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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…on a quilt shop bus trip no less. It was the easiest traveling hand work I had.

I got up at the awfully-early in the morning 6:30AM on Tuesday. I normally go to bed at this time. Actually, an hour before. Even my boyfriend said, “What are you doing up, you have seven more minutes?” But I was heading to the next town over for a bus trip…not to find yarn, but fabric. (Sorry to disappoint, but there was knitting!) Alas, I made it earlier than expected…and my “bus-mate” suggested today was a good day to relax and take it easy. What sage advice. I might have even listened…(I heard those gasps).

So, for the first leg of the trip, I perused a magazine, the drive was only about 25 minutes. But the shop owners were so nice…I’ll post all about them on the quilting side next week. They opened early and were ready for the bus. I found some wonderful fabrics at Park Bench in Midland, MI. We even left earlier than planned, which was a surprise. The second leg of the trip was an hour and a half away, which I checked and then pulled out my knitting and finished the heel flap on my sock.

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What a lovely heel flap…and a bit fun to carry the pattern right down to the turn.

Then we reached our second stop of the day, Back Street Quilt Shop in Bad Axe, MI and our lunch stop. It was done well with some really good chicken salad croissants, grapes, baby carrots, strawberries and zucchini bread and zucchini cookies(made like a cake but formed and cooked like cookies). I skipped the bread and cookies, but heard good things about them. Lunch was simple but excellent. It felt like simple gourmet. Hungry yet? I’ll wait while you grab a snack. I have a heel to turn…. I also found some great wool and a few buttons and some embroidery thread for the wool applique to consider while I turned the heel.

Which I knit on our way to the Amish shop in Snover, MI at the corner of M-19 and Mushroom road. Mushroom road, I had to wonder if you went to the end of the road, would you find mushrooms and could you eat them. It was a simple Amish shop with some lovely fabrics. I found some to go with a charity quilt and was talked into two others by a fellow accomplished quilters…and I was still in budget. I think I got to the gusset here…the heel turn was easier than expected.

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These are knitting up a little quicker than expected…so far…I think I finally have some color play as well…

On the way back to Bay City, MI over an hour away, I continued to knit the gusset, focusing on the decreases, and we found a cute little shop overlooking the water. Stitches at the Bay was the shop, they advertised yarn, but that must have been at another location in town. I found fabric I didn’t have much in common with and had hit the budget a little hard lately. However, I found some notions I couldn’t live without and purchased a few, leaving room in my budget for the last shop.

On the way to the last shop, I pet and admired my fabrics and cotton embroidery thread, as I thought the shop was in town. After a bit, I knit one more row, but I was getting tired. The last shop, Material Mart, in Midland, MI had almost all the fabric a girl could want(just not the black with purple and pink tulips I can’t get over), and a stipulation on the discount. Not impressed, they couldn’t find the pattern I liked in the store, though it was brand new, so I suggested I could come back for it sometime…

I’m not too keen on when sometime might be. I believe in supporting local shops, but I believe they should support us as well. No other shop on this trip put a stipulation on our discounts.

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All of my lovely new finds… I’m half in love with the fat quarter bundle on the left, but it needed some purple to round it out. Browns and pinks on the right are for the charity quilt I’m working on…Orange and pink wool and buttons will go on the wool applique. 

Instead, I came home late, only a few hours after I normally get up; I ate the dinner Dear James prepared for me, and took a nap after showing Dear James the fabrics, of course. Then I went home to wash fabric and sew some blocks together. I think I was too tired to knit for the day.

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23 more rows to ribbing…I almost have a pair of socks…

The next day, I woke up at a more normal time(mid-afternoon) and went to my appointment then had my sister-in-law and nieces and little, Mariah, over for our joint summer Birthday parties. We had burgers, sweet potato chips, potato salad, and ice cream(after we let the rest digest). We also opened gifts and I let Mariah make a bead bracelet. Rain killed our park plans so I scrambled to find five chairs for my apartment(which I’ve never properly set up seating in). It was done and my sister-in-law and everyone was helpful and unconcerned about the times things would be finished or done…we had a great evening.

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Back view of the Terpander socks featured in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class.

That night, when I still couldn’t sleep, I got up and began knitting the Terpander socks again. I made it through two more rows and am officially over the half-way point of the third and final repeat…ribbing to follow. Oddly enough, I decided to unwind with a book about the mindfulness of knitting that will be talking about that dreaded upcoming rib in the next chapter I read…I better pick it up at about row twenty of twenty three so I can be reminded of the “I’m almost there,” moments, I hope.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed my progress.

It was inevitable, wasn’t it? My toe nails are long and my yarn was split…or a stitch wasn’t knit perfectly…and I’m not gentle with anything…It takes a great deal of energy for me to be gentle with things…I usually aim for durable. But a few socks have formed holes in them. Some are due to inexperience with the patterns, but some are due to simple wear and tear…and perhaps the way I hold my feet/walk. But two of my favorite pair of socks had holes in them. Since I was busy preparing for the quilt retreat, I have not had much time for sewing or knitting. However, this morning, I had an extra half hour…I found one of my eggs on  or near my bunny shelf…I’ll get you a pic of the shelf perhaps next week…and I decided to darn that sock.

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Back side of the Terpander socks…I made some progress this week, but I won’t feel like I’m almost done until I’m in the last repeat or I’m learning to love the rib stitch again….

Instead of mimicking my ex-husband who would stand there and point meaningfully at the the sock, and firmly state, “Darn sock,” (sometimes with a playful grumble); I stuffed the bigger of the eggs in the sock, and proceeded to pick up some stitches beneath the area to be patched. I then chose seven stitches to pick-up and knit and set to knitting.

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Terpander socks…they’re coming along, slow but sure…(excuse the photography please…)

I admit, there were two weird parts of knitting this sock…(knitting around an egg was the least of them…it really did make it easier to pick up the stitches….the weird things were 1) knitting flat on a sock…I think I had to remember how to purl, seriously; and 2) picking up knitting two together to seal the sides of the patch without stitching.

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You almost can’t tell…but it could be the photography…up close and personal, it’s noticeable…however, my feet haven’t noticed, and they were warm and cozy today;-).

The patch took me a little over a half hour, I blame inexperience and picking and k2t for this…as well as the grafting kitchener stitch at bind-off, in which the unexpected happened. However, I got the socks done in time to wear them to class today…even if they are not perfect. My feet have not noticed…I suspect that’s the important part.

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Completed Owl hat with violet eyes…

As for the rest of the knitting…It’s done! It’s done…eyes sewn on and all….See! Sorry I forgot to get a pic of the friend I knit it for wearing it. I’ll steal a facebook photo of hers later(with permission, mostly) and share it when you least expect it and need a pick me up.

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Knot Socks…row 6 of 20…11 rows and counting until heel section…

In the meantime, here’s the slow progress on the other socks I’m working on…and now to find the green yarn for the vanilla latte socks and get some darning done as well as quilting this weekend. May your weekend be as fun as mine, half as fun if you are not attending a retreat…(there may be another–tips were good this week;-)).

…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)…

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.