I’m sitting here tonight thinking on the knitting I haven’t gotten to yet this week, and wondering just how much progress I can make on my sock before I need to write up and publish my blog. Maeve chooses this moment to take advantage of my open lap and hops in for a snuggle. Maeve loves snuggles. Briannag has been bugging from the couch for snuggles every time I cursed the book quiz I need to finish before the regularly scheduled class time next week.

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The current amount of progress….this is just a sock to be, the cuteness is below;-)

It has been a week of ups and downs, the ups were not always enough to compensate the downs, but only if I dwell on each day separately. I do not have class so early next Wednesday that I need to change my sleep schedule from overnights to days; however, we also miss out on a review, and the instructor is providing a book based exam. I have cursed anything book based in the entire class. It’s often confusing at best. However, I’m focusing more on the ups, and listening to Bon Jovi’s song “Have a Nice Day” as I contemplate my week.

The biggest up was dinner with my oldest niece at Bob Evans-nothing fancy, but she’d never been there. Part of our goal is to go places she’s never been. We’re considering finding the best burger served at each place we dine at and are keeping a commemorative journal of our dinners. She even told me she wants to be a food critic when she grows up, amongst her twelve other jobs she may or may not be able to accomplish via freelance work. It was a great dinner. (Phones were not present at this event, except to make a quick note to pick up a journal, which we did). Photos were not taken either.

In the meantime, how far do you think I can get? I promise to get photos too.

001Scamp’s immediate nosedive into the knitting bag…

Now, I retrieved my knitting bag from its home in the chair, where it is tied shut to keep curious kittens out of it. This is a requirement, as you’ll notice Scamp immediately made a nose-dive into the bag when I set it on the edge of the couch and placed my pillow in its proper back-supporting position.

Once I snapped the photograph and shooed Scamp out of the knitting bag, I began cursing at the sixteen dropped stitches I needed to pick up. Diligently, and patiently, I slipped them back on the needle one at a time. I resisted the urge to overwork the knitting using two needles. Some days, I feel I’ve become quite good at returning stitches to their rightful needles so that I may continue my work.

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Putzer inspecting the sock

005     Squib not letting Putzer hog the sock to himself

Then I set about the business of knitting, and does long fibrous strands moving across needles create an interesting diversion for the most discernible curious creature. The couch suddenly became full of furry felines, wondering if mom would let them play with some of the yarn she only gets out on those special days.

011I do mean full; Zeus takes up nearly half the couch on his own

Then I continued to knit and purl and created uneven eyelets to connect the two socks, and decreased the one extra stitch I’d managed to pick up, likely before I dropped the sixteen cream colored stitches. The extra stitch was on the black yarn side of things.  However, I knit away, and while I hoped to get two inches of progress in, I think I got closer to one and a half. I didn’t measure before I started though, so I can’t be certain. We can only guess if I have room for before and after shots, or if you are so inclined to check last weeks blog. In the meantime, while I won’t be finishing this sock in the next week, I will be diligently continuing to knit it.

012Briannag, or Miss Whiny about attention, boycotting the knitting. It takes up too many of mom’s hands…

I’m hoping it provides some sanity in the cursing of the book exam. Its said to be open book, but I have experience with this book, open book is as much of a curse as closed book with poor wording. Alas, I have made progress with the sock, and I had a great time at dinner with my niece. Those will be my focal points this week. After all, once you get past the periscope, its all simply perspective. For the rest of it, I’ll enjoy a glass of wine and take the semi-immortal Bon Jovi words of the world getting in my face to heart and say “Have a nice day!” I sometimes wonder if they substitute other words for nice.

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Briannag joining the party after she smells the wine mom poured…

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Where have I gone? What have I been doing? I admit it, the knitting has suffered a small hiatus. I think I’ve averaged four rows a week out of sheer gumption. So, what has kept me from knitting beyond a new job and a schedule change? A quilted bookwrap I’ve been sewing by hand…

The bookwrap has gone everywhere with me this spring and summer and visited the ball parks, the new job, the short but frequent breaks…you name it, I’ve taken it, except out to dinner. Because, like knitting, sewing and food do not get along. Now to explain a little more about this bookwrap, because no one wants to just hear a simple description of black and white text info. I will include pictures below.

I saw this pattern in a magazine, and I thought it was neat. But I thought the hexagon too simple and I’d promised a friend a hand-made item this year. And well, I’m looking into making quilts for my nieces. I decided I would see how much work this would really take. I requested her favorite color-purple, and she liked octopi…let the adventure begin.

I began to cut and shape and draw the octopus after studying those with top-hats and a monocle. My friend has always enjoyed quirky creations. I began to cut fabric and sandwich layers and decided on a quilting pattern. I began deciding on a wave pattern, since the character was on octopus and the background was a purple batik with bright blues and yellows and pinks running through it. It almost reminds me of the deep ocean where this octopus would likely dwell.

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It took a little time to quilt, and I didn’t have to baste much, if any, as the finished quilt was 17”x9”. The project traveled well with a small circular frame in which the waves began to look like octopus arms, and so, I essentially quilted an octopus on this quilt, who was tipping his hat, and reading a book. It felt appropriate.

Once I finished the quilting, I cut out and pressed under the seems of the octopus, and I proceeded to applique him using a whip stitch. It was a first attempt, and I was jumping in both feet first. Later, when I researched sewing the binding, I realized I could have made a blind stitchch work. I considered a ladder stitch, which I often use for closing pillows and blankets, but I went with the whip stitch. We’ll say it looks like his tentacles for the most part. 001

Now, I have an octopus sewn on, with facial characteristics, tipping his hat–though my niece, Jessica outspokenly states he should be wearing the hat. There is no room for said octopus to wear the hat, but she’s 13, and that’s her only complaint. The octopus is also reading a bright turquoise book with yellow flannel pages. I’m happy with it, though its not total greatness, the recipient shall enjoy it….Now I just have to get it to her before she encounters these pictures on the internet;-)

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I am still knitting and will have to keep at this sock. I am one-third of the way done with the first leg and suspect if I devote a little time to this sock each day off, it will progress once again. I’ll take sewing/quilting to work as its easier to accomplish on short breaks and some of my other quilting projects have to stay secret. I may write down my musings and translate them to blog fodder later, after Christmas;-). Scamp will still help me some. She has throughout this process, but I photographed the quilted book wrap at the park today where I held my birthday party.

So, the Slip-N-Slide socks didn’t go over as well for my niece as I hoped…they were tight on her too. I’m trying to re-knit the cuff of the tighter one and pull off a snug fit. She loved them, but I have no photos of them on her feet, as it was a challenge. I’m not sure what to do here…I have enough to re-knit these, but I want to move on to knitting my own socks. We’ll have to see which works better.

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As you can see, Lizzie loves the socks…however, I still have some work to do…

In the mean-time, I did sneak in some toe-up knitting on the stealth argyles that will travel with me, and let me tell you about my yarn gifts for Christmas…Now, I have to figure out exactly what I’m going to knit with them…The first one(because I open my stocking first, was ten skeins of knit picks Wool of the Andes in Amethyst Heather. My boyfriend was hoping I could make a sweater with it. I’m looking at the Innsmouth Bodice on ravelry.com or getting five or six more skeins to make a true sweater. If you have any great sweater style tops to go with this, I might be open to suggestion.

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Jessica’s quilt-matching pillow case….It won an “awesome,” which is high praise in teenage land.

I also received five skeins of the chroma color way..and.I’m torn here. It would make a great Dragon Wings shawl, but my boyfriend bought it for me to make a hat, scarf and mittens with…do I do what he wished, show him what it could be, or hope for a big money miracle to buy more yarn to make that dragonwings shawl and later the find your fade shawl.

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Jessica really enjoyed her gifts….

I don’t dare tell him the status of my stash yarn…but he enjoys building my stash..I like this process…now, I just have to put a nudge on so I can get yarn that doesn’t require more yarn and more needles to knit these wonderful gifts…Shh…I promise, I’m not complaining…but I need to get back to knitting, and instead, I’m stuck working most of this week.

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Lizzie loved her Godzilla necklace and earrings.

Wish me luck, I’ll be sharing. I will try to remember to take pictures of the stash yarn as I work far too many hours this week…Bear with me, guys…I’m trying to keep up with the all-night gamblers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring On the Toes…

December 21, 2017

That’s right, I’m at the toes…I may have four disappointing rows of stockinette stitch(I’ll find out when I recheck the pattern,) but I hit my goal to be at the toes tonight, so I can get these knit up by the weekend…I know, I know…get back to the needles.

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Do you see these babies;-)…they’re ready for toes!

I found the painting I thought I’d misplaced…my boyfriend knew where it was, which is good–because I don’t have time to make another…and while it would likely be better, I wouldn’t feel that way, until it was done. Instead, I would stress. But I’m feeling pretty good today, for two reasons.

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Almost there, can’t wait to gift these babies…Fraternal twins…

I got one gift finished this afternoon, and while I wish I’d done it a little better, and if I’d known how my week was going to turn out, I’d have focused on this one more. Alas, that’s not how it goes around here…but, but, back to the knitting…and some tears…I picked up Maeve’s ashes yesterday, and received a paw print they didn’t tell me about. It was sweet, as I watched six other people bring their mostly healthy and still alive pets to the vet and pretended to be okay. I’m not, I nearly lost it while running my errands, but we’re each allowed a little crazy (or normal grieving) at yuletide, right? I bake a little when grieving…here’s some of last night’s haul.

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Oatmeal cherry chip cookies…scream now if you really, really need these…perhaps I can message a recipe. Though I will need to send some to a fudge gifting friend.

Okay, okay, back to the knitting…so the emotional roller coaster of this week will be complete…

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We’re almost there. I think my favorite part is the gifting;-). (except for when I get to put them on my feet;-)).

See what I mean. Now I have to go knit the toes, and get these done in time to gift and hope her feet still fit them. Afterwards, which socks do I focus on? (Yes, I remember I need to get back to the hat for a friend, and I will), but do I go for the stealth argyle in teal and purple or create mock cables with burgundy and black…which matches a favorite shirt;-)? Decisions, decisions…but enjoy the gifting process this year, and the family that chooses to be with you. Happy Holidays…and to those who think I should say different, I say, “If your holidays aren’t holy, you’re doing them wrong.”

 

…went bust, mostly.

This week, finals nearly kicked my butt, until Wednesday when I drove through one of the worst storms of the season to turn in my last final paper for this semester. I also was up early, and knew the storm would get worse…so I ran errands early, before turning in my final and came home to knit.

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The sock from the back, at least half of this got easier…

I’m getting there, but I’ve been up early due to carpet layers(they’re noisy everywhere), and snow shoveling, which happens right outside my window. So, I’ve got some knitting and quilting done when I woke early. Now I need to keep making good progress, though my Christmas plans are up in the air, and I’m not sure when I’ll do what. The book exchange party was bust tonight, as my sister-in-law’s camp claimed illness…not sure which kind of flu took over. But I proceeded. I would have enjoyed their company or a gingerbread house creation party…

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My niece, Jessica with her birthday gift from me…another interesting book. (I liked the Michael Bedard book better, but this one kept me reading too).

In addition, it was Star Wars release night. (My youngest nephew bugged out, with notice, because he had tickets to see Star Wars as part of his Christmas gift). My friend from work was my funniest bug out…she was fully honest, and sent me a facebook message stating that she got distracted with beading and her husband had just walked in to remind her of it at 6:30…we began at six. I chuckled(as I’m sure I’ve never been guilty of this–sarcasm intended here) and invited over to my small gathering anyway. She was eating dinner, but would bring a gift to me at work on Saturday…Crap, now I have to find another good book for her. Wish me luck…

Alas, my dad showed up, and we had a good chat for a couple of hours. I think next time, I’ll try this on a Sunday night…perhaps more people will come. I wouldn’t trade the chat with my dad for anything…but I would have liked to share more books with more people. I did get some knitting done as I waited…and now I have two new sci-fi books to read, that I would not have read otherwise, and my dad has my copy of Michael Bedard’s The Green Man. I hope he likes it. It’s almost a young adult book, and I’m going to suggest he pass it to my sixteen year old niece when he finishes it. Partly because the prose is quite poetic in spots…partly because I love this book and hope it visits many people.

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Not my easiest pattern ever, but I’ve never done things the easy way…

In the meantime, happy knitting with few mistakes….We’ll see what I can make of mine…this is not an easy pattern;-).

I was excited today. I got through the heel turn and began the gusset. I even think I figured out what the pattern meant as I re-knit the stitches I’d already knit that round. The round begins at the side of the leg instead of the back of the leg, so I had to bring it back around once I knit the heel flap and turn, but I made it through the short rows, and made it to the gusset. See?

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I think this periscope look is my favorite part;-).

Alas, I was feeling pretty good. With this done and classes finishing up Wednesday, I can likely get this done as a Christmas gift. I’m not even sure when our Christmas family gathering will be, but I need it done in time, just in case. I also plan to take it to my aunt’s the week after finals to work on it there…I’m hoping to reach the toes there, but I will be basting Jessica’s quilt to take with me to quilt when I cannot sleep until three or four in the morning, or when I am up at five a.m. because I went to bed at midnight or 1AM. Switching schedules will not be easy, but it shall be worth it.

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What a periscope looks like from the inside;-).

I’m also excited to soon get back to sock repairs for myself so I can wear more knit socks. I need to pick up some nylon to reinforce some repairs over the next week(read–after payday). But then the guilt stepped in, tonight. I haven’t knit a stitch on a hat that was for a friend’s grandmother. Her grandma passed on, and I wondered if she’d let me knit it for me, but she planned to pay for it and do the right thing, and even after several hints, she decided to gift it to her daughter. I’m hoping she didn’t plan this for a Christmas gift. I didn’t promise it then, but she’s singing my praises about how cheerful I am to my boyfriend at work tonight(I’m not there), and I’m feeling like I should be making a little more progress on this, so it’s going with me to visit my aunt as well.

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Close up of a periscope knit sock inside view…

Alas, shifting from Finals’ stress to holiday stress…when do I just let go. In the meantime, I plan to have a little fun with the holidays and host a Christmas book exchange party next week. That reminds me, I’d better make some edits and give people a better idea what to expect. More info on that next week, as I’ll be full of a new book I’ve never read, or an old favorite to re-read. There will be a hot cocoa bar and treats.

Another Round? Why Not?

November 30, 2017

On me…pull up a chair and pour another glass…and keep the yarn on the needles. I thought I was getting close to beginning the heel. I don’t know what I missed or when, but I should be at the heel…I’m not. The pictures even suggest it, but the sock measuring says “Are you kidding me? Keep knitting!” Apparently, these will be December 24th socks…knitting right up until Santa comes…or whenever the visiting the recipient’s deadline arrives.

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It looks so close…but it isn’t…

I knit my tush off this afternoon, after actually working on some homework. I knit my tush off on Thanksgiving last week. I knit again and again, even as I waited for a second poster for my capstone project presentation(I’m not done yet, I just took the capstone class a bit early). I thought I was approaching the heel today as I knit…and I am…but not for seven or eight more rounds…

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At least seven more rows…alas…I’d better get back to it…

In the meantime, there’s only one thing to do…(or two or three…). It’s a knitting blog: perhaps the only thing to do is knit. But I also have to edit poetry, memorize a poem, and have a capstone paper to write. At least it’s not all due tomorrow. However, if I don’t prioritize and get something done each night…I’ll be working towards another meltdown this semester. I’d better get back to editing poetry…and see what my poster presentation pulls off on Tuesday in order to add to my paper.

 

Thanksgiving Week

November 23, 2017

It’s Thanksgiving on Thursday this week. This means a short class week for me, but a normal work week. We gather with friends and family and eat too much of everything. There will be knitting as well. I cast on a Twisted Yarn Christmas tree just to have mindless knitting throughout the day. I will also need to pick out a poem to memorize soon, and may merge it with another I’m supposed to be memorizing and creating a presentation about.

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I’ve made some progress on the socks…probably more than I think…but it feels like very little this week. It’s been a busy week of more forgetfulness and sometimes of rather important events. If it’s not part of my routine this week, it just wasn’t happening, unless it replaces something I’d forgotten last week.

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I hope the tips I’m getting for this help. I still need to knit and quilt, but both have been slowing down as the homework stack grows. When can I get back to serious knitting…I want these ol’ socks over the heel by the time I get to break so I can knock them out and focus on the hat i haven’t touched this past two weeks. I may work in some time for that Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, if you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it was more than you thought it would be, and in a good way. If you don’t, Happy Knitting until your next festivities;-).

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Dropping the Ball…

November 17, 2017

…not the yarn…thankfully…

…not literally, thankfully, as this yarn would likely roll everywhere…But it’s been a heck of a week, missed important appointments, meltdowns over assignments…work for assignments always feels off or late…but has been somehow good enough to get me by. I’m appreciative of my instructor’s flexibility at this point.

However, the knitting continues…although with my crazy week, I got nothing done on the hat and will need to return to it one day…maybe. In the meantime, I’m still finding time to knit between classes, when I’m not memorizing poems for performances…I became a fluid tree for about two seconds today…but none of the trees I represented were truly fluid…though they dance in the winds of a pale sea-green breeze. There are no pictures of this performance, and I’m okay with that…

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Scamp, inspecting my knitting bag for goodies to run off with…

Okay, okay, I performed “For C.W.B.” by Elizabeth Bishop.  There are tree lines, and statements of beginning a life together and mention of a stork. I ensured it was presented rather sensually. Only one person thought it was too much…the instructor did not. In fact, when the tree branches swayed in that pale sea-green breeze I saw their smile…which just encouraged me.

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Backside of current sock with first sock for comparison….I was getting more color play on the second sock for a bit…

Now, let me get back to the knitting. There was some…I mentioned on a sock knitting facebook post that I just about had my pattern memorized, but still carried it with me just in case. So, I looked at my pattern and said, “Oh, I’m knitting row 12, it goes like this…” and proceeded to knit it half wrong. I simply worked my bridge stitch early. It is supposed to be in row 13.  Previously, I think I worked it late…so now I have slightly wonky bridge stitches…see if you can find them.

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Front side of the second socks…with back side for comparison…enjoy… 

Yes, I know the stripes are off..I’m going with it. Sometimes, socks get to be wonky. I hope you enjoy them…as well as the recipient, so I’d better get back to knitting. I will say, to some extent, I can knit and rehearse lines if I do so carefully, but then I will end up with socks that veer off course more than I do.

Simple, but effective…

November 10, 2017

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Sock progress this week…it’s been considerable…

It’s been quite a week, and I’m skipping the details, as they’re not mine to tell. I’m not sure how much I got done on the hat this week, but I think there may have been progress. However, the proud moments involve the sock. I’ve been taking it to classes and for studies…and a musical. Spring Awakening is quite a musical…my favorite moment involved a fellow theater-goer. We got to a risque scene in the play and the lights abruptly go on for what I recognize as intermission…and the young man next to me says, “What?!” I looked at him and assured him, “There’s more.”

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Scamp thinks this is her knitting bag…or there are treasures in here she can run off with…I caught her in time…

In the meantime, I need to get back to knitting, quilting and schoolwork…ugh…If you want to know what a psychological study looks like, send me a message. Otherwise, I need to get to bed, and compile data and…never mind…my brain needs a rest. Enjoy my baby kitten(not so much anymore) Scamp, trying to claim the knitting bag…I think she wants to learn to knit.

Knitting While Scheduling…

November 3, 2017

…in my world almost means less time for knitting. Unless you schedule that in too. How do I explain? Two weeks ago, my instructor said, “You seem stressed. Why don’t your turn your study into an online study?” I said, “I’ve already prepared for the traditional method.” Him: “Look into making it an online study.” I felt my stress(which was high,) go through the roof. I didn’t know how to tell him changing this in the middle of class was not a good idea. I tried, I really tried. He wasn’t having it. So, I went on one of those newfangled survey websites and set up an online survey. I put it in the system…I went live…and nothing. No data, though I had a subject. Maybe it takes time I thought? So I looked into it…How long should it take? Finally, I contacted said participant through email. She couldn’t get to the survey.

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Current progress on the Grayfields hat…part of me cannot wait to see how it knits up.

I contacted the instructor, who thought I should visit him in class (while I still believed things were going well and I was collecting data, like he told us to do). Long story short…study was reverted to traditional method, and now I’m playing the timeslots/book a room game. The rooms get booked for an hour or two at a time. The students show up for a ten to twenty minute experiment…a simple one…no real cruelty here, promise…except the frightful weather they sometimes have to traipse across campus through. Scheduling fun…and I can only carry so many books. So, what’s lightweight and simple to carry: Knitting! Can you believe it? .All that to tell you I was knitting before my study tonight…but the second sock is cast on and the first two rows are knit.

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Second sock cast on…we up and running…these are probably a Christmas gift…

I’m calling that progress…because I also made progress on the winter Gray Fields hat …at least I think I have…If you know any Russian knitters, send them my way (via internet, of course). Otherwise, I’m continuing with this pattern as I interpret it. But I have made pretty good progress on the hat as well…the pattern rows cover 126 stitches, feel like they take forever and are complicated…but the knit rows work up pretty quickly…after I note my progress…it’s almost like knitting two socks at once, but that was 144 stitches….I’m going to need an attention grabber if ever I attempt an afghan or a shawl…or some tricks….In the meantime…feast your eyes on these and hope my scheduling goes better this week.

 

I Made It to the Retreat!

October 26, 2017

But it’s more expensive than I expected!

I had an unexpected turn of events last week. My quilt retreat roomies cancelled! For various reasons, they couldn’t make it…most of them had good reasons…one couldn’t get the days off work, pssshhh….she needs a new job. Another couldn’t get time, but had had a rough year of illness. So I considered not coming, for half a second. Then I decided to ask for other roomies…

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Shh…don’t tell…this is tomorrow’s challenge photo…

There’s good news, and bad news…and that line is almost too tired to keep using.

My roomies cancelled last night. I didn’t know until I got here…anyone want to come to Mackinac City for the weekend? You can knit all you want too…we’ll tell them you’re going to knit a quilt one day. Who cares if that’s really called an afghan…wait…I have a ton of acrylic yarn around the house…and I feel an idea taking shape…I should have brought the newsprint.

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Awesome color view of the Bridge at night…who doesn’t want to see this view?

Alas…if you wish to join me, I’ll clean off the second bed…the good news, I’ve got a room with two beds to myself…all to myself. No worries about roomies! I miss the roomies I’m used to. I’m missing the connection with them already. However, I’ll just have to make some new friends and enjoy the weekend of sewing and knitting(and shh…I should do some homework, too–though I like to have homework done when I get here). But back to it…

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Psst…don’t tell…I didn’t mind knitting the 2×2 rib stitch…

I’ve been working on the Hat Gray Fields by Tatiana Rovenskaya this week. I’ve made it to the increase row…which took an extra hour or two of translating from Russian to English…because she was specific. It made sense, once I worked around the translation, but I’m glad I looked it more than once. I thought I was supposed to purl around. Instead…I was supposed to add a stitch every ten or eleven stitches, but between the ribs, not in the middle…(I hope). It’s done…I’ve begun the pattern.

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Current Knitting Progress…literally…

 

The photo here is a rare mid row photo…I’m getting better at checking where I’m at, and well…I was interrupted during the second repeat of the chart (which is just a wee bit complicated), and it was before class when I reminded of a quiz which I’d totally forgotten. Thankfully, it was an easy quiz, but sometime later I’ll have to finish off this row(in the midst of quilting) and learn this pattern before it returns to public.

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Knitting while waiting for friends…including my chicken scratch translation of this pattern…wish me luck…

I’ve been a wee bit naughty with the second sock of the Slip-N-Slide pattern, as I haven’t cast it on yet. I’ve been focused on this hat, and I should get to the cast on of this sock this weekend, as I can take that to my nieces band concert(which I should simply ink in for the next five years(I think) that it’s right after this quilt retreat every time). Wish me luck arriving on time…must leave by noon on Sunday;-)…drat! (With the price I’m paying…I should get a free day! Who can join me?)