…perhaps when I’m not talking to others. I should be taking a quiz, or beginning dinner right about now. I’m in college. I often need to be doing something else. So, how do I do it? I have to make a choice.

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My nieces and nephews pretending to be camera shy;-).

I have to choose to make time to knit. I know I’m going to play on facebook, or quilt, or knit, and sometimes, I’m going to have to take a walk, and spend some actual time with my boyfriend and talking to him, not just shushing him while I concentrate on sudoku games. And some weeks, the fourth of July holiday is thrown in and you visit with your family for a bit.

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Drama Llama Lizzie, hiding from her own Drama…

Somedays, adding in work, that is a lot to juggle. I spent most of my breaks studying for a quiz today, and I need to take that quiz tonight, but I got in one row of knitting while I watched a little tv and chatted with dear James. I did also tink back four rows, maybe five from last week, and went a little farther than I planned to, but all is working out now, so far. I have some wonky thread to work with for a bit. But it should knit up fine.

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Sock progress with pre-curled yarn for stitches…

I’ve been told some won’t use this wonky yarn, but I need to, as there will be pieces left when I’m done with these socks. I’m also told you can soak the yarn, but these were knit and purl stitches before, I think they’re just pre-formed. I’ll have more issues with the tangling of yarn, than I likely will with the curvy, sporty yarn. They’ll come, just slowly for the next few weeks.

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They’re still pretending to ignore me…had I said cheeseburger, they would have run for dinner…

Until Next Time,

Happy Knitting

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…

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.

I just finished section nine of thirteen , and plan to move to section ten in the next few days. I’m working on the Find Your Fade version 2 from Drea Renae Knits on ravelry.com. This pattern is worth it…the lace work is not over done and that as well as the color changes keep you going. Maybe I will have a shawl in time for cooler fall temperatures.

Current shawl with new flowers peeking out.

Today’s look forward to it theme has been a new plant for the yard, Rudbeckia (I believe), and summer fruit. Blueberries won the day (and the yarn naming set-up, I believe). I also finished the garter stitch on the shawl…Photos to come. 

Last week’s progress on the shawl

I knit at this all week, the first sixteen to twenty rows of garter stitch utilize colors E and F intertwined. Once that was finished, I thought about showing you, but color F wasn’t being shown off well with so many dark, solid breaks from E in there. E is the purple and F is the speckled white with a lot of blue speckles and a hint of yellow. I love this yarn in the skein. However, it has more blue than I expected. I think it will still go well in the overall shawl, but it’s not my first love…until it shines. 

Most recent progress on the Find Your Fade shawl

Alas, tell me about your favorite summer fruit, as I only eat blueberries when they can be picked fresh on the side of the road (or from the local farmer’s market–for the next week or two), but I love fresh cantaloupe, too. Paired with some still fresh strawberries and we have a lovely salad. 

I also got four more skeins of yarn dyed this week, though two are still hanging to dry. I’ll show those two next week with other dying fun that I hope arrives soon. Until next time, enjoy the shawl progress and Happy Knitting!

Promised Progress

July 16, 2020

I realized I was fighting depression a short while ago. I’m still fighting it, and the appointment for the dreaded intake has been made. I’ll work to keep the difficult parts out of the posts, but the successes will be included. We all battle something each day. For now, it is giving myself something to look forward to, everyday. It’s a simple thing, but a cup of decaf coffee and microwave popcorn is something I look forward to. Today, I have to wait until the yarn is dyed.

 

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Bowl cozy/dishcloth requested by a friend…soon to be blocked. 

Yes, starting new projects can help, until you get too many in the works and are simply overwhelmed. I haven’t even really wanted to start new projects lately…or work on seemingly simple (but probably aren’t) current ones. Okay, enough. The yarn is ready to be rinsed, so the timer says. I’m hoping I didn’t felt it. Let me check this out and return to you as I work on this lovely shawl I mentioned… Must find the last photo of it (that doesn’t look like a thong).

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The beginnings of the shawl…color 3, I believe, of 7…and you might catch some interesting imagery…

Okay, I found a white spot…I didn’t want a white spot…I’m trying over-dying in the pot… This could get interesting. Let’s find out how forgiving Knomad Egg Shell really is. And now, back to the promised shawl…It appears I last posted in March, just as schools closed down for three weeks, and I hoped it wasn’t longer. I’m now a youth care worker in a foster care group home for ten girls ages 12-18…all there due to abuse/neglect. It’s a tough job and not for me. But right now, it’s attempting to pay the bills. Alas, let’s focus on the positive. Photos will be posted, those I have anyways, and taken from this point forward.

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From today’s yarn dying session…this will make more sense in the next post…

I have actually enjoyed creating this shawl. However, I’m in the maintenance phase. I prefer cuff down sock knitting because the foot goes quicker than the leg. I prefer to knit from the top end of a shawl because I like the sense of I’m getting there. Neither of my current shawls allowed for that. Instead, I get to a point of over 200 stitches, and just keep knitting.

I do love to knit, but at 233 stitches (or whatever my current count is), I need at least fifteen minutes per row. This is not a dishcloth I knock out while waiting for laundry. This is not six squares I need to chain piece or a simple monthly block (that’s never really simple). This is the real deal, and needed time to sit and knit. So, on my days off, I start the audio book (and am dreading running out of Agatha Raisin mysteries), heat the water for the coffee (yes, instant–no judgement allowed, okay), and pop the popcorn. And yes, I sometimes commit the sin of eating popcorn while I knit the shawl…I’m going to at some point once it’s knitted, and I dare you to find any butter stains… no, that’s just yarn variegation, trust me.

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Current progress on the Find Your Fade Shawl. I’ve only gotten in two rows of color E(5 of 7). I can’t wait to show you how this knits up…but some of it’s speckles match the previous shawl exactly. 

Alas, here is the promised progress on the shawl (better photos next time as I edit and get better shots of this and will have made better progress on the shawl. Later, I’ll review the yarn dying I’ve been up to this week, finally. I will also review how hard it is to get useful information on yarn dying, and may clean the kitchen to fix that. Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Also, please…comments and questions are very welcome–unless you are judging my coffee or popcorn or knitting practices. Play nice with me, and I’ll play nice with you;-). Thank you! 

I Do Finish Things…

March 21, 2020

I Do Finish Things…

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…every once in a white. Are you done laughing? It’s off the needles. It only needs to have the ends woven in, and maybe get some blocking. Right now, I’m not sure it needs it as it feels ready to wear.

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I was looking at shawls after classes ended last December, and I had an influx of downtime after finals. There is the post-exam relief, then the surge of “Now, what? I should be studying.” So, I hunkered down, decided this bodice i loved was not going to happen with this yarn, and started searching out shawls in December, 2018. In the midst of the Christmas season, I could not justify the expense of the most recommended shawl I had seen. 

However. I looked at the make-up and design of a few shawls, and said, I can do this. I then started with three stitches, as they all started with three stitches, and continually increased a stitch per row on most of the rows until I used five skeins of yarn. This reason was two-fold. I had ten skeins of yarn to use. My shawl could not be more than that. Secondly, I often didn’t remember how often many shawls increased, but knew I wanted this one to be longer in the back as well as keeping my shoulders warm. I’m a cya girl…and if you don’t like the term (insert arse above;-)). This shawl was designed to cover my arse. 

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Once I got to five skeins, over the course of a year, in which those around me estimated a five year completion time, I began the decreases and worked out how I would do them. They are not perfectly consistent, but no one is examining the decreases that closely. Once I get the ends woven in, I likely won’t be able to find what was what. The other beauty of this shawl, being an equilateral triangle for the most part (I have not yet measured it), is that I can just toss it on and not worry about which end is which. 

Now, the temps just need to rise above the rather chilly high of 35 this afternoon, so I can rock this shawl in pretty spring and fall evenings. In the meantime, the cats are happy to help me nap with it. Until next time, Happy Knitting. 

P.S. To see what it looks like on me, see my facebook page, Letters and Journeys.

The Saturday Update: Week 9

February 29, 2020

via The Saturday Update: Week 9

…like Leafy Washcloths by Megan Goodacre and Pumpking dishcloths (a KnitPicks pattern designed by Teresa Gregorio). These are both fun patterns to knit, and I have the leafy washcloth pattern memorized, including where I add my stabilizer rows (that do not stabilize much). With the fun I’ve had knitting these up, I may have to make more…or search out Santa dishcloths…or trees. We’ll see what the searches yield. 

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Some of my fall fun washcloths…I’m already making more!

I was also asked to knit bowl covers that measure a little bigger than the pumpkins. Now I have to find the right yarn for the coolest knit pattern I found. I think it’s going to be an adventure, but she’s worth it. She almost kept the pumpkin for the bowl cover, but it sold and quicker than expected. 

DSCN5074Aren’t those pumpkins on the right side just lovely? The yellow leaves also went to a good home.

During the search, I found some easter egg dishcloths in knit…and downloaded the pattern to my kindle. I have a summer pattern for the special request and can’t wait to see what else I’ve found. I’ve also made a smidgen of progress on the shawl, I might be on skein eight soon. I’ll get a better photo when it does and hopefully we get a full two days of sunshine in a row to take photos. (It’s now snowing, but it’s Halloween, so it’s almost expected in Michigan). Until next time, Happy Knitting!

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That pretty blue and purple leaf lace cloth became a gift with another requested…and I might put more of that stripey pink to work…we’ll have to see.

Stalking Startling Butterflies

September 26, 2019

I was walking to a new favorite knitting and lunch nook today and actually remembered my camera. As I cut across a simple, grassy hill, I noticed a familiar flutter of orange and black. I recognized this to be a beautiful, but elusive monarch butterfly. Shortly after, two yellow beauties fluttered past me. I’m talking a lovely pale yellow tone, with some white on them. I wondered at this sight and where they fluttered off to. 

The lovely butterflies that allowed me a simple photograph today…

Soon after I set up my knitting items and lunch, I recalled that I had my camera and wondered again where the butterflies had gotten off to. …I finish lunch, then knit away at my leafy washcloth by Megan Goodacre. I also got to my shawl a bit, but later. Today, it ate lunch and found it interrupted by the butterflies. I opened the camera bag and set up my camera to find a butterfly flutter by me. I checked his location, set my camera and started snapping photos, trying not to startle the striking beauties. 

All the pretty washcloths… I just can’t get enough of these, but I’ll try to have another pattern to show before I return to these. 

The yellow ones were a little shy, but stayed still long enough to allow me a photo. The orange and black butterfly decided I did not need her photo and ran off only to be seen fluttering by as I started my car to pick up my client. I still got some lovely knitting done and enjoyed some beautiful sunny weather. And guys…I have to photograph this one in progress…Look at this lovely sunshine yellow. I’m in love (and I don’t normally go for yellow). But check this one out.

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Please forgive the lighting on this…I’ll work for a better photo of it as I block it and share this lovely bit of sunshine again…

Also, it’s a banner week for me. I don’t love butterflies. I will not go into a butterfly house. I will patiently wait outside, knitting,  for you to finish. Yes, I have tried it, and I don’t like the way they grab me. This may be why I’m so into them in nature. They don’t land on me in their natural setting and remind me of more turbulent times. Alas, I do enjoy them in nature and wish to share some of my progress with you.

 

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Shawl progress for the meantime…someday I’ll show this thing full size. Until next time,  Happy Knitting! 

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The Leafy Washcloth, both variations…I like the stockinette stitch better, honestly.

…is on a dishcloth. I knit socks, usually. I’ve always let me feet do the work of blocking them. I’m knitting a shawl. I planned to hang it for pictures and hire my niece to take a good picture of me in it. I did not plan to block it (and may not have a large enough space…unless I clean off the sewing table). We’ll get back to you on that one.

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Leafy Lace Dishcloth…Doesn’t this look like fun to use on your dishes? 

But last week, I realized my dishclothes were wearing out. One just about disintegrated in the wash this weekend for me. I looked into these, but I do not crochet. I decided they could be knit. (My aunt usually crochets them for me, I believe, or works some magic). But I bought the cotton dishcloth yarn, looked up patterns that are fun to knit (hopefully), and patterns that might help motivate me to do dishes.

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This makes a right cheery little dishcloth, right? Grandma’s Favorite 2.0…enjoy.

I found tons of patterns. Grandma’s Favorite 2 on ravelry.com is the easiest and most straightforward to knit. But I saw a unicorn, a paw print, and an angel. The angel made me wonder about a fairy…Should there be a cleaning fairy on your dishcloth? I mean, think about it…There really should be. I’ve knit the paw print, I’ve knit the leafy washcloth. I’ve knit the Grandma’s Favorite 2 and the leafy lace dishcloth.

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The plethora of dishclothes recently knit

These are great for a little instant gratification and work well for traveling to the school where I pick up my client. I can knit for a few minutes in my car while I wait, then go in at the agreed upon time to pick him up. I’m enjoying this arrangement. If you receive a dishcloth from me for Christmas, do know these are a labor of love. And the yarn may have been picked with you in mind. Until next time, Happy Knitting! 

 

I took on two full time weeks in a row, which became adventurous this week. There are some decent stories, but not many I care to share yet. Besides, while I’ve gotten little done knit-wise, I have gotten past the center and begun creating a little tail.

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Check out this little tail…isn’t it cute? 

The tail is so neat, I’m looking for opportunities to knit. (I’ve just been too tired after working all day and writing notes. I get a day off Sunday, besides a fair amount of cleaning, there will be sewing and knitting breaks. All are needed…and there may be a dinner out involved.

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My dear monkey likes to help show this off…soon, the dog will help as well, as she’d rather sit with her head on my lap and snuggle if I must knit when she needs love.

In the meantime, allow me the indulgence of one pet dog story. I give the chow mix mini-walkies each night at my boyfriend’s before returning home. One night, we decided the pit-lab mix needed to join, or at least get a potty break before I left for the evening. So, I attached the double leash and began mini-walkies…corner to corner of the yard. I was ready to take them inside, my good deed done for the night, when this dog simply stood there, looking at me, then looking down the road. If I gave her an inch, she gently tugged me a foot until she was in the street. As I gave in, (because I’m really a big softie), I thought maybe she wants to find the street light in the intersection. Checking there were no cars, I led her in that direction. She kept going, on the leash, and I wondered where she would pick to finish her business. She talked me into the whole walk, as “mini-walkies” was a foreign concept to her. (Yes, I know. I have just been ‘had’ by a dog). We’re both better for it. 

She’ll likely help me pose the shawl as it grows. Until next time, 

Happy Knitting!

Six More Stitches!

June 27, 2019

I knit in public this Saturday while volunteering…maybe instead of a day, we should have a day of the week…or make it an everyday habit. I was knitting my shawl because it is all garter stitch with an increase at the beginning of the first row or an increase at the end of the second row. It’s even easy to tell, because sometimes a girl needs an easy knit, even if it takes forever.

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Shawl pattern is inspired by each of those I could find…but is, essentially, mine.

 I promised a company I would create and photograph some quilt blocks if they accepted my work (I left it up to the reviewing committee and they accepted it!). It’s for a magazine, for a July issue and it’s a Canadian press magazine. So, it’s either digital or Canadians have their own sense of time. When I made the promise, I expected I’d have a couple of weeks to months to finish the blocks and photograph them. I have five days. 

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Five days to make seven blocks, okay two really are done…but I only intended to make three with a working copier (on my printer) and time to construct them, plan and hopefully have money for fabric. I may have to make a whole darn quilt…this publication better take me places… Alas, I’d better get back to paper piecing, but today I made progress on my shawl while interrupting my block assembly progress. (I did get the blocks done, in time to share them and my publishing story with my quilt guild too). 

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Pattern is Toe-Up Travelers by Ann Budd in Sock Knitting: Master Class

A fellow volunteer is a knitter. She asked about my shawl, but I’m at the long part, so a row takes some time (it can be interrupted though). I’d been knitting furiously to show her the end of the increase row, and as she was about to leave, I look down and knit the seventh stitch to the end, so I feverishly declare “Six more stitches, I’m knitting as fast as I can.” We did have a good chat about knitting, and will forever have something to discuss when I review my notes better and volunteer there in the future.

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Lovely bottomside and backside of Toe-Up Travelers from Sock Knitting: Master Class.

In addition, I did get some progress done on the socks, and need to change the needles in just one more row…Now, can I find my camera? (It’s not in my hand like my phone was earlier when I was searching for it)…but the dog needs some love first.

Until next time, Happy Knitting

Five More Minutes…

June 21, 2019

Not five more minutes of knitting, unless I’m in that sweet spot. I’m rarely in that sweet spot right now. So, instead, I feel slightly like a petulant child who is asking “Are we there yet?” It’s this way on both of the projects, unfortunately, for me.

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Front of sock Twisted Stitch Socks by Ann Budd

In the interest of not sounding like a petulant child, I’m focusing on the positive. Sometimes, all you can say to repeats of “Are we there yet?” is “Five more minutes.” I picked up on this line while I was dealing blackjack and carnival games. If the cards went south, and they usually did, players would begin asking, “How long until your break?” After a dozen questions a night, you stop thinking and start answering, “Five more minutes.”

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Back of Twisted Stitch sock by Ann Budd…the middle of that back cable row is about five more minutes from finishing that row…

The parents get it. Anyone who has ever used this line gets it, and when they do it’s funny. A few are too drunk to get it, and in five minutes when they ask again end up saying, “You said that five minutes ago,” to which I repeat five more minutes. (If they are that drunk, explanation is often useless). Alas, I don’t wish my shawl or socks to look like drunken knitting, even if the ladders do at this point. I’m hoping they can be blocked out.

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Forgive the fuzzy picture…I’ll take this better next week, and about a quarter of the way left to knit is my five more minutes point here. 

In the meantime, here’s the latest, and may your knitting not require the response of “Five more minutes.”