Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of Traveling

Fall has always seemed more like the beginning of the year to me, but I am not in charge. Therefore, it is time to close out this year, and perhaps look forward hopefully to the next. It seems that many people are ready for 2009 to end, and are loudly trying to convince themselves and others that 2010 will be so much better. For me, it has just been another year. There have been good times, as well as those that have not been favorites of mine. Truth be told, the years seem to blur together with each other, and on a given day, I might not correctly state which year it is or how old I am.

Still, I am knitting. I do not think I was overly productive this year, but I did make more than few things, spun a bit, and survived times when I was not up for any of it. The deadline/production mode of late had moments of exciting energy, but it also took its toll and had its depleting effects, too. However, I am coming out of that, and thoughts of new are returning. While I have felt the itch to cast on for something new, I have been unable to translate those feelings into action. Instead, I decided to work on finishing some things.

MohairMoebiusForRondaI started with my sister's mohair moebius. Polly wisely advised me that it would be good to give her for New Year's, and she was right. I nearly finished it on Tuesday, but I ran out of yarn on the bind-off round. It was just as well, as I was not quite thrilled with the traditional bind-off I had used. I tinked back the 3/4 round of binding off plus another round of seed stitch, and then worked a stretchier bind off, and had about four inches of yarn to spare.

After I had the moebius soaking, I went directly to the next knit in need of finishing. This time it was something for me. I decided to figure out how I could fix my Traveling Woman shawl. I ended up tinking back five rows, skipping four rows (13-16) of Chart B, knitting the last three charted rows, and then knitting (instead of purling as per the pattern's instructions) the same stretchy bind-off I had used for the moebius. Again, I had about four inches of yarn left. I am thrilled to have been able to completely use my handspun yarn, and I will be able to begin a new year with a new shawl.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I fell off the innerwebs for a bit, but (mostly) caught up with blogs (but not much with the email) yesterday and today between laundry and other assorted household tasks. It has been a busy few days, but it was pretty good, too. I spent time with family, played a little Super Mario Bros, slept, and ate. I do enjoy tasty foods, but too much all at once is not quite as enjoyable, and my body has reminded me that doing this once a year is probably too frequent. However, it has already given approval to black-eyed peas and cornbread for a New Year's celebration. Then it begins in on the new fitness routine it would like, and I remind it that we had already agreed that moderation is important in all areas of life.

I have also spent some time getting to know my new books. Over the past few weeks, many new knitting, crochet, and spinning volumes have made their way to me. We just picked up the latest from the post office. There are stories to tell, pages to read, patterns to queue, techniques to try, and lovely things to make. For now, I present this sampling of the wide range of books I have received.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Mohair Moebius

I hope you are all having a wonderful, peaceful day. I am celebrating Christmas, though not sure whom we will see or have the chance to talk to, nor what all we will do. There is a decent chance MohairMoebiusProgressthat we could sleep all day. We are very tired. I stayed up all night finishing crocheting my brothers' gifts. I completed them in time for the gathering at my mom's on Christmas Eve. My fingers are a bit sore. Still, I grabbed yarn and needles in a last-minute attempt to knit a mohair moebius for my sister to go with the hat I knit for her. I surprised myself with how far I got on it. If I get up in the morning, I might be able to finish it and give it to her when I see her later. Then again, I may start playing the Super Mario Bros Wii game that she gave me, and that could take over for a bit.

Anyway, my brothers were pleased with their gifts. The older one grumbled a bit when I asked him to sit next to the younger one so that they could unwrap together. I packaged both in the same box since I made the same things for them. The mild irritation at being directed by me could not survive in the face of what I had made. I crocheted a Strong Bad for each of them. I am not too familiar, but know they are fans, and when I saw the pattern, I knew it would be perfect for Christmas gifts for them.


The mad-crochet-frenzy of the past few days has me appreciating deadline-free living. Of course, the tight gauge of those two creations and the resultant achy fingers mean that I would be unlikely to be able to make anything under pressure right now. It also means I am pushing out of my brain any thoughts about the sweater my younger brother envisions wearing next year for Christmas. He asked whether I could make my own sweater pattern. It sounds like what he wants is something that would incorporate both intarsia and fair isle, and Homer Simpson in a Santa hat. No, I am not thinking about it for at least the rest of this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It Might Be Getting to Me

I do not feel like it is. I think I am doing OK. However, there is a little nagging thing happening. I keep getting up and looking around to find the source of a sound. I think I hear one of those electric musical Christmas ornaments playing somewhere. Did I mention that we do not have a tree or decorations?

I am currently crocheting away on gifts for my brothers. The tight gauge and fiddly pieces mean I need to take frequent breaks. I clean house for when the kids and their sweethearts grace us with their presence on Friday. I stare vacantly at the television or computer. I try to come up with a good Ten on Tuesday list.

This week is all about the New Year's Resolutions. Hrm. I would like to think that I am always trying to improve, so these are mostly about things I am working on currently, but there are a couple of new items for the list.

1. Manage time better
2. Manage money better
3. Exercise more regularly
4. Keep the house tidier
5. Find a new primary care physician
6. Declutter
7. Spin more
8. Invert more
9. Cook more
10. Belly dancing--I'm trying it

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tales from the Darkside

No, not my mood, but instead, it is my latest FO. I knit a Darkside Cowl for a sister-in-law. With all of her on-the-go busyness and cat shelter volunteerism, I figured a cowl was a better idea than a scarf. I was checking my Rav projects page and saw that I knit one of these December 17-18 last year, too. The more things change and all that, eh?

Anyway, it was a quick, enjoyable knit. It has been my accompaniment for trips back and forth, and all around town. It made errands seem less hectic, and lines seem shorter. It even helped others in line who became captivated by what I was doing. One woman asked, "Excuse me, but is that needlepoint, or CRO-shay?" When I told her that it was knitting, she responded with, "Oh, I couldn't tell because your hands are moving too fast."

Knitting this also gave me an even greater appreciation of my Hiya Hiya Interchangeables. Their shortest cable is the perfect size for this project. It made the knitting of the cowl even smoother. Not only was the knitting smooth, the finished cowl is nice and smooshy.


I think the color will suit my sister-in-law very nicely, and keep her warm without getting in her way. In fact, I like the color (unsuccessful though I have been at capturing it with the camera) so much, I am trying to decide whether to use the second ball to knit a Darkside Cowl for myself, or turn it into fingerless mitts for the sister-in-law. However, I must first finish two other things before I can consider casting on again with the purple.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good Company

It would seem that I am not the only person who has difficulty with mailing packages. A friend who moved away earlier this Fall says she also struggles with this. However, I think she waited on purpose. She waited to let my birthday celebration stretch out a bit longer. She waited to secure a personalized autograph copy of a fabulous book. She waited a bit longer to give me a much-needed boost during a difficult patch.


When I wrote to thank my friend for the thoughtful gifts, she wrote back that she knew that I would love these, and that I was unlikely to purchase them for myself. She was right. I may be a bit of an emotional wreck, but these tears of love and joy have been refreshing.

Now, I pet my lovely cashmere, and look through this wonderful book. There are such classic, timeless patterns. I could have almost immediately queued the entire book, but I stopped after adding two. Bridgewater and Quincy will be fabulous knits.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Following can be good. I let someone else pick the 10 on Tuesday topic, so why not use the one Carole and Hillary chose?

Ten Things I Love to Eat/Drink at the Holidays

1. Rocky Road Candy--from Mom's Betty Crocker cookbook, except we use walnuts instead of the listed peanuts

2. Fudge--this is another recipe from that same cookbook

3. Mom's punch--it has cranberry juice and lemonade and lemon/lime soda, and other things I do not know

4. Buckeyes--the rolling and dipping of buckeyes feels like it takes forever, so we often doe this as a group. My stepdad has a different recipe that he makes, but we like ours with the crushed Rice Krispies

5. Sugar Cookies--these have the colored sugar on top. You place the ball of dough on the baking sheet, dip the flat bottom of a glass in the colored sugar, and then gently smoosh the dough.

6. Peanut Brittle--I experiment with finding just the right peanuts, as there is plenty of feedback on which are the peanuts to use.

7. Cinnamon Rolls--whether homemade, or from a can, these disappear quickly soon after they are out of the oven

8. Hot Cocoa--It is cooked on the stove, very tasty, and is great with our with out marshmallows or whipped cream.

9. Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, & Gravy--Of course, this is good any time of year, but it helps set a festive, family-together scene.

10. Oranges, Cranberries, Pears, Grapefuit--These cool, light, refreshing treats are a special treat.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Float-y Brain Friday

An unsettling thought invaded my brain earlier this week. It went something to the effect of, "I don't think I want to knit, crochet, or spin. Maybe I do not like any of them." I walked past the stash, and the thoughts made me feel a bit ill. I looked at the books for inspiration, and a wave of meh washed over me. I did housework, slept, ate a candy bar, but mostly I sat, staring off into space. My brain was all swim-y and float-y. I conquered more household chores.

Then it was time to knit with friends, and I could not find the will to form a
single stitch. So, I grabbed a drop spindle and fiber, and headed out the door. I had a little coffee, chatted it up with friends, and twisted a bit of fluff. I have stuck with the mildly sparkly and now I have finished spindling the first half of the fiber I received back in June. While it is true that there were only a few grams left, I am calling this a win. Maybe I will start the second half soon.

I have seen this coming for a while, so am not really surprised by it, and am taking it all in stride. With all of the housework, one might think it would be tidier around here, but I suppose the sitting while staring off into space has taken up more time than I thought. It has a reputation for doing this.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Too Small Tuesday?

Awhile back, I found a bargain on eBay, and now I am playing with this new-to-me toy. It is a nice distraction. The directions from the booklet resulted in a lot frustration, much wasted yarn, and a long timeout for the loom. I am not sure if weaving is the thing for me, but it will be fun to explore. My best discovery has been a better way to warp the loom.

Since I wanted to have three scarves for the Red Scarf project, I thought that perhaps I could weave something that would work. Since I still had more of it, I decided to use the TLC Amore. I like the finished scarf, but fear it is not quite big enough. The length is 60" if you include the fringe in the measurement, and it is about 5" in width.

Anyway, I may try for another, but really need to concentrate on getting to the post office. I actually do not have so much difficulty with going to the post office, but rather with getting everything packaged and ready.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Not enough people emptied store shelves of milk and bread, so FlurryWatch2009 turned into snowfall the likes of which rivals that some have ever seen. OK, so, it was not much snow, but my nephew declared, "Oh, man! I've never seen so much snow in my life!"

Friday, December 04, 2009

Wrapping Up the Week--and a Gift!

This week, one special gift idea went away. I learned that someone let her ear piercings close. I had been narrowing down the choices for just the right pair of earrings from over at Opal's shop. It is not as though there are not plenty of other gift ideas for this young lady, but I had been thinking and planning this for months. I guess I am just glad I learned this now instead of later.

With my mind still full of the sparkly and shiny, I decided to see what I could create. I went with wire and bead votive sleeves. I had been having a hard time figuring out a present for someone. I was almost down to just picking up a gift card, and am quite pleased to be able to give these, instead, even if they are difficult to photograph.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

That's Amore

Since life goes on, and a moebius is not always the answer, I am following other advice. It has been said by many that looking outside oneself and helping others is a good way to move through a difficulty. I can see some wisdom in that, and now you can see (two pictures of the same scarf--one shows color better, the other better shows texture, though neither photo is quite right) another finished donation for the Red Scarf Project (there's still time).


Pattern: The Corrugator
Needle: US 6
Yarn: Red Heart TLC Amore (I won this in a contest at Michael's. It is very soft, snuggly, and easy-care for the college student)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Knitting Without Tears

That is my challenge. My Lizzie is moving to Colorado. We said goodbye tonight.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tidying Up on a Tuesday

As I am sure you had probably already guessed, I fell behind hard on my deadline-secret-laceknitting goal. If I had kept to schedule, I would have blocked at the end of last week. I can either continue deluding myself with the idea that I can knit the remaining stitches (totaling about 35,000) and have it blocking by Wednesday morning, or accept right now that I am not going to meet my self-imposed deadline. Then I can work out a revised plan and get on with it. I actually had a second deadline scenario for this project, and I will make that work. December has double and triple special dates for some people, so I can make these shifts and not really be late. In fact, giving this piece later might be better, or maybe it will just be different. I just know that I am not going to torture myself about this.

Speaking of torturing myself, I googled a pattern the other day. I was inspired by someone else's wonderful knitting, and wanted to knit that same piece. Anyway, I found the pattern. I thought, "Neat! I did not realize this was a free pattern!" I began thinking about knitting it for different people, and maybe even one for myself, and then I thought about the yarns I would use, and how fancy it all would be. Then I began to think that it did not make sense that this pattern would be available online for free. I searched a bit more. I saw it available for sale exclusively through one retailer. I contacted the designer and the shop selling it. The shop owner replied that this was indeed a mistake, and she would take care of it. Out of curiosity, I googled it about a month later, and the pattern was still out there for all to find. Since it was only the retailer who replied, I wrote back to let her know that the situation had not been resolved, just in case she did not know, and there was no response. I just checked again, and, yep, anybody can still snag the pattern, and further investigation reveals that it has been this way since July. I feel bad for the designer, and the shop owner with the exclusive deal. I am amazed that it seems like more people have not discovered this, and wonder about the fallout when it is.

Ah, but time and energy are too valuable for me to fret any longer about a problem that is not mine, nor something I can solve. I have knitting to do. Of course, the only knitting that is going well is the super-secret-deadline-lace, so I am a bit where I was at the start of this, eh? The pile next to me on the couch of knitting that did not work is too big to ignore any longer. I am returning yarns and needles to their proper places in hopes that the more ordered state helps me. So far, my efforts have yielded one lost hat. Yes, I found the hat in the same spot I looked for it last night. That does not say much for my looking or organizational skills, now does it? At least it was in the stash room, close to where it should have been, and not in the pile next to me on the couch.