Monday, September 23, 2013

Autumn (but not really)

So today is the first full day of autumn.  I have always loved the fall.  When we lived in Ohio, it meant fall festivals, the first chili of the season, and really lovely fall colors on the trees:

Since we’ve moved to Mississippi, we’ve had to adjust our autumnal expectations.  It is currently 69° F and will get into the high 80’s today.  They serve chili down here any time of the year because it’s almost never “soup weather”, there are festivals but they have nothing to do with fall, and the incredible fall display of the trees here looks like this:

I like green and all, but…

We moved south to get away from the harsh Ohio winters.  If you’ve never lived through one, you’re probably thinking, “Harsh winters in Ohio?  Yeah, whatever…” but anyone who’s ever lived north of I-70 knows what I’m talking about.  I don’t regret moving; after all, we’re building a home here which is kind of a permanent thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do not miss shoveling 18 inches of snow every three days and weeks on end of temps under 20° F. There’s just one thing that gives me pause at this time of year.

I wasn’t a knitter when I lived in Ohio.

Never mind the obvious, like it may not have been quite so unbearable during the winters there had I been knitting lots of warm, squishy sweaters and things to insulate me and mine.  Never mind that it is just weird that I didn’t learn to knit until we relocated to a tropical climate.  The big thing is, I have a serious case of sweater envy.  Each fall since I’ve become a knitter, I get these lovely magazines and see all the beautiful warm sweater, scarf, hat, and mitten/glove patterns and I’m…well, jealous of all of you who live in a cooler climate.

How sad is that?

In all fairness, there are a few days each year down here in what the locals call “winter” where a wool sweater and scarf would not come amiss.  However, I nearly suffered heat stroke trying on my recently completed Iced cardi.  The truth is it will be worn more often to insulate me from the overactive a/c down here rather than the cold weather.  This, it turns out, makes me a bit sad.

So for those of you who will endure frigid temps and lots of snow during the coming months, let this thought (along with your scrummy hand-knit woolens) warm your hearts:  you are really living in the heart of knitting heaven, and there are those who envy you greatly.


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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Non-Existent Cables, Poufs, and Bad Ink

This afternoon, The Husband and I have gone back and forth between an eternal marathon of “Call of the Wildman” and “Bad Ink” because it is Sunday afternoon, my beloved New Orleans Saints have already beaten the tar out of the Arizona Cardinals, and there is absolutely nothing on television.  It feels kind of unreal, like that one dentist visit years ago when I was not only numbed up but was also under the influence of nitrous oxide and I was caught in this perpetual drug-induced haze while the song “Mony, Mony” by Billy Idol was being piped into the room.  It seemed to last forever.  To this day, I can’t stand hearing that song. 
Show me the nitrous!!

I’ve been working on Christmas gifts and after many tortured days of browsing Ravelry patterns, I chose a project that I can’t mention due to the whole Christmas-surprise thing, except to say that it had cables.  Now, I’ve done a few cables before, but nothing extensive, and I must admit, I struggled a little to get them done without breaking a needle or a finger.  But hey, that was a while ago and I’m so much more experienced overall, so surely cables would be no big deal, right? 

How they are supposed to look.

First attempt:  stitches were way too tight -  this, a by-product of my previous cable experience where I was told that my tension wasn’t tight enough to close up the hole created by crossing the stitches.  After one row, my fingers were cramped into a semi-paralytic state.  As soon as I could feel my hands again, I ripped it all out.

Second attempt:  after having read some advice on cabling online, I relaxed and just knit.  After looking at the result, I was no longer relaxed and I ripped it all out.

Third attempt:  yeah, this didn’t happen.

So, any advice on cables?  Please?  Help!  I would hate to think that my knitting repertoire will never include beautiful and well-executed cables.  For example, Tanis Lavallee’s I Heart Cardigans pattern is in my queue and I simply must knit it eventually (because I totally heart it) so the cable thing has just GOT to work out for me. 

I managed to find another pattern I liked for the same type of garment to use my beautiful Terra yarn by The Fibre Company, colorway Ash for the Christmas gift.  All I can show you is this:

Love this color!

Something else I’ve been putzing around with is using up some more of my super-bulky Katia Peru yarn that I have in my stash.  I used some for my recent Iced cardi, and it reminded me that I have a ton of the stuff.  What better way to use up super-bulky yarn than to knit a hat?  I’ve been fascinated with berets so I chose an easy-looking basic beret pattern from Ravelry and went to work.  I got the hat done quickly but I have a question.  Why do I have a “pouf” in the back?  I’m thinking berets are supposed to be kinda flat on the top side, no?  Witness:

Who's the old broad??

Is this normal?  Is it the pattern?  Is this something that is flattened out with blocking?  How does one go about blocking a beret?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

 I know, I’m so needy today.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’ve almost finished the “orange sherbet” kids’ sweater.  I’ve had some of you express your appreciation for the color.  Unfortunately, it has not grown on me.  I shall be glad to have done with it.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Ever-Widening Expanse

Do you remember that sweater I was making for myself? The one designed by Carol Feller that was just waiting for me to sew buttons on to be finished? You do? Great. So, the good news is, I finished it today. It looks great. Here's a pic:
Iced by Carol Feller

I don't like the buttons as much now that they're attached as I did when I picked them out, but they'll do. The sweater looks nice. It's warm. It'll be great if it ever cools off enough to wear it down here. There's just one problem. Notice how the picture I shared is of it laid out on the table. There's a reason for that. Apparently, I should have knit the next size up because I can't get the thing to close around the ever-widening expanse that is my midsection. *sigh*

People who know me always "pooh-pooh" my griping about the weight I've gained since moving south. Yes, I've always been skinny. Yes, my ankles and wrists are still ridiculously thin. But folks, let me assure you that even if a person is thin/small/weighs under 125, if they add two inches to their waistline, their clothes will no longer fit. They will, in fact, get a "muffin top" over their so-tight-they-can't-breathe trousers. They will worry that injury will occur when the button from their pants flies like a projectile toward someone they love. And they will be depressed when they knit a sweater for themselves in a size that USED to fit.

I was able to keep my midsection under relative control when I worked out every day. My last workout was only, uh...about a year ago. I keep deluding myself that I'll get back into the habit soon. Yeah... Until then, I finally bit the bullet last night and bought a pair of trousers for work that I will not have to lay on the bed to get fastened. I am elated. But not really.

In the meantime, I will just not fasten my sweater. In fact, I may remove the buttons altogether. Either way, it looks perfect from the back.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Up And At 'Em...

Well, at least I’m up.  Not sure about the “at ‘em” part.  It’s just after 4:30 a.m. and I’ve been up for an hour.  On a Saturday.  When I don’t have to be.  Yay…(sound of crickets)

I’ve actually been awake since 3 with a headache, which I still have, but after lying in bed for half an hour trying to ignore it, I decided to get up.  Good news is, since we don’t have the idiot dog anymore, I can actually rise early and not incite a doggie riot.  For this, I am truly grateful.  So I took pills and am swilling coffee.  For this, I am also truly grateful (especially for the coffee).  The Husband and I are supposed to join some friends in New Orleans later today and coffee is probably the only way I’m going to last through possibly 2 or 3 p.m.  After that, I’m not guaranteeing anything.

The new job is going well and I love it, although yesterday was a long and incredibly busy day that really exhausted me.  Last night, all I could manage on the knitting front was to cast on and do just a few rows of ribbing for a sock.  My eyes felt like I’d not blinked the entire day.  It is possible that I didn’t.  I can’t remember.

Last weekend was the Labor Day holiday weekend, so The Husband was off an extra day and I actually had a 4-day weekend because I didn’t work Friday.  My daughter was off too, so we had some fun.  We managed our own little Labor Day barbeque.  The Husband grilled and I made some yummy potato salad and enough baked beans to feed our entire block.  After lunch, Cassie and I played Phase 10.  I never, ever win this game.  Except for Monday:

Granted, it was only by 5 points (the lowest score wins), but hey, it’s still a victory.  Cassie was not thrilled.  Here she is, giving me the stink-eye after I won:

She'll hate that I posted this.
She must have forgiven me though, because later she went out and brought me my first pumpkin spice latte of the season from Starbucks.  Such a good daughter, I almost felt bad about winning.  But not really…

On the knitting front, I have finished the Iced sweater except for the buttons.  Does anyone else have trouble getting finishing touches like buttons done?  The poor thing’s been languishing on the blocking mats, long since dried, with the buttons laid on top of it.  It came out rather nice.  I’d post a picture of it but since it’s still dark out, I’ll have to wait for more appropriate lighting and for motivation to sew on those buttons.

I have been working on a second sweater to donate through World Vision’s Knit for Kids.  The yarn is some acrylic I ordered online for a washable project, but once I received it, I decided I could not handle the color.  Maybe it’s just me, but this is so orangy-peachy and “sherbet-esque.” 

My hope is that some little girl will love the color.

Well, I’m getting sleepy again.  Can you believe it after 2 cups of coffee?  Maybe I’ll try and catch a bit more sleep before The Husband gets up. 

Have a great weekend!

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