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.