SOAR

I’m off on Sunday. I’m borrowing my mother-in-law’s digital camera and I’ll take tons of pictures. I’ve been looking forward to the trip for so long, I can’t believe it’s finally here!

It’s been the craziest of weeks for me. As backstory, the research I do involves car crashes, and we’re one of 10 centers around the country who do this kind of work. Back in September when we were all in Boston, my boss decided that we could host a working meeting with everyone coming here. So in about 6 weeks, I had a hand in organizing a meeting for about 30 people. The upshot was, it was an incredible meeting – we made so much progress I was amazed. The work starts now, with keeping the momentum going. I’m just glad it’s over – I’ve been packing my bags for SOAR in my head all week.

Jillian asked me what my travel knitting would be. (I’m going with a friend who was in a car crash a couple of years ago and she doesn’t like to relinquish the wheel to anyone – bonus for me!) I still haven’t decided. I’ve turned the heel on my new Koigu sock, but I don’t like to knit with double pointed needles in the car (I’ve seen a few too many airbag interactions). The Emerald Isle Pullover is too complicated, I have to look at the charts and if we’re moving while I’m looking at charts, I get motion sick. I guess I’ll just have to pick something off my projects list to take with me – can’t be helped!

One more thing…Jillian wrote an “Ode to Carla” on her blog the other day. I have never been one to publicly announce my feelings (yeah, my dad didn’t hug me enough – so what). I have to say, it’s a humbling experience when someone writes about you exactly the way you would write about her (if you were as articulate). Having friends is a good thing, telling them how you feel about them is even better. J is right, go have lunch with a friend, and hug her when it’s time to leave.

See you all next week!

Koigu Redux

The dye code for the blue Koigu socks is P810. It’s the Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino. Here’s my next pair of Koigu:

The dye code on this one is 2169. I received 2 skeins of this from someone on the KnitSwap list and I’m very happy with it. The color looked solid in the skein, but there are some spots where the dye didn’t take as strongly as others and it leaves a lovely heathery effect on the yarn and on the knitted sock.

Latifa, I cast on 60 stitches on US 3s. This is my new Vanilla Sock Pattern for Koigu. I need to mess with it a little, because the foot of the sock is still slighly too big. I’ll let you know all the statistics as I go. I’m trying to get better writing all this stuff down – and goddess knows that I have enough blank books to write these things in!

I’m in for a loooooong week

But I want to be thankful for last week (and of course, the weekend). Had a fibery lunch with Jillian and Henry on Friday. Even though I’m leaving next Sunday for SOAR, I knew that I’d be buying something. I ended up with some Cascade 220 for a Xmas stocking for Little Big-Man. My children aren’t aware of it yet that they’ll have hand knit stockings for Santa to drop goodies in this year. [On a side note, on the way to riding lessons yesterday, Sassy asked the “Santa Claus” question. I nearly cried – and it surprised me. For some reason, it’s so much more fun when they still believe. You get to surprise them and they don’t even know it’s you. I think I headed it off this time, but it won’t be much longer.]

Anyway, J brought me a lovely present, inside a Girls Who Knit coffee mug was this:

And inside this tiny tin was this:

They are absolutely the most adorable things in the world! The tin is here on my desk and is exactly the right size to pick up and play with. I’ll have to take it home to put in my tools box. Big smooches out to Jillian!!

I did work on my project list this weekend. One sleeve and side seam are done on the Cashmerino cardigan. I’d kind of like to wear this at SOAR next week, so I must attach the other sleeve and do the button bands. I also spent many hours fixing problems on the Emerald Isle sweater. I forgot to measure and was supposed to decrease some stitches. Do you know what it looks like when you ladder down and do decreases? Yup – the dog’s breakfast. Had to rip out about 8 rows and re-knit them, but I’m back where I started and should make progress this week.

One more thing on my plate – the Fall Festival. My kids go to a school with such diversity that there are many parents who object to Halloween – fine, call it the Fall Festival, have the kids play games, wear costumes, and eat candy. Halloween is Halloween, no matter what you call it. Sassy decided that she wanted to be a rock star. She has this shiny-pink glam wig she wants to wear, so she created a costume around it. We bought fabric yesterday for a pair of pants and beads to embellish the pants and a shirt. She’s also planning on making a “fake” guitar. (She insists on saying “fake” everytime – I love how an 8-year-old believes she can fashion a real guitar out of what we have around the house and so has to specify “fake.”) How long can it take to whip up a pair of pants? That’s what I’ll be doing tonight – wish me luck with my cranky 26-year-old sewing machine.

Koigu Rocks!

If you noticed yesterday, I said I had 46 items on my projects list – but only ended up with 44 on my Projects Bog. One thing that fell off the list before I could post was my newest pair of socks. The blue Koigu ones, remember this abomination?

It is no more. I think I knit these socks 2 times apiece. For some reason, I wasn’t getting the feel of the yarn right. I’ve been using my same vanilla sock pattern that fits my foot perfectly for years. Usually, I use a wool/acrylic blend, cause I’m lazy and hate to hand wash anything. The colors of Koigu are so beautiful that I was tempted everytime I went into the yarn shop – the sock yarns are right up front.

So, anyway, my vanilla sock pattern wasn’t working. I think it has to do with Koigu’s stretching properties. It’s wonderfully elastic, so my normal number of stitches was way too many. So, I knit and ripped and refigured and came up with a pretty handsome pair of socks (I’d snap a picture, but the digital camera is in someone else’s pocket). The upshot of all this is, I have now worked out my vanilla sock pattern for Koigu and will happily knit socks of this stuff for years to come. It’s been a little chilly these last couple of Michigan mornings – and I’m the last one out of Birkenstocks for winter. My feet are toasty warm and they make me happy everytime I look down at them.

So the other project I didn’t list was the kilo of yarn I bought in Portugal. I was in the “studio” making my list and checking it twice, and the kilo was in the house. I about tripped on it this morning and realized that it hadn’t made it to the actual paper list (only the one in my head). The list (for today) is complete. I did find a bunch of yarn that I can live without (mostly odd balls, but some in sweater or vest quantities). I’m trying to decide if I want to hassle with eBay or just list everything out on the KnitSwap list.

On a side note, does anyone know what the hell “ftp” is? I created a new blog for the projects, but would really love to link it directly to this one. I can’t figure out Blogger’s helpful instructions on how to log in and link so that the ads won’t show up over there. Here’s my problem, I’m enough of a geek to figure out some things. The problem is, when I’m in over my head, my face goes slack and drool appears in the corners of my mouth. I’m trying to wade through stuff on the internet, but really have no idea what I’m doing. If anyone can point to a dummies page or book, I’d be very appreciative. (While we’re on the subject, what is RSS and do I need to look into that too?)

What’s that gopher song from Caddyshack?

I know when the boss comes off call he’s manic. I took 2-1/2 days off because I figured he’d be so busy catching up with other things that he wouldn’t even miss me. I was wrong. Did he notice that I was here everyday he was on call – sometimes early – sometimes late?!? No, he informed me that “I went over to that office and it was like a desert.” Oh, the guilt.

I did manage to make a list and (are you ready?) it’s only 46 items long. Stop that! Forty-six isn’t really that many – is it? Being a geek, I input them into Access. The database will tell me something about the project, who it’s for and where I’ve stored it as well as having a priority assignment. I’ll be putting up a page where I list them – just to keep myself honest (and Jillian entertained).

I’ve been knitting on my newest sweater – the Aran from Black Water Abbey. I was at Sassy’s ballet class last night when I realized that I had mis-crossed a cable about 5 rows down. I briefly considered leaving it (it’s on the back of the sweater, it’s pretty close to the bottom). In the end, I took a deep breath and just dropped those 9 stitches and re-knit them back up. It was a struggle (I’m not kidding, I was sweating when I was finished), but it’s fixed and I’m happy with it.

I also have recruited a new sock knitter. She’s the mom of on of my son’s field hockey teammates. She saw me last spring knitting socks on the side lines and asked if I could teach her. It was a dream session. She already knits, just needed a small refresher lesson and she took off. She’s flying to England next week and wants to knit on the way.

Fiber lunch with Jillian tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it (yummy chicken salad and yarn – what more could I ask for?). I have a ton of her aran pattern books and her Twists and Turns newsletters to return. I’ve had them forever and it’s time to fish or cut bait. I’m looking forward to swatching some patterns and creating my own masterpiece (!). I think the Jamieson’s yarn I bought will be swatched and turned into hats or pillows or something (uh oh – that’s another row in my projects database).

Time Out

I am so deep in the throes of organization this fall, I can’t stand it. I’m taking this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon off from work to go home and continue to “organize.” Last night, I put my family on a cleaning schedule (15-20 minutes/day). Everyone has at least 2 jobs they own – even my notoriously house cleaning-lazy husband.

I also made up a weekly menu. We’re all responsible for deciding what to eat during the week. Hub and I took 2 days apiece, each kid gets 1 day and Wednesday night is pizza night. We all chose what we wanted and I created a master shopping list. (Hub is responsible for buying everything on the shopping list.) We’ll see how long it all lasts – at least my head won’t explode this week.

I’m off to dig in the fiber room and decide which projects live and which die.

It’s the End of the World and We Know It

I think I’ve decided to take stock of my projects and stash. I was thinking I should know what stuff I have before buying a bunch more at SOAR (only 2 more weeks!). It’s a full weekend, however. My mother is coming on Saturday and helping me refinish a dresser I bought a month ago. What do I need another dresser for? I confess, it’s for all the scrapbook material I’ve accumulated. See? I need to be more organized and know what I have and where it is. For instance, my mother-in-law asked me the other day, “Remember that Philosopher’s Wool Kit I bought for you last year [for my birthday]? Are you ever going to knit that sweater?” Of course I remember it (sort-of) and yes, I’ll knit it (someday).

So, I’m announcing it here, October 18 and 19, organization weekend at my house. I’ll make a list of all the projects I have bought with a specific idea in mind – yarn, fiber, and (gulp) beads. Then I’ll have to prioritize them in some way – anyone have any ideas?

Having said all that, did I show you what I bought last weekend? Sassy had a 3-hour birthday party in Ann Arbor and it’s not really time effective for me to drive home and then come back to get her. Soooo, I tripped over to a local yarn shop that I don’t get to visit very often (it’s not “on my way” to anywhere). Here’s what I picked up:

This from the Himalaya Yarn Company. They recycle old saris and create yarn from them. I really love the idea of that yarn, but the colors are so jumbled, I have a hard time picturing anything made from it. This yarn is 60% wool, 40% recycled silk. I don’t know how well the colors show up on the screen, but the wool really unifies the silk. It’s a crazy mix of colors that are all brought together beautifully. It’s also much cheaper than the 100% recycled silk ($9.50 US for 100 gm/160 m).

I also bought this pattern pamphlet.

Sassy really likes the Boxy Silk Window Bag (bottom right), so I think the purple will become yet another bag in the child’s room. I guess that’s another line on my priority list!

ADHD

I’m whining this morning. I can’t seem to concentrate on anything. When I’m at home, I veg in front of the TV (not even knitting!) and when I’m at work, I veg in front of the computer screen. I’m messing around with my allergy medications right now and the change is making me sleepy and cranky at the same time (not a good combination – ask my family).

Here’s one bright spot in my week. I managed to get over to the yarn shop and buy this:



It’s a bit pricey ($29.95 US or 43.95 Can), but I’m convinced there are at least 4 sweaters that I want out of this book. It has everything from socks and hats, to vanilla-ish sweaters, to complicated patterns. At the very least, go have a look at the Green Mountain Spinnery website. Better yet, go to a shop and see it. They don’t have any pictures of the sweaters inside on the site – just the book.

My Cashmerino Cardigan went to Portugal and back again. It’s not finished. All the pieces are done, the shoulder seams done, and the sleeves are just hanging around. I should get them all attached before I lose a piece (it’s happened). Then I just need to do the bands and put on those cool buttons.

I picked up the swatches for this last night. I think I’m getting gauge, but it’s hard to tell over the cable bumps. Should I wash and block the swatch and measure again? I’m supposed to have 23 stitches over the cable pattern that’s on the sleeve – I think I’m pretty close.

My spinning guild is having a roving exchange this weekend. This is the first one I’ve participated in. They did it a couple of years ago and someone brought in a fugly shawl that he made from the roving. Everyone else oohed and aahed over it and I thought, “Eeeew, I can come up with something more attractive than that.” So, I’m tossing my hat in, we’re supposed to bring 30-1 oz bags of roving. I’m thinking of one of those cuff-to-cuff, fair-isle sweaters with some unifying roving thrown in. Or maybe I’ll spin up all the roving and over-dye. Look out Jillian – I’m getting out the dye pots!

One more thing, today’s my birthday. Here’s what I want…

Except that I prefer white cake with white frosting, please.

I’m leaving, on a jet plane

Okay, here’s the last story I promised you. I’ve been trying to get it out of my head, pretty much since it happened, but it’s one of those life-changing moments (don’t laugh – I have minutes of “touchy-feely” just like everyone else). For business reasons, I have to fly about 3 times/year. We have meetings in DC, Boston, and in December – Alabama. I’m not crazy about flying – not phobic exactly, but I do chant to myself as the plane is taking off and landing (“Fly plane fly! Land plane land!”). My co-workers have been known to chastise me whenever there’s turbulence on a flight, “What’s the matter, did you fall asleep? That was a pretty rough flight!”

So, we’re near the end of an almost 7 hour flight from Lisbon to Newark. The head flight attendant comes on and says, “Umm, ladies and gentlemen, the captain has just informed me that we’re having ‘flap issues’.”

Me: “WTF? Flap issues? What the hell does that mean?”

Head Flight Attendant: “Weeeell, what that means is, our flaps aren’t working. Now don’t worry [!], this kind of thing happens frequently. We will still be able to land. However, don’t be alarmed if you see fire trucks on the runway when we touchdown. This is just a precautionary measure.”

Me: “Precautionary measure? In case we burst into flames?”

At this point, I think, “Hmm, my mother will be comforted by the fact that ‘at least they died together.'” Completely untrue Mom! Hub’s in the front of the plane and I’m in the back (where I have a fabulous view of the flaps and their issues). Plus, it’s NEWARK – who the hell wants to die in Newark! I’m gauging the attitudes of the flight attendants and they’re not looking calm. They have that air of forced calm that I assume they’re trained to wear when something goes wrong. I see that they’re conferring a lot with the people in the exit rows.

Later, Hub (who was sitting a row in front of the exit) tells me that there was a small, older woman who refused to give up her seat. The attendants were trying to impress upon her that the door is heavy and she may not be able to move it, should the time come. She adamantly tells them that she “is indeed able to carry out the duties of sitting in this row.” The final response from the flight attendants is, “Well, okay. You can stay there, but don’t do ANYTHING until we tell you to. Don’t touch the handle, don’t touch the door, don’t touch the window – don’t touch anything until we say so.”

I sit, in the back of the plane, feel the approach to the runway and watch the flaps kind of swing back and forth like those doors on saloons in western movies. I watch the back of my husband’s head move back and forth as he talks to his seat mates. I chant my “fly plane fly, land plane land” mantra and hold my breath. We hit the runway, don’t slow one iota, and I think, “We’re going off the runway into whatever makes the plane stop quickly and we’ll all have whiplash at the very least.” Slowly, very slowly (or is it quickly, very quickly) we come to a stop and the people in the plane burst into applause. I, however, burst into tears. The older couple next to me is holding hands and saying, “We made it.” All the other people on the plane are joyous and all I could think was, “My children almost spent the rest of their lives without parents.”

Hub and I were on separate flights from Newark to Detroit. I asked, “Should we see if I can get on your [1 hour earlier] plane? Then you won’t have to wait.” He looked at me and said, “I’m pretty comfortable with us being on separate planes today. I’ll wait for you in baggage claim. Have a safe flight”