Monday, June 30, 2008

Feeding Frenzy

Sometimes, OK, often, I find myself caught up in my knitting in such a way as to have the attitude
Must. Knit.
Must. Finish. This. Needle.
Must. Finish. This. Round.
That seems how it has been on this second and even a lot of the first Rock Chalk Jayhawk Sock for my SIL. One more needle done and one more round marked down in my notes was a victory towards getting this project done so I could Knit. Something. Else. And it was a bit that way with the Blue Baby Blanket although I was charmed by the pattern every time I held it up to examine it which wasn't nearly often enough once I got going.

I've done a lot of knitting on the sock this afternoon and somewhere in the knitting I got the message. Which I've gotten countless times in the past with any number of projects (mostly socks — go figure). But this time it was louder or more incessant.

Enjoy this knit. These are the last few rounds on the leg. These are the last few rounds you will ever knit in this pattern all the way around with this yarn on this sock.

And it's true. I've only five or so more rounds to knit on the leg. Then there's the short row heel. On the foot I won't be knitting round and round in pattern. Only the top of the foot stitches will be in pattern
— the rest will be stockinette.

Of course, the "message" also has a broader meaning in my knitting. Lately, I often lose the Zen in my knitting. I knit purposefully toward a goal. This needle. This row/round. This section. This project. Why? So I can move on to the next project and do the same thing? If that's all there is, then there is no end. How depressing.

So I'm going to consciously slow down (again!) and feel the knit. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the feel of the yarn. How it forms the stitches. How the color stripes. The odd little bit of color where the crimson and the blue dyes touch. I really like it when I can connect with the Zen in my knitting. It feeds me instead of frenzies me.

This sock will get done in it's own time. And there will ALWAYS be another sock. Another scarf. Another sweater. Another afghan/blanket. There will always be another. I'll only have physical possession of this pair of socks a short time but they'll always be my socks.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Moor by Laurie R King (a Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes mystery)

Parting Shot: "If there's nothing wrong with me . . . maybe there's something wrong with the universe!" ~ Dr. Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the episode Remember Me

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lovely, Simply Lovely

Such a cool and relaxing weekend. Temperatures have been in the low 80's/high 70's F / mid 20's C during the day and around 60°F /15.5° C at night. The wind's been from the NW or NE all weekend. It's been very windy 20-30 mph / 32-48 kph. So of course we went sailing on Saturday. Our plan was to get up early, breakfast, drop the car off for an oil change then go sailing. But when Sweetie woke, it was foggy, misty, cold and no wind to speak of. So we went for a ride and found a back road that takes us almost all the way to Topeka, KS from LeCompton, KS right along the railroad tracks. Then we took the Scenic road from LeCompton to Lawrence. Meanwhile the weather cleared off and the wind came up.

We went out to Spray around 4pm, bent on the working jib (no reef) and had a great sail. It was windy enough to keep the boat at an almost constant 20-30
° lean angle. Our favorite way of sailing. As it was windy and we often tend to "work it" when it's windy we got tired but didn't want to go home. So we dropped sails and motored back into the back of the marina cove and anchored. By this time it was probably 7:30 or so and many of the folks were clearing out to go home. We lounged around in the cockpit. Sweetie stretched out and dozed a bit and I read. I'd brought my knitting as usual but wasn't even tempted. We finally called it quits at dusk, tidied and slowly motored back to our slip.

Today (Sunday) was another lazy day. We were tired from our sail so we just stayed around the house. As the air conditioner's off we can feel the cool breeze and hear all the birds. I took a long nap. Later we sat out in our park-like backyard with the adult beverage of our choice.
We grilled out. I'd picked up a six pack of chicken drumsticks and Sweetie, who won't eat chicken, had hot dogs with mustard and sweet pickle relish. I love grilled chicken. And I have three leftover for lunch. We also tried a can of the new Bush Grilling Beans, the bourbon and brown sugar ones. I'm always adding things to canned or boxed items but to this I would only add a dollop or so of hot sauce and maybe a little splash of Black Label Jack Daniels to give it a little kick. For dessert? Toasted marshmallows. (I think that's why I feel so good right now. I'm on processed sugar high.) Simple fare but oh, so good.

We've decided that the deer aren't visiting anymore.
We have a tray that we put food in for the ground feeders. The giveaway has always been a licked clean tray in the morning and we haven't had that for several weeks now. We're still putting out corn as the birds and especially the rabbits seem to like.

This weekend is what summer is all about. Lazy, being outside. Moving at your own pace. And it's just June!

Our St John’s wort has been blooming this past week or so. Last year I ripped out all the old bushes. They were dying. Turns out they were infested with tiny bag worms. Our front area needed re-doing anyway so I got five more and spread them out across the front of the house. They didn't bloom much last year but this year they are going to town. They are covered with blooms and buds and big fuzzy bumble bees. These are blooming later than the ones we did have. They're starting to grow together and fill in the empty places between the bushes. When they finish blooming, I'll even off the tops as these seem to bloom on new growth.

And a small knitting update. I'm still knitting on and hauling around the Rock Chalk Jayhawk socks. I'm on round 47 of the leg. Less than 30 rounds to go then the dreaded short row heel. Although when I've knit on it I can't tell you. Maybe a bit Saturday but none (so far) today.

blogging to: the sounds through the open windows

reading: Are You Nuts? by Mark Richard Zubro (a Tom & Scott mystery)

Parting Shot: "Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." ~ Henry James

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Carrot on a Stick

I'm using the reward method to get the knitting done on the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. One side of me says 10 rounds is enough and another side says you can do 20. So I compromise at 15 but I can switch after 10 if I'm really bummed. And if things are going well and I'm happy with the knitting, I'll just keep on knitting. This morning I mowed the grass. When I take a break, after I cool off and sit and knit a bit so that when I go back out I am more refreshed in body and spirit. This got me to round 13 of the leg — 17% of the 75 round leg done. The carrot in this case is knitting on ANYTHING. else. Even cotton White Caps afghan spread over my sweaty knees.

The second sock is where I regret how long I made the leg and in the case of a short row heel, the heel. Sure, when you're knitting on the first sock and you've already knit 60 or 70 rounds what's 5 or 10 or 15 more!! HaHaHa! But when you're just casting on for the second sock and you look at your notes and you see that OMG!!! WHY in the HECK!! did I knit 75 (or more) rounds for the leg. 35 or 40, I'm sure would have been FINE!!

So, yeah, 75 rounds on the leg, 62 more rounds to go. (sigh) On the plus side, that's 10 rounds I didn't have on it when I got up this morning so there's that. And the lawn has been mowed.

Oh, I almost forgot. I finished the toe on the first Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock last night. [How could I have forgotten that. I had to go look at what I posted yesterday to see if I posted about it. I didn't.] I did an unusual (for me) toe. I divided the stitches between five needles. I knit the first stitch on each needle then knit the next two together for the decrease. When I had my SIL try on these socks the part where I should have started the toe decreases was five or more rounds back. I was loathe to frog those rows so I just sped up the decreasing. I decreased 5 stitches every round and only did 2 plain rounds. When I had four stitches on each needle I put them all on two (10 on each needle) and kitchenered the toe. I think it'll be fine.

After I finished the toe I took a wee break from the crimson and blue and worked several rounds on the first Four of a Kind sock. I got past the gusset decreases on the foot and I'm on round 27. The last few socks I did for myself with a heel flap heel have 70 rounds on the foot. My short row heel socks have less foot rounds because I do such a deep heel. Basing my calculations on a 70 round foot, the foot is almost 40% done. I picked up the Four of a Kind sock this morning for my lawn mowing break knitting but the 2 mm / US 0 needles are very pokey and my index fingers are a bit tender.

It's windy so it looks like we're going to go sailing this evening. No spinnaker sets today. That's one of the cool things about sailing. It's kind of like driving a car. Once you know how you can transfer that skill to almost any size and setup.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Killing Orders by Sara Paretsky (a V I Warshawski mystery)

Parting Shot: "A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." ~ James Dent

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On a Mission

Just the little bit I've been working on SIL's Rock Chalk Jayhawk socks with the Cascade Sassy Stripes yarn has reminded me that I don't like this yarn. Oh, I love the colors and how it stripes. I just don't like the way it feels and it's thinness. It's not coarse or scratchy. I can't put my finger on why I don't like it but it's going to be a slog. The good news is that I'm more than half done with the toe on the first sock and I only have the leg, short row heel (groan!!), the foot and the toe of the second sock to do.

The sock is 89 stitches around. The leg is 75 rounds and it's a deep short row heel — 50 stitches. then 66 foot rounds and then 20+ (probably) toe rounds. It seems like a lot and it is, but a couple of weeks of a couple hours each day and it'll be done.

Somewhere in there I'll seam and do the collar and buttons on BSJ. I don't have to have any of the baby stuff done until mid August. True, I don't want to leave it until the last minute either. I hope I can refrain from volunteering to knit someone something or decide to do something on my own. Which is what happened with the Rock Chalk Jayhawk socks.

I am looking forward to just have a few varied projects to work on. At least I got two out of the way. I'm working on and carrying around the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. I'm also going to put the Four of a Kind sock in my travel bag, too. For those times I just cannot do another stitch with that yarn.

The Four of a Kind socks are and will be simple ribs and I'm striping the yarn myself. Here's a photo to refresh your memory. It's been a while since I worked on them. The yarn is cotton, Reynolds Kids Sunday Best in a light pearl gray and a bright fuchsia. Initially I was going to do a pair of gray socks and a pair of
fuchsia socks not related at all. Then I got the bright idea to make four related but different socks. All striped differently and each sock will have a different rib pattern. Any two will make a pair. The cuff, leg and heel is done and I'm just beginning the gusset decreases on the foot of the first sock.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Killing Orders by Sara Paretsky (a V I Warshawski mystery)

Parting Shot: "A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When it Rains . . .

Prior to the completion (except for weaving in two ends and blocking it) of the Blue Baby Blanket I haven't had an FO since I finished Sweetie's Black Socks (the ones with the catchy name since the beginning of February.

YES! Another FO! the Simple Socks are DONE! And Yes I have DO very wide and very short feet.

yarn: Lorna's Laces, in the Mountain Creek colorway.
pattern: my own ~ p2, k4, p2, k2
needles: 5 2.5 mm rosewood dpns

I used just over 1½ 50 gram hanks. Based on the weight of the socks (2.8 oz / 81 gr) and the cost of the yarn, these socks cost $19.44. I have 31 grams, just over 133 yards left.

This was a great break. Before I do the toe decreases on SIL's first Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock I need to fiddle with the transition between the cuff pattern and the leg pattern. One of those things that worked on paper but is not working in "real life." I need to get that sorted as those are now my travel knitting. I do have the First Four of a Kind sock as a back up but these socks for my SIL are next up.

Yesterday evening we went sailing. It was one of the best sails. We set the chute (our red, white and blue spinnaker) for the first time this year. It was fantastic. The temperatures were in the low 80's F / mid 20's C and the winds were probably 8-9 mph / 13-16 kph. As usual on a weekday evening there were't many people on the water. We came in just after sunset. The winds were so nice that we didn't want to stop.

And Sunday afternoon, we took the canoe out. We put in at one of the boat ramps on the same side of the lake as the marina but several miles down. The water is up and there was a rock shelf just off the parking lot. It was a great place to launch. The canoe seemed very tippy. But then we only went once last year so we were back to starting fresh. After we'd paddled most of the way across the cove we got our canoe balance back. We had a great time and didn't tip over. I took our little disposable camera but we'll have to wait until all the photos are taken before I can get the photos off. There were several crawdads where we put in and I tried to get some photos. We'll see if they turn out.

blogging to: Sweetie's You Tube music selections

reading: The Rockford Files ~ The Green Bottle by Stuart Kaminsky (a Jim Rockford mystery)

Parting Shot: "The sea pronounces something, over and over, in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out." ~ Annie Dillard

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Still a Socknitter at Heart

For me the near completion of a project, in this case the Simple Socks, always sparks that what to knit next thought. Short term in this case I DO know what I'm doing next. However, long term is what I've been thinking about. Someday, all those WIP socks will be FO's. So what then? Yeah, I know I've got four in progress socks to finish. And the four mates to those socks I haven't even begun so I'll be working with my current projects for quite a while yet. But when I'm done, I'll have four pair of completed socks.

One pair, of course, will go to my SIL, the Rock Chalk Jayhawk Socks. After the Simple Socks they are the next closest to being done and the next up, sock-wise. After that, I'll plough through the finish of the first Four of a Kind sock and then the other three. At the same time, I'll have the more complicated lace and wonderful Schaeffer Anne yarn of the Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern. They will be a nice offset to one another. The simple and the not so simple.

But some day they will all be done or nearly done. Then what? That's when I'm thinking I'll do one or both of these things. First off, I'm accumulating lots of leftover sock yarn. I've knit a lot of socks over the past four years. Right now I'm sitting at 54 socks, 27 pair. Well, it's actually 55 socks, since one of the Simple Socks is done but whatever. I have an amazing amount of leftover sock yarn. Not enough to make a complete pair of socks, but I could make a whole lotta socks outta these leftovers. Since many are in the same color families, blues, purples, greens they will pretty much go together. I'll just need to match like yarns with like yarns. I don't want to go knitting a pair of socks with Cascade Fixation and merino. But even within these small limitations there are a lot of possibilities. With the merino yarn, the Koigu, Socks that Rock and Claudia Hand Painted I have about 4 50 gr balls of sock yarn. That's not counting the Fortissima Cotton, the Cascade Fixation, the Socketta I have. I could do a couple of pair of socks within each of those categories, too.

Knitting up some of my leftover sock yarn will clear out some stash and I'll have some very cool one of a kind socks.

My other long term project is the fixing of the too small socks. These were knit with cotton yarn to fit before I knew/realized that they would shrink to not fit. The legs of these socks all fit just fine. In some cases I'd only have to knit the foot larger and longer. In at least one pair I'd have to take out the heel also. Some of these cotton socks also have a small hole. I'd re-knit the foot with new yarn in all cases. I have at least one pair of wool socks that the heel is blown on one. I'd have to decide if it's worth it to fix it. The too small cotton socks there's no question that I will fix those. If I do fix all the too small cotton socks, I'll have several pair of like new socks that I didn't have to knit the entire sock to get.

So there we go, even more plans for dominating my part of the hand knit sock world.

As to my current progress, the gusset decreases on done on the second Simple Sock and I've got over 1/3 of the foot done. Only 36 more rounds to go and then I start on the toe decreaes. I may have those suckers done by this time next week.

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with Marc Antione

reading: The Rockford Files ~ The Green Bottle by Stuart Kaminsky (a Jim Rockford mystery) ~ #69 for 2008

Parting Shot: "What are we going to do? We’ll be sent to the spice mines of Kessel and smashed into who knows what.” C3PO from the first Star Wars movie

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Moving Right Along

I started a new group on Raverly today. A Xena group. You're all shocked, I can tell. I started a Sailors forum there when I got my invite last October. I kinda didn't want to start the Xena group because there are days / times when I don't go on line much, except to post. to this blog. But I kept missing a Xena forum there so I finally bit the bullet and did it. Hence the Xena pic on the previous post. Hopefully, the Design Donor team can work it into a banner. I have many skills but that's not one of 'em. So if any of my readers are also on Raverly, and are Xena fans, go and join. You can also leave me a comment or e-mail me with your Rav name and I'll send you an invite. My Rav name is WarriorKnitter.

I've made ferocious progress on the Simple Sock. The leg of the second sock is done and I've started on the heel flap. Things are a happenin' now. I'm tellin' you. Haven't picked the sock up today, however. It does feel good to a little mindless knitting now and again.

blogging to: A Night on the Town

reading: Platinum Canary by Ronald Tierney (a Deets Shanahan mystery) ~ 68th book I've read this year

Parting Shot: "Well, if it's my head you want then take it, 'cause frankly, it's driving me crazy." Xena from The Furies episode.

Xena Image for Raverly forum

Friday, June 20, 2008

Finally! An FO!!

The Blue Baby Blanket is done. Well, except for weaving in two ends and blocking it. Unblocked, it's about 30" long and 27" wide. It weighs 196 grams. Although I broke into the fifth skein to finish the last row and the bind off, I used just under 4 50 gram skeins. I have several yards that I broke off from the first skein that showed a lot of wear from all the frogging I did initally on this project.

Here are some stats:

yarn: Dalegarn Baby Ull - light powder blue - superwash wool
pattern: Vine Lace Zigzag from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns
needles: 5.5mm Addi Lace Turbo circs
size: 30" long & 27" wide unblocked - 13 11 stitch pattern repeats wide and 11 20 row pattern repeats long

When I have it blocked I'll take a fresh photo. But for now, this goes in as an FO!!

So, what's next? I'm so far ahead that I can relax for a while.

I want to take a break from the baby stuff and knit on something else but I don't know what. The Rock Chalk Jayhawk socks for SIL are calling. I need to finish the toe and then almost all of the second sock. That's more of a "duty" knit now as she knows about it. And I'm still not in love with the feel of the yarn. So no.

I could pick up the White Caps Afghan but it covers my lap and beyond now and maybe on toward fall I'll feel more like it

I could grab the Paws to Remember shawl for SIL. She doesn't know about this one. This will revert to my couch knitting.

The Nautical Striped Sweater requires thinking at this point and I don't want a thinking knit right now.

Then there are my Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern. Too much like what I've been knitting.

That leaves my travel project; the Simple Socks or the first Four of a Kind socks, my treadmill socks. I'm drawn to both of these for the simplicity — no lace. I'm really tempted to pour it on and finish the Simple Socks. I'm almost done with the leg on the second one and if I DO concentrate on these I could be done by the end of the month or less. True, I won't wear them until this fall but it'll be a WIP off my list and I DO want to pare down that list.

So for now, that's what I'm going to do. Once I finish the Simple Socks, I can seam up the BSJ and do the little collar. Somewhere in there I'll block the Blue Baby Blanket and weave in those two ends.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Platinum Canary by Ronald Tierney (a Deets Shanahan mystery)

Parting Shot: "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." ~ Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Same Bat Time! Same Bat Channel!

I've been knitting along on the Blue Baby Blanket and since I started the fourth skein yesterday (Tuesday) the blanket should have been half done at that point. However, I was a bit beyond half done. At the "halfway" point it was about 28" long, slightly stretched. If I make it about the same size as the Frosty Pink Baby Blanket I made for his cousin the length would be 44" blocked. At about half the of the fourth skein done it's 36" long. There is no way that it will take six skeins to make this thing 40" long. I figure it will "grow" 3-4" when I block it. I'll finish up this fourth skein and see where I am.

This light powder blue IS fingering yarn and I could pair this yarn with the white and forest green that I have left from the BSJ and make socks. Hmmmm. I'm thinking that because I took ALL of the light blue and the color is now discontinued I'm not going to be bringing it back to my LYS for an exchange even though I could. I still may do that with the green and white left over full skeins despite the possible sock plans.

Oh, but I AM excited that I'm almost done. That instead of THREE MORE skeins I may only have a half a skein or so. I'm puzzled as to why this is taking so much less yarn. The pattern is very similar. The acrylic I used for the pink blanket is a DK weight and I used a larger needle. Technically, this blanket should be smaller. It's three pattern repeats narrower and the pattern for the pink blanket was 12 stitches and this one is 11. All those little things add up.

OK with that info (that I just now looked up) I may be making the blanket longer, say 4½ or 4¾ or (gasp!) the whole fifth skein. Or not. A 44" x 44" baby blanket is a bit on the large size. As usual, I guess, I'll see what happens when I finish the fourth skein.

Ah, the suspense!!

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with David Arkenstone

reading: Always Say Goodbye by Stuart Kaminsky (a Lew Fonesca mystery)

Parting Shot:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not So You'd Notice or Anything

I must be losing my mind. I realized the other day that I posted the exact same photo in back to back posts. I must really like that picture, huh. And so, here it is AGAIN! for any of you that also missed it. On purpose this time. Stay tuned to see if I post it inadvertently again tomorrow!

Same ol' news on the Blue Baby Blanket. It just keeps going. I'm almost done with the third skein. If you knit from the middle of the skein or ball which I usually do, once I can see through the skein, it seems like it takes forever to knit up that last bit and actually start the next skein. And yet if I'm near the end of a project, like a sock toe and I DO have another hank but would really rather NOT attach new yarn 27 stitches from the END of the sock, that's what happens.

And that's also what's happening with the second Simple Sock. Seems like I've had the tail end of the first skein going for a looooong time. And I'm still knitting on the end of the first hank. I'm on round 57 or so of the leg. Once I DO get really near the end, I'm going to match up the beginning of the second hank so the same color pattern will continue instead of suddenly changing mid sock. It gets knit on a few stitches and rounds here and there as it's my stoplight knitting travel sock. The leg of the first sock is 70 rounds long so not too much longer under the heel.

So not much different in the knitting since the past post. We DID finally go sailing yesterday (Monday) afternoon/evening. The winds were light, probably never over 10 mph / 16 kpr. We put up our working jib, which is the smaller of our two headsails. Very relaxing. As it was a weekday, not many folks were on the water. We were the only sailboat and the zooming around powerboats and jet skis were at a minimum.

blogging to: various versions of Dueling Banjos

reading: Always Say Goodbye by Stuart Kaminsky (a Lew Fonesca mystery)

Parting Shot: "If God is watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining." ~ unknown

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why Ask Why?

I'm again making fantastic progress on the Blue Baby Blanket. For some reason I'm not minding knitting on this one as I did the Frosty Pink Baby Blanket. Is it the color? I'm definitely more of a blue person than a pink person. Although if the color is on the cool side of the spectrum I'm more likely to go for it than I would a warm color — even if it is blue or green or purple, some of my favorites.

Is it the fact that this blanket is wool and the first one was acrylic? And every time I picked up the pink one I KNEW it was acrylic and not wool or even a wool blend and that colored my feelings?

Or maybe I don't remember how much I enjoyed my first large scale lace knit. My first blanket. My first big lace.

At any rate, I AM enjoying everything about this knit. The color. The pattern. The yarn. How quickly it goes. It's not really a trial to pick it up every time I want to knit. Not matter how much I natter on about it. As with any long term project or a project that takes over (in a good way) I'll miss it when it's done. And that's the blanket on row 115 along with a close-up of the non-blocked lace pattern.

I know. I know. I said I was cutting back and I will. But that doesn't mean I can't mentally plan the Next. Big. Thing. When the cotton White Caps afghan is done (probably [hopefully] sometime this winter) I may do an oversized one in a superwash wool.

The drive yesterday (Saturday) to SW Missouri was uneventful. Sweetie had a sinus headache by the time we arrived for the Visitation so we didn't stay very long. We did the family rounds and headed back. At one point Sweetie closed his eyes and fell asleep so I put one ear bud in and listened to a couple of the Stash and Burn episodes I'd downloaded to see if I liked the podcast. Which I do. That really made the miles fly by. Have you noticed on a long day trip that it seem quicker going or coming home. It rarely seems quick both ways. This time it seemed quicker coming home. I was tired from driving and Sweetie still had a headache so we crashed early. Sweetie's headache is pretty much gone and now he's napping in the living room.

We had another thunderstorm go through a while ago on the heels of a cool front. The sun is shining, the humidity is down and the temperature is wonderful. All the windows are open and the breeze is cool and fragrant. But there is more on the way, as usual. Hopefully, it will dry out enough later in the week to mow, again.

blogging to: the sounds coming through the open windows

reading: The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters (an Amelia Peabody mystery)

Parting Shot: "Does 'virgin wool' come from sheep the shepherd hasn't caught yet?" ~ unknown

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Dry I Am

I dislike fixing things. Against many evidences to the contrary, when I purchase something, even a cheaply made $5 canvas bag for groceries I expect it to last forever, or a least several years instead of several months. I spent the better part of a couple of hours Thursday first trying to fix a couple of raveled side seams with some of that fusible web. I got it to stick, mostly, but the canvas is so thick it's difficult to melt the webbing. And the seams of the canvas bag are very prone raveling. I fused it as best I could then I reinforced that by hand sewing along the existing seam. Hopefully, that'll give me more time. At the very least I would like to get the $5 (plus tax) each back out of these bags before I have to toss them. I get a five cent credit at the grocery store for every bag. So far, I've had to redo almost the whole side seam on one and about a 3" seam unravel on another. The rest of the seams are OK . . . for now.

I've slowed down a bit on the Blue Baby Blanket. I suspect it's a bit of a burn out after my blaze of a skein and a half knitting in a very short time. I started the third skein Thursday morning so it's still progressing. I'm now at the just close your eyes and knit stage. When I finish this third skein, it'll be half done. At least it's a simple but interesting pattern. As I have less than 150 stitches on each row, it goes pretty fast. And with the large needles (5.5 mm) the amount of fabric is also satisfying.

It's been very rainy and windy the last week or so. We've only been out to Spray to check on her and maybe sit for a bit. This weekend, we're supposed to get a bit of a break. Saturday should be beautiful. But we won't be able to take advantage as we're traveling to SW Missouri for a funeral. Not a close relative but someone we've seen over the years off and on. We'll be representing the KC twig of the family. It's about a 4 hour or so drive and I'll probably drive to give Sweetie a bit of a break. I am taking the Blue Baby Blanket and my travel knitting just in case.

We survived this latest round of storms to hit our part of the country with nothing more than saturated lawns. We're good to go and dry until the next round.

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with Acoustic Alchemy

reading: A Letter of Mary by Laurie R King (a Mary Russell mystery)

Parting Shot: ""No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut." ~ Channing Pollack

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Splish! Splash!

More rain. More thunder. More lightening. And now with more knitting!!!!

I don't trust those weather folks anymore. Well, not that I trusted them before but this spring they are even more unbelievable than in the past. We've had rain and storms when the "forecast" has shown there to be a 0% chance of rain. And we've had no rain when the forecast has shown there to be a 100% chance of rain. I gotta say, though, that the higher the percentage the more likely they're right. I'm going to go back to this weather thing.

I love the rain and the thunder and the lightening. Especially when Sweetie and I are together and safe at home.

I now have an amazing 18" complete on the Blue Baby Blanket. I'm just about done with the second skein and have started on the fourth repeat. Almost 1/3 done.

Early this afternoon I was determined to walk again but the exercise gods didn't agree. I did a quick 30 minute or so walk the day before. But I stopped several times to take photos but I enjoyed myself. This afternoon I got everything set up; my knitting, my water, my MP3 player and the treadmill. I decided to work on the toe of the first Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. I fired up the treadmill and started to walk and my MP3 player needed charging. So I stopped the treadmill, went to the office and rebooted my computer into Windows so I could charge it. The software embedded in it only works with Windows. It won't even charge in Linux. So I got that started.

What to do about tunes? Sweetie was napping in the chair in the living room so ear buds were a must. I grabbed one of the laptops, scooted things around so I could plug the ear buds into the back and not knock the whole thing to the floor. I couldn't get the Wi-Fi to work in either Windows or Linux so I went back to the office for some long patch cables. I ran them from the office, across the living room behind Sweetie's chair and into the bedroom and into the laptop. Finally able to get on the internet, went to Stash and Burn and found their first podcast. [More on this below.] I got started again and promptly dropped a needle which rolled between the moving belt and the non-moving support for the belt. (sigh). I set the knitting down, unhooked myself from the computer and fished around and not only found that needle but one I'd dropped a few weeks ago.

OK. Start again. By this time although the timer said I'd been walking for some twelve minutes, I suspect it was probably closer to seven or eight. No problem. I figured I'd walk an extra ten minutes or so to make up for that. A few minutes later, the podcast stopped. I kept walking and knit for a couple of minutes then I got off the treadmill and looked at the laptop. Buffering. Got back on the treadmill and after a few minutes decided that it was more than just buffering. I got back off, clicked around a bit, and couldn't get a browser. I set down the knitting (again), unhooked myself from the laptop (again), traced out my cables and reconnected everything, and I was back on the internet but still buffering. So I skipped to episode two and all was good.

I got a solid two minutes or so and when I stepped off the treadmill for some reason, my needle caught on something, pulled and five stitches are off. I stopped the treadmill so I could pick up the stitches with the crochet hook and put them back on. I'd just started when Sweetie wakes up and asks if I want to go run an errand with him.

At this point I gave up before I did something else. I put the rest of the stitches back on the needle then with his help put everything away. The good part was we went to Topeka, about 30 minutes west of us and I knit on the Blue Baby Blanket all the way there and back. I'll just call this session a warm up. Maybe tomorrow I can get a good 60+ minute walk and knit in. And yes, my MP3 player is all charged up.

I discovered the Stash and Burn podcast several weeks ago and download a few episodes. I like 'em. I'm not addicted to them (yet) like I am Lime & Violet, but I like them enough to want to listen to more episodes.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: A Letter of Mary by Laurie R King (a Mary Russell mystery)

Parting Shot: "Pencils could be made with erasers at both ends, but what would be the point?" ~ Cap'n Klystron

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Zooma! Zooma!

And the Blue Baby Blanket for the baby that is due in September and not October or better yet, November is going well. If you can call spending all my knitting time only knitting on this ONE project going well. At least I've got something to show for it. It's 13" long slightly stretched. I'm about halfway through the second skein of yarn. I have only six and there are no more. And according to my fuzzy math skills that means the Blue Baby Blanket is one quarter done. Wow! Well, anyway, I'm almost ¾ done with the third repeat.

Today I split my time between cleaning house and knitting. I have my methods. I find something decent on TV and during the commercials, I clean. It's amazing how much you can get done in a commercial break. It also helps if there's a show or two on that you're not particularly attached to and you clean through one or two of the non-commercial parts. Most of our problem is not dirt so much as the clutter. Tomorrow, I'll do the bathrooms and vacuum and I'm done. So cool.

I need to start painting again. I have rooms still to finish. Since my "system" works so well for housework I'm going to figure out how to adapt it. The biggest drawback is how to keep the brush moist between bouts. Maybe a zip bag to put the brush in and zip it up on the handle.
If I can't figure it out I'll use my MP3 podcast method. The thing I like about the knit a bit and work a bit method is that I feel like I'm making good progress on multiple fronts. Must be the Gemini in me, huh.

I'll start with what I hate most, the baseboards. I can only do about a commercial's worth anyway before I get twitchy at having to be so precise. I need to finish the baseboards, door and window trim in the living room with bright white and touch up in the blue bathroom. Then I can finish the ice blue on the entryway and around the kitchen door where we ran out. Then I can touch up with the purples in the kitchen and the greens in the library. If I can make that work, the knitting and the painting I might have all that stuff done in a few weeks and can move on to the guest bathroom or our bedroom and apply the same thing. We'll see how it goes. And somewhere in there I want to wash all the windows.

If you're not in a hurry this is a good system. And if Sweetie's home it does not work. He surfs and not necessarily at the commercial break and totally screws up my system. Besides, if Sweetie's home during the day I'd rather not be spending that time cleaning or painting unless it's something that needs to get done.

blogging to: Pandora Radio seeded with Acoustic Alchemy

reading: A Letter of Mary by Laurie R King (a Mary Russell mystery)

Parting Shot: "Teenager with nose ring, baggy clothing and spiked hair to friend: I don't really like dressing like this, but it keeps my parents from dragging me everywhere they go." ~ unknown

Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm Glad That's Settled

Yesterday was my birthday. As usual we drove to Kansas City to celebrate with my SIL & BIL. We had a great visit and wonderful turkey breast dinner with dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy and corn and rolls and salad. I got some good susses, too. A gift cert to a local LYS, Stephanie Pearl McPhee's latest book Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not). I haven't started it yet. I'm going to savor it as much as I can stand. I also got this needlepiont piece that my SIL made. She's a master needlepointer and is always looking for different things and pieces that challange her and taking classes. And there were other goodies, too. These are just the stand out ones.

As part of my show and tell every time we get together I brought along the unseamed Baby Surprise Sweater. My SIL is very clever or else she's see it or something like it. She picked it up and proceed to put the sleeve cuffs together and had it all folded correctly in seconds. It took me FIVE tries and watching the damned video (all five times) before I figured it out. Life is not fair. Anyway, she loved the colors. So now I can go ahead and seam it and do the collar and remember to look for buttons.

I took along the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock, the one that's done except for the toe. She loves it and it fits and now I can do the toe decrease. After I got the cuff done on the second sock I quit knitting on it just in case there would have to be changes but there won't be.

And I found out that the baby boy I'm knitting the Blue Baby Blanket for is due in September. Well, there goes any grace period I might have had. I was told that the babe was due in the fall. And I hoped that fall meant October or November. But no. September. Good thing this pattern is a quick knit. I've already completed two 20 row pattern repeats and I'm almost done with row five of the third repeat. And the first skein is almost done, too. I may get the entire third repeat done with it. I don't know.

Now I want to knit on all three things . . . at the same time. I'm going to put the Blue Baby Blanket first as it's the one thing that was asked for. Once that's done or I want a break I'll work on the BSJ. And for now, my travel and walking knitting will be the Rock Chalk Jayhawk sock. It would be grand if I could get it done for her birthday in August, but if not, I can mail it to her or give it to her at Thanksgiving. She probably won't be wearing it until November anyway.

So, that is my summer knitting. For Now.

blogging to: the quiet

reading: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Parting Shot:
"June snowflakes:
cottonwood fluff
floating on the breeze."
~ Mike Garofalo

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Holey Knitting! Batman!

It's fantastic to have a pattern and yarn that go together in a way that just makes the knitting fly off the needles. Especially when it needs to. That's what's finally happening with Barbara Walker's Vine Lace Zigzag pattern for the Blue Baby Blanket. The pattern is easily memorized so once I get established in the first repeat I'm good go to for the whole row. And it increments by one in various places in the stitch pattern as the vine zigs or zags. There are definite easy to identity bones so it's easy to keep and find my place. And since it's in stockinette, any dropped stitches or errors are easy to fix. That photo is the first 20 rows — one complete repeat.

I think that's what's so fascinating and so troublesome with the Paws to Remember Shawl for my SIL. It's not an incremental pattern. It's a definite pattern of paw prints but the pattern yo's seem randomly placed as I knit. And yet when you hold it up to the light you can see the paw prints. And I have never been able to predict where the yo's go or find the bones AS I'm knitting it. Oh, sure, I can hold up the piece and SEE the one continuous line of garter stitch that stretches from bottom to top in each eight stitch repeat but it's impossible for me to see it AS I knit. So I never really know, other than the eight stitch count that I do each time whether or not I'm actually "on target". It's frustrating. And yet it's very satisfying.

We bought yet another tree today — a Shingle (Laurel) Oak. It's leaves are not lobed like most oak leaves. They remind me, somewhat, of Magnolia leaves. I think because they're so dark green and shiny. In our yard we have:
  • 2 Eastern redbuds (each grown from a single leaf sapling taken from my MIL's yard)
  • a flowering crab (which didn't flower this year)
  • a pink dogwood
  • a sugar maple
  • a silver maple (grown from a 6" sapling taken from a friend's yard)
  • a white spire birch clump (4 trees)
  • a river birch clump (4 trees)
  • an Eastern white pine
  • a Limber pine
  • a burr oak
  • a ginko
  • 5 Wichita blue junipers (one is a volunteer)
  • a blue spruce
  • a pussy willow (grown from a stick stuck in the ground from a garden show)
  • a weeping willow (which is coming out as it's crowding the pussy willow)
So that's 15 kinds of trees 11 species
  • redbud
  • dogwood
  • crab
  • maple
  • oak
  • ginko
  • juniper
  • spruce
  • willow
  • pine
  • birch
A grand total of 26 trees ~ soon to be 27 then back down to 26 once the weeping willow goes.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom (a Mobile Library mystery)

Parting Shot: "Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit." ~ Napoleon Hill

Friday, June 6, 2008

Starting Over . . . Again

We survived the non-tornadoes. And since it did rain, I don't have to water anything today. It was delightfully cool this morning so I sat on the patio in back in the shade on the glider and knit.

I've settled on a NEW pattern for the Blue Baby Blanket. I'm still mining Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. This time I'm knitting the Vine Lace Zigzag. I like it much better. The Trellis Shell starts to branch out and then has to end which bothered me but the Vine Lace Zigzag keeps on going. I like the name of the first pattern better but well, you can't have it all. I'm currently on row 8 of the 20 row repeat. I've kept the same size and cast on 144 stitches. I'm adding an extra stitch at the beginning because I'm going to slip that first stitch. I like the way that looks. That's the only change (so far) that I've made.

Sweetie hasn't felt up to par these last few days. Luckily today there were no service calls and he spent almost the entire day napping. I'm happy to report that he says he feels better than he has in several days. We'll probably lay low this weekend, too. It's supposed to be very windy, 20-30 all weekend so we may go out in the evening when the winds are usually lighter, or not. We'll see.

Meanwhile, back to the knitting.

Blogging to: the sound of You Tube Italian motorcycle videos that Sweeties watching

reading: The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom (a Mobile Library mystery)

Parting Shot: "Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again." ~ Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Forecasting Tornadoes

When did "they" start forecasting tornadoes a day in advance? It was on the front page of the newspaper yesterday (Wednesday) and a larger article with a bigger headline also on the front page today. Evidently, today / this evening we have the same weather pattern we had on June 8, 1974 and that spawned 39 tornadoes and killed 22 people ~ link to story ~ Well at least if we blow away this evening, when they show ariel shots of the path of the tornado, the yard with the nicely mown grass is ours.

English Stock

No actual knitting has taken place but frogging and putting back on the needles has. I left off the Paws to Remember Shawl a while back because I messed it up, AGAIN!! Just think how bad it would be if I didn't obsessively count every eight stitch section (including the borders on each side) every single time. And I STILL screw it up. Thank the gods for lifelines!! And it always happens one or two rows from putting in the next lifeline. Not one or two rows past the last one. (sigh) So anyway, I took it off the needles and ripped it back to the last ribbon lifeline and put it back on the needles yesterday afternoon. I'm hoping to get some time with it later this evening before we blow away. And we're not scheduled to blow away until sometime after midnight.

blogging to: the quiet

reading: Walking Shadow by Robert B Parker (a Spenser mystery)

Parting Shot: "There's no need to fear the wind if your haystacks are tied down." ~ Irish proverb

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Have A Cold

I don't get sick very often and usually when I do it's a milder form of what everyone else gets. But these last few days I've been laid low by a head cold that has just sapped my energy. I've got plenty of reserves so that if I need or have to do something I can and do.

Things I don't mind about being sick:
endless time to lay in bed or lounge in a chair and read then drifting off to sleep only to wake and read some more and the drift off . . . (Thank goodness I overindulged at the library last week!)

not feeling guilty that I should be out there mowing the grass (maybe tomorrow I can at least do the front and sides . . .)

Things I don't like about being sick:

being sick

having to cut the cold pills out of their little foil and plastic containers every single time. Can't they put those things in a bottle??

no inclination whatsoever to knit

And I should say that if I were working I could have gone in everyday but probalby wouldn't have so I could keep my germs to myself. So I'm not THAT sick.

blogging to: the quiet

reading: Glass Chameleon by Ronald Tierney (a Deets Shananah mystery)

Parting Shot:
"2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D. - That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root."
~ unknown

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Like an Arrow

Time seems to go quicker when it's warm outside. I can't believe it's JUNE already!! JUNE!!!

I've been working on the Blue Baby Blanket. I frogged (more than once) the WB³. And now I've decided not to do the Willow pattern at all. I did two pattern repeats along with the garter stitch lace border and it just wasn't working. Oh, the knitting was finally going OK but the pattern was working for me. So I pulled out my new book which I forgot to tell ya'll about. It's Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. The first one. I picked it up the day I got the 5.5 mm Addi Turbo Lace needles for the WB³. So I paged though the lace section and I'm trying one of them. But it has some problems which I'm working though. And I'm not sure it's the one either so, well. Meanwhile, I've ditched the border idea. (sigh)

I walked 2 miles (80 minutes) on Friday so that's still on track. And I knit on the Four Of a Kind socks. I'm getting the hang of these tiny 2 mm / US 0 dpns again.

Sweetie's had a cold this weekend so I didn't walk and we didn't go sailing or even go out to the boat all weekend. He's a lot better this evening.

Still analyzing all these WIP's I have going on. I still think it's a good idea for me — just maybe not as many. The addition of the Blue Baby Blanket which I do and don't want to do (just shut your eyes and knit it already) has made me re-think it again. I think (now) that when the Rock Chalk Jayhawk socks for my SIL are done (just finished the cuff on the second sock) I won't cast on for anything to replace them. That'll free up that time. And when the Four of a Kind socks are done (yes, I know I'm only just starting the foot of the FIRST SOCK!) I won't replace those either. That'll leave me with the afghan, the sweater, the Simple Socks (my travel socks) and the Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern which as I complete each of those, I will cast on for replacements.

I'll have to see how it goes but once the Simple Socks are done (the foot on the second sock is over half done), I may sub the Four of a Kind socks for my traveling socks until they're done. Heck, if I can cope with them while walking and listening to a podcast I should be able to do stoplight and travel knitting with them.

blogging to: the quiet

reading: Denial by Stuart M Kaminksy (a Lew Fonesca mystery)

Parting Shot:
"Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
But they don't get around
Like the dandelions do."
~ Slim Acres