Knit Lit

The one where I realize I am old

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1.   I’m excited about going to Rhinebeck, I’m tired of waiting for October, I want to go right this very minute.

2.   Why do I have all these random thoughts running through my head and not anything that will make me a $1,000,000? (Though the way things are going, a million wouldn’t go very far.)

3.   How does this swatching work, anyway? (According to the Yarn Harlot, it doesn’t.)

4.   Every morning, I put organic handmade products on my skin.

5.   I consider myself lucky because what happens in this life is only a short journey to my real life with my heavenly Father.

6.   One day we’ll see all Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, paying for what is going on in the government right now.

7.   And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to checking the Henrietta swatch for gauge, tomorrow my plans include cleaning Boy Child’s room and Sunday, I want to knit without interruption all day long!

 

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I was running errands on my lunch break and saw this vehicle in the parking lot.

 

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Well, this is the likeness of the vehicle – a 1988 Dodge Caravan.  I did not get a photo of the actual van.  It was pouring down rain, and I left my camera at home.  So, imagine this van a little more faded and sections of the faux wood panel missing.  That is the van I saw.  Now that you have an accurate picture of the van, add in the following:

 

1.    an extremely tall man who resembles Tom Selleck, age early 30s

2.    a very tall woman who resembles Linda Carter (a.k.a Wonder Woman) with blond curly hair, age late 20s

3.    one sarcastic and ill tempered girl, age 9 with a book in her hand

4.    one tall gangly boy, age 7 with too short shorts

5.   one slightly pudgy boy, age 5 who laughs like a little girl

 

You have that mental picture?  Good! That is what I flashed back to this afternoon.  That was my family 20 years ago.  (Wow! I’m so old!) We went everywhere in that van.  All our family vacations involved travelling by van.  My brothers shared the back bench seat.  I, by the virtue of being the oldest and only girl, declared the short seat in the middle my very own.  Mom would pack lunch/dinner/snacks in a big igloo cooler and place it at the end of my bench, thereby extending my seating.  It gave me such big sister pleasure to force my brothers to ask permission to get something from that cooler.  You know, I was so put upon having to move my feet. ; )

 

That van and those trips shaped a huge part of my current life.  I declared in high school that I would never drive a van.  To this day, I don’t like them and have no plans on ever owning one.  I still defend my SUV is more car than van.  It seats the same as a car and has doors like a car; therefore it is not a van.  I still carry multiple books on trips to ward against boredom.  Now that I know how to knit, I do that with knitting too.   Though I may not pack a cooler, I still arm myself with more than enough food to last two trips.  Because of an ill-fated trip down the Natchez Trace, I carry water, a flashlight and a blanket in my vehicle.  I also always carry napkins and trash bags.  I now absorb useless info because of trivia games we used to play. (On Gilligan’s Island, what is Skipper’s real name?)  I think I could have discovered a cure for something big like cancer or poverty or why celebrities think anyone cares what their political views are.  Instead, my brain is filled with things that may be interesting at a cocktail party, but are useless in real life. 

 

The majority of my most vivid childhood memories are connected with that van, even if it is only the vehicle that transported us there:  youngest brother getting car sick on the Blue Ridge Parkway; going to sliding rock; cutting down our own Christmas tree; going to Universal Studios and Sea World; going to both brothers’ soccer tournaments- year after year; Chicken-n-a-Biscuit and eating ice cream off a wooden “spoon”; Mom reading choose your own way books and reading them again and again to see what would have happen; picking blackberries and Mom making blackberry cobbler.  It is good memories when I see this van.  I fear I won’t see it again.  If I do, I know it will always make me smile.

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February 27, 2009 Posted by | Family, Friday Fill-in, Random | 2 Comments

Henrietta

I put on my big girl panties and swatched for Henrietta the Owl Cardigan.

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It’s hard to see Henrietta, so I’ve carefully shown her here:

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We’ll see if she plays nice tomorrow.

February 26, 2009 Posted by | Knitting, Yarn | 2 Comments

The one where I reclaim yarn

I had difficulty with Hank the Owl sweater.  The good news is that Mrs. S is willing to take it as an early birthday present.  Yea!  I was so intent on finishing Hank; I had not really thought about what I would work on after this project was done.  I grabbed up my Lady February on the way out the door yesterday.  As I was working on it at lunch, I noticed that the lace pattern in the arms was looking different than the lace in the body.  I remember thinking while working on the body that my lace was not looking very lace like.  I dismissed it, but now working on the arms and having them knit up properly, I was perturbed that the body was not the same.  I’m not going to say it was wrong.  It was a lovely pattern; but it was not lace, and it did not look like the arms.  I just did not want to work on it anymore.  Not to mention that it was about an inch too short.  I have no idea what I was thinking.  Sigh.

 

As I stared at my knitting baskets stashed around the room (I keep all knitting projects in the living room as not to forget about them.), I could not find one thing I wanted to knit on.  Not one!  I was frustrated with everything.  So, in a fit of project spring cleaning, I started pulling out all my WIP and chucked them into a pile to be frogged tonight.  That’s right! I have a date with my swift and ball winder.  To be honest, I feel as bad as I thought I would.  I often feel pressure to finish things. However, before, I had a narrow definition of the word ‘finish’.  Having a project that is just not working out and liberating it to its original state can be classified as finished.  Not to mention that it feels like I have all new yarn to work with. 

 

Now all I have to do is figure out why I have such problems with EZ patterns.  This is the second time I have tried to knit one of her patterns.  It is the second time I have ended up in the frog pond.  I will admit that I have a feeling the fault is all mine, though it true human form, I’m starting to think it’s not me but EZ.  I have successfully completed other patterns.  One look on Ravelry will definitely clear up that misconception.  There have literally been thousands of EZ projects out there that are truly lovely.  Groups and KAL have been created and dedicated to EZ and her patterns.  Obviously we don’t speak the same language.  Sigh #2.

 

I think the real problem is I get so excited to cast on new projects, I forgo the swatch.  In the past, this did not bother me.  I had no problem ripping a project back if it was not working.  I was a process knitter.  Now, I think I am becoming more of a product knitter.  I really want the finished product.  I get frustrated when it doesn’t work out. I’m sad to see all the work flying by me as my swift goes round and round.  I think I’m going to have to adopt a new policy.  I think that every new yarn that comes into the stash will immediately be swatched.   I usually over buy yarn for a project, because I have to add inches to compensate for my almost freakish height.  That would allow me to squinch a few yards for a swatch.  As I’m typing this, I just thought of a wonderful idea for the swatches, too.  Inspired by the quilts from the museum, I can make my own “crazy” quilt.  That is what they called the quilts that were made of spare scraps of fabric.  At first glance, they looked a mess, but when you looked at them longer, you realized that each little bit was probably a memory for the quilter.  I like the idea.  I also think it is a good carry around project.  And maybe, just maybe, it will cure my I-don’t-know-what-to-knit-now mood.

 

Well, I’m off to contemplate what yarn I’m going to play with first.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Knitting, Random, Yarn | 3 Comments

Disappointment, Irony and Wonder

It is a sad, sad day for Hank me.  I rushed home to check on the post-blocking fit.

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I’ve been worried that my blocking was too severe.

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I was able to get it over my shoulders this time, but sadly, it is still tight enough to be uncomfortable.  Le sigh.  If Mrs. S is interested, she may be the recipient of an early birthday present.

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This cuteness will have me casting on another very soon.  I think I’ll have to go up 2 sizes in order to avoid such a severe block next time.  It took me just over a week to finish this one.   Hopefully I can finish this one just as quickly now that I know the pattern.

101 in 1,001 – #7

Yesterday started Vegan Week.  I am participating with two other people.  From everything they told me, their day was fine.  Mine was not so good.  My plan was to prepare most everything this past weekend.  However, I was quite busy on Saturday and really did not feel like doing much on Sunday.  I started yesterday off by running around town trying to find a yellow cake with chocolate icing.  It was a co-worker’s birthday, and I was given the task of buying the cake and ice cream.  Of course, the irony of buying treats I couldn’t eat was not lost on me.  So, i get to work, thinking I could put the cake in the kitchen and avoid it all day.  I get to my desk and find … Girl Scout cookies. Sigh.  Again, I was able to resist.  They quickly went under my desk, and they will stay there until next week.  During birthday time, I was good and had strawberries. So, here is my menu for the past two days:

Monday

breakfast: oatmeal & an orange

snack: Lara Bar (Since I’m not going vegan because of any animal rights reasons, I’m not going to worry about “trace amounts of dairy” found in some products.)

lunch: PB&J

snack: strawberries, natural popcorn

dinner: yoga soup (didn’t really like this one, so only took a few bites), cashews, Lara bar

Tuesday

breakfast: oatmeal & strawberries

lunch: 2 vegan veggie burgers, applesauce

snack: 2 vegan chocolate chip cookies

dinner: brown rice pasta with tomato sauce

So far, I really havn’t been bothered by the lack of meat or dairy products.  Even though I may not be so strict later, I have a feeling I may keep this up for a little while.  I can feel my body detoxing.  I have to confess, I still have been drinking my Diet Coke.  I tried to only drink water yesterday.  I ended up with a severe headache, and I ended up in the bed a full 2 hours before my normal bedtime.  I decided my body can only take so much at one time.  I will give up the chemical laden soda some other time.

101 in 1,001 – #56

The reason I was so busy this weekend was because of task #52 – Take Boy Child to the museam.  Mrs. S told me about the quilt exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art.  Since it was on my list, I decided now was a good time to go.  We had a blast!  We made clay pots in the Creek Indian exhibit.  We had lunch at the cafe.  Boy Child even liked the quilts.  I forgot my camera, but was able to take some slightly fuzzy ones with my phone.  If you are in the area, you need to go see this.  The quilts on display were crafted in Africa and Alabama.  The exhibit was designed to show the similarities in the craftsmanship.  All I know is they were stunning.

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This one made me want to take up quilting.

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This one, however, is my personal favorite:

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The rings were layered one on top of the other.  It was remarkable.  Actually, that word does not do it justice.  It was breath-taking.  I’m not sure I could ever do anything like this.  Anything that impresses a 9-year-old boy is worth seeing.  I wish this was a permanent exhibit.  I may have to go back this weekend with my camera.

February 24, 2009 Posted by | 101 in 1001, Finished, Knitting, Random, Yarn | 3 Comments

Wearing denial-colored glasses

It all started innocently enough.  I saw the cutest sweater on another knitter’s blog.  It was a pullover in a lovely heathered grey.  What made it extraordinary was the delicate owls ringing the yoke.  I’m not sure how owls are delicate, but on this sweater, they are.  I read through all the comments raving about how beautiful it was and requesting that she post the pattern.  I added my own request to the mix and began my wait. 

 

A couple of weeks later, I was touring Ravelry and found that the designer had released the pattern as a free download, though I would have bought the pattern without complaint.  I knew I wanted to convert the pattern to a cardigan, and I did not have any bulky yarn in a color I thought would do it justice.  I did, however, have two beautiful hanks of hand-dyed yarn from Miss Bab’s booth at this year’s SAFF.  It is a subtle shade of copper brown that reminded me of the owl that lives in our back yard.  The only problem was it was listed as a worsted, not a bulky, though the gauge listed matched the one in the pattern. 

 

Taking on faith that I usually knit the listed gauge, I cast on for my normal size.  I knit along very merrily.  I finished the body.  I finished one sleeve quickly.  I pulled it up my arm to check the length.  Because most of my clothing is cursed with too short arms, I am hyper vigilant on the sleeve lengths of any sweater I knit.  As I was working my hand in, I noticed that I was working a little hard.  I did get the sleeve up my arm, but it was a little snug.  I glossed over this because the yarn was bound to bloom.  I mean, I just had to rip out an entire finished sweater because it grew like the bean stalk!  I was confident that it would be okay. Besides, I only ever wear tank tops or short sleeves under my cardigans anyway.  It will be fine. I cast on and finished the second sleeve Saturday afternoon.

 

I was looking forward to working on the much anticipated owls, so I slowly and deliberately added all the pieces to the circular needle to begin the yoke.  Now, I’ve never knit a yoke sweater before.  I was concerned about how tight the knitting was at the armholes/sleeves.  I decided that it was my imagination, and things would right themselves quickly.  I was right! The knitting soon fell into the familiar ease of knit and purl.  I happily knit through the cabling for the owls, thinking about what kind of buttons I would use for the eyes. (I had already reuled out the bead idea.  The projects I saw that used beads made me scared of the owls. Shudder.)  I worked the ribbing at the next with a confidence that this was going to be the perfect sweater.  It had only taken me a little over 1 week and had only cost me $25. 

 

It was at that point that a creepy tingling came over me.  If this project had only cost me $25, that means I only used one skein.  I looked down.  There was a considerable  amount of yarn left.  This one skein, while large (500 yds), still was no where near the 930 yds called for in the pattern.  Oops!  At that point, I was swimming in the river.  I finished up the rib.  I cast off loosely.  I sewed the small hole at the arms.  I diligently wove in all the ends.  I stood up to try on my beautiful sweater … and couldn’t get it over my shoulders.  !@#^$*^@# 

 

I have moved past denial.  I think.  I have moved on to hoping I can block my way out of this.  I used almost every one of my pins.  I jerked and pulled and hopefully beat this cardigan into submission.  Sigh.  Well, at least I can say I completed my February sweater.  It may not fit me, but it is a completed sweater.  Nope.  It’s too soon.  I can’t look on the bright side yet.  It’s all too close.  Maybe it will see my love for it and block out bigger. 

 

Meanwhile, I pulled out the Lady February from the basket.  I’m still ashamed that I put this one aside with only the arms to knit.  Maybe, just maybe, I can finish the Lady February in February.  We’ll see.

February 23, 2009 Posted by | Finished, Knitting, Yarn | 2 Comments

#112

#112

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1.   Give me alone time and I’ll be a good mom/wife/employee.

2.   Whenever I walk into a yarn shop, I usually buy something.

3.   I wish I had the courage to go back to school.

4.   Taziki’s (local Greek restaurant) Friday Chicken & Pasta special was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5.   To live in this world is to be frustrated by the other people who live there too.

6.   Other than this one, Mrs. S’s is the last blog I commented on.

7.   And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to trying to finish the second sleeve of Hank so I can get to the fun part, tomorrow my plans include taking Boy Child to the art museum and Sunday, I want to get ready for Vegan Week!

February 20, 2009 Posted by | Friday Fill-in | 2 Comments

A little bit of this and a dash of that

I am falling back on the random list post.  Nothing in my life seems to be going in a straight line, so I’m not sure my blog posts should either.

1.      Magic Loop where have you been all my life?  I think I’m in love with you.  Sure, you make me knit slower than usual, but I only just discovered you a couple of days ago.  I’m sure you will allow my to fly soon.  Right now, you hypnotize me with your ability to eliminate  ladders up my sleeve. 

 

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You know how to treat a knitter right.  It’s like the Christmas morning Santa brought my first bike.  If I could squeal like that little girl, I would.  It’s good to learn something new and to discover that it is not as hard as you thought it would be.  I’m almost to the part where I become chagrined that I did not discover this marvel sooner.  Oh well, maybe I’ll pass right over that stage in my excitement that I may complete an entire sweater in a week.

 

2.      Redress – According to Franklin (go read his post about it) this is a knitting art instillation at the School of the Art Institute’s Sullivan Galleries.   People can actually go into this exhibit and knit.  That’s right! Knit!  This is  one of those times I wish I was independently wealthy.  I would love to be able to see and participate in something this interesting.  I think I find it so fascinating and compelling for the same reason I was so excited to be a part of Franklin’s 1,000 knitter project.  Somehow, for that one moment, I felt connected to all knitters.  I know Ravelry does this on a daily basis, but it is not the same.  When multiple knitters hold and work with the same yarn and needles, it connects them in a way that just cannot happen over a computer.  That is why handknit gifts are so special.  The the knowing that right now,  Papa Buck could be wearing socks I knit for him makes me smile.  My thoughts, prayers, and love went into those socks.  Now, all those thoughts, prayers and love are with him even when I’m not.  It’s really cool. And really sappy!  Wow! Haven’t gone there in awhile!

 

3.     Speaking of really neat things.  I found this great idea over on Yarn Miracle’s blog

 

4.    On my 101 list, I decided I wanted to go a week without meat.  I don’t crave it often, and I would love to be able to save some money on groceries.  As I’ve mentioned before, Mrs. S and I decided to go full out vegan for 1 week.  That week starts Monday.  I’m a little nervous.  I have fall back meals under my belt when I am tired and don’t want to cook.  Usually, that is pizza and cereal.  Both contain milk, so obviouslythat is a no-no when going vegan.  I have soy milk in reserve, but I’ve been told it is sweet.  I’m not sure how I’m going to like it.  I’ve done my planning.  I ran to Whole Foods today and picked up most of my ingredients.  I’m hoping I can talk Boy Child into helping me prepare for the week on Sunday, that way I will not be tempted to cheat.  The only thing I am missing is green tomatoes.  I got it in my head to fix a fried green tomato sandwich with spicy remoulade sauce and sweet potato fries for dinner one night.  Whole Foods had one not so green tomato.  I’m hoping I can pop into another grocery and find 1 or 2 this weekend.  I hope this will end up being fun and jump start my getting back to healthy eating.  At least, that’s what I told my mother when I convinced her to join us. Hee!

5.     I was e-mailed the following article today.  All I can say is … Whoo Hoo! I’m not alone!

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February 19, 2009 Posted by | 101 in 1001, Election/Politics, Events, Knitting, Random | 2 Comments

Patience

Today was a test of my patience.  Strike that, today was multiple tests of my patience.  All day long I had to bite my tongue.  I’m surprised there is anything left!  Mostly I know that people are out there walking around not thinking about their actions.  I definitely know they do not think about how their actions effect others.  Mostly, I can just “grrr” and let it pass.   Today, I just wanted to shake someone or run away!  My mama raised me to think about others before I think about myself.  That is why I let people in front of me in traffic and at the grocery.  That’s why I try to be aware of people around me so I don’t bump into them, disturb them by talking too loud or by getting out of their way if I am walking/driving too slow.  I try to think about where people are coming from before I react to something they say or do.  It is a good thing I’m practicing taking a minute before I speak.  If I didn’t, the words ‘stupid’, ‘moron’, and ‘who do you think you are!’ would have come falling out of my mouth like raindrops in a monsoon. Like the Yarn Harlot, I can only imagine what kind of person I would be without my knitting.   That and Hubby are the only things keeping my mama’s teaching in my head.

Speaking of patience, I am going to have to stretch mine even further tonight.  I’m up to the yoke in my Hank-the-owl sweater.  I don’t have any US 9 dpns, so I’m going to have to learn Magic Loop.

This has been an enjoyable knit.  So far, since there is very little to think about, it has been especially helpful with helping me to zone out. (see above)  There isn’t much to see, but I’m enchanted with the cool copper/rust/orange color.

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It has been chilly again here, and I’m hoping I will have a chance to wear it.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Knitting, Random, Work, Yarn | 3 Comments

I Cried a.k.a “Why I could not vote for / support Obama”

I have been thinking alot about how vocal I should be on this blog about my political viewpoints.  After all, I started it for the purpose of talking and sharing my love of knitting.  I think that there are many out there who share my political and spiritual views, so when I come across something that I am passionate about, I can not let it go.  I came across this today and had to share.  

 

 

I cried not only for the topic she is speaking about but also because she spoke with eloquence and intellegence about something that is accepted in this country when it should be abhorred.  This is a child who has more compassion and knowledge than most adults I know. 

 

Good job! Well done! This gives me hope that the youth of today are thinking for themselves and that maybe one day this country will turn back to what its creators had in mind.

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Election/Politics, Faith, Family | 1 Comment

Sunshine Valentine*

YOU ARE THE SUNSHINE OF MY LIFE

You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
That’s Why I’ll Always Stay Around
You Are The Apple Of My Eye
Forever You’ll Stay In My Heart

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I Feel Like This Is The Beginning
Though I’ve Loved You For A Million Years
And If I Thought Our Love Was Ending
I’d Find Myself Drowning In My Own Tears

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You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
That’s Why I’ll Always Stay Around
You Are The Apple Of My Eye
Forever You’ll Stay In My Heart

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You Must Have Known That I Was Lonely
Because You Came To My Rescue
And I Know That This Must Be Heaven
How Could So Much Love Be Inside Of You

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You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
That’s Why I’ll Always Stay Around
You Are The Apple Of My Eye
Forever You’ll Stay In My Heart

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You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
That’s Why I’ll Always Stay Around
You Are The Apple Of My Eye
Forever You’ll Stay In My Heart

~ (Stevie Wonder) ~

* Hubby is my best friend, my confidant, my rock, my smile, my laugh, my love.  That is way better than being my Valentine.

February 14, 2009 Posted by | Events, Holiday, Knitting, Yarn | 2 Comments