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!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 2 of Ravellenics

What amazing progress I made yesterday.  I'm so proud of this shawl and how beautifully it's turning out.  I can't believe the ripples are looking just like they should and the yarn...oh the yarn.  It's honestly the most beautiful yarn I've ever seen.  I can't explain how much this yarn spoke to me when I saw it the first time.

I'm about 1/2 way I think.  The rows keep getting longer, so it's hard to say...and the needles restrict the size, but I think I'm about 1/2 finished.  I love this project and can't wait to wear it!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


About 6 weeks ago I heard about this controversy surrounding the "Ravelympics."  For those non-knitters out there, Ravelry is an on-line community where you can share your patterns, talk to other knitters, and shop for yarns and patterns.  It's awesome.  I love updating my pattern notes every few days with pictures and thoughts and have gotten lots of inspirational messages from other knitters.  I probably don't spend "enough" time going through other people's projects, but lately I've barely had time to knit, so I figure that's probably something that will have to come when things at work slow down a bit.

But the Ravellenics are a competition housed in Ravelry where people complete projects and compete in different areas.  It's silly and fun and wonderful and the controversy was spurred from a very denigrating letter from the US Olympic committee.  If you're curious, then go to this news article for more details.  It's a copyright infringement issue, which is completely legitimate, but the manner in which the US Olympic committee went about asking for a cease and desist was highly inappropriate.

But, I heard about this and thought it might be fun to "compete" (and I still don't know exactly what that means, but I'll knit along for fun) and since I LOVE the Olympics, this is a perfect opportunity to excuse myself from daily life, get a little stress relief and knit my fingers to the bone over the next 17 days.  It will be much needed considering how stressful work is going to be for the next 4 weeks (minimum, but I do predict things calming down at that point).

I have entered three projects into the Ravellenics.  The first is a WIP pair of socks that I loved working on and put aside for other projects back in February.  The second is a sweater that David bought me the yarn for for Mother's Day.  And the third is the shawl I cast on last night.  I'm going to work on them in the order of shawl, socks, sweater.  I have to throw another project in there for mom's birthday, but it's not competing.    It does, however, have a deadline...I would like once or twice to get people's birthday presents to them within the month of their birthday at least!

At any rate, I'll be noting my progress on my projects "almost" daily.  Today's picture is of how much I've accomplished with my Wavelength Shawl.  When this yarn arrived in the mail, I knew it was special.  It is part of a sock of the month club by Blue Moon Fibers.  They provide one sock pattern and one "non sock" pattern.  The pattern that went with this shawl is so perfect for the yarn that I couldn't do anything else.  I hope I can do justice to this yarn...mainly because I'm going with my philosophy about mistakes:  If it ain't structural, leave it.  I'm thinking that the idea behind the waves isn't that they are perfectly matched but that they draw the shawl up so that it evokes the ocean.  As a result, I'm not fretting about the wave pattern and am just free forming as much as I can.  hard to tell if it's lovely yet or not, but I'm happy and that's what matters because this shawl will definitely be gracing my shoulders!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Hands are Itching

...and not in the literal way.  My hands are itching to knit. It's like a deep muscle in my hands is saying "excuse me but I haven't been properly exercised this week and I'm starting to get antsy about it."

I'm not feeling crazy about it yet, but it's getting close.

It's weird, this physical need to do something creative.  I haven't really felt it before.  I have heard that athletes feel it in their muscles when they can't exercise, and I imagine this anxiety in my hands is directly related to the lack of knitting I've been able to do recently.

And it's weird because only a little over a year ago I couldn't knit, and it certainly hadn't permeated my way of thinking (or being) such that if I didn't get enough time to do it, I wouldn't have felt like my fingers needed to be creating loops of yarn and moving sticks and making stuff.

It's nice to know that something is calling for me.  It certainly makes my time at home productive and interesting.  I don't just sit and watch tv or wait for time to pass.  It's also nice being busy and not being bored, even if that does mean that I'm feeling the knitting itchies.

Last night, I didn't get to sit down and knit until 9:30.  I was tired, and really I probably shouldn't have been knitting because I could have made a mistake (and maybe I did and just don't know it yet), but I told myself 15 minutes would help.  I sat down, got my yarn out and things just went haywire.  The center pull pulled out a HUGE tangle of yarn and on the outside the a big loop of yarn had come loose and these two yarn ends got all tangled.  I almost put it away and said, "tomorrow I can deal with that" but my hands wouldn't let me. Once my fingers wrapped around those needles I had to knit.  And what a great excuse to keep knitting until the center pull yarn was all knitted up.  I'm hoping that after dinner tonight I'll get some good quality knitting time in.  I know that I will this weekend as the Olympics are starting and I've decided to participate in Ravellinics.  I'll be starting a shawl during the opening ceremonies on Friday.  I can't tell you how I've had to pull myself away from that yarn this week!

Today's picture is of a baby Lochi.  She used to love sleeping in my scrap basket.  I should have named her Scrappy or something.  She was so funny once because she saw me throwing away little strips of fabric.  Into the trashcan she hopped, grabbed the fabric and put it in the basket.  When she had all of it, she curled up and went to sleep, just like this.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What I Wish I Were Doing

...instead of being at work and avoiding the things I NEED to be doing, I wish I were at home knitting.  And weaving.  I don't usually feel such a strong pull to be elsewhere.  I pride myself on being where I am and making the most of the situation.

That would mean that today I would be excited about

  • completing payroll (generally I like getting the packet together because I know these kids need the money:  today, I so don't care), 
  • contacting my peer leaders about training next week (I'm excited about training, just don't want to call/text/e-mail all of them),  and
  • finishing up my career guide (I feel no impulse of creativity when it comes to the career guide).
I don't know what spurred my bad attitude, but I really think I should have gotten myself back in bed when I got out of it this morning, worked on sleeping for a better attitude, and then getting up.  If my attitude wasn't better then I just should have called in sick and dealt with it.  AH well...

I didn't, and I'll try to make the best of it, but it'll be a struggle.

The socks I brought with me to work today in case my lunch date fell through are whispering to me, not so quietly, and saying that I really should pack up and go home and work on them because THAT is what would make my attitude better.  I may have to put them out in my car! (and if you pay attention to the picture, you can see the other thing calling my name today--vacation--the Swiss mountains).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Plugging Along

I'm still plugging along on Ernie's socks.  I made such amazing progress this weekend, and feel like I'm stuck on the foot...not that it's a particularly long foot...I just feel like I'm muddling through the best I can.  And I suppose that's true seeing that I've only had an hour or so, if that, to work on knitting these past few days.

I thought I'd share a picture of how they look so far.  I wish I had more to say today, but some days it's just boring or filled with stuff that other people really don't care to listen to (i.e. work!).

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Lovely Lazy Weekend

This weekend, I was perfectly and necessarily lazy.  I never left the house, only put on real clothes because the kids were coming over for dinner last night, and just enjoyed doing nothing that I didn't have to do.

Well, sort of...I did HAVE to do one thing that was kind of hard...and something that I've been avoiding for a few weeks...and something that, well, stinks.

I had to cut a project from the loom.  While I was doing so, I was thinking of the superiority of knitting to weaving in this one aspect:  I ruined a lot of yarn by having to cut this project out.  When you decide you aren't liking a knitting project, starting over is a matter of frogging...or ripping out your stitches. It's a heck of a lot faster than the actual knitting, and the yarn is (most of the time) usable for another project.  However in weaving, that isn't the case.  If I have to cut something unfinished from the loom it creates a bit panic in me because I know that I've wasted all that yarn and there isn't a darn thing I can do about it (trust me I've tried to figure something out and none of it is worth the time it would take to fix).

But, the project on the loom just wasn't working for me.  I didn't like the weaving of it.  What was ingenious in theory was a pain in actuality and no fun to weave.  So, I was making up all kinds of excuses to avoid going in there...mostly I was tired...which was partially true, but can only be true for so long and then becomes an excuse and then an avoidance strategy (wait, did I just yawn, I'd better not go weave!  OH...did you see that, I stretched.  Surely that means my muscles are tired...I'd better not go weave!).

As more and more yarns pile up on my work table, and I continue to avoid the plagued project, I had a hard talk with myself and decided that I needed to cut it off.  Still I balked...maybe I'd get interested in it again.  After sitting all day on Friday and knitting (not that I'm complaining, I made GREAT progress on some socks!), I decided that Saturday morning I would get up and cut that project from the loom...and I did.  And I threw away all that yarn and the part that I'd woven and moved on...

I have a lovely turquoise scarf now in the loom (the yarn from the jacket that won't get woven).  It is ready to weave and I'm very excited.

Today's picture is of some "placemats" that I made as part of the great yellow elephant from the quilt bee.  These I called "chocolate covered bananas" and went to my mother.  The bamboo yarn shrunk a good bit more than anticipated and ended up with a very soft and very small placemat.  Mom is using them as towels in her newly refurbished bathroom and swears by them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jet Lag

I've actually been doing very well in regards to jet lag...until yesterday, that is.  Don't get me wrong, staying up past 7 on both Sunday and Monday was hard...but yesterday, 2:30 came and I was about to fall asleep on the table during the middle of a meeting.  It was very embarrassing and made me wish I had some knitting or something to keep my brain and hands occupied so that my head didn't loll around like a bobble doll.

Then after getting home and eating dinner, things improved somewhat.  I started working with the mountain of bills and mail that we'd gotten while we were gone (amazing what can happen in one week) and I seemed able to function properly and (hopefully!) not make mistakes.  I didn't get crabby until towards the very end (and that's saying something because I HATE doing bills)...

...and then I finished, and I was so happy.  It was 8:30,  and I'd stayed up past 7 without too much difficulty.  I had a small bowl of ice cream, sat down on the couch, and promptly fell asleep while David was talking to me.  I quickly snapped awake (don't even know if he noticed) and went straight to bed.

Good news is that I slept until the alarm went off this morning, so hopefully I'm getting pretty close to regulated.  Coming home for me is always harder than going, doesn't matter the direction I went!

But all that work and bills and need for sleep means that I didn't get any knitting done yesterday.  My hands were aching to make something and I didn't get to satisfy them.  It was very challenging and disappointing and all the other stuff that goes along with not being able to do the things you need to do.  My studio is in desperate need of attention, I'm dying to work on the woven jacket I started a month ago...this weekend is going to have to stretch the time so that I can get all the stuff done that I need to get done!
Today's picture is of my funny Bee-Weave bee.  He sits on my bookshelf and I pass by him every day and he makes me smile.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Travel Knitting

SO...if you remember, I took about 10 projects on the trip with me.  (Sorry, Ernie, that I didn't get your socks knitted.)  I became fascinated with some yarn I have that is already knitted into a "flat" and then hand painted with some funky designs.  It is called "Flat Feet" and is produced by Conjoined Creations.  It was fun seeing how the design on the sock flat turned into something different on the sock.

I did work on another project, a gift for my mom.  But I didn't make much progress on it.

I finished these socks at the Atlanta airport waiting on my flight to New Orleans.  I still haven't blocked them, but really should, because I'm looking forward to wearing them soon!

Monday, July 9, 2012


I'm taking a break from my regularly scheduled crafting blog entries to fill you in on the Swiss Vacation.

It was wonderful.
Perfect in every way.
Wonderful (I already said it but it bears repeating).

We had 0 travel issues.  No delayed flights, no train issues, no nothing.  I can't think of a time when I've traveled by air recently that there hasn't been SOMEthing, but nothing on this trip, and that's just wonderful.

Mostly we just sat in awe of this vista (picture taken from my bedroom window on the morning of July 4th).   We had an amazing day that day riding a train over into that mountain and seeing it up close and personal (it was still huge).

The area where we stayed is the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Berner Oberland.  The largest city is Interlaken, and we stayed up in the town on Murren--a car-free village with spectacular views from every direction.  You can get to Murren only by train or cable car--from either station it's UP hill to our hotel.  We went on a few hikes, got soaked on one (and our camera broke!), and soaked in the wonder that was this charming and wonderful mountainous area.

And really, that's just about all we did, but it was enough.  There was plenty of down time, which I desperately needed.  I left all my worries and cares behind, laughed a lot, played some monopoly in German (that was a hoot), explored around the city of Zurich a little bit, knitted  a pair of socks, and just enjoyed very much being with my husband of 21.5 years.  I will definitely be going back someday!