Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The tree grows

I love working on this blanket.  I think it will be quite large.  And for once I think this will be for me.  Or depending on how Christmas knitting turns out, maybe for my mother.  I'm nearly done with the center panel, only 4 rows to go...however with each round over 300 stitches, that takes a wee bit longer than I expect it to.  When I'm working round the cable rows, I'll probably be longing for the mindless knitting of stockinette...but until then, I'm ready for some cables!
Although doing the tree branches and roots in all the little 1X1 cables was a bit daunting, I'm ready for a cable border.

I haven't been spinning much lately, too consumed in this blanket.  But I started working on my camel fiber.  Not sure I like the camel...but will reserve judgment until I've completed it.  I spun some baby alpaca and struggled during the spinning, but was totally surprised with the end result.  So who knows how the camel will turn out.   

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Call me crazy, but I'm starting something that is decadently wonderful.  It is a pattern created by Lisa Jacobs, Yggdrasil Afghan (Ravelry link).  It is a sumptious blend of knitting and cable stitches.  Yggdrasil is an immense tree that is central to Norse mythology.  I fell in love with the pictures and all the cables, so I decided it was next on my to do list in the "huge" category.  Do others have different levels of knitting?  I have my "take along" projects, usually socks, sometimes mittens.  These fill in the gaps of doctor's waiting rooms, school functions, and piano lessons.  Nothing too hard, fills the time (and my mind) quite pleasantly, but not challenging since they are stolen moments found here and there throughout the day.  Then I have my home projects, either they are too large to drag around during my day or they are complicated and involve counting higher than 10, ok, five.  Sometimes these are the same projects, sometimes not.  My Yggdrasil is not a complicated project at the moment, although it clearly will fall into the too large cateogry soon.

What you see here is the center medallion.  That is the actual tree, there are four sections, currently you are looking at the tree branches reach out into the sky.  I view them as winter branches, no leaves, and they are gnarly branches.  That is because they are 1X1 cables, going back and forth against the background.  Crazy, itty bitty cable turned me into a big crabby mess.  But I got through them and as I'm a ways farther than what you see in the picture, I'm in purl land heaven filled with endless stretches of purling amid 6 stitches of knit to form the tree trunk.  And I love it.
I bought the yarn at the Double Ewe.  I ended up using Cascade Eco Wool, the color is pretty accurate in the picture, it is a light gray color.  It is showing up the cable work nicely.  And the cost made it a good choice as well.  Since I needed 3,800 yards of yarn.  Holy smokes!  I did the math and with the generous yardage in Eco Wool, I would need 7.96 skeins.  Now in the past, I would have thrown caution to the wind and believed I could get the afghan done with 8 skeins, after all I'd have a cushion of .04 yards of yarn left over.  But I couldn't do it.  The fear of getting to the last 3 inches of the final cabled border and running out of yarn was too much for me to chance.  So I ordered the extra 9th skein.  No use stressing during the knitting of this afghan over whether or not I'd make it with 8 skeins of yarn. 

And last weekend I had to grow up and let go.  My Anna, went on a sleep over with a couple friends.  They went to the movies (without a parent along) and shopping (with a parent but not me).  She did great, as I knew she would, but oh it was hard for me to see her world growing larger and expanding.  She bought a couple really cute outfits, including this.

My baby is growing up.  She is bright and funny and kind.  And she is confident in herself and her friends.  And she is beautiful.  Now I'm going to excuse myself as I wander through memory lane and watch my mind's pictures of our years together, from a strong willed fiesty laughing baby to a mature teen ager...not sure I'm ready for it, but I'm confident she is.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ninja Wins

Well if you've read anything of mine from the last 6 months, you know I pitched a fierce battle with a pair of socks I named the Ninjas.  I fought so many things on the way to completing a pair of socks, if you added up the actual stitches I worked, I'd most likely have TWO pairs of socks.  But in the end I declared myself victorious.  Laughing in the face of those ninja socks.  Proudly, err loudly proclaiming that I overcame ALL obstacles and wrestled those socks into submission.  I finished the socks shortly before Christmas.  It is now 2 and a half months after Christmas.

I present you with the Ninja socks.

I'm not repairing them.  I'm bowing to the Ninja gods in defeet (ooooh bad pun, bad spelling).  I'm tossing the cursed socks in the trash.

May they rest in peace.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One Saroyan scarf done

I'm in the winter doldrums I think.  Everything seems gloomy and gray.  Work is work.  Nothing exciting there, which at times can be a good thing.  Children are children with all the resulting drama.  Permanent teeth are trying to come in on top of baby teeth who seem really happy to remain tightly in place.  Not a good thing, dentist appointment for older daughter is now scheduled. 

Had drama involving my prayer shawl for a friend over the weekend.  Now I'm the one needing prayers.  I attmepted my first grafting of anything more than toes of a sock.  One extra exuberant pull of the needle and lace yarn prompted the needles to fly out of my hands and stitches to come tumbling off of them all helter skelter.  I sat in disbelief at what just took place in a mere second.  I'm pretty good at fixing mistakes.  this?  not so much.  I sat and cried.  Looked at the mess and cried again.  Got my tiny steel crochet hook out and slowly worked through the tangled mess and got the approrpirate stitches back on the knitting needles, but in a poor imitation of the actual pattern.  I took a deep breathe and starting from the other end tried a different grafting technique.  Success!  Until I realized in complete mind numbing paralizying horror that this particular form of grafting does not move or give.  Nope,  not moving one tiny inch, it is completely solid.  So my shawl which will block out to at least twice its width, is now trapped by this one imovable row of firmly bound off stitches.  More crying.  I put the shawl into a basket and promptly took a 3 hour nap.  Talk about exhaustion!  Did I mention I cried?  Later that night, I painstakingly worked and slid my knitting needles into the stitches in the row below and above the now horribly in flexible row.  Where once I've sufficiently recovered my wits, I will undo that row and end up once again with 2 separate pieces of knitting.  So oh yes, I can go through this torture all over again!  Lord help me, why do I love knitting?  sigh....and no pictures.  I couldn't do that. 

I did finish this.  My Saroyan scarf is complete.  It is getting rave reviews at work.  (Please avert your eyes from the papers piled under it and next to it.....that was the biggest "open" space I could find at my desk.)  You can't really appreciate the silver threads that run through this Dream in Color yarn.  I especially like how it looks in the evening, with the silver glinting off the waning daylight.  Ok, so we have no "waning daylight", it just gets dark.  But I do like how it looks at night in the soft glow of my Ott light!

and just so I can really try and remove the horror of tangled white lace weight yarn from my mind, a close up of the pretty leaves...that is the ticket...focus on the leaves....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring is in the air

OK, so that might be just a bit of a stretch, but the air feels softer and less biting...the sun is out longer and actually has some warmth to her.  While we still have mounds of dirty black encrusted snow, much has melted, leaving edges of the lawns showing.  No green grass yet, but you can at least see the grass.  Much to my dog's delight.  Have I ever mentioned that Gadget was a rescue dog?  We drove to St. Louis to pick him up, so he is most likely a southern boy and when he first experienced a true Minnesotan winter, I'm sure he thought we lost our mind, expecting him to do the most private of things OUTSIDE, when it is -30, with a foot of snow around.  So to make both of our lives easier and to accomplish the shortest amount of time outside in such unbearable weather, I've taken to shoveling the grass, yes you read that correctly.  I shovel the grass, just so he has a "place" where he can do his business without having to actually walk in the snow.  What I do for my dog.

But since this is a blog primarily about knitting, here is what I worked on this week.  pardon the blurry pictures, I'm not sure what happened...surely it couldn't be due to me trying to photograph my own hand and while that alone would have been hard, I made the decision to put the glove on my right hand and try to photo it with my left hand....sigh....this is a fast and easy knit.  I don't have the ends woven in, the top hem done which would revel the cute picot edge or even the thumb.  So there is just a couple hours at best left to do on mitt number one.  But the color.  Oh man do I love these colors.  And it is Casbah yarn which gives it a feeling of decadant softness due to the 10% cashmere.  I loves is the Rav link to find the pattern.

I still haven't grafted Liz's shawl.  I don't know what my problem is, I can graft, but the thought of grafting over 90 lace stitches is way more daunting than grafting 9 toe stitches on my socks.  But this is it, she will be in office next week and I am going to give it to her.  And since I don't see the practicality of giving her two separate pieces of rumpled knitting and saying here you go, I will get this done.  Pictures....probably....fear?  most definitely.....completion?  Absolutely.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gotcha Day, Urgent Care and a Missing Pug

The last week has been intersting, filled with a celebration of Emily's sixth Gotcha Day, Anna's participating in the 30 hour Famine, my visit to Urgent Care, and the disapperance of a pug.  And in between all this, knitting was done!

Six years ago, I was in China where I was blessed to receive a fiesty strong willed 22 month old little girl.  A scared sad little girl with eyes that seemed to swallow me.  Fast forward to today, my nearly eight year old fiesty strong willed child runs through life.  Determined.  Fiercely loyal.  We met her "fairy god mother" and the three of us wandered through a book store, Justice, and Claires after eating delicious Chinese food for lunch.  It was a wonderful time filled with memories both hard and wonderful. 

Anna participated in our church's 30 hour famine program, she and her friends made over 10,000 meals at Feed Our Starving Children and maybe, just maybe, got a glimpse of how so many others in our world today feel, hungry and wondering where their next meal will come from.  A good reminder for all of us.

My excitement involved a trip to urgent care.  That blurry picture on the left is my finger.  It was/is infected.  Very swollen and red yesterday, didn't want to bend.  I've done this before and knew I'd need a dr.'s help.  So off we went.  I do not mind waiting in the waiting room at urgent care, with it's first come first serve.  No problem.  But really, when you put me in the back in a tiny exam room, painted in a pea green color, with no magazines etc (and couldn't knit do to sore finger), please do not leave me in there, for any longer than 10 minutes.  I waited in that tiny claustrophobic nauseatingly green room for 35 minutes before the dr. finally came in, looked at my finger and agreed it needed to be drained.  I knew that it would be more painful to numb my finger than to simply make the small incision and drain it. (remember, this has happened to me before)  So a fem minutes later, I'm walking out the door with a less throbbing finger, more medicine to try and get rid of any remaining infection, and wondering if I could knit later in the day. 

After taking a nap during the afternoon, I finished this.  Which was just started on Friday night. It looks somewhat like a hot water bottle holder but it is actually a baby cozy.  and those are cute little owl cables at the top of the snuggle sack.  I think I will add emboridered french knots for the eyes.  And the color is so much prettier, it looks like a peacock feather when the sunlight hits it just right.  It is a blueish green with hints of purple.  Winter nights make for bad pictures.
And the last bit of news is Gadget disappered this morning.  He was snuggled in with Emily sleeping, I got up to take my shower, usually, as long as he has someone to snuggle with, he will stay in bed and wait for me to get out of the shower.  Not so much today.  I got up, Emily sound asleep, but no pug. I call him, look everywhere upstairs, no pug.  Go downstairs, calling searching, no pug.  Race back upstairs, calling more urgently.  Still no pug.  Drag sleeping teenager out of bed to start looking for wayward pug, when I see the dust ruffle move on my bed.  And shortly after see my pug come out from under my bed.  I now have proof he lost weight while my mom has been in Alabama.  Because he couldn't FIT under my bed before.  But happily after much loving and squeezing, our morning continued with no further drama.  Here is how Gadget normally sleeps, on a pillow, curled up tight, with hair extensions on his back.  What?  Your dog dosn't have extensions?  Or a pillow?  Yup, that is how it rolls at our house....