Enter Life

Oh the plans that are waylaid by stuff.

Two weekends ago, I did finish quite a few projects.  The dreams and plans my slight success gave me! I was going to block and finish and knit and start and just have ever so much knitting accomplishment.  Then, I got a bit ill. Friday.  And I stayed home.  Okay, normally,  Ill means more knitting, and I did knit a bit, but this was painful ill, and moving to pick up a water glass on the table beside my chair hurt, so needless to say, pinning and blocking and getting up and down for projects and needles and everything else was out. Plus the narcotics:  I am not good with medication.  One Benedryl or two extra strength Tylenol and I am pretty much out.   I will wake up not remembering where I even am. so real pills…uh, lets just say I caught up on all the sleep I’ve missed for the last 3 years or so!

Anyway, by Sunday I was feeling a bit better, and by the afternoon, the pain was pretty much gone, so we went on a walk and to a store. Those sort of wore me out.  And then it was back to work.

I realized though, if I don’t count hibernating things, I am down to 4 projects on needles.  Exciting, huh?  Which means I need to update my queue, right?  Right.

So it is first; Saroyan with my Shibui Worsted, in white.  Second:  Anders in Knit Picks Stroll in Navy and some grayish Cascade something or other I have in my stash.  Third: Double Knit Floral Cowl with the…..gosh, I will have to look.  Oh yeah, some madelinetosh sock Jude gave me and some white I picked up somewhere and don’t think I even put in my stash.  Fourth and last to be covered here;  Snowman & Tree from my Susan B. Anderson book Topsy Turvy.   I have a little stash of cotton I’ve been buying at Blazing Needles. I don’t remember what kind it is, but they have a million, or a hundred colors, so it’s nice for those little things.  Takhi Yarns?  Yes, Cotton Classic. So there is the plan.

I think at this point, four is not too many projects, so my plan is, as I finish one, I will start one.  How’s that?  The Double Floral Cowl is for the Knitting Retreat at Alta Lodge at the end of September, so that will likely move around on the list.  It’s squishy that way.

I love having a plan.  Now if I can just stick to it!

Am I wrong?

It seems like the last few months have just been bereft of knitting opportunity.   We always have guests, parties, appointments, and stuff to do on the weekend, when all I want to do is knit.    And all those things that I don’t do on the train, just weren’t getting done.   As a result, my list of wip was growing, and growing, and I was into a pile of things that needed to be finished.   Which is not my favorite.

Well, this weekend I purposely said no to everything.   And I told K to say no to everything.  So we basically vegged, watched/listened to the Harry Potter marathon, did some re-organization on the house, and finished projects.

xmanI’d actually finished a Christmas Stocking on Wednesday.  It had to go with my Sis to Oregon Thursday morning, so I quickly decorated, weaved in ends, and sent it.  I could have used more time on the name, and I did a simple heart just to get it done. That’s what comes of procrastination.   But if people want perfect they can ask someone else to knit them something, right?

Absolutely.

 

So Friday I started on my list of things to finish.  First was the darn linen stitch scarf.  Not sure I like it. The colors, the yarn, the pattern, are all just eh.  Know what I mean?  Jude likes it though, so he can have it.   It just feels….fuzzy.   But Jude is Mr. Fashionista,  so if he likes, it I feel okay about it.

scarf

Then I pulled out the baby sweater for the baby due at the end of the month.  I will look for buttons now and depending on what they do for it, decide if I want to decorate with some embroidery or something.   I don’t really mind sewing things together, and I cant’ figure out why I put it off until the end of time.  Sigh.

babyLastly, I finished The Hemlock Ring Blanket, and it’s about time.  As far as finished, I mean, am done knitting it.   This weekend my hubby is going out of town, so I will block the ginormous thing then.  I ran out of yarn about 30 stitches from the end.  I had another brown, which Jude and K couldn’t tell wasn’t the original, so I used that.   I can tell though.  It’s grayer.  But I think I bought the yarn discontinued, so I’m not trying to get more, and frankly, I was trying to just keep knitting the blanket until I’d used it all up, so I think 30 stitches in something else is pretty good.   Excellent in fact.

blanket

The last thing I did was rip out a striped cowl to use the yarn on something else.  Jude knit it from Madelinetosh, and I thought it was a beauty, but he just put it away somewhere and wouldn’t get buttons for it, so I took it, and the leftover yarn and am making something stripey myself.  After all, good wool should not be stuck at the back of a closet.  It needs to be free.

I am making up a pattern;  nothing very creative, because well, I’m not.  But, I like thestripey triangular points on the ends of shawls, but not a triangle in total. So I’m doing a scarf with points at each end, varying widths of stripes with some stockinette and some garter, and I hope it turns out great.  We’ll see.   I’ve made some of mistakes, but frankly, I don’t care.   I think I said once before that if they want a perfect knit, they should go ask someone else to knit it for them.

Which is actually kind of funny, because at one point,  I did have a rep for frogging everything at least a couple of times until I thought it was right.  Hmmm…

 

 

Addictions: Besides Knitting

How do I love thee, let me count the ways:

1.  Coffee

2.  Tea

3.  Coke Zero

4. Cherry

5. Vanilla

6. Iced

And on and on and on.  How many times have I quit thee? 72. At least.

Once, I made a New Year’s Resolution and had two diet cokes the entire year, for medicinal purposes (super bad headache that nothing else would budge).

Evidently, my small little allowance has snuck up on me again.   My 16 oz of morning joe and my 20 oz of afternoon soda a few times a week has got me.  I don’t drink either on the weekends, and so I thought it was okay, but the last two weekends, but Sunday my head was aching and nothing, nothing but Coke would cure it.  Aaargh.  Right back where I started.

So this morning I am cutting back slowly, right?  I thought, I’ll have 8oz of coffee. And the universe seemed to answer, because when I got to work, all that was left of the morning pot was about half of my usual cup.

Then I decided to wipe down my desk and knocked that over, so I now have about 6oz or so.  Should stop the headache, but it’s small, right?

I’m trying to decide how to go about the soda thing.  Maybe I’ll start alternating coffee and soda days? OMG the thought of no morning sip makes me want to cry!

I think I’ll skip soda today and see how I feel.  Wow.  I am really going for it.

How ridiculous is it that I can have an entire convo or three devoted to what I drink?

socksIn knitting news, my own socks (K obviously doesn’t like the yarn, so his gracious admonition to make socks for myself is not as self-sacrificing as it seems) are coming along pretty quick.  I don’t think they’ll stretch enough to really show the lace pattern, but they feel really comfy, so I’m good.

However, I wonder now, guiltily, if my aversion to socks is entirely due to Kimball’s ginormous feet.  I mean, seriously, these are going so quick, it seems kind of fun.  With K I knit forever and ever and ever….but I’m going to put that thought right out of my head. Because he adores handmaid socks and I adore him.

I don’t get it.

Yeah, I’m working on a scarf.  Uh huh.  It’s like a lace thing.   I mean, I’ve done Rock Island, right?  How hard can it be?  Evidently, too hard.

I cast on, and I’ve got a 5′ foot tail of extra yarn, despite the fact that I wrapped and calculated how much I’d need.  I do 2 rows and somehow manage to mess something or other up and since I have 2 issues now (long long long tail and mess up) I might as well pull it out, right. Ribbit.  Then I make sure and make the tail much shorter. And cast on again.

Yeah, I have another 5′ long tail.

At that point, I was mildly perturbed, so I ripped off the long end and felt satisfied.

It’s a simple pattern, easy to memorize, a few rows of a pattern before you change, floating along, love the yarn—oops, when I set it down I don’t pull the needles out and several stitches fall off, and *despite the fact that I can fix lace (see Rock Island, above), I can’t fix it.  Ribbit back to garter.*

I make a mistake and repeat from * the above paragraph.

Then I make another mistake…I mean, this pattern IS NOT HARD, so why am I constantly unable to perform…..and I rip just that one little repeat back to the garter and fix it.

Now I have 2 inches or so and I’m thinking to myself, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?  I am a half-decent, half-experienced, KNITTER.  Why can I not keep a simple count for 8 stitches at a time or do simple stitches I have done hundreds of thousands of times before?  And how, by all that is holy, do I not instantly realize when I’ve made a mistake, since I have stitch markers EVERY 8 stitches?!

Sometimes it seems like the more simple the project, the more mistakes I make.

Okay, I just took a deep breath.  I’m fine.  Totally.  I just need to relax, meditate, and get back in the flow.  Which for me means, I just need to knit some more.

I mean, what else can go wrong?

2 inches

My Thing

Do I even have to say I didn’t finish everything?

I didn’t think so.

But:  I finished the Father’s Day socks, including blocking, and spent the weekend assuring Kimball that they were actually mittens and not socks too big for anyone but him.  I don’t think he bought it.  They are tucked away for Father’s Day.

I blocked one baby sweater, so it is now being sewn together and finished on the train this week.

Big news:  I organized my ‘current’ drawer, which had become actually more of a ‘leftovers IMG_20140531_095226_087from things I’ve touched in the last 6 months’ drawer.  I found at least 5 sets of needles I’d been missing, re-organized the patterns (a stack about 3 inches high), and put away all the stray halvsies of yarn balls.  Eye opener!!

To the right are basically all the projects I found in the current drawer. So the list of things I need to finish is much longer than previously thought.

While we were in Seattle, someone said something  that keeps returning to me.  We were walking along the beach at Washington Lake, and Kimball was telling the group about how when I started knitting, I was always ripping things out and swearing, throwing projects down, and the like.  I remembered that time.  I taught myself and I didn’t understand stitches and if I dropped one or made a mistake, I basically had to start over.  And I constantly made mistakes.  My scarves wouldn’t lay flat (stockinette).  Even the yarn I was using was not fiber I loved,  because the LYS I’d gone to sold mostly acrylic mixes and I didn’t know anything better.  Maybe a year or so later, I took a class at another LYS, and suddenly, epiphany, I started to really see how things worked.  Beautiful yarn, holding the needles differently, and knowing how to fix a problem made an incredible difference!

So during the discussion, my Mom asked, “If it was so terrible, why did you keep doing it?”

I don’t know?  Why would someone torture themselves into a frenzy over something that in our society is completely unnecessary and basically for fun?

Ever since, the question has been drifting around my mind.  Why would I keep going at it when half the time it made me want to stick a knitting needle in something?  Saying something like ‘knitting is the one thing I am really meant to love’ doesn’t work. It’s like finding your ‘soul mate’ or whatever.  I am quite possibly the least sentimental person I know.  Those sort of things sound silly to me.

And yet, watching a movie or chatting with my hands empty feels like an itch. I frequently wish I’d learned to knit when I was 20 or 10 or 5.  There will never be time for me to knit enough, or be as good as I could be, or finish all the things I’m dying to knit.  At night when I prep for work the next day, I decide what knitting is going with me before I worry about my clothes or my lunch.  When people invite me places I think, “Can I knit there?” My internet search history is mostly just knitting places, people and things.   Maybe silly words are necessary.

Once, a religious friend asked me why I didn’t believe in the church I was raised in. On impulse  I said, “It’s just not my thing.”  At the time he laughed.  Later, he brought it up and said he thought it was funny that I could dismiss something as big as religion in such an off-hand way. It sounded right to me though.

Now I think if someone asks that question again, “Why knitting?”  I will say, “It’s just my thing.”  Because that’s all it is.

Seriously Serious Finishing Plans

This weekend, I am finishing projects.   There.  I said it out loud.  Can’t take it back now.

I have two baby projects not sewn together or blocked, an unblocked shawl, a toy I need to sew the little faces and things on, and really, just a mess of disorganized yarn, all due to neglect.

Also, I was doing a gauge swatch the other day and had no size 3s in my case and couldn’t find any.   Last night I went to look for 4s and there were 3s, but no 4s.  I’m afraid I have more things on the needles than I realize.  Time to get that under control.

So that sounds super duper fun, huh?  It’s still yarn.  So can’t be too bad.  And I do have a new season of Game of Thrones, so I can just organize and watch.  All I have to do now is educate the family on the importance of me not going anywhere or doing anything for the next two days. Should be easy peasy.

J 014 My phone broke this weekend. While I was in Seattle.  It’s like the trip never happened.  Luckily the friend I stayed with is an amateur photographer, so I got some pics of my Mom.  I didn’t have the nerve to ask him to take pics of my yarn.

We did have a lot to say to each other after 9 months apart. It was rainy.  The Kabuta Gardens were just lush and so beautiful.  It’s so fresh there.  Obviously I’m prejudiced towards the Northwest, as it’s my homeland, but still.  Just driving towards it, with the green and trees and flowers populating all the way feels so good.

Souvenir yarn:  Mom was with me and suddenly had a few projects she wanted me toMom's yarn make so all yarn purchased was for her.   I visited Serial Knitters   in Kirkland.  I had wanted very much to see Churchmouse on Bainbridge Island, but it just didn’t work out this time.  And Serial Knitters had a great selection of yarn, a sunny, open store and their logo made me smile.

The bluish purple yarn is for a ‘scarf’.  I was surprised at what my Mom liked.   All colorful and bright.  Don’t know why but I thought she’d be more neutral. The Madelinetosh was tempting, as there were colors I’d never seen before, but I can get that at home, so no.

Also, Mom had this idea of a ‘knitted necklace’ that she’d seen somewhere and wants me to figure out.  Beaded too.  First she found some silk beaded stuff that was $52 and quickly decided it was too expensive. Then she found this:necklace

Can’t really see the colors, but it’s bright and multi-colored, and will look great as jewelery. With beads. When I figure it out.  Sigh.

I think I’m a decent knitter, but the things my Mom thinks I can do, and the time frame she believes it possible in, just blow my mind.  She asked for a sweater and thought it might take me a couple of weeks.  Uhm….yes if the heavens shine down on me  and my gauge issues, and I do nothing else for that two weeks.  But without her for fittings and measurements, I had to explain that it might turn out to be something she never, ever wore.  Still, she bugs me every chance she can get on social media, so I’m pretty sure it will happen.  I really need to up my comfort level with sweaters.

But not this weekend. This weekend I am not starting anything new!

Yarny Vaca

We are going to Seattle this weekend.  Ostensibly to visit my Mom.  But there will be yarn shopping. Duh.

So I’m looking at yarn stores and wondering just how many I can drag Kimball, my Mother, her friend, and the two friends (male, non-knitters) we are staying with to visit.   Too bad there is not a mathematical equation for calculating the patience of non-fiber lovers for fiber shopping.

K does not like to shop at all.  I remember one Christmas, and forgive me, it’s my favorite story, he uncharacteristically said, “I feel like Christmas shopping.”  Startled, I bumped into the coffee table with my shin and may have let a couple curses rip.  Quickly, I bundled up (this is Utah), pulled him out the door and raced to a store, Christmas Carols playing all the way.  He was almost smiling by the time we got there.  We walked in the door, took approximately 5 steps into the bright shiny interior,  the smile drained from his face and he said, “Okay, I’m done.”

Mathematical equation for Kimball’s shopping availability is any one that always equals zero.  But he’s a good sport and knows that I have to have my souvenir yarn.  Or at least he knows I will get it whether I have to have it or not. He’s in for a  short while.

Mom- In my head I  can see her smile, all mouth, no eyes, as she looks around at a bunch of colorful stuff that may or may not be turned into something.  I mean, she’s lived around me for years and thinks that I churn out a sweater every 2 weeks or so, so I’m not sure the knitting thing is really something she ‘gets’.  Unless she ‘gets’ something I’ve made of course.

The rest:  probably polite and wondering how long it really takes to pick a thing of yarn.

So let’s calculate….20 min?  Yeah, probably about right.

 

Project Problems

Usually,  there is time on the weekends to finish projects and organize.  Lately though, I have been so busy, that I haven’t done that at all. I have two unfinished baby sweaters, a cowl that I need to buy yarn for, an unblocked shawl, and a bazillion things in various stages of unfinished.  It’s weird.  I feel like I need to regroup.  But not this weekend…

Party on Saturday to celebrate Channi’s graduation and birthday.  I hope it’s fun.   I have Friday off to prepare and get things ready.  That should help.  Most likely Friday and Saturday will be very busy.  Now that Channi is home, she and Luke come over for dinner, or lunch, or whatever on Sunday. Which is totally awesome, but usually K and I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich–or the equivalent.  Now we are cooking and baking and prepping and entertaining, and getting nothing much done.  So there goes my weekend!

Maybe I need to accomplish more on the weeknights.   Hmmmm.  I remember weekends when I literally knit for 10 hours a day…while watching or going to a movie, while visiting, while driving around, whatever!  No more. I wonder if things will settle down?

This week I started the chicken and the fox from Topsy TurvychickenIt’s going well so far.  I need different colors of yarn though, and luckily,  Thursday I am meeting pals at Blazing Needles. I like the cotton I am using because they have a bazillion colors.  So I can pick up some more. Red and yellow, and black?  Next I want to make the snowman/Christmas tree, and that will take all these colors plus some green of course.

Mostly I’m trying to finish the socks, which are not necessary until Father’s day, so they are going slow.  I found some spare Madelinetosh, and am making a stripey scarf…on the bias I guess you’d say. It’s shaped like a parallelogram, and starts in one color, goes to stripes, which get wider and wider and turn into the other color.  There are a lot of cowls with the color/stripe/color thing, but I wanted something a certain shape, so I’m working on my own pattern. I hope it turns out.

I need to get working on my sweater. I want it for fall.   Unfortunately, I CAN’T GET GAUGE.  I know, I’m nothing if not repetitive.

My Own Data

Yesterday I had to attend an all day training. Frankly, they are not my favorite thing, and I avoid them whenever possible.  This one was necessary.   I’m not going to name the entity, but wow.  They continue to use an auditorium built decades ago for a workforce that has increased exponentially since then, and squeeze more and more people into it, all on folding plastic chairs.  For a training that is from 9am-4pm.

I am a wiggly person. It is impossible for me to sit still. And I realized quickly that I was going to drive the people next to me crazy. There was no table for note-taking, so….I pulled out the socks I was knitting on.  And I taught myself something.

We’ve all heard the tales of studies on how you can focus better while knitting, etc, and these lucky knitters who can knit all through work meetings….but I learned that it actually let me pay attention better.   socks

I don’t have to look down to knit socks.  Nearly ever.  So I knit and after 20 or so minutes, I realized that I had forgotten all about the uncomfortable chair, and I hadn’t even noticed how tightly we were squeezed in together at all.  I’d heard everything she said, and guess what?  I wasn’t yawning anymore or trying to make myself listen….I was hearing every word she said! Could not believe it.

Being able to knit turned an impossible day in which I would have constantly been irked and irritated, uncomfortable and self-conscious, into an actual learning experience!

So there!

I’d get fired if I tried this at work, and luckily the meetings hear rarely last more than 2 hours, so I’m fine.  But believe me when I say knitting is pretty much awesome in every way.

Knitting Bets Lost and Won

Last night I had a fun little knit night at Jitterbug Cafe in SLC.  It was a fun discussion all around regarding TED Talks, Spiders, storms, new yarn types and what everyone was knitting.  Knitters are interesting.   I’m sure you could say that about any group, but it’s fun to be part of a group that will get together to do their thing and that thing is conducive to conversation.   It’s soooooo social.

sweaterLast week I bet myself I could knit a baby sweater entirely on the train.  It didn’t work out.  I was short about half of the second sleeve. However, I drove on Thursday for knit night, and I definitely would have finished if I’d had those two hours.  So it’s all ready to block and finish with collars and button-bands, etc.  Easter weekend was busy, so should be able to get to it this weekend.

I am also working on some hats for my sis and nephew. They go watch her hatson/his brother  play baseball, and it’s still pretty cold Oregon-wise.  She sent me a pic of what she wanted, and I think I’ve come up with it.  One for each. Should be in the mail shortly.  My friend Jenn picked up some Cascade 220 at the thrift store and gave it to me.   She’s sweet that way.  Must be the old American batch, because after blocking it was positively soft.  I hope they like them.

We went to K’s parents for Easter and it was a full house. Literally.   It reminded me of just how fabulous Jude is.  He is so friendly and interested in everyone. No one was left out ever.   If someone was off on their own, Jude went over and made conversation.  If he was sitting and someone needed a seat, he gave up his.  It’s adorable.  Now if he would just stop being the favorite of all the kids.  The brat.

Jude

Chantel had fun too. Kimball, who seriously knows better, bet she couldn’t knit with two rocks.    Seriously should have known better.   Stylish.

rockSo I’m off to finish baby sweaters and other projects and start new.  Anyone want to bet what I finish this weekend?