Simple, but effective…

November 10, 2017

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Sock progress this week…it’s been considerable…

It’s been quite a week, and I’m skipping the details, as they’re not mine to tell. I’m not sure how much I got done on the hat this week, but I think there may have been progress. However, the proud moments involve the sock. I’ve been taking it to classes and for studies…and a musical. Spring Awakening is quite a musical…my favorite moment involved a fellow theater-goer. We got to a risque scene in the play and the lights abruptly go on for what I recognize as intermission…and the young man next to me says, “What?!” I looked at him and assured him, “There’s more.”

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Scamp thinks this is her knitting bag…or there are treasures in here she can run off with…I caught her in time…

In the meantime, I need to get back to knitting, quilting and schoolwork…ugh…If you want to know what a psychological study looks like, send me a message. Otherwise, I need to get to bed, and compile data and…never mind…my brain needs a rest. Enjoy my baby kitten(not so much anymore) Scamp, trying to claim the knitting bag…I think she wants to learn to knit.

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Knitting While Scheduling…

November 3, 2017

…in my world almost means less time for knitting. Unless you schedule that in too. How do I explain? Two weeks ago, my instructor said, “You seem stressed. Why don’t your turn your study into an online study?” I said, “I’ve already prepared for the traditional method.” Him: “Look into making it an online study.” I felt my stress(which was high,) go through the roof. I didn’t know how to tell him changing this in the middle of class was not a good idea. I tried, I really tried. He wasn’t having it. So, I went on one of those newfangled survey websites and set up an online survey. I put it in the system…I went live…and nothing. No data, though I had a subject. Maybe it takes time I thought? So I looked into it…How long should it take? Finally, I contacted said participant through email. She couldn’t get to the survey.

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Current progress on the Grayfields hat…part of me cannot wait to see how it knits up.

I contacted the instructor, who thought I should visit him in class (while I still believed things were going well and I was collecting data, like he told us to do). Long story short…study was reverted to traditional method, and now I’m playing the timeslots/book a room game. The rooms get booked for an hour or two at a time. The students show up for a ten to twenty minute experiment…a simple one…no real cruelty here, promise…except the frightful weather they sometimes have to traipse across campus through. Scheduling fun…and I can only carry so many books. So, what’s lightweight and simple to carry: Knitting! Can you believe it? .All that to tell you I was knitting before my study tonight…but the second sock is cast on and the first two rows are knit.

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Second sock cast on…we up and running…these are probably a Christmas gift…

I’m calling that progress…because I also made progress on the winter Gray Fields hat …at least I think I have…If you know any Russian knitters, send them my way (via internet, of course). Otherwise, I’m continuing with this pattern as I interpret it. But I have made pretty good progress on the hat as well…the pattern rows cover 126 stitches, feel like they take forever and are complicated…but the knit rows work up pretty quickly…after I note my progress…it’s almost like knitting two socks at once, but that was 144 stitches….I’m going to need an attention grabber if ever I attempt an afghan or a shawl…or some tricks….In the meantime…feast your eyes on these and hope my scheduling goes better this week.

 

One of Those Weeks…

October 19, 2017

Maybe I angered the knitting fairies…I’m not sure how, but I must have committed some grave error there. Today, I forgot all my knitting, so my extra time at school was spent setting up social events (mostly for end of semester) and reading poetry..mostly good poetry today. I also had a kind of fun assignment in which I was to pick out five events that were poetic beauty. You guys know what I picked…I’ll share them:-).

  1. That one red tree in the midst of the still green trees, like only one person got the memo that it was fall and you were to wear your fall colors.
  2. Juxtaposition on gold leaves against a brick building, in which we are reminded it’s fall and there is time to reflect before winter sets in, stark and unforgiving.
  3. A hot bath, a good book, and your favorite beverage…if this needs to be explained, try it.
  4. Hand knit socks-like 10,000 little hugs for your feet.
  5. Listening to Elizabeth Bishop discussing her friendship with Marianne Moore, specifically a trip to the circus, in Efforts of Affection while I was sewing. Check it out…you’ll want to hear the whole thing, but if you are truly pressed for time, skip to the Circus part, at 9:00 in. I really recommend the entire video.

Okay, guys, here’s the part that could cost me…I told my Oral Interpretation of Literature Instructor to trust me and assigned him this homework…I know that could work against me, but he seems to have a sense of humor. The poetry instructor would have simply said “snaps” or “Bravo!”

Ready to knit the toes…(I’m actually almost done with the toes…)

Since I forgot both knitting bags today, I was knitting-less-GASP! The horror! Good thing I asked for a book of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems so I had something to read between classes, that was somewhat class related. I had text books too…but who wants to read those between classes. Somedays I have to. I also used the time to plan out a survey for my psych class. But it was fascinating to read more of Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry.

However, I think reading poetry may have been my (glad to do it) penance for angering the sock fairies. I cannot find my Terpander socks that I finished up only a month ago. It was too warm to wear them when I finished them. So I set them aside until it was cool enough to wear them. Problem is: I cannot remember where that aside is, or the knitting fairies thought they were a gift. I’m going to have to find these, but they are currently behaving in a quite elusive manner.

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Has anyone seen these socks? Can’t recall where I stored them!

In the meantime, I have about seven more rows on this sock…then i get to do another cast-on. If anyone has seen my lovely socks, please let me know;-). I miss them.

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Maeve’s idea of how much poetry I get to read…

Update on Maeve: she’s hanging in there. I just hope she’s comfortable, but she’s never suggested otherwise, and if she’s in enough discomfort, she lets me know. In the meantime, I’m keeping her snuggled and comfortable, and hoping she doesn’t demand my socks.

So, I hear there’s a concept called balance. I’ve yet to come close to mastering it. This week is seeming like a roller coaster ride, and I have more to come. The challenge is not taking everyone with me, and knowing when to tell my friends I need them to jump on.

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One of my favorite knitting helpers, deciding I should snuggle her rather than read poetry.

Let me explain the low, slow climb to the top. My cat was diagnosed with bone cancer this week. I thought it was an abscess or tooth infection. A couple of shots…a vet bill, and it would be fine. I missed class, bought a scale and soft food instead…and came home to snuggle my cat. She is my snuggle kitty too…She’d let me knit her a sling and attach herself to me permanently, so long as I didn’t jump around or up and down too much. Beware the knitting ideas we knitter’s come up with when the going gets tough.

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Full length view…isn’t there a magic knitting formula…that whatever one knits, it works?

In the meantime, I’ve been making short headway on the socks while I’m waiting for circular knitting needles to arrive in the mail. Then I get to knit a kickin’ hat pattern(that’s written in Russian, of course…because I can, and it’s kickin’). I’m getting excited to start it.

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So close, yet so far…

Unfortunately…I know, I promised we were done with those sorts of words…but I just tried to try on this sock…it’s too small…I’m not sure it will fit over my heel. I’m wondering if it will fit my niece, and if I can get it done in time for Christmas (or if it will be a birthday gift). The good news is I wasn’t in love with this yarn. I think Lizzie will like it better. The bad news is, I finally got the pattern close to what I wanted it to be…only I need it on bigger needles if it’s to be for me.

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Backside of the too small sock…

I’m debating If I will knit this pair of socks for myself again, or if I will simply gift these and move on…part of this decision will depend on how much yarn I have left and how excited I get to knit other patterns…for now, I will be finishing this sock, and repairing the cuff…Drat!

Alas, one sock almost down, one classmate encouraged to knit (I hope she listens…1 poem equals 1 row of knitting), and we move on to the next pattern which i hope is big enough…but it starts out toe-up, which will be a bit easier to work with…though I love my dpns still.

Knitting Show-and-Tell…

September 8, 2017

This week, for my Oral Interpretation of Literature class…we were tasked with bringing something to class that defines ourselves in three ways. We had some interesting presentations, such as a Minnie Mouse chapstick with a surprise inside, and some jealousy inspired presentations with soft and comfy blankets we were hoping the ladies that brought them would pass them around and let us huddle under. I was jealous wishing I had remembered to bring my own double fleece cape to keep warm, especially on this gloomy, rainy day.

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Terpander Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes in Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd

I went first. I find it easier to simply get it over with. Then I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t mind setting the standard. I don’t even mind talking in front of people anymore. I will sometimes mind the memorization that will be required. However, you’re probably curious about which of the many tenets of knitting I used to define myself, even if I do tend to fidget with the yarn as I present. I always have cards or chips in my hands anyways. The yarn is softer and more comforting to feel. Let’s get back to petting our yarn.

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I was almost wishing I had brought this knit 1, purl 1 rib with me today…It would have made my day more cheerful.

I had just finished the heel flap before I began the presentation as well. First, the yarn is soft and pliable, as I can be…after a good massage. Yes, some days I require a good massage to be pliable. Don’t we all?

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The yarn is already pliable, and thankfully, I haven’t tangled this yarn too much…

Secondly, if you push in too many needles or other things into the yarn ball, it can get tangled up. I also get tangled up if you put too much into my day or week. Sometimes, I get tangled up without much seeming provocation.

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Scamp is curious about where the bag has been…she’d be more curious about the contents if I let her(but she’s half the reason the bag has a zipper.

Thirdly, if you are patient with it and work with the yarn, you can knit it up into a beautiful pattern and yarn comes in a variety of styles of looks, so one never knows quite what they are going to get. This little blurb is not verbatim, but it’s pretty close to what I said…if you do use my words,  I simply ask  that you mention you find them here, provided you have to present a 30 second show and tell about a fun object that defines you…or you have to explain some yarn inspiration.

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I’ve forgotten how tough kitten selfies can be…and yes, Maeve got a summer hair cut this year…Putzer just likes to snuggle in…and it’s a matter of time before Briannag joins us.

Once I got home from the play Love/Sick, which was an interesting take on the lifecycle of love, marriage, divorce and death (of humans and love)…there’s poem line…I wrote the first draft of the paper due for the play, caught up on Project Runway (which I missed for the play), and finally sat down to knit the heel turn. I did not knit the heel turn earlier as I like to do so all at once, instead of leaving my knitting mid-row and figuring out where I left off later. However, as noted above, knitting does bring out the kitties…then again, two of them are demanding attention as I write.

Until next week, Happy Knitting!

 

Knitting at Quilt Week

August 17, 2017

It was here again…and I love it.I learned some secrets and showed off my knitting, to smiles, grins and compliments…and perhaps a few who wished they’d thought to bring theirs. I love Quilt Week. I look forward to it all year and begin making plans six months in advance. As soon as I know the dates, and six months prior comes along, I ask for the dates off if I need them. I got to be there for two days this year. I may aim for longer next year, or a closer hotel and taking a class(it might hurt my pocket book less…okay, it won’t, but I can dream until the tuition bill is due, right)?

DSCN2500Making decent re-progress on the Slip-N-Slide sock by Chrissy Gardiner found in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class

Alas, I told you there was knitting. There was knitting in Flannagan’s Pub on Wednesday night as I waited for Fish and Chips and chose a Mountain Town Brewing Company Train Wreck to drink. (I like my beers tall, dark and rich, just like my men–yes, there’s a bad joke in there). After I ordered the beer, and didn’t hand it off to someone else (yes, another waitress tried to give it away…perhaps they don’t think knitters are in need of libation)…I thought I should have ordered a Guinness. The Train Wreck was good, and just might be symbolic…(thankfully, not of this week’s knitting). I made some progress.

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Then while I was waiting on demonstrations and listening to them, more to rest my feet(though you learn some interesting things about the quilt world this way), I knit. I knit my socks like an old pro. There are few, if any mistakes, there are no glaring pattern issues (hopefully) to be discovered next week. There are simply four and a half out of six repeats of the cuff in which these socks are knitting up better than before. (The Terpander has to wait a week, but I should be able to make a little more progress soon).

If you wish to know more about Quilt Week, pop over to the Quilting Journeys page and enjoy my post there.

I Broke Them…Again…

August 10, 2017

Perhaps I’ve been a bit tense…perhaps wood isn’t meant to knit this pattern. I’m going with the latter. I had the new needles less than a week. I finished the row of Terpander I was working on. Then I began the next row a couple of days later, as I was unwinding from working too many days in a row…My job is mentally and somewhat emotionally exhausting, as well as near constant motion, no matter how many “breaks” they give us. So, I sat down to knit some easy rows. I was mid row, but not even decreasing when I heard the snap and realized I only had half a needle in my hand. It also broke in a different spot this time. Blast it!

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The new needles…they might clash with the hot pink/charged cherry yarn, but they should help me finish the job…

I thought about calling Knit Picks again. I’m sure they’ll replace them…but that means waiting until next week for my new needles. I’m also tired of going over this process again, when I’m nearly done with this pair of socks. It just so happens that I joined a fun facebook group called “Addicted to Sock Knitting,” and they were discussing their favorite needles there. I learned I’m not the only one who breaks wood needles. They’re pretty, but they’re breaking far too easy.

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Birthday score, with a story…maybe there will be a yarn skiff for Christmas…(at this rate, maybe I’ll have these two pair of socks knit by then…)

I ended up going with Chiaogoo circulars and they are supposed to arrive today. I likely won’t have time to use them until Sunday, but it’s still better than waiting until sometime next week for new needles to arrive. I can make progress and hopefully not break anything important.

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Current progress on the Slip-N-Slide socks…back side…I think I’m going to learn to love the lack of colorplay

In the meantime…I am carrying with me the travel knitting Slip-N-Slide socks I have restarted. I made some good progress while driving to another town, nearly two hours away to try some excellent Italian food. If you are in Grand Rapids, Michigan, come eat at Amore Trattoria Italiana and I recommend the Chef’s tasting. It’s reasonably priced and everything was excellent. I’m not sure there was anything we didn’t like. Don’t forget dessert, they’re cute, they’re often rich…but you cannot go wrong. It was the only time the waitress didn’t have a specific recommendation. She said, “Eenie, Meenie, Mienie, Moe usually works for me.” I got the three types of custards and a truffle. The hazelnut rolled truffle came with the tasting and was rich enough on its own. The Chocolate, Vanilla Bean and Raspberry Panna Cotta was also excellent. I took some to a friend to share, even in tiny portions. I will be returning to this restaurant. Dear James said he’d have the stuffed mushrooms and fennel parmesan soup to make a meal out of that alone. It was a very satisfying birthday experience.

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The front of the Slip-N-Slide socks…this pattern is getting more fun to knit…let’s hope it knits up a bit quicker now…

Then we visited with an old friend and came home to my gifts. He got me mostly quilting stuff you can find on my Quilting Journeys page. But the scale has a story…While searching for ideas for my gift, I researched yarn skiffs, scales and rotating cutting mats as well as some quilting rulers. He made some selections and decided the yarn skiff would have to wait (perhaps for Christmas, he said). Then he made his selections, checked out online and later a scale that had been left in his cart arrived. So, I have to wind my yarn the hard way, but I can know how much it ways…at least until Christmas (provided he remembers or I hint strongly enough). We’ll see how it comes out in the end…He did get me fabric, and I have plenty of stash yarn and am breaking needles at every turn right now, so more yarn was not necessary.

What did I get done this week? More than expected actually, I think. Let me explain…mistakes first…. At the ball game, people don’t get the “I’m knitting a complicated row here, don’t talk to me,” glare really well. Perhaps they think it’s normal that I mutter to my knitting, and I do try to remain polite and not scare the kids. So, later in the week, when I picked up my socks, I noticed a problem with the last knot.

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Can you tell? I’ll be able to a little, but I think they’ll feel similar….

Then I held the internal debate, Do I leave it and pretend no one will notice? Or Do I rip it out and start again…so many rows, and I have an exam and a research paper due this week. Sounds busy, right? Well, I didn’t do quite enough studying for the exam, as I thought I needed articles for this paper. I didn’t. Alas, next time I have a better strategy. So I got a solid B on my exam…I chose not to hate it today. However, I got feedback on my first research paper, and while the bias is strong with this one…I got 58/60…That’s like 96.67% –woo-hoo…I hope the next two are just as good;-), and hopefully not as biased, but really, who thinks swearing makes one look more credible? I survived my two point hit for bias, much better than I did the B on the exam…if only I’d listened to my first instincts.

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So, the forever debate…finish them or re-do the end to make it right…

Okay, so, again, two steps forward, one step back…I’m still a few points away from that elusive A. However, on the socks, I knew I’d know, and I thought they might feel different, so I started tinking… (makes me think of old men tinkering under the hood of the car). And with tinking back a few rows comes re-knitting the pattern. Want to know what else I screwed up, the tinking. I didn’t go all the way back to the lifeline. I thought I could fudge it since the pattern lets me know where I’m at. I tinked back to row 14 of 20. Except the problem was in row 13 as well as 15.

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So glad no one is around when I knit these!

It’s firm now, I’ll take an A- on the socks. They’re staying and here’s why. I simply didn’t seem to cable row 13 at all. It only changes the pattern a little and looks like it will feel similar. However, I just knit the last row of the chart, and the guilt is stepping in…let’s see how a photo looks. I’ll post next week whether I took another step back or if I just purged forward. Besides, I’m running out of colors…okay, not really.

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We’re getting there…soon I’ll have more alone time for these babies…

Speaking of color, time to update on the Terpander socks, I got four rows done last week….I’m still not sure how this happened…and I’ll get more time to finish them soon as I had a class cancelled…and once I determined I could use the extra grant money to pay for fall classes, I said, “Yeah, Summer!”

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Decided I needed flowers this week…the shade didn’t want to show all the beauty though…I’ll have to find a better way to snap these pics…

So, it’s almost summer, which means time to plant a patio container garden. (I am not starting a container gardening blog…no matter how much “free” time I’ll have coming up…there’s knitting, sewing, quilting, writing…you get the picture, I won’t be truly “free.” Alas, the container garden is in process…check these babies out…we’ll see what I can identify. Stay posted, there’ll hopefully be more.DSCN2244 (2)

Yes, that’s German Chamomile(the tall one), Cosmos(the pink open one) drinking up sunshine, and Pansies hanging out everywhere but looking at the camera…Then there is a Begonia or two in there.  I do love Begonias.

Soon, I get to cast on another pair of socks. Perhaps I’ll set up a vote next week, perhaps I’ll surprise you;-).

Knitting in Public…

April 27, 2017

…while making short progress. I did it! I got the darned paper done. It might even be a good paper. I hope it’s a good paper. I constantly feel as if my grade is suffering in this class. I often feel like my grades are suffering (especially if I don’t have a cushy, solid A that lets me fail the final exam and still obtain a B in the class). Alas, I hope it’s enough to get me a better grade, but I likely won’t know until I take the final anyways, so I’llst have to wait and see. Yes, Finals week is coming up. So, what’s a girl to do?

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Look, look, it’s almost a periscope!

She takes her knitting to the pub to wait for friends to share a couple of beers and enjoy some karaoke(How does one spell Karaoke?). My former sister-in-law got up and sang. I haven’t found a good song that matches my voice since I got up and tried Martina McBride’s “When God Fearing Women Get the Blues,” while I did a stint in the Navy. (This song doesn’t even come close to matching my voice or style, by the way). There shouldn’t have been enough beers in my system then and there weren’t enough beers in my system now to get up and give a song a memorably bad rendition of singing. We’ve considered Toby Keith to match my voice, but I don’t really listen to country much, and there are only a few of his I would be okay with doing. I may have to get up and do classic rock, one of the ones where people are guaranteed to join you in the singing.

I’m willing to perform, the singing voice is another matter. I’ve heard it can be trained, I’m just not sure how that’s going to work;-).

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The front view and right side up!

However, I ran into work friends, and figured out which ones were chatty and which were downright affectionate with a couple of beers in them. I also made some memories with my friends(who are both former sisters-in-law–they divorced my brothers, not me;-)). So, I finally got to the part where I get to turn the heel(I might even get that part done today if I keep at it), and I snuck in two more rows of the Terpander socks this week.

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The back view, upside down…(yes I know there are rotation buttons, but I’m going between kindle and laptop, so forgive the technical difficulties, Please;-)).

So, progress has been made, but I really need to get back to the studying I’ve neglected in favor of progress;-) and nights out with friends where I knit to the heel turn (while waiting, I might add).

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Now to pick up stitches and get on with this bad girl, just in time for summer;-)…
Now, for the update. I did get some studying done, but I had time before class and diligently worked on the heel turn, simply choosing to move my knitting bag very carefully since the stitches would be straddling two needles the entire time. I got it finished this evening with only a few more minutes of effort and I still have time to study that chapter and review the next over the week…Wish me luck on finals and summer classes(possibly).  We’ll find out whether I’m studying or knitting and quilting and working on a book this summer.

Shh…don’t tell. I haven’t worked on the Terpander pattern all week. I may have to make that up in the morning. Instead, it turned into a crazy, busy week, with assignments that didn’t go well and a strong realization that I need to do something different. I’m still knitting, and there were knitting in public opportunities, but Sunday night was intense, to put it mildly.

So, Monday, James and I went to the humane society to walk a dog. We left without the dog…I’m not sure that happens. I don’t walk dogs here on a regular basis as I don’t have a farm with unlimited income. I’m still considering the dog. I almost decided to go right back for her, but she wasn’t classified as senior, and the humane society has gotten very particular about what dog would be right for us. We do have a good number of cats…but we have two dogs from breeds not great with cats, and they have come to realize the cats are in charge, they’re just allowed to share the furniture.

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The charmed twister bag I thought I was making progress on…until I re-read the directions…

Alas, I do not have a new dog, which might be an excuse for not getting much knitting done. However, I also had a test this week, which is the real reason I didn’t make much progress on my socks. (At least that one holds up till Wednesday morning. Then there was this charmed twister bag pattern…and the little twister tool…and progress was made on the bag.

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Up Close and Personal (exclusive) with the heel flap…see those color variations….I do love this yarn;-)

I was still working on the knot socks before classes and between classes….I just didn’t get much time for them this week. I decided I needed to be more social and reach out to friends. I still haven’t gotten into the group that knits at a local pub. I may have to start visiting there more.

Perhaps that will help with the progress. However, you’d be proud of me ladies and gents. I met up with a friend at a local pub called The Cabin, and had some delicious pizza. When she told me she’d be there in five minutes, I finished my calendar entries and went inside to wait.

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The whole thing so far…(lifelines I haven’t removed yet and all)

I wasn’t sure if she meant five minutes, ten or twenty, so I took my yarn inside to knit while I waited on her. She’s used to seeing me with the yarn bag as I often knit until the start of class. We had a good visit, I tried a new beer, Curmudgeon, though it wasn’t curmudgeonly at all, but I can’t think of a better name for it off hand. Then again, perhaps it was, because it’s like it’s that old imposing guy who’s really a big teddy bear underneath. It is beer with molasses, but not as sickeningly sweet as the honey blood orange blend, so what more could I ask? Aside from a taller glass. It was 9.8% alcohol, so it came in a cute little six ounce mini-pilsner glass. I get it, but I was a little surprised.

Then again, curmudgeonly types may be best in small doses. The beer was good. It was worth every tiny ounce;-). The knitting progress was one row as Crystal was prompt. Sorry about the lack of knitting in public photos…one day I’ll remember to drag my friends into this fun. ) Then I set the knitting aside and dove into  Cheesy bread sticks and Italian Veggie Pizza and forgot my troubles for a bit. Some days, there’s nothing like a bit of beer and pizza with a friend, even if it moves your study time into your knitting time.