Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dentist knitting

I had started the pair of socks that shall be known as humming to take to the dentist yesterday. Unfortunately, I'd knit more on the plain part than I should have. I realized that it was NOT going to carry me through the dental work. So I grabbed cotton yarn and needles on the way out the door and cast on for another Tribble. Started knitting away. And knitting. He needed to do a lot of work on that poor tooth.

I learned the following things while knitting without a chance of seeing my knitting (non-knitters, ignore all but the first one):
  • trying to pass the ball of yarn through the last stitch requires grabbing the CORRECT ball of yarn. You see, there was also another TWO balls of yarn in my little bag, and I carefully lifted the wrong one through that stitch and started pulling. And pulling. Finally gave up and stuffed the rotten thing in my bag. You know that cotton can make a mess when it isn't corralled, don't you? It did.
  • I can do an SSK, but it takes more thought than a k2tog;
  • I counted stitches to tell which row I was knitting. Counting helped me concentrate on knitting instead of the dentist, and if the row was coming up short a stitch, it meant I was on the pattern row;
  • a normal bind-off didn't take much effort, in fact, it was looser than my normal one;
  • my fingers are smarter than I think they are!

Another rotten mess straightened up last night. I am not good at winding a center pull ball on my own. Isabel tried a couple of times. I understand the theory, but seem to fail practicum. I rolled up a skein while at Nathan's. When I started knitting it I realized I made not been successful again. sigh I wound up as much as possible on the ball winder, then broke the rest and called it quits. Last night I sat down with it and untangled. Remembering WHY I don't like to untangle messes like this. But it needed to be done. And it now is in a tidy EXTERIOR pulling ball. That last little bit that might be needed for the socks, it would be terrible to run out!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

That lady and her camera

Nathan hates having his picture taken. I caught him chatting on the phone and smiling, and couldn't resist. Of course, with the way things go, it is NOT a good picture of Justin. But I like the expression on NATHAN's face!

These two are so close to each other, but I couldn't choose between him. He looks so serious, doesn't he. There were a lot of smiles this trip, I certainly didn't catch a single one on the camera!

Justin has found his voice! He has learned to squeal. It is hard to know without looking at his body language whether he is squealing in anger or fun. He likes the noise, but it tends to startle him too!

He's teething, Grandma's fingers were great to chew on. He is making bubbles and doing a lot of drooling. It will probably be a while until those teeth come in, but he'll chew away until they do!

But Grandma!

I believe this is called, "But Grandma, you guessed WRONG on how big I am!" What do you think? He'll grow in to it, of course, but doesn't he look bemused?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

But they ...

I was complaining in the car yesterday about this sock yarn. It is part of the Kaffe Fassett collection by Regia. He is well known in the knitting world for his use of color. Which, I'm sure, is why he was asked to put together this collection. I don't know, perhaps something went wrong between the colors he chose and the colors that were reproduced. Whatever, I was whining (let's be honest here, right?) and said to Howard, "The colors don't SING!"

There was a pause as the man searched for the right thing to say. He has been around me long enough.

Finally he said quietly, "no, but they are trying to hum."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Musing on socks

In the fall of 95, Joan Hamer donated a sock pattern to the Knitlist.  It sparked a whole new era of knitting for many of us.  Hundreds of pairs were  knit by listmembers.  When stores discontinued carrying Woolease, Knitters descended in throngs to purchase all of the existing stock. 

After a while, people began creating new patterns for socks.  XRX held a sock contest, the winning entries were displayed at Stitches and included in the "Socks, Socks, Socks" book.    Judy Gibson designed a toe-up pattern that resulted in a sock that looked exactly like one knit from the top, her "You're putting me on!" pattern.  

Some gentleman developed a machine that dyed the yarn in a pattern that striped or mimicked Fair Isle patterning!  Big stars for him!  That excited our imaginations.  When the yarn first came out, it was easier to buy in Europe than in the US.  So swaps were formed.  Those living abroad had "wish lists", those that wanted the sock yarn (and other goodies not available here at that time) happily filled wish lists in exchange for OUR wish lists.  I did several swaps with Colonel Holly Doyne -- she seems to remember the package of zippers I sent the best (all sizes and colors, based on her preferences), I remember the Regia booklets, the Horst Schultz books and a 100 gram skein of the most marvelous yarn.  It was teal/blue/green/yellow and looked like spring to me.  I was in a sock swap at the time, I knit up a PINK sock with stranded patterning for my partner and knit that green yarn with black stranding for me.  The socks didn't match deliberately, I wanted to play with patterns.  I did something wonky on the heels, but they fit well enough.  After this many years, the socks are showing signs of wear.  Serious wear, as in "I'm not sure I can fix this wear."  Which was a cause of some sadness.  And since I never received the socks from my swap partner, I couldn't replace them with warm thoughts from her.  

Yesterday in the mail came two skeins that look as if they are family members of that pair.  My heart is happy!  

Friday, April 18, 2008

My yarn weakness

It is sad, but I have realized that I have this terrible weakness as to sock yarn. I have a stash of it. I will admit to a having enough to be able to knit socks for several years without running out. Yet there is something about seeing sock yarn for sale that makes my heart go pitter pat for a moment. I talk myself out of it, so far. You will please notice that I'd like to make a promise that I will continue to do so, but... What is it about sock yarn, as opposed to any other yarn? I started to say I could understand if it were -- a different kind of yarn -- but then my mind went blank. I really couldn't imagine any other yarn "tripping my switch." I started to write cashmere, and remembered the cashmere in my stash that is patiently waiting for me to come up with some sort of project for it. Just to get it out of my stash. It has been there long enough, but without an inspiration it sits. Hm, qiviut? I knit up all that I had and gave the projects away. Sweater yarn? I have enough for many sweaters in my stash right now, I don't feel a need to pick up any yarn for that.

But sock yarn. Ah. What is it about SOCK yarn? I don't know. The fact that socks usually go fairly quickly? As opposed, of course, to a sweater which could take SO much more yarn and take longer to knit. The magic of turning the heel? Even after 90+ pairs of socks, I still delight in heels. I don't know why. But I love sock yarn.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mom's Sweater

So earlier in the week I was going to post this picture, of the finished sleeves. Took the picture, never put it up.
Early this morning I finished the body of the sweater. "Only" the miles of edging to go. Around both sleeves and the entire sweater. That may take as long as the REST of the sweater!
I wish I could get a picture that clearly shows the color. It is a mainly blue, but there are flecks of magenta and green, so it "reads" more of a teal. At least, it does to me.

I find it fun that I am knitting with this color. As I started in on it, I realized it is the same tones as Howard's vest I knit years ago o of the now discontinued color of Woolease -- Tartan Twist. That one used plies of the various colors to achieve the desired effect. The yarn I am spinning on Albert, my Victoria wheel is turning out the same as Mom's yarn, I'm spinning it so the colors blend instead of separating. I now know what to do so that I can make the colors separate, but right now I'm happy with the tweed effect. I don't know how many pairs of socks Iknit out of Tartan Twist, that was a color that several people were drawn to when I was knitting Joan's sock pattern, the pattern that taught so many knitlisters to knit and love socks. There we were, all learning at the same time. Whee! It was a fun time!

The Trouble With Tribbles

Where have I been? Smoking knitting needles, I guess is the best way to put it! I saw a pattern called "Tribbles" online at Ravelry. And one thing just seemed to lead to another then another. I couldn't make just one, they are fun and addictive to knit.Then I knit some more of them!
And then there are those facecloths I've been knitting. I'm getting a nice basket-full, don't you think? This is popcorn knitting, mindless, easy at the end of the day when my brain doesn't want to function. Last night I just couldn't face the final bit on the body of Mom's sweater. So I cast on a facecloth, and by the time for bed, it was finished and a tribble was too, all but the finishing on the tribble! Which took moments this morning. I LOVE finishing a project so quickly.

Think Spring!

Howard was outside the other day, and called me to see. Look! The strawberry plants are starting to grow! New growth is poking up amid all of the dead leaves, which protected them from frost. Whew! Winter is leaving!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Howard was been gone all day. It was a nice, quiet day. My favorite.

I called the doc first thing yesterday, wound up going in. Which would have been all well and good, but although I sat in a corner, someone saturated in perfume sat 4 seats away. By the time I was called back, I was in some distress. At least the doc now sees what happens. He was amazed that my voice was so bad and deep. I think I’m going to have to rethink how I handle the doc’s office. Maybe check in, go back to the car and wait until they call me on the phone to come back? I wasn’t in good shape, dumped my purse twice (which I NEVER do!), shaky, just felt out of control. Unfortunately, yesterday Howard had needed to sleep, so he got up just as I was leaving (again a rare occasion.) That meant I had to drive to the pharmacy, wait for the new med, then drive home, even though I did not feel as if that was a safe proposition. Usually when I feel that way I refuse to drive. What was I supposed to do? It was raining, not a good day for my lungs to walk home either, the way they felt.

Got home, wandered around, and finally surrendered. I took a nap! I don’t DO naps! It was imperative, I slept more than 2 hours. Thinking about it today, I don’t think it was lack of sleep or the new med. I think it was the reaction to that perfume. That seemed to have done me in.

Anyway, today is MUCH better. Mom’s sweater is humming along, when I sit down to do it. I have had a couple of sweating issues, but not like yesterday evening, when I wound up changing from the skin out 4 times before I went to sleep. I was running out of clothing to put on! For some odd reason, I did two loads of wash today. I finished both sleeves today and cast on for the body.

A lot of nattering, probably about nothing. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Attacked by a project!

This is partly what I wrote to Dianne and Helle, partly new rambling.

Monday night I decided to finally ball up some 5 skeins of yarn that have been waiting. For a long time for me to get a "Round TUIT." I was ready to start Mom's sweater. I really truly was. See, I had 2+ skeins (minus the swatch) all rolled. I had the gauge swatch done and measured. I had the provisional cast-on done for the sleeves. And I stalled. Big time. I was so tired, I just couldn't do it.

Showered, because I felt I was salt encrusted (it hasn't been a good time for these prednisone hot flashes. I am changing clothes fairly constantly during the day.)

Picked up one ball of the teal Butterfly cotton to do a gauge swatch. Just that. And it grew. I rifled through some Mon Tricot books, trying to find just what I wanted -- a onesie. Couldn't. Did find a top with matching shorts that could be adapted, I guess. Won't look like the original when I'm done! :)

Started the first flap, then did the second. Finally went to bed. Woke up at 4 this morning and couldn't sleep. Stayed in bed for about a half hour and gave up. I went into the other room, grabbed my knitting and a book and away I went. I we t to Kmart and picked up 4 onesies 9 month, 12 month, 18 month and 24 month Howard was at a meeting down the street. I can have enough to make a pattern in each size. If people are interested. I find it curious, all 4 were the same brand. The size 12 month was SMALLER than the 9. In fact, the two are reversed. I would say that somewhere there was a mistake.

Mom's sweater, of course, hasn't started. But I'm feeling really good about this one! LOL

I love Butterfly cotton. This is a DK, I'm knitting it fairly tightly -- at 6 sts an inch. I thought about doing snaps at the crotch, but I also remember how the snap tapes didn't hold well when I sewed things for Serena. So I thought small buttons. I think that if I do offer it up for a pattern, that I should do it in more than one color. Teal is what I have on hand. I'll have to see what I can find. I'm not doing a "girlie" color (which is all pretty much is offered on Ravelry at this time, unless I want to buy enough for MANY!) because I prefer that it be WORN! LOL

I woke up early again this morning and started in on this way a great deal of joy. Well, except for the time that I was talking with Howard later in the morning and suddenly bound off! That was a surprise. grin

It is in the dryer now, already having gone through the wash. I am hoping that washing will even the stitches, I did this in stockinette, but I really need to knit a cotton in at least a SIMPLE pattern, as it shows every single freaking tension change.

This is the first project in a long time that has grabbed me and not let go! :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

what must be learned

It is funny how I have forced myself to change in some ways. Almost a year ago (hey, I was on pred then too!) I broke that bone in my foot reacting to the timer. A moment in time well remembered.

Now, when the timer goes off, I don't go running. There are times that I can tell it is driving Howard nuts, but I can let it ring. Stupid thing rings for a minute.

I don't always learn quickly. I don't always learn well. But I did learn that running to turn off a timer can be counter-productive, in fact, painful!

Timers are my friend, but I need to be in control of them, as opposed to them being in control of me!

I did get the stitches picked up for the collar. One by one by one. A slow process, hindered by this odd desire to save as much of the waste yarn as possible. Let me think about this. Waste yarn. By definition, to be thrown away. So what is my compulsion to save it? I have ounces of this pink yarn that was given to me. Some of it double stranded, some not. I have used it for waste yarn for several years now, um, longer than I really want to think. At least the early 90s? Serena was still in high school. There is probably enough to last me until I die and beyond. Yet I still try to salvage it when I use it. Who knows. I do remember Jane Carrigan, who gave the yarn to me way back when. She had started a top for herself and abandoned it. I got the yarn. It is wonderful for the waste yarn. Crochet up a chain (I can do that much) and pick up the stitches. But, I picked them up stitch by stitch, unraveling as I could, and snipping when it became necessary. Through all of that waste yarn in the trash when I was done. Ready to go on to the next step.

howard and birds

Howard loves to feed the birds. We have 3 bird feeders in the back yard, a suet feeder, and squirrel food on the ground. The squirrel feeder was an attempt to keep the um, the um, the pests (there are many other words that Howard uses here, I was trying to come up with a "family friendly" one) out of the regular feeders. They can only access one of them, their tries to get to the others are fun to watch. I've posted before about Howard's antics with the squirrels.

He isn't fond of grackles. They are messy, they waste the food, they scare off the smaller birds.

This morning, his loving wife (that would be me) text messaged him: Grackle grateful for suet!
Howard: Grrrr!
LW: :) but I thought you smile at the thought of pleasing a birdie! Giggle! :)
Howard: You are evil, in a very nice way!

I realized that trying to pick up the stitches from the provisional cast-on (for the facing/collar of the Mermaid) is NOT a good idea when the hands are shaking from the pred. Not, not, not. I'll do it later.

I tried to knit the sheep facecloth last night. It is cute, I had some white cotton that would have been perfect for it. I made it through the first row of bobbles. And frogged to the start of the pattern. Knit a facecloth in stockinette stitch with garter edges. There was no way I was going to happily do all of those bobbles. Just not. There was also the reality of how long those bobbles would take to DRY when the cloth was used! The rest of the cloth would dry, those could mold. That is my story, and I am sticking with it. I'm not a bobble knitter.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I had planned to spend quality time today, learning how to do a braided cast on. I have decided that is better suited to a day when I am NOT on prednisone, and can make sense of the directions. Until then, I will knit a swatch, make facecloths, work on the Mermaid or whatever. Note to self: do not try to learn something when the brain is not fully present. At least, do not try on your own. If someone else is there to catch mistakes it might be different. Not today.

knitted prayers

Friday night I was knitting away at the Mermaid for my friend Margaret. It felt as if I wasn't supposed to stop. I thought of her, prayed, and knit away into the evening and late into the night.

Yesterday I kept trying to call her. I felt there was a reason I had felt that way. The phones were busy. All day. Now that is odd. I kept trying and knitting. Praying for Margaret and Don.

Last night I received an e-mail from another friend that Margaret and Don are all right, but their house was damaged in the tornado that went through Friday night.

I have just a bit more to go on the body of the Mermaid, then I will put it down for a bit. During clean-up, she really does NOT need me to call and ask for her sleeve length. If I become too impatient, I'll just knit the sleeves per the pattern. I know they run long -- the designer is a tall person (so is Margaret. Hey, most people are taller than I am at 5' 2". I knit the sleeves for Serena, Kim and me shorter because we don't NEED that sleeve length. I'm pretty sure that Margaret will need the pattern length, if not a bit more.

Friday, April 04, 2008


I like Panera's bagels. Plain. Those are safe. Toasted are best. grin Was eating one last night and broke a tooth. This is the second tooth I've broken on one of those bagels. Really, they aren't THAT hard!

I was putzing around the house, waiting for the dentist office to call. I started a batch of oatmeal cookies. I am, perhaps unfortunately, NOT a precise cook. Baker. Whatever. I tend to go with the feel. After all, the flour is more moist some days than others. I also use my fingers to form the little dough balls. Howard left, my fingers were absolutely covered with dough. Dentist called. I am glad she called, but 3 minutes either way would have saved a really sticky mess on the phone!

Mermaid is growing. There are less than 2 stripe sections to go on the body. I am enjoying this knit again. I love the kingfisher (teal) color yarn that is the contrast. I would never choose the black and grey for the body for myself (wrong colors!) but it is going to be stunning on Margaret!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

All Fool's Day

Yesterday afternoon the postman knocked. He had a lot of mail for us in the truck, but wanted us to know that we had what looked like a water main break. There is a little fountain coming out of the ground here. I wish it had showed up better. It ran down the sidewalk and out the neighbor's driveway, then down to the street all night, at a respectable rate.

The picture below is just before the dig. You will notice that Mother Nature had a surprise for us as well -- that white stuff was NOT forecast.

They started digging. And digging. And digging. 5 truckfuls of dirt came out, I didn't count the dirt going back in. It was a cold day to play in water. Although, to be honest, some of the things that they did looked a lot like little boys playing in a huge puddle of water. Making big splashes. With the backhoe. THAT makes a splash all right! LOL
Called the landlady, she had been under the impression that there wasn't much grass removed. Oh. Well. Yes. I think there was.

Someone asked if I was planning to do any April Fool's Day tricks. I think enough is enough, don't you?