The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Stashing all the way

I have been reading, with some interest, the trials and tribulations of those knitters who aren't (or who aren't admitting to) adding to their stash. It must be an interesting situation. Temptation is everywhere. On the other hand, I have to wonder what it would be like to have one's own equivalent to a personal yarn store in every closet and cupboard. Were that the case, I could see the merit in a self-imposed yarn diet. But apparently it's not that easy, and I applaud the efforts of those who are abiding by the rules and not buying new yarn.

I don't have those issues. Witness the new aquisitions chez Pumpkinknitter. In the center is a lovely hank of cream colored laceweight, Merino Oro from Ornaghi filati, which I found in Tucson yesterday. There are 1375 yards here, enough certainly to do something interesting.

Two balls of Regia Self-Striping Sock Yarn in Spring.

Two hanks of Koigu KPPPM, color number 137 (I think). Blues, browns, and yellows, with a bit of orange and green thrown in. I stood in front of the Koigu display yesterday, just lost in thought. So much calling to me, but this was the loudest.

It's my first Koigu. Is this the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship? Will it prove to be my downfall? My obsession? Stay tuned, dear readers. Only time will tell.

One of my new year's resolutions was also Noro. I have made the plunge and have my first selections in hand.

One skein of Silk Garden, in Turquoise/ Fuchsia/ Gold. This is earmarked (pardon the pun) for a hat.

The other three skeins are Noro Kureyon in Summer Fall. This will probably go into a multi-directional scarf.

The colors in all this are just driving me wild. Having kept to solid colors pretty much for a while, the thought of working with all this is fairly heady excitement. (I know, it doesn't take much to get excited. And no, I don't get out much, either.) This was the main reason I decided to do Project Spectrum, to push myself into working with more color and color combinations. Just for the fun of it. And to see just what happens, too.

Tomorrow is the start of Sockapaloooza. I'm looking forward to seeing who my sock pal is, and what I will be knitting. Perhaps it will be an excuse for more stashing.

The Olympic clock is ticking away as well. Time to start thinking about moving into the village with all the other knitters. Think gloves, think handpainted yarn. Sweet.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


More down time this weekend equalled one finished sock. It fits as perfectly as I could wish. Smooth and snug.

I thought for a while I would run out of yarn, but in the end I did have a fair amount left over.

Now, of course, all I have to do is start and finish the other one.

It may not be the Olympics (yet), but it still feels like a good accomplishment. The tiny needles really made an amazing difference in the fit and feel.

I'm ready for Sockapaloooza!


Yarn: Kroy Socks 4 Ply, 50 g 192 yards, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, in Harris Tweed, which I bought cheap on sale in order to see what works for me.

Pattern: Traditional Ribbed Socks from Patons booklet "Classics in Kroy".

Needles: US Size Zeros, four DPNs, rather than the recommended Size Ones. I used bamboo needles, which I was not totally happy with. The needles didn't fall out of the work, but they held on to the stitches pretty tightly. I would like to be able to slide the yarn off the needles a little easier; I'm sure this slowed me up some. Any suggestions?

Friday, January 27, 2006

What's That Sound?

Wednesday morning, just before the alarm went off at 4:15, I heard something. It was like a little growl. The alarm went off and there was a flicker of light, and then...THUNDER. And then...RAIN. Maybe there was even some...HAIL. About freakin' time! But by the time I left for work an hour later, it had stopped, except for some lightening in the distance. And it was over, for good. The clouds all went away, and you would never know that anything had happened in the early morning dark. I took a picture of the late afternoon sky for all the sky watchers.

No more rain for the foreseeable future.

Today had a lot of down time in it. I worked on the Simple Stripes sweater, and got from the front ribbing to the armholes. Sure, not really a lot, but it sounds impressive. I'd work more on it tonight, but I want to finish the first sock. I've got to finish SOMETHING in January.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Training Session

Sunday I worked 7 hours overtime. I got home a little after 1:00 pm and spent the rest of the day in training for the Knitting Olympics.

I took a power nap. Totally necessary skill.

I ignored the dishes in the sink until nearly bedtime. (If you don't go in the kitchen, it don't bother you none.)

I stopped at the grocery on the way home from work (good time management skills) and got stuff for a real quick dinner (take out of box and stick in oven). No wasted energy cooking gourmet meal that others in the household may look at once and refuse to eat, going instead for the hot dogs or peanut butter.

Left bed unmade for five hours after husband got up. Personal best in that particular skill.

Did straighten up trash that teenager (ahemAnniecoughcough) left in living room. I draw the line somewhere. Said teenager being at work and therefore unavailable for Olympic training support activities.

Knit on sock with sock yarn and tiny needles, as practice for knitting sock yarn with small needles into fingerless gloves. Watched some football for old man's sake and then, when he left the room, switched to figure skating. (Don't know how that happened, honey.) Serious Olympic practice time.


Must get more practice time. I'm anxious to see if this sock fits better than the first pair does, which you can see in the picture above. They fit, just too loose for my preference. Also, I want to be able to say that I have finished something in January, and get posted to the sock KAL's.

Appropriated husband's recliner for Olympic knitting. Sorry, dear, we all have to make some sacrifices.

Just wait til the real thing starts.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Beauty and the Guilt

Mom is back in charge of the blog again today, at least temporarily, and after Barbara's addition to yesterday's post, I just have to post a picture of what she really looks like uncontorted.

So far I've been the only one infected with the bug Annie brought home from either school or work. But Maria called me today from the wilds of northern Arizona and told me that it was cold, it was snowing, and she was getting either the cold or the flu or whatever. Mom's advice? Stay warm, drink grapefruit juice, chicken broth, and wear the No Swatching hat she appropriated.

There are lots of posts around talking about Stephanie's Olympic Knitalong and the offshoots of the same. I particularly like Margene's response, with her theme of Eddie the Eagle and the enjoyment of the process. I'm certainly not going to drop out of the Olympic Knitting; I want to make the fingerless gloves (my personal challenge) and I want to see if I can finish in time. I've always been a fairly slow knitter, and I'd like to pick up some speed, but I don't want to lose sight of the enjoyment, either. The problem lies, I think, in a long-entrenched mindset which creates a nagging sense of guilt when I spend time knitting.

When I was younger, the rule was to finish my homework and chores before setting down to knit or read or embroider or whatever it was I was doing at the time. This wasn't a bad thing at the time. After all, there had to be some pressure to get me to do what I was supposed to do, otherwise I might not have gotten anything done. So on Saturdays I cleaned my room, on Mondays I did a basket of ironing, on Wednesday I started the dinner, etc. But it was simpler then. There were one or two chores to be done, and then the rest of the day was all mine, and I could enjoy it with a clear conscience. Things are different now. I'm a big person; I'm the mom. The days of only one or two chores are long gone. Nowadays there are far more chores than I could ever catch up with. And when I sit down to knit or sew, after a short time has passed the little voice of guilt starts up. The dishes could be dried and put away. The carpet needs vacuuming. The closet should be cleaned. The garage is a mess. (It has been for 11 years.) I know that the little voice of guilt is just a carryover, and that the world won't come to an end if I ignore it, but I can't quite totally get rid of it.

Am I the only person hearing the little voice? Obviously from all the blogreading I've done, there are plenty of unvacuumed carpets and messy garages out there. Why should I be different? Part of it is that I do function better in a neat home. When the kids are visiting and their stuff is everywhere, that's one thing -- a good thing, because it means they're home. But when it's just us here, I like it neat, and I can't relax until it is. So where do I draw the line? The other side of the coin is that I know life is short, and I don't want to spend all of it cleaning and doing chores. There are a lot of things I want to do, and knitting and quilting, etc., is right in there. I want to make time to make some really great, involved projects, and I know that I need to make that a priority. Fifty years from now, no one will particularly remember if the piano was dusty or there were dishes soaking in the sink, but I would hope my family would remember what I did creatively and treasure that memory. So whatever I can do each day, whether it's a little or a lot, needs to be a priority. And needs to be enjoyed without guilt. So I'm going to keep Eddie the Eagle in my sidebar, at least for a while, to remind me to just do what I love and enjoy it. With no apologies.

Susan has started a Homer Simpson Olympic Knitalong. Frankly, anything with the words Homer Simpson and Knitalong in the same sentence scares the freakin' daylights out of me.

Back to knitting the sock's instep.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

And some progress!

Here are the current projects. The sock has the instep decreases almost finished, and I have finished the back of the Simple Stripes sweater and have cast on the front. It looks like the stripe pattern is going to match up quite well. The scarf/stole is peeking out of my work bag; it's right at the halfway point. And of course, one needs the ever present TV remote. The only project not visible here is the prayer shawl; I actually worked on it Sunday night when I was feeling somewhat under the weather with a touch of the stomach bug (thank you for sharing, Annie), and still felt like doing something that I didn't have to think about.

I'm on my way to filling my New Year's goals. I have already joined two KAL's, one hosted by the PurlingP's for socks; Julie and I have both joined Stephanie's Knitting Olympics (KAL links in sidebar). I am going to knit the fingerless gloves I planned to do with my lone skein of Wildfoote. This should be interesting and I am looking forward to it.

We went up to Tucson on Monday and I took the travel bag with me. But my sense of timing was a little off -- I was right at the shoulder shaping for the SS sweater and I didn't want to mess with that in the car. And the scarf was right at the point of needing a new ball of yarn joined and I didn't want to try to splice it together in a moving vehicle, either. Then I found that I had dropped a stitch in the sweater half a dozen rows back; so I frogged it and spent a good while picking the stitches back up. It kept me pretty occupied, and that was a good thing. Barbara has gotten her driver's permit and the old man was letting her drive part way. Having to concentrate on picking up stitches actually kept me from getting too nervous about the child driver sitting behind the wheel in MY car. I ask you, wouldn't you be nervous with this child driving???

Self-portrait taken and posted by Barbara. Actually, she's rather proud of her eye-crossing abilities. And wouldn't you be, too? (All comments posted reference Barbara's questionable abilities will be duly forwarded to her.)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Comments=New Friends

Today I'm sending a flower to all the readers and especially the commenters! Believe me, I have gone to visit everyone that has had the kindness to comment on something I've posted. I would really like to find more blogs to read (although the old man thinks I spend too much time on this already), especially from someone like me who's still new to the blogosphere and especially other knitters who have gotten completely turned on by all the wonderful patterns out there that they never knew existed! And who are trying to catch up as quickly as possible!

I've started to join up with the sock KALS, see sidebar. I've only successfully completed one pair of socks, but I am hooked and want to really get rolling on this. And guess what? I'm not going to apologize for being a beginner sockknitter. With all the inspiration around the web, I hope to become an expert in a really short time! If I can get off the computer and start knitting, of course. I tried on the new sock last night and I can already tell that this pair is going to fit way, way better than the first.

Thanks, Margene, for coming by and leaving a comment. I jumped on the sock KAL's that I found on your site and have gone to visit other bloggers when you list them. I like to get out and comment and make new friends that way. I know that I will be reading blogs that you posted about today.

Thank you, everyone, for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I Send a Flower...

To Wendy, who was kind enough to come over and read what I had to say in response to her post. I am totally in agreement with her that we each one of us knit for our own enjoyment and our own purposes, and none of us is right or wrong and should not be judged in any way, shape, or form. Her post made me think about the purpose of what I do, why I do it, and am I able to let it go when it's done. I agree that a finely knit lace shawl is not necessarily an everyday wear item, and I also I know that I would want to feel free to wear one any time I want to feel wonderful in it, and not keep asking myself if I'm afraid to wear it because it might get dirty or -- horrors -- ripped or snagged. It would be a fine thing to have my little granddaughter someday inherit a beautiful lace shawl that I had made, and I would want to have her remember me wearing it while I walked along a beach or along the rim of the Grand Canyon in the sunset. And a snag or two wouldn't, and shouldn't, matter. I would want to have joy in anything I make, from the finest lace shawl to the humblest pair of socks, and believe me my socks are pretty humble still. But it shouldn't matter. If we aren't getting joy out of it, then why are we doing it? Wendy's sweaters and shawls and other projects are obviously a matter of joy to her, and certainly to the rest of us who read her regularly. The same could probably be said about every other knitter on the web -- at least the ones I've read -- and in my thinking ought to be an important factor in choosing what to make. If I can't stand to knit on large needles, then I won't have joy in making a project on them, unless the desire and the resultant joy in making something that a child or a dear friend wants overwhelms the discomfort of the large needles. And can I let it go when it's done? I know that I wouldn't make anything for myself that would stay in a drawer or closet all the time, but the gift I make for someone else just might do that. And I have to let it go. It's their choice. I had the joy of making it. That's all I can ask for from a project. The joy of it.

And that's all I got to say about that. Until the next time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Back to Normal

Well, it's done. The trees are down and packed away, as well as all the Christmas decorations. It took a full day and a half. The old outdoor lights that didn't work very well any more went into the trash and the garage finally got somewhat reorganized -- at least we can walk in there again. It's always kind of a sad thing to take the decorations down. The house always looks so plain afterwards, although definitely a lot neater. But I know that it will all come back again, probably sooner than I will be ready for it. I keep saying that I will start Christmas preparations early, and each year I am actually doing better at it.

I spent some time this afternoon working on the ribbed socks. As you can see, I'm working on the heel flap -- but it still seems to be going pretty slow on those tiny needles. The pattern calls for US 1's, but I always have to go down at least one full needle size to get gauge. And this despite knitting what I feel is rather tightly. I made my first pair of socks last summer. It was so cool to turn that heel! But they came out somewhat too loose for me, even though I made the woman's size. I probably could have made the children's size and it would have worked much better; I just seem to always knit loosely even though I concentrate on keeping the tension pretty firm. I bought a bunch of the Kroy yarn on sale with the intention of figuring out a good size for me, before I start using the really good sock yarn and making some of those really cool patterns that Sockbug and others have.

Just as an aside, I'm finding it very enlightening to read Yarnstorm these days; she is in the midst of difficulties with Cherry Tree Hill yarns. I looked at some CTH sock yarn in Tucson but didn't get it because it was a bit pricey for me at the time. Now I'm congratulating myself on not having gotten it.

Wendy had an interesting post about all the projects she knit last year, and how many have yet to be worn. I'm overwhelmingly impressed by how much she gets done, but also rather bothered by the thought of how many projects stay put away so that they won't get dirty. I don't think, in all the years I've knit, crocheted, embroidered, or quilted, that I ever kept anything put away so that it wouldn't get dirty. But I've also only made things that I would be comfortable using on a regular basis. I mean, I love the look of crocheted tablecloths, but I would be afraid to put all that time into one and then have something spilled on it and have it stained. Therefore I will probably never make one. (And yes, I do know about putting a plastic cloth over it.) But I have made many crocheted lace doilies and runners and you will find them out around the house. And I could certainly see making something just for the challenge of it, but then I would want it to have some usefulness after it was made. Most of the things I make I give away; maybe the recipient uses it or maybe they choose to keep it put away, but I know that I had the pleasure of making it for someone special. I guess that makes me a process knitter; I enjoy doing the process, and I can let go of the finished product with no strings tied to it.

Unfortunately, it's ten days into the new year and I have no finished project yet to show for it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Belated Happy 18th Birthday to Annie! (Since I didn't post yesterday.) This is Annie's prom picture from last spring, and the other is her and the old man getting ready to set off for a hike in Bryce Canyon last June. Annie is the family's manic hiker -- ten or twelve miles a day would be just fine with her. There was a whole whack of teenagers over yesterday for cake and candles and presents -- lots of Victoria's Secret stuff (hmmm). And to celebrate her arrival into so-called adulthood, she got her belly button pierced. (No, I did not approve. I just get on with it.) She also got dolphin stuff, since she is dolphin-mad, and Lemony Snicket books. Victoria's Secret and Lemony Snicket. Well, why not?

Actually did some knitting on the prayer shawl yesterday. I wanted something to knit in the car. More has been done on the Simple Stripes sweater, but still working on the back. The Ribbed Socks are going slowly. No one told me that sock yarn on US 0 needles would seem to take forever. I thought about a picture, but who wants to see toothpicks with ribbing on them?

Monday, January 02, 2006


Maria in her Isis Wrap and the second No Swatching Hat. The hat was too small for me but looks great on her, as you can see.

How did we spend New Year's?

Saturday night the old man went to work and I went to bed early.

Sunday morning I got up at 4:30 and went to work for almost eight hours. The old man got off work, went home, and fell asleep watching football.

Sunday afternoon he went out to do a church service and I cooked dinner.

Sunday night I got ambitious and cast on for some socks, using Kroy sock yarn out of the stash. Didn't get far. We fell asleep in front of the TV watching Monk reruns.

Party animals, that's us.