Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oh, yeah, I forgot...

I was talking to my daughter this morning and realized that there were more things I wanted to put on the blog, so I made a list. I had to make a list of the 3 things I wanted to post. I couldn't even trust myself to remember 3 paltrey things. I need a keeper.

I was knitting in the Lodge and set down my sock to go get something. When I came back to my chair I didn't notice that it had fallen onto the seat. I sat down. Now there are only 4 needles where there used to be 5. Ouch. No, they're not Brittany Birch needles so I can't send in the pieces and get a new one. They're my favorites--Crystal Palace. So smooth, so pretty. Just right.

I was perusing the items in The Clearing's gift shop and bookstore when I spied a basket of hats knitted by a lady and donated for them to sell. Ellen makes lovely hats. I took one's picture because I want to find the pattern, or one like it, and learn how to knit with 2 colors like this. Pretty!

Let's see, what else? (check the list, Barbara) Oh, yeah. I stopped at Spin in Sturgeon Bay for some new size 3 DPNs and couldn't resist this ball of Zauberball Crazy 02 sock yarn. The colors, I love the colors, but they're down the queue. I swear.

And this afternoon I finished my first official Ballband warshrag. Idn't it purdy? I got the P&C variegated at ReBelle in Lexington. Colorful!

Now I want to Google my new/used car to see if I can download an owner's manual so I can figure out how to set the clock and preset radio buttons. I promise this is my last post of the day.

For My DD...

...who loves them, I present the 2009 Lilies of the Valley. I wish I could send her a big bouquet of them. I remember my grandma's were planted in a gap in a fir tree in her front yard. I would sit in there and read when I was a kid with all that glorious aroma around me. They smell heavenly when you step out the back door. Makes me want to lie on the grass and let the cool, sweet smell wash over me.

I'm Home!

You didn't even realize I was gone, did you? I spent a week at The Clearing, a folk school in Ellison Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. It's one of my two favorite places in the world. The class I took was Poetry Camp: Sending Your Poetry into the World, and we wrote 10 poems and brainstormed ways to get our poetry read, like setting up a poetry blog, putting poems on bookmarks or postcards, getting them published in magazines and journals, of course. But I took a different tack, also of course. I took my printer and a $1 book I got at The Attic and made an altered book. My gluestick and I had a blast with printed pictures of The Clearing and Bonaire diving, matching them up with poems, and gluing them into an old book.

I did knit too. I took two different socks, one requiring a bit of concentration for knitting in my room and one plain one for nighttime knitting in the Lodge with the dominoes players and jigsaw puzzle assemblers. See?

I cast on audreym's Evenstar Gloves last night because my resistance to the yarn was finally worn so thin that I had to cave.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nephew Hat #2 Done!

I'm helpless against big needles and bulky yarn. This hat was easy and fast and fun to knit. I hope the intended victim, uh, I mean, recipient likes it. It kind of looks like a sea creature but, trust me, it's a hat.
Dusty and I went to Neenah last Tuesday to check out Yarns By Design. It's a lovely store with lots of yummy yarn and very helpful staff. See what I bought for a secret project? Mmm, colorful. And it was on sale! Meant to be mine.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Progress Report--Week # 20

Can you believe that it's the 20th week of 2009 already? Me neither. Time sure flies and I don't think I get as much done as I think I should. Yesterday I went to Stein's in search of red, tubular, hummingbird-attracting flowers (because Durwood thinks that any plant you can't eat is a "waste of ground" but if it attracts hummingbirds, which he loves, that's a good plant) and a bay leaf plant. I found a little one quite by accident a few years ago and we're almost out of the leaves from that so I wanted another one. I looked and looked, I even enlisted the aid of other herb shoppers to help find one, but had no luck. Until I asked an employee of Stein's, that is. She directed me to the next greenhouse where the gallon pots of herbs were kept. Ta-da! Isn't it beautiful? I've put it in the pot so I can bring it in next fall and keep it alive over the winter. If I'm successful, I'll have homegrown bay leaves for all my soups and stews for years to come. And I planted the first part of a row of beets, some regular and some golden; I'll plant more in a few weeks and keep up until I run out of seeds so I can harvest them and still have more.

So far Flash and Bobo, the first crop of baby bunnies, haven't eaten anything in the garden. I promise, though, the first sign of nibbling and they won't be so cute. There'll be a lot of chicken wire and bamboo stakes between them and the goodies, and BBs will be stinging their little butts. I won't let Durwood send them to bunny heaven but I will let him deter them.

There are lots of tiny cream colored blooms on my blueberry bushes. I can't wait to watch the berries as they mature. I found lime and orange scented geraniums in the herb plants too. I don't know what I'll do with the leaves but I couldn't resist them. So I spent all afternoon planting and helping Durwood put amended soil on his inherited raspberry plants up on the hill. It was an adventure keeping the wheelbarrow balanced on that narrow spot but I managed, stubborn woman than I am. (can I get an "amen"?)

I finished the Hers Candy Cane socks for myself this morning. I want to take them to The Clearing next weekend to keep my tootsies warm while I'm in my cabin writing away. They'll be good to wear today too since it's windy and chilly today and they're threatening us with frost tonight.

I only managed to knit 1 and 1/2 Sudoku squares at work this week. Maize is not my favorite color.

I worked on Nephew Hat #2 at Harmony last night. I'm liking the way it's looking and can't wait to see it finished.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Got a Bit Distracted

It was a struggle staying "on task" this week. Oh he!!, let's be honest, I didn't. I got distracted by knitting Nephew Hat #1 and then immediately cast on Nephew Hat #2 because I found a skein of yarn in the stash that I think he'll like and a different pattern. I'm a sucker for big needles or bulky yarn or both, and I'm a big sucker for a 6'2" 135 lb. 15-year-old with blond curls and braces. Who wouldn't be?
Hat #1 is Thorpe knitted on US 9 circs with this yarn. Hat #2 is from Patons booklet, Chill Out, #500985 called the Stonewall Hat in 3 strands of Encore worsted held together on size US 15 straights. I love big yarn and big needles. I can't help myself.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Week #19--Progress Report

For a while this week, I lost the thread of my knitting. Every time I looked at it, I felt--nothing. That was so not like me. I kept a flicker alive by knitting Sudoku blocks at work, but I actually spent one night sitting on the couch watching television and (cover your eyes if you're easily frightened) not knitting. Even yesterday morning, I was watching an Elizabeth Zimmerman DVD and not knitting a stitch. Sacrilege, I know, but there it is. By afternoon I was over whatever virus had me in its grip, happily knitting on a gauge swatch in the Malabrigo Silky Merino that I got at ReBelle in Lexington with DD.

I searched the internet and Ravelry trying to find a plain glove pattern. I wanted no cables in the cuffs or up the backs, no tricky yarn overs or decorative stitches or, god forbid, bobbles because I want the gorgeous jewel tones of the yarn to shine. Finally I saw a reference to Ann Budd's book of generic patterns and there was the one I'd been looking for. Being the budget-conscious shopper that I am, I took advantage of Amazon's "2-fer" offer and got her sweater book too. The cable book in the picture I got because I had to spend a 40% off coupon before it expired. I think cables are the ultimate in knitting magic, even more magical than sock heel turning, so of course this was the book for me.

Now, about my weekly progress. Those of you paying really close attention will have realized that the projects I am reporting progress on have changed over the weeks, and not just because I have finished them. Some I have finished, some I'm on sock #2, others (the Spring Green shawl & the Peruvian shawl to name the most obvious) have gently faded into the background and are slowly working their way into the basement where they will spend some time, months perhaps, marinating while I chase more appealing projects toward the finish line. I'll either get back to those shawls or I'll frog them and use the yarn for something else, I promise. Just not right now.

Okay, here's actual photographic proof of progress. Socks first. I cast on Thuja #2 Thursday night at Patti's and chugged away at it at Harmony Cafe on Friday night. (DD, everytime I lay them down, someone picks up my bumblebee needle holders, giggles, and asks where I got there. They're a huge hit everywhere and everyone thinks you're brilliant. Thanks.)

I knit on Hers Candy Cane sock #2 at home.

At work this week, I made Almond Sudoku square #5 and have two-tenths of an ounce less yarn than is needed to make #6. I'm sorely tempted to cast it on and see if I can't squeeze one out, but then I think that square would be tighter and therefore smaller and I need four more so I have to buy another skein anyway. Lion Brand Cotton-Ease is not expensive; 2 skeins of each of the 9 colors for the squares isn't going to break the bank. So I made Maize square #2 and began #3.

My Ponshawl got a big longer this week. Sometimes I like it, other times not so much, but it'll be nice to keep my shoulders warm when I'm at Poetry Camp later this month. If I get it done. I hooked away at it yesterday morning before I dozed off while EZ was extolling the glories of some sort of shoulder construction.

Because the "project pocket" in the driver's door of my new car was empty, I cast on a ballband dishcloth to tuck into it.

And because you can never have too many projects OTN, I offered to make and cast on an earflap hat for my 15 year old nephew who has the most beautiful blond curls that he detests. He constantly wears a ski hat to smash them down and cover them up. My SIL commented that it's difficult to get the current hat away from him for washing and drying so I offered to make another so he can switch off.

Now for the best part of the week. Durwood finished my swift. I took it to Friday Night Knitting and showed it off. There was much oohing and ahhing, and one potential order. Thanks, Dear. I'm glad I ran slow enough for you to catch me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Isn't It Frustrating...

when you tug on your yarn and the rest of the skein comes up in a huge snarl that takes you an hour to untangle and then keeps tangling as you use it to finish the square? And what's left is two-tenths of an ounce less than you need to make another square? Gah!


I don't really have much to say today. I do want to show you the convenient project pocket in the driver's door of my new car. Handy.

I whipped up a few more project bags yesterday afternoon. They're very simple to make and they keep things untangled in my big knitting bag.

I finally hammered a nail into the fence out back to hang up the birdhouse I bought in Sheboygan last month. I like it. I don't think any birds have been brave enough to move in yet.

Durwood worked on finishing my swift. He put the first sealer coat on. I'm anxious for it to be done.

And I resurrected my crocheted ponshawl. It doesn't need that many more rows before I can sew the corners together to make a wrap to wear in the evening. I know it just looks like a pile of yarn but, trust me, it'll be swell when I'm done. Or not, but it'll keep my shoulders warm.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For My DIL...

...who loves tulips. I think of you every time I see them and especially when I leave the house in the morning and see new blooms standing so proud on their graceful green stems. I love you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Package Came!

On Friday there was a little package in the mailbox and it was from Audrey in England. I found her blog somehow this spring and started reading it regularly. She makes lovely things. She decided to have a contest to commemorate making a pattern for some lovely gloves by giving away enough of the yarn she used to make them if you posted on her blog. I did, and a shameless plea to be picked it was. Happily the random generator picked me! I emailed Audrey my address and, hocus pocus, the goodies arrived. With the yarn came some pretty stitch markers with hearts and stars and 2 candy bars that I can guarantee are not long for this world, not the way Durwood keeps looking at them. Thanks, Audrey, I can't wait to knit up that Cashmerino into your beautiful Evenstar Gloves. Such a lovely icy blue.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Week #18--Progress Report

I have progress. I do! Here, let me show you...

The biggest progress is that the weather has gotten beautiful and the spring bulbs are up and blooming. Oh, there's nothing like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths to make me smile. No other flowers are as hopeful as the ones that poke their noses out into the still-cold spring nights to flood the world with color. (Urk, I almost make myself ralph. Sorry for the sap-fest.)

Anyhoo, here's the stuff I knit on this week posed among the spring blooms...

There's the first Thuja sock with the red tulips.

Then we have the beginning of the Hers Candy Cane sock #2 nestled among the grape hyacinths.

And finally I dug out the Sudoku Afghan yarn to knit blocks at work. The pattern is so simple that I can lay it down when the phone rings or a customer comes in and not lose my place. (Not so with a sock. Ask me how I know...) I also discovered Thursday night that it's perfect for car knitting when you're stuck on the Mason St. bridge with a slow-moving coal freighter coming into port.

There was also some extemporaneous yarn buying. I pounced on 10 skeins of Orchid Yarns wool and cashmere (on sale) to make a cardigan sweater and I had a Walmart gift card that needed to be spent so I picked up some solid colors of dishcloth cotton for the stash.

All in all, a good week.