Too Many Knots…

January 27, 2017

Or…the dawning of the age of …homework and study…

Sorry, unless you really play with homework and study, it doesn’t match the correct term, but it is my life right now, mostly.

Amidst however many projects I listed last week, and likely one or two more added this week, as well as a consideration for one to be frogged, as there is likely a halfway point in the yarn….I started some legwarmers. I should keep them on the down low, but I’m hoping the recipient isn’t following….I’ll be watching closely to see if she likes this on facebook. Mom thought she;d love them when she saw the yarn and beginning pattern work. I hope we’re right. I almost asked her outright, but decided to remain covert for now. Her birthday comes sooner than I like. Okay, okay, back to the projects. Let me show you what I’m about to frog…

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I’ll show you the full thing before I frog it….but it needs to be a scarf or mitts…that work with the colorway of the yarn….this is almost halfway and the yarn reverses.

I’ve come to a realization, that frogging is a part of knitting…and since I taught my eleven year old little that seam-ripping has to happen in sewing, fit thrown throughout and all; I’ve decided I’ve done enough frogging to accept it as part of knitting. If I don’t love it, or it isn’t gifted, I’m frogging it.

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Shh…don’t tell…though it’s hard to see the pattern, isn’t it?

On the quilt side…I’ve checked my mailbox everyday, and now pink thread has arrived. So, the applique quilt I forgot to mention last week is not getting done. I could sew green, but I’m not in the mood for green. It’s January, for a couple more days, I need pink on purple or blue….or whatever color that bird will be.

 

However, I received the rest of the instructions for the mystery quilt, and decided what will become of it…It involves a chair and to an extent, my nieces…that story belongs in a quilt blog I’m kicking around, as soon as I finish studying Abnormal Psychology….which isn’t happening until May 4th or 5th, I believe. Yes, yes, I know…I asked for this…but at least I’m not giving speeches about blind dates…though it sounded fun.

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Can’t be compared to a blind date much, except they’re a bit tough to navigate and require concentration…

Ah, blind dates, allow me to explain; My dear nephew, David is taking college courses in high school-the lucky duck. So, I bought his mom a gift card to a famous coffee shop, well, dear James did on Thanksgiving, and Momma Michelle thanked me for it today, as she’d used it almost exactly as I hoped. I hoped she would take one of her kids out for coffee and use it for connection. She had the best time taking David out for coffee and hearing about how he described a blind date. Since he’d never been on a blind date, he took blind literally. I’ll let you use your imagination here. (I’m not even sure he knew how good he was, as he also told us the best one was the first one, who pulled teddy bear.)

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The cat’s idea that I should be petting her, instead of studying….Abnormal Psych terms, here I come…

So, I’m guilty…I had an exam today and got nothing knit, except the gift part, which needs to get done quick, but it a relatively simple pattern…if only the yarn would quit knotting. You heard me, this darned yarn is still knotting. I knit fourteen rows, perhaps I’ve gotten a little further, but not more than twenty…likely not more than sixteen, and I have a knot to sort out, after it’s been wound. It was an easy knot to sort out, but I’m not happy with this yarn at all. I will not knit with it again, even if the recipient falls in love with these darned things. May these skeins be used up soon;-).

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The offending project…May the 4th be with me, either way…

P.S. One should not watch the World Poker Tour while studying Abnormal Psychology, especially when they’re down to three players. (That’s almost when it gets good;-)).

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That’s right. I still should be revising a paper, but most of the rest of my homework is done tonight. However, some of it was at the sacrifice of knitting, until Project Runway came on tonight. It’s my guilty pleasure. Currently, I have the television sound muted so I can focus on work. Music may be required. But let’s get back to the knitting.

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Squib getting snugly while I knit.

I had a measly four more rows completed, and I haven’t touched the pretty pink cashmere socks as I don’t have replacement needles from Knit Picks yet. Would you like to hear about it? I’m sure you would. I finally broke down and called them this evening. I don’t care for making cold calls, so I set them up as an exchange for “other” reasons, because every time I remembered I needed to handle this, it was pretty late at night. I do still work overnights. When I chose broken on their online site, they directed me to a phone number. I don’t like phone numbers. I just don’t. I’m the customer. It’s after ten p.m. No one should have to stay up to re-send me needles after ten p.m. That’s what email is for, right? (Yes, I provided them with this suggestion.)

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Maeve, helping with the knitting…or claiming the bag as hers….

Alas, I broke down tonight after losing not one, but two RMA forms that I had not taped onto a padded envelope and called them just before a normal person’s dinnertime. They were quite nice, confirmed my address and told me the new needles would be sent to me right away. Of course, there’s no mail for Veteran’s day as well. No, I’m not knitting the troops anything. I’m still working on Christmas gifts here. (Shh…the munchkins are hopefully busy with their own projects). Though, my youngest niece has joined facebook. I may have to get super-duper secret with certain projects. For now, what they don’t know won’t hurt them;-).

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I promise, I inserted the second lifeline…it just doesn’t show in this photo.

So, I had four tiny little rows and it was looking like it might be three weeks before I get to the toes instead of two. I’ve been working on my applique quilt and the semi-secret fantasy quilt this week. Photos of one will be included. But let me get back to these four measly rows–this is exactly how my week has been going… and I have a ton of papers to write. Alas, the knitting, I sat down to watch Project Runway on time tonight instead of during its re-run, and since I wasn’t trying to do homework or anything serious, I picked up my knitting and began row five, then I continued on, and as it came to an end I was knitting row 11 and deciding I should insert a lifeline.

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Current progress–side view…Soon there will be toes;-).

I’ve gotten decent at lifelines, though they take time that I could be knitting, however, they are life savers. I’m sold. I also got to watch The Project Runway Financial Start-up where investors who know the business listen to pitches from entrepreneurs trying to break into the fashion industry. Then I completed row twelve and decided it was okay to go back to homework. Though one of my Graduate Assistant’s in Psychology was asking me if this was going to be the longest sock ever, because it was taking me so long to knit. I’ll refrain from including the “clever” joke he attempted–this is the same one who wants a sweater;-)…I’ll be lucky to have the sock done by Christmas at this rate.

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Current progress on block 1 of the Summertime Sampler by Erica Krapow…except no black fabric;-). And I’m learning about placement…

Alas, I did get some knitting done, and I re-sewed a leaf or two on the quilt…So, I hope you enjoy, perhaps I’ll have better news next week. After all, I’m looking forward to seeing a live performance of A Chorus Line, the musical this weekend. May your weekend be restful and full of knitting.

I’m making good progress on the purple socks. The professor I met over the summer that asked if my yarn was some German or Austrian name I couldn’t understand saw my sock again and asked if it was the second sock. As class was beginning soon, I didn’t go into the full story and simply replied, “Yes.” I have two more rows and one more repeat-so, twenty two rows before I begin the toe. I’m getting so excited for the toes. (I also only had to rip out half of a row this week!)

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So, why am I disappointed, you ask, if the socks are going so well…Well, remember the other pair of socks I’ve been making slow progress on over the weeks…I knit two rows on them on Sunday with no problems. Then I was knitting in some of my downtime last night with no one around to distract me, and as I knit the middle of the cable row on sock B, The knitting needle snapped. How rude.

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I couldn’t believe it. I was just knitting! Cabling, yes, but still just knitting.

So, I have to think quickly, but the size two metal needle is still in the knitting bag, and I pull it out to finish the row and frantically scramble to try to pick up all the lost stitches. I finish knitting the cable row on the metal needles and decide to knit the next row on them to finish picking up the stitches that were already knit when the KnitPicks Majestic needle broke. I wasn’t happy and I’m exchanging them, hoping this is a fluke. *However,  KnitPicks.com customer service is all about phone calls, and it’s email service(for knitters who are knitting later at night), leaves much to be desired–as in I couldn’t find it. I found an exchange, but they haven’t told me my next needle shipped yet. I want to get back to my knitting on this pair.

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Let’s hope this yarn is forgiving of the frequent needle changes…but I’m getting so close…

They could be some wonky socks, with all the needle changes. In the meantime, I’ve decided to focus on the purple socks and maybe the quilting. I can’t wait to see the end product of either one.

*I will post next week about how long it takes KnitPicks.com to send out the new pair and fix this issue. I’m sure it’s been less than 60 days, and I’ve heard good things about their customer service.

 

This week I actually mean it. I really should be studying, or packing, or cleaning…or perhaps even embroidery stitches–but those are a stretch. I’ve heard rumor of a winter break at private schools in a sixteen week term. We don’t have those, and I usually just want to push through. But school is affecting my knitting.

 

I even set up my rows so that I would be knitting easy rows while I was chatting, or at least I tried. So, I knit the cable row at home or between classes where I have less company. Then I got to class early on Monday. I knit row four, then row five of the repeat. My friend I normally chat with wasn’t there. So, I continued on as I waited for entry into class and I knit row seven.

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Current progress on the Knot Sock…One and a half more rounds until the toes on this one…

You read that right, I skipped right over row six and knit row seven. (No photos again…). But my middle name is starting to feel like Tink! So, waiting for another class, I tinked back row seven, and knit row six and left row seven for this morning. I actually made it to row nine without too many more mistakes, Yeah! (for this week). I do have photos of my current progress. But I was getting behind on the Argonautica as I was struggling through this knitting-hence the suggestion I should be studying.

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Front of the Terpander socks(Yes, the sun was out when I took this;-)).

For the rest of my week…I made two more simple rows of progress on the Terpander socks (which I only knit on Sunday afternoons when I’m alone). They’re coming along slowly, but nicely. I’ve begun measuring to check foot length, but we’re not there yet. I’ve included a shot of the back so you can see the easy part of the sock.

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Back of the Terpander sock…(the easy part).

I also worked on some quilting, though most of it is packed now. However, I had the “Darn it! He’s right,” moment this week. I showed Dear James my wool applique fabrics and told him the name of the pattern…Summertime Sampler. He told me my colors were fall. I still thought I could work with them, until I started to sew the red on with the purple and smoky teal…and it was looking very autumnal. I ended up running to the local quilt shop and buying some summer color wool, and am now using a perky pink for this pattern. I did not think to take any pictures of this before I began packing. Perhaps I should have, but I still have to re-pack the camera.

I’m off to a quilt retreat this week. At least I thought to check and find a retreat packing list. I’m loving the one I found that reminded me to pack tweezers, hand lotion, a cushion and pain relief, as well as the foot pedal and power cord to my sewing machine. I pretend to have it together, but in a week when I entirely skipped a row of knitting, I think I need help packing as well. Wish me luck…I’ll tell you all what I forgot next week.

Early Halloween Activities

October 21, 2016

This week, I actually accomplished a good amount of knitting, but I also worked in some Halloween activity with my little as well. We went to a haunted house that is not at scary…Not at all. I’m not scared, repeated the 8-11 year old boy who just isn’t scared by the haunted house. (I didn’t get his name).  That is, until the guide sneaks behind a panel as you’re going on about not being scared, and jumps out at you unexpectedly. The effect: “I almost peed my pants.” Made my Tuesday night, especially since I’m a helper, and I’ve taught, and I realize what it takes to keep a big group of kids happy for more than five minutes, even when they’re all supposed to be working on something (but you have limited supplies)…like inflatable ghost balloons and decorating pumpkins, abstractly.

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My second favorite part of the socks…the periscope look. My favorite part is sewing up the toe (Nevermind, it’s wearing them–but these are for a gift.)

I don’t think I got a single photo of the ghost balloon, but you’re welcome to click the link above. If you’d rather jump in both feet first, don’t say I didn’t warn ya;-). You take a water bottle, cap off and pour in one-half cup of vinegar. Then you take a funnel, cap the bottom with the white balloon, and fill the balloon with one tablespoon of baking soda….Oh, oh, oh…you draw a ghost face on the balloon first…with a sharpie of some sort (preferably not the smelly one we used). So, now that you have a ghost face balloon with baking soda added, and a water bottle of vinegar, you are almost there….Most of you can likely see where this is going, right? Oh, you didn’t do this as a kid? Drat…well, stick with me, it gets more fun. Now, you take your parts, and slowly put them together…first you put just the band of the balloon(the end you tie), on the water bottle lip/edge/mouth(whatever you wish to call it today). Then you pinch the area you will tie off. Next, you slowly let the baking soda fall into the vinegar and watch your balloon inflate.

Where was this idea when we were huffing our lungs out blowing up balloons for birthday parties? My mother refused to pay for helium, even when it became semi-affordable. Alas, there was knitting, I promise. However, I have to make an extra trip to get photos…drat. There was also applique, and I might be able to get photos here…pending the camera….

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See, it looks like a cross between a periscope and an alien face!

In the meantime, I need to check dinner–chicken parmigiana, made lighter (I think–though its mostly the way I’ve always made it…perhaps I just bake more), and get some progress shots of the socks…

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My latest applique Quilt…It will pop soon, I promise…Not that I want it to literally pop…but…

The socks are coming along well…I’m starting to get excited (at least for the purple ones)…for the pink ones, I’m not quite ambivalent, but I’m cautiously excited, so perhaps I am. I’m ambivalent in that I love seeing and quantifying progress…but as I get closer to the heel, I realize I’m going to have to do four cable row repeats instead of two with two knit repeats….Have I lost ya, yet?

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The toe-up Terpander socks….the other side is simply knit right now…though I get to start bringing the cables in Sunday(I’m not likely touching these before Sunday).

Allow me to explain. I’m working from the toe up, and the foot is generally easier to knit as the bottom is knit only. This pattern, when it gets to the ankle and leg is a cable all the way around creating an eight stitch rib on each side. The rib is the easiest part of this pattern. There may come a time when these socks become solely holiday socks, so I can focus entirely on the cable patterns. They get a little intense. But in the meantime, I shall enjoy the knitting of the feet.

 

Remembering Lifelines…

October 14, 2016

…or How Many Angel Kisses are Allowed?

I think you have an idea by now that I am not a perfect knitter. Ambitious, absolutely; Frustrated, sometimes; Perfect will not happen in this lifetime. But I try to roll with what I’ve heard dubbed “Angel Kisses.” One or two in a pattern, I can live with, sometimes one or two in a repeat. However, this week, I got to row three of the repeat and realized that not only was there an error in row one of the chart, but that I was knitting row thirteen from memory, not row three. Then I found something else wrong, and stopped crafting for the day–any other crafting I’d done that day had gone to the dogs, as well. I think it was Monday or Tuesday. I’ve since lost track.

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Briannag is still waiting for me to make her something special…(she will rip it apart, so I have to be in a specially giving mood, and curious to see how long it will last).

So, brave soul that I am (in other words, fool who knit without lifelines), I threaded some old pink yarn onto an embroidery needle, then attempted to pick up each stitch three or four rows below the needles. Talk about adventure, though this was the easy part, trust me. I likely got about three quarters of the stitches….(are you in stitches yet?). It was a sight to see. Then I gently frogged the yarn back a couple of rows. When I got to the lifeline, I moved to one needle at a time and began following the yarn to thread on as many stitches as possible. Dear James is likely grateful I did this between classes.

I finally got most of the stitches back on…have I learned my lesson yet? Well, kind of;-). I meant to put a lifeline in…I really did. I meant to research the best way to as well. But I had homework. I really did. I had a chapter to finish for Psychology. I can’t get behind on my homework. And I had knitting to catch up on(since I would be re-knitting at least three rows. I wasn’t sure I’d get back to the ripping point this week.

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Ripped and knit with forward progress…but I need to get the lifeline in…likely more than one;-).

But I was blessed with distraction, because at some point, you do get worn out reading! Say it isn’t so, you say…well, when it’s psychology and ancient literature…and the short story you just read for the Literary Analysis class pisses you off because it didn’t tell the story of how they got back together; it simply implies that they did, I think. Well, that’s when a girl gets some good knitting time in, and I re-knit the old rows and got some new ones accomplished.

It’s also been a good week for crafting, though a might expensive–yet cheaper than the alternatives. Allow me to explain. I joined a quilt guild about a year ago and have joined their applique group. I’ve done an applique bookwrap quilt and have some applique going into my Semi-Super-Secret-Fantasy-Quilt…which is for someone who might read this blog, so I have to keep pictures of it mysterious and not-defined well. (Sorry!) However, I’m beginning one I can show you.

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Scamp, inspecting my choices for applique work. If I leave it here, it will become hers.

The applique group decided primarily on a Summertime Sampler of Wool Applique by Erica Kaprow…which has multiple ramifications….Wool being the first of them. I had bought and bragged about a yard and a half of black olive merino wool (for trousers). It’s beautiful, and I unwrapped it today, unfolded it and prepared to iron…then I looked again. (A photo cannot do it justice). But as I looked again, I realized I just couldn’t cut this into tiny little squares to make a wall-hanging quilt. I needed to check the size of the squares, and it’s a good thing I did. But as I drew the designs on freezer paper last night, cut them out and pressed them on, I also looked at how to make the quilt block.

The author of the pattern gave me a great idea. She stated that she finds most or all of her black wool often in thrift shops in the form of wool skirts. I know where the thrift shop is and they’re open when I finish class. So I went wool shopping again. I found gray wool trousers I can take in a little. I found a black twill skirt I can copy for the wool skirt I now plan to make in black. I found a couple of organizing tools and trinkets…. I found a cute skirt that was simply acrylic and so didn’t make the cut…. I also don’t wear many skirts. But I still needed wool to consider for the background of this quilt. I finally made my way to menswear, since I wasn’t willing to cut the trousers that were just a bit big. And I’m not sure when I’ll get to making this new skirt, or if I’ll try for a sheath dress out of it. So, as I found the menswear…I still lamented the number of suit coats with polyester in them, but I found two that would work.

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(I’m aware its not all black. But I like it, and I should have enough wool for $5.00U.S.) These are the materials for the first block…Perhaps I’ll start a monthly blog of this, since it is a block of the month club…

Here is where I exercised restraint. I chose the one that would work better. I brought it home. I ripped out the seam tonight and now will have to homework at work. I double-checked the pattern when I got home and realized I needed 9 ¼ inch blocks, not 8 ½ inch. Luckily, I think this suit coat can do it…there may be some creative piecing, but nothing too major. The sleeves might even have enough fabric with the sides to make the border…Otherwise, I might be talked into finding or creating strips out of other wool I have floating around. But that’s another story.

Really quick before I head home to craft, and do some homework…I did work on the other pair of socks some this week, and I think I got to easier rows, but I did not get any photos of them. Next week I’ll have something prettier to show you. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the pets inspection of the new (to me) wool. I thought of keeping it at my home, but realized that just wouldn’t work for this one. If I make a wool skirt or dress, I may have to change out of it before I visit all the pets though. I’d present a picture here, but I haven’t thought of a way to show off it’s true beauty as it deserves. Happy knitting, my friends!