January 29, 2009

The Math & No Beret

I have no knitting to show today because the beret that I have ripped out several times already is once again ripped back down to a ball. I would blame this cold I caught from someone in my airless office for the failure, but I'm blaming it on math – again.

I've been working on Miss Mary's beret for days now. It's been ripped back so many times that I'm worried about the integrity of the yarn at this point. It's the math I tell you!

Now, I’ve considered that maybe I ate lead paint chips as a child, or maybe I’m blind in one eye and can’t tell the difference between the written words ‘fifty’ and ‘sixty’. In MY head they sound the same. I have also considered that the voice in my head that does the counting isn’t my voice. Now that’s just scary.

So I went on etsy to see if I could find numbered stitch markers . Fortunately they do have them and I may consider buying them – if only they went from 50 to 60 instead of 0 to 9.

It’s hopeless I tell you!

This is my final attempt to make this beret. If I don’t have it by Monday, then I invite someone out there to knit it for me.

Honestly, they say the first thing to go when you are older is your eyesight, but I lost that in 10th grade so I’m convinced that the second thing you lose is your ability to count past 50.

January 24, 2009

It's All Good!

To all my friends at the knitting circle: Yvonne, Joanne, Carmen, Winnie, Jeanette, Renee, Tela, Carol and Priscilla - thank you for the birthday cards and snacks (Joanne - the shrimp was as good as I remember!) and for making me smile. You are all the best with the biggest hearts ever! Thank you!

Sometimes I think there's not enough hours in a day, and that I never have enough time to get done all the things I want to do. All of my knitting gets crammed in before bedtime and all of the spinning I say and want to do always gets put off in favor of dinner, dishes, general housework and going to work every day.

All of my cramming and fretting and staying up way past my bedtime paid off in the end, and I have proof.

I took this spinning I did a few weeks ago:

And I made this preemie sweater, hat and booties:

The whole outfit can fit into my back pocket! It's so small that my heart squeezes when I think about the little baby that will wear it. Its unbelievably cute and totally worth the effort.

And then I took an old UFO (unfinished object), some microfiber purchased years ago from Elann, and made this preemie sweater and hat:

O My! It is too cute! That sassy orange is as loud as can be and it will certainly make a cheerful addition so some baby's wardrobe!

Then, just when I thought my day couldn't get any better, look what comes in the mail from Sock Pixie:

Merino in the front, BFL in the back, love it all the way around!

And if that didn't roll my socks down enough - look what came from Knit Picks:

Nice scale. Now I can keep the yarn I spin because now I'll know exactly what I'm working with.

See what I'm saying - sometimes it all comes together and it's all good.

January 21, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday so I guess that means that President Barack Obama and I both had something to celebrate! I will always remember this birthday for it's historical relevance.

Now on to more important things. Tonight I finished this little preemie sweater for a baby in the NICU:

It took about 2 hours to make, but I must confess I watched TV while I was making it so it took longer than usual to make. The sweater is no bigger than a sheet of paper.

The knitting group and I plan to make many sweaters and hats (along with booties and blankets) that the babies can use in hospital. The hat pattern that came with with the sweater is huge, so I used a different pattern for the hats.

They're so tiny it's hard to believe they fit on a baby's head, but they do.

If you're a knitter, I hope you will use the patterns to make some sweaters and hats for the babies in a hospital near you.

January 19, 2009

Mulling Things Over

Last night I finished the Tangled Yoke sweater (yay!). It's beautiful, in my humble opinion. And it fits. Who could ask for more?

I read an article on the Twist Collective's website where they talked about knitters knitting things for themselves. They assured those of us who rarely, if ever, knit anything for ourselves that lightning will not strike us dead. And it's true!

Just one thing: I have a button dilemma because the buttons I bought 2 months ago are too small for the buttonholes. I have three choices here:

1) I could rip out the button band and make the holes smaller,

2) spend the next month looking for new buttons, or

3) sew the holes a bit and make the perfect buttons fit.

I'm still mulling over my options.

(Please note for the record that I did not threaten to set the sweater on fire. I honestly love it.)

On a different topic, last night my son went the movies with his friends and then spent the night at their house. I was, you know, glad he was gone for the evening (even if he did spring the sleep over issue on me), but I was working on the sweater and the alone time was just the ticket.

But then the sweater was finished and it was time for bed. I got in the bed, turned off the light and then, the unthinkable happened.

I started hearing the wind, and a window was rattling somewhere - or was someone breaking in?

and the back door rattled

and the cat (I hope it was the cat!) was thumping around somewhere.

Was that the alarm I heard? It seemed extra dark in the house, or was it my imagination? Was the power out? Nope, the bedside clock was still on.

And then I realized what all that noise was.

It was EMPTY NEST syndrome! OH my - what in the name of shiny pants ... ?

I've got a few years left of being tortured by my son's teen aged angst, but clearly I'm going to have to come up with a plan.

Cruises are good, a dog that barks is good, fixing the back door is good.

I'm still mulling over my options.

January 15, 2009

Too Cold To Knit

I was going to knit today, but my fingers are frozen. My house is very small, and I was under the impression that heat rises. Under that premise, my bedroom on the top floor should feel like I'm in the Bahamas - instead it feels like I'm on the North Pole.

Progress was made on the sweater. I'm done with the tangled yoke part. This picture was taken before I was done, but I can't get a more current picture because the camera is downstairs and it's too darned cold to get it.

The rest of the sweater is stockinette stitch so things should really start to move quickly from now on. That means the deadline is still in effect.

Then, in my travels, I came across this:

It's a zippered binder. And since I have all these patterns in sleeves stuck everywhere but in a book, and because it was too cold to knit, I put a few patterns in the book:

I realized quickly that I'm going t need about 20 of these books if I plan to keep my patterns. Since buying that many (at $17 bucks a pop) ain't going to happen, I'm going to have to come up with some other solution for pattern storage.

So now, all I have to do is crawl under the covers, get Little Miss Kitty to act like a footwarmer (thereby justifying all the money I spent on cat food fattening her up), and I'm all good.

When exactly is Spring?

January 13, 2009

How Can I Go On?

Look what came in the mail today!

Dried Flowers - superfine merino - purchased from Colorful Life. And I also purchased this:

Forest Floor - merino/targhee/rambouillette from the same seller.

Aren't they adorable?

Now, just so you don't think I'm a lazy slacker with no laundry to do and no dinner to cook, I put both of them in the cabinet next to the spinning wheel. I ate a Madeleine and went back to the sweater.

Just look at those PERFECT tangles! I've been working hard and it's starting to show.

My deadline is still reasonable - so far. But I have so many things in the house that I'd love to do instead of the sweater (it's taking so long!), but I'm sticking it out. I'm so close to the end - and to my deadline. Will I get it done? Will it fit?

Positive thoughts. Positive thoughts.

January 11, 2009

Now Back to My Regularly Scheduled Sweater

Well, mostly back to the sweater. I got a little sidetracked with the KAL (knit along) with my knitting circle.

We're working on a Patons slipper and since everyone seems to be having such a fit with working the lace panel, I decided to go ahead and just make one slipper so everyone can see the finished project.

I got as far as knitting the pieces and blocking them:

And as soon as they're dry, I'll sew them together and try to figure out how to explain it to the group. Over the years I've learned that some people are visual and some need written instructions, either way most folks want to see the finshed project. By Saturday I will (hopefully) have one.

Then, feeling guilty, I decided to pull the sweater out. Mostly I am afraid that the sweater will fall by the wayside since I have so many things I want to make and the yarn is at my fingertips.

So, here's what I'm up to now (row 4 of the tangled part):

So far, so good. If I go slow and follow the chart carefully I'll only go blind and crazy, but the math won't kill me.

My inspiration is back. I don't know where it was, but it's back and champing at the bit to make beautiful things. And with three new skeins of sock yarn and 4 braids of roving on the way, and a new pattern at my fingertips, I feel my creative juices flowing.

My knitting circle friends and I are on the preemie project again. Yvonne W., one of the ladies in the circle, works at a hospital and last year we gifted some hats and booties for the preemies in the NICU for which the hospital staff (and the parents of the precious bundles there) were extremely appreciative. This year we're doing it again, and we're including blankets.

I can't wait to share pictures of all the cuteness that is those tiny sweaters. Meanwhile, Carmen R. has already made 3 sweaters with matching hats and booties! Cute!

Now, back to my sweater.

January 10, 2009

One Finished Object (FO)

I'm supposed to be working on my sweater, but during the course of the week I realized I needed some instant gratification. To that end, I decided to make something that was quick, useful, and would cause me to use some of the yarn I spun which is downstairs gathering dust. Amazing how that happens.

So I did a little web surfing and happened to go to Brooklyn Tweed's site. He has some really, really good and beautiful pieces there and he's quite prolific, putting up piece after piece of woolen beauty.

My eye went to a hat pattern called 'Turn a Square' (instant gratification and useful), and I cast on last night.

I used Karabella Aurora in black as the main color and the stripes are some BFL I spun about six months ago. Not bad, eh?

But what I liked most about the hat is that the stripes go round and round until the crown decreasing which makes the circles a square. Clever, right?

And during the course of my web surfing which was very productive, I managed to acquire a pattern from Knit Picks which I'd been eyeing since I got the catalogue. It's the Sipalu Bag pattern and I'm dying to cast on, but I have a sweater to finish.

Since it's snowing outside and my grocery shopping is done and in its proper place, the only thing I have to do is start dinner and do laundry. Then I can crawl into bed with whatever project suits my fancy.

Hopefully, it'll be the sweater (which is 75% done), but I like to keep my options open.

January 06, 2009

So Close

With no knitting plans and with no itemized list, the only thing on my plate at the moment is the Tangled Yoke sweater which I'm making for myself. It's coming along nicely.

Since this is only the third sweater I've ever made for myself in my knitting lifetime, I'm always afraid to finish, but I've gotten this far:

This is my 'danger zone'. Usually when I'm almost done, I abandon the project. Why? Quite simply, fear.

Fear it won't fit and I'll have to give it away after investing all my time and energy. Fear that I'll make a mistake and send the sweater out to the frog farm where it'll be the most expensive frog I own. Fear that I'll have to size UP.

And heaven help me if someone tells me they LOVE the yarn and I end up pinching off yardage to make them a scarf or a pair of socks. (I've done that before, like when I turned my tank top into a bikini - for someone else).

Anyway, it's mostly stockinette stitch, easy peasy after I figured out they wanted me to add the sleeves from the top, not the 18 armpit stitches (duh!). So the sleeves were added on, easy, and time saving. I only had to take them off twice.

Sometimes knitting concepts go over my head (and then there's MATH), but I muddled through after realizing that I can count to 18.

I'm almost up the the 'tangled' part. How exciting for me! My target date is still the end of the month. If I don't get tangled up with the tangled cables, and sidetracked with spinning then I'll be finished before then.

And just when I think I can't get turned around or deterred from my 'finish the sweater mission', look what came in the mail under a fistfull of bills:

I saw about a kajillion things I want, but I will not be sidetracked!

January 04, 2009

Twisting & Turning

Talk about getting your holiday gifts late ... this is some yarn I spun for my friend Aylin as a holiday gift:

Since I plied it with some lace weight store bought, it toned down the color a little so it's not nearly as shiny as it was, and the color is still vibrant:

Her only request was that I spin enough so that she can make herself a pair of socks. I think I managed that because there's about 600 yards of the yarn. More than enough to make a pair of socks.

That taken care of, I decided to replace my last mediocre experience of spinning with a more positive one. So reached into the cabinet closest to my spinning wheel - again. It's amazing how many other things I can find to do when I have a sweater to finish!

I found some merino roving there, 4 ounces, which I purchased from etsy.com. I love me some merino! Once again, I sat down at my wheel and started spinning, and came up with this little lovely:

Sa-weet! I love the colors and when it's done 'cooling off'' I'm going to get a nice little scarf out of it. I absolutely love spinning and don't know why I never get to it. Maybe it's because I can knit in bed ... not so for spinning.

OK, back to the sweater.

January 03, 2009

Holy Batt, Man!

So, last night my son and I had a Mexican stand-off which I easily won and then I couldn't sleep.

While I could have worked on my Tangled Yoke cardigan, I decided that because of my inability to finish anything I make for myself in a timely fashion, now would be a good time to pause the sweater and take on something different.

I spotted a batt I purchased a couple of months ago in the cabinet nearest to my spinning wheel. Sure, I'll spin that. I've been dying to spin a batt for awhile and now (it was 10pm) was as good a time as any. So, I took this batt (merino with bits of silk and mohair) that I purchased from etsy.com:

Drafted it the was I was instructed (by a video on You Tube), like this:

And it became this:

Not bad, but not at all what I expected. It's cute and everything, but my first batt should have been something smoother. It had so many clumps of silk that didn't draft as much as they shredded, and allowing a 'chunk' past my fingers was HARD! Stop, go, stop, go. That's how it went for 90 minutes.

It's alright - but I need advice. How does anyone (out there in blogland) deal with the bits? Do I pull them apart and spread them out? Some of the clumps were huge and didn't draft well. I shredded some of them, but there were so many!

Anyway, I'm not sure what I can make with it because it's such a small amount of yarn, but I was told that if I let it sit for about a week, I can practically knit it off the spool, so that's my plan.

OK, I can take the pause off my sweater and get back to work. I'm in kind of a hurry now since I have to start my holiday knitting next month. (Yikes!)

Happy New Year everyone!