Monday, October 31, 2005

I'm feeling considerably better today, after a weekend of lots of sleep and Quils --- either Day or Ny, depending on the time of day.

Son had play practice tonight, and Daughter had been invited to go trick-or-treating with friends, so I was going to have some time to myself. Decided to spend it at Borders, equidistant between their two locations, so I could be either place quickly if needed. I packed a scarf I cast on over the weekend, and envisioned sitting with a nice cup of hot chocolate, plying my craft in silent bliss.

Well, I get to Borders, and there are no free tables nor chairs. But I can still get a nice hot drink and peruse magazines and/or books, right? Somehow, the young lady behind the counter fails to keep the coffee out of my chocolate, and there are too many people waiting in line to make complaining worthwhile. I understand that most people probably order some coffee of some sort. But, occasionally, a queer duck like myself will come through and only want steamed milk with some flavoring. I left Borders, dropping my coffee into the nearest outside trash can.

Now what to do? I wound up at Jo-Ann, pity/angry-buying yarn and some circular 15s that I realized I needed over the weekend. Some of the Jo-Ann yarn is really quite lovely. I'm a fan of the Bamboo, and tonight I got a really beautiful wool blend called Cosetta. (Sorry if that spelling is off.)

Long story short, I wound up sitting in the parking lot, under a light, knitting the last 10 minutes or so away until time to pick up Hannah. I suspect that, when I look at the stitches tomorrow, they will be on the needle tightly, as they bore the brunt of all the evening's frustration.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Blecch.

I stumbled in from school yesterday, put on pajama bottoms, my favorite Dale Jarrett/UPS/"We Want to Race the Truck" t-shirt, a Vandy Commodores sweatshirt (I have a fever; I was cold!) and purple handknit socks. It is a medical fact that wearing purple socks will make you feel better. I went to bed, and was only awake on and off until 7:30 this morning.

When I woke, I found my fever mostly gone, but my throat sore and my arms so achy and heavy that even picking up knitting needles was uncomfortable.

I'm sick --- do you have to torture me, too?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Saw It Sitting There. . .


. . .on my front porch, and I knew it had to be something good.

It was!

From Ashley, at nothinbut knit, my Sock Scrap Swap yarn! This is serious stuff, too --- Lang and Lana Grossa, Classic Elite, even a little Koigu, Dalegarn and Cascade. And look at that notecard ---
it's a Cats in the Sun photo. I positively adore the Cats in the Sun series.

So, thank you, Ashley! May you have received an equally exciting package from your Swap pal. And thank you, Katie, for the wonderful idea!

I finished up a pair of socks/slippers today for my mother for Christmas. They're too big for me, so I know they'll be large on her, but she wears layer upon layer of socks in the winter, so these can go on top. I made them out of Sinfonia, a cotton I'd never heard of. I came across it as I wandered through Hobby Lobby one day. I'm pleased with how it worked, and even more pleased that I bought a skein of delicious deep purple that same day, so I can make myself some socks. The yardage seems to go a long, long way.

Beyond socks, I'm closing in on another Warm the World blanket, and I think I'll start on some sort of wrap for myself. Don't know what just yet; I was sorting through patterns last night, but wasn't struck with inspiration. Of course, I was running an inexplicable fever and feeling pretty crummy at the time, so inspiration was going to be hard to come by.

Today, somehow, I am definitely in a sock mood!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Making Friends

I've never been what you would call a social butterfly. My name has never been at the top of anyone's Have to Invite list. All my life, I've been able to be alone. It hasn't always been my preference, but I can do it. I can eat out by myself. I can go to a movie or a concert, or anywhere, by myself. The phone doesn't have to ring non-stop in my world.

Maybe it comes from being an only child, although I did have a group of neighbor friends that I saw and played with daily as I grew up. Whatever its source, the ability to spend time in my own company without shame or embarassment is one of my strongest skills.

All that said, when I discovered the knitting blog world, one of my great desires was to dive in and be a part of it. To make friends. To send e-mails to people whom I liked, and who seemed to like me in return. Ask questions, have inside jokes, that sort of thing. If you go back into my archives, you'll find a post --- complete with frowny-face graphic --- bemoaning my inability to get involved in any Secret Pal or Secret-type Anything program.

Well, all that has changed now. There are people out there in cyberspace whom I now consider good friends, in the literal sense of both words. People whose blogs I read daily, whose words entertain and inspire me, people who comment on my silliness here, and respond when I comment on their offerings. You should all know who you are, and you should know that I thank you from the bottom of my little knitter's heart. And the bottom of my just-a-person's one, too.

And to the Secret Ones, who send me good wishes and goody packages, you are invaluable as well. I just don't know your names yet.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

How I've missed This

Now, I'm under no delusions here. There isn't a vast reading audience for my little blog here. And that's fine. So the fact that there hasn't been a computer in my house for the last four days hasn't made a big impact on a lot of people's lives.

But, oh, my, have I missed reading everybody else's blogs!! How's that shawl coming? Are the pets OK? Did that package arrive? Well, as of right now, I am all caught up. Shameful to become so reliant upon a piece of machinery. I have missed you all very much.

Funny about the computer shutdown. Seems we had 5 viruses, one of which had closed the anti-virus program! That's your irony, right there.

The intervening days have found me knitting a couple of cowl wraps, a hat, most of scarf and one sock. I've put together another package for my Secret Pal, though I still have one to send. My classes worked in groups until Friday, so I was able not to lecture, but to write and read during class periods.

Oh, yeah, and scam my way onto the school's computer.
;)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oy, Part Deux

Just said this on MindFull --- home computer quite ill. Working from a sneaked/snuck machine at school. No idea when I'll be able to return to my comfortable chair in my comfortable den and type without this ridiculous "professional" dress, high heels and ID badge.

But I AM knitting, and I AM working on Secret Pal. We are just computer-inhibited at the moment.

Oy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

J

I have a crochet hook. A Boye aluminum crochet hook. Size J, color blue. Just like who-know-how-many-other Boye aluminum crochet hooks. Except this one is MY crochet hook. Ya follow?

There is something comforting and comfortable about this hook. I keep it on my nightstand, as most of my knitting is done sitting on my bed. It is in easy reach there. Every bit of crocheting I do (which isn't that much, really) is done with this hook. Don't care what a pattern calls for, necessarily. If a J hook won't look too abominably out of proportion, a J hook will I use.

Last night, I needed to seam up the second of a pair of mittens. Reach over to the nightstand for my hook --- it's not there. Momentary panic. Where is it? Could it be lost? Again?

Several months ago, I lost my blue crochet hook. Misplaced it, as it turned out, but gone is gone. I needed a crochet hook. And even though I wanted my blue one, I told myself, as a thinking, rational adult,

"Come on! Go buy another aluminum hook, size J. Blue, if they have it. It will be the same thing. You're being ever-so-slightly ridiculous."

Off to the store I go. I'm sure you saw this coming: they didn't have any blue hooks in stock. Flash of panic.

"Just get one. Geez! It's a crochet hook, for crying out loud! It's not like having to match blood types!"

I bought a pink one. It wasn't the same. I found my blue one later, heaved a gargantuan sigh of relief, and left the pink crochet hook to the Fates. (To this day, if I had to find it, I don't think I could.)

So there I am last night, without my blue hook. Several painful seconds pass before I realize it's probably in the den, where I had finished a baby bonnet over the weekend. Now, all I had to do was get up and walk the few feet down the hall to get my blue hook, and all would be well.

But. . . Were you ever so comfy, so perfectly fitted into a place and a moment and a "groove" of work that distrubing it in any way was anathema? That's where I was last night. And, besides, a lovely bamboo crochet hook, size J, was on my nightstand. Within easy, non-interrupting reach.

I've never used a bamboo crochet hook before. This was a gift, and it is pretty. And since I knew where my blue hook was, I rationalized the bamboo's use. Heck, I should give it a try, I thought. Can't hurt.

You see this coming, too, don't you?

WHY, oh WHY didn't I get up and get my blue Boye aluminum crochet hook? I got the mitten seamed (there's part of me that was muttering against being bested by a piece of wood, no matter how many stitches dropped or got split), but it wasn't the same. And as I went through the house before bed, turning out all the lights, I paused in the den to look at my blue hook. I felt unfaithful, somehow. Yet I was comforted knowing it was still here, forgiving and willing to take on the next project.

It is going back on my nightstand. May it never wander far again.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Free Association

I failed to mention that all the while I was working on the socks pictured below, Emmylou's cover of The Band's "When I Paint My Masterpiece" ran through my head. No idea why. But every time I picked up the needles, there it would be.

I'm quite a fan of the human species. We're remarkably adaptive, and most of us are fairly decent a fair percentage of the time. Very few members of the species do I find truly loathesome (although Karl Rove vaults immediately to mind. . .) And one of the things I like best about us is that we have the capacity to free associate. Like me with the socks with Emmylou.

But there's more.

Emmy's version of "When I Paint My Masterpiece" almost always reminds me of Viggo Mortensen.

Viggo Mortensen? He's fine and everything, but why in the world does that song pull him into my mind?

Viggo has the same birthday as my son. This coming Thursday. Which reminds me that I have to order a cake.

See how free association/train of thought works? We're an astounding species.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Socks Are Done


As a compulsive scraps-of-yarn saver, I am all about stripes and holding two strands of yarn together to knit. These are made with turquoise Bernat Sox yarn, and some leftover Watercolors from a Ram Wools kit. It's a mohair/acrylic blend, and so the cuffs and toes of these socks are very soft.

Been knitting like a fiend of late, as nothing else interests me in the least. This has been one of those weeks, where I haven't given a flying rip about anything. Which means that my lectures have been sub-par, papers are ungraded, the house is a mess, and all I've done is sit in the bed knitting, or lay in the bed napping. Don't know what to blame it on: hormones or depression or just General Lethargy. But I have put a lot of stitches on a lot of needles in the last several days.

Need to make a UPS run (I write as Dale Jarrett gets crashed out of tonight's NASCAR race.) I've got a full box of things to send to Warm the World, and I put together another package for my Secret Pal this afternoon. Will do that Monday after class, if I feel like it. I'd better be out of this funk by then; I can't afford another unproductive week.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Phone Lines are Closed

Please, stop calling; all our hand eye operators are overwhelmed! We realized very quickly that the name of the new book is actually "Handknit Holidays." Sorr - ree!

Children were off today; when I got home from classes, we went to lunch, to the yarn store (big hit with Briton. . .) and to Blockbuster. Hannah and I are currently watching one of our rentals: an "Invader Zim" disc, while Briton is at rehearsal. How much cuter could Gir be?

Whatever became of "Angry Beavers," also starring The Voice of Zim? And my all-time favorite cartoon show, "Aaaaaah! Real Monsters!"?

(Of course, the single greatest episode of a TV cartoon ever is the episode of "Johnny Bravo" where Donny Osmond is Johnny's nanny.)

(And did you know that Donny Osmond is a grandfather?!? How old does that make some of us feel?)

Sheesh!!!!!!

The search for projects ended with the decisions to make socks (on straights) and a cabled hat. I'm also working on another blanket for Warm the World, trying to lessen the bulge in my odds-and-ends garbage bag. The gift I made my Secret Pal went extraordinarily quickly, and turned out beautifully --- I'll make one for myself one day. I bought her a couple of things at the yarn shop today; this whole program is so much fun. I have a second package ready to send her way; will probably ship it out toward the end of this week. I continue to get terrific messages from my Spoiler; she has a wonderful comic touch, and I'm always glad to hear from her. Whoever she is! Must come up with appropriately wonderful thank you present for her when all this is done.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Skills!

Here's something I've been unable to envision myself capable of typing:

I think I can learn how to knit socks in the round!

Now, before you wear out your hands with the applause, understand, that statement began with the wiggle-room phrase "I think."

A couple of weeks ago, I checked Cat Bordhi's book on knitting socks on two circular needles out of our library. I set to work trying to follow her instructions, and, though things did get a little pretzely, I think I'm going to be able to pull it off. The only problem was, I had to return the book before I was able to do anything more than a few practice rounds, and none of our bookstores have a copy. Something for the Christmas list, certainly, but, hopefully, I can get it from the library again and actually get some work done.

This is such a monumental thing for me. I seam everything. Well, almost everything. I have a physical ineptitude with DPNs which has metamorphosed into a mental block. I can, and sometimes do, knit on circulars, but I much prefer straights. This opens up new possibilities and I am very excited --- very excited --- about possibly being able to accomplish this.

Also, I have been making stitch markers. There seems to be a great tidal wave of stitch marker making rolling through KnittingBlogLand, and I have jump rings and beads from Hannah's and my bracelet-and-earring-making period, so I gave it a whirl. Mine are pretty generic, not super-special like the ones I ordered for my Secret Pal (www.amyville.com), but it's kind of fun to make them.

Oh, and have you seen the new book "Holiday Knits"? Awesome stuff in it --- I looked a copy over at Borders this afternoon. There were actually a couple of new knitting books out, which is always fun. I just wish some new knitting magazines would be released. It seems like the same ones have been on the stands for an awfully long time.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

R.I.P.: the Vittadini

Last night, while trying to work on the near-completed back of the Vittadini cardigan, I realized I had screwed up a row. So, I pulled out the needle and pulled out the offending line of stitches. Then, Something came over me. Something which rasped into my ear, "Go ahead. It's OK. Keep pulling. Go back to the beginning. Before the beginning. You aren't interested in this anymore. Move on. . . "

So, I began re-balling all that lovely chocolate brown tweed yarn, and the Vittadini is no more. These moods overtake me once in a while --- unwinding a project for no clear reason. Have I become to accustomed to the quick knits? The hats, the scarves, the socks? Do I not have the endurance for a sweater? What an awful thought.

Having ripped up and out the turtleneck, and, now, this, I am knitting only one thing. A single solitary mitten, to complete a pair. That's it. Which means I must plumb the depths of my pattern books to find something --- actually --- two more things to knit.

Dare I choose another sweater?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Found out from her blog that my Secret Pal received, and liked, the first little goodies I sent her. These weren't the ones with the Customs declaration on their front; I'll be watching eagerly for her reaction to them. Also, to see if she says anything about my Here's-My-Name! blunder.

Reading her thanks made me even more eager to do things for her. It's fun, thinking about another knitter out there, wondering what she's like day to day, cooking up ways to surprise her. . . We used to have Secret Pals in my dorm in college, and I loved the idea of random/anonymous giving then, and I love it now.

Thanks to having serious car trouble (spelled out on mindfull) Thursday, and spending 3+ hours at the dealership Friday, I did finish my KTC apron on time. Blocked it yesterday and will wrap it soon --- one Christmas present done! I can't imagine that I would have sat still long enough to finish a seed stitch waist tie otherwise.

So, I was cleared to begin a new project, and it is, not surprisingly, for my Secret Pal. That's all I'll say, but I got a very good start on it yesterday while watching football. I'm still knitting mittens, of course, and the Vittadini cardigan, but I abandoned the turtleneck shell I was doing. I was making it out of boucle, which I actually love quite a bit, but this particular yarn was sort of hard to keep track of, and I realized as I was nearing the end of the armholes that I had "switched sides" midway --- I had started purling the knit side and knitting the purl side. So, I unraveled it, took the completed back and the pattern, and stored them away for sometime down the road. When the memory of mistake has faded.