Shawls and Smells

I finished my Highland Triangle Shawl (Folk Shawls)! On Thursday, I sat at Borealis Yarns to knit because I wanted to be sure that I attached the border correctly at the center. They have a store sample there for me to fondle and look at.

While I was there, I asked their opinion on whether I should go ahead and buy a 3rd skein of green yarn to finish that last edging/border. What the heck, go ahead and buy it, is what we all decided. I can always bring it back if I don’t use it. So that is what I did.

I stayed up till way too late on Thursday because I was so close to finishing and I really wanted to see if I needed to use that last skein. It ended up that I didn’t. I had about a yard of yarn left over.

Here are some pics, pre-blocking:

highland shawl
I know this one is blurry, but you can still see the overall effect of the varigated yarn with the solid border.

I am especially proud that even pre-blocking the points on the last border/edging are really pointy. Here’s a close-up:

highland shawl

I decided to forgo blocking because of space/smell issues. More on that later. I went ahead and started up the Shadow Shawl ( I had already agonized over what colors to use and whether the shadow/illusion effect would be seen some time ago, and fully intended to knit it up right away, but then I was distracted by another project that I can’t even remember what that was anymore. If I read back in the blog I could probably figure it out.

The reason I knew this would be my next project is that I got a nudge from Thomasina when I saw her knitting one at a TC SnB gathering. She is totally hooked on this shawl, and interestingly enough, is also working on the Highland Triangle (play eerie music here). She has started a knit-along for the shadow shawl. So far, we are the only 2.

I am just loving this shawl and can see myself doing several as gifts. After the initial "what the hell?!" feeling of doing shadow/illusion knitting and having to wrap my mind around the graph, I realized that the hints in the pattern had the clues for doing the shawl so that I wouldn’t have to keep checking the graph and pattern. Now I am quite addicted and this will definitely be an easy knit to tote around – one that I can do without telling people "shut up, I am knitting!" (in my head, of course). I have decided, like the Clapotis and the felted clogs, everyone needs to make one of these.

Oh, and here are a couple of pics:

shadow shawl
What I have done so far, I would be farther along but I had to restart 3 times (yarn and graphing reading screw-ups).

The chevron will be pretty subtle because the yarns I am using, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in #70/Vera and Lana Grossa, Meilenweit #1273 are pretty close in color/contrast. Here is a pic looking at it at an angle and if you squint a bit, you might be able to make out the diagonals.

shadow shawl

I am okay with the diagonal/chevron being very subtle, but the next one I do will be more blatant.

I would like to block both this finished Highland Triangle, and the purple shawl so that I can determine the borders I need but I am hemmed in by smell. My sweet cat Arthur has been spraying in my guest room. Gah! I have tried all my tricks to get the smell out, including using a very pricey, enzyme type odor removal solution that the UofM sells, but it still smells just horrible. Horrible enough that I can’t bear to have the room open anymore. We have it closed up and we have decided that we need to tear up the carpeting. The carpeting is getting worn because it is a small room, but still.

Once the carpet is gone (soon I hope) I will be able to pin out shawls on the futon, or perhaps buy those foam puzzle square things that a lot of lace and shawl people are getting for pinning out purposes. I know I have seen them at Menards, and perhaps Sam’s Club.

The larger issue is how to get Arthur to stop peeing. He has always been a very scaredy-type cat. He cries a lot, just because people (me) are moving in the room. He cries when I do the dishes because he doesn’t like the sound of tinkling silverware. He cries to go out, but is afraid of going out and cries to get back in. He loves people, but frightens easily.

The neighborhood is filled with cats, both owned and loved and stray that keep on marking our lawn and both doors. Arthur reacts by peeing on the inside on the doors, and for some reason, upstairs too by the door (I think he just thinks door = gotta spray it). We have tried so many things to keep him from spraying – he is neutered, so that is supposed to help (but). We use herbal pet calmer sprays on him to help him settle down. We have tried the pheromone based sprays on the door and other vertical surfaces, we have tried the more heavy-duty "no go" type sprays both inside and out. Nothing has worked.

We finally took him into our vet to have him checked out to make sure he didn’t have a urinary problem, and we all decided to try him on Valium. Sad, but our other options are to give him away, or put him down. No way!

So he now takes a little happy pill two times a day and oh my God/dess, what a difference! He is like a new cat. He isn’t drugged up – he was shaky for a bit, but that didn’t last long. He plays, scampers around, walks through the house without cringing all the time, doesn’t cry at me except that now he wants to go out all the time. He is like a new cat, and no more spraying. The only thing I am thinking about doing is trying a lower dose, just because I am that kind of person – take the lowest possible dose that works.

Are you still with me?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I will be very happy – knitting on my new obsession and just enjoying life. I hope you can enjoy the weekend too.


Secret Pal Gifts!

I received my July gifts for the Secret Pal 5 thang, and was so excited. Emailed my giftee right away, and told her I would be gushing on the blog right away. Then life happened and now some time has passed. Only about a week – but still.

My gifts came in the cutest box (didn’t photo it though) a Mickey Mouse box. My mail carrier knocked on the door. I flew to the door, because a knock always means there is a box for me. She was getting ready to put a note on the door. No way! That just means that there is a delay and knowing that you have a box with wonderful things inside and having to wait the next day to pick it up is just plain torture.

I signed for the box, all excited. She said, "There must be something really good in a box like that!" Yes!

Here is a photo of the before:

secret pal 5

and after I opened them all up:

secret pal 2005

3 whole books: The Knitted Teddy Bear, The Sock Calendar, and Simply Beautiful Sweaters. A sheep tape measure (cute!), 2 balls of Regia sock yarn in colors that my husband likes and will wear, sock shaped needle protectors, and a package of plastic post thingies that are supposed to help you seam up a garment. I have never seen those before, so I don’t know how to use them yet. I will have to Google around to figure them out.

Great stuff! The sock calendar/book is so cool, the Teddy Bear book I had on my wish list and the sweater book I am saving to look through some time this week (weird, I know but it works for me).

I have the greatest Secret Pal! Thank you!!!

Now, I have to send off the Secret Pal gifts for mine, both for Secret Pal 5 and for another knitting group. I hope my giftees like the things I give them.

Now, off to do some Ebay work after attending to my barking dog.


Life’s Little Pleasures

Life’s Little Pleasures. I think that was a song that ended up being a ditty for a bean commercial. Life is strange isn’t it? It is also very wonderful, and the little things really can mean a lot.

Yesterday I had a great day. I kicked back for a bit at home. Got my email read, did some of my regularly scheduled internet noodling around. Then I needed to just get my butt out of the house. I had called to Borealis Yarns the previous night to see if they had another skein of the Gems Merino that I was using in my Highland Triangle Shawl (Folk Shawls). They did! So I knew I had better pick that up in case I had a lot of knitting time over the weekend. If all went well, Thursday was earmarked for some major knitting, as was/is today.

Anyway, I decided I had better get there before the day became too hot. On the way to the store, I just took a nice side-street route and thoroughly enjoyed the drive, instead of getting overwhelmed by all the nasty driving people that seem to be out there. My route gave me a view of a few groups of children being shepherded by adults – probably some special outings. Just like baby geese/chicks – all in a row. Very sweet.

Once I got to Borealis, I saw a friend from my Wednesday group, The Bead Ladies. Cool! So I thought that since I had brought my knitting, I would just kick back and knit. It was a lazy day there – not too many customers. Got up to get some coffee at the coffeehouse just next door, Dadders. One giant iced mocha please! Theirs is extra dark and strong. I like it fine, except my heart truly belongs to The Coffee Grounds. Good thing they are also my Wednesday gathering place, and where I will be again tonight. Anyway –

Back to knitting, sitting, talking to the 2 ladies working at the shop that day. Sorry ladies, just can’t remember your names right now. Excellent help in these two folks. A couple knitters came in for help and advice and were treated very well. Ditto for the little boy, probably a neighbor. He wasn’t shooed out of the store – treated as respectfully as any adult customer. Bravo!

Had great conversation, decent coffee, good company, good knitting time. I also figured that I might not need that extra skein, so they will just hold it for me until the end of next week – great! By the time I was getting ready to check out (a book and some sale yarn) it was already 3:30 pm!

I got some more knitting in last night, but then just pooped out – enough knitting for the day. Here are some pics so you can see how far I am:

highland shawl

highland shawl center

Before I took these I went outside to check on the dog (he is an indoor dog, but likes to be outside for a bit each day). Anyway, I saw that his pool was empty. So I rinsed it out and started filling it. Filling it takes a bit, so I decided to go inside the house to get my camera for the photos. By the time I was outside again, he had already jumped in the pool to get cooled off. He had jumped out again and had this "busted" look on his face. I think he thought I was going to be angry. I wasn’t but he just couldn’t be coaxed back into the pool.

By the time I had taken the shawl pics, he was back to his sunny self:

And then changed into his bored look:

As you can see by all these pictures, we do not believe in weed control. I just hate putting pesticides into our Earth, just for the sake of a lawn. Weeds are people green too! And when they are mowed, hardly anyone knows. I know I could do a lot of non-pesticide weed control, but frankly, it just isn’t worth the effort right now. Who gets to decide what is a weed vs a plant, anyway? I know there is probably a determination by some scientific classification, but I am just saying. And to prove my point, Did you know that dandelions were brought here because we didn’t have them?. Like I said, I am just saying.

Back to life’s simple pleasures. I have a very blessed life. I love my life. It is rare that I don’t find something to grin about, laugh about, sing about, joke about. When I was thinking about it this am I realized that life is pretty complicated. I think because we have so many options, and because so many things can go "wrong" that might lead us to believe that life isn’t good, but if we think about all the choices we get to make – all the abundance that is in most of our lives (and I am not just talking about money either) we all have so much to be happy about. It makes the choices that don’t turn out as planned much more liveable. It really is all about attitude anyway.


Do You Really Need a Picture?

Yes, I am one of the hoards of people that received their Harry Potter books.

I don’t think I need to show you a photo of the cover, you have probably seen it on just about every blog known to humankind.

The book arrived yesterday while I was teaching a Reiki healing class. As soon as I saw the package – I felt like I just wanted the world to go away so I could just sit down and read. But I restrained myself, only after saying to my student, "class is over, you can go home now!" Of course – in a sassy way so she would know that I was just kidding. We continued class, wrapping up about 6:00 pm or so. Then we gave her a lift home, and went out for some fab mexican food at a nearby restaurant.

Then off to Borders because WT wanted to buy more DVDs. Honestly, we don’t need more. I thought I would save a bit of money and unsub from Netflix for the summer, but the result is that "we" seem to have some serious craves for DVDs going on. We need our Netflix back! Tomorrow will find me resubscribing and reloading a list.

We were at Borders for 2 hours! Once we got home it was just too late to start a book. This a.m. I realized that I really needed to finish rereading book 5 so that I would be able to track what is going on.

So today it has been bits of reading along with bits of knitting. What a good life I have.

I had planned on going to Borealis Yarns to meet other TC SnBers, but decided it was just too dang hot to venture out.

Now, I am set to get back at it – the knitting and reading. But before I go – can any of you suggest a good learn to knit book suitable for a pre-teen? My niece wants to learn, and I will certainly be teaching her this week – but because she lives in Florida my ability to walk her through whatever comes up will be minimal. What I am looking for is a book with good photos, and some fun projects that aren’t babyish or too sophisticated.


Borders Have Been Started

I finished the triangle of the Highland Triangle shawl. Next was to pick-up and start working on the many borders/edging of the shawl.

I had to change the pickup formula a bit to get the correct number of stitches for each side, but it is one of those things knitters know about…. sometimes you just have to make things work.

I have done the eyelet rows and am into the lace sections of the borders. After those are done I will be doing another knitted edging in the same solid green color.

So, do you want to see what I have accomplished so far?

This is the side and the top of the shawl.

This is the bottom of the triangle.

I think it looks fabulous. I am so happy with the colors (real life colors, not these horrid photos). I am a bit concerned that the Gems Merino seems a bit thicker than the center triangle. In reality, as I look at the yarn it isn’t thicker at all, if anything it is thinner, but because it isn’t as tightly spun, it is limp as I knit it — kind of stringy. It feels almost like cotton and I have to keep reminding myself that it will all come out nicer once the shawl is dunked and blocked/stretched.

Back a bit – the TC SnB picnic was very, very nice. It is just so nice to meet people and hang out. I won a cute project – a hedgehog. I didn’t have it handy to photo. It is lost somewhere in my huge mess of a craft/computer room.

Right now I have resorted to typing this on my husband’s computer, which is here in the comfort of the flow of cool air coming from the livingroom air conditioner.

That’s all for now.



tcknit picnic

I hate picnics. My feeling is that one should just eat at home and then go out and play in the sun and air. Why schlep your stuff around and risk bugs in your food?

However, tomorrow is the Twin Cities’ SnB Picnic and I will be so much going and enjoying it!

I am donating 2 sets of my Goddess Guards knitting stitch markers to the pile of door prizes that are going to be there. Prizes! Knitting! Eating! There will even be a yarn swap!

I am almost finished with the center triangle of the Highland Triangle Shawl. I would probably be even more near done but I taunted the Knitting Goddess and lost some time tinking and reworking a few rows.

I don’t know if I dare bring this project to the picnic tomorrow, in fear that I will do something stupid. I should probably cast-on a new, simple project today just in case.


Back in the Beading Saddle

Have you ever been in a slump with one of your hobbies? That happens to me, so far only with my beadwork because that is the one that I have been doing long enough.

The last time I was in a beadwork slump I got myself out of it by taking up beaded knitted amulet bags. Then I was in a craze with those and along the way realized it was the knitting part that was what was doing it for me.

Then I started back into regular knitting and that is when all the money began being sucked into yarn shops all over the US.

Beadwork has been in the background – pops it’s head up now and again. Just recently I have felt a crave to pick it back up and do some bracelets. Some for me, and one for a friend.

So that is what I did. So far I have two done to show you and one that is in process. Here are the finished bracelets:

The instructions are from the book Beadwork Bracelets.

Beadwork Creates Bracelets

But basically, it is peyote done lengthwise and then zipped up into a tube. then you go back and do dangles and add the clasp.

The yellow toned one has both amber and citrine chips, sodalite, and glass beads. My friend Jody belongs to that bracelet now. The cherry one has garnet and faceted gemstone (unnamed but probably a garnet type).

Change of subject. WT has been thinking about getting conga drums. We checked out a used set, and felt very tempted but then the thought of where to put them when they weren’t being used kind of put a damper on the imagined purchase. We decided to wait to see what we could come up with.

In the time since, I have hooked up with friends who drum, and they keep suggesting that he go to Ellis Drum Shop. So, he checked it out and brought home his new baby, a djembe drum.

Cool! Then when we went to the beadstore he picked out a strand of peridot that he wanted to string and hang off the drum.

I guess my need to bead came in handy for him too. Going to the drum store came in handy for me because I realized the stools that drummers use could be a very comfortable computer and spinning stool. No back, but I very rarely use the back so that shouldn’t be a problem. I haven’t decided to purchase one – yet.

Here is the drum, and the drummer.


And a last pic with him and one more thing that makes him happy:

Hope you are enjoying your hobbies or whatever it is that makes you happy today.