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 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


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 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.


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  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

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's amazing
  • it's inspiring to see the hard work and dedication of these 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 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!