Thursday, March 31, 2005

Going My Way

Lack of concentration and a stubborn streak (no way I'm frogging 210 stitches times 4 rows!) led me to modify the cable border on my KAL sweater.

I have tried for three days to get decent photos of my modifications, but light, the weather, and the dark blue yarn are not cooperating. This is the best I can do:

Because I know that cables are twisted on the right side and knit (and purled) even on the wrong side, I missed the symbols on the chart that indicate that these are twisted every row. Thus, my cables are longer and thinned than Nicky's (see photo on a previous day's post). I like this though. It pulls in the ribbing in a way that I don't think the original would.

I'll attempt to do the pattern as written at some point in the future. It's a pretty cable, but so is mine.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Organization

I spent the better part of the weekend doing mundane chores. First the taxes. Yep, all done! And copied, and ready to mail. On the 14th. Not one minute earlier.

Then, as I had been promising myself for weeks, I worked on the stash shelves

The three bins on the right are new, and allowed me to pull the yarn stowed under the futon out and put it away, finally! And the yarn that was in the cat litter bucket. And some other stuff that really needed a proper home.

I did a bit of color coordination and some rearranging. It looks so much better!

I also discovered that, instead of having no room at all for new yarn, as I thought when I had it piled all over the place, I actually have lots of room for more yarn! See?

I could probably fit another 10-20 balls of yarn in there!

The yarn fast has gone so well, that I'm thinking about extending it a bit longer, though. We are hitting the beach in another week and there are no less than three yarn shops where we are going! I think I'll save my money until then and fondle the yarn I'm getting for a change.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control

One more day! And I am chomping at the bit! I have a bunch of buttons picked out to put on my top-down raglan, and bunches of yarn for charity and gift knitting as well.

Of course, I am not sure that I can rationalize any more yarn right now. Just finished doing our taxes today and we owe, owe, owe because we sold some stock that was actually doing well.

I've reached the bottom of the body of the top down, so now I am looking through pattern dictionaries for a good bottom edging and for the cuffs.

I like this one:

It's from Debbie Bliss' Knitted Embelishments. I think a plain twisted rib around the neck and edging the front openings will compliment it well.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

On the right track

The yarn fast is fast coming to an end (just three more days). I have spent the last 37 days checking my favorite on-line stores on a daily basis. Smiley's got a couple new yarns and sold out of the colors I wanted, as did I will survive!

I bought a couple of books, acquired a small amount of new stash (from friends who sent it unbidden, but not unwelcome):

And I selected my mildly challenging next project which will be one of the first for this year's fair. I do believe that I can put together the Pingofrance into a version of this:

It's a Debbie Bliss ( Great Knits for Kids). The yarn the pattern calls for is cotton. I plan to use the acrylic/wool blend instead.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ready to Wear

The Henley is done!

It's still a bit damp from its trip through the washer and dryer. It didn't shrink nearly as much as I expected (in length). The sleeve went from 12" (plus cuff) to 11" (plus cuff) or about 8.3% (10-15% was what I expected), so it may shrink more when it's washed again.

I plan to wear it tomorrow:

With jeans and sneakers. (I have an in-house training session all day tomorrow.)

Hello spring!

(Oh, we're under "severe alert" again. Snow is predicted. Can my magnolia and I call it, or what?)

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Thing

Can you guess?? Do you know??

I borrowed this:

The kid suggested that it resembles an baby enema device (please explain how he would know. . .no, wait!). Yeh, maybe for a baby elephant!

We have big honkin' carpenter ants. The tree they nested in is long gone, but I think they are still infesting the roots.

My friend, the bug guy, lent it to me.

Coming tomorrow: the finished Henley! I'm down to the last 4 rounds of the second sleeve, the weaving in of ends and the sewing on of buttons. Film at 11.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Taxing Woman

I've spent the better part of the weekend sorting through tax records and getting a start on this annoying task.

For practice, I do The Kid's first. (Shut up!) They're done. Federal, State, Local. Just need to be filed.

I really am procrastinating on the Other Half's and mine. They are considerably more complicated, though, in 34 years, I have only not done them myself once. That was the year we moved from another state, sold a house, started a business, and borrowed from our IRAs. Yeh, we let someone else have all the fun that year!

And spring has officially sprung here in eastern Pennsylvania. The snow and freezing rain that was predicted never materialized (at least not yet) and the last patch of slop on the patio is reduced to a tiny pile about the size of a deck of cards. I guess I could kick it onto the lawn, but why? By tomorrow, it will be a vague memory.

The magnolia in the back yard is budding , so it must be time for a hard frost. This tree, in full bloom, is magnificent! In the 15+ years we've lived here, we've seen that phenomenum 4 times [?] because as soon as it gets ready to burst into bloom, we get a foot of snow, or 15 degree temperatures, or (once) a hail storm. But each year, we have hope.

And speaking of hope, I slipped on the Henley this afternoon to see how much longer I want to make the sleeves. I'm giving serious thought to 3/4 length!

::humming:: It mi-ight as we-ell be spring. . .

Friday, March 18, 2005

Cookie's Fortune

This was just going to be an update on my current boring projects, and I promise that there will be pictures at the end, but please allow me a small rant. Hell, make it a big one!

You may have missed the story, if, like me, you were so appalled by the emphasis on one family's personal and private tragedy that has played out in the Florida legislature and the halls of Congress and has been the news story on every channel for the past several days.

Tonight, ABC News aired a story on the health implications of (are you sitting down?) Girl Scout Cookies . It seems that these suckers (the ones that cost about 4 bucks for all of about eight lousy cookies ) are making Americans fat! Not all the fast food we consume, not our lack of exercise, not our lifestyles. Girl Scout Cookies!! Give me a break!

The "experts" went so far as to suggest that the Girl Scouts should consider selling something "healthy" to support their programs and camping. Something like, oh, maybe key chains. Yep, that would get them a lot of repeat business!

But enough ranting. I haven't bought Girl Scout Cookies in at least 3 years. Of course, that doesn't stop the Other Half from buying them. And he's pissed off enough about this story to go out and buy a case!

And, as promised. Boring pictures of my current boring projects:

the knitalong cardi. I have used 2.5 balls of the 9 I had to start, and still haven't decided what to do about finishing bands, though I am now leaning toward an i-cord and one button or seed stitch and several.


the denim Henley tunic. I have reached the point where I will divide front and back and garter stitch the bottom border. I still must knit half of each sleeve. Using my kitchen scale, I figure that I have used about 21 ounces of the 33 3/4 that I started with. I still need to consider that the yarn shrinks in length, so I may just make the body a tad longer before I start the border, and make the sleeves with a deep ribbing at the cuffs.

Here's how much yarn I still have:

(blue cone on the right was exactly the same size as the purple one on the left when I started).

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


It might be here!! The snow finally melted and look what appeared:

They're snowdrops! Harbingers of spring. Second after robins (that never actually leave, the lazy slugs!), appearing even before the crocuses.

Monty (that would be, "the fool, Monty"--he was a long ago Christmas gift from one of my kids, shut up!) is happy to be in the warm again. We use him as a snow gauge.

If we can't see Monty's fish, the snow is 9" deep. If His face is covered, it's 14". If Monty is completely buried (as he was a couple of weeks ago), it's nearly a foot and a half, and somebody better be calling in a weather delay!

Sandals, shirtsleeves, shorts, bathing suits. No, wait. Let's rethink that one.

I'm making progress on some of my projects, but there's nothing worth photographing. Maybe this weekend I'll haul them out into the sunny back yard and take some pictures amidst the budding daffodils.

And all the plain Jane knitting I've been doing lately has me chomping to make something out of

bunches and bunches of Pingofrance II. Something fair islish, perhaps. (Or I could work on the Aran vest, I suppose.)

And I realized yesterday that my self-imposed yarn fast is coming to an end in just 11 days. Good thing, too, because I am starting to twitch!

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Hunger

Warning: don't expect any knit content!

Today, we launched a new program.

Would it surprise you to know that there are children right here in the U S of A that eat breakfast and lunch at school, and if there's a holiday, or a weekend, they might not eat at all?

I was not shocked or surprised. After all, in the three years that I taught (as a sub) in an elementary school in a relatively affluent neighborhood in suburban Washington, D.C. (Martinsburg, WV, in fact), I saw them every day.

They were the kids who qualified for "subsidized meals" (euphemism for "free and reduced lunch kids") . About 1/3 of the kids in "my" school fell into that category. Nearly all of them ate both breakfast and lunch at school. In fact, school breakfast was so popular (and so taken for granted) that the vast majority of all the kids (and many of the teachers) ate breakfast there every single day! But I digress.

The hungry kids (the ones who might have had meager, or no, meals at home) were easy to spot! They tended to be sleepy, or cranky, or aggressive. When a snack was offered, they ate theirs fast and looked for more! They ate "meal components" (broccoli, cole slaw, mystery meat) that the other kids shunned. Mondays were the worst since many of them might not have eaten well since lunch on Friday! And days when school was delayed because of bad weather were a nightmare.

In some cases, these kids come from homes where the month lasts longer than the paycheck. In some, the parent(s) has a weekend job and the kids fend for themselves. And some (though they are a tiny minority) really are neglected,

Other food banks in other cities already have a weekend food package program. The concept is that kids who have been identified as "at nutritional risk" are given a backpack, gym bag, or tote bag. Each Friday that container is stuffed with easy-to-prepare, reasonably nutritious food for them to take home. Cereal, shelf-stable milk and juice, canned soup, peanut butter and crackers, things kids can fix for themselves, and that they will enjoy eating are included. Of course it's not a perfect diet! But it certainly beats a soda and a bag of chips, or worse yet, nothing at all.

And so, Backpack Buddies debuted in the Lehigh Valley. It isn't the first program of its kind, and please, may it not be the last as long as the need exists!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

There's Always Tomorrow

I've worked feverishly on my Knit Along sweater when I could this weekend. I even took it along to the workshop I attended on Saturday, but my role there was a busy one, so I think I might have actually completed one (very long) row while I was staffing the registration desk. Other than that, I had no time to knit.

The workshop, centered on a document called The Blueprint to End Hunger, was very interesting, the attendance was small (as we expected), but participation was high (also expected), and there was no way that I could knit, be a gofer, get lunch set out, mind the cutest little boy I've seen in a long time while his dad spoke, and knit. It just wasn't going to happen!

I did make some progress, though:

I made it to the spot where the sleeves split off from the body of the sweater.

I saw the soon-to-be grandfather of the heart hat and booties recipient. He was just so pleased! Baby's due in about 2 more weeks.

I did a little knitting on the denim pullover, too, but when I put the photo side by side with the last proress shot I took, I decided that there wasn't enough difference to bother posting a picture.

And I think I'm going to take Jean's advice and keep going on the vest.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Great White Hope

I was pretty sure I could see a difference in dye lots in the two very similar bags of off-white yarn that I was using to make my Aran vest. But when I decided to bite the bullet and finish the damned thing, the difference had faded to nearly nothing. Or so I thought.

Denial is more than a river.

This morning, in the clear light of dawn, there is a distinct difference in color! The front (24 rows into it) is decidedly more yellow to my untrained eye.

I'm not certain that the photo does it justice.

I am not certain if I will continue *sob*

I'm not even sure I want to salvage the yarn.

How sad is that?

I don't think I can stand to back burner this vest for another 2 years, so I'll be making the decision (to move forward or abandon) within the next 48 hours.

The good news is that if I finish it, the entire front will be one dye lot (the slightly lighter one).

And now, I must be off to tilt at windmills. Yes, I'm off to work. . .

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

True Colors

What kind of friend, knowing that you are on a diet, brings you chocolate? Godiva cholcolate?

The same kind of friend that, knowing you are on a yarn fast, sends you the Godiva of yarn:

A very true friend, of course. Thanks Janice !

All I need to do now is. . .decide what it wants to be. Lovely soft coral lambswool. About 220 yards (200 meters) of it. Ooooo! lace!. Yeh, lace!

I will keep you posted.


And since this is such a short post (seeing as I can barely keep from nodding off), there's room for a picture of a sheepy nature:

One of this year's models, from the Dollar Tree.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bad Day at Black Rock

It has not been a good day.

It freakin' snowed again! And got really cold. And windy.

I finally decided that tonight was to be the night I would pick up the cotton Aran vest and finish the damned thing once and for all. After all, I had the back done. The shoulder saddles were complete. I had even picked up the stitches for the two front panels.

In other words, I was more than half done.

This vest has given me fits since I picked up

a few years ago, found the right yarn (Bernat Club Soft, a cotton blend), lost several balls of the yarn (they'll turn up as soon as I weave in the last end), put a plaintive cry for help to Knitlist, located another bag of the stuff (for which I happily offered double, plus postage, the price I paid for the original balls). And then it languished. For two (or maybe three) years. Still with me?

Take a look. Isn't it purty? I even have a special button.

So, okay, I dragged the half-vest out from under the futon, gathered up the yarn, found the right size needles, and plopped the whole mess into my "active WIPs bin" (a green plastic washtub from the Dollar Tree).

I knitted the set-up row. I knitted row 2. So far, so good. Row 3 is where the cable twists start. I reached across the sofa arm to grab my little tool basket wherein is nestled one (of about 6) of my cable needles, catching the edge of the half-full can of diet vanilla Coke with the sleeve of my bathrobe and tipping all 6 remaining ounces onto the floor-and-into-my-bin.

Oh, NO!

Missed the cream colored cotton blend. Missed the light blue denim. Missed the KAL cardigan. Missed the variegated sock yarn.

Did not miss two pattern booklets. Or the KAL pattern. Or a 1/4 skein of ickrylic (threw that puppy away) or a skein of pale blue Kroy sock yarn that was destined for great things.

Spent the next 30 minutes rescuing patterns, needles, and yarn, and clearing out the bin. Found the Prym crochet hook that I use for dropped stitches, and a whole bunch of DPNs that have been MIA for months.

I think the day was a wash.

I hope the diet Coke stains in the pale blue Kroy are as well.

Miles From Home

What is it about knitting (as in knit every row?) that has me so beguiled these days? Why am I knitting miles and miles and miles?

Yes, I selected the dark blue-purple yarn. Yes, I selected the v-neck cardigan (though I could still join the circle and make a v-neck pullover -- nah, I don't think so). I am still considering other possibilities. Like cables from the armpit to the hem. Or maybe a fair isle band at cuffs and hem. Or an intarsia dragon on the back like those satin jackets the soldiers brought back from Asian tours. No, wait.

But it won't be stark. Unless I decide that it won't be fancy.

And I really do need to get going on that Aran vest!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Quick Before It Melts

Just a quick post. I finished the little garter stitch sweater last night:

and updated my yarn log=====>>>>

More at the end of the day--maybe.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Stepford Wives

All of the Martha fawning that is taking over every list I read prompts me to point folks to sites like this one .

While you are checking it out, be sure to go to the on-line catalog. There are some nifty items in the jewelry, aprons, and fans and parasols sections. (I especially like the rhinestone "Princess" pin.) No, I did not create this website as a joke!

I also find myself more than a little aggrevatated at the amount of whining I am seeing on nearly every list: i.e. "I asked this question and no one answered." Hello, is it because no one understood what you were asking? Or that no one thought you were serious because your question was so lame? Or is it because that particular question has been answered at least 10 times in the last six weeks? Or is it because a tiny bit of work on your part would have gotten you the answer (or several answers) very quickly? Here's a clue: JFGI

And on a knitterly note, I am making progress on my sweater:

and the baby sweater:

But I've hit a snag. The pattern calls for an i-cord edge on the baby sweater (which I enjoy making and like the look of) but I really like the way the decrease formed such a nice diagonal:

that I'm thinking about leaving the i-cord off.

In a stash-busting vein, I've joined a knitalong and must decide which of the well-aged yarns in my stash I will use to make a top-down cardigan or pullover (yet another decision).

(left to right: Patons Cotton Colours 100% cotton, 2 plies of burgundy, 1 ply of rainbow variegated; Patons Impressions Hand-dyed Wool, 100% wool singles, overall impression of a sea-blue green; Lion Brand WoolEase, 80% acrylic, 20% wool, 4 plies, 2 of purple, one of navy, one of hunter green ; Kerry Woolen Mills, 100% wool, in mid Jacob (natural))

The hardest decision always seems to be: which of these irreplaceable yarns will I finally knit up?


And on a non-knitterly note, we went to a garden show yesterday (in search of a bit of spring) and came home with:

I am fast running out of room for additional sheep!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Small Circle of Friends

Nothing much to report, but I simply had to show off the very cute pack of Easter toys I bought at the Dollar Tree last weekend:

There are pastel bunnies, bunnies and ducks in sweaters, and bears in the cutest duck and bunny suits!

And I made some progress on the garter stitch surplice last night:

I should be ready to bind off (3-needle) the shoulders tonight, then pick up the sleeve stitches. It will need an i-cord to finish the front, but we're on the home stretch.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Gold Rush

I just want it done! Miles and miles of gold yarn this time. When will I learn?

But the result so far is pretty cute:

So, I will press on.

Rough day ahead. Wish I could take this little jacket along for stress relief, but I can't. I'll just have to dream of being home later, all tucked in with my knitting.

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