Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nadia the Willful

Sometimes God puts something in front of your nose to remind you it is more than just knitting. Yesterday I was whining. It's my blog so that okay. I haven't felt the knitting mojo, as Wendy from WendyKnits was talking about. I was considering (not very seriously) throwing in the towel because I have been unknitting as much as knitting. I didn't really think anyone paid attention to Cindy and her knitting, except to trip over the balls of yarn in the floor. Little did I realize they are always paying attention.

Well, today Alex was looking for an assignment and handed me his journal from school. I started reading and on page three he had to write about Nadia the Willful, and someone he knew that was willful. He wrote:

At first I couldn't think of anybody. Then I thought of my mom. I thought of her because she always finishes her knitting projects, and is determined to finish her puzzle. It is like 1000 pieces and one of those picture inside a picture ones. When its done it will look like an old school Mickey Mouse. Back to knitting. She always makes sure she does something. Once she couldn't understand a pattern and she spent a couple of days and figured it out. She is really full of will.

Wow. I had better fix that sock. I have a reputation to uphold and a few children to raise.

I didn't know it was a personality flaw

I swear I wasn't snooping. But when I saw the word "knit" while cleaning out a co-worker's overflowing e-mail folder, I couldn't help but read just a bit.

"It's not that I want exact clones of myself, but so many of the ladies I know are just so different -- they don't work or they home school their kids or they like to knit..."

Although I wish her luck finding a good pal, I have a teeny little suggestion. Perhaps she should take up knitting. Duh.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Contemplating retirement

I hear all the time that mistakes are not a bad thing, they are "opportunities for growth" or a "learning experience." Well, I seem to be having many, many, too many opportunites for growth lately.

Having just conquered Tinkerbell, I was in need of some smooth sailing type knitting. I was working on my Trekking sock and my thing-I'm-now-giving-to-Carey-for-her-birthday, thinking that that would put me back on track of starting, doing, and finishing, with little or no bumps in road. Wrong.

I started the Carey thing at least 5 times. It is not a complicated thing, you'll have to trust me on that. Stitch repeat of 3, yes 3. But I couldn't seem to do it right. I even did around 6 or so inches one of the times, then something slipped, and I couldn't make it right to save my life. So, zip, off the needles, casting on once again.

Then I remembered my little lifeline trick a-la-Tinkerbell. Now using lifelines that I reposition every 5 inches or so, I am a little over a half done. Good. Hurdle crossed.

I got bored, so I decided to knit a while on the sock. I was going great, did the flap, turned the heel, picked up the stitches, decreased at the gusset, even did a good job avoiding that little hole at the beginning of the gusset I always seem to get. I was in the car waiting for soccer practice time and all of a sudden I noticed there didn't seem to be twice as many stitches on the top of the foot as on the two side needles. I counted them, and there were 24! Not 32! Argh! Why?
I had no idea. Were there 32 at some point? Who knows? Are there 64 total like there are supposed to be? Who knows? Now what? Who knows? I threw it in the front seat of the car and there it remains, waiting for me to decided what to do and posing a threat to the bottom side of any passenger who dares to enter the SUV.

I am not a big believer in knitting karma or anything, but come on. Enough is enough. I am now questioning my progress in knitting achievement. Other people can knit far more complicated things and they don't whine on their blogs. I'm getting an inferiority complex. Or maybe I had one all along. Who knows?

I need something to go right to restore my faith in the knitting universe.

Maybe I'll toss my needles and start scrapbooking.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blocking, Winding, Stitching, Finishing

Tinkerbell is done, and blocked. The amount of happiness washing over me as I say this is overwhelming. Yay!

Here is the blocking in progress.

Here it is up close-

I like the way the pattern opens up after it is blocked.

Here is the Gracie Hat with roses sewn on -

It turned out okay. It is very heavy.

I am entering these two in the fair. I am also entering my Norwegian mittens I made a few months ago. They are made from Rowan Wool Cotton. I am looking forward to wearing them this winter.

I am also entering a fuzzy purse I made from knitted fabric strips. I forgot to take a picture. I'll do it later since Blogger is going down for maintenance in about 7 minutes.

I'm not the only one finishing things. Tracy finished her never ending shawl. Looks good, huh? I also heard Lisa is nearing the end of the baby booties. Maybe Mom will finish the pink sock and we'll all go celebrate.

After KK on Wednesday I went to Tracy's for a ball winding housecall. She made me lunch. It was very tasty. I'm still in awe of how nice her house is.

Can't you see me dreaming of my next project? Yes, I know I still have some UFO's out there, but I've got the itches to start something new. Hmmm, what shall it be?

Part of why I feel such relief at the end of these projects is that I have also had a baptism stole to do this week. I have been doing these for around five years now. I custom cross stitch the baby's name and date of baptism on one side and on the other a little verse about baptism. They aren't very hard, but do take some time to do. I have pretty much gone out of business with them because our parish doesn't really make the "white garment" part of baptism as important as they used to. I swear lately the only time I get an order is when I really have too many other things going. This time was just like that - I had the fair entries to do and it is school carnival this weekend, and soccer practice, and etc. etc. etc.....but I don't usually have the heart to say no to someone, no matter how inconvenient it is. Plus, that money is going to turn into yarn next week when I get to go to SF for two days with husbandia. Incentive!

Here is the one I did this time -

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hot off the needles

It's tinkerbell!

I haven't woven in the ends or blocked it, but a major milestone anyway. I was beginning to wonder if this would ever end.

Blocking tomorrow, fair Friday.

Now off to make a bunch of flowers to sew on a hat.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My wrists hurt

I am on deadline. No time to be wordy. I knitted my fingers off and by late Friday -

I had knitted enough to reach Grace's head.

I knitted more Saturday, no reading the newspaper, no slacking off by reading knitting blogs, or silly things like housework--although I did stop to watch Alex's football game, but only because it was too dark to knit -- and by Sunday afternoon (after waking up at 5:30 to knit but taking a church break)

I had gotten this far --

enough to almost reach the top of Alex's head.

That is the end of skein 4.

I think I will need one more skein of knitting. We'll see.

I also finished the Gracie hat - without the roses.

Deep breath, and back to knitting.

It looks nice up close. I have learned that if I stop being lazy and count the number of stitches at the end of each pattern row I can avoid a tremendous amount of headache and frustration. It's amazing what you learn after making the same mistake over and over.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It is a GOOD thing!

Creating things with paper and scissors is just way, way too fun. It might even be called A GOOD THING! Mom and I created the project for the Sept. meeting of Good Things. We gathered card-box tins for weeks in advance and then went shopping for decorative papers from our stash -- see, even papercraftes have stash, all you yarnies out there! We made kits using fun papers and matching ribbons and set the group free to decorate the tins. We all made such different but so, so cute tins to hold greeting cards, index card files or just general doodads. Fun!

Carolyn and Bonnie work on the tins. Carolyn made her tin for Karley.

Tammi used tea-themed paper for her tin. Surprising, I know...

Here's the group. Sorry for the only so-so photography. Dad using a camera phone is somewhat of a challenge.

After Carolyn created the oh-so-cute tin for Karley, Cindy decided I should make a tin for Emily. If Karley's got one, Emily should too. Well, that same concept works for Grace. If Em's got one, Grace needs one. So, Carey to the rescue! Here's what I made when everybody went home. Sleep's highly overrated anyway, right?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Its a Miracle!

Sound the bells! The knitting fates are smiling. I'm smiling. I think I have actually fixed Tinkerbell. It was rather dicey, and I only felt like crying a few times. I visited the frog pond and hopefully have put myself back on track.

I decided if I counted and there weren't 85 stitches I would start over. I really held my breath and hooray, didn't have to go back to square one.

Tracy had better be proud of me.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Half a hat

I'm not speaking to Tinkerbell. She has betrayed me by not being perfect and therefore, I must rip about 4 or 5 rows. I am not looking forward to this so I am procrastinating. I started the other fair project I must finish in 12 days, the Gracie Hat. I am using the Knit Picks cotton yarn that I waited an eternity for. I had lots of time waiting today (and therefore, knitting) because I was at the dentist with Mom. She was suffering and I was knitting.

Knit Picks yarn is value priced (cheap) but pretty good. I liked the way it was knitting up, but then I realized it was a really tiny skein. I checked the yardage and realize that no way was I going to get a Gracie sized hat from this little skein. I knitted pretty much the entire skein before I got home, where I immediately ordered another skein. And a few more colors to make a better variety of flowers on the hat. And a skein or two of this lace weight alpaca (Christmas is coming you know). And a SWIFT. Why? Because I have recently acquired some (ahem) yarn that needs to be wound into balls, and my helpers are not so enthusiastic around here. That, and Tracy told me it was okay. I just needed permission.

This time I paid for shipping. Time is of the essence, and I'm not getting any younger.

Here is the hat so far--

It seems like it is going to fit --

Why couldn't they have put more than 75 yards on a skein? I wonder if there is truly a reason. Other than making me place another order.

I'll spend my waiting days tackling the frog situation with Miss Tinkerbell. Now that I have admitted it I had better have it done before Wednesday or those Knotty Knitters will take me to task. I also have a sock to finish.

I had better start knitting.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Very Harloty Day

I have a Harlot hangover. What a day we Knotty Knitters + Emily had. We started out bright and early and headed North. First stop Starbucks. Second stop, Starbucks (Los Banos) due to the effects of the first Starbucks.

First real stop Morgan Hill. We went to Continental Stitch. I had seen their stuff before at Stitches last year. I won't go into too much detail since I think Carey and I are going to start our official review of yarn stores soon (thus giving us rights to call driving all over creation to yarn shops research). The quick version is very nice ladies wearing lucious samples of their handiwork and very interesting and some very unique yarns. I picked up some more Trekking sock yarn. Resisted the linen, and now of course, regret that frugal decision. Rats.

As usual, Tracy did some damage. So did the others. Very nice little downtown area they have in Morgan Hill. Great weather too. Don't we look like we are having fun?

Note Tracy expanding her "stash." It is good to see a young knitter finding her way in the world. She was so easy to train.

Then we drove to a scrapbook store (Carey can tell you about that one, I found a new knitting magazine in the Longs next door) and then we headed to Los Altos. That was the intent anyway. Thanks to Mapquest and my uncanny sense of direction, we ended up in Cupertino, Santa Clara, and maybe some other cities before we worked out the kinks on the atlas and found Full Thread Ahead. Hooray!

We stood in line and checked in (and got in the first group to later get a photo session with Stephanie thanks to our superior timing and groupie skills) and you could feel the excitement building.

We had time to check out a few places along Main Street in Los Altos, which was charming. We liked the toy store (and so will Grace when she sees what I bought) and we loved Treasure, a store full of art and finds from all over the world. We met a new boutique owner who had just opened her store and had a very interesting scarf in her window that I am seriously thinking of making myself (I did buy something else there, but spend $75 dollars on a scarf? That is crazy - I would only spend $75 on yarn for a scarf).

Then the time came to stake out our spot in the chairs for the Harlot presentation. Again, we are masters. We were in front and had a primo spot. We did have to wait then for a while, which was ample time to walk to Starbucks (yes, we did go to more Starbucks than yarn stores) but while I was there someone said they had seen my blog. WOW.

Here is the crowd braving the sun waiting for the main event-

And here is the main event - Stephanie Pearl McPhee, the Yarn Harlot!

She was funny, no, more like hysterically funny, and was worth travelling and waiting for! She entertained the crowd for a nice long time and then we got to meet her (third out of 400 I might add). She was very genuine, funny, and everything you have come to expect from reading her books and her blog. And yes, we got to take a picture of THE SOCK. The fact that that was a big deal warrants some funny comments I realize, but WOW. We have made it big time in the knitting universe. We have arrived.

We ended our day with Tracy sneaking another yarn purchase and then we went down the street to the crepe place and had this man make us the most fabulous crepes.

We didn't get home until midnight, but what a day we had.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A little more...

Today was Naughty/Knotty Knitters. From now on, KK for short. I did really well with the talking/knitting combination. Tracy was harassing me about not finishing anything lately (does she remind me of a certain annoying little boy - yes!) and so I worked a little on a new sock. It is Trekking yarn, blues and purples. I am doing it the regular way since I haven't taken the time to figure out the circular thing and start the Cherry Hill sock. I have plans for that but I have to finish my fair entries and Carey's birthday thing-that-shall-not-be-named.

I have to have a sock underway to take to the YARN HARLOT. Yes, we are going. I am so excited. I was telling the KK girls that we should have made Harlot Groupie shirts. Next time. Anyway, we are travelling to Los Altos on Saturday to join the hoards of other knitters that I'm sure will be there. She is my knitting hero. Her books have reduced me to tears many times from laughing so hard. I'm sure she will be a riot to see in person. I also must say I have her knitting blog bookmarked on my Yahoo toolbar, that is how often I check it.

I did make progress on the wrap at KK but when I got home I tried to do a few more rows between house maintenance and I had trouble again. Argh. I fixed it, and am almost finished with the second ball of yarn. Cuppy likes it. Much better than the camera flash.

I am renaming this wrap the Tinkerbell wrap, since I have to tink it so often.

So, do you need a good laugh? Check out this.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Carey knits

Although I mostly chat about papercrafting, let me just say my needles were flying today. I have begun a small little knitted gift for my friend Shelly's birthday. (Here's a test to see if she reads my blog!) Anyway, I do like the way the colors coordinate on this mystery project. I'm quite pleased with my Visalia yarn shop purchase. Once this project it is done, I'll post a picture. I would now, except there is that off chance she might actually read this. Since her birthday is after mine, that could only be a good thing.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Some knitting, some shopping, same topic

I made some more progress. I have now gone through one ball of yarn (out of 6). I rarely seem to make it through the 8 row pattern repeat without having to take out a row. My mind wanders a little and oops, a mistake. Maybe I am not cut out for complicated patterns. Anyway....

I do like the way it looks. It will be worth all the pain.

I also have been doing some bargain shopping. I had coupons (I come from a long line of coupon shoppers) to Michaels and Borders, so I came home from some fun books. I also got a surprise gift from my favorite sister. After surveying the goods, I realize I have a serious one track mind. I have actually read other books about topics completely unrelated to yarn. I swear.

I am so ready to face soccer practice.

By the way, Grace got some totally cute pink soccer cleats. Being five has its advantages.