you I am enjoying it immensely. So relaxing and satisfying. Cuts into my reading time, though.

Shellmo said...

I am just amazed at the talent in your knitting pieces! So many beautiful pieces!

Mama Pea said...

Your morning temp and wind chill factor were very similar to ours! I thought you lived in the warm part of the state. :o)

Both hats for your nephew and great nephew are adorable. And the colors of your latest tam make me think of a stained glass window. Just beautiful.

Seems to me the seed companies used to wait until January to send out their new catalogs. Don't they know they stand a chance of getting lost in the crush of the holidays?

Glad you found time to post, Ruthie. I so enjoy reading your blog.

dAwN said...

yikes...very cold...hope you melt quickly...
love your knitted items..
you are very talented

Kallen305 said...

OMG!! I love your knitted items. The hats are so cute and the scarf is magnificent. I love all of the colors in it.

Sorry to hear about your weather. I can't bear wind chills. I am glad to see your bird bath can still provide water to the birds. I am getting a heated one for Christmas so it's nice to see pictures of how good they are and can even withstand temps as frigid as the ones you are having!

Sending warm thoughts your way in hopes it will bring your temperatures up some. ;o)

Red said...

Even if you're not in ND, stay by that fireplace and keep warm!!! Yipes, and to think I've been complaining that it's cold here. Our cold was your high the other day!

Mary said...

Dear Ruthie, if I still lived in MD or DE where we had way below freezing temps and wind chills at times, I'd pay you to knit both Michael and I hats with those ear flaps. I wish I knew you 5 years ago! You do marvelous work. But, I still have my white kitchen washcoth which looks too elaborate to use! I use it under plates :o)

The freezing water fountains are familiar. Can you imagine what a pond waterfall looks like during weather you are having? ENORMOUS chunks of ice would break and fall to float on the pond. Amazing.



Heather said...

Brrr, you got some cold stuff there! Thanks for sharing your knitting projects, they're all great. Really, really love the Tam... the color combination is fantastic! Nicely done.

Dana and Daisy said...

your knitting prowess amazes me!

A heated bird bath? Now I have seen everything! Excellent idea, too!

Maud said...

Interesting how the ice forms over the bird bath!
Your knitting projects are lovely, the puppy hat especially cute.

Mary C said...

Those kids' hats are so cute and adorable. They definitely look like they would be a lot of fun to knit. I'm sure the recipients will treasure them - or at least their parents will.

Jayne said...

Your talent never ceases to amaze me Ruthie. So pretty!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow Ruthie. The patterns and colors you use to knit are awesome. I love that toddler hat. I bet any little one would like to wear it.

KGMom said...

As I write this comment, I am looking out my sun porch window (actually a door) watching a bird drink from our heated bird bath--no bubbler though. And the temp here yesterday was 60 F. Disgusting for winter.
My brother lives in Winnepeg, Manitoba--just up the road from ND. And he said it was -30 + F the other day. That's cold.
I do have to laugh at your "knitting" aids--dinner plates. Tee heee.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Carolyn. I'm glad you're enjoying your knitting and hope you stick with it. I have been listening to podcasts while knitting early in the morning on the weekends. I'm going to try downloading some audio books from the library.

Thanks Shelley. I was really glad to find out about Knitting Pattern Central and all those free patterns.

Thanks Mama Pea. It's snowing here again--just a couple inches are predicted, but all the bare spots that melted over the weekend are white again now. It's shaping up to be a good winter for knitting!

Thanks Dawn. All of the ice melted off that birdbath bubbler today, so just a few degrees warmer and no wind makes a huge difference!

Hi Kim,
I've had this big heated birdbath (holds 2 gallons) out year-round for at least 5 years now. The birds love it and I'm really pleased with its performance over the years.

Hi Red,
I talked to my brother on Sunday afternoon and he said he worked that day in rain and low 40's. He mentioned that snow had been predicted for Woodland. 43 felt pretty nice for Minnesota in December, but it must have been awful for you California folks.

Hi Mary,
I can't even imagine what it would cost to keep a small pond heater going all winter here. I have a smaller heated birdbath in the front yard too and between the 2 of these running all winter, my January electric bill has been almost as high as my August A/C bill some years! I'll find a way to pay it though, because the birds really appreciate this fresh water source.

Thanks Heather. This winter has been a bit colder than average already. I wonder what the really cold months are going to be like?

Thanks Dana. Heated birdbaths are a "hot" item here in the north country when the birds are unable to find any unfrozen water sources. It takes a lot of energy for them to eat snow and melt it for drinking. My big birdbath is a very popular spot with my backyard birds.

Thanks Maud. I'll have to try that puppy hat again in some other color combinations.

Thanks Mary C. The patterns were well-written too, so I didn't have any much trouble figuring them out (although I always have a few deviations of my own).

Thanks Jayne.

Thanks Lisa. I've go so many new projects that I want to start, but I'm forcing myself to get Christmas projects done first.

Hi Donna,
I got the bubbler when I worked at Wild Birds Unlimited. Birds are more easily attracted to a moving water source and I put the bubbler in the big birdbath as an experiment to share with customers. It worked out so well and I was able to sell several of those bubblers to other customers who reported the same results with attracting more birds. I wasn't sure how it would work in the wintertime, but it seems to keep working fine even when subzero temps cause ice to form over the top.

troutbirder said...

I love the Seed Saver catalog too. Have been ordering from there for several years. If memoriy serves me I did a post last fall about the wonderful squash I got from them . It was called potimarron (from France) and even better than Waltham butternut if you can believe it!

Meggie said...

Great looking knitting projects, Ruthie! I agree, the pink hat is the cutest!!

Marsha said...

We've had the negative temps all week so far. Even the sunshine doesn't warm it up much.

I just love your knitting talents. The puppy hat is too cute :-)

Larry said...

I can't believe your already looking at seed catalogs!I guess you need to have things to look forward to in weather like that.

maria said...


First time on your blog and I'm enjoying immensely.

The blue flap ear hat is gorgeous.
Love those colors together.