…until you realize the process is taking you the better part of the year…

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Allow me to explain…I’m working on my quilt blog this week, so I don’t tell all of you about them here….I think I’m due for a blog post there as well…and I’m noticing with the others that hand-quilting is being treated as a dying art…there’s just not enough demand(or enough quilters with project distract-ability, I guess.) Don’t get me wrong, some are going on the machine. But some will have to be hand-quilted as well. Yes, I realize these will take forever, but by forever, I mean years…and it’s about the process, right….

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Unless you are knitting socks…then you wish they made quicker progress knowing that one row on these babies can take you a half hour. It’s for both socks at once, thankfully, but it’s time consuming. And then you look at your travel pair, and they’ve still got most of one more repeat to make it to the heel…so they can begin the decrease and become even easier to knit…right. Then you notice the hat, it’s supposed to be done soon, (and it’s actually moving quickly, but it’s not done yet), and you only put three rows into it last night because you were worn out from school. Then, of course, it snowed. That’s right, Old Man Winter stopped by last night, he felt missed…and that one person you are knitting the hat for, is the one person who likes winter. However, you’re going to finish it this weekend and hand it off to her, so you can return your attention to the socks and free up some needles to repair some socks you’ve apparently worn through and shouldn’t be wearing…but it’s not yet too warm for knit socks….

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See? It’s never to warm for knit socks when snow is still flying….blasted snow!

 

Now I went back and read last week’s blog. I think this will help me focus the blog a bit better. I was checking on test progress that wasn’t in yet last week. Part of me doesn’t want to talk about it. I got B’s on most of my tests. I’m told “B” is a good grade. If it is for you, that’s fine, but I’m not satisfied with less than an “A.” I haven’t been much of my life. They were high “B’s” so I’m going with I can work with them. I could have used the extra credit points, but the stress I would have put myself through to get them, as well as maybe a lower “B” in another class, just wasn’t worth it. I’ll work with them and write the best paper I can.

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Owl Hat…I’m going to have to get an outside picture…but, thirteen more rows to go…easy-peasy, right?

In the meantime, let’s get back to the fun stuff. There are socks…and whoa…I made some progress on that owl hat…Look! I also made some progress on the socks. Both pair. They’re just not where I want them. However, I still have homework to do and more knitting to get done (and to decide when I’m going to defend my parking space tonight.) I also need to get some cooking done and decide how I’m going to modify a recipe since I forgot the chicken stock….or am I going to give a frozen block of soup(perhaps mushroom or onion) a test run with chicken and turnips with a little half-and-half(I was supposed to get heavy cream)…and I didn’t get chicken stock as I didn’t check fridge, freezer, pantry or recipes before I went shopping tonight. Alas, I cook like I knit  and quilt…(and sometimes like I study). I’m lucky these are my strengths, but if I’m getting a “B” in life, then I’m doing pretty darn good. So for now, enjoy the sock photos, and I hope the snow doesn’t make you shiver too much…Next week, I’ll either be early or late, as I’m off to a quilt retreat.

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Needing new socks so I can darn the old ones (I need the knitting needles too)…

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Another Busy Week…

March 24, 2017

I feel as if I need an acronym for that phrase….ABW doesn’t suit though….and WTF is over-used. Alas, there is not enough time for knitting especially when one holds two study sessions at the library rather than staying home and using the gab time(as there was gabbing) to knit. However, I helped a classmate deliver a recitation better, after a rousing rendition of “My Husband Discovers Poetry,” by Diane Lockward; we actually settled down to study…speaking of which–let’s see how I did on the test I was supposed to be studying for. I’ll be right back…here’s a photo of a project I’m not yet finished with…

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Lovely Owl Hat with Lovely Caspian Knitting Needles from Knitpicks.com (Just needs the eyes sewn on and the top finished)

Isn’t it cute. I love this Owl hat and I’m close to the goal of half done. I can get to half-done in the morning, right? I can already just knit away for these twenty-one rows, then I can start decreasing. I hope to finish this, so that winter seems to fade into Spring quicker. Spring is supposed to be here, but it can’t decide whether to be cold or warm now….I just want real Spring, not some weird mix of “What is this crap?” However, I live in MIchigan, Michigan loves to mix up weather patterns. I’d probably give Michigan a “C” in weather, some years, I’d just fail it.  Alas, said grade for the English class isn’t in yet. I’ll just have to wait to find out. In the meantime, let’s talk about knitting…shall we?

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Over the halfway hill, one and a half repeats of the (48 row) pattern to go…then 1×1 rib (unless I change the rib)

The Owl hat(above), has slightly cut into the circular sock knitting time for these lovely “Terpander” socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class book. I love the pattern, but they are not the easiest to knit. Though I am coming up to the easiest section to work on. There will be some tough choices made tomorrow morning, when I’ll be telling myself “I should be studying.” I still have a Psych Statistics test Monday, an Abnormal Psych test Tuesday…and a paper due Tuesday or next Tuesday, depending on my motivation for extra credit. I could use the points, sort of.

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The back of these socks…(Horrid photo, forgive me. I’ll work to get a better one next week).

However, in the midst of knitting the “Knot” Socks by Nancy Bush also in the aforementioned book, I found my knitting time interrupted by extra credit for the Abnormal Psych class–which test will be a plethora of personality disorders that aren’t well covered by the book or the instructor. Come next Thursday, there will be much knitting and some quilting…and homework or studying, as I’ll have to get ahead on homework for the quilt retreat in early April.

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Ah, Progress….kind of…One and a half (or so) repeats until I start the heel.

I’m thinking of sneaking in a second retreat this spring. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I have to brace for Poker Tournaments and lots of hours with my beloved books. Next week, ask me about the mysteries I picked up this week. (And remind me of that other paper that will come due soon, please? And gently, because I’m not sure I truly want to be reminded). Until I can get back to some solid knitting, prepare yourself for more two or three rows a week photos…except the owl hat, I just need to get the owl hat done.

…one (tongue-in-cheek) meditative stitch at a time.

There has been frustration. There will be frustration. This week, I am ignoring the frustration. Frustration, thy name is rib stitch…this week, however, I’ve decided it’s somewhat soothing.

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I usually look at a knit 1, purl 1 or k2, p2 rib stitch and think, could they have done this differently? Often the answer is yes. For my nieces stockings, I took a forty stitch round and made them a knit 4, purl 4 sort of rib. I still got a good effect and elasticity, but with less pain.

I honestly think my favorite was the slight rib in the Vanilla Latte Socks found here on Ravelry.com  by Virginia Rose-Jeanes. The stitch is knit 6, purl 2, repeated. I enjoyed this stitch. I do not desire to knit it every sock, but the purl two invader keeps me from asking “Are we done yet?” Stockinette stitches have not managed this, though I may apply this philosophy for travel socks when I’m done with this pair.

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Example of a different “Are we there yet?” pattern…apparently, ‘Third time’s a charm’ really is my limit. I make it through the fourth repeat with only one or two “Are we there yets,” Usually?

But we all know me better than that. I was going to turn over a new leaf this week. I wasn’t going to complain. I was going to damn the knit 1, purl 1 rib with faint praise. It’s okay, it’s average…it’s so much easier to write knit 1, purl 1, than to reach your index finger up and to the right to reach the five or six…right. I was going to be a good sport. But I have a test next week…and good news regarding other tests, but the homework load doesn’t get easier, (not sure it ever does), and knit four, purl four just means less flicking.

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These “Knot Socks” By Nancy Bush in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class are going to be a favorite sock when I finish them…(ignoring the 23 rib stitches in a row).

Ah, flicking….how loved thou aren’t. However, I’m only doing the flicking on the back half of one sock right now, so what have I to complain about? Nothing, you say. I could answer “Dread,” but I don’t think you’ll buy it. So let’s get into these pretty patterns and I’ll explain, while trying to stay in the moment…I’m beginning to think I’m about flicked out.

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Back side of the repeats….sides include a four stitch k1, p1 rib…however, four is easier than half the sock…or something close. It’s about a quarter total….maybe, on this sock. I don’t have to math tonight, that’s tomorrow night, right?

I’m knitting the Terpander socks. I just finished one of three (I think), maybe four repeats of a touch chart pattern and will have four easy rows of knitting soon. Count them, four. However, when I finally get to the end of these socks, I have about an inch and a half of a seventy-six stitch k1,p1 rib. I’m not sure this pattern lends itself to another rib….and this one was designed this way for a reason.

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But the real why of it, is I just knit 8 rows of 80 stitches in k1, p1 rib. I could have done four and four, or three, four, four….I’m starting to see a pattern here on the Owl Hat by Julie Measures. A pattern you can purchase on ravelry.com. Yarn is brown(not gray….

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See what I mean….23, it all comes down to 23, right….wait, are these Prime socks….or just more ribbing….

Then there’s the travel socks, pictured above…all are enough to keep me in rib stitch for a bit…. What do you think? Do any of you find it soothing?DSCN1960 - Copy

New Yarn, to match a new silk shirt in red found at Goodwill….I think it will go well…I’ll try to get each next week. These shall become the French Market socks in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting, Master Class.

What do I really find soothing? Finding the right pattern to go with the yarn….see, squee…new needles, and new yarn, Squee!!!!!!!!!!!!!(oops, sorry about the decibel levels).

In Defense of DPNs…

March 10, 2017

I feel I have a need to defend my dpns this week. They are my favorite “in the round” needle. They are used for most of my projects. I can say I have used two circulars and one long circular to knit socks. I have not yet used a 9” circular to knit a sock. I’m not sure if I cherish the idea of learning a new heel, but I will, when the opportunity presents itself. I see the 9” circular needle used and it looks simple enough.

However, this week, I received the yarn to knit the Owl Hat by Julie Measures could not find my size 8 dpns. They are likely attached to a UFO, I think I even know which one, but they won’t show their hiding place until I’m nearly finished with this hat. I can almost promise this….I have to wonder if Scamp made off with the project…she has absconded with the yarn and stashed it  in the basement in the past. It’s possible. I may venture down there this week to check.

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See, I know how to use circular needles….

In the meantime, my dear James volunteered to get up early and go to the local yarn store to pick me up a pricey pair of size 8 dpns. I sent him in with exact instructions and the color of yarn I was knitting with. They were out of all of the size 8s in dpns…except a black pair with silver tips, he told me when he called me at his house from the store. I didn’t think about it then, but my friend picked brown yarn. Counting stitches on black needles was going to be difficult. I asked for anything else. I did not look up the needles until after the phone call.

The problem was only one part the store was out of needles, except for the likelihood that she still had Karbonz in stock. I’ve heard very good things about Karbonz…However, they still had a black shaft which would make counting brown stitches difficult, they also cost money. I wanted a ten dollar pair of needles, as these were a replacement.

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This one, the problem is not the needles so much, as the complicated pattern….It’s on both sides now…(more about repeating things four times at once next week…).

The second part of the problem was that the proprietor did not simply tell dear James when the other dpns would be in(likely next week), it was that she tried to sell him circulars for me to knit the hat on. I’ve read patterns for one circular, and in the last rows, you have to switch to dpns anyways, if you are using one circular. I don’t want to switch needles…if I need to use dpns, I may as well use dpns.

In her ingenious suggestion, she offered up two circulars, which don’t require the switch. I have two problems with using two circulars….perhaps three. 1) Cost-these are a replacement pair of needles. I don’t want to drop the money for two sets of needles when one will do. 2) Cats. Most of you know we have cats. The cats love two circulars, therefore, Mom doesn’t. I have knit socks on two circulars and the cats have been more willing to help than ever. 3) I get confused which needle I’m knitting on and pull one entirely out of the socks…usually while knitting all of them onto one needle. The cats love this game. Mom, not so much.

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I haven’t mentioned this yet…my Little, Mariah and I made this for an auction to support Big Brothers, Big Sisters Wednesday night at 7 at the Doherty Hotel in Clare, MI….Come bid on it;-).

So, I defend my position that I want dpns. They’re familiar and comfortable and the only hanging strings for the cats to “help” with are yarn. They’ve almost grown up enough not to eat the yarn. They may never be grown up enough to not eat the plastic and nickel needles(that let stitches slide off like no one’s business). I like my dpns.

In defense of circulars, they have their place. Some people swear by them….likely those without cats, or those who learned on them (and perhaps don’t know better). You are less likely to drop a stitch (unless your yarn loves to drop stitches), but when you drop one stitch, you might drop the entire project. As a result of dropping fewer stitches overall, they might travel a little better. However, you can use point protectors or rubber bands(the small ones for dental work or hair) to keep stitches on your needles when you travel. In the end, I prefer dpns and am not ashamed to admit it.

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My beloved dpns….not perfect, just preferred by this knitter…. You are free to make your own knitting choices! (yes, I wish the color showed better…perhaps next week).

Someone once told me you could work two different patterns on the front and back of the sock with circulars….I do that well with dpns and only occasionally need place markers for this. I used more place markers to knit the heel of my toe-up on circular Terpander pattern than I have for any other socks I’ve knit lately.

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Progress on the Murder Mystery Quilt 2017. I was behind so I didn’t get my February clue and now I need more of the middle fabric for March’s block…Did someone say more “Shopping!” ?

In the meantime, there was progress, and the dpns are still easier for me. Yes, I learned/taught myself on dpns using silver’s sock knitting tutorial and an adventurous spirit. I did order the Caspian dpns from Knitpicks.com, as well as more yarn. I’ll tell you all about it next week. It’s supposed to be here by Saturday. Also, please note that I prefer to fully support my local yarn store, and will for future purchases of yarn. For needles, I think I will seek other options at this time. It would be different if I were entirely a novice…perhaps, but I’m not.

….There will be sewing/quilting….and yes….(There will be (some) studying).

But the focus does not have to be on the studying for the next week. So long as I read ahead in    the classes that allow for it. I shall have time to knit and sew quilts….and research and write papers.

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And sometimes, I’m a pen and paper girl, too…though I prefer the prettier journal, this is what I had with me today.

A week off of classes should mean progress on many other fronts, as well as the keeping up with the homework front…I hope. In addition, I, too, had to go pen and paper today…explanation to come. I am imagining a nice warm mug of Bigelow Vanilla Chai tea(or some blend with English Black tea or China black tea to warm me) as I sit and knit for the next week with no-thoughts of up-coming tests. Today’s was good, but I must check that it wasn’t better (it wasn’t perfect, and there was extra credit, as well as smudges).

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My youngest niece in Middle School band uniform (without her trumpet)….

Now, for this week…of course I have big plans. I plan to finish at least one repeat of the Knot Socks by Nancy Bush that I’ve been working on. I asl plan to make progress on the legs of the Terpander socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, both patterns presented in Ann Budd’s Sock-Knitting: Master Class: Innovative Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers.

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Nancy Bush’s Knot Socks….poor pic of that too….darned camera…or is it the operator?

Sewing wise, I hope to get a good many circles ripped out, and others sewn on (This is part of the process). I hope to get the Mystery Quilt re-sewn  and I need to get a horse neck and mane (as well as the foal) sewn to the background fabric…and a Murder Mystery Quilt block finished (by next week).

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Darned terrible pic of Terpander socks….better one next week….

I’m playing with the goal of having the top (of the horse quilt) done by the next quilt retreat (in early April). It sounds daunting, but it can be done. I just have to plan for it….as well as a Spring school play(that hopefully does not get cancelled–someone remind me to invite my Dad)….

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Another terrible pic of the heels….onward and upward, right (besides, I think I’m over half done).

So, what’s going on in the present? I’m working on my socks, which I hope to come back to, but I (*LOUD GASPS) forgot my knitting today as I was preparing for my test. Ugh…facepalm! (I do not normally give in to millennial hysterics, but today was the day for it). So, once I’d consumed my lunch, I opened my battered copy of The Country Register of Mount Pleasant, MI  to somewhere near the middle and found a Knitting column, called The Dropped Stitch by Sharon Greve. The article title read: “The Empowerment of Knitting.”

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My oldest nephew(Principal percussionist who noticed not everyone was on the same second song) in band uniform(after he’s started helping put stuff away)….

I enjoyed this fun article about how knitting began with men and became a woman’s task with the invention of the knitting machine in 1589. Ms. Greves went on to discuss the International Day of the Woman(one of my favorite holidays) on March 8th with some of it’s history as well. I was quite charmed by this article as I sought to fill my time between classes and later surprise plans to see Lego Batman once my Spring Break had officially begun. The movie may have began a new era for my eldest niece and I…”I hate you more,” Instead of “I love you more,” as the movie is all about ‘ships, and how Batman, he works alone….Go see it, you’ll see what I mean;-). P.S. If it helps, said niece is 15.

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15, in Ohio state colors(yes that’s an Ohio state shirt, and a crime in Michigan), holding her sister’s trumpet….That it pisses off both Michigan State (and that other school at the same time) is simply a bonus for her….see what I mean;-).