Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spinning happened here

I hope you all had a great weekend. Spinning did happen here! Saturday and Sunday saw spinning in small amounts. I spun only 5-10 minutes at a time to accomodate the shoulder and back, but it added up.

On the left you see my bobbin at the start of the weekend, and on the right you see my bobbin earlier today. Definately more singles there and I have done more spinning since then.

I cast off my sock, so now I have a pair. To re-cap - I dyed this fiber at my house last summer. I painted the corridale roving, put it in the microwave, rinsed and air dried it. I spun the fiber trying to maintain long color sections, and plied the multicolor with the yellow single. The yarn was a screamer so this is a stockinette sock.

I cast on for another sock. I always have a sock in the works for traveling. This yarn was gifted to me as part of the mitten swap I participated in last fall. It will be either stockinette or ribbing to let the yarn do the talking.

I worked on the Diamond Fanstasy Shawl.

And I worked on the Cables and O's cardigan.

In addition to all of that, all of *my* stuff is back in the bedroom (DH still has some work to do), the laundry is done and most of it was line dried (I love that scent of line dried clothes) and I think we found a vehicle for DH to replace the one that is very old and wants to retire. Karen and I walked Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and OS X has been updated so we can finally get to work on the taxes.
Whew! I think it's time for bed. Well, maybe a few more rows on Cables and O's......

Friday, March 28, 2008

New fiber!

It seems that my desire to resume spinning has been cosmically reinforced. Today’s mail included my shipment from Spunky Eclectics Fiber Club. The fiber is merino (which I enjoy spinning). I think the colors are fun – they are supposed to represent blue skies, white snow, green things sprouting and the mud that comes from the snow melting. LOL

I am going to try 20 minutes of spinning tomorrow, though I probably will spin something else besides my new fiber. I may play with an earlier shipment – possibly the stuff that came at Christmas. I like those colors a lot:

My other option for spinning is the silk/wool blend I have been working on for a lace shawl.

The color is not very accurate in this photo - I will have to try again. It looks great in real life. I haven't chosen a stitch pattern yet. I just know that I want to knit a lace shawl with this yarn. I won't allow myself to swatch until I have the yarn spun, though. Otherwise I would be knitting away with only half of the yarn made.

I managed 4 rows on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl and about the same on the Cables and Os tonight in between working, shopping for bedroom curtains, walking and dinner. It's time (tomorrow morning) to bind off the sock I have been working on and get a new one cast on. I MUST have a sock in progress for travel purposes. This travel sock is always either stockinette or ribbing so I don't have to track stitches. I let the yarn do the talking on these socks and save the fun patterns for other projects. I do knit patterned socks, I just don't take them along with me when I am out and about.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

plugging away

I knit at every opportunity - here's my progress on Cables and O's as of yesterday:

I should be able to knit another inch or two tonight - it's knit night at my LYS.

I finally got a decent photo of the living room carpet.

And just for fun, here's the Easter candy I picked out for my DH who loves fishing

I am off to knit. Have a great evening.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cable and O-ing

I had hoped to take a photo each day of my progress on the Cables and O's cardigan but that was not to be. Not enough sunlight during the times I am at home for one thing. And let's face it - two or three rows of progress just isn't going to be visible, at least not on line. Between dinner, walking 4 miles or so each day, family stuff and my back exercises, I just don't have very much knitting time after work. The good news is that I am doing a few rows each day and that I am enjoying it. The pattern is simple enough that I can get into the zone and just knit away and relax while I am doing it. I don't have to sit bolt upright with the chart in front of me, but it's not mind numbing, either.

I hope to try some spinning this week. I have been holding off on spinning because of my back issues - no need to irritate already sore muscles and joints with something that I know causes some aches and pains. But I have been going to physical therapy for a few weeks now and I am doing much better. I do my exercises regularly and I don't have nearly the amount of aches and pains I was having when I started. I think I will try just 20-30 minutes at a time. I will set a timer so I am reminded of when to stop. If I can spin for 20-30 minutes each day I will get a lot of spinning done. I have a tendancy to wait until I have lots of time to spin, and that's just not necessary.

I mentioned to Karen when we were walking one day that I was thinking about choosing a week in each month to spin instead of knit. When I have some fiber time I just automatically pick up my knitting. I can't seem to remember to do the one day/week spinning thing. Maybe identifying a whole week for spinning will get me going. I will, however, try my 30 minutes per day first to be sure I can handle spinning again. I may actually find that the daily thing works better for me. I do want to spin more and I am determined to find a way.

Have a good day and enjoy spring.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I love weekends

Saturday was Karen's birthday. We celebrated by walking our 4 miles on the trail, then cleaning up and going for a ride to check on a friend. The we went to my house and spent several pleasant hours knitting and just talking. My son brought the birthday cake over at about dinner time. Strawberry shortcake with home made whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Karen knitted a sock - practically in front of my eyes. The yarn was sport weight (I think) and she was using size 4 needles. It seemed like every time I looked over there was a another couple of inches of sock knitted. We knitted some more, then Karen headed home to work - she is a night owl - while I knitted away on my Cables and O's sweater...

and also my Diamond Fantasy shawl.

On Sunday Karen and I walked our 4.5 miles on the trail again (I am soooooo sore) and then I worked on laundry and house cleaning and more knitting. I cooked spagetti and meatballs for supper. While the sun was out I took more photos of spring indicators.

This is the start (the red shoots) of my peony in my front garden. I love how the new shoots come right up between the old ones.

Today I am back at work. It will be a busy week. Posting on my blog my not happen much this week. Have a good one.

Friday, March 21, 2008

TGIF. Really.

My new bedroom carpet is so thick and cushy on the toes, especially at 5:15 AM. I posted this particular photo because I thought that maybe including the furniture leg would show that it sinks into the carpet. The color is right on in this photo.

It is all very neutral because we hope to put the house on the market in a year or so and don't want to turn off potential buyers by choosing a color that might clash with their belongings. I like the way it looks anyway.
I can't get the color of the living room carpet right in the flash photos - I will try tomorrow in the daylight.

I have completed the ribbing on the Cables and O's sweater.

I just started the foundation row with the cables, which I love to do. I should be able to make good progress on this project this weekend. Karen and I are celebrating her birthday with some knitting and dessert. Yum. My son (the cook) is making the dessert so it should be good.

It has been a long and busy week. Work was very busy. I am a research nurse in cardiac surgery and we had an emergency implant of a heart pump last week that required lots of extra paperwork to be filed under deadline. I was assigned an extra project (also with a deadline) on Thursday and there is still the regular data collection to be done on the patients already enrolled in studies. Then I had computer issues - an electonic data collection system that didn't want to work and less than helpful help desk people on the job. I am more happy than ususal that the end of the week arrived.

Research coordinators have to deal with study monitors who come periodically to verify data. I have one of those on Monday. It is rare that there are no errors or changes to be made on the case report forms. You look at a computer screen, for instance, filled with lab values and even though you try to be careful, your eyes move to the next line or the next day's results and you write the wrong number down. Deciphering handwriting adds spice to my life, also. I have to read the progress notes and test reports and document adverse events that occur. When a patient is in the ICU for months at a time (not ususal but it happens) it is hard to catch every detail. It is tough for me sometimes to remain calm and helpful when someone is pointing out things that I did wrong or that I missed. I am getting better at it but it's still hard. Fortunately there are still 2 days off between now and the monitor visit. ; )

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

KAL night

I finally settled on a plan for the Cables and O's sweater front edges and I was able to sit and struggle with the cast on last night. I say struggle because I had to cast on 266 stitches. The cast on method I used is one that is flexible for K1P1 ribbing - can't remember the name of it - and while I love the end result, it's hard to keep it going and not get confused about whether I have to pick up the forward or back thread next. Clear as mud, right? Sorry. I will try to look up the name of the cast on later and add it to this post.

Regardless of what it is called, it's complete. Yippee! Tonight is a KAL night at the LYS so I get to sit and chat and knit my ribbing for 2 hours tonight. The ribbing knitting is made tolerable by the visiting going on - I do not like 1 x 1 ribbing. But it looks good, so I will suck it up. Tomorrow night is the regular knit night at the LYS so I will get 2 nights in a row of knitting and chatting.

I am making slow progress on my hand dyed, hand spun sock (think bright yellow, hot pink and some dark blue) that I've been working on for a while. It is my travel and wait project so it makes progress in fits and starts. I have passed the heel and am working my way round and round the leg. It's a great commute project. I am not yet close enough to the end to think about what comes next.

I would like to get going on the hemp lace top but my life doesn't seem to be allowing time for concentration type knitting right now. Maybe once the living room is back together....

Or not. The boat needs work to be ready for the season, which will start earlier now that we have canvas for it to keep us toasty warm on the sunny but breezy days of spring. A girl can only handle so many hours of boat work, though, before she needs a knitting break. : ) And chocolate. And maybe wine. And a heating pad for the aching back.....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

cushy carpet

We have soft, beautiful carpet in our living room and bedroom! I am soooo excited. I keep walking into both rooms - barefoot - and just enjoying the bounce and the beauty. Who knew I could get so excited about something I walk on? The camera battery is on the charger so photos will have to wait.

Just because I am very happy with its springtime reminder, another Cyclamen photo.

More photographic experimentation:

No knitting progress to report - too much work to get done around the house for much knitting. The big rush is over, though, since the carpet is in. We can take our time, thin out the *stuff* and organize as we stow it away.


carpet guys are in the house......

Monday, March 17, 2008

Disaster Zone

My house is a hazardous area. We are getting carpet installed tomorrow, we are painting and screwing down the wood floors to eliminate squeaks and other misc. things. The main issue is that we are doing this in two rooms at one time. We were OK when it was just one room - we had enough room in the house to move things into. Now that two rooms are disassembled it is much tougher. The room pictured above is living room. This next photo is my bedroom.

The painting is complete in there. Not so in the living room, but at least the ceiling is done in the living room.


is my temporary bedroom. We used to have room to walk around the bed....and get into the closet (that the boxes are piled up in front of)

The room that has the most space right now is the smallest room in the house and it's where our computers live.
And my yarn stash.

Speaking of yarn, I made lots of progress on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl over the weekend. I didn't take another photo because it looks the same. You know how lace is - a big blob (feels nice,though) that looks very un-impressive until blocked. Maybe when I am on the next pattern repeat I will try another photo.

The Cables and O's sweater has been extensively swatched. I chose my needle size and was ready to cast on. But I looked at the sweater and thought about the final project and decided that I had to make a change. I don't like the fact that there is a cable on one front edge and a lace section on the other front edge. I know that when it is buttoned the pattern as written will go right along in the stitch pattern without interruption. I, however, don't plan to wear it buttoned and besides, I like symmetry (apparently). I want both fronts to end with either cables or lace. The lace doesn't work for me because I find the waviness of the lace edge to be annoying and I would be pulling at it all the time. So I am working on other ideas. This is a swatch of the bottom ribbing carried up the front of the sweater. This is a no go.

This is my gauge swatch. See how the lace edge ripples? I don't want that to be the front edge of my sweater.

I plan to add a cable section to the lace side and put a narrow band on it (the same as the other side). What this does to the neck edge has yet to be figured out.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I am a bad blogger

I started this post on March 5th. I had planned to go home and add some photos but didn't get that far.

I have no excuse. No good one, anyway. Busy, sore back, getting back to work. Just Life.

I have also been in a knitting slump. I have read about this phenomenom but never experienced it myself before now. I love knitting. I love to knit socks and usually have 2-3 pairs on the needles. I have one right now and I am not moving very fast on that one. I have no urge to start another.

Other symptoms - I have recently finished several projects that were hanging around for varying lengths of time (one for almost 2 years!) but didn't immediatley cast on for another. I have been having trouble settling on the yarn to make the Cables and O's cardigan from "No Wool for You". There is a KAL in my LYS and I want to do that, I want this sweater, but I cannot make a decision on yarn. It's not the right price or not the right color for me or it's too neutral or not neutral enough... the list goes on. I do not understand. This is not me. Not even close. I went stash diving a few nights ago looking for something to knit. I couldn't find anything that was right. I do not have a full room of stash yarn but I do have more than a drawer full. It is very unusual for me to not find something in my stash that I want to knit. I swatched a few things but wasn't happy with any. I was begining to worry. This could be serious. What would I do with my life if I wasn't happy with knitting anymore?! I knit all the time. Everywhere. My husband knows just how ill I am when I don't have knitting in my hands.

Finally I felt the urge. I want to make the Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding and went stash shopping. I pulled out not one but 3 possible yarns. I read through the pattern a little, looked at the pictures, searched on Ravelry to see what others had knit it in and narrowed it to two possiblites. I wound both into balls for knitting and started with my first choice - Handmaiden Sea Silk in the seafoam colorway. I am enchanted. 36 rows since last night enchanted. OK, the first row was only 3 stitches, but still! I am knitting and excited about it!

I got a little nervous this morning, though, about my choice. I was wondering how it will block. I have never knit with anything like this before and it will need to be blocked to show off the points and the design. I did some research this morning on Ravelry and other sites and I am now waiting for responses to my questions to knitters who have used this yarn for lace. I hope to have a few answers back by tonight so I know whether I have to frog this and start again with my second choice. Keep your fingers crossed.

Mom is coming to visit this weekend. We plan to attend the Flower show at the state fairgrounds. We do this (almost) every year. We browse, we get inspired, we help each other resist over-indulging, and we buy some flowers. There is a craft show there, also, and we will check that out first. I am always on the lookout for holiday gift possibilites. They have an orchid show and sale, also, and since Mom has been enjoying her foray into orchid growing, we will check that out, too. Dinner out, some catching up, color and decorating talk, a nice walk (weather permitting) on the trail and we will have a good time.

It is a week and half later and I am just getting around to blog again. Again, no big life event, just stuff getting in the way.

My mother did come last weekend. We went to the Flower show and had a good time. We were a little disappointed because it seemed that they didn't have as many vendors selling flowers this year and a few of our favorites weren't there. We did get some great flowers at the Orchid show, though. Mom bought 2 orchids and a hanging plant, and we both bought some geraniums - more unusual varieties with interesting foliage. I will take some photos in the daylight, but it's raining today. I also bought a hydrangea (I have been wanting one for years and finally got one) and a Cyclamen.

I love the hot pink in the middle of the white flower.

It was at the flower show that I started to feel ill. Flu, virus, food poisoning - I have no idea but instead of having a long, lovely visit with Mom, I was in bed with fever and chills and.... never mind that. I was sick. I didn't knit for 3 whole days. Not one stitch! Mom ended up hanging out alone and tending to me. We did get the flowers and had the decorating talk, but no walking, no dinner out. Big bummer.

Knitting progress since 3/5 consists of lots of progress on the diamond Fantasy shawl. My research indicated that it would block beautifully so I forged ahead. This Sea silk yarn is wonderful to knit with - smooth and silky but not slick and wanting to slide off my metal needles at all. First an over-all look at the pattern. The colors are not accurate. I could not get better color accuracy than this with the flash. Maybe when the sun comes out.

This is a close up of the diamond stitch pattern. The yarn is jewel tone shades of green, purple and blue.

I also finally made a decision about the Cables and O's KAL at my yarn store. I went with Rowan cotton glace in a pearly ivory color. I am actually shocked that I chose that because I get light colored things dirty very quickly. I once put on a pair of white jeans. I carefully walked out to the car to get in to go out with DH and Before I was settled in the vehicle he noticed a smudge. I have no idea how it got there, but that's how it goes with me and wearing white. But it was pretty and I wanted something to wear with a lot of colors. I will just be careful and wash it a lot. LOL. The first gathering for the KAL was last Wednesday and I managed to get there despite having to pack to go out of town for a meeting the next day. I am still swatching so no photos yet.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. After getting some things done indoors (we are having carpet installed next Tuesday and the room is not yet prepped) I went outside. I had to get some sun. Doctor's orders, seriously, though I wanted it anyway. I cleaned the dead leaves out of the pond and the water wasn't as cold as I thought so I finished the whole job instead of the half I thought I would get done and cleaned the filters. I raked some leaves, weeded two front beds, trimmed my neighbor's privet hedge so it no longer stabs me when I get in and out of my car in the driveway and took some photos. Proof that spring is indeed really here:

And just because

Have a great Sunday.