Friday, January 25, 2008

Actual Knitting Content

I have finished my Christmas socks, much too late for Christmas of course. And by next year they will probably be plum worn through, *sigh*.

I can't take a decent picture for the life of me, the colors in this picture are really washed out. The yarn is STR Grinchy in lightweight, the pattern is Jeweled Steps from the New Pathways for Sock Knitters book by Cat Bordhi. Well, they are nice and cozy, but didn't the colors pool in a very odd way? That one big chunk of olive on the left foot just enchants me. Am I the only knitter who loves it when the colors in hand painted yarn started to pool? Every single row around I find myself pleased as punch when the same color piles up on itself, and disheartened when it stops.

I have also finished a pair of Fetchings fingerless gloves in a wonderful Cashmere/Silk blend. I poo-pooed at the idea of fingerless gloves in a state as cold as Maine, but I have found them to be indispensable for keeping warm INSIDE this freezing house... And surprisingly, I have worn them several times while driving and found that once the car warms up they really are enough. I love them so much that I have started a pair of Dashings (longer fingerless gloves) in Black Merino/Silk by Rowan yarns. One done, one to go!

The moebious scarf is still being punished, standing in the corner until it promises to be a good project. Still waiting. I have also started an Ice Queen head covering, from the cover of this month's Knitty, in a lace weight mohair. I think I will love it....

The Noro socks are really small, I am turning the heel anyway to see if I can get it onto my foot afterwards. I think it would be my first sock with negative ease, we will see. These are the Firestarter pattern.

Gary and I are leaving next Wednesday for our annual trip to Florida. I absolutely cannot wait to warm up. I am hoping to be able to blog from there, and show our vacation pics before coming home. We will see if that works out! And now, back to heel turning...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Soundtrack of My Life...

was written by the Wiggles. They haunt my dreams, my nightmares, my every waking moment. It started about 3 or 4 years ago when I used to watch my granddaughter Savannah 2 days a week. Even as a 1 year old, she came alive when the Wiggles sang to her. I believe the first song she could sing with me was "Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy". We learned all the songs together and sang them with gusto. She's five now, in daycare, I don't see her as often. But now I have granddaughter Kaylee 2 or 3 days a week and she loves them too. We watch them and dance and sing along at our very own Wiggly Parties.

My obsession then progressed to the lesser known of the Wiggle songs, such as "Havenu Shalom Alechem", "Di Diddy Di Dum" and "Hoop De Doo", finding myself humming them while folding laundry and doing dishes. Then I began spending all my time backing up the Tivo repeatedly to learn all the words to "Move Your Arms Like Henry" in Mandarin Chinese or Monkey Dance in Spanish with the Mariachi Wiggles... I kept wondering if I am the only woman in my age group with this obsession... yikes what is wrong with me...

Now I can't put my coat on to go outside without singing "I'm gonna make a racket till I get to wear the jacket!" And I can't cook without singing "I've baked your favorite chocolate cake, I put it in the oven and I watched it bake, I didn't forget, I didn't forget, it's your birthday today!"
My husband is a little jealous about my particular fascination with blue-shirted Anthony Wiggle, but the longer I watch, the better red-shirted Murray is starting to look, I don't know why.

Well Kaylee came over yesterday. I said "Shall we watch the Wiggles?" with a hopeful look on my face. She said "No Grammy. I want to watch Dora." DORA????!!!!! I whined, I moaned, I cried my best fake tears, but she was adamant. No Wiggles for Grammie. Well I showed her. I refused to sing "I'm the Map" with her!
I wonder if Baby Heustyn will like the Wiggles?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Must Be An Idiot....

that's all there is to it. My projects have to be so extremely complicated to even hold my interest that I am driving myself crazy. Cat Bordhi (the mad scientist of knitting) has figured out a way to cast on stitches to a circular needle in a way that allows you to knit both ends of your scarf at the same time. Yes, she is a true genius. And this concept even makes sense to her in some perverted way. Now when I heard about the moebius cast on I just shook my head and walked slowly away. But I didn't forget about it. Then I started checking Ravelry for examples to see if real people had actually done it. Some had. One crazy person said she had made two of them. I checked blogs. Even the Yarn Harlot blogged that she needed help to learn this cast on! I watched Knitty Gritty and saw Cat demonstrate this cast on. She said something about hummingbirds as her hands flitted this way and that grabbing yarn from over, under and even from Timbuktu. Ok, I was hooked.

I found the most delicious skein of cashmere yarn in a tart apple green and grabbed my needles armed with the printed directions (no pictures) from the DIY website. I read them. I reread them. My hands stayed still. No wild hummingbird flitting actions were coming from them. No stitches jumped onto the needles going both ways at once. I was stumped.

Why hadn't I Tivo-ed that episode so I could slo-mo it and copy her? I don't know. Because I am an idiot most likely. Or because I need to seriously complicate my life more than I can ever imagine, I just don't know. I could have gone out and purchased a book on Magical Knitting to have this explained to me step by step, but no. I had already spent $15.95 for the needles and $18 for 110 yards of cashmere, plus tax, bringing the cost of the scarf to $35 already. I couldn't afford the book.

So I spent hours scouring the Internet for pics from anyone who had succeeded making this magic, and finally found some help. Once I got going, you should have seen me! My hands flitted just like the magical knitter herself! And it worked! I started knitting away and began to see my moebius scarf being knitted from both ends at the same time! It went really quickly too once I got going. I finished the inner stitches and got to the lovely lace border when the end of the ball of cashmere slipped through my fingers with 4 more rows to go. Oh, Man! I really wanted to wear this thing right off, not rip back. But rip back I did, to the main body of stitches, and un-knitted 4 rows from the main pattern. We knitters call this "tinking". Get it? It is knitting backwards. Stitch by stitch, row by row, I watched my mobious scarf un-grow. I removed 4 rows from the body. I wanted the full lace edging, and was willing to forego some of the length from the body.

Next night I was back to knitting, hoping to finish it this time. I really want my magical moebius scarf! So I got back to the lace edging, speeding right along as this was my second time to knit the pattern, with 2 rows left to go, when the end of the ball slipped through my fingers again! What is wrong with my math? I had four rows left the first time, I de-knit 4 rows, and it is gone again with 2 rows left???? AAARRRGGGHHH! I tossed it from my lap in disgust and fumed the rest of the night. Gary said "I think you need more yarn." YA THINK???????????? I reminded him it was $18 a ball, on sale! Regularly much more.

Next day I picked it up and started tinking again. I am not going back to the body of stitches again, this time I am fiddling with the lace border. I can cut out one repeat of the lace eyelets, a 2 row repeat. That should be perfect. I sit and tink wondering what exactly was wrong with my original math. Minus one repeat of the eyelets, I put it aside to finish as my evening's knitting. So last night I picked it up and knitted all the rows left of the lace edging and begin casting off my magical moebius scarf. Half way around the end slips through my fingers AGAIN! I kid you not. This time I not only throw it across the room, I follow it and jump up and down on it swearing like a sailor. It is still sitting there. I am not sure what to do next.

I just keep trying to understand, is this ball of yarn playing with me? Shrinking itself down in yardage to watch my reaction? Or am I really the worst mathematician in the world? I want my scarf, I don't want to spend another $18 (if I did, it would be a $53 scarf!) so what do I do now?? Any suggestions?

Here is a link to see what my scarf should look like:

but this is what it does look like:

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Getting comfortable...

with the new furniture. Here is the Queen's throne....

And below is the King of the house feeling a bit uncomfortable with the Queen's loveseat. We have covered an old coffee table with a throw for him to put his feet up for now.

There were a few details I neglected to mention in my story yesterday. When this beastly huge loveseat was brought into the house, doors had to be remved from their casings. Casings had to be removed. At 9:00 at night. And the outdoor temperature at the time was..... -10 degrees! The house is still pretty cold, and when we got up this morning the pipes in the shower had frozen and the King spent his morning underneath the bathroom on a dirt floor thawing pipes with my hairdryer. This is certainly a challenging winter.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I Fell in Love Yesterday....

With a loveseat. I wasn't expecting it. It came right out of the blue. I was shopping in the furniture salvage store when it met my eyes from across the crowded room. I had a hot flash. My heart was beating wildly. I dropped my purse and left my shopping cart. I almost ran across the store to meet it's waiting cushions. There it was, the Queen's loveseat. And I sat down upon it in my voluminous winter coat and and promptly announced to my sweet enduring husband that it would be coming home with us.

Well, he sat down beside me and wiggled his bottom back and forth, stretched out his incredibly long legs and pushed back against the firm cushion. I could tell from the look on his face that he hated it. I said, "I have to have it, I love it so much." And he said "It is not at all comfortable." And I knew I was in for trouble.

Which would it be, the husband or the loveseat? I love them both with all my heart. I cannot bear to be without either of them. But what is a loveseat if the love of your life hates it? Does it become a "hateseat"? And can he ever learn to love it?

The negotiations were wicked. They included long periods of silence followed by bursts of reasoning for or against it. He wants comfort. I want beauty. Can they both survive in the same room? Can the Queen's loveseat reside in the same room with an overstuffed comfortable monstosity or will she pull up her gartered hosiery and quietly tiptoe out of the room?

He was desperate to make his point. Even told a story about how uncomfortable he was as a little boy in his mother's elegant living room which he was not allowed to play in. He sees the loveseat as "untouchable" furniture.

The compromise goes like this. I will pay for the loveseat out of my own pocket money. When he finds his perfect loveseat, that one is coming home too. Monstrosity or not. The queen's loveseat will have to accept that. After all, the king lives here too!

Oh, and that companion chair that followed the loveseat home? I have no idea how that happened to jump into the back of the truck and follow us home. I swear.

And here she is in all of her gilded glory:

With special thanks to son Jed who came over to help unload her and only made the comment: "You have very unique taste, Mom." I love you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

It happened like this....

First we had a snowstorm. Now this is normal in our neck of the woods, it happens every year. Several times a year in fact. Not surprising at all. As you can see, we got a good amount, between 6 to 8 inches I would estimate. Not surprising at all.
Well, a few days later it snowed again. This is still normal, as I said, it happens every year, not surprising, not alarming, but really not that welcome either. We already had snow. What use did we have for more? Now we had at least a foot, maybe more.

Now this is when it begins to get interesting. Normally, we have a snowstorm, then a few days later we get a thaw, some of it melts, driveways get cleared, roadsides look dirty and unappealing. But this hasn't happened yet, and then, we get a third snowstorm!!! Will you look at that? Where are the benches to sit at the picnic table? Gone! This is really getting interesting...

And now, may I present to you the results of snowstorm number four without a good melt yet:

You can barely see a picnic table at all! All we need is one more good snow and the table will be gone! Do you think we will make it? I'm really hoping so now, I am having fun documenting the disappearance of backyard picnics forever!