Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What I Do When I Should Be Rewriting

I am currently frustrated by my inability to focus on rewriting my novel. I know what I need to do and can imagine it, but when I get to the page I lose it and spiral off into teeth gritting and muttering. When things get too bad I turn to my wooly pacifier(s). Here's what's been happening.

I crocheted another row of fish onto the afghan. Now only four rows are flapping in the breeze only half attached. It looks pretty much the same, I didn't picture it.

I realized yesterday morning that I had 3 days to knit and felt a felted holder for the writing friend I'm meeting in Sheboygan on Friday. I cast it on at work yesterday but then I got busy (pesky customers!). After supper I parked myself on the couch and knit like the wind, or as much like the wind as this slow knitter can. This afternoon when the words petered out, I went back to it and finished it around 9. A couple spins through the washer and, Ta-da! We have gift! I like it. I actually followed the directions this time and it turned out about the right size. Amazing what happens when you follow the directions. Who knew?

Thuja is coming along, and I just barely got the second Candy Cane sock cast on.

One of these days I'll get myself back on track for Finished 2009. Really.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Socking Good Time

I'm having a blast knitting the Super Simple Sleeping Socks. They're worsted yarn on such big needles (US 8 & 9) that they're just flying off the needles. Of course, I could cast on the second one if I'd remembered to bring along the red yarn.

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But I have Thuja to amuse me, so I'm not having a knitting emergency.

I finished the Swiffer cover but haven't sewn the ends. It's a bit too big so maybe the next time I'll leave off the last two bars, but I'm excited to try it out next week when the bathroom is dirty again. I do know that next time I'll use two separate balls of yarn. Pulling from the inside and outside didn't work very well.

Spring came.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Veering Off

This week I have totally veered off from projects that need finishing and have cast on 2 new ones that I am working exclusively on. I subscribe to a service from The Daily Knitter where I get a free knitting pattern every day. Last week, or was it the week before, anyway it was a pattern for simple sleeping socks with extra ribbing at the ankle and I thought Durwood might like some for his retired-guy-knocking-around-the-house socks. I dug up some leftover Wool-Ease in cranberry and natural heather and cast on. I'm liking them. So much that I think I'll make myself an opposite pair when I'm done with his.

And I was frustrated last week when I was cleaning the bathroom and realized that I was out of Swiffer dry mop pads. Then I remembered that DD had knitted one in the ballband pattern. I have a ball of the ends of skeins left from my failed attempt to conquer the crocheted dishcloth market in 2007 so all I needed were needles and I was off. This just might be the "green" part of everyone's 2009 Christmas. (Um, if I usually gift you, please forget the previous sentence.)

I am also casting on another pair of socks tonight as writing conference knitting. No pictures yet.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Blame My Children

Here I was, happy with my two main hobbies of knitting or crocheting and writing, when things changed. DS had to buy a sewing machine and make himself this. He consulted over the phone with me and with Grandma who is a whiz at sewing. Then DD got on the bandwagon with this. She too has consulted with me and Grandma by phone. Neither of them live close enough so that I could have assuaged my sewing yen by going to their houses and helping. No. I have to buy my own fabric and go down in my cold basement and make my own sewing. Here's what I made this morning.

Not nearly as complex as DS's kilt or DD's dress, but I like them and they're practical. Also they're rectangular and much easier to make than garments. All of the discount fabric at Hancock was an additional 60% off so I went a little nuts. I think I have enough fabric to make 10 or 11 more without repeating a print. (BTW, DS & DIL, that green ribbon is from the welcome guest box at your wedding. The gift that keeps on giving.)

Progress Report--Week #11

Spring fever is upon me. Startitis is here in spades. It is taking all my resolve not to cast on
I am going to allow myself to cast on a very small project (or two) to tuck into my writing bag for the conference I'm going to next weekend.

Even though there was too much work to do at work this week (poor, pitiful me) to crochet, I have seven of twelve rows of fish crocheted together. I have my adjustable plastic table parked between the couch and coffee table so the weight of it can lay on my lap and the table while I hook away. It's a talking book-type project because I have to look at what I'm doing every stitch. Right now I'm enjoying James Patterson's Women's Murder Club books.

Both of the shawls got some quality needle time this week. And I found some Lion Bolero to slot in for more variety. Can't resist those variegated yarns.

DILs Sari Silk Purse is in the home stretch. I turned the last corner of the fourth section. See the little corner at the lower left? Ten inches of knitting and assembly begins.

The biggest news this week was finishing the Multicolor Socks. I love them!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mom's Orchids

Two years ago my DIL's mom gave my mom an orchid plant for Mother's Day. Mom will tell anyone that she's got a black thumb. It's true, she's killed philodendrons, I've witnessed the carnage. She's been very diligent about following the care instructions on the little plastic tag that came with it. All are amazed that it's still alive much less blooming for the second time.

I was commanded to appear with digital camera in hand to record the beauty of the blooms for blogging. I did today.

Aren't they gorgeous?

Look, look!

See socks! See socks done! Pretty, pretty socks.

I finished them last night after I got home from writer's. I can wear them tonight to Harmony knit night. Maybe I'll dig out some cropped jeans so they show better. Hmm, freeze or show off, freeze or show off? I'll decide later and let you know.

Oh, and happy first day of spring. It might be frosty outside but things are coming back to life. I know because these are out there.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extreme Sheep

I don't know how to put a YouTube video on my blog but I do know how to link. I found this on Rose-Kim Knits this morning and it almost made me late for work. Hee-larious!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Impress Even Myself

I am kicking this sock's butt. Yes, I am. I am a sock knitting whiz, a fool for wool. I will admit that I'm knitting on size US 6 needles with Cascade 220 Tweed worsted but, still, this is some fast socking. And it's gorgeous.

It was such a glorious day today we fired up the Weber (after I chipped the ice off the patio) and charred a little piece of cow for supper. Superb!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Progress Report--Week #10

Finished 2009 is going fairly well, I am surprised to say. While I am not strictly adhering to the "one project per venue" dictum of the early days, I am putting in good effort toward completion on at least 3 of my OTNs every week. That's in addition to my little tangents of quick and dirty knitting that I veer off into.

This week the tangential knitting taught a valuable lesson: If you use bigger needles and more yarn, your felted object will be larger than you want. Hmmm, now that's a real revelation, isn't it? No? Well, somehow I convinced myself that using US15s and nearly a full skein of Bernat Felting Wool would make a felted cylinder to cover a green bean can. Here we see it covers a 1-pint plastic bowl. That yarn really shrunk! Not what I had in mind. Perhaps next time I'll use the worsted yarn and the size needles the pattern recommends. Maybe, but we all know I'm not always good at following directions.

For my workplace project, I spent happy days with knitted fish spread all over my desk at the dive shop crocheting them together into one piece one way. Next week I'll crochet them together the other way, then embark on the seemingly endless task of crocheting a few rows of edge before the glorious day when I'll be able to stretch out my legs and cover them with a warm fish afghan. It's going to happen soon. I can feel it!

At home I alternate between the tangent knitting and shawl(s) knitting. This week both the Peruvian Shawl and the Spring Green Shawl got some attention. Peruvian came along to Harmony Cafe on Saturday evening so Durwood and I could listen to Rebecca sing and play, and we could meet and visit with a few other Harmony knitters and their husbands. It was so much fun we're planning a repeat one of these days. Spring Green was my fallback knitting last night too.

At Patti's on Thursday and at Harmony last night, Multicolor Sock #2 was the star. I'm excited to see the ribbed leg of the second sock growing so quickly. Being me, I have decided to switch the colors around a bit more than the pattern suggests, but they're going to be awesome socks, I can just tell.

And a weather report: It was so windy the other night--Tuesday?--that the soft snow on the hill in back had wind ripples in it, just like the sand at the bottom of the ocean. Amazing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Loaves & Fishes

No, no, it's not what you think; I am so over thinking I'm the Messiah.
I baked more crocodile bread (we love this bread! one and a half loaves are already gone) and started putting the fish afghan blocks together.
I've decided that I absolutely hate Daylight Savings Time. It took me until after 1 AM to fall asleep Sunday night and I had to get up before 7 AM Monday morning to clear 7" of snow off the driveway with my big red snowblower so I could go to the chiro to get my neck and back reorganized into a semblance of order. Went to bed last night about 10:30 and woke up this morning at 9:15. Now I feel like I'm 2 hours behind today--and it's raining. Not freezing yet, but just wait, it's supposed to.
I decided to start putting the fish together on the straight lines that run from bottom to top. I learned that I have to have a table to rest the afghan on because otherwise they tangle together and look like a stringer of fish and I'm afraid I'll put them together wrong. It goes fast, though, and I'm excited with how it's going to look. I can't wait to sit on the couch in the evening covered with colorful fish.
And Blogger is being stupid and won't let me make space between paragraphs in this blog entry. So I'm going to go eat a handful of Dove Dark Chocolates and bang my head on the desk. (Don't worry, the desk is box o'furniture so it's particleboard with wood-like contact paper on it. Not as sturdy as real wood.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Progress Report--Week #9

I feel better about my progress this week. Maybe because I started to go to the chiropractor and he's shifted my bones around so my neck and upper back don't hurt quite as much as they did. I'm working to sit up straight and keep my shoulders at least close to where they should be. An added bonus is that my bifocals are working better. Who knew?

I'm most excited about finishing the first of the Multicolor Socks last night at Friday Night Knitting. I'll be casting on its fraternal twin later today or tomorrow.

I made good progress on the Peruvian Shawl at Lyn's Tuesday night. Soon I change to black and white, then blue and white, then multi, then the reverse. It'll be very warm and soft.

I was busy at work this week but I did get the final 2 fish knitted. Zoomed over to Michael's to get a 1# skein of black acrylic to start crocheting all my little fishies together. I'm excited to see how it looks.

And finally I fell into a pile of new sock yarn at Patti's on Thursday night and look what stuck to me. It's one gorgeous skein of Cascade Heritage Hand Paint that reminds me of the ocean. I can't decide if I want to knit it into socks or just wear it around my neck like the Hope diamond. If it had a job I'd marry it. (It's greener than it looks here.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I stopped at Hobby Lobby this morning. They were closing out a bunch of wool at only $1.99 a skein. I bought a lot. But it won't go to waste. Once again my resolution to only buy yarn I need went right out the window.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Progress Report--Week #8

Today we're going to play "bad news/good news." M'kay?

As you can see from this week's previous posts, the bad news is that I got off on a tangent making and felting pencil cup holders. Here is the second attempt. Now it's narrow enough to fit snugly around the can (good news) but it's not tall enough (bad news). I slid a can into it before adding in the novelty yarns and it was a good 1-1/2 inches too tall. What have we learned? We have learned that the yarn (Sensations Licorice) shrinks more vertically than horizontally. It's a good thing I've started making these months before I want to gift them to people.

The next bit of bad news is that I thought last week that I was done knitting fish. I wasn't. I needed one more to make 70 which was the arrangement I had decided on. I was very happy to knit this "last fish" this week.

I laid them out on the bed today to get them arranged the way I want to sew them together so I could take pictures and only have to figure it out once. Turns out I need 2 more fish because instead of making 10 rows of 7 fish, I'm making 12 rows of 6 fish. Two isn't too many more so the news is only sorta bad. The good news is that I have enough yarn to make them out of the darkest yarn I've used to spread the "weight" of them across the whole afghan.

I worked on the Sari Silk purse for my DIL (good news). I was amazed that I was actually busy at work this past week so I didn't really have time to knit (very good news).

Neither the Peruvian nor the Spring Green shawls had so much as one stitch added to them this past week (bad girl, bad news).

But I did knit to the heel of the Multicolor Sock (good news).
No matter what I do, what light I use or don't use, I can't make the ribbed leg of it look periwinkle instead of blue (bad news) but I know that you're smart enough to imagine it that way (good news).

Now I really need to quit playing with yarn and yarn-y things and go work on finalizing my novel manuscript presentation because I'm going to a conference at the end of the month to pitch it to an agent. Yikes! (Could be good news, bad news, or both. Keep a good thought.)