November 30, 2008

Dear Knitting Gods,

I am NOT angry with you, oh, no no no. Well maybe a little - but it's not your fault. Actually it is my fault, but only partly yours. Pride goeth before the knitting gods smite you down.

I thought by tonight I would be seaming my cardigan. Things were going swimmingly until I looked down at my sweater and saw this:

I THANK you knitting gods, for showing me the error of my knitting ways, and only 50 (freaking) rows back. I would never have noticed it unless someone else kindly pointed it out, thereby putting a spotlight on my error and a flaw in my knitting character. Poor sweater would have lived it's life at the bottom of the hamper!

So, by the grace of the knitting gods, I did a little ripping back. It's amazing how close ripping back is to frogging (without actually doing it):

Why, knitting gods! Who knew that there was THAT much yarn stuffed into 50 rows of INTRICATE cables? I've a new found appreciation for my work even if I find your method of teaching somewhat HOSTILE.

Although I depreciate your hostility - at least you were gracious enough to let me find my place (after a lot of MATH) and to put my stitch markers back where they belong (I think).

Oh, and before I totally forget, in my DESPAIR I put my head down and heard a small 'crack'. Not your fault either, it was mine - for being upset and all. I should have watched where I laid my big, fat head. It was only my kitting needle (whew!) - my favorite 10" Takumi size 7, in case you were thinking of replacing them because of the damage you ... oops ... I mean I, did.

Actually, I think my rounded needle works better this way. And I took a picture of it on top of my working charts - the graph paper with all the little check marks. Not to worry, though. All the little check marks are gone now. I think the new ones will be FRESHER and more SYMMETRICALLY aligned next time around.

Well, there will be no seaming going on tonight. All I have to do is fight the cat off so I can re-knit this small mountain of ripped out yarn.

Thank you, knitting gods. For keeping me humble.

November 29, 2008

Thank You Soundview Stitchers!

Here are some of the ladies who did all the hard work knitting sweaters for Knit for Kids. From left to right are Jeanette, Cindy, Yvonne, Maria, Carmen, Carol, Renee and little Erin who didn't make sweaters, but she's a great supporter of knitters (being on the receiving end of Auntie Yvonne's knitted goods).

There are more contributors but they were not present for the picture, like little Carmen, Winnie, Nilda (who is camera shy) and Amparo. We put together 22 sweaters which is a lot for 3 months of knitting, especially since sweaters are a rather large undertaking for a group of women who all swear that they are 'beginners'.

Our next box out is going to the troops. So far we have 26 hats and there are more still on needles so we're doing good.

We're done for the charity knitting this year, but January starts the preemie project. We'll be making hats, booties and blankets for the precious little ones in the NICU. It's a great project for beginners, and the parents of the babies really do appreciate the gifts.

Lastly, I'm halfway done with sleeve #2 of my cardigan, but I miscounted rows so there's a little ripping back action going on here:

But I'm getting there.

November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, it's after Thanksgiving day, but the turkey I ate knocked me unconscious and I'm just coming out of my food coma. I spent the holiday at Millie and Clif's house (yes, that's Clif with one 'f'). There was so much food I made sure to pace myself, but if you had smelled the food I was eating, you wouldn't have been able to resist either. Trust me.

Anyway, I've been wandering around the house wondering what to knit and decided there was nothing very inspiring to do, so I pulled out an old WIP. The Must Have (been crazy) Cardigan (Patons).

You're probably thinking that I saw the Yarn Harlot make this one and I took on the task, but no. I actually saw the pattern here and thought how pretty it looks. Of course I rushed right out and bought the pattern. I bought the Patons Merino a year later at $2.00/skein and started the sweater.

Imagine my surprise when the Yarn Harlot had it done in ike 3 days! I was sick in my heart and wondered if she'd finish mine.

You may also think the yarn looks familiar, as in Howard's socks:

Alas, no. Howard's socks are made of mystery yarn and if I still had his socks you'd see for yourself.

Anyway, I'm working on the sleeves now. It's quick going unless I stop to do dishes, or laundry. The whole sweater is driving me crazy, but I'm not putting it down until it's done. It'll be the 5th thing I've ever made for myself (2 pairs of socks, 1 scarf and 1 shawl) in my 30 years of knitting. The miracle will come if I keep it. I'm always giving MY away stuff.

I've got a long weekend coming, so let's see how far I get.

Feel free to pass along some words of encouragement, or sympathy.

November 24, 2008

A Few Rules I Live By

This year I've opted out of the 'everyone gets handmade gifts' made by me, so I have no knitting to show today. That leaves me plenty of time to put down on paper some 'rules of etiquette' for receiving my hand knit visions of beauty. Being unsure and afraid if criticism, I have a few safeguards I put in place for my own protection.

1) Though this is not a rule exactly, it is what I do. I always knit for charity. They need stuff, I've got stash, and they never complain about quality or color or that you sent too much or to stop. Besides, I never use just my name, so they can never send stuff back. In my world, that's a compliment.

2) If I make something for friends/family, it's because I feel it in my HEART to make them something - whether they want it or not. For example: she says green is her favorite color and I happen to own some really NICE shiny acrylic booger green yarn that would be PERFECT. (What do you mean 'booger' green isn't her favorite color? She SAID green, didn't she?). Accept it and follow Rule #3.

3) If you get one of my pieces though luxury items they are not, you may discuss (among yourselves) how talented I am. Just make sure I can hear it, and comments may range from enthusiastic (loud) or gushy (quiet). And NEVER use words like "itchy", "off color", "re-gift" or "ew" in my presence. That could get you cut off for LIFE!*

4) If you are a family member staying at my house for say, the holidays, and I finish a project late at night, when I wake you up to brag, the appropriate sleepytime remarks would be: "Gee, that's so pretty! You are so talented!" After that I might let you go back to sleep. However, YOU must bring it up again in the morning so we can make sure you got it right.

5) If I made you something and you show up with it at a family function and it's in mint condition you may mention that I made it for you. If on the other hand it has pills, stains and smells like it plugged a hole in your damp basement, do NOT mention my name. In fact, don't say my name even when you are 25 miles away and alone in your own car. Not following this rule will get you cut off for LIFE!*

* Cut off for LIFE sounds harsh, I know, but it actually means that I will send you knitted goods anonymously until you admit that you like the gift - or at least say it's 'soft'.

November 17, 2008

Done and Mostly Done

The Barack socks are done! I fretted a bit about the second sock and for good reason as it turns out. The second sock was made with a different skein of yarn and the difference is so obvious it's downright scary.

Can you see the difference in color? The top sock has this amber color in it, and the bottom sock has none. Thank goodness they'll be in shoes. The problem was that there were no dyelots on the label, and I didn't look as closely as I should have. Lesson learned.

Nana's shawl is done. It was easy after I paid honest attention to the chart. The Kauni is a little rough, but it seemed to find its personality after soaking for an hour. It's blocking right now.

I hope your monitor shows the colors (pink, brown cream and white) better than the picture I took. It came out pretty nice, and it's going to be perfect for my Nana. It's short enough for her to wear even in bed. It's my gift to her for her 90th birthday. I hope she enjoys it for many more years.

So now I've got a hat to make to match a pair of gloves I made. Too bad I can't find the ball of yarn! I know it's in one of my storage crates ... um ... I mean bins.

It was my intention not to make handknit (by me) Christmas presents this year. I did it last year and the deadline thing was going to make me have a stroke! So this year I made no promises. Got that?

So Mom calls me yesterday and says that she bought her little foster child (age 3) a baby carriage and she needs me to knit a pillow and blanket ... just a little thing. "It'll only take you a minute. It's a small carriage."

Somebody please tell me, what does a minute mean to a non-knitter?

November 11, 2008

Barack Sock

My Barack sock (notice I said 'sock', not socks) is done, but I'm having second sock drama.

I know that I have two feet and that they each need their own sock, but I've always had a problem making things for myself. It's an issue that I need to get over because I really do need a hat and scarf and I refuse to pay for stuff I can make myself.

Also, now that I've used the Koigu and seen it in sock form, I'm not as excited as I was when I started. I think I should gift the socks. My mom would love them.

I'm halfway through my Nana's shawl, but I need to do a recount because I either have one too many or one too few stitches on the needles. Yikes! You know that lately I can't count.

All my problems are small when I think about the gift my friend SojournKnitting got me while at the Stitches East event this weekend past. In her shopping frenzy, she thought of me and got me these fancy needles which I adore.

Rosewood. My first pair. She is the nicest person to think of me while doing her 'ninja style' shopping. I'm going to the next event with her because she knows how to find all the good stuff.! Pop on over to her site and have a gander at all her goodies.

This week I'm going to finish up my WIPs. My next project is going to be quick and easy and will involve NO MATH.

November 09, 2008

Lion Brand Yarn Studio

Today Maria B. and I went to the sneak preview of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in Manhattan.

The doors opened at noon, but Maria B. and I got there at about 12:30p thinking we'd be the first ones there, but the place was jam packed! And the shelves were packed with (almost) every yarn that Lion Brand makes. The place is a pretty nice size with a knitting table in the middle and sitting cubes in the back.

It's very well lit and the store plans to offer knitting and crochet lessons, have book readings and they said anyone can work on any project at their studio. They even have computers set up so that you can download Lion Brand free patterns. That's a bonus! Like one-stop shopping.

This nice gentleman was there directing traffic, and there was plenty of that. I actually wondered if the afhan on the top rack was inspired by Kaffe Fassett but never got to ask.

I went shopping with Maria B. She loves to stash build, but her production is a little low because she has a 1 year old at home. When my son was born, I couldn't get enough sleep so knitting was low on my list of priorities. I put my needles down for years. When I picked them up again, I taught him to knit.

While there, we bumped into another Soundview Stitcher, Carol R. She wasn't there very long, but I managed to get a shot of her and Maria B. together.

After 2 1/2 hours shopping, I was glad to see John, the cashier. He was nice enough to pose with my only purchase and my half done Barack sock. He was pleased to get his picture taken, but he didn't keep his pose. Maybe I'll get a second chance at the grand opening on Nov. 18 (I think).

I took my little purchase and put it in the handy dandy bags they were giving away. It was a good way to spend the afternoon - browsing while not stash building.

Although ... there were a few skeins of yarn that caught my eye, and the store is close enough to my job to pop on over anytime.

November 08, 2008

I Got My Page Back!

Whew! I've been having some page problems lately. And I've been having some layout problems as well. And in the process of trying to get my layout issues settled, I managed to change my set up to HTML which I know nothing about.

I've eaten plenty of Madeleine's trying to figure out how I lost page length, how to put my page back and how to add elements in computer-ese - a language I couldn't possibly learn.

So, now my page is back. Ahh!

In further developments: my Nana's shawl. It's coming along swimmingly, thanks to Aylin. She's a genius! I know the shawl doesn't look like much right now, but just you wait. It's going to be a vision in Kauni when it's done, I tell you. A vision!

Lastly, I got high speed internet service today. Now I don't have to run through the house with my laptop looking for a signal. Hooray!

Tomorrow, I'm going to the new Lion Brand store in Manhattan. I'm praying there's nothing there that I want (fat chance!) because anything I buy will work against me in my serious effort to de-stash.

November 07, 2008

Remember This?

It's my Nana's shawl.

Well, it MIGHT be - if I ever learn to count. I believe that I learned MATH, but I just can't remember any of it when I'm working on this pattern.My situation was so dire, I actually asked my friend Aylin O. for help - and I taught her to knit! (I'm jealous of her talent, by the way).

I wrote her a lovely note that went like this:

Aylin, I'm having a hard time with this pattern. I think the pattern writer mistook the words "chart" and "rows". I can take a joke (unless it's on me), but I don't think the designer knows math. (yeah, that's right, blame the designer!) Please read the chart, translate it, write it down and give it to me today. Thanks. (Was that bossy? - I think so!)

So she did (thanks Aylin!!). Things were going along just fine until I made a mistake that I can't find and now I'm thinking I should just run the shawl over with my car. I won't - but I want to.

I'm going to get myself a cup of coffee and a couple of these:

And practice counting.

November 04, 2008

Barack Obama, Mr. President!

This is as close as I'll ever get to Barack Obama to congratulate him on his win, so congratulations Mr. President!

The suspense is finally over and Barack Obama is now the president-elect and will take office in 11 weeks. History was made tonight and I couldn't be happier. After all, the new Mr. President is a really down to earth kind of guy who
took a picture with a sock! You can't beat that with a stick!

So, in honor of Mr. Obama's win, and in light of the fact that I watched the election results while knitting a sock (I'm apparently in total sock mode), Mr. President, this sock's for you:

From The Eclectic Sole by Janel Laidman, called Hydrangea, made with Koigu KPPM #52655 (which is yummy!) and size US #1 needles. And whenever I wear them, I'm going to think of Barack's win.

Woo hoo!