Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy holidays!!!

Remember I'd reported that I'd doubled a strand of Trekking with some lace wt. merino? Well, the more I worked, the more I really didn't like it. And, if I don't like it, I can assure you that my daughter will hate it. Now, in the meantime, Mom had made a pair of socks for herself in Gypsy Girl's colorway called Lydia. ( to check that out) See those bright pinks and oranges. Very bright and cheery and I took one look and knew younger daughter would LOVE it. But I don't have enough for a whole pair. So I took that Knitpicks lace wt merino in a color called Lost Lake Heather and figured I could do toes and heels in Lydia. So I knit up the first sock. Just the heel and toe in Lydia. Yup, the combination is fabulous... except (isn't there always a "but"? ) without a cuff, this sock looks like it's for the Green Giant. It just looks wrong.

So I knit up a second sock and I added two single rows of Lydia in the cuff and then single rows every ten rows all the way down the sock. Contrasting the flourescent pink and orange against that dark heathered green.... they're beautiful. Now they're something my youngest will love and wear. Course, I have one sock without the stripes and one with. So I had to knit yet another sock to match the striping. I have about 20 rows to go (I'm finally down to the toebox on the last sock) and I'm done. It's taken me so long because I have to work at night and that dark heathered green is a real pain. Dark colors worked at night are not a good thing. Not unless you enjoy the inevitable headache...

Anyway, so, looking at the pic, the ragg-type socks are for Hubby. The cute little blue ones are for oldest daughter (with her preferred short cuff) and the green striped ones are for younger daughter. Last Christmas presents to be made and they're all done (with the last sock to be finished tonight when I get home from work). Whew! Lots of projects and I made it in time to get them all under the tree! Woohoo!!!!

Okay, more news. Mom brought me my kit for my Color Your Own Philosopher's Wool sweater. I was actually kinda surprised by the harshness of the wool itself, but they leave some of the lanolin in the wool. Yes, my hands are loving it, but it does make a rather hard fabric. So I had to swatch, swatch and swatch some more and I washed one of the swatches to see how it would feel after washing. Much softer. There will be better drape also once it's washed. The problem I had was getting my gauge right. They recommended a 3.5 mm (size 8) needle and getting 4.5 sts/inch. Uh huh. Man, they must knit some seriously TIGHT. I'm down to a size 4 needle and still getting at least 5 sts/inch. They also say in their directions that the fabric will "grow" once it's washed for another 2-4 inches. So I'm guesstimating the number of stitches. I started with the sleeve (as they recommended) and I keep trying it on as I go. Keeping it a bit snug so there's room to relax and bloom once it's washed.

I want it to fit nicely. How to explain? Not snug, but not hanging either. I don't like sweaters that are big enough to "flop" when I wear them. This isn't a sweater that I plan to hang to my knees and be worn with leggings. I want to wear a turtleneck under it and it be loose enough not to restrict movement. So I'm going to keep going with the sleeves and then I'll test for gauge in about ten different places before moving over to the body. But, so far, I'm loving it. The colors are muted (not as bright if your monitor shows vivid colors), but the combinations are coming out lovely. Another pic I'll have to load so you can see how it's all working together.

I also received the kit for my brother's sweater and I ordered their book "Fair Isle Simplified" and the directions for steeking are wonderful. They make it sound so simple that I actually can't wait to take a pair of scissors to a sweater for the first time... I'll probably still buy a cheap sweater in a consignment shop somewhere as a practice run, but I'm feeling very confident about the whole thing.

Have a wonderful holiday! Since no one ever leaves comments, I don't even know if anyone reads this short of me, but I wish the very best to everyone who actually stops in. I have a lot of projects lined up for next year and I can't wait to get started. I hope you have your list all ready to go.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Trans-Siberian et al...

No new picture this week even though I've accomplished LOTS of stuff. Well... more than I'd planned but surely less than I'd hoped...

I finished the socks in Gypsy Girl's Ice Cream Sundae. I did a pattern called Garden Trellis by Gail Dennis and they came out fabulous! (The reason I don't have a pic of those is because they jumped onto my feet for work one day and now they're in the wash. On feet or off, the next time they're free, they're posing. ) I also finished the pair of anklet style athletic socks for oldest daughter. Those also came out wonderful. Because I took a lace wt. yarn and doubled it, they're nice and cushy and should be very warm indeed. Then I got my Knitpicks shipment and proceeded to knit up the Hubby a pair of thick "woodsman's socks" from Elizabeth Zimmerman's book Knitting Around. I'd taken measurements of his feet a couple weeks ago and used those to get these socks started and finished. Wow, what a quick project in Knitpicks' Shamrock yarn. In fact, they knitted up so quickly and I have enough yarn left over that I'm tossing together a pair of mittens for me. More on that later....

Finally, I have a pair started for younger daughter. I took one strand of Trekking XXL and mixed it with a strand of merino lace wt. Funny, but if you saw it, you wouldn't think it would work. It looks really strange because the Trekking is mostly blue... er, sky blue with other colors worked in. I mixed it with a heathered green lace wt. It looks really odd until the striping of the XXL begins to kick in and, somehow, the whole thing is working. Another pic I have to take, but I was the extreme of lazy yesterday.

I never seem to get a day that I can just take off.... No getting dressed. No brushing my teeth. No chores. No expectations. No accomplishments.

So I remedied that and took the day off. I sat at my computer all day and played Bookworm Adventures. Oh boy, that was fun! Talk about testing your vocabulary and how many words can you come up with that use Q, X and J? LOL! Anyway, so I played all day. Then I went upstairs last night and started the mittens.

I was looking around for a pattern and then kinda thunked myself in the head and asked why I needed a pattern? After all the mittens I knitted when the girls were young and the pairs of fingerless mitts I just did not too long ago... Who needs a stinking pattern? You make a tube, you add a gusset for a thumb, knit some more tube and then decrease to finish it. What's so hard? So I started knitting and the first mitten is coming along fine.

The stupid part about all this is that I've been running around all week with cold hands. The temps really plummeted this week and driving has been a pain without any kind of hand covering. I have all this yarn sitting around my house, so why do I have cold hands? Because I've been concentrating on Christmas presents instead of whipping up a pair for myself to avoid the cold hands. Yup, I finally banged my head on the keyboard and knocked some sense into myself. I have two weeks to Christmas and I'm already 1/4 of the way through my last project. Yup, I can take a quick break and solve the cold hand problem before finishing that last project!

Anyway... I mentioned Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Yup, we've got tickets to the show tonight. We're sitting in the section right next to the stage. Can't wait! I've gone to the show the last two years and it's fabulous! Two years ago I took the girls and we sat down in the far corner from the stage. Last year, I added the Hubby to the crowd and we sat about halfway down the arena on the side. This year, we're sitting basically next to the stage. Does that mean next year we'll be on stage with the group? LOL!

All the news groups are predicting some really BAD weather for tonight. Freezing rain and sleet and snow and all kinds of messy stuff. I really, really don't want to blow off almost $300 worth of tickets because of a bit of precipitation, so please keep your fingers crossed for us. I don't want to look at the family and say, "Gee, the Christmas present that never happened..."

Yes, I have the DVD. We could toss it on the TV and watch, but it's not the same. Their concerts aren't even about the music even though the music is fabulous. What better way to generate the goodness of Christmas spirit than a concert with Christmas music? But what makes them so special is the show itself. The lights, the storyline and the special effects. Lights and flames and stars and snow. Trusses that move and lights that flash as fast as they can pick a song... It's an experience, plain and simple. And it's one that will carry you through the rest of the year. Not a concert that you walk out and think it's terrific but you can't remember much after a month or so. It's unlike any concert I've been to and I've been to well over 100 in my life.

I know their concerts are sold out by now, but if you haven't been to a show, get them on your list for next year. Unless you have someone who really HATES pounding drums and electric guitars, drag their butts to the show next year and see how their smile softens from generic "Yeah, yeah, let's be nice to each other" to genuine goodwill towards all men.

Worked a lot this week. Had the usual 40 hrs at the regular post and then worked the 2nd job on Mon and Thurs and added a basketball game on Wed night. Oh.... good news so far. Shelby interviewed to manage the women's basketball team on Thursday and it looks good for her to get the job. This will be terrific on her resume when she really begins to concentrate on her major, which is athletic training. She feels bad about not being able to always play with the pep band at the games, but I told her that team manager will do more for her resume than pep band. Now for the joke. (Isn't there always one? ) As a manager, she'll get a small break on her tuition at the school. This is what they offer for recompense for the time it takes to manage. Only she already has, basically, free tuition through my employee benefit and her scholarship. So when she mentioned that, they said maybe they can work out a deal to pay for some or all of her books. I don't see that happening, but I'll keep my fingers crossed on that one. She's got the free tuition and going to apply to become an RA (resident assistant) which could garner free housing. Now, if they could actually manage to pay for some of her books (which cost us approx $850 this past semester alone), she could practically go to the university for free. Even if they can't do the books (since the bookstore isn't run by the university, I don't see this happening--they're affiliated with, but not owned by), even if they can absorb her lab fees. Those were $200 this last semester and she's got another $250 this upcoming semester.

We'll see. Now to get the younger daughter as ambitious towards her education. She's looking at a college in Florida that offers no housing whatsoever... Yikes! But we still have another year before applications go out.

One more week of work and then I'm off for five weeks. I can't wait! I'd like the chance to get my house in order and do the final preparations for Christmas. Pull out all the presents and see what I have for everyone. Get them all wrapped and pretty and placed under the tree. Shop and cook and clean. And then start knitting sweaters. I have three sweaters planned.

The first two are both by Philosopher's Wool. First I'm going to do their basic Color Your Own for me. This way, if I screw it up, it's on my own project. After all, their designs are meant to be steeked and I've never steeked anything. This should be interesting. Someone on one of the yahoo groups mentioned that she bought a sweater at Salvation Army to try steeking before cutting into her own sweater. I might do that. HAven't decided on that yet until I read the instructions from PW. But, either way, if I screw it up, it'll be on my own sweater and not one I have planned for someone else.

Second sweater will be a combined Christmas/birthday present for my brother, Tom. It's an intermediate design called Timber Framed. I think I can handle that after several pairs of colorwork mitts. And I should have one steeked sweater under my belt by that time also. And both designs are going to be in the Fire colors. Think my family has a thing for red?

Lastly, I'm dying to try a Dale of Norway Olympic design. About 15 years ago, a local yarn shop was going out of business and I stocked up on patterns. I found a gorgeous pattern for the Albertville '92 design that the ski team wore for the Olympics. I've been holding it all these years and figure the PW sweaters can be my beginner steps to finally making this sweater. It'll probably take me until next winter to complete it because it's knitted on size 1 and 3 needles, but that could be my big project for next year. And if you think I'm not going to enter all these things in the Durham Fair next year, you're crazier than me... LOL! Am I stocking up on entries or what?

Well, have a wonderful week. One last week of work with lots of hours, but then I'll get five weeks of rest and relaxation. I've definitely earned some time with Bookwork Adventures this year...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wow... another pic

Okay, maybe I should have taken pictures separately but that would require an expertise that's beyond me. I mean, I'd have to figure out how to get two pictures onto the page without squishing them together...

The green one is what I'm now calling the "shawl from hell" and it's finally off the needles. It's the Sarah Blanche shawl from Cheryl Oberle's book "Folk Shawls". Lovely, lovely and probably easy for anyone who doesn't use the tip of their finger to push the needle out from under the stitch.

I gew up knitting "American" or "throwing" my yarn. So when faced with rows that I'd have to do 720 YO's, I fell back into my comfort zone of knitting right-handed. Yes, I had to teach myself continental in order to do the colorwork on the mitts, but I didn't want my hands to fall off with each of those rows. So I threw 720 YO's and then would come back and use my left index finger to push the needle out from those 720 YO's. If you're diabetic, think about pricking yourself 720 times, getting a break for (at most) 6 rows and then doing it all over again. Yup, I can now attest that the Knitpicks Interchangeable needle set in metal has sharp tips...

So the lovely and wonderful shawl from hell is done. I used Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes in Forest Heather and combined it with their Alpaca Cloud in Moss Heather. I wanted to add that little bit of warmth that you'd get from anything alpaca considering there's a lot of holes in this thing.... At first, it was a weird combination and I wasn't sure it would work together, but the more I knitted (you think I was going to frog this thing!?!?! ), it came together and worked into a lovely piece. Now it's done and I hope to never have to repeat that one.

The burgundy is the Wool Peddler's Shawl from same book, same author. Now this was a wonderful treat to work on. Came together in one measly week. Again, done in Wool of the Andes, but I chose Cranberry. I know, I know. Red and it should be bright. But I wasn't sure if it was going to my mother-in-law, who wouldn't have batted an eye at Strawberry or Cherry Blossom, or my aunt-in-law, who's highly conservative. And it's a good thing I chose the Cranberry. I think I'm going to switch presents. The Wool Peddler's Shawl is smaller overall and Aunt Lois is smaller in stature than my MIL. My MIL is not tiny. She's around 5'10" and she's got the frame of a farmer... which works since she grew up on a farm. Good Italian farming stock is she... Now Aunt Lois used to be a lot bigger. Believe me, marrying into this family, I felt like the showcase midget. I was 5'3" and weighed all of 115 lbs. (Don't ask me my weight now or I'll have to hunt you down... )

Anyway, the whole point of this is that Aunt Lois is shrinking fast. She's now even smaller than me. Yes, she's on a race with my Mom as to who will disappear first. Mom started out smaller at around 4'11" when I was married, but she's only lost about an inch in the almost 20 years I've been married. Aunt Lois has to be down about 4" or 5". So she gets the shawl that's smaller and my MIL will get the Sarah Blanche because it's bigger. Logical choice. And, someday, when there's just a pair of shoes walking in my door, covered with a shawl, I'll know who it is by which shawl is draped over the laces.

Last thing to knit for Christmas is Hubby's socks. I started those last night. Man, they're big. This might take a while, but I still have four weeks or so to get them completed.

Then I have to order the Philosopher's Wool kit for my brother. He was up for the holidays and I had Mom take him onto the website to choose which color he'd like. I'm not giving him a choice for pattern. The Timber-Framed will look terrific on him. I just figured he'd choose either Neutrals or Woodland because they're neutral colors and would go with everything under the sun. Nope. He likes Fire. So next payday, I'll order the Timber-Framed in Fire for him. It will be combination Christmas/birthday present because I can pretty much guarantee that I won't have it done by Christmas, but I'm fairly certain I can finish it before the end of February. So, somewhere in that time, he'll get a nice package.

Thanksgiving was lovely. This year, for various reasons, it was just my family -- my Mom, my brother, his two sons and his oldest's girlfriend. Lots of food, good conversation and Christmas tunes in the background. Okay, so let's move on to the amusement. (You think I could get through any holiday without some kind of comedy occurring?!? )

Black Friday. I don't even like venturing outside the house, let alone within 14 miles of a mall. So oldest daughter asks if she can use my car to take herself, her sister and her sister's boyfriend to the mall for shopping. Hey, be my guest. I have a shawl to finish. So off they go. They disappear for hours and I crawl upstairs to work on said shawl and finally get it off the needles while watching some old classics on the DVD. Since this is a day of leftovers, I don't take note when the kids come back and oldest daughter is off and running again. Later that night, I send the dogs on their nightly reconnaisance mission in the yard and Lacey is barking like mad. It's 9:30 or so, so I go to check things out. This isn't your normal neighborhood gossip bark. This is "there's something in the yard and I don't like it" bark. So I'm looking back at the woods, hoping it's not a skunk because I don't want to deal with that this late at night and I see something lying in front of the garage.

Hmm... what is that?!?! It takes me a moment to figure it out. It's my front bumper. I glance around to see what's missing. My truck, that's what. My little Kia Sportage is missing, but my bumper is lying neat and tidy in front of the garage. So I call in the dog, go in to the Hubby and ask if there's something he'd like to tell me. He just smiles and tells me that older daughter had a bit of trouble negotiating the space near a column at the mall.

Long story made short (yeah, I know... too late ), I ask older daughter the next morning after she's parked my truck facing away so you can't see that the whole front is missing--she said her parking job wasn't deliberate and I reply, "uh huh." So I ask her why everyone in the house knows what happened except me. She just smiles sheepishly and says, "Hey, it could have been worse! It could have been my truck!"


I'll keep you posted if I allow her to live long enough to get those mitts....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another pair of mitts...

This is the new pair to replace the pair that went MIA. A new design, taking different elements from different graphs in Lizbeth Upitis' book and putting them together. In fact, if you notice anything about them, let me know. If you compare to the original pair that I made (from my post listed on Oct 13th), I think this one moves the colors at a more pleasing gradation. In order, the school's colors are blue, gold and red is a last, not-very-well-known color. I added the white because the teams wear white shirts at home games... er, sometimes. But I thought the white gave balance to the others which can be so strong.
In the first design, I started with the red and blue and gradually worked to white before getting into the blue and yellow main section. IOW, a total turnabout from red/white to blue/yellow. This one changes one element with each design and ends up with the blue as primary "background", so I think it works better.
Anyway, those are done. So I have those, the mitts for youngest daughter and the shawl for my mother-in-law completed. I'm hoping to finish the shawl for Aunt Lois this week.
Then I went out last weekend and bought some Shetland to make Hubby a pair of socks. I took all kinds of measurements of his feet so I can work up a basic design that will fit. (My Mom also wants the measurements because she wants to make a pair of socks for my brother and his feet are almost the same as the DH, just a wee bit smaller - size 10 as opposed to a 10.5 - so I'll pass those over to Mom as soon as I work up the first sock to see if it fits correctly.) Hubby has always told me not to bother making him a pair of socks, but he gets so cold when he's out shoveling or plowing or -- God forbid -- has to do a tow in the middle of the night. This wool is a bit rough, so I'll warn him not to wear them right next to his skin, but they should keep him nice and toasty when he's outside in the elements if he wears them as an oversock.
Course, if I do this, I might let loose a monster. He never wanted to go to a hockey game either. Now I can't leave him home...
I'm going to try to post again tomorrow. I have a sock that I'm working on and it's absolutely delicious. I found a free pattern called Garden Trellis and I'm making it up in Gypsy Girl's Ice Cream Sundae colorway ( This is beyond gorgeous. Another example of perfect yarn with perfect pattern. I did 8 pattern repeats and I'm curious if I'll have enough yarn for the foot. So I ran a lifeline at the end of pattern 7, but we'll see. I'm pretty sure I'll have enough, but you never know.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New Pics...

Here they are! I'm doing this because I highly doubt that youngest daughter reads my blog. I know my Mom does, but I doubt my kids wonder what I'm up to or what I'm working on. Though the youngest flirts with knitting, she's more interested in the concept of creating and designing things than actually making them...

Anyway, these are the mitts she's getting for Christmas. I took graph #92 (I believe) from Lizbeth Upitis' book on Latvian mittens and adapted it to the fingerless design. I added the thumb gusset in plain purple and then added the braiding at the top of the gusset and the top of the hand for stability. I'd love to say that I'd planned it perfectly to get the braid at the top of the thumb gusset, but it was sheer luck that the bind off row coincided with a plain purple row in the actual hand design.

These still have to be washed and blocked, but I'm going to do all the projects at once on some weekend (probably after Thanksgiving while the rest of the world is doing the mall crawl and I avoid it like the plague ). I plan to cover my bed in towels and pin everything down for an entire day to give them a chance to dry. It helps that I have an overhead fan to keep the air circulating nicely. But I'll close the door (and prop it to keep kitties and dogs from saying "Ooooooo! New bedcover to rub all over!!!!" ).

Let's see if I can drop a second picture down here or if it will rise to the top of the page.... Oh well, it's also at the top of the page, but it's obviously the one on the right. Cherry Tree Hill in Indian Summer done in Jeannie Townsend's Cascading Leaves pattern. I don't think the pattern shows as much as I'd like, but I like the symmetry of Indian Summer and Cascading Leaves... I would never think of purple as an "Indian Summer" color, but the colorway is gorgeous. The bronzes and coppers and browns with the purple were simply too pretty to leave orphaned at the store.

I don't know what it is, but I'm in a "brown" mood lately. Not one of my favorite colors, which is dumb because it really does go with everything, but I've been knitting a lot with brown lately. I tried the magic loop method for the first time and did a headband in an Icelandic design from Dale's 92 Albertville flyer in brown, red, orange and peach with two single lines of sky blue. Came out really nice. Once I get that inside seam put together, that'll be another present for oldest daughter.

I also bought some yarn from Cathi at in her Gypsy Girl colorway of Cattails. Oh, what rich colors!!! My monitor didn't do this colorway justice. Course, I knew it would be better in person than on the computer, so that's why I ordered it and I certainly wasn't disappointed. I can't wait to cast that on.

But first I have to finish more projects. I'm into the second repeat of the pattern on Aunt Lois' dropped garter stitch shawl. It's slow work because there are two dropped stitch rows for every 12 rows of simple garter. All those yarn overs take time. I might end up taking that one to work with me so I can make some noticeable progress. After all, I knitted up my mother-in-law's shawl (the Wool Peddler's Shawl) in one week. I could probably manage this one in a week also, but I haven't carried it with me yet. Maybe this week once I finish the second pair of fingerless mitts.

Would probably be a good idea also. The second pair are for oldest daughter to replace the pair I'd made her that were either lost or stolen. She saw the first pair and I want these to be a surprise. I took several elements from the graphs in Upitis' book and combined them for my own, switching out the colors hopefully in a logical progression. I'm only into the third color change so I don't know yet how the whole project will work yet, but my fingers are crossed. So far, so good.

Let's see what else is new...

I also ordered fiber from Cathi at . Some gorgeous merino in a colorway called Daffodil. I've been trying to spin with merino/tencel and wondering why I was having some trouble. Damn stuff was slippery as all get out. Well.... Duh! It's got tencel in it. So I ordered plain merino to see if I could handle it easier. I was thinking of taking the colorway and plying it with a solid, so I ordered another 4 oz. of her solid color "Spice", thinking the contrast would work nicely. She was out of Spice. So she wrote and asked if I had a second color choice and I asked her to pick one. Her sense of color with her hand-dying is sooooo exquisite that I totally trust her judgement. And she sent me 4 oz. of the most gorgeous Ruby. Wow! I know I received it a week ago, but I haven't been able to touch it. Too much work and other obligations that kept me from being home much in the last ten days. But today is definitely a laundry and spinning day and my fingers are itching already. (I can't forget the laundry, though, or I won't have underwear to wear tomorrow... I bet you'll sleep better tonight knowing this stuff... LOL!)

I also got smart. I received my check for October on the second part-time job and I've decided that some of that money will go towards a "cleaning lady". A friend of mine's daughter is trying to save to buy a nice used car and she hires out for $15/hour. Yes, I did do some cleaning yesterday, but I'd much rather pay someone to do it for me and spend my time spinning, so I've hired her to come over and help clean and organize my mess. Her mom says she's wonderful and I'm more than happy to contribute to her car fund if she's willing to do the stuff I can't stand doing. (Give me a yard and I'll work for hours and hours. Bring me inside and I resent every single moment with a sponge or a broom in my hand... )

Oh, btw, remember I was trying to write for Harlequin for their new Spice Briefs line? Well, they don't like my stuff. So to heck with them. I'm going to investigate more with my knitting and spinning. I'm thinking of going for the Masters Certification with The Knitting Guild of America. I heard an interview with Ann Budd on the Knitpicks podcast and she says that she wouldn't recommend it for everyone because it's very time consuming and very detailed. She actually did get her certification and she said she learned a lot, though she doesn't use a lot of the new techniques with the kind of designing she does.

I was thinking that it might be something I could look for. Lord knows, I have the time at work. Maybe if I can get through some of the projects I have lined up, it might be worth it. Especially if I want to teach knitting. I think I'd make a good teacher. And I'd learn more new techniques and might find a way to incorporate new ones into what I'm already doing. I can already cast on in about six different ways, though I'd like to learn more ways to bind off. I can sew a seam so it's practically invisible (though no sewing at all is even more desirable... ). I can set in a sleeve and pick up stitches. Increase and decrease. Why not get the certification to go with it? It's a thought. I'd love to hear opinions on this.

Okay, off to start more laundry and hop in the shower. Have my "cleaning girl" coming today and have roving in the other room that's tired of being ignored. Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

No pics this week...

Because what I've completed is stuff that I can't flash around while youngst daughter is home. Yup, I finished the first of her fingerless mitts and they're simply gorgeous! I took one of the patterns from Lizbeth Upitis' book that doesn't have a picture and did my little adaption into fingerless and this pair really came out spectacular. (I'll try to sneek a pic in about mid-week when she's burrowed in her room with the phone.) Course, I might be able to finish the second mitt tomorrow since it's knitting up really fast, but more projects also OTN so we'll see who screams the loudest for attention when I get to work in the morning.

I also finished the first sock using Jeannie Townsend's Cascading Leaves pattern done in Cherry Tree Hill's colorway called Indian Summer. It satisfies my sense of "order" that I use that pattern with that colorway. And it came out looking really nice. I'm halfway down the cuff on the second sock and that should be done this week if I don't get tangled up in the new shawl.

Yes, I received my latest order from Knitpicks and I started Aunt Lois' shawl last night. Got their Wool of the Andes in Forest Heather and I'm also adding a single strand of Alpaca Cloud in Moss Heather. It's looking terrific together and that will be turned into the Sarah Blanche shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. I worked for about 3 or 4 hours and only got halfway through the 5th row (which is where I'm putting my first dropped stitch row), so this will be a long process, but it's going to be wonderful.

In the shipment, I simply had to order a ball of Palette in the Golden Heather. Wow, what a gorgeous color. A bit of red to soften and tone down the bright yellow of the normal Palette. I won't be able to use it in the older daughter's mitts, but I'm thinking of a way to use it in Dale pattern that I bought about 15 years ago. Yup, I was digging around downstairs and found a few patterns that I'd bought a LONG time ago when a LYS was going out of business. (No, not from lack of patronage, but because they were closing the complex where they rented space.) They'd put everything on sale and I actually bought more patterns than yarn. Got a wonderful pattern for an Icelandic sweater that I wanted to try my hand at. Considering my fear of colorwork until lately, I'd ignored it. Then I stumbled over it a few weeks ago and now it's calling my name with a vengeance.

Considering this would be my first sweater-sized colorway, I'm intimidated by the thought of actually knitting it up in Dale of Norway yarn (which it was designed for). The cost would be well over $100 and closer to $150. OTOH, I was looking yesterday and I think I could knit it up in Knitpicks Palette yarns for about $50. AND (and this is what has me itching to get moving), I could work that gorgeous Golden Heather into the design. Course, I'm thinking of trying the hat first. Just to see for gauge and suitability and if I can actually do it. If I like what I turn out, I can order the yarn and go for the whole shebang in a full sweater.

And that would give me the opportunity to test my color skills before tackling a Philosophers Wool Timber Framed for my brother for his birthday in Feb. Plus I can test steeking (YIKES!!!! Scissors to knitted fabric?!?!?) before I do something that's going to be a gift.

In the meantime, I have MIL's shawl all done. I'm going to wash and block that one right after Thanksgiving. Yup, I'm a smoker and the last thing I want is the smell of smoke to come tumbling out of the gift wrap before she even sees the shawl. So I'll wait and block that one when I get the Aunt-in-law's shawl done and get them washed (iow, get rid of smell), blocked and wrapped after the turkey holiday and with plenty of time before the Christmas holiday.

Sounds like a plan and the next few months are basically all mapped out on what projects will be one the needles....

OH!!! Before I forget. I got a shipment from Cathi at Stone Barn Fibers. I ordered some hand-painted yarn for socks (what else? ) in the colorways Cattails and Ice Cream Sundae. Hmm... yummy and gorgeous, so I'm sure they'll be on the needles as soon as I can get done with the Cascading Leaves and Textured Argyles. I also ordered some gorgeous merino to try to spin for socks. I ordered 4 oz. of her handpainted merino in Daffodil (which is yellow with streaks of red and green and even a few others) and I'd wanted to try plying that with a solid strand of Spice. Course, this being Oct and I totally forgot that anything orange would be gone in a heartbeat, I wasn't surprised when Cathi wrote to let me know that she was out of spice. Oh well. So I wrote back and said to pick something to go with the Daffodil and surprise me. Lo and behold, she picked this stunning ruby red. Can't wait to get my fingers on that fiber today.

And not only are they gorgeous, but I opened the bag so I could fondle the fiber and the scent that wafted out of the package was simply divine. Clean and sweet. I don't know what she uses to wash her fibers, but it's heavenly. The scent was even in the yarn. Working on the fiber and the yarn is going to be yummy indeed.

Trust me. Get fingers over to and get yourself some sock yarn and some fiber. The computer monitor does NOT do justice for her handpainted fiber and yarn. Her sense of color is exquisite and the yarn is to-die-for. Bouncy and soft and unbelievable. Picking one over another is difficult and there isn't a bad mix in the bunch. Try one skein of yarn and you'll be tearing your hair out to simply order two of each. (Yes, you do need two skeins to make a pair unless you make socks without cuffs.)

A few months ago, my mom had ordered a dozen colors, two skeins of each. I balled them all for her and put each colorway into a qt. ziploc bag. Then put all the bags into one big brown paper bag. She's had more fun simply reaching into the paper bag and taking out whatever ziploc comes to hand. Each one is a new surprise and keeps her knitting happily on new socks. I don't think she's halfway through her stash and is already itching to buy some more because there's so much pleasure in the surprise she has each time she reaches in for a new project.

Yup, I definitely need me one of those big brown paper bags...

Okay, off to do fundraising tallies and get rid of those white roots.... er, not in that order. Do roots first so I can hop in shower and then go play with a calculator for a few hours. Then home for laundry and finally the ability to play with my new fiber while the machines do their thing.

I'll get pics up this week when I can make sure youngest daughter is stashed in her room with phone to ear and distracted from seeing her Christmas present.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Textured Argyle and more...

Here it is. The infamous Textured Argyle. I haven't had a lot of time to work on it (well, duh, since you still have needles sticking out of it! ) but I'd promised the pics last week. Oops...

  • I don't know if you can tell in the pic, but the first row of diamonds (with the red twisted with a blue) are purled rows, then the dark red (believe it or not with a green) is stockinette st, then the yellowish diamonds are again purled and so forth. Each section is offset by small one stitch cables. This is how the diamond definition is set up.

  • I did that to the bottom of the cuff and then simple straight stockinette for the rest of the sock with a short row heel. Let me see if I can get that other pic to upload here also. Woohoo! Yup, I can upload. Now I have to learn how to set them where I want them and I'll be ready to roll. Youngest daughter promised me that she'd help me do that, but she's still in bed. So maybe next time.... Why? Because I'll have more pics to upload.

  • Why again? New paragraph, that's why... I finished the MIL's Wool Peddler's Shawl. I got my order from Knitpicks last Saturday. I can't tell you how excited I was to come home and find that box sitting on top of my mailbox. So I whipped it open, checked out my yarn and put together my new Options interchangeable set of cables. Put together my size 7 tips on a 24" cable and cast on Saturday night. It's funny because I thought the garter stitch beginning would be SO simple. Well, it took me 3 tries to keep that center increase row both centered and straight. But once I got the hang, yes, it whipped up pretty darned fast.

  • Now, my MIL is tall. She's 5'10" or thereabouts, so I did add one more row to the lace bottom section. And, boy, that was slow knitting cuz you're working about 300 sts in each row. But I also experimented some and I can now knit "continental" even faster than I can knit my good ole 30-yrs-of-experience American. It took a while to get somewhat easy on the purling, though. That one slowed me down a lot because the first row I tried purling, I got it backwards so all the sts twisted when I went to knit. So I knitted the next row through the back and then regrouped. Took a while, but I figured it out and can now purl in the continental manner a bit faster than molasses...

  • Anyway, so I got all excited. One shawl down and 9 whole weeks before.... Oh, wait! I have to reveal two other things during the making of this shawl. I've written to Knitpicks because I can't believe it, but my cable pulled right out of the connector. Luckily, I had just knitted my last row and only had to cast off, but I went to turn the work and BOOM! I'm sitting there with my knitting in my lap and my needle in my hand. Thank goodness it was the last row and I didn't have to try to pick up 300+ stitches. So I pushed all the stitches together on the good end and continued to cast off. Whic leads me to another thing I learned.

  • New paragraph... I don't know about you, but my cast off stitches are never in tension with the rest of my work. They're either too loose or too tight. And the ends never lay flat. They either pull or ripple. Yech! Yeah, yeah, everyone tells you to cast off _loosely_. That never works for me. It's still different than everything else. So I tried something new.

  • Please note that this will only work if you work this last row on a cable needle and you'll see why. I knit that last row and then moved back to the beginning of same row. IOW, I haven't turned my work at all. I simply move from the left side where my yarn leader is dangling back to the right side where I began that row. Then I simply slipped my first two stitches to the right needle and slipped the first stitch over the second. Slip another stitch from the left needle and pass the "first" slipped stitch over the new one. Etc, etc. Knitting is already done. You're just passing the stitches for the bind off. End result? That edge lay flat and true like never before. Not too loose. Not too tight. Perfectly in sync with every other row I'd knitted.

  • Seriously, give it a try. You'll be surprised.

  • Okay, next note. I pulled out the swift and ball winder yesterday and balled up the lace weight merino and alpaca skeins I'd bought for the Aunt-In-Law's shawl. Funny, when you put the balls next to each other, it's not that pretty. But start casting on and the alpaca in Moss Heather adds a really nice subtle contrast to the darker Lost Lake Heather in merino.

  • Anyway, I get upstairs last night and begin to cast on. Yarn leader is too short for 240 sts. I tear back and cast on again. Yarn leader is too short by about 10 sts. So I tear out and cast on a third time and this thing is looking mighty short. 240 sts or did Cheryle Oberle mean 340? I pull out the book again and look. Yup, 240 sts. Problem is that the yarn is supped to be DK weight and not fingering as I'd read (about 5 times). Actually, I think my problem is that I kept looking at so many different patterns that I forgot what yarn was needed for which project... So here I am with yarn that can't be used for the pattern I want or, if I switch to another pattern, I don't have enough yarn to complete it. I was thinking of switching to the Bird's Nest Shawl, but I only have half the yarn to complete it. I'll figure that one out and keep you posted.

  • In the meantime, I can start a pair of fingerless mitts to replace the ones that Shelby doesn't have anymore. I don't want to say that she lost them or accuse someone of stealing them. I think it was more a combination of both. She put them down and forgot to grab them and they were gone before she could retrace her steps. Course, as I told her in no uncertain terms, the design is 100% unique. So if she sees someone wearing them, I expect her to run them to ground and tackle them.... LOL!

  • Now, before I interrupted myself, I was about to say that, as of this Tuesday, we have nine (count them, NINE!!!!) weeks to Christmas. At least three projects in the hopper to be completed prior to then. And I simply have to figure out something for the Hubby. He keeps complaining that his feet get cold, so I want to make him a pair of socks. I have a reason now for him not to be suspicious. My mom wants to make a pair for my brother and, considering he's in North Carolina, it's a bit difficult to measure his foot. But my DH's foot is a bit longer and a bit bigger than my brother's. So if I measure Mark's foot and subtract a quarter inch in length and a half inch in diameter, it should work. And I'll have Mark's measurements also. Maybe that's what I could use that merino and alpaca for. The merino would add memory and "bounce" and the alpaca will add warmth. And the two shades of very subtle green will be nice and conservative compared to my socks in loud parrot and "fire"...

  • It's a thought.

  • Have a wonderful week! Nine and counting... Yikes!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fingerless Mitts

Before I get into things, let me begin with an apology. I seem to have lost my ability to paragraph correctly, so rather than have all of my paragraphs run into each other like a multi-car wreck, I'm bulletting all the paragraphs to keep them separate. That said....

  • Let's start with a picture. I finally got one. The main school colors are navy blue and gold, so that's the main part that goes over the hand. That navy "blob" is a thumb gusset. I was going to keep it in pattern, but it was so small a piece, I simply couldn't wrap my head around how to work the math to keep it in pattern. So... blue. Then I was worried about how the end at the fingers would roll back on itself because it's double-stranded, so I just finished it with a braid and then blocked to keep it straight. Funny, I've never owned a set of lace blockers in my life, so I just took the needles that I'd used to knit the mitts and laced them through each side to block it flat. Now, I doubt that would work for a large piece like a shawl, but it worked beautifully for the mitts.

  • Now, here's the kicker. I gave Shelby the mitts on Wednesday morning because she needed them for last night's Midnight Madness. Well, she's searched high and low and can't find them for the life of her... Argh! I'm sure she feels really bad, but she figures she probably took them out of her messenger bag to grab something and then forgot to put them back. We checked with Lost & Found on campus, but, yup, they're gone. The good news is that, I don't know why, but I'm not mad. I think it's because there were a few things I would have changed once it was all done and I looked at the total overall effect. Now I have a chance to do just that. I'll have to order more yarn to accomplish this goal, but I'm going to do it and make her another pair.

  • I also have plans to make a pair for youngest daughter. You know the one... she sits by the hour with a phone superglued to her head and IM'ing on the laptop simultaneously. Other than cleaning the litterbox twice a week, she can barely manage to make soup for her Dad on the nights I work, but for some reason I'll make her a pair of mitts. She deserves a smack instead of a present, but I'm WAY too nice for the good of both of us. My one consolation is that I know -- I mean, I KNOW!!!! -- some day she'll have a daughter just like her... Payback's a bitch and she'll get hers... LOL!

  • Now for the good news. Yarn has arrived for the two shawls I'm making for Christmas. One a lovely rich burgundy called "hollyberry" from Knitpicks for the MIL. This one will become the Wool Peddler's Shawl. The other two yarns are both lace weight, but I'll combine them to make the Sarah Blanche shawl for the aunt-in-law. Two shades of green that will create almost a tweed effect, but one of them is alpaca, so that will add some wonderful warmness that straight merino might not with such a "holey" shawl. I want to do the Sarah Blanche because it's a dropped stitch garter and years ago I made a crocheted "broomstick lace" afghan for Aunt Lois and she loved it. This is almost the same effect, so they will match in a very strange and weird sense.

  • Oh, and I have to mention. I took the pic from above of the mitts sitting on the stool for my Kromski because the wood is deep and rich and would blend into the dark background so the mitts would really stand out. I did get a complaint from my Mom that the other few pics I'd uploaded were way too busy with background, etc. So I figured just the stool. And I aimed my Ott light at it so the colors would show true (another problem I have in my house). Damn if it didn't work out well.

  • I have to take a pic of the Textured Argyle sock. I'm almost done with the first and the cuff came out really nice. Hopefully, I can get that today and upload tomorrow. I can place one pic, but I have trouble if I'm uploading more than one. They tend to bunch up. I asked youngest daughter about that and she said, "Oh, you just type in blah, blah, blah, wakka, wakka". huh? I just smiled and said she could stay off the phone long enough to help....

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Just Keep Knitting...

No new projects to report... er, yet. But I'm cranking along on the ones I posted in my last venture. I've completed one of the fingerless mitts for Shelby. Considering she needs them for this coming Saturday night, the second is coming along well and I expect to be done with them by Tuesday. (Okay, really, by Monday, but I need to wash and block, so it'll be Tuesday before I can give them to her.) The Pep Band will be at the Midnight Madness rally at the university, but that's held in the old basketball court so I doubt she'll be cold. OTOH, the hockey team has their first game on Saturday, so I want Shelby to have them handy if she needs them. (It's an exhibition game, but I don't care. Hockey is hockey and I CAN'T wait to have my butt in my season seat... )

The Dimple Shale Lace Scarf is coming along slowly. I figure if I do a couple pattern repeats every day, I might be done by Christmas. But I'm not worried about that one. I'll probably keep it for myself since I have presents lined up for everyone else. (hmmm... a present for one of the girls? Maybe. That's a thought I should probably write down or I'll lose it entirely. )

The Textured Argyle is almost done on the first cuff. I think I have about 4 rows left until I can start the st st for the heel, but I'm also thinking about how to decrease this baby. I'm working the pattern in 72 sts. Let's be real. I normally use 52-56 sts for my socks. I did more on the cuff for this one because I don't want the pattern to stretch around my calf. I want it to lay flat and show the beauty of a pattern I actually figured out for myself. (YES!!!! Finally, right yarn for the pattern!) But I'll have to decrease before I get into the heel or these socks will end up sized for Mark. There's 9 pattern repeats, so, in the last row before I do my usual 5 rows of st st before I start the heel, I'm going to decrease one stitch in each pattern (in the purled sections so it's less noticeable). That will bring me down to 63 sts. I'm thinking of st st the next row and then another 3 or 5 sts decrease to bring the stitch count down to 58 or 60 sts and then work the heel. I haven't decided yet on that one, but I'm leaning more towards 58 sts total. It'll still a bit larger than my usual 52-56 sts, but I'm also using a slightly smaller needle, so I surely don't want it to end up too small.

If I'd had half a brain, I probably would have cast on 64 sts instead of 72 for 8 repeats instead of 9. But the day I cast on for the socks was one of those days where not a coherent thought passed through my mind between the time I woke up and the time I went to sleep. It didn't even dawn on me until about two days ago that I cast on too many sts from the start. I'll try it on once I turn the heel and, if it's really too big, I can always frog. I'm getting used to the sound of frogs singing around my needles...

I'm waiting for the sun to come out so I can get some pictures of what I'm working on. Every time I've done something inside the house, the pics turn out way too dark. So I want to try outside with the natural sunlight and it might help with showing the true colors as well as picking up the light/shadow to show the Textured Argyle and the variation in texture. I learned this one from my wonderfully warm alpaca shawl. It's a three-ply yarn with each ply in a different color (dark, med, light all in the natural animal colors), so I kept the pattern a very simple basketweave of knit and purl. Unfortunately, between the variation in color and the small varitation in texture, I couldn't get a decent picture that showed anything more than a big rectangular blob... The biggest part was probably because I was trying to take the pic inside. Being surrounded by trees, I don't have a lot of natural light streaming in my oversized windows. And being a Cape Cod, I should definitely have more lamps in my rooms... So now I'm going to try photographing outside with natural sunlight and see if that solves my color/texture problems.

Anyway, I'll try to be back tomorrow. I have to post the ideas for the Christmas shawls I'll be making this year. Since the recipients don't spend much time online --one doesn't even own a computer and I can pretty much guarantee that the other doesn't even know I have a blog, let alone read it -- I won't be spoiling any surprises by making this announcement.

Have a wonderful Saturday! I've got my fingers crossed that the sun comes out. I'm almost positive it will make an appearance since there's no hope of rain anytime soon.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stashes -- Half empty or half full?

Yup, it's the next weekend and I'm actually back. I want to thank Kenn for the nice note! Two weeks and I'll be in my seat in the arena and my withdrawal will be over. I could definitely use a hockey fix real soon...

OTN are several projects. I have some gorgeous Mega Boot Stretch by Lana Grossa in red that's going to be that textured argyle sock. This is definitely the right yarn for the right pattern. I started the first sock last night and only got the cuff done because the girls had taken my car to the Durham Fair and where is my notebook? Yup, sitting in my backseat. The family teases me that I live out of my car. Now it's truly everyone who knows this...

Also on the needles is a scarf in a simple lacy pattern. Mom had some Knitpicks Shimmer lace weight yarn in denim. She tried several times to make a lace shawl, but she can't stand counting those darn yarn overs. So she gave the yarn to me and I've had it bouncing around for about a year now. I originally started the pattern in single strand, but even with only a size 4 needles, it was too fine. I was thinking along the lines of an Irish Wedding Ring lace where, when you're all done, you can pull the scarf through a wedding ring because the yarn is so fine, but that wasn't going to work with this particular yarn and this particular pattern. So I doubled the stranding and that solved the problem. What's amazing is that it's a variegated yarn with several shades of blue and I happened (this was sheer chance and not design) to begin the skeins at just the right place so the color changes are working together. The colors change at almost the same time. Now, maybe by the time I reach the center of the scarf, they'll be out of synch, but they're working together now and it's coming out very nice.

Let's see... Shelby's fingerless mitts. Started one pattern. yech. Started another. Nope, not that one either. Finally went back to the very first pattern that I'd worked in the Latvian style and mixed up the colors of navy blue, yellow, red and white. Finally got a match. Style is working. Color changes are working right up to the base of the hand. I went from a background of white with the first design in blue and the second in red and then changed to the main part of the mitts in an intricate design of blue and yellow. But the change from red/white to blue/yellow was so sudden, it was jarring. Hmm... how to fix it? Easy. I frogged back all the blue/yellow and began the section with a braid to frame the design. Whew! Easy fix. I'm now at the point where I'm adding the plain blue gusset for the base of the thumb. Yup, it's not Latvian anymore, but I think it's going to be perfect for what I'm doing. I figure enough rows to get the thumb in there and then either one whole pattern or a pattern and a half to reach over the knuckles and a bit onto the fingers and then I'll finish it with another braid, again to define the design. So keep your fingers crossed that the end result matches what I see inside my head.

I think that's everything that's on the needles right now.

Took a vacation day on Friday so I could beat most of the crowds at the Durham Fair. Spent about $200, but I got most of my Christmas shopping done. And even a few birthday presents since my MIL's birthday is this coming Friday and oldest daughter will be 18 before the month is over. The only person I didn't get anything for was my darling hubby... I'm still trying to convince him to let me knit him an Icelandic sweater, but he's been adamant about rolling his eyes at me. No, I can't see him wearing one either, but that's besides the point... LOL!

While at the Durham Fair, I ran into my teacher, Laurie Sanford. She was co-chair for the Fiber Committee (new this year at the fair) and she yelled at me for not submitting something. I hung my head in shame and admitted that I don't get to spin as often as I'd like, but that wasn't an excuse for her. I did tell her, though, that I did look at the entries and was going to enter some of my yarn, but I hadn't gotten around to making that decision until the very day that all the entry forms were due. So I promised that I'd enter next year. A goal. That's what I need. I can enter some of my handknit items as well as some of the fiber I've spun and, maybe if I can get off my duff and actually knit up some of my own yarn, I can enter that as well. So I have some ambitious goals for this coming year.

Which brings me to a subject that I promised I'd discuss. Stash. What are they? How do we keep them from cloning whenever we turn our back?

I used to be really bad about stash control. I had huge 40-gallon Tupperware containers of stash. Worse was that I'd buy yarn simply because I liked it and it would sit there for years without even a project in mind. I don't know if anyone else can say this one, but I honestly had a stash of lavendar wool that I'd bought my first year of working (so we're talking around 1984 or so) because it was a closeout. It sat around with nothing to do and no project in mind for over a decade. I finally turned it into an afghan which I still have. Weighs a ton which is why I don't use it because it weighs enough to keep small children from breathing, but it's still in my house.

That was the yarn that turned me around. I no longer buy a yarn just because it's gorgeous. Frankly, there will always be gorgeous yarn. I'm a pain in that I have to fondle the yarn before buying. I venture into a yarn store and feel my way around the shelves. As I work more and more, I'm finding that I'm even more tactile than enticed by color. If it doesn't feel right, I simply won't work with it.

Oops. I'm meandering again, aren't I? Stash control. I don't buy a yarn if it doesn't speak to me about what it wants to be. If there's no project in mind, then I can't have it. Plain and simple. It could be the loveliest yarn since the Hope Diamond, but if it doesn't have a plan, it doesn't come home. Second is that I only allow myself so much. I usually buy in bulk as opposed to each project on it's own. When I buy, I spent $100+ or could be $200+. But, and here's the kicker, each yarn has a project and I have to complete at least 80% of the projects before I'm allowed to buy more. I might purchase yarn for a shawl or a sweater (I can't WAIT to start doing colorways in sweaters) and then yarn for 5 or 6 pairs of socks. All at once. Big bill. But then I'm not allowed to buy more until I've completed (not started, mind you, but completed) the majority of the projects.

It's hard. Don't get me wrong. I could escape to various yarn stores every weekend and drop $100 a week on yarn. But then when would I finish them? No, the purchase of more yarn is my incentive to complete the projects I've already got. And the quickest way to get more yarn is to complete the projects I've already purchased.

Example -- I have one "project" left from my old stash when I bought the yarn last weekend for the new projects. It's some lovely Lis Souza in Joseph's Coat that I know will be another pair of socks. I haven't decided on a pattern or if I'll even use a pattern for it, but I know this yarn will be socks. And I can make a pair of socks (if I really work at it) in 4-5 days. So it's time to get more yarn. Hence, my trip to Country Yarns and about $120 for new projects.

Last night, I saw a pattern for a dropped stitch shawl. I think this would be wonderful in alpaca for Aunt Lois and my mother-in-law for Christmas. Shouldn't be too time-consuming to make. A couple weeks at best. (The dropped stitch garter shawl from Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle) I made a shawl for Mom last Christmas, so it would be nice to make one this year for the other two ladies in our family. Anyway, if I want to get them made by December, then I have to get to work on the projects I just purchased. See? Incentive if I want to complete the shawls in time to wrap.

I don't see the restrictions of not being able to buy more yarn as a punishment. Rather, it's all in how you view it. I know that my reward for completing projects is the ability to fund new ones. And I knit away, happy and content, because I know that there are always new projects to drool over. And since I can't get to them until I finish the ones I've got, I just keep knitting because that's the only path that will get me back to the store (or Internet site)...

Think of Dorie in Finding Nemo. Her mantra was "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." Well, I've turned that into "Just keep knitting..."

To relate back to the title of this (yet again very LONG) post... is your stash half empty or half full? I don't think of all the wonderful yarns that aren't in my stash. I think of all the ones that will be there once I complete what I've got.

Comments? Any other topic I can cover? Write and let me know if any of this helps.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Setting a record here...

There definitely be dragons here...

I'm posting twice in one darn weekend. I think a bug's gotten into me somewhere. I can feel it running around, but I'm not sure I want to get rid of it. See... I forgot to include some info in the last post...

First off, I turned the heel (almost wrote hell there and wondering if it might be a mistake or one of those Freudian slips... ) and my directions actually worked. Wasn't sure I'd written them down correctly, but I actually did. That would be a first within itself. I've adapted a lot of recipes and patterns over the years, but I've never written anything down. Or if I did write it down, I usually got it all wrong. Oops...

I tried on the first sock (only because I was dying of curiosity) and it looks dreamy. Fits wonderful and, like I said earlier, I've finally got the right pattern with the right yarn. I'll have to have Dee take a pic for me so I can post it.

Speaking of yarn, I got over to Country Yarns. The sock yarn I was thinking of is called Mega Boot Stetch and it's put out by Lana Grossa. I'm not sure the new yarn I bought will work because it's red and rather bright, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. I also picked up some gorgeous Andirondack in a color called... er, what is it called? Can't remember except it's primary, rich colors. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. Let's see... what else? I bought Cherry Tree Hill in Indian Summer. If the Mega Boot Stretch doesn't work in the Textured Argyle, this definitely will. Another yarn... I think it's another Lana Grossa. Nope, Trekking XXL. I think it's color 100. And one more. A skein of Schaefer Anne (or is it Anne Schaefer?) in color Mojave. Now that's going to be doubled and made into a gorgeous scarf for a Christmas present. I have the two grandmothers and a great-aunt and I think they'll all get scarves this year. I saw some simply devine cashmere/silk that's to die for. At $40.00 a skein, it ought to be to die for, but it's gorgeous. Soft as a puppy's butt and in soft pastels, but really saturated pastel colors. And if I can find the right pattern that will only need one skein, I don't mind the expense. Sorry, but I just can't drop $80 for a scarf. Not this year.

Anyway, I got to the store. Course, I'm driving away from the store and shaking my head at myself. I balk at the cost of purchasing a kit from Philosopher's Wool to make one of the "colour your own" sweaters, but I don't bat an eye at dropping over $100 for socks and scarves... Maybe it's because I can make several projects out of the yarn I bought instead of just one. I dunno...

Last thought before I trek off. I wanted to give an update on the Knitpicks own needles. As I said before, 6" is short for me. I'm used to working with 8" needles. I don't work with my fingers really close to my work. My fingers are fairly straight and I hold back on the needles while knitting. IOW, my fingers aren't real close to the working stitches. I leave room between my fingers and the working part of the needle. So sometimes a 6" needle will catch on my palm. (A real problem when you look down to find that you've effectively shoved your needle right out of your stitches... LOL!) But that's my only complaint. I'm really enjoying the feel of these needles. Even though they're metal, they have a "warm" feel to them. There's just a slight bit of drag that you get with the Addi Turbos. And I don't have a lot of "sweat" in my hands, so loosing my grip is really easy. I haven't had that happen with these needles.

As I said, because I work "back" from the working part of my needles, I put a lot of pressure on them. I tried working with wood and bamboo, but I break those outright. Heck, I bend my Addis. If you could see them. I couldn't roll them across a surface if I tried. I even have to replace them from time to time because they're bent enough to make working awkward.

So... I adore Addis, but I can get Knitpicks own needles for half the cost. And considering needles last me about a year before I've bent them out of shape, it's a terrific investment for me.

My next purchase will be some of their circular needles. I'm thinking of breaking down and buying the kit where you "build" your own circular. I've heard good reports, so it might be worth the investment. I had a kit by Denise years ago, but damn if the yarn didn't hang up on the connectors. And quite badly too. But I've heard that Knitpicks solved whatever the problem was in the connector and they work without hanging up. So it might be time to try if I'm going to try knitting sweaters in the round.

Time to go over and update my iPod. Cast-On has a new episode out and I'm trying other podcasts also. So far I've tried a few others, but I've been spoiled by listening to Brenda Dayne. She's the most professional of the bunch and I enjoy her mix of essays, music and news. Course, I hope I find a few others to help fill the week at work because I'm almost caught up on the backlist of episodes of Cast -On.

Remind me that my next post is going to be about stashes and my own personal thoughts. Stashing and de-stashing always seems to be a point of interest to knitters. Sometimes I stash and sometimes I don't. So let's see if we can discuss this a bit. Whatcha think?

Have a terrific week and write if you get a chance!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another post so soon?!?

Yeah, go figure. I don't post for months at a clip and now I'm going to try and post once a week. What's been happening? Lots of stuff in my mind...

I still haven't gotten over to Country Yarns to get the yarn for the Textured Argyle. Sorry, but the only days they're open late were ones that I work late. I was only home early (before about 8PM) one night this week and Wednesday wasn't it. Monday and Friday were work at the second job. Tuesday was the first meeting for NBPOPS (North Branford Parents of Performing Students). I'm Treasurer for them, so it's kinda hard to miss with the explanation that I was off on a yarn hunt. Thursday was the night of the BBQ. QU held a BBQ for all the Season Ticket Holders to come and hear the coaches and pick up their tickets for this year's games. If you run over to the QU site, there's a pic of me and the Hubby talking with Rand. We're way down near the end of the "more photos" page and, yup, there it is for all the world to see. My big butt... Gee, I wasn't feeling exactly slim lately anyway and now I've got proof that I better get that butt back to the gym before it doesn't fit into a single pic...

What was really kewl was that Kenn Venit was worried that I'd missed signing up for the season because his tickets this year encompass the seats I had last year. So I assured him that my old seats were open because I was able to move right down to the first row at the boards.

In fact, I had to inform the ladies of POPS that I'll miss next month's meeting because there's a game that night. Ladies, I would never be remiss in my duties to the organization, but there's a seat with my name on it. And, last year, I missed one game (one single solitary game) and Dan LeFort motioned to the DH, asking where I was... Yup, the boys noticed I wasn't there and they lost to Dartmouth. Everyone assured me it was all my fault because the team knew I wasn't there. A burden I'll never live down, especially now that Mark (the DH) has gotten to love the sport as much as me.

Okay, on to fun stuff. What's on the needles?

Well, I started another Latvian to see if I could knit something to the gauge marked in the book. Size 2 needles and the gauge was right, but boy was it huge! So, in the meantime, I got the yarn from Knitpicks for Shelby's fingerless mitts so she can use them while playing with the Pep Band at the games. Navy blue and gold are the school colors, so I'm using navy and yellow. The third color for the school is red and there's a touch of white in the cuff design. Anyway, I began that project the next day and it's coming along nicely.

Course, do I ever do a pattern the way it's written? Heck no. So I'm adapting this one also. Going to add a small gusset to encompass the thumb, but I'm not going to work that in pattern. That will be in plain navy blue. And then I'm thinking of finishing the piece using the herringbone effect of purling by carrying the yarn on the outside of the piece up near the fingers. It'll give a really nice finished effect to the end and also keep the yarn from curling back on itself up near the fingers. I considered beginning the cuff with the same, but used a scallop instead. Maybe a consideration for future mitts.

Almost done with the double cable socks. Have completed the first sock and it looks very weird when laid on its side because the cables and the ribbing pulls it in tight. So it's all length and no width. But I'm almost done with the cuff on the second sock and about to turn the heel.

So I have no choice but to get out to Country Yarns this weekend and go get that yarn for the textured sock.

I also picked up "Folk Shawls" by Cheryl Oberle. There's some really beautiful designs in there and I thought I could start with the simple variation of a box shawl. I was thinking of taking... oh, hell, what was that math theory? I heard it on Brenda Dayne's Cast-On episode, "Frogging the Proverbial" in a guest spot by Lara Neel, who hosts Math4Knitters. Anyway, I thought it would be really kewl to take that mathematical equation/theory and apply it through the rows on the Box Shawl.

Course, I'm also looking at the Ruana. Would that make the kewlest coat or what? I'm not sure I mentioned it before, but I had this fake fur coat that was absolutely gorgeous. I treated myself almost three years ago with my Christmas bonus and bought this coat on site. Got it half price for $100. Everyone who saw it swore it was real. Anyway, I had to get it cleaned and it said to have it cleaned by fur method, but that was going to cost more than the jacket did to begin with. So I went with regular dry cleaning and the small sections of leather trim simply let go. I mean seams started to fall apart all over the place. So it's time to retire the faux fur jacket and look for something new. I think a ruana worn with just the right wide belt to hold it in place would be perfect. After all, if the yarn is heavy enough, all I'd need is a good sweater under it and I'd be warm as toast. Maybe a nice heathered yarn or a tweed yarn. And if I did it in "stripes" of straight garter stitch and then maybe a pattern of some kind for another stripe, it would be textured as well as tweedy. Hmm... more thoughts.

See? I told you most of the work this week was in my head... LOL!

Anyway, today have to clear out some of the summer plants that are dying with the cool nights. Want to check over at Big Y. They had some nice mums that I might put in for the fall. But I can check while on my way to Country Yarns. Tonight is a stay-at-home night and maybe work more on those fingerless mitts. Tomorrow is laundry and spinning day.

Do I live an exciting life or what?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Colorwork and other wrestling projects...

Where the heck have I been, you ask? Well, I finally finished digging out the front yard. I found the mother of all rocks buried in my front yard. I spent half the day trying to dig that baby out and even bent the blade on my hawser axe that Mark had bought two days prior. Sorry, babe, but I couldn't find the friggin' crowbar. Finally, Mark came home and I asked him where it was. He sauntered into the house and came right back with it. Uh huh. I definitely would have looked in the house for the crowbar. I can't believe I actually thought it might have been in the garage...

Well, we finally wrestle this thing out of the ground and he asks me why I just don't leave it there. "What if I want to plant a bush?!?" I mean, we're talking dead center of this huge 2000 sq. ft. area. Wouldn't I want to plant something special in the center? After all, I've cleared more square footage in my front yard than I actually have inside my house. It deserves something special, right?

Course, we get this durned thing out and I stand there, looking at it. Nope, forget a damn bush. I take all the other big rocks I've been "planting" around the garden and dump them all in the hole. Then we wrestle the mother rock right back on top of them.

Why? Because I've changed my mind. This rock is going to be my showcase. I'm going to paint the thing white and display the boulder I've dug out of this yard. Surround it with mulch and display it.

And Mark just stands there and laughs. We dug it out only to put it back.

What can I say?

I finished the yard just in time to go back to work. Now, here's the weird thing. I've started listening to a podcast called "Cast On" by Brenda Dayne. And she's inspired me. I want to expand my horizons and try new techniques. I've always been timid. Yup, I'm good at what I do, but I'm always afraid to try new stuff because I'm worried that I won't "get it".

Well, I pulled out my Latvian mitten book and started experimenting. Hey! I can do this stuff. It's not all that hard. Not once you learn a few tricks. Like I checked out the short video on Philosopher's Wool website and learned how to carry those colors without long stranding to get tangled on fingers and toes and all that. Easy stuff. Practicing knitting with both hands. (Yeah, like this stuff was really all that easy!!! )

I've been back at work for 3 or 4 weeks. I'm not sure without looking at a calendar, to be honest. But I've been practicing and knitting and stranding and doing all sorts of stuff that I've never done before. All while listening to the old podcasts of Brenda Dayne who keeps me inspired to try this new stuff. And you want to know the _really_ weird part? I actually look forward to getting into work because then I have time to play and practice. I wake up in the morning, all psyched about getting into my booth and hunkering down for the day with my skeins and needles.

Last year, I got to the point that I dreaded another day at work and how on Earth I was going to fill the time. This year? I can't wait to get there. I'm experimenting at creating my own new designs and colorworks.

I have a book called "Aran and Fair Isle Knitting" and I spent Friday taking a 16 row Aran design and adapting it for use on socks. It was a struggle. The pattern is designed for straight needle knitting. So I figured that I had to rewrite the pattern with the first row going straight across but then having to adapt the even rows because I'd be knitting them not only backwards, but in reverse (where the knit becomes purl, etc). Well, it didn't quite work out that easy. It literally took me the full 8 hours to adapt the pattern, but I finally got all the notes written down. Including notes where I have to move loops from one needle to the next so I can twist them and then later move them back. I'm telling ya... It wasn't easy. But anyway... Then I looked at the durned sock. Right and perfect pattern. Yup, got it. Wrong yarn...

I'm knitting with Lisa Souza's Earth Birth and even though I wouldn't call it a variegated yarn, there's just enough color change that it disrupted the pattern of what I now call a "textured argyle". I call it that because the diamonds are created using baby cables and the diamonds are offset as some are knitted and the others are purled. So it's more of a textured pattern than one done with color. Anyway, just enough color change in the yarn to disrupt the pattern. So I came home, frogged the sock, and I'm now working it in panels of double cables. Ten panels of 4 stitches, offset with 2 sts of purl. Every other panel on the cuff has a double cable. And the pattern is perfect for this yarn.

The Textured Argyle? I'm pretty sure I know what yarn will work. I just forget the name of it. A trip to Country Yarns should solve that since I just made a pair of socks this summer in the yarn. But it's a heathered yarn with a change so subtle that you don't even notice it until you're all done and you can see the gentle and subtle change of color in the finished product. Anyway, I'm hoping to get over there today to get the yarn so I can announce what it is...

Off to do laundry today. Yup, today is my day to hang out, spin, knit and catch up with shows that I haven't gotten to see all week. I have the last 5 shows of "The Closer" that I loaded onto DVD last night and I'd like to watch them again. Course, I can always watch "Tristan + Isolde" again. Found the movie last weekend and absolutely fell in love with the story and the historical clothing. Very rough weaving in the cloth. I would imagine much more accurate to the time period than some of the "fine" examples movie people like to use. In fact, I was distracted the first time I saw the movie, so I had to see it again... I think James Franco is excellent as the tortured Tristan, Sophia Myles does a great job as the regretful Isolde and Rufus Sewell shines as the gentle yet majestic Marke. I think Sewell could be the modern Anthony Hopkins with his fabulous voice and understated performance. The movie didn't necessarily "click" with me the first time I saw it, but the second viewing revealed some truly understated acting that could easily be missed. (And let's not forget Henry Cavill who's too beautiful to live... Masculine. Not feminine at all. But his features are simply beautiful and it's unfair to do that to us ladies who aren't gifted in the least in the physical department... LOL!)

Okay, enough. Time to start the day...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

To mark her passing...

I literally just learned that yesterday morning Kathleen Woodiwiss died after a long battle with cancer. What a true maverick in the romance industry. Hers was one of the first romance books I'd ever read. Up until then, it was mostly stuff like The Black Stallion and Misty of Chincoteague. Yup, lots of stories about animals and stuff like that. Then my mom handed me The Wolf and The Dove. I think I was about 13. I wasn't 100% sure of all the sexual references, but I got most of it. Mom figured it was about time she introduced me to the genre. And the history was incredible. I felt like I was living right alongside her characters. I followed that book quickly with The Flame and the Flower and never quite looked back. I read everything she wrote and even branched out to... yup, I admit it... Rosemary Rogers.

Hey, this was groundbreaking stuff given the time period. Let's face it. Up until then, we had Barbara Cartland, whose history was excellent, but her characters did seem to move from book to book without much change.

To this day, I still have a great love of history and it's because I felt like I could truly live in another time period in her books.

We will all miss her. She introduced and set the new standard for romance and wrote the kind of books I wish I could. The world will be a bit dimmer without her presence.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wrestling and other such activities...

Last year, I spent most of my time inside the house. I tried the "summer cottage" look by painting everything that didn't move fast enough. (Yes, I did get the dog a couple times... ) I started with the ceilings, moved down the walls and even painted the floors. Looks nice, though my husband did comment on my "fruit" theme. (My hallway upstairs and down are a soft lemony yellow and the living room is now a soft lime green. Not quite neon, but cool and bright. Everything with crisp white trim. The floors are all -- except for the dining room, which we DON'T discuss -- are painted "pebbled path", so it's a medium dark greyish brown.) Anyway, that was last year.

Which explained why my yard was a mess this year. Can't be working inside the house and outside in the yard at the same time. I've pretty much figured out that time warp thing how kids can grow up while I remain the same, but I haven't figured out how to occupy two spaces at the same time... er, yet. I'm working on it.

Anyway, so I can't afford a lot of perrenials this year, so I got a bunch of annuals from my MIL. The prettiest tall marigolds called "Sweet Cream" which are a nice soft buttery yellow-white. I'm definitely going to remember those babies and suggest that Flo keep them up every year. I got all the beds settled when Mark announced that I simply HAD to do something with that dreadful hill out front. He can't mow it anymore.

So I've spent hours upon hours digging out grass (and discovering every escape hole the chipmunks have dug into the yard). I planted three purple smoke trees. They look like sticks stuck in the ground, but two of them are already settled and happy. They have new leaves. So now they look like two sticks in the ground with tiny, itty bitty leaves. Get further than five feet away and you can't see the leaves. But they seem to be happy and I'm encouraging them to stay that way.

The third isn't as happy. The ground is very dense where it's planted. I would have liked to till some peat moss into the earth before planting, but Mark was off somewhere and I haven't a clue how the rototiller works. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that third three.

Around the base of each tree are five tiny little scraggly tufts of "strawberries and cream" grass. They should mound up to about 4'-5' in diameter and encircle each tree.

My goal is to cover that dreadful hill with various grasses and mounds of stuff like the lavendar I have on order. 21 plants that will hopefully come soon so they have plenty of time to settle and be happy before Fall descends. And the purple blooms will give a nice lighter shade accent to the dark purple leaves on the trees (as well as the feathery tree flowers that garner the name "purple smoke"). Next year, I'll get a whole bunch more grasses. Many kinds in clumps of varying heights and colors for interest. But this year, I've got to dig out the hill and mulch the whole thing down so heavy that it kills anything I miss.

It's a huge project. Figure about 400 square feet or so. But I've done it before. The wilderness always came back and reclaimed the hill, which is why I'm going to dig the whole thing out by hand this time. It's not going to reclaim it this time. I'm going to wrestle it into submission whether it agrees to cooperate or not.

Course, the only good thing about this whole project is that my tan is wonderful. My oldest daughter is the one who claimed every Italian gene in our family. One day in the sun for her is like two weeks worth of work for the rest of us. uh huh. I make her look like the belly of a whale.

Oh, other news is that I've decided today that I'm on strike as far as the girls are concerned. They can't even be bothered to wash a dish. They're much better housekeepers than I am. I admit that. And I asked them to help with the house because, going back to what I said before, I can't be in the yard and cleaning the house at the same time. My youngest's idea of getting up the dust goats of dog and cat hair? She swept down the stairs onto the carpet and left it there. Dragging out the vacuum was too much work...

So I've decided that they can spend the rest of the summer talking to the hand. No money. No favors. No advice. I've tried asking. I've even begged. But I get better response talking to the dogs. In fact, I KNOW the dogs would help if they could figure out how to turn on the vacuum or hold a sponge without a thumb. Yup, I can even see Lacy folding clothes one piece at a time using her nose. But my kids? Forget it. So they can forget me. I'm not going to ask anymore. And I won't be giving one tenth of an inch either.

Gee, can you tell I'm mad?

Updates to come. This should be interesting. I haven't gone on strike for a couple years. It's probably overdue.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Back to writing...

I'm giving it another shot. A wonderful friend of mine (who writes under the name Sarah McCarty... you really should read her stuff) told me that Harlequin opened a new line called Spice Briefs. Short erotic, romantic interludes. I've already sent them one submission. A short historical I wrote a while back. I wrote this as a short follow-up to a submission I'd sent to Ellora's Cave, who has yet to respond even though I submitted to them over two years ago. I wanted to be able to send something quickly, but, of course, they never responded.

Not good business practice. Oh sure, they acknowledged receiving my submission. But they never got back to me. Trust me, I understand overworked and underpaid, but to never get back at all? Definitely poor business practice.

So I sent off my historical to Harlequin's email address. Now, them I expect to take time to get back to me.

In the meantime, I've got a contemporary done. I sent it off to a friend to read just to check the ending. I'm not sure. Seems a bit contrite and way too neat to me. But if she likes it, I can deal with it. I have several different ways that I can write the end, so that can be adjusted, though the end result is always the same.

Lastly, I'm working on a short paranormal. Not sure they're going to like this one, though. It's not romantic at all. Erotic and need driven is more like it. Lots of lust. Lots of sex driving the whole story. Hard part is that, to stay true to the idea, one of the characters has to die in the end.

The good thing is I want to show them that I can be versatile. They've already got a historical (and I have at least one other idea for another) and then I've got a contemporary and a paranormal in the works. Basically, I can write just about any genre or time frame. Tell me what you need and I'll write to specification. I used to do that way back in the days when I wrote for Penthouse. (Yup, another dirty little secret... ) Had a couple features and quite a few letters. Paid really well, too. It just got old really fast. I wanted to write more than just sex. I like a little story to go with it.

Anyway... what else is new? Graduations are over. At least for the university. Still have my daughter's high school graduation to get through, but that won't be until next month. Prom was last week and both girls looked absolutely gorgeous!

I've started to work on my gardens. One down and eight more to go... See if I can get another done today. My arms are killing me. Had to get out the manual hedge clippers and trim back a few bushes. They were attempting a coup on the whole yard, so I had to nip them back and put them in their place. My arms are screaming at me now. Telling me that they're used to knitting and typing. What's up with this clipping cr@p?!? >

Monday is Memorial Day. Can't believe it's already here. Mark has informed me that he doesn't want a picnic this year. I don't blame him. He wants a quiet simple day at home with no pressure. No jobs. No list of things to do. Frankly, I don't blame him. We'll have a picnic later in June. Invite everyone over ... er, just because. But now just give him a day of rest where he can do what he wants or nothing at all if that's what he wants.

So I'm just going to make pasta with good fresh bread and invite a few (very few) people over to sit on the deck and relax.

Hence the reason to get the yard in shape. So it's off to work...

Have a terrific day!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Forever and Ever...

Since I updated this poor thing. Course, the job is the reason I haven't been around. Had to get through May Weekend. It's that last weekend before college students get into studying for finals and, let's face it, they try to see how much liquid they can contain... Trust me, they end up losing a lot of it through Olympic hurling (no, not curling, but hurling). They drink lots. They throw up. They replace all the liquid they lost and the cycle continues... LOL!

So why would that affect a woman who's old enough to be their Mom? Easy. I get to work 12-hour shifts. I got through it. 99% of all students survive. And most don't get arrested either. We won't discuss the kid who got into a fight so he was told to leave campus. Where does he go? He comes over to the off-campus dorms where I work. Hmm.... not his most brilliant idea since the university owns it and that makes it university property. What happened? Second arrest in the span of about five hours.

How some of these kids actually make it into college amazes me.... ;-)

Anyway... long hours.

Add to that all the high school stuff for my girls. Oldest is a senior, so we're into the prom stuff which means shopping -- dress, shoes, accessories, all that girl stuff. And what do we add to the mix? A friend of hers asks her sister. Now I've got two doing prom stuff... Yikes!

How are we going to top this, I ask you? My youngest went to the junior prom as a freshman. This year, attending the senior prom as a sophomore. Can we somehow find a way to top this for next year? With my luck, she'll take a weekend and visit her sister on campus next year and meet some junior in college...

What can I say? Popular. That was always her goal, so I guess she's achieved it.... LOL!

Did the hair thing for the oldest today. Just a trim and a few suggestions how to arrange her hair to best advantage. She's easy. Tomorrow is prom night and I get to take the youngest at 3:30 for the hair thing. I just know she's not going to be that easy. She'll want it straight. I'm hoping for some curly-type thing....

In the meantime, I did finish my End Zone socks from Gypsy Girl. They're spectacular. Have to get a pic of those and add to the site. (BTW, thanks so much for the tip on how to put it where I want it! I'm already braindead because I read the tip about 3 mins ago and I've forgotten the lovely woman's name already. I'll just bang my head against the wall a few times when I'm done and pray that she accepts that as an apology.... )

Poor Ava, my spinning wheel. She's SO forlorn and lonely in her corner of the living room. She's neglected and feeling totally like an outcast. My fault entirely. I hope to make it up to her starting next week. I have lots of fiber waiting to be spun. I just haven't had time to do much more than come home and drop into bed. Now that the school year is almost done (one more graduation to go and then I'm done for the summer), I can't wait to sit and fondle her. I figure it would be nice to make friends again first before I ask her to create her miracles for me. Lord knows she does more for my spinning than I do... LOL!

Let's see... what else? Business has dropped off the face of the Earth for the moment. Again, haven't had time. Another thing I have to get back to. My commission checks show my lack of commitment right now... Yikes! But I have no one to blame except myself.

House? We won't even discuss that. Trashed. Just a quick example of how much help my wonderful daughters have been. Came home today and saw that the youngest had made herself a sandwich. She polished off the cheese and left the wrapper and ziploc bag just sitting in the middle of the table. She was done with it, so she walked away. Yup. Story of my life lately.

Cut my finger the other night on a tin can. Stupid mistake, but it was good enough that it took me 20 mins to stop the bleeding. I yelled for help because dinner was in final preparations. Oldest daughter came in and helped me get dinner on the table. I commented before I got up that doing dishes wasn't exactly in my future. Not unless they wanted blood all over everything. I think the same dishes are still in the sink...

So I've invested in tons of garbage bags. I figure I'm going to take maybe a half hour every day from now on and simply take one room at a time and toss everything that gets in my way. (I sure hope the cats move fast... )

Okay, that's enough for now. I have to get back into the habit of writing more often. I'd make shorter entries and they'd be a lot more timely... LOL!