January 28, 2013

Not Today

Have you ever had one of those days where the only thing that went right is that you woke up at all?  Today was that day for me.

Today I had to take my mother to the hospital for a one hour procedure.  Her appointment was at 7:30a, but we got there at 8:00a because of a traffic jam in the parking lot.  That should have been my first clue.

At 8:30a, Mom was dressed in hospital garb in a small room with one hard chair where I sit, knit and we wait.  The nurse came in to take blood, check her blood pressure and take her temperature.  Another nurse came in and told us what's going to happen, shows us the stent they're going to put in, and off she goes.

9:30a - we were waiting for her to go in for the procedure.

10:30a - still waiting

11:30a - still waiting.  I ask how long it's going to be and was told there was a patient is such dire straits that they are now on life support.  I start fussing, they bring Mom graham crackers and juice.

12:30p, 1:30p - still waiting.  Now I'm having a fit!  We threaten to leave.  My time is as valuable as any doctor's time, isn't it?

2:30p - they finally take mom in for her one hour procedure.  It takes two hours.

So far, I've had no food, I'm nervous and won't leave the hospital waiting area and I'm wondering if something went wrong.

4:30p - they wheel Mom back into her room, she's fine.  They decided that the location of the blockage and the percentage of the blockage isn't severe enough for a stent.  Thank goodness!

They tell us we can leave the hospital in two hours.

Three hours later, we're still there.  A doctor comes in and tells us that we can't leave because the patient down the hall is dying and all hands are in that room.

Now I'm at the end of my rope!

I have to end the story there, because Mom is fine and all we have to do is break out of the hospital, so at 8:15p we dressed her as best we could and demanded that someone, anyone, remove the IV tube.  a few minutes later, a nurse shows up and keeps us there for another 15 minutes with after-care instructions and we're out.

It's dark, raining, cold, and for me, it's late.  I get home, no parking spaces so I have to drive around for 20 minutes looking for a place to park.  It sucks not having a driveway.

At the end of it all, here's the only thing I have to show for my anxiety ridden day:

I'm mostly finished with a hat called Contemporary by Vera Valimaki, made with a 'one skein wonder' from The Plucky Knitter.  Featured above with my Della Q pouch, which I absolutely adore.

Thank goodness this day is over!

January 26, 2013

Bandana Cowl

I'm knitting my third pair of Socks on a Plane (yep, third pair) and I need a break.  Trust and believe this is the last pair from that pattern for a while, but I needed something in place of the socks - although I'm sure my physical therapist would disagree.

So I did a little pattern searching and visited Purl Bee's site and found the Bandana Cowl.  Well, what do you know?!  It only requires 100-130 yards of bulky yarn, and I just happen to have a skein of bulky yarn.  It's serendipity!  That lonely skein has been rolled into a pancake since forever and it needs to become wardrobe.

Said skein of yarn is alpaca, but whose alpaca is it.  Unknown.  How many yards are in this skein.  Unknown.  Is there enough to make this cowl.  Of course there is.  I don't own a skein of yarn that has less than 100 yards, so this has got to be it.  Right?  Wrong!  However, it doesn't matter.

I must have shaved at least 4 inches off the cowl, but it still has the same effect.  It will still keep my neck warm.  (I know this is true because I'm wearing it right now and I'm sweating!).  So here's the front:

And here's the back:

Here's what's left over from that, obviously less than 100 yard skein:

And here's me wearing my new cowl:

Yay!  Now my lonely skein is a cowl and can go in the drawer with the rest of my cowls ready to be worn at any time.

Now I'm one skein down in my stash, and ready to go back to my regularly scheduled sock.

January 25, 2013

Way Busy

It's been one crazy week, I tell you - or rather, I would tell you if I remembered any of it.  I've been on auto pilot for a few days and the only reason I'm able to blog now is because the Aleve finally kicked in.  Sheesh!

I did make a pair of socks, or rather, I made the same socks yet again, but with different yarn.  These are Socks on a Plane (minus the cable, again), but with Felici from Knit Picks:

So here's what I learned about using self striping yarn and toe up socks:  if you make one sock from the inside of a center pull skein, then you should start the second sock from the inside as well.  I also learned that with self striping socks, it's not an exact science as to where the stripes will go, but you should start from the first solid color that comes up, so that your toes match, at least.

One of the socks above is pulled from the inside of a skein, the other.  They're OK, but they were less than perfect, so they went to son who loves self striping socks and is getting a kick out of getting every pair of socks I knit.  If you're using self striping yarn like the yarn above, you're much better off with the after thought heel.  Trust me on that.

In an attempt to go easy on myself, I started yet another pair of toe up socks, again using the Socks on a Plane pattern from Laura Linneman (The Knit Girllls).  This time with Crystal Palace Panda Yarn (51% bamboo, 39% superwash wool and 10% nylon).  It's squishy, antibacterial and pretty:

 I seem to be on a blue kick lately.  This is the last time I'm making these socks for awhile.  The pattern is just so darn easy to memorize that I'm actually enjoying it.  Not to mention it's portable and goes on the subway with me.

Lastly, I had a mail call today and it was a gift I was expecting and anticipating.  You're not going to believe this but here's what came:

OMG!  It's an Ashford, and cuter than cute in it's 'littleness'.  Now you must understand that my hands don't work too well so I had a tough time putting this little e-spinner together, but if you had to do it, it's a cinch!  I put it together and found some left over fiber (as if that's a real thing - what is left over fiber really, but fiber you never finished spinning for whatever reason).

There's a learning curve, for sure.  I will show you what I managed to spin when it's done resting, but I was able to spin faster and thinner than ever before.  I was zooming right along, making all kinds of mistakes and loving every minute of it!

I think I'm done buying spinning machines, especially since I never seem to have time to do anything these days.

My physical therapist said that the hands healing is going to take a while and I though she meant a few weeks, even though she said it could take months.  The way things are going, I think it's going to be years.  Not because she's not doing a good job, but because the abuse (knitting) goes on.

As I said, if you willingly disregard the warning, then you willingly accept the consequences.  Right?  Right.

January 19, 2013

The Haul

As you know, I had a wonderful day at Vogue Knitting Live! and now for the haul.  I must say, it was my best shopping day - ever!  I don't know if it was because I was with good friends or if it was because I was on a spending 'high'.  Either way, what a wonderful shopping day it was!

From Lion Brand I purchased this Zpagetti in red.  It's really chunky yarn and all I want is a little basket to hold some yarn.  I'll see how that goes.

From Annie and Company, I purchased these four skeins of (Artyarns) ultramerino for only $7 each (they covered up the Artyarn's name, probably so they could sell it for cheap) - what a steal! The two on the left are an olive color, the pair on the right are purple, which my camera shows as blue.   I also purchased a Della Q sock sized project bag, but I don't have a picture of it.

From Woolstock, I purchased a whole bag of Silky Wool (which I swore I wouldn't use again because of all the knots I found in prior skeins) which I couldn't resist because of the beautiful blue.  I'm determined to make myself a sweater with it. My camera doesn't do the color justice.

Then I went to Loop and couldn't resist these two batts:

The one on the left is grays with white and yellow in the center, the one on the left is brown, yellow, pink and blue.  I didn't think I would be attracted to yellow, but I'm sure neither will be as yellow when I'm finished with them.

I also got a bunch of yarn from The Plucky Knitter:

From left to right, purple, teal, toast and navy.  This yarn is so hard to get online, so I was very happy that they had a booth there.

And when I got home, there were two packages in my mailbox.  One from the Supersock Store, two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill yarn.  Interesting thing about that store.  It is a brick and morter business, but I was informed that the store is only open for business on Mondays, the rest of the days all business is done online. Did you know that?  I didn't.

The other package was from Little Knits who was also having a sale:

I'd say I'm ready for the 52 pair plunge!

So that's what I spent my day doing yesterday.  Today I'm just working on Socks on a Plane II, minus the cable:

I'm using Felici from Knit Picks which is soft and reasonably priced and I have two skeins of it so no fudging around this time. : )

Come On and Vogue!

Today I attended Vogue Knitting Live in Manhattan.  Oh boy, what a wonderful day it was!  I went on a shopping spree like no other and spent money like my wallet would catch on fire if I didn't spend every dime!

I took a class with Ragga Eiriksdottir on speed steeking and I believed, going in, that there was absolutely and positively no way I was going to learn to steek.  The class was going to be too big, I was specifically inept and I'd be too embarrassed to ask questions.  Well, I didn't have to worry about any of that.

Finally I can say that I won't have any problems steeking.  I am 100% sure that I got it, and I can now take the sweater that I've been 'working on' for the past, what?, four years out of the closet and put it on.  Sheesh!  Ragga was so nice and had so much information and cute stories, that I'd take her class again on Craftsy if I ever needed a refresher course.

The market didn't open until 5p and my class ended at 1p, so I was prepared to wander around until it did open, but I didn't have to. On a coffee run I got a call from Tracey that she was at the hotel.  Yay!

So Tracey met me at the hotel and we went out to lunch.  She is a remarkable woman with a lot on her plate, and you can meet her on Ravelry (right after you register!).  She has a forum there called Remembering Remy, and she's asking knitters for preemie hats for the NICU, and you can read all about it, again, on Ravelry.  If you'd like to donate some caps, and I hope you will, please contact here there.  If you aren't on Ravelry, you can contact me and I'll get it taken care of.  My email address is: bronxknitter@gmail.com.

After Tracey left to go meet her husband, I received a call that Sojourn Knitter was at the hotel and looking for me.  Just when I thought I was finished shopping!  Well, of course I had to continue shopping.  It was with her that I found all the 'sales'.  Gee whiz!  I didn't have a dime left when I left Vogue today. : )

Lastly, while I was there I bumped into one of the hosts of a podcast I watch, Kim from Craft Stash.  She is such a nice and friendly lady - and she gave me a button.  How cool was that?  She's a multi-crafter, so she doesn't just knit.  Nice lady, for real.

I was going to post pictures of my haul, but there's a lot of it and I'm so exhausted!  You'll find pictures of my haul tomorrow, right after a good night of sleep.

So here's hoping that you had as much of an enjoyable day as I had!

January 14, 2013

Busy As A Bee

The new year has begun and, if you know me, I've bitten off more than I can chew already!  It's only January and I've joined a couple of groups on Ravelry; one is to make 52 pair of socks this year and the other is to spin 50 braids of fiber.  I'm going to try to keep up, but I don't mind being a massive fail in both categories.

This year, we're making toys for the children in the NICU at a local hospital so I tried out a little pattern and it's too fiddly and the directions aren't great, but after a few alterations, it wasn't so bad.  Say hello to Marisol the Mouse (Ravelry):

She was made with Wool Ease from Lion Brand (gray heather) and Simply Soft from Caron (pink).  Cute, but not a pattern for me.  I had to alter the ears.  The knit ones had to be sewn on and they looked crazy, so I used a crochet hook and did one single crochet, one double crochet, then one single crochet again.

Then I did some spinning.  Hopefully the practice now will mean I'm all warmed up for the Tour de Fleece in July.  This is 100% merino from Unwind Yarn in Tiger's Eye:

The bobbins weren't even by a long shot, so the top skein is 3 ply and the bottom is 2 ply.  They haven't been soaked yet so yardage is pending, but the spinning took a couple of weeks.  Whew!  It's not as yellow as I thought it would be, it's more gold - thank goodness.  It was spun up at my son's request (he claims he wants a hat), but if he doesn't want it, I have a cowl in mind.

The knitting circle ladies learned the Magic 8 cast on last week and their sock 'assignment' was Socks on a Plane by Laura Linneman of the Knit Girllls.  The pattern is so well written that after the cast on, no one who is working on the sock seems to be having a problem.  I finished the socks in about 4 days, but I used scrap yarn to make them and I used Jeny's Super Stretchy Bind Off on one sock.

Two things went wrong.  I forgot that a sock from the to up is wider than a sock made cuff down, so I didn't need a super stretchy bind off, just a regular bind off, and I ran out of yarn!  Can you believe it?  I can't!  The end result was this:

Massive fail!  One sock is shorter and the shorter sock has some other scrap yarn I found, but whatever.  I'll make a pair I will wear with pride on another day.  Sheesh!

Moving right along, I joined a Blue Faced Leicester fiber club and my first installment came last week:

I spun it up last night and it is beautiful!  I tried to spin it worsted, so tomorrow I'll ply it and see where we stand with it.  I hope it stays pretty.

Lastly, I'm working on another Selbu Modern in sock yarn - by request.  I usually don't take request, especially to make the same thing twice, but this case was special, so here it is:

The yarn is Dale Baby Ull (white) and Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in blues.  Nice hat, but twice in a row it takes a lot of stamina to keep at it.  Mercifully, I'm halfway done.

So that's what I've been doing.  What have you been doing?

January 04, 2013

New Year Stuff

I think I'm going to call this year 'the year of reclaiming my needles' because I have half baked projects all over the place.  My first clue is that my needle case was feeling kind of light, and when you've been knitting, and accumulating needles for as long as I have, you know my case weighs at least 3 pounds.  When it went down to a pound I knew it was time for action.

My US #2 needles have been stuck in ugly sock for weeks.  I was knitting at every opportunity, on the bus, on the train, during my lunch hour and then it happened.  While I was in transit, I lost one of my 'travel' DPNs and had to buy a new set - which I ordered from Knitting Warehouse.  The needles came today so I went right back to work on ugly socks:

And I went right back to knitting on it at every opportunity, even at the 99 Cent Store where I stood next to flowers hoping to have something prettier to look at:

I even asked my son to knit on it while I picked up what I needed (paper plates).  Doesn't he look cute holding my Maria Elena's Bliss project bag?:

This week I also did a little spinning.  I've been busy (I sure hope Dr. Marianne doesn't ask me for my blog address!):  This was done on my Kromski Prelude - my very first wheel purchased years ago:

The fiber is 100% merino wool from Unwind Yarn Company called Tiger's Eye.  The only time I spin merino well is during the Tour de Fleece (Ravelry) when I spin for days on end.  It takes me a week to warm up to it.  It's going to be a 3-ply yarn (I'm almost finished with the third bobbin), and then my son says he wants a hat.  I can't imagine anyone wanting to wear a gold/yellow/brown hat, but we'll see.

Last weekend some of the ladies in knitting circle learned how to do the Figure 8 cast on (which I mistakenly called Judy's Magic Cast On).  The difference between the two cast on methods is vast!  This week I hope they all make it to class so we can start a pair of toe up socks.  I chose Socks on a Plane by Laura Linneman, one of The Knit Girllls.  It's a basic sock with a little cable for flavor.

So now I'm off to my usual hunt on Ravelry for some amigarumi projects to make for the preemies (due February).  I was told that while the booties, hats and sweaters were nice, a lot of the babies there are hooked up to machines and it makes all of those things impractical.  So knitted toys it is this year.  That ought to be fun!

January 01, 2013

Happy 2013!

It's a new year, time for a change - starting with the look of the blog.   Change is good, change is necessary.

I don't have any knitting to show or tales to tell, I just wanted to pop in to give thanks.  

Thank you Aylin for helping me set up this blog.  I'm sure I said it before, but it's worth mentioning again.

Thank you Sojourn Knitter for helping me keep my sanity while trying to fix the blog messes I've made!  Thanks for your generous donations to me and the knitting circle and for dragging all the way to SOAR with me because it was on my bucket list - not yours.  You're a great friend.

Thank you Monika, for your humor, creativity and inspiration.  When I see what you do almost every day on your blog, it inspires me to keep going.

Thank you to the Soundview Stitchers who make my Saturdays a joy.  Your friendship, inspiration and support have meant the world to me.  I'd also like to thank Junior who not only talks us up to strangers, but for your awesome pineapple upside down cake!  You're the man!  (Have you ever considered learning to knit?)

Thank you to all the bloggers and podcasters who teach, inspire and make me smile.  I learned from you how to knit with beads, what to do with leftover yarn from spinning, and how to read those sometimes confusing Japanese stitch symbols.  

And to my readers, I appreciate your support - you'll never know how much.  Thank you for the comments and the emails.  Though most of you are as silent and church mice, I know you're there and it's inspired me to keep going.  

A special shout out to Joyce G. and Tracey M. - y'all should really set up a blog page of your own because your projects are awesome and I'm sure folks in blog land would love to read all about it!

I'm also grateful to have access to Ravelry and Etsy because I've gotten some wonderful stuff from those sites and I believe in supporting the independent business folks making a living through crafting.

Happy New Year to you all!