Monthly Archives: February 2006

Spring???

So, it looks like we have on more really nice day, before the temps drop a little. Perhaps I can get the dogs to the park today.

Yesterday was fantastic, as forecast the temp was around 70. My friend Eva talked me into a trip to the zoo (I love the zoo) with herself and Stephan, who is two. There’s just nothing like the zoo with a two year old….everything was exciting! Yesterday was particularly good, the hippo’s were out and about;

the lion cubs—who are getting rather big now at 5 months old—were playing chase and tackle;

we have a brand spankin’ new gorilla baby (cute);

and the generally reclusive wolves were close enough to see. We could here them howling all over the park…very cool.

We ended the day with one of my favorite things, feeding the giraffes.

It’s fair to say, not much happened in the way of knitting yesterday. In the evening I worked on the one needle sock while I listened to some new knitting podcasts; the sock for son number one is in a place where I need to pay attention, making it hard to actively listen to something and get the gusset stitches right. Later this morning I will knit on it until it is to a place where it is again mindless round-and-round. At that point it is simple endurance till the toe. It would be ever so nice to get the #$%^&* thing finished before the yarn for my new cardie arrives, or I’m hip deep in my camp project. I’m too easily sidetracked and I don’t want to be working on these same socks this time next year, ya know.

best get to it….I have a feeling I’ll be getting another box ‘o temptation today.

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AGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

That’s the sound of me screaming in frustration. Why???? Because I had all but finished writing for the day when either blogger had a hiccup, or my ISP decided to take a break and when I went to save my post, the whole thing went kerflewy (technical term). I can assure you, a few other technical terms flew through my mind, but since they were mostly rated R, I will leave them to your vivid imagination.

Happy Monday!

I realize that I do not have a loyal readership of hundreds, but if you’ve somehow stumbled across my blog, welcome, and I hope you had a lovely weekend. For any of you who joined in the Olympic pursuit, I hope you finished well and will be claiming your gold medal. I will be collecting mine as soon as I figure out how to do it.

Winter is having a bit of an identity crisis here in Colorado. Yesterday the temperature reached 60 or so and today is promising to be near 70. We took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday to enjoy a little hike, followed by playtime at the dog park. (Don’t let the clouds fool you…it was lovely and warm).

Last Friday, I made the trek across town to Old Colorado City for yarn and beads. Armed with my list of needed supplies for camp, I parked and enjoyed a lovely walk through town (actually, I couldn’t remember where I’d seen the bead shop, so it took a bit of wandering—come to find out it was almost directly across the street from where I’d parked, a small fact that would really have ticked me off if it hadn’t been such a nice day). Now, these supply lists are interesting, but very vague. One must shop with next to no idea of what one will be making with said supplies….no picture, no pattern, nothing except a word or two, in this case “beaded sampler scarf.” Okay, we’re knitting a scarf and incorporating beads, but what might it look like? Last year we learned how to do mitered squares, using all kinds of color and texture, but if I had known what we were doing while I was shopping, I would have made much different yarn choices and would have enjoyed the process more.

This is what I came home with, 3 hanks of blissfully soft Blue Sky Alpaca/Silk in a beautiful blush pink. There are also three little vials of irridescent beads that blend nicely and some pearl cotton. Now, in the back of my mind I was thinking that I would make this a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law, but once in the store, my good intentions were ignored, while I fondled the colors that I like…..not at all what she would like. Damn. Another thing that happened was that once I lovingly carried it around the shop, it just had to be purchased, and, well, it was probably not the most economical choice I could have made. Damn. Yarn shops really should have a warning posted at the door, something like “CAUTION!!! Good judgment is impaired as you cross the threshold….Enter at your own risk.”

While I was in the shop, a gal came in for help with her sock in progress. She happened to be using the Magic Loop method of sock manufacture, using one long circular needle rather than two like I use or a set of double points. Now I had heard of this before and have always wanted to give it a go, but frankly, just couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept. I inserted myself into the conversation (rude, I know, but hey, it was a yarn shop, and my good judgment was already impaired), and as I watched, the light came on (bing) and it made sense. I added a 40″circular needle to my basket, made my purchase and raced home to dig up my copy of The Magic Loop, which I knew I had……..I didn’t have one. Damn. So, I thought, I’m clever, I can figure this out. Nope, not that clever. At this point I did what anybody would do. I poured myself an adult beverage and went to the internet, source of all information, where low and behold, I found the basic instructions here. I happily cast on the sock, (KnitPicks Simple Stripes in “storm” I think) and felt much better (due in part to the adult beverage, no doubt). When I sat down on Saturday, I was really feeling pretty full of myself and very pleased with my little sock, when I remembered a certain other sock, one that is suppose to be a birthday gift in a few short weeks. Damn.

Anybody want to guess what I’ll be knitting on today?

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a little homesick….just a little

It’s time once again for Favorite Foto Friday.

Once again I’m bringing you a picture taken on the Olympic Peninsula in the great state of Washington. This is the view from the trail down to the beach….actually one of many trails to many beaches along the highway. From this photo, you can see a few things typical of Washington beaches: For starters, even though it was August, it was not in any way warm. See the folks in jackets and sweatshirts??? (okay, maybe not). This, gentle reader, IS beachwear in this part of the world. Yes, what you see is a misty rain. A bit later in the day it really, truly rained and I was soaked to the skin (having left my parka in the car due to a sunbreak). Notice the dense, lush foliage….that’s the byproduct of all the rain. The forest reaches to the sea on the peninsula, and actually, we were very near the Olympic Rainforest…..yup, Washington has rainforests.

The other reason I included this particular photo today is that it was on this trip that I started this sweater.

Here are the particulars: The pattern is from Rebecca #106, and is #18. The yarn is GGH Goa in color “I can’t find the ball band.”

I first saw this sweater on a display at Weaving Works in Seattle and loved the cables, particularly the way they flow so nicely into the neckline. The vertical lines are made by knitting into the stitch below. It was a really fun knit, not hard and the yarn is pretty bulky so it goes quick in size 10 and 11 needles.

Here is a close-up of the cable pattern:

And so….nearly a year after the knitting was finished, the sweater is ready to wear. It took me well over an hour to weave in all the ends, reiterating that it is much easier to do the weaving a bit at a time as you go.

The other thing I realized as I was sewing this up is that I don’t think I want another vanilla sweater. I think the cardigan will have to be cherry red. Ordered the yarn last night….tada.

Now for one last picture…..I swiped this from Annie Modesit’s blog, and I thought it was worth sharing (forgive me Annie). Aren’t they sweet???

It’s obviously lambing season, and I’m wondering what “flavor” the little farm I used to pass got this year. It looks like this farm has a plethora of black lambs…but just look at the sweet face on that white babe. Mom (?)even looks content for the time being.

Here’s hoping for a warm and fuzzy weekend.

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I think I would like some cheese with my whine……

Random thoughts today…..

I’ve been thinking more about my yarn choice for the cardigan on my to do list. I said the other day that I had just about settled on a creamy vanilla color, choosing the practical over the bright, vibrant color. I’m now having second thoughts, and the reason for this is that somehow I don’t feel able to make a good choice. I know, that sounds really bizarre, but it’s true. I’ve really never been the kind of person who is indecisive or wishy washy, but lately I’ve received a lot of, shall we say “input” as to clothing choices, hair style and color choices, decorating ideas and so forth, and I’m feeling sorta insecure in my formerly solid preferences. Why is it that when we ask for input, we feel obligated to do what the person is suggesting, regardless of whether or not we like their idea? Why do we ask for another opinion and then put more stock into it than into our own, original idea? Are we somehow trained to think that others are much smarter than we are, that they see things we don’t, that their way must be better? Why do we continually doubt our instincts, even when time has proven that we can trust them? Is it because that if we are all of a sudden out of our comfort zone, our very selves are shaken? That change can cause instability in our decision making template and we find ourselves unable to get off the fence for fear we will be in even more unfamiliar territory?

I think for me, it stems from my recent move back to Colorado. I remember the move to Washington 3 1/2 years ago and feeling like I had lost my mind. It had been a very stressful year leading up to the move, and even though I was returning to my home state, I felt completely lost for several months. I was without my job, without my network of friends, in a place that was both familiar and changed. It took me ages to find my feet, and then, as I was really feeling good about my place in the universe, we left. Not only did we leave, but our children did not…..they stayed behind. And we returned to a place that was both familiar and changed, to the house that I had “built” but that had been another families home for the time we had been away. And I left my family, and a job that I loved, and season tickets to the 5th, and the water and I’m still struggling to find my feet.

What I have left, is knitting, and so it seems really important to make the right choice. For some reason I can’t quite wrap my mind around, it seems unreasonably important. Perhaps it’s that, at least for now, my identity is being loosely held together by yarn, and that makes the choice more vital. Perhaps it’s that I am not personally earning the money to support my habit, and so I want to make the very best choice….who knows.

But the fact remains…..what I originally wanted was the sweater I saw in the magazine. What I think will be most practical is a neutral sweater in washable fiber at a good price, and the decision matrix is driving me nuts. One thing that is certain, if I don’t get off the dime very soon, I will not have the yarn in time for my trip, and that would be a bummer.

Okay, enough of that. Last night I did something totally out of character, I did not watch the Olympics. I was raised by a sports fanatic. My Dad would watch ANY sport: bowling, cliff diving, shuffle board, you name it. During football season he would watch two games simultaneously, flipping channels, be listening to a game on his radio through headphones and often have the sports pages in front of him as well. If the Olympics were on, by gum, we were watching. I got some of that…..if the Olympics are on, then it is my patriotic duty to watch, to cheer for our athletes and feel the swell of pride when they win and have medals awarded to the strains of The Star Spangled Banner. But last night I was really enjoying listening to an episode of Cast-On and knitting on the stash scarf. Hubby stayed late at work, I didn’t have to stop what I was doing and prepare a meal and I was enjoying the process and the quiet. It is a lovely thing to be perfectly content with oneself, and not feeling guilty that you should be doing something else. And that’s where I was, enjoying the moment.


The really spiffy byproduct of this quiet evening is a finished scarf, which really turned out cool.
The only downside is that because the cast on edge is a crocheted chain, it is quite firm and doesn’t have any give, causing a slight curve over the length of the scarf. Once around the neck it is not noticeable, but it is enough to bug me a bit. I think, if knit another scarf in this style, I will use my tried and true long tail cast on rather than pick up the stitches from a crocheted chain, as the in original directions.

Today, the plan is to pull out a sweater that I finished about a year ago and get it sewn up…..I really don’t like sewing up. Usually, by the time I’m finished with the knitting, I’m pretty tired of looking at the project, so I put it away for a while and, well, a year is long enough, don’t you think? It really is a great sweater though…pictures tomorrow. The other thing I’d like to do today is go to town for the supplies I need to take to camp……..

……and make a decision about yarn.

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Out of focus

Yesterday was largely lost. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t knit….I couldn’t see. Yesterday was my eye exam.

Several months ago I saw the dermatologist, a follow-up appointment to check for any new bits of melanoma needing attention. He very seriously informed me that I absolutely had to have my eyes checked, they had to be dilated and the optometrist needed to look for melanoma on my retinas. Swell, thought I, that’s just what I need, melanoma on my eyes. So yesterday I trotted off to the eye doctor and did that very thing. Now the thing I remembered most about this dilation thing is that your eyes are very light sensitive afterward….I went prepared with my sunglasses. What I didn’t remember and what left me useless for the rest of the day, was that the solution that causes your eyes to dilate, also paralyzes your focusing muscles. SO, not only are you squinting, everything looks like it’s underwater. You can see, for the most part, but try as you might, you just can’t bring things into focus…..it was so frustrating. Knitting….not happening; reading….are you joking? The up side of this was that the very kind and good looking doctor got a really good look around and everything is healthy. I left the office with a new eyeglass prescription in hand and instructions to return in a year. Oh boy, am I looking forward to that.

On the way home (yes, I took myself home, dumb*** me), I stopped at the fabric store for buttons for the cardie (dumb***) and chose little creamy half round buttons. I figured once I was there, I was GOING to leave the store with the buttons if it killed me (dumb***). They match okay, but I’m not sure they will be permanent. I forgot to buy backing buttons, so I’ll have to make another trip before I can sew them on. As a reward, I treated myself to Vogue Knitting on the way out.

The rest of the day was a wash, mostly spent on the sofa with my eyes closed. Because this is a knitting blog, for the most part, here’s what I was knitting on yesterday, while I could still see.


I’m calling it my stash scarf. The idea is this, you choose a few different yarns, in this case 3, and all ya do is knit. With color 1 knit a row, cut the yarn, turn the work and pick up color 2. Knit the row, cut the yarn, turn the work and pick up color 3. Same thing. You stop knitting when you run out of yarn or you think the scarf is wide enough, since it is knit lengthwise. The loose ends are turned into fringe when you’re done. Easy Peasy.

And now for New Word Wednesday. Today’s word(s) is vade mecum which is a noun that means 1. a book for ready reference: manual 2. something regularly carried about by a person.

I think it’s fair to say that knitting has become for me my vade mecum. I rarely leave home without something to knit, usually something small that tucks nicely into my purse. For my husband, it’s a backpack, stuffed with papers, textbooks, journal article. This used to bug the daylights out of me…..we’d go off to the store or somewhere and along came the backpack. He’d say, “you never know when you’ll get stuck somewhere and wish you had something to do.” He’s right….and so he takes the “security backpack” and I take some knitting. We each have a vade mecum. What’s yours????

This also brings up the topic of knitting reference material, is there such a thing as too many knitting references??? I think not, but just for fun, I’ll tell you a couple of my favorites.

The first knitting book I ever bought was Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann, indispensable wisdom and technique presented with wit and humor galore. A must have, if you ask me. Another is Debbie Stoller’s Stitch ‘n Bitch, which is just chock full of good directions. Even though I’ve been knitting for a little while now, I still refer to this book for different ways to do things.

And now I really must get going, it’s a big day here……I am going to be teaching someone to knit! Yes indeedy, someone actually asked me to teach them to knit! Wish me luck.

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Final Lap

Ding, Ding, Ding…….the bell for the final lap has sounded and the olympic knitters are pressing toward the finish line. Let’s check the progress in Colorado Springs…….

Isn’t it cute? There has been a slight pause for blocking and buttons, but I’m definitely in the final lap. The buttonhole band gave me a little trouble….the directions said that the band should fit the front when “slightly” stretched. What is slightly stretched? The left front went without a hitch, looked great and fit nicely. The right front, where the buttonholes go was another story, my first attempt just didn’t look right after I had it sewn in place. After looking at it for a bit, I decided it really needed to be done over (insert dirty word here). My second run produced a better looking band, tiny little buttonholes evenly placed and altogether a much better look.

Here’s what the back looks like… …though I’m sure it will look much better on an infant than it does on my teapot. The wool/cotton has a nice soft hand and a nice drape after it’s bath. When it’s completely dry, I’ll add the buttons.

What I’ve learned: Intarsia is not suitable for TV knitting, unless you really don’t care about what is on the tely.
….Experience in counted cross-stitch is a plus.
….The “wrong” side will never look as tidy as you think it should.
….Debbie Bliss is a brilliant designer, but one should do a thorough read through and maybe a bit of translation before launching into the project. I had to work through all the sleeve shaping on paper before it all made sense to me. Worth the time.
….When you finally “get it” you feel very clever.
….While I don’t think I’ll ever love knitting intarsia, it doesn’t scare me anymore.

After the knitting was done yesterday, and the little cardie was nicely blocked out on the kitchen counter, I opened the box from KnitPicks. Inside, as expected, was blue wool for Emory’s clogs, dark red for Eva, a pretty cranberry for felted apples, two patterns and a color card for cotton yarn. I saw a really cute cardigan pattern in a magazine over a year ago and have been waiting for the time to be right for knitting it up. I think the time is drawing close, but as with most projects it isn’t a straight forward as one would like. What originally struck me about this particular cardigan was the color, a bright tangerine, and the stitch pattern, that while not difficult, is very interesting. The model in the mag is knit up in a cotton/wool worsted weight yarn. Enter KnitPicks “Shine“, a machine washable and dryable cotton/modal blend with a lovely soft sheen. The downside? It’s sport weight, which makes figuring how much to order a bit more tricky. The other thing is that out of the 14 very pretty colors available, none are quite what I had in mind. I think I’ve just about decided to go with a nice vanilla color….ever practical….instead of something wild like apple green or cherry red. KnitPicks also has a lovely line of Merino, which has a color (rhubarb) that I adore…..but the idea of being able to toss a handknit into the washer and dryer just flat turns me on. I think I am willing to give up vibrant color for convenience, at least in this case. The big plus, aside from ease of care, is the cost…the sweater will be less than $35. That means hours of guilt free knitting pleasure, and knowing that if it doesn’t turn out to be the “it” sweater I hope it will be, I haven’t spent the equivalent of two weeks worth of groceries on it.

Finally, the countdown has begun for Camp Knitaway. I can hardly wait. I still need to make a trip to Old Colorado City for supplies, and decide what I’m taking along, but as the time grows closer, I get more and more excited. This year we will be learning to knit with beads, but the best thing about the weekend is all the interesting people that attend, seeing what they’ve been working on (a mix of awe, intimidation and inspiration) and spending an entire weekend doing what you love with people who share your passion.

Until then, there is plenty to keep me busy. The final lap needs to be completed and the finish line crossed…..I’ve got a gold medal to claim.

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Ah…..Italia

With the Olympics being held in Italy this year, I thought I’d share one of my favorite shots in this weeks edition of Favorite Foto Friday.

Last May, my number one son and I took a fabulous trip to Italy. The whole adventure was dreamlike….I had to keep reminding myself that I was really, truly there. On a perfect spring day in Florence, Brett climbed to the top of the Duomo and from the top, took this picture.

Itlay is an amazing country and we had a fabulous experience. The people are warm and friendly, the art, history and culture are incomparable and the food and wine is impossible to say no to. I would go back tomorrow.

The set back with the second sleeve wasn’t as bad as I thought, and after a short break I was able to get it back on the needles and going the right direction. I have about another 30 minutes to go on it, and then all the “big” pieces of the sweater are finished. The next step, according to the directions, is the button band, then the button hole band, sewing up and the collar. I will share an updated picture soon.

The wind is blowing, the snow is falling and I have the fire going……it’s a perfect day for reading, knitting, and maybe a nap. It’s the next best thing to a vacation.

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