Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All Over the Place

My decision to grab a can of soup turned out to be a good one, because I was not up for preparing anything more complicated. I had made my way out to three stores, and as it turned out, that was my limit. I just could not get back out of the house again, even though it would have been to knit with friends.

The yarn is ready for another go at Estonian lace. My difficulty with pulling it off the needles was a bit bizarre. I kept being careful with the lace so as not to lose a stitch even after I knew it needed a restart. I am past that, now, and I as soon as I finish this sock and begin the second, I will get going with it. Those rows will be so much quicker with two repeats fewer, and it should still result in a nice width on the finished piece.

I finally broke down and purchased a new calendar. I do not have high hopes that I will now know what day it is, but perhaps my chances have improved. However, now I am no longer looking at December 2008, and I see how close we are to our next holiday. Can you believe it is almost Groundhog Day?

I no longer rely on Bloglines as my feed reader, but I still keep an eye on it for other information. It is once again going through one of its "worse than usual" phases. Today, it has shown somewhere between 800 and 3200 unread posts in my feeds. Add to this the lag between the time a post goes live and when it shows up in the reader. Yes, they suck. It is a good thing there are better alternatives out there.

If that is not enough random for you, I am all over the place with the desire to knit a sweater. I have been seriously looking at this jacket (love the name), Shauna, Habanero, Vienne, Amused, and Valpuri (all Rav links). I love Shauna and Habanero, but do not currently have the right yarn in the stash. I think I will go with either Amused or Vienne.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Worth It

Last night, I decided it was time to transform a bumpy bunch of wool into lace, and try out my new tool kit. I love my new blocking wires! They are totally worth the investment to me. I went about the process in a random manner, weaving the wires through the edges of the piece. Before long, it was time for the tape measure, a few t-pins, and made some final adjustments. I am excited for the next blocking adventure.

Another thing that I love about this experience is the finished piece of lace. When the knitting was over, I thought the shawl would be very small. Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn and had to leave off some rows at the end. The finished dimensions of 62"x28" makes for a nice little shawl. This is going to be a gift. I think it will be for Tanya, although there are a few other people I think would be thrilled to receive it. This lovely little piece takes the sting out of frogging my Estonian lace, and now I am excited to restart it.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I mean this in the best way possible. The other day I decided to invest in a set of blocking wires. They arrived today, and now they just wait for lace. I do have a piece ready to dunk and stretch, but I wanted to try it out on the wires.

I have always wondered about blocking wires. I have gotten along nicely without them all these years. Then again, I got along just fine without a swift or ball winder for quite some time, and I now consider them essential tools. I hope I have made a good decision to purchase them. I certainly knit enough lace to justify the dollars spent.

Speaking of lace, I have been enjoying an inspirational flip through A Gathering of Lace, and Victorian Lace Today. There are so many pieces I want to knit. I took it further with a spin through the Ravelry project galleries. I loved seeing the lace in the different yarns and colors, and reading of the different modifications people made. However, I was reminded to not become too dependent on another knitter's project details. If I did, I would not know whether I needed the 880 yards some people used to knit their pieces, or the 2,000 plus that others report using to knit the same pattern.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I like the way my handspun yarn is working with the Lilac Leaf Shawl. Still, I think I am going to need to frog and start over. If I keep knitting with this number of stitches, the piece will probably be too short. I have been weighing and measuring. When I first began to see that this was the case, I just kept knitting. I needed more information. After I was relatively sure that I would need to rip, I wanted to continue knitting. It felt right to knit lace, and seeing what was happening with my handspun was fun. I even considered knitting the center panel until the remaining yarn weighed the amount necessary to complete the edging, and then evaluating the situation. Instead, I set the piece aside to wait while I avoided thinking about it. Perhaps I miscalculated the yardage of this yarn.

Then there is my current sock. Marlene has now been stalled for days. When I last examined my wip pile, I did not even look at her. I like the way the sock looks so far, and was puzzled as to why I had stopped knitting it. Then a switch flipped and I could see what happened. It is heel-turning time for the sock, and I am stuck because I cannot decide if I want to follow the directions in the pattern or substitute a short-row heel.

Making decisions seems like a tremendous amount of work. The enormous task has been made near impossible with the addition of a horrible headache.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stuck in the Middle

Wednesday night knitting with the Skanks can be hit-or-miss. Tonight I was the only one to attend, and I knew this would probably be the case when I left the house. Actually, I was not on my own. My husband came with me. He dropped me off and joined me later after he ate some lousy fast food.

In spite of the lack of Skanks, the place was quite full. When I arrived, there was only one empty table. It was uncomfortably close to the back of the already occupied couch. Since I figured it would only be Brucie and me, I settled in at the table with my coffee and knitting. It appeared that the young ladies on the couch were no more thrilled with me being perched next to their heads than I was.

Once I got out my current work and pattern, I had an audience. The high school girls on the couch were interested. They wanted to see what I was doing, questions about my mittens, how long it would take to do whatever I was doing, if I knit earflap hats, if I had knit my sweater, how long I had been knitting, and what other things I knit. Apparently, they had seen us on other Wednesday nights, as they had questions about the big machine (JJ's Ashford Knitter's Loom) and what it did. They really liked my sweater (Arwen), and did their best to compliment it without saying that it looked like something one could find in a store. I believe they settled on saying it looked like it could be expensive. They were very sweet. Then, as soon as the interaction began, it was over. They had homework to do. It would also appear that they have just begun to learn sign language, and that was entertaining to watch.

Shortly after I sat down to knit, there was a change in the people at the table behind me. This group was decidedly less sweet than the young ladies at the couch were, and it was a bit disheartening. One of the young men has, shall we say, a public speaking voice.
I concentrated on my lace chart, but even it could not drown out their talking. I think the ipod was the only thing that could have prevented me from hearing their conversation. This is not the first time I have had the occasion to hear this group of young men. I do not necessarily recognize them all by sight, but their voices and discussion topics are familiar to me. If I could give them a bit of advice, it would be to not combine publicly their religious conversations with the other topics they discuss. It was also a bit disturbing to hear their interpretations and twisting of sacred texts. What distressed me the most was that it appears that the loudest of the group might be in a teaching or leadership position in a church. At one point, I found myself tempted to tell them so, but then I remembered that they were not really listening to each other, and I would be wasting my time. Additionally, their respect level for women appeared to be somewhere less than zero.

I probably would have stayed until closing time if I had been on my own, but my husband grew weary of it all and was ready to leave early. And that, my friends, is my excuse for not having more knitting to show you. However, I think I am getting ready to find my rhythm with the current lace piece, so maybe their will be something to see tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Things

I lack the words to adequately address this day. Instead, I turn to what I have done with my needles.AfghanSquareForBeth Today seemed to be the right time to begin something new. I decided to begin by honoring a commitment. A friend is in charge of organizing a community afghan, due to be raffled in February. A while back, she asked if I would knit a square for her, and I agreed. Last week, she finally posted the specifications for the squares needed for the afghan. This might be my last year contributing to this project, and I did not want to procrastinate. I searched the stash of yarn suitable for the project, fished out the appropriate needles, looked up a stitch pattern, and set to completing the task. The square is ready to be delivered to the organizer, and waits to join the work of others.

At the end of the day, it seemed right to take a chance on another new project. The Lilac Leaf Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush feels ready to knit. With my yarn choice, I am not taking a simple approach to the piece. My desire is to knit this from my handspun. Additionally, non-solid yarns and lace do not always work well together. It remains to be seen whether I have chosen well, but I intend to spend the rest of my evening discovering.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Whose Is This?

IceQueenI cannot decide if this belongs to me or someone else. I have been doing a bit of gift knitting and become confused easily. What do you think? The finished product fascinates me. The beads feel just right, and I love the way they work with the yarn. Using the whole skein was a relief. Only 20" of yarn remained after completing the piece. Perhaps that means it is just the right size. Actually, I think it might be a bit large. It was a pleasant knit, even if it needed a break for a bit. The last night of knitting was probably the best, because having the fluffy mountain of mohair on my lap was wonderfully warming.

If you know whose this is, maybe you know something else. Ice Queen makes me think of the title of two songs. Can you name them?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Must Resist Hibernation

I am home, and it is wonderful. Unexpected is the one word I would choose to describe the vacation. It was also a reminder that it is good that I am not in charge of everything. Since we returned, I have spent so much time in bed. Whatever I do, whether knitting, unpacking, or cleaning, it is like moving in molasses. Maybe I really did miss that much sleep. Anyway, I should be back up and running soon.

Speaking of getting back to the schedule, the mail arrived. It was wonderful to be able to put it on
STRNoddingVioletshold while we were gone. Even better was when it all fit in the mailbox when delivery resumed. Most of it was junk, but there was this little gem. I won a skein of STR lightweight in the Nodding Violet colorway. It was one of the wonderful prizes from the hat drive. Thanks, Jean!

Monday, January 12, 2009

It Was a Good Run

I planned to keep with the daily blogging. However, on Saturday, a mix of too little time and unbloggable things met, and I let go of the idea. Actually, there were several blogworthy occurrences, but I decided to stay on the cautious side of things. I would hate to hurt feelings, and what is funny to one person may not be humorous to another. Anyway, I surprised myself by making it with the daily posting from November 1 until this past Friday.
Speaking of things that end, tonight is our last night at the house of vacation madness. It is also the first night for the Alaskan people at this location. It has been quite a time. Tomorrow, we begin the trek home. There will be a brief but big side trip during tomorrow's journey. If you are a praying person, please pray for all of us.

There has not been much time for knitting. I think today offered the most. I have been working on Marlene. I am pleased with the way the yarn is working with this pattern.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Three Things Thursday

There have been many things to do and take care of with this trip. Since I want this to be a good vacation, I need to make sure that I take care of myself. For a moment, I was just overwhelmed by it all. Then I remembered Nora's Three Things.

Drink Enough Water
Spend Some Time Alone
Take a Walk

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Greetings from Valdosta, Georgia

We have survived the first day of travel. However, when I sit still, it feels as if I am still moving in the car. That is a bit unsettling. After too many days of not enough sleep, I did manage to catch some shut-eye during the drive. Brucie wanted to leave at two this morning, but I convinced him to wait a couple of hours. I was surprised that he was able to stay awake as long as he did. I think I drove less than two hours today.

Anyway, it is very difficult to take pictures while going down the road. I will not subject you to the blurry attempts to take pictures. Instead, imagine if you will, a very large peanut statue, road construction, a big racetrack, gray drizzle alternating with struggling sunshine, and billboards I am glad my nephew did not choose to read. The nephew has done well. His favorite stop so far was a Truett's Grill for some Chick-fil-A food. He loved the little door, and thought the cow riding the small train around the restaurant was funny, too.

My knitting did not progress too much. I managed a few rows on the shawl. I chose that to work on because the tiger swallowtail is the Georgia state butterfly. Tomorrow will be a much shorter drive for us. The son is driving down in one day, and we will find out if the daughter decided to come along or not. As for me, I am going to finish out this day with some blog-reading and knitting. I cannot express how much wi-fi rocks.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Floating Away

The rain just keeps on coming. Most of the schools are starting late tomorrow because of it. There are unfortunate odors in the neighborhood. Tons of rain + septic tanks = ewwww!

I think I have packed everything we will need while we are gone. There should be enough knitting to keep me occupied. I have done so much laundry to get ready for this trip. I had to dig out some warmer weather clothing. My sister sent along a suitcase full for the nephew nearly equal to the one I had packed for the hubby and me. Obviously, I had to do a bit of re-arranging.

Argh! Someone is knocking at my door. It is a neighbor. You can thank him. I was just about to launch a swimsuit rant.

Monday, January 05, 2009


One of the things that disturbed me about the car from yesterday's trip was evidence of rodent presence. Speaking of rodents, I am getting ready to see a big mouse. You guessed it--we are going to Disney World. You might be wondering how this happened. I still find myself wondering, too.

Several months ago, the planning began for the Alaskan in-laws to make their way to the lower 48. They were going to make their way to our area, but that soon changed. For various reasons, they decided on Orlando. Fast-forward through months of flip-flopping over whether we would take on this adventure. If the decision had been mine alone, we would be staying home. This does not mean the trip is a bad idea. I tend to get a bit nervous about travel, and my worries can take over. Knowing that my natural inclination is to remain at home, and the fact that this is an event involving his family, a bit more of the decision-making process went to Brucie. We talked about it more than a few times.
At one point, one of the only things that excited him about the idea of this trip was taking along our nephew. For a couple of months, he said we were not going. He had not let anyone else know, but that was where he stayed with the decision on most days. By mid-December, I had begun to think we would be staying home. Obviously, he changed his mind.

Now, my Brucie does not love a surprise. If he buys a gift for someone, he wants to present it immediately. He will tell you the end of a movie or book, and hopes you will do the same for him. I knew that telling a six-year-old about a trip to Disney World months and months in advance would not be a good decision. I also knew that things could change, and if the trip did not happen, we would be glad we had not told our Robuddy. Once Brucie decided we would go, he wanted to share the news. When we volunteered for New Year's Eve duty, I figured that would be the right time.

At first Robuddy expressed concern about being away from his mom for so long. We talked about the different ways he could stay in touch during the trip, and he felt better. While my sister is excited for him, she is feeling a bit nervous about their separation, and wishes she could go, too.

The denial defense mechanism has been running amok, but reality has been breaking through. The next two days are going to be busy. The packing and laundry are well underway. If I think the temperature differential is difficult for us to determine, I can just imagine what the Alaskans are going through.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Back to Pack

We just got back home. We had a nice visit, but I am so glad to be home. To be more precise, I am relieved to get out of that car. We were not driving our car. Bruce had helped with some vehicle repair/maintenance, and it needed to get out on the road. The car is not small from the outside, but from the inside, it is cramped. Above all, it needs a lot of cleaning. The more bits we noticed, the more anxious I became. At one point, I wished I had left my knitting at home.

We are moving on now. Not only was it nice to see everyone, they had my pillow. No, it is not the one I lost last month, but very similar. I had inadvertently left it behind on last year's camping adventure, and they were so very kind to keep up with it for us all this time.

The travel time did allow for some knitting. The twisted rib cuff of Marlene is done. While that is not much, it did give me a glimpse at how the colors are knitting up in sock form. I have high hopes for the yarn working with the pattern. Next will be the charted portion, and then we will see how well they work together.

Since I did not feel like dipping into an unfamiliar chart, I put Marlene away, and got out the shawl. I think I nearly made it through the first nupp chart. Knitting it in that car was a bit slower than I had hoped. On the ride home, it was dark outside. I had to wear the red LED headlamp to see at all, and the knitting was slower still.

Now it is time to decompress. Seriously. I should probably get out the inversion table and hang for a bit. It is also time to not think about being in the car. Then it is time to pack.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Scattered Saturday

It is time to nupp the Swallowtail, and I must say that I am glad. We are getting ready to go on a day trip to visit family in Tennessee on Sunday. I do not know how much knitting time the visiting will allow, but the car ride there and back should give me a nice amount.

This is a trip to visit someone getting ready for surgeries next week. We will be out-of-town (more on this later) when it happens, and the convalescence is likely to be one where company is more of a complication than a comfort. That is why we are making the trip tomorrow. We know they will want us to stay overnight, but we just will not have the time. We are so busy.

Tonight we had an impromptu birthday party for my sister. It was so last minute that I did not have her present with me to give her. She will just have to wait for her actual birthday on Tuesday. I think she knows part of what I am giving her. The other day she almost obtained one of the items from another source, but I scolded her firmly until she dropped the subject. I had to be about as subtle as a sledgehammer, and then my nephew piped up that maybe she would get one for her birthday.

Now that I give more thought to tomorrow's road trip, I think socks might be a better idea. Marlene has been whispering to me lately. The Knit Picks Imagination has also been muttering how it has not had a chance on the needles. Perhaps this is the time.

Friday, January 02, 2009

What Does That Say About Me?

Yesterday, I kept reading the greetings for 2009 as wishes for a Preposterous New Year. First, it made me laugh a little, and then it made me think. Yes, that can be dangerous. Anyway, I suppose preposterous beats some of the alternatives.

I have absolutely no progress to show on my knitting. In fact, if I were to show what I have done with the knits, it might be described the opposite of progress. Then again, that frogging was necessary to move forward, so perhaps it is progress.

I had to rip back the Annemor #8 glove and get it going on larger needles. In that process, I took the needles from another knit. The Lace Ribbon Scarf is no more. I just did not enjoy knitting it. I kept setting it aside. Whenever I picked it up again to knit, I only managed a few rows before setting it back down. I really wanted to like knitting it, and I imagined wonderful things about the finished scarf. None of this translated into reality, so I decided to let it go. The yarn is good, and now has the opportunity to become something new.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Day One, Take One

In honor of the New Year, I decided to cast on for something new. I decided that not only did I want a new project; I wanted to try something new to me. I decided on gloves. Enter Annemor #8 from Selbuvotter. I chose Knit Picks Palette in Clematis Heather and Rainforest Heather. Sometimes I think I like the color combination, and other times I feel like the pattern is lost. I believe I will keep with them, but I am going to need to frog. I did not check gauge, but rather grabbed needles, yarn and pattern before leaving the house today.

Even when I felt like I needed to go up in needle size, I kept knitting. I was just enjoying it so much. I will say that these colors and the lighting at my mom's house are not a match. It was a bit difficult to see what I was doing, but I just wanted to keep going. When I tried on the glove in progress, I knew I needed larger needles. Tomorrow can be day two, take two.