Tuesday, July 31, 2007

All Socks are Fraternal

At least mine are. What is not apparent is that one sock is about a quarter inch shorter than the other. Shhhhh...

I got some needles from the thrift store on Saturday. I'm always finding dpns in twos or threes. Never a whole set. I found some bamboo dpns, size 5. Just three of them. And size 1s as a pair. I got some straight needles, size 1, which I needed. All of that for less than $1.50.

Went to see Harry Potter. Loved it!! It was long but I really loved it. One woman on an email loop I'm on went on and on about how bad it was because it didn't stay close to the book. It's just not possible to convert a book to a script as is. I thought it stayed very faithful to the book. But it was painful to watch after reading Deathly Hallows. 'Nuff said.

I took the Monkeys but it was mighty dark in that theater before the movie started so I only got a couple of rows in before I surrendered. Next time I will bring a lighter project or maybe a headlamp.

Went to Banner Crafts and they had sock yarn on sale. They only had a few colors. I knew I didn't want black and I was already working on a blue pair so I went with this primary colors colorway.

Please tell me that $4 a 1 3/4 oz skein is a good deal. They were $5.70.

I also got some more Woolease to work on my master knitter course.

I'm thinking of switching to the green because it's more interesting than white. And maybe it won't show as many imperfections. Not that my swatches would be imperfect by any means. *cough*

Several other knitters and I are getting to test drive a sock pattern so I still need to find the right yarn for that. The designer has asked that I not show or discuss any progress just yet but I will say that the sock looks fun, interesting and I'm really looking forward to it.

Next month Zach has an orthodontic appt in West Bend so I'll have to visit Hobby Lobby. I'm going to see if they have wooden wheels I can use to make another spindle for my kick spindle and I also want to make a drop spindle.

Plus, I need some new needles. Well, I want new needles. Need is such a relative term.

I have muchly to do tonight so I'm off.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Just a note

I figured out what went wrong with my swatches for TKGA MKC-level 1. I was using Lion Wool and switched to WoolEase and what a difference it made. I had no real trouble with my ribbing after that. It's not perfect (and I used Norwegian purl just because it was new and fun to use,) but it's as good as the swatches I've seen on the internet. I'll try to get another one done tomorrow.

I'm all tired and achy today. I read at Knitters Review forum that statins can cause memory problems. I know about the achiness and muscle pain. I've been on them for years. But I didn't know about memory problems. I've been struggling for years with that, thinking I was just losing it and being afraid it was something worse. I'm going to cut my dosage starting tonight and see what happens. My cholesterol is way down anyway so I think it's safe. I'm just tired of feeling dull and stupid all the time. I know that's not the real me.

I think the tired and achy is fibromyalgia though. I'll take a pain pill or two and relax in bed. That will help.

I'm going to work on the Monkeys tonight. I need to get some new sock yarn so I might go to Loose Ends tomorrow. If I don't see what I like there, I guess I'll have to order it online. I don't know of anything else closer than Columbus.

I'll have pictures of the swatch and the Monkeys tomorrow. If I can fit it in with the housecleaning. We're having company Thursday so I need to clean. I really should keep the house cleaner so I don't have to go through this.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Boring even myself

I have a bicycle. No, I didn't buy a shiny new one as I intended. Tom and I went to the thrift store yesterday and he found one in really good shape for $10. Even better...it was half-price day. So he came home and fixed the tires and replaced one cable, attached my basket (I have to have a basket on my bike) and now I have a functionable bike for less than $10 (new innertubes.) He's a handy guy to have around.

I'm still struggling with my swatch for the TKGA course. What is wrong with me? I looked online and other swatches are nice and tight. It doesn't matter what method I use, it doesn't look right. I think I'll move on to the other swatches and just come back to this one.

Had to frog back on my Monkeys. One side of the sock didn't look like the rest of them. It was missing a yarn over or something. Reminder: do not knit anything when you haven't slept for 38 hours.

Jesse's Flames is coming along. This is a nice relaxing pattern. I think I'll use it again but put some flames on the body instead of the sleeves. Zach will like that. I can't wait to finish so he can see it. He appreciates the stuff I make for him. I wish I could make some stuff for Stephen but he's in San Diego and while it does get a bit cool in the winter, I can't see him wearing hats or even sweaters. I need to venture into the world of worsted cotton, I guess.

Short entry today. I have to go wash clothes and hang them out. I don't use the dryer unless I have to. Various reasons, one being the cost. When we chose for me to stay home and raise Zach, I knew we would struggle to live on one income so I do what I can to save us money. I stopped using the dishwasher (it took a while to convince Tom...he loves the convenience) and our electric bill went down $20. Hanging out clothes in the winter saves us another $10 which pays for the fans and a/c (which we broke down and bought for Tom this summer...he sleeps during the day upstairs...it can get pretty miserable in the heat.) It's cheaper to use the a/c because we were using at least 4 fans upstairs to make it bearable.

Another reason is because I don't need to use the dryer. I have another option that is less harmful to the environment so I use that. Now, if I need to use the dryer, I do. It's just that to me, that is being a good steward.

Bored now...sorry about that. End of boring sermon.

I'm also going to wash a bunch of fleece today so I am off to get something done.


Friday, July 27, 2007


I figured out the spinning today. I wasn't pinching the yarn off before it got to the draft. I feel like such an idiot. What I got spun today looked a lot more uniform and thin enough that I can ply this batch provided I spin another batch to match it. Something new to learn. Goody!

I got a picture of Jesse's Flame. The first picture is a bit dark but if you look in the upper left-hand corner, you'll see Professor sneaking over to the sweater. I don't know if he wanted the sweater or thought I was going to take his picture again.

So I did.

I don't know why I'm having so much trouble knitting some simple ribbing for my swatch (TKGA MKCL1.) You'd think I'd never done it before. My stitches are wonky. I'm doing okay with not leaving a gap between my knits and purls, but the darn stitches are wonky. I looked at some of my other stuff and the ribbing isn't wonky on them. I switched to a size 7 needle and that helped a lot. It's the weirdest thing. I'd never had trouble knitting worsted weight with a size 8 needle before.

Short post tonight. I'm going upstairs to knit on Jesse and maybe start the Monkeys. Lots of stuff taped that I haven't gotten around to watching yet.

And...I'm getting my new bicycle tomorrow. Tom said it's okay and he's even going to go on bike rides with me. Zach needs new jeans as well. School starts August 27 and his pants are falling off of him. When I went on a diet, he lost weight, too. He's down about 12 pounds.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rain, blessed rain

We got rain today. I woke up to a distant rumble and by the time I got downstairs, it was crash after crash and a deluge. My rain bucket was filled up in minutes. I must get a barrel or something.

This wee guy is the boss of me:

All seven pounds of him. He's a chihuahua/pomeranian mix but out of two litters, he's the only shorthair.

He's even sitting in my knitting seat.

Got some spinning done today. I may be a total loser at this. Or I could just be dealing with evil wool. I decided to knit up my homespun (I'm laughing here to call it that) so I could have a "diary" of my spinning. I'll use it to line the pet bed this winter. Professor gets so cold.

Here it is:

It actually doesn't look too bad. It varies from laceweight to pencil roving through. LOL

I've decided the Fortissima wants to be Monkey socks and that's why I've had so many problems with it. I'm convinced yarn knows what it wants to be and if you don't connect spiritually with your yarn it will bite you in the butt until you do.

Jesse's Flames is coming along nicely. I might post some pictures of it tomorrow. Up until now it was just a black sweater but I have some red in it so the contrast will make it look a bit more interesting.

I have toyed with the idea of working somewhere in the fiber industry but I have no self-confidence. That's one of the reasons for taking the Master Knitter course. I do need to hone my skills. I'm totally self-taught and a lot of that teaching was wrong, wrong, wrong. I never understood gauge until the past few years. I'm such an idiot. For years I made things that didn't fit and never understood the differences in yarns (having only Red Heart available.)

Didn't go to Knit Night tonight. I just flat out didn't feel like it. And I didn't have anything on the needles that compared to what they had on theirs. I don't know that I could have walked in with Lion Brand to a LYS. I definitely couldn't walk in with Red Heart Symphony.

I'm dying to do a lace shawl. I need to sit on my hands and not succumb though. I have so much going on now, I don't think I could enjoy it. I'll wait until things calm down a bit.

Finished Deathly Hallows last night and handed it off to Zach. He did a marathon and was up all night so I let him sleep this afternoon. Excellent book. I think it was her best.

Off to do dishes and clean the house before I can sit down and knit. I worked on my swatches for TKGA today. I thought I had pretty even knitting until I tried to knit a swatch that would be evaluated.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Not my best day

I'm not in the best mood today but I don't want to use this blog as a crying towel so suffice it to say that a 2.5% pay raise this year on top of a 3% pay raise from last year is not a living wage. Especially when you're getting ready to send a child off to college and you stayed home to raise said child for the past 20 years and can't get hired by anyone to help supplement your husband's lousy 2.5% pay raise because you have no work history and no references and no training. But I'm not going to whine about it. No sirree. Not me. 'Nuff said.

Socks. Computer socks. Socks I work on when I'm on the computer. Or socks I try to work on when I'm not holding the Professor. I found some bits and pieces of Lion Brand wool and held my breath hoping I had enough for socks. I do and the colorway is pretty close. Not that you can tell from the picture. I will get the hang of this picture-takin' thing yet.

Got some spinning done today. I learn more each time I do it but I am still so far away from anything acceptable. I have more reading to do, I guess. And more spinning. I've had to play around with the way I roll the rolag. It didn't work out at all doing it the way I saw in a video online. I guess this is just an individual thing.

I'll probably be starting on the TKGA Master Knitter Level I tomorrow. I've been reading up on the guidelines and the syllabus and I think I'm ready. Or at least I'm ready to find out how little I know after40 years of knitting..

Well I'm off to watch whatever I taped today and work on the sock I had to frog back four inches yesterday.
I've had better days.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get

Had a lovely time at the birthday party. The waitress was impressed with the sock knitting but my friend couldn't understand why anyone would knit socks. Nothing I said really changed her mind. Unfortunately, in the well-lit restaurant, I could see some glaring errors about 4 inches back so I don't know if I'm going to try to fix it or frog it. I really don't want to try to "knit seven together" again. sigh

No pictures today because I'm stinkin' tired. Didn't sleep worth beans last night. Insomnia is an issue for me, especially when I know I have to get up the next day.

Didn't get any more fleece washed but I did get several more freezer bags filled with rolags. I was going to spin today but the party lasted a while. Tomorrow, I'll be going to visit some friends so I don't know if I will get much done.

What is this thing called organization?

Every time I pick up my knitting, the Professor barks at me. If I persist at it, he jumps up in my lap and goes through my circular needles or on top of my dpns. I think he's the boss of me.

I think I will go up to my room, watch Angel and Buffy that I recorded earlier and knit on Zach's sweater, which I think now will be for his birthday instead of Christmas.

My goodness, he starts college August 27. Where have the last 18 years gone?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday, Monday

This is what I spent today doing. Sorting wool to be carded and spun. I need to get more washed which I will try to do after supper. The color is actually much grayer in real life. Although the sun-bleached parts are almost as reddish as the picture.

And this is my sock. Not much done there but I've had a lot going on, including Deathly Hallows which is coming along slowly. Someone on one of my email loops pretty much gave away the ending without actually saying what it was. No spoilers notice or anything.

Zach and I have been invited to a birthday lunch tomorrow in Waupan so I might take the sock along with me. Or maybe I'll take the Invisibility Shawl along. It's barely started and I'm doing it in Red Heart Symphony instead of lace weight because I need a shawl for a woman from church who fell and broke her hip. And I need it done sometime this year. Besides I don't think acrylic mohair will block anyway so we'll see if this is an experiment designed to fail or not.

Speaking of church...the gospel was about Mary sitting at Jesus's feet while Martha scurried around getting things done. The priest talked about how Mary was giving Jesus what He needed by listening to Him. That got me to thinking about listening and how we humans do it so badly. When I was at my last church, I was going through some really tough times here at home and I needed someone to listen to me without telling me what I "needed" to do. I don't think I found a single person who did that. Everyone knew what I needed to do to fix my situation. I knew what all my options were and none of them were without cost. They only knew the options, not the cost, so it was very easy for them to offer "solutions."

I think in the future, if someone comes to me, I won't try to fix their situation. I will just listen and offer my support. I will also not go to anyone with my problems ever again either.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Life in the slow lane

StuffMart was a madhouse last night. I stood in line for about an hour (with my green Slytherin bracelet) only to find out when I was third in line that those who prepaid had to go to customer service. Nuh-uh. I made them sell me a book in that line. They apologized for not letting me know ahead of time and I got my book. I didn't mind waiting in line though. I was knitting on this:

My needles aren't the same color because I pick them up at the thrift store in pairs or singles. I got a few compliments on the sock, mostly for the colors in the yarn. Several high school girls looked at me with really strange expressions on their faces. I have no idea what they were thinking, but it didn't look like they "got it."

I'm only about three chapters into Deathly Hallows. I'm not in any hurry to finish it. I want to savor this last book, but staying away from spoilers is hard. I don't want to stop reading blogs but I may have to.

I should be washing fleece today. We're looking at several days of dry weather (which means my flowers need my help.) But I got my Master's level one course and I want to study the syllabus for that, and I want to knit on Zach's sweater for Christmas (Jesse's Flames.) And I have three socks going (different socks, not part of a matched set.) And I should be mopping floors and cleaning. I did get some organizing done this morning but it's especially hard on weekends because dh is home and hard to clean around.

I found a bicycle in the garage that someone had given Zach (my 18 year old baby) about 10 years ago. It was way too big for him at the time and since we forgot it was there, he inherited Stephen's (my firstborn) a few years ago. It's about my size so I got it out but it's rusted and needs new cables and brake adjustments so it will be a while before I can ride it. I did buy a basket for it though. I'm ready as soon as it is.

I also should be carding wool. I only have about 5 rolags (and they are bitty) and it won't take me but an afternoon to spin that. Not that it will look very well yet. I've got the spinning down, but the drafting is difficult because of the inadequacies of my rolags. But I do improve each time I do this.

I also have books from the library to read on spinning. I am off to accomplish something today. Maybe I'll even find time to walk the dog. My weight loss has slowed down to a crawl these past two months. (Down 59 pounds.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm not worthy

I went to Knit Night, stayed for about two and a half hours and left. No one asked me my name or where I was from. No one told me their name. I felt like an intruder. A few people were friendly. The kind of friendly you run into in the grocery or StuffMart. Chitchat. Some were terribly interested in my Charmed Knits book. Thing is, I don't think it was them. I think it was me. I've been isolated for so long that I am socially inept. I think shy translated to standoffish.

I felt like acrylic in a wool world. I looked around at all the samples that the owner or whoever had knitted and all I could think was, "I'm not worthy." I loved the feel of the yarns there, particularly this breathtakingly lovely white laceweight, but I have a miniscule budget.

One woman there didn't know the name of Red Heart yarn. I didn't want to admit that that's all I had to knit with for 30 years. Lovely women, I'm sure. But not my community.

I had to rip out the Jaywalker sock. Turns out I didn't have the right needles. I have to wait until I get to Hobby Lobby next orthodontic appt to get some. All they had at Loose Ends was wooden and I don't want wooden dpns. I guarantee with a dog who likes to chew and tiny size 1 dpns, they would be gone in a week.

I'm doing the Maple Sugar socks instead. It's out in the car, ready to go tonight for the Harry Potter vigil at StuffMart.

Got At Knit's End at the library today. I love it. If I could just figure out a way to read and sleep at the same time. I already know how to knit in my sleep although it was supposed to be seed stitch and ended up straight knitting.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Walking out of my comfort zone

Here is my first skein of homespun. Not a great picture but I'm a novice with the digital camera. You really can't see the colors but it's a tweedy gray/black color which I think is kind of pretty. Or handsome.

I'm working on Jesse's Flames from Stitch and Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller. The designer is April Fischer.

This is for my younger son for Christmas. He just graduated high school this year (scored very high on his GED) and will be going to tech school in the fall. Yes! I will have my very own tech support. I'm planning on working this sweater upstairs at night (I had to get a desk lamp with a gooseneck so I could position it over my lap because I couldn't see the stitches (knitting black in dim light isn't smart.)

I'm so excited. I got my first level of the master knitter's program in the mail just a few minutes ago. I haven't even looked at it yet. I'm also very nervous. I feel so inferior around other knitters. I've knitted for over 30 years but I never progressed until recently. I never really knew any other knitters. I mean, I knew people who knit but it has always been something of a secret vice or something. One woman from my old church invited me over for lunch and suggested we knit together but her real purpose was to talk me out of my present church and to show me the error of my ways. Sigh.

I want to do more than scarves and crappy sweaters that don't fit. I want to challenge myself and excel at something. Yes, I want to be a Renaissance woman and know a little bit about everything, but I also want to be good at something.

I'm going to Knit Night at Loose Ends tonight. Talk about leaving my comfort zone! I don't know a soul there. I've met the owner before but that was about a year ago. She's a terrific lady but walking into a group that is already established is very intimidating. There is a shyness to me that is hard to overcome.

I plan on taking my Jaywalker socks by Gumperina. I just started them so there's not much to show. I'm using Fortissima Colori Socka Color. It's all in German but I think it's 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon. Beautiful blue with magenta and a yellow-green striping. Maybe there will be enough to photograph tomorrow.

I have a ton of acrylic yarn to use up before I start buying better yarns. I'm making a Gryffindor curtain out of Red Heart (I need the insulation) for my bedroom. I plan on lots of window/door snakes to help keep the cold out this winter. I'm going to make baby blankets for our sister church in Haiti. I might give some away to a woman at church who makes blankets for kids in the hospital.

Maybe I'll make teddy bears or other toys.

I'm going to look for some lace weight though. My daughter is expecting and I would like to make her a shawl. Very light and lacy. They're in California and she has said in the past she would like a shawl to wear for shul. I've knitted two shawls for her already but they ended up going to other people with greater needs. They were heavier-weight though.

I'm so nervous. I just hope the knitters at Loose Ends are as nice as the online community.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And so it begins...

So here it is in its bright, shiney new nakiness. My blog. (And shoes off is as nakey as I get so move along if you came for something else. No nakey knitting here.)

And what better way to start my blog than with a quote from one of my favorite series with the hunkiest of hunky aliens out there...G'Kar. (May he rest in peace.) It's Kosh's quote but he's not hunkalicious so he doesn't get a picture here.

I'm sitting here watching the Weather Channel to see if it actually will rain since it's been promised for a couple of days now and I haven't hung any clothes out on the line or put my fleece out to dry until today. And of course it hasn't rained so my plants are dying (because I trusted the weather guy and didn't water them) or at least what plants the bunnies haven't eaten yet, and the fleece has been drying in our tiny bathroom on a fancy shmancy drying rack I got from StuffMart .

I devised an outdoor drying rack for my fleece (more on that later) that consists of two crappy kitchen chairs and two screens. We have critters all over out backyard that seem to love sheepy smelling wool to line their nests (or maybe they're selling it to critters across town...I don't know.) Anyway...here it is.

So this incoming thunderstorm is nothing but a speck on the radar. I think they're lying again but if I go to the store, it will rain so I'm staying home.

My husband works with a guy who has sheep, but some of these sheep are black sheep and he has to burn the wool in his compost because it's apparently not worth anything since it can't be dyed. When he found out last year that I wanted to learn how to spin he offered dh a huge honking bag of wool. It translates to about 4 of those black garbage bags. I didn't make very much progress since I hadn't bought a spinning wheel or a spindle or anything of that nature although I did buy carders. Last week dh came home with another huge honking bag of wool because I actually had bought a spindle and this guy thought I needed more wool to learn on. (Baa, baa black sheep have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir 8 bags full.) So I've been busy washing, carding and learning to spin wool this week. I haven't gotten much knitting done at all and what I have done I've mostly frogged since I've been so tired.

I don't know what I'm doing.

Off to the library to get a book on the simplicity of spinning from fleece to yarn. Yeah...that should do it.

So this is my spindle. It's a kick spindle and I like it but I wish it had a hook on the spindle instead of letting it slip off the top in order to twist. I've asked dh to make me another spindle with a hook but I'm not holding my breath. He works a lot of hours.

Trying to find a place to take a picture has convinced me that I'm going to have to do a lot of cleaning before I take anymore pictures.

Well, it's clouding up out there so I'm off to move the laundry and the fleece inside. I'll show you my yarn that I spun tomorrow. It still smells like sheep.