Thursday, August 29, 2013


I've been quietly working on a project that I couldn't talk about because mom reads this blog and it's her birthday soon and the project that I'm working on is her birthday present.

And it seemed that I couldn't talk about anything else either.

SO, just so you know, I haven't forgotten about the blog...but I'll remain quiet another day or so until I give her the present and she's posing happily with it.

Then maybe I can talk about other awesome things going on in my life...the weather being one of them!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Entering the Surreal

This past week has been kind of surreal for me.  After a slight slow-down in the weight loss (slight because I was still losing, but only at the rate of 1-2 pounds per week rather than the 3-4 I was averaging before), things have picked up again.  I'm almost half way--expect to be past half-way in a week or so--and I'm beginning to be amazed at the transformation my body is undergoing.

Actually, I'm having a hard time SEEING the transformation my body is undergoing.

Each week David and I take pictures and hang them on the fridge.  He puts the current week next to the first week so we can see just how much we've changed.  I don't think we're recognizable as the same people.  While we are recognizable to people who knew us, I think is someone were to see the two pics side by side they wouldn't at first think we were the same, just 5 months and a lot of pounds different.

And looking across the dinner table at my skinnier husband is a bit strange.  It's like seeing someone different where someone familiar should be.  It's a little unnerving.

And I can't even begin to describe the feeling I have at looking at myself in the mirror.  So much of our mirror time is spent just getting things to be presentable so we can go to work or detect what problem we may have (eye lash in sticking out in 100 directions, that sort of thing).  Very little of our mirror time is spent actually LOOKING at ourselves. (think about it and tell me if I'm wrong...maybe it's just me).

I don't avoid my image, and I have never had a bad self-image even when I was very overweight.  But right now, the person that I think I am and the person that I see when I look in the mirror are not the same and that's disturbing.

It takes me back many years when Oliver was around.  I cut my hair off--from elbow length to chin length.  He didn't recognize me and while he was never shy around strangers, he didn't seek them out for attention.  One day David said something that made me laugh as Oliver was trotting through the room.  He did an about face and came running up to me and meowed and greeted me like he hadn't seen me in a long long time.  He just needed the clue to remember that I was me and that he liked being around me.

I'm waiting for my "moment" of recognition.  As I continue to metamorphose, and watch my husband do the same, I'm not sure it's coming any time soon.

For now, know that I'm super excited to be wearing cute Aggie t-shirts!  I've always wanted to wear the feminine cuts but have never been able to get them on.  Now that I can, you can bet I'll be sporting something cute and Aggie related every Saturday until January!

Gig 'em! and Whoop!  I'm so proud of the progress and complete mind-shift that David and I have experienced.  I can't wait to see what the next 5 months bring and show you our skinny "at-goal" selves come the new year.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Noro Block Madness!

I'm plugging away on my Stained Glass afghan...not as quickly as I'd like or think I could but still making progress.  I try to knit on it each night as my last knitting before going to bed.  That mindless garter stitch knitting that slows the brain down and prepares the body for sleeping.

Last night I was so excited because I was going to finish Block 13 before going to bed.  I have only one more "log" to complete, and, to be honest, I wasn't feeling sleepy or tired at all.  David was going to bed early, so I was going to spend my time between 9 and 9:30 (or so) finishing up this block, taking its picture, winding the new ball of yarn in preparation for happy knitting and then getting after it!

But here's what happened instead.  I sat down to knit and my eyes started itching. I was taking long blinks.  And before I had one row completed I was almost falling asleep.

So, sadly I didn't finish Block 13, but I do have pics of Blocks 8-12 for your viewing pleasure.  They are, from top to bottom:  Thornton Family Eyes, November, Texas Sunset, Lizzie Rhea, and Sangria.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

TGWE #7 is underway!

I happily left TGWE #6 behind.  Once I'd decided I was going to cut it and move on, I cut it, sealed the yarn up in its bag, put it in a basket and then didn't think about it anymore.  While that last bit isn't completely true (I've been thinking whether I have enough to do an afghan from the made from stitch sample's a thought), I haven't been ACTIVELY thinking about the yarn, which is nice.  I was seriously worried about it sitting in the stash without a clear purpose.  It'll come around.  It told me that blanket really isn't what it wants to do--but being monsters would be really fun.  So, I'm keeping it in mind.  I could stripe that orange and white and make a really cute cat, don't you think?  Ideas ideas...(see how I lied that I haven't been thinking about it?)

But, in taking my wool experiment seriously, I cast on for the next project immediately...and then bought the yarn for the following experiment right away.

And boy, am I having fun with this new project.  It's the Windjammer Socks designed by Jennifer Tepper Heverly.  I'm using Koigo KPPPM (Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino).  And wow, is this yarn soft and gorgeous.

KPPPM yarn is hand-painted by fiber artists.  They are given a "dye recipe" and then told to be creative.  The very large skeins they work with are then wound off into smaller skeins (50g or 25g).  You could buy two colorways that are the same number but have very different effects in the skeins.  I read one woman's blog (sorry I can't remember who it was!) who collects one colorway in different dye lots and is making an afghan from the yarns.  How very interesting.  And probably gorgeous too.

I love the silky feel to the yarn, too.  I'm a little concerned about working with it on the size 3 needles.  The resulting cuff (pictured below) looks a little large, but when I eased it over my foot, it seemed to fit fine.  We'll see how the end result is.  I'm using another set of Signature needles.  Again, I love the stiletto point and find the needles help me knit faster and more evenly.

Regarding the pattern.  What a gorgeous and fun-to-knit pattern this is.  I don't have to worry about remembering what to do as I've already memorized the stitches.  I love the chevron (pic below) and how the centered decrease creates such an interesting's as if the chevron is forming its own little bitty cable right there in the middle.  The cable stitch is easy as well.

If I were to select yarn for future renditions of this project, I would definitely select a yarn that doesn't have as much variegation to let the pattern sing a little more.  However, I do love this colorway.  It's happy and the colors look beautiful even if the patterning is slightly obscured.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

TGWE #6: Learning about myself as a knitter Part II

I've tried to motivate myself to continue working on the Risti Mitts.  I've told myself I need peace and quiet, few distractions, and to not be tired.  So, I've created that atmosphere for myself.

Guess what?  I still don't like working on the mitts.  I keep making mistakes, even without distractions.  I find myself getting tense, frustrated and a tad grumpy.  And I think, "Why am I doing this to myself?  I knit for relaxation and contemplation keep my hands busy when in a group setting...not to get aggravated."

So, I cut the yarn and have decided to move on.  I didn't like the density of the fabric, either, which was another strike against these gorgeous mittens.

As an experiment goes, this one failed to support the hypothesis.  I have about 2000 yards of some really gorgeous yarn that I have no idea what to do with.

And here's the funny.  When I was talking with David about whether or not to cut this project, my biggest concern was all that yarn with no purpose.  He said, "you have a room full of yarn with no purpose."

That boy doesn't get it.  This yarn was bought for this purpose.  To make some gorgeous color-work mitts.  After it succeeded in that purpose I would have had approximately 1800 yards leftover to make something else, but it could happily sit in a basket and await its next destiny BECAUSE it had fulfilled its first.  Unfortunately, it's going to have to sit in a basket and await its first destiny and I have absolutely no idea what to do with it.

About all that other yarn?  Well, it was either bought because I had a specific project in mind, or a general concept of what I wanted out of it, or it was bought because I liked it.  If it hasn't achieved its destiny yet is only exemplary of the fact that I'm not a knitting/weaving factory and have only a limited amount of time to do things.

Today's picture is of the gorgeous socks I'm working on using my Signature needles.  I love these needles.  they are slick and strong and have the tiniest points imaginable.  I love that they could serve as a weapon should I need them to (ha!).  The pattern is called "Hickory" by Jane Cochran from "A Knitter's Book of Wool" by Clara Parkes.  The yarn is sumptuous:  Springtree Road's Julep Twist socks (merino, cashmere and nylon blend in colorway Idyl).  The pattern doesn't look like much in this picture, but when I finish the second sock and take pics of both of them on my feet you'll love how the ribbing branches out and looks very organic.  They will be a beautiful pair of socks that I'm going to thoroughly enjoy wearing and showing off!

Monday, August 5, 2013

TGWE # 6: Learning about myself as a knitter

I've started the 6th project in my "great wool experiment."  They are a gorgeous pair of color-work mittens using a gorgeous striped lacey cuff with a blue and white graphic color-work pattern for the hand.

And I think they are probably the prettiest mitts I've ever worked.

And I also find that I have no patience for them.

Working the cuff was particular difficult.  I'm not sure why because the lace pattern wasn't really that hard, but I kept having to go back and fix things---at least I was noticing the errors as I made them.  And I really like the two round stripes of each color.  It brings out the different colors and makes for a gorgeous cuff.  As you can see.

Then when I started the color-work portion I realized how much easier it is for me to do color-work than it is to do lace.  I think it's because I only have to remember 2 things--blue or white--as opposed to a bunch of different stitches (5 or 6 in the lace pattern).

So, after working on the mitten for 30 minutes yesterday I decided to put it aside and work on something else.  Keeps me from hating the project, and allows me to rest the brain.  I randomly selected another lace project from my current unfinisheds...I could only stand 30 minutes of that before I  put it back in my closet and selected the next project.

This one is a sock--in a gorgeous cashmere merino blend yarn in a dark green color.  The knitting is only knits and purls, but put together in such a way that the ribbing forms unique slants and curves.  And I thoroughly enjoy working on this one.  In fact, I knitted on it most of the day yesterday and finished the leg and got into the heel.  That's some pretty serious progress if you think about it.  And I'm not bored.  I'm happy with this project, as a matter of fact.

So, what I've learned about myself during TGWE #6 is that I don't like lace.  Even though I'm thoroughly attracted to it, I have no patience for it.  I don't want to "think" about my knitting, at least not right now...I want my knitting to be the thing that flows off of my needles.  I think that, in the end, I'm much more interested in the yarn than I am in the patterning.

This is a very important lesson to know about onesself as a knitter.  It will help me pick projects in the future and know that IF I HAVE to choose the lace pattern, that I'm going to be very long in the knitting of it, and I'll probably hate it before I'm finished.  But that's ok because I'll love it when I'm done.

Lace knitting is definitely something I need to save for those times when I need to be challenged in my hobby--and right now this isn't even close to that!