Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Misinformation

I went to the doctor today for my one week post-op appointment. He said everything looks like it should. That's good news.

Sunday I finished the baby bib that goes with the washcloths.


Cute, huh? I took them with me to my appointment today to give to my doctor for his as yet not born baby. Funny thing happened, though. Apparently the baby is . . . as yet not conceived. Seems I was misinformed. Oh well. He has other small children so maybe they will be able to make use of them.

The Daisy Sweater in Pictures

Saturday was Courtney's baby shower so now I can show ya'll the pictures of the Daisy sweater.

Stats: Rowan Calmer in Coffee Bean, Size 6-9 months, Ceramic Turtle Buttons

I opted not to add any embellishments because once it was all done, I really loved it with just the turtle buttons for decoration. It is simple and clean and I think he will be able to wear it as an everyday kind of sweater. I have been pretty much asleep since last Wednesday so I haven't gotten to talk to Courtney and see if she likes it so I guess I will have to let you know. For some reason that I cannot explain, that picture of the back of the sweater is determined to upload sideways. Sorry.



Saturday, August 26, 2006

Knitting in My Sleep


Here I am, briefly crawling out from under the pain killer-induced haze to say hello. Wednesday's surgery went very well. He warned me ahead of time that the recovery is very painful. He wasn't lying. I've mostly been alternately sitting in my recliner with my ankle elevated or laying in bed with my ankle elevated. It is a simple existence.

I've slept the better part of the last three days so I haven't accomplished all that much knitting but I did finish the last of the baby washcloth quartet. They are very cute and soft.


I've also started working on the coordinating Baby Bib O' Love. I don't do much intarsia and this project is pretty basic (40 stitches wide, all garter stitch) but it does have 8 blocks of color, which means 8 bobbins. I have never liked the little plastic bobbins I've found at the craft stores and I have tried using clothespins but I've had problems with the little metal pieces snagging my knitting. I've come up with this and it seems to work very well for me:

Those are the little plastic balls that vending machine toys come in. My husband brought me two little Spongebob Squarepants sponges in them the other day and I had a moment of clarity. Especially for such small lengths of yarn, these little containers work great. They are cheap: ($0.25 to $0.50 each) and you get the toy inside for free! I just cut a small hole in the top, wound the needed yarn around my fingers, strung the center-pull working end through the hole and snapped the bottom back on. I've found, too, that it helps to catch the non-working end of the yarn in the lid so it stays put and doesn't tangle up in the working yarn.

I wasn't able to go to Courtney's shower today, which is very very sad news. I did send the sweater so we will have to find out if she liked it and I will post some pictures of it in the next few days. For now, though, I think I am going to give in to the siren call of the painkillers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Yes, No...No, YES

Ok. So. Last Wednesday my ankle surgery was postponed. Then they rescheduled for September 20. (Oh the tears.) I told them, though, that they could call me if they had a cancellation. Even on short notice. This morning at 10:15, my surgeon's MA called me and asked me if I really meant it about the short notice. Long story long - I'm having ankle surgery tomorrow morning. Oh I am so glad. I am just ready to have this done.

I have been knitting knitting knitting. I've finished two Baby Bibs O' Love from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book. But mostly I have been working on a little good karma project: my ankle surgeon and his wife are expecting a baby and since every baby needs handknits, I decided that I would be just the knitter to provide said baby with said handknits. Of course, my mind has been a little muddled and I am not ready for another Daisy sweater....therefore, this baby gets a set of four washclothes and a coordinating bib. Since (at least to my knowledge) they don't know what they are having, I decided on something a little funky but neutral. Also, since they are washclothes and the colors are borderline neon, they will be ok for a boy or a girl. I've finished two and have 5 rows to go on the third. Without further ado....






























What do ya'll think? The clothes are 9" squares and each as a 1.25" block of color in the corner. The fourth one in the set is orange. The coordinating bib will have a row of the 1.25" color blocks across the bottom - blue/pink/green/orange/blue/pink/green/orange - and then the rest will be all white. I pretty keen on the white. And the Sugar n' Cream cotton, too.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Crochet is of the Devil

I found a pattern for a really cute little duck but, sadly, it is a crochet pattern. Are any of you - or anyone any of you know - skilled at converting crochet patterns to knit? It is a super simple little thing (available free online, and less than half a page worth of instructions) but I don't - can't - crochet. I could probably make up something equivalent but I'd really just like a conversion of this pattern.

Can anyone help? Or guide me to some place and/or someone that could help? I have yarn - will barter.

Edited to Add: At Dorothy's suggestion, here is the link to the pattern. http://www.sugarncream.com/data/pattern/pdf/instruction_125.pdf I'm not sure whether or not you will be able to view it. You have to be a member of the Lily website in order to get to it. (It is a free membership and Lily does have some cute patterns.)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Nonsense

It has been a long, tedious, tear-filled week.

Puppy: Still confined to cage.
Ankle: Still un-surgeried. (tentatively rescheduled for September 20th but hopefully it will happen sooner.)
Optimism: Sorely lacking.
Attitude: Foul. (The jury is still out on which is worse, the general unpleasantness or the crying. I say the crying.)

Last night, I went to a San Francisco Giants game with my brother, Chad, and his wife, Lori, and my twin sister Katy. So nice to get away and just chill out for a little while. An evening with these three goes a long way to improve one's attitude. And the Giants won so that was good.

There hasn’t been much knitting going on this week. There has been a fair amount of sitting, holding my knitting in my lap but I can assure you, these pictures would not be interesting. Oh, I did knit a baby bib on the way to/from the game. That was nice, quick, absent-minded knitting.

So, in lieu of actual blog content, I provide you the following list of nothing important.

Favorite Yarn to Knit: Rowan Calmer, of course! With the Cotton Classic coming in a close second. (By the way, the blue block is coming along quiet nicely.) Though lately I have been knitting with a lot of the Sugar n’ Cream cotton. I’ve been making some tidbits for babies I know. I guess this is my favorite yarn for the money. At least for now.

Favorite Needles: AddiTurbos. Hands down my favorite. Worth every pricey penny.

Favorite Knitting/Yarn Accessory: I got a ball winder for my birthday and I love it. But I would love it even more if I had a spindle to go with it. I’ve been eyeing one over at Elann and I’m sure I’ll break down and buy one soon (you know how it is – something always coming up that, sadly, manages to take priority over a spindle.)

Favorite Pet: Sally, of course. Thank you all so much for your sweet comments and emails and for your thoughts and prayers for the baby dog. She is doing ok – hates the cage, loves the little treats we give her the medicine in. (Which is lucky for us since she is taking 8 pills a day for now.) I can’t really say one way or the other if she is improving much. She is so much perkier, though, so I have to believe that is a good sign. She is still unsure of her back legs but she isn’t acting so tender as she was before.

A Cool Place You’ve Probably Never Heard of: The House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. We visited there once when we lived in Genoa City, Wisconsin (just up the road from Lake Geneva) when I was in elementary school. I’d love to make a trip back there one day – both to see the House and just to visit the area. It is beautiful there.

Guilty Pleasure (TV): Big Love. I haven’t heard anything about the new season, though. Also, lovelovelove House. And that season premiere is September 5 at 7:00 p.m. I just love Hugh Laurie. Have ya'll ever seen any of his work for British television or read any of his writing? If you haven't you should.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Colorific



Ya'll, if you are of the mind to pray for little dogs, please say a little prayer for Sally. Reader’s Digest Condensed: She went to the vet today. She has two broken vertebrae and a crushed disc in her spin. The doctor recommends $5000 worth of surgery. (Yes, seriously.) We are going to see if we can help her heal without surgery. She is home and confined to the cage (thanks, Lori) for 2 weeks on steroids and sedatives. Those sad, hurting eyes are breaking my heart.


On a more uplifting note:

In real estate, there is a concept known as Highest and Best Use. It is a principle that basically states that the value of a property is based on the fair market value of the property when the use of the property that yields the maximum possible value. For example, if you have a residential property on a major commercial thoroughfare, the Highest and Best Use – the use for the property that would yield the greatest return – may not be a residential use.




This is the Tahki Cotton Classic I have been stockpiling for the knit/quilt project. After some thinking and a stroke of inspiration (thanks - again - to Lori) I have decided that the knit/quilt does not represent the highest and best use for all of this cotton (and more like it, of course.)




This is my Daddo. He was my mother’s father and one of my favorite people to ever walk the earth. He passed away several years ago and my mother, his only child, inherited all of his worldly possessions. One of those possessions is a wooden ladder that he made himself and that he used for pretty much any task that required a ladder, though most frequently it was used when he was pruning his apple trees. I don’t know exactly how tall it is. 18 or 20 feet, I would guess. When I was little, it seemed like it was 100 feet tall. My sister-in-law Lori recently saw a ladder leaning against a wall as decor in a Pottery Barn catalog and mentioned it to Mama…so Mama has decided to bring Daddo’s ladder in the house and use it as d├ęcor. Specifically, as a blanket/quilt rack. I think it is a perfect idea.

I tell you all of this to tell you: I’ve decided that the Highest and Best Use for the Cotton Classic is as a blanket to go on Daddo’s ladder. I saw a blanket while I was shopping on Saturday and it was serendipity – when I saw it, I made the decision then and there to alter the destiny of this cotton. It isn’t going to be the world’s most ambitious blanket (I’m going for roughly 42” by 50”) and it will be predominantly stockinette but I am excited about it. I feel inspired.

The blanket/afghan/whatever you want to call it, will be made up of roughly 35 7" by 10" stripey blocks. Some of the blocks will be random, multi-colored blocks. Others will have some rhyme and/or reason. For instance: here is the first block:

















Screwy.

Here is the start of the second block:














It will be all blues and greens. (It is fascinating how the yarns that appear to be one color cozy up next to another color and change completely.) I have intentions for a red/yellow/orange block and reds block, a creme/khaki/tan/brown block, some more modge-podge ones. 35 different combinations so I haven't made "plans" for all of them yet. I am just going to let it come together and see what happens. I talked to Mama over the weekend and she has some sheets that were Nana and Daddo's and she said I could have one to make a lining for the back. I am so excited to see this project come together.

Wednesday morning is the ankle surgery. I guess I'll see ya'll when the drugs wear off.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Knitting as Cult

FYI:
The Daisy sweater is complete. I can’t show it to you because Courtney (the mother of the intended recipient) has been known to wander through here and I don’t want to totally ruin the surprise. I have taken a bunch of pictures and I will post those after the baby shower – August 26.

Monday I was in San Francisco for business. I drove through Union Square and in the Macy's window was the winning outfit from theProject Runway INC competition. This is a crumby picture but you can only do so much when taking photos from a moving vehicle.















Am I the only one that suspects that maybe knitting is a cult? I mean, cults have charismatic leaders we have the likes of Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmermann. They have stockpiles of weapons, we have needles and stash. They have tainted Kool-Aid, we have wine and mixed drinks. And, like a cult, we are crazy-happy when some innocent bystander stumbles into our enclosure.

A little over a week ago, my niece Whitney and her friends came to spend the night at my house. I made them help me wind yarn. And in the midst of winding yarn they asked me if I would teach them to knit. Imagine my shock! I was nearly giddy with excitement. I said “SURE! When???” Then I paused. Took a deep breathe and more calmly said, “Umm, ok. If you want.” I didn’t want to pressure them so I didn’t say anymore about it. Then Whit called me early last week and told me that the girls had been asking her about when I was going to teach them to knit. My little knitting heart went pitter patter. So Thursday evening, we got together at my parents’ house so the girls could have their first lesson. They were naturals. They took to it like fish to water. I was thrilled. I'd like to introduce you to three new inductees.

My niece, Whitney, who didn't want to learn to knit but was bullied into it by her friends.















Merecedes


















Kristin















Happily clicking away.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Moment of Truth

Ok, folks. Here we go.

I had five of these. . .















I laid them out on the toweled blocking board,
cozied them up to one another like so















procured this




















and got busy whipstitching. Here is the result.
















What do ya'll think? Do you think I should send this off to Dorothy or hide it away in the back of a drawer somewhere? Let it languish in knitting disgrace?

Please advise.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In the Words of Plato

(or, alternatively, Parenthetically Speaking)

[7:00 p.m. Edited to add photographic evidence.]

I think Plato had a touch of tunnel vision when he said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” She may be the mother and perhaps curiosity is the father but I would argue that carelessness is perhaps the crazy, big-haired aunt, who just maybe drinks too much and sometimes has a potty mouth and takes Invention to see dirty movies its parents’ would never approve of.

Remember me saying just last week that I don’t always follow the knitting rules – and (furthermore) that this usually works out for me just fine? Well, my latest foray into knitting-from-a-pattern-but-not-precisely-following-the-pattern isn’t one of those “usually” times.
I am sure that we have all seen the beauty that is the mitered square. For example, who hasn’t seen the gorgeous Psychedelic Squares blanket or stood in awe of Mason-Dixon Kay’s queen-sized mitered square blanket?

As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I am taking a short break from the Daisy sweater so that I can sent a dishcloth to Dorothy. If you missed the post where she talked about her friends who lost all of their worldly possessions during a move, you can find it here. In subsequent posts, she talks about giving some to others in need as well if she gets enough. (That soothes a little of my slow-knitter-guilt, knowing that even if it takes me nearly two weeks to get a dishcloth made, it will still be wanted.)

We are, of course, all well aware of what they say about the road to hell and good intentions....Nonetheless, when this (“quick”) little diversionary project began, my intentions were good and my heart was pure. (Do you see the sun shining and the hear the birds chirping? Do you hear the la la lala la la la lala la la of the Smurfs’ theme song?) Good intentions firmly in hand, I whipped out my copy of the Mason-Dixon Knitting book, thinking I would knit a Ballband Dishcloth. But I lingered a little too long over at page 109, looking at the pattern for the mitered square blanket. Then I got a wild and crazy idea: I’ll knit a mitered square dishcloth. Those are fun! Those are quick! And different! And easy! (If a made-for-tv-movie of my life is ever made, this is where the ominous background music comes in.) In actuality, this is where the winging it knitting comes in. The pattern calls for Tahki Cotton Classic, which as you may or may not know, I am slowly and methodically stock piling for my long awaited knitted-quilt project.

(Am I the only one who does this – buys yarn for a big project in stages? I am so excited about this project. I can't wait to knit this gorgeous, destined-to-be-an-heirloom specimen. Why do I feel so guilty about the amount of cash that I am going to ultimately sink into this blanket? I have swatched and swatched and calculated what I need: 27 skeins of the red for the main body of the quilt and another 25 skeins of different colors other than red for the additional blocks. It is sick, I tell you! On a semi-regular basis, I get out all of the yarn I’ve acquired for this project so far and admire the colors and the combinations and contemplate how much more I need to buy…silently, secretly trying to figure out in my mind when I can afford to order the skeins of the red. Is this just me?)

Sorry, back to the dishcloth at hand. . . . I do have quite a bit of the TCC ferreted away in the closet of the spare bedroom. But I am a selfish hoarder. I refused to part with enough of my Tahki Cotton Classic to make a dishcloth for someone in need. (I know I know! You are thinking, “What a bitch.” You are probably right.) I do have some really great pale pink/white/yellow/hot pink superwash wool by Lang (with which I am willing to part) that I got last fall for an ill-fated jab at knitting socks for my niece (sorry, Whitney!) I made a washcloth for a friend’s baby from the other skein and it was amazingly soft and nice. Ahoy! The sock yarn it is!

With (relatively) great enthusiasm, last Wednesday morning, at 5:00 a.m. I cast on 72 stitches, while waiting in the same day surgery for my husband to have a minor procedure (he is fine – just an epidural for back pain…), and off I went.

The second row of the pattern was my down fall. (It was 5:00 a.m., people, and the chick at the same-day surgery that makes the coffee for the waiting room was sick that day! This was also the morning following the crash of the air conditioner.) It says “Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Purl” And my sleep and coffee deprived brain, momentarily distracted by the ants parading across the arm of the chair – in the waiting room, of the HOSPITAL – thought, “Purl? Purl my ass. Knit!! Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Knit! It won’t matter! The purl, the knit…they are practically the same…Right?”

In case you missed the memo: The purl, the knit…they are not the same.

Of course, I didn’t really think this through until much later…I mean much MUCH later (about halfway through the third mitered “square”). Apparently still addled by the lack of sleep and lack of coffee I finished one square, promptly set it aside without too much thought and proceeded to do about 8 rows of the second square at the hospital, then the rest of the second and the third that evening at a friend’s house, mostly with my eyes closed, I guess. (Maybe if I had gone on to bed when I should have, I could have avoided this.)

That Thursday after work, when I came home (to our friends – our A/C was still down), I decided to lay out the “squares” and decide what would go where. That is when I discovered this…


Knitting the purl rows apparently (who knew?!?!?) jacks up the gauge. Aren’t they nice? Mitered… diamonds. Knit does not equal purl. Here we are – four million words later – finally getting to the point:

I decided ripping and starting over was not an option. (This was supposed to be a simple, quick project.) Instead, I would improvise and make it something new. I decided that, with these colors, they would make a lovely flower-ish shaped dishcloth. After I post this diatribe to Blogger, I am going to finish knitting the last … petal. (It has been a busy week. I haven’t knitted much.) I will show ya’ll the final result in the next few days and you can tell me if it is a disgrace to knitters everywhere or if I should stick it in the mail to Dorothy.

I bet you thought I was never going to get back around to Plato, huh?