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.