Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Spinning for Christmas

Well, my hand is still healing - oh, so slowly it seems, so knitting is still not a real option right now. I do seem to be getting better, though, because I seem to be using it more which means it is hurting more. I'm trying to watch myself a little better. I'm sure there must be some line between reasonable use = continued healing and overuse = new (or re-) injury. My guiding line so far has been, if it hurts much it is probably bad. If it just aches a little it is probably okay for a brief time. You know, rebuilding muscles. There is still a fair bit of swelling around the actual joint and thumb area. I've also got this weird little twitch in my thumb from time to time. For a while, it was waking me up at night, but not any more. I'm not sure if that is because it is twitching less or I've just gotten used to it. Hopefully it is a phase in the healing and not a permanent thing. It is kind of freaky to see (I think).

I finally! got to spend some time spinning this past week. Long overdue in my mind, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. I've just about finished up some Romney that I got to practice with while learning, so now I'm almost ready to start with some fun stuff. I've got some red roving that I plan to use to make a French Market Bag. I've been dying to do one of these, but couldn't decide what I wanted to use. Then I was pondering what to try my homespun on and a little lightbulb went off. So, I'll use the Romney I've been practicing on for the bottom, it is kind of a grey/brown color so it won't show as much dirt, and I'll spin some ruby red for the rest of the bag. Then I plan to gift it to my grandmother. If it goes well, and I like it, I'll do another in homespun for myself. I do want them to be a bit bigger, so will have to be sure to spin plenty of yarn. Oh darn! LOL The best part is that I am spinning and it doesn't hurt my hand, so I don't feel like I've abandoned my knitting. I'm just in therapy. Practice and therapy all at once.

Other non-knitting projects include another cross-stitched quilt square for a wedding quilt at church. I'll get a picture of this one when it is done. The quilt is all in earth tones again. I don't know what it is, but the last 3 or 4 quilts have been increasingly brown. Don't get me wrong, I like brown just fine. It's just that it would be nice to do something more varied; blues, greens, reds, yellows, pinks, purples, ANYTHING that wasn't brown, beige, tan, khaki, cream, gold, rust, maroon. They work, but after 4 of them, BORING for the stitchers. Ah well, it isn't for me so I probably shouldn't be complaining about it.

Christmas went very well and was a lovely day spent at church, playing with the girls, and then over to a friends house for a lovley meal. We had a great time visiting with them and it was a very nice and blessed day. Of course, it was back to work for me the day following. I think this is the first time in over 8 years that I haven't taken extra time off following Christmas. It feels very strange, but I wanted to save the vacation time for when my hand is more normal and I can actually spend my time doing stuff, whatever that stuff might turn out to be. As far as gifts go, I didn't get anything knitting or craft related. Well, unless you count cooking and my new Alton Brown cookbook that I've been wanted (the new revised edition). This year I took pity on my husband and gave him a list of 3 things I'd like so that he could concentrate on the joy of shopping with the girls instead of worrying about them AND what to get me. I also tried to pick the easy to find gifts to help even more. (The poor man does struggle with the whole gift thing. he wants to get something nice/meaningful, he just doesn't know how to go about doing it.) So I listed the book, a movie (Pirates of the Caribbean 2) and some Knit Picks needles (size 0 - 4 circs, I LOVE this for socks!). I didn't get the needles, but I do have a birthday on Jan 7, so I might get them yet. If not, I do know where to get them for myself. LOL

I didn't really need anything, so I was very pleased and happy with my gifts. My DH also surprised me with the new Gin Blossoms CD. I've been waiting so long for a new one, I'd given up, so this was a very nice surprise (and spontaneous gift giving on his part). In fact, we all had a much simpler Christmas this year. None of us needed anything, so I really didn't want to buy a bunch of junk that would never get used. We did more charity gifting and less for us. I'm glad and hope we keep that up.

Well, the hand is getting tired, so time to stop. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! And in case I don't get back online this week, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One week to go

Just in case anyone needs reminding, LOL. I can't believe how far behind I am in Christmas preparations this year, and I'm not knitting anything for gifts. I had the foresight to know that the surgery would put me out of commission as far as Christmas gift were concerned, but I failed to grasp how many other things would fall by the wayside as a result of the surgery. How lame is that?

No Christmas cards, no family photo (we usually do those ourselves), most of the decorations are not up (just the tree), etc. I have a good excuse, but I still feel like a slacker. I'm having a hard time letting go, which is lame. But at least the deadlines are all in my head and not any "hard" commitments that I have to keep.

I got my order of Violet's Pink Ribbon in yesterday, and it is georgous! I ordered two skeins, though I'm not quite sure what I'll do with the second skein yet. Maybe something for the girls as they both really liked it. If you like podcasts and haven't heard Lime & Violet, check them out. They are not particulary for very young ears, but I think they are lovley, crazy women who manage to make you feel like you are part of the fun, rather than some listener stuck in a long commute home (which is where I do most of my listening). It could just be that they remind me of how my friends and I were when we got together, but I love listening to them and they make me laugh (and sometimes snort tea out of my nose). Miss Violet recently had a big scare finding a lump in her breast. Some portion of the proceeds from sales of Violet's Pink Ribbon will help defray Miss V's medical costs, a wonderful way to help out a fellow knitter, and oh so appropriate since it is sock yarn and she has, well, sock issues. Lisa Souza's yarns are amazing, so be sure to check those out in any case.

While ordering from Lisa Souza, I also got the Emerald City colorway (only one). Beautiful and so incredibly soft! I got all excited and picked up my knitting, put on the splint and knit for a whole 10 minutes. It went better than before, but still feels really awkward. I got really frustrated and just put it down. I know, shocking, but there is still quite a bit of swelling in my wrist joint and the back of my hand. I am concerned about causing new injuries since everything is still obviously healing, so I'd rather err on the side of caution and take it easy. Also, I just wasn't feeling it, you know? Of course, it is possible that that was just because I wanted to cast on with the new yarn and start something new. >sigh<

I did have some fun this weekend, we got together with some friends to brew a Nose Nipper holiday beer. It was a pretty involved recipe, lots of add-ins (citrus, cinnamon, & peppermint), but I'm looking forward to trying it out. We've been lazy about brewing lately, which is too bad because I enjoy it so much, but maybe we'll get back to it. I love the smell of the malt & hops simmering away on the stove, so yummy! I know we have plans to do a Russian Imperial Stout style beer in May, but I hope we do something before then.

Our school is on break so I've been attending meetings at work this week. There is a faculty member knitting a poncho and one crocheting a scarf (or something in a long thin strip). I'm used to being the lone knitter in public, it is odd to see someone else doing it. I am so jealous! I just sit there, trying not to twitch in public. I know, it will pass. Thank goodness I have all of the holiday anxiety to distract me! LOL! I'm squeezing in last minute gifts, shopping trips to malls that still don't have power back on in the street lights surrounding it (yep, just when you thought Christmas mall shopping couldn't get worse, those wind storms last week really helped - NOT). And now, another cross stitch project for a wedding quilt at church. That will keep me busy too. Maybe by the time that is due I'll be back to knitting again. I'll keep my needles crossed.

Photos will come, really, I just have issues wresting control of the computer from my husband, finding time (and the camera) to download the pictures, etc. And maybe, after the first of the year, I can actually get on a knitting ring. Woo- wouldn't that be fun! Well, in case I miss posting again this week, I wish you all a very blessed and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freedom from the cast & remembering to be grateful

I got the cast/splint off early! They moved my appointment from Monday (12/11) to last Friday. Wow! What a gift. I am SO excited to have that thing off my arm, I'm pretty sure that I would need sedatives if I actually broke my right arm and had to have a cast for months. Seriously. That was a brutal 9 days, maybe just because it was my right hand, but man, I was a total wimp. I think I managed not to whine about it, but I wanted to hug and kiss the woman who took the thing off. (I'm only slightly kidding.)

The good news is that I have more freedom to move my hand and arm, the bad news is that I am supposed to continue to avoid repetitive movements (can you say KNITTING?) for a while yet and I'm also supposed to avoid lifting weights for the next month. (that would be all weighted objects, not trips to the gym.) The doctor took pity on me after he saw the look on my face when I asked about knitting, and gave me a splint. He said if I could knit with a splint, I could knit, but I should be careful not to over-do it. I've decided to try to hold out as long as I can, and then to knit with an egg timer or something so that I can limit how long I'm knitting (maybe a row limit would be just as effective, I'll bet I'm still pretty slow.

One thing I've observed over this Wrist journey is how our comfort/discomfort level is constantly re-setting itself. Originally the wrist was a minor problem, then it grew into a painful problem that I could not wait to resolve. I remember stating to one (ineffective) doctor that I thought I was beginning to understand what would drive an animal to chew their own foot off. He looked disturbed by my comment, but he was busy planning his trip to France, so I probably shouldn't have bothered speaking to him. - ah, does that sound bitter? Sorry. Then the great relief at finding a competent doctor to diagnose and treat the problem & the frustration of waiting for surgery. Now that that is done, I was miserable with the cast/splint and my inability to do anything very effectively/quickly. Now the cast is off & I'm still frustrated at my limitations and now, horrified with the scar. Frankenhand is what I call myself these days. (The kids like it.) What I forget with the scar and pain and limited mobility, is that I am also very grateful that the problem is fixed and that I am on the mend with my hand still attached and, if I behave myself, the knitting will come back to me in time. I am amazed at how limited my range of motion is, but it will come back. I worried that I would favor my hand too much to get it all back, but that's what young children are for, they make me react without thinking just enough that I should regain all range of motion in no time. LOL Still, a little frustrating and slow, but I am trying to remember how miserable I was waiting to get this all sorted out. The temporary issues waiting to heal are just that, temporary.

So today's theme, remembering to be grateful, even when things are still not quite "right". At least I can type again, albeit for limited amounts of time and I've about reached it for this hour, so I'll wind this up I think. I decided to include a picture of the newly released hand, but I want to warn you, it looks pretty gross. I don't want to hit anyone's squick button, so I decided to tell you now DON'T LOOK AT THE PICTURE BELOW IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH. There. You've been warned.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Something to occupy my time

Success is sometimes found in unexpected places. I've tried unsuccessfully to knit with my cast, multiple attempts with multiple yarn/needle sizes. That didn't work. I've been trying to read, but the weight of the book strains my hand after a while. So then I decided to try something really crazy. I picked up some cross-stitch that I haven't worked on for ages, seriously, and gave that a try.

I can do it! Dang! That was a shocker, but I feel so much better. I mean, I know it is only 10 days, but I really need something to fill in the downtime when I can't do anything else. I'm really enjoying it, it has been a looooong time since I did any stitching. In fact, I took up knitting to replace my stitching, so I guess there's some symmetry to the whole thing. I also recently went on a binge, buying all of the companion pieces to match the pattern I'm stitching. (Mermaid of the Pearls #26)

And why, you may ask, did I give up stitching in the first place? Well, I found it extremely difficult to do a very nice job stitching while holding my first baby, and whenI thought how tempting the pretty colors of string would be to a toddler, you know, strings attached to tiny hard-to-find needles, I thought maybe I should consider putting the stitching on hold for a bit and come back to it when it seemed more manageable. Now, I know many, many others would be perfectly able to continue stitching, but it just wasn't working for me. Maybe I just needed a break from it for a while. Who knows? Anyway, I found my way to knitting and I haven't looked back. But now and then I think I'd like to find a way to work both into my life. Maybe this 10-day trial period will help me on that path.

But knitting still rules! LOL

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sweet alpaca deal

Still in the world of limited typing but I wanted to share my sweet deal. My priest's daughter is in Bolivia right now and she shipped back some yarn she picked up from a mill (I guess, I can't find the place listed online although I know there was an email address on the color cards). Holly paid something like $30.00/kilo of 100% alpaca fingering weight yarn, several different colors, and so I bought a couple of, hmmm, chunks of yarn for $20.00/ 17 oz. The yarn is kind if folded, it was probably in hanks, but since my hand is all splinted, I can't really do muchmore than pet it. I picked up a nice tweedy-looking purple and a red-ish tweed. The red is really not a good color for me, so it will have to be something for my DH, but I LOVE the purple. I'm thinking I should have gotten the teal color instead of the red, but if she still has it next week I might try to trade.

On the other hand, I have no idea what the heck I'm going to do with this much fingering weight yarn. It's really tiny, you know? Whatever it is has to be good AND fun since it will take a while. It was one of those circumstances where the price was too good NOT to buy any, but I really don't have any need for that much fingering weight yarn. Aslo, I did want to help support Holly, these things help provide her with money while she is living down there, but since I'm one of two people that her mom knows who knit, it will be hard for her mom to unload the yarn I think. I'm saved a bit by the fact that most of the yarn is in colors that I cannot wear without looking very ill, so I won't be adding more to my stash. How I wish it had been a heavier weight yarn though. Maybe if I did machine knitting...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Still kicking

...but not typing so good.

Just a brief update today. I seem to have recovered from the round of pneumonia, except for some lingering asthma (which hasn't bothered me for years). Oh well, at least i"m still breathing. My wrist surgery was initially scheduled for last week, but was moved to yesterday due to a high number of trauma cases at the hospital requiring all of the surgeons to postpone their elective surgeries. The surgery went well, to the best of my knowledge, and i can wiggle my fingers, but i have a short cast (they called it a small splint, but it seems closer to a cast) so I don't bend my wrist, etc. I have to type using a pencil in my right hand, sorry for the typos.

OTOH, I have 3 days of morphine for the pain (+ codeine in case that isn't enough), so I'll be just fine. LOL I've started a pair of fingerless gloves for my DH, and have 4 fingers done on those. I'm not sure how long it will be before I am back to knitting. I'm supposed to use my fingers as much as possible, but I must balance it with the pain thing. I'll try to post pictures of the cast/splint and the knitting asap.

Here's a shot of my blue fingers. They're very pretty. LOL

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sick knitting & sock knitting

Well, turns out I don't have a virus/flu after all. Lucky me, I've got pneumonia! Isn't that just, erm, peachy? I've (thankfully) never had it before, and I hope I never have it again, but there it is. I have virtually no appetite, the fever finally left me sometime yesterday so I 'm feeling falsely healthy, and the least activity (going up and down the stairs, for instance) wipes me out. Then there's the lung-launching coughs. Wow.

I am finally feeling well enough for about 10 minutes computer time and then a day propped up in bed knitting/reading/watching bad TV. Of course, today I have last night's episode of House, but it won't last all day. Yesterday I found myself thinking, "What is this garbage and why am I glued to it?" . It was some celebrity fashion thing (100 worst or something like that). OTOH, it made for good background to the knitting.

The knitting. I'm back on my sock and I've turned the heel! Woo-Hoo! It really was surprisingly easy, once I jumped in and just did it. I'm very pleased. That was the last bit I finished before going to sleep last night, so I'm pretty anxious to pick it up again. Although, I have a new book I really want to read. I'll probably start with the knitting and see how it goes. I hate to say this out loud, but I will, I should probably read instead. This quite sick time at home alone is the only reading time I'll get. I can knit when the kids get home. You know? Still, the sock is sooooo exciting now that I'm in the final stretch!

I'm waiting to find out if I need to cancel my wrist surgery next week because of the pneumonia. My GP said yes, but the surgeon's office said to wait until next week to make a decision. If I have to reschedule, I won't be able to get in before the first of February, so it would be nice to get it done. But, I'd rather not increase my risk of death or something. I'm funny that way.

Well, I've taken a picture of the sock after I turned the heel, but it will have to wait to be loaded. I'm too wiped out just eating my banana and drinking my hot tea. Time to wander off to bed again.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Finishing fever

Well, here they are. Finished at last! And so am I. I'm seeing a bazillion flaws, why do we do that?, but when I compare them to the drawings of his hands, these should comfortably fit the student. The finger joins are about 60% nice & 40% dodgy, but when they are on, you can't tell that the joins are less than perfect. So, done.

I finished these on Thursday last week. These were a very fast knit, you know, in knitting hours and in spite of the length of time it took me to finish. I got distracted (Halloween costumes) and work, etc., so that took a bit longer. Still I liked them. What would I do differently next time? Well, for one, I'd use the pattern as originally intended, for fingerless gloves. The problem with the finger join was that the pattern called to join live stitches, which I just did not have on the fingers. It is possible that problem could still have been avoided if I had put the cast-on stitches on waste yarn to keep everything in the right place, instead of trying to pick them up again later. Jeez! I won't try that again! Lastly, I would have switched to smaller needles for the wrist ribbing to give them a better fit, although I think they fit fine, it would be nice if they were a little tighter.

The fever part. Oy! I left work on Friday feeling fine, by the time I got home, I had a fever. It is now Monday and the fever is still here. I hurt all over on Saturday, so I just stayed in bed while my DH took care of the kids. I hurt so bad I couldn't read or even knit! Talk about feeling lousy! I felt a little better on Sunday, not very achy, so I sat in the living room with the family and buried myself under blankets. I was still cold, and when I got around to taking my temperature, I found my fever was actually higher than it was on Saturday. So, I crawled into work today. We're down a person since our director has moved up the food chain, so to speak, so I need to come in and get things rolling in the morning and make sure all the student help is going to show up. Once they are all checked in, I'll be on my way to the clinic. This fever and a bit of a cough seem to be stirring up my asthma. Also, I have surgery on my hand next week. If this lingers, I would have to cancel my surgery and reschedule which would stink. I probably not be able to get in before the end of January.

Oh well, at least the gloves are done and I don't have any projects hanging over my head. Here's one more shot of a single glove, a little closer detail. I'll be back when I recover a bit.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Soggy, soggy day

But I like it! We were to have 5+ inches of rain yesterday, but we didn't make it. We only got about 3-1/2 inches instead, it has warmed up, though, so no snow. Still, there's been enough rain to raise most of the rivers to flood levels, send folks in low-lying areas to shelters, and still it keeps raining. I feel bad for the displaced folks, but I do love the rain. I just wish I was at home curled up with my knitting and a book. But then, I also wish I could knit and read at the same time - LOL! Still, I can take turns with each of them. We should be getting some breaks in the rain by tomorrow, but then it will come back and the temps will drop again & there will be snow in the mountains. Well, that's what the weather-folk say. Goodness knows what will actually happen. :)

The gloves are done, except for the sewn bind off, which should be done by the end of lunch today. Oh yeah, and then I need to sew up the holes around the fingers. So, two things that need to be done and I'm finished. Still, barring incident, these puppies are done in the next day or so. I'm really glad to be done with them before the surgery, it is a big relief. Of course, now my husband wants me to get started on his, but I won't have a deadline on these and the second pair should go faster, right? At least I get to go shopping for yarn. Woo-hoo! While I won't go so far as to say that I've been on a yarn diet, I have been avoiding any new purchases until I finished these gloves. Technically, I've been avoiding any new yarn purchases until I get more projects done, but I don't really want to make a formal commitment to that lifestyle. LOL Anyway, I still get to go shopping. I hope I can resist anything else calling my name, but I'm just not sure I'll be strong enough.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cuff 'em

Yep. I can't believe how pathetically slow this project is going, though make no mistake, I'm still enjoying the knitting. I feel like a snail could get more knitting done in an hour than I can. But maybe not since they don't have hands. I should probably find another slow thing to compare my speed to, hmmm.

Anyway, life has just gotten so busy that I'm having a hard time getting things done. I think it was all the festivities last week when my boss left. Lots of lunches out, extra meetings with people I don't normally meet with, etc. Not as much lunch time to knit, and very little time at home. I'm working on it. The important thing is that I'm nearly finished, just the cuff in a simple k1p1 pattern. I'm thinking this will probably be the part I can't get done right. LOL Wouldn't that be a kick?

The bag pictured above is a lovely gift from a friend. Her sister just returned from a trip to Cambodia and picked up this nice silk bag for my knitting. It seems she saw me working out of a rather trashed plastic bag at my daughters' swim lessons. But, hey, I'm just recycling the plastic bags the yarn stores give me. I use them until my needles poke too many holes in them, then I use a new one (hopefully before I lose anything out of the holes). This apparently looks rather sad, so she thought I could use a new bag. Very sweet & I love the bag! It has been the perfect size for this project & likely all my socks as well. You know, when I get back to the socks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Now for November

We survived the seriously cold weather last night. I was right about "Princess Jasmine", she nearly froze her bare little tummy off. The cape helped, and I brought along some blankets to help warm them up. DH had the brilliant foresight to get some hand warmers (like skiers use, etc.) and they carried them around in their hands and rubbed them on their faces (& tummies) to stay warm. It was enough to get them around the block. For some reason, we had about half the houses "open" that we had last year. I don't know if folks just didn't expect many kids due to the cold or if there were just more folks not around. It worked out though, if we'd had many more houses to go to, the girls wouldn't have made it.

Still, we had a surprisingly early night and minimal candies consumed - without even trying to limit them! I have no idea how that happened, but I'm sure they'll make up for it just as soon as they realize how much candy is still around the house. LOL Here's a little better picture of the bat wings, since I spent so much time trying to figure out how to make them work. I'm thinking about starting my costume for next year soon so that it will be ready for next year. If it is going to be this cold, I need something I can wear without freezing to death. Also, I'm still loving my new sewing machine, and I don't want to forget about it. LOL

On the knitting side of life, I've got three rows left and then I'm at the cuff. I underestimated how many were left yesterday, so I had more than I thought. I got most of them in after putting up the outside decorations (we were really behind this year) and before getting the girls. Mom took almost a whole hour for herself! I finally got to watch last week's ep of Supernatural and knit for a while. Nice. Good episode too, lots of laughs last week.

Hope everyone else had a nice Halloween. Now we will all be bombarded with the over-merchandising of Thanksgiving (for those of us here in the States) and Christmas.
Whee! (NOT)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A-ha! & Boo!

Noooo. Not the band, although I do like them (are they even still recording?), I mean I finally found something about the folks doing the urban knitting, at least I think it is the same group. There are no photos of the column that I have in my previous post, but surely there aren't two rival gangs of urban knitters tagging the city?! Ye gods! What is the world coming to? I wonder what the initiation rite is like...

On other fronts, I'm about two repeats (6 rows) of finishing the the thumb gusset decreases and then it is just the cuff, baby. I'm ready to get these gloves off my needles. Not because I no longer love them, mind you, just because I really need to get them finished before 11/22 (surgery day) and I really don't want to be up all night on 11/21. LOL There's no reason they can't be finished very quickly, unless I start procrastinating. Hey, it can happen. Things are really crazy right now and it would be very easy to get lazy. You know that slippery slope, it goes like this: Oh, I have plenty of time to finish this project. No need to rush. I know! I'll work on this other project for a while, spend some time with this nice yarn over here. Ooooo, squeeze in some spinning time, that'd be nice. What?! What do you mean I'm out of time?! What the...!?

Yep. I dare say we've all done it. I'm determined to NOT do it this time.

Today is my boss lady's last day. We're having a nice big party catered by Macrina Bakery & Cafe. If you watch the Food Network, Road Tasted (Paula Deen's boys) included it in their show on Seattle. Yummy, yummy food. Two of my student employees and one librarian also had a birthday this month, so we are celebrating everything all at once. Then I'm going home (early) to get my house and kids ready for the big Trick or Treating event. In typical Seattle style, it will be FREEZING tonight. (It either rains or it is the coldest night for weeks.) It is supposed to be in the low 30s (F) tonight, so my youngest, Princess Jasmine, will be freezing her tummy off even with the cape I made for her. But boy! Am I glad I made the cape! I'll be sure to get pictures and get them posted as well.

I love Halloween. It is so much more fun as a grown-up, I think. I can buy my own candy, so no more depending upon the neighbors to pick out "good" stuff. I can dress up any way I want, and even wear it to work (which I did this year, you know, the party and all). I can decorate my house as much as I want, and I can watch all the scary movies I want (after the kids go to bed). Ahhh. October is my favorite month, my anniversary month, and although it is cold today, it is gorgeous outside! The leaves are so nice, and since the rain has been pretty light this month, they are still on the trees. Puget Sound is very blue, the mountains are crisp and clear, the bald eagle is sitting outside my window at work on the giant E of the Edgewater Inn (a Sesame Street moment, if you will - Eagle on the E, get it?) and, just, Wow! I love Fall. Can you tell?

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Knits are everywhere!

I know I've read something about this somewhere, but do you see the colorful blob on the post by the tree? That is a nice cozy scarf for the column. Someone, or many someones, are knitting stips and grafting them together. I assume they mean to cover the entire column. This is a column that supports the monorail at Seattle Center & I drive past this every day.

When I first noticed it, it was a much smaller band of color. It took me a while to think to use my camera on my cell phone instead of trying to remember to bring my camera in the car. I would probably have gotten a nicer close-up shot of the thing with my digital camera, but then again, the entire column would probably be covered byt the time I remembered to bring it. I'm curious as to whether the knitter(s) will stop where it is. The current height would require some sort of ladder to reach the scarf. If they bring it lower I think they will risk someone "finding" a nice warm scarf, or an entire wardrobe of scarves. It is fun to look at though, so many colors. A nice way to get rid of those odds and ends left from other projects and such. I always get an itch to go knit for a while after I've looked at it. (I ALWAYS get stuck at the traffic light at this intersection, so lots of time for contemplating knitting.) I just wish I could remember where I read about it, I know it was a blog. Hmmm. I'll have to try to track it down later.

On knitting news, I'm decreasing in the thumb gusset and that is going well, but still a good bit to go before finishing the gloves. I know I'll have them done before my surgery though, so I'm not worried. Of course, I've probably just jinxed myself now... Still no pics for that yet, I have to figure out where the software is now. My DH has been working hard getting things set up, he just hasn't communicated it well to me. Gee, that never happens. LOL

The costumes are all but done, just some hand sewing to put on the clasps for the cape. The sewing machine died in the attempt, however. I got a new one (mine was a 1968 Singer, so it was probably time). My new baby is a Brother PC210 & that puppy is AWESOME! It threads itself! Did you get that? OMG! This thing is so awesome and sewing is an absolute dream! I think my DH was feeling guilty about his recent purchases and talked me into replacing my machine rather than repair it, again. I didn't struggle too hard, though maybe I should have. Now all I want to do is sew stuff. I've been thinking about making myself a new knitting bag. The one I've been using was a gift from someone, a shopping bag from New Zealand, and it has not held up well to knitting needles that lost their point protectors. I'm starting to lose things out of the holes. LOL. So maybe after the costumes I'll make myself a bag. Or two. And maybe a needle holder...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Plugging away

Well, the thumbs are on and I'm into the thumb gussets. As far as I can tell, I'm in the home stretch. I finally have enough length to try them on and when I did, I found that the "errors" at the join don't really show that much when you have them on your hands. So, I've decided, no ripping. If he doesn't like them, he doesn't have to wear them. He was warned, after all, that they would be my first pair of gloves and might be a bit wonky. LOL

Other news is that Himself got a new computer for the house. Originally it was to replace the PC I usually work on, but once it arrived, he changed his mind about getting rid of one. I won't say how many we now have, but let's say that I think it is excessive. (However, polling of other with a family member working in the computer world would indicate that we are about average for those folks.) Our house is a total wreck as we move things around to accomodate the new machine, just when I was trying to accomplish a major clean/purge. You'd think these things would mesh, but, no. I really isn't working out that way. Anyway, all my pictures are transitioning between machines and I'm going to be delayed posting any updated photos for a few days. Sorry.

I'm losing a bit of knitting time this week to Halloween costumes as well. My oldest has decided to be a bat for Halloween. I cannot find a bat costume anywhere, so we are improvising. Improvising = mom is sewing bat wings for a costume party this Saturday. Have I mentioned lately that I have no spare time in my life? Well, now I have less. I'm a total costume wh*re, however, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE making them (and yes, wearing them), so I'm enjoying the opportunity to do something, I just wish I had more time to enjoy the process.

Work continues to spiral into chaos. I'm waiting for my psycho boss to screw me over one last time on her way out, I know it is going to happen, but when? In the meantime, we (the librarians and about half the students) just wish she'd go now instead of waiting until the end of the month. She is no longer doing anything work related to this place & she's really in the way, piling on work she needs done to help her do her new job while we're struggling to get the work done for our job. >sigh< She really thinks she's helping us out here. Have I mentioned she's crazy? Tick, tock, tick, tock... at least there is an end in sight. That's better news than I've had for a while, so I'll try to be grateful for that instead of dwelling on the struggle that can't be changed.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ready to add the thumb

Woo-Hoo! I'm making progress now, ready to graft on the thumb. I'm still not sure I like the way the other fingers look at the grafting point. Although I'm pretty sure I did them all the same, I apparently didn't because some of them look a little off (and others look fine). I sort of want to rip back and start over, but I'm afraid I wouldn't actually improve on my current job & that I wouldn't finish the project if I rip it back (before the surgery). I think I need to make a final decision before I graft the thumbs. Don't you? LOL

To seek perfection or not? That is the foolish question. Hmmm. How compulsive do I feel right now? Maybe I should try sewing up the fingers and see if that improves the look, or count how many look normal/weird and make a choice based on percentages or something. Argh! I have enough chaos in my life right now, I really don't need to create more. Anyway, I tried to get a picture of the problem area, but it just won't show clearly in the photos. I've included a close-up, but I don't know if you can see anything. The problem is at the join for the finger second from the right. It looks a bit like a purl. I'm wondering if maybe I can just put some sort of arty stitching there later. Hmmm....

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Knitting again!

Yes! I got all the fingers joined and have successfully made two rounds on the main "body" of the gloves. I think I'll have to wait for a few rounds to see if the join looks okay. I'm not sure what I'll do if it doesn't because I REALLY don't want to rip it and try to put it all together again.

I forgot the camera today, so I'll have to get a picture tonight and post it later. The important thing for me is, I'm back to the knitting part & I worked out the two-gloves-on-two-needles thing. The optimism (or is it just determination to make it work?) seems to have paid off there. Just suck it up and do it, right? I'm insanely relieved when that works out. I have a theory that if I don't know what I'm doing and just bully through it, it will usually work out okay. If I think about it too much, I'll screw it up for sure. Funny, I don't mind fixing my mistakes when I bully through something, but if I overthink it and screw it up I'm cussing my way through the fixes. That's probably why I'm approaching knitting the way I am & I should probably apply that approach to more areas of my life.

I found out yesterday that my boss is moving to a new position. Its a secret, so don't tell anyone! LOL We've worked here together for just over 8 years (she started a month before I did) She's been pretty psycho for the past, oh, two years, so it is a really good thing. (No really, I mean PSYCHO.) I've looked many times over the past year for a new job, but librarian positions in Seattle can be hard to come by. Still, now that I know she's leaving I will start to worry about who will replace her. More bothersome, should I go for her job? >sigh< I'm not impossible to please, I guess I am just used to worrying about job stuff. And I've been thinking about the phrase "better the devil you know than the devil you don't". Perhaps I just lack confidence in the folks who will decide on her replacement. Hmmm, and now perhaps I've just said too much...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This may take a while

Well, it's a good thing I was so optimistic before, 'cuz I'm not feeling it now. Zowie! I've picked up stitches for 8 fingers more times than I can remember. No matter how carefully I check, it seems that I get several fingers in and find that I picked up the wrong thing on a finger back towards the beginning and have to take everything off again and start again. I'm using waste yarn, well actually I'm using floss, but I still have mangled things several times. I'm sure I'm learning lots of neat things that I can use again the next time I make this pattern. That's what I get for modifying a pattern instead of just finding the right one to start with.

I'm okay with it. Really. I haven't given up, or decided to hate the project or anything, I'm just spending a lot of time getting things back on the needles. (Something like 2 hours, but with very little cursing.) Well, I think I've got them all on, but now I'm a bit confused at how to make it all work on the magic loop. I think I've just gotten myself confused because of the trouble I've had picking up the right stitches. I'm sure now that everything is properly on the needles I'll be able to figure it out and get going again. I hope. (ooooo, look, I might have a little optimism left after all.) Anyway, we'll see how it goes at lunch today. I feel like I will be fine once I get all the fingers joined up and all the fussy bit is done. Maybe a little brief trauma when the thumbs are joined, but by then I will be able to apply lessons learned from all the fingers. >sigh<

It is also the first week of the term for my school. I've got tons of new students and classes coming through for info literacy tours and it is taking up too much of my time that I need to be spending on other tasks. Also, I'm training two new student employees this week and they take up quite a bit of time as well. There's a new class being offered for incoming freshmen and the faculty have put off their planning till the last minute. That means they are all showing up here at 7:15 am (or calling) and asking to bring a class into the library later that morning for a tour. Um, NO. Plan ahead & make reservations please. Jinkies! It seems to be making me a bit cranky, so I'm really hoping to get back to knitting soon to help soothe my soul. Also, there was no House on last night (baseball was on instead) and I'll be missing that for a few more weeks. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike baseball, I just want to watch my shows when I'm knitting at lunch. Oh well, at least my other shows will be on the rest of the week.

If I get the knitting going again, I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Monday, October 02, 2006

10 little fingers done

Woo-Hoo! Well, I've finished up the fingers & now it is on to the rest of the glove. I'm anxious to get going for fear that I'll get stalled worrying about whether or not everything will fit, work, etc. Why on earth do we do things like this to ourselves? Isn't it enough that I've already learned so much and gotten so far so quickly on this project? >sigh< I really must work on that Devil May Care attitude. I won't skip gauge, but I must simply learn to let the rest go. Most of the time... LOL

On another front, I finally got in to see a orthopedic specialist about my wrist lump. My GP was right, it is a gangliar cyst. So I'm sending a BIG raspberry out to the crazy rheumatologist who wanted to treat me for arthritis and put me on a life-long course of crazy strong meds. I'm also going to write a letter or two, but somehow the sound of a raspberry is so much more satisfying right now. Ha!

The other side of that is that I am scheduled to have surgery to remove the cyst the day before Thanksgiving. I was taking the week off anyway, so I won't have to take extra vacation time, which is nice. OTOH, I won't be able to cook either. I'm one of Those People who enjoy cooking the meal (maybe just because it is never a large crowd of people), so I am actually a little sad about that part. Then again, I will be so glad to resolve this thing (since JANUARY!) that it will be a fair trade. I will have a wrist brace for 10-16 days. I don't know if there will be physical therapy with that as well, I forgot to ask. The doctor thinks knitting is great therapy for the hands (isn't he a nice doctor?) but isn't sure how long I will have to wait before I can start knitting again after the surgery. So. I'd better get cracking on the gloves. I'd really hate to have some amount of them to go when I have surgery. I'm pretty sure I can't knit with my toes...

Friday, September 29, 2006

6 fingers done &

Only four to go! I should get at least one more done today, so then there will be three. I'm hoping to have some nice, quiet time this weekend at home in which to finish the fingers. We've been running full-out for what feels like months, but I think the few quiet times have just gotten lost in the chaos. I'm really ready for the busy time to stop, but with two small kids, does it ever? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Anyway, I'm hoping to start the body of the gloves next week. Hmm. Is that the right term for it? I'm guessing you know what I mean though, right? I'm hoping that since I have to load all the fingers back onto the needles, I will be comfortably enough with magic loop to do both bodies at the same time. Two new knitting things on one project, am I pushing my luck?

I'm still very in love with this whole glove thing, I really hope it continues long enough to make a second pair for my DH. Poor guy deserves something for all the mess & havoc my projects for other people have created. He has suffered a similar fate to mine. I haven't knit a single thing for him, just students & my family (mom, g-mother, sister). I have a lovely cardigan pattern picked out for him, and the yarn in my stash, I've just been waiting to feel more confident before starting it up. (I've been sitting on the pattern for over a year.) I'm actually ready to get knittin on it now, but maybe I should do some gloves first. You know, in case it takes me two years to knit the cardi. LOL

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fingers! At last... erm, for the gloves

Here's the beginning of the gloves. I have the thumbs and both pinkies done now. I've almost got the first ring finger as well. I'm very excited about the project still, so I'm very, very pleased. The magic loop thing works a treat. I'm sure if I was trying to do these fingers with only dpns I'd be a raving loon by now having completed my first thumb.

Now all I have to do is wait and see how my adapting skills work out. This pattern was for fingerless gloves & I've made complete fingers instead. The pattern instructions read to leave the top stitches of the knuckles live so that they could be grafted onto the glove. I turned them into proper fingers instead & will have to pick up the stitches on the cast-on end instead. Hmmm. It seems like it should work out fine, just maybe a little more work getting stitches back on needles. Right? I'm having so much fun knitting the digits up, I'm just not the least bit worried about what will happen when I get to the next bit.

Let's hope I don't have cause to rue those words. LOL The color quality really stinks in my photo. I took the picture at work with a camera we have there (I just haven't been able to find the time at home lately) & the photo came out VERY yellow. I adjusted it with photoshop, but still lost some of the other tones (like the fact that those are bamboo needles!). I needed one of my graphic design students here to help me out. Still, it is closer to the truth than the other was. (Yes. My desk is a horrid, bland grey that blends right in with the keyboard and monitor.)

The yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed in a medium grey. I love the color, it has tiny black/white/light blue flecks in it. This is the first time I've used this particular yarn & I'm really loving it. I'm currenty knitting just under two fingers a day. I'm really hoping to get the fingers done this week so that I can get them all joined up and move on to some the rest of the glove soon. This project is due by mid-December. I should have it completed in plenty of time. If I dont' get too cocky, that is.

Friday, September 22, 2006

That wasn't supposed to happen

I didn't mean to disappear, but life sometimes just gets out of hand. I mentioned that I was starting classes, but after a week and a half I decided that it just wasn't going to work. The program was supposed to be designed for working professionals, but apparently not working professionals with young children. The amount of work due each week would have been stretching my limit without the girls, but with them it was just impossible. So several days last week were spent trying to figure out if I was over-reacting, then when I was sure I wasn't, getting the paperwork & signatures so that I could drop the program. I will try again when the girls are older, if I still want to. I expected to feel a bit more upset about it, but it was very plain that it just wouldn't work. I've had a few snarky comments about me not being able to "cut the graduate level work", but since I already have one MA (in lib. sci.) it is actually pretty easy to blow these weirdos off. I'm really surprised I'm not wallowing in self-doubt or something. Gee, I must have made the right decision. LOL

I have had little time for knitting, though that is beginning to change. I have the one last student gift, the (first) pair of gloves. I decided I wanted to do them using the magic loop method, so that I could maybe get them done faster (once past the learning hump) and practice the method before I try it on socks. Anyway, I spent way too much time doing research on how it is done. Well, come on, I AM a librarian. lol Finally, I realized that I was just stalling & making the whole thing out to be harder than it probably was. So, I cast on and started the first thumb. It was a bit awkward, but after 3 or 4 rounds, it went beautifully. I finished that one yesterday and started thumb #2 this morning. I'll get pics up asap, I've just been running around too crazy to post, much less do pictures too. Sorry. Anyway, I'm not sure about getting two things on the loop at the same time, but I'm hoping that once I get done with all of the fingers I'll be ready to try it for the main part of the gloves.

I'm loving this method of knitting! It is strangely fun and MUCH faster than using all the dpns. Easier on my fingers, too. If the whole project goes this well, I may just develop a glove addiction.

It is the start of the Fall TV lineup & I've been trying to get my schedule all organized. I don't watch "grown-up" TV at home unless I'm home sick. Due to my early work hours I tend to go to bed early with the kids, so I can't really stay up to watch anything at night. The only thing that counts as TV for me is football in the Fall. My kids are not impressed with football & my DH will watch it, but it isn't a big deal to him. I blame it on my Texas roots, but I love football & I'm so happy the season has started! I usually pick one game a week to try to fit in my schedule, or maybe bits of more than one. That is all the tolerance I can get from the girls. My other shows I record and then watch them at lunch at work. This actually works pretty well for me, I have a video monitor next to my desk (for reviewing new library materials) and I just pop on some headphones, turn on the show, have a quick lunch and start knitting. It makes for a nice lunch break.

I've decided to trim a few shows out of my lineup this year. I had too many things to juggle last year, and I got really annoyed by several of the plots, so I'm cutting them loose. We'll see if I can stick to it. This year will include: Lost (on probation, if the plot doesn't get better, it is gone); Desperate Housewives (ditto for this one, Susan drives me nuts!); House (my FAVORITE!); Bones; and Supernatural (I LOVE this show!). I've cut loose Gray's Anatomy. I really dislike Meridith (the character, not the actress) & I hate the love issues with her. My favorite plot was Izzy and Denny & they let him go. Fortunately for me, the actor who played Denny is also on Supernatural, at least he was still alive in the finale, and so I'm dumping Gray's and giving my time to Supernatural. I just hope it can stand up in the time slot, it has some serious competition (for one, Gray's Anatomy). There are some X-File loyalties for this show as well with Kim Manners being involved. >sigh< Yes. I'm an X-Phile, don't get me started. I'm actually much worse(?) when it comes to Joss Whedon. That man can do no wrong...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Start of something new

Whew! I made it through the weekend! I may not have mentioned that I am starting back to school. I'm working on a Masters in Education and my classes started this weekend.

I'm not sure I've started though.

I had an all day class on Saturday (8am - 5pm) and I had homework due for that class by Monday morning at 3am. (Online classes are weird) My second class was added late, and the paperwork took several days longer than I expected. By the time I got access to the class, it was Friday afternoon at 3. This was my first opportunity to get my assignment that was due on Sunday night. I think you see my problem here, no time to get all the reading and assignments done and sleep. Then, because things weren't challenging enough, I got a stye in my right eye. Sunday morning I woke up and my eye was swollen almost shut and it is very light sensitive right now, so working in front of a computer or sitting under a light to read are not really helping it out.

Talk about getting off to a crappy start! Anyway, I emailed the instructor for the late add class and told her my first assignment would be late, but I would be sure to have everything on track for week two (this week). I actually managed to get the work done for the other class, so I'm okay there. Mostly, I'm stressed out at the end of week 1. (This whole week thing is bogus as well, I got started on both classes at the end of week 1, & now we're in week 2 after 2-3 days. Feels really weird.)

My DH took the kids all day Saturday while I was in class. Then he had to wrangle them again yesterday while I was at the clinic for my eye and then struggling to get my work done around my eye issues. I made them a promise that I would try to get all of my reading and writing done during the day (work breaks, etc.) and try not to take up any time on the weekends, except maybe posting assignments. This will be hard, but if I've got two years for this degree, it is the only way it will work out for us. I know there will be exceptions, but those are easily dealt with. This counts as professional development, so I can legitimately do some of my reading when I'm working at the circulation desk as well. That will help. These classes are designed for people who work full-time, so they are mostly writing and reading assignments, not tests (at least this semester!). That will help.

Needless to say, there was no knitting this weekend! I also didn't have time for pictures, but I will add them asap. I did buy some Rowan Wool Tweed for the gloves. It is a nice grey (student's favorite color to wear) with light blue and white flecks in it. I don't know how I'll work it in, but I'll give it my best shot. Just not this week. I want to try the magic loop method and see if I can't learn to do that for these gloves. I think it might slow me down to start, but I'm hoping things will go faster once I get it. I really need these to go fast.

Well, I'm off to go read for class! And to take some time to remember those we lost on this day 5 years ago. Do you remember what you were doing when you heard about the attacks?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hat & Scarf Done!

I finished the hat & scarf set for my first student gift! Sadly, I forgot my camera so I had to use the one on my phone. The quality may not be as good &, more importantly, that means I'll have to add the photo to this post at a later time. Hopefully over the weekend. I've had virtually no knitting time this week and so I was up two hours past my bedtime finishing the hat, knitting in really bad light so I wouldn't wake up the kids. I really don't want to do that again (the staying up late or the bad light). My reason was simply that we are having a going away party for her at work today & it is her last day at work. If I didn't finish the hat, I was going to have to mail it to England. I knew I only needed a couple of hours to get it done, so I stayed up. It seemed the only responsible thing to do. Now she can take it with her & I can move on to student gift #2.

The hat (in the Baby Grande Alpaca) turned out very nice, although I did struggle quite a bit in the beginning stages. I was trying to be good and plan the thing out, getting my gauge, avg. head size, the pattern I wanted to use, etc., all to figure out how many stitches to cast on. Well, I still managed to get it all wrong & I really don't know why. Anyway, I cast on with a size 10 circ and after three garter rows moved to a size 11 to start the pattern. This shift allowed me to try on the beginning of the hat for size and see that I just didn't know anyone with a head that big. At least not in the literal sense. Ha! So, I took it all off the needles and then put it on my head and tried sizing it that way. After one more false start, I finally got it right. While I wasn't great at geometry, I did do well at a more practical math, statistics. I have no trouble balancing a checkbook, at least not in principle, and "real life" math is usually very easy and straight-forward fo r me. I still can't figure out why my hat math didn't work. Oh well, the important thing is that the hat is done & I think it looks great. We'll see what the student thinks.

I'll be giving it to her in about an hour, and so now the nerves kick in. Will she like it? Is her idea of fluffy my idea of fluffy? I really just need to learn to relax. I'm proud of myself for the attempts at planning and the fact that I wrote it all down. Impressive really. Now I need to start planning for the gloves. I think I've found the pattern I want, I don't have it handy to post the title, but I found it on It is a fingerless glove, well, with partial fingers, but I will probably put whole fingers on them. Maybe. I like it because it isn't tiny yarn. I really don't want to do gloves with sock yarn. If I find another pattern I like better within the next week I might be willing to change, but once I buy the yarn, I'm done. I've promised myself no significant stash increase as a result of these gifts. I think I'll get another hat out of the leftover Baby Grande Alpaca, so, no stash increase. Woo-Hoo! Look at me being responsible. heh, heh, heh.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Restful weekend

Since the entire month of August was too busy for me with very little time to rest, we went out of our way to have a very laid-back Labor Day weekend. We started our Saturday with a trip to Half Price Books (a used books store) for their 20% off sale. I didn't find any good knitting books, but we did find some fun stuff for the kids and Himself, so it was a good trip. The girls found some computer games (Candy Land, I Spy, etc.) that kept them rather occupied for the rest of the weekend. I was happy that we kept the TV off, though I suppose if we spent time on the computer playing games it might count as the same sort of thing. Hmmm. Well, the games were interactive and we all participated, so it was family time, right?

We did have one sad note this weekend. The goldfish my daughter won at the fair last week died yesterday, so we had a fish funeral. We buried him in the back yard, not a water burial. I'm very glad I bought him a friend. She seemed okay with it, overall, but is quite concerned about "what" killed him specifically. I keep explaining that these fish don't live very long, but that isn't good enough for her. Well, it is an opportunity for continuing dialog I guess, and a trip to the library for fish books.

Sunday night I got to go hear the Yarn Harlot and that was awesome. She is just as funny in person as she is in print. She was wearing Icarus and it looked lovely! She did not have the ends woven in yet, but it really was nice. Sadly, I was unable to get my book signed. For some reason, this was a family trip & by the time we had dinner & then the family waited through her talk, the kids were DONE. There was no way I was going to be able to sqeeze the extra time out of them so that I could wait in a huge line to get my books signed. I was very disappointed, but I really should have considered that before allowing the whole family to tag along. My bad. The venue is this nice book shop with a food court and a small stage. It is a great place to see authors, although a pub might be nicer (ha!). I saw Terry Pratchett here last year & that was a great talk as well, but I digress. There were tons of people here knitting away, I did not get pics of the crowd, although others did, but it was a great time. I never get the chance to hang out with other knitters, so it was fun just knitting with a huge crowd of folks. I've made great progress on my sock and I'm just about ready to turn the heel! I'm actually pretty excited about it, is that too geeky?

I was devastated to get in the car for work today and hear the terrible news about Steve Irwin. I'm hoping my oldest daughter isn't too upset by it, although to be honest, I am. I spent many hours with my girls watching him wrestle gators and find beauty in things that all too often elicit "ick" or "ewww" from the rest of us. He was a special person who had a great gift & I'm so glad he was able to share it with the world and my children. He will be missed by so many people around the world, he was an inspiration to children and adults and that is a great legacy to leave behind. May his memory be eternal.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

One down...

Well, I managed to finish up the scarf! Yippee! It is Great Adirondack Fluff colorway Onyx. I can't find a link to that color, I will add a photo later for this post. No time this week for pics, sorry. I picked up some black Baby Grande Alpaca (Plymouth Yarns) for a hat, I'm thinking I might try to add some cables. I've never tried it though, so I'll have to think on it some more. (I know it can be done & I'm sure I've seen patterns, but I've not seen any for yarn this chunky.) That should take care of the first student. I have about two weeks to get the hat done, so barring complications, I'll get her gift(s) ready before she heads off to school (from Oklahoma, to Seattle, and now off to University of Nottingham!).

I've been piling through patterns for gloves now. I've got until mid-December to get these done, but I'd prefer to complete them much, much sooner than that. So, I know I want something bigger than sock yarn! He's a lively one too, he wants grey gloves. Yep. Exciting, isn't it? I'm just hoping the gloves aren't too hard. I'm starting classes soon (and full-time work & two children & husband & ...), I don't want to take on too much. Ha! Too late, right?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Back to hats & scarves

Well, I thought I was done. Really, how could I be so silly?

I work as a librarian at a college and I supervise all of our student employees. Last year I had a group of them (7 total) who were graduating after working with me for 3 years (or more). My babies leaving the nest, you know? So I decided that instead of the boring old $10.00 gift certificate my director always handed out, I would give them something more personal & made by hand. That's right, I decided to knit something for each and every one of them. Fortunately for me, they didn't all graduate at the same time, but I was still knitting three gifts for one quarter and four gifts for the next quarter. (Our school has quarters, not semesters, and they last about 11 weeks each.)

Now, if I had lots of knitting time available, this wouldn't really be a big thing. The first round of students just got scarves anyway. I think I was suckered in by the fact that my first scarf (in GGH Fee brown & gold) went so very quickly. I think I knocked that one out in one day while watching Frontier House on DVD. So I cheerfully started the next two that didn't go quite so quickly, but still wasn't bad. (Sadly, I only remember that the second one was blue & fuzzy, which just means it was not traumatic or overly exciting in any way. Also, I don't have my notes with me right now.) It would have been REALLY nice, however, if I hadn't wasted most of the quarter deciding that I wanted to do this for them & then agonizing over colors for the students. (They are art students and kind of picky about colors & whatnot.) The third was was a beast. It was for a guy (one who really appreciates the efforts of handmade anything) & I picked out this lovely alpaca in varigated colors: orange, rust, brown, grey, cream. Super nice yarn. Since I had only done two other scarves, in novelty yarns, on large needles, I was unprepared for the joy of knitting a rather simple, worsted weight yarn on size 7 needles. I ripped about 6 inches out twice trying to create a pattern that wasn't too time consuming but would prevent the curling. The yarn had a bit of wave to it, but not really a boucle, subtle patterns were lost, I was looking for a ribbing pattern, but not one that required a lot of counting. That scarf took forever! I think I finished it the day before graduation.

The next quarter was really tough, however, as there were four of them. More agonizing over colors, etc. & then I got stupidly generous and decided to throw in hats. What the heck was I thinking?! I managed to get them all done, and only one hat was a little big. Elastic works wonders, doesn't it?

Christmas brought about a whole new scarf & hat opportunity this year. I did about seven scarves in Great Adirondack yarns Fluff in various colors. Only one hat (in something else fluffy, but not G.A. Fluff - too expensive for a hat!) and I LOVED that color. Of course, it is the one yarn I lost all record of, I can't find it in the store anymore and can't look for it online because I don't know what it is! Typical. Anyway, the Christmas thing was okay, all were done on time and I even made myself my first knitted object. But after Scarf Mania, I decided it would be a LONG, LONG time before I made any more.

Now, I have another dear student graduating & what am I doing? Making a scarf. That's okay. It was a request & she's getting a deluxe Great Adirondack yarn scarf too. (The LYS was having a close-out sale on them & I went a little crazy at Christmas time.) Once again, I've got to do a hat. She's off to England for college when she leaves here, however, so I know she will use them. I really hate to see her go, but she's decided art isn't for her, she's going to study biology.

One more dear student to go, and he wants gloves. I've never made gloves, so this will be fun. At least I have a little over 3 months to get them done. Will that be enough time?! Should I freak out now, or wait until a week from the deadline? >sigh<

This is it! The last handknit graduation gifts for students. Really. I mean it this time...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Midway Madness

I took the girls to the fair this weekend. We've never been before & so they were very excited about the whole thing. We managed to see every animal on display, including bees, and they had a wonderful time. I'd like to thank all of the animals for putting on a good show by making lots of noise in addition to just looking so darned cute. A special shout out to the roosters who felt the need to crow non-stop, the dairy cows for considerable mooing and the cow standing with her front feet in the feeding trough. The girls were highly entertained.

We saw a few angora goats being judged and the girls allowed me a whole five minutes at the spinners booth. I picked up some info for the local spinning groups, meeting times, etc., and I hope to be able to drop in from time to time. We'll see. My life just keeps getting busier & busier despite my attempts to simplify. I have no idea how that works, but there it is.

Lastly, on the way out, my oldest (6) wanted to try a few of the games on the midway. I let her use her money (birthdays, etc.) and that little beast managed to win at three different games! She one a gigantic CareBear (Funshine in case anyone cares), a smaller CareBear (a Christmas one) and (the most prized win of all) a goldfish. Goldie now resides on our dining table having recovered, or so it seems, from her trip in the car. My oldest, in a moment of awesome big sister-ness, gave the smaller CareBear to her little sister. Little Sister did not want to try any games, but was feeling a bit left out. This was an incredible act of generosity and kindness & touched my motherly heart. Of course, five minutes later we were in full Exhuasted Grumpy Child mode (both of them).

All in all, a good day at the fair.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Happy thoughts on a Wednesday morning

I guess I'm on the road to recovery after the tree incident. I've been working on a couple of things the past few days, but no real progress to speak of. We've been too busy in our house, and I'm too tired to spend much time knitting - or anything else for that matter.

I've got another washrag going, one for my youngest daughter. I only work on that at home or my oldest girl's Tae Kwon Do class. It is coming along, perhpas when I finish I'll get some pictures up just so you know I'm not making them up. Ha! I also work on my sock. Yes, still! But only at swimming lessons, so it is slow going. I'm nearing the heel, so I'm getting a little nervous, but I'm kind of excited too. I think the second sock will go faster. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I also dug up an old project of mine. When I started knitting a little more seriously, that is, when I decided to stop working my way chapter by chapter through Knitting for Dummies, I discovered that there was a knitting guild. I also found out that they had classes & I thought this might be a good way to improve my skills and have "someone" look at my work and tell me if I was doing it "right". I've kind of gotten over this need for approval, as it were, but since I've paid for the class I figure I ought to finish it. So, this week I dug out my instructions for the class and started trying to figure out where I left off & I'm trying to get that going again. Nothing but swatches in my future, but that's okay, I think I need some fast & fairly mindless knitting to ease me back into a bigger project.

Now I know, there is no "right" way, or more to the point, if my knitting does what I want it to, and I like the way it looks it is "right". I was much more insecure about what I was doing when I signed up for the class. I've read alot more since then, and I've finished two sweaters since then, so I've gained more confidence in my knitting. I still have a lot to learn, however, and the classes might help me try things I would otherwise avoid. So, I'm actually looking forward to completing th ones I signed up for over a year ago.

Also, I'm just in a place where I want to finish up my UFOs. I feel I'm starting to let my Yarn Acquisition get out of control & my project list is getting too long. I'm not crazy out of control, but I don't want to get there either. I know me, and if I get too buried under UFOs I'll just stop knitting and curl up in a corner somewhere, overwhelmed by the pressure to complete everything and use up all of the yarn. I have a thought that if I can just keep these projects from getting too out of hand, keep the UFOs from piling too deep, that I'll be able to knit happily for the rest of my life. Happy thoughts on a Wednesday morning.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Completely gutted

Well, I had intended to post more last week, but an event in my life pretty much shut me down for the week. My 80+ year old neighbor decided to "help" me by trimming some branches off of our 40 ft Hemlock tree. These branches drooped low over the front of our house and provided a beautiful covering and feature to our very boring house. They also kept the glare off of our TV, provided privacy for our 9-1/2 foot front window, and reduced the heat from too much sun in that South facing window. My husband and I LOVED those branches. They were, in fact, our FAVORITE feature on our house. Also, because of the size of the tree, we have a huge freaking dead spot in our yard that the branches covered nicely. Now that they are gone my yard is hands down the ugliest yard on the block (considering the yard of the neighbor on the other side of my house, that's saying something) and I have no time for yardwork. Full-time job, two young children, commute from hell & Himself hates to work in the yard = no time for yard work.

We were absolutely devastated by what the neighbor did to our tree and our home. However, this guy is over 80, is something of a surrogate grandfather to our kids and is in all other ways the most awesome neighbor we could ever ask for. He called a couple of days later and said he knew he'd done a "very bad thing" and wanted to ask for our forgiveness. He offered to pay some money for the whole thing, but you know, it wouldn't put the branches back on my tree. We talked very honestly about what he'd done & how I felt about it. I didn't tell him I'd been crying fairly continuously since I saw the damage, but I explained all of the problems we were now going to have because of what he did. He was only looking at the outside, he had never stopped to think about the impact it would have inside our house (the glare, the heat, the loss of privacy). If the man were an utter jerk, I'd have taken the money. He truly believed he was doing us a favor, he was completely out of line & he didn't know that his actions would make such a dramatic difference in the tree or our yard. Did I mention that he is over 80?

I swear, it feels like a death in the family or something. I hate going home because I have to see my house and confront the loss every time I pull into the driveway. Any time I start thinking about it and what I need to do to minimize the damage, I just get all weepy again. I know it is just a tree, but it was such a violation. I'm totally gutted over this thing. I didn't knit all last week because it gave me too much time to think about it and I just cried. I find it very difficult to knit and cry at the same time, so I've only just picked up the needles again. It has been a week, time to pick up the pieces and move on. I just wish my house wasn't so very unattractive now.

Things are going better the past two days, so I think I'm beginning to move past grieving and into acceptance. However, I have been so upset by this, and I've lost so much sleep over it as well, this has really caused me to spend some time thinking about myself and my life right now. Yippee, introspection! (like I have time for this!) I have learned a few small things, but I think the tree was the tip of an iceberg, if you will. It was very symbolic of something and now I feel compelled to figure out what that is. As long as I can take my knitting with me while I'm working on it, oh, and maybe my spinning too. I was going to post some pictures of the house before/after, but decided it might be too much for me right now. How pathetic! Tomorrow, something happier!

Monday, August 14, 2006

FO and the weekend

So this weekend was super busy with a church family camp in Snoqualmie Pass. I agonized for several hours over which project(s) to take & finally decided to go with the things that were most portable. I took along my sock and my washrag, but I never even touched my sock.

The family got in a couple of hikes. One was into an old railroad tunnel that is about 2-1/4 miles long. The ties have all been taken up, and it is a popular place for hikers and bikers. In the winter the same trail serves as a cross-country ski trail. This is my second trip up to the pass & I managed to go to the same place twice! Weird. Anyway, we hiked into the tunnel but the girls got scared & we had to leave. They made it about 200 yards in, then we headed back out into the sunshine. Once outside we found that there were tadpoles and frogs in some water collecting in a ditch by the trail. They loved that much better than the tunnel and I took some pictures of the critters so the girls can remember their trip.

Next we hiked into a little ravine and followed a creek/river down to the lake bed. It seems the lake was down (maybe drained?) a bit, and we could go quite a distance that way. We headed back to camp for lunch & then drove out to swim in the lake later on. Personally, I'm all for pools, but the girls wanted to try it out. After sampling how very cold the lake was, they decided pools are better too. Of course, I think it might have been a scorching 67 degrees (F) outside, so not my idea outdoor swimming temp. I'll try to add pictures of the lake if any of the turn out. It is a weird setting, when the water is down there are all of these tree stumps (big ones) and it looks like a freaky alien planet or something. I always find it very interesting but almost creepy. I'm not sure that will come across in any of my photos though.

All of the time we spent indoors at the "lodge" I carried my knitting around with me. The other folks there seemed bemused, but let me be. I managed to finish a washcloth for my oldest DD literally just as we were ready to head back home. So, nice timing on my part. Now the youngest wants one. At least I have plenty of yarn! LOL However, during my lunch hours it is back to sock knitting for me. I'll save the next washrag for home, so the little one can see me working on her washrag. Thank goodness they don't know I'm knitting socks! I can just imagine the demands they'd be making then!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My REAL first sweater

I thought I would post a picture of my real first sweater. This is the sweater in the first chapter of How to Knit by Debbie Bliss. It was done in TLC Wiggles yarn in Grape. The yarn was selected by my daughter & the sweater took about 2 1/2 months to knit. I had finished three hats before I attempted this sweater & I was really anxious about whether or not I would be able to finish this project once started. It was, in fact, a test to see if I could complete a "big" project. I impressed myself with how quickly I knit this thing & that it looked like it was supposed to look.

The down side was that my daughter loved the yarn, but the fit of the sweater really bugged her. Apparently she is not into oversized sweaters. I ended up running a safety line through the sweater & cutting into it to shorten it. That was pretty nerve-wracking, but at least she wore it after that. Oh, and I learned a new trick.

My youngest is also requesting a sweater & has selected some Katia yarn in Jamaica (color 4005). I will get to it but I'm not in a hurry. She is currently 4 and I'd like her to be a little older. I kind of feel that she might be more interested in wearing a sweater when she is a older. Also, she is very picky about what she wears - already. I would like her to participate more in the making of the sweater so that she will be more likely to wear it when it is finished. I don't trust her right now. So, I'll hold the yarn and wait. I've got plenty of other things to knit on my list.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Here we go again...

Now I'll have that song stuck in my head all day. Oh well, only myself to blame this time. A few weeks ago, one of my student employees thought it was fun to keep making references to the song Mandy, so that everyone working at the time ended up having the song stuck in their heads. I was the only one who knew all the words, though. Ha!

A very busy weekend, more on that tomorrow maybe. My MIL was visiting from FL (on her way home after a family reunion in CA). That meant very little time with my knitting all weekend, which was too bad. I really needed some time with my yarn. Actually, what I wanted was time with my spinning wheel, but that was way too much hassle with the guest in the house. Especially as we spent a fair amount of time out doing things.

I did start a new ball-band washrag, however. I knit one up for my daughter's teacher as an end of year present (wrapped around a nice bar of specialty soap). I thought it would be a quick and simple thank-you gift. I had no idea it would be a flipping addiction! Busy enough to take a little thought from time to time, but simple enough to let my mind wander & watch TV/movies/etc. So, immediately following gifting the teacher I started stashing yarn for washclothes. -sigh- The worst part is that I keep trying to buy more. What is going on in my head?! Am I trying to help the world get clean? Jinkies!

I've spent the past three years trying to keep my yarn buying in control. I didn't want to have a stash larger than my project list, and I wanted my project list to remain managable, no more than 2 projects ahead of where I was currently working. Well, that's toast. I've got about four projects in mind and two on the needles (plus the current washrag). I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed & so I'm thinking about a yarn diet until I can get caught up again. It would move faster if I could get more knitting time in. I was trying to get some time in at the gym, though, and knitting time is usually the same time I have for the gym. It is hard enough to get me to go to the gym. If I have to give up knitting to do it... Well. You can see the problem.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Big Sack Sweater

I've been having a heck of a time getting this photo uploaded. >sigh< I've been trying from work because I have a T1 connection, as opposed to trying from home with my dial-up. Sadly, the connection at work hasn't been stable & I couldn't get the file to upload. Today, day 3 of the attempt, was going to be my last go before trying from home. Actually, I would have tried from home anyway, but I've had a Rather Busy Week leaving me NO time for anything fun at home. This sweater was knit using Moda Dea Aerie in black and was my first knitted project for me. I did knit one previous sweater for my oldest daughter from the Debbie Bliss How to Knit book. This sweater was also my first cable, and wow! I was surprised at how easy it was! I'm sorry it isn't very clear in the photo, it is clearer in person, and in spite of the way it looks in the photo, the sleeves were even. Yes, I did say "were even". Ah, let me tell the tale...

Many years ago, in the late 80's to be honest, I received a wonderful fluffy, black sweater for Christmas from my grandmother. I loved that sweater. No, I LOVED that sweater. It was soft, a bit oversized (which I love), went with everything (I was pretty seriously into black at the time) and I wore it constantly. Flash forward nearly 7 years, and I was still wearing that sweater. Until the Incident. I had married & moved to the Seattle area and we lived in an apartment. I went to a laundromat down the street to do our laundry each week. Well, one day I came home and when I pulled my favorite black sweater out to put it away, I found a hole in the front of it big enough to put a basketball through. I have no idea what happened to it, but it was bad. I had to consign the remains to the garbage bin, and I cried when I did it.

I spent another 7 years looking for a sweater replacement without any success. Nothing was just right, you know? Anyway, last fall I found the Moda Dea Aerie yarn and it was the softest stuff I'd ever stuck my hand in. So, I decided that I would make my own Favorite Black Sweater. I splurged on the yarn (a Christmas pressie to myself) and found a pattern that I liked and was all ready to go. Except, well, I apparently have committment issues. :) When it came time to start the sweater I kept wondering if the pattern I had chosen was the "right" pattern. I went through all of my books for the umpteenth time and when I hit the Big Sack Sweater in SnB I thought, Yes! That's the one! I did not consider that the pattern was for a significantly less fluffy yarn & that that might impact the look of the cable, no, this was all about The Yarn and creating The Favorite Black Sweater.

I can't believe how quickly I knit that sweater! I started December 26th & finished it the second week of March, and I lost about two weeks of knitting time due to a muscle spasm in my back. I'm still impressed with myself. (Now I get to the sleeve part.) I finished the sweater with plenty of cool weather left in the season. I wore it several times and the sweater went through several washings. No problems. No shrinking, growing, matting, etc. It was perfect! Then one day I put it on and the arms had grown considerably. Like about 3-4 inches longer. What the heck? I have an idea what happened, but no proof. The rest of the sweater is the same as before, no measureable differences in size. Only the sleeves. Well, Himself often does laundry and is meticulous about laying sweaters out to dry (I didn't even have to train him on this one!). However, he seems to think that it is enough that the sweater is not in the dryer, items will get laid out in all sorts of positions. I think that what happened is that he put this sweater out to dry in a position where the sleeves were left hanging down. Since they were wet & had a long way to drop, I think they just grew the extra inches, but now I can't seem to get them back to their original length. I don't mind that much, I can roll them up and it is fine with me, but it is an annoying puzzle for me. I don't want to tell Himself that he messed up my sweater. He was so supportive when I was working on it and shows it off to folks when I wear it. (Sweet, huh?) I can't even be sure it was him, but it seems really likely that the drying incident is the culprit. Anyway, it is still my Favorite Black Sweater. Seriously, it is like a kid's security blanket or something. Almost obscene.

And finally, a creepy photo of me with my face removed. Ick. I think I'll try something different next time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I didn't mean to go so long without posting, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. Yesterday I was off getting a MRI on my wrist. That was quite an experience. Even with the headphones and music, it was really loud. I get to see the doctor on Friday to see if anything turns up in the MRI to help diagnose my wrist problems. What is up with the wrist anyway? Well...

In January I was wrestling with my oldest daughter (5 at the time). We were on the bed and I was on my back, she kind of launched herself at me and I put my hands up to catch her. (She has a long history of smacking me in the nose with her head. I've learned to defend my face at all times with her & frankly, I don't know how I've survived 6 years with her without having a broken nose.) My arms were at a 90 degree angle to my body & my palms were facing the ceiling when she landed on me. My right wrist bent back further than was comfortable and pain shot up through my index and middle fingers as well as up my arm towards my elbow. I thought I'd sprained it, but I didn't notice any swelling in the wrist, limited movement & everything did move, so I figured I hadn't broken anything. Weeks passed and I was working on the Big Sack Sweater (from SnB) and I noticed that my wrist was getting really tired when I was knitting. I thought it was just the weight of the sweater, up to that point I'd only been knitting scarves and hats, and I worked to keep the weight distributed more evenly to avoid the strain. I did notice that I did not feel the same strain in my left wrist, but I didn't tie it to my injury. In March I noticed that I was developing limited range of motion in that wrist, but it was all centered on the back of the hand/wrist, not underneath where carpal tunnel would be. Then one day I noticed that if I bent my hand down (fingers pointing down) that I had a really weird and angular lump on my wrist. Freaky.

I made an appointment with my GP and he said it looked like a ganglier cyst. A common thing that used to be treated by dropping very heavy books on them to pop them. Being a librarian, I found this particularly funny. However, they are now treated by aspiration (a needle to remove the fluid, but they usually come back) or by surgery (MUCH more effective). My doctor sent me to a hand surgeon, whom I did not like. The hand surgeon agreed that it looked like a cyst and sent to have an ultrasound and aspiration. If the aspiration did not work he said he'd do surgery. I'm not all excited about being cut into, so I was fine with trying the aspiration. Neither doctor seemed to think my injury was related to the problem. The doctor who did the ultrasound could not find a cyst, so he sent me to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist performed a huge number of tests for arthritis which ALL CAME BACK NEGATIVE OR NORMAL, and decided that I need to be treated for arthritis anyway. I will add that she is the first of the four doctors I've seen to have any X-rays done on my wrist A life-long course of nasty medication that needs constant monitoring, might I add. I did do a course of prednizone, to which I had some very bad reactions, and I told this doctor that I was not confvinced that this was a proper course of treatment for my wrist. She offered an MRI, which I jumped on, and if nothing conclusive comes out of that I will be seeking a second opinion. I feel that she's trying to make my problem fit her specialty because I'm in her office, not because it makes the most sense. We'll see how it goes on Friday.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Beer Knits

I've struggled all week to get in some good knitting time, but I haven't been able to do it yet. Very frustrating, really. Tonight doesn't look good either. Well, it does, but not because I'll be knitting.

Tonight I have a date with Himself here. We really never go anywhere without the girls, so it is a rare event. They are celebrating a new facility with a tour, beer and free bar-b-que. Their beer is awesome, the view is nice and I'm pretty sure I can easily eat my own weight in bar-b-que. Should be a nice night all around. Maybe I'll even try to work in some knitting when we get back. You know, if I'm not feeling too fuzzy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day Two

Woo-Hoo! Day two of blogging. Wow, the earth still spins & nothing seems to have frozen over. So far, so good.

I had to go to the doctor yesterday (an on-going wrist saga I will discuss some other time) and I met a woman sorting through her knitting bag looking for just the right project for the waiting room. She finally pulled out this lovely plum-colored scarf with a beaded pattern on the end. The pattern calls for the scarf to be knit in two pieces and joined in the middle. The beading pattern is on each end of the scarf. I know I've seen this pattern somewhere, but I just can't remember where. Anyone have any idea? Maybe I should just try looking myself. Nah, that would be too easy (or just too much fun). I think I might like to try it though, it was really pretty.

I've got two projects on the needles right now that I keep moving between. One is my first sock. I've finally gotten into the rhythm of the pattern, but I have yet to experience any sense of 'sock addiction' that I've heard others mention. We'll see how that goes as I get closer to finishing the darned thing(s).

My other project is a t-shirt style sweater. This one is killing me. The pattern is from a LYS and their sample is in a bunch of novlety/eyelash yarns. I wanted something much less, erm, fluffy and went with a Berocco Softwist yarn. Beautiful color, but now that I'm working on it I'm having many second thoughts. Not to mention questions. I have no idea how this puppy is supposed to fit when finished, so trying to guage size is a bit of a problem. One size will fit my bust (with room to spare), but will have to stretch to fit my hips. The next larger size will fit my hips comfortably, but my top half will be swimming in the thing. This sweater is knit in one piece from the front bottom to the back bottom, so while I've considered decreasing as I move towards the top, I'm not sure how to do it so that it doesn't look all freaky. I think that if I carefully mark my rows on the front, and maybe even do some seaming on the way as I finish the back, I might be able to make the increases/decreases match front to back. This is only my second sweater, though, and the other was a big, oversized winter sweater (Big Sack Sweater from SnB). Not sure my skills are up to this, then again, you learn new stuff by trying it out. Right?

Gah! I really don't want to get to the end of the sweater & have to rip the whole darned thing because it looks like a big blue sack when I put it on. I keep thinking if I knit slowly enough, inspiration will strike. Or maybe I'll drop 50 pounds and it will be easier to get a good fit.