the knitting ref

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Fourth Place?


Yeah, I finished my socks! Yes, socks. Jaywalkers done in Socks That Rock yarn, Carbon Dating colorway. Isn't that what I said I was going to do when this all started? Socks--shawl; it's the same thing isn't it? Seriously, as to the shawl, I flat pooped out. That is not a project that I can keep total focus on for so long. No further progress has been made on the shawl. This has been a valuable process however. I learned some very important things during this past 17 days.

It confirmed that while I love knitting--must knit every possible moment--I will never be a monogamous knitter. My life just isn't conducive to focussing on one project at a time. Unless, of course, that project is something stupidly simple like afghan squares, socks or garter stitch scarf. Even then, I'm not sure it could compltely hold my attention.

Real life means that I'm working on several projects at a time. A few rows of a lace shawl everyday for the challenge it presents. A sweater, purse, socks and/or other project that peaks my interest. And a portable project with me at those times I'm stuck in line. That's at a minimum.

So, what am I looking at doing now?

1. Finishing Mariah. (I got 5-1/2 inches of sleeve done this evening.)
2. Finishing the Spirit of the Southwest Shawl. (2 rows done today.)
3. Finishing the Dublin Bay Socks.
4. Noro Lotorp Bag (Scroll down to 4th row).
5. Noro Bettna (First picture 2nd row).
6. Print O' the Waves Shawl with the fantastic yarn my SP gave me.
7. SockapalOOOza socks.
8. Little goody for my SP7 pal.
9. Afghan squares for Warm Up America.
10. And maybe I can knit a bear to send to the Bay Window.

Whew. Better stop for now. All these fit my requirements. The sweater is for my girl child and I'm anxious to finish. 2 lace shawls for the challenge. 3 fairly simple projects that should be good t.v. knitting. 2 gift projects that I'm actually looking forward to doing and 2 charity knits; all of which are portable.

Guess I'd better get busy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Good, The Bad (But No Ugly...Yet)

The Good:
My mailbox runneth over. My STR yarn arrived yesterday. I had forgotten until I was talking with Scout a couple days ago that I had ordered 4 skeins of the stuff. But now that it's here, I'm really glad. They're so purdy. From left to right: Alina. Pebble Beach. Queen Rock. Cobblestone County. One of these will be for my SockapalOOOza pal. Which one? Don't know. Got any ideas?

And those eagle-eyed among you may notice the bear in the middle. Isn't she darling? My mom got that for me from Avon. If you can't quite read it, the bag says "Knitting is my Bag." Too cute. And very sweet of mommy dearest to get it for me.
Now for The Bad:
I am admitting defeat. There is no way, short of finding a time turner, that I will complete this by Sunday night. I thought there was the slightest possibility of completion until last night. But I was too focused on Dancing with the Stars (wasn't Drew's freestyle adorable?) instead of my stitches, and dropped a stitch. Which of course ran the 4 rows to my lifeline. At least I had a lifeline.

But pulling back and putting almost 350 stitches back on the needle is just too much to overcome. Since I had it off the needles anyway, I decided to stretch it out and get a progress picture. I admit I pinned it out with a lot of trepidation. At this point if I had seen a major flub, I think it would have gone in the fireplace. As you can see, it has not been turned to ashes.

I'm not giving up though. I will continue until the Olympic flame is extinguished Sunday, but I can already hear other projects beckoning. But that's another post.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Stop the Presses!


We interrupt our planned post to alert the media to the great SP7 package I found when I came home today.

Secret Pal, the timing couldn't have been any more perfect, and the prezzies are too. I drug (dragged?) myself into work this morning to get a few things done before making the trek to City of Hope for my dr.'s appointment. For some reason, the drive seemed especially long. No exciting news from the appointment, but then, no bad news either. Just more of the same. Still, I was dreading the drive back. In order to buck myself up, I was going to drive on to Pasadena to check out a yarn store there (the one I like in Monrovia is closed on Wednesdays). Instant change of plans though, when I called my mom to update her about the appointment. She very innocently says, "Oh, I moved a package from New Jersey into the house when I stopped by earlier."

New Jersey! That could only mean that my SP has surfaced once again. Suddenly the drive home wasn't quite so bad. And it got even better once I opened the box. From the upper left hand corner is a skein of Artful Yarns Portrait. Love that colorway. The big skein next to it is Skacel Merino Laceweight--1375 yards! In Bo-gandy (as my niece used to call it). It is a beautiful rich red color. The box contains Sweethearts (I'm such a sucker for those things). And below that? Oh, that's nothing. I think the little package used to contain Lindor Chocolates, but I'm not exactly sure, it disappeared so fast.

The Portrait yarn has a pattern on the tag--I think that's what I'll probably do with that. As for what to do with the laceweight, my pal sent me this link. I've heard so much about "A Gathering of Lace" that I may have to take the plunge. Or, maybe, this. I've had my eye on it for a while. Or ???

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Thanks again SP!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Cool (And I Do Mean Cool) Weekend

We had a great weekend camping at San Clemente State Beach. Interesting weather--wait 10 minutes and it would change. But it was on the chilly side the entire weekend. No bikinis this weekend (like there ever is these days).

We arrived just about 5:00 Friday afternoon (hate that 5 Freeway traffic!), and would have seen the sunset except for the dark clouds. We got all set up, dinner cooking, and a fire started. We had just set down to eat when it started raining. So much for the campfire. But the rest of the evening was spent comfortably inside the tent trailer listening to it sprinkle on and off.

The next morning we woke up and stepped out to this view. A bacon, egg and potato breakfast later, and we were lounging around the campsite. Much Olympic knitting was done, although at well over 300 stitches on the needles, it doesn't feel like much progress is being made. I tried taking a few progress pictures, but looked like either a tangled mess of yarn, or, if I tried stretching bits out, like a really old, raggedy lace curtain. I'll try for a better progess photo this weekend.

We listened to the Bush Nascar race on the satellite radio. Now, I find listening to the drivers and commercials highly amusing ("Ah yeah, Fred, my team did a really great job on the BudweiserArmyHomeDepotStaplesBounty Chevy." I have yet to hear them say their team did a crappy job.) But one commercial really took the cake. Apparently Nascar has hooked up with Harlequin Romance novels to do a Nascar series of romance novels. Every time (probably 6 or 8 times over the weekend) I heard the commercial, I just cracked up. Nascar has got to be the King of Commercialization.
After the Saturday race was over, we went for a really looonnnnng walk on the beach. I overestimated my endurance, and we had to stop a couple times for a rest.

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching the clouds chase each other across the sky. (And knitting, Duh!)


Watched an absolutely gorgeous sunset. And went to bed. I won't talk about our rude neighbors here (that rant is for another post). But they got theirs when we were awakened about 1:00 a.m. to a torrential downpour that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. (There were 6 of 'em crowded into a little tiny tent.) =-)

Sunday and Monday were more of the same. I know, all in all, a really rough weekend. So rough that when we got home, we hopped online and made reservations for next month. ;)

Just Checking In

Well, I had a lovely post all set, telling about the great weekend we had at the beach, how much knitting I've been doing, and all that, but Blogger doesn't seem to want to download my pictures. I'll give it another try tomorrow.

I will say that my lack of contact all ewekend was because technology got the better of me, but fatigue did. For someone who claimed to be unable to be sit and do nothing, I did to an awful lot of that while we were away. Course, the scenery was conducive to that (which I should show you if I could post the blinking pictures), and so the computer didn't even leave the case.

I have several things to post about--I'll be busy for the next several days. I'll be back soon.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Over the Hump?

Still no updated picture to post. Bad blogger, I know, but most of the last 36 hours was spent getting ready to leave this afternoon, and the shawl doesn't look all that different from the last picture. I may or may not be out of (internet) touch for the long weekend. The beach where we're going camping has WiFi access, but I've never used it before. This weekend will be a test run to see if I can get it up and going. If so, there will be pictures and posts. If not, you'll be waiting till Tuesday.

I think I'm finally over my difficulties on the shawl; at least for now. I finally got past the 4 rows that were giving me grief. I'm so far behind the intended schedule that I've throw that out the window. Yes, I've given up all hope for a gold star, but in the vein of Lindsay Kildow and others, I'm going to limp on and see just how far I can go.

While I'm not giving up, I am also taking along my Jaywalkers. If it gets too dark to do the lace reliably, then I'll switch over to the socks. I'm just not a good sitter-and-do-nothinger.

Happy Camping!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dumber 'N A Brick


Me, not the cat, that is. Because I got no knitting worth showing, you get a picture of Mac enjoying the Westminster Dog Show. Isn't she cute?

As for being dumber than a brick, my mother assures me that I was not a slow child. I picked up my numbers and letters fairly early, got through school in the upper percentile of the classes. I did struggle a bit with math. Maybe that is my problem.

After yesterday's post (made during my lunch 15 minutes), I came home and had a lovely dinner with my husband. Very cute cards and candy were exchanged. The best "gift", though, was that he sold a trailer that has been taking up major room in the driveway, and it has now disappeared from said driveway. (I've been nagging about that for years. But I digress.) Since he has to leave for work at 5:00 a.m., he was asleep in his chair fairly early.

Whereupon I gleefully pulled out my knitting. And found a major mistake. The upper half of my cornstalks were suspended in midair, 2 stitches away from the lower half. So I frogged. A bunch. Thank goodness for lifelines. I got a couple of rows redone, but when you're working on 200+ stitch rows, you're not going to get very far very fast.

I went to bed a whole day behind schedule. Not happy. Not happy at all. I had to make the drive out to City of Hope for more labwork. Of course, I took my knititng with me in the hope that I'd catch up a little. 4 more rows done while waiting for my results.

Now comes the confirmation that I. am. dumber. than. a. brick. After last night, I had resolved to slow down and check every row before continuing on to the next one so that I can catch a problem before it develops. (There aren't repeats in this pattern in the traditional sense. One of my biggest problems is trying to use stitch markers or counters, because every other row is so different.) Somehow, the lesson learned last night completely left my head. I blithly knitted 3 rows before confirming the pattern. You guessed it. It was wrong. I had to frog back down to my lifeline--5 rows gone. Again! So now I'm 2 days' behind. (Groan of frustration.)

It is now 9:00 p.m., and I'm fading fast. I'll work for another hour, tops, and then I'm going to rest my little head. Maybe I can get up and knit a row or 2 (very, very carefully) before work.

Oh well. With my apologies to Margaret Mitchell: After all, tomorrow is another [hopefully better, less braindead] day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Irony

I have been married for almost 8 years to the bestest husband. When this man signed on for better or worse, he really meant it. Yes, there has been a great deal of better, but the "for worse" has been of the worst kind. And he has not only stood by me and mine, but has spent a great deal of the time carrying me.

Before meeting him, I spent almost 10 years as a single parent, and for 7 years before that in a horrible, horrible marriage. Valentine's Day was a day that I pretended didn't exist (except for the valentines for the kids).

So where does the irony come in? What am I thinking about instead of spending hours and hours planning on how to spend Valentine's Day with my nearest and dearest lavishing him with proper offerings of my love?

Olympic knitting.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

It's Too ($*% Hot

It’s a good thing I’m knitting lace, because otherwise I’d have to drop out from the heat. Today’s high was 85 F. Believe me, I’m not boasting. I know this is being read by those who are more than likely snowed in (hi SP!) and having a miserably cold time. There just doesn’t seem to be any happy weather medium anywhere in the country.

Believe me, I’d like some winter weather right about now. The only thing I can think of during all this hot weather is how nasty summer is going to be. And I don’t even want to think of my water bill. My property is (mostly) planted with drought tolerant plants. But even those are looking a little sad.


During a knitting break (one of many), I planted the avocado tree that I bought last spring, and never put in the ground. Ah, last year’s cold, rainy spring is just a distant memory. I just hope the tree doesn't cook this year. Resting on the supports is my shawl as it was this morning. I’d also like to point out the mutant tomato plant in the background. It’s a Yellow Pear that I never pulled up last October when it stopped producing. With the mild winter, it has just kept growing. It’s now about 6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide, completely covered with blossoms and little tiny pea-sized tomatoes. Amazing what benign neglect can do.


As of 6:30 tonight I finished the 3rd chart on the shawl and decided I’d better spread it out to make sure I hadn’t totally messed up. The color in the outdoor picture is pretty true. One of the big reasons I love this shawl so much is because it pulls in elements found in a lot of Native American basketweaving and pottery. From the center (bottom) out, so far I've done sunshine, butterflies, and mountains. There's still corn, river, rabbits and squash blossoms charts to finish. Not bad looking, if I do say so myself.

Well, break time over—I still have 5 more rows to do in order to meet my goal for the day. And since I’m up to over 200 stitches, just doing 1 row takes a while.

Knit on!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mess O Knittin'



There is just no way to photograph lace when it’s at this stage—too big to stretch out on the needles, not enough to stretch out and make any sense of it. This just looks like a bunch of strange colored dental floss.

The Olympic knitting is coming along. I had to stop one row short of my goal for last night, but I figure the judges will add points for degree of difficulty as two hours was spent watching not only the opening ceremonies, but also the US men’s national soccer team play Japan. (Yes, there is actually a spot in my house where I can view 2 t.v.’s at once. Is that sick or what?) What started to look like an easy soccer game got exciting toward the end as Japan also caught up from a 3-0 deficit. But our guys hung on to win 3-2.

As for the opening ceremonies—the best overall that I’ve seen in a number of years. I wondered while I was watching who else was checking out all the athletes’ garments to see who had the best knitted garments. My personal favorites were the scarves worn by those from Belarus (my favorite; at least I think these were knitting and not printed or embroidered on like some), Estonia, England and Romania. And the Germans have me trying to figure out how to make a knitted baseball cap. But that will have to be for much, much later.

I’m still not quite up to where I’ve plotted I should stop for my Day 2 knitting, but I needed to take a break. Most of the day was spent doing a little housework here, knitting a few rows, doing a little housework there.

Well, time’s a wastin’. Got to get back to “competition.”

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let the Games Begin!

I just finished reading the Yarn Harlot's post today. It absolutely blows my mind that almost 4,000 knitters around the world are joining in the fun.

It is now 11:30 my time and my lunch hour. As the opening ceremonies in Turin have started, I now declare my 2006 Knitting Olympics open!

Knit long and strong!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

We're On the BBC

Check out this post:

http://www.theworld.org/latesteditions/02/20060203.shtml

Scroll down to the Geo Quiz and have your sound turned on.

O.k., so you all probably know all about it and I'm just slow.

Gearing Up

Like many of the other Olympic athletes, I spent the evening going over how I’ll be spending my time during the Olympics.

First, I’ve gathered my equipment.

Fiber Trends Spirit of the Southwest Shawl pattern. Check.
Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud Autumn colorway (4 balls wound, 1 spare). Check.
Knitting needles (4 different kinds and sizes, for pity sake). Check.
Crochet hook. Check.
Yarn needle with crochet thread for lifelines. Check.
Stitch markers. Check.
Row counter. Check.
Misc. paper, pens, tape measure. Check.


I’ve carefully reviewed my pattern. I’ve laid out a plan of attack. The pattern is knit from the center back neck down (and out). By my admittedly bad math abilities, it looks like this pattern calls for almost 56,000 stitches. Divide that by 15 days (I’m saving 1 for blocking), and that rounds out to 3,700 stitches a day! And that’s provided I don’t make any mistakes. Yowza.

Nonetheless, I’m psyched and I’m ready. Come lunch hour on Friday (the opening ceremonies start at 11:00 a.m. my time), I will be casting on.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

No Fear

More and more I’m learning that fear had held me back from far too much. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of appearing foolish. And more and more I’m learning to just let go of the fear. The rewards are, more often than not, great.

This was brought home to me (yet again) today when I was working on Mariah’s second sleeve. A coworker commented on how talented I am that I can do cabling. I’m sorry but I don’t feel talented. I’m am, however, beginning to feel experienced, and that someday soon I can really call myself a knitter and not just a wannabe.


This is the first knitted garment I’ve done that has cabling; I was always too afraid to try it before now. How silly. Realistically what was the worst that could have happened? I’d have a tangled mess of yarn, and I’d move on to other things. And was is reality? I tried it on a swatch and found that, lo and behold, cabling is not rocket science.

Yes, at first I was very clumsy with the cabling needle; it took a couple of tries with a couple of different cable needles before I found one I was happy with. Both the swatch and the sleeve had to be frogged a few times before I got it right. But a little patience and perseverance, and I did it.

When I started the first sleeve, I got about 9 inches into the sleeve before I noticed that I had turned one of the cables the wrong way about 2 inches lower. At that point I was beginning to get frustrated because I had had to frog a number of times. I had read about and seen people tinking a small portion of an item and reknitting the section, but there was that fear again. Of what? That I might have to frog 2 inches of sleeve? Wasn’t that what I was going to have to do anyway? What did I have to lose?

And you know what, it worked. I tried it on my swatch first. And the first couple attempts looked and felt clumsy, but I soon picked up the process. What a timesaver!

I’ve got to start applying the same concept to other parts of my life. Yes, there will be failures, difficulties, and less-than-stellar results, but the successes—even more sweet because I stopped being afraid.

As I re-read yesterday’s post, it sounded so wimpy. I hope I haven’t bit off more than I can chew. That’s the "fear" talking. Instead of worrying about whether I can do it or not, I need to put some serious energy into actually trying to make the shawl that I so very much want and see how far I can get before I run into an insurmountable problem. The end result may surprise me.

No Fear

Monday, February 06, 2006

Competitive? Not Me



My SP7 suggested that I cast on these socks during the Super Bowl in order to start the good karma going for the Broncos next year. And so, that's what I did. What you see is 3 inches of Dublin Bay socks knitted on size 1 needles. I didn't really get going on them until shortly after the start of the second quarter as I was busy finishing preparation of din-din (ribs, potato salad, green salad & rolls-- yummers) and eating. Definitely eating.

Then, as I'm cruising the blogs, I see Scoutj's Super Bowl challenge. Looks like I participated without meaning to. Can't pass up the opportunity, now can I?

In other news, I got an intriguing email from my sock pal. She (He?) says she's (he's?) "someone far, far away (literally across an ocean)." Do I have an international sock pal? Or is she saying that just to throw me off track? Don't know, don't care. I'm just having fun. Hello sock pal.

Tonight I swatched for my Knitting Olympics shawl challenge. Right on gauge. I have a few more supplies to collect before Friday, but that shouldn't be a problem. I also spend some time looking over the pattern. Hope I haven't bit off more than I can chew. I really want this shawl. I hope I'm up to the challenge.

I Need to Get Out More

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C. /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Trekking

There will be much trekking going on around here. The first will occur almost immediately and courtesy of my SP.


This is Trekking XXL sock yarn in the Fiesta colorway. This is a yarn I have been curious about but had yet to grace my stash. It was accompanied with a note that says: I know the Broncos lost, but maybe you can start some "Bronco" socks during the Super Bowl and start the good vibes for next season. She goes on to say that it's "kind of" Bronco colors. I think it's fantastic. I like the yarn and I like the idea very much.

I think since I'll only be watching the game tomorrow for the commercials I'll cast on for the Dublin Bay Socks (I'd post a link but it's a pdf file). I've seen several versions of this pattern and am thinking about making it for my SockapalOOOza offering. This will give me a trial run.

The next trek after that will be President's Day weekend. We finally decided we'll be camping at San Clemente State Beach. I know you're thinking, the beach in February. Well, first of all, it's not like I'll be sunbathing (gotta focus on those Knitting Olympics afterall). Besides, we seem to have completely skipped winter this year. It was 80 degrees F yesterday.

And the lastly, we put down the deposit for our dream trip to New freaking Zealand! I'M SO EXCITED! Ooh, sorry about that, it's just that I'm. So. Excited. The Hubster and I will be making the grand tour of New Zealand in November. I can't wait. I'm so excited. (Oops, said that already, didn't I?)