Sunday, December 31, 2006

Buh-bye 2006

It’s been quite a year. There’s been plenty of the good and there has also been the not so good. I look forward to the new year, but I won’t even begin to guess what my adventures might be. You never know where life is going to take you, or what it will bring. This is one of the things I’ve learned in life, and I sometimes receive reminders of this fact. They can be pleasant surprises or dreadful shocks, but both leave me thinking, “I never would have guessed.” You might guess what variety the most recent of these reminders has been, but we’re moving on from that. I’m choosing to laugh and shake my head.

I am still working on my mom’s Snowmen & Skates vest. It would be reasonable for me to be finished by the end of January. I have set it aside temporarily because I have been getting frustrated with it. I think I’m going to need to order another ball of Knit Picks Palette in Cream. I don’t think the rest of this ball is going to get me through. I must say that I feel a bit frustrated that I bought what the pattern calls for and might not have enough. I’m concerned that there could be a problem with the pattern. My sense that it could be something on Knit Picks' end was magnified when my first attempt to try out my new Options set (Christmas present) resulted in the discovery of a defective cord as I attempted to cast on my first stitch. I’ve already contacted them and they are sending me a replacement. My bigger worry is that I have made some error and this vest is going to be all wrong. It looks alright, but I wondered if my vision is clouded by all the things that keep a knitter from seeing that she has made a terrible mistake and continuing on to end up with a horrific mass of wool and sorrow.

While I’m taking my break from the vest, I’m swatching for Arwen, and have begun a couple other projects. I need some socks on the needles, and I decided that Traveler’s Stockings from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road would be a good choice. I’m past the lacy cuff portion and onto the first chart. Flipping through my current IK, my daughter (who had the audacity to turn 18 on Christmas Eve) saw a picture of a purse she wants. This made me happy, so I have picked up the yarn and cast-on for this project, too.

I am again signed up for Discovery Health’s National Body Challenge. It changes up a bit each year. I liked the program best that they had when I enrolled for the first time three years ago. I wonder what it will be like this time around. You might want to check it out for yourselves. There is good information, and it usually helps to inspire me to change up my exercise routine. The fact that I have given exercise a permanent part in my life is another one of those things I never would have guessed. It still isn’t my favorite thing, but I’ve stopped treating it as an option and accepted that this is what I do. I have yet to take a picture of my exercise space and stuff, but I’ll get on that soon.

I’m so glad I gave spinning the time it needs this year. I’m still spindling along on the same spinning project that I’ve been engaged in for several months now. I’m okay with the fact that I’m slow at spinning, and that is another big step for me. I enjoy it, and have many new fibers to explore. Just think, soon I will be knitting with my own handspun.

Thank you for being part of my life in 2006. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What's in a Name?

What did we really expect to happen when we began calling ourselves The Skanky Knitters? Did we believe there would be no consequences? It was A Very Skanky Christmas this past Thursday at Margaret’s house. Laughter, knitting, food, and fun filled the festive occasion. The Skanky Santa (think White Elephant or Dirty Santa) exchange was entertaining. We laughed, ate, knit, and there was even a Wii. I arrived home late and obsessed about weight gain from all of the wonderful food. I vowed to return to sensible eating and continue to exercise. As it turns out, my worrying was all for naught. Yes, The Skanky Knitters all came down with The Plague. I told my husband I had a slight case of death. Not everyone had recovered for Monday Night Knitting, but most of us were able to laugh about it. The experience left me weak, tired, and fearful of all foods. Even after the big symptoms had died down, I could only sit next to my knitting and try to imagine that I would one day be able to pick up the needles again. It is unknown whether the illness was foodborne, or just that nasty bug going around. Because I was out of commission, the Christmas celebration at my mom’s, which had been planned for the 17th, has been rescheduled for the 26th. The upside of this is an extended deadline for Mom’s vest. Could I actually finish it in time? The rounds are now getting smaller, I’ve added in my armhole steeks, and have begun the decreases for the v-neck. The snowmen have returned. It seemed like they would never end the first time I knit them. Even after the body of the vest is done, I have to work the crochet reinforcements and steeks, the edgings, buttons (which I have yet to purchase), and embroidery. Oh yeah, I also need to block the thing. So, probably not going to be finished by the 26th. I did manage to finish a mini sock for JJ to clothe a stuffed sheep he wants to give to a co-worker, and I knit a decorative stocking pin for Brittany as part of the Skanky Twist to Skanky Santa. Those were both completed on Monday. So, I’m trying to keep a balanced look at what is getting done rather than looking at the things I still need to do.

Speaking of balanced, I’ve still been spinning. My friend, Annette, a local knitting buddy and fellow Twisted Knitter gave me some lovely gifts last Tuesday. Amongst the many timely gifts that promote relaxation and refreshment were several lovely fibers to spin. I’ve not yet tried Angora rabbit, Shetland wool, yak/merino blend, or alpaca/vicuña blend. This very generous lady gave all these to me. She is a wealth of fiber and spinning knowledge. She’s also facing challenging days, so please pray for her. I am hunting down a special prize to give her the next time I see her. I hope it will be Friday night. We take things one day at a time, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, that vest isn’t getting done while I sit here and type, and my body still insists I sleep. After the recent battle, I’m not brave enough to argue when it says it needs something.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I enjoyed the Norwegian Knits-Along so well last year that I decided to join in on this year’s Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge. So, without further ado, here are my answers to the opening questions:
What are your projects for this knitalong?
I’m currently Stranded in the Fair Isles as I work on my Mom’s Snowmen and Skates Vest from Knit Picks. I’d love to complete it in time to give it to her as a Christmas present, but that remains to be seen. I’m doubtful about making that deadline, but stranger things have happened. Please pardon me as I mention once again, that this project involves steeking. I don’t have a planned colorwork project after this, but I am thinking of hats or mittens as a possibility. Those Star Wars charts have me inspired. I have long admired many of the colorwork patterns in Folk Socks and might try my hand at a pair of them.
Is this your first colorwork project? If it isn't, what was your first, and has it survived the test of time?
Nope, I’ve done colorwork before. My first was a lone mitten from Folk Mittens. I’ve never finished that pair, and I don’t know if I ever will. I’ve since read that the pattern had errors. I love the mitten, but it has been years since I knit it, and I doubt that it will gain a mate. Two hats knit last year went to Alaska. I had knit a hat for my husband a year before using that same pattern from Hats On! It is still going strong and we've even gotten enough cold weather for him to wear it a couple of times this year. I’m trying to regain custody of one I knit last year that no longer fits a nephew to pass on to a niece for whom I think it will work, but that may be a lost cause on many levels. Such is life. It's time to get back to Mom's vest. I had begun to believe that I was closing in on reaching the armhole steeks, but each time I measure, well, I'm sure you can all relate.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Votive and Vest

I’ve knit a second wire and bead votive cover and am need only to graft the third. I keep mentally adding potential recipients to a growing list of people for whom I’d like to knit these. It remains to be seen how many I will actually complete and gift. They are so simple and lovely. I simply string a bunch of beads on some 26-gauge wire and cast on nine or ten stitches with some US 8 straight aluminum knitting needles. Then I work in stockinette, knitting in the beads on the knit side until the piece is long enough to go around the candle holder. Then I graft or sew together the ends of the piece together. I finish off the ends, and I’m done. The process is a bit harsh on the hands and fingers, and the set of knitting needles used for the process are now solely dedicated to wire knitting.

I want to knit hats for the young nieces and nephews. One already made his way through the Knit Picks catalog and let me know which blue he would like. He was quite specific about which would be acceptable, and which would not. I need to get an order off to Knit Picks. For one thing, Mom’s vest needs a ball of orange and one of black in Palette to work the embroidery. I didn’t know that when I placed my initial order, but could have figured it out if I had been thinking more. The vest is coming along nicely. I’ve worked my way through the first chart, begun the second chart, and woven in all of my ends. At nearly four hundred stitches to a round, this is taking a long time. It isn’t something I pick up and work on when I have a few spare minutes. It takes some time to sit down, get the two colors organized, find my place on the chart, and get knitting. Still, if I intend to complete this anytime soon, I need to get to it.

We Fit Knitters have been encouraged to share photos of our exercise places. I read that after I had been fitness
walking at a local mall. I could have snapped a picture of my stalker. Yeah, I had a creepy guy follow me about as I walked. He first suggestively flicked his pierced tongue at me when I passed him. I thought he was with a significant other and their child. As I continued to make my way through the mall, I saw that it was just he and the little boy in a stroller. Yeah, he’s a class act. At first I thought that perhaps I was being paranoid, but after changing directions, taking shortcuts, and winding my way through a department store and still spotting him behind me each time, I knew I was being followed. About the time I was ready to seek out mall security, he decided to end his little game. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of things or scare the small child, but I was certainly not going to head out to the parking lot while this continued. This is a long-winded way of letting you know that I don’t have a picture of my exercise area for you yet.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Back At It

Long timey, no bloggy, eh? I’ve finally caught up on many things, just to find myself at a time of year when I’m never caught up on things. It looks like we might have three Thanksgivings to attend, and I think I might make a S’more pie for each. I made three of those last week for my stepdaughter. Those went to school. I have a feeling that at least one-third of my efforts went to feeding the high schoolers, rather than the teachers. I don’t mind. I just wish that I had added a bit more chocolate. I’ve never tried making three at once.

I have been knitting the Fetching a bunch lately. Unfortunately, one experiment did not work out the way I had hoped. I read the yardage on the yarn label and knew it would be a long shot. It’s not a big deal. If I want to try again with that yarn, I can just add in a stripe of another color. I’ve seen it done on other pairs of Fetching, and it looks nice. These are Christmas gifts. Too bad most of these folks need easy-care type yarn. I’ve been knitting the pairs right along, but I still need to work the thumbs. One pair has already been gifted for a November birthday earlier this month.

Speaking of the holiday gifties, I tried my hand at knitting with wire to make a beaded votive sleeve. Nope, I don’t have Handknit Holidays, so I just made it up as I went along. I like what I have created. I might like to make a few more of these, but I definitely want to give my hands a break between sessions.

Mom’s Seasonal Fair Isle Vest is coming along, but I don’t think she’ll receive it for her birthday (December 5th), and maybe not even for Christmas. I’m past the first set of snowmen, and nearly through with the first set of snowflakes. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, I may be helping her out with a crochet project. I know, I know. She came across a Leisure Arts magazine from years gone by which contains the pattern for a blanket she crocheted for my younger brother. She wants to make it again for him. She’s having a little trouble with it, and I may end up crocheting it. I’ve tried helping, but between the years since either one of us has crocheted regularly and an issue of Mom being a lefty and me being a righty, well, I think I will be crocheting this. At least it is worked with double-stranded worsted weight yarn on a large hook. It should work up pretty quickly. Maybe Mom will stick with it. I tell her that whatever she keeps doing over-and-over becomes a stitch pattern.

In the meantime, it is all baby doll knitting all the time here; at least for a few more days. It has just been decided that we will combine Thanksgiving and Kaitlyn Olivia’s 2nd birthday celebrations on Saturday. I’ve nearly completed two little blankets. Hats and socks should be quick and easy. The dolly blankies have me feeling compelled to knit larger blankets for children. I’m sure the feeling will pass soon.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Playing Catch

No, I’m not out engaged in some athletic event, nor am I inappropriately using balls of yarn. I’m in catch-up mode. Not much was accomplished last week, even though there was much to be done. Then it was the excitement of a hospitalized husband Saturday through Tuesday evening. We’re fine. I cannot decide which sounds better and which sounds worse. I could say that they did not find any reversible ischemia, or that they just could not do anything to help. In truth, the former is truer than the latter. Not everything can be fixed. We were taken care of very well, and everyone was wonderful at the Birmingham VA Medical Center. It is an excellent facility with excellent people, and we are blessed to have it. We even had a visit from Birmingham television personality, James Spann, bearing Veteran’s Day cards drawn by students in Carbon Hill.

I knit all I could, and it helped the time to pass and worked to calm my nerves some. I was stuck in some sort of anti-progress time warp, as I do not have much to show for my efforts. I suppose I got just the right amount done to get through the experience. Knitting is a great help to me, and I thank God for it.

Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes. I think I wrote back and thanked everyone personally, but in case I did not, here are my thanks. I will show off my treasures soon, including those acquired in Murfreesboro. I’ll also share my tales of adventure at the fiber festival.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thank you, Stephanie!

There was never any doubt in my mind that my October Birthday Swap package would be wonderful. I could hardly wait to go to the post office this morning. As I opened the package, I was greeted by a gentle lavender scent. Everything was wrapped so beautifully. I had trouble deciding which present to open first. Of course, I read the card first. I also followed the directions and opened the other envelope last. Stephanie picked out such lovely prizes for me. Instead of a thousand words from me, I'll give you a picture of it all.

I think that gift-giving is such fun. I know I truly enjoyed picking out her presents. This has been a wonderful swap, and I am so glad that I joined. Thank you Bev, for hostessing this event for us, and thank you again, Stephanie for the wonderful gifts.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday! I have been having a wonderful day. You'll have to wait for the pictures of my prizes. I came home to one of those pink slips in the mailbox Saturday afternoon letting me know that my October Birthday Swap package is waiting for me at the post office. Yep, since I have to wait, so do you. I'll also tell you of my Murfreesboro adventure soon, too. For now, I think I might need some Starbucks, or maybe to go play with some of my new stuff.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

No, not really, but time has gotten away from me, and I’ve been playing catch-up like mad. I was way behind on my bloglines. I finally managed to skim my way through. I wasn’t able to leave comments. I can see that a wonderful time was had at Rhinebeck, and fabulous fiber acquisitions were made. Part of me wishes that I could have attended, but another part tells me that I’m not quite ready for such a huge and overwhelming experience. Still, I am in need of a fabulous, fiber-filled event, and there’s something a bit closer to home that will fit the bill nicely. Saturday, October 28th, I will be attending the Harvest Days and Fiber Festival (last entry of the page) at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I believe this is their 30th Anniversary. I look forward to a great time. This is only my second time attending, and indeed, it is just my second time at a fiber festival. I have tried to save some money to maybe do a little shopping. I will pick out my birthday prizes that day, as my birthday is the 29th. I really hope to find a new spindle and some new fiber, and maybe a niddy noddy. Yes, I know I can construct a pvc one, and perhaps I will, but I still would like a nice wooden one. I suppose it’ll be one of those things where if I am trying to make a decision between a niddy noddy and some other fiber or spindle, the niddy noddy will wait.

In other spinning news, I finished plying what I have spun. The plying took longer than what I thought it would. I am glad to have received my copy of Spinning in the Old Way, to help guide me in my spinning adventures. I had finished the spinning and was ready to ply when it arrived. I set the spindle aside and read. I knew that my spinning could be improved, but I wasn’t quite sure how to improve it besides putting in the time. I have made my way through the book and have learned bunches. It is a wonderful resource. I also have Evelyn and Annette as wonderful resources. Evelyn may be slowing down, but she’s still going. She knits and spins on a budget, and has been great letting me in on little bits to keep doing the crafts we love when the dollars are quite limited. She has been my constant encourager to spin everyday. She says that she spends some time on the wheel, spindle, charkha, and with the needles each day. Annette has the information you need in one of her bags, if only she could find it. It’s written down in one of her notebooks or scribbled in the margins of a newsletter from spinning guilds both near and far away. Consequently, she might arrive to a knitting meet-up late and keep you yakking away afterwards, and I suspect she has purchased book duplicates because she doesn’t quite remember what all her library contains. They are great. I hope to be able to calm my nerves enough to spin around others. When I have tried to spin around others I get nervous, my hands sweat (not conducive to spinning), the spindle drops, and I just end up sitting quietly or go back to knitting. Also, the local spinning get together is on the second Monday night of the month at the library. I’ve been advised that I might want to avoid that area at night, and Monday nights are Skanky Knit nights, and I really hate to miss those. Anyway, as I discussed spinning with Annette and Evelyn a couple of months ago, they told me about the magic of washing the handspun. It’s like blocking. I’ve just done it, and I now have this new skein of my handspun. Not bad, eh? Yeah, I know that my spindling still needs improvement, but this is about 203 yards by my calculations. I could make something with that. I think I’ll try and spin and ply some more and turn this into the Swallowtail Shawl, or maybe I’ll just knit this into a scarf. We shall see.

So, the drop spindle is empty. I’ve got the itch. On the one hand, I want to spin up more like what I’ve already made and make it a shawl. I confess that I had an unrealistic fantasy that I would have enough to knit the Swallowtail Shawl and wear it on Saturday. The fantasy goes on in my head, and I am nonchalant as I announce that not only did I knit the shawl, but also spun the yarn, too. People are awe-struck, and I am cool. Then I step in a pile of sheep poo, and I know that the fantasy has ended. But I digress. On the other hand, I want to keep the spindle empty in case I don’t get a new spindle, but only fiber, and then I long for a cleared spindle to use the new fiber. Who knows what I will do. Until I decide, I’ve got plenty of knitting, and it’s time to exercise.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

October Recap

It’s that time again, kids. That’s right, time to show you my contribution this round to Caps for a Cure. I’ve managed to finish four this time. I have a Shedir on the needles, but I’m just on round twenty-one and doubt it will be completed in time.

In purple Woolease, we have Odessa without beads and with beads it is the Black Sea Hat. This is the sixth Odessa I have knit. Whenever I want to knit a chemo cap and don’t have a pattern in mind, I knit an Odessa without beads. I like to knit some of the hats with the beads, and some without. My bead supply for hats is running low. Poor, me, I’ll have to go bead shopping soon. The next time I knit the Black Sea Hat I will knit it deeper/taller. Generally speaking, I’ve been knitting big chemo caps. It would seem that my head is a bit on the big side. I cannot go to my local mass merchandiser and pick up a floppy straw hat to shade myself from the sun. I just don’t find one to fit me. Consequently, I knit these chemo caps a bit on the large side. I know that I’m not the only one who has a head that is a bit biggish, and I want to make sure that there is an option amongst the other chemo caps that will fit. I also know that this means that there will be people who pick up one of my caps to try on and discover that it is way too big. I figure too big is better than too small.

The blue Cotton-Ease hat is Coronet. This pattern is very similar to the Cap with Turk’s Head Cuff by Charlene Schurch in her excellent book, Hats On! I knit it in honor of my uncle who has been recently diagnosed with lung cancer. It’s wrapped around a lung, spread to the liver, and also on his spine. Time is short for him; I pray he does not suffer much.

The light pink one is inspired by a hat by Judy Gibson. It isn’t quite what I was going for, so I’ll just have to keep tweaking the pattern. I should have kept notes. I liked knitting the hat top down and experimenting. I would like to be able to work it out so that I can write out the pattern and contribute that to the group. Anyway, I later steam blocked the hat some and this helped smooth things out a bit.

I need to get a mannequin head for photographing hats. I think this would help to show the hats a bit better. I know that they look better when I try them on or get someone to be my model. I may try looking at the local Sally Beauty store to try and find one of those heads.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


It’s hard to believe, but up until recently, I had not knit much with mohair. I had often thought of knitting a lacy shawl with mohair, but I was a bit apprehensive. I had read the dreaded horror stories of fixing mistakes in mohair. Still, mohair enchanted me. Three balls of Kid Silk Haze sat in the stash beckoning me. Back in the spring I purchased some Crystal Palace Kid Merino on sale. I bought five balls each in two different colorways, Ultra Blues and Painted Iris. I knew that they would become shawls one day, but which, I did not know. I like to knit lace, and I like to knit shawls. My first foray into charts was the Pacific Northwest Shawl from Fiber Trends. I had longed after the shawl for quite some time before I purchased the pattern and some Emerald Jaggerspun Zephyr. It is wonderfully written, and by the time I had finished I was a chart convert. It turned out to be a pretty big shawl. I did not know of Zephyr’s bloom factor. I loved the shawl. I loved knitting it. I danced around in it. With all that love going on, you know I ended up gifting it to someone I love. I knew that one day I would have to knit it again, but for me. Several times I’ve fished out the Iris Jaggerspun Zephyr from the stash, but each time something stopped me. It might have been an attempt to rid myself of the summer blahs that prompted me to begin this shawl; I do not remember, but I finally decided to turn mohair into lace. I cast off the last stitch on Saturday night. I shoved it back in the bag and waited for Monday. The shawl was a joy to knit and looked wonderful. Ah, but once lace leaves the needles, there is still magic to be done. Yes, this magic of which I speak is blocking. I enjoy blocking lace, and I really do believe it to be a kind of magic. I have wanted a set of blocking wires for so long. Of course, every time I’ve gotten ready to buy them, I end up buying yarn instead. I always reasoned that I have gotten by with the T-pins and allowed the call of the yarn to win. I’ve heard that one can use thin welding rods as blocking wires, but whenever I ask people about their source for them, I don’t get a response. I have heard of people making their own blocking wires, so I decided to give that a go. The PNW soaked in the sink while I began my adventure. I grabbed some stainless steel jewelry wire and sat on the floor. The larger gauge wire I had seemed to be the best choice. I had trouble straightening it. I finally had about eight, eighteen inch lengths of the wire that were fairly straight when I ran out of that wire. I knew this would not be enough. I picked up the spool of lighter gauge wire. I thought it might make do until I could buy more of the heavier stuff. I snipped off a length and began straightening it. This wasn’t going to work. I took hold of my safety wire pliers, put together two lengths of the lighter gauge wire, and twisted it. Oh, my goodness, children, I had stumbled upon what I needed. I snipped, twisted, and repeated. A few minutes later I was ready. Another time I will twist up more of the lighter wires and I will also do some finishing work on the ends. Until then, behold, the Pacific Northwest. This is so cool. And, yes, I did fix the bottom point of that, but I didn't get a picture. You can see the color better in this close-up detailing some of the lace.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sockyarn Stash Flash

After a respectful week of mourning my death, it is time to move on.
There it is, in all its glory, the sockyarn stash.

Some I bought myself, other bits were bought for me, and then there is other people’s unwanted sockyarn. There are the lonely 50g balls of sockyarn that will become socks for children or footie socks for me. I did not include all of the yarn I have that could be used to knit socks because, after all, any yarn can be turned into socks. I did, however, include some partial balls of yarn. I figure that 25g of Regia could be baby socks one day.

Do you have certain patterns planned for some of the yarns? Do you buy yarn and then choose a pattern?

I can look upon the stash and mentally (shhh…be nice) assign patterns to the various yarns. I think about the different people in my life for whom I’ll knit socks, and imagine presenting them with their handknit socks. Of course, it doesn’t always get knit up that way. This is the beauty of the sockyarn stash and of stashing sockyarn. If I purchase 100g of sockyarn, I know I can turn that into a pair of socks. They may be plain or fancy, toe-up or top-down, but I know that I won’t stare at this yarn and try and figure out just what I can do with it. The same can’t always be said about other impulse, no-plan yarn purchases. When I go through my yarn, I see purchases from back when I was new to knitting and hadn’t learned very well how to most effectively stash enhance. Sockyarn stashing is fun, easy, and nearly guilt-free.

Does a certain sock yarn you have in your stash take you back to a certain event? (where you were when you bought/received it? what was going on in your life at the time!)

Occasionally this is the case. Sometimes I remember a particular yarn sale or yarn crawl. Mostly, it is the completed socks that bring on the memories. I remember whom I knit socks for, details about the patterns, and what was going on in my life when I knit them. I know I had quite the trip down memory lane when I gathered together the small balls of leftover sockyarn for Major Knitter during March Madness. It reminded me of the Grandma’s Attic series of stories I read in my childhood. I knit socks on the go quite a bit. I suppose this is part of why they hold so many memories for me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Death By Socks

She had just returned from the post office to mail a package for her October Birthday Swap pal, Stephanie. She had gone a bit overboard and stuffed the box with last-minute extra goodies. She was tired from all the shopping. She trudged up to the mailbox. It had been empty the two previous times she had checked it that day. She reached inside to find junk mail and a soft, squishy package. She handed the junk mail to her husband and contemplated the package. Finally, she opened it, and the contents burst forth. She battled bravely, but alas, Sarah has been killed. Before dying, she was able to subdue one of the socks with dpns. The pair is being rehabilitated. They shall serve out their remaining days warming feet.

Sarah was a noble sock warrior. Never a cold-blooded killer, she sent socks on to deserter and fellow warrior alike. She lived to see all but one of the fellow Skanky Knitters she encouraged to join the battle fall prey to deadly socks. In lieu of flowers, please donate a chemo cap to Caps for a Cure. Of course, consolation Knit Picks gift certificates will not be turned away.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Socks in the Mailbox

The last I read, my assassin had not finished knitting my socks. Still, I knew that she might not necessarily post to the world that she had fired off a pair of deadly socks to me. My day had been full of adventure, and when we pulled up to the mailbox, the Priority Mail package shocked me. I knew it must be my socks. I reached inside the mailbox, felt the squishy package, and knew that I had just been killed. Yes, it was socks. No, they were not for me. Can you believe this? My husband has been sent four pairs of socks to test. So, I’m still alive, but I think that I’ll have to wash these socks a bunch for him to do this test project.

It’s not quite all Sock Wars all the time around here. I do have a package on its way to me encouraging me to go to the mailbox each day. I’m expecting Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch to arrive any day now. Later on this month, I shall receive a fabulous birthday package from Stephanie, my October Birthday Swap Pal. Speaking of, I’ve been out to The Knitting Zone, and I’ve got some more prizes for Stephanie. I’ve nearly got all the goodies. There are a few more little items I want to pick up, but for now it’s time to begin working on the presentation aspect of the package. This is so much fun. I really think she’s going to like what I’ve gotten for her.

We managed to make it by the hospital just as Freda was being released. I found out this morning that Freda of the Skanky Knitters had an appendectomy. I brought her a Mini Kacha-Kacha. She had once remarked that she thought that only little old ladies used clicking counters hanging from their necks, only to discover two of us using them. I love mine and use it often. She will come to love and use hers all the time. Perhaps we will stop teasing her about this one day. Upon her release, it was determined that a trip to the Cracker Barrel was in order.

Now, I must exercise a bunch to make up for that wonderful dinner. I’ll do it after we finish watching Castaway, throughout which my husband has been tossing out helpful survival tips to Tom Hanks. I need the break. I’m still a bit sore from yesterday’s vigorous exercise dvd, Complete Aerobics and Weight Training. I think I'll do something a bit lighter today. In the meantime, I'll finish off another chemo cap. I just have to close up the top and weave in the ends.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Socknitting History

Lolly posted a questionairre so that we Socktoberists might share our personal socknitting histories. It was a nice stroll down memory lane to answer these questions.
  • When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I began knitting socks just a few years ago when I was a new knitter. I taught myself from the booklet Knit a Dozen Socks by Edie Eckman. I made a test sock using the Basic Sock pattern from the book using some pink worsted weight Red Heart. I made the leg and foot short because I was just practicing. I was amazed with the heel turning. It didn’t make sense as I read it, but just followed the directions, and was thrilled that it worked. When it came to work the toe, I got the numbering of the needles wrong. This means that only a twisted foot (and incredibly short, too) would have been able to wear it.
  • What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first pair was the Basic Sock from the same book. They were knit from Woolease Sportweight, and they are still alive and kicking.
  • What would you have done differently?
I had transferred the instep stitches on the first sock to waste yarn while turning the heel. As I was still quite new to knitting and didn’t really understand how to read my knitting, I ended up knitting all of those across the top of the foot twisted. As I got further down the foot I knew something was different about those stitches, but only later knew what I had done and how to not repeat such a mistake. I remember wearing the socks for what was probably the first time when we were visiting my husband’s Aunt Beth and Uncle Joe. In true Aunt Beth fashion, she pointed to that row of twisted stitches and asked, “What happened there?” Aunt Beth was a trip. It’s a good thing I had gotten to know her before this incident, or my feelings would have been really hurt.
  • What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
Cherry Tree Hill is so wonderful, as is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock.
  • Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
Yes, I do have a past as a hooker, but I never crocheted socks, and don’t think I ever will. I began knitting socks using four dpns. I usually knit socks 2-on-1 using the Magic Loop method. This is my preferred method. If I use dpns for socks now, I use five rather than four.
  • Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I’m a short-row gal. I had tried this type of heel, but after getting Simple Socks Plain and Fancy by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts, I was really won over. Sometimes I substitute the short-row heel in place of the flap-type. I did this with Pomatomus.
  • How many pairs have you made?
I can think of at least 17 pairs, not counting all of the baby socks (I prefer making little socks to most all bootie patterns) of which I’ve probably knit a dozen pairs, and then there was also my mini sock phase, although they were never knit in pairs.

Much of my Socktoberfest has been filled with the Sock Wars. Celebrate the kill with me. I've actually killed twice. After much harrassing, I was able to get an address for my original target, Sarahkat. Although she does not appear to be participating in Sock Wars, I still sent the socks to her.

Monday, October 02, 2006


You always knew I was twisted, didn’t you? I now confess it proudly and announce my association with those like me. Okay, so they’re not crazy like me, but we’re all dyeing to spin and knit. That’s right, I joined the Twisted Knitters Dye-Spin-Knitalong. It’s going to be quite an adventure. It begins October 2nd and runs through March. We’ll use that time to dye, spin, and knit something. Just what will that something be? I’m thinking that I’d like to spin, dye, and knit socks, a scarf, or a shawl. Some of us will dye and then spin, while others will spin and then dye. I haven’t made a decision on this one, yet. In the meantime, I’ve got to clear my spindle. I want to spin 1/8 oz more of the roving I have going and then ply that. I also need to buy fiber. As a fairly new spinner, I am still fiber deficient. There is a fiber festival in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on the 28th of October that I hope to attend. I’d love to pick up some fiber there, and maybe even a new spindle. We’ll just see what happens.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy Socktoberfest

It’s that time of year again, kids. It is time to honor the humble sock. Socks are so very important. If I would have been wearing socks last night, my feet would not be suffering the agony of three mosquito bites right now. What's the deal with mosquitoes feeding from my feet? That sucks more than a little bit, but I digress. I’m still alive in the land of the Sock Wars. I’ve mailed off two pairs of deadly socks, and now I wait for the postal service to determine what I do next. Now what kind of socknitter would I be if I waited on the mail to begin more socks? Ha-ha, very funny. But you know that I have stash, so I’m casting on for some new socks now. Okay, back up the train a moment. I’m actually deciding which socks to knit next. I’m thinking toe up, of course, and perhaps some sort of leaf motif. Twisted stitches or cables would be neat too, don’t you think? Maybe this is the perfect time to give Bayerische a try. Those orange and black striped knee socks in the Socktoberfest button are so cute. It has been awhile since I’ve opened up Folk Socks, and it is filled with such wonderful patterns and valuable information. I could just begin at the toes and knit up the feet, turn the heels, and then decide the patterning to go up the legs. It just goes to show you that the world of socks is endless. Okay, let’s just settle on the yarn. How about some Knitpicks Essential in Pine? Sound good to you? Groovy. Let the celebration of a thousand socks begin!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

If you liked the isod...'ll love the isod mini. While waiting to receive deadly socks to finish or a pair that will finish me, I knit a mini ISOD. I used some perle cotton and knit up the mini sock using 24 sts. I considered using some #10 crochet cotton, working it over 12 sts, making a pair, and turning them into earrings. I may still do that. I'll turn this one into a pin and attach it to my knitting bag. I could make a bunch and start sending them along in the assassination packages. Hmmm...that's how the dead could still participate. They could knit a bunch of these mini ISOD, and everyone who participates could be sent one as a badge. They are small enough to be sent in a regular letter envelope. I may be onto something here. What do you think?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

October Birthday Swap

I joined the October Birthday Swap. I’m going to have to take a pass on the next round of SP, but I still wanted to be part of an exchange, and this one is perfect for me. My partner is the new blogger, Stephanie. I have received her questionnaire for the exchange, and my mind is swirling. I have so many ideas for little gifties (and big ones, too). I like to give gifts. This is going to be fun. I look forward to sending a special birthday package to a fellow knitter with whom I share a birthday month.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Go Ahead, Laugh

It’s okay, I’m laughing, too. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to any of you to know that in spite of Yarn Monkey’s announcement that all the dossiers had been emailed, I have not received a dossier. Yeah, it’s more than a little bit funny. My original target is incommunicado. I don’t know the reasons, but it is her loss. Sock Wars rocks! She is missing out on tons of fun, and this pair of ISOD. I suppose it’s okay to post a picture of them. Maybe if I get her address, I’ll send them on to her anyway.

Because of the little interruption that Hurricane Gordon caused, we had to do our best to figure out how to proceed. We decided to assume that Sarahkat is not participating in the game, so we skipped over her. That made Scarybez my new target. I had already knit a pair of women’s US 8 ISOD. Rather than ripping back the toes and knitting the feet longer to turn that pair into a pair of women’s UK 8, I decided to cast on for a new pair. I like the way these turned out, but I cannot show them to you. As they will cause Scarybez’s death, she gets to see them before the rest of you. That’s right, kids, Aunt Sarah is a Killer!

It’s hurry up and wait time again, but I’m not in a hurry. I’m returning to the Pacific Northwest. Okay, so I’m just resuming the knitting of that shawl, but I would love to go back and visit one day. I’m down to the last chart in the body of the shawl, and then it is on to the edging.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Faux Drama

All’s fair in love and war. War is the h-word. It’s just a game, kids. I confess to keeping the energy high in this international socknitting tournament. Have you been keeping up with what’s going on in the Sock Wars? In truth, it is merely a fun game, and I am not nearly as wrapped up in it as I may seem to be. I’m having fun. I’ve peaked in on several blogs that were new to me. Much time has been spent considering time zones and thinking about other parts of the world. I wonder if I will have an opportunity to visit any of these far-off lands. I’ve tested my internet searching skills. The fact that I have been unsuccessful at acquiring my target’s mailing address proves that I am not the excellent stalker you have believed me to be. I know you are disappointed. The Skanky Knitters have been zinging the emails back and forth. I’m the only one without a mailing address (I have completed a pair of the International Socks of Doom), three have mailed off deadly socks, one more is close, and another has had scheduling and familial conflicts which finally cleared long enough to cast on Monday night. On Sunday I took a break from the battle to complete another chemo cap. I was called out on an emergency heel flap lesson Saturday afternoon. Friday night I set down the deadly socks I was knitting to help fix those of a fellow warrior. She said that what I had done was the knitting equivalent of a soldier leaving safety to bring back a fallen comrade lying on the battlefield. I don’t know about all that, but I was glad to help. I have really enjoyed assisting my fellow Skanky Knitters with their socks. I am honored to have had a hand in teaching new knitting techniques to other knitters.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I signed up for the Sock Wars way back when they were first announced, and I’ve been following the rules. That’s right, I’ve been annoying the daylights out of anyone whom I could force to listen. The upshot of this is that through my constant blabbering and the infectious nature of this event, nearly all of my Monday night s’n’b is participating in this worldwide event. There is a collective frenzy amongst us, although some have been able to maintain cool exteriors. We’ve swatched. We’ve plotted and planned. We’ve agonized and hypothesized. Will 50g/180yards/160 meters of dk yarn really knit a pair of adult-sized socks? Are these going to be decorative socks? Has the whole foot size issue been dropped? Will it be toe-up or top down? There have been ethical dilemmas. Does my yarn have too high of an acrylic content? What if I must kill a friend? How will I care for my family while I’m at war? Why is there an appalling lack of pleasing colors in the yarn in my budget with which I can achieve gauge? Is it right to incorporate Fun Fur or some of that poo-poo brown Bernat Disco that so many of us received for free into the cuffs of the Socks of Doom? I for one will be using Woolease Sportweight yarn. I was roundly abused over on the forum for suggesting this yarn as an economical, widely available (oops, I just looked on their website and see that sportweight is discontinued) option for Sock Wars. Yes, Woolease socks are the foundation for all foot fungi, knitting with it causes carpal tunnel syndrome, and it is the root of loose morals and tooth decay. Puh-leeze! Allow me to let you in on a little factlet. I’ve got gauge, kids, and that is what matters. I’ve also knit more than one comfortable pair of socks with this kind of yarn, and they have held up over the years. That being said, if you don’t want to knit with the Woolease, don’t kill me before I finish the socks. Speaking of the pair of socks you don’t want to have to finish, Monday Night’s Brittany has been able to achieve gauge only with Lion Cotton. Upon plunking the gauge-producing yarn on the table, she exclaimed that she might be the tightest knitter in the land, although there is competition amongst our group for this title with Beth. It would seem that most of the group wants to be able to kill at least one other sock warrior. I’ve only heard one amongst the Monday Night s’n’b Skanky Knit group who views the idea of having to kill another group member as fun. There are talks of public execution. Oh, this is going to be a fun event. Please remind me of this if I’m not listed as a fallen comrade a month from now, or if I am on the list Saturday.

I'm staying up all night tonight on pattern watch, and then--knitting. I had hoped to have one last get together with my local sock warriors. Instead, we kept the nephew who isn't feeling well. A 4 1/2 year old boy who is just sick enough to be kept out of daycare makes for a less than fun house. Ah, I love him! I'm just going to have to let him watch Star Wars, Finding Nemo, or whatever else he wants to keep him busy while I'm knitting the International Sock of Doom.

It’s not all about socks around here, but before I move on, have you heard about this? Anyway, since the yarn arrived last week, I could begin my preparation in earnest for the knitting of Snowman and Skates for my mom. Armed with a tape measure, I was able to corner her and get the information I need. I still need to swatch. I believe I found an error in the pattern booklet. It’s not a big deal. The supplies list that one needs US size 3 (3.25mm) needles. This size is noted elsewhere in the booklet. However, under the gauge section, it reads 28 sts = 4” using size 1 (2.25mm) needles in stockinette stitch. At any rate, the steeking instructions leave much to be desired. In fact, they basically encourage the knitter to consult knitting reference books or to do an online search for further instructions on performing this scary maneuver. This is fine, because we have the lovable Eunny Jang (have you seen these socks?) to guide us through the steeks. I’ve made a quick read through her guide to the world of steeking. I think I’m going to employ the crochet method. It all remains to be seen. There is still a lot of knitting to be done between now and then. Heck, I haven’t even swatched yet. I also have to decide between embroidery floss and yarn for the snowman details (and doorknobs, too). That’s also one of those decisions that can be left for later. I’ve even considered using beads for some of the finishing bits. Or would that be too much and turn it into one of those horrible holiday vests?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Socks and Shawls

Socktoberfest is back. I love knitting socks, so I just had to join the celebration. I have so many potential socks running through my mind that they may need darning before I’ve even cast-on for them. I am excited for the beginning of this festival of socks.

In the meantime, I’ve moved on to the fish charts for my Pacific Northwest Shawl. I'm on row 161 of the 178 in the body of the shawl. The rows are long, but I'm still enjoying the knitting. I had a heart-stopping moment in the wee hours of Monday. I inadvertently twisted and pulled on the Denise with which I’m knitting the shawl and it became disconnected, letting many stitches free. This is where using a yarn with a significant mohair content really paid off for me. I was able to pick up all the stitches, and all was right with the world.

I'm keeping up with my spinning. I think that I would like what is currently on the spindle to become the Swallowtail Shawl (IK Fall 2006). The yardage required for this pattern is relatively little, and I think it would be great to turn something I've spun into such a cute little lacy shawl. This is my spinning goal/dream for now. In fact, I think I'm going to go spin.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Silver Linings

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Does that quote officially belong to someone? I don’t know. It’s a true one, though. We had an experience last week (I won’t go into details) where we were afraid to hope. At the same time, it was difficult to face the event without allowing some rays of hope to enter our hearts and minds. Perhaps this is what made the disappointing news such a punch in the gut. It really did knock us for a loop. I try to look for some positives, and the best to be said is that it could have been worse. Two days later we learned that this event has given us experience and preparation for a future occurrence that is even more unexpected. I must say that we have probably exceeded the adult recommended daily allowance for a dosage of irony. What is the antidote for an irony overdose? I’m treating liberally with wool and knitting friends. I’m also doing my best to realign my thoughts on these matters toward the positive and perhaps productive. This remains to be seen. There are some things that we cannot change.

My first order from Knitpicks arrived on Thursday last week. I needed that yarn love. We were on our way to face another unpleasant bit when I saw the postal vehicle pass us. I asked my hubby if he would mind turning around. I just knew my yarn was in that truck. I was being rewarded for facing some unpleasantries with a positive attitude. We pulled up alongside the mailman and I joyfully received the anticipated package. I opened the box and examined each item. Can you believe that they neglected to include a catalog? I was a bit surprised. I have not received a catalog in quite some time. This is just as well, as I have spent my yarn budget for who knows how long. This is also okay, because I do have the stash. Anyway, it was the yarn and pattern for the Seasonal Fair Isle Vests that had me eagerly awaiting this shipment the most. I’ve got to say, Palette feels pretty nice to me. The Essential sock yarn seems like it will be a good, solid, sock yarn. I’m curious to find out how the Dancing sock yarn will knit up, especially because of the 7% elastic content. I also ordered one of their circular knitting needles in US size 0. New knitting needles are an exciting experience. Upon first examination, it seems like it will be good circular needle. I like the tips. The last thing I ordered was the pattern for the Sweet Mary Jane cardigan. I believe that I have the lace yarn for this in the stash. The range of sizes this pattern has been written for is astounding (xs-5xl). I don’t know just when I will get around to knitting this, but it has been on the mental to-knit list since I first saw it. I love to knit lace, and I've wanted to knit myself a cardigan that wouldn't be too heavy. Besides, at $1.99, and the fact that 100% of the sales of this pattern go towards breast cancer research, putting this in the cart was a no-brainer.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Lacking only the semi-sweet morsels for chocolate chip cookies, I let my nephew decide which Walmart we would visit on the way home. Of his two options, he chose the one I don’t get to as often. This worked for me, as I wanted to check out the clearance sections. I set him to the task of remembering our chocolate chips while I headed towards the yarn. They are making some changes, amongst which is the decision to carry Lion Wool. At any rate, this means that shelf space must be cleared to make room for the new stock. Clearance yarns of interest to me include Cotton Tots and some colors of Moonlight Mohair. My nephew is four and one-half. He was introduced to my obsession at a very early age. One of his first complete sentences was, “Don’t look at your knitting. Look at me.” Needless to say, he has petted yarn with me. When I caress the yarn, I often touch it to my cheek. The little man has taken to this habit. As an even littler man, I had to watch that he was not passing the yarn across his slobbery, baby mouth. I am glad that he has progressed past this stage. When I handed him a ball of blue Cotton Tots to pet, he felt it with his little fingers, stroked it on his cheek, and then he sniffed it. It seems that I have passed on another yarn investigation trait to my nephew. I don’t think he has ever seen me sniff yarn. Somehow, he has just happened upon the practice. I can tell that he feels it to be important in the process of evaluating a new yarn, and I agree.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I was eager for my mail week to begin. I suffered through Monday. I knew that I had yarn coming to me. For one thing, I made my first order to Knitpicks last week. As if this weren't reason enough to wait on the mail carrier, there was more. Becky queried those who donated hats last round for a preferred shade of Cotton Ease. I'm pretty easy to please, so I left the choice to her. She sent me a lovely ball in Ice Blue. If I didn't already have a chemo cap on the needles, I would cast-on with this. It came in the cutest little plastic bag with sheep all over it. There were also two skeins of blue Lang Jawoll sock yarn wrapped in some lovely pink tissue paper. I won those in a contest to help choose contest ideas. To top it off, she enclosed a nice note on a cute knit-themed card. These are both new yarns for me. I look forward to knitting with them. It really made my day. Thank you, Becky! I especially needed this boost after checking the status of my Knitpicks order. I made sure that everything was in stock before I submitted it. I kept reading that it was being processed. Impatiently, I pored over the site for an answer. I continually read that most in-stock orders are processed and shipped within 24 hours. I placed the order on Friday, and when it hadn't shipped on Tuesday, I began to wonder. The same message that my order was being processed greeted me each time I checked (no less than ten times) on Wednesday. Finally, when I accessed the site one last time before leaving the house today, I was pleased to read that the order had shipped yesterday. Woohoo! Now the waiting can begin anew. I wouldn't say that I'm being impatient, I'm just really looking forward to beginning a present for my mom. Also, after telling my grandmother about my order, she is most interested in my opinion of their needles, as I ordered one.

Monday, September 04, 2006

DPN Danger

I do not aim to enter the battle unprepared. There is the physical preparation. Appropriately sized needles are cleared. I’ve trained with the magic cast-on and it now is a weapon in my growing arsenal. I can graft the tops of toe-up socks without looking at my directions. Oh, but my nerves! You have suspected that this could be my downfall. So I have done what I must to steel myself for the upcoming pressures.

Back in the days of yore, Dye-O-Rama spread out across the earth. The contagious properties of this -a-long had infected me. Mind you, it was only a mild case, and I did not join. Still, skein after skein of lovely yarn assaulted the senses until I could take it no more. I had to dye. A lone white ball of Brown Sheep Nature Spun became Seedless Watermelon by way of Kool Aid. I knit the socks up on dpns, first one, then the other. Ah, there is danger enough in knitting footies one at a time with a hand-dyed, can’t replicate it, fifty-gram ball of yarn. But that is what I did. The first sock was completed, and I mastered the magic cast-on with the second. When my gauge took a sudden and unexpected turn for the worse, I ripped back and re-knit. I brought my knitting along to what would be a nerve-wracking family get-together. I don’t really swim too well. I’ve been told that rocks can float more easily than I. Water can make me a bit nervous. It had been decided that we would all be out on the pier. I knit up the foot; I turned the heel. The ankle decreases were worked, and I began the ribbing. I could not help but notice the dwindling ball of yarn. I pressed on, my mental fortitude tested by this (the colors are much better in real life):
Children, the gaps betwixt the boards were frighteningly wide. I do believe they were further apart each time a needle was cleared of stitches and was in mortal peril of being dropped and rolling away, down, down, into the depths of the lake. I called upon inner reserves of strength, steadied my hands, and finished the sock. I now have a pair of Seedless Watermelon footies. My knitting put itself on the line for me that day. It helped me get through a day that we have not figured out, yet.

What with all the preparatory training, you know I had to do something to jinx myself a bit. I've already created and decorated the mailer which will carry the Sock Wars socks to their target. Yes, this assumes that I will kill before I am killed. I would show a picture of the packaging, but I want it to be a surprise for dying. That's right, my unknown one, you are already dying. I shall slay you. Time to get off this roller coaster, for now.

On My Mind

Here’s an FO from my first unplanned-it’s-on-clearance-I’ve-wanted-to-try-this-yarn-impulse-purchase of the year. Last year I knit one of these for my mom to keep her ears warm. She doesn’t wear hats because they mess up her hair. Still, she needs to keep her ears covered because a cold wind blowing will give her an earache if they are left bare. She has a horrible, faded pair of earmuffs hanging from the rearview mirror of her car. I thought this could be a good alternative. I don’t know if she uses it. Anyway, I keep my hair back with store-bought, stretchy, knit headbands all the time. I thought that I would like to knit one for myself, and this yarn seemed like the perfect match. Whatcha think? It’s not so easy to get a good picture, so please bear with me. The yarn is Sinfonia. It is 100% mercerized cotton. I should still have enough leftover to knit a chemo cap. I think Shedir would be so striking with this yarn and color. Speaking of Shedir, a picture of one that I knit now graces the Caps for a Cure homepage. I am so honored. Our group is growing and we are knitting and donating so many chemo caps.

Well, you’ve seen the headband, I’ve given another chemo cap plug, and you’re wondering what else is on my mind. It’s stalking, I think. Ah, but that has such a negative connotation to it. The truth is, I want to send a surprise prize to another blogger. A lack of some basic facts is keeping me from being able to send the package. So, how do you go about getting the mailing address of a fellow blogger without her knowledge? In many ways, we are strangers. It just isn’t the best idea to publicly post our full names and contact information. We’ve got to think safety. So, if I were to ask someone whom I think has the details I need, should/would she give me this other blogger’s snail mail address? You see, that’s my plan. I know she has previously participated in swaps. I was thinking of contacting one of her past swap partners or hostesses and asking for the information. It could work. I just have to not come across as the type of person who should not be trusted with personal contact information. Hmmm…giving the appearance of a normal person is not exactly one of my strengths, but I’m going to give it a try. If all else fails, I will have to let go of the idea that it will be a surprise, and just ask the blogger in question.

Monday, August 28, 2006

August Recap

I was able to complete three chemo caps for August. This brings my total for the group in the Carolinas up to seven. I sent four last month. There are no patterns for any of them. I just cast on a number I thought would work for each yarn, and began to knit. The Cascade Pearls was the first I knit this month. The yarn was a thoughtful gift from some knitting friends. I really like the hat; the photo does not do it justice. Alright, it downright sucks and makes it look lumpy and misshapen. It really is a cute rolled brim cap. I would have taken a new picture, but I've already mailed off all the caps. The second hat is knit from Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. The blue is from Mandy, and the coral is leftover from my Thorn and Thistle top. You can see that I took these pictures while feeding the stray cats. At this point in the photo session, the cats had finished their food, thus making what I was doing of interest to them. The last cap is knit in Sassy. This is yarn is from Columbia Minerva, it is sport weight, and the content is 85% So-Lara Acrylic 15% MemorelleTM Nylon. The yarn comes from the stash; it was part of a bunch given to me by my aunt, who gathered it from unknown sources of unwanted yarn. I was unsure that I would get the last cap done. Sunday morning came, and it seemed like this was one of those where I could knit on forever, and it would never grow. I began to multitask. I was lying on the living room floor, and the Grand Prix from Istanbul, Turkey was on the television. I would sit up for awhile and knit, and then I would lie back down and knit some more. The laps were completed in the race, and the rounds of the hat were knit. The knitting was simple, and I never had to look at it. Then I began to think about the fact that I needed to exercise. Hmmm…I was still tired. I wasn’t sure what all the day would bring. I added more multitasking to the mix. No, I didn’t just think about exercising whilst knitting and watching tv. I did abdominal exercises while I knit and watched the race. I worked the abs during each commercial break, but I never stopped knitting. I would do little crunches working the upper abs or lower crunches, or any other various ways of engaging my core muscles, all the while, the knitting continued. When I needed a break from the ab work, and thought that I ought to change up what I was doing with my arms, I set the knitting down, grabbed the barbell, and used it during the advertisements. Then, I fell back asleep. There were a couple more opportunities to pick up the yarn and needles that day, and finally, I held up the work and determined that I needed the tape measure. Sure enough, it was time for the crown decreases. Unfortunately, it was dark, we were back in the car, and I didn’t have my little headlamp. So, when we got home, I was able to finish the hat. I was on the homestretch, so I just kept going until the hat was off the needles. Did I stop? No, of course not. I weaved in my ends, and had the satisfaction of one more chemo cap ready to be washed, dried, and shipped. Ah, it was a nice way to end Sunday. Monday the caps went into the wash, and then I waited for them to dry. Wednesday I made it out to the post office and the library. Someone has misplaced The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook, so I wasn't able to check out the book yet. I feel ultra productive. I just did a mini twenty minute strength workout. Next it's laundry, spinning, and aerobics--order yet to be determined.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Gift 'n' Spin

Naw, it isn’t a toy to make you puke. I just received this lovely yarn Monday night from my friend, Elisabeth. She brought back yarn for all of us from a business trip to Fort Lauderdale. The label reads Rustik Raggsockgarn Almedahls. It is a wool (50%)/nylon (35%)/viscose (15%) blend. I have 170 meters of loveliness with which to work. I’m tossing around ideas. It may become a birthday present for my brother. I have such wonderful knitting friends. I feel like such a heel because I forgot to give Elisabeth her Thank You card when I saw her on Thursday. Ugh! I had it all written and placed in my knitting bag. Then, the entire night passed, and I forgot to give it to her. I guess it will have to wait for Monday night.

Take a look at the way my spinning is coming along. I think it looks pretty good. I am enjoying spinning more and more. I hope that this ends up being knittable yarn. All of this spinning has me wanting to join a swap, and an a-long. I won’t be joining this one because of timing/budget issues. I would like to join in as I think it looks really nifty. I attempted to talk myself into participating. I tried to pretend that I could make it happen. Perhaps I could, but I'm not signing up for something unless I can be quite sure of my ability to live up to my end. But, hey, you might want to check it out. They're still looking for more participants, especially Virgin Spindlers. So, if you've been considering giving handspindling a go, this could be your chance.

Now, I’m afraid of joining this one because I worry about not being good enough. Margene has kindly encouraged me to join. I’ll keep up my spinning practice and see how I feel when the time comes. I’ve been greatly inspired by her spinning over the summer. I'm really beginning to think that I might join in, as it is an a-long, rather than a swap. No one will be waiting and depending upon me to do well for this event to be a success. I just did a quick search, and my local library has The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook. Since it's currently available, I think I might go try and check it out tomorrow.

Friday, August 18, 2006

FO, Sorta

I knit the last stitch, finished the shoulder seams, and lay the garment out to admire it. I’m disgusted. I pull the top on, and feel worse. I cannot even post a picture of the Ballet Camisole at this point. Ugh! There is so much more to be done. It isn’t time for this fat lady (okay, so lady might be a stretch) to sing. This is good on two counts. One, I cannot sing worth a flip. Two, there is still hope for this mass of stitches. Ah, finishing work is the favorite part of the process for every knitter, right? There are a number of ends that must be woven in carefully, and invisibly. This is going to be a bit tougher than usual. I’ve tried weaving in one or two, and the result has been woefully visible. This is my first time working with Royal Bamboo. Tips, anyone? There is blocking to be done. That does not bother me one bit. There is the crocheting to finish off the neck and arm openings. For this, I have mixed feelings. I redid the crochet bits on the neck of my Thorn & Thistle top. I like it much better. This gives me confidence. Then there’s the part that makes me feel incompetent. I attempted to help one of my Monday Night Knitting Buddies. Brittany is amazing. She’s a practically brand-new knitter. I believe that her first or second project was The DNA Scarf. Anyway, she had completed the knitting of her Soleil, and needed a bit of assistance crocheting the edges. While I was able to show her how to crochet, and tell her what to do, it wasn’t quite coming out to our satisfaction. All I could offer was, “Rip back and try again until you get the look and feel you like.” I wanted to be helpful and admired. I wanted to sound wise and appear capable. I wanted to do more. But hey, I was just offering up the advice for what I do. There may be a magical mathematical formula for it all, but sometimes I think you’ve just got to get a feel for things. I was able to fix Beth’s problem with the clutch she was knitting and will felt. Then when it came to sewing it up, I felt that my advice fell short. We shall see what happens. I guess it is good that it’s a felted project. So, why all of this not-so-sudden lack of confidence? Why all the worry about my teaching ability? It’s Sock Wars. Yeah, I have been following the first two rules and telling everyone about it. So what’s the problem with that? Some of my Sock Wars anxiety comes from the fact that I knit two socks on one circular needle. Huh? You thought that this might sound like an advantage. I don’t know that it will help me out or anything, but I do know that it caused something to happen. It goes something like this (edited to combine several encounters; not all of this is fact-based):

Monday Night Knitting Buddy #1: Wow! Look, Sarah is knitting socks.

Monday Night Knitting Buddy #2: Whoa! Are you knitting both socks at the same time?

Sarah: Yep

Monday Night Knitting Buddy #1: Let me look at that. Oh, I’ve always wanted to knit socks. How many needles are you using?

Sarah: It’s just one really long circular needle. They call it the Magic Loop. See?

Monday Night Knitting Buddy #3: Sarah is so cool. I’ll never be as cool as she is, nor will my knitting ever begin to approach her advanced skill level.

Monday Night Knitting Buddy #1: Sensei Sarah, wouldst thou honor us with lessons?

Monday Night Knitting Buddy #2: Yes, please, Knitting Guru Sarah! We are humbled in your presence, and desire for you to teach us. I don’t think I could handle dpns, but if you could impart your circular wisdom to us, I believe I could be a socknitter.

Monday Night Knitting Buddy #3: Please lead us into battle. The start of Sock Wars looms ever closer, and we have never knit socks before. Save us, Great Sarah! Two socks on one circ is the only way we can hope to survive. You are the lone practitioner of this most ancient magic. Please don’t let the magic die with you. Won’t you pass on your ways to the new generation?

Sarah: Sure.

Monday Night Knitting Buddies: (in unison) Thank you, oh wise one, our greatest hope is to be slain by you in the Sock Wars.

So, the upshot of this is I am trying to come up with a good way to show others how to Magic Loop 2-on-1 in such a way that they can do it. That, and to not break out in stinky stress sweat. Oh yeah, and to not make any mistakes, let alone plain old showing them incorrectly. I shouldn’t worry so much. I will do my best, and be sure to offer other resources that may be more helpful than I am. They all know that I am human. Actually, it has been discussed that none of these people exist, and that they are all figments of my imagination. If this turns out to be true, I don’t have to worry (at least not about teaching). I already know how to do Magic Loop 2-on-1.

That’s right, just two more rounds from the charts and then the ribbing to finish these.