Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train

There's something about a boogie woogie, wouldn't you agree?  The tune is so catching that you can't help but shake your groove thing...They're really fun to play on the piano too because you get some serious moving going on with your hands...the left one bounces around to the fun bass beat, and the right one usually plays some really cool melodies and is all over the place.

And the other things about boogie woogies is that they sound much more difficult than they usually are.  Or, that they seem much less difficult to play because they're so accessible mentally.  Either way, they're fun, and catching, and truthfully addicting.

And I'm knitting a boogie woogie too!

I didn't know it was possible, but it appears that they're as addictive as the musical version.

Well, at least this particular skein of yarn is.  It's from Knitterly Things's sock of the month club.  Self, striping in wonderful bright colors and titled "Holiday Boogie Woogie."  Well, who could resist casting that on right away?  I'm using one of my favorite easy patterns that I adapted to remove all the patterning and just use the sock construction because I want the stripes and colors to be the stars...

...that said, the arch expansion adds some really cool structural design that I just love with this sock.  Plus, the heel is magic and the overall sock is gorgeous.  So, I'm knitting away...and I'll give you a quick peek at the toe because it's just so darn cute!


On a knitterly note (ha, the pun!), you'll notice that I'm using two circular needles in this picture.  So many people rave about using circulars for sock knitting that I wanted to give it a good try.  I was amazed at how easy it was to start the toe of this sock...but I quickly discovered that my hands prefer double points.  I was hoping that I could use the circulars because I like to take socks traveling with me, but my hands fought me on this one.  I switched to DPNs last night and my hands just flew!  I have about 5" of this puppy finished already!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't Peek Ernie

Well, I had a wonderful weekend at the beach.  It was so peaceful, and really the exact rejuvenation I needed.  I've been able to accomplish a lot at work today...all that jumble that's been going on in my brain somehow settled out and I was able to accomplish a lot this morning...so much that the next hour is going to be a challenge because I need to let the rest of it stew for a little bit.

So,  here's what we did:

1.  sat around and talked
2.  Went shopping at Publix and were terribly sad that we don't have one in our town.
3.  Ate and talked.
4.  Sat in the hot tub and talked.
5.  Watched the Heisman ceremony (go Johnny Manziel!!!)
6.  I knitted and David read the news on his phone.

And that's really it.  Just absolute laziness...and it was bliss.  The condo was super-nice.  Perfect in all ways except a couple, but I don't want to dwell on those.

I did manage to finish Ernie's socks and here's a picture!  Tomorrow I'll show you a picture of the socks I've started in Knitterly Things's sock of the month club yarn--Holiday Boogie Woogie (I just love the name!).


Friday, December 7, 2012

A Weekend at the Beach

David and I are celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary this year.  Right smack dab in the middle of Alyssa's graduation and getting ready for our trip to London.  So, this weekend, we decided would be a good one to go to the beach, get some much needed perspective on life, and chill.  So, this afternoon when work shuts down, I'll be on the road to Orange Beach and a wonderfully relaxing weekend.

Which, of course, means that I've had to pack some knitting.  That much down time and no crafting might make me cranky--and that wouldn't do for a "relaxing, perspective-getting" weekend.  So, knitting it is.

And boy, is this always a struggle.  Because I always way overestimate just how much knitting one can do in 2 days.  There's the realistic me, the optimistic me, and the me that just doesn't know...and when it comes to travel and down time, I think all three compete and win out somehow.

Here's what I packed:

1.  The mystery cowl knit-a-long.  It's beautiful, lovely and over half finished.  It's also knit on giant needles, but in stitches that really slow me down (note to self to put on 2013 resolutions to learn to hold yarn in left hand...). I'd really really like to take it to London with me (as it's so looking like I'm going to need it and every other thing that keeps one warm), so should get rocking along on it...hopefully finish this weekend.

2.  Ernie's socks.  I'd like them to be finished by the end of this weekend as well.  It's possible as I have about half the leg knitted.  And somehow once you get to the heel it just flies off the needle.

3.  My new Knitterly Things self-striping "yarn of the month club" yarn.  It's called "holiday boogie" and will be just the thing to knit on while listening to Christmas music.

4.  Elizabeth's cowl that I designed, started on the ride to Texas and put aside.  It's about half finished too.  I would love to get a picture of her in it and her ear-flap hat...

5.  Another skein of sock yarn with a sock started on it.

What I did not pack:

1.  The other skein of yarn for the mystery cowl knit-a-long.  I'm thinking I need to find another pattern, though the one is rather pretty--but it will definitely be a cowl one day.  It just doesn't know which kind yet.

2.  The yarn to start Alyssa's cowl to go with her London hat.

3.  Alyssa's London hat which still needs the ribbon and button sewn on it.  I plan to work on that over her graduation celebration on Friday.  (I'm really hoping to "convince" Mom into sewing that ribbon on...it didn't work over Thanksgiving, but I didn't try too hard...be warned, Mom).

4.  Three skeins of sock yarn that are wound off and waiting (not so patiently) to be stitched into socks...one pair of which will be for David in Berroco Comfort Sock. I'm anxious to work with this yarn because I want to see how acrylic blend socks stand up since he's so sensitive to wool.

5.  The sweater.  It wants vacation until I can spend all my energy and focus working on just it.

6. The 4 skeins of Halloween yarn that I got to make some crazy socks out of--neon pink, green, blue and orange.

7.  The new Blue Moon Fibers sock of the month yarn that I got last week.  It's such a gorgeous cranberry color and I want to do the sock pattern very badly.  But I'm not even looking at it right now.  I'm thinking maybe it wants to go to London, but will have to see...taking patterns that require much concentration on a trip isn't always a good idea.

8.  The hexagon blanket.  It has been staring at me mournfully for the past few weeks.  I wanted to get back to it when it got colder, and it has, sort of, but it's just not time yet.

So, see how the optimist in me packed more projects than I can do, the realist in me rejected more patterns than I'm taking and the me that just doesn't know is worried that I'm going to be either bored with what I'm taking or finish everything and have to (gasp) sit there with nothing to occupy my hands.

Today is silly kitty picture day.  Zora got into the mesh bag on the front cover of my suitcase all by herself.  And then went all kinds of crazy when we "got her" through it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh, so very very tired

The fates conspired against me being able to sleep last night.  I woke up to the rain a little after midnight, and then around three was thinking about the book I'm listening to on the way to work and college football and all sorts of other things.  Seems that my brain can create stress where there is none.

So, today I'm pooped, and really just want to be back in bed sleeping off this gray rainy day.

I'm also having an extremely difficult time focusing on the work I need to do.  As the semester winds down, and students are trickling homeward, it gets quieter up here each day.  My interruptions are fewer, something I've been hoping for for months, but now that I have this quiet, peaceful time to get some work done, I'm completely uninterested in actually working.  I feel bored, slightly disengaged from the whole "work thing" and as if all I really want to do is sit and knit.

I wish I had some time to indulge this knitterly impulse.  This desire to just sit and feel yarn and think and make things.  To watch the fabric grow in my hands and think about the person who will be wearing it.  To dream up new projects and think about all the awesome things going on around me.

Because really, life is very good.

David and I are going to the beach in 2 days.

My mom and dad come for a visit in 8 days.

Alyssa graduates from college in 9 days.

In 10 days, David and I will have been married for 22 years!

We are going to London in 11 days.

Today's picture is of me and the girls at the Texas A&M football game on the 24th.  We're all wearing hats I made, though you can't see mine.  It's just wonderful seeing things I made be enjoyed by people I love and serving them well.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Failed Attempts

On the drive to and from Texas week before last (hard to believe it's been that long already), I took lots and lots of knitting with me. I cast on a few projects before getting in the car because I wanted to be able to knit away without the stress of trying to keep my double-pointed-needles (DPN) from slipping out of my hands and onto the floorboards of the car.  Socks are great travel knits, especially those with no pattern to knit, because you can just knit away, keeping your hands busy and not worry about whether or not you've lost place in the pattern.  Also, you can keep talking with your fellow travelers and enjoy the company as well as keeping your hands busy.

Until, that is, some of the stitches drop off the end of the DPN and you attempt to grab them all up while bumping along the interstate.  What seemed like a luxuriously smooth ride suddenly goes to what seems like a ride down an incredibly holey patch of road.  Anyway, I knitted away on a couple of projects:

1.  The cowl I'm designing for Elizabeth.  It's got these lovely cable circles all over.  For some reason I got bored with it and pulled out

2.  A pair of socks in red yarn for me.  These are the ones that I lost stitches, grabbed them, had to rip out some of the stitches and attempted to grab them again, only to get completely frustrated and rip out the whole thing because after turning the heel and starting on the foot I realized that the needles I was using were entirely too big for the project so...

3.  I sized down a needle size and pulled out the yarn (same brand, different color) that I was going to use for socks for Ernie and cast those on and knitted on those a little bit.  I did a good bit of mental math for these, which will become important soon enough.

4.  Then I decided that the hat that Elizabeth wanted me to make needed to get done over the weekend, so I cast it on and started working on it.  I did some really cute stripes using the Fibonacci  sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 (and then back to 1).  It's really cute, don't you think?   She's giving it to her friend for Christmas.


5.  At this point, I needed to get back to my sock project, so knitted away on it.  When we were on our way home, I knitted some, but wasn't highly motivated. I think I was tired.  But I wanted to get these socks finished for Ernie before David goes for his haircut next week, so I worked until the heel flap and put them aside to bring to work for lunch.

6.  During lunch, I pulled out the sock, looked at it and said, "Hmm....these look really big." But I always say that about men's socks, so wasn't giving it much thought, but decided to put my hand through and see just how big I'd made it.  My arm popped right through and I could pull the cuff up to my elbow without stretching it.  The socks were big enough to fit an elephant. (mental math that I did was multiply 10" by 8 stitches/inch to get 80 stitches...problem is my gauge with this yarn and needles is actually 7 stitches/inch which means that the sock was 11.5 inches around before stretching...I don't even think they would fit David.

7.  So I ripped them out and cast on 70 inches, only to realize that that wasn't divisible by 4 (as I got to the end of my ribbing) so rather than cast on again, I simply knitted two together a couple of times and worked away on the cuff.  But it really bothered me that I'd knit those two stitches together and decided to rip it out, start over, and call it an evening.  So, I cast on 64 stitches because at some point this made sense and knit away on the cuff and several inches of the leg.

8. During lunch the next day, I realized that, darnit, the sock was now too small.  So I have now decided that these socks are for me.  I was worried that the teal color was trending too close to green for Ernie's appreciation anyway.  I've put them back in the bag because I must get Ernie's socks finished!

9.  Then I pulled out the lovely Malabrigo Rios in colorway "azul profundo" that I knew I wanted to use for Ernie eventually, pulled out a pattern because I'm clearly not fit to do mental math anymore and started knitting away on the most beautiful socks that a man will ever wear, I'm sure.  I'll have pics of that in a couple of days.

It's been quite an eventful few days of knitting.  I'm glad that I didn't bring my sweater along.  I would have probably ruined it in my inability to pay attention to anything important (like patterns or math!).

This weekend, David and I are going to the beach.  I love working on projects at the beach.  The oxygenated air, the sunlight, the relaxing sounds of the waves, seeing the pelicans.  It all puts me in a trance of relaxation and happiness.  I'll finish those socks for Ernie, probably get some work done on a couple of other pairs of socks...and generally enjoy the down time before crazy-ness ensues next week...more on that another time.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Texas our Texas: edited to add photos

It was such a wonderful trip to Texas.  I wish I could have stayed...like forever.  Like moved myself and all my belongings and set up shop in Texas and not worried about missing that place ever again.  I could eat myself silly on good Mexican food, be around smart and friendly people, and live a quality of life that would be really nice.

During our 5 days in Texas I got to spend some wonderful time with my family.  There were almost 30 of us at lunch on Thursday, and both of my brothers and their kids showed up, so it was a whole "Thornton" family get-together.  I enjoyed so much visiting with everyone and eating all the wonderful food.  AND there was a surprised card shower at the end with a couple of small gifties thrown in there.  Very wonderful.

Then on Friday afternoon we drove to College Station to show the kids around town.  We looked at the apartments where they used to live and drove around campus.  We ate some yummy food at Chuy's and then went to Midnight Yell, which the daughters claimed was the "strangest and most wonderful thing" they'd ever experienced.

Saturday was spent tooling around campus.  David and I got to go by the building where we first met, and I showed the girls all the places where I liked to camp out and study.  We got to visit the newly remodeled MSC and hung out there for a while.  It was truly a nice and beautiful day....

Capped by some really awesome football Saturday night.  I was completely impressed watching Johnny Manziel play football.  He is an amazingly talented individual.  When he fell down with an injury the stadium was completely quiet.  Eerily so, considering there were 87,000 people present and apparently not one of them was even breathing.  Then someone started chanting "Johnny" and he eventually got up.  Good Ags stay for the entire game no matter the weather or the score, but these Ags were cold and tired, so we left after the band performed and watched the rest of the game from Tony Roma's over a rack of ribs and onion rings.

I can't wait to be back in Texas, even if it is for a short time, but I'm hoping to make it a permanent situation sometime in my near future...if you know of anything be sure to let me know!

Today I'm posting two pictures.  The first is a picture of two pictures that we have hanging in our hallway.  it is of me and the girls when they were 3 and 13.  The second is from this weekend (they are now 20).  We are posed in the same parking spot in the apartment complex where we last lived in Bryan.  It was really nice walking down memory lane!




Monday, November 19, 2012

The Mittens are Finished

I think I love them. I  hope I have the opportunity to wear them.  Quite bright and very difficult to get a good photograph, but they're fun, super easy and quick.  I even had to rip one out and start completely over, remember?

Now, off to start something new.


Friday, November 16, 2012

The Great Mystery

I do like these little mystery projects.  When I quilted I would go to mystery classes when I had the time and money.  It was always fun to just get little bits of the pattern at a time and see the whole thing progress.  I'm loving this cowl...it's pretty and fun and will be very very warm (perfect for London I'm supposing).


Aren't the stitches incredibly beautiful with this yarn?  The entire time I'm working on this project I'm shocked that the yarn is so wonderful and not scratchy or "wooly" feeling.  Truly lives up to its name, de-vine.

I can't wait until next week to see the next phase.

In the meantime I'll be finishing my mittens and working on my sweater again.  It would be lovely to try it on soon...and that's not too far away, in all honesty.  Updates as they are merited!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

...and I'm making a cowl!


I decided to participate in a Mystery Knit-a-Long.  This sounded like a lot of fun.  You get a clue every week for three weeks and in the end you have a beautiful cowl.  I purchased the yarn, which arrived just in time to get the first clue and start.  So, I cast on last night and began knitting.

The hardest decision was choosing the color.  I bought two skeins hoping that when they arrived at home I would be more enamored of one than the other, but I wasn't.  I loved them both.  David picked for me--the color name is Hobbit Garden.  I love the bright aqua color, and the deep purple, which when knitted almost reads as brown. (I highly suspect you're going to see the other colorway, Currier and Ives, in a second cowl seeing how quickly this project is going to knit up!)

The yarn is called Devine, and boy is it.  It's extremely difficult to believe this is 100% wool yarn.  It's soft and springy and very round, and not the slightest bit itchy.

Based on the first clue, I think the cowl will be a sampler of knitting stitches.  The first is linen stitch and the second is herringbone.  I'm currently 5 rows into the linen stitch.  It's it pretty!?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm making mittens

I'm making mittens...don't ask me why because it's hardly ever cold enough here to warrant more than one pair of gloves.

But, Saturday I wasn't feeling great and needed an easy knitting project while watching the football games (go Aggies!).  I didn't want to mess up the lovely sweater, so knew that I needed to take a break from it, for at least on Saturday.  I had a bag beside me that had two "cakes" of yarn--a lovely green bamboo and wool sock yarn and a hot pink silk and wool sock yarn.  I decided that every girl needs a bright pink pair of mittens, and somehow channeled the memory that I have no idea how it works and went through the giant stack of patterns that I'd printed out months ago in search of the "great guide to mittens" by Anne Budd...which I found and off I was going.

Problem is I didn't check guage and ended up making my mitten WAY too big.  So I ripped out the whole thing and started over.

And here's its picture.  Lochi was a very good prop for my mitten last night.  The silk is what you're seeing shimmer in the picture.  They are so fun!

Don't worry.  I'll get back to the sweater.  But first I must finish these mittens and today starts the Mystery Cowl Knit-a-long (and I should get my yarn today so I should be able to start that today).  But it'll happen because that sweater is just too gorgeous to let sit for very long.  Apparently, though, I needed a break, and that's ok.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Sweater

I reached the arm-pits last night, and was very excited.  I love this sweater.  I love it all the more that I'm making it, and it's pretty, and I can't believe I'll be able to wear it someday soon...maybe week after next?  Wouldn't it be lovely to wear to Thanksgiving, but then I fear spilling food on it and that would be tragedy.

Here's its picture.  I don't have much more to say about it than that...it's just wonderful all by itself, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Inspiration

This little hat, photo below, is the inspiration for the sweater I'm currently over half-way finished knitting.

And let me tell you why.  It's the yarn.  It's Malabrigo Rios and so soft you can't believe it's 100% wool. As I was knitting along on this hat and enjoying it so much, I had the inspiration that THIS was the yarn for the beautiful sweater pattern I had picked out...and boy, was I right! This yarn loves knitting needles and behaves itself like no other yarn I've ever experienced.  It's soft and squishy and yet the stitches are very well-defined and hold their own.

Not to mention how incredibly beautiful the colors are.  Each skein is hand dyed, so while one "bag" (10 skeins) are technically one dye-lot, the color varies from skein to skein just enough that you notice if you knit all in one skein then switch to another.

It's also difficult to get enough yardage to knit a sweater (being so well-loved by knitters that it sells out as soon as stores get it in stock), so I consider myself lucky indeed to have found a color that will complement my own coloring.

In order to compensate for this, I am knitting my sweater in "stripes." Unfortunately you won't see the sweater today because the pics I took were all blurry.  Before I started knitting, I noticed that laying the skeins side-by-side you could tell the difference between them--one being considerably lighter than the rest.  There are patches of a tannish color in one skein that aren't present in the others.  I considered different ways to address this issue because I didn't want the experience I had when I knitted my dad's sock and the foot is definitely 3 shades darker than the leg and heel...and that was with two skeins that looks fairly identical.

I had the option to take two skeins at a time and alternate rows.  That made sense, but then as I looked at it I knew that even if I did that there might still be a noticeable break between sections--while not as grand, still it would be there.  Therefore, I decided that I would work with two skein at a time, knit two rounds in one color and then two rounds in the other, switching one skein out each day and replacing it with a skein picked at random.  This is working out very well and the color changes just look like they are part of the overall color changes in the sweater.

Have I mentioned how much I cannot wait to finish this sweater?

(And I didn't even talk about Alyssa's hat which is really wonderful.  I had to go back a bit in the knitting because it was smaller than she wanted, but I'm finished with that revision now.  I need to wash and block it and then add the ribbon and button, which will make this hat very special indeed...but that's still to come.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Disaster

That's what I'm calling this picture...disaster:


...and I did it all by myself.  Not one feline in my house had one paw in on the creativity that caused this mess.

It is a project that has been hard in coming along, and then utterly and completely failed.  And I was very sad about it because I'm ready to be done, to move on, to have a wonderful finished object at the end of it...

but that didn't happen with this warp.

Just so you know, when you wind a warp and aren't paying very careful attention and make a mistake in your pattern and then you sley it and don't notice the mistake, and then get it mostly threaded and realize the mistake...

...this is a really good time, to take a step back, tell all the "I can fix this by doing that" demons to get away from you...and just let it sit.

Because those demons truly are giving you bad advice, especially when you say, sure, I can resley this pattern in a completely different way than I wound it.  It'll be a tad tough getting wound onto the loom, but I've made small adjustments before without any problems.

Problem was I made very large adjustments and created a ridiculous knotted mess...that I then tried to un-knot the mess and, well, it just got worse.  I ended up cutting it out of the loom, throwing away all the warp and starting over.

And I'm ok with that because I like the warp pattern I came up with much better than the previous one.  I know I'll be happier with this project than I would have been if I'd spent 20 hours untangling the knotted mess centimeter by centimeter.

But, what I should have done is recognized a mistake in pattern for what it was and left it alone, Kept the project for myself and moved on.  But I didn't, and the result was disaster.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sweater Knitting

I am knitting a sweater.  This is my second sweater. And I feel slightly obsessed about it.  It's beautiful, soft, lovely, and progressing along.  It's not difficult to knit, so I can go along mindlessly, enjoying the feel of the yarn, and the beauty of the stitches and the color of the yarn, and feel satisfied that soon (a couple of weeks maybe) I'll be wearing this gorgeous sweater and feeling so proud of it.

And I'm very  happy about it.  Knitting a sweater that is.

Which leads me to thinking about knitting and why some projects can be overwhelming and frustrating and others can be very satisfying...and the basic differences between the projects are very small.

For instance, I HATE knitting scarves.  I've discovered this after starting a few and begrudging them after I was about half-way through.  I've had to FORCE myself to finish one and am finally almost to the end of another.

But, sweaters are much more knitting than scarves.  So, I can't figure out why scarves make me so crazy and anxious...and hateful towards the yarn, the pattern, and the scarf-y-ness of the project.  It just seems to go on and on and on forever without end.

I "get it" why I enjoy knitting socks and hats.  Both are relatively small projects, and with socks you get to go through all the different parts so it's like knitting 5 projects in one.  It doesn't get boring, the smallness of the needles fits my hands very well, and I love the practicality of the project.

But sweaters, especially plus-sized sweaters, are a lot of knitting...and a lot of knitting that's the same (giant tube around the belly).  I'm not getting tired of it, though, nor frustrated, nor do I want to stop.  In fact, I can't wait to get home everyday so I can sit and knit.

And just so I can share the beauty that I'm enjoying every evening, here is the sweater so far.  Lovely isn't it?  Just lovely.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Out of the Haze

It's been a rough couple of weeks.  I reported that I'd been sick with a cold...boy if I knew that phase 2 was around the corner, I wouldn't have said anything about feeling better.

Last Monday I woke up feeling awful.  Headache, body aching and very scratchy sore throat.  Of course, that turned into the laryngitis that everyone else around me had, and I was sick with that for over a week.  I felt tired, unable to think and mostly just wanted to hang out at home in my pjs, with kitties piled in my lap, knitting in my hands, and my audible book playing.

Luckily I got to do that this weekend, and finally woke today feeling almost normal.

But, over the week last week and the weekend, I finished a pair of blue socks, the re-do of Alyssa's hat (it was too small, now it's perfect) and got started on my Peregrine sweater.  I'm using Malabrigo Rios for the yarn.  It's sumptuous and lovely and all I can think about during the day.  I want to dig my fingers in that yarn and work away the entire time I'm at home.  I can hardly wait to wear it!  So soft and lovely...and silky even though there isn't a drop of silk in it.  I think the folks at Malabrigo work a little magic into their yarn...The color I chose because it was the only color there was enough of to make my sweater was Jupiter. It's a lovely pinky, maroony, red-dish color.  Variegated, but since it's in the same color family it looks more like a deep, rich color rather than a mish-mash of a bunch of colors.  From a distance anyway.  It's beautiful, and I already have 6" or so of the body started.  It's knitted in one piece (apart from the sleeves) so that's some pretty considerable progress...can't wait to see how much I manage to get done over the weekend!  I'm excited.

Today's picture is of the lovely blue socks.  They are quite thick and warm and pretty.  The ones on the left are out of a color called "bella coola" and the ones on the right are "blue brick wall" (you'll notice the gold flecks in the one on the right).  They are going to my friend Jeff after I wash them up this weekend.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Knitting Dreams

Every great now and then I'll have weird dreams that really stick with me.  They are usually induced by stress, but not always.  I have "theme dreams"--you know, the ones where you dream the same thing over and over.  I dream of tornadoes, having to go back to take an English class in high school, driving in the "spaghetti bowl" in a big city and running out of bridge (that one is terrifying), losing my teeth, or getting married to someone else and having to figure out how to tell David that I'm doing this.

Lately, I've started dreaming about knitting.  Sometimes, I'm just sitting and knitting and really enjoying myself.  Other times, I'm battling with the knitting and feeling incredibly frustrated.  One time I was knitting this incredibly beautiful fabric (I don't know what it was for) and was astounded at how good I'd gotten.

Last night, however, I dreamed that I was knitting the ugliest little scarf from this really thick blue yarn.  I'd chosen needles that were too small and the fabric was incredibly dense...not very "scarf-like" at all.  I decided it was time to bind off and I looked at the remaining yarn I had...it was sad.  I only had about 6" which isn't nearly enough to bind off.  I was upset, and started to unravel a  row when I realized that my "scarf" (which was hideous to begin with) was only about 12" long.  I decided at that point that I just needed to unravel the whole darn thing and call it a day.

Today's picture is of the hat I'm knitting for Alyssa.  It's a "cloche" so fits close to the head and had a ribbon around it with a button.  It'll be adorable.  You cast on at the crown (which is why it looks like a little baby hat right now) and that was a major pain in the rear.  I had to tweak it and do it "my way" but it turned out ok, I think.  If people are staring at the top of Alyssa's head (which they might seeing that she's so short), then I guess they might notice.  I LOVE the yarn and am thinking I need to order enough to make the awesome sweater I decided to make a couple of weeks ago.  It would be perfect.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Back in the saddle

I'm trying to get "back in the saddle" after being away from work for a couple of days.  I caught a cold over the weekend...a strange little beast.  It never settled in my nose the way colds normally do, but got in my throat and ears and is now making my eyes run.

(I wrote this yesterday and was never able to get back to it...guess I fell out of the saddle!)

I've been knitting a lot, though, and have finished a giant pair of man-socks (see pic below).  They are really quite lovely, thick and warm.  I hope they're not too big, but I say that about every pair of man-socks I make.  Men have big feet, btw!

While this cold didn't really knock me out, I did feel crummy for a few days.  I couldn't think straight and just wasn't all "there" if you know what I mean.  I feel like I'm slowly getting back to myself, but in the meantime:

  • I've been craving coke--not giving in, it's been almost 2 years and I'd hate to undo all that patience and perseverance because I'm needing a sugar and caffeine fix.
  • I've been dying to drink coffee.  Considering how much it hurt my tummy the last few times I drank it, I've refrained (plus I didn't have the energy to go to the store and buy any!).
  • I've been eating a lot of chocolate.  For several days it's all I could taste.
  • I've been knitting quite a bit (as I said).
  • I've been dying to get back in my car and listen to my book on tape (definitely making the commute go by faster and easier).
  • But mostly, I've been wanting to feel better.  I think today I'm close.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My feet

My feet have been bothering me lately...not as you might think, but because they're so strange looking.  In honesty when you take a look at a foot...a real look...you do notice it's kind of weird.  And each person's feet are very unique.  We all have things we like or don't like, and in the end we notice how funny they look.

Some people love wearing shoes on their feet--either because they like their feet, they really don't like their feet, or they have a sense that shoes somehow make up for the weirdness of feet because of all their fashionable glory.

I, however, like socks.  Ever since I can remember, I wanted to wear pretty and stylish socks.  Shoes had to be comfortable and fit my socks.  In the 80s, I can't tell you how many socks I had, and when my college roommate tore up a pair of my favorite socks running around in the parking lot, I was fairly upset (she bought me a new pair of socks, but they were never the same.)

I had always been fascinated by hand-knitted socks, but I always imagined that I couldn't knit because I couldn't crochet (Grandma M told me so) so I never really tried.  I don't know exactly what the "thing" was that spurred me into gritting my teeth and figuring out the knitting thing, but I'm so glad I did.  I LOVE knitting socks, I LOVE wearing hand-knitted socks, I LOVE sock yarn, I LOVE looking at my hand-knitted socks all folded up in drawers, I LOVE thinking about the next pair of socks I'm going to knit.  I'd definitely say I'm having a love affair with hand-knitted socks lately.

And apparently it's contagious because everyone I know wants me to make them or someone they love a pair of hand-knitted socks.  I'm going to pace myself because I don't want to burn out, but right now I'm knitting a beautiful pair of blue socks for my friend Jeff...it a lovely thick squishy yarn.  I want to keep them except his feet are a size 13 men's and mine are a size 9 women's and that just won't do...

Today's picture is of the yarn for Jeff's socks all wound up into "cakes."  The  top two are for him, actually, and the bottom one is for someone special.  And they're different, though not appreciably so.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Finishing Makes me Happy

This weekend my studio had a distinct "barn" smell going on...I had to wash the happy feet (pictured below) socks that I finished (yea!) and also wash my other 4 pairs of hand-knit socks.  I can no wear my socks every day of the week, and I find that to be very exciting indeed!

The new pair of socks, the ones I'm calling "happy feet" are indeed very happy.  They are so bright and cheerful that they inspire smiles.  I'll want to wear my pants slightly short so people will see and ask questions.  I really need to buy a pair of shoes that will better show off my hand-knit socks that will also be comfortable and stylish enough to wear to work...must think about this.

Now that I have all that out of the way I'd like to talk about how finishing makes me happy.  There's something extremely motivating about "finishing" something.  It's quite satisfying and makes me want to start something new.  I like showing off what I've completed.  The sense of accomplishment at finishing things is really quite nice.

I realized yesterday that I only have a couple of projects "in progress" right now.  I have my black and white scarf that I've brought up to work on during lunch.  It's one of those projects that I abandoned a while back because I was so bored with it... I realized on Friday that I really don't have that much left to do on it...finishing it will be a piece of cake...and then I don't know what I'm going to bring up to work on during lunch because the only other things I have in progress are a sweater and blanket and I don't really think either of those is appropriate lunch-time knitting.  I'll have to give that some thought.

Because, if you notice, since I brought something else up here to work on during lunch, that means that I finally finished the cowl that I've been working on for mom's birthday.  She has been quite patient in waiting on it, and I'll put it in the mail tomorrow.  It's quite pretty all bunched up around a neck.  I think she'll really enjoy it.  And while that thing was driving me senseless with boredom while working on it, finishing it left me with a "hole" in my day...it left me wondering what I could find that would be easy enough to work on during lunch and still capture my attention enough to want to work on it everyday.

Finishing the cowl also brought to mind a couple of other things...how one round per day adds up.  How when it's time to be finished with a project I'll just dig in and be done with it.  How when I'm finished with a project that has been around for a while (so long that I'm sick of it), the finishing of it leaves me wistful...wondering why I'm missing it even though I couldn't wait for it to be over with.  How completing things is so very satisfying that I immediately cast on a new project.  How using my creations (or seeing other people use them) is probably the most satisfying thing around.  How much I cherish my creation time and enjoy being able to make things.

Finishing is just plain wonderful...and as case in point, I want you to look at how happy my feet are in this picture!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cakes, and other things that make me happy

I guess I'm working with a theme here...thinking of things that make me happy, maybe will make me happy.

It isn't that I'm unhappy, but things have been so stressful and hard to get through that I'm having a hard time remaining steadfast and positive.  I have wanted to give up in exasperation so many times recently, and that's just not like me.

So, I've determined that I will make myself happy!  The Happy Feet socks have helped go a long way into kicking my rear in that direction.  But they will be finished soon, and I'll need something else to make me happy.

So, I think of things that I enjoy doing and one of those things is winding yarn hanks into cakes.  Yesterday I showed you a picture of my beautiful bright sock yarn in its "hank" state...today I'll show you the picture of it wound into a "cake."


Isn't is pretty?  It's just sitting there waiting for me to pull that center yarn out and start working...which I did about 2 seconds after I took this picture.  In fact, I may have already pulled out the first length of yarn before I took this picture...that's why the center yarn is draping over the back...but I don't remember exactly.

Tonight, my work-friend has brought me some yarn of hers to wind into cakes.  I told her I enjoy doing that. I think people think I'm a little wonky (but I know that to be true...so I don't care if they think it or not!)...so that will make me happy.

I like other kinds of cake.  Chocolate, cheese, coconut.  Cakes in general are happy things.  Maybe I should make a particularly decadent chocolate cake this weekend.  It has coffee and kahlua and creme de cacao in it so by the time you've eaten a slice you feel very satisfied and happy--life is grand.  It's a thick and rich and delicious cake (and worth about 1/3 of my daily WW points, but that's cool...it's worth it) and makes a wonderful breakfast to boot.  I think I've talked myself into that cake.

Cake is definitely one of those things that makes me happy...

Monday, October 1, 2012

A little obsessed with happy feet

I was in a great position Friday night.  I was getting ready to finish up the sock I was making for my friend to give her mother for Christmas (featured in the past couple of blog entries).  Only 3 more rows to finish when I got home on Friday, so I sat down to finish those three rows and bind off the sock.  I was completely prepared to start knitting the socks for my friend Jeff as the yarn had come in on Thursday and I'd already showed him a picture of the hanks.  They are beautiful yarns and look so pretty together.  One is all blue and the other has some gold in it, but the blues go together so nicely.   I was even about 90% sure about the pattern I was going to use...

...until...

...I opened my package from Jimmy Beans Wool that had my new needles in it.  I always buy some yarn when I but the needles because you get free shipping if you spend $75 at JBW and that's just too good to pass up...so I threw a few skeins of yarn in the "basket" and then sit and wait until they arrive.  I have a very short memory when it comes to the yarn I just throw in the basket because I usually see so many that I want, that picking out one or two is difficult...so when they arrive it's always exciting.

This time I actually squealed!

Isn't is bright and cheerful and absolutely beautiful and wonderful? I can't tell you how far it went to cheering me up after some very very stressful weeks.  I immediately wound the yarn into a ball and cast on some socks. I finished the first one last night and was wearing it just because I could.  OH MY how cheerful these socks will be.  And amazing how quickly they are knitting!  I even brought them to work on today at lunch.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Turning the Heel

I know I said this before, but my main reason for learning to knit was so that I could make socks.  I loved the idea of hand-knitted socks.  Great gifts, small projects, and really cool.  Plus, if you get into yarn, you realize that there is a crazy amount of really cool yarns specifically made for socks.  They self-stripe, are variegated, some even "self pattern" (which is way cool).  You can put patterns on socks and have a really pretty lacy thing or a cabled thing.

Plus, socks keep your feet warm and my feet always seem to be cold, so having lots of warm yummy socks is just amazing.

I still think that turning the heel is a little bit of magic.  Every time I get to the part in the pattern that says "turn heel," I get a little giddy and look forward to following the instructions and having it turn out just like it's supposed to.  On the current sock I'm knitting, the heel turn is different than the others I've done.  And it's definitely magic.  I'm in the middle of it (had to go to bed last night despite my desire to finish it up) and you know what?  I can't stop thinking about it because I want to finish it and say "wow" definitely magic.

The other cool part about turning the heel is that when you're at that point in the sock construction (either toe up or top down), you are turning a corner.  Taking on a new direction and somehow, magically, keeping them together at the same time.

I feel a little like I'm at that point in my life.  I'm turning a corner, and I honestly don't know what I'm going to see when I finish all this "heel turning."  I wish my real-life heel turning was a little more magical than it is...I could certainly use a little undefined good graces these days.

Today's picture is of the heel turn in the black and yellow socks I made for the quilt bee.  I believe Alyssa wears these socks every chance she gets.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tired and Cranky

I woke up tired and cranky this morning.  I'm not sure why, but I just did.  I wish I didn't because I don't like starting my day this way--and it's such a beautiful day too.  I feel like I have to dig myself out of a giant hole to get happy again...

And I had a good weekend.  I started weaving a gift for someone.  Lovely colors.  Wish I could share, but I don't want to spoil the surprise....so that picture will have to wait a few months.

I did a good bit of knitting because it is football season after all.  Almost finished with the socks.  Very cute and tiny.  It's funny seeing the last two pairs of socks together since one of them is for a large man's foot and the other is for a small woman's foot.

SO...I really should be a whole lot less cranky at least, but I'm not.  Hopefully the day will improve.

Today's picture is of that tiny little sock.  LOVE!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

88

(*Note:  I wanted to write this post yesterday but I didn't get around to it.  I'm MAKING it happen today even though I have a giant pile of sticky notes with things to do on them because I like the idea so much and I want to write it but the timing is impeccable...and if I write it today at least I'll have be able to say, hey this was supposed to happen yesterday but it didn't...now, on to writing the thing*)

88!  88 has always been a really cool number to me.  Look at it.  The symmetry is pretty impressive, two infinity symbols side by side proudly holding up and supporting their roundness... but then when you think about the fact that half of 88 is 44 and half of 44 is 22 and half of 22 is 11, then you have to think that the number is pretty darn amazing.

But what brought that number to mind yesterday was that that was how many days I had left before we go on our trip to London, and that's pretty darn exciting!

AND, looking at the number 88 reminded me that that's the year I graduated from high school...and that made me think that 25 years ago I was starting my senior year...well...that's pretty impressive too. (and very hard to wrap my mind around because despite the fact that my daughters are 20 years old and I have veritable proof that all this time has passed, I just don't believe it!).

So, one little number, 88, is cool, amazing, exciting and impressive.

And in all that time since I graduated from high school I have been a cross stitcher, quilter, needlepointer, weaver and knitter.  I got married, had two babies, graduated from college, graduated from a master's program, went and did all the course work for a doctoral program, worked at several jobs and then graduated with my Ph.D....well, I've made pretty darn good use of those 25 years and I'm proud of who I am and what I've accomplished...and today I just wanted to share that with you because in 87 days (not nearly so pretty or impressive) we're going to London to celebrate a whole bunch of that, and that IS very exciting!

Today's picture is of the socks I'm making for Aaryn's mom.  This is of the bottom where I've begun the "arch expansion."  I love this sock construction (made it once before with modifications for the bee stripe socks) and the arch expansion just looks so darn cool, impressive and exciting that I had to share it on this day of 88...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm Actually Sitting at My Desk

...and it's a rather unusual feeling.  I haven't done this in at least a couple of weeks...and while I have a ton of work to do, it's so nice I'm reveling in the fact that I don't have to be anywhere or deal with anyone for a while...

I'd like to back up and talk about being busy.  I like to be busy.  I hardly ever REALLY sit still and do nothing.  But there is a level of busy that's intolerable, and that's where I've been with work recently (I think it's been about a month, but it crept up on me so it's hard to say when exactly it started).  At any rate, I have been very stressed about work and getting everything done that I need to get done and it's affecting other parts of my life that I really don't want it to--my sleep, my family time, my crafting time, and my overall general feeling of "wellness."

It's the latter that's gotten me concerned.  I can lose sleep from time to time, and my family has to be the most forgiving of people to put up with me lately (and they are, and I appreciate that).  And while I love crafting, I do have perspective that it isn't EVERYTHING in life and that if I don't get to do it as much as I want, I can still knit or weave or otherwise create a little bit each day and that's definitely better than nothing. But when I'm in general not happy and in general thinking about how stressful things are, then, well, that's when things have gone too far.

Tomorrow is going to be another "one of those days" but I'm hoping after that that things calm down, that I can breathe and relax and actually do the job I've been hired to do well.  It's not going to be a bad day, just busy.  And I think I can handle it.

Today's picture is of the sock I've started for Aaryn's mom.  I finished her dad's socks this weekend and immediately started the pair for her mom.  These are "toe-up."  I think it looks like a little bitty hat.

Friday, September 14, 2012

This week was rough...

This week was rough.  I didn't know how I was going to make it through, and now that it's Friday and I'm sitting at home waiting on David to bring home some pizza for dinner, I'm thinking about how grateful I am that I did make it through.  I thought at some point I might just throw up my hands and walk out.  It's been that kind of rough.

And to be honest last week was like this.  And the week before that.  And the week before that.  As I think about how many weeks before that it's been rough, I'm easily going back to June.  There were a couple of slow weeks in May that were rough because they were boring, but mostly it's just been very difficult to get through the workweek without feeling like I'm just going to collapse.

I know this makes me a difficult person to live with.  I wish it didn't, but I have such a strong desire to do a good job and I feel like I never can catch up or keep up or whatever else I need to do, and I feel like the work I do can only be "so" good because I don't have time to pause, reflect and double check it.

And that means that I've been awfully tired and frustrated.  This affects my desire and ability to craft and that frustrates me because crafting is a major source of satisfaction and stress relief.  And I honestly don't know what to do about that cycle.

Today's picture is of my Olympic yarn all would up into a yarn cake.  This was before I found out that it was a major mess of a yarn cake, but there it is.  I think yarn cakes are almost as lovely as regular cakes!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's like I'm a new me

I was looking at a needlepoint that I bought sometime a year or so ago (probably more like 2 but I don't want to admit how fast time is flying) and thinking how I don't work on it anymore.  How I would usually watch football and needlepoint or work on needlepoint (or cross stitch) when my friends were over for crafting night.

But somehow, knitting stole its way into my psyche and now IT's what I DO.

And it's strange because knitting wasn't something that came naturally to me, but now it's what I think about, plan to do, and do at an alarming rate.  I have projects started, more printed out than I could do in a lifetime, yarn purchased for that perfect sweater, and now I don't know which pattern that was, yarn I want to buy but don't because I have too many other things "on the go" and really need to be focused on saving some money.

I also don't read much anymore.  I was looking at my kindle which is beside my bed this morning and realized that I haven't read in at least 2 nights, if not more.  At one point in time recently, I mourned that me that wasn't reading...and from time to time I do wonder what's come over me, but I have come to accept that I'm just in a different phase of my life.  And it doesn't mean that I'm digressing or not "me" but that I'm discovering new things...

...and apparently reveling in it!

Last night I was so very tired.  Went to bed at 8:30, but I still managed to squeeze some knitting in there.  It was nice feeling the needles and yarn in my hands and relaxing some.  I think it was the most relaxed I'd been all day.  I enjoyed making a little progress on my sock.  It's fun seeing the color changes and how the little bits of colors interact with each other.  While I'm making something for someone I always think about that person and how they might enjoy it.  I don't know the man who is getting the sock I'm making, so it's kind of weird thinking about someone I don't know, but yet I do.

Today's picture is of the black and white houndstooth scarf I made for my friend Catherine.  She's a big Alabama fan.  This scarf was in my head for almost a year before I finally got to make it.  I love it and hope she does too!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's Kind of Funny

It's funny how I spent the entire week last week crafting away and didn't post but one entry of all my accomplishments!  I made:  a blanket, a pair of socks, a hat and 2 scarves.  I worked and worked and really had a great time being on our hurricane vacation.  It was so wonderful to sleep late, craft when I felt like it, watch TV when I wanted to, eat, play and basically relax for a week. Our weather wasn't bad (thankfully).  We had rain, and a good bit of it, but none of it was so heavy or awful that we even flooded our porch (and our porch always floods).

Plus I got to bring Lochi home, so that was wonderful.  She's been being spoiled rotten.  I told David last night that in our attempt to make her last few months nice, we'll probably be spoiling her for 8 more years.  She seems to be doing well, btw.  Her cold is slowly going away and she is getting more feisty and energetic.

Other than that, there really wasn't much to "report" from the time off for the hurricane.  I don't want to have another break like that, but it was nice that we could actually enjoy it and not fret and worry about everything.

Today's picture is of some maroon socks I started for my friend's dad.  He wanted ankle socks, so I've already turned the heel and am working on the foot.  I LOVE Malabrigo yarn--their sock is amazing...and so soft.  They make a heavenly pair of socks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 2...of Waiting out Isaac

It's been a rather low-key sort of couple of days.  I've gotten quite a bit of knitting done (see below for picture of completed Olympic socks which are drying as I write) and even managed to sneak in some weaving.  I've gotten the baby blanket for my work friend finished.  It's so cute and I wish I could share, but on the chance that she peeks at the blog from time to time I don't want her to see it.  But I will say that it's so snuggly soft that I'm jealous of little Beau.

And of course finishing projects means that I get to start projects.  SO, I have a bright bright pink hat on my needles to while away the rainy days and a black and white houndstooth scarf in the loom to give to my friend Catherine.

And that's really all there is to report from Isaac up here in Hattiesburg.  It's rained pretty much non stop for 24 hours, a few wind gusts here and there, but so far most of the weather has remained to our south...where I work...and which is closed...which means...

...

That I have another day of knitting and weaving and overall being lazy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

An Anniversary of Sorts

Well...as we sit here and get prepared for what will be Hurricane Isaac, I think back 7  years ago to what was Hurricane Katrina.  I look around at the panic, real fear, in people's eyes and realize that it was a significant factor in all of our lives.  While Isaac doesn't look like it's going to be anything like Katrina, people are behaving like it's going to be worse.  I had a student who I thought was going to go nuts on me this morning because he needed answers about when he could get out of here.

And it is kind of scary.  We all have stories that we share about Katrina and you'd be surprised how often it comes up.  We talk about where we were during the storm, how long it took the power to come back on, what the worst part of it all was for us...what we did to assist in clean-up.  How we dealt with the aftermath (it took me over a year to go back to New Orleans, a city where I'm hoping to buy a house one day).

The poignancy that Isaac is coming along at the same time as Katrina has been lost on no one.  We all still have a "remembrance" day of sorts every year on August 29th...and to have to remember it while experiencing similar weather will not be fun.

Today's picture is of me weaving.  I hope to be doing quite a bit of this this week during my at least 2 days off for the hurricane.  I'm hoping we don't lose power because it will be too hot to weave if that's the case!

More when I know what's happening with us.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Crafting Break

I have to take a crafting break in the blog today to share some very sad news.  My sweet kitty Lochi has cancer.  A rare and very aggressive kind.  The vet doesn't think she'll live for six months.  We love this kitty and will miss her greatly.  She was my constant companion while I was reading for my dissertation.  She was my quilting buddy, loves knitting needles and even hangs out around my loom when I'm in my studio now (it scared her at first but she grew accustomed to the steady rhythm of beat and stomp.

And to make matters worse, right now she has a bad cold so is all sniffy and sneezy.  She feels miserable on top of feeling miserable and I'm at a loss of how to make her feel better.

My picture today is of her sitting inside our paper table with the sunshine on her.  She's very pretty in this picture.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pooling

One of the hot topics surrounding variegated or hand dyed yarns is that it will "pool."  This bothers some people, but I think it gives an interesting character to the knitted piece.  That said, you have to make careful choices about knitting patterns when knitting with yarns that move from one color to the next...too much patterning with too much color shifting can end up in a cacophony of knitting that can genuinely bother the eyes.

I'm loving this "London 2012" yarn I'm making a sock out of.  I picked Anne Budd's "Go to Sock" pattern for this yarn even though I've made 2 pairs of them already (I tend to prefer not to repeat the same pattern, but this sock pattern is so easy to memorize and it just flies off the needles...plus it fits great and looks good with variegated yarns!).

One of the neat characteristics of this pattern is that you start knitting the calf part with larger needles.  This gives that part more stretch, and while it's a good idea to use small needles on socks because the denser fabric wears better, you don't tend to wear out the calf of the sock, so a looser fabric here isn't a bad idea.  This allows the sock to fit over any size of calf and gives it much versatility--especially if you don't know the exact measurements of the person you're giving the sock to.

I'm keeping this sock for myself, and while I don't have a huge calf, it is definitely bigger than my ankles so I decided to go ahead and knit the calf part with the larger needles.  Then after 3.5 inches it was time to switch to the smaller needles...and look what happened.

 Isn't that cool?

I was really enjoying how the red was actually spiraling around the calf.  I was thinking that while this is a great Olympics color scheme, it is also a great Christmas color scheme and the candy cane stripes just added to it...but now look at it.  When I switched to the smaller needles, the lesser amount of yarn being used means that my stripes not only start going at a much steeper angle (I expected that) but that it's going in the opposite direction!

Fairly soon, and by that I mean within 10 rows, I'll start working on the heel flap and turn.  This is going to create another interesting effect with the color scheme.  I can't wait to see what happens!  Stay tuned.  I'll be sure to share!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Olympics don't seem to go away!

I truly do love the Olympics, and while I was knitting my hands sore the past few weeks, I realized that it's such an amazing thing to have people from all over the world come to the same place and compete.  I love that there are sports that we Americans don't know and that there are sports that other countries don't know.  Sociology experiments abound.  And I love watching all sorts of competitions, so it has been wonderful to knit and watch and be amazed at how my projects grow inch by inch while I'm passing the time being entertained.

And to continue the wonder of the Olympics, I received a package in the mail yesterday that has some yarn in it titled "London 2012."  It's a colorway of Lorna's Laces created for Jimmy Beans Wool.  JBW cut the price of the yarns in this color way based on the number of medals the Americans won.  I couldn't wait until my very own Olympics yarn arrived and I could work on my Olympics socks.  And how amazingly fortuitous that I finished the purple socks on Tuesday so that I could start the Olympic socks on Wednesday?

And that's exactly what I did.

Aren't they going to be so pretty?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Purple, Beautiful Purple

I finished my purple socks last night!  I'll take some better photos after I've given them a bath and can put them on my feet without fearing my feet turning a lovely bruised shade...

I'm very proud of them, though, and wanted to show them off.


Click on the picture for a closer look of the cables and lovely detailing of the pyramid heel gusset.  I'll take a closer picture of that after they've been washed so you can see how pretty it looks.  I must go buy a pair of clogs or mules to wear with these socks...I must!

And while I didn't quite finish in time for the Olympics to be over, this was one of my Ravellenics projects--my WIP.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Two Dreams

The past two nights I've had two very interesting dreams.

Last night I dreamed that I was knitting with this really ugly pink yarn.  It wasn't just ugly in color but also in texture and feel and everything, and yet I was somehow making it look like beautiful fabric.  It was if my hands and needles were creating magic and turning something bad into something good.

That part was really cool.

The other part that was really cool is that I was using my left hand to hold the yarn and I was knitting so quickly that I was making significant and amazing progress.

I always think it's interesting when I dream of crafting.  This is no exception.  It's clear to me that the dream-part of my brain has become comfortable with my knitting abilities and is telling me to making some amazing stuff.  I'm ready...just need more time.

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Two nights ago I dreamed that I was really sad. I was crying bitterly.  Not sobbing and such just crying and very very sad.  Grandma came up to me and hugged me and I was so comforted by being in her arms.  She held me, patted my back and told me that everything was going to be ok.  As I started calming down, I looked at her and realized that it was GRANDMA and that she was dead and that I was having a dream and that the comfort she was giving me wasn't real and I started crying and sobbing and was practically inconsolable.

She wouldn't release her hug and held me tighter and told me that it didn't matter if she was there in the world that she was here in this moment and was providing comfort to me.  I told her I never wanted to wake up because she would go away and she told me that she'd always be there hugging me and making me feel better.  I snuggled in and cried some more and eventually work up.  I was profoundly sad yet oddly comforted at the same time.

This is the first dream I've had of Grandma since she passed away.  I'd give anything to give her a hug right now and sit next to her and hold her hand.

Today's picture is of Lochi playing the piano.  She has always loved it when I play the piano and would come sit next to me and listen.  Every now and then she'd hop on the bench beside me or get in my lap and put her paws on the piano.  This day she got on the keys and walked up and down and really enjoyed making music.  Lochi went to the vet today because I felt a lump on her back.  The vet said it's a common place for cancer on cats, so will be removing it today.

Monday, August 13, 2012

End of One Thing, Start of Something New

Well, the Olympics closed last night.  I watched the closing ceremonies, which, to be honest, felt like they went on forever (and if I understand correctly there was still an hour or so left to go!).  I worked diligently on my purple sock, but alas, I didn't finish it.  I have 2 repeats of the cable pattern left and then I'll have a beautiful pair of purple socks.  They definitely make a WOW statement.

I'm sad that the Olympics are ending.  I truly enjoy watching the athletes and sports.  The rhythmic gymnastics was really quite impressive.  I'd like to see more of that so that I can truly understand what goes into it.  The group competition was beautiful.  I would have like to have seen some synchronized swimming, but I never caught any of that...and more rowing would have been nice.  Less volleyball--though beach volleyball was fun--and I thought the basketball games were kind of boring.

Yesterday, in an effort to get as much knitting in as possible, I sat and caught up on all the prime time coverage that I missed last week.  My hands are sore today...clearly I did too much.

But, now that the Olympics are over, it's time to start something new...school.  Classes started for us today, and it's already been hectic.  Beyond hectic probably...and I haven't even been here an hour.

Today's picture is of a hat a knit last fall.  It is out of a self-striping yarn and I just love how the circles get formed.  I'm thinking a lot about hats recently.  Not sure why...maybe in preparation for my London trip this Christmas!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ravellinics Days 12 & 13

Last night I was wishing that the Olympics came at a different time of the year.  June would have been beautiful.  I wasn't busy, I had plenty of energy and motivation to just sit down and knit and...well...I have always enjoyed the Olympics and I want to sit and watch them all day.  Imagine how wonderful it would have been when I was a kid and it was summer and I had all the time in the world and the television options we have today!  I could have watched all the sports I could stand, day and night, and it would have been beautiful.

Reality is I don't get to control the scheduling of the Olympics (not even consulted, imagine that) and, well, wouldn't you know it they scheduled them during the busiest two weeks of my work life.

And right now I'm exhausted, getting a cold, and otherwise unmotivated to do much of anything but sit.

Which is what I did last night, unfortunately.   I didn't get home until 8:30, and at that point, all I wanted some some ice cream and bed...which is what I did.  As I said yesterday, it's been nice having an excuse to sit and knit each night during this busy time, I'm afraid the busy-ness got the best of me.

BUT, the night before last I did manage to get the heel turned in my sock and rejoined to work in the round. I'll start working the gusset and cabling and such this weekend.  I don't know if I'll finish it before the official end of the Olympics, but I decided last night to tape the prime time coverage and knit until I'm done watching it...and I know I'll finish the sock before then.

And that's what today's picture is of...the beautiful purple sock that is so wonderfully squishy I can't wait for its mate to be finished!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ravellenics Days 9, 10 & 11

Time marches on...things happen...busy-ness...fun...weddings...work...

It's been a crazy three days, but I'm still making progress on my purple socks.  The first one is finished and I started working on the sole flap of the second.  It's a perfect fit, lovely, wonderful.  I can't wait to wear these to work...I need some shoes that will allow me to show them off!

:)

(excuse to go shoe shopping... in case you didn't get that)

I've thoroughly enjoyed "competing" in the Ravellenics.  It's been an awesome way to watch the Olympics, see some sports that I wouldn't ordinarily watch and get some major knitting progress done.  Some things I've learned while watching the Olympics and knitting:

  • the human body can do some amazing things, whether it's running/swimming fast, performing feats of acrobatics, or persevering beyond imagination...it's amazing
  • it's inspiring to see the hard work and dedication of these athletes...to see them achieve their dreams and compete at this level is wonderful
  • while I would never pretend that knitting is anything like the amazing athleticism displayed during the Olympics, I can apply some lessons like hard work, dedication, setting high goals, etc., to make myself a better knitter (and crafter in general)
  • it has been nice during this extremely busy and stressful time at work to have an excuse to sit on the couch and knit
  • watching the Olympics every night for 17 days takes a level of dedication and perseverance all its own.
On another note:  on Saturday at the wedding, someone came up to me to tell me how lovely the shawl was. Her husband came up at that time and told me that that was a serious compliment because she was a very good knitter.  Nice to hear!  Made me feel very proud.



Today's picture is of Ernie's socks right when I finished them (10 minutes before I left to go see him!).  He loved them and showed them off to everyone at the salon, so I know they were a hit!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ravellenics Day 8

Last night I worked diligently on my purple sock.  there wasn't much that I was glued to with the Olympics so I could really knit away.  I did enjoy the men's trampoline gymnastics.  It would be amazing to be present and see how high they were actually jumping!

I wanted to show you a closeup of the cable pattern.  I think it is very pretty and looks like a medallion: quite appropriate for working on during the Olympics, I think.

Today (Saturday), I'm headed to the coast to go to a wedding, so will be watching very little Olympics and will, instead, be working on mom's birthday present in the car on the drive there and back.  I do hope to get the first sock completed before the end of the weekend, so I can see if it actually fits me or not!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ravellincs Day 7, Purple Socks

I honestly don't have much to say today.  I stayed up late last night watching Gabby win the gold medal, then watching Michael win the gold medal, the getting sucked into the story behind these gold medals, and before I knew it it was 11:30 and I have to get up at 6 to get ready to go to work...for a very very busy day.

I was quite foolish.

But I did make some wonderful progress on the purple sock...the WIP entry into the Ravellenics.  I honestly worried about getting back into the project and remembering where I was and making sense of things, but I am now in my rhythm and everything feels comfortable again and I can't wait to wear these socks to work.  I know my feet will be purple by the end of the day because my needles are purple, but I don't know that I care.  They make me happy.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ravellenics, Day 6, How Proud I am

Just look at that face...is that the face of a proud, happy girl or what!?!

I am so happy with how the shawl turned out.  I'm happy that I very much enjoyed knitting it.  I'm happy that it's beautiful.  I'm happy that I didn't fret over every single tiny little mistake.  I'm happy how those tiny little mistakes don't show up too much (or I'm blind, but I really think they're "blended in").  I'm happy that the shawl looks pretty on me.  I'm happy that I've made something that I never would have made before and that I love it.  I'm happy that the shawl is finished before the wedding we're going to on Saturday.  I'm happy that I get to wear the shawl to an "event" (I go to so few events...).

I'd say I'm happy.
..........
Clearly last night I didn't knit on the shawl as I'd blocked it and it was drying.  I knitted on my second Ravellenics project, a pair of socks.  This sock, to be exact.  I put it aside in mid-February and haven't looked at it since.

Just let me tell you how bad an idea that is.  Why? 
  • I couldn't figure out where in the pattern I was even though I had my notecards clearly marked.
  • I still don't know where my "real" beginning of round is...I just made the executive decision to go with one side as the beginning and am moving on from there.
  • I was rather a tight knitter back in February.  It's been several rows and I'm still fighting with my tension.  It's loosening up a tad, but I do hope the socks have enough elasticity to go on someone's foot if they're too big for mine.
  • Somewhere along the way in the shuffle from one bag to another, travel across the world and to the beach the needles got all out of whack and I ended up dropping a stitch.
  • I love these socks.  The purple is so profound that it really deserved my attention, but I let myself get distracted by several other projects in the meantime.
I'll have a picture of it up tomorrow.  But in the meantime, know that I'll enjoy watching swimming and women's gymnastics tonight!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ravellenics Day 5

I hope you're not bored with my progress on my shawl.  I know I'm not...because...

I FINISHED last night!

How unbelievably exciting is that.  I can't tell you how thrilled I am. I started it on Friday evening and finished it on Tuesday evening.  I don't know if I've ever knit anything so quickly.  Of course I spent most of Saturday and Sunday knitting, but...there you go.  Nothing like the Olympics to inspire greatness, even in knitting.

I know you've been dying to see the picture of it.  Here is it blocked and waiting to dry.  I think it's beautiful and I'm so proud of it!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ravellenics Day 4

I know I've mentioned how enamored I am of this shawl...and I'm still crazy about it.  I only have a few more rows to finish and then bind off, block and voila!  There's a little shawl. I can not wait to put it around my shoulders. I hope it looks as gorgeous on as it does all by its lonesome.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the knitting of this shawl.  Even though the rows are very long I am still interested in continuing and I find myself starting another new row before thinking about whether I realistically have the time to finish it.  I'm in that "obsessive" knitting phase one gets into when a project is just right.

And this one is just right.  In so many ways.  I've shown it today on top of Lochi to give a little size perspective (she's a very large kitty, so you can see how wonderful and snuggly it looks on her).  The main problem with shawl knitting like this (from the little end to the large end) is that you can't truly get a perspective on size because all the stitches are bunched up on the needles.  At this point there is no way to stretch things out and see the whole thing.  Which makes the mystery and excitement of the knitting of it even more profound. I'm hoping to finish it tonight...and with that, I'm off to knit and enjoy the Olympics tonight!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 3 of Ravellenics

I'm in love with this shawl.  There is no other way to explain how beautiful I think it is, and how much I enjoy working on it, and how I was actually willing to un-knit about 150 stitches because I hadn't purled where I was supposed to on a row, and how I could put it aside last night knowing that I wouldn't be able to concentrate on it with the girls over and I didn't want to mess up again or be mad at them for being there (which is ridiculous, but you know)...

It's hard to say what's my favorite part so far.  I'm enjoying the lace which is much easier than I thought it would.  I've had trouble remembering lace patterns in the past and really really had to concentrate, but this one just seems to be flying off of my needles.  I truly love the ripples.  They draw the fabric up in such a way as to really highlight the lovely dyed characteristics of the yarn.  It kind of reminds me of that spin-art I did at the Ft. Worth Fat Stock show as a girl.

I love the cozy nature of the yarn, too.  I just want to snuggle into this shawl.

I am even hoping I finish it by Friday so that I can wear it to a wedding...which is outside...and it's mighty hot outside right now, but I keep thinking "surely there'll be a chill in the night beach air..."

Anyway, here's a closeup of the lace pattern.  When it's blocked and off of the needles it will show up much much better.  It will create "waves" at the bottom as well, but not the puckered kind.  I hope you're enjoying watching this shawl grow as much as I am enjoying making it!