Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Remember I mentioned that the beads had distracted me again? Well, I am hoping that you, too, will be distracted by the sparkling, shimmering beads (and the pretty spring flowers) and maybe, just maybe you won't notice that I haven't knit a damn thing. (Even I can acknowledge that 5 rows of a sock do not warrant a picture or even much of an acknowledgement.) Of course, now I've gone and mentioned the knitting so you are thinking about it but I'd like to take this moment to point out that it does say, right at the very top of this little blog that it is about more than just knitting. This is the more part.

Spring, Spring, Spring

The roses up the front walk are blooming and beautiful. Mercifully, it hasn't gotten terribly hot yet and my stock of Allegra is holding out so, for at least a few more days, I can embrace the spring.

I've recently discovered EnnaVic (actually, I think she discovered me thanks to the Christmas ornament mini-sweaters) and she lives and knits and blogs in New Zealand AND (lovely, darling woman that she is) she posted a picture of fall leaves just this week so I have great hope that I can have fall and then winter vicariously through her while it is 4000 degrees in the shade here this summer. (Even if you don't care about the fall leaves, go see that post. Look at the jumper she has recently finished knitting. Fair Isles trains, people!! Correction: Enna tells me that the trains are actually Intarsia, not fair isles, but really how was I supposed to tell the difference from this distance?)

Ooowww...Look At Those Beady Little Eyes

Most of you will be pleased to hear that the beads no longer make me cry. (I am sure there are one or two of you twisted souls out there who relished the fact that crafting resulting in actual tears...for those of you, sorry to disappoint.) I've made several things lately, bead-wise, that I actually quite like. Most of them were for my mother and I didn't take the time to photograph them but trust me, they were lovely.

Several weeks ago, I bought some Swarovski beads on Amazon. It was a great deal 600 Swarovski beads for $41.99. How could I pass up that kind of deal?? Of course, now that I have them, my inner hoarder has kicked in and I don't want to use them. Because just like with yarn, as ya'll are well aware, once you use the stash - of beads or yarn or what-have-you - then you don't have them anymore. (Please, someone, tell me this makes perfect sense.) Sunday I accidentally used 25 of them to make a bracelet for Katy. Yesterday afternoon, I had to make a stop at Michael's because I had something in mind to make for me but it would have used up another 24 beads and I just wasn't ready for that.

I'm sure you never would have guessed but my favorite beads seem to fall into the same color scheme as my favorite yarns. (I'm nothing if not boring and predictable. For future reference, though, I prefer the term "consistent".)

Last night I made myself this bracelet and earring set.

I failed miserably at capturing the shimmering, sparkly goodness of these beads so try to use your imagination. I wore them to work today and was pleased to discover that the bracelet is low profile enough that I was able to type and be on the computer all day without it getting in the way.

So, knitting...

This weekend I need to get another row of the baby blanket done. And maybe a hedgehog. We'll see how that goes, though, as I really ought to get some laundry done. Damn laundry. I keep hoping one of these days it will learn to do itself.

Today's Quote

"If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive." -Eleonora Duse

And for Monday, when I forgot to include a quote.

"When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens." -Anne Lamott

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Delightful Surprise

Because I have been crazy busy the last two weeks, I have been neglectful of my email and late Friday afternoon I finally got around to return an email to my secret pal Joanie. Then, Friday evening, I was riding home from my parent's house with my husband (who had already been to the house after work) and he wanted to know what I had ordered from Staples. He said I had a big package at the house, delivered UPS, all taped up with Staples tape. I had no idea what he could be talking about.

Sure enough, when we got home, there was a box for me. When I saw the return address, I knew it had to be something from Joanie. Hurray!!!

The package was perfect. A delicious smelling vanilla candle, springy happy notecards (I love notecards), two skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca alpaca/silk in the amethyst colorway (the color in this picture is pretty close but you can't see the delicate sheen or the luxurious softness), and Elizabeth Zimmerman's book, Knitter's Almanac.

What a wonderful package - and a perfect way to end the week! Thank you Joanie!!

Here's my May package for my giftee, blurred for anonymity.

I've finished the second strip of the Almost Amish baby blanket and the back of a hedgehog since my last post. Yesterday evening, I completed several rows of the first of my DrDoctor socks. Not too much knitting news...which could have something to do with the time I spent beading yesterday. The beads, they are like Starbucks. You want to resist, but you just can't.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hither and Thither

Thank you for all of your comments and compliments on the Sophie bag. I am really happy with the way it turned out. I saw Lori carrying it earlier today and it gave me such a happy feeling. I'm thinking of making another Sophie bag one of these days. Maybe in August.

This has been a strangely busy week. Work has been hectic, yes, but the evenings, too. And not for any particular reason. (Read: I haven't been doing anything fun or particularly productive in the evenings.) It's weird. There must be some sort of strange time warp going on. Maybe April is suffering from the same affliction that Dr. B experienced in March....

Last week, RC posted about this shoe cabinet that she got from Home Decorators. When I first saw it, I thought, "Umm, how strange that they are calling that perfectly lovely yarn storage unit a 'shoe cabinet'." Then the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that my yarn could do with some new digs and that I really actually need one of these beautiful cabinets. (Thanks a lot, RC!) I showed it to my husband and told him I need him to build me one. We will see how that goes.

This week has seen only tidbits of knitting here and there and certainly nothing worth photographing. I have worked on the baby blanket and the socks, depending on where I am knitting. So far so good on the F13 Resolution. Thus far (a whooping 5 days in) I haven't felt any temptation to stray. 87 days to go.

I need to send out another package to my Secret Pal. I sent her her first package right after we got names and I've had her next batch of goodies - sock yarn and a sock book and needles - for about 3 weeks. I keep thinking I want to add one more thing but I haven't done it. Hopefully this weekend.

Maybe I am the last to discover this (though I did discover it several weeks ago and just haven't said anything) but Ruth is brillant. I found her via Cara and I am completely hooked. Ruth's posts on Playing with Color are fascinating. Anyone who has ever thought about color and putting together unique and/or striking combinations should spend a little while over at Ruth's. (Jessica, I think you would really enjoy this.)

Speaking of Jessica, she is new to the blogging world. If you have a few spare minutes, stop by her place and show her some blogger/knitter love. We all know how nice the comments are - especially in the early days of blogging. Be forewarned, though: She is a Crocheter. :)

Writing posts like this always leaves me thinking maybe I just shouldn't have posted right now because maybe I really didn't have anything to say. Maybe I am just babbling. It is easy to post when I have something noteworthy to write about - a finished project, new yarn, hail - but sometimes I worry a little that my blogging is just chatter and that if I were actually having this conversation with someone, they would be tuning me out about now....of course, if we were actually having this conversation, we would probably be knitting. And maybe having some wine. And you could turn the TV on to drown me out...

Today's Quote:

"Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - e. e. cummings

Monday, April 16, 2007


Knitting time this weekend was fruitful, if minimal. I did make progress on the F13 Resolution projects and I didn't start anything knew so the weekend was a success. (I have low-ish standards for a good weekend.)

I finished Lori's Sophie bag. See? There's the lining peeking out of the top.
And here is a look inside.

I finished the first row of the Almost Amish baby blanket (pictured) and I finished the first 4 blocks of row two, though I didn't take a picture of it.I have decided to only go 8 squares wide instead of 9.

Today's Quote:

"You always have certain strengths and certain weaknesses, and you want to compensate for your weaknesses..." -Erskine Bowles

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pick Your Path, Then Follow It

Nothing brings joy to a knitter's heart quite like being asked to knit something for someone. Even showing someone something you like and saying "I think you'll like this" then having them nod in a vaguely non-committal way is about all the encouragement we need. (I am assuming this is true for other knitters - correct me if I am wrong.) And of course, there are to-be-gifted knitting projects that the recipient knows nothing about and those are always great, too.

My proclivity for this kind of knitting has generated a bit of a backlog. This is no one's fault but my own and so I am taking responsibility for my knitting to-do list. I am enacting a Resolution. I am resolving to complete my current list of projects before casting on for any more projects.

New Year's resolutions would be inappropriate in the middle of April so I'm making a Friday the 13th Resolution. This Resolution will be in effect from Friday the 13th to Friday the 13th. Conveniently enough, the next Friday the 13th falls in July of this year and three months is a very reasonable amount of time for tidying up the knitting landscape. (On an irrelevant but serendipitous note, that is the amount of time I am going to need to continue being gentle to my ankle.)

So without further adieu. . .

As Blog is my witness, I declare the following Friday the 13th Resolutions:

(In no particular order)

1. I shall not start any new knitting projects between today and the next Friday the 13th.

2. Between now and 07/13/2007 I will only knit on the projects as itemized below. (Some of the listed projects are literally started - as in already on the needles - and some are just on the docket.)

3. My little Christmas ornament sweaters are exempt for the following reasons:

a. They are an ongoing project that was started before the Resolution was enacted.

b. They are the aperitif and thinly sliced ginger of my knitting life these days.

c. It is my Resolution so I get to make up the rules.

4. Swatching doesn't count.

5. Charity knitting doesn't count. (Hey - there might be some sort of knitting emergency.)

6. This Resolution is purposefully silent on acquisitions.

The Approved List:

1. Mama's hedgehog herd. I need to make her a total of five. Hedgehog-1 is complete - knit, felted, stuffed, seamed. Hedgehog-2 has been knit but not felted or anything else. Hedgehog-3 is on the needles. Hedgehogs-4 and -5 are in the stash.

2. Socks for my ankle surgeon. (This is my current on-the-go project. This has a slightly different deadline in that I want to take them to my July 9 appointment.)

3. I need to sew the lining in Lori's Sophie bag. (Not technically knitting but the knitting project isn't done until the non-knitting part of the project is done, too.)

4. The Almost Amish Baby Blanket. (The challenge of this blanket is that the Pima Cotton Silk sheds. I can't take the shedding knitting with me to work on when I have to then go back to work or anywhere else. This is at-home knitting.) 5. Socks for my oldest niece. (I have made significant progress since this picture was taken. This sock is beyond the gussets and the second is just past the cuff, however, both of these socks are on holders at the moment because I have borrowed the needles to work on Item #2.)

6. A white llama for Carrie. (She got a brown one for Christmas and now wants a small white one with a black face, too.)

7. Felted magazine bag for my friend Donna. (The pattern for which I need to work out. Right now this pattern is only in my head. A dangerous place for a pattern.)

Should the stars and planets align causing a shift in the fiber of the universe which then results in me finishing 1-7 before 07/13/2007, then the following projects are permissible.

8. Mama's Tahki Cotton Classic Colorific Daddo blanket.

9. My Briar Rose Knitalong Abundance shawl from the Cozy pattern.

10. Socks for me from Susie's yarn or the Trekking. I will cross that bridge in the unlikely event that I come to it.
Well there you have it. The Resolution. So now I've said it "out loud" which should help keep me on task.

Today's Quote:

"However vague they are, dreams have a way of concealing themselves and leave us no peace until they are translated into reality, like seeds germinating underground, sure to sprout in their search for the sunlight." - Lin Yutang

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Too Much Information

I hope ya'll had a good Easter. It was a great weekend, here. (Yes, I realize it is now the middle of the week but I have last weekend stuff to talk about.)

Saturday we colored some eggs.

I got frustrated with the stupid little paint brush and decided to take matters into my own hands. (Sometimes it's just more fun if you make a big mess.)

I had some time to knit on the baby blanket. It is going to be so soft and wonderful - I am going to want to keep it for myself!

I am knitting it in strips about 4.5" wide and then I will just have to sew up the strips. I am contemplating doing a three needle bind off to seam the strips but that is a lot of picking up stitches. I want the seams to be as invisible as possible from the front side. Any thoughts?

I'm working on the fifth block of the first row of blocks (the black one in the middle) and it is going pretty quickly - I haven't had much time for working on it. I was knitting on it at the doctor's office on Monday and a very nice lady came and sat down beside me and started talking to me about knitting. It was a lovely conversation - we talked about the best way to secure the ends at the color changes. I considered this a good omen prior to seeing Dr. Doctor. I will show you a picture when I finish this first strip....which will hopefully be this weekend.

I hope I don't bore anyone to tears with this next part: More than you probably ever cared to know about origami.

In non-knitting crafty goings on, I mentioned on Friday that I was working on some origami. My origami-ing has been on a steady decline ever since I learned to knit. I still buy origami paper when I come across something that really stands out and on a skein to package-of-paper basis, I probably have as much paper stash as I do yarn. (Origami paper is much easier to hide, or rather store.)

Origami uses only a few different folds but the art of paper folding comes, of course, in the way the folds are combined. As a general rule, origami is created using square pieces of paper which are folded any number of ways but without cutting, tearing or otherwise altering the square pieces of paper. There exists a similar but separate discipline, called Kirogami, where cuts are used to create the finished piece.

Over the years, I have folded my fair share of paper cranes and dogs and cats and dragons and complicated birds and flowers but the vast majority of origami I do is modular origami. I have many books on origami and all but one of them are on modular origami. Traditional origami uses one piece of paper (sizes vary widely) to create one form - bird, boat, person, spider, whatever.

Modular origami appeals to the technical, analytical part of my brain that gets very little exercise from paper cranes. (Similarly, it is this part of my brain that is never going to let me rest until I knit a moebius scarf.)

Modular origami uses many pieces, folded into identically modules that are then fitted together to form geometric shapes. (In rare circumstances, a form will employee perhaps two or three different modules but at that point, it really veers off into the (very loosely defined) realm of multi-piece origami and mathematical origami.) But I digress . . . . In its purest form, modular origami designs interlock and do not use any glue, tape, thread or other adhesives to hold the modules together.

What I did on Friday night was this.
One module (folded from metallic paper, 6" square)30 modules
The prescribed number of modules (in this case, 30) are then creased and prepared to suit the intended final design.

Then the modules are interlocked to create a form.

A form that I had some difficulty photographing.

And there you have it. For the one or two of you who are still awake, here's today's quote.

Today's Quote:

"To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all." -Helen Rowland

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Brace Yourself

I have knitting to talk about and origami to show you and beautiful photographs of the spring scenery around here but all that will have to wait. We have other matters to attend to.

Yesterday's visit to the ankle doctor was a rousing success. Such a success, in fact, that I am wearing two shoes today! Not one shoe and a boot, but indeed two matching shoes - a pair of shoes!! For the first time in nearly a year, my right ankle is well enough to be in a normal shoe! Me and my on-the-mend, no-longer-confined-to-a-boot ankle went all over the place today (if by "all over" we can mean plain old boring run-of-the-mill weekday stuff.)
Clockwise from top left, me and my ankle (and our shoes!!) at work, standing in the grass in my front yard, dropping off the water bill, shopping at the local purveyor of pharmaceuticals (where we contemplated buying some pots and seeds and soil but then decided that fiddling with plants would only cut further into my knitting time.) We also went to Starbucks and the grocery store and all sorts of other places, where I got right in and right out of the car. (I stopped taking pictures of my feet. I live in a small town, after all.) All these errands and no stopping to take my boot off as I got in the car, no fussing with putting it back on every time I got out of the car. None of that, just in and out of the car, driving and running errands. It was wonderful.

My ankle isn't perfect and it is still going to be several months before I'm given the all clear. I still need to be careful and take tender care of it (which, by now, I know how to do.) I'm not allowed to do any running, jumping, jogging, dancing, heavy lifting, kicking, pushing, stomping etc. etc. until I see the doctor again (in July) and I will be wearing the lace up brace
for the next three months to continue nursing the cartilage repair and for the next 6-8 weeks, I still have to wear the boot for major walking (shopping at the mall, etc.) I'm not done and I'm not completely healed but I am out of the boot and I can move it more and it is making such excellent progress. He said the ligament/tendon repair feels very, very strong and secure and the cartilage seems to be doing well and the bone repair (done in August of last year) is completely healed. I'm so happy I want to do a little dance. I won't - not for another three months at least, but I can't tell you how refreshing it is to get good news at the doctor. It may be a little step in the right direction but it is most definitely a step - a not confined to a moon boot step!

Today's Quote:

"If I have learnt anything, it is that life forms no logical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?" - Morgot Fonteyn

Friday, April 06, 2007

Making Plans

The Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton Silk arrive from Web's. Hurray. It is so soft and yummy.

I know you will find this hard to believe but I have changed my mind on the pattern. I've decided not to do the Moderne Baby Blanket. I've decide to do this Amish inspired layout instead. (I'm calling it Almost Amish.) I know it looks a little harsh in these computer generated approximate colors. Here is the layout using the swatch clips from the Misti Alpaca site. Please forgive the spacing issues. My eyes were starting to cross. This is hardly an original concept. Quilters everywhere have been using it for ages. There is a similar baby blanket pattern in either Weekend Knitting or Last Minute Knitted gifts, in different colors. What do ya'll think?

That's the high point in knitting news around here. I'm knitting on two different pairs of socks and this blanket and the ubiquitous hedgehogs. I've been puttering around with my camera, discovering that I really can take a close up picture of my yarn and have it turn out worthwhile. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to show you in the next few days.

Tonight I've been doing some origami again. Have I ever showed ya'll any of my origami? I'll take some pictures when I'm done and show them to you next week.

I go back to the ankle doctor on Monday. Wish me luck. Four weeks ago he said I'd be in the boot for eight more weeks so I'm not expecting fireworks or miracles...I'll be content to hear that everything is progressing on schedule.

Have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Easter!!

Today's Quote:

"For the Christian, heaven is where Jesus is. We do not need to speculate on what heaven will be like. It is enough to know that we will be forever with Him." - William Barclay

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's the Journey

Here is Lori's finished bookmark. I blocked it out last night and when I took the pins out this morning I discovered that, mercifully, I had dodged the crochet bullet. I imagine that it is safely tucked in Ricochet by Sandra Brown by now.

Why I Do It

My love affair with knitting has more to do with the knitting itself than with the finished object. I guess I am a Process Knitter, as they say.

It has not gone unnoticed by even casual observers that I seldom knit for myself. I am sure that on some level this is because I am generally (I think/hope) a kind person and I sincerely enjoying doing/making things for others. On another level, and to be perfectly honest, there are very few knitted things I actually want to own for myself. I realize that a statement like that is borderline sacrilege but it is the truth.

Scarves? I like them and they are lovely but I seldom wear them - I am warm by nature and do not live in a cold climate. (I have two scarfs and I treasure both of them.)

Hats? Have ya'll seen my hair? A hat that would cover all my hair would make the Cat in the Hat green with envy. Plus, hats do not flatter my round face.

Sweaters? That is a lot of knitting and, you know, me=warm by nature.

Ditto for gloves.

I don't wear legwarmers for obvious reasons.

Basically, other than socks and felted bags and related accessories, there isn't much I want to knit for me. (I did recently buy sock yarn from Susie with the sole purpose of making socks for me. Hurray!)

Maybe it is a sick and cruel twist of fate that I fell in love with knitting.

Case in point: Fingerless Mitts. I do not need or want fingerless mitts but I could not resist the urge to knit them. I saw the Fetching mitts all over blogland. Then the ever so practical and appealing Dashing mitts. Not to mention Euny's Endpaper Mitts, Wendy's mitts, Stulpen and at least 400 other amazing, intriguing patterns. Fabulous knitters Kim and Dorothy and Dr. B and so many others extolled the virtues and usefulness of fingerless mitts.

With all of those fabulous patterns I've admired and study, I (of course) decided to make up something of my own. A skein of Mission Falls 1824 superwash wool in the Pistachio colorway, my trusty size 7 Addi-Turbos, a slightly altered Farrow Rib pattern and a few weeks of knitting more off than on, I give you: Farrow Rib Mitts.
Mitts at Rest
Mitts as modeled by Lori's hands

And, by special request of the model: Mitts in Action.I took the mitts to work to show Lori and bemoaned the fact that I had knit these and didn't have anyone to give them to. She came up with the perfect recipient: a sweet, kind, lovely older woman who works in our accounting department and is always cold. Her name is Elsa and she is a knitter (though she tells me she does not knit anymore, in my book, once a knitter always a knitter) and probably one of the nicest people we work with. I was thrilled when Lori suggested I give them to her.

In the end, these mitts have done their duty: I tried a stitch pattern I've been wanting to try, I satisfied my fingerless mitts jones, I got to give a little something to an unsuspecting recipient and as an added bonus, I got to post a picture on my blog of Lori holding her tatas.

I think a day this full of knitterly goodness calls for wine.

Today's Quote:

"It is not the going out of port, but the coming in, that determines the success of a voyage. " - Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, April 02, 2007


Knitters & Good Causes

If you aren't a regular reader of Dorothy's blog, go over for a visit and consider supporting her Relay for Life plans. She is selling seeds from her beautiful sunflowers as well as some stitch markers made by me. I so wanted to show ya'll what I ended up doing with the beading but I wanted to let Dorothy post them first for the sale. So go - visit Dorothy! Buy some seeds and/or stitch markers. It is all for an excellent cause.

Apropos of Nothing

Thursday evening I went to the grocery store. I had to do some significant shopping and so the young man who bagged my groceries helped me out to the car. (I know this is a very common occurance and generally not blogworthy but it is something that has been stuck in my mind.)

Every time I go to the store and buy enough groceries that someone ends up helping me to the car, I want to tip the guy. I have even tried on occassion over the years to slip them a dollar or two, unthinkingly, and been told that they can't accept tips. I don't know why I do this - or even think to do this. There has not been a time in my adult life (at least in my major grocery shopping years) when it was expected that I should tip the bag boy so I am not sure why it feels like a habit to me. I remember when I was growing up, my mother would always tip the person (usually boy/young man) who carried out our groceries. It was always the appropriate thing to do. I've been told that, at least here, all of the grocery store employees are unionized and they aren't allowed to accept tips - Still, I just feel like I should. I seldom let anyone help me out with the groceries because, in the end, I feel guilty that I didn't tip them. (I know - it is completely irrational, but still true.) What about you? Do you tip the bag boy?

Baby Blanket

The yarn for the baby blanket has been ordered and should be here...soon. I don't have a shipping schedule from Web's yet. I'm eager to get my hands on it. I am not taking odds, though, on whether it will get done in a timely manner or if, when it is all said and done, it will look anything like the Moderne Baby Blanket from MDK....Ya'll know how it goes.

Knitting, Barely

The only knitting I got done this weekend was a bit of work on Lori's bookmark. (I've made considerable progress since this picture was taken.)It is almost done. I am going to have to figure something out about a border. I was hoping (the stupid kind of hope - the hope that is not based in any sort of fact or reality) that this little slip of a thing (stockinette from top to bottom) wouldn't curl too bad and I could just gently block it. Why do we dilute ourselves? I am considering - GASP! - some sort of little crocheted edge. I will have to get out the books, though, as I have little to no idea where/how to start such an undertaking. Any words of wisdom - quicky edges that work well and aren't too fussy?

Today's Quote:

"If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl." - H.L. Mencken