To Do List

One thing already crossed off my weekend list. Sassy’s shawl was finished about 10:00 pm last night. I left it on her pillow to be discovered this morning. She came out all warm and sleepy with it wrapped around her. She’s a very happy kidlet today.

I started swatching the Cashemerino this morning. It’s like butah. I was thinking aloud yesterday that it might be nice to whip out a plain vanilla cardigan on the Sweater Machine. Jillian thinks the yarn is too fine (sport weight). Then I got a little discouraged thinking about how long a big, plain sweater would take me. This morning while I was swatching, I thought, “I’m so glad this yarn is too small for the machine. It’s going to be dreamy to knit this.” That’s why I’m a fiber junkie!

Here’s the swatch for my Black Water Abbey sweater.



At first, I didn’t like the cable. It sort of meanders around – once I finished 1 repeat, I liked the meandering. Should be a cool sweater. The other swatch is an ocean of seed stitch. I love the way seed stitch looks – just hate knitting lots of it. I always end up with small patches where I screw up the placement of the knits and purls.

I’m also thinking of adding to my Weekend To Do List. I’ve been watching Pioneer Melissa repaint her house like a demon for the last couple of weeks. My living room sorely needs to be repainted and I’d love to redo the Louisiana Room too. (The Louisiana Room started it’s life as a Florida Room with heat. Since it was a little warmer than a Florida Room, we dubbed it the Louisiana Room. In reality, it’s the dining/computer room.) What will probably happen is that I’ll pick up a few little cans of paint and dab them in different places in the room. Then I’ll get bored and go back to knitting. My husband will come home and see my attempts and roll his eyes. Yeah, yeah, ask Jillian if the refrigerator has been moved out of my fiber room yet.

Praying at the Altar of the Yarn Goddess

My friend Jillian met me for lunch today. Today was the start of the sale at Knit Around, so we walzed over there after gorging on Chunky Cherry Chicken Salad. She caught me fishing in the sale bins for this…

It’s more blue than shows up in the photo. J reminded me that I have Sweater Wizard and that it would be “so easy to whip up an office cardigan.” Guess who’s going home tonight to swatch? I haven’t forgotten though – Kimono will be done by Monday evening!!

Here’s a snapshot of Sassy’s shawl.

She tried it on this morning before I stuffed it in the basket and pronounced it “warm and comfy. I can’t wait till it’s done.” She looked mighty cute in it too. I picked up another skein of Manos, so that will be finished by Monday too.

One last thought, Prednisone and caffeine are really a bad mix. Maybe I shouldn’t have picked up that Vanilla Latte on the way back to my office…

When is sick enough?

How do you make the call to head to the Emergency Department or wait for your doctor’s office to open? My husband, for instance, had his appendix burst on a Sunday, went to work on Monday, saw the doctor Monday afternoon, and went back to work on Tuesday. All before going to the hospital to have surgery.

I have a friend who got stung by a bee and drove to his house (right past the hospital) because that’s where his Epi-pen was. His wife was in the basement when he got out of the car and could hear him wheezing from there.

I just came back from the ED because my throat hurt this morning and I thought it was swelling shut. The “answer woman” at my doctor’s office only has voice mail, so I decided not to wait on her call back. I must say that if you have to go to the ED, it’s good to wear your hospital ID badge and just keep saying your boss’ name over and over. I got pretty good service and was out in about 3 hours. (That includes a blood draw too. By the way, tell Jason he’s a hack and he should back out of the room and get someone else.)

So, more drugs for me. This means that my head feels stuffed full of cotton and I can’t think straight. I have managed to finish a whole repeat of the cable for my new sweater. I meant to bring it in and scan it, but forgot in all the drama.

I’ve been re-working the golden lotus socks too. I will say that it’s been a pleasure to work with Koigu. It feels nice and rips out beautifully. I have a feeling that these socks will hold up for a long time. I can’t wait to get this pair done, I have enough Koigu to make 2 more pairs. Bring on winter!

Last Thursday, I met up with a bunch of neighborhood knitters at Espresso Royale. It was such a good time. I showed Jillian the colors I had chosen for the edge treatment for Sassy’s Tasha Tudor shawl. After a lot of searching, I chose some Jaegar baby merino, one ball of pink and one ball of lavender to work together. It looked like a clown had vomited cotton candy.

The baby merino was too smooth compared to the Noro and the colors were too much of a contrast. Back to the yarn shop. I was going to go with either one of the colors and just live with the smooth vs. fuzzy look. Then I saw some Manos. It’s a beautiful mauve color that doesn’t exactly match the colors in the Kureyon, but it’s very close and the fuzz factor is perfect. Sassy loves it and checks my progress every day. I’m hoping to have it done this weekend.

Here’s my pledge (Jillian – it’s written down) I will take apart the Kimono this weekend and re-seam it. I want to get it off my plate now. That way, I can start the new cable sweater with a clear conscience – almost.

Allergies, Allergies…something’s living on my skin

For the last 2 months, I’ve been battling something that’s sent my immune system into overdrive. I’ve been itching and having bouts of hives off and on – feet and hands swelling, etc. I have few allergies, but the ones I have are BIG ones. I’m allergic to latex – do you have any idea how many things have latex in them? Just to name a few – balloons, rubber bands, the gloves my hygienist wears when she cleans my teeth. Did you also know that most people who have latex allergies are also allergic to bananas, kiwi, and avocado?

I haven’t gone to the doctor mostly because she never seems to know what causes the reaction – it’s flushing $15 down the toilet because she asks the same questions I’ve been asking myself. Then she tells me to take Benadryl (which I’ve already been doing). I’ve been through this drill quite a few times before, so I’ve been analyzing everything that I come into contact with (this is a lot of analyzing – it’s been 2 months). No changes in laundry detergent or deodorant. I always check food labels, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t any food. I don’t wear perfumes or colognes or use any sort of hair products.

Last night my husband came home to find me with ice packs on my legs because they were itching so much I couldn’t stand it and I knew scratching wasn’t going to make it better. “You’re calling the doctor tomorrow and you’re going to do something about this,” he said in his best tough-guy voice.

I was looking over my check book this morning (stay with me here, there’s a connection) and I noticed that I had a hair cut towards the end of May. Then I remembered that I bought new shampoo from the stylist because she used it on my hair and I liked the way it smelled. So I ran into the bathroom to check the label. Guess what the third ingredient is…kiwi extract. I’m horrified. I’ve been washing my hair with this stuff for 2.5 months. I’ve been lathering myself in poison everyday. I’m glad I know what it is now, but pissed that I’ve been sick the whole summer without knowing what it was. And the worst part is, I have no one to blame it on. I have to shoulder all the responsibility for this one. I know better.

Step Over to the Dark Side…

Sandy is knitting. She’s my office mate and last summer we went over to the local yarn shop because she wanted to learn to knit. We sat at Cafe Zola for a couple of hours and I taught her the basic knit stitch. Then the yarn and needle got dumped into the shopping bag never to be looked at again. So, her son is a year older (and fortunately not too much taller) and she wants to knit again. The poor, ripped shopping bag has been hanging on the coat rack since we moved into this new office (last November). I got her started again knitting, but she wants something new…hello purl stitch. I love her next question,

“Really? There are only 2 stitches in knitting?”

“Yes.”

“Really? Really?

It’s a little painful watching her struggle so much, but she keeps going. I have to admire that. Today she asked “Do people knit baby blankets?” I think we’ve got another convert.

Okay, in my zeal to organize my house, I have to come to terms with a couple of things…

1. I don’t like to finish things once I’m bored with the project

2. I have way too many things started and sitting around incomplete

3. I’m going to have to bite the needle and make a list of all these things I have lying around (“Be honest please, this is for posterity”)

4. I’m going to have to decide which things will ultimately get finished and which things will be given away/thrown away/ripped out and re-added to the stash

And with the startitis overcoming me, I started a shawl for my daughter. She’s a purple/pink girly girl. I had 5 skeins of Noro Kureyon in the stash with her name on them and she’s been begging me for a shawl for a very long time. So I started the Nancy Bush Tasha Tudor Shawl. Since I want her to wear it for a while and it didn’t look big enough with only 4 skeins, I kept knitting until I’d used up all 5 skeins. Now I have to come up with something for the border. I don’t think the Kureyon will work because of the distances between color changes, so I need something else. Of course, everything in the stash that was the right color was either too chunky or too fine (honest!). Jillian said, “Just go buy more yarn!” Gotta love an enabling friend.

The Great Blackout of 2003

Why do newscasters have to name everything? Living in the midwest, we have a “great storm of blah, blah, blah” every year. Enough already! I know the power is out, I also know that we haven’t had an outage of this size in a very, very long time. There isn’t anything else to report on? I happened to be at Cedar Point on Thursday. That’s right America’s Roller Coast. I’m really glad we weren’t here .

In case you haven’t been there (and I haven’t) that’s a picture from the peak of the Millennium Force – 310 feet up. “[It] was the first coaster in the world ever to use an elevator lift system to take riders up a 45-degree angle to the top of its imposing structure. Once there, riders plummet to Earth at a staggering 80-degree angle! Millennium Force broke an astonishing 10 world records when it debuted as Cedar Point’s 14th roller coaster, more than anywhere else in the world.” (from the Cedar Point website)

Did you get that bit about the elevator lift system? When the elevator doesn’t work the train can’t go over the top – it stops right where it is. Oh, and there’s no way to get down from up there. All of the other coasters have what looks like giant scaffolding next to the tracks so that employees can help people off the ride when something goes wrong (one at a time). Millenium Force has a generator attached to it for just such an occasion. The people stuck on this ride were up there for about 45 minutes before someone decided the power wasn’t coming back on and they should start up the generator. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have lasted that long. I was hyperventilating on the water ride when they said “You’re climbing to a height of 50 feet.” Since Sassy was with me on the ride, I had to be calm and collected mama on the outside when I really wanted to curl up into the fetal position. I don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon.

Jillian says she’s nesting this week. I find that I’m doing the same thing at my house, but I’m calling it “organizing before school starts.” If I don’t get my house in some sort of order before backpacks and permission slips start coming home, I’m lost. I spent about 3 hours digging out my desk, filing stuff, and (my personal favorite) throwing shit away. Here’s what I found:

1. Sandy’s store bought sweater with a problem on the sleeve that I promised to fix (from last May);

2. the start of a crochet sleeve that Sassy brought home from someone’s donation to the school – she wanted a button sewn on to make a shawl for her American Girl doll (also from May);

3. my niece’s star quilt that needs a dowel pocket sewn on the back so my sister can hang it in her room (that one’s from April);

4. a book from a man who no longer works in my office. I never even attempted to read the book. The title is That Printer of Udell’s and it was published in 1902 if that gives you any idea.

Bring it on!! I’m ready…

I gave in to temptation and bought some AS yarn from the KnitSwap list. The color is called oyster – it’s sort of that aran white color with a tinge of copper thrown in. I bought 20 skeins and I’m pretty sure it’s enough to knit an Aran sweater. I’m really nervous about designing my own, so I’m getting my feet wet with the Emerald Isle pattern from Black Water Abbey Yarns So here’s the deal I’ve made with myself: I can knit a swatch for this, but before I can start actually knitting it, I have to fix the seams on the Kandinsky Kimono. I can’t be the only person who gets incredibly bored with a project and sets it aside when all it would take to have a finished garment is about 2 hours worth of work. Can I?

Let’s see, that means I only have the Applegate Shirt, golden lotus Koigu socks, and a baby hat to fix up before I can move on. Manageable – no?

Reduce, reuse, recycle

I took my reknit Koigu sock with me to lunch with Jillian yesterday and asked what she thought. I had been looking at it and thinking about it and what it reminded me of was a sock for a golden lotus. A little long, I’ll grant you, but that’s what it reminds me of because of the very high instep. I just finished reading this book (which is a beautiful book if you’re at all interested, you can get it from the Textile Museum) so I have those tiny, broken feet on my mind. The upshot is, I’ll be ripping out the finished sock and reknitting to a better size. I know I’ll like the socks more if they fit my feet better, but I need to get over the “wasted time” feeling – it’s not wasted time if I learned something, right?

Big hugs go out to Amy who designed the Crochet Ho button now featured on the blog. It only took me a day and a half, but I figured out how to get the button into my template. As much as my son tells me I’m a techno-geek, I really feel inept sometimes.

I also want to thank Debala for reminding me of how many Yiddish words I use in a day. I came from a smallish sized town filled with Polish Catholics. I was odd kid out (being an Episcopalian) and used to be envious of the kids to went to catechism every day. When I went away to college, I was blown away by the diversity – so many different people, beliefs, and ways of doing things. I dated a Jewish boy that first year and picked up a few words (shiksa was the main one). When I was introduced to his grandmother, she grabbed my hand and looked deeply into my eyes, “Carla is not a Jewish name, is it??”

The summer after my freshman year, I went to Mackinac Island to work at a resort. My roommate, Marcie, was Jewish and she taught me lots more words. Many of which are on Deb’s blog. Schmutz has always been my favorite (did I spell it right Deb?). Even my kids use that one. Anyway, it’s been fun learning new words every day – some familiar and some not. Deb, you need to have sound on your blog – I hate to mispronounce these words!

One last thing. Get yourselves over to Dance as Ever. It’s Leigh Witchel’s annual fund drive for his dance company. It’s a lot of fun to see what knitters donate to the cause. Last year, I won a pair of leg warmers knit by Sally Melville. Sassy’s a little too short for them yet, but eventually, she’ll be wearing them in ballet class.

Hookin’ and Grinnin’

Here’s your shot at immortality Terri:

I brought the scarf in to work today and forced Terri to model it for you. I used almost 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino for this creation. It was a lot of fun and I love the way it turned out.

My favorite part was

these little flower-like things. I think I understand why people make Granny Square afghans…immediate gratification. Those little flowers take less than 5 minutes to make and they’re so darn cute. Sassy saw them this morning (as I was frantically sewing them on the scarf) and said, “Mommie, can you show me how to make these? I like the way they feel.” I have to agree, they’re squishy and they just feel good in your hand. I’m actually thinking of making a couple more of these scarves for my nieces – Christmas knitting.

And because I was on a roll having Terri model, here’s the Mountain Colors Vest

Not that I want to embarrass her, but I snapped this pic right after she asked me, “Should I take my scrub top off?” Then she looked down and saw how open the lace pattern was. She’s such a good sport!

Fi-ber lunch with Jill-i-an (you have to read that in a sing-song voice). We were going for Thai, but the placed is closed on Tuesdays for lunch! Then we spotted the BBQ place across the road. Buffet was amazing – it was kind of like being in someone’s back yard; right down to the giant vat of baked beans. I needed a wet nap before I even started eating. Why do I always pick up the serving spoons and get gunk all over my hands? Did manage to keep the white shirt white though.

I’m sure someone eavesdropping on our conversations would have a hard time following them. This time, we covered everything from third trimester pregnancy to dealing with problematic co-workers. I consider it a huge bonus for me to have a friend who has more experience in the “business world” than I do. I pick her brain every chance I get and she always gives me good advice and clues me in to what I’m missing and need to think more about.

Additionally, she’s pushing me on the ARAN project. I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around the whole thing. It’s time to pick some patterns and get swatching already. Or as my mother says to my dad, “Enough with the planning, get to the doing!”

Mea Culpa

It wasn’t Jillian who brought the magazine to crochet class after all.

It was

AMY

It’s not one bit hard. It’s a very simple pattern and very well written. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying it. I even had one of my bouts with insomnia last night and what did I do? Flipped on the TV and grabbed the new scarf…it’s under my desk right now, boy am I tempted.

Crochet Ho

Yep, that’s me. My kids had a birthday party to go to yesterday and parents weren’t invited. (The mother asked if I was offended by that – I had to restrain myself from giving her a big wet smooch.) Since I had a couple hours of free time, I took myself over to JoAnn’s (no, I did not buy myself an Incredible Sweater Machine – but only because they didn’t have them at the JoAnn’s I wandered into). They did have the most recent Family Circle Easy Knitting & Crochet. Now, Jillian brought this mag to the crochet class and I flipped through it then, but didn’t think there was anything I’d like to do. Yesterday was a different story. I saw the pattern for this

and decided I needed to expand my crochet repertoire. So I bought a ‘J’ hook and a crochet pamphlet to try my hand. I didn’t buy any yarn as it was mostly the Red Heart variety (and because I don’t need any). I swatched the scarf in 3 different yarns and felt a little like Goldilocks (too scratchey, too stiff, just right). Finally settled on some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (55% merino, 33% microfiber, and 12% cashmere). It’s dreamy to work with and as a result, I’m about halfway through the scarf. It was a little like eating potato chips – can’t do just one row. The one thing I had a problem with was ‘dc’. I kept reading it as decrease instead of double crochet. Once I could ‘read’ the pattern, it went pretty quickly.

What I really love are these:



The scan doesn’t show up too well, but they are so adorable! There will be 4 of these little flowers on each short end of the scarf. Again, once I figured out how to make my fingers work, they work up very quickly.

As I was on a crochet high, I thought it might be a good idea to finish the Mountain Colors Vest. It is now finished and looks lovely. I think I ripped out each edging at least twice. It was hard to get it just right; it either puckered from not enough stitches picked up to being wavy from picking up too many. I finally settled on a 2-to-1 pickup (pick up 2 stitches, skip 1). I’ll post pictures tomorrow.

I also ripped out the ill fitting Koigu sock, and reknit it. Though I’m still not completely happy with it, it stays as is. I think the problem really is that I cast on too many stitches for the ribbing (I hate tight fitting socks). Since this is the first time I’ve knit with Koigu, I really had no idea how much it would stretch. It fits nicely on my leg, but leaves way too many stitches to be decreased in the gusset area. As a result, the gusset/decrease area is too tall. It looks a little funky, but fits fine. I think this is what also contributed to my running out of yarn. Can you see the darker yarn in the toe area? Next time, I’ll swatch more carefully and I’ll have a better idea of how Koigu works up.

I think I’m out of my slump.