Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shhh...Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet

Today is an almost perfect morning.  Sunshine, coffee, and bunnies.


Yes, that’s right:  bunnies.  Not the living, breathing kind (we already qualify as a zoo) but the knitted, stuffed kind.  It turns out, once I began to actually pay attention to what I was doing, the Bunny Blanket Buddy pattern knits up very quickly and easily.  So much so, that I completed two of the little buggers in just a few hours over the course of a day or two. 

I am pleased with how they came out (in spite of my obvious lack of needlepoint skills*), although I modified the second one a little.  I completed the first bunny according to the pattern (the yellow one), but the more I looked at it, the more I felt that its wee head wasn’t quite wee enough.  So on the second go-around, I reduced the number of stitches for the head by a total of four and I think number two looks a little less top-heavy.  I had to run to Hobby Lobby to fetch a skein of the Baby Bee Angel Fleece in a boyish color (note to The Husband – I got it for a little over $3, so don’t even go there) and now I have a pair to give to the twins who will arrive sometime in June.

The only other baby stuff I’m planning for the immediate future is two sweaters for the above-mentioned twins.  The Baby Bee Sweet Delight Prints yarn was still calling me and after a few torturous runs through the baby boy sweaters on Ravelry, I settled on a Spud and Chloe pattern, the Hello Baby Cardigan.  It was a freebie, which is always a bonus.  Last night I cast on what will be the boy version:

I found some adorable buttons on Etsy which I’ll order in as soon as I get my recent root canal and crown plus a required new set of tires paid for.  These two things put a serious dent in my yarn budget, but it is forcing me to be creative with my stash (if you listen closely, you will hear The Husband cheering).

My daughter had a rare weekday off last week so we got to go to lunch.  Before we left the house, I stashed the camera and a couple of FOs in the car that I didn’t have great pictures of, thinking that we’d stop down at the beach and I’d try to take a few decent shots.  I might have actually succeeded if the wind hadn’t been blowing so hard.  Below is the best picture I got, which isn’t saying much.  But my daughter is adorable, even when windblown, so it isn’t a total loss.  : )  She’s wrapped in a Fairview Scarf I knitted several months ago that I finally got around to blocking.  I used Sublime’s Baby Cashmerino Silk DK, which was really too heavy for this project as the pattern called for fingering weight yarn, but the yarn is soft and the stitch definition is beautiful.  I haven’t found a Sublime yarn yet that I don’t like.

With Wind

Without Wind

And last, but certainly not least, you’ll never guess what I’ve been busily (and so far, successfully) working away on.  Okay, you’ve probably already guessed that it’s my Spider Silk lace shawl.  Last week, I picked it back up as you know, and I’ve been making slow, steady progress.  In fact, I only have about 20 rows to go.  I really hoped to have it done before putting up another post, but seeing as how I’m now working with well over 600 stitches AND I don’t want to completely ruin it by rushing, it will get done when it gets done.  So far, it still looks like a blob:

Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace

I can’t wait to see what the magic of blocking does to it.  Unless it comes out terrible, in which case, I shall require vast amounts of medication and quite possibly, a short stint in an appropriate facility for those who have suffered a nervous breakdown.  But let’s all think positively, shall we?

*No, Leona, I can’t let you teach me how to do needlepoint.  I would have to stop eating to afford it, and I really, really like to eat.  Although I was eyeballing a cute little elephant canvas last week at knit night…

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tacky, Really Tacky

I got up this morning with a large amount of motivation to tackle a project I’ve been putting off:  pulling up the carpet in our living room and hallway.  The carpet is old and needs to be retired.  I don’t like carpet at all – I’ve pulled up way too much of it over the years and I’ve been horrified each time at the dirt and crud that carpet accumulates, no matter how much you vacuum.  If I had my way, the house would be completely devoid of this eco-hazard, but The Husband complains about his feet being cold on a floor that has no carpet (I say, “Put on your bloody slippers, man”). The carpet was here when we moved in and I’ve been itching to replace it with something more pet-friendly (and less disgusting) for a while now. So, after The Husband left for work, I put on the work clothes, donned the leather gloves and armed myself with a utility knife.  

Unfortunately, my motivation died a rather sudden death when I realized that removing tack strips that have been fastened into the concrete slab our house is built on was going to be more than I could handle today.  I come from the north, so I’ve never had to pull tack strips out of anything but wood flooring or sub-flooring.  This concrete slab thing is a new experience.  I Googled the best way to remove the strips and the recommended process I found was WAY more than I bargained for.  Since I can’t pull the carpet and leave the strips for another day (due to the 20 paws that could be injured), the renovations are delayed.  Sigh…

I guess I’ll have to knit today.  :D

The Spider Silk lace shawl and I have agreed to a temporary truce.  Tuesday evening at knit night, it took me an hour and a half to simply pick all 515 stitches back up from the lifeline.  The only thing that kept me going was the fact that we were celebrating “Chicken Salad and Cream Cheese Appreciation Day*”, so everyone brought some super-yummy food (you ladies rock!) so I was able to press on.  Last night, I even managed to complete two full rows.  I still don’t trust it, but at least the lines of communication are open and I hope to negotiate a peaceful end to the warfare.

Here’s where I’m at with my Athos socks:

I love this pattern.  You wouldn’t know it by the lack of real progress I’ve made, but I wouldn’t lie to you.  Honestly, I wouldn’t…unless it involved lace.  You can’t prove anything.

I finished both baby afghans I was making for the soon-to-be-here twins and delivered them last night.  The pictures are crap, but you’re used to that by now on this blog, right?

Soft and Sweet
Cuddle Up

Speaking of baby stuff, a few months ago I bought these three skeins from Hobby Lobby in order to do some fun baby things with it:

Bernat Baby Coordinates, Baby Bee Sweet Delight Prints
Baby Bee Angel Fleece

After finishing the afghans, I felt a draw to pull these out of my stash and see what I could get up to.  I bought the Baby Bee Angel Fleece (the one in a ball) specifically to try this Bunny Blanket Buddy pattern that I found ages ago.  I absolutely love the colors in the skein, even though I think any boucle or bumpy yarn is a royal pain in the backside to knit with.  So I cast on late yesterday afternoon and things were going swimmingly until I got the second ear done and was ready to stuff the head.  The poor rabbit’s beaner was wonky and I couldn’t get it opened up like it was supposed to in order to insert the polyfill.  Could I possibly have purled when I should have slipped?  Uh…maybe.  We’ll never know for sure because I ripped the whole thing out.  I will likely try one more time though. Brilliant thing about baby knits:  ripping out doesn't usually constitute a month's work.

I’m still looking for the perfect baby boy sweater pattern to use with the Baby Bee Sweet Delight Prints yarn.  I love the little flecks of brown, blue and yellow, and this yarn, while not my normal snobbish natural fiber choice, is very, very soft.  If you have any pattern ideas, let me know.  I have a horrible time making decisions on patterns when I don’t have a clear one in mind prior to buying the yarn.

Thanks again to everyone who continues to read this blog!  I’m off…

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*I can neither confirm nor deny that this holiday may have been randomly established in order that we might gorge ourselves on Lady L’s chicken salad and other goodies.  I have no further comment at this time.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I should have more to say.  Why don’t I?

I’ve been absent from the blog for a while and it’s not because I had no time to blog (although I was out of town for several days last week), but it’s because I simply could not think of anything to blog about.

I’m blaming the 4th Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. 

Not that there’s anything at all wrong with the event.  I’m sure thousands of blog writers will diligently post every day and will even follow the daily topics and we will all be that much richer for having read all that good stuff.  This is actually a fabulous idea.  But it doesn’t work in my world.

It’s the rebel in me, you see. 

There’s just something about the imperative and structure of things like this that sends me running.  “You need to blog every day for the week and here are some suggested topics you should follow, so happy day and good luck.”  Whoa, wait just a second.  Too. Much. Pressure.

Last week, I saw one of the blogs I follow post something about KCBW coming up and I just froze.  I knew in that moment, it would be a while before I could post anything.  And as you see, even now when I am writing because I need to, the only thing I can talk about is why I haven’t been able to talk about anything lately. 

Yep, I’m a mess.

Fight the Power!
Writing blog posts isn’t the only area where I struggle with my rebellion.  Last week, I decided to apply for a part-time job as a receptionist at my veterinarian’s office.  After all, with our collection of dogs, I spend a lot of time there already and I really need the extra money for my yarn addiction hobby.  I took my resume* up there and of course, they handed me a job application.  I understand the reason they need these annoying slips of paper filled out in theory, but when it came to the work experience section, I simply could not bring myself to rewrite all the crap on my resume.  What a colossal waste of time.  My inner rebel dug her heels in and I found myself writing “See resume” and hoping for the best.  They haven’t called.  Hmmm…

On the knitting front, I haven’t had as much time as I’d have liked to work on stuff and the things I have finished, I don’t have any good pictures of yet.  I finished the gift for my friend and delivered it last week and I only have the pics I snapped before I gave it to her (should have taken some with her wearing it - darn!).  This is the best one which isn't great:

I completed one baby blanket for the little boy twin my sweet friends are expecting and I’m working on his twin sister’s blanket and hope to have that completed today.  Pics will follow at a later date.  And the socks I’m working on?  On the back burner, although not as far back as the lace shawl that I’m still ignoring.  Oh, and I blocked a scarf that had been sitting around for a good three months.

That’s all, folks…

*I can’t get the little accent mark to appear on the word “resume”.  So, I’m not trying to “ree-zoom” anything but I’m talking about my “rez-uh-may”.  Um…yeah.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Lack of Feeling

There's something very disturbing about not being able to feel part of your face.  Yes, I've been to the dentist again this morning for trip #2 out of 3 in my grand "root canal/crown replacement" saga.  No problems on this visit, but now I'm at home and I am trying to drink a cup of coffee but succeeding in what I can only term as "slurging" the beverage since my mouth is still half numb.  I'm sure the faces I'm making while trying to sip would scare grown men. 

Before my trip to the dentist this morning, I cast on the Ashton Shawlette using Colinette Jitterbug yarn in Whirley Fig.  My knitty friend Julie finished one last week (see it here by scrolling down) which she brought to knit night and I thought it was so pretty, I knew I had to knit one.  And seeing as how my Spider Silk lace shawl and I aren't really on speaking terms at the moment (and maybe never), I figured now was a great time to start it.  I've been bitten by that evil spider so many times that I put it aside last night because I simply couldn't bear to look at it any longer, even though I'm only about 40 rows away from finishing.  I'm considering using it as a designer dust cloth.

Lace weight = EVIL.   Fingering weight = HEAVENLY!

Last night after I flung the lace away from me, I picked up my Athos socks which I really hadn't done anything on since the last time I posted a picture.  The more I knit, the more I love these socks.  They are a good companion to watching Doctor Who on Netflix*.  

I know I'm way behind here, but I just watched my first episode ever of Doctor Who a couple of weeks ago.  I started with the first series Netflix has, which stars Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor.  I can see how this quirky show has gotten quite the following.  It is silly, but charming at the same time.  Of course, I figure most people who love the show are all a-twitter about the most recent actor who plays the Doctor, but I'm not there yet so I press on with Mr. Eccleston.

Doctor Who gives me a nice occasional break from my main Netflix diet of British murder mysteries.  Love, love, love them.  I started with Poirot and Miss Marple (of course - Agatha Christie is by far the best), then made my way through Inspector Lynley, Inspector Lewis and Rosemary and Thyme.  After a short diversion with Doc Martin (which I loved), I tried watching Rebus, a crime drama which is much grittier than the others.  Unfortunately, I'm not very good at following a thick Scottish accent so I haven't made it through the first season (even though I really like John Hannah).  My current fav is Midsomer Murders starring John Nettles.  There are tons more in my queue.  The British really know how to off someone.  I probably shouldn't admire this so much, but hey, if lace were a person...  I'm just sayin'.

*I am too lazy today to link each of the shows I mention in today’s post.  I’m also too lazy to properly cite them in the text.  If this bothers you, I offer you my sincerest apologies.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Not So Swift

There are days, and then there are days.  Yesterday was a day.

I was super excited to receive my new yarn swift and ball winder yesterday (yay, Amazon Prime)!  After looking at various prices and factoring in how much I’ll actually use it, I decided to go with a less expensive swift and winder I found on Amazon that got decent reviews.  I pulled them out of their respective boxes and had them set up in no time.

Now to wind!  Hurray!

I rifled through my stash looking for anything that needed winding and got to it!  First one skein, then two, then three; all of them wound into beautiful little cakes of yarny goodness. 

Then…A funny thing happened on the way to yarn winding utopia.

Last Tuesday at knit night at my LYS, I purchased a pretty skein of Malabrigo Sock.  (Yes, I know I haven’t even completed my first pair of socks, but let’s not focus on irrelevant details, mmkaayy?)  The skein was tucked into a nice, clean little twist, as it should be.  I unwound it and placed it on the swift, then removed those little strings from the skein.  I put what I thought was the end that pulled from the outside of the skein on the winder and began to turn, turn, tu…  Um, small problem.  Yarn wasn’t pulling from the outside.  Figured I had it wrong so I took that end off the winder and found the other end and tried that.  Turn, turn, tur…  Hmm.  Same problem.  Thought maybe I just needed to readjust the skein on the swift.  Yeah, that didn’t work.  Went back to the first end I had tried.  Nope.  This skein was not cooperating.

I pulled the whole thing off the swift and laid the skein out on my table so’s I could see it better and figure out where the hangup was.  I poked a little.  I pulled a little.  I shifted a little.  Before long, this is what I had:

Not what I had in mind.

Really?!?  Oh, Malabrigo, you’ve had my heart since we first met.  How could you DO this to me??

Deep breath.

Hey, no problem.  I’ve untangled various things with great success before.  So what if it’s 440 yards?  So what?!

I set to work.  Mission Untangle begins at 1530 hours:

Mission Untangle relocated from dining room table to living room sofa at 1730 hours:

At 1800 hours, Mission Untangle in danger of disaster as I am distracted by the still-unfinished lace shawl that I’m making ZERO progress on.  I force myself to look away and press on.

Progress update at 2100 hours:

Five and a half hours so far


At this point, The Husband asks me how much I paid for the yarn.  I tell him.  He suggests that the time I’ve spent untangling it was worth much more than what I paid for the yarn, and insinuates that I should have chucked the whole tangled mess two hours before and just go get another skein.  *GASP*  I know, I know!  Poor deluded man is talking utter nonsense.  It’s almost sacrilegious.  Malabrigo in the TRASH?!?  I was glad I wasn’t close enough to him to be injured by the lightning strike I was certain would happen at any moment. 

It didn’t.  He went to bed.  I continued with Mission Untangle. 

Final update – 0115 hours:

Mission complete.  *yawn*

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Ripple in Time

Tuesday morning, and I have plenty on my agenda for the day.  Various small tasks, drive by the bank, meet a friend for lunch, and if I'm brave enough, stop by our local Walmart to pick up a few things (this subject warrants a whole post to itself - someday).  

My post yesterday was a little diversion from my regular “knitty” repartee (see what I did there?) – a vapid entry designed to manipulate you with pictures of cute pets so as to keep your attention off of my current WIP, the lace shawl.  It occurred to me this morning that I must have prayed for patience recently, as this shawl is giving me many opportunities to showcase my fortitude in times of great trial. 

I have no new progress to show you from the last two days because what progress I did make during those 48 hours (and there was a great deal of progress made) is now just a memory.  I hesitate to even mention it because my whining about my lacework has gotten on my OWN nerves, so I can only imagine how weary you all are of my constant complaining.  Plus, the many self-made challenges I’ve experienced while knitting my first-ever lace project must certainly make you all think I’m a complete idiot who has no business owning, let alone using knitting needles.  If these are your thoughts, I’m beginning to think you may be right.

The latest incident is something of a blur.  I’m fairly certain that some twist in the fabric of the universe froze time during which some dark, anti-knitting force pulled three stitches off my needles.  All I remember is looking away from my work, adjusting my position on the sofa, then looking down to find a large gap in the shawl.  I thought I must be hallucinating, so I frantically counted my stitches and found that I was not hallucinating at all.  I was three stitches short.  There were no loops left to pick back up, only those distressing horizontal lines that formed an unwelcome ladder.  I’m positive that some sort of X-File worthy event caused this disaster.  That, or my elbow slipped while I was shifting around on the sofa...(you can't prove anything).

The good news is, I had a solid lifeline in place, AND I seem to be getting better at not having a complete nervous breakdown each time I screw up (which is good, considering how often it happens).  Rip a mere 15 rows and voila…back in business.  At this rate, I’ll have this shawl done by early 2014…

On a more cheerful note, I am working on being able to take better pictures.  If I lived closer to my sister-in-law, who is a brilliant photographer, my problems would be solved.  Unfortunately, we are separated by around a thousand miles.  The Husband has a decent camera, so I’ve determined I’m going to learn how to use it.  Let’s hope I am better at this than at lace knitting.

Can we be friends?

I’ve also decided it is time to obtain my own yarn swift and ball winder.  Do you remember my frogging and thwacking a sweater I never wore so as to reuse the yarn for something useful?  Well, said yarn still looks like this:

"Wind me!  Wind me!"

Plus, while I don’t buy a lot of yarn over the internet, I do purchase enough of it that it makes sense to have a swift and winder. 

Do you own a swift and winder?  Any recommendations on what brand I should buy?

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Monday, April 1, 2013

A Tale of a Tail

**Warning:  no knitting actually takes place in the text of this tragic story**

If I could figure out how to spin dog hair into something usable – or even remotely desirable – I’d have it made.  Two of our dachshunds are long-haired (one is actually my daughter’s), so I definitely have an abundance of canine fur around.  That sounds kind of gross when I type it out like that, but nevertheless, the statement stands.  Actually, our dachshunds shed MUCH less than a lot of other dogs, but our long-haired fur babies present some interesting challenges.

This is Sophie, my daughter’s dog:

Sweet Sophie

Sophie is very sweet (no matter what The Husband says about her) and she is the product of our breeding my even sweeter Daisy, a short-hair ( and arguably the best dog ever)…

Daisy Mae

…and this wooly beast:

The Tig before the tragic incident

The wooly beast is Tigger, our only male.  I’ve mentioned before that Tigger chases light and shadows. It’s his only obsession since he was *ahem* “fixed”.  When Tigger chases light and shadows, he wags his tail, I assume from the sheer delight he gets from this seemingly pointless activity.  When Tigger wags his tail, it seems to create some sort of vacuum which causes anything in it’s path to become caught up in the joy, aka hair.  Until we raked this past weekend, it was usually just leaves that would ride in on the fur of Tigger’s tail.  Now that the leaves are gone, something far more sinister is lurking in the yard, hoping to get close enough to the happy tail in order to pounce: 

Evil lurks in the backyard...

That’s right, it’s some sort of vine.  I have no idea what it is, but it grows stealthily along the ground and you hardly ever see it until you try to, oh…I don’t know, rake the yard.  Then it rears it’s ugly head, getting tangled around the rake and refusing to let go.  Try to pull it up and you find that it runs for several feet, if not yards.  And The Husband and I have exposed it and set it loose on our poor, clueless, shadow-chasing Tigger.  When aggressive vine meets happy, hairy tail, the end result is this:

Shamefully de-flagged

There was no avoiding trimming Tig’s majestic tail flag (what the fur is referred to on a long-haired dachshund’s tail).  Untangling was not an option.  So sad.  Look, he’s devastated…

"Feed me..."

Or not…    

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