Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wii, Wii, Wii, All The Way Home

A pictureless post. I know. I detest them too. But the problem is this: Santa brought us a Wii (albeit, we're just a year late), and nobody seems to want to do or talk about anything else. My oldest got the Guitar Hero, World Tour. Need I say more? My youngest is smokin' me on tennis serves. My body aches, and I wake up each morning singing at the top of my lungs. My husband claims to the people still talking to us, that his wife has gone to the dark side (as he begs me to play "No Sleep 'Til Brooklynn" again).
Why or why didn't somebody warn us? :) PS - my nephews got the PS version of Guitar Hero, Legends of Rock, and we played that all Christmas afternoon. My SIL reported to my DH that I didn't nap on Christmas afternoon, not one wink. This is a Christmas miracle of sorts. No nap at all! YIKES!

On a serious note (not a musical one), I hope that everyone had a blessed Christmas! I'll post knitting contect shortly. Blogging has been the least of my priorities (as you can tell), and I need to catch up. I did gift a lovely baby sweater to my youngest neice. I took a picture of it with my eldest daughter's new camera. She promptly deleted said picture, but I think I'll make that pattern again. It was a Victorian Baby Tee. Maybe my SIL will post a picture of her wearing it!
Happy Christmas (just a few days late)!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Insane Love


I'll admit it. I've succumbed to knitting with the masses. Sometimes knitting with the masses, or knitting a popular pattern is loads of fun! Who am I kidding? I love knitting with the masses. Peer pressure does wonders for my startitis problems. Sigh.
It's really all HER fault. She's the one who posted all the pretty pictures of her scarf on her famous blog. She vamped up the popularity of these scarves again, first made popular by Brooklyn Tweed.
Now, I find myself knitting a 1x1 ribbed scarf (PS, did I mention that when I'm knitting socks, I pretty much loathe the 1x1 ribbing of the sock), and loving every minute of it. It's addictive. It's probably sinful, how much I love knitting this scarf. The changing colors of the stripes keep me entertained for hours. The only downside of this scarf is that I'm not a continental knitter, and a lot of yarn throwing goes on.

PS #1 - Did I mention that I've ordered more Noro Silk Garden to knit some more of these beauties? Yesterday, everyone at my in-laws house stated they wanted one for Christmas. Not this year, I explained. But I may take them up on the idea for next year, as I do not see my love for these scarves (and their knitting appeal) waning any time soon.

PS #2 - I know this post was supposed to be about cowls. I'm still knitting them, but I couldn't wait to show you this scarf. And if you find yourself digging through your stash, or ordering some Noro Silk Garden, don't say I didn't warn you!

Happy Holidays! Get out those one-skein books for some final quick Christmas knitting. Less than a month left to go!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The First Time

I have accomplished it! I have knit my first pair of toe-up socks! I don't know why I was so wary about accomplishing this milestone in knitting. It was pretty straightforward. I knit a simple 2x2 ribbing so that I could concentrate on the construction of the sock itself.

The toe was remarkably simple. I'm not sure what cast-on method I used, but I learned it at the LYS. Basically you hold both needles (I knit my socks via ML method) as you would for a long tail cast-on. I place my needles beside each other, and made one of them a little higher in height. I think I wound around my bottom needle first (or you could use a slip knot), and then just transferred the cast-on to the upper needle, and cast-on for the long tail method as I normally would, alternating between needles being the only difference. It was amazingly easy, and I promptly scolded myself for never trying this method before this knit.

The foot of the sock seemed to breeze by, and before I knew it, I was at the heel. As usual, expecting the worst, my heart began to beat faster, my palms became a bit sweaty, as I glanced and reread the pattern. I am a bit anal (as if you couldn't figure this out by reading the blog) about making mistakes. So before knitting the heel, I wrote the pattern out long-hand, just to make the knitting easier. It was very straightforward, and once I wrapped my head around the P3 tog TBL, I was soaring along! My pattern for short row heels doesn't require any wrapping and twisting, which, in itself, seems confusing to me, although I may try to conquer that fear in the near future. The first heel went remarkably well, as did the second.
And I marveled at how I did not need to pick up any stitches after knitting the heel, as you would with a top-down sock.

Finally, I did a new bind-off as well. My first bind-off was too tight (can you imagine?). I quickly researched bind-off methods, and decided on Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off. Here's another new skill that works like a charm. It gives just enough stretch to wear the garment on the appropriate body part, without making the bind-off too loose!

So here's the final product, my first-toe up socks.
Stats:
Started October 2008, Finished November 2008
US #2 ML Harmony Wood needles (40 in) from Knit Picks (a gift from Morticcia). PS - love them!
Yarn: Scarlet Fleece in the Olives and Pimento Colorway, no major pooling - YEAH!
Pattern: 2x2 rib, 56 stitches, generic toe-up pattern


I couldn't be more pleased! This yarn is not the softest I've ever knit, but the fabric that it knits into is altogether lovely. It has 20% Nylon, which I think must be important in toe-up socks. My concern with this heel construction is that it might wear poorly, not having that nice reinforced heel flap as top-down construction does. Anyone want to weigh in on this factor?
Next post, maybe I'll feature the cowls that have been piling up for Christmas giving!
PS - yesterday we got between 4-6 inches of snow, and it was lovely, even if I did have to drive in it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Phinally, some FO's!

I'm back. However, I have too much content to cram into one blog post. It's been very busy this past month. I have been doing a fair amount of knitting, but the excitement to photograph and publish blog posts is waning. I cannot offer an explanation for this, but I've sensed that several people are suffering from this particular malady.
The title of this post is in honor of the Philadelphia Phillies, and their amazing win in the World Series. My eldest and I watched with bated breath until the last pitch was thrown. What an exciting end to the game! YEAH PHILLIES! And the pun is, "Phinally, a World Series Championship, the first since 1980!" The funny thing is that I remember watching that World Series in 1980!
Okay, onto some knitting content....


These particular socks have been finished for weeks. I can't even use the "no good weather for photography excuse," as my photography always stinks. What do you expect with an old Kodak digital camera? It was good in its time, but I don't have the super mega pixels that my DH's camera boasts.
Reenie's Socks
Start - ? August 2008
Finished - early October 2008
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport
Pattern: - My own (by accident of reading the pattern incorrectly), a 3x1 rib combo.
Lorna's has incredibly great yardage, softens with washing/blocking, and generally creates a nice sock. The colorways are usually pretty nice.

Kate's scarf:
This particular scarf has been on the needles since August of 2008. I remember just starting it, when we visited Boston Children's Hospital (and Morticcia). I also finished it at least two weeks ago, and have started another one in Wollmeise. YUM!
I've also switched needles, from Clover Bamboo to Knit Picks straights. WOW - you have got to get yourself a pair of these needles, or maybe the whole set that they offer! I'm currently using the Harmony Straights. The point of the needle is just right for knitting the K2together stitches. The glide is smooth and perfect, making them truly a really pleasure to knit anything with, let alone the prized Wollmeise.
Kate's Scarf Stats:
Started - August 2008
Finished - October 2008
Yarn: Yarn Pirate Merino/Tencel, fingering weight
Pattern: Wendy Johnson's Feather and Fan (easy, peasy).
Mods: None - I knit until the yarn was nearly gone. I must admit to loving the merino/tencel yarn combos. I'm not sure how they would wear for knitting socks, but they make lovely scarves. Sometimes the yarn was a bit splitty, but I didn't knit this scarf with the new Knit Picks Harmony either. I'm interested in starting another merino/tencel scarf after the Wollmeise is done. This project is so easy, it is usually my take-along project.

This scarf, being a bit amiable in nature, sometimes becomes prideful, and poses itself in the most unflattering positions on my chair.

I'm working on some new projects for your viewing pleasure (well, actually they are for my knitting pleasure, but you will probably see them in progress or as finished objects). I'm almost finished with my first toe-up sock. I've also caught some sort of disease that has me looking at cowls and digging through my stash for my meager offerings of Malabrigo to knit said cowl patterns. Could someone enlighten me about this particular disorder? Is it curable?

Well, all said, have a great week! We're Christmas shopping tomorrow, just me and the hubby. We usually spend a day in the toy stores, playing like kids, without the kids in tow. It's one of my favorite days to spend with him.
And of course, we're voting! Are you?

Friday, October 10, 2008

The End of The Week

Thank you for Friday (this week)....
Here's what happened today:
1) My patient load was significantly reduced. I'm talking I only had to work 3 hours today. Wonderful! What a nice break. I decided to do some shopping at the new shopping complex that has sprouted in our area. Ok, it's really 35 minutes away from me, but so is the nearest grocery store of any significance.
2) The new complex, or "Market Place", as it is referred to, has a Target, among other stores. I am not a big Target shopper, namely because there simply are not stores in our area. But today, I became a Target shopper. I did manage to pick up some needed things (I'm the snack mom this weekend for both soccer games....so snacks and juice abound, as do 7.58 lbs of bananas). I also found some things we didn't need - leave it to me to continue shopping in poor economic times, for the girls. I bought Christmas outfits, and the CUTEST red pea coat for my youngest! It's fabulous, and I'm sure a hug will await me when she lays eyes on it! The girls are also recipients of some cute Halloween tee-shirts!

3) Said Target has a STARBUCKS. I know, most of you aren't impressed, but would you be if I told you the nearest Starbucks is 1.5 hours away? Yes, I had my caramel macchiato today. YUM!
4) I stopped briefly at the "real" mall, and purchased my Estee Lauder make-up and some White Linen powder for my Nana, who celebrated her 84th birthday last weekend! You Rock, Nana! Happy Birthday! I got a free gift from Estee Lauder (OK, it's not free - have you seen the cost of that make-up? But it's the best brand for my skin)!

5) I arrived home to unload the car, and I received a package of the most coveted yarn in the mail in a swap from a fellow Raveler. I have been yearning for this yarn for months. Here it is in all its glory! It's Wollmeise sock yarn - 100% superwash, in the Flower Power Colorway. I'm not sure why this color speaks to me. It's not my usual colors at all. But every time I look at this skein of yarn, I smile. I'm not sure yet what it's destined to be. I'm thinking something other than socks....have any suggestions or ideas? Drop them in the comments section.

6) I started another fingering weight scarf for my other SIL for Christmas. Don't ask. This is knit with the Noro sock yarn. I'll report on it more as it advances in length. I love the colors of Noro (and I love the Knit Picks Harmony needles). Smooth and nice and stabby, without hurting my hands! Not loving the yarn so much.

7) Lastly, this is the view from my backyard. How about that? God has His paintbrush out these days....isn't it the most beautiful canvas!

How was your Friday?

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Day In the Life

Yesterday was my day off work. It was a delicious sort of day. I slept (well, I combed hair, rearranged outfits, handed out $5 in my half-awakened state) until 8:30 am! It was amazing. I took a nice, long, uninterrupted shower, and then made a cup of Starbucks and did my errands. The countryside here in PA is slowing becoming a beautiful canvas of autumn hues. The afternoon brought a nice little nap, after viewing the end of "The Holiday." I even went to the gym to work out after supper!
In all the glory that was yesterday, this weekend belongs to work, as I'm totally trying to become one with the beeper yet again. I keep telling myself that this is the last complete on-call weekend until January, but it's still unnerving.

To take my mind off the unsettling feeling of the beeper on my hip, I finished one sock on my "to-do" list! I'm not sure what to name this pattern. Here's the silly story. I knit myself a pair of socks in this same pattern last year, but I goofed whilst knitting said pattern. The end result came out completely different than the original pattern. But I liked the result (and didn't want to tink back that far), so I kept on knitting. Well, our good family friend saw said pair of socks, and asked for a pair of her own. Sadly, her request was made a YEAR ago. YIKES! So, Reenie.....here's the first singleton of your pair of socks. I've yet to come up with any names. It's basically a spin-off of a 3x1 rib pattern. Any suggestions? I'm not selling the pattern or anything. I have no delusions about my creativity with knitting or lack there of!
Anyway, it just felt good to finish it tonight. I wove in the ends, and now I just need to create another one! The yarn is Lorna's Lace's Sport in the Sand Ridge colorway. To break up the monotony of knitting the second one right away....I might try a new fingerless mitt pattern, but then again, maybe not! I'm too afraid of inviting SSS! Okay, muggles - translations shall abound - SSS = Second Sock Syndrome! It is a curious disease which plagues knitters across the globe. It seems that knitting one sock sometimes cures the knitter of the desire to knit another one just like it. New methods of knitting socks have been invented as cures for this mysterious syndrome. But, alas, it is still prevalent in many knitting households.
So, in closing.....Happy Weekend! I'll be cheering for Tuesday (which is my next day off work)!
PS - No, Reenie doesn't have giant feet, my sock blockers are just small!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall!

Happy first day of fall! It has been ions since my last post. I feel very guilty about that (obviously not guilty enough to post though)! It seems whenever I think of taking a picture of my project(s) or contemplate a subject to write about, well, I lose the momentum. Somehow I have lost the UMPH to get me going with most things in my life right now. But, so as not to scare you away, we'll just discuss the knitting.
My knitting life is in such a rut! Have you ever experienced this? I have numerous projects (many more than I care to admit) currently on the needles, and really, not one of them is calling my name, which is very unusual! I am stumped! I hate this quality in myself....namely, the inability to finish things. Sometimes I start a new project like gang-busters and it's barely on the needles (BSJ) by the time it's finished, but then, some projects languish around for 45 days or more, just biding time until they get a little attention from me....for shame! Yarn acquisition has not stopped, I read my favorite knitting blogs on a regular basis (thank you for your inspiring knitting and funny anecdotes), so you'd think I'd be happily knitting away! I'm knitting, but it appears that I'm knitting and knitting, and no progress is being made. It feels like a big, black hole. I hate holes in knitting! I have tried ignoring the knitting (I can't do this. I'm poor at being patient, and knitting calms my nerves), starting a new project (this only feeds the inability to finish the ones already started), and continue to constantly read about knitting. I have bought new yarn to excite, and alas....I cannot allow myself to begin one new project without finishing some of the old.
I have decided the best approach to this "problem" is to knit through this period. Just keep knitting, knitting, knitting. I'm limiting myself to working on two projects at any given time until at least one of them is done. I've discovered that project monogamy is a sure-fire way to see some definite progress, but I can't limit myself solely to a mammoth project, such as a big, log cabin blanket or a sweater, because the garter and stockinette stitch will bore me to death. Although yesterday, while watching the A&E version of P&P, I knit solely on my sweater. It does not appear that I made much progress at all (see big black hole lament above). I might add that I did take a little, wee nap as well. OK, maybe it wasn't a wee nap! :) But I did only knit on that sweater yesterday. It's a lovely sweater. The yarn is nice to work with, and I know I'll appreciate the finished project. It's the very first sweater I've knit for myself. I suspect that I'm afraid to take it off the needles as I'm afraid it won't fit (never mind that I've frogged it once already for size issues). Could this be affecting my desire and funk? Don't even mention the gauge monster, as I had the specified gauge measurements on the first try, and it proved to be too small. PS - I even took my measurements, FPS!
Well, in all efforts to stay positive...today is the first day of fall. I love fall! It's my favorite season! Its only downfall (no pun intended) is that is precedes winter, which is my least favorite season. Its many attributes outweigh the one downfall. The colors are starting to come alive here in PA. So, to celebrate fall, I'm going to promise to post more often, and about more positive things, even if I feel like I'm in a funk ('cause who wants to read more whining), knit through this "black hole" period, and generally start to cut through the crap. Life's too short.
How are you celebrating the advent of fall?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Some Rest At Long Last

This Labor Day weekend was just that for me - a string of Labor Days....I've worked 10 hours of overtime since Friday night. I'm exhausted. I hate to admit it, friends, but I was too tired to pick up the needles. I'm looking forward to a nice break from work today and tomorrow. Actually, although our work schedule looks busy for the next couple of days, I'm only working 5 days between now and next Wednesday, when we leave for a trip to Vermont. I'm so excited! :)

I'm a bit too tired to post much that would be coherent, but here's some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Yarn Pirate Merino/Tencel blend in the "Kate" colorway. This is a Christmas present for my sister-in-law. This yarn is perfect for her fair skin and blond hair (so different from my family, it should add some pretty color to her already pretty face), and it will go beautifully with the beautiful tan suede coat my parents bought her last year. Incidentally, my sister-in-law's name is "Kate." Go-figure!
It's a simple lace repeat pattern that you can find on Wendy's blog. It's a great traveling project.
And YP merino/tencel is THE perfect yarn for a nice lacy scarf.


Lastly, some socks I cast on last week in a fit of boredom. I became tired of knitting socks that had simple patterns. These are Friday Harbor Socks by Nancy Bush, knit in STR in the Love in Idleness Colorway. It's pooling a bit as most STR does, but I like it, and the pattern is challenging, and goes so quickly. I've learned that sock patterns that make me think, rearrange stitches, etc., actually seem to be quicker knits - hmmmm..........
I do have to admit to this being the most difficult sock I've knit so far. If they turn out like I hope they do, I may try a Firestarter, but will definitely knit a toe-up, no particular pattern, sock first. I may be tired, but I'm not senseless....YET! :)

Happy Labor Day!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Truly Blessed

How many days, let alone MONDAYS, end with something like this?



A beautiful package from Morticcia sent to thank us for our visit to their home a couple of weeks ago! Imagine - a gift from the hostess! Generosity indeed! Included in this lovely package (that took me all of 10 seconds to tear open - hey, it was packing tape) are two skeins of squishy Felici yarn for making the most cheerful socks, a lovely 40" circular needle (Harmony wood), a beautiful butterfly stitch marker, and some chocolate covered cranberries! Morticcia, your generosity is unsurpassed! I was admiring her Harmony needles during our visit, and she sent me a set! You know the best part? She's the kind of person who listens, I mean really listens to you when you talk, because these needles are the exact length that I always knit with (40" circs) to do magic loop! Kindness itself, I daresay! Thank you so much, Morticcia! What a lovely and unexpected surprise! :)

Lastly, I have to tell someone, but I certainly don't want to ruin anyone's day...Oh, what the hey, I WON the lottery for the Wollmeise sock club! I could scarce believe the paypal invoice sitting there in my e-mail message box. But there it was, and it's paid. I'm blessed twice, well, actually more than that today. It was a tough day, patient-wise, and tomorrow looks pretty tough as well, with many miles to travel, and many sick people to visit....but with friends like you supporting and cheering me on...well, it makes living in this crazy world a lot better! My English teacher is seething now, because I think I created the longest run on sentence in the history of blogging....

A special shout out to my daughters today....it was their first day back to school. As I kissed them this morning, I felt a surge of pride at how far we've come, and how much they've grown. They make me proud to be their Mama. All day today, I said prayers for their safety. It's scary sending your children out into that big world.

PS - some actual knitting in the next post, I promise!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog....

Attention Please!
We interrupt this blog to let you know that the author is thoroughly consumed with viewing the 2008 Summer Olympics (and her job), and the fact that she now has a 16 year old daughter (whose test results from Boston are sending them to yet another pediatric specialist)! She continues to knit (not as part of Ravelry Olympics) various projects, so do not fear. She has frogged and restarted the worsted weight sweater once now, and hopes this time it will fit a bit better. She even knit a swatch for said sweater, and had appropriate gauge. Her advice - BE A REBEL! This was the first time she knit a gauge swatch. She's done with the swatching for now. She thinks it's time to start knitting some more difficult socks. She continues to make good progress on the log cabin blocks, having over 12 completed out of 20.

Perhaps when she reveals some photos of the various knitting projects in the future, she will refer to herself in the first person, and all will be well again in her world.

Until then.....well, knit on! Keep posting on your blogs.....she's reading, albeit with one eye open, the other shut to try and catch up on some sleep!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Priceless vs Insanity

It is shameful how I've neglected all of you, and this blog. What can I say? Well, let's fashion this like the mastercard commercial. Play along, won't you?
Live performances of "Sandbag, Stage Left, or One Dead Dolly" on 8/1/08 and 8/2/08. $5/ticket, but hours spent rehearsing and blocking, and acting. I met new people. I extended my horizons. But one day before our trip to Boston. It just should have been at a very different part of the year. It's been over 20 years since I've been on stage - that's a long time! INSANITY!
Trip to Boston, MA on 8/3/08 for my DD#1's annual check-up at Boston Children's Hospital - I was blessed to visit with Morticcia at Chez Yarn. She was every bit the gracious hostess. Her home was an oasis of comfort in a strange city. The best part was surprising her with some Wollmeise! I think it was more joyful for me to give it to her, than for her to receive it! Thank you, Morticcia from the bottom of my heart. It was wonderful to meet you in person, and your warmth and hospitality will never be forgotten! This category is priceless!
Visiting Fenway park with your DD #1, who is an AVID baseball fan, and watching her regurgitate her breakfast in the press box during the $40 tour. Hmmmm....she was a bit nervous about the ensuing MRI and blood work, so we rested for most of the day afterwards. Priceless....how many people puke in a press box at the oldest baseball park in the country? Right, not too many....priceless indeed. Poor kid!
A good report from your DD#1's doctor. Priceless indeed.
Arriving home to a day off where I did absolutely nothing, but unpack. No laundry, no nothing (Ok, I did exercise and knit). Priceless.
Arriving back to work with a schedule that indeed locks in my job security....priceless in today's economy! Terribly tiring when I start at 6:50 am.
Knitting a heavy worsted weight sweater (Brown Sheep's Lanaloft) in the middle of summer - INSANITY.....but fun!

What's priceless or insane in your life right now?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Can We Be Honest?


Can we be brutally honest? It's very hard to put my personal feelings or anything at all very specific about my life on this blog, because, well....basically anyone can see it, and that makes me a little nervous! I worry that if I reveal too much about my children, something lousy will happen (there are demented people out there, I know it). I worry that if I reveal too much of myself, people will think I'm a bit crazy....(OK, more people than those that already know I'm a tad anal).
But for right now, I'm going to be brutally honest....I'm in over my head with the details of life right now. I have done it again, and tried to please everyone with doing everything that's expected of me. Is this smart - definitely not. Is it adding to my happiness, apparently not, as I'm typing this with tears in my eyes. Is it adding to my interactions with my family, no sirree. Definitely not. They are seeing way less of me, and when they see me, let's just say, they don't get "the best ME" that there is. Shameful, I know.
In my haste to please everyone, I am doing the following this week.....
1. Play practice every night from 6:30pm until ? Performances on Friday and Saturday night (probably at least 2.5 hours with intermission).
2. Work - 40 hours (although they are potentially giving me off tomorrow for lack of work - very unusual, but I'm taking it as a sign from above).
3. Normal everyday life like laundry, and cooking.
4. Major trip to Boston Children's Hospital for yearly check-up (although our first to Boston) for my eldest daughter. It's a BIG deal. We used to go to St. Jude Children's Hospital, and that's a long story. We have transferred our care to Boston, not at our own choice, but thankfully, someone is willing to oversee her rare disease.
5. An annual work review this past Friday by my supervisor, who had never seen my work as a nurse before (it's kinda hard to take her along with you on visits in patient's homes). She accompanied me to a visit that lasted 1.5 hours in the patient's home. This time doesn't include charting, which she will be reviewing after it's complete (which is pretty much is).

I think this may be it, but I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Oh, yeah....hey the house that we bid on recently fell through (only we bid on houses in a recession). They turned down our offer over three weeks ago....but the Real Estate agent called again today, and will be calling tomorrow. Apparently, the house isn't sold. I'm not sure how to feel about this with all of the other things on my plate.

And to this I ask you, WHY, WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF? I'm a sheer wreck (mostly for the silly play, which is fun at rehearsal time, but is striking mere panic through me at the thought of a live performance). Didn't I know there would be live performances when I signed up - of course I did. I wanted to raise of awareness of live theatre in our small community. It's just not the best time to be doing it. But can I leave them high and dry with a week to go - NOPE. So I will do it, and I will enjoy it. I've got to put a positive spin on this for my emotional health.
The trip to Boston? We are at the mercy of the doctors. It was scheduled after the commitment to the play was made. BUT, again on a positive note - Morticcia has dangled an oasis of comfort. More later about that.
Work - I like my job. I hope that the slowness doesn't mean lack of job security. Last week, I was unbelievably busy, so I doubt it. There is one thing you can count on in health care. People get sick. That's a horrible bottom line, but there it is. I only hope that I'm an asset to their organization, and that somehow, my meager offerings as a nurse will make a difference in people's lives, one by one. Very Hallmarky, but terribly true.
The whole new house thing - I'm putting that off until after Boston - I just can't comprehend it now. I've resigned myself that if it's meant to be, it will be. And if it's not, well then God has something better in mind. I'll keep you posted.

God....I don't share a lot about my faith on my blog posts. This causes me severe angst at times. Mostly because I don't feel worthy to be sharing, as I'm pretty imperfect myself. But I can say this. It's not going to be my sheer power and force alone that will get me through this next week and a half. I will be relying on my family, my friends (you all included), and my God, whose grace is sufficient for even paranoid and worried little me. If you get a moment this week....keep us in your thoughts....

And how about a little knitting to close? The two pics attached to this post are of the log cabin squares for my wall hanging. I think I have 9 or 10 finished, and I need 20. There's some progress!

And this yarn....it's amazing. I'm knitting a sweater for myself for our trip to Vermont this fall. I had better get cracking!
And that blue vest? What blue vest? I think it's hangin' with the frogs or about to take a dip in the frog pond! :)

Have a Happy Week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Only Knitting Can Make One So Delusional!


Yes, only knitting can make one so delusional. That "one" is actually me. When we were at Maryland Sheep and Wool, we passed the famous Designer Tess booth. It boasts very colorful gorgeous yarns and patterns. There is always a line at the checkout area, and well, bottom line....I didn't resist the draw this year. I scouted out their patterns. It was hard to do in May, looking at worsted weight yarn for a sweater or some heavier garment. But I managed! Ha! Ha! I picked a pattern for a vest. I know. You read it correctly. I wrote "A VEST." I am not usually the "vesty" type of person, I simply don't wear them. But I thought this looked pretty simple, and it had that simple selling line. "One skein makes this beautiful, easy vest!" Can you see the 1950's advertisement for it in your mind? I can, and I did. I was sold. Especially on the color (the dichroic bead hanging from a necklace displayed with it may have drawn me in slightly more as well). I bought the yarn and the pattern. It is the most gorgeous shade of blue. I love me some blue. I got it home, and low and behold. The only size that calls for one skein is a size...........wait for it...........SMALL. Now, maybe 10 years ago, I could have shoved my rather "blessed" self into a small, but no way, no how now, Mama. So, I, encompassed by the yarn fumes, figured, well, I'll e-mail the company. The display model surely would have fit me, and I asked what size that was. Of course the answer was...........wait for it again, please.........."oh, it's a SMALL." I am beginning to hate the "small" word. Again, empowered by overwhelming yarn fumes to cast this project onto some needles, I did what any sensible knitter would do. I started knitting with said yarn, and then I measured gauge. Yes, you read it correctly again. I actually checked my gauge (albeit, after the knitting commenced, but still), and was paying attention, and really trying to knit loosely on those size US #7's. I GOT GAUGE. Yesterday, on my day off, I was happily knitting away on the vest, watch "Pride and Prejudice" in between throwing softball with the youngest, outdoors, in the afternoon heat....where was I? Oh yeah, happily knitting away on the back of the vest, coming down to the decrease rows, when I held it up and REALITY hit me. Truly, I felt the smack of it on my cheek (of my face of course). There was NO WAY I was fitting into this vest. No way, no how. I think I have enough yarn to EEK out a medium. It will be close, but the yarn cake left is still pretty size able, and I have maybe 30 rows to go yet. I think I might give it a whirl. Why not? The yarn fumes seem to be powering my delusional thinking that a small would fit.....why not see if I can knit the medium with one skein of the worsted weight yarn?
Dang those yarn fumes......they sucked me into the play next week too! Where's the chocolate?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Lesson on "How to Say YES!"

More aptly, this post should be entitled about a lesson on learning how to say, "NO!"
I'm not good at that, you know. Saying, "NO" to things I really can't handle, what with the responsibilities of house and home.
But alas, I'm committed to doing the following: I've got a pretty size able role in a community play that's opening on August 1st (of this year). Yes, you read it correctly. I'm doing a theatre production in the beginning of August. Granted, it's community theatre, and we've thrown this thing together since the beginning of last week, but I'm hopping to practice 3 nights a week for two or more hours at a shot, and trying to maintain my sanity. I've got my children looking at me funny as I launch into monologues (while cooking supper) that I have been trying desperately to memorize. The whole memorization bit is a tad harder the older I get, I must confess. Yet, at the same time, it's undeniably satisfying and fun. The play is entitled, "Sandbag, Stage Left (or, One Dead Dolly)," by John Antony. It's a courtroom scene and set, but the characters are really the showpieces in this parody of "January 16th."
Personally, I love live theatre. I've always been a fan (I studied music education for 3.5 years in college before I became a nurse, and I was surrounded by the dramatic) of live theatre. There is a local group that does seasonal productions each year, and for a mere $6/ticket, you can watch a live theatre production, albeit in an ancient "thrust-stage" theatre with 70's style cushions. Wait, maybe they are from the 60's - who knows....there are so many orange flowers one could never correctly tell, what with the dimmed lighting, but I digress. I would much rather see a live production than a movie any day. But don't get me wrong, I love movies too, I just prefer the live audience and the live performance, because you never know what's going to happen. And that, readers of my blog, is precisely what I'm afraid of. I'm terrified I'm not going to learn my lines, or if I do, what about those peri-menopausal moments when my mind goes blank on good days, when I'm my own person, let alone me impersonating a prosecuting attorney (my role in the play).
So, it's off to play practice now, as I cruise along, listening to my new Beatles album - singing at the top of my lungs, with my window down....aging diva (HA! What a joke) that I am!

Enjoy this view, the knitting has been sparse. This is a budding grape vine, shot earlier this spring. If you look at it closely, you'll see the tiny buds of grapes appearing. Also note that the picture is a lot better than my usual. That MIGHT be because I didn't take it. My hubby did. He's great!
BTW..........Did I mention that I'm in charge of the music for bible school in two weeks, and have about 5 knitting projects on the go, a trip to Boston in early August, 2 doctor appts for my eldest daughter next week, a full time job, a bid on a new house, and sleep to fit in there? My, my, my.........did I say, "NO WAY?" Impossible.......I must have said, "YES, I'M FREE!" How about you? Where are you over committed?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

All In The Family


In this post, I feature the handiwork of my eldest daughter! She is not typically my "crafty" kid, but she has sure surprised me this summer by finishing this latch-hook kit that she started about two years ago. She made significant progress on it this summer, and as you can see, it's finished as of this week.
I'm extremely proud of her! She's my "tom-boy," and doesn't like frills and such. Crafting really hasn't been her thing either. But she has done well with this kit, and has moved onto another one. She has even inspired her younger sister to start one! I guess my love of crafting is contagious, or maybe genetic.
I'm already mentioned that I'm very proud of my oldest daughter, as she has many special needs, but works hard to accomplish things. I'm proud of her, not only because she can complete a project that requires some endurance, but she is also doing some volunteer work at a local hospital this summer. She is a candy-striper (that's what they're called here in PA), and she works in the inpatient pharmacy two days a week. She travels to the hospital with my dad, who also works there (obviously not as a volunteer). I had to laugh at her tenacity this week, when she approached the head of the pharmacy, and told him that next year, she thought she should be considered a part-time employee for her work. Got to love her boldness!
As for me and my knitting, well, startitis is rampant. I've got the following on the needles.....
1. Log Cabin Blanket - currently working on square #7 out of 20.
2. Jaywalkers in YP Killer Bees for DH - they are resting....yes, that's what they are doing, they are RESTING!
3. Just cast on for a Easy Breezy Vest with yarn from Maryland Sheep and Wool. The project is made with Tess Designer Yarns and I'm loving it, and it's just mostly stockinette with some simple increases and decreases.
4. Just cast on for the lace KAL. I'm knitting the Creatures of the Reef Shawl. I must be out of my mind, but I cast on the 437 stitches and knit the set-up row tonight. WOW! I'm taking it one row at a time, and spending some serious time reading charts and researching life-lines. No, I don't mean like phone a friend or anything! This is my first, serious lace project. I'll let you know how I make out with it. I'm knitting with DIC's Baby. It's a nice yarn so far, and I like it very much. I'm knitting it in the Beach Fog colorway. Wish me luck!
If DH will let me download his pictures from his camera, I could share some fireworks photos from last night - they are really cool! How did you spend Independence Day?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hip To Be Square!

I know...I'm dating myself with the Huey Lewis and the News song title for this post. Weren't the 80's fab though? I love the music, and I guess it's a sign of my advancing age that I don't routinely listen to much "popular" music on the radio these days. I went to a retirement bash for my band director in high school, and he was a great Beatles fan. I found myself singing "Paperback Writer," "When I'm 64," and many other greats from his time for the following week! I've got to find myself a great Beatles collection to put on my iPod.

Back to the knitting at hand. I'm loving every minute of this Noro Log Cabin blanket. I figured out that I would just eliminate the last column that the original block pattern called for, and then center the three middle columns, and work a border around them. I think it's still appealing. Even my hubby has commented on how he likes the project. I think he's just impressed that I am sticking to it. Especially in this heat! I really should be working on his socks and starting some new socks. It's a strange time where there's only one pair of socks on the needles!
Oh, and did I mention that I joined a lace KAL - what was I thinking? I received the pattern in the mail today. The charts are on 5 pages. I must be nuts. I've never knit lace in my life! The only good thing that I see so far about the whole thing, (besides maybe someday wearing the finished project) is the fact that the even rows are knitted instead of purled! YEAH! And two other chicks with sticks are knitting the exact pattern with me on Ravelry, so new friends!

Oh, and I may have done a little shoe shopping....and picked up this incredibly comfy pair of Privo's. Do you own any? May I recommend them to you? They are great!
And so I leave you with some song lyrics to close.......
Don't tell me that I'm crazy.
Don't tell me I'm nowhere.
Take it from me.
It's hip to be square!
Knit on Huey! It is SO hip to be square in this case!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Plain Vanilla, My Foot!

Here's a picture of the Sunfish Socks (colorway of the yarn) that I finished before we left for vacation two weeks ago. This is their photography debut, and a pitiful one at that.
Stats:
Autumn House Yarn in the Sunfish colorway
Started - ? I can't remember, so that's not a good sign.
Finished - June 2008.
Needles - Addi Size 2
Method - Magic Loop.
Pattern - Stockinette Stitch with traditional heel flap.



I have a couple of musings on these socks. I sorta have a pet peeve about calling stockinette socks, "Plain Vanilla" socks. Lots of people use that "nickname" for the knitted sock done in stockinette stitch. I think I may have used this term myself in the past. But I am trying to correct myself each time I do use it, because here's the thing.....owning a pair of knitted socks is a luxury, IMHO. Even if they are done in stockinette stitch. When I slide my foot into a pair of hand-knitted socks, the warmth comes through, the squishy feel of the yarn feels nice on the soles of my feet, and I just get an all-over good feeling about life in general. A pair of hand-knitted socks are never plain, and somehow, they never smell like vanilla either! :)
Please don't misunderstand me. I would not want a wardrobe of stockinette stitch socks. In fact, sometimes I find them harder to finish than socks with a pattern....anyone else have this problem? I think they tend to lose my attention somewhat in the thick of things, but they are nice socks to knit on-the-go, where you don't have to concentrate on a pattern. For example, the second sock was knit primarily at tee-ball games this year.

Also, please notice that the stripes in these socks don't really match, and I'm really okay with that. The sock on the right looks a bit smaller too, but I assure you that it's not. The sock on the right was knit second, and I wonder if I didn't tighten up my stitches just a bit. I also put the sock on the left on my foot quite a bit, so it may be more stretched. But they fit my feet to perfection, and should the temperature not be in the 90's, I would be wearing them today.


And lastly, I can't end this post without mentioning how horrid that green carpet (behind the socks) is that we still tolerate in our living room. It's got to be from the 70's. UGH! Oh well, hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Little Bit Short......

I have a BIG love for this blanket! Now, we can sit here and philosophize about how I'm not a stealth knitter, and we can ruminate on how even sweaters intimidate me. And then we can talk about the time that I found this blanket on Ravelry. I'm not even sure how I came upon it. But I saw it. I saw two of them. They made me weep. They were so beautiful. And then my LYS had a sale on Noro - I bought all her orphan skeins - it was only a total of 6 or something like that. They were $6 and then if you bought one skein, you got the second for $4. It was meant to be.
But alas, I'd been postponing this project, because seriously....who wants to knit Kureyon in the middle of the summer. Apparently I do.
I cannot go any further without discussing Kureyon. I normally don't care for the texture of the actual yarn. IMHO, it feels like what the whole muggle world thinks wool should feel like. It's a bit scratchy at first, but does soften with washing. But the whole selling factor with Noro is this, hands-down, they are masters of color. I can hardly wait to see how the colors blend with the next color change. And that my friends is my opinion of Noro in a nutshell. Oh, an afterthought.....sometimes it breaks, you know, the yarn. Just saying, you know, if you happened to be a tight knitter, and something stressful happened, like you were trying to create a thumb gusset or something like that, and the yarn broke, and some expletives escaped your lips that haven't been uttered for literally years...... NOT that I would know from personal experience or anything. Nope, not at all.
So, last night I started the first block in colorway 154. It's beautiful. BUT, and this is a BIG "but" - I ran out of yarn for the last 5 rows. UGH! So in looking at the patterns on Ravelry, I'm thinking I need to revise my version a bit. Will I frog the whole block....not sure yet. I do have another skein of 154, I'm not sure why....but for some reason I just do. I think I'll keep this one, and see what happens with the next one. Thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Oh, and you want to see a picture of this, do you? Here it is! Notice the left edge - that's where I'm just a bit short.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Been a Long Time....

It's been a long time...we were away for a week of camping. No computer (cell phone service, but no TV, no computer). My plans, oh my plans....they were to knit up a storm. It's USUALLY perfect weather here this time of year. Nice and cool at night (perfect for sleeping), and warm enough during the daytime (80's) with low humidity. Just perfect for a little summertime knitting.
We were camping in a little cabin, not made of wood, but of concrete block with linoleum floors. My whole family comes to this event - there are several cabins in a row, along a local river, where we all stay, and there is a HUGE yard, and fun for everyone....there is running water, showers, microwaves, ovens, campfires with wood provided, fishing, boating, just peaceful times. It's all nestled in between Amish farms in a neighboring county about 35 minutes away from my home. This year....we had horrendous heat and humidity. The floors of the cabin were wet when we arrived. I mistakenly thought - "Oh, how nice, they've freshly mopped our floors for us." I promptly mopped them again, left them to dry, unpacked most of our things, and headed to the local grocery store. I came back to bigger puddles. I have thus learned that concrete and humidity make MOISTURE, and the condensation on the floors was just unbearable to me. So, the cabin was shut during the daytime, and fans were circulating 24/7. No air-conditioning there, and no place to even put in a window unit, due to the small and obscure windows. Luckily, the humidity broke by Tuesday night, and things improved, but my energy was zapped!

I can bet that you are guessing what happened to the knitting - this was no time for wool. No sirree. No time at all. The first couple of mornings, I awoke early, but by 10:00 am, knitting was impossible. Here's my pathetic knitting for the whole week - the start of a Jaywalker sock in Yarn Pirate's Killer Bee sock club colorway. I'll be perfectly honest. I missed the inception of this sock club, and joined for the second 3-month offering. This was the first skein of yarn I received. I had owned some other Yarn Pirate yarn, but have never knit with it.
I really did not care for this colorway, and for awhile, I dreamed of trading it. But when my DH saw it, I think he was so amused by the colorway, he said...."If you make me socks from that yarn, I'll wear them." Considering that he has never asked for anything knit by me (I'm feeling quite hurt - he has refused wool socks several times), I jumped at the chance. I am using the Jaywalker pattern with it, and it's working well, striping nicely. The pattern is easy enough to memorize, and I hope it will be a nice, take along sock. Oh, and I'm using KP's fixed circular needles. I have become such an Addi Turbo snob, and have neglected these beauties! Try them if you are at all interested in 2 circs or Magic Loop. They are wonderful. And sadly enough, Addi Turbo's don't come in the 2.25 mm size. But KP has them, and they are at least 1/3 the price! The join on these babies is really nice. I'm quite fussy about that, and the wire is nice too. They are also nice and pointy to do some lace knitting if you so desire.
And as for the rest of the week.....thank heavens for Sara Gruen and "Riding Lessons" and "Flying Changes." They were a God-send. That and the pool/water slide at a local state park! Now if someone would just be kind enough to put some aloe on my back! :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Finishing the Task at Hand

Startitis. An age-old problem with knitters, I'm sure. Then again, maybe not. I'm fortunate that I don't HAVE to knit my socks to keep my feet warm and dry. I don't NEED to knit that wool sweater to stay warm (yet - with rising oil prices and an older home, it's looking like we'll be spending over $1,000 with each oil tank fill next winter - YIKES! Wool sweaters for family warmth may not be a just a fact from history).
I'm trying really hard to get through the projects that are already started before I cast-on for a new project using the stash from Maryland Sheep and Wool. It's been very hard, I'm not going to lie. The task was made even harder yesterday when I went through my whole stash, and organized it again. Seeing all the yarn brings out the pattern books, and the mind reels with all the possibilities. I think someone should study the brain at this point, and make some sort guess at all the synapses happening at the same time. It must be overloaded! I love creativity at work!
So, I finally have a somewhat FO. Here's another BSJ - knit with really old stash yarn. I need to do the shoulder seems, weave in the ends, and sew on the buttons. You see, not only did I clear out the "nice" stash (nice stash is wool, sock yarns, etc. Basically, my snob yarn), but I cleaned out the old yarn in the attic. Yes, it's mostly from Walmart, and the late 80's and early 90's. The dishcloth phase. I'm certainly not against knitting with yarn from Walmart, or really any type of fiber. To each, his/her own. I just prefer the wool. There are some tasks though, that call for other fibers than wool. Dish clothes are usually done in cotton, and I stumbled across this cone of Sugar and Creme yarn. I had already knit a dishcloth from it, and I thought, well why not try a BSJ with it? It will certainly be washable, and it was nice to knit with a worsted weight yarn again.
So behold....the cotton BSJ. I have no idea what the color is called. It's not listed on the inside of the cone. But the yardage is very ample indeed. This yarn sells for around $7.00 a cone, and makes a nice, inexpensive sweater that took a little less than 2 weeks to knit (and I frogged 30 rows at the beginning, and worked a holiday weekend)! The size of this sweater is pretty ample too - maybe a 2T - 3T? I plan on giving it to one of my nieces, but I'm not sure which one. I'll try it on them next week!

Now I'm off to finish a second sock, and then I'm allowing myself to cast on with some new STR and possibly a sweater/vest from the Maryland stash! :) Oh, the happiness of startitis!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And We Have A Winner Folks!

The luckly random generator chose............

Morticcia! I'll be contacting you for your address soon to send you some goodies! Thanks for playing along everyone! I appreciate the advice regarding the blocking. I admit to being busy working all weekend, and just crashing today! I've been knitting on-and-off on a new BSJ in cotton. Pictures to follow in another post!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Clap and a Contest!

I've finished the clapotis! YEAH! It's actually a mini version, but here's a photo of it. It's been very rainy and dreary here, and unseasonably cold. I sat at a ball game last night with a hooded sweatshirt and a fleece blanket. Thank heavens the coaches were merciful, and cut the game a wee bit short. It still lasted an hour and a half! Anyway, I'm tired of waiting on nice weather to photograph the thing. How's that for attitude! Here's some more. The nice weather is predicted for this weekend, and I'm working. All three days of it! I just pray I'll be a blessing to someone on the holiday weekend!


Clapotis
Started - I really can't remember. Maybe February, March? I started so many times! GEEZ!
Yarn - Wollmeise 100% Sockenwolle Superwash in Dornroschen colorway (Translates to Sleeping Beauty) - less than 1 skein.
Needles - US #4
Pattern modifications - nothing much. I added one more section of straight rows, and I probably could have added two. I have a small ball of the yarn left. But definitely enough yardage for another 12 rows, which is the length of the increase section.
Thoughts on the pattern/yarn: Wollmeise is lovely to knit. I highly recommend it! Of course, its rarity is a problem. The pattern was really, very simple. The hardest thing was to let go of my inhibitions, and just drop the stitches when I got to the straight rows. After I lost my fear of the dreaded dropped stitch, I found myself looking forward to those particular rows that called for dropping stitches. I think there may be a lesson in this somewhere, but I'm not going to go there in this post.
I guess I should comment on the size of this scarf/stole. It's pretty small, compared to other clapotis patterns I've seen in person. It's more along the lines of a scarf. But I knit it with fingering weight yarn, which made it just a nice size for a wider scarf. I think I'll knit up some more of these for Christmas gifts? Where did that thought come from? I know...I tend to dream big. I should probably start knitting now, if I'm planning that. But seriously, if you're not really into knitting scarves, this pattern holds your interest a bit longer than most, and yet remains relatively mindless at times.

Back to the finishing and the CONTEST.....
I've yet to block a piece of my work (shhhhh....don't judge). Tell me your favorite quick and dirty way to block this FO, and win some yarny goodness. Oh, and because I'm being a little cautious with money, you can post a comment at will, but the prize will be selected from a random generator, and I will only mail domestically, to the continental US.....Thanks for understanding and playing along! Leave a comment by Friday, the 23rd of May, for your vote/recommendation to count.
Here's to finishing knitterly things (this is called an FO - a finished object - for all you muggles), and to new beginnings (my favorite)!

Friday, May 16, 2008

And Some More Maryland Pictures

Because I feel the need to defend myself, I'll make this next statement. I have been knitting, and yes, this is still a knitting blog. BUT, I've also been busy every night with tee-ball and soccer games, and then little league games, and just, well, very busy. I'm trying to knit during all of it, but sometimes, it's nearly impossible. How can you miss the team when it's their turn to bat, and that great hit by your child or nephew? How can you not partake of the hotdog fresh from the grill after you've been sniffing the wonderful smell for the last hour, or the chance visit with your friend that you haven't seen for a month? Well, the bottom line is this: sometimes I succumb to a couple of rows of knitting instead of a couple of hours. At least my needles are still clicking, albeit a bit slower. At this pace, the turtle could outknit me! BUT, I have never claimed to be a process knitter. No, I have not! I dream about it at times, but I have never staked any claims. I am, however, feverishly trying to finish up a few older knitting projects, so that I can begin knitting with the new yarn from Maryland. I'd like to think that's an "adult" thing to do, but to tell you the truth, I'm dying to knit with the new stuff!
So, without further musings....here are some more photos....

First up, a lovely hand-woven bag. It was a present for my birthday from my Mom and Dad. Of course, I gave my mom a HUGE hint about how much I loved the bags, so on Saturday afternoon of the festival, she said the magic words. "Let's go back to the main exhibit hall so that you can pick a bag!" YEAH! I loved all of them, and I probably spent more than a half an hour trying to decide which bag I liked best. They were all unique and beautiful in their own way. I loved this style because it has a TON of pockets. And of course, the colors were beautiful!


Next up, and destined to become my next clapotis - 4 skeins of worsted weight yarn from Brooks Farm. It's their 50% wool, 50% silk blend in worsted weight, and get this, it's called Four Play! I love it! It's an absolutely lovely yarn, so squishy and soft. I can't wait to knit with it, but as I'm currently finishing up the clapotis in Wollmeise, I think I'll try my hand at another pattern and yarn first to mix things up a bit. And as summer is coming, I tend to gravitate towards smaller projects, and put away the worsted weight things away until fall.


The last picture in today's post is of a sweet market lamb. The girl of about 12 years old keeping him "in-line" for the showing, didn't know what breed he was, but he had a sweet little face, and I felt so sorry that he had just lost his fleece. Shouldn't there be a nursery rhyme for that? Not little Bo Peep who lost her sheep, but poor little sheep, who lost his first fleece....

Well, on that note, I'm glad today is Friday. I'm looking forward to the weekend!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's Been A Long Time

It's hard to believe that last week at this time, I had already made most of my major purchases at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I was a lady on a mission, and this year, I had a plan! I remember standing in one of the check-out lines at Maryland with a lady, and she said that being surrounded by all the yarn and fiber just made her so happy! I have to say, that I echo that sentiment! It was fabulous to be around people who understood why that one particular skein of yarn could bring such a goofy smile to ones face!
If you've never been to a fiber event of this scale, it's a bit daunting at first. Where to go? What to see? What to purchase? Last year, I felt pretty overwhelmed and amazed. It's almost as if I'd been hit with a stun gun, really. The brain becomes a little fuzzy, you try to focus, and then you are distracted by another site.
This year, I had a plan. I made up a map with a list of all the vendors to see, places where I thought I might make my purchases. It turns out, that all of my purchases, with the exception of maybe one, were purchased at those planned stops! YEAH for lists and planning!
To start off the weekend, I was just SO excited, I had trouble sleeping Friday night. Considering that my alarm was set for 3:30am on Saturday, this was a terrible thing! I think I managed to get 2 and 1/2 hours of sleep total! I sometimes take longer naps than that during the weekend! I picked up my Mom at 5:00 am. We hit the nearest Starbucks for some reinforcements (I must tell you that the nearest Starbucks is at least an hour away). We arrived at the festival at 8:00 am, and that was just perfect. Mom made a bathroom stop, and I high-tailed it to the Fold's booth (STR). I know. I can order it on-line, but I must say, it's so impressive to see it all hanging there together. And so, we bought some STR, and stood in line to pay, less than 15 minutes - awesome! :) Later, the line for payment at The Fold was over an hour long, and wrapped a good way up the main street of the fair (STR pictures to follow in the next post). It paid to get there early, and I got some great colors, ones that I might not have purchased by viewing the pictures on-line.

So, I can't reveal all pictures/purchases in one post, so, I'll show you some purchases here.
This fabulous yarn above is from Dancing Leaf Farms. She has beautiful yarn there, and her sense of color is fabulous. Her farm is located pretty close to the Fairgrounds.
This yarn (the main skeins) are called Waltz, and it's 50% wool, and 50% Alpaca. The bottom skein is Peace Fleece to add some highlights. It's destined to become the Ballet Wrap Cardigan from IK.

The next picture up is from Tess Designer Yarns - my typical colors! The big blue skein on the left is destined to become a cute little Easy Breezy Top from one of their original designs. I thought I might start small first. I've never knit an adult sweater before, and thought that a vest-like pattern might be a good start. The skein on the right is a skein of their sock yarn, and destined to become a sweater for my niece who is yet to be born! I've got to start knitting it pretty quickly!


Lastly, we visited a lot the sheep barns on Sunday morning. Here's a picture of two beautiful Blue-faced Leisters......poor man's cashmere from their fleece! Aren't they sweet?
Stay-tuned for more pictures, and a contest! Happy Weekend - at last!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Are We There Yet?


With all the excitement of the upcoming wool festival, I'm having a lot of ADD lately. I think the wool fumes are migrating a couple hundred miles to PA! Actually, I'm a little under the weather too. I'm not sure how to make it through work tomorrow - it's a pretty average day on my schedule, but sometimes those days turn into nightmares! YIKES! I'm so looking forward to Friday afternoon and leaving work! :) And to update you....thank you all for your good thoughts. I am not required to work this weekend! :) So, to make up for it, I'm thinking of working Memorial Day to thank them. The lady who broke her ankle, was scheduled to work Memorial Day, and now they need someone to work. I'm already scheduled to work that Saturday and Sunday, so why not Monday too? And the pay will be at the overtime pay rate. It just might pay for the yarn spending from this festival!
Tonight, I'm in the middle of packing. It's hard to decide what to take! It's just an overnight stay, but my list looms very large. I've never been a good packer. I do make lists and just throw things in from there, but I usually leave things until the last night before trips and such. I'm very jealous of those who can pack a week or more in advance. I just can't comprehend that concept.
I have two lists started, actually. One list is for the personal items like clothing, toiletries, etc. The other is for vendors and yarn requirements for items I'd like to knit. This is my attempt at TRYING to be organized and not overwhelm the budget. I fully expect to overwhelm the budget, but I'm trying to be organized and not play into the frenzy of it all (that last statement cracks me up, because I'm in a frenzy as I type, just thinking about all the possibilities. Gosh, can I just say, that I love being a knitter?).
I will try very hard to take lots of pictures for all of you, and I think there will be a surprise contest/giveaway upon my return. It's time, don't you think? And next week is my birthday - what better way to celebrate than to spread a little yarn love? Have a great weekend! Maybe I'll see you in Maryland????

PS. Can I add that I am SO excited that I get to spend the whole weekend with my Mom? I love it that even though I'm a thirty-something mother of my own children, I still love my Mom time! And my Mom loves yarn....how cool is that?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Admitting defeat

I'm admitting defeat for the moment about having the Clapotis done for this weekend. I'm almost done with the straight repeat section, but that's just a little past the half-way point for the whole scarf/shawl. It is an easy knit, and very relaxing. I'll probably knit it again, but first I'd like to finish this one, without the pressure. I really need the time to make sure the laundry is done and to clean up the house a bit before this weekend.

Life has gotten in the way of blogging and knitting lately. Oh, these are not bad distractions at all, I think it's probably a phase, as the weather was so cooperative last week for these things. Soccer, tee-ball, friends, church, and work....all competing for the same time. And then there's sleep too! Sadly, even though I usually knit a little each day, it seems as though I'm not accomplishing much. However, you must simply take a peak at this yarn.

It's the sport weight version of Yarntini! Colors (from left to right) Merlot, Pure Fall, and Ice. Aren't they lovely? I'm excited, as I've never knit with Yarntini before, and I didn't know that she had a sport weight version of her yarn - YEAH! It feels amazing too! Please forgive the overuse of the exclamation point, but if you had this yarn in your hands, there would be some shouting too.....

Which brings me to my last paragraphs. This weekend is the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (SHOUTING heard in the background)!!!! Mom and I are heading to the festival early on Saturday morning. We have booked our hotel room and are staying until Sunday. I promise to take lots of pictures, and inhale plenty of fiber fumes for you. I'm sure I will be inhaling much more than that, as it's a very country-type fair/festival. But it is so much fun! We are planning on going to the Ravelry party Saturday night too - I think it will be a great time! I'm a little nervous about meeting new people, but I'm sure we will make fast friends! So, I have been spending a lot of time researching vendors, getting directions, looking at times for shows and competitions, and such.

Here's hoping the weather holds out for this weekend. It was am extremely rainy day here today. I came home from work and took a nap - YIKES! The nap might have been brought on by the extremely stressful moment when my boss called to ask if I could work this weekend, as the nurse who was working for me (planned since December of last year) broke her ankle last night. Oh my gosh! My heart started pounding. Was I going to be asked to miss the weekend with my mom and all that fiber? I was speechless (this is hard to imagine if you know me at all), and then I gathered my courage, and said, "I'm sorry I can't work. I have a hotel reservation in Maryland." Then I held my breath (weekend time is sacred in nursing), and the powers that be, said they would figure it out, and they understood that I had a life outside of the office! WOW! but that negative part of me (how I hate it) is still holding my breath for this weekend....wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Distractions


There have been a lot of knitting distractions lately, but all good ones!
Check out this picture. This lake is less than a mile away from my home. Who wouldn't want to take their canoe out of its storage place to spend a couple hours in peace? It was beautiful!

There are other distractions too, friend's birthdays at the local tavern with all you can eat wings in 30 different flavors, baseball games where the hot dogs are fresh and the whole town visits with their sweet babies, as proud grandparents watch on as their grandchild gets his first hit of the season, older movies like "Great Expectations" that you didn't catch the first time around, freshly steamed shrimp and clams as well as steak at a picnic with friends, other "regular" distractions like work, sleep, laundry, you know, the usual things. Notice that all distractions don't necessarily involve food, but somehow the best ones seem to!

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just Drop It!

The dreaded dropped stitch. In some patterns, dropping a stitch is enough to make any knitter cower in the corner in tears....OK, in any pattern that I'm knitting, I cry like a baby over those dropped stitches. I'll be honest, I'm not great at fixing my mistakes, like dropped stitches (I wonder if this has anything to do with being a perfectionist....maybe that's another post). I just can't quite seem to fix things very well. Sometimes I manage, but to be honest, if I end up fixing the mistake, it's usually by sheer dumb luck. No actual skill involved. Not on my part, no siree. I'm still an infant in this part of knitting.
So you can imagine my chagrin when I'm cruising along finishing the last of the increase rows on my clapotis (not many days left until Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I'm starting to feel the pressure), and realize that row 8 of the straight rows requires me, the scared, paranoid, perfectionist little knitter, to drop a stitch ON PURPOSE! Is Kate Gilbert crazy? Just an FYI, Kate Gilbert wrote the pattern for the clapotis. Ok.....it was so gut-wrenching for me, this thought of dropping stitches, that I saved this portion until tonight. Considering that I have the on-call beeper tonight, maybe not the smartest move. I'm a bit jumpy yet with the beeper. A lot of responsibility. So, I decided to head into the knitting when the house was empty, and I had already received one beep.

Here you see the clapotis, all pretty and such (if I do say so myself), and it's just waiting for the dropped stitch row. I visit Ravelry, the life vest that has saved my sanity many times. There is a Clapotis group there, and there is a discussion thread about dropping stitches, and there are step-by-step instructions for those like me. Amazing! Yeah Ravelry!
So, I gather as much courage as I can.....look, even the beeper is gathering courage and resting on the beautiful Wollmeise!

And I sucked it up, and did what the pattern said. I dropped the stitch, on purpose. And let me tell you, it was enlightening. Then, the dropped stitch has to drop to the bottom of that particular row.....I used my DPN to unravel those pesky little stitches that wouldn't unravel right away. Why, when I drop stitches by accident, do they seem to drop down rows much quicker? I don't know if there's an answer to this question that could satisfy even my infantile knitting mind. But anyway, I feel loads lighter....having dropped the stitch, and I'm off to knit some more. Hopefully this weekend, I can put a major dent in this project. But the weather, oh, it's been so beautiful. It's hard not to be outside! Maybe some porch knitting? Where's your favorite place to knit while enjoying the great outdoors?

Monday, April 14, 2008

All the Hype


Okay. I have finally figured out what all the hype is about when knitting with Wollmeise yarn. It's almost as if one is knitting with a yarn that is partial silk, when in reality, it's a 100% superwash wool base. I'm not sure where Claudia gets her yarn base, but it is fabulous! I did enjoy knitting with the 80/20 Twin yarn (the one that has some nylon content in it), but it wasn't quite as soft and silky as this yarn base. Knitting with this is pure heaven. Which begs the question...why on earth don't I have more knitting done on this project? Will this clapotis be finished in time for Maryland Sheep and Wool festival on the first weekend in May?
Well, the answers are not always as simple as they seem. Throw in a little nice weather, a vertigo spell on Saturday morning, and volleyball games on Saturday night, and tee ball and soccer practice for the DD's. Not a lot of time for knitting. And then throw in the new librarian, who actually has taste in books, and orders things from the BIG library (BIG is very relative where I live) for me on a regular basis. Hmmm.....it does not leave much time for knitting.

Did I mention a couple of new movies too? I finally got to see "Freedom Writers" which was fabulous, but has totally ruined my infatuation with Patrick Dempsey. His character didn't have any character or back bone. When it came down to it, he was simply a cad. And that, my friends, is SAD indeed. It's a sad day when a husband cannot support his wife's dream.

And the other movie - "The Holiday" - a total chick flick, but I liked it anyway. I happen to think Jack Black is very comical in this silly, predictable film about love gone wrong, and then made right again. The best part for me was the small English house that's called Rose Cottage. Beautiful. Wish I could live there for awhile! Short ceilings and all!

Happy Monday! What's taking you away from knitting these days? Or are you hard at work, finishing the last of those worsted weight sweaters before the lazy days of summer?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Fickle Me Too!

Shell Silverstein is probably rolling over in his grave at the pun on those words.
I'm referring to this. You know the clap that HAD the tiny mistake in it. Notice the past tense in that sentence. It has been frogged and is no more. I just love the yarn too much to have it not be pretty much perfect. And here's another catch, in case you were wanting to knit your own clapotis from Wollmeise sock yarn. It does appear that it's best done with the 100% superwash yarn, as it has more yardage. The initial color of my first clap, pictured here, was the 80/20 twin (20% nylon), which has about 60 yds less than the average skein of superwash, and I would have had to modify the pattern. Me being new to a pattern and then trying modifications doesn't usually work too well....just saying. I think this yarn will most definitely become a Clapotis, albeit a smaller one. But for my sanity, I think I'll just stick to the pattern as written, ahem....this time.


So, fickle me has started another clap in Dornroschen. Still Wollmeise, but in the 100% superwash version. Here's the skein before I wound it into a yarn cake. Now, I'm happily knitting away, up to the 2nd increase row last night (not very far, really, but almost as far as the first one). Here's hoping that I can get it done for Maryland Sheep and Wool!



Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Perfectionist In Me

I am a perfectionist about most things. Most obviously my work. There's no room for mistakes in the medical field. There's double, triple, sometimes quadruple checking going on all the time. Is it the right medicine? Is it the right dose? Etc. My charting - is everything complete? I don't lock my computer charting until the day after....just in case I think of something I forgot to add at say, midnight. I have woken up from a dead sleep thinking, "I forgot to chart that he's not having pain today." Or something like that.....Did I push 5mg or 25mg of that cardiac med....I know I pushed 5mg, but it makes me wake up out of a dead sleep with worry/fear. I'm hard on myself that way.
I am a perfectionist with my music. I hate playing for anything other than my own enjoyment anymore. I get too nervous. I fear the mistakes that will come with my nervous tendencies. Somehow, my nervous tendencies used to work in my favor when I was younger.....they would float away as I began the piano concerto. Now, my fingers don't move as fluidly as they should when I play in public. My fear locks them in place. It's sad that I can't share it more with others. I truly love to play the piano, and not a day goes by that I don't play for my own enjoyment.
So you're probably wondering how this perfectionism is leading up to anything involving fiber or knitting. I would be too. Thanks for hanging in there. I made a little boo-boo on the Clapotis last night, on the end of the 4th increase rows. I tried to fix it on the next row, but it appears to have left a small hole (smaller than a yarn-over whole) at the edge. The perfectionist in me (who is mad because she cannot fix this mistake) wants to rip the whole thing out and start again. The realist in me is like - keep moving, nobody will even notice. BUT I WILL KNOW IT'S THERE! What to do, what to do???? Can I live with a mistake in this knitting - it's made with Wollmeise FPS! I love the Wollmeise. It's so beautiful. Somebody weigh in on this matter please! What do you do if you can't fix the mistake, or don't want to bother? Are you a perfectionist? How do you handle that? Sometimes I can't stand the perfectionist in me....

And the "on-call" status - here's a picture of the beeper and me. I'm trying to establish a relationship with it. So far, we have not made it past the love-hate stages. It rode my hip all night long, because, heaven forbid, I would put it down, and then panic. "Where's the beeper? I know I just had it in my hands." So, I'm being a good girl....you know, wearing it everywhere (DH was in State College taking in Breaking Benjamin and Seether), and the girls were at Mom's house for an overnight stay, in case I got called to a patient's home. I stared at it all night long. The wind howled outside my windows, shaking the depression glass on my quilt shelf, making the first "on-call" night even more terrifying. I looked at the beeper. I stared it down, it stared back at me. I dared it to beep, to just get it over with. Go ahead beeper, ring your little tones. Make me drive somewhere, just to get the whole "first time out at night thing" DONE. 9:20pm, the phone rings, it's the hospital operator. My heart rate accelerates. She's been trying to beep me, but I'm not responding. Hmmm.....she has the wrong beeper number, so I made her try out the the beeper who has become this growth on my hip. It works. She has the right number now. And BTW, here's a lab result. No problem. I can handle that. And then, the beeper looked at me. I looked at it. I put it on top of my alarm clock, and somewhere after midnight (and DH is home now from the concert), I fall into a fitful sleep. 5:00am - the alarm goes off, and I jump, alas, it's only the alarm. The first night is done. No more beeps. But, I'm sure, the next night, I will not fair so well. At least it's over for this week. I can conquer this, this beeper fear, even with my perfectionist tendencies!

PS - my stomach is not as large as it appears in the picture. The one thing I don't have is a stomach. Now, hips, I am extremely blessed. Just wanted to clarify.....for the record, you know. :) Also, for the record, it's extremely hard to take a picture of your own body or body part. Any of them. I know, I've tried it several times!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ode to the Clap

The Clapotis....what is it? How do you pronounce it? Is it contagious? Stay tuned for this blog entry in which I discuss this pressing subject in detail......

The Clapotis - the pronunciation. The pronunciation is like this, Clap-oh-TEE. Sort of like "cup o' tea" or even "coyote," if you say it quickly. Notice that the emphasis is on the last syllable of the word. I used to just put the old Pennsylvania accent to it, and rather gracefully (NOT) called it the Clap-OH-tiss. This pronunciation, besides being completely wrong, makes it sound like something you could catch doing something very nasty. Hmmmm....Thank heavens those French people turn the most horrific looking words into beautiful sounding gems.

The Clapotis - What does it mean? According to Wikipedia, Clapotis means, "lapping of water." Once you see the finished knitted project, you will understand its name. Trust me.

Now, the question you have been dying to know the answer to.....
The Clapotis - Is it contagious? Strictly speaking, in the world of germs and all (I live there most days at work), it is not. In the knitting world, you will find hundreds, okay, probably thousands of knitters, working on this project right now. Me included. So, is it contagious? YES! But, in a good way.

Above here, you will find a snap of the beginning of my Clap (no pun intended). At this point, it looks like it might be a bikini, or maybe a thong....but no, sadly....it's not. It's being knit on a smaller scale, and I'm using Wollmeise sock yarn to knit mine! The Wollmeise is making a nice knitted fabric. I'll keep you posted. I want this to be finished so that I can wear it in some fashion to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in the beginning of May. Here's hoping!

More progress photos, as I've worked on my Two-toned triangle purse. Here's a picture of the Eggplant colored triangle. The purse is knit in two of these triangles and then overlapped like origami to create the purse.
Here's a truer color picture of the two colors I've chosen for this purse....Wild Asparagus and Eggplant. The Eggplant is especially difficult to photograph and probably is best shown above, but here's a pretty close color comparison.

And lastly, to show you that I'm not wasting any yarn, here's what I have left after knitting the Asparagus half - not much to sew the thing together. I'm still debating which color I want to dominate....the Asparagus or the Eggplant....what do you think?


Oh, and say a little prayer for me tomorrow, April fool's day....it's my first night of "on-call" status. A hundred patients or more under my responsibility all night long. Did anyone say try to sleep, because I know I'm not going to.....maybe the clap will be finished faster than I think! I'm off to bed early tonight in preparation! Have a great week!