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Welcome to my world...

Occasional musings on "life, the universe, and everything" from a fiber junkie.

January 30, 2006

Monday, Monday ...
... Can't trust that day.  Sorry, minor Mamas and Papas channeling there...
Only a little knitting got done this weekend, as Saturday's weather was actually sunny - something that seldom happens here in January.  It was a good day to be out and about, basking in the sunshine, even if it was a bit chilly.  In spite of that, there has been some progress on the first Chain Rib sock; it's nearly at the toe.  Because I have a dreadfully bad case of Second Sock Syndrome at the best of times, I'll have to force myself to cast on this one's mate within minutes of grafting its toe, or risk it going into the solo sock box.  I'd really like to have the entire pair done before embarking on the Olympics.  Yeah.  Right.  Sure. 
Why is it that finishing one project inevitably leads to beginning at least two new ones?  As Gilda Radner used to say, "It's always something."  My dear pal Beckie was recently informed that her daughter is about to commit motherhood again in August.  Well, Aunty Nin sent daughter's first born a blankie, so of course, another blankie must be produced for this new child.  It's not needed until August, but I just had to cast on and start swatching on Sunday.   Since there was already a good supply of Bernat Coordinates yarn in the baby blanket bin, I could just start noodling around without waiting for an opportunity to go to the yarn store (as if I needed the excuse, but still). 
Even though I love fine wools, I prefer to use acrylics for baby blankets.  Since baby things need frequent laundering, and many new moms just don't have the time (or the energy!) to do hand washing, being able to toss an acrylic into the washing machine just makes sense.  Also, you never know whether an infant will be allergic to wool, dismal fate though that is. 
So it's back to sock-knitting for me, trying to finish the Chain Rib pair before it's time to attack Socks for Bigfoot on the 10th.  Wish me luck.
2:27 pm est

January 26, 2006

First finished object!
The ZigZag sweater is done!
Plymouth Galway, color 102, pattern from KnitPicks. 
Finally, The Infernal DigiCam has agreed to take pictures of yarn and knitting.  Miserable machine.  I actually had to threaten it with bobby pins and nail files before it would cooperate.  Don't laugh - that tactic has stood me in good stead for more than 35 years of fighting with electronics.
On a happier note, there's been a small addition to the stash, most of it destined for gifts planned for friends and family.
Those Falk neons are certainly bright!  Working with them is going to be ... um ... interesting. 
Training for the Knitting Olympics proceeds apace, studying sock patterns, trying to decide exactly which one will be the final choice.  It will probably be one of the chevrons from Sensational Knitted Socks.  That book is such a wonderful reference, I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to make socks.   
10:22 am est

January 25, 2006

Rant warning...
Package arrived yesterday, bringing with it a much-awaited copy of Vintage Knits.  The patterns inside are lovely, and I really wanted to make several of them for myself.  Then I looked more closely at the directions.  Of the designs for women, none of them was sized any larger than a 40" chest.   WHAT???
Where do knitting designers get the absurd idea that a forty-inch chest is "extra-large" and that they shouldn't bother making their patterns any bigger than that?  Sheesh, people, wake up and look around you!  There are millions of knitters who would love to knit your designs, but you have apparently arbitrarily decided that they're not allowed to sport your creations.  Not worthy.  Not "chic" enough. 
Fine.  Be that way.  See if I ever buy another of your books.
10:44 am est

January 23, 2006

One down, zillions to go
ZigZag is finally finished, so I will get to wear it this winter!  It's not just the knitting that's done, either.  For once, within two days of the last stitch being knit, the item is sewn together, all ends worked in, and the buttons are on.  This thing is actually wearable, and will make its debut on Wednesday, as that's the day the Syracuse University Library Knitting Group meets.  Photos will appear as soon as The Infernal DigiCam decides to cooperate with me.  It's ironic, somewhat, that in spite of being a computer geek for mumblety years, I still have trouble making some gizmos work.
This Knitting Olympics  thing has gotten completely insane - there are over 1300 people participating, and they're all over the world!   Boggles the mind.  Still, it's nice to see so many people from so many different places all coming together to share the fun.  My training regimen started this past weekend, with lots of knitting, much of it under the influence of videos of the 1967 season of The Avengers.  One of the nice things about knitting to video tapes is that it forces you to get up and move around about once an hour to change the tape. 
My project for the Olympics is titled "Socks for Bigfoot" and will not be further described here, since the finished product is intended as a gift for someone who occasionally wanders through and reads my babblings.  The biggest challenge here will be in sticking to a single project for sixteen straight days.  My usual tactic is to have a bunch of things in progress and switch from one to another as the spirit moves me.  It makes each item take longer to complete, but it also keeps me from getting bored with something and shoving it into the closet for months (or years, or decades).
Speaking of decades, in rooting around in the stash this weekend I came across a partially knit sweater that must have been started sometime in the 1970s.  That was a time when people were making and wearing clingy ribbed sweaters, and this is back, front and one sleeve of just that.  Ugly as sin, boring beige, but the yarn that hasn't yet been knit might turn into a scarf for a neighbor of mine who just loves beige and brown.  Time will tell.
11:02 am est

January 19, 2006

So many projects, so little time...
There's something about contemplating the "I wanna do this!" list that makes me wish I were old enough to retire.  This year's list (or at least the most current version of it) has been mentioned in earlier posts, so I won't drag you through it again.  To give myself a little push, I've decided to enter the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, and I've chosen a project I call "Socks For Bigfoot" to be my Olympic event.  Given how slowly I knit, it will truly be a challenge to finish these socks in sixteen days.  This is not an additional project, it's one of the many pair of socks I had already planned to knit during 2006.
After looking over the planned knitting on the Olympics page, all I can think is, "These people must knit way faster than I do!"  Sixteen days for an entire stranded colorwork sweater for an adult?  Sixteen days to knit a lace shawl?  An Aran sweater?  Wow.  My hat's off to any knitter who can manage to do that in just sixteen days, cast on to finished and blocked and ends woven in. 
Though I knit slowly, I do make progress.  The ZigZag sweater (pattern from KnitPicks ) is nearing completion; there's just a small portion of the right front to knit, then sew shoulders, add neckband and finish seaming.  The two pair of socks that are on needles are also growing, albeit slowly.   Of course, the new yarn that leaped at me during my frolics in the yarn store is just begging to be cast on, but it's going to have to wait until ZigZag is done.  One stitch at a time, remember.
10:32 am est

January 17, 2006

Frolics in the Yarn Shop
You know you've come to the right place when the yarn shop manager looks up as you enter, smiles and comments, "Here comes trouble."  The look on her face was priceless when my reply was, "You don't know the half of it, Shannon, Leo's on his way too." 
Yesterday was the long-awaited dual assault on the yarn store, staged because it was a day my friend Leo and I both had off from w*rk.  The ride out to Skaneateles was lovely, as it was a bright sunny day, something we see altogether too few of in Syracuse.  Leo arrived separately, as he was coming in from the opposite direction, but once he arrived (with his newly-acquired dragon tote bag), the sillines erupted very quickly. 
My buddy Leo has a quirky, twisted, skewed view of the universe, which is but one of the reasons he's my friend.   On arriving, he made me close my eyes, and placed a box on the table in front of me.  In it was ... well ... something that really has to be seen to be believed.   Imagine, if you will, a scarf made out of a luscious variegated mohair that shades from teal into burgundy.  Add to each end of this scarf a mitten.  With me so far?  Okay, now imagine at a point about two thirds of the way from one end to the other there's an enormous sock hanging off one side of the scarf.    Yeah.  I said a sock.    What is somewhat frightening is that this made perfect sense to me.  You'd have to be in the know about the Splinter Clan  and specifically to its (mentally) youngest member, Dazey Splinter,  to understand why this made sense.  Only someone every bit as skewed and twisted as Leo could have thought this up for Dazey.  It's wonderful.
After thoroughly devastating the store's stock of Svale (thank heavens we wanted different colors, or things could have gotten ugly) and knitting and chatting with Shannon and Kevin, Leo and I wandered across the street for lunch.  The consensus was that this was a much better way to spend a day off than sitting home alone.
Now, if only The Infernal DigiCam would condescend to cooperate I could post some photos of the Dazey scarf.
10:46 am est

January 11, 2006

The year of the sock
Some days I wonder whether I'm insane.  Other days I'm sure of it.  I've been reviewing my list of "knitting projects I want to do this year" and it's a looooong one.  So what do I do?  Add more, of course!  For the first time, I've joined a Knitalong, called 200Sox, hosted by the PurlingPs
Why this knitalong?  Well, the stash currently contains enough yarn for at least 15 pair, there are two pair on the needles, not to mention one lonely finished Sockotta sock whose remaining yarn is hiding from me.  In addition, I have plans for at least six pair in the aforementioned project list.  I like knitting socks.  They travel well, they don't drag on my arms while in progress, no piles of wool sitting in the lap in summer, and they are wonderful for keeping toes warm in the walk-in freezer that calls itself my office. 
ZigZag is making progress, only six more rows before I divide the front for the placket.  It's been the "project of choice" most of the past week.  Looks like I will get to wear it this winter.
The Shadow Knit has been frogged and recast to a different pattern, and is progressing much better than the previous attempt. 
WristWarmer is whining about wanting its mate on the needles, but it's going to have to wait a bit.
After a whirlwind visit to a new (to me) yarn store, there's also a summer v-neck (knit from the top down) on needles, in Tahki's Tweedy Cotton Classic.  Love this yarn, it's five strands - one bright teal, one pale blue, one pale green, one bright fuchsia and one pale pink - all twisted together.  From a distance it sort of appears to be a lavendery gray, but as you get closer you see more and more of the bright speckles.  It'll be great for summer.
As for socks, the first one on needles is a "baby cable rib" from Sensational Knitted Socks in a yummy sage-green alpaca.  The other is a "chain rib" from the same book, this in a mottled beige/gray/orange Sockotta.  The Sockotta is now my "office project" to work on during lunch breaks.  We will not consider the dangers inherent in  me having four sharp pointy objects readily available to use as weapons when certain of my colleagues become ... um ... annoying.
12:08 pm est

January 9, 2006

Jean Wigner, 1920-2006
Jean Wigner, my mother, is the one who brought me up thinking that having knitting in one's hands was normality.  Born in Newfoundland, the second of eight children, she loved to knit.   During World War II, she went to work for the US Navy at one of their bases on the south coast of Newfoundland, where she met my father.  She came to the US to marry him, and was the first war bride in Broome County, NY, to become a citizen.  Later she worked as the "detail person" for a small advertising agency in Binghamton, NY, and later still for Chase Bank.
She passed away January 3, 2006, after a long illness.  She will be greatly missed.
9:33 am est

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"Everything happens for a reason, except possibly football." -- Terry Pratchett