Friday, August 31, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

It took all summer to get some roses but they were worth the wait. Only two of my bushes really produced because it's been so dry. And I don't think I cut them back in time this spring. I should have done it in the fall but I forgot.

I couldn't believe it but I found a pair of UFO socks hanging up on the coat rack (in a bag, of course.) I think the pattern is Moonstruck in Woolease. Unfortunately one of the needles has pulled out and I had some ladders on the heel flap which is where the intarsia pattern is so that will have to be re-knitted. I have no idea why they got put there but I'm the only one who could have done it.

I also have a hooded sweater from Lion Brand's site that I need to finish. I deliberately put it away for the summer because it was too hot to work on it. I'm almost ready to bring it out. When I finish Jesse's Flames I will.

One of my sils stopped by today and was drooling over the Monkeys. She knits but for her it's not a passion so she doesn't do it much. I may have to make her some Monkeys. But not the ones I just finished. Those are my Monkeys. *grin*

She didn't understand the spinning though. She asked why on earth I was going to all that trouble. It's as I suspected. There are people who knit and people who are knitters.

I have a dream that someday I can knit some of those really gorgeous patterns from the major magazines in yarns that are luscious and soft. In the meantime, I knit what I can afford and what I need. But someday I will knit what I want.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

A bit o' this, that, and the other

Last night I took Zach to his psych class and settled in the parking lot thinking I would listen to book 2 of His Dark Material when I realized I had the wrong knitting bag. Not only did I not have my cds but I didn't have my projects either. None of them. Instead I brought the bag that I had set up for tomorrow to look at knitting socks from the toe up.

So what the heck...I cast on and started learning how to do a figure 8 cast on and a sock from the toe up. I didn't have the complete pattern so I just knit it plain vanilla (worsted weight). It took me a few tries but I really like the result and plan on working on the lace pattern that it was written for (the pattern Cookie A used on Knitty Gritty.)

Yet another new project. I refuse to think of startitis as a bad thing.

**Edited: I didn't like the lace pattern with worsted weight yarn so off to the frog pond. I'll do another toe up later when I find a pattern I like with that weight.

So today I was very careful to set the right knitting bag by the door, next to my packed lunch. I was so proud of myself for being so organized. I got my socks out to knit on them and I didn't have the fifth needle. *sigh* Okay, I got out my swatches to work on. No cable needle. *deeper sigh* I did have my crocheting in the bag so I worked on the Antique Lace Shawl.

One of these days I will be better organized.

Zach decided to drive home from StuffMart today. He hadn't been behind the wheel for nearly a year. I don't know why but he just stopped driving. Never got his license and only recently got his permit renewed. Initially I needed sedation but by the time we got back into Horicon I was breathing normally again and my heart rate was down under 200. Next time his dad takes him out.

No real progress on the other projects because I was taking Zach's scholarship check (yes, that's right) to the bank today. Out of the blue he got a scholarship from our church. Woohoo! Answered prayer, let me tell you. Nobody better ever say anything bad to me about Episcopalians.

Off to knit the rest of the night. I'm going to work on my other swatches tonight. I hope they don't give me fits like the first few did.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Some WIP for Wednesday

One of the bad things about WIP days is how badly I am at adding pictures and text together.

The 1x1 swatch. Lion Brand Wool, size 7 circular needles, reverse combination on the ribbing, continental on the garter stitch. I keep wondering about all the hours (and I mean hours) that is going into each swatch. It seems insane on one level, but on another, I have analyzed my knitting to such a degree that I am more aware of what I am doing so that I can work on fixing years of complacent knitting. I can see a difference in my projects already.

My dishcloth shawl in Red Heart Symphony. I love the woven look to it. It reminds me of the shawls from pioneer days but with a lighter drape. Not that I was around then.

My handspun black sheep wool. The second picture shows a browner cast to it but this is closer to the true color. I started with size 11 needles but my yarn is so much thinner now that I should start plying pretty soon. I haven't had any breakage yet but some of it is laceweight and some fingering weight. And every now and then I have a lump in there. I'm getting so much better at my rolags. I just need to set aside some time to work more consistently on it.

I have more WIP but I've been showing some of them in other entries this week. They are certainly more colorful than this bunch but it's a gloomy day (again!) and this pretty much reflects my mood today.

Something is going on at 6 a.m. every morning that sets the Professor off and he barks his fool head off in near hysteria, which brings me up out of a dead sleep where I stumble down the stairs with my arthritic knees and plantar fasciitis feet to shush him. By the time I get him soothed, I'm awake. Since I don't usually fall asleep until 2 a.m., this is creating a deficit. And as far as I know, there is no sleep bank where you can store up sleep for just such occasions.

And when I try to nap in the afternoon, the ratbastard cute little squirrels frolic outside the windows, tormenting him, which sets him off into another frenzy of hysteria. I think I may sleep in the car while waiting for Zach to finish his psych class today. It's going to be the only time he can't wake me up.

Little dogs aspire to such great heights in the dog world.

Thankyouthankyou Vicki for your encouragement yesterday. I feel better about myself as a knitter thanks to you.

I have startitis. I have to admit it. But do I have to stop it?


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not my best day

Do you have someone in your life who, when you get the greatest that when you receive it you say, "I'm finally going to be able to sleep tonight," news that makes you cry because you're so happy, but that certain someone is right there to rob you of your happiness? It's like there are people on this earth who just want to suck the joy out of you like some kind of emotional vampire.


Making headway on the plain vanilla Paton's Kroy. Nothing plain or vanilla bout these though. I got a few strange looks at the college today while I was waiting for Zach to get done with his computer lab. One woman asked me if I was knitting. I politely nodded and smiled.

I like the randomness of it. There is a little bit of pooling on the other side but it's not too bad.

Jesse's Flames sleeve. I'm so focused on the intarsia, I keep forgetting to increase on the edges. I like how it's turning out even if my increases aren't as evenly spaced as they should be.

I'm wavering on the Master Knitter program. I'm at a low point. I can't get the 1x1 ribbing to look like anything other than crap even though my other stuff looks okay. I know I'm just stressing over it and I do want to finish it because I sincerely have completion issues. For me it's fear of failure. So I don't finish last, I just don't finish at all.

I'll keep working but I don't think this is instilling confidence in me at all.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunny Sunday

No rain today! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the bees are...swarming.

We had church in the park today. Zach was acolyte and I kept watching him because he's terribly phobic about bees. He's gotten control of most of his OCD but this is one thing that would send him running. Fortunately none of the bees seemed to bother him. And he was up there handling the wine. They sure seemed to like the priest.

I took my socks with me. Normally I wouldn't knit in church but this was the park and we got there plenty early. I cast on a new pair. Paton's Kroy, Paint Box. They are wild. I'm doing plain vanilla because there's nothing gonna compete with that colorway.

Got a lot of knitting done yesterday. Tom fell asleep on the couch (one of my hot's not like he doesn't have his own bedroom complete with television and air conditioner) so I couldn't clean or watch what I wanted on tv so I took my knitting, some tapes and a dvd of Kavanaugh, Q.C. upstairs. I really like John Thaw and wish he was still with us. He's such a great actor.

Worked Jesse's Flames and finally got a good result. My problem was I had an area of intarsia and an area of stranding. It looked awful. I decided to do all intarsia, in spite of having to knit just one stitch up several rows and having a tangled mess. But it looks so good now. I was surprised that some red yarn I had in stash from nearly 2 years ago matched near perfectly to the yarn I just bought. It was the same with some black yarn I had bought at the same time. Lion Brand done good.

I'm doing about a round a day on the lace shawl motif. It takes me about a half hour to do the round. I'm almost to the end of the round so I'm sure this shawl will provide me with hours and days of entertainment.

Zach starts college tomorrow. Sniff. My baby is all growed up.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Idiot in the rain

That would be me. Professor wanted a walk so I figured I could make it around the block before it started raining. Didn't even make it to the halfway point but I figured we could get all the way around before it got too bad.


I was dripping and Professor was at a dead run and this was up a steep hill. Good thing I'm in better shape than I was a year ago. 60 pounds lighter makes a big difference.

As promised...the Monkeys.

I don't know what socks to do next. I'm still dealing with completion issues. Sort of like separation anxiety. *sigh* I miss the Monkeys already.

The Antique Lace Shawl. I'm almost done with the first motif. I like it but it does require a great deal of concentration since there isn't a lot of repeating patterns per motif. I guess I'm glad I won't be doing long, intense rounds. Maybe motifs are better.

Had to frog back on the sleeve yesterday. I had a loose stitch way back and being so anal particular about this, I had to go back and try to fix it. Which resulted in a complete mess. This sweater is going to college. I want it to look its best.

I'm trying to eat more vegetarian meals. I want off as much of my medicine as I can get and for now the weight loss is at a standstill so I'm trying something different. Not to mention, my tightwaddiness is kicking in. Gotta stretch that food bill as much as I can since StuffMart reneged on their job offer.

But I'm not bitter. Nope. Not a bit *trying to unclench my jaws*

Off to read the blogs and fix supper then knitting for the rest of the night.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


are finished. Pictures tomorrow but I'm on a roll, knitting like crazy today (with my shoes off, of course.) I did a bit of crocheting, too on the lace shawl. I like it but my next one will be knitted. One of the things I don't like about crocheting is making motifs. And this shawl is made of triangular motifs. I think 19 of them.

Made progress on the sleeve yesterday but I think it's going to look more homemade than handmade. As I said before, I've not done that much intarsia and it's a bit different from stranding, which I'm not that experienced with either. I've frogged back a couple of times and I do improve each time. Thankfully, Zach loves my knitting so he won't be upset if it's not perfect.

Thinking of frogging the baby sweater. It's turning out stiffer than I want it to be. Maybe I'll make it with a bigger needle and adjust the pattern accordingly. Or maybe I'll find something else to knit. I have some blanket patterns and maybe I'll do that instead. Jan, from church, is director of the our diocese Haiti project. She has said they need baby blankets because our sister church is at a high altitude so it's chilly there. I could make tons of socks, too, for kids.

I may finish up the Caron sweater. I've read other bloggers who use Simply Soft and like it. I won't buy anymore probably but I could finish up the sweater. And I thought I would make a hat to go with it.

I'm going to go through all my knitting magazines (that may take a while) to see what I've got in the way of sock patterns. I've got the green Baby Ull and some Paton's something or other in primary colors. That one will require a basic pattern, like some variation of ribbing, but the Baby Ull needs some texture to it. I've still got that pattern I was going to test but I think I want something not as challenging right now. I've still got swatches to knit and reports to write.

It's good to finish something.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WIP Wednesday

The Monkeys!

Watched Pan's Labyrinth yesterday. It was a really good movie but since it was all in subtitles I had to do a lot of rewinding when I missed something. Not a great knit movie, but a good movie if you don't ever have to look down at your knitting

Sorry for the lousy quality of pictures. I got a book from the library so I can learn how to do this better but I haven't read it yet.

Zach's cell phone case. Lion Woolease, size 2 needles. I knitted a casing instead of yarnovers for the mini-biner. I was afraid yo's would stretch out over time. It's a denim blue color.

Dishcloth Shawl made with Red Heart Symphony, a lovely brown, tweedy color. I love the texture the garter stitch makes. It will make a lightweight shawl for me to wear at church or whenever I'm out. I think it will go with jeans or with something dressier. I had to go with a pattern that wouldn't require blocking since I'm working with acrylic.

Antique Lace Shawl from Annie's Crochet Newsletter, 1993. Bron has been crocheting some lovely things and I've been bitten by the crochet bug. I find most patterns are cumbersome and boxy. I don't like the bulk of crocheted clothing, but that's just me. YMMV. I've been wanting to knit a lace shawl but don't have any laceweight or the money to go buy some so I thought this solved several problems at once. The color is a lovely light sage green.

Jesse's Flames front. The back is done as well but since they look so much alike...

Jesse's Flames, left sleeve. The yellow part of the flames are duplicate stitched on. I'm not that practiced with intarsia so I'm taking my time with it. Lion Woolease.

TKGA Swatch 1 and 3, unblocked. Same wool.

TKGA Swatch 1 unblocked, size 7 needles. Not perfect but I'm going to submit it. This is, quite honestly, the best I can do. Lion Wool, yellow. Not that you can tell from the picture.

Baby Bobbles sweater in Bernat baby yarn, sport weight. It's a pastel yellow but my lighting is the pits.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Move your feet, lose your seat

This is what happens when I get up to take a break.


I've been getting a lot done but it's terribly boring blog fodder. I am doing so much better with my ribbing. I just needed to relax and not fight the needles and yarn so much. Not there yet but I'm so close I can taste it. I'll take some pictures for tomorrow's WIP Wednesday.

Been reading for the research stuff as well.

I've needed to knit a lot the past couple of days. Things on my mind, things that affect my future that I have no control over the outcome.

And I'm supposed to just put this stuff out of my mind.

Man, I hate men sometimes.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Achy day

Got home from church today all achy and not in a good mood. Nothing to do with church. I love my church and Sunday mornings are the highlight of my week. It's the gloom and pain. We need the rain desperately but my achy FMS body doesn't like it as much as the wildlife does.

So...I wanted to frog everything I was working on except for the Monkeys. I like the Monkeys even on my worst days. (BTW...they are fraternal twins and not married or cohabitating. They told me. Shhhh...don't tell the doctors the Monkeys talk to me.) But I didn't frog a thing. I just walked away from it. A couple of Ultrams later, I loved my knitting again. Except for the Caron Simply Soft. That will get frogged and made into snakes for the windows. know...those knitted tubes of fiberfill that you put at the bottom of your windows to keep out the drafts.

Yes, those snakes. What did you think I was talking about? Sheesh.

Anyway, I started working on the swatches again and I'm convinced that ribbing is my Waterloo. I got some nice, neat stitches in my 1x1 ribbing but they all had ditches in them. Great gaping rows up and down the ribs. I'm going to research this and see just what the problem is. I never noticed this before but the baby sweater I've got OTN is the same way. Not going to sweat it today though. I've got a shawl to knit.

I did frog the Invisibility Shawl because it just looked awful. The pattern is lovely and delicate but the Symphony isn't delicate. So I'm doing a dishcloth shawl and it looks great. I love the diagonal graphing the yarn is making. It doesn't show up in pictures or if you look at it straight on, but just that glance at it from the corner of your eye...I like it.

No pictures today. My house is so dark and with the overcast sky (our streetlight has been on all day), I'm not going to even try.

There is one Red Heart yarn I do like a lot and that's Light & Lofty. I think that's the name of it. I use it to make prayer shawls. I knit them mostly for the elderly women in our church because they get cold. These are nice and warm but not overly so. And they knit up quickly. I just use a straight garter stitch and the variations in the texture and color make it so nice. And people in nursing homes or who have help take care of them need machine washable things.

Off to knit now that the pain has subsided.


Friday, August 17, 2007


I was in the Credit Union today waiting for dh and Zach to take care of Zach's savings account so I was standing there knitting and one of the ladies in the office told me it was just too cute what I was doing.

I've never had that reaction before.

Frogged the Invisibility Shawl. It just looked terribly using Red Heart Symphony so I printed out a poncho that requires Symphony and will knit that.

I will never buy Caron Simply Soft ever again. The yarn I frogged looks awful. It doesn't hold up at all and I don't like the sheen to it. Makes it look cheap. Rylee is only a toddler so she will love the colors and won't care about the materials. And her mom will like that it's machine washable but it's not going to be durable. Maybe others have had better luck with Caron but I can't say I like it.

I've also decided that I'm not going to feel ashamed for using Red Heart acrylics. It's served me well all these years and I do prefer it to Caron. I have lots to use up and will do so proudly. Will I run out and buy more? Probably not. But it does irk me that some make fun of people who use it.

I'm really tired after having had little sleep this week so I'm inclined to be a bit snarky today.

'Nuff said.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sheepy stuff

I think I'm gonna burn a candle or two. Or maybe the Dragon's Blood incense. I'm still smelling sheep. I got two more dishpans full of fleece out in the drying rack, carded a few rolags, spun a couple and...ahem...cast on a new (short) project.

Zach wants a carrier for his cell phone, one he can hook onto a belt loop. I've got plenty of Woolease in my stash, one that's a denim-looking color, cast about 16 sts on size 2 needles and I'm just doing garter stitch. It's coming out pretty sturdy. I'll make a couple of yarn-overs in the back and attach a baby-beaner (you can get them in the camping section of StuffMart.) A little velcro and he has a phone carrier.

I'm really looking forward to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival this year. I've never gone before but I'm anxious to see more of the world of fiber arts. I want to see the different fleeces, the roving, the yarn!

I need to come into a lot of money between now and then though.

One of Zach's classes got canceled due to low enrollment. It's the class in Fond du Lac so I don't have to sit in a coffee shop for 4 1/2 hours knitting and waiting for him to get done. Unless he picks up another class in FDL. He's concerned because this is a class he needs for his degree.

It will all work out.

Off to knit the rest of the night.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Maybe if I show all my WIPs it will show me just how much I'm getting done.
This is actually a mint green color. It's the cardigan I'm making for Rylee. Just got it cast on and the ribbing done last night. Don't look too closely at the ribbing. I was mighty tired when I did it.
This is the back of Jesse's Flames. It's for Zach's birthday so I'd better get moving. His birthday is in October. It's in Stitch & Bitch Nation but I've got a picture of it here. The front is done and hiding up in my yarn drawers. Yes, it's black.
This is the Invisibility Shawl from Charmed Knits. It's not as delicate as the one in the book but I'm using Red Heart Symphony (from my stash). It's not bad but I wouldn't pick that yarn out for this shawl. It's a rich brown color but I don't have the ball band anymore so I can't tell you which color it is.
This is Mr. & Mrs. Monkey. I didn't look for the start of the color pathway because A) I'm a tightwad and B) I'm not sure I have enough yarn to finish it. The scales I've got says I do but how do I know I can trust it? I don't think the colors will be too far off and anyway...all my socks are fraternal...or possibly married. I don't know. I know they're mates but whether they've actually "tied the knot" isn't in my realm of knowledge. None of my business anyway.
Another view of the Monkeys.

This is the Bobbles sweater I'm making for the baby-in-waiting. The back of it anyway. It's really that yellow. I'm so pleased with how neat my stitches are coming out even if my ribbing looks terrible. For me the difference has been in switching to continental knitting. My throwing was so untidy, loose stitches, gutters on the reverse side. Horrendous selvedges. TKGA has also been a huge help in me growing as a knitter. I've had to take the time to analyze my stitches and see what makes a good stitch.

I'm also learning from other knitters online. I may lurk a lot but I'm lurking with my notebook and pen at the ready.

Tomorrow is for sheepy stuff. Teasing, scouring, carding and spinning. I'm almost ready to start plying. I'm kind of excited about that.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Somebody stop me

I went through my UFOs today and found a sweater for my great niece that just lacked the sleeve, but when I got a good look at it, I hated it so...yup...I frogged it. I like the colors and the stitch pattern but hated the faux-cable ribbing. Plus, for some reason, it was way too big. It knitted to gauge when I swatched it but my stitches are way loose so I decided to just make a plain vanilla sweater for Rylee and use the color/stitch pattern. It's Caron Simply Soft and this is the first time I've worked with it. Can't say I'm crazy about it, but as far as acrylics go it's nice and soft. I think I still prefer Lion Brand Woolease for my acrylic needs.

Of course, if I weren't using up my stash, I would be going with a wool yarn. Maybe Cascade 220. I made some socks out of that and loved it.

I feel like I've grown so much as a knitter this past year. Before I wouldn't dare deviate from the pattern. I had no confidence.

Then I started a baby sweater out of Bernat baby yarn, sport weight. The pattern calls for fingering weight but I'm just going to make the necessary adjustments. We have two expectant couples at church and I want to make something for them. One is due in the fall, the other in February. Again...using up the stash.

So I really needed to cast on two new projects.

I did manage to work on Jesse's Flames today but Zach kept coming into the living room (on any other day he wouldn't leave his room except to eat or make a bathroom run and his room is right next to that room). Not that he notices much what I'm working on but I'll wait until bedtime.

Speaking of bedtime, I'm having to move back to the living room, at least for a while. I'm having a flare up of my fibromyalgia and the stairs bother me. Tom asked me to because he's afraid he's going to come home and find me at the bottom of the stairs. So I oblige. The couch folds out to a bed and isn't a royal pain to make so I'll do it. It will be nice not making several trips up and down the stairs in the middle of the night.

Well, off to make up the bed and knit while watching Angel, which I taped this morning. I need to make a library run Friday so I'm trying to come up with an idea for a tv series to get from them. I've pretty much seen all their British mystery series, but I'm thinking of Stargate or Battlestar Galactica. Are they worth sitting through? I might have to go on a waiting list though. Farscape has a hugely long waiting list.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Swatch & Monkey

Here's the seed stitch swatch, unblocked. I used Lion Wool, size 7 needles, continental knitting except for the bind off in which I used Norwegian purl to tighten up the stitch a bit. I still have a couple of slight holes in the bind off row but blocking will take care of that. I think I'm ready to go back to the 2x2 rib swatch now...without having a meltdown.

Finished one Monkey finally. I've not been knitting as much as I would like so I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything. I know I am though. I'm doing research for the TKGA Master Knitter program, level 1 and I'm scouring fleece, carding and spinning. Not to mention all the other tight-waddy things I do around the house. But I'm not finishing any projects. sigh

It looks like StuffMart has reneged on their offer to hire me. I know I should call, but when I had the phone in my hand today, finger ready to punch in the numbers, I asked I want to work for someone who already is treating me like crap?

I'm going to keep looking for another job, one that has a schedule that will work for us, what with me driving Zach around and all. I'm going to take advantage of the time in Fond du Lac (4.5 hours) to work on my knitting and reports for Master Knitter. I can hang in the library when the weather gets bad, or go to a coffee shop or something.

He is so much the boss of me.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Never Mind

Zach figured it out for me.

I know buttons now.


Calling all geeks


I need to put some buttons on my blog for my webrings but I don't have a clue how. I understand they need some kind of http address but I don't know how to get that. I have the pictures saved in My Pictures because the warning was not to steal the buttons. But I am clueless how to get them imbedded in the html code to the left.

I feel like such an idiot.

On the other hand, my knitting is coming along nicely. My seed stitch swatch looks pretty good. I'll get a picture of it tomorrow.

The Monkeys are coming along slowly but surely. I meant to do more knitting today but I spent an idiotic amount of time searching the web for information about embedding buttons. Arrgh!

They fit! I think these may be my Monkeys. Heaven knows I've hung onto this yarn long enough to claim ownership. I love the striping. It seems to be working well with the pattern. I wonder if S-cubed will rear its ugly head and I take off with another pattern and another yarn after this.

Today was supposed to be just for knitting. But now I have to clean house because Tom sleeps during the day so I clean at night.

Tomorrow, I guess.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday is for working

It's raining!

Made some progress on the Monkeys while at the orthodontist. A woman was there with a truckload of kids and one of them, a little girl about 6, kept watching me. She whispered something to her mother and her mom said she'd tell her later. I swear they both looked at me as if I were some kind of alien. Maybe all those needles sticking out all over the place looked threatening.

I scoured two dishpans full of fleece today. I have a lot to go before winter. This wasn't even a fourth of the bag and I have 6 bags to go. But it started raining and I didn't want to bring wet fleece in and since this is bath day (no, we don't put the warshtub in the kitchen by the fire) I didn't have a place to dry it over the tub. So I got a tarp out of the garage and covered it. I'm so smart it's painful. The rope across the yard is for the boys. Hannibal is leash trained and loves it outdoors at night and Professor uses it during the day. We don't let him out at night because he's small enough to interest the barn owls. Hannibal is a chunk, however.

I took Vicki's advice and started the seed stitch swatch. I'm so pleased with how nicely it's coming along. So tell me, why the same kinds of stitch work out here but not with 2x2 ribbing.

Jesse's Flames is coming along slowly. I'm not upstairs as much because of the heat and so I don't get a lot done up there.

Still no word from StuffMart. Tom says I should call. I'm going to wait until Thursday. Then it will be two weeks and that is plenty of time for them to call me. I'm thinking the job is no longer on the table though. It will all work out, I'm sure. Maybe I need to still be home. Zach is going to need a chauffeur for a few months at least. Although he still isn't interested in driving so I don't know.

Why is it so necessary to drive everywhere we need to go? I know we're in rural Wisconsin but there aren't any bike paths and riding a bike in this town is taking your life in your hands unless you ride on the sidewalk and they'll ticket you for that. This is the worst laid out town for alternate transportation.

If I'm not going to work then we have to cut back to the bone. That means using my stash and not buying anything for a while. We are planning on going to the Sheep and Wool Festival in September but I'm going to be limited to fleece and not roving.


I would love to try some decent roving. I'm doing so much better spinning but my rolags aren't great and I have to fight them to spin. It takes a lot longer to constantly stop and adjust my rolag.

I should be grateful for what I've got though. I do have a good man who provides and who understands how much this all means to me. And I have a roof over my head and the ability to send Zach to college (although that's contributing to the reason I don't sleep at night.)

And I have a priest who knits and spins. *grin*


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Screaming out loud!

Stuffmart still hasn't called and now I'm second-guessing myself and wondering if he said a couple of weeks rather than a couple of days. Tom wants me to call them but I don't know who to ask for or what to say. I hate being this bashful.

I'm ready to scream over my TKGA swatches. Or rather swatch 1. I do okay with it and when I move into garter stitch, my knit stitches in the ribbing open up like a flower blossoming. Aaargh! I've never had this much trouble with ribbing before in my life. And the more I work on it the worse it gets. I have done this one swatch exclusively for two days. I mean hours and hours just working on 2x2 ribbing. I've tried every method, three different needle sizes, two different yarns, different tensions. And in every single one of them I have at least some of my knit rows opening up.

This isn't my neatest swatch but I wanted to show the vertical ditches I am getting.

I don't know if anyone reads this blog but if they do and know the answer, I wish someone would tell me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fleece and swatches

This is what my mood looks like today.
I saw this on someone else's blog yesterday but I can't find the blog I was looking at. It's not one of my regulars.

Washed a bunch of fleece today. I decided to get hopping on all that smelly wool down in the basement before winter sets in and I have to close up the basement windows. I need to get moving on carding and spinning as well, but the past few days I've been working on my TKGA level one swatches.

I finally made some progress. She's got a ton of good stuff about the program that was so helpful. I'm almost finished with my first swatch and I'm okay with it. Being a bit of an analretentive perfectionist, I tend to be too hard on myself when it comes to finishing.
I should have pictures tomorrow.

Zach has orientation tomorrow so I will be taking Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the Monkeys with me to sit in the car. Or I may walk over to MickeyD's and chill out there.

Lunch sounds good. It all depends on how hot it is in the car.

Still haven't heard back from Stuffmart about my job. A friend was telling me that medications can interfere with drug screening and they don't take that into account. I'm almost wishing they won't call me back. I swear, if I don't get this job, I'm not going to try anymore. I'll just take the hint that there are things I'm supposed to be doing here at home instead. It seems like every job I've tried to get in the past ten years has cost me money and I haven't gotten the job.

Jesse's Flames is coming along slowly. I guess I'm too tired when I go to bed to work on it because I've spent half my time tinking back to fix mistakes. It's still too dark up there, too. Last night I decided to rearrange my room (at 1 a.m.) because my nightstand was blocking part of the window and it was danged hot up there. I needed my window fan to function better. It was 3:30 before I got to bed and Professor woke me up at 8 a.m. because he thought I needed to be up paying attention to him.

And no nap today because I've been busy working on fleece and swatches.

Must go watch The Illusionist. Love Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti in this.


Monday, August 6, 2007

Who thinks up these titles anyway?

I love the Monkeys. I took them with me to school while Zach signed up for classes. I sat in the car and listened to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on tape. Fortunately, I was under a tree and there was a nice breeze.

We were blessed that we will be able to get him to his classes. Just one class in Fond du Lac this semester. He'll probably have more classes up there next semester but he'll have his license by then and maybe we'll have another car by then, too. It takes about 40 minutes to get up there and his class is about 5 hours long so I'm not sure if someone will stay up there or we will go back to get him. I shudder at the increase in our gas bill making two trips up there and back.

I've been struggling with the test-knit socks. The problem isn't the pattern, it's the yarn. I needed a sturdier yarn, I think, than baby yarn. I just can't afford to buy anything more yet. I may have to drop out and use the yarn for something a little less hard on the yarn. The test-knit socks have lots of cabling and while the pattern is fun, the yarn isn't.

Plus, I don't think I really have the time right now, with starting a new job and Zach's college and all the other projects I've got going on. I haven't been spinning much lately. I got my spindle out today and spun up a rolag. I'm not bad at spinning, but my rolag isn't put together too well and keeps falling apart and my yarn breaks and I have to figure out how to splice it back together again. I can't wait until I can use some commercial roving.

This is what I'm listening to. I love the soundtrack to POTC: At World's End. I've got Curse of the Black Pearl as well. Not to mention the LOTR soundtracks. On my dream list is to get Mozart's Requiem Mass on cd, too. I've got it on vinyl but don't have a working record player.

I'm making progress on my swatches. I decided just to work them up and submit them. The judges can tell me what's wrong with them, but I need to get moving. I don't want to wait forever to finish this course.

I don't crochet much or very well (my height gauge is always off; width is fine) but this inspires me to pick it up again. What's even more amazing is she's using just the chart because the directions are in French. Wow!

I'm not worthy.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

No Saturday Sky

Tom has the camera tonight so no pictures. Hold your applause please. I am improving no matter what it looks like.

Worked on swatches last night and did pretty good. I'm going to go with the mindset that I'm being too hard on myself and just see what the judges have to say about it.

Got the instructions for the test drive today. I wanted to wait on the pattern before I bought the yarn. I'm not sure what happened but I ended up being led out of the sock yarn room to the main room and drove off with some Baby Ull in a beautiful forest green color. It is so soft that I'm splitting some stitches. I'll get used to it. I would love to get used to it. This yarn is so dreamy but I wonder how it will hold up as socks.

This pattern is very textured and I don't want to compete with a colorway. Michelle was a huge help but most of the sock yarns have some really neat colorways or were the wrong color. I had my heart set on green because I promised my sister a pair of socks for her sabbatical in Europe (do you think the socks will send me a postcard?) and I thought I would kill two birds with one stone.

Had to frog about 4 inches on the back of Jesse's Flames because I was so groggy when I was knitting last night that I picked up an extra stitch which left a gaping hole and an extra stitch in the pattern section.

I really do hate to sleep. I'd rather be knitting.

Zach pre-registers for classes Monday. I sure hope he can get some online so we don't have to shuttle him back and forth to Fond du Lac. It will be a minimum of 3 months before he could get his license.

Trying to read The Golden Compass in between knitting, cleaning and not sleeping. I like it so far.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Bats & Monkeys

Zach took a picture of this bat on the window outside the dining room. Hannibal tried to play with it through the screen.

And here is one of the Monkeys. Still on the first sock and the picture is a bit dark but I am pleased with the way they are turning out. My stitch holder is an orphan earring. I never seem to throw anything away.

Working on my swatches for the master knitter course. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

They liked me; they really liked me!

Zach had his placement test today, which he passed with very high scores. I spent the time at the library looking up sock patterns and learning what a balbriggan heel was. Went to StuffMart after that and had a Subway sandwich. Not terribly satisfying but it did take care of that pesky hunger thing (down 60+ pounds now.)

It was so hot today, at least hot for Wisconsin. Humid, too. So I was anxious to get home and get into some shorts and sit in front of the fan. I don't turn the a/c on unless the heat index is over 100 and then only for as long as it takes to suck the water out of the air so it's bearable.

Just as soon as I sat down and turned the computer on so I could read my 137 emails from the various loops I subscribe to, the phone rang. Caller ID let me know it was StuffMart. Wondering if I had left something important there or they didn't like my check (they never seem to dislike my money,) I answered the phone.

It was the personnel manager inviting me to interview with them so I can work in the toy department. I responded that I liked toys. He probably thought I was an idiot, but gave me the interview anyway.

I met with four people, one at a time, each one higher up on the food chain. Finally the co-manager of StuffMart offered me the job. He let me know that I impressed him because in spite of having no work history for 20 years and no work references, I had homeschooled my son and knew about working with someone with a different learning style. Zach has Tourette Syndrome along with ADD and ADHD tendencies and had a massive case of OCD (which has eased off considerably in the past year.) He doesn't learn the way the average person does. He learns well, but he just doesn't learn the way public schools normally teach.

This nice man said that they really needed someone there who understood that people learn differently and can recognize how each person learns best.

So...I get to work in the Toy Department (did I mention that I like toys?) and get paid for it. Not a lot, but certainly more than I'm making now which I can help pay for Zach's college, catch up on our bills and best of all, I will get a yarn allowance. (Shhh...Tom doesn't know I already have one.) spite of the fact I got next to nothing done today, I feel pretty good about myself. I took the Professor for a walk and now I'm ready to clean house and knit the night away.

Oh, and I frogged the Monkeys because my purls were way too loose. They look much better second time around. I really need to practice new patterns on my acrylics so I don't tire out my good yarn.

Praying for those people in Minnesota. I have to admit that I hate driving over bridges for that very reason. When we lived in San Diego I would curl up in the fetal position every time we had to go over the Coronado Bridge.

Come to think of it, every time I'm a passenger in a car, I curl up in the fetal position. Hmmmm..

Day 3 of cutting my statins in half and I already can feel the fog lifting.