Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Coming Up For Air

The title is a bit deceiving, as I have very little time today to do a post, but I figured I’d dispel the rumors that I’d been abducted by aliens or that I had dropped off the face of the planet or that I’d won the lottery and purchased a large sheep farm in order to grow my own wool (I wish).  The truth is, I’ve been incredibly busy doing vast quantities of various things that are not knitting and therefore, not nearly as much fun.  I have, however, made a scant amount of progress on a couple of things.

First, The Husband’s sweater...  I’d love to say I’d finished but that would be a big, fat, bald-faced lie.  I did manage to finish two sleeves of relatively the same size to go with the ghostly-looking torso.  The stripes may even match up…mostly. 

Close enough

Looks kinda like an oddly colored safety vest

Of course, now I have to sew which I generally procrastinate on, even if I have the time, which I haven’t.  The good news is, once I sew up those shoulders and set in the sleeves, all that’s left is the neckline, which upon further examination looks way more complicated than it need be.  If I were a better knitter, I’d make it up.  But I’m not.  So I won’t.  If you were a risk-taker, you might bet that I’ll have this finished by the end of the weekend.  In the interest of full disclosure, that is not a bet I’m willing to make at this point.  You’ve been forewarned.

Next, I’ve made some progress on the little mystery project I started several weeks ago.  Can you guess what it is? 

If you happen to be reading this and happen to have a newborn infant that I have recently knit things for and you are tempted to get excited about the possibility that this may be something cute for the baby, let me just say that you should not get your hopes up.  The last part of this mystery project is looking a little lame.  It may never see the light of day.  I’m just sayin’…

Here’s a picture of my lace project:

{crickets chirping}

That’s right, there’s nothing there.  Why?  Because I’ve given up on lace for the moment.  Seriously, I need to have a beautiful, lacey, hand-knit item for a friend by the middle of April.  I don’t believe this is going to happen if I continue to try to work with lace-weight yarn because we 1) don’t have enough time to spend together, and 2) I don’t want to be under so much pressure to complete a lace-weight project that I end up hating lace and don’t ever try it again.  For the gift, I’ve located a beautiful lace-type pattern that calls for fingering weight that looks to be simple enough for me to complete without stress prior to mid-April.  I do intend to go back to the lace-weight eventually though.  No, really, I do.

The only other thing that I’ve done a few rows on is a mystery KAL that we’re doing at my LYS.  I missed knit night this week, so I’m behind on one week of instructions, but here’s what I have so far.

I'm told it's not a scarf...but what??

I have no idea what we’re knitting.  This is by far the most fun I’ve had knitting in the last month.

That’s all the time I have for now.  Plus the silly parrot is screaming in my ear because The Husband is home from work and he’s not paying her any attention at the moment.  Methinks I shall make a savory parrot stew…

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oh, So Random

A Snail's Pace

I have nothing today but random thoughts.  You’ve been warned.  Remember in my last post where I mentioned that the gloomy days affect my motivation level?  Well, that’s my excuse (works for me).  It’s like my brain is in a fog.  I have done some knitting but I realized last night that I’m not currently working on anything that’s fun.  This, due in large part to the fact that I am yet slogging away at The Husband’s sweater.  I’m still on sleeve #1, v. 3.0.  It has grown considerably since I last posted, but it’s not growing fast enough to suit me. 

The worst part of looking at this is realizing I still have another bloody sleeve to do after this one is done.  Shoot me now…  (I really do hate how whiny I’ve gotten over this thing but I can’t seem to help it.  Apologies to all.)

I was dabbling with my mystery project but that’s at a standstill now because I realized I didn’t get enough yarn.  I’m not sure how I miscalculated it so badly, but I’m willing to bet that I did the math on a gloomy day.  So, I need to dash over to the yarn shop sometime today to fetch some more.  My lace project is also hibernating since I know that as soon as I pick it up and work on it, I will surely cast aside the above knitting nemesis for the thrill of working on something I actually enjoy.  And look, my sock yarn is still languishing (for the same reason I’m not knitting my lace project)…

Other than that, I’m just waiting for the sun to shine (the weatherman says maybe on Friday - dare I hope?).  In the meantime, The Husband and I have done some routine things:

We ate sushi.
He's good with chopsticks.
I would starve without a fork.

Hawaiian roll - YUM!

We shopped for groceries.

Does anyone remember when tomatoes used to be dark orange/red??

I took a picture of my daughter’s dog with a bird feather stuck to her nose.


Yep, it’s been one thrill after another.  Don’t be jealous.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Off The Cuff

Yesterday was glorious in that the sun shone brightly and I got a lot of detailed (non-knitting) stuff done.  I also made time to go out and sit in the sunshine for a bit in the back yard, even though the back yard is currently a disaster (no, I have not raked those blasted leaves yet).  

My azaleas are blooming

The rest of the yard looks like this.  Eeewww...

Not my coast but wish it was
Unfortunately, days like yesterday have been in short supply lately.  Today is once again gloomy.  Our normally sunny coast has been lucky to get two days of sun out of seven and those dreary days seem to kill my ability to be productive.  I’m feeling rather cheated, as one of the main reasons we moved here from Ohio is because up there you can go a full 31 days and only see a half day of sunshine.  I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and when you couple that with impending menopause, it was just safer for everyone if we found someplace sunny to live.  I’m beginning to think that lousy weather just follows us.  Our first winter here was colder than winters usually are and we got the blame.  We took our first cruise to Mexico in 2010 and it got so cold that the ship was serving more coffee and hot chocolate than cocktails (one day I’ll write a book about our disastrous vacations).  Now the sun has hidden itself away more than is normal.  A few weeks ago, we were watching a TV show about living in Hawaii and The Husband said we should move there because the weather is so consistently beautiful.  I replied with, “Yeah, until we move there.  Then the weather would be crap.”  I just couldn’t do that to Hawaii.

In spite of the fact that cloudy days sap my motivation and remove any desire to do even simple things like actually take a shower and change out of my pajamas, the good news is that even when it’s gloomy, I have no problem knitting.  Lately, this has resulted in my finishing the body of The Husband’s sweater.  Ta - daaaa!

Next step:  sleeves.  Now you know that I’ve had issues with sleeves before but that was a while ago and I’d like to think my skills have advanced some since then.  DPNs no longer scare me so I powered right along and cast on the first sleeve.  The sleeves are worked from the cuff up and like most men’s sweater sleeves, they begin with ribbing.  I blew through 4 cm of ribbing then began the now infamously tedious moss stitch and made it to my first increase.  That’s when I saw it. 

The ribbed cuff was huge.  Seriously, mutant-like huge.

What the heck?  I did my gauge swatch.  I was using the proper size needle.  Okay, maybe it was just me.  Maybe it only appeared to be huge so I hauled it back to The Husband’s closet to compare it with his other store-bought sweaters.  Yep.  It was huge.  As I looked at what progress I’d made and how beautifully the moss stitch looked and thought about how much time I’d already spent on this little sleeve-ling and how much I really hate frogging things, a ridiculous thought came to me.  Maybe the cuffs on his other sweaters are too small (yes, it’s amazing what rationalizations your mind can produce when you’re trying to avoid something).  Yes, that’s it!  That must be it!  So I waited until The Husband returned home from work and had him stick his hand into the thing.  Yeah, it was huge.

I.  Hate.  This.  Sweater.

So last night, I pulled it all out and decided (in a fit of further stupidity) that I’d try working it with a smaller needle.  Truth is, I didn’t want to do the math it required to adjust the stitch count.  I got several rows of the ribbing done and deluded myself into thinking it looked smaller so I had The Husband stick his hand through this one.  It looked remarkably like the first one.  Idiot…

Version 3.0
Third time is a charm, right?  I did the math and could tell as I was working that this cuff was going to be just right.  The Husband agreed this morning.  He had no choice really, as I sort of threatened to stab him with my DPNs if he looked at version 3.0 and decided it was now too small.  There now.  All is well.  Er…not really because I still have to finish the stupid thing.

In the meantime, it must have been the wild look in my eye last night after pulling out cuff #2 that convinced The Husband to tell me that maybe I should work on something else for a while.  I didn’t take him up on that at the moment, but once I realized cuff #3 was going to work, I cast on this:

I’ll keep this a mystery for now because I want to surprise someone with it.  Oooohhhh, a mystery!  What is it?!  I’ll give you a hint.  It is NOT a cuff…

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Pas Plus Mardi Gras

It was a beautiful sunny weekend here on the Gulf Coast and it’s that time of year when Mardi Gras permeates everything.   Mardi Gras was a foreign thing to us Northerners when we first moved here.  I couldn’t believe the kids actually got a couple days off of school for it.  I guess when you don’t have to worry about making up snow days, an extra holiday here or there doesn’t matter that much.  Anyhoo, there are several parades over the course of the MG season and one of them goes right down the nearest cross-street from our house.  Many MG parades and events around here aren’t exactly G-rated, but this one is because it’s really a kids’ parade, so at least most of the participants are not drunk.  We usually attend this little parade together but since I came down with the crud, The Husband had to go Saturday and enjoy it by himself.    

This guy is targeting someone to pummel
I swear, they actually aim at you
MG parades still mystify me.  They consist mainly of several decorated trailers hauling a bunch of folks who throw stuff at you.  It’s usually not even stuff that you want, like $50 bills or (dare I say it) balls of quality yarn.  It’s mostly cheap plastic beads that either end up hanging from your rearview mirror in the car, sitting in a pile somewhere in your house until you get tired of seeing them and throw them into any random drawer to get them out of sight (along with the previous year’s collection), or laying in various and sundry gutters along the parade routes*.  The exception to this is when they throw Moonpies (which The Husband scored a few of - yum!) or, I hear this year, one restaurant was throwing actual wrapped chicken sandwiches (which The Husband did NOT score any of and I was sad).  Each trailer comes equipped with NASA-sized speakers emitting music at a decibel level one notch past deafening.  There are also dance teams, men all dressed up who may select you to receive a flower from them and who expect a smooch in return, and some local “celebs” I probably should know but don’t, riding in convertibles doing their best parade wave.  I have as yet to see one single marching band in any of these parades.  Where are the stinking marching bands??  How can you possibly have any sort of parade without at least one measly marching band?  (Yes, I was a band geek years ago.)  So, all this to celebrate…

I. Don’t. Know. What.

And neither do most of the folks having the party.  Okay, don’t write me a novel about what Mardi Gras is about.  I already Googled it.  Historically, it’s to do with the time leading up to the Christian season of Lent.  Fat Tuesday is generally a day to gorge yourself on all sorts of everything before giving things up for Lent.  This is taken very seriously in some countries and cultures.  But here, Lent has very little to do with it.  Here, it is not just about Fat Tuesday, as the celebration starts several weeks prior to that day.  Here, methinks it be an excuse to engage in merry-making and revelry for an extended period of time.  Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time, now would it?  :-)

So I’ve decided to embrace the idea of Mardi Gras, but with some changes.  First, my Mardi Gras will no longer be referred to by that name.  Henceforth, it shall be called Planquer Gras, meaning Fat Stash.  Trailers will be loaded down with fiber people who will throw lovely skeins of merino and the like as well as other desirable knitting stuffs.  While we’re at it, let’s get some spinners on those trailers as well.  Convertibles will showcase our local yarny heroes like Lady L. who, instead of doing a parade wave, will be a moving demonstration of cabling or some other such technique.  Trailer decorations will be of the fiber persuasion, of course.  Instead of local dance teams, we will feature teams of synchronized knitters.  I’ll have to insert at least one marching band to be true to my former band geek glory but we’ll see that each member has something wooly on.  Next year, we shall spend several weeks engaging in sweater-making and Ravelry (see what I did there?).  Yep, I’m liking this whole idea. 

Oh, and just one more thing.  The Moonpies can stay.

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*There are several good recycling programs for beads.  Yes, I said "recycling" and "beads" in the same sentence.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Crud - Day Two

Today is day two of my having come down with some sort of bug, although at this point I’m thinking it is NOT the dreaded flu that has been so widely reported this season.  Whatever it is, it has not moved past my throat, thankfully, and the soreness is almost gone.  The bad news is, it still feels like I’ve swallowed a handful of sand.  I’m hoping this fades away like the soreness has and that nothing travels into my head or my lungs.  The one and only time I ever had any kind of flu was years ago when we were living in the frozen North.  It knocked me out of action for an entire week.

Most of yesterday I spent either knitting or sleeping.  During my knitting time, I managed to complete one baby sock.  Considering it was my first sock ever, baby or otherwise, I think it came out really well.  I used the pattern Just Your Basic Baby Sock by Patti Pierce Stone with Euro Baby Babe yarn.

I started the second sock but then it came time for The Husband to come home from work so I figured I’d better ditch the sock for the oh-so-exciting Limestone sweater. 

I’m still about 7 cm from dividing the stitches so today promises to be filled with yet more k1, p1 rounds.  It’s been kind of like that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where Sir Lancelot is running to a castle to save what he thinks is a princess being forced to marry against her will and he runs and runs but doesn’t appear to get any closer.  I take solace in knowing that he does eventually get there.  Let’s just hope Limestone doesn’t have any awkward surprises in store for me like what awaited poor Sir Lancelot…

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Friday, February 1, 2013

A Baby And A Bug

Using Euro Baby Babe in Colorway 3

Happy news!  Happy news!  My dear friend who was expecting had her baby girl yesterday and mommy and daughter are doing fine.  I assume daddy is doing well too, although I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t really ask.  Dads always get the short end of the stick.  Anyway, I have a few baby knits that have been just waiting on her arrival, including a Baby Eyelet Cardi by Linda fromclickertyclick that I finished last night.  I followed the pattern, not using the crew neckline since it’s for a little girl.  I also didn't do the picot edging but then decided that I should add some sort of detail in a contrasting color, so I knit up a quick i-cord and sewed it on for a tie closure instead of doing buttons.  I only wish I’d made the cord a little bit longer so it could be tied into a bow.  Live and learn. 

I was all set to visit my friend and Baby E. this morning, but unfortunately, it appears I’ve contracted some sort of bug that has manifested itself in body aches, chills, and a sore, scratchy throat that makes it difficult to talk (many will be thrilled about this).  I started with a sore throat last night but I thought it would turn out to be nothing if I kept saying over and over to myself, “I’m not sick.  It’s just the dry winter air.”  Um…that worked about as well as a reasonably intelligent human being would expect it to.  Right now, my neck feels like it’s about 3 feet thick.  I’m extremely irritated.  I’m sitting here in sweats, overlaid with my big, fluffy robe my son got me when we still lived in cold Ohio.  Add to that a knitted scarf and an old hat I dug out of the closet and you’ll have an idea of the bizarre figure I cut this morning (and yes, my heat is on – doesn’t seem to matter much).  Plus, my feet are cold, which they wouldn’t be if I’d finished a pair of socks.  I still haven’t even cast them on.  Aside from the baby stuff, I HAVE to get The Husband’s sweater done if only to get him to quit asking me when it will be done.  Socks will have to wait.  Except for the little socks that Baby E. will need to go with her sweater.  And the matching hat.  These must be done before the baby grows to the next size.  There’s a real deadline here.  Don’t tell my husband…

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