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


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.