Friday, February 23, 2007

Stormy Weather

Full disclosure: While this blog generally qualifies as a knitting blog, there is nothing of particular knitting interest going on here right now (except for the quote at the bottom). Please don't be disappointed.

Regarding the ladies room incident in the previous post, I wasn't upset by what she said, in case you were wondering. I thought it was hilarious. I think mostly because, in my pre-crippled days, I have had the same thought - - I've just managed not to blurt it out like that! :)

Just yesterday morning, I posted about the rain and sadly noted the lack of thunder and lightening. No sooner had I posted that and gone about my day's business that this happened.

Actual weather!! Me and Lori had to go outside and stand on the stoop and watch it coming down. At first everyone said "Look! It's hail!" but being the obsessive compulsive neurotic that I am, I was struck by the nagging thought that I maybe learned one time that hail was something more elaborate than this. So I went over to wiki, of course, and discovered that what we got was actually sleet probably (based on my amateur meteorologist skills) and not in fact hail. But I don't care!

I don't have any pictures of it but you should also know that there was THUNDER and lightening!! Twice! Whoooo-Ray!

Today is sunny and mild but I still have my pictures from yesterday to hold on to!

If you want to see a super hilarious knitting related photograph, go visit Robyn at Knits with Corn.

Today's Quote:

"Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while, then take up the sock again." - Dorothy Day

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nothing to Say

Last night, I went out to dinner with my husband and my parents. When we got there, I went to the ladies room. As both stalls were occupied, I waited patiently on my crutches over by the paper towel dispenser. After just a few moments, a 60ish lady came out of the handicapped stall. She smiled at me standing there and then in the sweetest voice said, “Ahhh. I always feel so guilty when I use the big stall and then come out to find a crippled person waiting.”


I don’t have much knitting to talk about. I have been working on the Kool-Aid dyed sock but my progress has been slow, owing to the fact that I am still buried at work and to the fact that, inexplicably, I got distracted by some beads again. Yes, I said beads. I’ve heard it said that the devil is in the details but I am more and more convinced that the devil is in the bead store.

It is raining here. At long last. It is a beautiful hard, soaking rain. The kind where the sky got dark and heavy looking before it started raining. One of the things I miss the most about the South – or even the Midwest, for that matter – is the thunderstorms. Today there is no thunder and lightening but at least we have wonderful, blessed rain.

Todays' Quote

"I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes." - Edna St. Vincent Millay

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Like a Chicken With Its Head Cut Off *

It has been a crazy, hectic, jam-packed, busy week around here. And I am so damn glad for it, I can't even find the words. Every night this week (ok, so there have only been 3 so far...) I have crawled into bed thoroughly exhausted. At work this week, things have been busy. Barely-time-to-go-pee-much-less-leave-for-lunch, sort of busy and it is thrilling.

I know there have been times in my life (even here on this blog) that I have bemoaned the fact that I was too busy at work but after all this time of being barely able to do stuff, crying every time the wind blew my skirt up, it feels great to be buried in my work. It is refreshing to feel necessary, I guess.

Of course, days like that at the office and two evenings in a row of commitments away from home, don't translate to very much knitting. In fact, a generous estimate would say that I've knit maybe 10 rows of a sock in the last week. Crazy, but great in its own way. And the tears have largely subsided. I can still feel them bubbling just under the surface but they are basically in check, which is good.

My friend Kim has an excellent policy: just because you don't have time to knit, doesn't mean you shouldn't have more, new, fabulous yarn. I am still on my crutches so I'm not doing much shopping. Lucky for me, I have wonderful knitting friends out there. Yesterday I received a beautiful, deliciously soft package in the mail.
...the yarn I won from Susie. Both skeins are absolutely superbly gorgeous. The skein on top is 475 yards of of a 50/50 merino/tencel blend in Susie's Flash colorway and the bottom skein is 400 yards of 100% merino superwash in the Am I Blue? colorway. Thank you so much, Susie! the yarn is beautiful and your kindness and generosity are unmatched. Congratulations again on your first 2000 comments!

Speaking of my crutches (I did...right up there before the picture of the yarn) I only have to be on crutches two more weeks. My doctor actually told me that news last week but I am so excited/nervous/anxious about it, I've not said much about it. I go back to see him on March 8, but in the mean time, on February 28, I get to start walking in my boot. Who knew a girl could feel such glee anticipating an undetermined number of days in a moon boot.

Thank you all so much for your encouraging words and your kindnesses in the last several months. For the first time in a very, very long time (well, almost a year) I am starting to feel some optimism. Of course, there are those weak moments when I worry that the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train but mostly I'm feeling great about it.

And just when I think I have nothing to blog about, here I am prattling on again...

Today's Quote is in honor of both my busy week and Susie:

"To sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub." -William Shakespeare, from Hamlet

*Mike the Headless Wonder Chicken photo from Wikipedia.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ignorance is Bliss & All That

In her Thursday post, Dr. B talks about Testing it Out. About not just racing ahead with something willy-nilly*, but actually planning and carefully preparing for projects, thereby minimizing the chances of turning your project into a muddled less-than-perfect mess.

Normally, I am a testing-it-out sort of girl. (I've told ya'll about my cautious nature plenty before so this should come as no surprise to anyone who's read more than, say, two posts on this little blog.) Normally, I would not have purchased yarn and then, within 24 hours of first opening the package, have the yarn out in my kitchen, mistreating it. I guess right now does not qualify as "normally" because, also as previously mentioned, I've attempted to overdye my Lisa Souza yarn.

See, I was having a weak moment when I decided to futz around with this yarn. I was contemplating how to remedy my color issue on Tuesday and then on Tuesday evening, I had a bit of a bad crafting experience. Katy and Lori (not normally known for their craftiness) have decided to embrace their inner Jackie Guerra and have taken up beading. I say this with all sincerity: they are both quite talented with the beads. They both have an eye for the color combinations and the do-you-use-wire-or-do-you-use-stretchy-fishing-line type decisions. I got caught up in their enthusiasm and agreed to go with them to Michael's...where I spent $56 on beads and paraphernalia (I know! I know! Consider the yarn budget!) We eagerly headed to Katy's house for a little quality sisterly crafting time.

It was a disaster, ya'll. I wish I could say that I enjoyed the beads. That I was happily surprised and this new little adventure. It didn't happen. After 7 straight hours of beading, I was in tears (surprise, surprise) and using all sorts of unladylike words. I am kidding, it was really only 2 hours, I think, it just seemed longer...but I'm not kidding about the tears or the unladylike words. By the time the crafting was done for the evening, I'd sold all of my newly procured beads to Katy and vowed never to bead again.

So when I got to the house, I was in desperate need of comforting so I turned to the warm, soft arms of my beloved yarn. I looked up the Kool-Aid dying instructions on Knitty, grabbed my yarn and set to work. That first go ended in mediocre results but last night was a different story.

(Bottom skein is the original color, top skein the doctored version.)

It isn't illustrated well by this picture but the color is quite a bit darker. I am really happy with the results. It is a deep red, with the slightest hint of a rust undertone. It is now wound in a tidy center pull ball and ready to become socks.

This evening, I was doing some additional reading about Kool-Aid dying. Nearly everything I read emphasized that Kool-Aid dying only works on protein fibers. In fact, one tutorial I read said absolutely this method wouldn't work on superwash yarns or blends. This yarn is a 75%/25% superwash wool/nylon blend. Had I read this tutorial earlier, I wouldn't have even tried.

For once, I am glad I threw caution to the wind. In fact, I am considering ordering some Bare yarn from KnitPicks soon. I am a sucker for a new magic trick.

Today's Quote

"Here's to those who wish us well, and those that don't may go to hell." -Patsy Cline, attributed

*Have ya'll read Izzy Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt? I read it the first time in junior high and then again late just because. I think it is a young adult novel but it is an excellent book. If you are looking for a quick read, this is a very good story and well written, as is standard for Cynthia Voigt.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Yarn May Not Stop the Tears...

...but it is very absorbent.

I have been very weepy for the last two weeks.

Not long ago, a friend of mine was feeling a little hormonal and weepy. When she was telling me about it, she said that it made her cry to talk about the crying. I was sympathetic but I didn't get it. Why did talking about the crying make her cry? I still don't know the why but I know the feeling. Typing about the crying can (theoretically, of course) prompt the same phenomenon. I know that the tears, the emotions, can be blamed largely on the ankle surgery, the pain, the pain medicine, the disruption in my routine (I am a lover of the regularly rhythms of my life), the stress, the crutches, the frustration, the not being able to drive, the Little House on the Prairie reruns on the Hallmark Channel...And just as soon as I think I have figured out all the things that might possibly set me off, something new pops up.

I can acknowledge all these things and yet, I cannot put a cork in the tears. I can laugh about it but it doesn't stop it. Weird. I don't think there is anything wrong with me (before anyone asks, yes, I have talked to my doctor about it and I really am ok) but it has given me bit of a new perspective about myself. I have a bit better grasp on it. I am more aware of that lump that rises in my throat and manage to guard myself, at least, from prying eyes. I know it will go away eventually, but for now, I've got the waterproof mascara and a good stock of Kleenex.

I haven't talked about this here...actually, I haven't talked about it much at all except to my sister-in-law (poor dear) and a bit to my sock guru...but what's a diary (even a public online diary) good for if not to be a place to be painfully honest with oneself? There are several reasons I have haven't blogged about it. Chief among those reasons:

1) Because, really, if I don't write about it, I can pretend it isn't happening. Denial, I know.
2) When people talk about being emotional, others (kindly) offer sympathy and compassion. And for those of you who have never been inexplicably weepy, let me tell you: sometimes the kindness and sympathy only inspire more tears.
3) I am not particularly proud of not being able to keep my emotions in check. A day or two a month, no big deal. A death in the family, free pass. But two weeks? Bah! Ridiculous!
4) I keep thinking I will wake up and it will have passed.
5) Talking about crying is boring. Yarn? Hedgehogs? Socks? Frankenankle? Much more interesting subject matter.

Oh well. There it is. Feel free to ignore the preceding portion of this post.

Lucky Me

Hurray! I'm a winner!! I've always thought that blog reading is its own reward but today I learned that, occasionally, there is more reward. I was Susie's 2000th commenter and now she's sending me two skeins of her handpainted sock yarn. I'll show ya'll pictures as soon as it arrives. If you have never visited To Knit, Perchance to Dream, you should. She always has something interesting going on - knitting, spinning, dying, family goodness - and she is as sweet as can be. Thanks again, Susie! Here's to your next 2000 comments...and the 2000 after that!!


I want to knit this baby sweater
from Weekend Knitting for a friend's baby, due in May. The pattern calls for Hemp for Knitting. I've never knit with hemp and while it is comparatively reasonably priced, I wasn't ready to make the 6 skein investment until I knew how it felt in my hands. I ordered these two skeins
from the Yarn Market and sometime in the next few days (weeks?), I am going to knit up a good sized swatch and wash and dry it and see how I feel about it. Does anyone have any experience with this yarn? Also, do any of you have any experience with the Yarn Market? I'm interested in thoughts on both.

Lucky Me, Reprise

Kim sent me a birthday present. Yippee!!! I love presents. This present? Yarn! Alpaca Yarn!!

It is so soft, almost delicate, but not fragile. It is so beautiful. I can't stop touching it to my face. Thank you, Kim!

Special Delivery

My Lisa Souza yarn arrived.
It is very soft. I'm so eager to turn this magnificent stuff into socks. (Lisa, if you are by chance reading this, please skip ahead to the Today's Quote at the bottom of this post.) I love the yarn and the color is lovely. Unfortunately, the color is a little pinker/more orange than I wanted for a pair of men's socks. DISCLAIMER: Lisa told me that this colorway (St. Valentine's) was more of a "true red" and if I was looking for a richer red, I might consider the Garnet. Based on the color I was seeing on my screen, I felt pretty confident going with this color. This is absolutely not a complaint about Lisa Souza or her yarn. The yarn is wonderful and Lisa's customer service is unmatched. Any dissatiscation I have with my yarn is 110% my on resposibility. Whatever the reason, the yarn I have is not quite the yarn I want so rather than order more yarn or make socks that would just be a disappointment to me, I decided to try to overdye the yarn and darken it up. I overdyed it last night using 4 packs of Cherry Kool-Aid. It took the color well but the color didn't end up any darker. Tonight, I overdyed it again with 6 packs of Black Cherry Kool-Aid. It is now busily drying. I'll let ya'll know how it goes. I am feeling pretty good about it. So far, it is looking like I'm getting good results.

Dying yarn with Kool-Aid ranks right up there with felting on my list of knitting magic.

Old Man Winter

We finally got a little rain here today. This is what passes for "winter weather" in Northern California. That said, I am eagerly watching all of your blogs for cold, snowy, frosty winter pictures. (Dorothy is having a gorgeous Canadian winter.) If I can't get snow here (and I can't) I will have winter vicariously through my knitter friends in blogland.

If ya'll are feeling the chill, let me know and I'll sent you a little sunshine! :)

Today's Quote

I didn't want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn't know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I'd cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Blathering On and On

Self-Portrait Sunday

1. I can be very possessive.
2. I can also be horribly, hatefully mean if I choose to be…
3. …And spiteful. (And no, I am not particularly proud of 2 and 3.)
4. I almost always expect the best of people…
5. …this frequently leaves me disappointed or with hurt feelings.
6. I am a stickler for the rules. (speed limit, grammar….)
7. I love (relish, really) explicit, detailed, written instructions. I think this may be part of the reason I haven't embraced knitting charts. I like the written directions.
8. I am a neurotic list maker. I love lists. During particularly hectic/stressful times, I have been known to put things on my to do list that I have already done, just so I have something to check off as done.
9. I do modular origami. I do the regular kind, too, but modular is my favorite. (I do a lot less origami since I learned to knit.)
10. I am a visual learner. Most of the time, if you show me something once, I will be able to do it from then on. Usual.
11. I like houseplants . . . but just in a vague, “oh isn’t that nice” sort of way. My husband is the only reason that our houseplants stay alive.

Some Knitting Pictures

I have some pictures to share with ya'll. I feel like I have been doing a crazy lot of knitting lately but then when I got the pictures together, there really isn't that much to show. Whatever. Here goes.

I've made some fun fur hats for Kate's project. These two are from the Patons ChaCha, in Salsa.

This one, which I have since finished but didn't take a new picture of, is black Patons Allure combined with a partial ball of purple fur and lime fur.
I have a little more fun fur laying around and may decide to knit another hat before the 28th of February but for the time being, I am going to get these in the mail.

Earlier this week, I finished my mother's socks. (I believe I heard the angel choruses singing when I was weaving in the final toes.)
I took them to her and she (not at all reluctantly) put them on immediately. She declared them very comfortable and a good fit. And really, what more could a knitter ask for with her very first attempt at socks?

The sock minutia:
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the Peacock colorway
Needles: Size 0, Susan Bates metal dpns.
Pattern: A basic sock pattern, spoon fed to me by RC. (Thanks again!)
Review: I love this yarn. It is very soft and dreamy to work with. As a general rule, I am a comparatively tight knitter. I would not use Size 0 needles again with this yarn. The final socks were pretty thick/sturdy, and while they are excellent socks, they are more suitable for house socks. They probably wouldn't be very comfortable in her average shoes. I am sure I will use this yarn again (because I have several skeins of it and it is fabulous) but I will use the Size 1 needles.

After finishing the socks and the hats, I was feeling a little restless. (Do you ever get like that, after you finish a project, not sure what to start next?) So, I worked on a hedgehog and then another little something I am working on and then I got to thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) and I decided that the next time I knit socks for someone, it would be nice to have a little knitted something to put them in.

Sidenote, I can't remember if it is in the book Weekend Knitting or in Last Minute Knitted Gifts but one of talks about wrapping knitted gifts, and the added touch of a knitted receptacle. That's what got me thinking about this.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. . . I came up with the idea of making a little felted pouch/container/bag. Here it is.

Front & Back, Pre-felting:
After I Sewed Them Together: Post-felting, Front:
Back: So what do you think? Silly? Lame? A waste of knitting time?

Personally, I am pretty happy with the results. It is actually exactly what I was going for.

The details.
Yarn: Cascade 220, navy and green (I can't remember the specific shades.)
Needles: Size 7 Knit Picks Options (which I got from my sister for Christmas)
Pattern: My own design (which I am happy to share with the world. I created it in an Excel file, though, and don't know if I can post an Excel file on the blog. I am sure with the new blogger and being tied in with Google and all, there is probably a way. I just don't know it. I can convert it probably, but I just haven't fiddled with it. I just completed the pattern yesterday afternoon.)
Size: Pre-felting 8.5" tall by 7.5" wide (exculding the button tab on the front.)
Post-felting 6.25" tall by just shy of 6" wide.
Notes: I am not a fan of intarsia. For some inexplicable reason, whenever I do intarsia, the stitches of the inlayed color look all wonky. The only satisfactory solution I have come up with for me is to felt anything that I do intarsia. Because it is all pretty close together, I used one one ball of navy and one ball of green and carried along the back. For the sickos among you who like to see the dirty details of the back of the work, here you go.

So, all in all, a successful experiment.

I don't knit from charts but I laid this out in excel, drew it basically, and then wrote out the instructions from that.

Whew!! This has been a long and rambling post. Thanks for sticking it out to the end. I am going back to work who knows when I may post again. Have a great week!

Today's Quote:

“If the work of God could be comprehended by reason, it would be no longer wonderful, and faith would have no merit if reason provided proof.” Pope Gregory I, c. 600

Friday, February 02, 2007

Groundhog Day


Yesterday was my birthday. It was a peaceful and perfectly pleasant day. Since I'm still not allowed to go back to work, my husband took me to my mother's for the day so I wouldn't have to hang out alone all day. Then we went over to a friend's house and had dinner. A lovely start to a whole new decade for me.


I have been knitting quite a bit this week but I haven't taken the time to take pictures. I'm working on hats for Kate. I think this is one of the finest projects around. I have also been working on a pattern of my own design, for a friend. I will have knitting pictures to post this weekend.

For the Love of the Bandwagon

This morning I saw that the Yarn Harlot is once again participating in the Annual Brigid in Cyberspace Poetry Reading. This is the Second Annual event, it seems. There are so many options of poem's and nearly impossible to decide. I was looking for something serious and lyrical and lovely but meaningful and beautiful. Something obscure and highbrow. Then, I thought of this poem and decided to go a different direction.

Here is an oldie but a goodie, that my father has always been particularly fond of reciting.

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
He came and killed those two dead boys
If you don’t believe my story is true,
Ask the blind man, he saw it, too.

Today's Quote:

"Dreams that do come true can be as unsettling as those that don't." Brett Butler