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October 2004 Archives

October 5, 2004

Scattered Threads

Scattered indeed. I look over at my table, and what a mess. The second gauntlet is sitting on top, yarn hanging over the edge of the Vera Bradley case it's being housed in. I had to take out 8 rows this morning to correct a problem I noticed last night, so all the extra yarn is now hanging there. To the side of that is the first of the third sock for the Six Sox Knitalong which I've started in one of the Regia Jubilee colorways I ordered this summer. This is cool yarn, folks. I don't have much done, but I'll get a picture posted soon so you can see the fabulous colorway develop. For one reason or another, yesterday was a day of foiled knitting, and I had to frog some rows of the sock, too. So, there's a lot of that yarn excess hanging around, but it's cool to look at with its lengths of solid color flanked by almost candy-striped sections, so that's okay.

In a larger red Vera B bag on the floor next to my chair, I've got my Charlotte. She's finished except for the fringe, which I started cutting this morning. I won't be able to block her though until the weekend probably.

Here are some photos I took before I did the crochet edging this weekend. As long as you're not my mom, you can take a look.

mom don't click mom don't click mom don't click

And, right now in my chair is a needlepoint project I pulled back out. I've got a number of them started and stashed throughout the house. Most of them are "big" projects - several large Mary Engelbreit canvases, for instance. And when I say "large," I mean poster-hang-over-the-mantle size. They've taken a serious back burner to my knitting this year. But, this smaller project has been on my brain lately for gifty reasons, and so I got it out the other day, laid it on my table, and let it simmer as I knit. Today, I actually picked up some thread and did a bit, and that cinched the deal. I got out several color-coordinated bags of Silk and Ivory thread, one of my favorite needlepoint fibers, and have been picking colors.

So, nothing to show, but a lot going on in my head and all over my table.

As soon as I wrap up Charlotte and finish the gauntlets (fingerless mittens) [and I may do gauntlet number 1 over again because I'm unhappy with the appearance of my increases], I want to start on a Koigu sweater I'm planning based on a Kim Hargreaves sweater. I'm going to do it in various colors, integrated in the manner of Charlotte's Web. I have the yarn already. I just need to swatch and determine the order of the colors and the number of rows per color and per color integration set so that I can get started. I'm hoping to carry the same color progression up the arms, so it's going to be a tricky process to manage to the colors, especially since I'm working with single skeins of most of them. But, I think it'll work. I considered doing the arms solid to avoid potential issues with quantity, but I think with careful preplanning, things should be fine. Plus, the whole variegated, color-washed look of the sweater wouldn't really "work" if the sleeves were solid. That would be to color-blocky for what I have in my head. As you can see, I've been thinking a lot about this one, just haven't gotten started.

Will post pics soon, including needlepoint colors - though I won't be able to show the project itself. [I'm going to have a serious backlog of photos to show after the holidays! Ah, well, on my ever-present to-do list is add a gallery of finished objects to my blog, so maybe post-holiday will be the perfect time for that.]

As an aside... M. and I were laughing the other day that I've finished two pairs of socks from the knitalong but haven't worn either yet. So, today I pulled out a pair [the Clover Leaf socks] and put them on. It's chilly, gray, and wintery-feeling here, so I was in the mood for socks and closed-toe Birks. As I put them on, I was thinking, "the problem with socks is that no one ever sees/notices them."

So, I drop Matthew off at school, and one of the moms mentions our cute hats. He had on his rainbow hat, and I had on my favorite Rowan hat out of the greatest pink Big Wool [which I made on my 33 birthday, by the way]. I sort of shrugged it off with a thanks, and 'yeah, we love to knit' when asked if we'd made them. Other moms chimed in with the "you're so crafty" type comments [which my readers know I hate].

The one mom persisted though. As she looked at my hat, she asked, "what stitch is that on the top? Purl?" Baby in one arm, I tugged the hat off to see for sure what I was wearing and said "It's seed."

"That's knit one, purl one and then purl one knit one on the other side, right?" she asked.

My brain flared as I realized she was asking knitterly [not crafty] questions.

"You knit," I asked, daring to hope.

"I know enough to knit a hat," she said.

And we were off. There we sat on the edge of the play yard talking knitting.

And, then, irony of all ironies, she looked down and asked, "Did you make your socks?"


baby

October 6, 2004

Ubi-Media Mix

From an interview with HP Senior Fellow and algorithm developer Robert Tarjan:

    "Human beings have made it thus far, but there are plenty of things going on that have their downside as well their upside. All the new developments in rich media are wonderful in some ways, but some of these developments are depriving kids of the opportunity to create their own rich, imaginary environments."

This struck a chord with me, and I wanted to commit it to blogdom here.

We're a media-heavy household. We watch too much T.V. Play too many computer games. Spend too much time surfing. Etc. We believe in media and high-tech and ubicomp - absolutely, resolutely, unequivocably. But, we also believe in imagination, creativity, social skills, daydreaming, and the ability to appreciate reflections of sunlight on a wood floor, the moon peaking through during daylight hours, a butterfly landing in a favorite dump truck... the list goes on.

Seek balance.

October 7, 2004

Color my world

I mentioned that I'd been sorting through bags and bins picking out colors for an impromptu needlepoint project for a holiday recipient [who sometimes reads my blog]. Here's a snapshot of the colors.

thread

Taken as a whole, isn't this grouping wonderful? These colors make me happy every time I look at them. They are bright yet soothing, peaceful, cheerful, calm... it just turned out to be a great group!

And, on the theme of 'color my world,' here are words to a favorite lullaby. Well, it's a kid's song. I learned it in 5th grade. I remember very little from those days, but these words and the accompanying tune have always stuck with me. It's a favorite of Matthew's today:

    "Red and yellow and pink and green,
    Purple and orange and blue.
    You can sing a rainbow. Sing a rainbow. Sing a rainbow, too.

    Listen with your eyes. Listen with your eyes.
    And sing everything you see.
    You can sing a rainbow. Sing a rainbow. Sing a rainbow, too."

As I got ready to leave the preschool this morning, some of the older boys (circa 5) were on the jungle gym playing and were only allowing kids with red clothing to play with them.

This is somehow an outgrowth of boys not wanting to play with girls and vice versa that manifested itself today in clothing colors being the limiting factor.

(Yes, a teacher, dressed all in blue, stepped in to ask if she could play.)

It starts too/so young.

October 12, 2004

Unexpected Twists and Turns

Where to start...

Well, I could start with the fact that things seem so quiet lately. Maybe I haven't maintained readers, or maybe everyone is busy. But it feels quiet.

I could start with a lot of things. But, catching up on Charlotte is probably the best approach. I worked on blocking the shawl on Saturday morning. I laid out my big fold-up sewing board (that Matthew likes to use for a car ramp) on the table and put a huge terry towel on top. Then I got to wetting and pinning.

It was a no-go.

There was absolutely no way the shawl was going to even approach the dimensions noted on the pattern (I was blocking minus the fringe, and I'm assuming the dimensions noted are minus the fringe). We wet and rewet and tugged and pulled.

We'd get one side pulled and pinned only to find that it was impossible to get the other side out and still have the bottom point be able to lie flat. Whether the problem was that my cast off edge was too tight or that the row of single crochets was too tight, I'm not sure. At any rate, I quickly ended up in tears.

My frustration with the blocking was mixed in with concern and fear and worry. As I've mentioned many times, this first Charlotte is for my mom for Christmas. She's was admitted to the hospital on Saturday following a relatively routine (these days) test she had done on Friday. After a day in the E.R., they did emergency surgery Saturday around midnight. That surgery probably saved her life. But the recovery road ahead looks long, and each day it seems that the news is only partly good.

I'm thousands of miles away and struggling to get news channeled through my brother. He's been great. But I'm still too far away. Unfortunately, being there in the hospital all day with the baby wouldn't be best for any of us. So I'm hoping to go home end of this week to be there for the first two weeks she's back home.

That means leaving my older son here, however, and the thought breaks my heart. Other than the three nights I was in the hospital following the baby's (cesarean) delivery, I've never been away.

So, there's a lot going on, and it had all just sort of started when I was working on blocking the shawl. She'd just gone to the E.R. None of us yet realized how intense the next 24 hours would be, or how quickly the world of a really active and healthy woman in her 50's can be turned upside down.

It felt 'right' to be working on the shawl on Saturday morning knowing she'd gone to the E.R. (and assuming nothing was seriously wrong). As the day progressed and the news became increasingly dire, the Charlotte lying on the table drying took on new meaning. M. had lovingly taken over the blocking, trying to help, when I got upset with my battles with trying to straighten the top edge. When I gave up, I was stretching the cast-off edge so much I was afraid I might break it.

So, we got it blocked, but smaller still than expected. Next time I'll know to treat the cast off row and the edging more loosely.

As it dried throughout the day, I snuck whatever baby-less moments I could to go over and cut and lay out some of the fringe. It was late in the evening when I stood back and looked at the shawl from across the room and was struck suddenly by an almost majestic transformation that had taken place as I put fringe in place. M. agreed. It did look very different even with the strands of fringe just tossed in groups at each edge loop where they need to be tied in place.

As I was laying the fringe in place, the process of working on something tactile that was for her somehow giving me comfort while I was waiting for more news, the concept of prayer shawls surfaced in my mind. I've only read about them briefly and don't know much about the whole concept, but I'm thinking I should find out more. I wasn't working on a prayer shawl, of course, but the extended moment of the day and watching the shawl develop was imbued with a spiritual quality and a feeling of peace and tranquility and inner quiet. It's hard to explain.

The fringe still isn't all knotted in place. It's just been a crazy few days, and both boys are sick with colds. But here's a look at how it's going.

don't click mom don't click mom

(Eventually, she'll be back online, so the above 'don't click' images are still right even though they feel strange right now.)

October 13, 2004

the gauntlets are golden

In trying to tie up loose ends as I prepare to get out of the house this weekend or early next week to go help my mom, I've been also feeling the pressure of the mess on what might as well be called my knitting table next to what has become "my" chair. I'm having an "All in the Family" moment as I type that in. I never had "a" designated chair before. And, hopefully, this is temporary. But since the baby's birth, the glider (which wasn't really used before) has become my spot for most of my sitting hours (at least the ones that are not spent here in my office on my yellow chool).

So, in trying to get things cleared out and figure out which projects I should take with me, I got busy wrapping up the gauntlets to get them off the table and off my mind.

After finishing the second one over the weekend, I did take out the first gauntlet from the wrist up because I'd done my make-1's backwards, resulting, yes, in unsightly holes. I'm not a new knitter, but I do think in the past that my experiences with m1's have been slightly haphazard. I've never really taken the time to figure out which way the needle needed to go through the stitch from below, and so on. Plus, my typical method of increasing has generally been knitting through the front and the back of the same stitch. But, that does create a bar, so for these I was doing the prescribed m1, and I made a mess.

The good thing that came out of it is that now I've totally absorbed the mechanics of the simple m1 and don't think I'll ever again make holes unless I'm intending to make holes!

M., ironically, didn't mind the holes and was fine with me leaving them. But I couldn't do it. So, I finished #2, ripped back #1, and all that was left to do was pick up the thumb stitches and finish the few rows of that.

I did that last night.

They are shown here on two different hands, so the fit is different. Ironically, we both think they fit us. I guess I like mine looser. She doesn't mind the snug fit.

gauntlets

gauntlets

They turned out pretty good. And, even better, because M. wanted them shorter, I was able to do them with one skein of Koigu KPPM, which really opens things up in terms of making more. We've got lots of random Koigu in the house.

Let me take a minute to say, too, that my secret pal 2 is wonderful. She's great, and I appreciate knowing that she's been popping into my blog every once in a while. She sent me a funny pulp fiction card today, too, which gave me a laugh.

I'm looking forward to finding out who she is. I did spend a bit of time poking around trying to find her Australian knit blog. But, I didn't succeed. Of course, I didn't poke too hard. I do like to be surprised!

(My own pal (the person I have) doesn't blog about her packages or notes, so I've learned a lot about the SP program and the importance of it being a two-way street! If you've received something from your pal and haven't taken a picture or at least blogged the contents, take time to do so!)

You can see, I'm in a bit of a sulky mood. I'll probably delete the above before pal revelations, but for now, I'm letting it stay.

So, I am trying to determine what to take with me. There are too many possibilities, which makes it harder than it should be. And, in good knitterly fashion, my temptation is to run to the yarn store and pick up something new. More yarn is the knitter's version of comfort food, I guess. I sort of need to go to the yarn store to buy the last bit of stuff to round out my final package to my secret pal, which I need to mail before I leave. I'm just afraid that while I'm there, I'll be tempted/swayed/compelled into more than I need.

But, I hate to go without projects in hand, especially since there's not a good yarn store in the area. In the mail last night was a reminder notice that Cottage Yarns, a store south of here (but not far) is having their 15% off everything sale next weekend. My local ImagiKnits is a great store as far as what they offer, but there are things we like to pick up at Cottage Yarns, and they are very friendly (and kid-friendly) there. They even have smiley face buttons that they let the little ones pick from, which is nice. It's too bad I'll miss the sale, but M. thinks it is perfect timing since it means she might be able to pick up some stocking stuffers.

October 14, 2004

Update

Thanks to those of you who have sent kind thoughts or asked about my mom. She's doing better. The baby and I are flying out of here at the crack of dawn on Saturday. I won't have the luxury of my always-on DSL there, but I'll be checking in, blogging some, and hopefully getting some knitting done, too. I'll be back in full-force in November.

October 25, 2004

still here (or there)

Well, I'm still hanging out here with my mom in KY. She's doing well, and we're even getting some knitting done. She's looking at 6 weeks off from work, so she's got lots of knitting time ahead, and the holiday is just around the corner, soit's not a bad time of year to be stuck with little more to do than knit. What do people without hobbies do?

Having got her broadband connection installed and then setting her up wirelessly with her laptop so that she can surf from the luxury of the couch, I logged in last night to catch up on some blog reading only to find my own page blank of entries. Oops! I didn't think to reset the number of days shown before I left. It's sort of scary to see your own page blank that way.

I didn't leave many comments, but I spent time on a number of your blogs getting my knit blog fix. It was great.

I brought an assortment of projects with me, and it's good that I brought a range because the first two didn't end up being overly successful. I'm not giving up on a mini Yarn Harlot poncho I started the first day in the hospital in a pretty purple/pink chenille I've had forever from an ebay purchase. But, I didn't like how it was looking in the needle size I started with, so I'm going to try it again on a smaller needle. It was looking really loopy.

The other less-than-thrilling project involves some pretty purple "Wendy" yarn M. gave me as a travel surprise before I left. It feels really soft on the skein, but worked up, the foundation fiber upon which the thick boa-esque eyelash is hung has a rough feel to it. I've finished one skein of the yarn, and I'll have to use the other to get a workable length for the scarf. But it ended up being a bit disappointing.

After three days and nights in the hospital with Mom and needing something I could count on to 'work,' I turned to another rainbow hat. Before I left, M. decided she really wanted one and dropped by Imagiknit to pick up another skein of the rainbow Lorna's Laces. I got started on it, and after finishing the first 5 1/2 inches, I gave her a call just to doublecheck that the length matched up to the way I made mine. (It was looking really long to me.) She starts giving me measurements with and without the "roll." I was holding the one I was working on in my hand and feeling very confused because there was no "roll."

Yep, I'd read the pattern wrong when starting this, the third, and didn't knit the first inch or so to create the rolled edge. So much for third time's a charm!

After confirming with M. that she didn't mind taking my finished hat and just letting me make the final one for myself, I decided to take a different approach. I had brought some Lamb's Pride bulky super-wash in red to use with the remaining yarn from the previous two hanks of the Lorna's Laces bulky to make Matthew a scarf (inspired by Mommio's scarves for her two sons).

Feeling drawn to the red, I worked the roll brim of my rainbow hat in red, then picked up with the rainbow, and then did the crown in the red again. I like how it turned out!

red hat

After wrapping that up, I got started on Matthew's scarf. I had some stops and starts trying to decide what I wanted to do in terms of stitch pattern. Finally, I settled for seed (which remains a tried-and-true favorite of mine). I'm loving how the rainbow is working up in seed (though this snapshot may not do it justice).

scarf

Having put the scarf aside last night because I need to measure it, I re-cast on my Fluted Bannister socks. I'd started them a few weeks ago in Regia Jubilee, but I wasn't liking how the stitch pattern worked up in the yarn, so I brought a skein of Opal with me. I tried another sock pattern in it once before, so I know it has wide sections of the base pinkcolor with small stripes of yellow and blue in it. I think it's a better choice for this sock.

fluted in opal

I'm gadually realizing that not every sock pattern works with every sock yarn - especially when it comes to the wonderful self-patterning and variegated yarns. Sometimes, a patterned sock just doesn't do the yarn justice - and vice versa.

October 29, 2004

Secret Pal 2 Draws to a Close

I'm hoping to do a post on the knittng of the past few days, but in case I don't get to it, I wanted to be sure and follow the rules of the Secret Pal 2 reveal. Secret Pal 2 ends on Sunday (Oct. 31), but I'll be in transit, so I'm posting a bit early.

I was pal to Nicole at Knitty Knitty Bang Bang.

I've had fun being her pal and reading the tales - interlaced with good knitting, of course - of her transition to college.

Give her blog a visit!

As soon as my own wonderful Secret Pal 2 has been revealed, I'll let you know.

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