Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year-End Wrap Up

I'm about to get ready for an evening out with a friend, so this will be brief. But I had to make my last post of the year before 2006 aka The Most Horrible Year of My Life aka Two Thousand SUCKS finally breathes its last, painful gasp.

Finished Objects 2006:
Baby sweaters
(tally to come)

Major Life Changes:
  • Dropped my college classes (due to Dad's health)
  • Cancelled my 6-week Parelli Natural Horsemanship course in Ocala (see above)
  • Moved out of my house/back in with parents (due to both of their ill health statuses)
  • Acquired baby grand niece #2
  • Lost both parents four months apart
  • Inherited two houses, tons of antiques, and a big chunk of cash (all split with my sister)
  • Inherited a newer car (not split)
  • Gained 10 pounds, lost 25, then gained 7 back (which will be lost again along with 25 more if I have my way)
  • Rediscovered knitting and my dormant fiber obsession
  • Bought a floor loom
  • Registered for spring classes for 2007
  • Decided to seriously pursue my fiber arts goals

Resolutions for 2007:
  1. Be more authentic (to be explained in a later post)
  2. Be on time
  3. Be organized
  4. Keep the house clean
  5. Be healthy and in shape
  6. Make promises to people ONLY if I really intend to keep them
  7. Be honest with myself about what I can/cannot get done, and what I want to do/don't want to do (stop trying to please everybody, darn it!)
  8. Get a handle on my spending and learn to make and stick to a b-u-d-g-e-t
  9. Use 2007 to:
  • build my fiber arts portfolio
  • learn to spin
  • learn steeking, entrelac and fair isle
  • complete the TKGA Level One Master Hand Knitter Program
  • study for/take/score high on the GRE
  • prepare to apply to graduate school for Fall 2008*
  1. Knit every day
  2. Keep an ongoing journal of FOs and WIPs active on my blog
  3. Participate in more KALs (maybe even host a few)
  4. Spend more time playing with/riding my horses
  5. Pass the Parelli Level Two Assessment
  6. Have a more active social life with knitters and non-knitters
  7. Learn to be happy in my new, parentless life
May we all have a safe, happy, festive New Year's Eve, and may we all aspire to and be blessed with health, happiness, and better times in the year to come.

*Yes, Fall 2008 is quite a ways off, but I can't make 2007's deadlines because my portfolio is 12 years out of date and it'll take a few months at least to update it. If there were no portfolio involved, I could make it. However, since I'm applying to the art department of the colleges I'm interested in attending, and they expect to see a portfolio of recent work in my area of concentration, I'm a bit obligated. If it's not obvious by now, I'm going for an MFA in Fibers.

Yep. If my late parents are correct, I'll soon be qualified to teach at the college level IF there are any jobs available and IF I can even get one; open a yarn store; or be a manager at ___________ (insert retail megachain/fast food brand name here).

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Finished Object!

News Flash: I won the lottery.

OK, it was only $3, but hey, it's still a win. I got one number (3) plus the Mega Ball (29) in last night's MegaMillions game. Since I've been hitting at least one number consistently for the past few weeks (winning nothing but a warm fuzzy feeling), I can only assume this is the sign that I'm on the right track... keep playing, and one of these days, I'll hit all five plus the Mega Ball.


The REAL News Flash is:
I have a FINISHED OBJECT of a massive kind.

Feast your eyes on this! (Ignore the black shadow in the corner please)*

If you're interested in seeing the process unfold, I've made a slideshow of the images (embedding it didn't work).

I tried to document as much of it as I could. But as I only had two hands and no helpers, I satisfied myself with photos of the stages, not every bolt. The harnesses with the 800 heddles had to be built from the ground up. They did not come that way. They came in a bundle of 800 heddles (on strings, thank God), steel harness rods, steel harness frames, wooden pieces, screws, screw eyes, etc. The only pre-assembled items were the wheel block and the cloth and warp beams (the rolling ones). Absolutely every piece of this thing was assembled one piece, one screw, one bolt, one nut, one swear word at a time by moi.

Note: Whomever said, "Oh, it'll only take you about four hours to assemble it once you're done sanding and oiling" is WRONG WRONG WRONG. Try four DAYS. I'm pretty sure if it took mere hours for them, it was because (as they conveniently forgot) they had a team of people working on the loom all at once. Assembly line. Yeah.

Was I frustrated at times? You bet.

Do I feel like I got run over by a Mac Truck because my muscles are so sore from sanding, oiling and rubbing a gazillion wooden parts? Yessss... ow.

Was I overcome with the fumes from the mineral spirit/oil solution? ...huh? What? You say sumthin', man?... (Apparently that's an affirmative).

Were there times when I thought perhaps I was in over my head? Sure.

Did I ever think of giving up? Not on your life!!!

Am I prouder than heck of myself for my triumph? You bet!

* Dummy here finally figured out why so many photos have an odd shadow in them. It's because dummy here got her fingers in the way of the flash! AUUGGGHHH!!!

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Sand, Oil, Fresh Air...

...and you thought I was at the beach, didn't you? ;-)

Quite the contrary. It was Day One of Loom Construction, which didn't actually involve much in the way of constructing.

I sanded.
I concentrated carefully on the parts with which my hands would most likely come into contact on a regular basis, using #320 fine grit until they were super smooth. When the feel of the wood started to feel "sexy", I knew I'd achieved my goal. I wanted these parts to feel ever so silky when I run my hands over them. Yummy smooth.

I visited the hardware store.
I was so AR about smoothing out the beater bar and other touchy-feely parts that I managed to use up the entire sheet of #320 fine grit sandpaper Harrisville provided and needed to buy more.

I sanded some more.
The other parts I only gave a light once-over to knock off any roughies.

I got tacky.
Using tack paper, I wiped down every part to ensure no miniscule sawdust specks remained. Tack paper is sticky so it picks up everything.

I oiled.
Every single one of those wooden parts including the forty pulleys and the small treadle spacers which look like stubby dowels. Take a look at the pictures in the earlier post if you need a reminder of how many wooden pieces need this treatment. I think it's oil and turpentine, judging by the smell. Which leads me to...

Fresh air
Courtesy of the open front door, because the fumes began to get to me. I'm across the house from the drying pieces, have washed up and changed clothes, and I can still smell the stuff. I think it permeated my nostrils. Eeee.

They need a second oiling, but I've had enough for one day. It took two hours to sand and an hour and a half to oil. They only need to dry for a half hour, so I'll be bolting things together tomorrow afternoon!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Knitmas!

It was a rather uneventful and brief trip to visit the PA relatives. I met my other Great Niece for the first time. My niece (Allergic One) and her DH had tried fertility treatments for years to unsuccessfully conceive, then opted to adopt a girl from China. LL came home in October 2005. Two weeks later, my niece discovered she was five weeks pregnant. KU appeared in July 2006. So my niece and her DH have two children under the age of two. I feel for them. ;-) KU accompanied niece to Mother's funeral because she was still on the nipple. LL stayed home with Daddy because she was "a handful". So this was my first occasion to meet LL. Quite a precocious, smart, engaging child. Still not enough to put the long-dead batteries back into my biological clock, though, LOL.

I'm taking a much-deserved and much-needed break from knitting after the Hellidaze/Knitmare Before Christmas I experienced. On top of knitting abuse, I managed to whangle my other hand yesterday. Don't ask me how this happened. All I know is, as I was exiting the car at yet another rest area, my arm spazzed and threw my left hand into the latch part on the car—the thingie the door hooks into. I'm now sportin' yet another bruise and a big bump and pain. *SIGH* The things I do to myself. Are they sure about my birthdate? I mean, I've had enough mishaps to qualify to be a Saggitarius rather than the Cancerian homebody that they tell me I am. Anyway, I expect to resume knitting in a day or so, because of the two remaining gifts I need to get ready for friends.

In gifting news:
Two of the five knit recipients were absent. The other three gifts were well-received. Allergic One didn't seem to notice the presence of 25% wool in her scarf and was quite taken with the design and the fact that it doesn't need to be tied (since it's made that way). Her DH appreciated the half-scarf he got, and Sister's sock fit perfectly. Hopefully I can make another one just like it. She said she hadn't been expecting one with such an intricate design ("Monkey"). I guess she would have been thrilled with a one-day stockinette jobbie. Oh, well. Live and learn!

And last but not least, what I got:

Sister is a former knitter. Apparently she understands my needs. In lieu of clothes, I requested that everyone "please visit my Amazon WishList". My library now includes:
  • Vogue Stitchionary Volume 1: Knit & Purl
  • Vogue Stitchionary Volume 2: Cables
  • EZ's Knitter's Almanac
  • Designing Knitwear (Deborah Newton)
  • Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified (Ann & Eugene Bourgeios of Philosopher's Wool)
  • Color in Spinning (Deb Menz)
The kitties got a tub of the Nip. Now that's what I call the highest form of enabling (on all fronts)!

Of course, I gifted myself a bit more, since I'll be on the Yarn Diet and all in four days. I've decided I need to go on a Book Diet too, because I am weak when I enter a bookstore. Leaving without at least a magazine is nearly impossible for me. I keep in business. Therefore, I declare an addition to my rules:
  1. I can buy a subscription to a magazine I read regularly IF I have read two of the issues of said magazine cover to cover in the past two months.
  2. If it's a pattern-oriented magazine, and I can't find it in the library, I can only buy it if three patterns are REAL possibilities (not "yeah, I could knit that one day" fantasies) such as for a gift or upcoming event. If it's just another cabled sweater, I have to weigh how vital it is that I have THAT sweater, or if it's just me succumbing to the appeal of the layout, color, fuzziness of the yarn, how cute the model looks in the photo (wearing the sweater meaning I will look the same meaning I will magically drop 75 pounds, grow two inches taller, and reverse-age 20 years the moment I bind off)
  3. I can buy a book only if it:
  • can't be found through my local library
  • can be found there, but I'm fourth in the queue for the hold
  • contains a technique not available online for free that I need right now for a project I'm currently working on (from my stash, of course)
  • isn't similar to something I already have on hand (technique, stitch dictionary)
God, I hope that covers it. Because today I ordered:

and while at Books A Million after lunching with an old friend, I picked up:

No, I haven't bought any more yarn.


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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Time to Fly

Thank you to the lovely knitbloggers who kindly participated in the Meme!

I'm off to parts unknown (to everyone but me and the person taking care of my cats) for the holidays so I won't be blogging until Tuesday or Wednesday. (OK, I'm going to PA to visit with the rest of the family. Hey, I wanted to sound exotic. Let the girl dream.)

Unfortunately, one of the gift recipients is unable to make it due to a misfire (she's a ceramicist and has a big art fair coming up). Had I found that out earlier, instead of staying up last night to finish her sock, I could have stayed up last night finishing someone else's sock. (Yes, that is correct. "Sock". Not "socks". Yes, they have both feet, just not both socks--yet.) Oh, well! What ya gonna do? And the Besotted Twins are being separated since Besotted Recipient #1 is the counterpart to Ceramicist-of-the-Socks, so only one Besotted needs finished now. I give up. LOL!

So I wish for all of you to have a safe, happy, enjoyable holiday wherever and with whomever you spend it.

Until next week, Merry Happy!

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me

“THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

  1. I am deathly afraid of large botanical plants, i.e., leaves, to the point of hysteria. Catalpa trees, rhubarb, burdock, philodendrons, anything you find in California, rubber trees, elephant ears—the bigger, veinier and rufflier the worse it is for me. I can't watch movies or tv shows set in the jungle (which is why I know nothing of Survivor or Lost). My worst fear is to fall face down onto a large leaf. Somebody else has to weed the garden. I've paid people to remove things that most people would pull and not think twice.

  2. I do not eat lettuce, spinach or anything leafy (see #1 above). I'll eat basil/oregano/spices if they're crushed beyond recognition, but I won't eat lettuce/leafy greens even if it's pulverized.

  3. I was a vegetarian for about 10 years. Not very successfully (see #1 & 2 above). But I do eat a lot more soy products than actual meat. Facon (soy fake bacon). Fauxage (soy fake sausage). Notdogs (self-explanatory).

  4. a. I have prophetic dreams. Unfortunately, they always seem to tell me when someone is going to die (human or animal) or something bad is about to happen. If I could only use my talent for good, like winning the lottery.
    b. I also believe in signs.*

  5. I hate it when other people straighten up my stuff. My house is a terrible mess, but I can usually find stuff when I want to because I remember which pile it is in. It's when I straighten up and put things "away" that I lose stuff. Like moving this year to Mother's in a rabid hurry. I did it in a fairly organized fashion. Yet, I can't tell you where my old cell phone adapter is. The friend who used to care for my cats when I went away had an obsession with trying to "help" me. When someone who doesn't live with me tries to "help" by cleaning up for me, it usually winds up making more work for me, or me temporarily losing something important (because it was in a Kroger's bag). Case in point: said friend did all the dishes in the sink, and put cat dishes/silverware away with people dishes/silverware. Then, she threw away some "old ratty flattened boxes that were all torn up". OK. I should be appreciative. I am, to the thought. But... ewww, unsterilized cat dishes? Plus one of the spatulas had been used to unclog a toilet (I knew which one it was because it was separated from the rest). And the old boxes were Zander's favorite place to lay on because the tile was too cold. Luckily I retrieved the Kroger's bag with I can't remember what in it from the garbage. I had a chat with her and politely and delicately asked her PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT clean my house while I'm gone. It was really hard for her to stop herself, but she tried. Now that I've moved, another friend is caring for the cats and this one won't clean even if I beg. Whew!

  6. I used to live on ketchup sandwiches on white bread with the crusts cut off. I also used to hate mustard, onions, green peppers, pizza, and green beans. Now, I eat and love all of those. But no more ketchup sandwiches, and no more white bread. Whole grain or rye or forget it.
I hereby tag the following individuals: Velma, Cara, Carrieoke, NotScarlett, TrishJ (DUDE!), and last but not least, FiberQat. You are hereby invited to participate in this Meme. If you have previously been tagged by someone else, my apologies, and please pass the tag on to a hapless victim good friend.

* About signs: My cell phone died. I went to AllTel Thursday to see if it could be fixed (it couldn't, and my plan expired months ago). The salesguy expounded upon the features while I looked over the vast array of new phones. The phone I chose is the brand new chocolate-colored Samsung u520 which does everything except talk for me. It has a camera, camcorder, access to GPS and Mapquest, etc.

But I didn't really buy it because of the features... I chose it because of the POP (point-of-purchase) stand-up display. This is what happened: the salesguy handed me the POP so I could read about the features. In the middle of asking a question, I just stopped speaking mid-sentence when I saw it—THE SIGN.

In the POP photo, the phone was open, much like it is in the photo below. The display showed the name of the MP3 being played on the phone (yes, it does that, too). The song?

"Moon River" (Henry Mancini from Breakfast at Tiffany's). My Mother's favorite song, the one we had played at her funeral.

It was a sign. (C'mon. Nobody under 40 knows that song.) I took a picture of the display using the phone's camera and if I can figure out how to upload it, I will. It was just too bizarre.


The Doctor Has Ordered Less Fiber in My Diet

This evening, I finally got around to opening up the mail that has accumulated this month (read: bills I was trying to avoid) and found out
(1 loom + 3 trips to the LYS later) that I *oops* went a little crazy with the check-writing this month. After transferring some dough and praying that there are no other "yarn crazies" I've forgotten to log in my check register
(I swear, it's like I turn into some sort of psychotic KnitMonster at the scent of yarn and suffer yarnmnesia), I decided I must commit.

Knit From Your Stash 2007: Guidelines for Jeanne B. (edited from Wendy's Rules)
  1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

  2. I will refrain from buying yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
  • Sock yarn does not count.

  • Yarn designated for a gift can be bought only after a thorough search of my stash turns up nothing in the right color, fiber content, or amount. Intent is important, though. I cannot intend to knit socks, then change my mind midstream and buy 20 balls of Rowan for a sweater even though I know I won't finish it in time and will wind up having to make socks anyway.

  • If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase enough to complete the project.

  • I get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card—I am allowed to fall off the wagon one time.
  1. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn. (In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you send yarn.)

  2. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt. This is my year to blow the dust off the wheel.

  3. Yarn for weaving is exempt. Hey, I just bought a loom, and I'm registered for a weaving course at my local college which I'm sure will have yarn requirements for projects. Though I do have a small (read: one enormous overflowing box full) stash of cones I could peruse...

  4. Yarn of a neutral color purchased solely for Kool-Aid Dyeing experiments is exempt.

  5. All UFOs must become FOs before beginning a similar project. Example: finish the Central Park Hoodie before beginning Trendsetter's Waterlily Cabled Sweater. Finish the Mountain Colors Double Eyelet Socks before beginning the Traveller's Socks. This includes projects more than 10 years old, even if it means frogging and reclaiming in order to declare it finished.

  6. Non-yarn items are exempt.

  7. All knitting must be done while wearing pants. ;-)

OK. Maybe I need to just say:

I will make a concerted effort to plumb the depths of my stash this year BEFORE automatically pulling out the plastic. Cuz there's no way I'm going to make it with all these exemptions. After all,

  1. I love to knit socks.

  2. My stash grew exponentially in the last month because of gift knitting. I started with my existing stash. But the colors were wrong for the recipients. So I went to my LYS and bought a selection of nice sock wools. Then I found out half the recipients don't like/can't wear/are allergic to wool. Back to the LYS to buy cotton/non-wool yarn. Did I return the wool? HELL no! I kept them for myself. *ahem*

  3. Oft times I begin a project, but put it away for awhile. Say, 12 years or so. Like the green sweater I started when I first learned to knit. Gorgeous Brown Sheep wool. Got about 8 inches of the back done before I got bored with K a whole bunch, P a few, K a whole bunch more, repeat... Of course, the dye lot for that is long gone as is the smaller waist I had back then. Undoubtedly, I'll need more yarn to make a current sweater. This is a Caution: yarn will be discontinued by the time I get A Round Tuit. Go ahead and splurge on the extra few balls to ensure I'll have enough of it.

  4. What constitutes "falling off the wagon"? Is it when you have so much yarn in the car that when you open the door you are pushed onto the roadway by the sheer force of yarn expansion?

  5. Ah, yes. The Gift of Yarn. Always the right size (until swatched, washed and blocked)... not always the right color (or fiber content). But those who might actually give the gift of fresh skeins are the ones who go to Your Local Craft Store and blanch at the thought of paying *gasp* *shock* $5.99 for a ball of wool!!! What will they do when they take my Wish List to my LYS and discover the true price of Mountain Colors Bearfoot? "What?!? For a pair of socks?" followed by admonitions about starving babies in Uganda and heating bills etc (with a nod to the Harlot, unfortunately my friends and family do not subscribe to the "yarn as home insulation" argument).

  6. Spinning takes too long. I want to knit THIS year, not wait until 2010 (which is how long it may take me to learn to spin a proper yarn).

  7. Weaving is wonderful but it isn't knitting. I've yet to discover how to weave a sock. Hmm. Perhaps that is my calling. Sockweaving.

  8. The Kool-Aid can take the blame for a LOT of stash enhancement if I play my cards right.

  9. (Do the pants really need an explanation?)
It looks like I'll be buying yarn in 2007 anyway, despite the complaints coming from my debit card.

In the spirit of creativity, I whipped up a few of my own KFYS2007 buttons. Feel free to borrow them for your blog; but do me a favor and store it on your own server.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Solstice

December 21st! It is Winter Solstice. Autumn is but a memory, we are now officially into Winter. Christmas/Giftmas/Xmas/etc is a mere four days away.


Are you ready?

Have you finished your knitting?

Unless a miracle occurs in the next three days, I am giving the gift of sock. As in, singular. A sock and a promise. I think I can finish the Besotted scarves in time. At least my sock recipients will know what the finished product will look like.

I could just say, "Here is this year's sock. You will get the mate to it next Christmas."

Would that be too rude? ;-)

Forgot to mention that I've moved to the New Beta Blogger now. Whoo hoo. I can't tell the difference yet, except that Bloglines shows that freaky little red-exclamation-point-in-brackets [!] next to my blog's name now. So, upgrade your Blogrolls, I guess.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some Assembly Required

Please excuse the non-loom-oriented messiness of the living room. It's in transition. Why are there three couches, you ask?

Musical furniture.
The blue-grey one (left, a sofa bed) was in the 3rd bedroom (which actually isn't a bedroom now, it has a wall of sliding louvered doors separating it from the dining area which would be to the lower right, past the folding louvered door). The red floral (center back) was out in the family room (former garage, remodeled circa 1978). The pink leather one (right) has always been there.

When Mom got sick and I moved in, I brought my own couch (#4, also a sofa bed, in family room, not shown, strewn with cats) and my bed (of course). We played musical furniture. Mom had been sleeping in my old room but had been having difficulty getting out of bed (old bedframe, really high mattress even I can't get in and out of easily) so we (meaning my nephew-in-law and I) dismantled Mother's bed, opened the blue-grey one, removed the sofa bed part, and put her big gushy mattress on it. Essentially she moved into BR #3. Not long afterwards, she needed an electric hospital bed. So blue-grey moved to the living room in front of the fireplace (where red floral is now). The day I moved in a couple weeks later, we (meaning the movers) moved her bedframe out, moved my stuff in, set up my bed in my old room, moved the red floral in, moved in my couch... etc.

Now, everything's in transition while the estate gets settled. Blue-grey goes to a niece in PA; red floral goes to Nemesister (also in PA); pink leather is mine now. There is other furniture involved (chest of drawers, upper right left) that has to go. So until they can coordinate moving, guess who gets to live in the mess?


Anyway. This is about

Those are the boxes and the 90 miles of paper used for stuffing. It expanded exponentially upon being released to freedom. I'd save it for the cats but I might lose them in there and never find them again.

Close up of boxes:

These are all the lovely wood parts I get to oil and sand. Twice. (Sand once. Oil twice.)

Look, more wood parts.

Instruction manual:

Parts Inventory Checklist (with my notes):

See that highlighted area? I just took their word for it.

Groups of 200, I'm assuming. Every single one of them gets strung onto the heddle bracket thingie. All. Eight. Hundred. Of them.

Lookie, tools! Every girl loves tools. And a ruler. And sticky labels.

Those are pulleys. Each of those tubes contains 20 of 'em.

Like my "panoramic" view of the Studio Accessory kit? Bobbin winder... warping board and loom bench (unassembled, of course, and in need of sanding/oiling too), shuttles, bobbins, shelf for top of loom... another can of oil... and...

...what's that?

Why, MORE YARN, of course! Five skeins of Harrisville Shetland. FREE! Cocoa, Camel, Russet, Peacock and Hemlock. Yum.

I now have a valid reason to rise before noon! *ducking the hurled tomatoes from the people who are plagued blessed with a job* Seriously, this sucker has to be sanded, dusted off, oiled once, left to dry for a half hour, oiled again/dried, THEN assembled. The LYS put together four of them, said it takes about four hours per loom (assembly only). I have my work cut out for me.

Fear not, it's safe from feline claws. The cats are not yet allowed in this part of the house (folding louvered separator doors are wicked cool, good call, Mom!) and they won't be allowed anywhere near my loom room (once I can take over again). BR #3 I think will be the room. Except it's kind of dark in there because the window now looks out onto the sunroom. One of the BRs, anyway.

What's Next?
Sleep. Just kidding, of course. It's December 19th (still for another fifteen minutes anyway). I have so far finished:
  • the Celtic Knot Scarf (except for weaving in the ends)
  • One of the two Monkey Socks
  • Half of one of the two Mountain Colors Fascine Braid Socks
  • One-fourth each of the two Besotted scarves being knit simultaneously
  • All the ornaments (for my family, at least)
I need to finish those, then after I return from my brief Xmas visit, I must:
  • make a pair of Fetchings for a friend
  • make a skinny scarf on huge-a$$ needles for a friend
  • make up a set of ornaments for skinny scarf friend (Fetchings' are already done)
  • write my Xmas cards
  • post my 6 weird things (since I practically begged Sheepish Annie to tag me)
So although I am dead tired and foaming at the mouth all week to start in on the loom, I must instead knit for awhile. Early to blog, early to bed, early to rise...

In other news... this sounds like a good idea to me: Knit From The Stash 2007. There are rules, and there are exemptions. My stash is overflowing. Of course, I'm claiming an exemption for weaving materials. ;-) (Well, I have to. I just bought a loom, I'm signed up for advanced weaving next semester, and my weaving cone stash only fills one really big box. I need more.)

That's the update. For now. Stay tuned. Assembly pictures as I go, I promise!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tension Issues

Think I'm a little tense?

This was a BRAND NEW size #1 Brittany DPN with which I was knitting Monkey. First project they were ever used on. Hey, I was only trying to k2tog. Geez. And the LYS is closed Mondays.

Thank the Needle Gods it wasn't one of my Crystal Palaces.

Oh. Forgot to mention in the loom excitement that I fixed the Celtic Knot scarf (successfully). It has been washed and blocked and is waiting to have its ends woven in. Still no progress on the loom. I knit the sock all day. Note to self: though we love love love complex patterns, they are best chosen for projects with longer deadlines; when Christmas is a week away, choose fancy yarn but plain ol' ribs. ;-)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Still Here...

Yes, I promised pictures... I have the preliminary shots, just haven't uploaded them yet, nor have I made one iota of progress on actually building the loom. It's the week before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is stirring except for the crazed knitter who is trying desperately to finish an unreasonable amount of work in seven measly days who stayed up until 5:00 AM after knitting a sock up to the heel turning point. Like I really thought it through when I said, "sure, I can knit two pair(s) of socks, three scarves, one pair of Fetching, and a skinny scarfette in three weeks. No problem."

The socks are Cookie's Monkey pattern from this month's Knitty. It's fun. It's complex. It took me all night. My fingers feel like they are wrapped in cellophane and my wrists are aching (don't worry, I already have carpal tunnel) because I'm trying to knit faster than usual without breaks. But I love knitting it because it's such an interesting design, lots of finger gymnastics. I'm definitely making myself a pair after Christmas (and taking the time to enjoy it).

*yawn* Well, it's almost 6 AM now. Time for bed...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bouncing off the walls, it's here, it's here, it's HERE! My loom is HERE!

I went to bed at 4:00 AM and woke up at 8:30 AM because I couldn't sleep for fear of missing the delivery (that's 3.5 hours of sleep, people). Then I drank coffee and paced until I heard the far-off sound of Brown roaming the neighborhood. It's amazing how attuned to noises your ears can become.

Finally, it chugged down my street. I watched from my front window, twitching like a nervous bride. Or a kid on Christmas Day. Which I guess it was, sort of. Brown ambled down the street... four more houses, three more, two more—WHAT?!? Why are you stopping there?!? It goes here... oh. Someone else had a delivery, too.

*Insert sound of rapid-fire foot tapping*

Neighbors aren't home. Two hours later (it seemed, thought it was only two minutes)... IT ARRIVED! Three boxes later...

It arrived at 1:29 PM. It took me 1.5 hours to carefully unpack the boxes and inventory the parts. Yep, there is a list. Ever put together one of those Sauder entertainment centers (or similar)? Same deal. Only three times as many parts.

All the wood needs to be lightly sanded and oiled first. They provided both sandpaper AND oil... and, they included the screwdriver! Not a cheapo one, either, it's a Pratt-Read #2 Phillips. Which may or may not be high quality, but it's a real screwdriver that will be a nice addition to my toolbox, not the kind you toss aside with a grimace before rummaging through your own tools for a decent one.

I'm starving (who can eat on Christmas?), so I'm going to grab lunch, then head out to the general store (Ben Franklin's) to get chamois rags, gloves and two more skeins of yarn for the Besotted Twins. Tune in later for progress pictures!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Looming GOOD News!

Look what was just emailed to me from my LYS:
Subject: UPS Ship Notification, Tracking Number
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 15:39:38 -0500 (EST)

Important Delivery Information
Message from Harrisville Designs, Inc.:
Jeanne B.

Scheduled Delivery: 14-December-2006

Shipment Detail
Ship To:
Jeanne B.

Number of Packages 3
Weight: 137.5 LBS

* I came back and edited this when I realized just how boring it is to read. ;-)

Bi-Polar /Kill Me Now

I was too tired last night after my knitting marathon to bother taking one little photo and posting my triumph. Last night's post would have looked like this:


Yes, I had yarn left over. Barely. I bound off and broke yarn in triumph. One gift down, four to go, 12 days left to knit furiously and block FOs.

This morning, I grabbed the scarf, eager to photograph it pre-blocking before either
  • starting one of the pairs of socks or
  • continuing on the Besotted Twins
That's when I saw it. And that's why today's post is KILL ME NOW.

Look (if your eyes are as weary as mine, click to enlarge):

Can't see it? Here, try this:


It was FINE when I left it. I took photos! Everything was woven exactly as it should be. I took the photos, got online, did my post, got offline, picked up the scarf, carried it into the kitchen, sat down and carefully re-wove the fingers to make sure they were all in the right order... started knitting. Knit a few rows, examined it for accuracy, proclaimed it perfect, noticed nothing amiss, continued knitting. Put it down for the night. Picked it up last night. Watched three episodes of Six Feet Under on Bravo while finishing the scarf. Bound off. Brought it into the kitchen (out of cat paw range). Went to bed.

Picked it up this morning and that's when it appeared before my eyes—the error so glaringly obvious that could be seen in pitch darkness by a blind man.

If I hadn't been so defeated and depressed about it, I might have laughed reading my horoscope:
Have you ever tripped while walking down the sidewalk, looked to see what caught your foot, and seen nothing but smooth, clean pavement? Invisible barriers and minuscule details can trip you up for no particular reason, and today you should be prepared for these types of little surprises. Right now, you can't outsmart the forces guiding you, so do not try to use organization to ensure smooth sailing. There's no fighting the chaos life brings sometimes.
*ahem* "Little surprises"?

If it were simply a stitch out of place or something only a knitter would notice, I'd ignore it (after all, it's a gift, not like I'll ever see it again). But, since it's so painfully noticeable—hell, it's the centerpiece of the design, the whole reason FOR knitting this—it has to be fixed. I have two choices (neither of which I'll pursue today, after reading that):
  • unbind, frog, re-weave, reknit OR
  • the more terrifying option of cutting a stitch on the miswoven finger, separating, re-weaving that one finger, picking up the live stitches on the scarf and I-cord, and grafting (good thing there's some yarn left over)
I've never steeked or done anything remotely like it, and like Addi Turbos, it scares me... almost to the point of Frog City. It's especially frightening because I-cord is involved. Of course, there is always Option #3 (for the exceptionally AR types like myself): using garbage yarn, knit up a swatch with a couple mini-I-cord fingers, whack it up, and practice first. Kind of like practicing tricky surgery on a cadaver before hacking up the living human.

For the moment, the scarf will sit while I work on other things and give you all a chance to respond. One of you experience knitters can guide me toward the right solution before I make a complete mess of this project.

First I nearly disembowel my eye with a knitting needle, then I mess up a vital design option... should I just give up and hit Target in a mad dash instead? Is the Universe sending me a message? Perhaps the message is (thank you, Franklin, with minor liberties):
"You should have started in Juuuune..." (of 2004, obviously)

Edit: 5:37 PM I suppose I could always try EZ's method and just ladder down to the affected I-cord, and see if that will work... except for its being connected and woven... HMMMmmmm... (and yes, for those of you wondering if I'm really THAT A-Retentive, I just finished knitting my cadaver swatch).

Monday, December 11, 2006

Stick's Gone Wild!

Hopefully some (ALL) of you also read Stick Knits. Well, if you don't, head on over there now and take a look at her version of the Yarn Emergency Xmas Ornaments! Girl's gone plumb crazy! She's had all kinds of awesome, wild ideas for things to stuff in the ornaments, far beyond yarn. Stick is one creative chick! I'm impressed. My turn—I'm borrowing some of your ideas, Carolyn, for next year's batch! :-D

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Celtic (Almost) Knot-ted

Finally, some light at the end of one of the Xmas Tunnels. The second set of fingers is complete:

All that remains is to weave them in...

... then pick up the live ends of the I-cords, rejoin, and continue knitting for about 6.5 more inches.

I hope I have enough yarn...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Considering a Move

Yeah, I know I just posted, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's time to explore new blogging horizons. Old Blogger isn't flexible enough for me; Beta hasn't invited me yet to upgrade *snif*, templates are impossible to change even with a rudimentary grasp of code (CSS, HTML, XHTML, XYZhtml, ABCDEFGhtml...). and I'm just plain longing for more control. Blogging For Dummies came home from the library with me the other day. The book is surprisingly informative. I'm seriously considering a DIY blog on my own domain.

Because it pisses me off that despite having fixed it already, or so I thought, it's doing it again. Instead of my unadulterated banner at the top, I get banner plus the words "knitty banter" in dark grey above the image, impeding the beauty of the thing! Can you see it, too? It's the site link, but it MUST GO. I had it configured so that the banner itself was clickable. What the *bleep* happened?

I see a lot of disenchanted B-users moving over to TypePad and WordPress. Some are paid blogs, from my understanding; then there is Movable Type which is DIY... Any thoughts?

Wear Goggles With DPNs

Thank you, Dear Lord, for blessing me with the nearsightedness that requires me to need glasses to be able to see my own hands in front of my face. Otherwise, tonight I might be suffering from no-sightedness.

Today, I learned that DPNs should come with a safety warning and a pair of goggles to wear while using them.

First, let me reassure you, I'm okay. Nothing broken, punctured, or requiring stitches or hospitals. It was merely a mishap; or a gentle reminder to pay attention to where I'm pointing those things.

I was working on the Besotted Twins (knitting two at a time on one set of needles for efficiency's sake) when I noticed a cable misfire a few rows down. I dug out my trusty DPNs and laddered down just like EZ demonstrates on the Knitting Glossary DVD. Things went well-ish. (The pattern and row counting confused me, so I had to frog and reknit a couple of times before I got it. Gee. That's been happening a lot lately. Could it be I need new glasses? or is it just old age? or am I simply incapable of reading even the most basic of patterns?)

As I sat back and reveled in my triumphant cable restoration (saying Hail EZ full of lace), I went to put down the DPNs so I could pick up my working straights and carry on. Being ever-resourceful, I pulled the DPN from the final set of perfectly-crafted cable stitches with a flourish and went to put it over my ear (like we do with pencils) until further need arose.

Except I missed. Must've been a muscle twitch or something. Instead of sliding atop my ear, it jabbed me in the eye socket. Glaghck! I dropped my knitting and the DPN and ran to the bathroom to assess the damage, fully expecting to see gushing eyeball juice pouring out of my eye or a dangling orb on my cheekbone (not the shiny fuzzy ones we're all making for Xmas).

Eyeball still intact. The wet stuff on my face was only the standard tears that emerge when the eye is insulted. But, no damage. I can still see, though it was a tad blurry and achy for a minute there. It feels okay now. Glasses are what saved me. The needle, a size #8 Crystal Palace Bamboo—thank God I wasn't knitting socks!—slid up over the frames, which diverted it from reaching its target.

Quite an eye-opening experience (pun intended!).

Friday, December 08, 2006

How-To Ornaments and Update

A reader has requested instructions for the yarn ornaments. They are not my design and I'm not sure where to give credit. I got the idea from Split Yarn's blog, who got the idea from For the Love of Fiber's blog.

But it's a simple process. Buy some clear glass ornaments from a craft store (ie Michael's, JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, etc.), raid your yarn stash for the most hideous, funky, sparkly yarn imaginable (the uglier the better because it makes a prettier ornament) or buy some, take the top off the ornament, stuff yarn into the ornament, replace the top and voila—instant, inexpensive glamour.

It doesn't take much yarn. A small ball of Bernat Boa, for example, goes a looooooooooooooooong way—I used a lot of this for mine because the multiple colors, shine, and featheriness really worked wonders. I also found that it helped to use the non-hook end of a fat crochet hook (size P or close, whatever fit in the hole) to stuff the yarn down in there. The eraser end of a pencil would probably work just as well.

Xmas Update

Bored. Bored bored bored bored bored. I hope Allergic One loves the Celtic Knot Scarf (CKS) she's getting because it is driving me nuts. Now I know why I'm so attracted to cables, complex patterns, and weaving—because stockinette literally puts me to sleep. Without the challenges of an intricate Aran, or the irritation of figuring out why my eyelet isn't working, I become bored.

I wish the pattern had come with a photo because you won't be able to see the coolness of it until I'm finished (it's an original pattern published by the yarn store's "house brand"). The CKS gives the impression that it is a highly complex piece because of the design detail—a scarf that is overlapped and permanently joined by a 5-inch woven I-cord "celtic knot".

But looks are deceiving. Even I was fooled into thinking it was a wicked cabling maneuver, when it's really a stretch of stockinette, five I-cord fingers, rejoin across and go back to stockinette for a longer stretch, five more I-cord fingers, weave the second set of fingers through the first set of fingers, rejoin across and finish the scarf. It's ingenious in my opinion ("oh you must have slaved over that for months..." ah, those non-knitters, they'll never know). The end result will be amazing. Getting there, however, involves about 50 or so inches of stockinette bordered with a three-stitch garter on either side.

Amazing to look at. YAWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN to knit. No offense to the designer; I love the design of the scarf, but I enjoy knitting more complex things.

This afternoon I was sitting on the couch working on the expanse between Finger Set #1 and Finger Set #2, and I nodded off. Needles in hand, right in the middle of a stitch, sitting upright.


Uh, yeah. I think I'll make this one an "in front of the TV or while chatting with friends" project and go back to my Double EyePain Socks for awhile until the drowsiness wear off.

Note to self: avoid any suggestion of "Quick n Easy Christmas Project". Stick to what you know and love (complexity) even if it means starting Christmas 2009 this year.

Ten Knitterly Things

With far too much time on my hands tonight, I offer my entry into the MeMe race. Wait. How can I have free time when Christmas is only two weeks away? Did I finish everything?

Hardly. I just couldn't take it anymore after staring at my Double Eyelet socks for four straight hours trying to figure out where I went wrong, so I took the night off.

And promptly found myself so BORED I spent a couple hours monopolizing Stick Knits' Comments section trying to help her name her new cat.

I exhausted my creativity there; watched ER; then I rescued DVD #1 of the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Liberty & Horse Behavior Course from the mess a certain feline who shall remain nameless (because I've no idea which of the five it was) created when he (ratio=4:1 M:F) jumped on top of the TV center (where he is not supposed to be) and his little feety pads, having nowhere to go, had to delicately maneuver around my precious DVDs go and knock them off onto the floor where the other cats carefully avoided stepping on them scrambled across them in the cat-panic that ensued when they were startled out of a sound sleep by the noise of the DVDs falling to the ground.

After collapsing in hysterics--the sobby kind, not the fun kind--and carefully cleaning the DVD which should have been in its case but wasn't due to my inherent laziness about these things, I played through it and PHEW it plays fine. Only a flesh wound. On the DVD, not the cats.

So. Anyway. Got a little distracted there. Without further adieu, I bring you my Ten Knitterly Things:

  1. I also weave. And crochet. True. I'm a member of the Dark Side. In fact, I learned to weave before I learned to knit. The main reason I learned to knit was because it's cheap(er), portable and doesn't require building an addition or kicking someone out of the house to make room for the necessary equipment.

  2. My goal: to be a knitwear designer, which is quite funny when you consider I've yet to learn how to design anything knitted (pattern-wise) and have absolutely no idea if I can even DO it.

  3. The perfect life: to live on a farm stocked with sheep, llamas, angora goats, and horses of courses; spend my days riding and playing with my horses and tending my fiber-bearers and my evenings in front of:

    • a spinning wheel, or
    • a loom, or
    • a roaring fire in the fireplace with my knitting in hand and my cats about me (in summer it would be a roaring fan)
    • get paid to do all of that. Or just win the stinkin' lottery already.

  4. I actually like acrylic yarn. But.

    • I prefer silk.
    • Especially when blended with non-itchy wool.
    • Can you tell I'm trying squeeze as many things into the alloted space as possible by cheating the system? ;-)
  1. I've learned to knit backwards. Now if I can teach myself to purl backwards and cable backwards, I'll never need to turn my work again. (Thus the argument for knitting everything in the round; except this way, I'll need fewer needles.)

  2. My sister used to knit (felled by Carpal Tunnel), but she didn't teach me. Nor did my knitting Grandma. They were both fantastic at the craft but had not the patience to teach. Therefore, I learned at a LYS.

    • My first project was a scarf (of course) BUT it had design features such as increases and decreases and putting half the stitches on a stitch holder to knit later that when joined to the other half made a hole for the end to be pulled through.
    • My second project was a sock.
    • Again with the squeezing of the space.
  1. I'm so stoked about bamboo needles (Crystal Palace Rocks! <--shameless plug) that I'm tempted to throw out my huge collection of aluminums, but of course the minute I do, I'll find a yarn that just won't cooperate with the bamboos and requires aluminum.

  2. Addi Turbos scare me.

  3. Cables are my favorite thing so far, because I finally learned how to do them without using a cable needle and gawrsh it's so simple... IMHO, cable needles are like Sweetest Day cards: somebody invented a need for an item nobody really needed before the item existed.

  4. I am a S.E.X. fiend. And yes, I pay good money for it. Every time.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Trials of My Errors

By Jove, I think I've finally caught onto this eyelet dealie. Today, I realized the error of my ways, corrected it, and my pattern FINALLY began to emerge correctly, with the correct number of stitches per round every row.

I'll pause until the cacaphony of cheers and applause dies down. ;-)

Colleen posted a comment to my previous post about the eyelet issue regarding the YFs and she was correct about the YFs actually being YOs (and I still don't understand why patterns aren't just written YO—if that's what they mean, then write it, thank you). I was pretty sure that's what they were (YOs). I was also pretty sure that's what I was doing.

And I was. At least the first YF was a proper YO. To review, it's a 7-stitch repeat consisting of several rows of K5 P2 with a pattern row in between, with the pattern row being:
*K2tog, yf, K1, yf, sl 1, K1, psso, P2*
So translated, it's actually:
*K2tog, YO, K1, YO, SL 1, K1, PSSO, P2*
What I did was lose the second YO before the SL 1. It just disappeared. Why? Because I interpreted YF literally, as in:
"bring the yarn forward; then slip the stitch"
which means just put the yarn in the front, leave it hang, and slip the stitch without anything between the previous K1 and the slipped stitch, instead of what I should have been doing, which is:
"do a yarn over and wrap that sucker around the needle, THEN bring the yarn forward, slip the stitch, and carry on"

Or, I suppose I could opt to carry the yarn in back before slipping, but with that and the question of whether I'm supposed to slip as if to purl (standard, right?) or slip as if to knit... too many rules! TOO MANY! Since it wasn't specified, and my apologies to Leslie Taylor if I've diverged from your original intentions with this pattern, I decided to carry the yarn in front, slip as if to knit, and make sure that second YO is locked in there. At this point, I may well be doing the Knitty Banter Variation on a Theme, but that's OK as long as the darned things actually make it to sock status.

What a way to learn an openwork technique. My poor yarn. Good thing these socks are for me. If that one little section wigs out from the seventeen re-froggings, it'll only be my ankles that suffer. Sorry. I know I should have wet the yarn and let it return to its normal state before knitting again, but I just can't be quite that AR during Xmas Season. I already spent far too much time worrying away at a project for me when I really should be knitting Xmas stuff!!!!!

So be it.

Grey's Anatomy is a repeat tonight. Pooh. Now what am I gonna rot my brain with tonight until ER comes on?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Excitement is Looming!

It's official. I have purchased a Harrisville loom. That's right, I've gone over to the Dark Side! Or is that crochet? I can never remember. I do both, so, it doesn't matter. I've been reeled in.

The only change I made to my loom-buying decision was to go down a size. Instead of the 45", I went with the 36". It still has 8 shafts and 10 treadles, so more complex weaves are possible. But the 45" doesn't fold up completely; only the warp end folds. The 36" folds up completely for storage when not in use. I like that. I measured the room I plan to put it in, and my eyes were bigger than my loom width possibilities anyway. If this turns into a bonafide obsession and I want to move up, I'd be looking at production looms like an AVL or WeaveBird anyway, and probably at 60" weaving width.

I'm pretty sure I can still get a horse blanket out of 36". I'm talking horse blankets that are used more for decoration—not the ones requiring rug looms—I'll just need to beat it harder. (Minds out of the gutter, please!) Yardage is possible; instead of the standard three yards of 45", I'll just have to weave longer yardages and be more creative. But I'm not huge on garment manufacture. I'm into scarves, dishtowels, pillows, etc. Some garments, sure; and I like tapestry sometimes, and there is this technique I've been dying to try since I found the booklet somewhere (can't recall where): Knitting On The Loom.

36" will do just fine.

Making progress on Celtic Knot Scarf. It's going really fast, which surprises me. It doesn't look like it would be fast. There is a bit of a trick to the fingers, though. The directions don't specify how to handle the expanse between the end of one I-cord finger and the beginning of the next one, nor how to keep everything tight and neat when returning to knitting across. I experimented, then asked my LYS guy after we finished the loom order. I was advised that with 100% wool, one can break yarn, leave a long tail (longer than the length of the I-cord), feed it down the center of the I-cord in the back (behind the ladders--the I-cord is kind of flat), then spit-splice it to the working ball and begin knitting again. Of course, I'm using Encore for the Allergic One so that option is out. I'll be weaving in ends. *sigh*

I'm probably doing this the nit-picky A.R. OCD way, but to tighten up the rejoin with all those loose tails, I sat there with a smaller needle and tugged on two rows' worth to tighten them up to fit, then pulled the tail of each I-cord through the last loop I pulled up. It was a MPITA!!! But it looks divine. I'm back into the normal part for about 20" or so (good TV knitting, as long as the cats stay at bay tonight).

Off to buy cat food. In the cold. I love winter.

PS: Happy Birthday, Grandma Lillian (who would have been 122 years old today).

Why It's Called "Eyelet" (aka Read the Directions, Dummy!)

But I did! I swear I did! Five times! Yet, my Leslie's Double Eyelet Socks are NOT coming out right. The one and a half inches of K2P2 rib is fine. It's everything after that that's wrong.

This is the sock (photo borrowed from Mountain Colors' website:

Pattern: Leslie's Double Eyelet Socks (Mountain Colors)
Yarn: Mountain Colors Weaver's Quarters
Color: Wild Flower
Needles: #1.5 Crystal Palace DPNs
Started: 11/30/06
New Skills: Lace pattern and the tiniest needles yet
Measurements: It's a sock
Modification: None on purpose
Notes: Read on, my friends...

This is the blurb about the sock from Mountain Colors' website:

Leslie's Double Eyelet Socks
This sock has a lace stitch that is so easy to remember! You can lay your knitting down in the middle of a row and still find your place again later. Uses 1 skein Weaver's Wool Quarters. Design by Leslie Taylor.

The pattern is the "Double Eyelet Rib" from The Harmony Guides 450 Knitting Stitches, Volume 2 (according to the directions). This is what it says to do after the K2P2 rib is done (the pattern stitch begins):
At beginning of next round dec 1 st to 63 sts and AT THE SAME TIME begin pattern stitch above. Continue in pattern yadda yadda yadda...

OK. Started out with 64 sts, did the ribbing, now I've decreased by one st at the beginning of my all-new pattern round. I'm also supposed to start the pattern, which is a 7-stitch repeat and consists of several rows of K5 P2 with a pattern row in between. The instructions say:

*K2tog, yf, K1, yf, sl 1, K1, psso, P2*

OK. The first time I did it, I misread it and accidentally added an extra K1. I did

*K2tog, yf, K1, yf, K1, sl 1, K1, psso, P2*

Whoops. Well, no wonder my purls aren't aligning.

If done correctly, I assume, everything from K2tog through PSSO should sit over the five knit stitches, and the two purls should align. Right? Seems that way from the photo. That's why it's a double eyelet RIB.

Frogged back to the beginning of the pattern. Complete PITA, dark yarn (see below) on #1.5's at night in poor lighting with a pile of cats who felt utterly compelled to help me. Re-read the pattern. OH. "yf, K1, yf SLIP".

Try again.

STILL not working. Count stitches. Not sure about that yf thing. Is that the same as YO? (Can you tell this is my first experience with lace of any sort? And possibly my last?) Drag out the Vogue book... one of the yarn overs sounds like what I'm supposed to be doing. I try it. Doesn't look "right". Frog back a bit. Re-read Vogue. Re-read pattern. Decide maybe it's one of those "trust me, it'll look right in the end" deals and follow the pattern.

OK... I'm back to K5 P2. And NOTHING IS LINING UP!!! My K5s are straddling P2's and my P2's are landing wherever they want to. AGGGGH! I think it's called "eyelet" because that's all you're left with once you've gouged them out (your eyes) trying to get it to work.

Again, I count my stitches.

67?!? How the frickenfrack did I wind up with four extra stitches?!?!?

OK all you lace-wise peeps. Tell me what I'm doing wrong. It's a mistake to give a knitter sticks with sharp points on both ends when they're first learning lace. Maybe lace should be learned on blunt objects.

On a more positive note, I've already made serious progress on the Celtic Knot Scarf.

Pattern: Otter Originals Celtic Knot Scarf
Yarn: Plymouth Encore (75% Acrylic, 25% Wool)
Color: Purple with little flecks of blue and red
Needles: #8 Crystal Palace DPNs and Straights
Started: 12/05/06
New Skills: I-cord
Measurements: Not sure yet, length is left up to knitter's discretion
Modification: Needles used
Notes: Pattern calls for circulars and stitch holders. I opted to knit the bulk on straights and use DPNs for the I-cord like EZ does--much simpler than loading the knit sts back onto the left needle 4,000 times, plus the DPN acts as a stitch holder.

I finished the first set of "fingers" tonight. I'll keep knitting normally in pattern (stockinette with a 3-stitch garter border) for 20 inches or so, then repeat the fingers. That's where it will get interesting. The fingers of I-cord get woven/braided and THAT is what forms the Celtic Knot! It's permanently secured as if you're wearing it pinned that way. How cool is that? Thus the "knitter's discretion" on length. It's a "try on as you go" project. I'm enjoying it. Easy pattern but the end result will look SO complicated!

Always best to end on a good note, eh?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oh, No, She DI-unt...

Oh, yes, she did!

She's gone on another S.E.X. binge! (That's twice in one month! Yarn Hussy...)

Look. It's Christmas. My home stash isn't supplying me with the right yarn for the jobs. It's OK. It's Justifiable Yarnicide*. With all the carnage, it was necessary to round up replacements.

Like this:

There is a theme brewing. Hmmm. What could it be? There is some noticeable similarity here between the Encore in "Color #2426" for the Celtic Knot Scarf, the Rowan Silk Wool DK in "Velvet" for the new Fetchings, the Classic Elite Premiere Pima Cotton/Tencel blend in "Color #5295" for the other Fetchings for the Allergic-To-Animal-Fibers person, and one of the skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun for the Zimmermania Norwegian Mittens project--OK, that last one is just for me. What IS it about these yarns that seems so... so... familiar?

(Yeah, yeah. I know. I couldn't resist.) Yep, they are all a shade of PURPLE. As I gravitated toward the perfect color for each person on my list, I realized, "Hey! They all really like purple!" It's true! It's not just my preference. That might explain why we all looked like Grape Apes at the Allergic One's wedding in 1995 (she chose startlingly purple bridesmaids gowns but we all looked great in them--rather, the color looked good on us, the dresses themselves are another story).

Again, even more Crystal Palace DPNs (don't you have enough already, Jeanne?) and the pattern for the Celtic Knot Scarf. The scarf is really cool. I think the pattern was created by someone local; it's a xeroxed sheet with no photo or drawing on it. The reason I bought it was because the LYS owners had strategically placed an FO amidst the wool worsteds. I took one look, grabbed the FO, held it up and said "What is this? I need this pattern!!!!" Hmm. I wonder if I had a rabid gleam in my eye because he really hopped to and handed me the pattern in no time flat. I didn't even read through it, I just noted the yarn requirements, grabbed the skein, and moved on.

If I can describe it--imagine a circular motif about 5 inches in diameter. It's a round celtic knotwork design. Now, imagine that somehow, someone ingeniously figured out how to take two ends of a scarf and cross them, and work the celtic knot motif so that it is as if the scarf were "knotted"--yet it is flat, because it's all woven together via the celtic motif. It is knit entirely on circulars because of the I-cord involvement. When I have pix I'll post them.

Speaking of, Xmas Ornaments:

I'd best get to my knitting now.

*No skeins were harmed in the making of this post; any resemblance to any yarn frogged or WIPed is purely coincidental. This post has been monitored and approved of by the ASPCY (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Yarn).

Xmas Update

Tiennie wondered on her blog about the progress of the brave last-minute Christmas knitters. Well, let's see. My Christmas knitting... today I finished one half of Fetching for a friend (who does not read blogs). Her hands are narrower than mine, with long, slender, elegant fingers (I'm envious). I'd knit my own Fetchings on a size larger than recommended by the pattern, and they fit. So I dropped down one size for hers. Nope. They fit me... only better. SO, since this was done in Acryl-ick yarn (I know, but it was pretty acrylic and I'm trying to limit my contribution to the crass commercialization of Christmas by not buying new yarn, being economical and just using yarn in my enormous stash), and since I'm (obviously) starting over, I'm off to the LYS tomorrow for NICE yarn for them. *ahem* Lesson learned. Gauge swatches be damned--I haven't gotten the hang of establishing perfect gauge based on garment measurements yet. With me, it's more trial and error than anything else. LOL!

Thank God it only takes me a few hours to knit them up.

I successfully stuffed wads of yarn into 24 glass ornaments. Photos to come. I'm quite pleased with them. I experimented with stringing shiny beads on the yarn, but it took forever and I didn't like the look that much. I only did that to one ornament, and despite disappointment with the effect, it's staying that way (not gonna frog the ball).

When is my darned swift going to arrive? I need it! Yes, I broke down and ordered one. JoAnn's. The bigger one. On sale. Plus 50% off. So it was cheaper than the sale price. Before I can start the family socks, the Mountain Colors Crazy Woman and Gold Rush need to be caked. (Is that the proper terminology?) I'm also waiting impatiently for yet another knitting book to arrive (Harmony Guide to Aran & Fair Isle). Guess the hanks are going for ride tomorrow up to the LYS with me.

Is anyone in blogland aware of a University that has graduate programs in Fibers/Textiles (as Art, as in weaving/surface design) AND Fashion Design/Apparel Design? I'm looking for MFAs and PhDs and I'm just tired of Googling. Maybe those of you in other geographic regions are more familiar with your local college's offerings.

OK, that's enough for tonight.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oblogations <--yes, I meant to spell it that way

I should post more often to this blog. Then I could say less, but more often; rather than saying a whole bunch in one long tedious post.

Because my parents are gone now, I've been having trouble "feeling the cheer" of the season. It's especially hard because my Dad loved Christmas. He would put up a small tree outside on the deck and string the lights. Every night, the minute it got dark, Dad would venture out onto the treacherous wooden deck and plug in the lights, no matter how cold or snowy it was; when he "made rounds" to lock up the house before bed, he'd unplug them. He loved shopping, and he loved carols though singing wasn't his forté. Even when we kids were far past the age of Believing, he'd sign some of the tags "Love, Santa".

Mother, on the other hand, claimed Thanksgiving and Easter. She preferred the church-related holidays where Christ and family togetherness was the focus, rather than materialism and commercial greed. She liked Christmas Eve services, of course. She didn't hate Christmas, she just wasn't as big on it as Dad was.

Travel became more difficult for them in recent years. Though they got along well at home, driving long distances and navigating parking lots at hotels and restaurants became an issue. At first, I drove them to my sister's in PA for Thanksgiving and Christmas. More recently, I opted to spend Christmas with my parents rather than travel to be with the rest of the family because even as far back as 1999 I had the sense that the Last Christmas With My Parents could be this one. The family started coming here for Turkey Day, which helped.

It was uneventful, perhaps even dull to be spending a holiday such as Christmas--known for sparkly snow, colorful gifts, huge displays, a Turkey Day repeat dinner complete with chilled champagne, and big family laughter and chatter--with two elderly people, a handful of quietly-opened gifts, and ordinary food (grilled cheese and tomato soup, anyone?). But I'm glad I stayed home with them these past few years. I survived this Thanksgiving all right, but this will be my first Christmas without them. Their presence is already sorely missed.

Christmas Carols are breaking my heart this year. I'm completely out of touch with the concept of Holiday Cheer. I was invited to join my church's choir, but chose to delay it because I fear that the moment I open my mouth to sing a seasonal song, I'll burst into tears (because it happens when I try to sing along with the radio). It's just too damned painful.

Still, I've decided that despite my lack of cheer and the tension currently undermining my relationship with my sister (hereafter referred to as my "Nemesister" until we resolve the estate nonsense agreeably), I will do my best to honor my parents' memory by honoring Christmas as best as I can. Nemesister and I agreed last summer to make it a less-materialistic festivity for once and not go all-out buying stuff for each other. (One day when I find them, I'll post photos of the Year the Gift Factory Exploded Under the Tree: A Disgusting Display of American Consumerism.) We are actually limiting ourselves, can you believe it? We haven't gone so far as to pick names and only buy one gift--that goes against all we believe, LOL!

To that end, belated as it may be, I've begun Christmas Knitting. I know. I feel the stress. :-D Hey, I was busy! I had to centralize things in the house and clean up so the appraisers could come (they were here Thursday). But I can knit small projects quickly (Fetchings, socks, scarves) and I only have five grown-ups to knit for. I have two Besotteds being knitted in different colors on ONE needle: knit a row on blue, drop the working yarn, knit a row on green, drop the working yarn, turn; repeat. There is a pair of Mountain Colors Socks in the works (yes, those are for OTHER people, darn it, except after reading Franklin's Post today, I've decided the purple and red Wild Flower yarn is mine because they are MY favorite colors) and another in the wings, plus a pair of Fetchings I started tonight is halfway done.

There are two little squeakers who need gifts, but they aren't old enough to grasp the Consumerism concept. They won't care that Great-Aunt Jeanne (my God, Great Aunt?) only made them one thing, or that it doesn't have Liz Claiborne on the tag. (Their mother would care, however. I'm thinking I'll knit her a scarf with the words "Liz Claiborne" worked into the design *ahem*). They won't even understand that it's from me. I've only met one of them so far, anyway. I don't even know the other one (18 and 4.5 months old). You knitters with children, answer me this: are knitted stuffed animals okay for 4 and under (out of acrylic)? It's that, or I raid Big Lots.

I'm also giving out sets of yarn ornaments like the ones mentioned by Robin and Split Yarn.

Well, with all that knitting to do, I'd better quit blogging and get to bed. Wish me luck. It's already December 4th.

Friday, December 01, 2006

My Parents

It's about time I posted this. My parents, Stewart and Helen, on their 50th Wedding Anniversary (in 2000):

Mah Stash

Looky what I got the other day (click for big photos):

Left: Mountain Colors Patterns: Family Socks, Kathy's Socks, Fascine Braid Socks, Leslie's Double Eyelet Socks; two skeins of sock heel/toe reinforcer; MC Bearfoot in Tamarack and Gold Rush; MC Weavers Quarters in Crazy Woman

Right: MC Weaver's Quarters in Wild Flower** that I'm gauge swatching for Leslie's Double Eyelet Socks. The pattern calls for size 2 DPNs; I was advised that I'd like it better on size 1.5 DPNs. Of course that necessitated buying the 1.5's ;-)

Left: Lorna's Laces in Gold Hill

Right: Freebies! Three mini-skeins of I-don't-know-what and two balls of Trendsetter Papi

that were in the Mystery Gift Bags

Left: Check out the coolness! Dots all over the fringies!

Right: Does anybody recognize this logo? If so, can you tell me what it is? I didn't open the MGBs until I got home so I couldn't ask the LYS people.

Left: Last but not least, the amazing Fiberworks Tote Bag!

**This poor ball of yarn. I nearly destroyed it. Before leaving the LYS, I was asked if I needed any of it wound into balls for me. I gaily said (high on the endorphine rush of an über yarn crawl):

"No, thank you, I have a ball winder at home!"

...and giddily floated out the door.

When I got home, I realized the importance of swifts... or willing children, partners, roommates, etc., of which I have none, lest you count the furry ones and we all know what happens to yarn when we ask the cats to spread out their paws so we can wrap skeins of yarn around them.

I tried to do it myself swift-less. BIG mistake. Not gonna do that again. Luckily I stopped the foolishness before utter chaos set in. With much embarrassment, I undid what I'd done, and attempted to put the hank back to its normal order as best as I could. Then I twisted it up and tucked it in. I made a special trip to Toledo just to have it wound correctly for me as, alas, nobody in these parts has a swift for sale, except the LYS where I bought and got wound, and it was nearly $100 because it was "finished".


While in the area on my "special trip" I cruised past my old house (which I still own, I just haven't quite unloaded it yet and still have a few boxes there) to pick up this ancient handmade warping reel that I acquired when I bought a 24-inch Clement Table Loom many moons ago (1997, maybe). Momentary digression: The loom belonged to a senior lady who had just moved into a retirement condo with her DH. The price in the ad was unbelieveable. I thought for sure I'd call and find out they'd left of a zero. Nope—it was a couple hundred. SOLD! It's a neat little thing. She'd splurged and bought the table that went with it, which has four treadles so it can be turned into a four-shaft "floor" loom of sorts. With it came a huge box of yarn, another huge box of old weaving books, patterns and Handwoven magazines, instructions for using the loom (in French), and lots of tools. Plus the warping reel. Her DH had made it for her. It works... but it's wobbly.

I thought, well, it's upright and it spins, so maybe I could use it as a substitute swift until I feel up to spending more money. Haven't tried it out yet. After examining it, I think I'll just splurge for a swift. There are less expensive swifts out there.