Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How many is that?

As we did our usual " what's on your needles?" circle around the room at Knittervention last night. When it was my turn, I proudly held up Celtic Sage: a lace shawl. 

"How many do you have now?"  Lace shawls? Um, four. I didn't bother asking if they meant finished or unfinished, because the answer is ironically the same. 

Is that excessive?  Have I become a one trick knitter? I have other techniques In progress. Color work. Shaping. Socks. Afghans. Sweaters. Yet I keep coming back to the lace. I am sure there is a symbolic message in there, but I am too tired to identify it. (Long story. Mother in law. Middle of the night phone call. Emergency visit to treat a fever. Not fun.). 

Tonight, it is all about the single focus. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last possible minute

The Christmas knitting was timely this year. Mostly. I finished both sets of fingerless mitts with time to spare. That triumph made me cocky. 

I started the coffee mug cozy and nearly finished it, weeks ahead of schedule. Plenty of time before Christmas Eve, so I let myself get distracted by other projects. Working ahead of schedule is usually when the wheels come off the wagon. 

So fast forward to Christmas Eve. There I was, knitting on the drive up. And knitting before the meal. And after the meal. I did finish just before the bingo started. Good thing, since this was intended to be one of the bingo gifts. I think that was the closest I have ever cut to a knitting deadline, and still made the deadline. (The Christmas present that was finished the following July doesn't count.)

So now we get to my distraction.  
Celtic Sage. Six inches long, and already breathtaking. I have only completed the border, and started the stockinette center section. Eventually, there will be an intricate center motif. Something tells me I am long way from that point. 

From past experience, I am starting to worry about whether or not I will have enough yarn. So far, I still have a ball of yarn that is five inches in diameter. (Diameter, not circumference.) and I still have two more hanks.  I will worry about screwing up the center motif. Plenty of time to worry about yarn later. 

Today, it is all about choosing the worries. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Revolt

I have been very good about focusing Christmas knitting and 2 for 1 vow.  Four fingerless mitts completed (except for the weaving ends) and one coffee mug cozy nearly completed. So it was only predictable that such focus and monogamy would result in a rebellion.  
This isn't Christmas knitting, and it is not nearly finished, so isn't rushing to be a finished object for the 2 for 1 vow. It is actually the least completed of all of the works in progress. And yet, this is what I have been working on for the past week. 

Today, it is all about being a rebel. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Unworthy knits

Two project nearing completion.  So close . . .

Seafoam Stripes is down to the last half skein.  The last few inches.  Which has me thinking more and more what to do with it, when I am finished.   I started this shawl years ago, before I learned how to knit lace.  The design is very simple, but not in a classic sense.  Just boring.  And I am not even all that wild about the color anymore.

I may keep it for a while, to decide for certain, but I am leaning towards donating it.

I want me knitting to be something that warms my heart, as well as my body.  When I wear something I have made, I want it to make me walk a little taller, and feel like a compliment of it is honest, not just polite.  A couple weeks ago, I wore Aurora Borealis to the theatre.  A woman in the parking garage complimented me, and asked where I had bought it, or if someone had made it for me.  You can imagine my pride when I said that I had knitted it myself.  And I believe her.

I don't think Seafoam Strips will make me feel the same.  I don't think I love it, so I don't think I will wear it like it deserves to be worn.  But someone out there may fall in love with it, and I feel like the best thing would be to release the shawl, for someone else to find.   

Btw, I almost wore Fuchsia Wave to the theatre, but it was too scratchy on my bare arms.  How did I not notice that with the knitting?  Are my fingers less sensitive than my arms?

Today, it is all about the release. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thanks, mom.

Just when I thought I was progressing nicely on Christmas knitting, my mother stepped in. 

 She sent a mug home with my darling Doodlebug, to remind me that I had promised to knit several mug cozies for exchange gifts. That was months ago! How could she possibly remember that in April she and I saw a cute sweater-type cozy for a mug, and I volunteered to make a few? We will leave the question of why I would volunteer to go this for another day. 

Today, it is all about the volunteer's remorse.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014


The Christmas presents are professing nicely. The first week, and the first mitt is over halfway finished. 
I estimate I have ten to twelve weeks in total to complete four mitts. So. . . That is three weeks each. 

Plenty of time to allow for screw up, digressions and my general knitting ADD.

Today, it is all about the deadlines.  

Friday, October 3, 2014


I decide that the gift vow had a firm deadline: the last day of School before Christmas. No one will know or care  if  the 2 for. 1 vow is a bit delayed.
So I have started the first of two sets of fingerless mitts. Two boys. Two teachers. Four fingerless mitts. 

Today, it is all about the early planning. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

The choice between two vows

I am holding true to the 2 for 1 vow.   I have mostly been concentrating on Seafoam Stripes, with a little of the hunting mittens thrown in when something more portable is desired. Seafoam Stripes is down to the last half skein. The shawl is around five feet long, but I have learned from the mistakes of shawls past. I am knitting til I run out of run OR six feet. There will not be another nine foot shawl in my future. Though, Theresa has maintained her magnanimous offer to take any shawls that are sized for a much taller woman.

I also have been remembering my vow not to procrastinate on the holiday gifts, and start no later than  October 1st.

Except that the day after tomorrow, unless I can magically finish something, I am about to see my two vows collide. Do I start the gifts, or wait until I finish something, anything.

Today, it is all about the conflicts.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Another one, that doesn't count

I finished another knit in progress, but it doesn't really count.  It was a placemat, which is really one of a set.  So I have permission to start the next placemat, but doesn't count towards the 2 for 1 vow.

It is already the end of September, and this year, I am not forgetting about the teacher gift knitting until a week before school ends, like last year. I really wanted to start the teacher gift by October. That is next week.  I need to finish something else by next week.  

This vow has had an interesting side effect.  Usually, I am more likely to work on the more recent projects, the ones with recent excitement and enthusiasm.  The older a project is, the more likely I am to feel like it is a chore.  But since older projects are more likely to be closer to completion, I have been digging to the bottom of the knitting bag lately.  In doing so, I have been re-discovering some love for these. 

Yes, Seafoam Stripes was started years before I learned how to make lace. But it is still a shawl. Still a pretty color. Simple in design, but still lovely. Not as striking as the later attempts, but still a warm  and snuggly shawl.  

Today, it is all about the snugglyness. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Minus one, finally

Four scarves for charity are finally finished, so I can finally subtract one from the list. Down to 19 works in progress. That is still a lot of WIP's, but I can finally subtract a number, without adding any more. I think I can feel secure there are no more little projects tucked away out of view anymore.

Time to start chipping away at the number. Ironically, the oldest projects are the closest to completion, so are the ones I am working on the most.

Today, it is all about the number fixation.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

3/4 step forward, 1 step back

Charity scarf #3 is finished. Charity scarf #4 is more than half done

Just when I thought I was almost making progress, I discovered . . .

20.  Take two of the pink ruffled scarf. I can't figure out how such a large cone was able to hide so effectively, but there it was.

Every time I think I am making progress on reducing the number of works in progress, i find more

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Today it is all about the backward movement.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My new favorite day

Wednesdays are now my favorite day of the week.

My oldest has started classes. In my day, they were called CCD classes. Now I think they are "religious education".  I have been telling Bugaboo they are his communion classes.  Whatever the title, my oldest has started the path to become a Catholic.

The classes are a little over an hour. I dropped him off, then settled onto a little bench in the lovely green between the church and the school. (There used to be a street there, filed in decades ago, and now just grass and roses. )  And knit.  One hour and fifteen minutes of knitting, every Wednesday.

This is going to be a hardship: You don't have to worry about it, sweetie. I will take him to the classes every week.

Shhhhh.  Don't tell my sweetie I am getting 75 minutes every week of knitting time.  He might try to muck it up.

Charity scarf #3 and #4 are both half done.

Christmas knitting is quickly approaching. I have to finish two projects in time to start Christmas knitting.

Today, it is all about the new favorite day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

In all fairness

My last post included why the most recent start up didn't count as a new start up.  Charity, fraternal twin, etc. 

So finishing it doesn't count as a finished object either.  Fair is fair.  It puts my number back down to 19, but it won't count as one on the 2 for 1 vow.  Not until all four scarves are done.  Two and a half completed.

Down to 19.  At Knittervention this past Monday, there was some discussion of our numbers.  Our numbers of works in progress.  It reminded me the single gal discussions with my bestie of the number of men each of us had slept with.  I won't reveal my number of THAT publically, but it is lower than my knitting number.

At Knittervention, some numbers are low, some were medium, mine was the highest.  I was the slut at the party.  The Knitting slut.  Rather dubious honor.

Today, it is all about the highest number.     


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The charity exception

Last week, I wrote about a vow that I would absolutely, under no circumstances, start another project until I finished two. 

That is a great vow, except that last weekend, I started something new.  This does not violate the vow, and I will explain why.

First, it was a scarf that I will be donating to charity.

Second, it is the fraternal twin to a scarf (for charity) that is currently sitting on my desk at my office.  If that scarf had been home last weekend, I would have knit on it and this never would have happened.

Third, it was working towards another vow, that I had not yet publicly disclosed: stash reduction.  

I have a lot of yarn in the stash.  Mostly great yarns, and a few mediocre yarns.  Some of them have been languishing in the yarn cabinet for years, yearning to be knit, tempting me with ideas.  The yarns don't deserve to be neglected in this manner. 

And if I didn't already have enough, last Knittervention, this large bag full of yarn followed me home.  (Thanks Theresa!) 

I thought I showed admirable restraint.  There was a giant bag of yarn that was free to a good home, and I only came home with a large bag.  I have ideas for this yarn.  A couple of gifts, a blanket for charity, and a couple more dishclothes for the house (cuz who doesn't need a few more dishclothes at some point in the future.) 

The burgundy charity yarn was one of four (in purple and burgundy) that I received at the yarn store gift exchange last year, which I immediately decided to make into four scarves for charity. 

So, that is why that new scarf doesn't really count, even though it makes 20 projects that I have in progress right now. 

Today, it is all about the charitable exclusion. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The 2 for 1 vow

19. Dishclothes. I have two or three in progress, but they are all identical, kept in various places, as emergency knitting.

I think that I have finally listed ALL of my WIP's. My knitting addiction has been stripped bare an exposed on the internet.  For all the world to see, or at least my three loyal readers.  And since the internet offers the protection of anonymity, I confessed my WIP's at Knittervention last night. Well, mostly confessed. I admitted that I had counted my projects, and it was in the double digits. That is close enough, right? This led to other's confessions, as well.  The highest number was five.  Amateurs!

So, it is definitely time for that 2 for 1 vow I made last week. I finish two projects, before I am allowed to start one. If I continue that vow, at some point, I will make measurable progress on reducing the number of things in progress. Not to zero, of course. That would be unrealistic, and a few different projects in progress is necessary. Challenging lace, portable socks, brainless something.   Several is good; 19 is excessive.

Next time: I will confess about the recent yarn acquisitions.

Today, it is all about the excess.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Not your grandmother's knitting

When I am knitting a shawl or socks at the courthouse, I get lots of questions asking what I am knitting.  Now that I am knitting a sexy little halter, no a single query.

I am loving the halter. I have finished the bodice, and small picking up the stitches to start working down the belly.  What could go wrong?

Other than running out of yarn, I mean. I have two full skeins, and two half skeins. Plenty of yarn, right? I would have been less worried ten years ago, before children. Back in the day when a little bare midriff was not a concern.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I missed some projects in my last post.

17.  A pretty purple lacey scarfy hood.

18.  Merry berry shawl. An early shawl attempt, still quite nice, but not as dramatic as the Lacie shawls.

Ok, I am starring to feel like I really do have a problem.  18 projects going at once is really too much, even for a non-monogamous knitter. I mean, variety is one thing, but knitting ADD is another.

So I am making my vow now, for all the world to see.  I will not start another project until I finish some. I figure one new project for every two competed.

Today, it is all about the vow.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The first step is admitting that you have a problem

At Knittervention on Monday, we were talking about projects in progress, and one person pointed out that I have a lot of knitting for special places: briefcase knitting, desk knitting, etc. one apparently all too observant person pointed out how much knitting is in my desk at work. Is three projects too many within arms reach of my desk chair?

So this got me thinking about my WIP's . . .and I have decided to bare all.  I have decided to list my WIP's in a public forum. All of them. No matter how long neglected. (Deep breath. ) here goes:

1. Cotton halter. Still unnamed. Recent, good progress, no issues. Yea!

2.  Colorwork mittens. Also still unnamed. Neglected past couple weeks, but still progressing reasonably well.

3. Placemat. Mindless by nature, so limited to practically brain dead knitting times. (Why waste alert knitting times on something brainless, especially something that will eventually have chocolate milk stains?)

4.  Swirl skirt. Recently frogged, and not yet re-started.

5. Celtic Sage. Neglected for the past month, possibly longer. There is a problem that I need to get passed, and I know I can, I just haven't yet.

6. Shuturgal socks. Neglected for a least six months, possibly longer. Ever since I discovered lace, I have abandoned sock knitting. For no good reason, really. I used to love socks. I loved knitting them; I loved wearing them. There should be room in my knitting life for socks and lace.

7.  Charity socks. They have been in my briefcase for a while. I take them out once in a while, but realistically, I average a few rows per week. If that. This will take a while at that pace.

8.  Burgundy charity scarf. Started a few months ago. It sits on my desk. A do a few rows here and there, mostly when listening to voicemail or on hold. Really, a few concentrated hours would see this one finished.

9.  Laughing bird scarf. Also sitting on my desk at the office. Neglected for months. Warm weather simply does not encourage scarf knitting.

10. (Oh my! Double digits, and I am not near done.). Black rose. Neglected at least a year. There was a problem, and I am afraid that I might need to rip back to my lifeline. That IS what lifelines are for, but it is a huge hassle. A year's delay doesn't help, but there it is.

11. Big Purple. That afghan for my Mother-in-law. It is big, or will be, if I can get past the first foot.  Aphgans are just so big, even on size 10 needles.

12. Hunting mittens. Since I finished two fraternal kittens, and had to make another pair that matches the first is I have two identical pairs, I should get some credit here.

13.  Invisibility cloak. One inch completed. Neglected at least six months. Moving on.

14.  Sea foam wrap. Something I started years ago, before I knew what real shawls were. The only reason to finish would be to finish. I would probably donate to charity, as I have further interest in either the yarn or the shawl.

15.  Cool work pillow. This was primarily started to learn color work. I have got the basics down, but I am only a few inches in the first pillow out of a set of two.

16.  My sweetie's hoodie. Oh, god, his hoodie. Neglected for years. Really, my sweetie deserves  better.

Oh, maybe this was a bad idea. But I was at a yarn store, and successfully resisted the temptation to buy more yarn. I mean, this exhibition was only about. the works in progress. It doesn't even count the stash.

I really have to finish a few of these before starting anything new.

Today it is all about the exhibitionism and resolutions.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Can't measure THAT in public

This halter top is challenging me in new ways of trying on as I go. I literally have to go topless to make sure that all the lines and edges cover what they should. So far, it shows a wee bit more upper chest than expected, but not so much that I will be mistaken for Mylie Cyrus.

I am loving the pattern, but I am already thinking about changes to make for a second time.  Maybe I should finish the first one first.  .  .  The number of neglected WIP's is shocking enough, without adding sequels.

So, I have finished the front of the bodice, and starting wrapping around the sides to the back. One side nearly completed, so I have started in on the other side, to keep them roughly equal, til they meet at the back.

Today, it is all about meeting in the middle.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blog, and ye shall find

Cancel the milk cartons. I found my missing postie note. Just when I was going to have to start winging it, there it was, on my desk, among the boring work-related postie notes.


So I am safely back on track with my halter top. I have placed the marker for the strap, and will be doing the decreases.

So far the two pieces are identical. The size seems right, but it have long since learned not to let knitting lead me down that particular path of possible delusion.

Today, it is all about the search.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Memory test

Has anyone seen a stray postie note? Perhaps one with some notes on it about a knitted bodice? I took careful notes while I was knitting on Monday at Knittervention.  I knew that I had to make the mirror image exactly. All details on two little postie notes on the pattern.

Except now, one of the postie notes is missing. The one from the second half. The one that had any and all modifications to the pattern.

Now I am going to have to trust my memory.

I am doomed!

Today, it is all about missing notes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ignore me while I shape

I was working on the Skimpy Halter Top at Knittervention last night. It is a good thing 9 Irish Brothers lets us reserve a private room in the back. Every few rows, I would check the knitting for proper shaping. And by that I mean that I held it up, pressed it tightly to my chest, and studied the girls and their knitting cover intently.

  I finished the right side, and started the left. Actually, the pattern instructed to knit the whole side around to the middle of the back. But I thought that the best way to ensure that both sides of the, um, front were identical, was to knit them in quick succession.

There is nothing worse than a lopsided bodice.

Tonight, it is all about the symmetry.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Something used, something new

The pretty cotton tank has started again, in different incarnation. A new pattern, slightly more skimpy, which translates to less yarn. And top down, so I can knit til I run out of yarn, and hope that I have enough to cover the motherhood belly wrinkles.

So far, after a whole day of knitting, I am loving The Ribbed Halter. I am implementing the modifications suggested by Svetlana, to make the design a bit more modest. I mean, I am a forty-something mother of two. The twins had a job to do, and sacrificed their perkiness in the process. They have earned the right for a bit more coverage than decades past.

I am going to be closely monitoring the shaping as I go. Every few rows, I am holding the knitting up to my body. I feel like there is no margin for error this time, in size, shape or support.

I am using something used to start my something new. Last year, at my LYS garage sale, I bought some bamboo circular needles. I have always used metal needles. I like the cool feel, the metallic clickety click, the slick-ness, and the durability. I used to to have a tight grip while knitting, and I was always concerned about snapping needles.

So far, after the afore-mentioned one day of knitting, I am liking the bamboo.  Size 5's are thick enough to avoid snapping, and this particular yarn prefers the slight drag on the needles. So that was $2 we'll spent, but now I want more bamboo, in more sizes. Sigh.

My sweetie asked me tonight why I was starting new things, when I have so many old things unfinished. Um . . . Like his mittens, in progress for two years. And his sweater, in progress for five years. Um . . .

I don't have too many projects. I don't have enough knitting time.  (She says, purposefully ignoring that she has started three new projects in the past month.

Today, it is all about the old and the new.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Twilight Hours

I joke that I have all the spare time I need: between 9pm and 5 am.  But you see the flaw in my plan: that is when I do laundry.

There are days when I grab my knitting bag, set it down next to me,  but never take it out. Too tired to knit.

These days, I do the same with my work bag.  After I put the kids to sleep, I pull out my work bag, with the laptop and files that I didn't get to today. Or yesterday. I look at the bag.  I know what is in there. I know it is work I should have done a few days ago.  But I am just too tired. Too tired to knit.  Too tired to work. Too tired to think.

This does not bode well.  It makes me cranky.

The most I did knitting-related tonight was to cruise on Ravelry. I am looking for alternative patterns for the tank top. There is no way there is going to be enough yarn. I need a top-down knit 'till you run out of yarn kind of pattern. I have a few ideas, and some front runners,  but no conclusions.

Today, it is all about the neglected work/knitting bags.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Contingency Plan

I am very concerned about the yarn for the tank top. I have four balls of  Grass.  I received those balls in a yarn exchange, so there is no hope of finding more.  I mean, really, the emergency yarn from Poland was a once in a lifetime fluke.

So I have started knitting the Shapely Tank, but even as I cast on, I don't think that I will have enough yarn. At least, I won't have to knit all of it, only to come up short with only a few inches to go. Again. Four balls, two sides. If I haven't completed the front with two balls, all hope is lost.

I am so pessimistic, I already have a contingency plan. 2 and 1/2 inches, and I have a back-up plan. Still a tank top, just a little skimpier. And knit the bra portion first, then the body top down, in the round. I can knit until I run out of yarn.

Today, it is all about Plan B.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

One Problem Created, One Problem Solved

So I am about ten rows into Celtic Sage.  A decent start, except that the lace just doesn't look right.  I mean, it looks fine, but the decreases jsut aren't where I would expect them to me.  My assumption is that the probelm was user error.  I got one row off where I should be, and was continuing the problem.  So i knit the border in some scrap worsted, and it ended up the same way. 

Ok, so now I have the choice of knitting as written, assuming that the real problem is user expectation, and that there is nothing inherently wrong with the pattern.  Or I could do some work, and adjust the pattern so the decreases are where I think they should be.  Later, just thinking about that makes my head hurt.
Meanwhile, I solved the issue I was having with my mittens.  I wasn't sure what to do with the thumb.  Stiches held on waste yarn to be knit into thumb later.  Problem solved, and continuing on. 

The colorwork isn't difficult, but does take a high level of concentration.  Two purple, two white, one purple, and so on, all the way around the row.  I think I will like the end product, but I have a feeling these mittens will be a long time in progress. 

 The pattern is starting to take shape, which is encouraging.  Hopefully, enough to keep me interested. 

Meanwhile, I have been tempted to start something else.  I uncovered four cotton linen balls, and started picture a cute, clingy tank.  An unfortunately skimpy tank, since I only have the four balls, and no hope of finding more.  (They were received as part of the Christmas Yankee Yarn Swap.)  

I am barely passed the experimentation stage, so there isn't much to see yet.  I have cast on, but since I didn't have the yarn to spare on a swatch, I may be ripping and re-starting.  

And I just realized that I am working on a cotton tank in the same week as wool mittens.  

Today, it is all about the contradictions.   

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Delusions and Design

I have started the knitting on my frankenstein-designed Celtic Lace Shawl. At some point, I had to stop working and re-working the math, and cast on.

That was scary enough, so much so that I found myself in a strange delusional state. I knit a few rows, then found myself wondering what was taking so long to find out if my design worked. Apparently, in my zeal for my first pseudo-design, I forgot how long knitting takes.

Sometimes, I am amazed at how dense I can be about knitting. I have been knitting for almost twenty years. I really have no excuse.

I am going to this loud and clear, so everyone in the cheap seats can hear, even those as apparently dense as I.


I will learn one of these days, I swear.

Today, it is all about the learning curve.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Back to the Math

I should apologize to my faithful readers.  Both of them.  I have been a very neglectful blogger.  Busy, work, kids, blah, blah, blah.

But my needles and knitting juices have not been idle.  Quite the contrary.  I found myself all alone at Knittervention.  I had arranged a sitter, and was determined to enjoy myself.  I ended up finished and binding off my Mother's scarf.  A Christmas present finally finished in June.  Now there is something to be proud of, right?

 My Annis Shawlette is blocked, and I have learned to charmingly drape it around my neck.  Just in time for the 80 degree weather.  May was more like July in Indiana, certainly not shawl weather, not even a small one.  I stubbornly wore it a couple times, then carefully folded it away until autumn.  Or a freak cold snap in July right after I finish a cotton/linen tank top.  Such is my luck.

    I have been knitting quite a bit on the place-mat.  The pattern is nice.  Easy, but just enough to keep me interested.  I am looking forward to having these place-mats in my kitchen.  Then I realize that I currently have eight place-mats.  There are only four diners in my family, but two of them are still dodgy about their fork abilities, so the place-mats are constantly in the laundry rotation.

That is a lot of place-mats to knit.  What have I gotten myself into?

Lastly, since realizing that the Jane Eyre Shawl won't work with my pretty sage mohair, I have returned to my original concept: a wrap with Celtic-inspired design.  Of course, I searched Ravelry endlessly, and couldn't find EXACTLY what I was thinking anywhere.  Making up my own pattern seemed incredibly ambitious.  I mean, I am not an inexperienced knitter, but following a lace pattern with minimal screw ups is a far cry from creating one.  

This weekend, I started cutting and pasting, almost literally.  I took the central motif from one pattern, the border from another, then started cutting out the portions, leaving something close to what I had in mind.

Then started the math.  How many stitches wide?  How many rows tall?  I had to balance the border repeat  with the central motif and desired overall size.  Each time I thought I had the math cornered, I reviewed it one last time, and found one more thing I had missed.  Over and over, until I started coming up with the same numbers, repeatedly.  The planning was infuriating, but every time I caught another omission, I reminded myself that it was far better to catch it now, rather than with my tears staining the mohair.

I just hope that I haven't forgotten anything.

Today, it is all about planning the math.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Size Does Matter

I finished casting off my Annis Shawlette.  I have quite a bit of yarn left, relatively speaking.  A ball of yarn about the size of my fist.

On a not-completely-unrelated issue, the shawlette seems smaller than I was picturing.  I am pretty sure it is the size that the pattern specified, so any inaccurate picturing on my part is entirely my fault.

 I haven't blocked it yet, so it may grow a little yet.  I am reserving judgment.

In the meantime, what does one do with a fist of lace weight alpaca?  Too much to throw away; too little to make anything useful.  Maybe a bookmark, but that sounds like a lot of work for something that will be mostly squished between pages, and probably lost in the bottom of my work bag.  I will have to keep thinking.

I could always save it in a box, waiting ten years for someone on the other side of the globe begging for me to give it to them so they can finish the edge of a massive shawl.  I don't know from where that idea came.

Today, it is all about the fistful of useless yarn.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

I always overpack

 Planning vacation knitting is always a balance between restraint and panic.  I always start with two strategic projects.  Carefully selected for their level of difficulty (one simple, one complex) and small size.  I know this will be more than enough for the trip, and vow not to overpack my knitting, like I always do.

Then I start start to re-evaluate.  I have hours and hours of plane, train, bus and car rides ahead of me.

Then I start to panic.  What if there is a problem with one of the projects?  What if I lose the yarn?  What if I lose the needles?  What if I get bored and can't bear to look at it?  What if I get stranded in an elevator for twelve hours without children and finish both?  What if my body decides it no longer needs sleep?

Then I overpack, as always.  These are the four projects I brought with me for our vacation to Poland.
This is the ONLY one that I actually worked on during those two weeks.

Ironically, it is the one that I had wanted to finish before the trip.  The one I was hoping to wear on the trip.

All those hours of public transportation, and I never strayed.  Maybe a small part of me hoped that I would finish it before the end, and still be able to wear it.  (Though that small part of me had not figured out how to block lace on the road.)
On the plane ride home, I did start casting off, too late to even hope that I could sashay the streets of Torun with a shawlette casually draped around my shoulders in defense of the spring chill.  The streets of Lafayette will have to suffice.

Perhaps it is for the best.  My brother already spend quite a bit of time teasing me about my shawl fetish.  He says that like it is a bad thing.  Besides, I only brought one shawl with me, Aurora.  And we will forget that I chose by dresses to match the shawl, not the other way around.

Our travel adventures were enjoyable, but it is nice to be home again.  Back to my own bed, my own kitchen, and a giant mountain of laundry.

Today, it is all about feeling homey.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Courage, in all forms

There are some knitting actions that require extra courage.  These are best saved for knitting among like-minded friends, who can provide commiseration and encouragement.  Alcohol is suggested, but not required.
Monday was Knittervention, and I came armed with just such an assignment.  Ages ago, I started the Swirl Skirt.  I loved many things about the skirt.  I loved the overall design.  I loved the color progression.  I loved the yarn.

As so often happens, there was a hidden bug that revealed itself too late.  Not a failing of the pattern or yarn, I regret to say.  This was completely user error.  The skirt was way too long.

It is knit on the bias (read:diagonal, for those unfamiliar with fiber nomenclature), so the length of the skirt is difficult to judge pre-assembly.  At some point, however, it became obvious to even the most dense of knitters (that would be me) that this skirt was going to be a foot longer than I wanted.

I am not sure if the extra foot was a failure of my gauge swatch (swatches lie worse than lawyers, politicians, and used car salesmen combined, after all), a reflection of me losing 40 pounds since I cast on, or a change in my expectations, but the facts were plainly before me.

And so was the solution, no matter how much I wanted to deny it:  I had to rip out the whole bloody thing and start over.

I finished the ripping, but have put aside the starting over for a few weeks.  I have other things to focus on, and I want to make sure that my anger at the yarn for not knitting the proper size has time to fade before I try again.

Today, it is all that the re-start delayed.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

From the Mouths of Husbands

My sweetie may have blundered into the perfect vacation knitting project.

We were cleaning the kitchen, and he said that I needed to make more dishrags.  No problem.  I pulled out six finished ones, that only needed their ends woven.  Then I moved onto cleaning off the kitchen table, and switching the dirty placemats for clean ones, when he observed that the placemats were probably at the end of their lifespan.  The lining pretty much disintegrated after the first watch, and are the same now that they were a few years ago, but then he said words that perked my interest.  "You could knit new ones."

It took about three minutes on Ravelry to locate a pretty pattern, and I was tempted to rush out right away to buy yarn.  Then some sense of logic prevailed, and I decided that it could wait a few days.  This would be a good project to take knitting.  Basic, easily memorized pattern.  Small enough for instant gratification.  New enough for excitement that will maintain through the whole trip.

Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!  

My husband, the knitting planner.  Who knew?

Today, it is all about the spouses  of women who knit.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


For the past week or so, I have been starting vacation planning.  I have evaluated suitcases, balanced wardrobe and weather considerations, and mentally set aside electronic devices.  Then I realized that I had forgotten the most importantpart: the knitting.

Something small and compact.  Something with minimal yarn requirements.  Something interesting enough to hold my attention, but not so complicated as to invite an insurmountable issues.  Something that wil noto be finished in the first few days, leaving me knitless and cranky.  Preferably more than one somethings, in varying degrees of difficulty.  

Right now, I have nothing to knit.  Well, I have two socks in progress that would be appropriate.  And I have my mother's scarf, but that is almost finished.  I have the purple lace shawlette, but that is almost finished too, and I kind of want to have it to wear.  I have the mittens, but they have five different colored skeins of yarn.    

That's it, I have nothing to knit.  I need to go shopping!

Oh, I suppose that you are going to remind me of the half dozen half-finished things in theknitting bag.  Well, who asked you?  

Today, it is all about the shopping justification.   

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Downward Slope, That Points Upward

I always love the acceleration factor of the last portion of a knitting project.  As I breeze my way through the last part, my progress seems to accelerate.

This portion is short rows, to shape the crescent.  The first row was 25 stitches, and increases by three stitches each row.  Hmmm, when you put it that way, it is actually more of a reverse acceleration.  The rows will be getting longer each time, and will take longer.

This doesn't sound like a good thing.

Today, it is all about the premature celebration.  


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Count's right!

I finished the last lace row, and I thought it would a good idea to double check my stitch count before starting the short rows. You know, if I had been a single stitch off, I would not have remembered to check, and would have discovered the error a dozen rows in when the whole bloody thing was crooked. 

Since I did remember, 243, checked and double checked. Spot on. 

I can't complain, but this is the sort of thing that lulls you into a false sense if security and forgetting to double count. 

(And I should stop typing before I launch into a tirade about people who don't listen to their lawyer, lie to their lawyer, then wonder why they are led out of a courtroom in handcuffs.)

Today, it is all about almost complaining about not screwing up. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The 3 Inch Shawlette

 I am nearly finished with the lace portion of my shawlette, and it is still quite small.  Alarmingly small.  Only three inches wide, so far.  Even after blocking, that is still small.  I know that there is short row stockingette for the rest, to shape into the crescant that drape oh so delicately over my shoulders.

But there is only six rows to the short rows.  I have gone from shaws that are large enough fora professional   basketball player to  one for a toddler.

Oh, wait.  Repeat those six short rows 27 times.  Problem solved.

Oh, wait.  Repeat 27 times.  I am nowhere near finished.

Today, it is all about the incomplete inches,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Knitting from the gutter

It was a risque bunch of knitters last night.  At Knit night, Elizabeth was working on the Strip Tease Socks, which opened the door to the predictable puns and double ententres about table dancing and the oldest profession.

I withdrew a bit prematurely (pun intended) to join Knitterention in progress.  We got to talking about anniversaries, and I mentioned that my 7th was approaching.  Which led to a number of suggestions of how to avoid the infamous seven year itch.  My favorite was "That was the year we discovered porn."

After that, the knitting talk seems almost anti-climatic.

Almost.  I wore Fuchsia Wave for the first time to display for fellow knitters.  It is a bit itchy for short sleeves.  How could I not notice that during hour after hour of knitting?  The alpalca won't have that problem, right?  I haven't noticed a problem yet, but apparently, that is no judge.

Someone did comment that I have been rather shawl-obsessed the past two years. Yeah, so what's your point?

Today, it is all about the itches, seven year or otherwise.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Proof Positive

I have been doing knitting lately.  See?  I haven't been talking or writing about knitting, but I have been knitting.

I have finished all the nupp rows.  In fact, the lace portion is pretty much finished.

I am down to the decreasing portion, to shape the shawl into a crescent that drapes nicely along my shoulders.

My learning curve for lace remains to be slower than I would want.  By that, I mean that I don't catch on to what the pattern is supposed to look like until halfway through the knitting.  And by that, I mean that I start to notice my screw ups several rows later, too late to go back to fix.  I find myself making the adjustment in the row I am knitting, but I am still left with a nupp that is one stitch away from where it should be.

It really would be best if I did a test knit of the lace pattern.  Knit the entire repeat a few times over, so I can get the feel for where the stitches are going to be.

And while I am at it, I will test cook dinners every night, so I don't end up with a pork loin that smells like vomit.  Again.  And I can test drive to new places, to make sure I don't get lost when it matters.

Ok, maybe not, but a swatch wouldn't be a bad idea.

Today, it is all about the realistic and unrealistic tests.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Less knitting, more therapy

I frequently joke that knitting is cheaper than therapy.  It is my stress relief, my sense of order in a world of chaos, my calm in a storm.

Knittervention is my group therapy.  Last night, I was alone for quite a while, then joined by my co-fiber-enthusiast.  Casey was obviously in need of a good vent, to prevent her from strangling her husband or children when she got home.

There was far more talk therapy last night, than knitting, but all husbands and children are alive today, so mission accomplished.

Today, it is all about the theraputic setting.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

From Concept to Beginning

 I had this pile of yarn, bought years ago.  I can no longer remember what I had in mind all that time ago, but I started picturing some colorful mittens in the present.  I may have been influenced by 15 days of sub-zero temperatures so far in 2014, but I couldn't get the picture out of my head: Soft purple swirls on a background of white.

The wristband is finished, and I am ready to start the hard part.

Almost ready.

The final transition between repeats isn't quite matching up.  I have the color changes marked in red, but the top of the design is one row off from the bottom of the design.  I would try to sort it out tonight, but it may be better to wait until I am not so tired.  I daresay I would be more productive if my eyes were actually open.

Today, it is all about row between the rows.

Friday, February 14, 2014

In Memorium

My long absence has a good explanation. My grandmother had been in the hospital, and died a couple days ago.  She was 97, so this was not unexpected.  The fiber community has lost a member.  Grandma didn't knit, but she did a lot of quilting and embroidery.

But it meant that I have been very busy lately.  More so than usual.  Knitting has been virtually nonexistent, so blogging has been pointless.

I did a bit in the car on the drive up, but I don't have a picture.  I took a picture on the Ipad, but I don't  know how to get it onto the blog.  It isn't much to look at now.  I am barely past the concept stage.  I have cast on, but it is subject to change if things don't flow the way I have pictured in my mind.

I am driving Mom to the church to pick music in a few minutes, so I will have to wait another time to talk about the new work in progress.

Today, it is all about the fond memories,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

To the Rescue!

A knitting friend invited me to lunch today, with an ulterior motive.  She has this little problem.  She had knit half a row in the wrong direction.  In the middle of her stockinette was a long strip of garter.

She didn't notice until two rows later.  Long enough she didn't want to frog, short enough to repair, if someone knew how.

I had a sneaking suspicion that she didn't want to be taught to do the fix so much as . . . .she wanted me to do it for her.

(Indulgent smile).  No problem, Sue.

I finished one third of the fix during lunch, and brought it home to finish.  I feel rather honored that she sees me as such an experienced knitter, she knew that I would be able to fix the problem.  I may even be able to finish the fix tonight.

This blog is so often a catalog of my screw-ups, it is nice when I can make things right.

Today, it is all about making knits out of purls.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Mother Nature has been taking out her brutal streak on the US recently.  For most of the month of January, we have battled sub-zero temperatures.  I have lived in Indiana for nearly 20 years, and I can't remember such a winter with such mind-numbing, energy-sucking, limbs freezing, frigid cold.  Must be that global warming thing.

It reached a high of 12 degrees today.  That was an improvement over the negative 6 that it was when I left this morning.

This weather sucks all the energy and cheerfulness out of a girl.  This weather makes me want to hide at home, under a thick blanket, and drink red wine and eat chocolate.   It is almost too cold to knit!

Almost.  I did brave the frozen tundra  and cross the river to Knitter-vention last night.  I spent the evening complaining about my sweetie (who is not exactly in my good graces these days) and nupp-ing.  I still dread each time I approach another purl seven together, but I do think that I am getting the hang of it.  Each one only took a few times, and there was considerably less swearing.  I have realized that lots of tension is the key, when you are pulling the wrap through the small tunnel of stitches.  I have two more rows of the lace pattern, then start the stockinette shaping to finish the shawlette, hopefully to finish in time for spring.

Spring feels a very long way away.  This isn't right.  Someone wake me when winter ends.

Today, it is all about the winter pessimism.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Finishing the Finishing

 My sweetie took the boys to a children's event at Gander Mountain (which turned out to be rather a flop, but did serve to permit me two hours alone).

So I watched Sherlock again  (Ok, this makes the third time) and did the finishing work on Fuchsia Wave.

As you can see in the picture, there is a slight color difference in the rescue yarn.  It is a tiny bit redder, not as berry as my yarn.  I didn't even notice it when I was knitting, but you can see it in the finished product, if you know where to look.

When you look at the whole thing, you don't notice it.  At least, in my opinion.  I will take a vote at Knittervention, and see if reconstructive work is necessary.

In the meantime, I Kitchnered the edge, wove in the ends, and blocked it.  (I am pretty confident that no one will consider the subtle color variation a design flaw.)  Now I just have to keep two small boys away from it while it dries.  That may be the hardest part of all.

This thing is far larger than I had in mind when I started.  The edge adds considerably more bulk than I anticipated.  I think I could wrap two people in this.
This is how much yarn I have left.  17 feet in total.

The lesson that I learned: even when you think you will have plenty of yarn, you probably won't.  Buy one more skein.

Today, it is all about the brutally cold weather that just won't go away.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Worn to a Nupp

It was quite the exciting evening of British TV Sunday night. Downton Abbey first, which is very conducive to knitting. I finally finished Row 7 on Purple Annis. As Highclare castle faded into the background, I completed the last few YO's and K2tog's.

Next was the long-awaited Sherlock. I thought I might be able to work on the simpler purl row.  I was wrong. So wrong. So, so wrong. I must have forgotten how knitting is impossible with the first viewing of Sherlock. In two hours, I purled 14 stitches. The last 6 of which we're wrong. (I had forgotten about the nupp.).   So I tinked back (OK, technically lruped), then purled 7 together. Whose bright idea was it to purl 7 together? I understand that back in the day, a nupp was a telltale sign that lace knitting in Estonia was hand-knit and not machine-made. Because no self-respecting machine would even try to purl 7 bloody stitches together.

But, I digress. 14 stitches were completed, 7 of them together, and that was all. As I said, Sherlock is not knit-friendly. There is too much going on the screen.  In fact, I am not even sure that a person could blink without missing something.

I didn't miss the knitting. I was so looking forward to the episode, I was afraid it couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. I was wrong. So wrong. 90 minutes of deductive brilliance. I laughed, I smiled, I slapped myself on the forehead of the obvious simplicity of how Sherlock survived (I had 90% of it figured out! only missed two details). I loved every minute of it.

Today, it is all about the Benedict Cumberbatch fantasies that are even better than knitting. (Shhhh, don't tell my sweetie.)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Proud Mama

Bugaboo brought home a very nice report card this week.  It said that he was a "good role model" for other students.  What a nice way of saying that he is a bit of a know-it-all.

Doodlebug turns 4 today.  He spent the last night with Grandma and Grandpa, and will be coming home in time for his little party.

So Mommy and Daddy got the real gift today: 16 hours without children.  Oh, if only we werent so occupied with the party prep and general exhaustion.

You know you are over 40 when you are excited about sleeping the night uninterrupted when you are surprised with child-free time.

Today, it is all about the pride.

P.S.  I left my little shawlette at the office.  Why is it that you always want to knit the one thing you can't?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The New Rule

There was a new rule at Knittervention last night.  Every time you used a swear word, you had to take a drink.  I don't recall this rule when I first started attending.  I was working on lace.  With nubbs.  Out of laceweight for alpaca.  The more I screwed up, the worse the language, the more I had to drink, the more I screwed up.  It was a vicious circle.

I worked on Row 7, which I had started earlier that day.  By the time it was time to leave, I was on . . . Row 7.

More than a bit discouraging.  And I haven't even gotten to the purl 7 together part of the nubb.

Today, it is all about the rule I should have broken.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

All Snuggled In

There is only a chain link fencce between Indiana and Canada, and the past two days, someone left it open.  It has been beyond cold.  Wicked cold.  Close your doors and windows, bundle in sweats, and pray to Good to have mercy on your soul kind of cold.

The past two days, it has been a high of -14.  That is actual teperatures.  The wind chill factor has been -40.  For two days, we have been locked in the house.  My sweetie has gone out a few times to start our vehicles, but otherwise, none of us has braved the frigid cold.

If I were a single girl, this would have been a prime nesting weekend.  Snuggle under a quilt, knit, and watch chick flicks all weekend.  If I were a newlywed/non-mommy married, there would have been a different sort of snuggling.  As it was, I was trying to keeep two small children and one husband entertained, fed, and cabin-fever prevention.

As  it was, I was able to squeeze in a few lines on my sweet little slice of alpaca heaven.  The Annis shawl.  I would attach a picture and insert the Ravelry link, but I am posting from the new IPad mini that Santa brought, and I have not learned how to do either.

Next time.  As for now, it is a balmy 9 degrees outside, and  everyone will be going back to work in the morning.

Today, it is all about the new technology.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Emergency Flotation Device

I discovered the way to get applause at Knittervention:  Show off my lifejacket yarn.  A tiny little packet of fuchsia mohair.  An alarmingly little packet.

I had about 9 inches of edge, and was determined to finish that night.  Fast forward one pint of cider and two hours.  In spite of my focus and concentration, I finished about half that amount.

Apparently, I overestimated my knitting speed.   On them plus side, I am reasonably confident that I will have enough yarn.

In other news, in celebration of the New Year, I have started something new.  Something lace, something purple, something alpaca.  After the endless cast on of 363 stitches, (we won't mention how many re-counts this required), I successfully completed the first pattern row, and the second purl row.  I started row 3, and that is where the wheels fell off the wagon.

I was short one stitch at the end.  I knew I should have placed markers surrounding each pattern repeat.  It is just there are 29 repeats, and that is a lot of markers, and it isn't that difficult of a repeat, and. .  . I knew I should have placed markers.

I managed to locate WHERE my mistake took place.  I have not yet identified WHAT my mistake was.   I have marked the spot with a safety pin.  Any hope to interpret the "what" is probably best done with sober sunlight.

Tonight, it is all about the new.  Happy 2014!