Thursday, February 26, 2009

I wanna head west

Stitches started Thursday in CA. Karen will be/is there and I want to be. I also very much what to go to the Sock Summit after looking at the list of instructors. What a Who's Who of knitting that is! Finances will not allow that particular indulgence for sure. Oh, well. I have yarn and can knit, a roof over my head and food n the pantry. I am not sure whether I should be depressed because I have lowered my expectations of what to be thankful for or whether I should be proud of myself for adjusting to changing times and things I have no control over.

I am knitting the transition chart of Laminaria and my next row includes somehow making 9 stitches out of very few. I am concerned about getting it right and I can't decide whether to try it while at the Needle Exchange at my LYS to have support or to wait unitl I am home so that I can work on it un-interrupted.

Rob's sock heel flap is complete and I am ready to turn the heel.

ETA I have finished the row I dreaded on Laminaria and it was stressful because I was worried but came out just right! I am almost finished with the transition chart. this is what the make 9 out of 2 or 3 looks like. I can't wait to see this shawl develop.

Today's weather is ever changing and I have the headache to prove it, so I am home from work. I plan on knitting, spinning and if the headache improves enough, washing the kitchen floor. How's that for a Friday off? Have a good weekend.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Drop spindles are wonderful

I used my drop spindle yesterday! I really want to get back to spinning and made a conscious effort to spin a little yesterday. I did not get the wheel out - there was too much going on in that area for it to be safe - but I spun for about 30 minutes total on my drop spindle. I am spinning this beautiful blue fiber and it looked so soft and bright in the sunlight streaming in the windows.

This is an older photo and I have 3 times as much singles on the spindle now as I did then. I have just a little more to go and then it will be time to ply. I won't have a lot of yardage - this was 2 oz. of fiber - but I will use it somewhere. It's too pretty to just put it in a drawer somewhere.

I had a mistake in my Honka scarf but I noticed it only 2 rows away. I found a carried yarn thread on the right side of the fabric instead of the inside. I was very nervous about trying to fix the problem (I have struggled with double knitting for along time) and planned to rip back rather than risk making matters worse. On our walk yesterday I mentioned it to Karen and she really encouraged me to try fixing it. She talked me through it and I actually did it last night! All by myself! I fixed a problem in a double knit project. Wow.

I had a KnitPicks harmony Options accident last night that had me holding my breath. I was knitting away on Laminaria, moved my left hand fast to do something (what it was went right out of my head due to what resulted from that movement) and the cable came right out of the connector tip to the needle! Gasp! My lace! My lace was on that cable! About 30 stitches (of a lace row, of course, not a purl back row) were suddenly floating in the breeze. Gulp. No life lines, lots of 3/3 star stitches, the remainder of the approximately 200 stitches are all squashed on the needle part of the circular. I was afraid to breathe or move.

Luckily for me DH came to the rescue, and I was able to stay calm enough to think. DH kept the cat away (she wanted to help) and supported the floating end of the shawl while I slowly put each stitch onto the (very full) needle, one stitch at a time. I then changed cables. Again, very carefully and slowly so I didn't loose any stitches. I had been about 1/3 of the way through my purl back row, so I kept going. when I got to the part that had been floating in mid air, I carefully counted and amazingly enough the only stitch that I lost was the 1/3 star at the end of the row (where you increase by making 3 stitches from 1). I turned the work, re-knit that stitch (a little awkwardly) and turned back to finish the purl back row. I will count stitches today to be sure that I have the correct number of stitches on each side but I think I averted a tragedy.

Laundry was washed and dried on the line yesterday, the living room was thoroughly cleaned (not just a surface cleaning), I assisted DH with a wiring project that will ultimately lead to having a lighting system in the hall closet so that we can actually see what we need to get from there instead of groping around in the dark, found the placemats and table cloths I use for most of the year (they had been put away when I took out the holiday linens but had not yet been relocated after the holidays) and brought them up to the kitchen for use, changed the bed linens and helped with food prep and clean up. Whew!

IT IS SNOWING OUTSIDE!!!!!! These guys came to visit.

Karen and I were supposed to walk at 9:15 this morning. I checked the weather map, though, and thought that we would have more rain while walking, so I called Karen and we agreed to at least delay the walk. I just didn't want to be walking the 2 mile trail, be halfway, and get rained on in 40 degree temperatures. Instead, it snowed. I would have been thrilled to walk in the snow and Karen would have hated it. I saved you, Karen. LOL.

Have you seen the list of instructors for the Sock Summit? Wow! What a list! I wish I could go .....

I am off to get a start on my day - grocery shopping, clean the bedroom, wash another couple of loads of laundry (that will most likely be dried in the drier rather than the line due to weather. bummer.), make a curtain liner, spin (wheel, I hope) and knit. Have a wonderful day, wherever you are.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's February and we are still committed to walking

Let's review the knitting situation first - I am ashamed to say that it took me this long to block the lace ribbon scarf. But it is completed and wearable. I am very happy with this scarf and think I might make another some day.

Moneypenny helped me take photos of the scarf.

The Laminaria shawl has me entranced. I might change my mind in the next section (I have seen some blogs posts that indicate that the next section is NOT FUN) , but for now I love it. As usual with lace, there is not much to show in a photo, even with DH holding the fabric for me.

Rob's Maryland Terrapins socks are moving along. The first (or should I say second) sock is complete (the knitting, anyway) and I am working slowly on weaving in the ends. gulp. There are a lot of them. See?

I have woven in the ends on the foot section and a couple on the ribbing and am now working on the leg section. Here is the right side of the sock, charmingly posed on the computer keyboard.

And here is the lettering, of which I am very proud.

The next sock (we'll ignore the fact that this is the 3rd sock in the pair that I am knitting) is about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the foot.

Neither the grey vest

nor the Honka scarf

have made much progress recently due to my concentration on the socks and the shawl.

Work has been busy, but not terribly so. Just a lot of deadlines that I have to adhere to, and a lot of computer work rather than the patient interaction that I like. I have been able to spend some time in the operating room, though, and I enjoy that. I have to be in there to "collect body parts" as I jokingly comment to Karen. I collect a piece of tissue (artery) that is normally discarded for the research lab to work with. When that tissue is ready to be collected is not often schedule-able, so I hang out in the OR and wait.

This weekend I hope to
a) spin 30 minutes each day (or more)
b) sew some curtain linings. Our bedroom is very bright in the morning and I purchased some lining fabric to darken the room.
c) Clean at least 2 rooms
d) laundry, most of which should dry on the line. The weather on Sunday (predicted rain and snow) might limit that, but I will try.
e) knit on Laminaria and the Honka scarf
f) walk with Karen on the trail both days. We are Committed! (we are trying to psych ourselves to not wimp out when the weather is not conducive or when we are tired)

Sounds ambitious, doesn't it? I had best get to sleep.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

? The last snow of the season?

The snow is falling as I write this post - and I wish I could be outside enjoying it. I don't know, it is early in the season to say this, but I feel like this will be the last snow until next winter. That doesn't mean that I am foolish enough to think that winter is over. ;(
I do think, though, that it will be cold but dry for the rest of this winter. Hmmm Is my weather forecasting any better than the meteorologists?

Since Monday I have had a chance to just about finish the first (good) Terps sock. I have 2 rows to finish and then I will bind off. I have started the toe of the next one.

I have one more pattern repeat (8 rows) on the fist section of Laminaria. I still love it.

Bob's cotton sweater needs a major frogging session. : (

Honka knitting will wait until the weekend, but my grey vest will grow on Thursday night at the Needle Exchange.

I did indeed receive very yummy chocolates for Valentine's Day from my sweetie. He knows me so well.

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Friday!

Now isn't that an original title?
But that's tops on my mind today. It is the end of the work week, I get to go out to dinner with Charlotte tonight - lots of girl and nurse talk, and I get to go out again tomorrow. Woohoo!

Last night was the needle Exchange at my LYS. We had a small but nice group of people. I saw blanket squares, a shawl, a blanket, a premie cap and a sock in progress. I worked away on the Maryland Terps socks. I was knitting in the letters last night. Each letter section is 5 rows deep and I completed 4 rows of them last night. (I also shopped, and got there late - that's why I wasn't all that productive.) I am knitting and purling this section back and forth so that I don't have to cut the yarn for the letters at the end of each row and begin again. I already have a million ends to weave in because I did not like the feel of the inner surface of the sock when I carried the yarn up the inside, so I have been breaking each color off as I finish a stripe. Boy, if only Rob could understand what a labor of love this is.

When I got home I climbed into bed with my audiobook and knitted about 6 rows on my shawl (Laminaria).

We have no special plans for Valentine's Day. We will be going to see Grease with our friends, but that was just a scheduling coincidence. We didn't plan this outing for this holiday. DH knows better than to skip the holiday but we don't make a huge deal of it, either. I suspect/hope that I will be getting some very delicious chocolates. Yum!


OK. Blogger froze at this point and some of my post went away. I didn't have time to argue, so I am picking up the story Monday morning.

We had a great time seeing Grease with Steve and Cheryl. The singing was awesome and the costumes and dancing were wonderful. I went out on Sunday and bought the soundtrack. ; )

I am on the ribbing of Rob's sock. The letters are finished, look good and I got the tension right because there is no puckering and the sock still fits him. Yippee! So I will knit several inches of ribbing, still changing colors, and finish off with a few rows of black. The toe and heel are black, too. Then it will be time to cast on for the 3rd sock (since I had knitted most of the 1st one before I frogged it).

I love my shawl. The star stitches are beautiful. I think I have about 16 rows to go in this section. The rows take much longer to complete at this point (almost 200 stitches) but I am still not minding the repetition.

I really should pick up my Honka scarf (the double knit scarf)and work on it, but the sock and the shawl have taken over my knitting life. I have to get back to work on DH's sweater, too. Not tonight, though. It's my late night at work and then walking, so there won't be much time for knitting tonight. Maybe a few rows on the shawl and that's it. Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February knitting

This amaryllis plant was a gift from my uncle. Isn't it gorgeous!!?

(I started this post on Tuesday but it is now Wednesday and I am just getting around to finishing it. I have added a few updates.)

Well, I did indeed cast on for a project while I was in NY. I rarely worry about making something that others have/are making - I just worry about whether I like it or not. I feel a little funny, though, about the fact that I didn't even use a different color yarn. I am using the green merino lace yarn that was in the package that I won a few weeks ago. At least I will have a good idea of what the final product will look like. LOL. I am making Laminaria . I am still in the area where the rows are very short (I may change my mind when the rows get longer) but I am finding that the star stitches are not bothering me to knit, though they are a little fiddly and I have to pay attention. The look that they give the shawl is worth the little bit of trouble, though.

Over the weekend I was able to get quite a bit of knitting done. The MD Terps socks are both done to the ankle, though I have to rip back the first one to where I started the heel. I made the foot too long.  (ETA I ripped it all the way to the start. I didn't like the toe and knew that I would be unhappy if I left it). Tonight or tomorrow I plan to chart out the text for the leg section. The grey striped vest (knitted side to side) is about half way under the first arm. My mitten is almost at the decrease point. It's been too cold walking to the hospital from the parking garage for me to get much knitting done while walking. Brrrr. I need gloves on my hand for that walk. (ETA we had warm weather today and I did do some knitting while on the way to my car)

This was supposed to be a spinning week, rather than knitting. I forgot last night, but then again I only knitted 2 rows. So maybe it's not too late to stay with the spinning week. I don't know whether I can keep my hands off the new shawl all week. (ETA forget the spinning week. I'll try again next week. Actually, I think I would like to get back to my 10-20 minutes each day, so I will try that, starting this weekend.) 

We went to the beach over the weekend. Not to swim, obviously,  (we were in NY) but just to walk near the water, hear the waves crash and enjoy the sunshine. Some people were actually ankle deep in the water there. See, right here

they were digging for clams. The entire family was barefoot and the kids were actually wading. Brrrr. It wasn't that warm out. 

We saw this fowl swimming around - can anybody identify it for me? I think maybe it's a loon, but the picture on the web is not quite the same, so I am not convinced.

Mom and my brother are doing well. We all had a great dinner together on Friday night - good food and conversation. We had hoped to see ice boat races on the river near the place we went to for lunch on Saturday but the temperatures had melted the ice too much. bummer.

These are beach photos - just because I like them.

You have met my son's second cat - Stanley. Here is his first cat. Her name is Moneypenny, and we call her Penny for short. Isn't she adorable? She was enjoying some warm weather out on the deck. 

It's hump day and I am glad. Just two more work days and there's a great weekend in store. I am meeting my friend Charlotte for dinner and a great catch up session on Friday.  On Saturday Bob and I are taking Steve and Cheryl to see Grease at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore for their Christmas gift. Sunday I hope to spend at home, though. Knitting time. Ahhh.

Oh, yes, and walking. yippee

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I think I am getting a case of startitis

I hope it's not fatal - to my WIPs.

I really am happy to be working on my grey striped vest.

And the Maryland Terps socks.

And the double knit scarf.

And yet I printed this shawl pattern out the other night and started to dig into my stash for yarn to cast on with. I stopped short of casting on, but that's more because I was tired than anything else. : )

Then I purchased this pattern on line and I find myself edging closer and closer to the stash bins, wanting to swatch. This is especially dangerous because the yarn I have in mind to try for this sweater is alpaca. Alpaca is my absolute favorite fiber to play with. It is not necessarily the best fiber to knit a sweater with, but I am going to try this pattern and see how it goes.

I received my Knitpicks order today - some fixed circulars in the 2.25 and 2.5mm sizes for sock knitting (1 sock on 2 circs), extra Options needle tips in sizes I seem to use a lot and a book. I have been wanting to try out a Cat Bhordi sock architecture for a while. I was so close to free shipping on my order already ....

I put in an 11 hour day today - unexpectedly. I had already planned to be off at least half the day tomorrow. I worked on MLK day, so I have some holiday time to take. I had thought that I might work the morning and take off the afternoon so as to head to NY a little sooner, but after today, I am not going in to work at all tomorrow. I'll check email before we go and take care of anything urgent, but I can do that from home and I will.

I already mentioned that I will be taking the Terps sock and the vest to NY. I will also be taking yarn to swatch for the sweater and possibly (if I can narrow down the choices) some lace weight for the shawl. I will never be able to get that much knitting done over the weekend, but I will bring it anyway. After all, a knitter has to be prepared, right?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

More snow!

I, as a Maryland state employee, am required to take 4 hours unpaid leave every two weeks for several months  because the idiots in charge don't know how to manage our money. Now I (and most other state employees) have to "allow" the state to keep part of the money they promised to pay me very week. I decided to make this a little more palatable by staying home in the snowy weather yesterday - 4 hours furlough time and 4 hours work at home time. I saved the commute (one hour each way) and got to watch the snow fall all day. DH and I walked in the falling snow and had a great time. I am actually very productive at home - not as many interruptions - and so I was able to finish the work that I had hoped to complete in my 4 hours work at home. I so enjoyed watching the snow fall outside the window. I have no windows at work, either. 

Work continues on the vest, but no photos have been taken. The vest is stockinette and curls a lot. It will need a strong edging to keep it straight for wearing. 

The MD Terps socks are moving along nicely, too.  We are going up to NY this weekend to visit Mom and I hope to get a few hours of knitting in on the drive there and back. Maybe the socks will be finished by the time we get home!  

Next time I will tell you about the new pattern I purchased and my plans for it and a shawl to be knit soon.

I plan to make next week a spinning week. I need to get back into the swing of spinning and I just don't seem to get to it. If I do a whole week of spinning instead of knitting, I hope to get back in the groove. Then, possibly, I can return to my previously successful 10-20 minutes of spinning every day. I miss spinning.  

That's it for now.  Stay warm and knit away.