Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nascar Knitting

It has been very busy on the knitting front lately.  I believe that I have mentioned before my my sweetie enjoys Nascar.  This past weekend was our local hosting of a Nascar event: the Brickyard 400.  (Technically, I think it is Crown Royal Brickyard 400, but I don't really keep up with the rotating sponsors.)

My job was to drive the 60 miles to the track at 7 in the morning, (Apparently, if you wait any longer, you risk being caught in the 100,000 or so of cars heading to the track that morning.) waiting until the one-way traffic barricades are removed to that I can drive back to the track to pick him up.  Him and his drunken friends.  It really is better that way.  They don't have to worry or monitor their alcohol consumption, or worry about the drive at the end of the evening. 

The plan means that I spend about ten hours wandering around Indianapolis.  I wasn't in the mood to go shopping, so I planned a day of hobby solitude: knitting, DVD's, and reading.  My mother's laptop was being temperamental, so the DVD's went un-played.  That meant that I did more reading than knitting.  I finished one book, and started another.  Even still Fuchsia Wave came out of exile on the dresser, and I completed a good six inches of the border. 

Which brings me to my ongoing concern.  This is the border, as completed so far.  

I started with a full skein.  I have completed one short side, and half of one long side. 

This is how much yarn I have left.  A smidgen left of the first border skein, one full skein, and one partial skein.

I have this increasing sense of doom that I will be staring at the end of my yarn long before I run out of edge to knit.

This is not an un-fixable problem.  I can rip out the border, and search border stitch encyclopedias for a skinnier border.

I keep telling myself that I will know more once I finish the first skein.

Today, it is all about the impending doom.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Over 5000 served

Yesterday, my blog counter tipped over 5,000.  For reasons I can't explain other than vanity, I am just tickled that people actually read what I have written.  And, I hope, find some amusement in it.  Someone other than my mother.  (Actually, my mother doesn't even read my blog.  She knows how to knit, but isn't a knitter.)

I glee with delight when I see a new country on the stats.  I swell with pride when I see a recurring country.  I smile with amazement when I see a country like Russia with numbers that almost reach my home country of America. 

Thank you for your patronage, my dedicated and intermittant readers.  I will continue to try to amuse and entertain. 

Today, it is all about the fans I still can't believe that I have. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Think twice, knit once

A few weeks ago, I said to myself that I wouldn't start anything new (read: the new Jane shawl) until I finished at least two things.  I meant Fuchsia Wave and Aurora Borealis, because starting another shawl when I already had two almost finished seemed like madness.  However, as I finished my Lacey in Red socks yesterday, I realized that I HAD reached the required "two" projects. 

So I gave myself permission to start the process.  Not start knitting, of course.  We are several steps away from that.  I am now allowed to fondle the yarn.  Pet it, as it speaks to me and tells me what it wants to be when it grows up.  I took the yarn to work, but didn't work on it.  I am not sure how this is a necessary part of the process, but it always seems to happen, so it must be. 

I have looked at the pattern, read the pattern several times, and skimmed other's comments about the pattern on Ravelry.  (Really, how did we ever function before Ravelry?  Oh, I remember, scores of knitters experienced the same issue with a pattern, then had to either give up, whine to a knitting friend, or muddle through on their own.)  I have tried not to be TOO distracted by other potential patterns, while keeping an open mind about what the yarns wants to become.   

As I become a more experienced knitter, I like to think that I am becoming a smarter knitter too.  A smart knitter doesn't blunder forward casting on with whatever pattern, yarn and needles happens to be closest to their hands at the time.  A smart knitter thinks about whether the yarn and the pattern will be right for each other.  Will this yarn work with the guage?  Will the yarn drape as the pattern intends?  Will the yarn color and pattern designs work together? 

Thinking, in theory, reduces the likelihood of knitting a few rows, then ripping them out entirely through tears of frustration. 

Even as I am going through this process with Jane, I blundered my way into a very small little pretty out of one lone partial skein of mohair.  Very small.  Hardly counts as a work in progress at all.  Row 3.  Major issues. 

Excuse me while I go rip out a very small piece of mohair.  No, I am not crying, the wind is making my eyes water. 

Today, it is all about the thinking.   

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Knitterly Pride

Last night we went to the County Fair, a first for my young children.  We rode together on the Ferris Wheel, then they were confident enough to ride alone on the kiddie rides, and with parents on the child rides.  We ate funnel cake and looked at animals ,big and small.  My three men indulged Mommy to take a dash through the Home Ec building. 

I was surprised how little there was of fiber arts in there.  Lots of quilts, food, clothes (sewed by school children) and scrapbooks, but little knitting.  I saw one be-ribboned lace shawl, and maybe a couple other random items, but that was about it.  I also saw a couple grand cross-stitches pieces.   (I own both of those patterns, now that I think on it.)

Can anyone enter pieces in the fair?  Can I?  How are other knitters not doing this?  Note to self: look into before the fair next year. 

I was able to exhibit my knitting a little this morning.  It was only 60 degrees this morning, which is quite out of the norm for July in Indiana.  With a grin on m y face, I planned my clothes according to which shawl I was going to wear.  It was a tight competition between Duchess and Aurora Borealis.  In the end, Aurora won, if only because it hasn't been worn yet. 

I draped it over my shoulders, and strutted over to the courthouse.  Tres chic.  I basked in the compliments and adoration heaped upon my shawl by some of the ladies that I routinely work with/around.  Aurora deserves it. 

A few weeks ago, it occured me to that I have four shawls/wraps either finished or in progress.  That is a lot of shawls.  There is an attorney in town that wears a lot of hats.  Bright spring/summer hats, darker autumn/winter hats.  She has a LOT of hats, and it has become a bit of her trademark.  I am going to turn shawls into my trademark. 

Or at least, that is my rationalization for making more shawls. 

Today, it is all about the exhibitionism. 

P.S.  The Fair meant no casting off of endless pink stitches.  Maybe tonight.        

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baby steps

One of my favorite things about knitting is the concept of incrementalism.  Knitting is composed entirely by a series of baby steps.  Stitch my stitch.  Row by row.  Every yarn over, knit, purl, increase and decrease work together to make the whole product.  Like the giant medieval trapestries where tiny stitches of colors form the portrait of a epic battle.  The journey of a thousand miles, highlighted by each individual step.

A couple rows here and there, day after day, week after week, can eventually produce a finished sock.  Not quickly, at that pace, but eventually.  

Lacey in Red is the perfect example of this concept.  For years, it has been my briefcase knitting.  Ok, there was a slight break during the Duchess obsession, but for the most part, this red sock has traveled around in my briefcase from courtroom to courtroom. A row here and there as I waited on judges or attorneys.

Today, I started the toe decreases on the second sock. There was a week or two of more determined effort, but the socks will probably be done today.  You know, except for Kitchnering.  

I had a picture, but I accidently deleted when I started typing.  It is on the home computer, so I will have to add it later. 

Today, it is all  about the NON-endless end.

P.S.  Cast off more sttiches of the pink ruffle last night.  Still have thousands to go.      

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Long Goodbye

It is a little difficult to see in the picture, but I have started casting off the pink ruffle.  Ont he right side of the pic, you can see the couple hundred stitches, off the needles, in all their rufflely glory.  On the left side of the picture, you can see the seveal thousand stitches waiting on the needles. 

This is going to take a while.  Prepare for several weeks of casting off pictures. 

It is too soon to tell the overall proportions, but right now, the ruffle is flowing nicely, but isn't curling at the edge. 

Knitter like. 

Today, it is all about the endless end. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Last

At long last, I am on the LAST row of Pretty in Pink.  The last 3,000+ stitch row.  The last endless 3000+ stitch row. 

That is like saying that I am on the last 20 rows of a sweater.  Or I am halfway through the foot of the second sock. 

How can the last row seem so loooooong from the end? It really is a cruel irony. 

I have decided that casting off will feel like the true end is in sight. 

Unless I decide that the ruffle isn't long enough.  Then I will have to tink back the last two seed stitch rows and continue on.  Or kill myself.  Same difference. 

Today, it is all about the endless end. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Last night was Knitter-vention.  I showed off my too-long shawl, and turned a deaf ear to all observations that while the shawl was too long for my petite frame, it was the perfect size for [fill in the blank of a taller knitter]. 

Hand's off, ladies, this is an easy fix. 

Armed with a pint of Magners, I girded my loins, and prepared to rip out two feet of knitting. 

It took a while, but finally I was ready to re-bind off.  If I had brought the needles, that is.  Theresa came to my rescue (thanks again for the loaner!), and before long, I had a perfectly-sized shawl.   

Ta da!  Isn't it lovely?

The yarn did soften after its bath, and I can't wait for cooler evenings so I can take it out and play with it. 

The pattern was almost laughably easy, though appears to be more complex. 

All in all, I am very pleased. 

And I still have 2+ balls of Noro left.  What to do?

How much longer do you think my boys will get so excited to pose with knitting? 

I worked on Lacey in Red the rest of the night.  A socks whose time has come to finish.  I would have to check to be certain, but I am pretty sure that I started this sock when Bugaboo was a baby. He turns 5 next week.  That is just shameful. 

I AM halfway through the foot on the second sock, but still . . . .absolutely disgraceful. 

Today, it is all about the disgrace. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Christmas in July

I have buy more yarn.  It isn't like I want to.  I HAVE to. 

I love it when I HAVE to buy yarn.  It is like having your child's birthday party in the middle of your diet.  The perfect, undeniable excuse to do what you really want to do, but no you really shouldn't. 

I have been working on Spring Haven at the office, and I have run out of yarn. The scarf is just under three feet long.  That is nowhere near an adult-sized scarf, so obviously, I have to buy more yarn.  It is a Christmas present for my Mother-in-law, so I have to buy yarn without delay. 

The next scarf will be a Christmas present for my mother, so maybe I should buy that yarn as well.  Why, yes, my oldest child does have a birthday coming up.  Why do you ask?

I did resist the temptation to bring the sage mohair yarn with me today, to have it wound into cakes or balls or something.  I will not start Jane until I finish two of my WIP's.  I am resolved.  And taking a step like winding the yarn into balls might prove my undoing.  There is too much fondling of yarn that takes place during that process. 

Today, it is all about the perfect excuses. 


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Usual Suspects

After a month of all Aurora all the time, I am slowly returning to my usual knitting multi-tasking.  I worked on a sock a little at the office.  I finished the heel and started on the foot.  The Unnamed Red Sock.  That doesn't really work, does it?  I am halfway through the second sock, and never named it?  Lacey in Red.  Good enough.   

I worked on Pretty in Pink at home. Almost through the second needle, on the second to the last row before bind off.  I measured the cone, last night, and this yarn-sucking ruffle used about 1/2 inch off the cone.  I still have 1 3/4 inches left.  Plenty to make something else with it.  Must think on that. 

I didn't pick up Fuchsia Wave, but her time is coming soon. 

I am sorely tempted to start in on Jane shawl, but I am not giving in to that temptation, until I finish two other nearly finished projects.  In my post-Duchess high, I really did go overboard with a full-on case of startitis, and it is time to reign in.  My work in progress bag runneth over.

I could not bring myself to rip out Aurora.  I was too tired to concentrate last night, and ripping out inches will probably require a glass or two of wine as anesthesia.  For me, not the shawl. 

Today, it is all about the Finish-itis.         

Monday, July 8, 2013

Good news, Bad news

The bad news is . . .  that yarn has lost it's magical qualities.  I outed it.  I exposed its magic to the world wide web, and the government men in monochromatic suits came and swapped the yarn.  Or maybe it was old wizards in long robes.  I can't say, my memory was swiped clean in the process.  I never had a magic ball of yarn.  It was ordinary all along. 

The good news is . . . I finished my Aurora Borealis shawl.  I wass so excited, I gave it a bath and blocked it within 12 hours of binding off. 

The bad news. . . . after blocking, I have to accept a harsh reality.  At 8 1/2 feet, it is really too long.    Either that, or I am too short.  (Bloody hell, it is Duchess all over again.)  I can't do anything about my petite stature, but I can do something about my apparent inability to remember that I am not 5 foot 8 inches.  Not in time for this shawl, of course, but I do have a solution. 

The bad news is . .  I am going to rip out and re-bind off.  It will be painful, but it really will be the best thing for the shawl.  I don't want to worry about dragging edges every time I wear the thing. 

The good news is. . . I will have a ball or two of Noro left over to make something else.  After I get over the trauma, that is. 

Today, it is all about the good, the bad, and the beautiful. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Magic Ball of Yarn

Once again, knitting has smacked me down for my pride and vanity.   I have entered some sort of knitting black hole.  I knit and knit, for hours, and the ball of yarn doesn't seem to get any smaller. 

I have been screaming along at warp speed on Aurora for a month now, so it was bound to happen sometime. 

Just over two hours of knitting last night at Knitter-vention, and I left still knitting on the same [expletive deleted] ball of yarn with which I started.  The tiny little ball that I wound after the skein was too empty to maintain structure as a skein.  The one that I thought I was "certainly" finish last night, and planned to get halfway through the last ball.  My shawl kept growing and growing, but the ball didn't get any smaller. 

The shawl is now 6 feet 9 inches.  I had to stand on a stool and stretch my arm to the ceiling to hold it up.  Inch after inch, stripe after stripe, the shawl grew, the ball remained. 

Wait!  I have discovered a magic ball of yarn.  A magic ball of Noro!  You can knit and knit, and the ball never gets smaller.  Shawls, hats, scraves, sweaters, all from the same ball of yarn.

I think I will knit a sweater next.  Then I will knit a shawl for Teresa.  Assuming the ball of yarn keeps its magical powers. 

Today, it is all about the magic. 


Monday, July 1, 2013


Yesterday was shorter than I anticipated.  Not the whole day, of course.  The day was still 24 hours as usual, but my alone portion of the day was only five hours.  Still, five hours is more free time than I ever see at once, so I wasn't going to quibble. 

I built myself a little nest:  a cocktail ( I don't normally imbibe in the afternoon, but this was a special occasion), a bowl of Doritoes (not on my diet these days, but again, special occasion), my Aurora Borealis shawl, my cross-stitch, and my remote control. 

I only had time to watch the unaired pilot and first season.  Well, most of the first season.  I didn't quite finish episode 3.  I can't speak for Benedict Cumberbatch, but I enjoyed myself. 

Since I had neglected it for years, I started working on my Monet Waterlilies cross stitch.  It is incredibly intricate and challenging.  You only work one 10 by 10 block at a time, and those 100 stitches are difficult enough.  The colors are almost imperceptibly different from each other, so you really can't tell what you have done and what you haven't, except on a stitch by stitch basis.  I completed one block (only 7 by 10, it was on the edge of the page), and started another, before I started needing colors that I hadn't bought yet.  So far, I had only been working on a great big patch of mottled blue, with the occasional swirl of gray or lavender.  But I can come to the first rock/lilypad, and hadn't bought any of those colors yet. 

I thought that I had made a healthy re-start on the stitching, and moved onto Aurora.  I cranked out another ball of yarn on that shawl, before I heard the joyous peals of my children's return. 

Tonight is Knitter-vention, and I am very close to the last ball of yarn for the shawl.  I will no doubt start that last ball tonight, though finishing it may be overly ambitious.  I was only joking when I wrote it last week, but his shawl may really be finished by the 4th of July. 

Which leads me to the need for an apology.  Last week, I wished for a cold snap over the holiday, so I could wear the shawl.  And now, the entire midwest is experiencing temperatures 15 degrees below normal.  No swimming this weekend, I was too busy pulling out hoodies for the boys.  Brrr.  I apologize to the entire midwest for my thoughtless and selfish wish, and humbly request the return of summer.  I understand that Arizona has heat to spare. 

Today, it is all about humility