Catching up

Life.

-sigh-

If you are looking for knitting content, you will have to content yourself will looking at the photos, and hopefully near them will be little bits of info.

Ready?

Life is always wonderful – every little juicy bit, though sometimes I wish my life was a little less crying kind of juicy.

Perhaps it is because I am in a particularly emotionally fraught time.  I am now in the

I can’t believe I still have my period! Do I still have my period?  Damn, yes I do…or maybe not. ARGH!

time in my life.  I wish there was a switch in my belly button to turn off the baby making parts of my body.  At 48 going on 49 it just doesn’t seem fair to have to worry about it all – especially seeing it has been a part of my life since I was eleven.  Enough is enough!

So for whatever reason, I have been crying a lot and feeling lonely too even though I am surrounded by loving friends and family.  Hmmm, the family part is both loving and crying producing lately.  But feelings aren’t rational and they are valid even if they don’t make sense – I tell myself that a lot lately.

Lately, I have been missing that closeness of being married.  And then I realize that when I was married I still felt alone, and then that thought makes me want to cry even more.  I know everyone goes lonely bits of times in their lives but that makes me sad too – the fact that we are all surrounded by so much love that seemingly can’t get in.  Why? Because.

I don’t worry about money or resources or things.  But I do tend to fuss over time, thoughts and feelings about whether people can feel and accept the love I have for them, and my constant struggle with being understood.

I know I need to let go – so I am doing a lot of Reiki and meditation.  Trying to breathe and settle and be.

Watching a movie and reading helps, but sometimes that also fuels the fire of loneliness.  Most movies and books are about  miss communication or lack of communication, longing, heart break, you know, LIFE.  But one of my biggest beefs about movies and books is the drama of it all, all the withholding of emotions – not communicating true feelings – ACK!

So then I turn to the peaceful meditation of my knitting, or even just getting onto Ravelry and looking at everyone’s beautiful creations, and I start opening up my knitting magazines and books and perusing my stash, making plans.  And usually peace comes back.  I just love all the parts of a project, the planning, the yarn, the process and the finishing.

I have asock-havana-2010ccomplished a few things lately.  Here they are:

This is a modified version of Charlene Schurch’s Ridged Feather from her book, Sensational Knitted Socks. It is my go to pattern because I love the way it fits and I have knit it so many times I don’t have to think it through.  It looks wonderful in striped yarn or variegated.  I have the pattern written up in code in my little sock knitting notebook.

I cast on the mate right away and can hardly wait to finish.  I love the colorway, which is much more beautiful in person.

Next, here is something I finished a while ago, but haven’t shared yet:

I found the pattern for this scarf, Three Sisters Scarves # scarf-minivacationTwo by Monika Steinbauer, on Ravelry.

I found the pattern very easy to do and took off knitting it but then had some second thoughts, first I realized that there was a mistake in the pattern so I ripped back and started over.   Next, I was loving the colorway of this Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (Cherry Blossoms) but variegated yarns done up in eyelet patterns can either look too busy or the pattern is lost in the yarn.  So I dunked the end that I was knitting and did a quick block on a towel and left it to dry on the top of my radiator – Denise needles connected and all.   I liked it enough to continue and eventually finish, but I still need to do the real blocking and finishing.

If you look at the photo the scarf end at the top is unblocked and the bottom is quick block.

It is almost past scarf season, but I will have it handy for when the snow flies next year.  It will look good with my brown coat and is feminine without being flouncy.

I am also working on another set of dishtowels.  I have 2 dishclothes and one hanging towel completed, and am now on a regular hand towel and hope to have enough for a knitted sponge thing.  I will post photos soon.

Right now I am in the midst of a yarn snarl from hell and am this close to just cutting the yarn, but I don’t have any more of that color.  I may go out and buy some more and even though it won’t be the same dye lot.  It is just a towel set, not a sweater so no big worries there.

And just writing about it makes me want to go out and get some more yarn.  That way I will have enough for a good sized towel, especially if I can unsnarl the soon-to-be-clipped mess!

Thanks for those who have made it all the way down here.  I hope you are finding peace and contentment in your life, and if not all of it, at least your knitting and other crafts.

I’ve lost that loving feeling

I have been unfaithful to my knitting. Very unfaithful. I have taken up with my long time love of books. I think it began when I was somewhat forced to go through all of the books in my house in order to decide which were mine, and which are my husband’s. It could also be that I was just kind of bored with knitting – tired of the same old dishcloth, really kind of burnt out with the niceness of it all. I needed some bad boy energy, something more sexy, you know?

So I am reading SciFi again. A tasty 2-book series from Dan Simmons, Ilium and Olympos.

I did spend some time on Ravelry trying to get the love back — looking at lacy shawls, looking at sexy colors and even doing a few rows on the toe of a sock that was begun back in March of 2008(!), and I started a new dishcloth. But there wasn’t enough umph in those feeble attempts to really hook me. So I am back reading, journaling (personal stuff that’s not online), moving boxes of clothes and stuff back and forth within my too crowded house, and trying to figure out a way to keep myself out of trouble. The bottom-line is that I am bored with all of these activities, but not as bored as with the knitting.

Maybe it is just cabin fever, not having enough business, experiencing a break from my corporate job and……

Sigh.

But Spring is coming, the sun has been out, I had a great play date with my dogboy Spencer, and a chance to kick back with friends, meet some new people, catch up on email and some further web site stuff. And today a call from work! I will be back to my corporate job for at least a few weeks. That for sure will keep me out of trouble!

Peace

Afghans and socks

colorblock-7rows

I finished the knitting part of my Cotton-Ease Color Block Baby Afghan aka RetinaBurn.

I need to find my Interweave Knits Spring 2002 issue to help me figure out how to seam in seed stitch. After that is comes the decision to sew on a backing and all the other steps and decisions that go along with that.

On Friday, March 7th I knew I needed a new public knitting/take along project. Especially since the next day was to be spent at the DFL county caucus. WT and I were delegates and also on some of the subcommittees. I volunteered to person the check-in table. It had a fancy name, but basically check in the delegates by ward etc. After the mad rush was over, I had a lot of time to sit and listen and knit. Great fun! I was very glad I participated.

I expected to see some other knitters, but they weren’t blatantly obvious. Had a few knitters comment, I really wish I had brought my knitting.

I started up the garter stitch top of a pair of socks with my favorite pattern, Ridged Feather using Regia Havanna Color.

socks-0308-1

I just love the colors – very peaceful and kind of beachy.  I have also picked up my sisters Christmas Afghan (crochet) and hope to be able to share the finished project with you soon.

Peace!

Lemonade

I found a nice 6 row pattern on Ravelry for a good sock top. It’s called Lesley’s Sock. Pretty! And I thought it would look good using one of the blue striped sock yarns I have.

I usually only use the directions for the pattern, as I almost always use my own numbers for a short row heel and standard toe. So instead of carrying around a big sheet of instructions, I write the pattern repeat down in my little journal. I ran out of space, so I continued to the previous blank page – and noted that with an arrow so I wouldn’t forget.

I bet you can tell where this is going.

I finished the sock top and discovered that I had only been doing 4 rows of the 6 row pattern. It looked okay and thankfully it wasn’t one of those patterns where every row has a different stitch count. I also realized that even if I had done the whole 6 row repeat, it wouldn’t have shown up any better because this sock yarn isn’t so good for a pattern. So this is where I just have to suck it up and repeat the mistake on the 2nd sock. But now they are known to me as Lemonade, although with that lime row they should really be Limeade.

Here is the sock so far:
lemonade socks

I am pretty lucky that I didn’t have to rip back any of those mistake rows as I knitted the last repeat in almost total dark. Chaachi and I went out Saturday night to “our” coffeehouse, The Coffee Grounds to see the The Mama’s perform. My friend Sally/Drumming Astrologer was a guest performer and I just had to see her play. One of the Mama’s is now a member of The Beadladies so I double needed to see the performance. It was terrific – though dark hence my worry about stitches. But even though it was dark, it was where I made the discovery that I hadn’t done those other 2 rows.

Kerry mentioned in my previous post comments that I need a fantastic project to get me going. I don’t know – it seems like a good idea, except that I think I know the reason for my project blahs. I have a few things that I really need to finish, (and start!) and they are kind of weighing on me. Better to just get the ball rolling and get them done, then the black cloud of guilt will lift and I can be inspired again.

That is what I am telling myself anyway.

Peace!

Back in the saddle

I’m back in the (sock) saddle again.

ridged feather sock

Even though I finished that pair of red socks, that was just a finish-up an old project kind of thing. This time I started a new pair. My favorite mindless sock – a modified ridged feather from Sensational Knitted Socks. I am using some sock yarn I picked up on clearance at the Needlework Unlimited Outlet. Two balls of Meilenweit Fun and Stripes in colors that I seem to be wearing a lot lately. Fall colors! I am making these a bit longer than I normally do. Why? Who knows, just wanted to. I will still have bits left anyway because I have short feet.

I have also been up to bead crochet a lot lately. I had to re-teach my hands to do the stitches. One of those techniques that get rusty. I just finished this bracelet for a gift for a friend and I like it so much I am making one for myself too!

bead crochet tree spirit bracelet

The beads are an size 8 mix of matte and rainbow blue strung on polyester thread. Crocheted pretty tight. Bead caps and a center stone bead of black labradorite.

The charm is a Tierra Cast one, called Tree Spirit. I love it. Of course I had only one of those charms, and I had to both find out who manufactures the charm and then find out if anybody sold them so I could have one for my bracelet. I hunted on Etsy and found Dragynsfyre. I saw she had sold those charms before and asked if she still carried them. Yes! Great service. I found some beads she created that I added to my order and I am anxious to see them in person. She has some beautiful items on her Etsy shop so check it out if you have a moment or two or three…

The labradorite stone center piece I found at a local bead and yarn shop called Be-Ya-Gi (Beads, Yarn, Gifts). Great place. Not a lot of each but what they do have is very reasonably priced. The staff is friendly and helpful without being hovering. Great knitting and beading classes and such too!

Besides working on that sock I am working on other bead crochet items and need to get one brother’s afghan finished as the yarn has arrived and I don’t have any other excuses besides wanting to do other things too.

I hope you are having a good time getting ready for the holidays. I love this time of year!

Peace!

Keeping a record

Late last year I started up a little notebook for my knitting – socks. This year I realized that I should use it for all my projects because why not?

I am a big fan of taking a copy of my purchased pattern or magazine. I mark up the copy with my changes, or make sure that I can figure out where I am if I need to put the project aside. Because I had transitioned from doing other’s patterns for socks to basically doing my own (or redoing ones that I have done before ) marking up a copy didn’t work anymore. Hence the little book.

It is a nice small size; something that fits easily into my knitting bag, or in my small purse. It has a built-in elastic band that keeps the book from flopping open in my bag or purse. I can also use it to mark the page when I am knitting so I don’t have to search around when I need to refer back to my notes.

Here it is, open to my page of notes for this one red sock:

one red sock

On the cover of this little book is a pretty green background with purple flowers and a quote from Buddha, "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world."

I guess I am making the world into one big sock! *grin*

Peace.

Two Sets and a Start

I finished my pink socks aka shrimp socks.

Shrimp Socks

Then finished a set I had started before the holiday season started.

Jawoll - purple and black

I used the reinforcing thread that came with the sock yarn to beef up the toes and heels. I don’t know if I will ever do that again – it is kind of hard-going when doing the short row heels – having to p3tog or k3tog with that extra yarn make me a bit crabby – and worried that I might snap a needle. If I try out reinforcing again, I will probably use wooly nylon instead.

I am still on a major need red things urge/crave. I bought some lovely solid red sock yarn at Borealis Yarns the best place for sock yarn. Bought some red and orange Cherry Tree Hill there too, but forgot to photo it so that will have to wait.

Here is a start of a new pair:
Red Socks

The shrimp socks are just a bit loose. But they are exactly the same CO as the purple/black ones. I figure it is because the Ridged Feather pattern (Jawoll and a ton of the other socks I have done) tightens up a bit because of the skewing wave pattern. The shrimp socks don’t have much undulating action going on. Now the red ones are very wavy. I like them and I hope they will fit. They do have some pesky k4tog that I have decided to make into a k2tog, k2tog and slip the first k2tog stitch over the 2nd. It is much easier going, and I don’t notice the difference much and folks they are only socks. I found the stitch pattern in the book:
101 ripple stitches: Knit and crochet.

I found a bunch to try out in socks. I love feather and fan and other ripple type stitch patterns. I am really wanting to do a ripple afghan like the ones on these sites.

I don’t want anything too heavy, so worsted is out of the question. DK weight is cool, and god/dess knows Knitpicks.com has some. But I am really liking the idea of doing one using all the colors of KnitPicks’ fingering weight yarn called Palette. I have a some already, so I might start hooking up a couple rows so I can determine if it would work, if I like it and how much I would need.

Peace!

Triple

The scarf hanging over the back of one of my ratty office chairs is the one that will go to the Red Scarf Project. I had started it out as a cable pattern, but it was too bulky. It hurt my hands to knit it too. Just couldn’t continue so I ripped it out. The photo is kind of dark – the lighting in my cave house is poor today.

Went on a mad search for something that would be good for guys or gals, and perhaps reversible – seeing that scarves don’t stay with their public side out much. I found the one row handspun scarf pattern (the 10-12 entry) of Yarn Harlot’s to work out well. I have enough yarn to make two, so that is the plan.

On the chair is a near-finished project. A small bag from the Winter 2006 issue of Quilts and More magazine. I bought the fabric yesterday and did all the cutting right away. I find if I start a project as soon as I get the materials home then it is more likely to be finished, or even started. If it languishes in a bag, or gets tucked away – out of sight, out of mind – also that perfectionism/procrastination thing tends to switch on.

I need to find a button for the bag – either do a fabric covered one, or go on a search back at the fabric store. In front of that bag is the fabric for the 2nd bag. Same big print but a different color, and for the main part of the bag. I will get going on that one today and hopefully have both done so that I can take care of the button thang at the same time. I would love to find something to go along with the funky/vintage feel of the fabric. I also need to decide if I need/want to top stitch along the top, or just tack the lining in and hope that the firm interfacing will keep it looking tidy. My top stitch skills are seriously lacking, and it would be sad to wreck something that isn’t too shabby right now.

If I ever make more of these, or any other bag I will need to use a less stiff interfacing. This one was a bit difficult to work with. The directions didn’t specify, and I had some trouble finding one that was firm and not fusible.

Getting back into sewing/quilting I am discovering that although I am a pretty clever person, there is something weird about my mind in that I have a hard time following text directions for cutting out fabric. If there isn’t a diagram, I have to think long and hard about it. Don’t know why, but this whatever it is really makes cutting out projects slow going. That is okay, because it isn’t like it is a race or anything like that – it is just time consuming. I don’t make too many mistakes cutting, so that is positive. But it kind of makes my brain hurt. *grin*

These bags will be for socks, or other small knitting projects. I don’t really need them, but I had to make them, you know what I mean? Another thing that is helping me get back into the sewing arena. I used this project to try out my new sewing gadget – a walking foot. Kind of pricey for such a small thing, about $25. I could have gotten it cheaper online, but I wanted one right away. It takes some getting used to. It runs clanky and a bit crooked. I had some issues with the fabric getting jammed too. But I don’t think that is necessarily because of the foot, perhaps the feed dogs? I should get my machine cleaned and adjusted. And after a few more projects decide if it is time for a new one. Nothing too fancy, but I need certain features that this machine doesn’t have. This one has had a good run. My first serious beau bought if for me waaaay back in 1980. Vintage! *grin*

My year is starting out pretty good – project wise, but I find that I am curiously reluctant to do any teaching. I just want to chill out at home, make things, hang out with friends, cook, listen to music, read, watch DVDs – just be and live. I might hold off on scheduling any students until February. We shall see.

Peace!

Christmas Eve

I will put the knitting content first. Family members who visit my blog, there will be a lot of photos after the knitting schtuff.

I have a pair that I didn’t show you before; Moc Croc pattern from KnitPicks.com. I chose a green color that had a serpent look to them. They are meant for Jody, whose D&D character is a huge croc-alligator-like being. I haven’t tucked in the ends – just in case I have to add length or such.

Also the felted mini-bags (see previous post for the details). Here all in a row sans one because I forgot to photo that one (with the across the shoulder strap vs. braided). In the background is a small Christmas quilt I did back in the 80s. Perfectly sized for a loveseat throw.

I think the sewing in of the braided ends too longer to do than the actual knitting. Very fussy, but I was trying hard to make it neat. I hope they don’t come apart. They felted down very nice. I could have let them go a bit more, but the tan colored yarn that was in 3 of the 4 bags actually started to felt to itself. I pulled it apart, but a few of the bags have tiny creases in them. Not majorly ugly – but something I notice. I would use the yarn again but if I ever make another felted object with it I will put plastic bags in the center and not set the washer on such an agressive super wash setting again.

Christmas Eve at my folk’s house aka no more knitting content
Getting ready to go, I had it in my mind that dogboy Spencer wouldn’t be coming along because my folks have a very small house and it would be jammed with people. But he sensed that we were going somewhere – I don’t know how he figured it out because I was just getting ready to sit on the couch, wasn’t making movements to leave for another 45 minutes. He was so upset that we decided he had to come along. He is our child afterall.

There were already a few of my family members there. I didn’t get photos of everybody but here are a few…. I was asking them to "show me Christmas Crazy".

Then just regular photos – some of them blurry (dang!).

I don’t know who was more happy

Spencer

or


Jessica

I think Jessica because she showed us her

Engagement ring.

Peace!

Progress and SNOW

It is finally snowing here. Earlier today it was raining – cold rain that started to turn into slushy rain which is bad, bad, bad.

I had just come home from shopping so I am safe. But DH/WT is still at work and I am really hoping he has a nice drive home. He is still feeling pretty crappy with his 3rd prescription for antibiotics for a long-standing sinus infection. Add thrush/oral yeast infection to that and then pile on end of the year stress, and then a heaping dose of holidays.

bags ready for felting We are already celebrating by gift giving before Christmas. Two huge shelving units from Ikea; one for the living room and one for my office/sewing room. Also a new flat screen for my computer – yipeee! I installed it this a.m. and it is very, very nice.

Some knitting pics to show you; four bags ready for felting. Aren’t they cute? I know they will felt up really nice. Again, all from Patons Soy Wool, using the Kureyon-Chan pattern by Chris. The one on the left is going to have an across the shoulder strap instead of the braided short straps as pictured on the pattern. That one will also have a button closure, the other three will be plain.

The only thing keeping me from felting them is my fear of things creepie crawlie in my dungeon basement. I just hate centipedes. Sometimes I can just get over it and trek down there, but right now it is a big no go.

Another finished project is a hat knit from the top down using Live Dangerously, Don’t Swatch pattern by Susan Lawrence. I love it! I paid for the nice .pdf version, a steal at only $3. I especially like the i-cord bind-off. I hope giftee likes it. I went for washable so it was knit using about half a ball of Encore. A nice brown/black tweed with bits of dark blue.

I also chose Encore to start up a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. This time in a dark red & black tweed. I am going to do the here and there cable from the Interweave Scarf Style book. I love that book. I tried out the pattern (without swatching) on Sunday during community knitting at Borealis Yarns. It was way too wide, even after 2 repeats of the cables, which really sucked it in. So the no swatch thing became a rip-it-out and start over kind of thing which is perfectly fine. I decided to take it down 18 stitches so that it is a more reasonable width. I don’t have anything to show you yet, except for a photo of the yarn.

Still plugging away at the Elf sock. I should finish tonight. Socks on 0s take a looooooooong time. Even though they look super weird long snakes, I will still have some yarn left over. Maybe enough to use it on heels and toes of a solid green or lilac sock. Or maybe a solid white to tone it down a bit.

Peace!