Time Out

Well. Last you saw me I had Wallace and Grommit on and I was going to finish it. And I did. And it is in time out. I have knit the top of that dumb thing 3 times. Then I finished it into a short sleeve sweater. And the top is still wrong. STILL WRONG. Still wrong. As in not at all right. Not even close. And this is so sad for so many reasons. I loved that yarn and it’s the kind of yarn that is sticky and you can really only pull it out and reknit it so many times before it is no longer the type of yarn you can knit so much as a fuzzy felted fuzz. And even if I did, I cannot bear to do that again right now. I had this panicked thought that I should just cut it up and sew it into potholders or something. Before I got the scissors out and got chopping I had the sense to back away slowly… So sadly it sits in time out until I can get up my sense and do something. I’m thinking I can keep the bottom, rip out the top – AGAIN – and try one last time. I think the problem is it was top down. I can knit bottom up without incident, apparently, but have had little to no success starting at the top and going down. Which makes no sense because it is just the same thing backwards, but such is life.

So since I refuse to show photos of exactly how bad it fits because after all it turns out I have a ** little ** self respect, I will instead show you last weekend. Last weekend, in Boston, we got snowed in. Like honest to goodness can’t leave the house snowed in.

Blizzard 2013_11

I cannot remember the last time I’ve been actually snowed in. There have been time I’ve used it as an excuse to stay in, or to eat crackers and peanut butter and ice cream for dinner because I was too lazy to go out in the snow to get proper food. But last weekend for real, there was an honest to goodness driving ban, 2 feet of snow, and based on how the driving was the next day, I think it was good and warranted. I did, of course, make sure we had cookies, because in emergencies, cookies are just about required. And made for a fantastic breakfast of shoveling champions the next day. YUM!

Blizzard 2013_8

Blizzard 2013_5

So I spent the majority of the storm sitting with some tea and some cookies and finishing my scrap blanket, which I’m pleased to say is finished and has eaten an ENTIRE bag of scraps! Woot!

Scrap Blanket_3

And then the shoveling began, which was actually kind of fun. Good times. So with the scrap blanket and the delinquent Wallace and Grommit finished for now, I’m on to bigger and better things. From the bottom up this time.

Blizzard 20136

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Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming…

Ah, so I can unveil the secret project.
A few weeks ago, someone indispensable and terribly important to our family got news that she had cancer. I know this is very common and everyone knows someone, but I cannot even explain the feeling of being hit by a bus. Quickly, as much as was possible was taken out, and the recovery from that process began with lots of quality knitting time in the hospital keeping company, and plans for chemo began.

Now to say I am medically useless is actually an understatement. I actually will pass out at the slightest tube, blood, incision, or just the smell of hospitals. This makes me negatively helpful when I have to be peeled off the floor. I did my best and actually got over the tubes and hospital smell, as long as I didn’t have to see where anything goes in or out. But, really, besides the doctors, who do as much as they can, none of us can do anything really to make it better. We can’t make tumors go away, stay away, or make things less scary. Luckily the statistics are in our favor, and since I believe in science and statistics and good hard numbers, that has to make me feel better.

So, I did the only thing a knitter can do. I can at least keep you warm and pretty. The blood, tubes, and actual physical real healing stuff, nope, sorry, useless. But, warm, that I can do. So I stole some yarn that was supposed to go into the shop, wound it into balls, downloaded a pattern (daybreak, but without the stripes, since it was striping already. I love the shape of it) and just started knitting.

Handspun Wrap

I used a sneaky trick I saw somewhere about putting plastic under the blocking item to make it dry faster. Worked AWESOME. I usually am waiting for things to dry forever because whatever is underneath, usually a towel, is also wet from the wet wool. This one dried very quickly.

Handspun Wrap

The yarn is my own handspun, polworth/silk. Size 7 needles with DK yarn for a warm but light fabric, the drape is fantastic, thanks silk!

Handspun Wrap

And most importantly, warm. Since that is what I do.

Weekend Wrap-up

Lesson #1: When you have a million green tomatoes, and they’re not turning red, what this means is that all of a sudden, you will have MILLIONS OF RED TOMATOES all at once. We have a mixing bowl full in the fridge, plus the peppers, the cukes, the eggplant… I should have shut up when I was all “wah wah, tomatoes aren’t turning”

bowl of tomatoes

eggplant and tomatoes

Lesson #2: Paint is magic. The new couch showed up today (!!) which meant that, for real, the walls needed painting. So the dreaded beige…

living-room-before

Became a calming Grey Wisp (Ah, paint color names, I love them).

living-room after

Also of note, new windows were investigated, fishing and laundry was done, spinning was done, and stuffed peppers were made. All in all, a great weekend.

Simpleton

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A few months ago I wrote about the shocking discovery that I really like simple sweaters. I vowed to use this knowledge to knit myself a simple sweater instead of looking for a pattern to satisfy my craze for fair isle, cables, bobbles, things. I cast on for the body and just went ahead without a clear plan for the rest. While knitting the body, I thought I’d do a simple raglan – no – a raglan with buttons on the seams – no – a set-in sleeve with buttons on the shoulder seam… I ended up convincing myself that to keep it simple and did a raglan with a simple braid on each raglan seam, which I continued through the neck hem.

simpleton-5

Before it was blocked I was sure it was all getting ripped out and the swatch had lied and it was going to be too small. But after a wash and lay flat, I think it really fits pretty well. I ended up taking off the bottom ribbing, adding about 2″ of length, and reattaching the ribbing. (I hate knitting ribbing. I will Kitchener on a whole ribbing rather than knit it again.) I’m not sure why but I tend to have a hard time measuring both my length from waist to armhole, and the sweaters. Because I can measure them both, the numbers can match, and I’ll put it on to find it too short.

simpleton-4

The Yarn is from 13 mile farm, and it’s my second sweater from that yarn. I bought it in Bozeman, MT on vacation the past two years and I still love love love it. Very warm, really nice to knit with, makes a very even fabric, and is predator-friendly to boot. If you can get your hands on some, don’t pass it by. I’ve been taking the inspiration behind this sweater to heart – that simple can be complex and vice versa, that simple doesn’t mean boring, and to really enjoy what you’re doing without complicating it. Hopefully it will remind me of that when I’m wearing it.

simpleton-6

And now, I’m dying to pull out the fingering weight shetland and do something FUN!!

What to do…

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So ended my Christmas Vacation. That there is the plain pullover getting its ribbing reattached after getting its body lengthened, with the help of a glass of homemade mead.

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Sweater is blocking and I think I’m at least happy if not thrilled with it. But it’s fine. That emptied the project bag and so I got out the big bag in preparation of figuring out how to empty it.

It has recently slowly been creeping up on me that I have an acceptance problem. Often I’m upset with someone or something, and it occurs to me that what I am often upset about is not whatever it is, but that is isn’t bending to my idea of what the thing or person should be or be doing. I’m in reality upset that things aren’t as I expected them to be. And this is indeed sad, but does not require things or people to change, but rather often my expectations. I need to accept reality. I’d spend a lot less time banging against things if I accepted that it’s a wall and go find the door instead of looking for a sledgehammer.

Now, to apply this new knowledge. Here is some things I’ve noticed to be true. I have a lot of sweaters. I have sweaters that are good for work, good for hanging around the house, and good for going around town. Over the break it became clear that I have two sweaters for going out for nice dinner or holidays. And I have several shirts that are in need of shrugs or nicer, trendier, fancier sweaters. Despite frequently looking at my full closet and drawers, I’m constantly at a loss to put things together in the right way for the occasion. Yet when I look for sweaters to buy or make, I tend towards what I have rather than what I need.

Tonight, looking for another project, I spent a while here:
1-5-12-ummmm

There is the entire contents of the bag. So lets talk about my reality vs. what is actually in the bag…
1. The bag of scraps? Very large. Probably 15% of the bag is the bag of scraps. These are really hard for me to use. Maybe everyone gets potholders next Christmas?
2. The bag that I thought was full of lopi scraps for a stripey sweater? Maybe stripey mittens… if I’m lucky.
3. I have a lot of Jamieson and Smith – YEAH!
4. I have a lot more satekili than I thought – YEAH!
5. The few random skeins leftover from other sweaters still doesn’t add up to anything useful…

Perhaps a larger stash is more useful than I thought… With reality in mind, I’ll have to ponder how to empty this bag. There have got to be some shrugs and party sweaters in there somewhere!

Unplugged

I don’t like resolutions. I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s because everyone makes the same ones and that’s really boring and hard to believe that this year is going to be the year that everyone drops 20 pounds. Also, I tend to set ridiculous goals and then am astonished that I cannot do everything. I cannot knit everything I’d like to while spinning everything I’d like to, run, ride and workout, bake all our bread, keep the house clean, read… you get the gist. The idea behind resolutions, though I think is good. It is a new year, in with the new out with the old. It is a fresh start. So is every day though. So while I have some other things I’ll be working on, here is one thing I’ve noticed. I have a lot of things queued to knit. I have a lot of ideas, in my head, on Ravelry, on Pinterest. I have a lot of books I’d like to read. I find these things while perusing the internet… interminably. I get a lot of ideas that way, but at some point, really, you need to step away from the computer (or now the iPhone… wonderful, distracting machine) and actually knit, or read, or play with the cat, or whatever. If I spent half the time doing that I spend farting around, oh the things I’d get done.

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I used to have a goal of reading a book a month. I’d like to re-institute this. I learn an awful lot from books. I like to learn things. So I plan on reading through this pile and continuing to add to it.

1-2-12-yarns

And I have an awful lot of yarn and wool in the house. Not, compared to most, I believe, but if the bag is full, then there’s too much. There is also a house to be bought, and a budget to be tried out. And so there will this year be a renewed effort to empty the bag – which will be impossible… see the above photo.
This is the grand total of my vacation spinning. I was doing other fun things and am glad for it, so the moral of the story is not productivity. The moral of the story is that it must go in ‘the bag’ which is, as mentioned, full. And there is another pound to be spun from Turtle the Jacob Sheep, and then 7 pounds of Romney, plus some other stuff hanging around. And so I’m not going to make any impossible goals of knitting everything, or 12 sweaters. But if I can keep plugging away at the bag that would be great.

Happy New Year!

On Vacation

Finally.

12-24-11-Christmas-Eve26

It is Thursday. My last day of work was Friday. We have this week off, and thank goodness for that. I’ve been driving all over the east coast. And I’ve very glad we did – we saw family for Christmas Eve and Christmas. The photo above is Scout the Dog on Christmas morning, exhausted from paper shredding. We saw more family on Christmas day and even MORE family the following two days. I’ve spent more time in the car than I can remember in recent memory and it was all totally worth it. But I woke up this morning with some sniffles and had to bag my last planned visit. I didn’t think visiting a friend and her 8 month old sick baby while sick was the smartest thing. So I parked myself here.

12-29-11-Finally-relaxing

And here I’ll stay for at least a little while. There is the sleeve I’m working on and I’m nearing the point of decision. Cross your fingers. I’m finally on vacation…