I Love A Challenge…

September 21, 2017

…and if a project isn’t challenging enough, apparently I can make it a challenge without too much effort. Imagine that. Let me explain…or in American-ese: Hold my beer and watch this…no drinking it…I’m gonna need it.

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Those first weeks when your sock is a tiny dream of a toe…

Someone I highly respect at work asked me about knitting a hat for a co-worker’s grandmother to keep her head warm. I knit with wool and will not knit with acrylic. My first question: Is she okay with wools/animal danders? If she has allergies, I need to find a new fiber-I was thinking bamboo or silk blends, which I may still look into. Apparently, Judy’s grandma is not allergic as the ONLY answer I get to this question is, “She likes soft stuff.” Who doesn’t? I asked if she had allergies.

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The knit side doesn’t want to show off yet… These will be the Stealth Argyle socks by Eunny Jang in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class

Alas, an overly easy client is tougher than a picky one sometimes. The next question: what colors does she like? I got the answer of pinks and purples. Sounds easy enough…but it’s not, because I don’t know if she means carnation, fuchsia or heathered or if she means indigo, lavender, or heathered…I’m probably going with what’s available as I’m buying the yarn…but…I’d like to know she likes it before I buy the yarn. I’m considering sending pictures and links and hope they do the yarn justice.

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Current Progress on Slip-N-Slide socks by Chrissy Gardiner in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class

In the meantime, if pleasing an overly-easy client is tough enough, I was searching for patterns on ravelry.com. I found a gorgeous hat that I won’t get bored with. Let me get a sip of my beer. Now hang on, while I go over how fun this is…Hold my beer again please;-). The pattern, by Tatyana Rovenskaya is called Hat-Gray Fields. If the name doesn’t give it away, perhaps the link will…Okay, okay, I’ll tell you: The pattern is in Russian.

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Current back progress on class knitting…

A sane knitter, not asking you to hold her beer (while checking over her shoulder that you haven’t taken too large a sip tax), would find another hat, right? What does a not so sane knitter do at 2:30AM when she should be reading psychology articles about gender differences in anger? She says, “Ooh…Russian…I can translate this…” thinking darn it Mrs. Ovenhouse and Mr. Toodzio…How dare you teach me not to fear Russian translations. It’s only a page or two. It’s only a knitting chart…Right. (it’s okay to stop laughing now, wouldn’t want you to spill my beer).

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Beer was not really involved at 2:30AM(though that’s not how you’ll re-tell the story), but lack of sleep and homework procrastination are just as powerful of motivators…and now…I’m going to need a sip…Please return it. I know it’s good.

Two hours later between a google translator and a Russian dictionary, I haven’t made much headway…about a quarter of the pattern. In my defense, I was not writing things down. Once I went towards bed with a Russian dictionary I had suddenly relocated, I began writing things down. I made some headway…but only about half. As I put the tools of translation away, and set the pattern aside for the night, I thought, my school has Russian classes…perhaps I’ll find a Russian teacher who knits…perhaps I can tutor Russian for a student and they can help me translate this…Checked today, I don’t see any Russian classes this year. I’m going to have to brush up on my Russian and bring it to this school.

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Terpander socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class for those that missed it last week. Why knit vanilla socks when one can complicate matters and add an adult beverage?

Sure, I could find another pattern, but where is the fun in that? Besides, I might not have met the Vogue International Knitting Terms page. It’s worth a look, and I must research needle sizes to make sure I guess right. Now, I must start memorizing a performance of literature, and writing an Introduction for Psychology…thank goodness the poetry comes easy. Anyone think there’s a poem in there? In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the post and the photos of my current works in progress.

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…or never found in the first place…. It sounds as if it may be time to organize things… but if you know me, you know how lofty a goal that really is…especially in the craft room. I can see it now…(p.s. no photos of the unorganized craft room, sorry).

I go to put away the beige linen I was going to make a pantsuit with, and find the ribbon I was going to edge it with or the pattern… and I’m off. Or, maybe I get that put away, and find another fabric I had plans for, only the one that matches it is on the scrapbook desk, which I mean to clean off…so I take off another fabric or two and find that one, and now I have another project to start…or, more likely, I find a card I was going to finish for a friend who likely needs it, and I start getting out my scrapbook stuff…I have an open surface nearby, right? No, uh…perhaps I should clean some more. Nah, I’ll just move this stuff and work on this card….(and they tell me I don’t have ADD.)  When it comes to organizing, I don’t know what else to call it.

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Literally current progress on my my current project…circular needles have a mind of their own.

However, I can remember a lot of numbers, add them up quickly and do odd math problems(at least multiplication in my head). My job requires it, as well as remember most of about a zillion rules a night(three nights a week.) Note to self, it is not a good idea to study statistics while dealing Poker. There is no brain break in that set up. Poker is a lot of rules, and a lot of statistics happening right in front of you. Statistics is still in the easy part, and my brain was still fried. The Nature of Language book is going with me to work now, trust me on this.

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I don’t normally stop mid-row(ever!), but those blasted fairies are holding my place markers hostage. Ideas, anyone?

So, what did I lose and how did I lose it, (and we’re hopefully not talking about my marbles-I simply quit trying to replace them)?  First, it was the place markers I need to knit the heels of my two at a time toe-up really pretty Smooshy and cushy bright pink yarn. I had them. I set them somewhere I’d remember them, or put them back where I found them. They have successfully disappeared again. The fairies aren’t willing to make a trade, apparently either. I think they’re onto or don’t understand what I mean when I suggest I can offer them shiny jump rings for ring toss. Or they took those long before they stole away with my place markers…so the socks are in limbo.

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Projects half done….okay, mostly done….I admit, I ran out of pink yarn(and it’s acrylic so I refused to buy more…now I need to figure out the collar).  Pattern here on ABC Knitting Patterns. I did not love knitting these…and the pattern on the arm is a bit confusing. But they look nice, if you don’t run out of yarn.

Then I was planning to start this cowl I designed. It’s going to be so pretty…and once my youngest niece’s birthday gift is done, I can…except I’ve lost the size 8 set of knitting needles I wish to design it on. I’m thinking of buying a circular set….I may have to look up some pattern suggestions for knitting this on circulars though. I thought I’d found them when I uncovered a PHD (project half done) in the chair and realized, much like my cleaning above, I should just sew the snaps on these and sew up the seams and gift these dresses already. But I pulled the needles out, and realized they’re another set of size 4 needles. Does anyone remember what I used the size 8’s on last? I still have no idea where they made off to.

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The other current project, that I don’t dare stop mid-row…I need to have this one done soon…these are on ravelry.com and quite fun to knit as well. I did make an adjustment, as I dislike K1, P1…so I made the cuffs K5, P5 to keep elasticity and create a neat effect going into the horseshoe.

I’d say that’s all, but I’m likely forgetting something (like which pattern I last used the size 8 needles on). In the meantime, I’m going to pour a glass of wine, do some homework and get back to knitting the birthday gift. I’m also giving myself a break, as it’s been a tough week here with a funeral for my dear James’ dad. I didn’t know him as well, but I certainly grieved for the loss of a bond that meant the world to dear James. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but Bill Sr. still passed over far quicker than any of us could imagine. I did get some decent knitting time in this week, as well as somewhat caught up on homework.

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The close-up view of some of the horse-shoe pattern. I’ll get better photos of it next week, as there’s another section I wish to show off.

I almost forgot about poor Briannag. The night we came home from the funeral and family gathering, we found she had a puffy ear. It was hard to tell at first, as her ear is normally half folded in one way or another, but she got a visit to the vet where he called it a hematoma and ordered surgery. She came through fine, but they’re keeping her one more night to save us the clean up…(for which I’m kind of thankful). She will be home bright and early in the morning. There will be extra Kong treats in the morning.

Briannag is our brindle Pittie who loves to inspect my yarn, model my socks and dearly hopes I’m knitting something for her. She’s not the most careful with soft toys, especially when little brother Zeus(the brown boxer) helps her with them.

Fortunately for myself, tips were good last week (dear James usually makes a little more, working full time and overseeing our skills) and our taxes have been filed, because pricey vet bills aren’t always easy to cover.  In the meantime, if anyone is in cahoots with my fairies, please let them know I’d like the place markers back…I only need a few of them. Thanks. Or I may just have to go search out the jump rings and the jewelry supplies and hope I don’t make my own too heavy…I’m beginning to see a theme here;-). More wine, friends, or tea if you prefer?

More of each sock…

September 2, 2016

I have a plan. I usually have a plan. Plans are good as they often keep things from going awry…. So, I’ve been told. I’ve also been told plans themselves go awry. Yes, I thought of the Of Mice and Men quote here, by John Steinbeck but it’s said to be attributed to Robert Burns as well. I got tired thinking about it.

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Smooshy socks…feel like a million bucks for far less…

Allow me to explain, I’ve just started two English classes and a Developmental Psychology class this semester. Everything I write just about must be attributed. I’ve heard “Cite your sources,” in so many ways this week, I could likely write another paper or at least a cutesy document about how to say it. If I get tired enough, I’ll put it into a cute little rhyme.

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Putzer, demanding I put down the crafts and provide a full-body massage.

I’ve been a different sort of tired this week, as I fell ill Wednesday and it’s still trying to kick my butt. It seems to be just a stomach bug, but it wears me out quite fast. In addition, dear James is home ill as well. I get more accomplished when he’s not here, usually. This week, I found myself working in twenty minute increments and needing to refresh my brain somehow afterwards. I still got some notes finished, but I hate getting sick when I have homework to do.

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Zeus, getting snuggled off the couch by Briannag…it’s her spot.

Alas, I still got some knitting time in before classes or some mornings when I felt as if I could focus. I figured out I couldn’t focus when I started on row two of the cabling on the smooshy socks. Now let me talk about this yarn. You can see I got the toes knit and began the pattern(well, you can kind of see that). I learned frogging things in these socks are a real PITA (pain in the arse). I forged on after frogging and got to the second row, which I attempted to knit on one my sick mornings. I think it was yesterday. I don’t think I realized yet I was sick. Otherwise, I’d have known better.

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Scamp and Squib performing a favorite past time…they’re leaving the yarn alone, for now…

Let me go back to the yarn. This yarn is so soft I want to knit with it. I feel like I’m stroking my favorite velvet teddy bear from childhood. I didn’t have a velvet teddy bear in childhood, but if I did, these socks are what it would have felt like. I will be finding a way to get more of this yarn in the future. In addition, I will be finding patterns that work on dpns for this future yarn.

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Maeve, long ago helping me with the knitting…

In the meantime, I’m working on the third sock of four, in which I have to make a decision. There’s a bonus to knitting a repetitive pattern multiple times. You begin to memorize it. This is good and bad, as my row counter is diagonal hash marks on the side of the chart. One of the tougher parts of this sock, besides tracking how many times I’ve knit or purled or both, is marking the pattern. If you’ve read previous blog entries, you might begin to notice a theme. So far, I’m on the second repeat of this sock–about halfway done with this leg, and I’ve kept up the markings.

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Horrible photo of this one, but you can see what it will be above…

I hope next week goes a little smoother with no more stomach bugs so I can get back to my side job as well as the regular job and get some more socks knit and a couple more books read, for school and personally. Next week, ask me about the books.

Two Right Socks…

July 14, 2016

…may be the knitting equivalent of two left feet, as each pattern is a dance you learn as you go, right? Ok, enough analogies and puns. I’ll spill the beans, or the sock yarn, as it seems. It’s been a week of days. Five of them. I’m hoping for it to end…but I’ve been hoping for that since sunday. I’m hoping i don’t have to wait for Saturday for these things to change…but they need to change.

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My socks, before this morning…

Allow me to tell you the story of an overworked knitter who was in college. As I awoke a few minutes before my alarm and should not yet have been capable of coherent thought, I had a random thought that I’d just knit my sock all wrong. I hadn’t even thought of stretching and wandering towards the coffee pot yet…but I managed the coffee and the smoothie as I fished out the knitting bag bleary-eyed and not certain I was coherent. I now hoped my waking thought was wrong as I sat down to sip the coffee and check on the pattern.

I was ready to knit the set-up row for the heel turn. I’d just begun to wonder if this was more of an intermediate sock, rather than a master class sock. I realize where the mastery comes in-sometimes, you have to remember to knit the left sock as well as the right. I spent my coffee and smoothie time re-winding the end of the yarn on the skein. Then I checked the pattern closely to see what I needed to do and threaded a tapestry needle, once I found one.

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The lifeline I should have had in long ago…and left in for this many rows…The place marker is marking the beginning of the round…

I’ve started to wonder if a knitting project isn’t a knitting project until you’ve ripped some of it out. However, if you recall the too large sock, I’ve had to rip this one out twice. I did consider that only I, you who are reading this, the designer(if ever I met her) and a few detail oriented people might know/figure it out. However, it settled on me that I would know, and I’d already decided to rip it out.

 

Now, I’m glad I brought the camera home and there are no cats around to assist with this process. I have documented the sock and the life-line and have to document the carnage. I did get the lifeline in before I got to class and I learned there I was supposed to do two summaries, not one. I made the case for lack of clarification–the syllabus said write a summary for the last two chapters we covered and see chapter 17 for summary, pps. 131-137. It did not tell me to write a summary, I thought it was for reference of the other summary we were working on. It worked, the instructor dropped the summary today. It’s an English class…clarification is important, in my not-so-humble opinion.

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Briannag isn’t concerned about to much clarification, but seems to enjoy my singing along to old songs…more than most people.

So, back to the sock I was tinking before class, in public. I tinked back, about 4 and a half inches…that’s about 11-12 centimeters for those on the metric system, and I re-wound the yarn on the “spindle” as I went. Then I began knitting the set-up for the instep expansion…apparently, it was knit three rows, instep back to beginning of expansion this week. At least I’m not going all the way to the toe, this time. Here’s to less tinking in the future…*raises the empty glass of wine…muttering. “I thought I’d cut back this week.”

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The cake my niece made for my brother, Carrot cake with a custard-like frosting. (I thought it was some sort of watermelon cake when it was in the dome).

In the meantime, I did make it to my brother’s birthday party, though my sister-in-law was distracting him on the trails…I was proud of her hour, but when I realized I may have been the cause of part of the wait, I decided not to be so specific next time. It was a pretty nice party and I did get him a fun cd(potential dvd) of Jeanne Robertson stand-up comedy. This girl is 6’2”, from the south and I haven’t heard her utter a swear word yet. She does “Don’t Send A Man To the Grocery Store.” and others on youtube. You guys gotta check this out. I’m about to go find one I haven’t heard. I need the laughs today. Y’all, she’s worth it, every second, enjoy.

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I’m okay with it, really…but I knit it all wrong is not the first thought you want to have in the morning. Ladies and gents, next time, tell me, please;-)

And since we’re onto music and dance puns this week: Don’t Line Dance in the Ladies’ Room is the latest not so guilty pleasure. There are many others. She’s not paying me guys, I paid her, and will again. Enjoy some good laughs on me, this week;-). May your knitting stay in tact. DSCN0958

The spool looks good, for now….now, to get back to knitting and school work.

…That’s right, moving day came Tuesday. I spent my weekend packing, sorting and preparing to donate…while working and begging work to leave early(thankfully other part-timers want hours). I also spent my weekend being charked by a dog…(I normally don’t go for made up terms, but Briannag is giving a low bark from the couch that dad calls a chuff…there’s just enough pitch in this one to call it a bark…so its a chark). She looks lonely and pathetic but doesn’t even want an ear scratch. If I move to the couch, which I likely will at some point, she’ll move to her “end,” if she’s really in the mood to share the couch and sit and watch me knit. If I’m not knitting, she might try to lay across my lap.

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The puppy who doesn’t have a Mama on the couch with her… so unloved…

She did this to me last night as I knit the first repeat of actual pattern on this sock. I think I’ve managed six rows this week. Considering I’m moving and still have a former duplex to clean out and clean up, I consider that impressive. I still need a light bulb for the lamp I put in the living room yesterday. I moved in Tuesday and slept there that night. In addition, I need to check the futon stats and find out if I’m shelling out cash for a new one. Oy and vey, I didn’t forget how expensive moving is (That’s a lot of money that could have been spent on yarn!), but I’m in a more comfortable and better laid-out apartment with no stairs.

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Actual knitting progress for the week…see, there was some knitting…

I also have a dishwasher and washing machine and dryer in the apartment! That’s so nice, and everything is on one floor(and I got a downstairs apartment.) I like to keep moving, but my knees are getting too old for upstairs. I did consider taking pictures, but everything is so white or beige in a new apartment, that I decided to wait until I’m more set-up. Then you guys can see a little of my simple apartment life I’ll wish I had moved into years ago. But there’s a time for everything, right…

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And tonight, besides the knitting, is a time for strawberry shortcake. I don’t normally post food, but I shopped hungry tonight and mostly behaved myself…but the $0.99 pint of blueberries did me in, and strawberries were 3#/$5.00…then the yellow sponge cake made its way into my cart (shh…I wasn’t making biscuits and berries, no matter how fast the biscuits claim to be. I’ll do that next week). Then I went back for the whipped cream and left the store before I bought the Twinkies or chocolate chip cookies that would have been almost as tasty.

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Summer night’s move-in dessert special…it was worth every bit of it…

The strawberry shortcake is a summer treat for me, and I had the yellow sponge cake cups as a kid. I never really cared for angel food cake, though it’s oft loved-I’ll have to try making one fresh, uh, uh…there’s that elusive someday, right? Yeah, someday, someday I’ll get to it. For now, put what you like under your berries. I did update it with blueberries, though I admit to sneaking some of the fat ones.

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Fierce Protector of the lawn…but just throw him a ball and watch him fetch…

In the meantime, I need to get that moving task done so I can go back to studying for a few weeks and knitting. And I may have to quiet a noisy dog yelling at the neighbors for walking by his yard…He’s already an old man–he just doesn’t need the cane, yet…If he had one, he’d be shaking it.

I think.

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The yarn bomb…it started off so nice and pretty.

It’s so pretty…no, pretty doesn’t give you a right to tangle if someone looks at you cross-eyed–even if you really want to or you think they deserved it. I’ve been so close to the breakthrough I want to finish, but the puppies are worried one of us will have a coronary attack if I do…they’re probably right. I don’t want to be the cause of such discomfort. It can wait, along with the food I was supposed to cook tonight.

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Happier puppy, Momma, come love me…you need some lovin’.

I’m off routine, I admit it. Right now, I’m not even sure what a routine is. The three week “damn I haven’t stopped moving yet,” course is over. So, instead of relaxing, I found my own apartment to hopefully move to in two weeks and helped my aunt pack this week.

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Mama, do you love me, I just wanna play ball.

In the meantime, while I studied for a final and sucked it up for a 95% or so on a final paper, I made progress on a sock. I still am not certain how I pulled that off, except knitting before class and sometimes when I should be reading. However, I was too busy to take a photo.

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Good progress on the sock…I’m just having a night…

I did, however, sneak in a day trip to Mackinac Island with my Little–in which I did get pictures…It’s so pretty there. I did get some knitting done in the van on the way there. Again…only photos of Mackinac Island…but we got lady slippers and Trillium in the same patch (as well as the same season). It’s said they don’t grow together very often.

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Arch rock…both stories are pretty cool….and it looks better in person, so if you get a chance, go see it and take the carriage ride to it, or ride your own horses-though they don’t come with a tour guide full of stories and lore

Now to put together two colors that will hopefully go together as beautifully, once I get calmed down from the first attempt and let myself return to the knitting. I want these socks done to start on another pair;-). Please don’t let second sock syndrome set in…

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Another view on Mackinac Island, likely from the same spot. I only got so many scenery shots that day-I could get 25-50 of any given sight if left to my own devices;-).DSCN0742

Beneath the Mackinac Bridge…Worth all of the wind and chill that day…Brrr….But oh, such a neat, cool sight…

…Or “No Bats, ever.”

I made progress this week. The heel of my purple sock was my travel knitting, as it was the simpler pattern. However, while I knit at the beginning of my Wednesday afternoon class, I had to begin with a caveat. “If I begin swearing,” I said as I picked up a dropped stitch, “It is directly related to the knitting.

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Current Progress on the heel flap…

My instructor, a professor replied, “If I begin swearing, it is because I looked outside again.” She was right, Wednesday was a crappy day full of snow and sleet. While she didn’t keep us for only ten minutes, she did let us go after an hour to brave the drive home.

After a harrowing drive home, in which I took the back roads due to too darned many cars on the highway, I stopped off at the grocery store in my town to get eggs, milk, and toilet paper. I also got fuel. It was nasty out there, but the next day proved to be nastier. I then trekked home and only went out for a book to study from over the weekend to the library three blocks away.

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Scamp, inspecting “her” new toys…

Once home and settled in, I put the milk to work and made hot chocolate. Then I did my homework. I couldn’t rely on school being cancelled. I’m in University, and they have an unwritten rule (I think the President scribes this in blood, really), that the University will only close once every five years, maximum. It closed last month, and it took two tries to close after our late February winter storm. Thankfully, my classes are all in the afternoon. (We won’t count archery at this time).

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Knitting I wasn’t getting to at school today…

But there was some knitting this week. At first, I thought I might be too busy doing homework. I also left my knitting in the car today, and didn’t realize it until I went home for it this evening. I did not get to knit between classes today. I also forgot the book I wanted to read, so I reviewed study guides on my boyfriend’s Kindle Fire–once I got it connected to the internet at school.

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Scamp, wondering why I didn’t just hand her the cables in the first place…see her perch on my knitting bag?

Alas, I digress, once again… So, knitting did happen. It was even easier than I thought. I’m getting used to the dangling needles, and tracing the circular to figure out which needle I should be knitting with. It’s even forming the pattern in a way I didn’t expect. I knit the same repeat of five rows every time, but I increase three stitches each time, so it moves the “hole” a little to the left each time you repeat. I’m now halfway to the heel through the repeats to get to the heel.

As I began the repeats tonight, I found my prediction that the cats would love this process came true. Scamp absolutely loved this process. She barely listened to my “No’s” through the first few of them. It was the unintended absolutely not NO! that she chose to listen to.

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Scamp, ignoring mom’s normal “No’s”

Dear James stayed home from work this evening due to not feeling well. (Hope I stay healthy, but he needed to– so homework productivity went down some, and knitting productivity is slightly up.) He was searching puppies on the internet while I was knitting and telling Scamp “No,” more than once. Then he said something to the effect of “I’m guessing that’s not going to happen.” I was curious, so I asked. He’d moved on to searching out areas of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to visit, then started to consider a ferry to Wisconsin. Then he mentioned the Wisconsin Bat Caves…

To which I said a hearty and firm “NO!” and lost my cat assistant, when I simply expressed absolutely no desire to visit bats, ever…I will hike any waterfall I can find, most likely–enough water brought along or not. I will not seek out bats in any habitat. They visit my home far too often. I do not like bats. I will never like bats…However, I’m knitting in peace now, well, somewhat. I’m still worked up over bats. (For your sakes-and mine, I’m not posting the link. You’ll just have to look it up.)

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A short time later, Putzer came to commiserate, or seeking a massage–probably the latter, but I enjoyed his commiseration as well.

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Squib…pretending he’s behaving with my knitting needles…Briannag sleeping as she is Not Going Outside Today At All! No, Thank you, Mom.

Some time later, after I’d gotten some dinner and resumed my knitting, Squib decided to check things out. He, however, chose to be grown up about it, this time. He snuggled in next to me and let me continue about my knitting…though earlier he’d been playing foolish kitty when attacking Putzer’s tail. Perhaps he was a bit worn out. DSCN0322

See…I need to highlight the pattern details next time…I think they’re easier to see above.

In Pieces…

March 4, 2016

Sometimes, projects have to go to pieces before they can come together…

I forgot to photograph the sock monkey in pieces, so you’ll have to use former photos and your imagination. It’s not like we don’t have good imaginations around here, I expect.

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Okay, not all the pieces…I just don’t have the hat and scarf here.

I knit and I knit, on Thursday night, on Sunday at the band concert; where I got in trouble with my brother for talking with my niece during warm-ups. See if I show up early again. My niece was planning to do my hair like Katara, an anime character she loves. I can’t wear it for work, as it doesn’t pull it back enough; but I could wear it through the band concert to satisfy her. She was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to come over early. I was busy picking up my little to take her to the band concert, and just waking up myself.

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My dad with his new (and likely) favorite shirt…

I also had my dad’s birthday party this week. It was quite fun. He enjoyed his shirt enough to suggest he might buy more. I only bought them at JCPenney, but he normally shops at less expensive stores(by quite a margin), so I haven’t told him where I got it. It was also on clearance, and they’re now out of his size. He’ll have to live with that one, for now. The birthday dinner is done, the food was even pretty good, though dear James took some extra swigs of my beer.

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Zeus and Briannag “guarding” my knitting…or holding my spot, perhaps…

Alas, I move back to the band concert Sunday where I worked the scarf in a tube for most of the warm-ups and the sixth grade and middle school concert. Then I worried at how much yarn I would have, so I ripped the scarf tube out(almost ruthlessly)…I didn’t even mind–this is how I know it’s not a sock pattern. I hate ripping stitches out of socks, and I continued knitting the scarf flat. Yes, I still remember how to knit flat, yeah me. My little, Mariah, was a bit restless, so I let her wind the yarn and hold it for me as I knit, after 1 simple reminder that grandma wouldn’t like it if I brought her home when the concert was supposed to start.

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David, my nephew, playing one of his many instruments in preparation of Festival.

That night, after dropping Mariah off, I considered the Scamp Letters blog, and decided to do homework over knitting. Monday night I worked. Tuesday brought classes and more homework. I believe I finished knitting the scarf Wednesday afternoon, when I feared I’d lost an ear. It was only twenty minutes of knitting, really, about an inch. But I was already low on thread and this needed to be done and sewn by next Sunday.

So, Wednesday after class and a nap, I came home and found the ear in the bottom of the bag and started piecing it together. I laid out the tail and two arms as well as the two ears, and the scarf and hat on the arm of my couch, and I started piecing it together. Last Sunday, I worried that it would be late, as March was fast approaching, but I had a week to spare I discovered this week.

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Squib is interested in the current progress of the knitting, or chewing on something for fun…

As I’m switching gears in classes–from fiction to poetry, from medieval writings to renaissance and preparing to write papers for two of my classes, I really felt as if everything was in pieces. Then I learned of the undergraduate certification for Creative Writing, and Tuesday, when my prof returned my near perfect exam, she asked me about Graduate school. I’m seriously considering it, since she provided that cost may be covered with an Assistance program offered where I teach classes in exchange for my tuition. I just have to work in work as well, but that means I’ll be willing to teach later classes, most of the time;-). Or perhaps I’ll have an easier job I can schedule around.

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The sock monkey is finished, ready to be boxed and delivered.

I earned a recommendation for it, at least. They may not pay me as well, but it will be more fulfilling with less stress. I’m hoping it works out for the best. Now, I just have to find pieces of writing to submit.

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The “I really didn’t break a rule” for class knitting…(the sock monkey is off the needles).

Now, however, I have sewn a sock monkey, and nearly broken a rule–but not really. I cast on the toe of another sock today. I’m hoping it travels easier than the pair I am currently working on. However, I am officially on Spring Break now and plan to spend some time getting much knitting done on these socks. At least, I’ll be knitting when I’m not doing homework. I still need to consider an approach to one of my papers, so it will be less busy, but more about taking care of the things that get overlooked while I’m in school, like knitting as much of these socks as I can manage each night. Tonight, so far, I have managed about an inch…only seven more to go until the heel flap.

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Current progress on the second sock, showing the pattern; I’d better get back to knitting;-).

 

To Study Or To Knit…

January 22, 2016

…is not a choice I ever want to have to make. But sacrifices must be made. However, I’m also quilting. Perhaps I’ll get more time for that next week.002

Briannag, snuggling while I’m knitting.

I was going to read those ten pages tonight. They’re only ten pages. Over the weekend, I’ll read the stories and write the critiques, honestly yet nicely, like I’m supposed to. I hope the stories are good. I also have to write a two page story about a character that’s fun to write about. How on earth am I going to stop at two pages? Most of you are familiar with my work. I do that a minimum of twice weekly, if not more. I might join Nano in April, just because I’m in a creative writing class, so I’ll get off my butt and write the ten-minute play. But mine’s due first. It might be due before the class is over. We’ll have to see.

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Scamp, helping me knit…or at least inspecting the knitting needles…

This has been a week of adjustment and indecision. I still wish to move, but the right place isn’t coming along. My home hasn’t been right for some time either. I’m not sure how much less I’ll make as my schedule changes either. This could be rough. I have backup plans, but this could still be rough.

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Current cabling progress…I didn’t want to stop at half-way, but I’ve spent enough time not studying tonight…

In the meantime, sure, you’re studying Beowulf and Creative Writing, which sound great, but what about the knitting. It hasn’t entirely fallen by the wayside. I can study after the blog is written and my shower is finished, right? Perhaps I can study while cooking a meal for the next two days of ten hour shifts at work. After all, I strive to be Wonder Woman, right? Don’t we all. She did make it into my fiction piece this week, along with some butt-shaking(not twerking, I promise) and Monsieur Reliant…but that might be another blog. I hope there’s enough surprise factor. I have to finish this story one day. I’m at the killer’s frustration at not completing the third murder. I may need to utilize p.m.s. to finish this story.

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Current progress-side view…not my favorite view, but here it is…one day, this will be a sock…

So, let’s see my needles…I have two projects going. I only finished ten more rows(I think), of the chart pattern for the cable knit socks. I can do more Sunday night, and perhaps Monday night, when I’m getting more studying done as well. However, I’ve cast on an ear warmer from some of my handspun yarn I received for Christmas. This one’s for dear James, so I really need to measure his ear and the back of the neck to finish it. But I’ve been making progress between classes. So, knitting hasn’t fallen entirely to the wayside.

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The ear covering…only 18 stitches across, so I can knit this between classes…

This is a very simple pattern. I’ve pretty much worked it myself after looking at other possibilities. It’s easy to knit while waiting for class once I’ve eaten lunch. I’ve enjoyed it, and the next one is mine, and to be knit a little shorter with a little cabling worked in. I can’t wait to get started on it and show you.

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Dear James’ Ear warmer…perhaps I’ll get a photo of it on him. I’ll have to block this.

OH! I almost forgot to tell you: I’ve had a sock-monkey commissioned in gray and pink. It’s for a friend, so I’m doing it mostly as a favor and simply charging for the yarn. It’s in the mail tonight. I looked at Jo-ann’s and they didn’t have the main gray in the yarn I needed. I ordered it online, but I will share it with you as it doesn’t have to be kept super-secret. It’s for my little’s relative. It’s also been a couple of years since I’ve knit a sock-monkey, so I won’t feel as if I am only knitting socks all the time. It will also be easy to take to class, which is another factor I’m going to love about it. I can’t wait to get the yarn, start on it and share it with you guys. In the meantime, enjoy the half-chart progress I’ve managed to complete this week.

…it’s not my strong suit.

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They’re done! They’re done! Shh…don’t tell the recipient…if she’s in the room, close this blog;-)

On the good news front, I finished the Christmas gift socks, with plenty of time to spare. Then, out of the blue, I was provided an invite to a dinner function with silly Santa Hats…Oh, boy! I have red and white yarn, right? How long can it take for me to knit a Santa hat? Famous last words…I’m an inch and a half into the brim and thinking of sewing up the one the dog used as a toy for Christmas photos of 2013. That’s right, I’m wearing a dog’s photo prop.

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Scamp, interrupting the knitting to which I’ve given far too much attention…

I still had to cut a bear. I still had to sew a quilt. I just finished socks and now my needles feel bare. There are no socks on them:-(… I’m not crying tears, just the sad face. I have the bug. Then, after cutting out a bear, fighting exhaustion and somewhat ignoring the quilt and somewhere in there making a dinner the boyfriend won’t eat until tomorrow(he’s quirky that way), I have to knit some fuzzy dice. (Update, he made salad out of the chicken I made for dinner. I was kind of impressed).

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Briannag “helping” me knit the santa hat…(it’s too small…it may become hers after all). Yes, she is on my lap.

Only I had decided I could make my own camouflage with three colors of yarn, and some fair-isle knitting. The holidays are the perfect time to learn a new technique in knitting, right? How hard can it be? I’ve made lace. I’ve mastered cables. It’s only carrying the yarn in back, right? I’ve watched some tutorials–never mind that i’m not an auditory learner…and I either need to watch the videos forty times or read the transcripts with pictures. Gasp, you heard me right, I can’t stand learning from videos.

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Back of repaired hat…where I had to cover the tooth holes left by the “Brute” as I affectionately refer to Briannag (sorry about the horrid photo, it’s late and I’m getting tired.)

So, Tuesday night, I decided to bite the bullet and just try it. I reviewed some info and cast on the first row in the main color. Then I started switching colors. Then it didn’t look right. So I ripped it out. I’d only knit an inch of sixteen stitches. That’s less than one row of sock knitting. I increased to eighteen stitches and started switching colors every three stitches instead of four and realized I was breaking half of the rules already. I’ve never been great with rules. (Photos to come later, in case my nephew peaks…the youngest niece doesn’t have a facebook account yet and is good with just being 11).

As I knit, I realized this wasn’t quite the effect I wanted, and I needed to purl the other side. Here’s where that sense thing came into play: I love a challenge. I even need a challenge to keep my mind engaged on the knitting. But as I reviewed, I found a useful blog about color work by TECHknitting on blogspot: http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/04/how-to-knit-with-2-or-more-colors-part.html

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Santa hat–only one color, well aged…

I reviewed the info, and found some good advice was posted on part 2 of knitting with 2 or more colors…(I hadn’t read everything in part 1 yet, or if I did, I scanned it for keywords-I had knitting to work on.) But the sage advice I hadn’t followed looked like this: “If you try color knitting back-and-forth, you’re going to have to purl in two colors on every other row. This is not impossible, but it is more difficult that knitting in 2 colors–so leave 2-color purling until you’ve mastered the tension thing.”

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(Credit to Summer Photography of Lansing, MI) This hat did not stay on her head long…I forgot I had it, or she tested it more than I remembered…

Um, oops….I just don’t know how to listen and seem to prefer to jump in feet first before I ask if there are eels in the darned pool. I don’t know if I can stand eels or not, but I know I likely wouldn’t hesitate to go in after a book I hadn’t made copies of yet. (If you’ve seen Love, Actually 20 times like I have, you’ll get this. If not, what are you waiting for, go rent it!)

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(Credit to Summer Photography of Lansing, MI) Both the hat and the elf ears are reasons we don’t gift Briannag with hats…

Now for the update after real life happened. The socks are still done, I didn’t rip anything out. But I came home from work Wednesday night to my aunt’s friend calling me from Ypsi(over 2 hours away) to tell me my aunt Jane had fallen and broke her hip. She lives alone. I’m glad her friend was able to get someone to check on her. I went somewhat into planning mode and took the info. Then I called my dad and my aunt Maryal and updated them. Maryal called Jane in her hospital room to find out when surgery was scheduled. They still didn’t know at 10:30 that night, but Jane was adamant we not come to visit. I had the trip mostly planned in my head.

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My nieces(with permission) and sister-in-law at our Cup of Christmas gathering tonight. If I can, I’ll link to the photo including me tomorrow(or when it’s posted)

Slightly disappointed, I’ve kept my phone with me, and learned my aunt Jane was scheduled for surgery this afternoon. It happened closer to evening. They finally returned her to her room about 10:30PM. I’m amazed however, because the report is that she’ll be discharged in a couple of days and able to get around with a walker. It’s been a bit of an ordeal, but I was still able to wear the dog photo prop hat I’d re-sewn and knit the pouf to complete. Briannag is waiting for me to leave it unattended, either one…trust me-these Santa hats are soft and make good toys.  Oh, and I got the bear cut out…now I have to figure out the best way to sew it…Wish me luck.