Monday, February 25, 2013

Nascar and Lace

I don't think that I am going out on a limb here, to say that my husband is about half Redneck.  He likes guns and hunting.  He drinks beer and whiskey.  His favorite colors are Harley orange and black, chrome and camoflage.  He likes his motorcycle and truck.  He likes cars, especially fast cars.  So, of course, he likes Nascar.

This past weekend was the Daytona 500, the season opener for Nascar.   The "Superbowl of Nascar".  I don't get how the first race of the season is likened to the Superbowl, but those are questions that I don't care enough to ask. 

As usual, our local American Legion was having a little bash, that my sweetie was instrumental in managing.  I arranged daycare for our little tykes, and joined him.  I had some skin in the game (a whole $5), so that made me mildly interested in the race.  Plus, I earned brownie points for "quality time" with the hubby at an event I have only passing interest. 

I was the only person knitting during the race.  After a six week hiatus, I brought Black Rose back into the active queue.  I completed five rows during the race.  That may not sound like much, but for a project like Black Rose, that is a 5k run.  I am within a few rows of where I had to pull the lifeline before.  In spite of the race, people milling around and other distractions, I followed the directions without mishap.  Maybe I just needed to practice a little more lace (ahem, Fuchsia Wave) before returning to Rose. 

Today, it is all about the practice. 

P.S.  My driver did not place in a paying spot.  :-(  My sweetie's driver was taken out in that wreck in the first 25 laps.  Dead last is a paying spot, you at least get your $5 back, but his driver got his car fixed and back on the track long enough to take work his way out of last place.  I had a difficult time convincing my sweetie that it was not a personal thing against him.   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm Gonna Need a Bigger Needle

For an allegedly intelligent woman, I am shockingly dense about some knit things.  For instance, I have repeatedly been oblivious to the fact that only a certain number of stitches can fit on a needle, be it straight or circular. 

This problem has been increased with the popularity of ruffles.  I start a ruffle.  The stitches fit.  Increase.  Knit.  Increase.  Oh, dear.  As each increase row doubles the stitches, it doesn't take long to become overcrowded. 

I am encountering this problem with Pretty In Pink.  (I didn't bother with another picture.  Look at the last one, then mentally add a half inch.)  The stitches fit fine on the needle.  A bit crowded, but workable.  But after I finish the current row, I am going to go from 410 stitches to 820.  The end count will be over 3000.  (I know, I know.  Prepare now for stitch number rants in the near future.)

I think it may be time for me to invest in some interchangable circular needles.    Extra long cables.  I understand that some even have cables that you can stack together end to end, for those knitters that are stupid ambitious enough to do ruffles or edges on all three/four sides of a garment.

I know that there are a number of different brands.  Thoughts from the peanut gallery?  Likes?  Dislikes?  I am particularly picky about my joins.  And I like lace knitting, so I want very pointy points.  I usually like metal, but I am not anti-wood.  I don't like plastic, though its stickiness on slick yarn is tolerated.   

Today, it is all about the advice. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mommy's Time Out

Last night was Knitter-vention, my twice monthly Mommy's Time Out.  Two hours away from work and family, sipping a pint of cider, chatting with other knitters, and happily knitting away on the project of my choosing.  Bliss!

Last night, I spent the entire 75 minutes (my sweetie was late getting home to watch the kids so I could leave) in less than knitting bliss, but I did get some tedious knitting chores done. 

I purled the provisional stitches on the first short side of Fuchsia Wave.  The directions said to knit, but apparently I started picking up stitches backward, and adjusted accordingly.  I see an impending reversal of direction after the stitches are picked up in their entirety, and I am not sure how I am going to work thoat one, but I am choosing to drive off that bridge when I come to it. 

Unable to bear the thought of picking up more stitches that evening, I set Fuchsia Wave aside.  I am at the halfway mark, I will save the rest for another fun-filled evening. 

Instead, because apparently I thought that I hadn't suffered enough, I picked up Black Rose.  Poor Rose had been untouched since I had to go back to my lifeline.  As it turns out, itty bitty black yarn is not easily transferred from the lifeline thread onto itty bitty needles.   I am not certain why I thought mediocre lighting and alcohol would improve this task, and yet there I was.  I finished just as it was time to head home. 

On the drive, I realized that the company of knit-minded companions made both tedious tasks a little brighter.  Or it could have been the VIVID ORANGE blanket that someone was knitting next to me.  It was the shade of orange that was enough to sear your eyes, but I am still going with the knitters. 

Either way, Black Rose is ready for the next row. 

Today, it is all about the brightness. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

After my little nutty

Ok, for regular readers (both of them) of my blog, you may have noticed that I staged a little nutty a few days ago.  I was driven over the edge by endless stitches waiting to be picked up, mind-boggling lace and never-ending ruffles.  We will forget for the moment that I CHOSE all of those projects.

So, over the weekend, I picked up Fuchsia Wave to start picking up the other long side of stitches.  Only then did I realize that I had only picked up HALF the first long side.  HALF the stitches that I had thought I picked up.

I was particularly proud of myself for not losing it again.  That would have been bad in front of the children, after all.  Instead, I just spent a few hours picking up the other half.

Then I worked more on Pretty in Pink.  An inch and a half completed.  420 stiches at present.  Three more rows until the number of stitches doubles again.

At least the gauge is correct.  Not that gauge is critical for a scarf, but the result is loose enough to be pleasantly drape-y without being so loose that the stitches are gape-y.  And I believe that I have avoided a ruffle that is so tight it resembles a corkscrew.

Tonight is Knitter-vention.  So I hope to knock out a healthy chunk out of Fuchsia Wave again. 

After an unsuccessful attempt at potty-training one of my uber-stubborn children, Mommy definitely needs a few hours knitting.   

Today, it is all about the nutty avoidance.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Oh, what new sweet hell is this?

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I enjoy knitting.  Normally, I smile as I knit, and feel the stress and tension of the day leave my body, mind, and soul with each stitch.  The soft click of the needles marches the thumps of my heart, and for one moment of time, the worries of the world slip away. 

Then there are weeks like this, when I think that knitting truly casts doubt on my sanity. 

Monday night was Knit Night.  Over 90 minutes (I was running a bit late) of uninterrupted knitting time, and all I was able to accomplish was picking up the 180 stitches on the long side of Fuschia Wave.  The short sides have an provisional cast on, so it is just a matter of switching the stitches from the waste yarn to the circular needle.  (My first ever use of the provisional cast on, so there may be a hidden disaster lurking.)  But the remaining 180 stitches on the other long side hang over my head like a thundercloud in July.  I just haven't been able to bring myself to work on it since. 

Then last night, I realized I was setting myself up for a similar situation with Pretty In Pink.  I started the second increase row one evening, worked on it a second evening, and realized I am only halfway through the row.  Then I glanced at the directions, and read that there were several more increase rows.  According to my math, I will end up with more than 3000 stitches after the final increase. 

3000+ stitches for a bloody scarf!  What I am thinking?  Have I lost all sense of reality?  Tiny yarn, tiny needles, millions of stitches.  Charts and symbols and stitches, oh my!

Where are my socks?  There must be a couple socks in progress here! Still tiny yarn, but only 60 stitches to the row. 

Today, it is all about the knitting nutty. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I cleaned out the yarn cabinet last weekend, and made some pleasant discoveries. 

I found sock yarn that I didn't remember buying.  Pretty sock yarn.  I may have to step up the sock knitting so I can finish one of the two in progress, so I can start another. 

I also found a nearly finished sock.  Twisted Tweed, both socks are finished except for (altogether now) Kitchener-ing the toes.  How do I finish a sock then forget about it?  I have no explanation. 

I rearranged things, pulled some abandoned WIP's to a more accessible place.  (My sweetie hasn't asked about his hoodie lately, but I really should finish that soon.)  It has only been a couple years now. 

I also found some sage green semi solid mohair-ish lace weight that I do remember buying, but hadn't decided what it wanted to be yet. 

If you haven't explored the depths of your stash lately, I highly recommend it.  Plan your expedition now.  Who knows what forgotten treasures await? 

Today, it is all about the also founds. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Not exactly portable

I couldn't resist.  Instead of picking up hundreds of stitches on the circumferance of Fuchsia Wave, I started something new yesterday. 

I started the Romantic Ruffle Scarf (ravelry link).  I have had this cone of laceweight pink yarn forever, and I am finally doing something with it.  The common problems that others have seemed to have with this pattern is too tight of ruffles, so I am knitting on Size 5 needles.  I want a nice light, airy feel to the scarf.  

The good news is that I don't think I have to worry about running out of yarn.  The bad news is that giant cone isn't exactly portable.  I could just wind off a ball, but why create joins where none need exist, especially of a whisper-light ruffle scarf that is going to eat of the yardage.  

Today, it is all about the airy.   

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sneaky pattern

Yesterday, I finished the last repeat of Fuchsia Wave, so I was ready to join the two pieces.  I dug out a darning needle, and started following the joining directions. 

It didn't take me long to realize that I was doing the Kitchener stitch.  Those sneaky dogs!  I hate Kitchener.  I understand it's value as a seamless joining method, but I just don't like doing it. 

It is the wrong kind of needle, it takes forever, it is the subject of procrastination for nearly finished socks. 

I guess that is one way to not procrastinate with Kitchener: don't put it at the very end.  So up and down my needle went.  Knit front, purl back, blah, blah, blah.  80 stitches on each needle, 160 total, 2 needle movements per stitch. . . I had to maeuver that little needle 320 times.  324 techinically, once you count the set up stitches. 

And why is it that I always have one stitch leftover?

It took all evening, but I finally finished.  That meant that I was finally able to try on the borderless shawl.  It is very warm and cozy.  Nicely sized to snuggle around my shoulders.  A bit too bukly to use a shawl pin, but I don't think that will be a problem. 

I wasn't even going to consider starting to pick up all the border stitches last night, so I did a couple rows on my Invisibility Cloak.  I hate these plastic needles, but the yarn is super slick, and my usual metal ones are too slippery for sanity.  I should probably look at bamboo or wood for these, but just haven't gotten around to it. 

So the goal for the day is to pick up the 640 stitches for the Fuchsia border.

Unless I get tempted by something else.  See, there is the lovely pink yarn in the cabinet, and it started calling for me this morning. . . .

Today, it is all about the pick up artist. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Almost Human

Ever have one of those days when you feel like you put in a full day at work, plus overtime, and it isn't even noon yet?  Up too early, in the office too early, too many trials scheduled too close together for comfort. . . .

That was my morning.  This afternoon, I took drastic action.  After a good lunch, I sprinkled an half hour brisk walk and a half hour's worth of knitting into the afternoon.

Take a few phone calls.  Knit for 15 minutes.  Meet with a client.  Take my walk.  Sort through a few emails.  Knit for 15 minutes.

I feel almost human again.  And there are only a bit over two repeats left on Fuchsia Wave.

Today, it is all about the humanity. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

2nd and 5

I had a plan.  It involved the Superbowl party at the local American Legion.  A babysitter was arranged, so I could watch the commericals game without constant interruption, earn brownie points with my sweetie, and stay til the end (long past toddler bedtime) to ensure my sweetie had a sober driver. 

Since he would inevitably be running some of the events down there throughout the game, I planned a superbowl-length knitting marathon.  I had such high hopes.  I could finish the second half of the body on Fuchsia Wave, maybe even start on the border.  I went out an bought a size six circular needle, convinced that I would need it on Sunday night. 

That was the plan.

Then my sweetie was sick on Saturday, and Bugaboo started vomiting overnight.  Change of plans.  Our immediate family entered strict quarantine.  I figured Doodlebug and I were sicky time bombs just waiting to explode, and didn't want to expose anyone needlessly to our germs. 

So Sunday, I spent the day doing the massive amount of laundry required to fight diabolical germs.  Since I was cleaning in the kids' rooms anyway, I decided to do it right.  I emptied every toy box, moved furniture, sorted stray tinkertoys and legos into their proper homes, and created a massive pile of old toys for a springtime garage sale.  

Great for my sense of accomplishment, but the one thing I didn't have much time for was my knitting.  A little during the second half, and a little during my Downton Abbey break (Poor Lady Sybil.  :-(  Still makes me tear up.)  from the footbal game, but not very much at all. 

And yet, I mysteriously keep making progress.  2nd down, 5 yards to go.  Er, I mean 2nd body piece, 5 repeats to go.   

Today, it is all about the final countdown. 

P.S.  No one else in the family got sick.  Whew.  Dodged that bullet.