Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fastest 880 yards EVER

The shawl is no longer with us.

I thought about trying to fix it, but this is not the first problem I've had with breakage in this particular yarn.  In fact, the current ball was actually wound into a ball instead of using the swift and ball winder because it's the only yarn I've had that broke repeatedly when wound with the swift.  So, since the shawl was intended to be a gift and I would just be freaked out all the time that the yarn would keep breaking and popping holes all over the place, I decided to cut my losses and move on. 

Being of thick, wonderfully soft yarn, the balaclava got a lot of attention yesterday,
and I am just loving this thing.  The yarn is Elann's Limited Edition Rossini and I adore this stuff.  It's unbelievably soft, and I'm actually sorry that I have now used up the first of the three balls I own.  Knitting World, please go buy up the rest of their stock so I will not be tempted by it.  Literally, I want to live in this yarn.  Do you think anyone ever knits pajamas???

There was also a new sweater started yesterday,  
as this is the Year of Sweaters and I was still feeling really depressed from Sunday.  It's not often that I can be depressed for more than one day (if ever), so I was not sure what to do with myself yesterday.  The hip/back thing had finally really gotten to me and the shawl was just icing on the cake as it were.  Between not being able to sit for very long and throwing my hip out when I try to walk, I think I was both frustrated and feeling caged and angry, but thankfully I'm back to normal today.  Luckily, I caused myself no new injuries in the pool, and have added new exercises to my routine.  Because of the physical therapy, I have made one of my non-knitting 12s to do 12 workout videos, so yesterday I did the New York City Ballet Complete Workout (except for the jumping stuff).  Let's just say it's been about 15 years since I did ANY ballet at all, so there may have been some swearing and a few not-so-nice things said to the narrator, but I was pleased to see that I was able to do as much as I could.  And ballet is much easier when one is still on pain killers.  Good to know........

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Knitting Gods Have a Rival

I think amongst the knitting world, the Knitting Gods are known to a cruel and vindictive lot.  Boast even the teensiest amount about one's own cleverness or how well a project is going and SMACK--the knitter's needles or yarn or BOTH are bound to break, or a wave of moths are about to descend.  They're a cantankerous lot at best.

However, I think they might have met their equals in the Physical Therapy Gods.

Remember me saying that I had to walk so slowly on Friday that I didn't even boost my circulation?  Yeah--big mistake.  That slow walk actually threw my hip back out.  I thought maybe it was just sore, but by Saturday night--it was definite.  Luckily, I have been shown how to force my hip back into place with my new toy
Unluckily, the very concept of having to move bones about is generally enough to make me want to hurl, but it turns out that pain is an excellent motivator and Valium can take my mind off anything--even consciousness.

So, I was having a rather lousy weekend anyway, but was at least showing some crafting dedication.  I had decided to add a bonus "12" to my list and do 12 threads (half threads, really, if those long strands count as one thread) on that silly cross stitch this year.  Not too much, but it would set a recent record on the amount of attention the cross stitch has received.  So,

I am now up 2 threads for the year--whoo-flippin'-hoo!  That gives me a whole inch of progress.  Stand back world!

Then I had spent considerable time finishing up one side of the current shawl WIP, picking up the second side, and thought it time to put a picture of it on the blog:
and was just about to pick it back up when I noticed an odd little spot on the bottom.....
ARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!  It has a hole!!!!!  A big stupid freakin' hole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!

(Say what you want about cats' indifference--Theo knowns a knitting scream when he hears it and came running,
though whether it was to protect me or the knitting is anybody's guess)

Maybe those Knitting Gods don't like competition.  I don't even know what could have happened--it's been in knitting bags and a dresser drawer and we don't have moths.  I'm not sure if I have the patience or talent to actually fix this thing, and I've been a bit unhappy with this yarn's tendency to felt anyway (Knitpicks Bare in laceweight), so I'm not sure what I'll do.  There would be a lot of knitting left to finish the darn thing and it would always bother me that it has a damn hole, or I could just chuck the whole thing, destash about 1600 yards of a yarn I'm angry with, and be out $12.  OR I could put it away until I'm having a less rotten day (which won't really isn't a very high bar) and go play with some new yarn....and a white chocolate martini..........

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Three Days Left In the First Month....

....and I might be a little bit behind.

Theoretically, if I want to finish 12 sweaters/shawls in 12 months I would be really close to finishing something right now.  On Friday Theo helped me with the fronts of the mohair sweater and we did make great progress,
but that still leaves those pesky sleeve things to be done.   And I don't know about Theo, but I need breaks from working with mohair.   So, I've been working on one of the shawl WIPS, and I am on the final part of one side of the cream shawl,
but then there will still be a second side to finish, which even strikes ME as a lot of knitting to do in 3 days.  Especially when
there is a balaclava getting some knitting action.  I went for my first walk outside yesterday, and since I have firm instructions from the therapist to walk slowly and gently, this also means I'm walking WAY too slow to get the circulation moving enough to not freeze while walking.  I'm thinking the balaclava will do a much better job keeping my face warm if I knit the thing rather than just talking about it.

I'm pretty clever about these things sometimes.............

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Real Life Is Interfering With My Knitting

Yesterday started off with a trip to the dentist.  It was just a cleaning, and I really like my dentist, but I still don't think a REALLY good day starts off with a visit to ANYONE in the medical profession.  Then I ran some errands, came home, hauled bags in, then headed to the gym to swim for 30 minutes and walk laps for 30 minutes, then intended to come home and make soup.  That was the intention.  I was so tired by then that I seriously considered crawling into bed, even though it was barely after 4:00 PM.  I didn't even have the energy to do my physical therapy exercises.  This health thing is really a full-time job some days.............

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rats

So, I think I've decided to frog the vest
and start over.  In order for the current stitch count to work, I need it to stay at the same gauge as the ribbing with the smaller needles, and that seems unlikely.  I think taking out one of the 18-stitch repeats will make it work, especially since patterns tend to loosen rather than tighten upon washing.  So, this poor little ball of yarn is going to be knit for the THIRD time, and since I try to use the yardage tally to accurately represent what has been taken out of the stash, I won't get to count it AGAIN. 

Maybe I need to start keeping a "frustration tally...."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

SOME Of Us Had A Good Day Yesterday...

Bright and early, Andy made me some new table legs:

There's a wooden dowel inside the pipes to give it some additional strength.  The table is now 36 inches tall, and I love it!  It's a bit less stable than it was before, but not much.  So I spent much of the day straightening the sewing room, getting the final place mat and the batting cut out, and even got a bit of sewing done.
 
I think I'll do some sort of decorative stitching to keep the batting in place, but I think they'll be quite fun.  I even tried the coasters:


and after figuring out that a half-inch seam allowance was more appropriate for making a small heart ornament, I think I got everything figured out.

I had the good day.

Theo, on the other hand, had a rather bad day.  The sewing room table is one of his favorite spots to hang out, and where I keep his water glass:
He has a water bowl, of course, but only uncultured kitties drink out of a bowl, and giving him his own glass was the only way I have come up with to prevent unwittingly sharing my own water with Theo.

I'm not positive if Theo can't actually jump all the way onto the table now, or if he just happened to jump and catch the place mats rather than the table, but last night I heard a crash and found a very indignant kitty and some half-done place mats on the sewing room floor.  Wanting to make amends, I lifted him onto the table and had a little grovel-petting time.  I think all would have been fine, but he decided to get a drink.  Apparently the impact of the kitty meeting table was enough to splash water out of his glass.  This wouldn't have been a problem if there hadn't been some leftover water-soluble stabilizer near the glass.  As I've only seen it in solid form or washed away, I hadn't yet encountered the in-between stage, which is a gummy-sticky mess which sticks to cat fur really well.  Thankfully, it only reached his front paws, but Theo got to round off his night with the indignity of having his paws washed in the sink until all the stabilizer washed away.  The poor little guy.  Needless to say, Theo did not sleep with me last night.  I think there's a bit more groveling to be done.......

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Bought Legal Yarn!

We're trying to interest one of my nieces in knitting, so I picked out some yarn that I thought might be most interesting to her without being the knitting horror that so much novelty yarn really is.  Her favorite color is pink followed by purple, so I thought this would make a nice combination. 

It's not quite as satisfactory as buying yarn for oneself, but it takes up less room, involves far less guilt, and fits in nicely with my plans to convert the rest of the world to the yarn arts.  World domination--just a few garter-stitch scarves away..........

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Well, How Dumb Am I????

Yesterday Boise got its first real snowfall of the year--dumping around 6 inches in one day.  I hurt my back two months ago.  A smart person might have though this would be a good way to get out of shoveling snow.  And what did I do?  Check with my spine doctor ahead of time to make sure it would be okay for me to shovel snow when and if we ever got any.

WHAT WAS I THINKING???????????????????????????????

Even better, remember the balaclava I bought yarn for in my self-pity order in November--the one I was going to make because my face gets so cold when shoveling snow?  Not even started.  Maybe I should round off all this idiotic behavior by casting on something involving size 0 needles and cobweb yarn for my 12 sweaters in 12 months challenge--wouldn't that just be the final touch? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

And This Is Why I Always Have Friends Smarter Than Me

After reading my post yesterday about needing a taller cutting table, RobinH sent me this link:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/xixstar/2557752709/

Now how clever is that?  And that's even the EXACT table I have, so we know the PVC pipe extensions will work for it.  Now I just need to do enough excavation in the sewing room to find the legs and let Andy take care of the rest.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We Have Hit A Snag

For the green vest, I selected this pattern
 

for an overall cable and rib look.  I decided since there was some variety to the cables, I didn't need other patterns involved. 

Since I'm making this up as I go along, I diligently swatched, and got 4.5 stitches per inch with the size 8 needles I'm using for the body.  I thought I'd aim for a 43-inch circumference, as the future recipient might be just a shade larger than Andy, and Andy's last sweater I made for a 42-inch circumference.  4.5 x 43 = 193.5 stitches.  Adding a 10% ease for a cabled pattern and working into the 18-stitch pattern requirement, I originally decided to cast on 216 stitches.  THEN I started measuring and second-guessing myself, and thought that maybe 10% wasn't enough ease for such a scrunchy pattern, so I then decided to cast on 234.  In the ribbed part, the gauge is 6 stitches per inch.  That made me a bit nervous as 234 divided by 6 = 39 inches in circumference.  Hmmmmm.  So I decided to add another 18 stitches, and now have 252 stitches:
Did anyone else scoff ever so slightly at Elizabeth Zimmermann's suggestion to make a swatch cap when they first read it?  The Knitting Gods do not like those who scoff at EZ, the goddess of knitting.  I actually don't think I have enough yarn to have made a cap and a vest, but now I think my only option is to keep going now that I've started the actual pattern, then slide the stitches onto a thread in a couple inches and measure.  This could be anything between 56 and 42 inches in the round, but I'm thinking I have done something to land in the middle, and should have left that final 18 stitches off. 

So.....
when the going gets tough, the tough get a new project.  Meet the Valentine's Day place mats.   I think with a half-inch seam they will be generally place mat-size.  I was tempted to make them rectangular so I could get two sets out of the fabric, but the hearts are such fun and I'm cutting out smaller hearts to make coasters for gifts, so I'll still have a few gifts.  It will be slow going with the back, and one of my resolutions this year is to get a taller cutting table for the sewing room.  I haven't quite resolved on what sort of table--folding, storage underneath, moveable, not moveable--but maybe after we get the permanent shelving on one wall, I'll have a better idea what I want.  And, of course, if the stash were smaller.........

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Details, Details...............

Just in case you haven't tried it, walking in a pool for an hour is exhausting.  Or it is if you've spent the majority of the last 7 weeks laying on heating pads.  I think, though, that it is helping my back, so I have been able to do another small sewing project:
Music coasters.  I've made two sets of 6--one for us to keep and one to go in the gift bin.  They aren't very elaborate, and I could only sit long enough to sew one set at a time, but somebody was very happy:
I think he might have enjoyed "get well kitty" status, but nothing compares with sewing. 

Taking advantage of a day without any need for even the smallest bit of Valium, I finally did the math and laid out the plans for the Valentine's basket vest,
and have almost completed the ribbing.  I've decided on a pattern that will have the ribbing stretching into a ribbing and cable pattern, so I think only two inches of ribbing with the smaller needles will be necessary.  I haven't gotten to all the details--like when to insert the armholes and divide for the neck--but who needs to worry about such tiny details just yet?  Hmmmmm, I wonder how long that Valium stuff stays in the body.......?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Woman Who Knows "Moderation" Wouldn't Have This Stash

So, if you had injured yourself about 6 weeks ago, had undergone physical therapy for the past month, and your therapist told you that getting stronger through exercise would really help your progress, what would you do?  Start slowly?  Remember that your injury might still be healing and act accordingly?  Or go hog-wild with a week of Pilates, walking, hill-climbing on the treadmill, weight-lifting and the elliptical trainer?  Anyone want to take a guess which was my approach?

The spine doctor was concerned about the other hip turning, but thinks that I probably overdid (me?) and that the treadmill was too much impact for my hips at this stage, so I have been given permission to 1. swim, 2. weight lift with only low weights and large numbers of repetition, 3. do beginning Pilates.  NOTHING else.  And have earned myself 4 more weeks of physical therapy for my misbehavior.

The funny thing is, I did know I would be relatively dangerous to myself when I started feeling good and could start trying to regain some sort of "normal" activity level, but I guess a lot of things about my life are explained when I say I thought I was taking it easy.  I was walking on the treadmill--not running--just like the doctor said, but I guess the part that we failed to clarify is that setting the silly thing on an incline at a pretty fast clip no longer counts as "no impact" in the physical therapy world.  Whoops. 

Frustrated AND impatient is probably when I am at my most idiotic, so I took myself to the pool this afternoon and spent an hour swimming and walking laps in the water to rebuild strength with no possible way of causing further injury to myself (I think).  While I'm not sure he actually had that much exercise in mind, I don't think he would disapprove, and now I feel like I have exactly one month to get these turning hips to permanently stay where they're supposed to while I have a therapist to get me back into alignment if I need it. And if I'm feeling under pressure, how likely am I to be able to do anything in moderation?  When have I been able to manage it when I'm NOT under pressure???  I may have to increase that pool time to two hours...................

I Have Discovered A New Category of Knitting

Meet "the sulks" knitting:
Yesterday--after waking up two mornings in a row with painful back spasms, which hasn't happened in at least a month or more--I had my last physical therapy appointment, only to discover that the other hip had turned slightly, and was causing the same problems on the other side of my back.  I see the spine specialist today, but how the other side has gotten turned is anyone's guess, because the physical therapy exercises have worked both sides equally, and I've grown so strong that some of the exercises have had to be made more difficult.  I came home depressed, to say the least, and curled up with my self pity and knitting.

The yarn is Knit Picks Decadence, which was discontinued quite a while ago, and as the balls were leftover from a sweater I made, I hadn't bothered to add them to Ravelry, but since I still have quite a bit left now
I have added it.   I think I can get a second hat out of this, so perhaps it won't be in stash long.  Of course, I obviously think that about all yarn--otherwise I wouldn't have so very much of it.

Speaking of yarn that probably wasn't in the stash, I started this scarf yesterday
with a partial ball of yarn that I don't think was on my stash.  This colorway--one of my favorites ever--was discontinued a few years ago, so I scooped up a frightful amount of it on Ravelry, but I don't think this little 3/4 of a hank had made it on there.  For my own sanity--since this seems to be such an ongoing pattern this year--I have decided to embrace my stash this year rather than be so overwhelmed by it.  I have options, I have some great yarn.  I may even find MORE options as the year goes on, and I will enjoy knitting every darn ball of it.  I will even try to focus more on the wonderful finished objects I end up with than the yardage I use up, though I can't give up tracking it......:)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Which Is Why....

I really, really was working on the mohair sweater yesterday.  I promise.  However, it turns out that when I take a drink of coffee and end up with a mouth full of coffee grounds, my natural impulse is to spit it back into the cup.  Not exactly worthy of Ms. Manners, but perhaps understandable.  This probably works with normal coffee mugs, but when one is drinking out of a travel mug complete with lid, the coffee's natural impulse is then to splash off of the lid and onto the nearest, whitest object.  Which explains why this
spent yesterday being rinsed and dried, and why there is now a second birthday sock in progress
which also was not in my Valentine's basket.  I was at first a bit concerned that the socks won't get to count for anything on my 12 12s list, but as they were in progress before the start of the year, I'll count them as one of my 12 WIPs.  I may regret that later, as I'm hoping the need for finished WIPs will eventually drive me to examine the Sewing Project Time-Out Basket, but as there is still no indication when I'll be able to sit long enough to sew, this may work out for the best.

The projectile-coffee fiasco did have one perk.  As long as one is washing one knitted item,
one might as well wash a second.  The lace scarf is now clean and blocked, and as soon as I get the ends woven in, will be ready for the gift bin.  I am so pleased with how it turned out that I actually had another hank of this yarn dug out of the gift bin before I remembered that I was trying to knit sweaters this year.  At least I'm being distracted by yarn I already own.  That's a fairly new occurrence for me........

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Hard Not To Need A Little Instant Gratification

After two years of frantically completing as many projects as possible, it's still odd to be working on something as large as a sweater--which might explain this:
Another men's mock aran hat!  At least this time it was actually from yarn that was already in my Valentine's stashdash basket, but it did leave the mohair jacket neglected and alone all day yesterday.  I have determined, however, to not be seduced by any more hats for at least a week, which should give me time to finish the back and start the fronts of the jacket. If it takes me an entire month to finish a sweater in bulky yarn, I am indeed in trouble this year!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Have Been Brave

Yesterday I decided to face the worst and finally check the inventory of my lace weight bin, and can now say that there were at one point 7 hanks of the green laceweight,
but the first hank used on dem fischer sin fru seems to be too old to be frogged and is coming off in small bits and pieces, so there are now officially six hanks.  It's the Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, which is really one of my favorite yarns and I really love the color, so I'm not sorry to have a lot of this yarn--though I might be slightly glad to have not discovered 8 or 9 unaccounted for hanks.  I am happy to report that I did not discover any more 1375-yard hanks of forgotten cobweb lace yarn.  One should not find more than one of those hanks per month.  I do admit that I did not choose to explore any more yarn tubs.  I think I'd like to see a bit more yarn on my "knit up for the year" tab before I find myself blindsided by some mystery yarn of which I have no recollection or thought.  Perhaps I'll feel braver in February.............

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Well, I AM Being Monogamous...

....but not to anything in my basket.   Actually, I'm probably not being "monogamous" as that probably means only one project and I am working on two, but announcing that I am being a bigamist just doesn't sound right.  But it is sort of like progress to be keeping myself committed to just two projects.   It's somewhat easier to not be seduced by anything else in the stash, as I don't think the stash is playing nicely today.  Remember this?
The 1375-yard hank of cobweb yarn that wasn't on my Ravelry stash?  It has a friend.  At least one.  I had finally steeled myself to dig in the laceweight bin to see how much of the green yarn from dem fischer sin fru I really had, and ran into a second 1375-yard hank of yarn that isn't on Ravelry.  It must be breeding.  I decided that perhaps I didn't really want to play with the laceweight after all if THAT was the sort of behavior I could expect. 

As a consequence, the mohair jacket has armholes
and the lace scarf has gained quite a bit of length
I'll get a better picture tomorrow.  I had physical therapy again this afternoon, and while getting to change to therapy once a week does mean one is improving, it seems possible that it also means that the therapist might think you need a week to recover after each session.  I am SOOOOOOOOO tired tonight.  In all fairness, we have now moved on to exercises and stretching that would have worn me out even before I hurt my back, so I think is a good thing.  We'll see what I think in the morning......

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Possibly A New Record For Me....

The Valentine's Stash Dash challenge, which I am leading, kicked off on January 1.  In less than 24 hours, I was cheating on my basket:
I think that might be a new personal record.  I'm not sure if I just wasn't in the mood to design a vest, or if I'm just in a selfish mood and wanted to make something for myself, or if I was seduced by the idea of making a sweater in bulky yarn so my sad little "used up" tally could actually have some numbers on it, but whatever the case, this seems to be helping me get past the "must finish as many projects as possible" mindset and transition to "sweater" mindset.  At least it has for the past 24 hours, but that obviously means nothing.  If I have cast on a new shawl by this time tomorrow, then I think there might need to be a bit more transitioning....

I'm making the Maggie Rennard Jacket from Knitting Today's Classics, but there's an odd pocket detail which would be (from what I understand) right over the side seam.  Perhaps it's just me, but I would no sooner add padding around my waist than I would around my rear end, so I will be skipping this part.  Not that I don't like things to have pockets--I actually really like them--but most of the time I would be using a pocket to hold my car keys.   Just for fun, let's all take a moment to think about the pure fun that could be experienced by having a key ring meet mohair, shall we???  Doesn't that just sound like a lovely time? 
Right up there with velcro on knitting bags for sheer knitterly delight......

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Little "Progress" Check

Admittedly, part way through the year, my one-thread-per-month-on-the-dang-cross-stitch resolve fell apart--probably when canning season kicked in, which is what did in everything else.  BUT, it probably got more attention this year than it has in the previous 4 years combined, so I thought it was time to check the progress.

What it looked like at the beginning of 2011:
What it looks like at the beginning of 2012:
Hm....maybe I stopped sooner than I thought.............