Before I begin, yes it’s pronounced Mackinaw and spelled Mackinac…one must love their French, you have to figure out which half of the word to swallow. I’d rather have the fudge, and there was fudge.

015The Bridge as viewed from Mackinac City (south of the bridge). I wish you could have joined us.

I promise, there was knitting…in fact, there has been more knitting this week than I normally accomplish in a month. I think it’s the pressure of the intention as well as the cabling patterns. The cabling patterns encourage me to keep going. Why? I never thought you’d ask. Because it’s easier to finish on the last round of the section than to figure out just where I was when I left off, especially if I forget to mark a row. I do that often enough.

I found myself with some time on my hands this week when I wasn’t driving up to the bridge with my boyfriend, aunt and two dogs. I’ll tell you all about it in a moment, I promise. It does make for an interesting trip. When I got home, tired and exhausted, I think I made some dinner(or whatever meal we were on) and then sat down to knit. I got one more cable section done, and met the traveling rows.

006Ducks at Mackinac…on Lake Michigan…see, and James’ took the dogs a short distance away before he let them try to catch one (they didn’t, they’re working dogs, not hunting dogs).

I didn’t know you could make cables travel. But I like travel. I even tolerate it well in cabling. This was a surprise. I felt as if there was a lot going on with these socks. I called this pattern more complicated than a craps game while I was in the midst of it this week. My dear James insisted it wasn’t. He doesn’t know knitting, but he does know craps. And surprisingly, he’s only heard a small amount of swearing from me this week. Most of the time I was able to pay attention to what I was supposed to be doing.

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Once the dogs got settled down, they were settled…well, mostly…the squirrels seemed to know better up here…

Just as you can only travel one mile at a time(we’re talking driving here, not flying), you can only knit one or two stitches at a time. No one has talked me into knitting 3 together yet, but I expect the day will come. There will likely be cussing that day, perhaps I should ease up on the tension first;-)…But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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Looks like I’ve completed four sections of cable and traveling, with Maeve’s help.

Speaking of bridges, we went to see the bridge of bridges this weekend. We did not cross. My aunt simply wanted photos of the bridge, and some Mackinac Island Fudge. If you go to Mackniac and do not come back with fudge…well, just turn your car around, and go right back up there and wait for the shop to open. Do not quibble about price, just pick a flavor or three and pay the fee. Trust me, this is tradition. Even Michiganders follow this rule to the letter. I’ve yet to hear of anyone leaving without fudge, nor do I care to. It is a grave sin to leave without the best fudge I’ve ever had.

And photos should happen, but those can be photo-shopped or bought on postcards. You weren’t really in Mackinac until you come back with fudge. We have both photos and fudge, and I’m happy to share. In fact, let me find a clean spot of kitchen. Okay, okay, so we need to clean the kitchen…I found the lap desk. See, there’s fudge…and isn’t it a little slice of heaven.

004The fudge my dad is begging for…I told him perhaps for Father’s day…

It’s so much a little slice of heaven that it, well…. Actually, I must confess, it brings out the devil in me(just a little bit).  Upon announcing my return and posting photos on facebook Sunday night, my dad promptly demanded requested fudge. He didn’t go, and he’s still pouting that I have run over like the dutiful daughter he hoped I’d become and deliver him a slab of his favorite kind of fudge. And yes, you can buy it online, but you do not get the fresh lake air or the ducks or the bridge in the background…or this time of year– the colors of the trees. It’s an experience, and best shared.

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Oh, there was knitting…Christmas is only nine more Fridays away…and now onto the heel flap

Now, back to the knitting. And there was knitting…I managed a cable section each night for three out of four nights. Phew…the third night, I felt sick and I still tried to sew a dress. I had too many deadlines, and may have squeezed too much into this week. But life is meant to be lived, these socks are meant to be cabled and bridges must be visited in order to get more fudge while we have the time to share these adventures. I hope I have time, and I’m certain my seventy-one year old aunt has time, but it wore her out, and I think we might make this some sort of tradition.

009Ducks, Maryal and the bridge…right before we went to get fudge, and dinner…
Did I mention I’m big on tradition? If not, perhaps you know me well enough by now…and if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll soon figure it out. Now, give me one more moment to mention dinner. Dear James asked the young lady at the fudge shop for a dinner recommendation for burgers and beer. They recommended Keyhole Bar & Grill. It made for a good burger in a friendly atmosphere. We had a great trip!

Likely not. No one ever told me she was a knitter…but if she was, would she lose all sixty-four stitches as she’s about an inch from finishing the foot so she can begin the toe? I somehow doubt it. She’d probably have a super-secret method of returning the stitches to the needles. Perhaps just put in a life-line, which i have not started using yet. I probably should use a life-line, those little contrasting pieces of thread that mark places and minimize damage.

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Putzer, guarding my knitting bag, with attitude…He deserves a massage for his efforts, after all.

I sat down and let the dog snuggle in next to me, as he does sometimes while I knit. Except when I picked up the knitting needles, all of the stitches slid off. Oh, the horror! ALL 64 stitches were now exposed to the elements-air, cats, dogs, me! I needed to get these stitches back on the needles, 5 minutes ago. I hoped not to lose any of the stitches, but I did lose about eight of the cream colored stitches. Oy, and vey…or other sentence enhancing words of your choice. I had many of them. I also include “Don’t talk to me,” and “Go away,” for my Dear James, who was in a chatty mood that evening. The poor guy, he took it so well when I pulled out both tonight, in no uncertain terms. I work every night he does this week. I also wanted these socks done and ready for work this week. It also looked doable…before the socks came off the needles. I wasn’t even at the toes yet.

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Getting there, just beginning the toe of the sock…(after the recovery)

I spent a stressful twenty minutes placing the stitches back on the needles, in a near silent home, and the poor dog lay on the floor waiting for Mom(with the big, deep, in charge voice) to relax. Once I got the stitches back on the needles, I started knitting and let James know that he could once again chat with me.

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I never really knit alone…it’s just that some company is sometimes quieter than others…

Now, a while back, I admitted that I sometimes like to knit alone, especially when I’m at a tough part of the pattern or a spot that requires concentration. Dear James was home and was in the mood to chat. He even kinda wanted me to chat with him. This is a good thing that I wish to encourage, usually, especially if he’s playing video games. Except when I’m knitting, and I’m close to the toe, and ready to finish that blasted sock…and soon, I get to put away the black yarn until the next pair. And, well, I just placed all sixty-four stitches back on the needles.

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There is hope, ahead. I still made it through…chatty phase and all…

We worked through his chatty phase and the dropped stitches, and I began the excitement of re-joining the socks in the round and finishing the cream colored toe. So, just how did I make my socks so unique? Well, I’m good at finding challenges. Sometimes, I make them work. This time, I knit and purl the socks almost if they were flat, and every three to four rows, usually, I joined the two yarns.

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Trying them on, with Briannag’s help…she thinks my feet and towel/blanket are comfy

This join was accomplished by inserting the needle into the first stitch of the cream or the last stitch and wrapping both colors of yarn around the needle, then pulling through, leaving a two-color, two-stranded stitch that I worked as one in the next row. I tried to get good photos of my feet, and the happy ones showing how they will look for work. I do have a cream colored stripe on the top of my foot that does show slightly above my shoes, but my work pants should be long enough to cover it. Besides, we’ll just test how much they’re looking during one of our busy weeks;-).

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See, I’m never really alone with my socks. Zeus must see what the fuss is all about.

This pair is happily now off the needles. I’m going back to pink yarn soon and debating about what the next pair of black socks will look like. I will talk more about the foot test next week.      023

What my feet will look like as I go to work this Thursday evening…’Course I’ll be wearing black slacks instead of shorts.

There Will Always Be…

July 24, 2015

…Knitting…so long as I have yarn and needles.

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Last week’s progress…

The week of “I don’t want to…” turned into  a week of “Now, you have to…” Of course, it also helps that I’m not feeling so broke I’m afraid to use my spare change to buy a candy bar. So, the bills have to be paid, licenses still have to be renewed, uniforms still have to be exchanged and the oil in the car needs to be changed. It was a bit of a busy, early morning for me, that started around 2:30PM.

010Briannag and Squib snuggling with each other as I knit…Squib is still an Official Knitting Inspector.

There was some enjoyment this week, such as the book I’m reading by Julia Quinn, The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy when the heroine was asked for backstage help, and glued the unicorn horn on her cousin’s head. Later, as the cousin’s mother attempted to pull the unicorn horn off and was informed of the glue, the mother of about five children asked, (matter-of-factly, from what I could tell) “Did she use cement?”  I nearly fell out of my bed laughing myself hoarse. I was slightly concerned I’d have to call into work from laryngitis as a result. I was supposed to be going to bed. (Story of my life…)

013 Briannag  decides it’s play time. She and Zeus took up a collection and dropped it in my lap. (Sorry there are so many photos of my lap)

But today, I got the uniforms exchanged, so they will not unravel at work. I read more of the book as I got the oil changed (yes, I utilize a mechanic. My strengths lie with yarn and telling tales-tall or true, not car parts;-)). I also stopped off at the library to print off some forms I needed and got a walk in with Dear James and the puppies. In addition, I agreed to cook. In all fairness, its my turn, and I like to cook.

011Briannag, looking like she is requesting snuggles(she gets lots), or wine(she doesn’t get much, but she likes the simple tastes she’s received, not that I leave much behind)…I’m never sure which one…

Once I got dinner in the oven, I had a decision to make, knitting or writing. I still need to make my word count tonight. But I can write when I’m tired…(famous last words). I know for certain I should not knit tired. So, knitting wins. And I was reminded as the dog lay there and whimpered at me to either love her or share the wine…the knitting is always right there. It was simply waiting for me to pick up, check where I left off and knit on. I even began to feel like I’m making progress with this sock, which likely means I’m past the halfway point of the foot.

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Briannag, pouting that the knitting is in the spot she wants(usually the occupied one), and the Kong hasn’t been filled–they haven’t brought me the second one yet…

I always wonder a bit about how much longer once I stop decreasing and begin really working towards the toes. Part of me, the inner Wonder Woman, wondered if I could get this sock knit before my extra day of work next Thursday. Part of me looked at how much was left and saw a reasonable doubt. If I do finish the sock in time for work one night next week, one of the  next two posts will be entitled “Wonder Woman.”

004Scamp, sleeping through my knitting…However, a skein of yarn escaped the bag. I’m really concerned she’s going to wake up and run off with it.

I am not Wonder Woman by any means. However, between my to-do list, the fairy garden I’m working on(of which I do not have many more pictures), the changes being made to the super-secret quilt I’m working on(more in another blog…there isn’t room here), the knitting and extra days at work…I’ve become a busy woman who feels a bit like the Wonder Woman who simply tries to do too much. I’ll get to it, and some enjoyment-as, what’s life without enjoyment. But I will feel every inch of it in the meantime. I’m so glad I’ve already turned the oven off. I hope you enjoy the kitties and puppies and their help with the knitting.

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Sock progress…It’s getting there, really.

Then I consider learning how to really crochet, via a 1 hour coffee cup cozy, to start. Not tonight, though; I’ve been busy enough. I must finish the fifteen hundred words for today that I decided I could write tired. This may require some wine. In the meantime, I still have knitting.

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Current look of the bi-color sock.

…all week long. I didn’t want to go to work. (some days, that’s a given). I usually enjoy my job once I’m there, but it eats a lot of energy and builds a good deal of nervous energy I have to release, on my poor boyfriend who’s worked there longer than I have, and could likely narrate my stories for me… In addition, even on days off, I simply didn’t want to get out of bed. And I had to pick up my license for the next year, only it wasn’t in. It’s been a big case of the Mondays all week, or rather throughout my weekend. I have to return Friday night. I don’t entirely mind, but part of me expects my inner child to scream, “I don’t wanna!” as I get out of bed in the morning. I won’t be totally surprised when it does happen.

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Some of the glittered fairy houses, painted entirely by my Little, Mariah.

However, I still got things accomplished this week. We made progress on the fairy garden, mostly sorting out what it could be and where we wanted things. Then we left instructions for my brother to do some cuttings to make it a recessed fairy garden. I decided to use a ¼” piece of board as the base and was talked into giving it a sort of frame. I’m debating (and wondering if I’ll get talked into) adding a bottom portion and filling it with dirt, but keeping the mostly octagon(circular shape). My Little, Mariah, and my nieces have put forth effort into this fairy garden as well as my dad and sister-in-law. My brother gets stuck cutting out holes and trimming the square board to meet the circular rim and framing it into a hexagon. I’ll post pics when we’re done. I didn’t think to take any of the garden today, and will wish I had later.

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Lizzie, as a Minion, posing with a fairy house she glittered (please excuse the simple paint work, Lizzie will still be proud to be a Minion)

Though, the directions are readable to me, and hopefully most others who work on the project. Once we get the holes in, we can start adding plants into them and re-polyurethane the fairy houses we painted and glittered and turn it into a delightful retreats for fairies.

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Putzer, checking my progress…

You are right, this has nothing to do with knitting. I remembered to knit on my socks sometime on Monday or Tuesday night. I skipped Wednesday night, as I’ve been writing every day I haven’t worked and some days when I’ve had a short shift. It is camp nanowrimo after all. This is a website that hosts month long writing goals for aspiring novelists every July, April and November. I have been in school for the last two. I’m enjoying participating in this one. I am also rarely bored.

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See, I really have been knitting…I promise.

Speaking of bored, however, I may have gone slightly overboard on the plants, but hey, I now get to plant petunias in my flower bed(and it’s in need of some brightening up). The rest of the plants will mostly go in the garden…though I do need a cute little climbing vine that may have to put up with some rough conditions to grow out of a birdhouse window. But, what better way to say “Fairy Garden” than with climbing vines?

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Current progress on the socks…and another view of the joining of the two colors

Alas, I promise, there will be a little more knitting, and a little more progress on the socks. But no, I’m still not close to finishing them. I must knit more, when I’m not writing, or including most of my family in building fairy gardens…Okay, okay, there is a reward at the end, in that if we get it delivered in time for the deadline, we get two free tickets to the renaissance festival. There is a first, second and third place prize, which they haven’t informed us what that is. However, as I told my little and meant it: The fairy garden is a reward in itself as it can be returned to us when the faire is over, and we can store it or remake it for next spring. My sister-in-law added, unless we score an outfit, in which case the reward will come out even. I really must get her that crochet bodice pattern for the two of us, and some good sweater or sock yarn. Alas, I have to pay the bills first…but imagine the possibilities!

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Putzer, getting a closer look as an official knitting inspector…He works for a simple two-handed massage.

When I began writing Knitting Journeys, I was quite excited, because there’s always something new going on in the knitting world. In addition, I’m only an intermediate knitter, though semi-fearless at that. I thought, I’ll never want for a topic to write about. Famous last words, I tell ya.

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Scamp, checking in to help me search for a new cat toy, or a stitch marker-to the rest of the world…

I’m knitting the foot of the second sock. I’ve been here. I’ve done that. I’m doing it again. How many of you want to read about that? Not I! Screams the voices in my head. But my knitting provided special insight for me this evening as I prepared to knit…gasp…a lost stitch marker. There is a brave  (good euphemism for stupid-somedays) part of me saying, “Go ahead, the sock is at the foot, I don’t need the stitch marker. It’s well-enough divided.

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Squib’s help, If you look closely in the upper right hand corner, you’ll see it could be well enough divided…

The smarter side of me is laughing her butt off, saying, find the stitch marker before you continue. You will be uttering even more phrases like famous last words if you don’t. I’m sure some of you have been there before. Let’s toast to a shared chuckle here.

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Maeve, seizing her opportunity to comfort Mom in her knitting distress…

As I searched for the currently elusive stitch marker, Maeve saw her opportunity and planted herself upon my chest for cuddling. I know they’re rough photos, but Dear James is stuck at work while I knit, manage pets and cameras all by myself. Of course, the stitch marker would pick the tired night of the busy week to disappear.

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Squib, helping me relax after I began utilizing some of his favorite toys…

I had my nieces this week, and gave up a fair amount of sleep to spend time with them. Though, my youngest niece saw through me when I set her to work on my scrap-booking, in which she did a great job. I’ll have to thank her when we get to working on the fairy garden with my dad. But it was the time spent that matters, not the sleep I might have missed.

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Zeus and Squib in position to help me knit…

Today was also Dear James’ mother’s birthday. He remembered to call her without any input from me. I was still wiped from watching a friends kids this morning(the middle of my normal night) while she had a meeting she needed to attend. Again, it’s the little things. James remembered to call his mother. I remembered to get a nap once the kids were dropped off. A grandmother offered to let me borrow her granddaughter if I felt the need for a while(words of a loving, but worn out grandma-I know that feeling).  And somewhere between the couch, the dog, a couple of cats, and perhaps my jeans lies a sneaky little stitch marker that helps keep my knitting manageable, just as naps keep my busy life manageable as well.

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Squib thinks the knitting needles still make good chew toys…

Now, excuse me while I search out that little thing I need to continue knitting with sanity and reflect on some of the best advice ever given regarding knitting, and perhaps life. It’s the little things, like stitch markers, and some quality time, as well as naps, that keep life going. Would you care to help me find the stitch marker?

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Some of the pet traffic I must work through to find the stitch marker.

Thanks for your help. It somehow fell down beneath the couch cushion. I had to remove enough creatures to find it, and then I replaced it and resumed knitting. The gusset is coming along, but always takes a little longer than I like, especially since I’m no longer knitting solidly in the round.

018Look, I found the stitch marker! It is now in it’s rightful place.