Saturday, March 29, 2008

In the Cards

Can you catch things from the internet? From reading blogs? Raverly? I've never had cast-on-itis. Or startitis. Prior to my multi-tasking WIP's if I had it I didn't notice. I'd just keep on knitting what was on my needles because that was what I did. I didn't cast on new projects. Now, with the various WIP's, nothing seems . . . right. And I have a perfect excuse to cast on for a NEW pair of socks.

One of the photos I want to take on April 1st is at my LYS here in Lawrence. I actually want to go in and, if they're not busy, gather 'round and have them hold the sock. Problem is, none of the yarn for any of the socks I'm currently working is from that store. I was shocked, myself. It would be wrong to ask them to hold a sock knit with "alien" yarn. So I went stash diving for yarn that I'd purchased at my LYS.

I came up with three skeins of fuchsia (color #1856) and three skeins of a light pearl gray (color # 104) in Reynolds Sunday Best Reynolds Kids. Here are photos of the actual yarn. It's not technically "sock yarn". I was thinking at the time I could make socks with this yarn and that these two colors would work well, together and separately.

And so I cast on Saturday night. I'm using 2 mm Clover dpns. I tend to use my smaller needles for cotton yarn. I don't know. It just seems to work better since cotton doesn't have any give and when it stretches it stays stretched. I've cast on 76 stitches. I've done 20 rounds in 1x1 ribbing and 4 rounds of 3x1 ribbing.

I had all kinds of ideas on what kind of striping pattern to use. I thought about using the Fibonacci sequence for the stripes and even maybe the ribbing. I still like the idea of using the Fibonacci sequence for some cool future project. And now that I have it here on the blog I won't have to spend 10 minutes trying to remember how spell
Fibonacci and figure out how to look it up without knowing how to spell it. [I ending up Googling mathematicians and there was a site with all the famous mathematicians.] Anyway, I decided to do random stripes but with the fuchsia and the pearl gray being the same width for those two stripes.

Since I cast on, only a day and a half ago, I've gone already gone through the love/hate thing for this tiny sock. Sometimes I want all fuchsia with just a touch of the pearl gray and other times I want all pearl gray with just a touch of the fuchsia and then I think what I'm doin' rocks. I'm sure I have enough yarn here to make two pairs of socks for myself. I'm going to do all four socks — bing, bing, bing, bing — one right after the other. All of the striping will be random mixtures of these two colors. I might even mess with the ribbing, not do the same ribbing on all four socks. I mean, who looks at the ribbing when the sock's on your foot. Especially when the stripes are so prominent. That way I can just pluck any two of these socks out of my sock drawer and they'll go together. For now, I'll call these socks, Four of a Kind.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Not Quite Kosher by Stuart Kaminsky

Parting Shot: "The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer." ~ Edward R. Murrow

Friday, March 28, 2008

Plain Sailing

The short row heel on the first Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock is done. And KU is in the Elite Eight. Couldn't pick a better time to be knittin' with the Crimson and Blue. The crimson stripe lined up on the heel lined up pretty well on one side and it's a little off on the other side. The smallest part of the heel ended up being all crimson, which was kinda cool. Nothing on how the striping turned out was planned.

And this heel was not the pain in the derrière the previous six short row heels were. Oh, it was a bit fussy but OK. Maybe the knitting of these heels are better when they're knit months apart. That won't be a problem for this project. I started these socks on November 12, 2007. I'm just now finishing the heel. It'll be months (unless I get focused on them again) until I knit the other

I've decided to do the bottom of the foot in stockinette and not in pattern. It will go faster and I only have to pay attention on two needles and not four. This sock could be considered for stop light knitting if the yarn wasn't so fussy. It's OK for the treadmill, though.

The only thing I feel inclined to work on now is the White Caps afghan.

The end of March is nigh and I would love to be out on Spray sailing this evening — if it was sunny and the temperature was in mid 70's F. / 20's C. One of my favorite times to sail is Saturday evening, sailing past the campgrounds on the Federal side of the lake, winds around 10 mph or so, listening to The Retro Cocktail Hour. (sigh) Soon. Soon.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: The Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell

Parting Shot: "The days pass happily with me wherever my ship sails." ~ Joshua Slocum

I've Been This Way Before

I mentioned my exercise outing in yesterday's blog post. That leads me to confess that I've been exercising unfaithfully. Some weeks there is nothing and some weeks there is some and a very few weeks, like this week there's a lot (4 out of 5 days). I even added some upper body weight work to the end of today's bout with the treadmill. I kept it easy but I'll probably pay for it later this evening and/or tomorrow. I've already downed two Tylenol to ward off some of the aches.

Since I was so faithful all this week, I've been reaping the benefits yesterday and today with more energy. Again, thank goodness for the simple knitting and podcasts that I can put on my MP3 player. And even a thank goodness for the new age music channel on our satellite TV. I didn't want to start a new podcast but I wasn't finished so I turned on the TV to the new age channel and finished with that.

As you know, I get fixated on ONE project and just knit on that for days or weeks. Lately, it's been the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. The short row heel is about 3/4 done. The photo was taken yesterday at the halfway point. All the decreases were done and the increases hadn't yet begun. I'll finish the heel and probably get bored somewhere on the foot and move on to . . . what I don't know yet.

The jury's still out on this multiple WIP's thing but I think I like being able to switch from simple to complex at the drop of a needle (or stitch). I think I've grumbled about this before but the ONE think that still bugs me about the multiple WIP's is that nothing ever seems to get done. What seems to be my style is that I work on them all in series and they're all about the same percentage done [except for the sweater]. They'll all get done all around the same time. I guess I'll have to try to ignore one (or two) in the go around a couple of times so the continuous knitting will be dotted right along with cast offs and and cast on's.

I need to frog several rows on the Paws to Remember shawl. Once I sit down and do that I'll want to knit on it. I have the changing of the color always dangling in front of me, spurring me on. I'll just have to see what strikes my fancy.

Sweetie and I drove out to the lake early this afternoon and sat in the marina parking lot in the car and just enjoyed the warmth of the sun. It was so relaxing watching the water and the birds. I knit on my Lorna's Laces Simple sock. The foot's about half done. It'll look like it's half done until suddenly, Oh. My. God. I've got to start decreasing for the toes on the next round. Funny how that is, isn't it.

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with David Arkenstone

reading: Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell

Parting Shot: "We are never prepared for what we expect." ~ James A. Michener, from Caravans
Quote Source

Another pelican photo ~ same pelican.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Talk of Opportunities

I'll try and spare you some of the endless moaning and whining and complaining about the short rows on the heel of the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. Notice I typed "some". All in all it's going pretty well, so far. It's — dare I say it — going quickly and mostly problem-free. I've got 16 stitches on each side now and only 18 stitches remaining in the middle. Another three or four on each side and I'll be ready to starting increasing — putting them back on.

I don't mind the garter stitch, except for the fixing of the garter stitch. I love the mindlessness of the garter stitch (although stockinette can be pretty mindless, too) but I like the look and the ease of fixing the stockinette. Oh to ladder down and then hook right back up.

Having the novelty of not using the outrigger dpns and not doing this type of heel for months seems to have made a difference. Last time I did three of them one right after another and it was too much short row for me.

I took a long walk outside today instead of on the treadmill. It was overcast, cool (not cold) and towards the end slightly misty but I enjoyed it. There's a little duplex community about a mile from our house. It somehow reminds me of Cape Cod. I'll see if I can remember to bring my camera to give you an idea of the place. The duplexes are all similar but each is a little different. Sidewalks and walking paths up and down and around. There are a couple of large ponds and the sidewalks wind all over the little community. It's picturesque and a pleasant to walk. Not much traffic or folks around in the late morning. I'd brought my MP3 player but it was great walking along, listening to the birds. Anyway, so now I'm sore and creakin' around the house this evening. I bet I'll sleep good!

I saw a bush
still just sicks at this point, no foliage. The new growth from last year was fuzzy. Like a short haired dog. I'm going to bring my camera next time and take a photo of this unusual bush. I can't find it on the internet with any description I can come up with.

We've got a new mainsail for Spray coming our way from Precision Boatworks in Palmetto, FL. To get new lifelines made we need to ship the old (and very icky) ones to Seco South so that they can make the new ones the same length. I'll be shipping those off on Friday. I'm just glad we didn't toss the old lifelines when we took them off a few months ago.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Dancing in the Dark by Stuart Kaminsky

Parting Shot: "My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit." ~ Phyllis Diller
Quote Source
Why, yes, It was a bit windy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Inexplicable short row hatelove

I've started the icky knitting on the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. Note the color used for the word "icky". You know me and brown and orange for that matter. Ick. Anyway, I've started the short row heel. I'm doing it the same but differently this time so I'm hoping that will affect the way I feel about the fussiness of this particular heel.

I think there is more than one way to do this heel. A couple of folks at my knitting group [which I've not been to in a couple of months] seemed to be surprised at how many stitches I use for my heel. I first discovered this heel when I did Lucy Neatby's Mermaid sock from her book Cool Socks Warm Feet. I've done exactly three of these heels. I love the way they look but I don't like knitting them. It takes frickin' For. Ever. because I use a deep heel.

For these particular socks, with an 85 stitch cast on, the percentile is 59% of the stitches are heel stitches and 41% are instep stitches. That percentile is taken straight from Lucy's Mermaid sock recipe. Hence, I have to decrease 40 or so stitches then put put those same 40 stitches back on. It's a long knit, especially at the beginning of the decreases and the end of the increases. Particularly, near the end of the increases when every short row completed is longer but nearer to the end and I've already been knitting on this a long time. It. Just. P-L-O-D-S. And Oh. My. God. Will. This. NEVER. End.

I DO love the look of the short row heel and when it's finally done I'm so happy I stuck with it. This time I'm doing a slightly different method. Previously, I would put the decreases on two additional dpns, one at each end, waving out there in the breeze. I'd have to continually check to make sure that the stitches weren't creeping up to fall off the end or working their way down to fall off the other end. Keep moving the stitches up or down so they would stay in the center of these two wavin' in the breeze dpns.

Sometime on the last short row heel sock I did, I had one of those AH HA! moments. Angles almost sang and I think the earth twinged or maybe I had a hiccup. It was even better than an I could have had a V8 kind of moment. Instead of using the two extra dpn outriggers, why not do what you do when you turn the heel on a heel flap heel. All the stitches are on the same needles. It works for that and so that's what I'm doin'.

Anyway, so far it seems to be working OK. Better than the dpn outriggers although until I got four or so stitches on each needle they STILL slid out a couple of times while I was manipulating the yarn and stitches on that particular needle. I'm past that now and it's seems to be workin'. I'll keep you posted.

Incidentally, I'd planned to do an 80 round leg but when I got to 75 that seemed a good place to stop and begin the heel and so I did.

And now for something completely inexplicable — to non-knitters.

If you haven't already, go read this post on Stephanie's blog. Specifically, #1 about four paragraphs under the book photos. On Raverly, in the Yarn Harlot forum there's also a thread about it. On April 1, I'm going to take some of my wip's and some of my favorite fo's and take photos around Lawrence, KS. If I can take photos in comparable places to Stephanie's Toronto list I will. If not, I'll take photos of some of my socks in some of my favorite places around town. I'll post the photos and my experiences here.

blogging to: The Weather Channel Presents Smooth Jazz

reading: Dancing in the Dark by Stuart Kaminsky

Parting Shot: "So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers." ~ unknown

Life and Death in the Garden of the Warrior Knitter

I love spring. But the yard work that needs to be done so you can do mostly nothing the rest of the year needs to be done in a timely manner. We tackled a big lump of it today.

We had a lovely honeysuckle uh, monster that had been threatening to devour part of the north side of the house and the all important air conditioner. Three or four years ago the metal trellis got so top heavy we had to prop up
with a metal pole similar to what they use for stop signs to keep it off the air conditioner. It was one of the leftover tree stakes from when we purchased the house 15 years ago. About a year and a half ago (or so) we bent the trellis to the ground away from the air conditioner with the intention of letting the honeysuckle (which I love) bloom in the spring and then we would get rid of it. The fact that we're doing it NOW should tell you how well that went.

Oh. My. God. I will NEVER plant one (or several) of those things on a metal trellis or near anything. I can, however, see them on a split rail fence at the back of our yard . . . someday.

I wish I'd thought to take a photo of the mess before I waded in with the small hand loppers. I started out giving it a hair cut which got it down to the mess on the trellis in the top photo.
Since the vines were so firmly attached to the trellis (close up in second photo) there was no way they were coming loose without a whole lotta work. Sweetie jury-rigged a cutting disk to a drill and cut the trellis loose at the bottom. Then he took a sledge hammer to break off and break down the base of the vines so we could pull the trellis free. There was also a seven foot plus mulberry tree in there that Sweetie sawed down after I lopped off as much as I could. You can see what's left of it in the photo below next to the house on the right. The stuff I cut off, not attached to the trellis in the top photo filled FIVE large garbage bags.

bottom photo is what we have left to do — another day. Sweetie figures we'll take our 6' long pry pole and a piece of wood and try prying what's left of the trellis up. It's held in by the base of the vines. If that doesn't work, he'll attack it with the sledge hammer to bust up the thick tangle of vines at the base then try the pry pole again.

This whole thing started out because the air conditioner will run cooler in the shade. We'd planted a small Summersweet bush and while we waited for it to get large enough to shade the air conditioner we stuck the trellis between it and the unit and planted some honeysuckle. The honeysuckle overwhelmed and eventually ate the Summersweet. Meanwhile, as the unit's on the north side of the house and only gets direct sun very late in the day when it's about to set, we're not going to worry about it anymore.

I'm going to put some of that shredded paper grass seed stuff in the large bare spot west of the unit and go from there. Not long after we moved in, I put in some vinca minor and some English ivy on the north side of the house, east of the air conditioner (it's the bare spot in the trellis photo at the top). Between those two and the mint that I threw out one year, they've all been vying for dominance. They've managed to choke out the several hostas I'd had for several years. Now I've got to decide if I want to re-establish the hostas or do grass there. I'm leaning toward the hostas and mulch.

And before we started all that, we pumped and bailed out the smelly water in our tiny pond, cleaned out all the leaves and the drowned worms and tree frogs, which is what made it smell. So it's pumping again and we've got the lovely sound of falling water. Sometime in the next week or so, we're going to take the back of the pond apart and do the PVC pipe thing since the hose that runs from the pump to the top of the little waterfall is either partially blocked or squished. Meanwhile, every time we open the patio door, we hear our tiny waterfall again. We didn't realize how much we missed it until it was back.

We cleaned out and put up the martin house so we'll be bug free again this summer. I'm not buying any citronella plants or any
citronella scented geraniums again this year. The martins are that good.

While I was messing about with the pump and the smelly water, Sweetie was trimming branches off the weeping willow that we're going to take out. We planted it in the wrong spot. We had to choose between the weeping willow and the pussy willow and the pussy willow won. It's the one I started from a STICK that I stuck in the ground, 13 or 14 years ago. The weeping willow we bought after we had the elm tree that died taken out, about three or four years ago. Weeping willows we can buy again, but that STICK. That's something.

We now have a tidy pile of mostly willow and some mulberry branches. We'll cut those into more manageable lengths (4' long), tie them up and put them out for the trash. We'll chop down what's left of the weeping willow and cut it up, too.

I need to finish pulling up the weed fabric and old mulch on the south side of the house then put down that shredded paper grass seed. Then, I'll redo the fabric and mulch at the back of the house that's around the day lilies.

Other than that last paragraph, it's not much left to do. I feel like we made a huge dent in the yard work. And yes, we could have done some, a lot of it last fall, but well, you know how that goes.

Once it's all done and we have the rest of the year to mostly just enjoy the yard, it'll be great. Thank goodness for aspirin, heating pads and coffee with a shot of Baileys. We'll sleep good tonight.

blogging to: 80's music from Germany on

reading: Dancing in the Dark by Stuart Kaminsky

Parting Shot: "Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it." ~ unknown

Monday, March 24, 2008

And I Think to Myself . . .

I hope everyone had a good Easter. I drove myself to my SIl's. Sweetie stayed home so as not to spread (any more) germs. Everyone there had been sick with something in the last few weeks or so. The food was fantastic, a baked ham, carrots, green beans, corn, broiled asparagus, scalloped potatoes (of some kind ~ good, though) and my home made bread. For dessert, there was a choice of angle food cake, chocolate cream pie and strawberry pie. Couldn't get much better than that.

As I'd hoped everyone enjoyed all the knit works in progress. I did take the Nautical Striped sweater after all and it got the most attention. I guess that was the most recognizable as "something" everyone could identify with. Except for the Simple sock, which has a leg, heel and half a foot, the other two socks were just tubes. The cotton afghan was a mass of slate blue and bright white stitches. And then maybe I overwhelmed them, just a bit, with all the knitting. (shrug)

The hour drive there and back went quickly. I listened to one and a half episodes of Lime and Violet. They don't always talk about the yarn, but they are so funny. They always make me laugh. And I broke out the Simple Sock to knit on at stoplights. It was all good. After all that Lime & Violet and then again this morning during my walk and I'm channeling them. I can hear them in my head. That cannot be a good thing.

I've got less than ten rounds to go on the leg of the Rock Chalk Jayhawk socks. Now that I've committed to do the short row heel and I'm so close, I want to knit on these socks. I have a feeling that the foot and for sure the second sock are going to be a major drag. I will have to bribe myself to knit on them — five rounds of the Jayhawk and then I can knit on ANYTHING else.

The Paws to Remember shawl is in the time-out corner. I'll have to frog back about eight rows, at least back to the most recent lifeline. I must have done something major on the first row of this current pattern repeat. Everything's shifted a few stitches in one direction so that nothing's lining up. I'll wait until I'm mentally ready, look at it again and deal with it. (sigh)

I got our taxes done today and YIPPEE!! for the first time in years, we're getting money back from from our Federal return and only have to pay $16 to the state. If I'd known that I'd've been in there months ago. Was it because I knit while the preparer was preparing? Nah. Thank You George Bush!

Yes, I'm one of THEM! Not to worry, mostly no politics here. You vote for your candidate and I'll vote for mine. Let's just agree to disagree, unless, we happen to agree.

We were planing on getting a new mainsail for Spray in a couple of months, but that plan just got moved forward. YEA!! Now if the weather would cooperate so that we could get some maintenance done then we could launch aka Splash that Puppy!

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with David Arkenstone

reading: Dancing in the Dark by Stuart Kaminsky

Parting Shot: " . . . What a wonderful world."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

To Spend a Day

Sweetie's been sick with a bad cold the last few days. Today he's spent the day mostly in bed rather than on the couch or reclined in the big Lazy Boy chair in the living room. He's been mostly napping in between bouts of me plying him with liquids, vitamins and medicine. He was feeling a bit better and for a short while we were both in the office tap, tap, tapping away at our computers. Now he's sacked out on the couch.

I've spent the better part of the day, sitting in that same big Lazy Boy chair in the living room knitting on the Paws to Remember shawl and listening to podcasts on my MP3 player. I've been listening to old episodes of Cast On with Brenda Dayne and Lime & Violet with, um, Miss Lime and Miss Violet. I listened to Lime & Violet's episode 12 from September 24, 2006. I listened to two partial and one complete episode of Cast On. Whatever episode I was listening to last time, just picks up when I turn it on again. Looking at Brenda's Podcast Index I caught the last part of episode 5, all of episode 7 and the first half of episode 4. All the Cast On episodes I listened to were from December 2006 and January 2007.

I save all of these podcasts a certain way (podcast & episode number — Lime & Violet #12 or Cast On # 5) but that info evidently doesn't transfer onto my MP3 player that way or I'm not doing it right, which is probably the case. Sometimes the name of the particular episode on there, sometimes not. Sometimes the episode number is there and sometimes it's not. Often it's just a guess on what episode I'm going to listen to until I start listening. I'd like to listen to them in order, but oh, well.

When I listen to these for the next several hours (or days) I can hear the podcasters voice in my head. Which is fine if I've listened to only one podcaster. Today I have a combination of the calm Brenda Dayne and the more manic Miss Lime and definitely Miss Violet. Since I listened to more of Brenda Dayne and most recently Brenda Dayne, maybe that's the one that will prevail. It has, so far.

I spent all afternoon and most of the evening knitting on the Paws to Remember Shawl. I'm on the third colorway, the part where I have one strand of the #2 color and one strand of the #3 color. I'll knit 6 rows of these two then switch to both strands of color #3 for four repeats or 48 rows. Once I get both strands of color #3 well established, (probably at least one repeat) I'll take another photo. According to my very anal calculations, the shawl is presently, just over 22% done.

I've decided NOT to take the shawl to Easter dinner on Sunday at my SIL's house. Even though the knitting pattern is somewhat recognizable, it is unblocked lace and to a non-knitter it's just messy knitting. It looks like messy knitting to me and I'm knittin' the damn thing and I know better.

I will however, take all three socks and the afghan. I'm still a bit up in the air about the sweater. I really think what have have will be enough to show off. Shockingly, not everyone there will be into my knitting. Yeah, I know.

Sweetie's not going. I'll get up and bake my bread, gather my knitting and go on my own. The only part I regret is that since I'm driving myself, I can't knit all the way there and back. Oh, well. At least I have an excuse to leave on the early side. Sick husband. Gotta get back. Heh.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: Tales From Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett

Parting Shot: "In your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the easter parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the easter parade.
On the avenue, fifth avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the easter parade."

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Big 5 0 0 !

Yep, my 500th post. Cool.

I fixed the problem on the Paws to Remember shawl. I'd dropped a YO on the last group of stitches so it was quick to find and even quicker to fix. So that's back on track again. In fact, I've done four repeats on the center section. I finished the last row and put in the obligatory unwaxed dental floss life line. I would love to find some unwaxed dental tape but haven't had any luck. The thicker tape would sure make it easier to pick up the tiny stitches. Maybe there's something else out there.

One more 12 row repeat and I'll be ready to move on to the next color. I'll do half a repeat (6 rows) of one strand of color #2 and one strand of color #3, then four repeats with two strands of color #3. We're still firmly entrenched on the red side, but color #3 is a deeper, darker burgandy. We don't land on the purple shores until color #5. That's 124 rows, over ten repeats away. Curiously enough that also happens to be the halfway point in the shawl. I love it when a plan comes together.

While I was knitting on it this afternoon I was looking at in the sunlight. And there IS a pattern you can see in the unblocked mass of dusty red lace. You just have to have faith and an abundance of bright sunlight.

I was able to get a decent shot of the White Caps afghan this morning. That's row 104, which is about 7½ repeats or seven white stripes or just under 15" long. Only another, say, 60 inches to go and I'll be done!

The pump in our tiny pond / fountain at the edge of our patio finally died this winter. That little 160 gph pump lasted almost nine years. We've got a new one now, a 190 gph one. I hope it does as well. We just wanted the sound of the falling water. We need to redo the pond as the hose that carries the water back up needs to be replaced. We're going to route the new hose through a pvc pipe which will be buried. That way we won't have to redo the pond again. We didn't do it that way initially because we were always rearranging the rocks and the soil around the pond to get the sound we wanted. When we were finally satisfied we didn't realize it until we noticed we hadn't messed with it for months. And then we never got around to the pvc pipe thing, until now.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Sex And The City by Candace Bushnell

Parting Shot: "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." ~ Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 20, 2008

And I Would Be a Legend

I was finally able to spend some time on the yard today. It was warm enough. It was dry enough. I had time enough. And I felt like it. The last is probably most important.

I pruned some low branches on several trees. Now I won't have to duck down as much or at all when I mow. I cut down the ornamental grass in the three decorative concrete pots lining the walk to the front door. I began the process of turning a mulched area on the south side of the house back to grass. I started taking up the weed blocking fabric and the old cedar mulch on top. I got just under half of that done. If I'm not sore or too sore Friday, I may be able to finish or most of it anyway.

I also plan to take up the old fabric and mulch in the bed at the back of the house. Sweetie wants to put it back to grass, but I want to keep the fabric and mulch. It's a pain to mow around the plantings (mostly large clumps of day lilies) and I risk dinging the siding with the mower. Since I mow and I'm doin' the work I may win this one.

I'm also in the process of taking down a large clump of honeysuckle on the north side of the house. As much as I love the scent, it's taking over. I also noticed a mulberry tree in there and that has got to go. Since I always have several blue morning glory seeds left over, that may be a great place for a vine or two, if I can find and rescue the original trellis buried somewhere in there.

Sweetie and I drove into Lenexa this evening to pick up a SCSI ribbon cable for an Adaptec SCSI controller card he bought on E-bay. Not a bid but a direct purchase. We've now old hands at this E-bay stuff with two direct purchases under our belt! NOT!!

I took the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock along and now I'm only 15 rounds or so from the heel. I'm still set on enduring doing a short row heel on this sock.

I'm also making progress on the White Caps afghan. I'm about halfway through the eighth repeat. I'm going to try to get another in progress shot in the next day or so.

I was carefully knitting a little on the Paws to Remember shawl today while I was listening to / watching TV. Apparently, it must stay on the couch. I'm off one stitch at the end of the row. I'm going to slowly tink back, check each section as I go and we'll see what happens.

I know what's going on in this garter stitch shawl, but I don't know if anyone else can see it. It just doesn't look like anything. Even to me. Just a jumble of garter stitch knitting with some evenly and some randomly placed holes. I may not take this one to show off on Sunday. Besides, it would be totally cool to give it to SIL and her have no idea I was even working on something like this.

I'll have more than enough to show off with the afghan and the three socks-in-progress. Not sure if I'll take the sweater. Maybe I can get motivated enough to pick up the neckband by Sunday. If I do, I'll definitely take it.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Sex And The City by Candace Bushnell

Parting Shot: "More grows in the garden than the gardener sows." ~ Old Spanish Proverb

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If I open up the blog to post will the words come?*

I can hardly believe that Easter is this weekend. Here's a bit from an e-mail my CIL sent me a few weeks ago.

The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913.
The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818.

We're going to have Easter dinner at my SIL's in Lenexa, about an hour or so west of Lawrence. She's hosting dinner for NINE people. Not a lot, I know. But I could / would never have NINE people to dinner. Sweetie (her brother) must be adopted. Their parents were social, always had folks in and out of their home. My dad was the social one. My mom would rather stay home or just do things with our immediate family. Sweetie and I would just as soon stay home and be on our own. I enjoy all the folks that will be there so that's not it.

I'll bring a whack of knitting along to show off what I'm doing, have done. Not sure how much or what I'll take. I'm to bring a loaf (or two) of my homemade bread. I think I'll even pop down to WheatFields Bakery and pick up a baguette.

Things are progressing slowly around here. Both Sweetie and I have a touch of the crud, slightly sore throats, an achy ear, no energy and generally don't feel up to par. The kind that as the day wears on you feel better — or maybe just resigned to your fate. A nap certainly helps.

I've put a few rows in on both the White Caps afghan and the Paws to Remember shawl. And that literally has been only a few rows. I want to knit. I feel like knitting. But I turn around and suddenly it's dark and 8:30pm. Where in the heck did the time go? A nap is wonderful but it sure eats up the knitting time. Maybe I can get in a few more rows in on something before I crash for the evening.

* Apparently some of them will show up for anything.

blogging to: Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington

reading: Sex And The City by Candace Bushnell

Parting Shot: "Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver." ~ unknown

Sunday, March 16, 2008

If You Would Be Happy

Today's St Patrick's Day in my corner of the globe is wet, cold and soggy. I have tiny ponds and rivers all over the yard, front and back. Maybe on the sides, too. I don't know. It's too cold and wet to go out and look. From what I can see from the windows, I'm glad I was able to stay inside and knit today.

As I was sitting at the computer
knitting on the White Caps afghan and reading blogs and forum posts the other night I realized that when you're knitting on the "right" thing the knitting's calming and even Zen-like. The soft cotton felt good in my hands. The yarn flowed out from the skein over my needles into into the work.

The last week or so I've had the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock sitting near the computer and I worked on that. Not the same feeling at all. I felt like I was "working" on it. Maybe it was the Cascade Sassy Stripes yarn, which gives a nice pattern but I don't like the feel of compared to the other WIP's and FO's I've knit on. It can't be the looking down at the end of every k4 because on the pattern (knit) side of the afghan I've got look down all the time. I knit a few pattern repeats, look up and read and bit then look down and knit. On the purl side, once I get going I can read, purl and only occasionally look down. Maybe, I just want to knit on this afghan with this yarn. It's hard to tell. Weird, huh.

This blog's closing in on post #500. This is post 498. I never thought I'd be blogging for 2+ years let alone almost 500 posts.

blogging to: the merry sound of the water running down the downspouts

reading: Dead Heat by Dick Francis and Felix Francis

Parting Shot: "May you live all the days of your life." ~ Jonathan Swift

And So It Goes

One of the downsides of several WIP's at once is they all increment slowly, if at all — especially the larger ones. One of the mainstays of this blog was / is the knitting. And I usually had something new every day or so. I finished a leg or a heel or was thinking about the next sock or yarn. With several items on the needles, there's not as much blog worthy knitting going on around here.

Oh, sure, I'm making progress on almost all fronts, the Nautical Striped Sweater and the Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern being the two exceptions. I know I'm running out of time to be able to wear the sweater but there's always next year and it doesn't worry me. I thought about finishing it to wear for Easter until I realized that Easter is a week from today. I still have 1½ sleeves to knit, the neckband, and all the seaming. Not so inclined to hurry. It'll be done when it's ready.

I DO have kind of a half assed excuse for not working on the sock. I love that yarn and I don't want the project to end. I just get caught up in the yarn and to heck with the knitting on it. I know the socks will be wonderful to look at, to feel and and to wear but for now I'm just enjoying the yarn. And I also know I'll have yarn left over, but it's not the same.

Sweetie had a doctor appointment yesterday to renew his Nasonex prescription. I brought the Simple sock to work on which was fine. I wished I'd remembered to bring my MP3 player. Oh, well. I'm around half done with the foot on the sock. I guess it's about time to wind the second hank and put it in the knitting bag. I started this sock about six months ago and it's serving it's purpose.

I'm two-thirds of the way along the leg of SIL's Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. Amazing what happens when you actually work on a WIP, huh. I've very pleased with the automatic striping on this sock. The crimson stripes always seem to be near the same thickness but the blue varies in height which gives the sock more interest.

The White caps afghan, despite being 350 stitches long / wide, just keeps on keepin' on. It's a good 13" long now and I'm about done with the sixth patten repeat. I'm also nearing the end of the third skein of slate blue cotton yarn. Other than the hassle of the length and the width it's a no brainer knit and would be a good travel knit for a long car trip.

I've even re-evaluated the glove cuffs I started for SIL a couple years ago. They don't seem so terrible now. What's changed? Beats me. But I DO plan to finish the second cuff before her birthday in August. That's the only semi-hard deadline I've imposed on myself. I didn't knit the gloves. They're a pair of those super stretchy one-size-DOES- fit-almost-everyone gloves you find in the supermarket. The yarn is Funny by Pelsgarn. The colorway is cranberry (#4065). I see from my notes that every time I go back to these I like them a bit more. Odd.

The pattern is one I found on the internet, Julie's Fabulous Gloves which has been around for a long time.

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with Acoustic Alchemy

reading: Now & Then by Robert B Parker

Parting Shot: "Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don't want to press your luck." ~ Unknown

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is That All There Is?

Today I visited my LYS to pick up some more of the Reynolds Saucy, the slate blue cotton yarn that is the bulk of the White Caps afghan. I got three more skeins. I've got three already in the afghan and that gives me five in the queue.

OK so I bought a book and a pattern, too.

(sigh) It was a spinning book and a entrelac-like lace shawl pattern.

FINE! It was Shannon Okey's Spin to Knit: The Knitter's Guide to Making Yarn and Lijuan Jing's Swirl Shawl from Jojoland International.

Happy Now?!!

I am.

For a while, I thought I HAD all the knitting books I needed/wanted. But I guess not. Lately I've been thinking about Cat Bordhi's new book New Pathways for Socknitters Book 1 and since they're being republished, Barbara Walker's various Treasuries of Knitting Patterns. I evenutally want to get those since I love stitch dictionaries. I also want to get some lace books but I haven't taken the time to sit down and page through some of them. I also want to delve into Elizabeth Zimmerman's The Opinionated Knitter. I'm more of a Maggie Righetti kind of person but I think I have room for EZ, too. I decided the next time I'm called on to knit a baby thing and I have a choice, it'll be EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket. I know I can purchase just the pattern but I'll get the book.

Anyway, the book I keep checking out of the library is Shannon's book. So I decided to bite the bullet and just get it already. I'll cart in around in my knitting bag, along with Clara Parkes book The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn. Since my knitting bag goes where I go, I'll have two books to read if I don't feel like knitting or where I'm at is not conducive to knitting.

As far as the shawl, a sample was hanging around. It's lovely. I didn't particularly like the feel of the yarn but the pattern spoke to me and so now I own a copy. Someday I'll finish the Paws To Remember shawl for my SIL and then we'll see. The Swirl Shawls going to be a challenge. But that's how you grow.

I've also decided to do a short row heel on my SIL's Rock Chalk Jayhawk socks. With the way the yarn's striping with the long runs of color, I think it'll look interesting. A pain in the arse to knit but I'll do it. If I don't like it, rip, rip, rip!

And I'm trading two wound hanks of yarn I'll maybe never use for two skeins that look interesting. Raverly is so cool. I think I've got all of my stash, FO's and WIP posted. I even have most of it photo-ed. What a chore but it was fun. Anyway, there's a section in the Stash that you can list yarn you'd be willing to trade or sell. I've had this Koigu in that section.

Back when I was working for a white box computer company I taught a couple of the ladies how to knit and they both wanted to knit socks. One found her own yarn but the other for some reason didn't want to so the enabler that I am brought in some of own sock yarn and also purchased these two hanks as she seemed (to me anyway) to wear a lot of browns and harvest golds. So what did she choose? Some blues from my stash to make a pair of Blueberry Waffle socks. At that time I'd recently finished a pair so I guess I can't blame her.

Anyway, these havest gold hanks have been languishing in my stash ever since. Several folks on Raverly expressed interest but clearly no one wanted them — until now. My trader offered either to buy them or trade something. She didn't have her stash posted yet so I couldn't shop. She sent me a short list of what she was willing to trade and one of the choices was Reynolds Swizzle in colbalt, color #4001. Here's what it looks like knit up. And we're trading even. How cool is that. I feel like I'm getting the yarn for free.

I tweaked the blog a bit the other day. With the new Layout on Blogger (as opposed to the Template) I added Slideshow.
I tagged some of my favorite FO and WIP photos on my Flickr thing that I got for Raverly with a special tag so they'd show in the slideshow. I don't know how many of my readers have dial-up. Let me know if it bogs down the loading for any of you. Being a former dial-up person, I can relate.

Back to knitting on the afghan and looking through Shannon's book some more.

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with David Arkenstone

reading: Fear of the Dark by Walter Mosley

Parting Shot: "A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nothin' Doin'

The back of winter has been broken in my tiny corner of the world. It's not spring, yet but it's finally getting close. And it's not just the calendar that's telling me. There are tufts of deer hair in the backyard. The birds are singing. Oh, the thrill of a cardinal's song and the sweet notes of house finch after such a long absence. Birds we haven't seen since fall are back, such as the red winged blackbird. It's in the mid 70's F / low 20's C today and all the windows are open. Buds are fat on the bare trees just waiting for the right moment. We've had so much snow this winter all the brown grass in the yard is smashed flat instead of upright.

I've been getting a whack of knitting done. I'm on the fifth pattern repeat (row 76) on the White Caps afghan. I now have five white stripes and it's about 11½" / 29¼
cm long.

Here's an updated photo of the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. I'm on round 30 now. It's now 5
½" / 14 cm long. I'm still looking down after every k4 and that seems to be working.

For some reason all my other knitting projects get carted around the house and knit on wherever — exept for the Paws to Remember shawl. It stays on the couch and I only knit on it on the couch. Sit. Stay. Knit.

blogging to: the sound of outside through open windows

reading: Fear of The Dark by Walter Mosley

Parting Shot: "One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Time Is On Our Side

Warning: another boring post — except that we actually left the house today! Sweetie and I took a drive into Kansas City, which is about an hour (or so) east of us. No particular destination in mind, other than a stop at Gates BBQ for a late lunch. We stopped off at the newish Bass Pro Shop in Olathe, KS and wandered about for awhile. Didn't buy anything. Didn't look too hard at anything.

I've been getting a little knitting in on a few things. I knit several rounds on the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock yesterday. The pattern is p1, k5, p1, k4. In theory it was because the KU Jayhawks had an 11-1 football season last year, a feat not seen since the early 1900's. In practice, I keep forgetting if I'm on the k4 or k5 part. So I decided I would k4 then look down. Heh. It works. The yarn, Cascade Sassy Stripes isn't as soft as I'm used to working with. It's probably one of those things that'll soften up with washing and use. It's also seems thin and not very stretchy. I do like how the stripes aren't all the same width though. Oh, well. It's a long term knit and my SIL loves 'em. She just doesn't know they're for her. Just some sock I'm workin' on. Anyway, the knitting does go fast, even with the lookin' down. I'm on round 26 of the leg. It'll probably be an 80 round or so leg.

Somehow a few days ago the Paws to Remember shawl ending up with an incorrect stitch count. I frogged that row and it was still wrong. (sigh). So I just decided to take it back to the life line, about 8 rows. It's all back on the needles and the stitch count is correct. A bit disappointing, but at least I had the life line. I could see frogging back each row and it still be wrong.

I'm still spending a lot of time on the White Caps afghan. I started the third skein yesterday. Each skein is taking is about two pattern repeats or about 4¾". I have two left. Sometime this week, I'll head down to my LYS and get some more. Theoretically, (and we all know how well that works) I only need about four more. It's between eight & nine inches long now, depending on whether you measure a peak or a valley. I'm still happy with it and it gets knit on the most. Other than my Simple sock, it's the simplest thing I have, even with the simple lace pattern.

The photo is this evening's sunset.

reading: Fleshmarket Alley by Ian Rankin

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with David Arkenstone

Parting Shot: "Let not the sands of time get in your lunch." ~ Unknown

Friday, March 7, 2008

In the Evening on a Friday Night

Again, not much going on here except for the knitting. I've spent most of today knitting on the White Caps afghan. I'm almost done with the second skein of slate blue yarn which means I've got four pattern repeats done. It doesn't seem to measure out any longer than yesterday's post but it must be. I have to remind myself that one "row" is 350 stitches so completing six rows is quite an accomplishment. The last four rows are plain stockinette and that goes quickly. The lacy pattern's on the first ten rows and then only on the knit side.

I changed, again, back to the Denise Interchangeables but I used a different connector and have had no problems. I got that bright idea after I'd knit a couple of rows on the rosewood circs. Sometimes (more than sometimes?) I'm a little slow on the uptake.

Winter is back — like it ever left. We have about an inch of snow on the ground (again) but only on the grass this time. The pavement remained clear. Our temps are in the low teens F. / low negative teens C. tonight with highs this weekend in the low to mid 40's F. / 4-7°C. I'm just so tired of winter this year. In the past it's been cold but dry. This year it's been cold and wet. Pair the two and you have snow every time it wets
— which this year has been at least once a week, or so it seems.

I was hoping we'd get to work on Spray a bit this weekend, but it's going to be too cold for that. Thank goodness we don't have an endless list like we've had the past two years. We want to be able to launch by the end of the month. Other than the usual waxing of the hull and topsides, we're replacing the two large plexi-glass windows on either side of the coachhouse (one is cracked) and the lifelines. Our bottom paint's in pretty good shape so we're not going to do that this year. All we need is a little warm (say in the 60's) weather and it won't take much longer than a weekend or so. With the time change this weekend that'll give us the extra light in the evening should it ever get warm enough . . .

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with Acoustic Alchemy

reading: Rendezvous with Death by Sally Spencer writing as Alan Rustage

Parting Shot: "The sea finds out everything you did wrong." ~ Francis Stokes (and so does knitting)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Walkin' on Imported Air

I finished the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in two days. I was up until the wee hours this morning (Wednesday). Quite a page turner (understatement). An amazing ending. An amazing book. An amazing series. I notice there's a bit of a door left open. Hmmmmm. Now that I've read the whole series, I want to read it again in light of what happened after each particular book. I can see this is a series that I would read over and over. Now the question is: Do I want to see the movies?

As you can tell, not a whole lot of knitting's been happening. I've done a bit on the White Caps afghan. I'm about halfway through the fourth repeat. It's just over 7" long now. I keep switching between the plastic Denise Interchangeables and my rosewood circs. I can lengthen the cord on the Denise needles with an adapter but it's got a rough place which has been getting worse. There's too much knitting not to have to use the extensions to lengthen the cord. On the rosewood circs the cable's long enough (barely) but the yarn gets hung up on the join; going from a narrow cable to a wider needle. On the
Interchangeables the cord's about the same size as the needles. But for that rough spot they're great. I'll see what I can do to remedy that in the next day or so. It's always something.

Not much else is going on here. Which is fine by me but rather boring for ya'll and this blog.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Rendezvous With Death by Sally Spencer writing as Alan Rustage

Parting Shot: "The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Musical Episode

The last few days I've been caught up in knitting on the White Caps afghan. It's 4½" long — only about 70 more inches to go!!. I've just started the third repeat and the second skein of slate blue yarn. I'm really liking the way it's looking. Several rows are lace and a few rows, around the white caps are not. And I absolutely love this blue. And the yarn is soft and easy to work with. I'm thinking the finished length will be just over 6' so even Sweetie with his 6' length can lie on the couch, cover up with it and have his toes covered. We'll see when we get a little closer!

Consequently, not as much was done on the the Paws to Remember shawl. But I do have a photo. This one shows the color change the best. And you can even see a bit of the pattern. It's stretched out across both needles with dental floss marking the two complete center repeats and the black yarn marking the end of the border. I'm pretty happy with it, too.

Oh, and trying to blog and just LISTEN to various RiverDance videos on You Tube is Impossible. And then I went downhill quick with the Hamster Dance and then I clicked on the Chicken Little song (don't know what they're saying but the tune's mighty catchy). I might as well just just give up the typing the the knitting and watch and listen and tap my feet and ah, heck . . . I'm gonna get up and DANCE and SING!!! because that's all I have today. lalalalalala! [kick] lalalalalala! [kick] . . . .

reading: Red Mesa by by Aimée and David Thurlo

Parting Shot: If I could be like Xena . . .

Saturday, March 1, 2008

In Like a Lion!

I'm still liking the new look of the blog but I'm not used to it. When I click over to it it kind of surprises me; like when you look in the mirror after a major haircut or color. The new Layout as opposed to the Template is cool, too. I can modify things in the sidebar more easily, right from the blog. I don't have to do it in the Template. Be sure and save your Template in a word processor if you do decide to change. All your additions such a links will be lost if you don't.

I've been working a bit on the Paws to Remember shawl. I just finished the second repeat on the center
— the pattern calls for 29. I'm well into the second color. I'm still being obsessive about the counting and the place markers and the lifelines. Unwaxed dental floss is great. I'm putting one in at the end of each repeat and I'm leaving them all end until the end. Can't hurt.

The Bones in the shawl are very difficult for me to see. I'm knitting it on straights so it's never stretched out like it would be on circs. Heck, it's only 89 stitches so I'm OK.

I made up a chart of how often and when to do the color changes. It's very anal but it works for me. The color changes are spread evenly throughout the shawl. The first color change is very subtle. I'll try to capture it for my next post. It looks like a trick of the light. I'm knitting the shawl with the yarn held double. When I'm ready to change colors, I cut one of the strands and introduce one strand of the next color. I knit with one strand of color #1 and one strand of color #2 for six rows, half a repeat. Then I cut the color #1 strand and add the the second strand of color #2. I'll knit with two strands of color #2 for 42 rows or 3½ repeats.

This evening I'm getting some knitting done on the White Caps afghan. I can easily see it's bones. I'm glad I frogged back to where I did. I'm liking the change better. I'm still a few rows shy of where I was when I frogged it. Good thing I'm a process knitter.

We had a lovely day of temperatures in the low 70's F / 20's C. and lots of wind. It would have been marvelous to be out on the water! Sunday,
temperatures are to be about 5° cooler — still plenty warm but we're to get afternoon thunderstorms which will change to snow overnight night. The high Monday is to be right around freezing. (sigh). I know we're going to get bad weather of some kind. The deer come into the yarn and feed early the night before. I've got dry firewood in the back of Mathilda and so I'm all set for a day on the couch in front the fire.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Unfit to Practice by Perri O'Shaughnessy

Parting Shot: "With rushing winds and gloomy skies The dark and stubborn Winter dies: Far-off, unseen, Spring faintly cries, Bidding her earliest child arise; March!" ~ Bayard Taylor