Saturday, April 25, 2009

Backing Away From the Edge...

The moment of weakness has passed. I can now accept the fact that there will be discounted sock yarn available on Monday and that it is okay if other people end up with it. This is a growing opportunity. And the fact that the "fingering yarn" tub is completely full and couldn't hold even one more skein doesn't hurt.

Today my "helpers"and I finished the blocks for the green quilt. Two strips are even sewn together, but I had to stop there. As relaxing as the cats find quilting
I was about to blow a gasket. I ripped out & redid one seam 4 times trying to get the seams to match up. At that point, with the seams still not matched up, I decided it would be best if we spent some time apart before ONE of us ended up in a bonfire in the backyard.

But it did take my mind completely off sock yarn.....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oh No....

So, I've almost made it 4 months without buying any yarn, and yet because I am either stupid or a masochist, I check Elann's website daily for what yarns are new, and what's coming in....all so I can know what great discount yarns I'm missing out on. I guess maybe it was just too easy to not buy yarn without facing temptation daily, I don't know, but today it just got a lot worse.

Self-patterning sock yarn is coming.

One of the things that got me hooked on knitting socks in the first place were the clever yarns that made fair isle & all sorts of patterns all by themselves. Stripes are okay, and I've had some fun with randomly variegated sock yarn, but I love the self-patterning yarns and hadn't seen them around in a while. In fact, there may have been a little hoarding of the self-patterning yarns still in my stash "just in case," though that's pure speculation. What is not to love?(I'd show you more, but while I might fiercely hoard the yarn, I give away the finished socks pretty freely..and in fact, the first picture is perhaps the only pair I've kept)

Sigh.....

Exactly why did I think not buying yarn for a year was a good idea........?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Here's A Little Tip For You

Quilting with a striped fabric might be the fast lane to the funny farm.

Yesterday I picked up the blocks off the guest bed and put them on a shelf in the sewing room. I don't know what possessed me--it isn't like cleaning is one of my great joys in life. Today when I got it back out to see how the two new blocks fit in, I discovered that everything depends on HOW the blocks are laid out--like which one starts what row & everything. NOW I have to figure out how I had it laid out before I picked it up because I started 3 of the same block that theoretically might finish the darn thing....
so one of us is in need of a "time out." And a drink.

Most of today was spent out in the sunshine planting things, but I did get a few rows in on this
which looks like a new project, I realize, but it really isn't. I started this last month on the trip to McCall, but had so little done that it was too embarrassing to photograph. It's a shawl my mother picked out as her retirement gift, and she's been retired 11 months now, so I thought it time to kick things in to a slightly higher gear.

And, of course, get away from the quilt.....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Aha!

Here in the "Global Menopause" climate, we're swinging between 50 degrees overnight and 80 degrees in the afternoon, so I have figured it out:

Knit in the morning!

The Kauni cardigan got some attention todayand the yoke cardigan has a finished back!
In general, I would say this is an incredibly stupid design for a sweater. The sweater has a yoke, which in 99 cases out of 100, would be knit in the round so as to eliminate seams. Not this one. Originally I had planned to just knit it in the round anyway, but the pattern calls for a zipper within the yoke. Checking Ravelry, some people felt it was fine without the zipper and some added it. I thought it would be easier to do a few useless seams than to cut a hole for a zipper. I haven't actually put a zipper in a sweater yet, but the only thing I can think of that might make a zipper in a knitted garment worse is to combine it with a steek. I shudder at the very thought...

This is a wool yarn, but it might get some attention this evening, in spite of the fact that it's 9:00 at night and it's still 78 degrees and the house is roasting because our heat is still set because of the 50 degree morning thing. I'm using Elann's superwash chunky yarn, which is a delightful yarn (and in my best nonenabling knitterly manner, let me just say that Elann is having a full-bag sale currently--10 balls for $21), but it is wool and ordinarily it would drive me from the very room, but we have
an almost used up ball which could be added to the yarn tally. Maybe if I get a REALLY big glass of ice water.......

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Fever

It is 74 degrees right now, all of my knitting projects are wool, and I'm just not feeling the love right now.

I really, really, REALLY want a cotton knitting project right now. I even have cotton yarn in my stash, since one of the perks to having a really big stash is, well, having lots of yarn to choose from. But I already have all these other projects, and I believe I declared April to be sort of a "finish what you have already started" month (thinking I was safe with just 11 days to go), but I really, really, REALLY want to play with cotton. It's spring, darn it! Who wants to think about being cold??????

Progress, I Think

I'm in the process of making more blocks for this:
and I think 2 of them are actually not going to work. To fit, all of the trees have to be standing up, and then the blocks have to fit into the overall pinwheel pattern, which gets very confusing. I think I'm doing a 5 by 6 quilt, so I need 7 more blocks, and to save my sanity I have laid this out ahead of time to see which direction to cut the blocks. I am a slow learner, but eventually I get there.

I have made an executive decision--there will be no April "Project of the Month." I have already finished 2 projects and have ....well, a whole bunch still to go, so April will belatedly be, "Finish Some of Those Darn Projects I've Already Started" month. I have 11 days and an embarrassing number of projects going. Now, we'll just have to see what I can get done before May 1. Of course, the real question is "Can I finish enough projects to make the sewing room a little less frightening?"

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Friday, April 17, 2009

So, I Guess We Can Call It A Success

Theo, my sweet little kitty sidekick who has endured 6 weeks of a leg cast, dose after dose of various medicines, the famous Kitty Valium episode, 6 weeks of hydrotherapy can now OFFICIALLY be declared "back to normal." He has just presented me with a partially-still-alive bird. And as I am too much of a softy to put the bird out of its misery, I have opted to lock the two of them in the room, grab my knitting, and flee. I'm not proud when it comes to animals in my bedroom.

I guess we can call him "recovered."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16 - A Reality Check

So, I suppose you might be wondering how the April "Project of the Month" is progressing. It would be herewhich would make it "none." Now that it's already the 16th, I think I'm a little behind. I had a free day today and had originally planned to cut out the pattern, but when I started clearing off the table in the sewing room, I thought it best to finish the last Christmas gift bag,then there was a gift that was 99% done that was just waiting around for a zipper, so I finished that and can now add another 2 3/8 yards of fabric to the tally--though no pictures since it's a surprise. I'd like to pretend that finishing those two projects left me with a clean project table, but that just removed the layers down to the green quilt, and since it seemed silly to pack away that stuff while it still needed to be worked on, I cut out several more blocks and I'll hope that I'm getting the new blocks in the places I need them,then when I needed a bit of a sewing break, I dug out someone who's been neglected for a while:
I'm past the armholes & almost out of the "orange zone." Yay!

Theo was certainly thrilled to have some sewing going on for a change, but he might have found a new favorite activity:
Laundry!!!

I wonder if he does windows.....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wedding Gift For June

Andy has a cousin getting married in June, and I would like to make them a gift. She made us the most marvelous ceramic owl candle-holder & is quite the artist in general, so she would appreciate handmade gifts, and she & the husband are just really nice people in general, so I want to make them something. I used to knit Christmas stockings--
usually in red & green with candles or wreaths on the leg--but then I got tired of that design & modified the pattern to make thiswhich I really like. The problem is, there are also 2 children so we're talking about 4 stockings by June (or later--let's be honest, not a lot of my handmade gifts are delivered on time....) not to mention all the other knitting projects going on right now.....

I could sew Christmas stockings, or maybe finish one of the Christmas quilts since they might already have Christmas stockings....What would be a good wedding gift?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

That's Another 440 Yards!

The green scarf is done!
(ok, same picture as last time, but just imagine it longer & without the needles)

And the soothing effect of the moss stitch pretty much evaporated on the second half of the scarf because I was so obsessed with excited about finishing it. That puts me over 5000 yards for the year. Whoo hoo!!!!

And I would like you to meet my new best friend:Ever since Theo's water torture/therapy, he's had a lot of problems with hairballs--which probably makes sense given how much he licked himself during the whole ordeal. I tried all sorts of "natural" remedies--like adding pureed pumpkin to his food, which being a cat he wouldn't eat. Then I found this stuff:It's supposed to be tuna-flavored, and they suggest putting a one-inch ribbon of this stuff on your finger & having your cat lick it off--a suggestion obviously written by a dog owner. The second suggestion is to smear the gunk onto the cat's front paw & have the cat lick it off. What they leave out is that EVEN THOUGH this stuff is sticky & will be really hard to get off your finger, putting it on a cat's front paw will cause the cat to flip and buck, which will cause this sticky goo to launch into the air and adhere itself to the nearest hard-to-clean surface. Smearing it into the cat's fur will only anger the cat and doesn't seem to affect the ability to flick the goo onto walls. Repeating this ordeal daily will clear up the hairballs, but makes for one angry kitty.

Of course, the best option is to eliminate the hairballs instead of treating them, but Theo hates to be brushed. The ladies doing physical therapy with him were able to brush him & said he even purred when they did it, but they were dunking him in a water tank twice a day, so he would probably have purred at ANYTHING they did that didn't involve the water tank. I was almost desperate enough to start dunking him in a tank twice a day, and then I found this lovely mitt. Provided he doesn't actually see the mitt, he loves to be rubbed with it. As soon as he sees it, however, he attacks it. It's only been a couple days so I don't know if this is actually going to solve the problem, but at least it's been a nice break from the bucking, goo-flinging kitty show....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Beep.....

Our regularly scheduled knitting blog will not appear tonight, due to the combination of a sunny day, garden beds, shovels, and a pickup load of horse manure.

This knitting blog will return as scheduled tomorrow....after a long soapy shower.....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

On Being A Flake

After finishing the long-awaited ball of yarn on the cable-yoke sweater, did I join a new ball and finish the back like a good, dedicated knitter?

Nope.

I am now obsessed with this:
Wanna know why? I'd like to say it's because it's a Christmas gift for a friend and the sheer delight of making a gift for someone I care about is driving me on, but no....I want the 440 yards in that ball. That's it. That is what is keeping me going on this thing--to be able to say I used up 440 yards of yarn!!!

Even Theo is embarrassed by my childishness....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

THE TALLY MOVED!!!!!!!!!

Well, more accurately, I got to change it, but thanks to this wonderful sweater,
I have actually used up another ball of yarn from the stash!!!! Hallelujah!!!

So, my goals for the year are to read 100 books, knit 150 balls of yarn, and use up 150 yards of fabric....and I'm pretty much behind on all of them. I blame the recent lack of knitting on spring fever--we've had a couple glorious days of sunshine, though that doesn't give me any excuse at all for today. We can blame that on the mind-numbingly large skeins of yarn I'm using for all of the current knitting projects. Really, how can someone who is trying to use up balls of yarn in her stash be dumb enough to be working on 3 lace projects simultaneously??? Really, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Heaven help me, at this rate I'm going to be into that Fun Fur yet......

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Things I Wonder About....

* Why can I cheerfully give away a lace shawl that has taken me months to knit, while I am completely unwilling to give away even a single skein of the yarn in my stash?

* Why does buying yarn make me feel like I'm knitting faster?

* If I know I don't like the results from knitting with variegated lace yarn, why do I have so much of it?

* Why is knitting a gauge swatch such a big thing that I will knowingly risk having to rip out several inches of knitting rather than knitting the darn swatch?

* How much fuzz torture will it take before I finally learn not to knit with chenille?

* If everyone is knitting lace shawls, why don't I ever see anyone else wearing them?

* How long until my husband figures out that I keep the house cold not to save money, but to make sweaters more useful?

* Why was it a relief to figure out that I probably have a 6-year supply of yarn in my stash?

* Why do men prefer cabled sweater pattern in dark blue, dark brown, or black? Do they find squinting sexy?

* Why is a ball winder so much fun to use?

* Why is alpaca so much warmer than wool? Is there some sort of nuclear fusion going on?

* Why did knitting suddenly become popular with the rise in "novelty" yarns? If furry is really that darn attractive, why do I have to keep shaving my legs?

* Was knitting fun when it was the only way to get socks or a sweater?

* Why does Lopi exist? Are there knitters who prefer scratchy yarns?

* Why do we consider cotton a "light, summery" yarn when sweaters made from the darn stuff weight twice as much as wool sweaters?

* Was the idea of keeping knitting blogs the brainchild of knitters wanting to share, or their spouses who were sick of having to hear about the merits of wool over alpaca?

Monday, April 6, 2009

When The Knitting Gets Tough, the Tough Get Bigger Needles

It was a close thing, but thankfully there isn't a pink Fun Fur scarf anywhere in the house. I was saved by thiswhich I actually started in December, but which has been pretty much neglected for the last 2 months. Bless it--it's on size 9 needles and 87 yards to the ball. It's now my new favorite sweater.

Theo was mildly impressed
or more likely, just waiting for tummy rubs. I am happy to report that he is doing well, though he does walk with a limp once in a while, and I still limit his outdoor time. His fur is still not completely grown back, which sort of surprised me. If I didn't shave my legs for 3 months not only would the hair be completely regrown, it would be ready for combing and braiding. I guess I shouldn't complain--it is spring and there is at least a small part of him that isn't shedding.....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

For The Love Of All Things Woolly, Give Me Small Balls!!!

I'm sure it has escaped no one's notice that the totals on the side of the screen haven't moved in a while. There has been knitting--lots of knitting, in fact--but do you know that dream where you're running & running & running and never get anywhere? I am stuck in the knitting equivalent. Oh sure, it looks totally innocent, but one single skein of this fingering weight--yep, fingering weight--yarn weighs 170 grams. More than 3 times the normal ball of yarn,which takes long enough. Add in the fact that I'm using 2 balls and alternating rows with the darn things, I have slogged through two inches of orange, and now that we've had two days in a row of spring I'm thinking longingly of cotton...........I think I might be starting to lose my knitting grip......


Wait, is that neon pink fluffy Fun Fur I see...........

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A New Month, A New Project

Well, like I've ever had troubles finding new projects to start--but it is April and time for the April Project of the Month! Drum roll..........
A jacket made with home decorating fabric.

I'm a bit nervous about the project as the fabric isn't washable to it's going to take some creative marking, and to be honest I was really hoping for socks. I know I put at least one sock project into the pile. Still, I've been wanting to make this for a while, and so far I've been really good about finishing my "Project of the Month" projects, so I'll hopefully have a cute new jacket. Just in time to not need it.

There has been knitting--the moss stitch scarf is about half done
and the Kauni cardigan is to the armholes, and more importantly.....I'M ALMOST DONE WITH THE ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I admit, I love how this looks in the picture, and I will love the finished cardigan, but I was raised in the 1970s when ugly colors were required in all things, and have passionately hated avocado green, mustard yellow, and rust orange ever since. Did it ever strike anyone else as odd that America's love affair with "earth tones" coincided with it's love affair with polyester and synthetic fibers?????

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ways to Celebrate April Fool's Day In the Knitting World

1. Circulate a medical report linking prolonged wool exposure to a strange tropical disease known as Ovinus, which causes a bizarre eye twitch and a passion for hot pink eyelash yarn.

2. Take your knitting out in public and agree with everyone when they comment on your lovely crocheting.

3. At tonight's Stitch-n-Bitch, suggest forming a Knitting Mafia to take care of things, because those acrylic-only knitters are just getting out of hand.

4. Take a dead moth to your local yarn shop and plant it in the most expensive merino.

5. Write a blog entry saying that Elizabeth Zimmermann really didn't know that much about knitting, and you don't see what all the fuss was about.

6. Find someone with a garter-stitch fun-fur scarf and loudly accuse them of stealing your copyrighted design.

7. Sit down with your grandmother and browse the "naughty" patterns on Ravelry.

8. Dig out your nicest alpaca yarn to knit with and tell everyone it's spun raccoon fur, and that those little animals really seem to enjoy being shaved.

9. Tell your friends that your $30/hank silk blend lace yarn was on clearance for $1 a hank--and if they hurry to the yarn shop on the other side of town they just might get the last 3 hanks.

10. Tell a brand new knitter showing off her first pair of socks that she seems to have made 2 left socks.

11. Tell your husband you're thinking of getting a few sheep to keep in the back bedroom to save on yarn costs.

12. Show up at your knitting group with a finished object and say that you don't know what happened--you must have fallen asleep while knitting, and you woke up with a finished object. Be sure to say that you don't remember ANYTHING