Just knitting on...

A record of my knitting projects and events of my life

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween, Happy Birthday, Happy New Scarf!

Yesterday was my Dad's 82nd birthday. Here he is, talking on the phone to his grandson Steve (my son) while the candles burn on the cake. Isn't he a dear? I think so. It was a quiet celebration, just Mom, me and the two dogs. The big celebration was a couple weeks ago at my sister's in Indiana. We had a yummy dinner of shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, and a standing rib roast. Here's Dad carving the roast beef.

Chelsea and Missy stand by, as the carver has been known to hand out a few scraps .

The rib bones were saved for later consumption out-of-doors. Missy took her bone home wrapped in foil and had a before bedtime treat in the back yard.

I received a package in the mail containing this:

Ann from Colorado knit my ISE scarf and made a knitting project bag for me too! I can't wait to show off the knitting bag at the next S 'n B at Dewey's Coffee House. Here is what I found inside the bag:

One very lovely cabled scarf in shades of blue and violet. It is so me, and will look super with my navy winter coat. I must confess, I had to email my ISE pal yesterday to tell her that it will probably be another week before I finish her scarf. I have completed 19 of 25 pattern repeats, so the end is in sight.

And finally, a Happy Halloween to all. May your kids bring home lots of chocolate!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday, Monday

I've always liked the Mamas and Papas music.

It has been gray and rainy for a week now. I'm about to grow mold or mildew or something. I mailed Katy's sweater on Saturday and I wish I could show you a picture of her modeling it. Maybe my daughter will take pity on me and send me one. The best I can do right now are these photos taken with flash (see above gray weather).
First, the lying limply on the chair shot. Color is at least fairly true on my monitor.

Next is the hanger on the back of the door shot. I know, boring.

Pocket detail.

Very washed-out detail of buttons. You can't see it in this picture, but the ladybugs are a very pale pink with cross hatching in a light pink.

Project Specs:

Design: "Archie" from Kim Hargreaves book, "Pipsqueaks".

Yarn: Rowan Cotton Glace in Peony

Needles: Addi Turbos circulars in size 3, 4, and 5. (mostly size 5)

No modifications to the pattern. The only thing I wish I had done differently is to do a three needle bindoff at the shoulders instead of backstitching the shoulder seams. I was afraid a three needle bind off would stretch out since I was using a cotton yarn, but now after washing and drying the sweater I think it would have held up ok.

I have completed 8 of 25 pattern repeats on the Midwest Moonlight scarf. The scarf has to be in the hands of the recipient on November 1. Can I do it? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Strolling along with Jaywalker

It is dark and rainy today, so dark that I didn't get a picture of Katy's sweater before leaving for work. I did take a picture of Jaywalker today at lunchtime. I've turned the heel and am working on the gusset.

Progress on this sock has been a slow stroll. The yarn is dark, and the needles small (size 1) and if (when) I drop a stitch, it is murder finding it and getting it back on the needle. I find this irritating, and so I'm not enjoying knitting them so much. A lighter color yarn might have been a wiser choice. It really isn't the pattern, as it is all over the knitblogosphere, and others have liked it a lot. I did order the Elegance yarn from KnitPicks yesterday, so I should have something more enjoying to work on soon.

Last night there was a political fundraiser at my house. I didn't have alot to do with it, other than providing the house. My Ex has a brother who is running for Congress from a district near Dayton, Ohio and he (the Ex) had asked if I would be willing to let him hold a fundraiser for his brother at the house. Well, we own the house jointly, and he was willing to have a caterer do the food and clean-up, so I said yes. The turnout was small. I hardly thought this was surprising since it was for a candidate not only from another congressional district, but the opposite end of the state. After everyone left the Ex, the candidate and his wife, and I were sitting in living room talking. The candidate then asked me if I would buy, or ask my parents to buy, an airline ticket from London, England to Dayton, Ohio so that his older daughter's British boyfriend could come over for election day. I was taken totally by surprise and I guess I'm such a wimp that I didn't know what to say to such a request and so I said ok. Afterwards I was so angry at myself. Why did I let myself agree to such a request? I mean only one thing to this man. M-O-N-E-Y. And he thought I should ask my parents for money for such a purpose!! Don't even want to go there. I haven't taken a vacation myself in a year, as I spent all my savings fixing up the house that did not sell. I don't have any cash to spare and it will have to go on a credit card. Later I asked my Ex what he thought, and he said, "It's just like another campaign contribution". I guess he thought such a request wasn't out of line. The Ex was very active in politics during the years we were married. A lot of sleazy stuff goes on, and I was really turned off by it. It was one of the things that eroded our marriage because he really loves the political life. I hadn't forgotten this, but I haven't thought about it much in the past four years either. It bothers me that politicians always think someone else should pay for everything. It was so blatant in our state capitol that an ethics law was passed. It doesn't appear that much has changed though. Oh well. I do feel a bit better now that I have written this. And there will NOT be anymore fundraisers in my house.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Family News

It was a good weekend. I finished Katy's sweater and it has been washed and is blocking now. Picture tomorrow. I also did a little knitting on the Jaywalker sock. The heel has been turned. Knit Picks sent the wrong yarn, Merino Style, not Elegance. I ordered on line, and had a little trouble with the website. I put what I think was Elegance into the shoping cart and then decided to order an Elegance colorcard while I was at it. After leaving the shopping cart page to order the color card I had some trouble getting back to that page. I don't know if that was the problem or not. Anyhow I got Merino Style instead of Elegance. The packing slip said Merino Style, so it wasn't the case that whoever packed the order put the wrong thing in the box. So I can't start Midwest Moonlight just yet. I've have to re-order the Elegance. I think I'll do it by phone this time. I also think I'll just keep the Merino Style. Look at this! I don't know this knitter's name but here is her blog and she knits beautiful things. So the Forbes Forest Scarf is now on the unofficial want-to-knit list for me.
My son Stephen called to tell me he passed the Virginia Bar Exam. He lives in the District of Columbia and had already passed the Maryland Bar Exam. Then he was hired by a law firm in Virginia and so he had to take the Virginia Bar Exam as well. He's quite relieved to have that behind him.
I got a new car this weekend. It's Pontiac Torrent, in Sonoma Red (a deep red) and I love it already. It will be great for those long drive to Washington, DC to visit my children and grandchildren.
Daughter Chris called to tell me that Katy's soccer team won their first game 8-3. Princess Katy scored 5 of her team's goals. Princess Katy? The dainty little ballerina? The child who prefers dresses to pants and nightgowns to pajamas? The diva who orders a frappaccino and scone at Starbucks? The little beauty who is perfectly at home at Tea at the Ritz? Chris assures me that it was that Katy! Coach is calling her "Katie Hamm".
Enough bragging. Gotta go.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's not a hood yet!

But almost! I have one cm. left, then a three needle bind off. So that's just a couple/three rows to go. The yarn I ordered from KnitPicks for the Midwest Moonlight scarf hasn't arrived yet, so that's good. I'm determined to finish Katy's sweater before starting the scarf. Sigh. I'm trying to establish better knitting work habits, as cleaning out the project basket showed very clearly that I MUST get things finished before starting new projects. I don't want anything else collecting in that basket! And someday, all the projects currently in the basket will be done, so help me G*d.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow, you're always a day away!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Slow going

Last Friday, as I bound off sleeve two of Katy's sweater, I was sure I was going to finish it over the week end and have a finished object to show off on the blog on Monday. Here it is Tuesday and here is the progress. I backstitched the front to the back and picked up stitches for the hood. I had forgotten about the hood. Well, not forgotten exactly, but a hood, it's a mere bagatell, should knit up in a jiffy. Three days later and I still have another 8 cm to go. Ok, I did weave in a lot of ends too. But still. Maybe NEXT Monday.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What's in the Project Basket

I've been putting this off for a while, but the Project Basket needed a good tidying and it got it this week end. First, remove everything from the basket, shake, blow, and brush off dog hair that has drifted into the basket as Missy the Dog passes it on her way to her "cave" behind the recliner chair in the corner.
Well, let's see what have we got here?

Assorted swatches. Remove the ones not related to current projects. Note to self: "Self, LABEL these things in the future--at least with needle size-- if you ever hope to duplicate the gauge in your lifetime."

Ye gods and little fishes, it's novelty yarn! I confess to knitting a scarf or two from this stuff in the past and hating every minute of it.

Put back in stash and/or find someone to give it a good home.

Now that's a nice ball of sock yarn, but what is it doing here? It belongs in the sock yarn basket with the other sock yarn balls. I have no clue where I got this, perhaps someone sent it to me. I blame my aging brain. And there is the Suri Elegance ball, hopefully someday to be Icarus. I still want to knit that project. It can stay.

Not a great picture of these, it's a dark yarn. This is the cuff of the Jaywalker socks. I did tink back to the mistake, and I'll get to it someday. I must finish Katy's sweater and then knit the Midwest Moonlight scarf. So back in the basket they go to await my attention.

Odd balls left from past projects. I probably should just toss them out, but I can't make myself do it. I'll pack them in a ziplock bag and it can go in the stash. You never know when you may need a few scraps of yarn. Besides, some of this has real sentimental value! That aqua ball is left from making a baby blanket for my then unborn grandson. Jack still sleeps with that blanket, known as Bly.

Now here's a sad story. This project is Lucy Neatby's Camelot Socks. They were coming along beautifully until I tried them on and couldn't get them over my heel! You can see (well, sort of, it's not the best picture) how the colorwork pulls in beneath the ribbing, and is clearly a smaller gauge. The lesson here is that stranded colorwork does not stretch much. I'll need to rip the whole thing back to the ribbing and redo the colorwork on needles a size or two larger. I was so discouraged that I hid them in the basket and cast on for something else. This project can go back in the basket and I'll return to it someday. It's too pretty not to.
This project is coming up on year three, I think. It is Jade Starmore's Beadwork design from a Collector's Item. I haven't touched it since last April, when the weather began to warm up. One thing I learned with this project is that gansey yarn and size 1 needles are not the most fun to knit with. And it makes your hands sweat to knit it in the summertime. But the finished pieces have promise, so I'll persevere I think. I really, really must finish it this coming winter. I'm not going to do any Christmas knitting, so that should free up some time. (Yes, I have said this before about Chrisitmas knitting, but this year I mean it.)

What to do with this project? I don't know why I am so ambivalent about it, but I am. It is a Philospher's Wool Sweater Kit, in the Southwestern Design, I forget the colorway. This project has real problems, and not all of them mine either! Oh, and this is the oldest project in the basket. When the kit arrived, it included orange koolaid and natural yarn that you were expected to dye! Surprise! Ok, so I dyed the yarn orange. Not happily, but I did it. Next, the design chart included with the pattern did not indicate which colors to use! You were supposed to just the assign the colors as you wished. A=purple, B=turquoise etc. That really threw me for a loop! Also, the amount of yarn in each color in the kit varied, so what if you ended up with not enough of one color because you assigned the colors in such a way that you ended up needing more than you had? What I ended up doing, and you can see this in the picture, is creating a spread sheet in Excel, and using the picture as best I could, I assigned the colors to match. That's my printed spread sheet. Then I started out by knitting the sleeves. I got as far as a few rows short of the top of the second sleeve. I hate the yarn. It is harsh, and unevenly spun/plyed, so that parts are thicker or thinner. It doesn't feel good to the touch. The pattern itself is not well written, altough I won't bother elaborate more here. So what's the hang up? Why don't I just write this one off and put it in the trash can? As best I can express it, here's the thing. I really would like to see what the finished object would look like. Even if it's crap and I never wear it and throw it out. The problem is that to see the finished object, I'd have to do the work and that's a lot of good knitting time that surely could be better used. So I don't know. I put it back on the bottom of the basket until I make up my mind, if I ever do.
Finally, here is some flotsam and jetsam, you know, just stuff that somehow ends up on the bottom of the basket. It's been put in the plastic box I use to hold knitting accesories.

This conclude the tour of the project basket.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Midwest Madness er, Moonlight

I keep calling this pattern Midwest Madness in my own mind, must be a Freudian slip (ho, ho).

I love it and think it's beautiful. Perhaps it's my difficulties with lace knitting (see Icarus incident in last post) that is the association with mental problems, as in "She must be mad to attempt this lace stitch". Nevertheless I am committed (to the project, not the nuthouse) here. It will be the scarf for my pal in the International Scarf Exchange. She is an East Coast resident and I wanted to send a Midwest themed scarf. The yarn has been ordered (Elegance from Knit Picks) and I hope to have Katy's sweater done this weekend, so that I can cast on for the scarf. Oh dear, must do some work. Bye.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Crabby is as crabby does

I feel like Lucy from Peanuts this morning. Probably because I got only 4 hours sleep last night. I am cruising along on Katy's sweater, about half way up the second sleeve. For some reason I decided to pick up the Icarus shawl project at 5:00 AM when I couldn't sleep. I knit about 4 rows and discovered that I had the wrong number of stitches. Gah. I was so annoyed that I frogged the whole thing (41 rows). Then I picked up the sock I am currently knitting, the famous Jaywalker pattern. Lo and behold, I also had the wrong number of stitches on this too! Call it fate, call it karma. I tinked back about 4 rounds to get the right number of stitches and then threw the thing aside. Went to put on some coffee and found the milk is outdated. Bah. Drank it black. I've decided I am going to skip Soctoberfest this year. I have to complete Katy's sweater and then I have signed up for the International Scarf Exchange. The scarf has to be done in time to get it to the recipient by November 1. I've chosen the pattern, but that's as far as I've gotten. It's lace and may (insert demonic laughter here) be a little tricky. So I don't think there will really be time for socks. I suppose I could finish the Jaywalkers. Like when I am in a better mood? Oh look at the clock, it's lunchtime. Bye.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm Still Here

I can see by the date of previous posts that I didn't post at all in September. Actually I did try once or twice but Blogger was not cooperative on those days and wouldn't publish what I did write. Rather discouraging, yes?

Anyway... the lacing stitch socks. Here they are:

I like the lacing stitch pattern and I like the Opal Prisma yarn but not so much together. Still, they feel soft and warm on my feet and I know I will wear them. Perhaps someday I'll knit the pattern with a solid color from the stash. I've got some solid color Kroy sock yarn I purchased from Elann in several colors, and several skeins of Knit Picks Essential in solids.

You remember that I was going to knit this sweater for Katy?

Well I tried, truly I did. Intarsia is not my thing I guess, because I produced some really ugly knitting (no photos!) before I called it quits. The sweater is knit with Rowan cotton glace, and I purchased it for this sweater, though not in these colors. It is a smooth almost slippery yarn and the edges of the intarsia were loose where I joined a new color and the stitches did not want to hold their shape. Believe me, it was not pretty. If (ha!) I ever attempt this pattern again, I would use a wool yarn with some "grab" to it.

After further discussion with the Princess Katy about what she might like, we decided on a "pink sweater with a hood". So I have embarked upon the knitting of this sweater:

This is also a Kim Hargreave pattern, Archie. I am using Rowan cotton glace in a soft creamy pink they call Peony, but which reminds me of strawberry ice cream. I've finished the back, the front, and one sleeve. I've one sleeve to go, then the finishing, which includes knitting the hood. I'm leaving out the pocket on the sleeve, but following the pattern in all other respects.

In a moment of whimsey I decided to knit the Icarus Shaw that I've seen on so many blogs. It was just too tempting.! I have cast on for it, but laid it aside so I could get Katy's sweater done. So, I'll have to get back to that one of these days.

And now Jack, my other grandchild and Katy's 4 year old brother, wants a sweater vest knit for him. So that project will have to go the head of the line soon.

I have many excuses why I have't done much knitting the past month. Such as:

1. Department budget due at work. Ick.

2. Was felled by a nasty virus causing me to lie on the couch and stare glassy-eyed at Law and Order re-runs for many evenings. I still don't have much energy and am coughing enough for a TB sanitarium.

3. Other energy draining work committments including a United Way application for funding for the hospital I work for, an annual report for the rehabilitation program, new resident doctor orientation, and, oh, I don't know what all else.

4. I'm really in the grip of the Black Dog right now. I just feel so sad.

Other news in my life:

The contract with the realtor expired mid-september and I took my house off the market. The housing market in Greater Cleveland is pretty much stalled right now. The average time to sell a house in Cleveland is now ONE YEAR. It was 5 months when I put the house on the market and obviously things are worse rather than better. I may try again in the Spring, if things are better. I'm not sure we've hit bottom here yet though. I would really, really like to get out my six bedroom house and into a condominum but unless I get a fair price, I won't be able to buy what I want. So I'll sit tight for now.

My parents are moving to Indiana in the Spring to live on property my sister owns. They are 81 and I don't think a double wide trailer in the woods in rural Indiana is a good choice, but it isn't my choice, it's theirs. My sister has been after them for years to do this and she is a very strong willed, controlling person with definite ideas on how we all ought to live our life. Dad thinks this will be an adventure; Mom has simply been worn down by Dad and my sister. My sister is a Wiccan priestess and attracts followers who are, well, odd. She and her family live in Chicago and camp out at "the Land" (given the rather pretentious name of Glastonbury) on weekends. It's a bug infested woods. Mosquitos. Ticks. Spiders. Etc. I'll admit it-I hate bugs. And they LOVE me. There is just something about my blood chemistry that make every bug within a mile want to bite me. No one else needs insect repellant when I'm around because the mosquitos are too busy biting me to bother them. My doctor noticed a "bull's eye rash" on my arm at my annual check up and said "How could you get Lyme Disease in Shaker Heights?!" I don't know, we don't have deer or ticks in our urban setting. If there was one tick on a stray dog passing through, it found me and took a bite. I thought the rash was from a spider bite, because I react badly to insect venom. Needless to say, I avoid "Glastonbury".

My parents are 81, and no one lives forever. It just make me so sad to see them leave. My children grew up and left, but that's what children do, if you make a good job of parenting. They have families of there own. In other times, children settled near their parents, but that isn't the case anymore. I believed wedding vows were forever, but I married someone who broke the vows, and eventually left. In the end, you can only rely on yourself and be strong. You can't rely on other people to make you happy. You have to do that all by yourself.

This post has gotten entirely too heavy.

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