Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Little Better

Is yarn storage a never-ending battle for you? I don't have that much yarn (said the Queen of Denial) but somehow the stash never gets tamed. I am ever hopeful, however, and because the wire shelving was not working for me, I tried a new tactic:

That's the nine-cube storage unit that was on sale at Target last week. It assembled quite easily, and I bought some of the cloth drawers to hide the plastic bags of wool. See the knitting books in the open cubbies? And the sock blockers hanging overhead? The little drawer units hold needles and buttons and other sundries. The notebooks are full of patterns. (Someday we need to discuss how one stores ones patterns.)

To the left are a couple of baskets I assembled from the wire shelving, full of non-wool yarn that is project-bound. Well, except for the bottom one, which you can't really see - it's full of papers. Some day I will have to excavate that pile of wood pulp, but not right now.

The Sea Silk scarf is still scarfing and the pinwheel sweater is still pinwheeling, but I'm getting the itch to knit me some lacy socks.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

More Pinwheel Spats

The pinwheel sweater and I have been quarreling again. I thought I had dropped a stitch but could not see how to fix it, so I tinked two entire rounds before discovering I had not dropped a stitch but only laddered the stitches in question. Gah!

I'm on the last color - black - and then there will just be the sleeves. Woo-hoo!

Meanwhile, I knit up another bath mitt.

I think I prefer the rectangular one over this mitten-like one.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


In an effort to keep this blog a knitting blog, I have been keeping a separate blog for house and garden. If you want to see what is happening in my little 0.33 acre of the world, go here. Updates have been spotty, but now that spring is here, there are lots of photo opportunities. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Always Late

Lately I feel like I am always running a bit behind schedule. Trying to do too much, I guess. Occasionally, I think, Well, if I stopped knitting so much or at least cut back a little, I'd have more time. But not really. Sometimes I dive into a knitting orgy, but usually I knit in the holes of the day.

Which is when I knit up this mitt.

I started out with a pattern from Erica Knight's new Classic Knits for the Home, but I used cotton instead of hemp, in worsted weight instead of DK, double moss stitch instead of stockinette, an I-cord loop instead of leather, and then I did that funny thing with garter and stockinette at the opening. It doesn't resemble the original, but it was fun to play around with it.

I think we would all play more with our knitting if we had the time. Oops! Gotta get ready to go to work.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Look What I Found

I am rather anal about putting my knitting notions back into my knitting bag, so's to always have them at hand no matter where I am knitting. So I was extremely puzzled when my baby Fiskars went missing. My house is not that big. I knew they had to be around here somewhere, but where?

(No, those are not my thighs. Those are sofa cushions.)

What is odd is I looked under those cushions once, but apparently not very carefully. One mystery solved.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Who Follows Directions?

Embarrassed by the number of batteries I was depositing in the recycle bin at work, I decided to purchase rechargeable batteries, which of course meant purchasing a recharger as well. I have gone the rechargeable route in the past, with poor results, but everyone (well, my SO and daughter) assured me the technology had improved and I would be pleased with such an investment. Plus the rechargers can now charge batteries in 15 minutes. Whoo-hoo!

So a few weeks ago, I brought home a recharger and proceeded to try it out. Maybe I have been not-quite-following knitting patterns for too long now, because while I did read the recharger directions, I did not quite follow them. They explicitly said not to use an extension cord, and yet I plugged the recharger into my new Belkin surge protector because, well, it is not technically an extension cord. Right?

Well. Something happened. Something that involved smoke. Smoke that smelled particularly electronic. I used to work in engineering services where periodically a hardware engineer would "let the smoke out" of a circuit board, so I recognized that smell. At least the Belkin did its job, as all the fragile electronic devices that were also plugged in - my router, my modem - were not damaged.

At that point, I temporarily abandoned the rechargeables but I knew the day would come when I would have to face my fear of exploding batteries. That day was yesterday, while I was trying to get a close-up of the practically tame bunnies that populate my backyard and the camera shut down, hungry for more juice.

So this morning I gave the recharger a second chance. This time I decided to remove the batteries before plugging in the device, thinking maybe the sudden surge is what caused the trouble before, and discovered a plastic strip between the batteries and the positive terminals. Huh. Then I chose an outlet near the Florida room, since I am planning on replacing the Florida room and if it is damaged by fire, I would not mind. Heck, I would welcome it, as the insurance money would help pay for the renovations.

I plugged in the charger. Nothing, except a green light came on. I inserted the batteries. The light turned red and the device emitted a fan-like sound. I waited.

And about 20 minutes later, the red light turned green, I removed the batteries (after unplugging the recharger - one can't be too careful), stuck them in the camera, and took some pix.

Here are the Rainforest socks.

Uneven ribbing in Rainforest

The yarn is Opal in the "Vernoica" Rainforest colorway. I used my standard Ann Norling basic sock pattern, but the uneven ribbing described in More Sensational Knitted Socks. I started out with US0 needles to tighten up the top of the cuff a bit (these are for Mr. Chickenlegs), then switched to US1 for the rest.

Enjoying the daffodils

Very springlike, don't you think?

And here is the Shetland Triangle Shawl, all dressed up and no place to go.

All Dressed Up

We tried flying through the forsythia, but despite the light weight of the shawl, the shrub was bending from the burden.

Flying through the Forsythia

The Belkin was put on temporary hiatus, so someday, when I am feeling brave, I will have to see if the reset switch on it really works.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Funk

By Friday evening, I have just about had it. While I like my employer, the work itself is b-o-r-i-n-g. And I am busy Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, so when Friday night rolls around, I just want to do what I want to do, not what I should do. Tonight I should put the house back in order (just had the carpets cleaned) and I should shred more of that paper that litters the Home Office, but I'd rather just knit. Knitting makes me feel like I am creating something tangible, unlike my job, and something somewhat permanent, unlike a tidied house.

The Rainforest socks got a boost today. Usually, I only work on them over my lunch period, but this afternoon we had a "town hall" meeting. The meeting was not on site, but it was Webcast (ahh, the magic of technology!), so I could sit in my cube and knit while viewing the meeting on my PC. I'm getting close to the toes.

The Sea Silk scarf and I have been on relatively good terms all week long. I think I have finally gotten the hang of knitting this inelastic yarn. The pattern says one skein will make a scarf 80 inches long, but if you want it longer, you will need more yarn. What I want to know is, Who wants a scarf more than 80 inches long? I'm up to 10 inches, so once the Rainforest socks are done, the scarf is going to become my portable project so that I will have half a chance of completing it by summer.

The pinwheel sweater and I had a bit of a tiff last night, but it was entirely my fault. I am up to where you change from stockinette to garter stitch, but for some reason I am having a difficult time remembering to purl for an entire round. Purling goes slower than knitting, but tinking goes even more slowly.

And what's going on with the Kidsilk Haze top? I really need to chart out the sleeve increases/decreases to make sure I am doing the right thing. That requires a clear head, but I haven't been sleeping well this past week. Maybe sometime this weekend, she said optimistically.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

More Inspiration

Blogging results in a new category of relationship. Some bloggers know each other in real life and their blogging is an extension of their friendship. But many bloggers never meet, may never even know each others real names. And then I am guessing there are many more that don't even know they are connecting at all, because one or the other simply lurks or leaves an anonymous comment. And yet that connection exists at some level.

So I shouldn't have been surprised to see a familiar face in the pix posted by the Yarn Harlot while she is on book tour: Sheep in the City. I hadn't been to her blog in a while, so I clicked on over and discovered she has been helping her mom create a crafting studio. OMG - it is simply amazing.

And that lovely space inspired me to tackle my own Home Office, which lately looks like a yarn and paper explosion.

(It's so easy to just close the door.)

Another "inspiration" was knowing the button I wanted for the baby bib was on the desk, but having to excavate the piles of paper twice to find it.

As nice as it would be to have my yarn on display, I worry about moths. Anything with wool contents generally ends up sealed in plastic bags.

Not very attractive.

My space will never be mistaken for a yarn boutique, as I make do with wire shelving and plastic storage bins, but all my crap could certainly be neatened up and put away.

Okay, Mom!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


What do you do when you are in a bad mood? Sometimes I just want to escape the feeling for a while, so I watch a movie or read fiction. But other times, I want to do something to make me feel better. This morning, inspired by several brave, brave knitting bloggers who have been revealing their WIP's and vowing to finish at least some of them, I decided what would make me feel better is doing something similar (but not so brave). I may not like the process but I will like the results.

This baby bib and burp rag needed only a few ends woven in and a button to be finished. Voila!

This set is for my hair stylist who is expecting her second (another boy). For her first baby, I gave her this electric green baby hoodie and wasn't sure if she like it. But she recently volunteered that she was looking forward to using it again on son #2.

A recently completed knit-wise project just waiting for some blocking was the Shetland Triangle Shawl.

The pattern came from a book, and I don't know which one because the photocopied pages don't have that information on them, but the pattern designer is Evelyn A. Clark, if that helps. I used Schaefer "Anne" in powder puff pink, which bled a little during the soak.

Quite a while ago, I purchased some blocking dressing wires from HandWorks Northwest, but I had not yet tried them. Heck, I hadn't even opened the package yet.

The kit was recommended by Yarn Harlot, I believe, and even though I'm not sure I was using them correctly, they did help with the blocking.

I used two wires across the top and one down the center. The pins that came with the kit were almost enough for this shawl.

The pinwheel sweater got bogged down when I decided I wanted to verify the location of the sleeves. This morning I took it off the needles, fetched a couple of sweaters from my closet, compared and contrasted, and stretched the pinwheel a little, and decided I can just follow the pattern. I am leaving in the yarn I used to hold the stitches as a lifeline, though, in case I change my mind later and want to rip back.

Now, the frustrating story of the Sea Silk scarf.

As you may recall, I have been trying to get something going with this yarn ever since I bought it. Through Ravelry, I found a pattern by Amy Singer that was designed for this yarn, so I thought my problems were over. Wrong! I wrestled with this yarn on multiple needles, in multiple needle sizes, until I despaired of ever getting further than a few inches on the scarf.

But I finally found something that works: my Turbo Addi circs in US6. The slippery needles and the slippery yarn force me to be mindful of my YO's, but I think this is going to work.

And, yes, now I feel much better.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Day Is Done But I'm Not

People who recoil from retirement annoy me. They claim they would not know what to do with themselves if they did not have a job. They may have a job but they don't have a life.

I used to keep a list of the things I want to do after I retire. One day it occurred to me that I might not live that long. (No, there is nothing wrong with me, but my mother did pass at age 54, so the possibility of premature death hangs over me.) After that, I started trying to squeeze those future plans into the present.

But there are not enough hours in the day for everything I want to do. Yoga classes meet the same nights as charity knitting at the library and therapy night at Knitting Off Broadway, but I really need the yoga. No time to learn Spanish or ballroom dancing or ice skating. No time to volunteer at the food co-op or the county parks. Only so many vacation days for travel. The books on homemade pet food are going back to the library, along those on heirloom vegetables (maybe next year). I went to Greencastle last year, so now I'm thinking I'll skip this year. There is only so much a body can do.

Unless I give up something.

Something like knitting.

Like that is going to happen.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Adopt a Sheep in Indiana

A while back I mentioned an adopt-a-sheep program in Iceland. Little did I know that one may adopt-a-sheep right here in Indiana. I was perusing the vendor list for the Fiber Event at Greencastle and decided to check out Schacht Farm and voila - Icelandic sheep for adoption!

The sun finally made an appearance, so I was able to recover from my Kidsilk Haze error - a dropped stitch, I'm amazed I found it - but the pattern is so complex - decreasing in pattern in 3x2 ribbing - that I think I need a spreadsheet to keep track of where I am. And I thought the sleeves would be easier than the body of this lacy top.

The pinwheel sweater is to the point where I need to take it off the needles and see how it fits across my shoulders. The biggest problem with this pattern is that the rounds keep getting longer and longer and longer, and I have just started color 4 out of 7. I wanted something BIG to work on, and I got it.

The green socks are ready for heel turning. I like to work on them over lunch. Right now they are the only portable project I have going. Maybe I need to get started on the Sea Silk scarf.... No, no, finish the baby burp rag first. So many projects, so little time!

Friday, April 04, 2008


A while back I read (somewhere) about a knitter who, the more she knit, the more of a perfectionist she became. For me, the exact opposite has happened. When I first returned to the needles, everything I made had to be perfect. I even laid awake at night, agonizing over every little slip or snag or uneven row or unmet gauge. Now that I have a few projects under my belt, I'm learning when it is appropriate to frog or tink and when it is best to shrug and carry on.

The socks I mentioned last time are the perfect example, in their imperfection. A mistake was made in the ribbing of the cuff, a mistake that is barely visible to the naked eye, a mistake that will dwell under a pant leg 95% of the time. Rip back ten rounds? I think not. Knit on!

Meanwhile, Sherri read my mind: I started the pinwheel sweater. If something is crying out to be knit, then why fight it? Besides, it gives me something to work on while I am waiting for the sun to shine, a prerequisite to picking up the Kidsilk Haze. Middle-age eyes need all the natural light they can get.