Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's almost the new year

First I want to share my fiber related gifts with you. Here's the alpaca sock yarn.



The turtle earrings are so cute - I am not sure that I did the best job of photographing them, but I tried. The background, of course is the yummy alpaca yarn.



I signed up for the Spunky Eclectic fiber club a few weeks ago and the first package arrived the day before Christmas, so I put it under the tree. I hope my spinning skills are up to the challenge of keeping these colors intact. I smile everytime I look at it - it's so cheerful.











I am not usually a new year resolution person - I don't like to set myself up for failure. LOL. But I do usually try to think over what I was happy and unhappy about over the previous year and what I might like to do to change the things I was unhappy about. For this coming year I would like to do more sewing. I want to improve my sewing skills and be able to make things for myself that I can't find in the store. I want to continue to be more active than I used to be. For instance, continue my walking and do more in the yard and with Bob on the boat, instead of sitting around as much as I used to. I will always make time for knitting and spinning, and while I may wish for more time, I know that this is real life and choices have to be made. I can work and have less time for knitting or have more knitting time and starve, for example. LOL. I want to enjoy whatever we are doing - enjoy each moment for whatever joy I can get from it. I already do this to some extent - that's one of the things I am happy about, but I will continue to work on that.

Speaking of being happy - it's time for Raven's football. Have a good New Year holiday.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Twas the week after Christmas....

We had a very nice Christmas Eve. I am not sure how or why it started that way, but my family has always celebrated (guests and opening presents) Christmas on the Eve. Some good friends joined us and we had a good visit. Christmas Day is the holiday meal (standing rib roast) and a quiet day at home. Here's our tree.



Here's the outside of the house. We did less decorating than other years, but I think it's cute.



I took the day after Christmas off from work and had planned to have lunch out with Karen, and do our gift exchange. We decided on a place to eat that wasn't open for lunch, though, so we had an early dinner. The food was yummy and relativly healthy (fish) and we avoided dessert. We had tried to walk in the morning but the rain started first. It was too cold to walk wet. Instead I spent a pleasant 2 hours browsing through Karen's extensive fiber library. I made note of a half dozen books that I hope to purchase over the next few months now that I have looked them over to see whether I would really like to own them. When I got home from dinner, though, I ruined the effect of avoiding dessert by eating most of a Lindt chocolate Santa. Yum!
I received a pair of turtles earrings, imported from Vermont, bath scents, Chibi needles in a blue container and some alpaca! sock yarn. I can't wait to cast on for those.

DH gifted me with a Nikon D40X for Christmas. I love it! The package included a 18-55 mm lens and DH added a 55-200 zoom. We can also use the lenses purchased for use with his N90, though those have to be manually focused. I have everything I could need (photographically, of course) to take beautiful photos now, and to be able to share them electronically or via hard copy. "All" I have to do now is to learn how to use the camera. I mean, I can point and shoot, but there is so much more to be learned to do things the way I would like. I plan to take lots of photos and get used to the camera, then take some classes. This will be a fun winter and spring, I think. The good news is that all that practise will not cost a thing since there is no film to develop.

I have returned to work - 2 whole days this week - but I am having trouble concentrating. My mind is on that yummy sock yarn and the pair of socks I will be knitting to keep my feet warm in the house.

Friday, December 21, 2007

OMG! It's almost Christmas

It's been a long, hard week. I had a paragraph of a post written a few days ago and it was so lame that I deleted it. It promises to be a very busy time for the next 3 days, so I am snatching this time as I wait for traffic to ease a little (it took me 1 hour and 40 minutes to drive 35 miles last night) to update you a little on what has been going on.

The good news is that all required knitting gifts have been completed. (there is one more that is not done but I won't see that person until after the new year and I have lots of time to finish that scarf) The bad news is that one of the gifts needs to be re-knit - it's a too-big hat. It went pretty fast the first time, though. The rest of the bad news is that I have very few gifts purchased, the house is filthy, there are no cookies baked and the tree has no decorations on it. Guests arrive at about 7:30 on Monday night.

I was sick last weekend due to a reaction to a new medication for my back pain. I no longer take that medication, but 3 days were lost. I have worked 10-12 hours/day for the lst few days trying to finish things so I can be off for most of next week, but I am tired. The plan is for DH and I to go shopping tomorrow, wrap and decorate tree Sat. night and Sunday morning, clean house on Sunday afternoon and evening, cook and bake on Monday. Can we do it?

Actually, I was very stressed about this the other day and then I thought about the whole Christmas spirit thing and settled down. Our friends and family are coming to see us and have a good time. They are not going to look on top of the furniture to see whether I dusted well enough. The important things will be done, I will remain in a good mood and be friendly (as long as I have food in my stomach) and we will enjoy good company. I refuse to be stressed into being a bitch.

I hope to have some photos the next time I post - sorry about the text only for now. There just hasn't been time. Have a very merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

winter storm watch

I hope, I hope, I hope we get snow. I have it all planned - get up and do several hours of holiday shopping, get groceries, eat lunch, walk with Karen, then go home and stay warm and cozy and busy with tree decorating and knitting for the rest of the weekend. Oh, and watch football on Sunday, preferably while sipping on some hot chocolate laced with a little amaretto after coming in from a walk in the cold weather.

My knitting progress yesterday consisted of many rows of 3 x 3 ribbing in black alpaca for the gift scarf, and a sock toe cast on and some increases. I was out and about most of the day and needed basically mindless knitting to work on. I had a very enjoyable lunch with Karen at our friend Beth's house. She has a beautiful house and always makes us feel very welcome. We had a nice chat, ate lunch, chatted and knitted, ate dessert, and chatted some more before we finally had to head off to other appointments. I knitted while waiting to see my doctor, then I knitted while waiting for my hair appointment and then I went to knit night at the LYS. I think I will be very happy to see that scarf finished.

I have been surfing blog land a lot lately and I keep running across shawls that I want to knit. I love shawls. I have quite a bit of lace weight yarn in my stash and I am anxious to use some of it, but I really want to finish up some of my current projects first. I used to have 10 or more projects going on a regular basis. Now I try to keep the number to about half that because I see such a difference in the finishing time. I am not a project driven knitter, but I do actually like to complete things on a regular basis, and that's been happening faster lately with fewer projects on the needles. Imagine that!

I ordered the yarn for my Donegal tweed sweater last night. I settled on the dark grey color. It won't be in for a while and that is actually a good thing. I will have time to finish up the lace hemp top and do a good job of swatching, charting, measuring and planning this project. I really want this to come out right, and though I am usually a "fly by the seat of my pants" kinda girl, this will have to be planned to come out right. When I want to get a break from cables, I will start a shawl, and hopefully with an easily memorized pattern so I can have a break from cable crossings and looking at charts. Don't get me wrong - I love cables. I just need more than one type of project to work on.

Stay warm and be safe if you have to drive in bad weather.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

dinner with friends

I just got back from having shared a wonderful dinner with friends from work. Joanne has a cute little apartment in what was once a mansion. The grounds are beautiful and her apartment very nicely decorated. The dinner was delicious - cod filet, a rice dish with mushrooms and fresh green beans. Yum! The conversation never died though the ages of the people there ranged from 40's to 70's . I didn't even get lost going home! (I am directionally challenged, though only reversing directions).

I took tomorrow off for a doctor appointment, so I don't have to get up at 5:30 (my usual time to rise). I get to sleep in, then go have lunch with two more friends before heading to the doctor, then a haircut, then knitting night at my LYS. It should be a good day all around, assuming the weather doesn't interfere. There are all kinds of weather forecast and not much of it is good.

I so want to find more free time for things I love to do instead of things I have to do. I know that I am not the only one, and I know that I am better off than a lot of people as far as time to knit. I would really like to be able to take one day per week and have it be a knit/spin day. Nothing else could be done on that special day but crafty things. Doesn't that sound great? For me it would be spinning and knitting, but I might occasionally add a few hours of stained glass work. I took classes in stained glass several years ago, and actually made a six sided window for our house with a lotus and butterfly on it. It looks good and I would like to try to get back to it. Unfortuantely I never feel like I have the time. One extra day added to the week, for craft activities. That's what I want for Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2007

a mixed bag weekend

This was not one of those weekends where I say "I had such a great weekend" but it wasn't horrible, either. I think it's all the grey weather that is getting to me. I had lots of knitting time this weekend, though a good number of those hours were because I had back pain and had to lie on the couch with ice packs. Ice. In winter. Not soothing and comforting, I tell you. Not at all. At one point I actually had the ice on my back and a heating pad held to my front for warmth.

On the knitting front, I am knitting a hat for a co-worker to coordinate with the scarf that another co-worker is making for her, in the same yarn. I used the scarf stitch pattern on the turned up brim of the hat and made the rest in stockinette. I think it looks nice, I just hope it fits her. LOL.



The merging colors capelet is complete but it might be frogged. : (
Mine isn't as long as the one in the photo on the package, and I feel like I have to stretch it to go over my shoulders. I do have yarn left, so I plan to weigh the remainder of the yarn and make a decision as to whether I will frog it or make do as is. The colors are a little deeper in real life - the edge is actually purple (which I love)





No progress was made on the lace top in hemp. With my back problems I didn't spend much time sitting up, so I couldn't follow the chart. I feel much better today so I hope to get more of this knitting done throughout the week.
Here are some photos of the lace patterns in the hemp top.











I am also working on a ribbed scarf (holiday gift knitting). It's black, so I doubt I will post photos. But it's alpaca and very soft. : )


Due to my back pain last week, Karen and I didn't get many walking days in, but we walked both Saturday and Sunday. If it's not raining when I get home at about 7, we will walk today, too.

Edited to add that we did walk despite a fine drizzle that fell. That is why we walk together - it's much harder to wimp out. ; )

Holiday preparations are in progress. Some of the outdoor Christmas decorations are up thanks to DH being willing to slog around on the mushy ground in the damp, chilly air. They look cute. The tree is purchased and in the house in a bucket. Maybe tomorrow evening it can come upstairs and get settled in the tree stand, with decorating next. Red lights, red and gold balls - simple but nice. The next decision is whether the Christmas dishes come out this year. I normally take out the holiday dinnerware for Thanksgiving dinner, and use it until mid to late January. I love those dishes. This year, though, we weren't home for Thanksgiving, AND I have new everyday dinnerware that I really like, so I haven't decided whether to make the change over this year.

While I "agonize" over Christmas dishes, DH is out on the boat. We do not live down south. We live in the mid-atlantic region. It's cold out there. Not below freezing cold, but 45 is kinda cold for boating, dontcha think? He's fishing. Better him than me.

I haven't done much holiday gift shopping. I love to shop for gifts. I really don't want to spend the time buying things that people don't really want, though, and for some people it is very difficult to find something they want and haven't gone out and purchased. Even my kids - I know they need clothes, for instance, but don't really feel comfortable about choosing something they like. Both boys are men, actually - 26 and 30 - and have very different taste. I think gift cards are going to save the day. Each one will get a gift to open and a gift card to spend. I really enjoy buying stocking stuffers. Those are fun! We celebrate with friends and family on Christmas Eve, then Christmas Day is just family for dinner - standing rib roast. Yum!

My next post will hopefully include photos of some beads I bought over the weekend (that was part of the good weekend) and the yarn I hope to use them on. Have a good week. Knit and be happy.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

SNOW!!!!!

I love the snow. I love to see it falling, I love to walk in it. I love to throw snowballs. I even like to shovel it! We have a few inches - about 3, maybe - on the deck in the back of the house, less on the street due to earlier melting, but it looks so nice. If only my back wasn't hurting so much.....

I finished my fingerless mitts in Lorna's Laces Pinstripe. There's a littel cable crossing going on there on the back of the hand, and no "fingers". They feel cozy.



I did a lot of work on the merging colors capelet, and have only 5 rows and the bindoff to complete. I love the colors right now. I wish I had thought to try to reverse them - I think I might have liked it more with the darker colors nearer my face. Maybe next time.




I have knit about 6 inches on the hemp lace top and I can actually see the pattern! I went down a needle size due to the fact that the measurement was a little bigger across than I wanted. I did not rip - I just figured that the needle change would work as shaping. I hope. ; ) No photo of that today.

I am going to take my knitting, lie down in bed (to help my back) and knit with the lights out so I can watch the snow fall. Have a good night, all.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Socks are finished

The Whitby socks I was making for Joanne are complete. I am very happy with the way they turned out. I cannot measure her foot for exact length because they are a surprise, but I left the toe yarn unwoven so I can easily rip and either add or subtract length if I need to. They will be gifted in the next day or so, and I am very anxious to see how she likes them. Once I know if the length needs adjustment or not, I can take care of that and weave in the ends. I will try to get someone to help me get photos because they don't look good laying flat and I have a hard time taking a photo of my foot with a sock on it that doesn't look - weird.

Tonight is knitting night at my LYS. I will be bringing my mitten swap package to show everyone, since they cheered me on with the choice of yarn for the mittens I made as well as encouraging me when it seemed like I might not get anything in exchange. I plan to work on the merging colors capelet while I am there since it is relatively simple knitting. I can't work on the lace top there, that's for sure! That will be a "work at home" project. Now that the socks are complete I will finish the fingerless glove mate to the one I have completed (in LL pinstripe colorway), which should knit up fast. There are, after all, no fingers. LOL. Then I will knit the mate to my son's sock (I finished the first one about a month ago). That will be my traveling sock project (I am no Yarn Harlot, but I have a traveling sock project, too). I really would like to spin this weekend, but with holiday decorations to put up and shopping to do, I don't know....

Karen and I walked 4.5 miles in just over 1 hour yesterday. I think that's pretty good. I am finally (after 5 weeks) feeling a change as a result of walking (my buns are firming up), but it's not helping me to loose weight, which I was counting on. I am disappointed there. I know that I am not great about my food intake (I still have too many snacks), but I have gotten better and I still don't seem to loose weight or inches. We have been walking 4-5 times per week. I think that should be enough to cause weight loss, but apparently somebody doesn't agree. : (

Monday, November 26, 2007

I have a skiband to keep my ears warm

I finished my skiband - it fits and it's so nice and warm. I can't wait for it to be cold enough to wear!



Here's the second sock of the pair I have been working on:


My merging colors capelet is far enough along that you can see the merging colors, I think.



AND I managed to cast on for something else before I knew what was happening!



It's the lace top in hemp that I purchased at Stitches. I just couldn't resist. I am a Bad Girl.
I haven't gotten far, as you can see, but I actually did this the night before we left for NY. The gauge that is listed on the pattern is for stockinette stitch, and I couldn't get the specified gauge. There is no gauge listed for the lace pattern, so I don't really know whether I am on track yet. I will have to work more to be able to measure the width of the top to see if I am even close. I think I will be working on the merging colors project this week, though. Happy knitting.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving holiday

We just returned from spending a few days with my mother in NY. We drove up on Monday and arrived just in time to watch Monday night football - I am a big Broncos fan, so that was a good thing. On Tuesday, DH took off at 5:30 AM to go fishing, and Mom and I spent the day together. We walked despite the dreary day and ran some errands and did some of the holiday meal prep work. Bob caught and threw back 5 fish that were good fighters (and therefore fun to catch) but not big enough to keep.

Wednesday Bob fished and Mm and I walked again, this time outside, around a lake, which was a more pleasant walk than the day before. We did more food prep and a couple more errands, then when Bob came home from fishing we went out to eat. Bob didn't have any luck that day, and that makes for a boring fishing trip. After dinner I wanted Carvel (a soft serve ice cream that is not available in MD) so we went next door to get a small sundae that Bob and I would share. (Mom can't eat ice cream - we weren't being rude) As luck would have it, they were buy one, get one free! We ate one and saved the other. Very tasty.

My mother is 74 and has always been very independant, managing just about everything she needed to do even after my father died. She has recently been getting more frail and less able to do things. I know that she likes to have family over but she feels less able to manage all that entails. It was a good thing all around that we were there. We could help her physically as well as providing back up so as not to forget something in the midst of many simultaneous converstations and so many things to have ready.

Thursday, the big day, was a warm day but we were too busy cooking to walk. It became a little chaotic towards the end, trying to get everything done at about the same time, but it worked, and everybody sat down to a wonderful meal. I have 3 brothers, all younger than me, and they were all there. The wife of one and the girlfriend of another were also there, as well as a niece and two nephews of mine. It was a good visit. We all cleaned up, trying not to leave too much for Mom, and that worked well. It got cold and rained that night, but I don't think it bothered any one's drive home. My boys called and text messaged good wishes for everyone since they couldn't make it.

Friday Bob and I did a few more chores, ate lunch and then headed out. We stopped at two places Bob thought might be "fishy" but nothing was happening and the wind was very cold and blowing at about 25 mph. Brrrrrr! I stayed in the car and knitted.
We had minimal traffic issues on the way home and got in last night at a decent hour. I got a lot of knitting done while I was away. I made great progress on the merging colors capelet - I can really see the color changes going on. I'll try to get some photos today. I am down to the heel flap on Joanne's sock (the second one) so those will be finished with time to spare. I made some progress on my skiband, but really concentrated on the other two projects. I think I can finish the skiband this weekend. In the dark on the drive last night I worked on a felted bag that my MIL started for me last year and was not able to finish. I will finish it myself now - I just wasn't ready to look at it before this.

Oh, on Monday before I left for NY, DH went to the post office and picked up a package. It was my mitten swap package and it was a good one - well worth the wait! There are turtle mittens!!!!! In purple!!!! I love purple and turtles and Angela found a way to combine them in one project.



The mittens were, of course, the main item in the mitten swap. We were supposed to include a few other goodies in the package also, and here are mine: a sheepy mug and some yarn



Some dessert candles and purple candles



a notepad with my name on it and cute sheep on the envelope



and a photo album and dark chocolate. Yum. I am very pleased with my goodies and glad that I chose to participate in this swap despite my nervousness after the last one that didn't go well. My faith in people has been renewed. LOL.

The sun is shining today so I will try to spend some time outside. I will walk today for sure. I have a "few" extra calories to burn off. I will have some clean clothes to hang outside to dry. I will be doing some organising and cleaning out in a room or two upstairs in addition to making more progress downstairs. I am in that kind of mood and I like to take advantage of it while I can. We have lots of stuff that can be eliminated. I will make time for some spinning today, too. I haven't spun in a while and I miss it. Have a good day.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I am addicted and loving it!

Last night, after months of anticipation (literally, since I purchased this kit in September and brought it on vacation with me, intending to knit on it while at the beach) I finally cast on for my merging colors capelet last night. I almost had to delay for another few days because I didn't have the correct needle length, but Karen saved the day and let me borrow what I needed.

I sat down after dinner last night and sorted through my yarn. There are 8 colors, some very close to each other in color and shade, so you have to keep each color separate and very clearly labeled. It is very soft yarn. I had gotten as far as winding the yarn into 2 balls for each color while on vacation (without a ball winder!). The two balls are necessary because you have to use as many as 4 strands of the same color at once. I read the instructions for the mobius cast on, read though the instructions I have for a mobius cast on from a class I took, and went to the website to look at the photos. I want this to come out right. I was actually nervous by the time I started this cast on. It's the e loop cast on, which is simple, but then you pick up the backs or underside of the stitches with the opposite needle so that your needles end up going the opposite way and there's a loop and twist in your cable. That's not explained very well, but you have the link to the site so you can check it out yourself. It's under the help section.

Anyway, so I did all that, counting carefully all the time. 120 e-loops, pick up the back of the stitches for a total of 240 cast on stitches. Then you go on to knit them, and I counted as I did that - I got half way around and I was missing a stitch. Or was I? I had counted carefully the first time, why would I think that my second count was the correct one? Hmmm, should I go on or start again? Press onward, I say. Now the second half of this row involves taking the stitch on the left needle and turning it around before knitting, and the instructions say that you cannot just knit into the back loop. Of course, without that instruction that is exactly what I would have done, but since the instructions were very clear, I did as I was told. This is an important project and I want it to be right. So I tediously take each stitch, trying not to let is slip off either needle, turn it around, place it back on the left needle and then knit it. These are tight stitches, though, and they have been sitting on the cable for a while, not on the actual needle, so things are not moving very smoothly. I was pretty sure that I dropped one or two in the process of working the stitches along the needle, but thought I had picked them up correctly, so I worked on. I got to the end of that section (thank goodness) and looked things over. I counted stitches and came up one short - one stitch! Should I rip it all and go through this torture again?

I look it over and decide that I think I see where the problem is and I think I can fix it, so I will do the next row until that spot, fix it and put it away. This is my "NY for Thanksgiving trip" knitting. I change colors - more about that in a minute - and I start purling. I get to where the error is (I think) and fix it. Does it look OK? I think so but maybe I should knit further so I can see it among other knitted/purled stitches. Before I know it I am at the beginning of the round. Wow! That was fast! I look for the error, I think it looks fine, since I can't find it anymore, and say to myself OK, put it away now. But I am having fun! I don't want to. I'll just add the next color and knit a few stitches. The next thing I knew, I was at the stitch marker again - new round. I had to be very firm with myself to put this project away, and it is calling to me already this morning - just a few rounds to get the day started right. Just a few rounds while you get the laundry stated. Just a few rounds.....

The addicting things about this project are (1) the yarn is so yummy. It comes in a kit, so I can't tell you what yarn it is, but it feels soooo soft. (2) The color changes. There are, as I said, 8 colors and you kit with 4 strands at a time. Each time you change, you only change one of the 4 strands, so the colors change slowly - hence the Merging colors name. It is fascinating to see what changing one strand does to the over all look of what I am knitting and I can't wait to see what comes next!

I am going to have to be very firm with myself over these next few days. I have laundry to do, housecleaning to do, errands to run and maybe even some Christmas shopping to do. If I let myself start knitting on this I will not get anything else done until it is finished. Maybe, if I am good, Santa will put another merging colors kit under the tree.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Knitting at night

Last night I sat on the couch after my 2.7 mile walk and cabled away on my earwarming skiband. I love cables, and this piece is almost all cable. Here's a photo:



I almost doubled the amount I had previously knitted. I enjoyed Monday night football while I knitted. I do love a good football game. People can hear me cheering across the street!

Today was a good day at work, though it was a long one. I left home at 5:50 AM and just got back - it's 7 PM. but, I got lots accomplished, so it was worth it. I plan to get something to eat and sit down to knit while watching some recorded episodes of NCIS and The Unit. Have a good night, all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

knitting progress, but no spinning progress

In my cleaning efforts over the weekend I discovered several not quite finished projects and decided to clean them up for good. I put an adequately sized (according to DH) pompom on the hat that I had made for him last year. The pompom I made last year wasn't big enough. Doesn't it look cheery?





I had made two scarves for the daughters of a good friend of mine in cotton (so it won't itch) yarn and a little eyelash thrown in for splash, and I hadn't woven in those ends. Done on both scarves, and now they are ready to be packed up and sent.

I wove in the ends of the lace scarf (from Victorian Lace) which I had bound off on Saturday night (yippee!) and it is blocking right now. I can't wait to free it from it's pins. Hopefully I can take a photo of that later today.

Edited to add photo



Here's a close up of the edging.



I had received some beautiful yarn last year for Christmas from a co-worker and fellow knitter. It's very soft wool with some angora in it and feels yummy. I made a hat and loved the way it felt but not the way it looked, so I frogged it a couple of weeks ago. The yarn is just too nice to waste on something I don't like. Last night I cast on for a skiband (for lack of a better name) - you know, one of those bands that covers the ears but doesn't go over the whole head. I chose a cable pattern from the perpetual calendar, added a few seed stitches on each side and cast on with a provisional cast on so I can keep the stitches live and graft them together at the end. This is going to be so cozy, and I should have enough to pick another stitch pattern and make a second one. I took a couple of photos but they didn't come out very well, so I will try again in better light.

I did make some progress on my Whitby sock, but not as much as I should have. My mind was taken over by the evil Cast On Monster. I did a very little bit of spinning, but not even enough to justify another photo. No spinning time in sight tonight, either.

Karen and I walked Saturday and Sunday (almost 4 miles on Sunday!) I think that's a record for me. I do feel so much better once we've walked, but sometimes it is so hard to get out there. Sunday was easier since the sun was shining. I am still waiting for the weight I have gained recently to start going away, though. : (

I am struggling to stay on track with my WIP's to get them finished before I cast on for more. I have a few projects, though, that are calling me. One is the merging colors capelet that I linked to previously. One is the lace top in green hemp that I purchased at Stitches. And now that I've finished my first Victorian Lace project I want to start anouther. There are so many shawls and scarves in that book that I want to make that I think it will take me a very long time to get around to even half of them. But I will try. LOL. I have quite a bit of yarn in my stash that will work for those, too, so I don't even have to purchase any. Not that I will stop buying yarn......

So, I have to make the second sock for my son, the second fingerless mitt in the Lorna's Laces pinstripe, and finish the first and make the second Whitby sock. Can I manage to finish any of those before I cast on for something else? We'll see, but I am feeling weak. Bye for now.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Remembrance

Every year for most of the years that we lived in MD, my in-laws would come down from New York to Maryland for the Memorial Day holiday. It was also their anniversary, so we would celebrate both events at the same time. This year would have been their 60th. Some years were better than others, since one of the years they were here my FIL had a stroke! Not his favorite visit. This is my MIL at our last Memorial Day gathering. She loved to be around people and was always interested in what they had to say. She lived in an apartment building in New York, and the neighborhood wasn't the best. She was 4 foot something and very small, as you can see here. She dealt with that by getting to know everyone by name and she remembered which children were doing well, who had problems, and she greeted everyone by name and asked how their family members were. She cared. She was active on the tenants board, serving as treasurer and president. I don't think there was one person in her building she didn't know. She, well into her 70's, volunteered at most of the events the community ran. She "adopted" everyone.






One year ago at about this time of year, my MIL was still alive, but very ill. She had been diagnosed with cancer a little over a month earlier. We brought Bob's parents down here to Maryland from NY for the holiday and they were never able to return to their apartment. This is my MIL on Thanksgiving last year, with my eldest son. She had done her best to dress up and look good for her grandsons, but even the shower took a lot out of her. She was exhausted but enjoyed the day a lot. This was the last day she was able to sit up on her own. She died in early December.




We miss you, Mom.

Friday, November 09, 2007

My mitten swap package arrived at it's destination

I joined a mitten swap in September and sent out the package of mittens and other goodies a little over a week ago. It just arrived in Canada today. Wow! That's a long time! My swap buddy said she liked the package. There's a photo of the completed mittens here my mitten swap buddy

Knitting has been slow. I have completed 1.5 of 3 repeats of the edging on my lace scarf. I love it, I just haven't had much knitting time this week. I have made good progress on the socks I am knitting for my co worker. I turned the heel last night at knit night at my LYS, and I started the socks less than 1 week ago. That is very speedy progress for me. The sock looks a little weird because I stuck the rest of the yarn inside the sock to provide a little stretch to show off the cable and texture pattern. There's a matching cable on the far side of the diamonds in the middle. It's sport weight yarn and the socks are intended for in-the-apartment wearing. I love the color and I hope it will bring to mind warm waters in the middle of winter for the recipient. The pattern is Whitby from Knitting on the Road and the yarn is Louet Gems sportweight in Caribean Blue.


Spinning hasn't happened since last weekend. I had a migraine on Sunday and Monday and I am still suffering from muscle spasms and discomfort in my back: as a result, no spinning. I do hope to be up to that this weekend. Spinning is soothing to me in a way totally different from knitting. It is more repetitious, involves more of my body, and both less and more of my mind. I do have to concentrate, but there's a part of my mind that can wander or contemplate different things while I spin. I usually want to watch TV or listen to an audio book while knitting, but the only thing I want to do while spinning is listen to music. I love spinning. I think I will always want to do both - one is not more fun or less interesting than the other. Once the wheel is purchased (I am very much not a spindle spinner) , spinning is a better deal financially - I get to spin the fiber and knit the resulting yarn, so there's more bang for my buck. I love to sit in the living room, in the sun coming in the (preferably open) window, music playing and spinning away. I am even learning to like plying a little more. ; )

Have a great weekend. I plan to.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday, Falling Back and a Pity Party

I am so glad that we gain an hour of sleep instead of loosing it tonight. I seem to be in a constant state of sleepiness despite making sure I actually get 7-8 hours per night.

I would like to show you a couple of photos from our weekend of "fishing" in Montauk, NY. This was the view down the length of beach from in front of our hotel. It was a stormy weekend.




Atlantic Ocean wave action. Stormy seas impress upon me just how small we as people are in the big scheme of things. Not that we don't matter or can't make a difference, just that there are things more powerful than us.



Here's a photo of the fingerless mitt I worked on while in Montauk - it still needs a thumb and a partner.



I have almost finished 1 of the 3 edging repeats to finish my lace scarf. It's so much more enoyable to knit the second edging. I am much more familiar with the patterning so I don't have to stare constantly at the chart. It is so much fun that I have to keep reminding myself to get up and tend to another chore. ; (

I hope to get to some spinning tonight or maybe in the AM. I want to finish the fiber I started on the spinning weekend back in early October. There is only a little bit left to spin and then I can ply. I think I am ready to get back to the purple wool/silk blend I have been working on for a lace shawl. I have spun about half of the fiber I have and would love to finish it up so I can start swatching.



I was sitting at the dinner table last night with my husband, and I sighed a few times. When DH asked me why, I replied that I really wanted to just be able to spin or knit whenever I wanted to instead of chores or work or whatever was getting in the way. And I wanted to be able to go to SOAR and other knitting and spinning retreats. And I wanted to be able to buy whatever yarn or fiber I felt like playing with. Apparently I was in a self pity mood last night. I have no idea why.

Bob was diagnosed with a genetic disease several years ago that will cause his vision to deteriorate and he will be legally blind in the not to distant future. Since that diagnosis, after the shock wore off, I have tried to really appreciate what we have, take advantage of any chances we get to do things we enjoy and not make a big deal of things that aren't. Why I felt the need to pity myself because I couldn't do everything I wanted to do I don't know. I do know that while what is happening to Bob is horribly unfair and very hard for him to deal with, we are still luckier than some. I have a job. He can still work, even though when he was first diagnosed, we thought that he would be disabled by now. We have health insurance, a house and most of all, we have each other. Pity party over. Bob may have the right to one - he is the one going blind and with impaired hearing making it worse, but I don't. I have good friends and a husband and two sons who love me. And I do have yarn and fiber to play with. ; )

Friday, November 02, 2007

Knitting progress

DH sent off the package for my Mitten Swap 3 buddy two days ago. I hope she likes it. Pictures after she has recieved it, just in case she browses my blog. And for $20 in postage it had better get there soon.

I have been making very good progress on my Victorian Lace scarf and hope to get some photos this weekend to show you. I have completed the first edging and the body of the scarf. I am now ready to knit the second edging. This is one of those scarves with a 6-8 inch deep edging and the scarf is about 8 inches wide, so it will take a little while. I will have to follow the chart carefully, but I really like how this is turning out and can't wait to see the finished project.



My current sock project is a pair I am knitting with Trekking Natura, toe up, 2 socks on 2 circs. I don't think I will do this again, but it is kinda neat to have both socks so close to being finished. I am about 1.5 inches above the ankle and will knit until I am about out of yarn. This is my travel project. I don't go anywhere without a knitting project along, and this one sits in my car. I pick it up at traffic lights and knit while I walk to the hospital from the garage, and while some pages load on my computer. I knit in very small increments but they do add up quickly.

I hope to take some time this weekend to go through my stash. I do not currently have enough room in my house to store all of my yarn. I have several rubber tubs for my stash and keep the "out of season" yarn in the shed. Twice a year I bring in those tubs and go through everything, rekindle my interest, and sort out the yarn to keep what I hope to work on over the next 6 months or so in the house and the rest gets returned to the shed. This year that return to the shed will be a temporary banishment. I plan to take over some shelves in the (finished) basement for my yarn and magazine stash. But the basement needs a lot of cleaning out first. We still have a lot of stuff from my in-laws' apartment down there that needs to be disposed of. Then I can clean and hopefully paint and then the yarn came come live in the house all year round. I do look forward to the twice a year review of stash, but I think it will be much nicer to be able to review it at will, rather than have to haul those crates across the yard and up the stairs to the house. Maybe I can manage some stash photos this weekend, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Fishing Weekend That Wasn't

Bob and I departed on Friday morning for a 3 day weekend of fishing the waters off Long Island, NY for bluefish or striped bass. The weather was not encouraging, but DH is nothing if not determined when it comes to catching fish, so off we went.

The drive wasn't bad - the rain was off and on - so we made good time. We headed to Shinnecock Inlet first - it was on the way - and checked out the possibilities. There were few fishermen there, and half of them were "surveying the situation". Those we spoke to said fishing had been extrememly slow. The wind was blowing 20-25 mph, with some rain and lots of spray mixed in, which would have been perfectly acceptable had there been fish being caught. No one caught anything in the time we watched so we headed for Montauk Point.

We checked in at the hotel and headed for the lighthouse - one of the more popular places to go surf fishing out there. Montauk. The End. Literally. The end of Long Island and as far East as you can get in NY. Mother Nature was trying to blow Montauk back a mile or so, I think. The wind was very strong and blowing right into our faces. We didn't try to fish in that - the lure might well have come back and hit us in the head in that wind.

The next morning the grey, overcast skies were spitting some rain at us, but not too bad. We drove to the point, just below the lighthouse, and geared up. This is harder than it sounds. We removed shoes, added socks (thick ones, for warmth) and pulled on neoprene (think wet suit, but thicker) chest waders. It's sorta like pulling on thick, unwieldy tights over jeans (not under them). There are boots (that weigh more than I think they should) attached to the bottom of those waders, and you have to wiggle your feet into those while being squeezed in the middle, because you have pulled up your waders to your waist and now they are trying to cut you in half when you bend over. To say that these things are close fitting is an understatement. Now, remeber how little kids always have to go to the bathroom once they get their snowsuit on? Yup. But we're not going to give in. Time to cinch those straps and tighten the belt. Yes, there is a belt and it's important to have it fairly tight despite the fact that there's no way these things are coming off without help in the shape of a tug of war. The point of this belt is so that if you fall in the water (a very likely occurance due to the wave action - remember, we're going surf fishing) you won't be drowned by water filling up your waders. Nice thought.

Then it was time to don a wind and water resistant jacket (which also helps keep the waves from soaking you down the front of your waders) and, in DH's case, a pair of spikey things that get strapped over the boots and are supposed to help him get a good grip on the rocks under water and decrease slipping. I think that's a ruse to get more money for the manufacturers, personally. But they sound cool when walking on the rocks. Are you tired, yet? I was. Next we had to choose our spot and get out there. You want to stand as far out as you can get so your casts go beyond the rocks (thereby decreasing the number of $6 to $10 lures that you loose by getting them caught in the rocks and having the line break) and as far out in the water as possible. To catch the fish that theoretically come in close to the rocks to eat. There's something wrong with that scenario, I think.

We waded out to about thigh high water (with the waves now coming up to our waist or higher) and Bob commenced his battle with the elements and the fish. He casts the lure out as far as he can with his 10 ft fishing pole (I am not sure how much it weighs, but I need two hands to hold it comfortably), then reels it in while simultaneously jerking the tip of the rod up and down to make the lure look like a fish moving on the surface of the water. My shoulders hurt just thinking about it, and he did this for hours.

I was his assistant. I changed lures for him, watched the "action" of the lure and reported on the success or failure of a new technique, and chanted. "Blue fish, bass, bite, bite, bite". I called out - "Here, fishy, fishy, fishy". I danced and swayed to the chant. All to no avail. Not one bite. We took a break for lunch, then went back and tried in a slightly different spot, more chanting, swaying, calling, but..... Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

It was also my job to watch the other fishermen to see what they were doing - which lures and techniques they used, etc. and watch for anyone catching a fish. We saw guys in wet suits actually floating out in the water (over their heads) and fishing from there in an attempt to get their lures out further. That was a scary thought. The current was quite strong at some points, and there's nothing but open ocean past the point, but they just didn't seem to be bothered by it. They didn't catch anything either, so I didn't have to worry about Bob getting any ideas in his head. (Whew!!)

At the end of the day we were both tired (though not cold, because all of that work kept us warm) and we had to make our way back through the water (that has been rising) with the waves coming at our back! I tried to walk backwards so I could face the waves, but that didn't feel right. I suppose my body prefered the thought of being pushed face first into the water by a wave rather than falling backwards on my butt while watching the wave that pushed me. It was an interesting experience.

Finally it was time to remove all of this stuff. I did actually need to have Bob pull on the waders to get them off. And walking any distance in these things is very tiring indeed. I got my exercise for the day.

We drove to my mother's house for the night and spent Sunday visiting and doing a few chores for her, then headed for home. On the way we went exploring. We followed a map that indicated a public fishing area that we had not been aware of, (very close to NY Harbor) and plan to return some other time for fishing there. The sun was shining but we needed winter jackets and hats and gloves to stand outside with the wind and temperature drop. BRrrrrr. We headed across the Verrazano Bridge and over to NJ for the drive back to MD and arrived at about 11PM.

Back to work today. I hope to resume walking with Karen tonight. I was not able to walk towards the end of the week last week due to the high moisture level in the air. I wheezed just climbing a few stairs, never mind trying to walk a couple of miles.

I did get some knitting done over the weekend. I made good progress on the lace scarf from Victorian Lace and also on the Trekking Natura socks and finished the first of a pair of fingerless gloves.

I can't wait to get home from walking tonight, have a cup of soup and cuddle up in bed with my knitting. I wish the same for you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Catching up

I am not sure what to blame my lack of blogging on. Karen and I started walking daily, or as close to it as we can come (for exercise, not just a stroll) a little over a week ago, and that has certainly taken some of my time and energy. There's also work and knitting competing for my time, not to mention housework and laundry.
My mother fell a few days ago, and I have been worried about what the cause might be and whether it might happen again, with a worse aftermath. She lost consciouness, hurt her arm and head (probably giving herself a concussion, since she's been nauseated and had a headache since) and has some memory issues. No, she hasn't seen the doctor yet. Why? Because she doesn't think she needs to. I am concerned, and my husband is concerned. He called her and told her that she has to take better care of herself, since she's the only parent we have left. I think that got to her. Yes, he's a good guy, but he's taken, so back off. ; )

I finished the mittens for the mitten swap, and I have packed the box with most of the goodies. I am waiting for a few more things to arrive that I purchased on line and the whole thing will be sent out. No photos yet, since the recipient has not gotten the package.

I finished the side to side garter gloves, including the cuff and weaving in all ends. I just have to find 2 buttons that look right and they will be wearable. I am reasonably happy with them, and think I will make another pair, but in softer, slightly fuzzier yarn. The gloves include short rows for shaping and I don't like that you can see the turning spots so easily in this smooth yarn I used. Photos with the next post, since the batteries on the camera just decided that they were tired and need to be recharged.

I do have photos of the Twisted Flower socks I finished a short time ago. I loved this pattern, and it was a joy to knit in Shelridge Farms yarn.


























And here's the heel, which was a good part of the reason I chose this pattern.

















Now I have a dilemma. Do I get back to work on the lace scarf I am knitting from Victorian Lace or do I cast on for the merging colors mobius capelet? I have finished 2 projects recently, so I could justify starting something else. On the other hand, this lace scarf, which I like, by the way, has been on the needles for a while. It would be nice to finish it. Not only would I have one more project crossed off my UFO list, but I would have a beautiful scarf to either enjoy myself or to gift to someone for the holidays. What would you do?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Technical difficulties

Thursday afternoon
We had an internet outage (due to a modem that was so old, they laughed at us when we turned it in) at my house for 2 days, and my husband monopolized the computer last night, but I hope to post those stash enhancement photos soon. Meanwhile I have been working on my Mitten Swap mittens and catching up on house work and laundry that didn't get done while I was enjoying myself at Stitches. The mittens are progressing well and may be finished by the end of the night.

It's knit night at my LYS and I am going out for supper with Karen first - a very nice way to spend a Thursday evening. I hope to get the thumbs finished (that's all that's lacking) on the mittens. I would also like to work on the side to side garter glove that I have in progress and have a finished pair. I need to finish some WIP's - mentally as well as physically (since the projects are all over the house). My husband can't see well, especially in the dark, and he's tripping over my project bags in the living room. Shame on me.

Time passes....It is now Friday night. I just got back from a 40 minute walk. Karen and I are trying to get into an exercise routine, and it is working. We both felt really good after our long walk. Tomorrow I will find out (with my car) how far we walked.

I do have stash enhancment photos to share with you. First we have Cinnamon's Dye Pot Wooly alpaca, 70/30 wool/alpaca, 2 skeins, 500 yds each. I think this will become a lace shrug of some sort.














Next we have Cinnamon's Dye Pot Wooly Tussah, 50/50 tussah silk/merino - very yummy. 2 skeins, 400 yds each. Definately a shawl in the making.



















There were a surprising number of vendors with fiber for sale, and I wanted to encourage that, so I purchased 4 oz. of a lovely mohair/wool blend. This will become part of my Tropical colors shawl.


















I bought hemp yarn





and a pattern to make this lacy top lanaknits
Before you cringe looking at that color, keep in mind that I do have red hair. ; )









My last purchase was some sock yarn for a Christmas gift - isn't that color wonderful? I hope it reminds the recipient of warm, fun times in the middle of winter and brings a smile to her face.



I think I did pretty well at Stitches, restraining myself from too many purchases but taking advantage of the opportunity to get things that I can't usually find, and I supported my LYS (that's where I bought the lace weight yarn).

Sadly, all of the fiber events are over for this year. Next up is Maryland Sheep and Wool. Time to start saving my pennies.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stitches Class - Fully Fashioned and Fabulous

Sunday's class was inspiring, also, but in a different way. No colors, no new stitch patterns, but a very cool way to make your garments fit, and make the fitting of those garments do design work.

OK, so I didn't describe that very well. What we did was learn how increases and decreases that are intended to make your garment fit properly - actually go in and out with your body parts - can also be used as a design element. We worked on swatches - there were 5 homework swatches - so we could see the shaping and design working together, and we received guidance on how to do this in other settings. So, I can potentially choose a sweater that I like from a book or magazine, but that does not have shaping that flatters me. I can study it, do a swatch or two (or 4), and add shaping to the sweater that enhances the design or my shape or both.

Stitches classes are not cheap. They are fun, there are good discussions and sometimes we meet someone that becomes a friend, and we get excited about the teachers' books or designs. We can purchase those books and faithfully follow those designs and execute a perfect duplicate now that we know the "secret". In order to make this a truly worthwhile expenditure, though, I want to do more. I want to really apply the knowledge I gained to my knitting, not to someone else's knitting.

My commitment for this coming year is to put what I have learned to use in something unique to me. I will swatch and experiment and not feel that I have "wasted" that yarn. I will make multiple swatches until I have worked out something that I want to accomplish. I may design my own sweater or vest or I may adjust someone else's, but I will customize a garment to fit me or I will choose colors for a Fair Isle garment that suit me and please me.

Serious stuff over, I hope to post photos of my stash enhancement tomorrow.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stitches class - Color and Fair Isle

I just came home after taking this class with Fiona Ellis, and I am so inspired! I knew how to do the mechanics of Fair Isle - when to twist the yarns, making sure the floats don't bind - that kind of thing. I wanted information on color. We discussed where to look for color ideas, how to evaluate tone and value, and the very important fact that if you have a Fair Isle design with 5 colors, for instance, the arrangement of those colors is very important and can change the whole look of the design.
If you change one contrasting color for another, not removing one but just exchange the relative places of the two colors, it can make your design look very different. Obviously, swatching is vital.

We had charts for some simple designs to try in class, and worked a few of those. Then we tried knitting the same pattern but changing one of the colors. The next time we changed the other color. Several people changed both colors.

Fiona had several swatches from designs she had made for a magazine or her new book in two different color stories and also using the same colors but with the positions of the colors varied (all the same design). It was hard to believe that they were the same design in some cases because the impression you got was so different. I would have been happy to sit there for another 3 hours to keep exploring, but that wasn't to be.

I head back to Baltimore tomorrw for some Market shopping and another class. I have to go finish my last homework swatch.
Have a great Sunday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spinning time tonight

I just couldn't resist the spinning wheel any longer. I arrived home from work, checked the fridge to be sure we had what we needed for dinner (my husband does the cooking - lucky me!) and sat at the wheel. I am spinning this fiber



into this



It will join other yarn I have spun over the last 2 years for a "Tropical Colors" shawl that I have planned. I thought it would brighten and warm things up in the middle of a cold, dark winter if I had a shawl in the colors of warm water to snuggle into.

My husband and I ate on the deck tonight. Is it really the 10th of October? He went out on the boat today (no luck fishing) while I was at work. That's OK. I will be at Stitches this weekend while he's at work. ; )

That's right, I am going to Stitches and have two classes this weekend. I will be taking Experiment with Color and Fair Isle with Fiona Ellis and Fully Fashioned and Fabulous with Melissa Leapman. I am ready to learn and be inspired. Hmmm. I suppose I should check on homework and supplies. Bye for now.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Spinning Retreat 2007

Edited Wednesday morning to say that I started this post on Sunday afternoon, added to it on Tuesday and completed it and added photos on Wednesday.

I just arrived home and unpacked the car. What a great weekend! I am sleep deprived, have a sore drafting hand and I am very happy.

Most of us - there were about 20 - arrived on Friday. Everyone brought munchies and we filled an entire table with them. Not many of the munchies were healthy, but we did have some fruit. I baked some "chocolate comfort cookies" which were made with cocoa, melted chocolate, chocolate chips, marshmallow fluff and cranberries. Yum! We set up our wheels and fiber in the meeting room and got to work. Everyone had brought some fiber with them and started with that, though part of the weekend was getting a fiber packet with a particular theme and information about it. The packet included bamboo, latte silk, soy silk, Karaoke top, some natural and some beautifully dyed, and Tencel. I chose to spin the natural Karaoke top that was in my packet and plied it from a center pull ball.



I had brought some Corriedale that I dyed over the summer when I hosted a dyeing day at my house. I plan to make 2 ply sock yarn with it, with one ply being (brightly) multicolored and one ply yellow. I got the variegated spun up over the weekend.



We experimented with the fibers, which were new to most of us, and commiserated with each other on spinning the more difficult fibers. Several people used a nostepinne for the first time. We ate and told funny stories and laughed and just had a great time. Sunday afternoon came way to soon for me. I can't wait for next year!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Knit night

It was "Needle Exchange" night at my LYS - we sit and knit and chat about everything imaginable - and some things not. I wasn't sure about going and leaving my husband, but he wanted me to go, so....
It was a small group, but we had a good time. I love looking at the projects others are working on. Sometimes it inspires me, sometimes I just encourage or help out with a knitting question, but it's always good to go.

I haven't made much progress on any knitting in the last few days, as I am sure you can understand. I am happy just to not be going backwards at this point.

This weekend is a spinning weekend for me. The spinning guild I belong to has an annual spinning retreat at a college in PA. The entire weekend is spent spinning, experimenting with new fibers, trying out new equipment and eating. Especially chocolate. Yum! I will be plying my singles into my first 3 ply yarn, then spinning with the fibers they have chosen for this year's retreat. I'll also bring some fiber of my own, just in case I don't get along with the new fibers being provided. LOL. it's a great chance to watch other spinners and learn a new technique and just spend time with like-minded people .

Our oldest son turns 30 tomorrow. My husband is taking him out on Saturday to choose a rod and reel so he can have his own equipment when we go fishing together.

Happy birthday, Rob!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Passing

My father in law died last night. He was 80 years old. He had lived through surgery for lung cancer, prostate cancer, a stroke and several TIA's, carotid artery surgery, emphysema and heart failure. He had been in the Navy in WW II and worked as a chauffer, carpenter, taxi driver, and ran a mean sewing machine. He had 2 children - my husband and his sister, and 2 grandsons. He was great with his hands and made a teepee for the boy scout troop my husband belonged to. He was a soft spoken, gentle man and I loved him. He died 10 months after the death of his wife of 60 years. He will be sorely missed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hiho, hiho, it's back to work I go

It was truly a Monday morning this morning. I had to go back to work after 2 weeks off. I know, I should be very thankful that I had vacation time, and that we had the money to go on vacation, and I am, but going back is so very hard to do. It actually wasn't a bad day. I am caught up on all email and phone messages, though there is still a lot of work to do.

I had planned - looked forward to, actually - getting home from work and starting a walking regimen. Again. I usually do well with my walking during the cooler weather, even during the winter, but not in the summer heat and humidity. It was not to be today, though. I had to stop and pick up a prescription on the way home. I did that, took it out to the car and returned to the store with my vacation film to be developed. I drove home anticipating a quick grilled cheese sandwich with a home grown tomatoe, then a nice 1.5 mile walk, then some Monday night football and knitting before bed. I got home and couldn't find the prescription I had just picked up. I searched my bag, the car, my bag again, then sighed and drove back to the store, feeling sure that I had dropped it outside the car. No white phamacy bag. I checked inside the store. No one had turned in a lost prescription (it wasn't the kind of thing anybody could have gotten money for). Bigger sigh. Drive home, check the car and my bag again. No luck. Well, I suppose I will have to do without until they get more in at the pharmacy. Time to make that sandwich and eat - it's almost 8 PM and I ususally eat by 6:30. Oops, what's that on the counter? My medicine. It must have grown legs - I swear I have no idea how it got there. Biggest sigh.

I did finish the 3 singles I was spinning. Now I have to ply them. I think I will wait until the weekend. I am going to a spinning weekend get-away! We leave on Friday and don't have to leave until Sunday afternoon and it's a whole weekend of spinning and eating. Mostly chocolate. See, I needed that walk tonight. Grrr. I will walk every day this week, and on the weekend. I promise.

I think I will work on that scarf from Victorian lace. Have I told you how much I love that book? Beautiful patterns and wonderful information. That's all for tonight. Tomorrow I will tell you about my spinning projects and progress. Have a good evening.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Finishing

I love the feeling of finishing projects! I am not sure whether it's the fact that I now get to wear (or give away) whatever it is or the feeling of accomplishment that I get from crossing off one more item on my To Do list or just my pleasure at looking at something I made. Maybe all of the above. I know that people try to classify knitters as process or project knitters. I think I am both. Or neither. I love casting on, I love the excitement of a new project, I enjoy the knitting process (except for knitting seed stitch. LOL), and I am so excited when I finish something that I must say that I enjoy everything about knitting.

I wove in the ends on my Tuscany shawl last night and it will be blocking in a little while. I finished and wove in the ends on my second Twisted Flower sock, and since I don't block socks, those are ready to wear. [big grin] I wove in the ends of a cute baby hat I've been working on forever (I just kept forgetting about it - it wasn't really that hard to knit) and now it's ready to be blocked. It really is cute, if I must say so myself. I also completed and wove in the ends on the first of a pair of garter stitch gloves. So, 3.5 projects completed in the last few days, with one more sock (the first of a pair) only about 1 inch of ribbing from being completed. That is such a good feeling. How long do you think it will take me to cast on something else?

Current knitting projects include
1) 2 socks on 2 circs in Trekking Natura. I am trying this technique for the first time and don't think I will do it again soon. I make mistakes. There's no getting around that. With this technique, every time I make a mistake, there's twice as much knitting to undo. Not the system for me, I am afraid, though I like the idea of the socks being identical since you make them at the same time. (I frequently take a generic sock pattern, insert a stitch patttern from a stitch dictionary and make my own socks instead of following a pattern, and I am not good at writing down what I do. I have a lot of fraternal socks)
2) Work socks for my son. He's in construction and frequently cold in the winter. Last winter he made the discovery that wool socks are warmer than 2 pairs of cotton/acrylic socks and did I know that? Really! So, he's getting several pairs of wool socks for his birthday (this week) and Christmas.
3) A red, white and blue cotton baby balnket. This is a project chosen to use up some yarn I purchased for another project that did not work out. It is not for any one in particular so there's no rush, and I work on it when I need something simple to work on in the dark (a long drive) or while watching an absorbing TV show.
4) About 2 years ago I started the Great American Aran Afghan, made 8 squares or so and got stuck on one. I haven't picked it up since, and I really need to get back to it.
5) Open and solid diamond lace scarf from Victorian Knitting, using KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud. I put this aside when I started the Mystery Shawl 3, but since I have decided to frog that, I will pick this up again. I love the patterns in that book and will knit many of them.
6) Side to side garter stitch gloves - the first is complete and I cast on for the second last night. The construction of these is intriguing. Starting at the thumb, you knit one flat surface (the palm) of the glove, go around the pinky finger and knit the other surface (back of the hand), grafting the fingers together at the sides. I am using KnitPicks Telemark.

I did some spinning yesterday - I have two of the 3 singles spun for the 3 ply yarn I want to try. I hope to get the third single spun today and possibly do the plying as well, but it's football day (Go Raven! Go Broncos!) and I can't spin and watch TV well. Knitting goes better with football as long as I choose a project that I don't have to look at often. Like the socks or the baby blanket.

My friend Karen is going to lend me her digital camera, so photos of these and subsequent projects should be coming a lot sooner than I thought. Thank you, Karen.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Knitting progress

I finished Tuscany! I haven't woven in the ends or blocked it yet, but the dreaded seed stitch border and the bind off is complete. The pattern gives finished dimensions of 76 '' wide at the top and 26 '' long at the tip. My shawl, unblocked, is about 64 " at the top edge and about 27 " long. I added black beads every 8 rows just along the side edge. The yarn is a mercerized cotton a deep purple and I love it. The weather is beautiful here today so maybe I can get it blocked and drying this afternoon.

I have about 10 more rows of knitting to do on the Twisted Flower sock (and ends to weave in) and I will have another finished project! This pattern is wonderful. The charts and instructions leave no doubt about what comes next.

I hope to do some spinning today. I have never spun a 3 ply yarn before. I found some fiber in my stash in a soft blue that I divided into 3 even amounts and plan to spin a 3 ply yarn with it. I have no specific plans for this yarn. I just wanted to try something new. I love cables, and took a class with Janet Szabo at MD Sheep and Wool last year. She recommends taking the time and effort to produce a 3 ply yarn to enhance the cable, so I decided to try it.

If I spend any more time at the computer today I will run short of time for my fiber activities, so I will say goodbye. Have a wonderful day.

Friday, September 28, 2007

back from vacation

We have just returned from vacation. We had a wonderful time - great weather, lots of boating time, a good amount of knitting time and a visit to the LYS in Montauk. We went out fishing every day, usually abut 2 PM and returned to the dock (with fish) at about 9 PM. We watched the sun set everyday from the water. I hope to post some photos in a few days. Both husband and I had a great time.

It did get rather chilly once the sun went down, but that gave me an excellent reason to wear my hand knitted wool socks and my hand knitted from hand spun Jacob and BFL hat much sooner than I would have at home. We went to the lighthouse every evening and used the binoculars to look out over the water to Block Island, Connecticut and Fishers Island. The lights blink and twinkle and look so beautiful. We tried to identify each one by it's color and blink frequency (light houses and buoys can be identified with a chart in that way). This year we went into the Lighthouse and climbed the stairs to the observation area. What views! I know that in practise, lighthouse keeping was very hard work, but those views must have been part of the reward.

I was very entertained by listening to the calls on the VHS radio to and from other boats and the Coast Guard. We could, at various time, receive calls from the Coast Guard stations in Montauk, NY, Atlantic City, Long Island Sound and South East New England.

In August I started to knit Tuscany (a shawl) from No Sheep for You, and on the drive home (a little less than 7 hours) I was able to complete it. Since I knit on multiple projects at once, that's a record for me! LOL. I usually take much longer than that to finish one thing. I did decide to add an edging to the long edge so it wouldn't roll, and I am still working on that. I detest knitting seed stitch, but that's what looked best, so that's what I am doing. Only an inch or so to be added - I knit on it while chatting or watching TV so as to avoid going crazy. This was a great project and I can see myself knitting it in a different yarn for a totally different look.

I hope to start knitting on my merging colors capelet: http://www.strickwear.com/cgi-bin/viewitem.pl?cat=1035
in the next day or so. I still have to divide some of the colors into multiple balls since you have to knit with 4 strands of yarn at once. I purchased the new Knit Picks Options Harmony Wood needle set and plan to use them to knit this kit. I'll let you know what I think of them. I currently have several of the metal Options needles and I really like the points. I do a lot of lace and cable work and those points really help. If I like them, I will probably get the new wood DPN's also, since I use DPN's a lot for sock and glove/mitten knitting.

I had hoped to finish my Twisted Flower sock (designed by Cookie A) while on vacation but I have to knit that with the pattern right in front of me. I just didn't have that much sit down and knit uninterrupted time. I am half way down the foot, so I am close. Maybe I will get if finished before I return to work on Monday.

Well, I am off to do another load of laundry and more unpacking. Happy Fall.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

KDO

I just returned from attending Knitters Day Out in PA. It's a very affordable day of knitting classes and a market for indulging in your new (or old) passion.

One of the classes I took was on knitting side to side garter stitch gloves. The construction of the gloves was very interesting and I really enjoyed that class.

The other class I took was Latvian Wristers, with Beth Brown-Reinsel. We learned a little about Latvian mittens, and some of the techniques used in those mittens. Beth learned something, too. There was a woman in the class who was Latvian, and she taught Beth to pronounce the names of the 4 different areas of Latvia. In 3 hours you can only do so much, but it was a challenging class and I definitely learned some new techniques, such as how to make a herringbone braid. I also learned that if you don't like to weave in ends, this is not the knitting style for you. ; )

I purchased one Merging Colors kit for the mobius capelet and several patterns - very restrained for me!

We are off on vacation in a day or so - beaching and boating for a week. I hope the weather stays nice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Vacation

It's September and almost time for vacation. I can't wait! We return to the same spot every year, though we have "graduated" from tent camping to pop-up camper to basic hotel room as we have aged. We haul our boat with us, about an 8 hour drive, and spend most of our time fishing and boating in the waters off Montauk, NY.

I always pack my knitting first. In fact, I start planning which knitting projects I will bring on vacation at least a month before departure. My clothes get thrown in the duffel bag a day or so before we leave, but the knitting....
The knitting is planned out, each project has it's own bag, the patterns are copied, the needles are chosen (and some spares, just in case), and I always bring more than I can possibly knit, because I don't know ahead of time what I will feel like working on. I am NOT a monagamous knitter. I tried it and it doesn't work. Now there's a yarn store in the town, so there's an added element to our trip. My husband cringes.

I am knitting a blue cotton cardigan of my own design, and I have been putting off knitting the bottom edging because I didn't think I had enough yarn for it. I recently purchased a digital scale, weighed the yarn, knitted a row and weighed it again. Now I know I have enough yarn and the knitting is going fast!

I always have a sock in the works, and right now I have 3 going. One of them is the Twisted Flower sock pattern by Cookie A. I love the pattern, and it is very well written and charted. Check out her patterns if you can. http://www.cookiea.com/

Have a good day and enjoy the fall weather.