Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I interrupt our regularly scheduled program

I broke.  The mountain of wool that is Yggdrasil sitting in my lap addled my brain.  It was hot people.  Too hot to have a ginormous pile of wool in your lap.  No amount of fans blowing on me could change the simple fact that it was too hot and sticky to be working on a large wool blanket.  So I broke.  I randomly pulled some handspun yarn off my shelf (at least I shopped in my stash) and I cast on for a hat.  A few hours later, I had this little simple charmer sitting in my lap.  The only problem is no matter how many pictures I took, the color is all wrong.  Umm what?  How with all the blazing sun beaming in on me could I not take a picture that had any resemblence to the true colors of deep dark chocolate (not the namby pamby orange brown showing) mixed with deep blues and even purples of the yarn?  Isn't natural light the thing we look forward to in the summer months?  Well, you see, I took the pictures late last night, when it was dark outside, and I used indoor lighting.  Yup, that is my story.   

And one hat was not enough.  I had more of the same handspun left over, so I simply cast on again and this time ended up with a smaller baby hat....with ear flaps...that needs something added to it....maybe some embroidery?  A tassel on the top?  Definitely braids need to be added to the ear flaps, but I'm not sure that will give it some needed umph.  And this picture is rotten as well.  Maybe instead of a knitting class I should take a camera class!

But the biggest excitement is that I'm heading to Texas EARLY tomorrow morning, like we better be in the van on the road heading south on 35 by 4:30 a.m.  And that means that by 8:30 p.m. my van will be pulling up in front of my friends house and I can crawl my way out of the driver's seat and collapse in joy knowing for 9 more days I can eat Tex Mex, drink my share of wicked good margaritas, and laugh and talk until I'm filled to the brim.  So while I've been silent on the blog before, this time I will have a good excuse.  I'll be in Texas.  I promise to take pictures.  And I promise to knit and spin for HOURS...well maybe not after the margaritas...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heading home soon

Soon, the girls and I will pile into the van and head south to Texas for a vacation.  The three of us surrounded by friends we love and in the place I love.  It will be the girls first Texan summer.  Feeling the asphalt squish under your feet as it radiates heat.  Feeling like you have to push your way through the thick hot air.  Feeling the hot steering wheel sear your hands because you don't have a windshield sun screen anymore.  Anna was too little when we moved back to MN to remember what July in Texas feels like.  Emily has never been there in the summer.  We usually go there during the girls' spring break in March.  I anticipate some stunned looks on their faces when they first step out of a cool air conditioned house into the brick oven like heat of Texas in July.  Not even in the night does it cool off.  But I can't wait to go. 

I know I'm nearly there when I'm climbing up the hills on the border between Oklahoma and Texas and see the Red River below.  I know it sounds odd, but I can feel the joy hidden deep down inside that I'm back.  As we drop back down into Texas I can't stop the grin.  On the flip side, when we leave Texas and this time I'm dropping over the hills into Oklahoma I can't stop the tears.  But for now?  I'll wait in anticipation of the indescribable joy I feel, even after driving for 12+ hours that I'm finally back in Texas.  At least for a while.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spinning and knitting

The Yggdrasil is moving along slowly.  I finished the first side of the final border and rounded the corner!  Ya me!  I've basically got the pattern memorized and can fly along.  In fact the row that I thought was the hardest the first go around has become the easiest for me.  I'm trying to do a side a week, but with all the evening festivities it is more of a challenge than I'd like.  I also took a picture of how all the borders look together.  I'm hoping when I block it will open up the cable and vine border just a bit.  I think that will add to the look of the border.
Yes, I'm standing on my bed taking this shot. With my ceiling fan whizzing mere inches above my head. Who said there isn't danger in knitting!
To take the edge of knitting only on the Yggsdrasil, I'm spinning again.  One reason is I'm planning on spinning enough yarn to reknit Girasole as a baby blanket.  I bought 20 ounces of roving from JulieSpins on Etsy (also saw she is now selling her stuff through The Loopy Ewe ) but in order to get the 1500 yards of yarn I will need, I need to spin it quite thin.  Thinner than I've ever consistently done before.  So I need to practice before I break out the beautiful roving I plan to use for the blanket (and what is it with me and knitting blankets all the sudden?)  So over the weekend I pulled out some roving Emily gave me for Mother's Day.  And after a couple days of spinning I had this
It is pretty, but it isn't nearly as fine as I need.  I haven't spun for several months so I clearly need to practice.  I love the yarn though, it will be a lovely hat or cowl, very soft and squishy.  So I dug through my stash and found some Ashford roving I totally forgot I had.  (bad bad when you don't even remember all the roving you have!)
And this most beautiful deep teal roving slowly turned into the thinnest single I've ever spun yet.  So I'm cautiously optimistic this will help me get the perfect yarn for the baby blanket.  The Ashford roving is the softest smoothest spin I've done in months.  The roving slides through my fingers into the neatest tight single but it doesn't break.  Hopefully it will hold when I start plying.  But one thing with spinning this fine, it takes longer to do.  Both a good and a bad thing.  Smile...but hopefully spinning an hour a night will help me churn through the final borders of Yggdrasil.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Status of Yggdrasil and news on Emily

I'm in the final stages of the might Yggdrasil.  I'm closing in on the first corner of the final cable border.  It is truly a huge blanket and even in summer, I love knitting on it.  But I live in MN, we have had a very cool and rainy June, so it has been quite pleasant to sit with that massive pile of wool in my lap.  So I keep slogging on, target completion date is early July.  Then look out...I feel a huge staritis coming on, be it spinning or for new projects to start soon.  But the last few days I've been grateful to have Yggdrasil to focus on.

My Emily was scheduled to have a surgery done due to her cleft issues yesterday.  Problem is the insurance company is balking at approving part of the procedure as they feel it falls into the "cosmetic" arena.  It infuriates me that it is even a question.  Two years ago after her first lip revision it took me 10 months of appeals and letters and phone calls to get two denials overturned and payment in full made by the same insurance company for her lip revision for the same reason.  Even though she had limited cartilage in the structure of her nose, the work the doctor did to try and build her an internal structure with the small amount of cartilage she had was deemed initially as cosmetic so no coverage.  Really?  On a six year old?  With a cleft history?  But they finally paid for that surgery and I thought we had established her cleft issues clearly.  Last year's revision and further surgery ended with no problem at all.  Then smack here we go again.  I can fight this fight.  But it angers me that my child has to wait because of insurance issues instead of getting all the medical help that is available.  When the doctor tells you they haven't had to get pre-approval for this particular procedure in over a year and a half from any other insurance company nor have they had any denials perviously it makes you just so disapointed in the state of how these things are decided.  I said it before.  I fought for years to adopt Emily.  I thought once I got her home, my fighting days were behind me.  I was wrong.  Well hold on people.  I can endure what you throw at me and I will prevail and my child will have the very best treatment out there.  Because she is entitled to it.  Period.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Continueing with the mesmerizing Yggdrasil

I can't tell you how much I love working on this blanket.  Just when I start to feel bogged down with it, I look at it and just am amazed.  I finished the leaf cable border and was able to lay it out.  And even my older daughter was awed by it.  We were both standing on chairs to take pictures of it.  It just makes me happy.  I almost hated having to put it back on the needles to start the next plain knitted section because I won't see it all laying out flat again until I'm finishe with it!  Can you believe that?  But I now have all 772 stitches on one ginormous 60 inch circular needle to finish the plain section.  Then once again I will work through the cable border and it will be finished.

I can't wait to see how the leaf cable section will look once it is blocked and opened up a bit.  I think it is just lovely.
I'm even happy with how the corners are looking.  And I'm already looking ahead.  I have two things in mind to work on next.  Both involve my handspun.  One is Sam the Ram, he is so cute and I have enough cream handspun of my own that I can double it up and make a wonderful cable filled sheep of my own, although Emily has already claimed him.  And just because I don't think I'm busy enough, once Yggdrasil is compelte, my next big project involves spinning 22 ounces of fiber into 1540 yards of yarn to create a baby blanket from the pattern Girasole, I think this version is just amazing and I can't wait to work on it.  But during the spinning I see some smaller projects in my head as well, hats and mittens here I come!  well I'll come once Yggdrasil is complete, like in July/August.  Now if only someone could explain to me why I'm working on a massive wool blanket during summer?  hmmmmm

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Knitting my way up north

Last weekend we headed up north, for those of you not from this area of the country, up north is used to generally refer to going north and heading to a multitude of lakes and woods in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  You don't even say exactly where you are going, but you simply say, we are heading up north and people nod and smile.  Well our "up north" was to my sister's place on the lake in northern Wisconsin. 
When you are on the deck at MK's, you are surrounded by trees and birds and blue skies.  Just a perfect place.  I spent a few hours trying to card and clean some roving I bought a year ago when I was a real newbie spinner.  I didn't inspect it at all, turns out it was just filled with veggie matter.  I tried carding it, didn't get rid of much at all.  The best solution I found was to hand pick it out, one little piece of grass at a time.  And after a couple hours of work I have a small pile of clean roving.  Did I mention that I really splurged and bought 8 ounces of the stuff?  It was so inexpensive!  sigh...I think this could take me all summer to clean.  But it isn't a hard job, just tedious.  And when I finally do get to sit and spin it, I will remember the hours spent outside, working through it.
The biggest drawback of working on the Yggdrasil blanket is not the cables, love those, it is not the color, I love that as well, it isn't even sitting with a pile of wool on my lap in summer, I'm managing that thankfully to careful positioning of a fan.  Nope the biggest drawback is that it has severly curtailed any pictures of cute knitting.  I'm not sure what I can show you that you haven't seen before.  I'm really happy working on it.  I've gotten to the point where it is relaxing and repetitive and soothing.  But there just isn't anything to take pictures of.  Short of stopping work on it to knit something else just to have pictures, I'm really going to have to get creative in my blogging.  So I'm hoping you will stick with me as I push through the last 2 sections of the blanket.

I can tell you I'm starting to plan what I'm going to work on next.  I feel a hat and mitten binge coming on.  So I'm off to peruse Ravelry for patterns that I find interesting.  Living in MN you can never have too many hats or mittens!  Winter is just around the corner....oh and just to end on a corny joke.  MN is 9 months winter and 3 months road repair.  Trust me, the road repair is going full force...