Monday, January 21, 2008


Thank you for the compliment on the baby outfit, Susan. The receipient loved it and I sincerely hope I can knit something else if I ever have to do anymore shower presents. (Actually, I am knitting something else for a shower present but it, too, is a pattern I've done before.) I tend to choose to re-knit based on usually needing the item quickly, so I choose a pattern I've done before, which allows me to be quicker about it. I can be quicker because I've already noted any errata, I know what how it turned out with the fiber I chose before and I can sub in details easily due to having an idea if they'll work with the basic pattern without having to do a whole lot of math and graphing it out. I have tons of patterns I'd like to do but I just keep putting doing them off and then the baby (babies) concerned do like all babies and grow like weeds.
Alison, I'm totally flattered you like my socks after seeing your lacework! (I also get to tell all my friends that Alison, who, by the way, happens to have a great lace book published, commented on my blog.) I don't get to have the fun of wearing Birkies all year 'round since I'm in the mountains of VA and it was 11 degrees F last night but I do love my Crocs. Especially the fleece-lined ones. I love the Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn but it does felt the sole areas where they make contact with the Crocs. I don't mind since I know better felted than worn through but that might give someone else pause if they didn't realize this would happen. I also love my Crocs with my hand-knit socks because, for some unknown reason, they allow me to stand for longer periods without pain, something that has been an increasing problem with the RA. I can do better if I move about but I can't stand still so shopping lines are (pardon the pun) a total pain.
I realized the other day that while I had updated my Ravelry page (HokieKnitter there), I had failed to do so on my blog. Bad blogger. I had not shown you how the Rogue hoodie turned out when Tech Gal finally got to put it on for the first time:

Hmm, I had 2 more photos to show you, close-ups of the side cabling and the cuff inset cable but Blogger is refusing to cooperate. Maybe it will feel better tomorrow about letting me post those.
I've been very good since the last of September, 2007 about working faithfully on being project-monogamous. I had to be in order to finish up my Christmas presents. However, it now seems to have resulted in a slingshot effect and I'm having terrible pangs of startitis. I need to finish the Noni bag, which is half-done and wouldn't take a couple of days; the baby sweater set, which, help me Knitting-Powers-That-Be, really ought to be done by Friday so it could go with the grandma-to-be to the baby shower (the squeaking of the yarn is still really getting to me plus I managed to do the neck shaping at the sleeve edges instead of the neck edges and it's been in time-out for the weekend); and last but not least, the socks for my mom's birthday.
Instead, I picked Mystery Stole 3 back up from where it's lain neglected since August and managed to complete the first chart of clue 4 in a week. Yes, I know that's slow for some but I am a slow lace-knitter. I'm a slow knitter in general. But I have gotten excited about MS3 again and find I really, really want to finish it and love it and forget the other stuff.
Except...I seem to have started a sweater in RYC Soft Tweed that Evelyn, my lovely weaving mentor, left lying in plain sight with a "buy me" option on it. Dangling Rowan or RYC in front of me is like tempting an addict and had the unfortunate result of my coming home with 2 bags of the stuff. Yes, that's bags, not skeins. It's already been swatched and a plain, cozy, gartered welt knitted and the first few rows of the body started. I'm waffling about the sweater design though because I keep thinking how great a shawl this would make woven. This impulse was aided by the 11 F weather here. It's much easier to cast on that soft, warm, fluffy yarn for a quickie sweater (or warp it up for a nice shawl) when your husband keeps turning the furnace down everytime you turn your back. We fight this central furnace issue all year round--in the winter, he turns the thermostat down, I turn it up. In the summer, he turns it up, I turn it down. Do you think we'll ever arrive at the point we have the same temperature comfort zone?
I also swatched for the Ethnic Knitting Discovery KAL but am not pleased with the results and am down-hearted and not enthused about this at the moment. This is not due to the project involved but to the gorgeous swatches being posted by others and my lack of decision about exactly what colors and motifs I want to use for my Norwegian headband/sweater. So, to comfort myself about that, I pulled out sock yarn and needles but stopped myself from casting on by staring fixedly at my mom's socks and telling myself I really ought to finish them first. But I really need a pair of socks with green in them. Honest.
I think a proposed trip to Mosaic on this coming Friday might help the Norwegian sweater issue. One of my problems has been not having the right combination of colors on hand. I have some beautiful Berroco Ultra Alpaca on hand but first, I don't have light colors to add the necessary contrast. Second, a colorwork sweater out of worsted weight alpaca is going to be really, really toasty. Really. So I think I should opt to make something else out of this. Maybe it should be woven. If I can talk Evelyn into the loan of a floor loom, that is.
And to add to my wallowing in wanting to start this and this and that...I ended up going through a bunch of my pattern books and stitch dictionaries and magazines last night under the guise of searching for motifs I'd like but we all know I was using this as a front for scoping out yet more projects to cast on. So, in the end, I finished up the evening having knit extremely little beyond the rows I'd done earlier on MS3. So am I having a knitter's block, procrastinating, or infected with startitis?
Ollie says he could care less.

Please, click on him to get a close-up of the narrowed yellow eyes, which totally convey his disdain for the world in general. Mr. King-Wherever-I-May-Sit, whether it's a throne or simply the scrap lumber to build one. Evil cat.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Recovery and Re-entry

Some pretty photos first:

My Jaywalker socks, done in Fleece Artist Merino (yep, another Mosaic acquistion). Why, yes, that high instep does cause me headaches when it comes to sock calculations and buying shoes that don't kill my feet. They're a major reason I rarely buy shoes. I stopped the pattern at the ankle, leaving the foot plain so I could do some arch shaping without having to think about the pattern at the same time.

The finished Red Sox socks. Yes, I left out the corrugated ribbing that's traditional for their socks, I just didn't like it, even after I had knit it several times in an attempt to like it. I used a stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting (pg. 122) they called the "triangle" stitch pattern that I adapted a tiny bit and I refer to as a "pennant" pattern since the Red Sox won the pennant. I used Reynold's Soft Sea Wool and I have to say that I adore this yarn. It's got a tight enough twist to wear well, it's actually plush to knit with, and the colors are clear and hold stitch textures well. It is 100% wool and will require hand washing but I don't consider that a burden, especially with all the nice wool washes out there that don't even require rinsing. I rate this yarn highly. I will say that if you're using it for socks, totally ignore the label recommendations for needle size/gauge (well, you really ought to be doing that anyhow and going with your own personal gauge for things but we know how that goes, don't we?). I used a size 2 (US) needle and it made a nice, smooshy, stretchy (the pattern contributed to this, too) sock. Lots of love for these socks, oh, yeah.
Did I mention my husband even wanted them? He's never wanted knitted socks before.
And now for the catch-up portion:
It was an interesting visit from the daughter and grandkids, to say the least.

VT lost their game. (note: it's as hard to be a VT fan as it is to be a Red Sox fan or a Mark Martin fan. Doesn't matter that the Red Sox have won the World Series twice now, have you ever suffered through all the games getting there?)

Tech Gal and both the kids came down with a horrendous case of what was probably a norovirus. This resulted in an ER visit. Mike had to take them, with my mom assisting, due to my having been laid out for the entire day before with a respiratory bug. After being filled to the brim with IV fluids and various drugs, they came staggering back home, where I myself had been staggering about, washing the tons of laundry that comes with the 3 P's: pee, poo, and puke.

Mom promptly added her bit to the day by falling into my doorway.

She then refused to let me and Tech Gal help her up, crawling from the entryway to my dining table to pull herself up (and almost pulling a chair on top of her fool self in the process). I don't think words can suffice to explain to you how I felt watching my mom crawl around in my floor. It didn't help that Bridget chose this moment to throw up (again!) in the background.
Mike, who had been doing an Academy Award winning performance as Helpful Husband to that point, suddenly decided he absolutely had to go to work and left. Tech Gal promptly fell over on the futon and was dead to the world--anti-nausea drugs do that to a person. (Now I know it aggravates some people when I don't name my daughter. I simply have always thought of her as Tech Gal since I started blogging because she's been my tech support. She's handy and smart at this tech stuff plus she now has a college degree that even lists some tech stuff as her minor. When I'm blogging, she is simply my beloved Tech Gal.)
That left me with poor Bridget and Josie. Both were exceedingly good, considering how sick they were but it also left me with a lasting deep impression of what an excellent mother and person my daughter is. She never yells at her kids, she never seems totally overwhelmed outwardly, though I know there have been times she's wanted to just fall over. She doesn't get that opportunity due to being a stay-at-home mom. She's on duty 24/7 365 days a year. She has managed to complete her bachelor's degree with a high GPA while giving birth to and caring for 2 babies under the age of 3 years old, including having complicated pregnancies. She takes the most amazing photographs I have ever seen. And she manages to be friendly to almost everyone.
So when Josie had diarrhea YET again and I needed to stick her in the bathtub because her poor rump simply had deteriorated past the point of tolerating baby wipes and Bridget was whining and I was afraid of what she'd get into while I had Josie in the tub, I let her sleep.
Besides, I don't think I could have gotten her awake in any case. :-)
By the next day, everyone was staggering about blearily and Bridget had learned that illness=popsicles. Josie still wasn't impressed with her rump situation but I could totally understand that. I remember sitting there with Tech gal and remarking "Gee, I can't believe this is what I asked for for my Christmas present."
See, when asked by Mike and others what my perfect Christmas present would be, I had, without exception, answered: "Seeing my girls." Be careful what you wish for. I will be more specific about this request next time and include something along the lines of "Seeing my girls and we'll all, the entire family, be healthy and happy."
Speaking of healthy and happy, remember the impending arrival of the next baby? Maddy made her appearance on Tuesday, January 8th, weighing in at a healthy 9 lbs, 1 oz. She and her mommy are doing very well although her Grandma Bev still sounds very giddy when I talk to her, due to the lingering effect of those Grandkid Arrival Fumes. I find that the onset of teething seems to help the effect of these fumes abate a bit but otherwise, they've pretty much ensnared you for life. GAF isn't something that previous exposure to abates either. One grandkid or twenty, you're pretty well sunk. I haven't gotten to meet Maddy in person yet--we don't dare until we're certain we're not still contagious.
This was made for Maddy:
La Bebe from MinnowKnits, Too by Jil Eaton. My second time knitting it but I did the full collar the pattern called for this time. I added a pair of booties. I used KnitPicks superwash merino Bare for the outfit. It's very soft and was okay to knit with. I'll be interested to see how it holds up in the wash. The pattern does make a very beautiful little outfit and is easy to follow. I've knit several items from this book and it's been the one I've used most for baby outfits. It has several cute rompers in it but I did avoid using stripes. They just looked too much like jail overalls to me.
Mike and I drove Tech Gal and the grandkids to Charlotte, NC to the airport on Sat. morning (and we're talking very early Sat. morning, as in needing to be up by 3 am). The good part was the lack of Charlotte rush-hour traffic, which rates right up there as horrendous. The bad part was the fact everyone was sick and sleep-deprived. I did feel badly about Kel flying back with those kids alone. (Yet another point there in her favor, she's racked more frequent flyer miles with babies than most I know and I would put her up against anyone else in ability to cope with babies while dealing with TSA and the way airports like to mess with you.) It took us longer to drive back home than it did for them to fly home, due to the fact we had to keep stopping frequently at exit ramps to change off driving. You just should not drive when you're bleary and definitely should not drive Fancy Gap mountain without all wits about you.
By Sunday, I managed to succumb totally to the bug I'd first gotten Wednesday but refused to acknowledge due to everyone else being so spectacularly sick. Somehow coughing and sneezing doesn't hold a candle to projectile vomiting, now does it? After a night of hacking and chilling, I did live long enough to call for an antibiotic and am finally getting better. I even attempted a bit of spinning:
Jacob wool, obtained from Little Barn Inc. Very nice wool and I was doing fairly well after having to fiddle about with adjusting the Lendrum again. I'd just finished up some roving on the Louet and it takes my hands and head awhile to go from one wheel to the other. I am now in a great quandry due to the fact that the wheels give me such different results so I love them both. I had justified buying the Lendrum by saying I'd sell the Louet and now realize my ignorance in this due to not having experienced how different wheels can be from each other and how you can use them to achieve such a broader range than just one wheel will give. (Okay, all of you spinners out there, does that sound like a good argument? Cause one day very soon, Mike is going to comment on the fact that it's been x number of months since SAFF and there are 2 spinning wheels still in residence here.)
I'm observing the political scene here in the USA in a kind of wonderment. McCain resurgent? Obama and Clinton sniping about racial issues? Why do I get this sinking feeling that once again I'm going to be going to the polls thinking, gee, I don't want any one of these candidates?
I'm off to pay some attention to my very neglected loom. It's silent presence rebukes me everytime I pass it. Which is one of the reasons I set it up in the living room-so I'd actually get some weaving done.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Impending Arrival

Best quote of 2007: "You're not utterly useless, you're just sort of impaired."

The above was said to me by my hubby after I whined about being utterly useless when I suffered an asthma attack after attempting to clean the shower with a powerful chemical spray product. He meant well, bless his heart, but I swear everyone has giggled when I've told them about it. I really need a t-shirt that says this.

I am saddened beyond the ability of the written word to convey by the death of Benazir Bhutto. It doesn't matter whether it was due to her ducking in an attempt to save herself or a gunshot, the result was the same: another successful assassination in the modern world. When will we progress beyond thinking that killing someone who has an opposing viewpoint will solve anything?

I am awaiting the arrival of Tech Gal and the grandkids. I've been thinking about when I was young. If Ms. Bhutto had been killed then there would have been the once-familiar beeping sound as NBC interrupted the sitcoms to announce what had happened. Regular TV shows would have simply stopped being shown as David Brinkley and Chet Huntley and later, Tom Brokaw, reported every single incoming fact and explained to us what impact this would have. Now the TV shows go right on chugging along, albeit in re-runs as the writers strike on, and the news updates are smooshed in alongside the latest Hollywood DUI arrests and divorces, unless you choose to go directly to any news channel's website or major news provider. Is this a better world I worked for? Whatever will it be like when these grandkids are my age?

I'm feeling pretty morose but it IS raining, which we desperately need here. I think I'll go start the beef dish for supper and comfort myself with some wool, something pretty artificial on the grand scale of things but then I'm simply a little country mouse in that grand scale. Happy New Year to all and for Ms. Bhutto's family and the Pakistani people, my true sympathy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wrapping Up the Unwrapping

Thanks to all my commenters. I'm glad when knitters can share the humor in their mistakes instead of stressing over them. :-) For the one who asked via pm how I managed that little feat of genius, I simply cast on using a cast on that is intended to give you a toe, one that appears to have been kitchenered stitched closed instead of casting on an open cuff, as in a cuff-down sock. Then I made very sure to weave my tail in as I went, making it pretty difficult if I wanted to go unpick it. I could cut the first line of stitches down the middle, pick up and knit more cuff if I wished but I choose to leave it. I'm still laughing everytime I pass it and I can't wait to show it off at Yarn Night. Some of the girls are under the impression I'm a good knitter. I've tried and tried to explain the difference between a good knitter and someone who knows how to go back and cover their tracks when they make major messes and perhaps this will help illustrate. :-) (And yeah, I WAS very glad this was worsted weight. I'd have hated to have spent the time on a fingering weight two-toed sock. It might not have been so funny then....naw, it'd have been funnier.)
I had a very good meal at my mother's home (watch out, there was cayenne powder on those sweet potato sticks). Yesterday, we went back for left-overs and fried asparagus with some sort of creamy, sour cream-based dip that had creole seasoning in it. I usually loathe and can't tolerate fried foods but these were so crispy and non-greasy, I quickly realized I could eat the entire platter and not realize what I'd done until it was too late. Back away from the asparagus....(hmm, can you tell I'm somewhere in the South?)

Every single photo I took at my mom's is totally blurred. Some worse than others. First, we have Jaylee practicing her Miss America wave:

She did this a lot, enjoys doing it, and will add in blowing kisses on request.

Then we have this shot of what will be the next new baby for next year's Christmas:

Any minute now, can't you tell? She's in such a good mood, it's unbelievable. Has been the entire pregnancy. If we could bottle whatever is doing that, there would be peace, love and harmony throughout the world. Take my word, it isn't a normal state for her, she'll tell you herself.
All the knitted gifts I did manage to finish up were very happily received.

The Hannah hat from Magknits. It has a ponytail opening knit in the back of the hat that secures with buttons so you can take it on and off without causing the Fuzzyhead so common from other hats. I used 2 white flower-shaped buttons. Note: the buttons on the Magknits site photo look really large. I found that with my knitting tension and resulting gauge, I ended up using what I would consider "regular" sized buttons.
This went to Tara, the mommy-to-be. I used Cascade 220, obtained from Fiber4Ewe in Wytheville. The pattern is very straight-forward and easy to knit, would be great for beginning knitters wanting to try out knitting in the round, decreasing, and getting over the fear of doing a button-hole, and the Cascade 220 was a very cheery color. True, it's not superwash but even in my humid, prone-to-mold icky part of the world, it dried in 24 hours after a wash in Soak. It knitted up in around 4 hours total, most of you could probably do it in less time. Bear in mind when I mention total knitting times that I have to severely restrict how long I knit using larger than size 8 needles due to the RA in my hands. If I try to do extended sessions on large needles, I put myself out of knitting entirely due to pain and inflammation. So if you are trying to figure out how quickly you could knock one of these out in, do keep that in mind.

The Sister-in-Law socks. I gave my one of my best friends, Bev, socks for her birthday this past year. Which immediately set off a chain reaction that resulted in her mom wanting a pair. I'm not complaining, I consider those who grab my handknit socks, fondle them and hint repeatedly for their own pair(s) to be very intelligent creatures. As opposed to the ones who remark something about going to Wally World and picking up the Chinese-knit socks in the hunting aisle. She was very specific in her hinting: need to match denim jeans and blue and/or grey pants plus be longer length, at least top of calf. Add to this that she has the skinniest size 8 foot I've ever seen in my life. To be price-practical, I chose Regia so I could get the top-of-the-calf length, and threw in Brown Sheep Wildfoote in a matching grey for the toes. The challenge to these was simply in getting the proper skinny-ness in the foot. I used the Elizabeth Zimmerman/Meg Swanson arch-shaping method described in Meg Swanson's Knitting, page 137, and had to do 15 rows of the shaping. I've never had to go past 9 rows before. I still had to add in judicious ribbing placement and decreases to pull the sock in at the right places to give it a proper fit but not cause any problems with rubbing or bunching when she puts on her shoes. They fit her perfectly. She was happy. I was happy. :-)
Now for the Not Christmas but other knitting category:
My Red Sox Sock. I have one sock entirely designed and finished up. The other is now on the needles (my present to myself, go ahead and start my other sock) and I'm halfway done the pennant pattern on the cuff. It's a neat pattern, looks like little triangular flags when it's stretched out because they won the pennant, yes? I do love this yarn, it's squishy, smooshy and downright plush. Way too bad I lost both ball bands and now have no idea what it is. I suspect I bought it at Mosaic when I picked up the Soak wash. (Oh, lookee, they're having a coupon sale. And I can't think of any way or good reason to get to Blacksburg. Bummer.)
This little sock is one of a completed pair, made with a plain vanilla pattern. I threw in solid heels and toes due to the small amount of Lorna's Lace sock yarn I had left over to use for them. I know they'll fit one of the babies in the family.
I also seem to be on a contrasting heels and toes kick. :-)

And look! That's spinning I spy! This is 100% South African wool goodness, obtained from my wool crack dealer, er, make that one of my favorite handdyed wool vendors, Carol, at Black Bunny Fibers on Etsy. I've been spinning it on my Louet and it's now all spun up and ready to ply. I'm going to do the plying on the Lendrum. The Louet is going out on loan to a friend for a couple of months after the first of the year so she can learn to wheel spin. And see if she likes Louets before she decides what to invest in. Several of us have Louets and I love my S75. There are also Ashfords well represented in the guild and I know one girl who has 2 Kromskis. I found the Kromskis hard to treadle but I had never spun before that day so I can't count that as a valid opinion because I now know that it may simply have been due to the tension settings on it. The only thing I knew about tension that day was that I was really tense. I've now shown up with the first Lendrum infiltration and everyone seems to like her very well. The main thing I note is that the Lendrum allows you to spin much finer and faster, even on the top of the whorl, as opposed to the Louet. It's much harder to get that level of fineness and you have to treadle harder to do so on the Louet. But I love the lofty soft yarn I get from the Louet. So I can see using both. Which is really bad because I justified the "grab that Lendrum and load it in the car" down at SAFF by swearing I was going to sell the Louet. Now I feel really short of breath and sweaty and kind of faint and dizzy when I even think about. Whew, bad feeling. Give me a moment here. Must go pat the Louet.....
Okay. See what a dilemma? I just know Linda is going to have to pry it out of my arms to borrow it next month. And that's just for a visit. How can you love 2 spinning wheels to death? Even worse, I spin on both. There's some mystery brown grease wool on the Lendrum as I speak.
Well, I guess I could go cast on another sock while I think about it. And in the next update, I'm going to get a full modeling of the finished (yay! wild cheering, clapping, hooting! yay!) Rogue hoodie ON it's intended new owner, Tech Gal herself. Maybe she'll even help me choose a new photo-editing program and do some housekeeping here. Heaven knows, every Christmas photo I took was totally blurred.
Happy New Year, y'all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Solstice and Major Mistakes

First, best holiday wishes to all, no matter what flavor you prefer. My present to you is a photo of my major knitting mistake:

Can you tell what I did wrong?

Back in October, my bestest cyberfriend ever, Eileen, got me Cat Bordhi's newest book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One. I've been champing at the bit to try it ever since but I needed to finish up all Christmas committments first. Having managed all of them but one, which I simply haven't the time to finish now (thank you, RA, you interrupt me at the worst times) I gave myself permission to do some selfish knitting.

I've had a very jaundiced opinion of knitting socks with 2 circular needles due to a very traumatic attempt at this 2 years ago that ended with me throwing needles, yarn, and instructions across the room while cursing them roundly. I've knitted many pairs of socks very successfully since that time on my trusty dpns and was very satisfied with all of them. However, I felt a tiny bit like the knitting had managed to defeat me and I don't like that feeling. It's not the same feeling as the one you have when you've knit something in a new technique or stitch pattern and you simply don't like doing it. No, being defeated is....well, losing to the knitting. And I don't like being a loser.

So I've read repeatedly on the Yahoo Socknitter's list and on other's blogs where they achieve great success and even satisfaction using 2 circulars to knit socks after reading Cat Bordhi's instructions. And I became hopeful again.

I gathered up book, worsted weight yarn, and 2 size 6 circulars Wednesday night per her instructions, which I'd intently perused Tuesday evening. Normally I'd have callously disregarded any advice to do a sample sock (or sample anything for that matter, samples are for sissies...and successful knitters) but I was determined to succeed and do this right this time. I even realized I totally understood how to do Judy's Magic Cast On for the first time. So I cast on and started knitting. I then had to cast on again due to having turned the circulars the wrong way (which way does that clock turn again?) but I was off and running after that.

I did have this feeling something wasn't quite right though. I told Martha I couldn't understand why the toe of the sock in the book photo was so tiny and appeared to only have a few stitches, yet my toe had 32 stitches. I even went back and checked a couple of times to be certain I'd cast on enough stitches. I worked through the arch expansion (wow, I loved this part) and the heel went by without a hitch. But then I turned the page and at the top of the column it said "foot".

Uh oh. I kind of thought I'd already done a foot. And how did I manage to knit and turn a heel and not notice whatsoever that it was totally in the wrong place for my assumptions? See, I knew something wasn't right but up til this point, I simply hadn't thought about it being a cuff-down sock. I'd made tons of assumptions:

I'd assumed you only use 2 circulars to knit socks toe-up.

I'd assumed I didn't need to read all the way through the pattern because I'd read all the "how-to's" and "wherefore's" and wanted to just get to it.

I'd assumed that because Cat Bordhi recommends Judy's Magic Cast On for casting on toe-up, all the socks in the book were toe-up and I should use this cast on for them.

So I now have a cute little sock that has no opening to get a foot into. And I have to go back and figure out exactly how to cast on 2 circulars for a cuff down sock.

Yeah, when I can finally get to the point of not laughing myself silly everytime I look at this sock or the book.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Well, here I am, coming to you from the official drought state of VA. Ain't it wonderful to check the USGS site and find your state is colored in entirely. And your local river has one of those bright red dots for really low. It's near the end of October and we have yet to have a hard frost. The temps are in the mid-70's to mid-60's for highs and 50's to mid-40's for lows (if you live in a mountainous area). We got a smattering of rain yesterday but it lasted about 2 minutes. Just enough to remind you that water could still fall from the sky. I was beginning to think it was a fairytale. NC Gal mentioned to some friends the other night that she had 400 bales of hay and the way they leaned forward, with this gleam in their eyes, and said "400 bales! Where do you keep it at?" was a little bit....well, intense, if you know what I mean. The poor farmers can't even sell the livestock because no one is buying. Doesn't make sense to buy more cows or horses, even if they're dirt cheap, if all you've got is dirt left to feed them. There was a time I actually felt a bit antagonistic toward our up-stream neighbor because he built this big bank around his pond and it dammed up the stream that flows from a spring a bit up the small valley (we call it a holler around here) and cut off the main flow to my part of the creek. I've only had a creek in the spring after that, when the wet-weather springs would rise and feed it. It's been 2 years since we even had a sign of wet-weather spring and the last was more of a slight mudhole. I sincerely hope the bullfrogs that lived there managed to vacate before the springs stopped filling. I loved listening to them. His pond is very meager right now. Actually, it's well below the drainage spout he installed to keep it from becoming stagant and well on it's way to becoming just a mudhole it's self. I noticed his cattle are gone.....

I will never complain about rainy days again. Just please wish some our way, okay?

On the knitting front:

Had a bit of an interlude there between posts. Due to actually knitting instead of surfing. I even have blocked and seamed sweaters to show off:

Josie's sweater and hat. Very nice orange Cotton Classic yarn by Takhi Stacy Charles from Orchardside Yarn Shop in Raphine, VA. It's showing up as a very bright violent orange on my monitor but it's actually a calm shade of orange, if such a thing could be said of any orange color.

The Merry Sweater for Bridget, from Elsebeth Lavold's Designer's Choice no. 11, in Hempathy. I managed to get the green and golden colors very close but again, the orange is rather aggressive. I loved knitting this. The only problem was the yarn fought me when doing the seaming. It's a bit splitty.

The freight and loom conundrum. Well, I now have a Gobelin loom lying in pieces in my living room floor. NC Gal has a Nilus jack loom installed in her home. Both have sustained damage and missing bits and pieces, which we have been assured will be replaced. I had a chunk chipped out of the bottom support of mine but her's had a bad crack in one side piece. We bought these on Ebay at an excellent price but didn't quite know what we'd end up getting since neither was assembled in the photos. All we were certain of was that they were Leclerc looms with "some accessories". The freighting incident kind of got us down there but once assembly began and we realized what we'd ended up with, well, the song and dance began. I hope to have mine assembled for show and tell tomorrow. It takes 3 people to put it together so I have to find 3 people I can get in my living room at the same time that will cooperate to put it together. Where's my son-in-law when I need him? :-)

Rogue. Rogue is living up to it's name in being a bit of a rogue. It only lacks sleeves and I was to the sleeve cap and almost at the binding off point. But I kept having this tinge of unease. It just seemed way too long to me. Instead of reaching for the tape measure to check this, I put it off by checking my gauge. Yes, getting both row and stitch gauge, so I had to be right, oui? Knit another row. Gee, that's an awfully long sleeve lying in my lap. So I dragged myself out of the recliner, found a flat surface, pinned the sleeve down and measured. 24 inches long and I wasn't finished knitting it. No, no, no. That couldn't be right. So I called Tech Gal, hoping she had 25 inch long arms. No such luck-21 and 1/2 inches long. Of course, the sleeves need a slight bit more to set back into the top of the shoulder correctly but still, this wasn't going to work. I have dragged the offending sleeve and schematics and instructions to every knitter I know that would understand such things and measured every person's arm length that didn't run from me. The longest I found was 22 inches. They did state they'd be willing to give the sweater a good home, even with the too-long sleeves. Very nice of them, eh? All I can figure out is that I've done too many rows in the mindless knitting and increasing section after the cable inset part and thus have, well, too many rows. I can't face ripping back yet, so I'm going to start the other sleeve and PAY ATTENTION! What a concept.

And no, I haven't finished that pair of socks. They're still in time-out. I did pull one of them out and try it on yesterday. Instead I decided I needed to start a baby dress for T, after talking to her mom, who said, oh, yeah, the baby shower's November 8th. Yikes. I also managed to mess it up last night while attempting to watch the CBS lineup, increasing all those triangles to 12 stitches instead of 14. See, you start by knitting 13 triangles, which are themselves begun by casting on 2 sts, increasing to 14 sts, then joining them all together to make the bottom hem of the dress. Haha. Got a tad confused on the numbers while watching, well, Numb3rs, Moonlight, and Ghost Whisperer. It is almost Halloween/Samhain after all, so I can be excused for watching ghosts, vampires, and serial killers, right? I think I lost count somewhere during the Fibronacci sequence explanation that they crossed with numerology.....

I think I'd better go try to fix those triangles and have a soft drink. Good thing I don't really like to drink water, isn't it?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Back to what was lost and now is found*

I am still experiencing numerous October setbacks, the latest due to a knitter's worst action, namely that of self-delusion. Knitters are often capable of this. It occurs when some item you are knitting is obviously either too big, too small, oddly shaped or bearing absolutely no resemblence to the schematics provided or those common sense should be alerting you to. I've been knitting a pair of Jaywalkers, pattern by the ever-amazing Grumperina, with a few modifications by myself, namely that of not carrying the pattern down onto the foot portion of the socks. This has gone well and I could have a finished sock to show you except for one thing:

I totally messed up the toe decreases. No, I did not take pictures. I don't want to remember this.

I knew it as I was knitting that it wasn't working. Yet I kept going and even tried a wonky fix in order to avoid stopping where I was and going back 4 rows to knit plain another 1/2 inch. 4 scrawny, measly rows. Instead I forged ahead, thinking to myself that I could just add a couple of plain rows at the end of the sock before kitchenering the toe off and it would work out.

Well, it didn't. Because a 1/2 inch on size 1 US needles is more than a couple of rows to add at the end. I ended up with a weird chimney-shaped funnel, kind of like the one you get when you start a toe-up sock with a certain kind of provisional cast-on. I even contemplated casting it off and ignoring the shape. But, gee, I noted that my toes kind of slope and there was that 1/2 inch sticking out on the one sloping side and if I tried sticking that in a shoe, it would bunch up and cause all kinds of problems. So I took out darning needle and yarn, inserted a life-line back at the row just before I started my decreases and yanked out an hour and a half's work. All because of the blinders I'd put on. Total idiocy for the sake of not wanting to tink back 4 rows.

And they're going to be such pretty socks, too, if only I stop fooling around with them:

This is the sock from about a week ago. I'm using Fleece Artist 100% merino for them, another great buy from Mosaic in Blacksburg, VA. I had some anxiety about whether or not there was enough yarn in that dwindling ball you see in the photo but now know that there's more than enough to do my women's size 7 (US) socks. Going for a size 9 in this pattern would be pushing it though.
Both socks are currently resting comfortably in my knitting bag beside the recliner. After all, it's hardly their fault I became mired in self-denial and delusion.

As for what was lost now being found, look what I located:

Yes, as previously mentioned, the elusive, worm-hole traveling roving. I had the one bobbin full and have now filled half of another and have the roving displayed to finish spinning before the plying can begin. I'm trying to be really dedicated to spinning at least one strip of roving a day, even if it's only a 5 or 10 minute spinning session, so I can both get this spun, plyed, set, and knitted up into the planned baby booties but also so I can improve my spinning.

As to where we stand with the service providers mentioned in the last post, well, let's just say that the 4th box finally wended it's way back to the person we'd bought it from and we've arranged for it to attempt to find it's way to us...again. A claims adjuster is supposed to be in contact with us to come inspect the damage and I figure that's where the big fight will commence, since they left NC gal a message that indicated they were under the impression that all we had in the order was a bench. Now, I'm not quite sure where that impression came from since that "bench" was insured for around $6,000 but that was the message left. NC gal returned their call, leaving her own message to correct this false impression. It's not the first they've had and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I've managed to overcome some of my seaming avoidance. I seamed one side of Bridget's Merry sweater while watching VA Tech play Clemson. (Yay, VT!). I still really like the hand to the Hempathy yarn and love the pattern for the sweater but I am definitely converting this to be knit in the round when I do the one I'm planning on for myself. Being tri-colored, it's been a pain to mattress stitch the seams and not allow the yarn I'm using to show through and the Hempathy yarn's qualities that I like so much, it's softness and drapiness, hinder this seaming process even more. I hope to finish seaming the other side and knit the few rows needed to finish the neckline and it'll go on the "Finished Object" list on Ravelry. If you want to see that list, including the other things I have on the "in progress" and such, I'm HokieKnitter. Feel free to drop by.

Rogue is in the process of gaining sleeves. I cast on and am 24 rows into the sleeve, not counting the hem. I also cast on this:

The Goldilocks Shawl from Fleece Artist, obtained from Colorsong Yarn, an online yarn shop. The fiber itself is named Goldielocks and is 56% mohair, 24% silk, 20% nylon. It's a boucle and very soft and drapey. I'm being slowed down in knitting it due to having to hold it up to the light so I can admire it's colors and cuddle it at intervals. The colors remind me of a forest with a stream running through it or the deep blue sky peeking through the dense tree foliage. Yes, I love it. And it's going to stay and be mine.

Another view, to try to help see the colors.

The Brown Dog had a few choice words to bark at me because I dared post a picture of the cat. He was quite adamant that he disliked sharing his blog with any of the other "hangers on" that also reside here.

This was taken during his lecturing of me. He wasn't happy about me snapping this either.

One good thing in October:
Gabriella, my friend Angela's little girl, all dressed up in her christening dress I knitted. She is a beautiful model and a true miracle. I couldn't ask for a better model for the outfit.
*"once was lost and then was found" taken from the lyrics of Amazing Grace, the hymn written by John Newton and originally published in Olney Hymns in 1779. You can read more about him at The John Newton Project, if you feel so inclined. He was quite an interesting man.
BTW, I'm sure you've noted the somewhat screwy spacing of my posts. I promise you, I have repeatedly edited and re-edited them and then, when I re-post, they are still screwy in their spacing. Even Tech Girl can't get the spacing to behave. So I've just decided to ignore it.