…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

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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 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.” 

I had no idea how much I wait for spring flowers to arrive until this week the first week of June. I pulled into the drive after satisfying the fuel gods of the car and switching some laundry over (at my second home, or my first and this is my second, who knows anymore). Alas, I pulled into dear James’ driveway and saw the first Iris of the season! Thank goodness. I put the dog out and got the camera right away while we still had some light. Check theses bab out.

Spring Flower happiness…apparently needed by me…

A couple of days later, the first Iris went to visit someone’s mom (darn it!) but two of her friends had popped over. I took my shawl to the doctor’s office this morning, and had it out on previous evenings, and finished up skein four. Now I have to decide if I’m making an eight, nine or ten skein shawl. I think I’m going for the ten skein shawl. It’s measuring 22 x 34 inches right now…we’ll see where it’s at when I finish skein 5.

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Current shawl progress…I’m going for cover your tush on this one…

 

I didn’t even have to stress over the knot. I was at the doc’s and my phone was supposed to be off. I simply tied a square knot and joined. The rest is history. In the next row, whether I increase or decrease will be my deciding factor, but I decided I want this shawl to feel more like a blanket and less like a bolero (cute as they are).

Sock* progress…maybe one day I’ll want to return to this lovely pattern…

*Pattern is Twisted Stitch Socks by Ann Budd from Sock Knitting: Master Class. It’s well-written, but I have the mid-sock are we there yets?

I also got to an almost decision point on the socks. These socks are a challenge, even for me…and I normally love a challenge. However, this pattern is too challenging overall (I’m ready to be done and I have 47 rows left, on the first sock!). There is a part of me saying you have time, just work on it (and when you switch needles, you better cast on the next sock). There is the other part of me trying to convince me to set this aside for an easier sock pattern. I’m working with the idea that “The only way out is through.” I just don’t know if I’ll get to all fifty rows…I may shorten it to 23 rows left (that sounds so much better). But I’ll keep you updated.DSCN4823

Full view of the shawl in progress…Fall is going to be so lovely.

In the meantime, may your needle works bring you joy and Happy Knitting!

I’m not sure what I was doing all last week. I was training for my new job (Yeah!), substitute teaching, and recall going to another appointment, I think. I have no recollection of what it was, where it was, or why it happened. Maybe I just needed to get out of the house. Maybe the knitting happened during a training video.

I did attend my niece’s band concert that Sunday. I did knit in public…I made good progress on this shawl. The when and where of working on it bugs me, because I did leave off mid row at one point (I’m wondering if that’s from the week before), or if I’m just imagining things. It could go either way. I’m just a girl, recovering from a tough beginning of the year trying to make everything work. I got through most of it unscathed. The knitting occasionally went to the backburner.

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However, I knew I’d be talking to people, so I took the shawl (that’s taking forever to knit). I’m most of the way through skein four. Yet, part of me knows it’s three to more rows (at least) until I move onto skein five. Now I have a decision to make…Do I continue increasing with the fifth skein or do I finish skein four, start decreasing and make a matching hat, scarf and mitt set? Choices, choices. I may just have to see how the shawl wraps around me soon.

The End of an Era…

May 2, 2019

The sock is still in the works. And now it’s taken to falling off the needles at almost regular intervals. I think I need better needles, or some school-age complaining terms.

In the meantime, it’s a bittersweet day. I just attended my last final exam, in which the coursework was all turned in last week, and I did my reading last week. So, I was attending mostly for the food and to hear a few people read their own work. It’s also a requirement of the class.

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Back of the sock…

This was for poetry class. We’re a bit sentimental as it is. Some of our students were published in Third Wednesday this year, too; which was very exciting for them.  However, my instructor recalled one of my more belabored poems which nearly opened me up and laid me bare. And he mentioned how graduation is a special moment, and it all hits you at once.

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Front of the sock…

I get it. It started earlier this week, as it has all been bittersweet. But today, it reared its head even more, and every little thing left me wanting to cry. This degree is twenty-five years in the making, essentially, rather than a standard four, five, or ten years. It is quite special to me. And my last moments was that of an instructor praising my work. This is part of what I hoped for in returning to school four (or five) years ago. It still leaves its own sense of loss that I cannot explain. I want to be excited about the future, but everything is up in the air.

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Front of the sock in the right shade of green…yes, these are the same sock.

I want to be glad I’m not, but I’m looking for ways back in through graduate school and possibly teaching others to do what I’ve done, or better. In the meantime, I may get a little more time for knitting or quilting…but I have to work and hope other things work out as well. Wish me luck and until next week,

Happy Knitting!

The Fountain’s Back…

April 25, 2019

and the balancing rocks which makes my day.  (Photo to come, it’s on my phone)

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See the lovely fountain;-)

This week’s progress has been slow, but semi steady. But my bright moment of the day involved two of them. I took pictures at the fountain, which wasn’t flowing last time I checked. It was running today and lovely and peaceful. The second was a surprise encounter with a classmate I’ve grown to like and respect over the course of the semester. I ran into Rob while taking the following photos.

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Here is the challenging front of the sock…

I ran into semi-snafu’s with the knitting this week, but I fudged it and later, maybe you’ll see the angel’s kiss. Though, I admit, I think the front of the sock has more angel kisses than the back. I knit the front pattern row first, so I’ve figured out what I’ve misread or when I was distracted while I’m knitting the back pattern row.

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…and the back of the leg which may make you love to watch me leave…

These socks may look better going than coming…Alas, I’m going to love them all the more when they are done. The more challenging prospects are often the most satisfying.

Until next time,

Happy Knitting

Procrastiknitting…

April 11, 2019

Has two meanings…writing poetry when you might be knitting is one of them.Avoiding knitting mistakes, so you don’t have to work out cabling errors is another. I may have fallen into both categories this week. So, I began knitting to avoid necessary homework…I should know better. I don’t. I’m not sure any of us really know better, even when we should.

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Scamp, showing off latest repair effort

I missed a purl stitch in the pattern…so I began procrastinating the fix. However, I finally took time to fix it. Tomorrow’s break knitting in Middle School (Spanish and Art), should be fun, provided it’s not first or second hour and they ask me to work for someone else. However, I’m now smart enough to say extra work. (Yes, partly because it’s hard to say, “No.”). In the meantime, this row is fixed and finished while watch Project Runway re-runs (and I thought Project Runway was over).

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Tink showing off the latest cable knitting

Alas, I have to read for classes and catch another play–the hardship! I want to know how it ends, which is a good sign for A Raisin in the Sun, partly because I may know how Macbeth ends already (even if I don’t remember it–part of me doesn’t care). In the meantime, here’s the procrasti-knitting.DSCN4717

Tink, helping me show off my knitting.

Until next time,

Happy Knitting!

 

A Little At a Time…

April 4, 2019

I’ve gotten a few more rows done this week, and part of me cannot wait until school is out to finish this sock and it’s mate. I did revisit some socks I finished last semester. I still need to weave in ends and tie off holes. Shh…I’ll get to them…just not on this gentle Thursday. I did inspect them again and try them on my feet. The heels fit funny. I may have to re-knit my stealth argyles…I may sew them as blister protector cushions. Who knows.

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Back view…shh…I’m fixing the ladders.

In the meantime, I did get a little knitting done as I waited for events and class to start this week, and on break while substitute teaching. Yeah. I did have to judge if I had time to start the next row. I didn’t. I ended up starting that next row while waiting for a fun poetry reading. The poet had done well at Slam Poetry previously. Her performance style showed. It was a good reading, and here’s my current progress.

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Front view of this complicated sock. It’s a fun knit, but it requires concentration.

I might be doing vanilla socks for my next pair.

A Little at a Time

March 28, 2019

Every day or night this week has had something extra thrown in…quilt guild, readings and a play, job interview/hiring process and creating more questions than I go along…not to mention assignments. This means there is not as much time for knitting as I would like, and yet, sometimes there’s a little here and a little there. So, I still got a little bit knit during the play–only a little as I have to write about said play; while I took a deep breath waiting for class to start and sometimes at home after an event to finish off a row.

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Current Progress on the Toe-Up Travelers by Ann Budd.

I will say, one thing about knitting over four needles is that it is easy to get to a stopping point when I’m interrupted, as long as I note where I was and which needle I was knitting when I stopped. It is pretty obvious and I try to stop in the middle. Alas, my current progress above as I watch Project Runway and submit tonight’s homework.

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Scamp inspecting the Toe-Up Travelers by Ann Budd.

Until next time,

Happy Knitting!