the knitting ref

Friday, March 31, 2006

Climb Every Mountain

Since this is the last day of SP7, I’ll start with outing the fun person I’ve been gifting--Abigail! I sent out her last gift on Monday (Tuesday?), and it has been received. Thank you for being such a gracious gifted. Now that we can actually carry on a dialogue, I’m really looking forward to getting to know you better. This was my first experience with an online SP group. It won’t be my last. Same goes for whomever has been sending me lovely gifts and emails. Can’t wait!

Well, Abigail is the one who got me into the Sock Yarn Addicts Club. Thanks a lot lady. (And I mean that in the nicest way possible. ) I have been keeping track of the overall yarn stash in a spreadsheet for a while now. It’s been pretty easy to be in denial ‘cause the list includes all the yarn I’ve ever bought or been given--finished projects too.

It wasn’t until I started gathering up the info to give Abigail on the total amount of sock yarn I have that I got a little slap up side the head. I had to tell our fearless leader that I had enough yarn for 39 pairs. Then today I started gathering up stuff in order to take the posting picture, and, well . . . . See that box at the top of the mountain? The army sock kit? I completely forgot about it. That makes an even 40. Ack!!!!

Here’s my mountain of madness:

The really dumb thing is that I live in Southern California. Land of no winter. Although you couldn’t tell lately. For those of you not here in *sunny* So. Cal.? It’s been cloudy all day--in the 60’s--and will be raining most of the weekend. Go ahead and gloat.

But I digress. Moving along. I have spent most of my life running around barefooted whether it’s Spring, Summer, Fall or even Winter. Next best thing is flip flops and sandals. So making socks for me doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Since I’ve gone hard core knitting though, I’ve slowly been getting rid of most all my other socks as I make new ones. But they all have to be of the light weight variety. No heavy wools here. Nosiree.

This evaluation has also made me look at the stash as a whole. It is completely out of control. I’m currently waiting for 2 more yarn orders. Then there’s the anniversary sale and trunk shows in May that my LYS has asked me to help out with. You know I’m not going to be able to leave that empty handed. And my nephew is having a baby in July. Haven’t figured out what I’m going to do for them yet.

Still and all, I think it’s time to declare a total yarn diet. If I can’t do some serious knitting from the stash then I really am in trouble. Time to start climbing that mountain.

I Love Art

Since I still have nothing of knitting import to post, I’m jumping on Scout’s bandwagon and talk about favorite art.

This, obviously, is my favorite piece of art. I say obviously, because my son painted it. Aside from the fact that I think it's a pretty damn good painting. It’s still his only painting he’s done. He has a lot of artistic talent aside from the painting--ceramics, welding, drawing, and building models but nothing seems to hold him for long. I’m hoping he does more painting in the future. Only time will tell.

I also I have friend who does fantastic watercolors, and I love her work. More in upcoming days regarding that subject. I can't talk now cause there's super secret stuff going on with her.

As for more known artists, when my kids were little I related to a lot of Mary Cassatt’s work.

My new favorite is Emily Carr. I learned about her after reading a book called Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland. BTW, if you want to read stories about strong women, read these books by Vreeland. They’re fictionalized stories of actual women. All 3 books are very good reads.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Like a Moth to a Flame

Never one to pass up a *bargain*, and doubly so when it involves knitting, I was at one of the few stores I do frequent--Tar-jay--when I spied this on the clearance shelf. A handy-dandy mitten kit. It contains the yarn, pattern, knitting needles and darning needle to make up a pair of mittens. The colors are even decent too. There's also a DVD inside to "teach" a beginner to make the mittens. It's pretty cheesy, but it does provide some pretty good information for someone totally clueless. I don't exactly think this is a beginner's project; an intermediate beginner, maybe.

I've seen other kits like this, but I never saw this when they were full price. Don't think I would have paid full price--$12.99. I mean it is only acrylic yarn after all, and not full skeins at that. But for $5, I just couldn't pass it up.

The other goodies I picked up were 2 Gemology beading kits. The box said it contains enough stuff to make 3 pairs earrings OR 2 bracelets OR 1 necklace.

I woke up about 2 a.m. yesterday morning with chills and a nasty fever. I probably should have at least called in to the doctor, but I wanted to wait and see if things would take care of themselves. There's nothing worse than feeling like crap and having to sit around a waiting room for hours. All day on the couch yesterday and most of the day today, and I'm feeling almost human.

I'm giving Mariah a short time out. The cables on one of the sleeves are really screwed up. I need a little time to quit being quite so pissed off before I attempt a repair without frogging. That requires a much cooler head than I currently have. None of my other projects sounded inspiring, so I decided to put together one of the bead kits. I'm pleased with the finished product. The beads and stuff are reasonably good quality except for the clear beads--they're plastic. Maybe tomorrow I'll do the other kit.

Speaking of tomorrow, one of the few benefits of being an employee of the State of California is the holidays (read days off) designated by our Legislature. Tomorrow is, drum roll please, Cesar Chavez Day. I almost don't know what to do with myself. Almost.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Lackluster Tuesday

In lieu of actual knitting content, I offer the following. Just because I can.

This is Felicity aka Devil Cat aka Long Drink of Water. I don’t know how she get any rest like this, but this is her normal sleeping position. Just watching her sleep makes my back hurt.

This is the time of year I love (parts) of my yard. This would be my favorite part at the moment. The iris is from stock that was originally my grandmother’s. When she passed and the house was sold, I dug up some of the rhizomes.

I have moved 3 more times since and each time I’ve taken some with me. The freesias I planted about 4 years ago and haven’t done anything with them since. I suppose if I actually fed them, they go back to their original colors, but I kind of like the yellow and cream colors.

O.k., a teeny, tiny bit of knitting content. Mariah is progressing, Heart is progressing, the plain socks are progressing. None of them have advanced enough to bother posting pictures. Still waiting for the Silver Thaw yarn (#5 for those who asked). Would it be too bizarre to admit I took my ball winder and pattern with me to work just in case it came in the mail so I could start Orso at the first possible minute? O.k., never mind. Never happened.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!

Whilst cruising the Internets a while back, I saw the Lotorp Bag, and immediately fell in love. When I hunted down the pattern book (Noro Revisited), I thought it was a bit expensive. Personally, I won't buy a pattern book unless I can get a lot of use out of it. But once I started turning pages, I was immediately drawn not only to Lotorp, but also Bettna (on the cover), and this: the Orso Wrap Top.

O.k., so maybe not in this form, but definitely the colorway and the lace pattern. It's actually knitted up in a long rectangle and the book says that left unseamed it makes a beautiful shawl. A shawl I could live with.

There was just one stumbling block, however, to Orsa and I beginning a beautiful friendship. The recommended yarn--Silver Thaw--that I've seen is generally over $20 a skein. Now, it IS a beautiful yarn made of 50% wool, 25% angora, and 25% "semi-cashmere nylon. But the pattern calls for 2 to 2 1/2 skeins of the stuff. A bit heady for me. But the yarn is what really makes the lace pop.

Now for the good news. I was hanging about the forums in KR, the sales and shop news forums specifically. And there was Silver Thaw 35% off in exactly the colorway I wanted! Given the difficulties I've been having getting my hands on the Silk Garden I wanted for Bettna (as outlined in a previous rant, uh . . . post), I decided to shelve Bettna until next fall, and placed my order with Little Knits as quick as I could. I can't wait!

We seem to definitely be headed into warmer weather. Today was actually quite lovely. The Hubster had to go into work for half the day, leaving about 5:00 a.m. I figured the puppies would wake me up around 7:00, 8:00 if I was lucky, voicing their demands to be fed. Imagine my surprise, then when I woke up all on my own, looked at the clock, and it was 9:30! Fantabulous, let me tell you. As lovely as it was, it did put me a bit behind timewise for what I had planned to do today.

But, after a slow start, I got in gear, and got a llllooottt of gardening done. The boy child is very good at keeping the lawn mowed, but not so good at keeping up on the edging. The edges are now all cleaned up, the flower beds weeded, and the front planter is ready for planting. When I first looking to buy this house, the front of the house had great curb appeal with Martha Washington geraniums in the brick planters. The original geraniums had to be pulled out when repairs needed to be made on the planter, and alas, none of them survived. I'm going tomorrow to pick up some new geraniums. By tomorrow night, the planter should be back in good order. If the weather is at all cooperative, I should have some lovely flower pictures to share soon.

Friday, March 24, 2006

2 Decades

2 Decades. Yikes! Wanna know what I was doing 20 years ago today? Bringing this marvelous being into the world. When I became pregnant, I asked God for a healthy child. Well, God delivered big time. (I only look like death warmed over because after 20 hours of hard labor, she had to be delivered C-section. Oh, and please remember, this was 1986. Those glasses were high fashion.)

Before she came into this world, I thought I knew what love was. Yeah, right. The first time I looked at her, places in my heart I didn't even know existed opened up. Fire, wind, water, you name it, I was ready to walk through it for her.

Fast forward to today. Today, I live with a creature who can make me go from zero to crazy in about 2.6 seconds. She's a slob (which she readily admits). For reasons I don't understand given her success in all things, her self-esteem could use some work. And of late, we haven't exactly gotten along as she's stretching her wings.

BUT! I wouldn't have her any different than the way she is. She is kind, compassionate and empathetic. (Have I mentioned she's going to college to become an RN, and right now works as a health aide at a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients?) Not to mention fall-down funny. In all the ways that matter, she makes me inordinately proud.

I thank God each and every day for giving her to me and keeping her safe and well.
I am thankful that I have been given 2 decades to watch her blossom. My greatest fear when I was diagnosed was that I wouldn't get to see either of my children become adults. I am truly blessed to have made it this far. I pray for many more days to get to see just how far my baby girl can go.

Happy Birthday Girl Child.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

And Another One Bites the Dust

SSS is done!
(Excuse the naked toesies)
First the stats:
Pattern: South Slocan Scarf from 2006 Knitting Pattern-A-Day (2/17& 2/18-19)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino--red (#700); 2 1/2 skeins
Needles: Size 6 Addi Turbos

Since this was the first time doing this pattern and trying to read exclusively from a chart, I didn't make any modifications. I knew it would be too much for my little pea brain to handle. It really is a scarf size rather than a shawl size. Pre-blocking, I was a bit worried that it was too small. Post-blocking, it's an adequate 38" from the middle point to each end. I think this falls more into the shawlette category than either a scarf or shawl.

I learned something new from this project, since the pattern is a chart only. I think I can safely say I'm over my chart phobia. So much so that when I finally get to the Lace Wrap, I'm charting it all the way! I think Mama is going to be very pleased with her birthday present.

I'm definitely keeping this one in the repetoire. Next time, probably after the summer, I want to do this in the same type yarn, make the seed stitch border a little smaller and the entire shawl bigger.

And an FYI on yesterday's appointment: this chemo seems to be keeping things stable. No new growths, and a small tumor even disappeared. So, it's more of the same. Given how crappy I was feeling just a couple weeks ago, that news is welcome relief.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Somebody Stop Me!

Startitis is still running rampant at Casa Ref. In the last week, I have cast on for yet 2 more projects. On the positive side, I finished the SSS, and it's blocking as I post. And, I've been getting a few rows done on Mariah a night. But still. 2? And no, 1 of them is not the Lace Wrap.

In my defense, I cast on for 2 because I had 2 different project needs. The first is Heart ( cancer awareness, p. 7). {Blogger doesn't like the picture. I'll have to edit it in later.} I'm using Nature Spun yarn worsted weight in teal. Since the yarn is much smaller than the chunky called for in the pattern, it's a much narrower scarf. I'm also going to have to do more repeats to get a decent length. But since I'm going to be wearing it the end of April, it's not like I'm going to need a big honking scarf anyway. I wasn't feeling its full love, though, until I pinned it out to take the picture. I think once it's blocked it'll be great. {Once I get the picture up,} you may (or may not) notice that I skipped a row in the 2nd heart down from the needle. It's been frogged back and fixed. I needed to get started on this one because of the Relay for Life (see sidebar link) end-of-April deadline.

#2 is a sock made with Sockotta sock yarn--Fair Isle. Because of the self-patterning of the yarn, this is going to be just a plain stockinette stitch sock. The perfect mindless, portable project.

Speaking of mindless, that's what this post is. I'm having a hard time focussing on what I'm doing. I leave shortly for a CT scan and dr.'s appointment. Don't know what the news will be, but I'm trying to think positive.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

3 Out of 5 Ain't Bad

When last we were together, I was listing these great plans for the weekend. And I kinda sort-a got some of them accomplished.

The serious housework? I'd say yes. Overall the house doesn't look markedly better, but there are some spots that look brilliant. For instance, the shower has been degunkafied and recaulked. The family room bookshelves have been deep cleaned and re-organized. Went through a couple cupboards and boxed up a bunch of stuff for the girl child to take to Goodwill tomorrow.

I swear I don't understand why I still have some of this stuff. Although some of it was good for a little chuckle. Years ago my mom gave me a bunch of *needle arts* books--you know knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, etc.--from the mid-70's. Well, most of them are going. But I just had to share this:

A pattern for a father/son sweater. That's not what had me giggling, though. And maybe you have to be a child of the 70's, but doesn't every father you know smoke a pipe while playing foozball with his son? The hairstyles had me shaking my head too. Course, I'm noticing that a lot of teenagers today are going for that kind of look. {Shudder.} When I showed the Hubster, he told me that he'd like a sweater like that. After which I told him he'd have to find someone else to knit it for him.

Moving on--knitting. Yes. Well. Getting the girl child to stand still long enough to check on sizing was a challenge, but it looks like Mariah is going to fit nicely. But that's as far as I got on that. The SSS? 1 and a 1/2 repeats. So that's on the home stretch. And although I looked longingly at the Lace Wrap and I wound the yarn, the needles are still empty.

Watched some March Madness but Sunday's NASCAR was rained out. And the Hubster and I did have our dinner date Friday night.

So is that 3 or 4? I tell ya, I lead such an exciting life I can hardly stand it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Plan B

After firing off a letter to the knucklehead yarn distributor (see last post), I wanted to take a copy to my LYS so she would be filled in on the goings-on. On the way there, I decided that since it was Project Night, I'd just hang out there a while. I was in just the mood that I knew if I went home I'd either sit and sulk or get into an argument with the Hubster (which, of course, would totally be my fault).

So, for the sake of my marriage (yeah, right), I hung out. And I'm so glad I did. First off, Nancy loved my letter. She's getting so frustrated at the continual difficulties. (Not that I necessarily think this will help.) Second, she donated to my Relay for Life, bless her heart. Third, the ladies that came were fun, and we had a good time.

And fourth--saving the best for last--I got to see a bunch of new-to-her-store stuff as it was being put up on the shelves. I was restrained in my purchases however. I only got some teal (the color for ovarian cancer) yarn to make a Heart (page 7) scarf to wear at night for the Relay. Oh yeah, and some size 4 addi's (for what's coming next.) But, really the bestest of all, she got the whole color line of the Skacel Merino Lace just like my SP7 gifted me. Even "my" color.

When I gasped and grabbed, she told me that Skacel had sent along a complementary lace wrap pattern.

I know you can't tell from the picture, but one look and I fell in love. If I had had the yarn with me, I would have cast on right then and there.

Since I didn't, I finished the right side of Mariah (do I really have to add the link?--I think just about everyone has either seen or done this sweater), and then got one more repeat done on Mama's South Slocan Scarf.

Which finally brings us to the title of the post. After I got home and some discussion with the Hubster, the weekend is shaping up as follows:

1. Some serious housework.
2. Knitting--
Mariah, after I confirm that the sweater parts will fit the corresponding girl-child parts, it will be time to work up the yolk and hood. Coming down the home stretch y'all!
At least 1 more repeat of Mama's SSS.
And I just have to cast on for the Lace Wrap.
3. Watching some March Madness and NASCAR.
4. Getting my last (sniff, sniff) SP7 package to mail.
5. Dinner date.

Guess that's a weekend I can live with.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Warning, Bad Mood Ahead

O.k., maybe not a bad mood, but definitely not all happy smiley either.

My tale of woe? I had a plans for the wonderful weekend starting tomorrow. And what was my great plan, you may ask. Well, the Hubster and I were going to leave out midday to San Clemente State Beach for another weekend of camping. During said weekend, I was GOING to knit my little brains out on Bettna. So what's wrong with said plan? Well, the forecast for this weekend is lots of rain and cold. With the Hubster's and my respiratory difficulties of late that's not a good idea.

But no, friends, that's not all.

For once in my life, I had planned well in advance. I went into my favorite LYS (sorry, no website) and placed the largest yarn order I'd ever placed in my life. I figured that for once in my life I was going to knit exactly the sweater I wanted with exactly the kind of yarn specified in the pattern. On February 28th, I stood by the counter while my LYS lady phoned in an order for 2 bags (2!!!) of Noro Silk Garden #211. I was close enough I could hear the conversation on the other end. She was told that it would be shipped by the end of the week. No problemo. End of the week comes, no yarn. Twice more she calls. "It's coming." NO YARN.

Today, I called Knitting Fever, Inc. (and yes, I'm going to name those blankety-blank people, but you're not getting their website), to find out where the blankety- blank my yarn is. (And no, I didn't use even 1 curse word.) At first, they played coy with me and said that they'd check and get back to my LYS. WRONG! After explaining (nicely) that I was tired of getting the run-around, the lady put me on hold. After a bit she came back and said that the colorway I wanted was out of stock! With no idea when it might be shipped. Blankety-blank-blank-blankers.

The urge to curse at the moment is almost overwhelming, but I don't want to give those blankety-blank people the satisfaction of knowing that they made me lose it. I have been eagerly waiting for over 2 weeks to get yarn so that I could start my project on a specific date. At this rate, by the time I get the yarn it'll be too hot to knit up the sweater. Grrrrrr!

Ya know, you try to do the right thing and support your LYS, and through no fault of their own, it gets all bollixed up.

So now, the Hubster and I will have to figure out a Plan B tonight. More than likely it will involve working around the house, or something equally mundane. Much as I'd like to say to heck with it and go make reservations somewhere, the NZ trip is looming larger and larger.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Insert Title Here

While the Hubster is better, I am not. Seems the bug he had has caught up with me. At least it's trying to. I gave in this morning and stayed home from work. Spent the day on the couch. Between naps, I knitted.

These were going to be my sock pals socks. They may be yet. But Mama saw these and went bonkers over the yarn. (Why is it the real colors never come out in these pictures? In reality, what looks like light lilac is actually pink, and the turquoise is actually more green.) I actually was planning on using the STR Queen Rock for the mater's birthday (in May) socks as she digs them bright colors. Something these are not. I'll reserve judgment until I get further along. Speaking of further along, I'm actually ready to turn the heel on this one.

This is my second try at Mama's other birthday gifty. This is the South Slocan Scarf from the Knitting Pattern-A-Day calendar (Feb. 18 & 19). The first try on Sunday was with different yarn. Wasn't feeling the yarny love. It just wasn't squishy enough. So yesterday, I got some Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino. And the yarny love started flowing. I'm through 6 (of 9) repeats. This is just up Mama's alley.

But I haven't been ignoring Mariah. Not at all. 7 more quick inches remain to be done on the right side, and it'll be time to start knitting all the pieces together. Yeah baby!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ain't No Knittin' Here

Well, at least no pictures of knitting today. And why? Cause we are having very un-Southern-California-like weather. In case you can't read that, at 6:31 this evening it was a freakin' cold 40 degrees. We didn't even get above 55 at all today. I know I'm sounding like a total goober, but we just don't have much of this kind of weather. In fact, if you go back just about a month, I spent my day in shorts and shirt sleeves. So I think this is very cool. Of course, the fact that we were indoors all day except for one brief foray for lunch makes it very easy to have that attitude.

Exhibit B of more very abnormal weather. Hail. 4 separate showers of it. In addition to the hail, we've had rain, wind, thunder, lightning, and sleet.
I was planning on putting out my veggies this weekend, but it'll have to wait a while. My freesias were coming up so nicely, I threw a sheet over them; hopefully, that will protect them from the worst of the abuse.

And if I haven't already proven that I am completely nuts about weather, I give you this: The top of that hill, y'all, is only 1800 feet elevation. Our house is about 1400 feet. So tantilizingly close, yet so far. Supposedly we'll be getting down to 35 degrees tonight. Maybe we'll have snow. Fingers crossed.

As I said, the only foray out into the cold temps was when the girl child and I went out to lunch. We left the Hubster at home on the couch. I think he went back to work too soon, and has had a relapse. It has given me the perfect excuse (like I needed one) to sit by the fireplace, watch the weather out the window and knit like crazy. Gotta be quiet, you know, so the Hubster can rest. ;-)

Now, there's no pictures of my progress. The light is all wrong. But still, exciting progress! I am off Mariah's sleeve island--2 sleeves finished. I've cast on for the right front. As I recall, the left front worked up really fast. (So fast, I don't even remember knitting it. If I get as much knitting done tomorrow as I did today, I may be working up the yolk by tomorrow night.

But that's not all. Oh no. I also cast on the first Happy Feet sock. I'm using STR's Cobblestone County. I am so loving this colorway. I've never successfully done a toes up pattern--the heel always does me in--but I've consulted an expert, and with her help, I'm hoping to conquer my short row phobia.

With luck, there will actual knitting photos tomorrow.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I'm Just an FO Machine

After work yesterday I went to the niece's track meet. She was in 2 events--the 800 meters and the 4X400 relay. Of course, she ran the 800 meters almost the second I got there, and then didn't run the relay unless the next-to-the-last race of the evening. But I did not go unprepared. Oh no, no, no, no, no.

I took along the scarf I started last weekend. And, as you can see, finished it. That makes the 8th project I've finished so far this year. Nothing along the lines of a sweater, but still.

Beings as I wanted to gift this as soon as I got to work, this tepid attempt at photography is the best I can muster. It was done on a dark, cloudy, early morning. O.k.? At least it gives you a fairly accurate idea of the color and the pattern.

According to the weather gurus, we are in for cold (40 degrees) and ugly (rain and wind) weather this weekend. For those in colder climes, there'll be no rude comments please. :)

My friend's husband just called all excited because there was hail (smaller than peas--nothing like the Midwest) and "freezing rain" coming down in Redlands. Here at work, it's cloudy, but dry, so far. Oops. As soon as I turned around to look out the window, it's started raining.

The hubster was as sick as I've ever seen him yesterday. Ugly cold with a fever. The man actually called in sick and spent the day in bed or on the couch. I was about ready to take him to the E.R. (just kidding). He's back at work today, sounding much better, but I have a feeling that not much is going to get done this weekend at Casa Knitting Ref.

I really wanted to get some home improvement things done, but I've just about reconciled myself to the fact that since that's not going to happen, it'll be a weekend of house cleaning (ack!), cooking (gotta eat), knitting (woo-hoo!) and sports viewing. If so, I'm gonna shoot to get Mariah done and maybe even cast on for my sockapalOOOza socks.

Here's hopin'.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm Better Now

If you couldn't tell from my previous writings, I'll just tell you right now that I wholely and completely believe in God and that He keeps and protects us. Believe, don't believe, you can't change my mind. Why? Because no matter how bad things get, I keep having days like today to remind me how blessed I am.

Before I get into it, let me just say that I haven't been feeling all that great over the last week and I'm frankly a little worried about what kind of news I'm going to get at my dr.'s appointment in a couple weeks. I've been fairly successful at keeping my anxiety on the back burner though.

Until I woke up this morning, and the first thing, literally, I hear is that Dana Reeve had died, and how quickly the end had come. It hit me. Hard.

The Hubster was aleady at work, but I called him and he had to listen to be bawl for a while. Poor guy, he just absolutely couldn't leave work, although he desparately wanted to come and be with me. I called off work and had a brief pity party. Then, I called my parents, and Mom came running.

We wound up having a girls' day out. And it was exactly, precisely what I needed. After going by the Hubster's work so I could get and give a much-needed hug, Mom and I drove to Laguna Beach, and took a long walk on the beach. It was spectacular. It had been rainy the night before, and the clouds were dancing across the sky. The waves were bigger than normal, and we watched them crash on the rocks and listened to the soothing rhythm. We didn't talk about anything important. In fact, we hardly talked at all.

I remembered well into the trip that I hadn't grabbed the camera. At first I was really annoyed because, of course, there were several fantastic photo ops. But after a while, I realized I really should concentrate on internalizing the whole experience. The smell of the salt air. The brisk breeze on my cheeks. The warmth of the sun on my arms. The spectacular colors of the sky, clouds, sea, and sand. And by the time we got back to the car, I was much, much better.

After one of the best lunches I've had in a long time, we headed back home. I knitted for a while, making great progress on my scarf, and then, to cap off the day, I went on line to discover that 3 Relay donations have been made by people (knitters, of course) who were complete strangers.

How can I still feel bad after a day like that?

I'm a Mess

This post will probably be rambling and not make a lot of sense, so I apologize ahead of time. It's going to kind of be a downer too, so feel free to click away if you so desire.

I awoke this morning to the news that Dana Reeve had died, and it's hitting me hard.

Death is never a good thing, and there has been a lot of it in the 3 1/2 years since my cancer diagnosis. But whenever I hear that someone has died of cancer, I get this hurty little twist in my heart. In the early days of treatment, when I'd get the news, I'd wonder how I could survive when "this other person" could not. Now after going so far down this road, I simultaneously have a sense of wonder that I have survived so long, and a sense of dread because I don't see how I can "get out of this alive." (Yes, I know, no one gets out of this life alive--we're all going to die sometime--I was just hoping to get to be a crochety (or is that knitty? ;) old lady.)

Ultimately I know that I am still walking this earth by the grace of God, and I am so grateful that I've been given all this time to see my children reach adulthood, love my husband, and enjoy the simple things. Most of the time I'm upbeat and working hard at a normal life (whatever that is), but it's times like this it's hard, and so I grieve for what could have been. And maybe, just a little, makes me mentally pull up the bootstraps and resolve to fight harder.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Calling All Sockers

I need help from all the SockapalOOOza folks out there:

First of all, I got these 4 gorgeous Socks That Rock colorways from Blue Moon. One will be to make my SockapalOOOza socks. Here's where I need the help. Which 1 do I use? They're all so yummy. From left to right we have Queen Rock, Cobblestone County, Pebble Beach and Alina. My sock pal said that anything goes. I'll be using the (*Edited--just saw this pattern and have to do it) Happy Socks pattern to showcase the yarn. If you could leave me a comment and weigh in I can use the help.

The second thing is a request for help of a different kind. I am not good at asking for help although since my cancer diagnosis I've become better at it. Besides, the worst you can do is just click away from my blog, never to return. So here goes.

I am heading a team for our local Relay for Life fundraiser being put on by the American Cancer Society. I won't go into a huge long spiel about how cancer can change one's life. Trust me, it does. However, if you do want to read more, click here and here. Bottom line is, you WILL, at some point, know someone (probably several someones) who has or will be battling cancer. Money for education and research is desperately needed. (FYI, take a look at this year's federal budget; this is an area the prez is looking to cut.) The Relay is one way for me to do something about it.

Not that you all need any incentive (knitters are such givers) but for anyone who makes a donation of $10 or more, I will put their name in a drawing for one of the 4 STR colorways pictured above (your choice). Just click on the link below to make a donation, then leave me a comment and you're in.

If anything I've said has moved you at all or you'd just like to help, please go here and contribute.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

There's Some Serious Knitting Going On

Only a couple more rows done on the SOTSW shawl. That seems to be all I can manage to focus on at one time, so it’s slow going. In lieu of making significant progress on that, I’ve been working on other stuff. For your perusal, I give you these:

The Lotorp Bag from the Noro Revisited pattern book. This is a super easy, super fast knit. The pattern book give directions for 2 different sizes using 2 different yarns. I chose the Kureyon version. It calls for 2 skeins, and it took every last inch. See the little bits next to the bag? That’s the bits that were cut off after weaving in the ends. That’s. All. I still have to finish the lining (not part of the instructions) as I want a separate space on the side for my cellphone, and I’m adding some plastic canvas to support the bottom (also not part of the instructions). When I put stuff in the bag, it was just too droopy without some sort of stabilizer.

This is not on my to-do list of the other day. My friend had her birthday last Saturday (at the end of the Knitting Olympics). Since I had been otherwise occupied, I didn’t even think about making her anything. We went to lunch yesterday, and I got a fit of the guilts that I hadn’t made her anything. After work last night, I pulled out this fantastic Knit Picks Shadow Merino laceweight in the Grape Jelly colorway, using 2 strands held together. I love this color--it‘s so rich and deep and it really does make me think of grape jelly. The pattern is the Arches & Columns Lace Scarf from the Knitting Pattern a Day calendar of March 27, 2006. (I know, I know, I’m looking ahead again.) This pattern is great. Only 4 pattern rows make it very easy to memorize. This pattern is definitely a keeper. And for a lacey scarf, it goes pretty fast.

I got to the point on Mariah’s second sleeve that I wanted to pull out the first sleeve to confirm how much more I needed to knit. I had it in my head that once this sleeve was done I still had to make both front pieces before I’d be ready to begin knitting the pieces all together. But lookie, lookie! I already have a left side. I’d completely forgotten I’d done it. Woo-Hoo!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Books, Books, Books

In order to divert you from the fact that I have no knitting content today, I present the following meme that's been making the rounds. Next to yarn, the 2 other things I love to shop for most in the world are books and music, so this meme is right up my alley. If Borders or Barnes & Noble sold yarn, you'd never get me out of there!

This weekend promises to be much better weather so I can get some decent pictures of 3 of my WIP's--cause dark, stormy/rainy weather and gray and dark olive green yarn and cables just don't go together.

In the interim, bring on the meme:

Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won’t, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you’ve never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown+
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald+
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee+
The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
(His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling+*
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell*
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien+*
(The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon)
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen+*
1984 - George Orwell+*
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling+*
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
(The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini)
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
(Neuromancer - William Gibson)
(Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson)
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess*
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte*
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis+*
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien+*
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte+
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemmingiway+*
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

Since I can't seem to bold and underline at the same time, I put a + next to the books I currently own. I added the asterisks to indicate those books that I've read more than once.

There isn't much I won't read, so none of these are crossed out. If it isn't italicized, it's not that I won't read it, but it'll be further down the list from those I am looking forward to reading.

Love them books.

Back to actual knitting content tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

No Grass Growing Under Our Feet

Found out that the American Cancer Society is holding a Relay for Life in our area the end of April. I've been wanting to participate in one of these things ever since my diagnosis, but the alignment of the stars (and schedules) has never been quite right. Finally, though, it looks like things are working out, and so I signed up to be a team caption for Team Green. I brought home the paperwork last night and handed off a pack to the Hubster.

Fast forward to this morning. I get a call (early) from said Hubster telling me that his boss had allowed him to make a presentation to his co-workers at a meeting and he'd already collected $150. Woo-Hoo!

I brought my stuff into work and in about an hour of it sitting in the lunch room have about $75 in donations. My competitiveness is coming out though. I have to beat him in donations. Want to help? You can make a donation online here.