Monday, June 30, 2008

I Try

I try to reduce my UFOs. Yesterday I even sat down with a pair of Mary Jane baby booties. All they needed was a little seaming. First, I could not see what I was doing unless I sat by the window in the sunshine (stupid black yarn). Second, I could not find directions for how to seam two cast-on edges, so I winged it (these booties are not made for walkin'). Third, I could not find the button hole on the strap and, thinking the strap was a bunch of three-stitch rows, I started unraveling it, and wound up screwing up the whole strap. Fourth, I decided I didn't really like those baby booties after all - who puts black booties on their infant? Fifth, vacuuming suddenly looked like a whole lot more fun than knitting.

I try not to buy more yarn. Staying out of yarn stores is easy enough, since I don't pass any on my way home from anywhere, and gas prices being what they are, I'm not inclined to go out of my way, especially for yarn I don't need (I keep telling myself). And it is relatively easy to delete unread advertisements from yarn retailers that land in my inbox... unless it's a yarn retailer I favor. Even then I am safe... unless they happen to be offering up a yarn that has been sitting in the back of my mind but now it is ON SALE. That's how I ended up with the six skeins of Noro that arrived in my mailbox today.

I try to get a little knitting done over my lunch hour at work. Sometimes work interferes (stupid job), but today I actually forgot to bring any knitting. How could that happen? What is wrong with me? I must be ill or something. Maybe I should take a knit sick day tomorrow. I feel a (knitting) fever coming on!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's Too Haaaaard!

The other night I wanted to knit, but I was tired and tired of Sitcom Chic, the Embossed Leaves socks would require too much concentration, and I still did not feel like seaming the One Skein Baby Cardigan. Everything seemed too difficult.

So I started something new that is all garter stitch, all the time. The Tropical Treat blanket involves some yarn wrangling - two types of yarn, four colors, knit two strands at a time - but otherwise is good for mindless knitting.

The pattern is from Lion Brand, as are the yarns, BabySoft in "Pastel Blue" and "Bubblegum" and Microspun in "Mango" and "Lime".

This project may become my at-work knitting because it is easy to pick up and put down. An inch or two at lunch everyday, an hour-long meeting here and there, and the blanket will be done in no time.

Not My Fault

I am pet-sitting for my daughter and son-in-law again. Last time I "helped out" I managed to kill all the tropical fish. The cats are pretty hardy, but when I stopped by Monday night, I could not find one of them. I searched high and low, upstairs and down. I even stepped inside each of the rooms that had been closed off and called, but no Lily.

I talked to my daughter later that night, to ask if Lily had any special hiding places. Check the window sills behind the curtains. Okay. I returned the next night, with a flashlight for dark corners, but still no Lily. Their house is not that big; she had to be there somewhere. So I started checking the closed rooms and there she was, hiding under the bed in the guest room, with no intention of coming out.

She looked okay, despite being locked up without food or water (or litter box!) from Sunday morning to Tuesday night, and by now Baxter was hissing at me, so I left the door open and hoped she would emerge eventually. And tonight, when I returned, there she sat on the couch, eager for some attention. What a relief!

Now, here is where I would show you some knitting pix, but Blogger is being balky tonight. Maybe next time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where's the Remote?!?

Not the TV remote. The remote to the garage door opener.

My daughter and her husband borrowed my car for a road trip. I'm using the son-in-law's Jeep, which I took for a short spin today (to The Scoop, if you must know - I needed ice cream). That's when I realized I had left the remote for the garage door opener in my car, the car that is somewhere between here and the east coast right now.

I am very left brained, so I expected the second remote to be somewhere logical, but I wasn't sure where that logical place would be. Aha! With the batteries! And I even have a battery that looks like it will work (A23 12V) but it doesn't. I even found the operator manual but it is of no help. And the company's website is no help, either. Tomorrow I will have to call. I know this remote worked once upon a time, but that was years ago. Surely they don't go stale?

Here are two books I've been meaning to mention:

Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together, by Larissa Brown and Martin John Brown. Everything you ever wanted to know about knitalongs (KALs), and then some. And patterns! Written in an engaging style, with great photos.

Dyer Consequences, a Knitting Mystery by Maggie Sefton. One of a series. Not great literature, but I can't quit reading it until I know who the murderer is. Good beach reading. Pattern and recipe included.

Because of scattered thunderstorms, I achieved more knitting this weekend than I anticipated, all on the Sitcom Chic. The body is up to the armpits and I have started one sleeve. Visions of completing this before I go on vacation, which means I will need something else to work on in the car. I'm not close to being finished and I am already planning the next project. Just like a knitter.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's Not Sunday Yet...

... but I finished something anyway. (It rained this afternoon, so I couldn't play in the dirt.)

The Rowan Denim baby bib and burp rag (patterns from Mason-Dixon Knitting). First time I striped the burp rag. Also, first time I have used this yarn, which shrinks in length when washed. Should I wash before I gift?

I also decided to try denim yarn for the Dollar and a Half cardigan.

This is called Den-M-Nit and was on sale from Elann. I bought extra, to allow for shrinkage.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Just Give It Up or Suck It Up

A week or so ago, I found a really good knitting tip here. What could I apply this to? Why, that *&%#@! lace top I have not been working on. It's part difficult pattern directions (what does Erika Knight have against charts?!?) and part difficult yarn (Kidsilk Haze). I have come to the conclusion that this project is never going to be completed, so daughter dear, would you like a nice shawl instead? We will discuss.

But what about those UFOs one does not want to give up on? I think it is time to suck it up and commit to finishing these. Many of them are bags in need of linings. Some of them just need a button or some ends woven in or blocking. Some need only to be seamed. I'm thinking these are perfect for Sunday morning, while doing laundry. One per week. I think I can handle that.

And wrapping up some UFOs will also give me something to show because not much real knitting is going on. If it weren't for meetings at work, there would be no knitting going on. Can't help it - this is the time of year for playing in the dirt.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Yes, I am still knitting, but not as much as Before Summer (BS). Summer is not officially here, but yard work is. For me, yard work is not work, though. It is part of my exercise routine (bend, stretch, lift, carry, etc.) and the cheapest therapy around. After a day on my butt, in front of a computer, surrounded by cubicle walls, digging in the dirt is restorative.

Here we have proof that the Embossed Leaves socks have not been abandoned:

The dark yarn requires natural light, the knitter requires a clear mind to work on these.

While other knitting bloggers crank out Sitcom Chic sweaters like they were hats, I am plugging along on mine.

Instead of Lion Brand CottonEase, I am using Cascade Yarns Pima Tencel. This yarn is producing a loose fabric with a lot of drape. Hope it is wearable.

I was slaving away on this sweater during a meeting at work (conference call with very little to be contributed on our end). During a lull, my supervisor asked me what the color was called. I call it "blood red". A co-worker suggested is was "brick red". Supervisor asked, What does the label say? 7478.

And the One Skein Baby Sweater, which could be completed in practically no time at all, has reached the dreaded seam stage.

Seaming requires attention to detail. And a big dose of patience. And fortitude. It's much easier to go out and mow the lawn.

Friday, June 13, 2008

You Read It Here First

Remember my post about the Black Swamp Spinning Guild Market Day? Remember the Yarn Daze yarn I bought? Well, if you are a reader of Knitter's Review, you will notice Clara Parkes mentions Yarn Daze as her "personal pick of new vendors" at TNNA.

And remember my trip to the Indiana State Museum to see "Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting"? Well, readers of the Creative Knitting newsletter can't help but notice that Barb Bettegnies also mentions this show.

Do I get around or what?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All the Time in the World

When the phone rang at 6:30 this morning, I was slouched over my coffee at the breakfast bar. I perked right up when I heard the recorded announcement from the other end of the wire: my place of employment was without power, so no work today.

Suddenly, the day stretched ahead of me, full of possibilities... as long as they were indoor possibilities - it was raining. Should I fill my day with chores or delight? I promised to do a few chores between the delights, but frankly, other than a few errands, it was mostly delight.

Knitting seemed like a good first choice. I had finished up the Big Bad Baby Blanket, but felt like it could do with a little soak 'n' block.

Yes, it's superwash merino, but there had been a whisper of laddering in the middle of the blanket. And the fabric needed a little regulating.

After squeezing out the water, though, that whisper of laddering turned into a shout. Blocking was out of the question, so I did what any panic-stricken knitter would do: I threw it into the dryer.

And it came out looking great, all fluffy and smooth, with no visible laddering. Whew!

Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to finish the knitting on the Pinwheel Sweater. I'm not more enthused because I'm not sure I like the way the cuffs turned out. They flare. Are they supposed to flare? Is that The Style? I've seen sleeves that flare out from below the elbow, but no flaring occurs on this sweater until the wrists. And I'm not thrilled with the fit elsewhere. The model in the photo must be one of those mythological extra-small creatures, because the sweater looks big and cosy on her. I'm above average height and above average weight, so the sleeves are very snug and the fabric stretches quite a bit across my shoulders. I'm hoping a soak 'n' block relaxes it enough to make it more comfortable. Otherwise, the sweater will have to find a home elsewhere. I'm going to leave the cuffs as is (as are?) for now, reserving the option to rip out the garter stitch and replace it with ribbing at some future date. Besides, the true owner of this sweater probably will not have my gorilla arms.

And, basically, that is all I accomplished today, besides some running around town with the dog (vet, pet store, ATM, BK). Tonight is yoga, but it has stopped raining, so maybe I'll go stick a few seeds into the ground.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Brain Fart, Part Two

I've been working on the One Skein Baby Cardigan, getting near the end of the knitting part, and wondering why I have so much yarn leftover. Well, duh, the Caron Simply Soft Brites yarn comes in 6 oz. skeins. The last time I made this sweater I used Lorna Laces which I think came in a 4 oz. skein. Also, last time I had newly returned to knitting and was still working on keeping a consistent gauge. I used up almost all of that first skein, but this time there will be plenty leftover, for... Baby Surprise? I bought four skeins of the Caron, all Brites, which could contribute to quite a lively colored sweater.

The Big Bad Baby Blanket is done, except for weaving in ends. (No pix because it's a dark and stormy day.) It is in a superwash merino, soft and springy, which is way different than the Caron acrylic, which while soft, is not springy. In fact, it feels kind of petroleum-y, if you know what I mean. I am not a yarn snob, and I frequently choose acrylic or acrylic blends if I want to keep costs down (like for afghans) and/or if the result needs to be very machine washable (like baby items). But some yarns are simply more enjoyable to knit and crochet than others.

The all-employee event I mentioned in my previous post went well. It was a cross between a picnic and a carnival, and very well organized. But the weather was hot and humid. I sat under the beer tent and knit with the Rowan Denim cotton, which turned out to be a good choice.

The next day a co-worker (one I don't know very well) commented on my knitting at the picnic:

K: You looked so funny knitting!

Me: ???

K: I don't know, it just looked funny.

Me: inane comment on the weather

I should have said, "Well, you know, knitting is the new black," but I didn't think of that until about six hours later.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Brain Fart

A while back, I knitted a variety of things with some Caron Simply Soft that I swear was baby or sport weight. I liked it for the premie caps, so I bought some more when it was on sale. Yesterday, looking for something simple and portable to take to an event, I pulled out the yarn and discovered that what I bought was not baby weight but worsted weight. What to do, what to do?

Well, how about casting on a One Skein Baby Cardigan?

The pattern is from an advanced beginner class class I took at Cass Street Depot, and was designed exclusively for them by Jackie Young. It's a great little project for learning sweater design without having to work through six skeins of yarn. When I took the class, I was just returning to knitting and felt pretty clueless. (Why were those women using circular needles? And why did they smile so knowingly when I asked? And, my god, I'm the only one not keeping up!) Now, I am savvy enough to use circs and to knit both sides of the front at the same time. Aren't I a big girl now!

This week is the all-employee event at work, an outdoor picnic with softball, flag football, cornhole (a.k.a. Hoosier horse shoes), dunk tanks for charity, etc. My bifocals rule out ball handling and my shoulders aren't much for throwing things, so I plan to sit in the shade and knit. What knits well in warm weather?

Hopefully, cotton.