Younger Son's new phone, a Sony something, does tricks. My phone did something similar, but for a much shorter time.
* * * * *
I don't think I ever showed you one of my adventures during the yarn-caking marathon. I had read on Ravelry that Zauberball was impossible to pull from the center without massive tangles, so I pulled from the outside.
It was not entirely successful, although by the third ball -- I think this one was the second -- I had figured out how to minimize the tangles.
* * * * *
I took a class on brioche stitch from Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark at Yarnover this year. Of the 20 or so people in class, nearly everyone had attempted brioche before ::raises hand:: but were unable to master it from a book/handout/pattern. ::nods sheepishly::
The class was an excellent idea for all of us. We found that brioche stitch is easy and that the knitter develops a rhythm with it after a bit, just like ribbing.
The two swatches I made during class.
On the way to Yarnover that morning, I suddenly remember that I had left the two balls of required worsted weight yarn on the seat of a different car. Oh well, I thought, I can probably mooch some yarn off someone else in the class. People always bring more yarn than they need.
When I walked into the Yarnover venue, which was filled with yarn vendors, I had a good chuckle at myself. Gee, do you suppose I can find some yarn here?
Actually, it was not as easy as I first thought. Most vendors bring lace- and fingering-weight yarn and/or fiber. I was more than halfway through the place before I found some worsted weight.
What you cannot see in the photos is the wonderfully woolly-but-soft-squishy texture of the yarn. 50% CVM/30% alpaca/20% angora, oh my!
I bought the one on the left first, but after the class I went back to buy the second, contrasting one. They are in the process of becoming a cowl that is a larger version of white and green swatch. The best way to cement a new stitch is to make something immediately to get the process into muscle memory.
After 8+ years I am stepping outside my plain vanilla sock pattern. This is Nevis, a sock pattern I saw on Madame Dafarge Knits.
I cast on earlier this week with this yarn, Perfect Sock Yarn (self-striping) from Must Stash Yarns (currently unavailable).
* * * * *
I am casting on these new socks in spite of having two (2!) pairs of socks already OTN. Both are the victim of user error.
The ones on the left are of a wool/cotton/nylon blend that turned out to be not nearly as stretchy as typical wool/nylon sock yarn. (Duh.) Even though it is 50% wool, the 25% - 35% cotton completely overcomes the wool's elasticity. The first sock was done past the heel when I decided that I really needed to make it bigger, 66 st instead of my usual 60, if I ever planned to actually put the socks onto my feet. First sock now done, second done toe to heel. This is my take-along project.
The ones on the right are another double-stranded pair, this time a tweaked version of my usual plain vanilla pattern. The gray is one strand each of two gray yarns, one tweedy (unknown yarn, label gone, probably Regia of some kind) and the other tonal (Regia Jeans Color). The stripes are two rows each of various Lang, Universal, and Trekking sock yarn solids. My innovation, besides the stripes, is the striped afterthought heel, of which I am inordinately proud. The user error in this pair was that I forgot to switch from the US#1.5 needle to the US#4 when I got past the ankle on the first sock; as a result the leg was too tight for comfort. Second sock is done, first sock's leg is frogged and reknit to the third stripe. These have been my TV knitting.
* * * * *
Other WIPs -- all sleeping comatose -- include a Color Affection shawl, a Fairfield sweater, two other pairs of socks that I got stalled on somewhere near the ankle, that hat that I need to frog and reknit, and a child's sweater that has been in time out since 2007. We shall not speak of these projects at this time.
On Monday night I got ready for my 13+ hour stint at the polls: wind four skeins of Shibui Silk Cloud into cakes, divide those cakes into twelve equal smaller cakes, put each one into its own little plastic bag so they wouldn't tangle, do a provisional cast on, and knit the first inch or two of this gorgeous thing:
By the time I left the polls on Tuesday it was about 14" (35cm) long. But the next day I discovered that I had an error in the seed stitch about an inch back, so I began to tink. You can imagine how much fun it was to tink that mohair/silk yarn.
See the cut in the yarn at the top of the photo? That happened when I was about halfway to the first error and I had begun to cut -- very carefully, I thought -- the sticky fibers that were making it so hard to tink.
Crap. Gonna have to tink back an extra few rows.
I was working on this in the car on the way to Rice Lake, about an hour away and where Smokey had an appointment at the VA clinic. We were giving another person a ride; when we dropped off Smokey at the clinic, I got out of the back seat and walked around to the driver's seat.
Unbeknownst to me, my yarn was hooked around my foot.
What I found when I picked up my knitting again.
I am not sure what I am going to do. Right now the project is sitting in time out to consider its sinful ways. Unwinding three strands of heavily twisted mohair might just be more than I want to tackle. Maybe this will be a short cowl that does not loop twice around the neck. Stay tuned.
It was difficult to count them because they kept doing this and disappearing under the water.
I spotted this today. For a second I thought it was a maze in the woods.
Then I figured it out. Those are piped maple trees, and that little wooden building might be the cook shack. Maple syrup season is probably over this week, according to the chatter I heard on Tuesday.
Speaking of (the first) Tuesday (in April), spring brings certain local elections -- village and town boards, school referenda, a supreme court justice. These were three of my fellow election judges.
The fifth election judge monitored the single voting machine. I'm pretty sure that voter is one of the volunteer fireman that pulled Smokey and I out of the lake a couple weeks ago. Small towns: you see the same people over and over.
She and I occupied ourselves in the same manner during the down times.
(no photo) When I got home that night I heard the loons crying. It made me very happy.
Today brought the traditional April snowfall. ::sob::
I have become rather obsessed with mahjong on my computer and my iPad.
I used to have it on my Windows box back in the day, but that was a downloaded program; this is online. Who knows what nasty stuff might be infesting my hard drive...
As I played I found I had an emotional reaction to the different pieces, usually based on how easy or difficult it was to recognize and match them. To help myself I have made up names for many of the tiles. Across the top row we have Nine Stick, Flat Top, another Nine Stick, Legs, Nine Plate, and Tee. The bottom row is Box, Three-Stroke, Box, Nine Stick, and Little Man. Weird, but it helps this non-Chinese reader. Those are all pretty straightforward. Then there is Little Bad Guy, Grace, Pointy Top, Round Bottom, and Strikethrough. And Chairlift and Birdhouse.
Enough of that. I am amusing only myself.
Our taxes are in progress (hence the obsession with a computer game). I have a first draft of the federal return, still need to print it out and review it as though I were still at work. Then the WI and MN returns, yuk. For the past several years Smokey has had to be a MN resident (MN tax law) even though he lives in WI, and I am a WI resident. Even the fancy-schmancy professional grade tax software we had at work could not quite manage that situation, requiring me to override things in the return. Overriding was strongly discouraged because it usually meant an error.
Because I am retired now and my time is more leisurely, I was able to take a different approach on the return: one day I did the W-2s and 1099s. The next day I did the cap gains. The next couple days were spent on the rental property. Then I took a break for a few days. Back at it to do the contributions. Next day the rest of the itemized deductions. Although this approach meant I always had the return nagging at me, it was also low stress.
On Saturday Elder Son called to ask for help on his return. He and I had gone through his situation back in early February and I had counseled him on which forms he needed, but he didn't go ahead and do the return. He did, however, manage to forget everything I had told him. His return's only quirk was an tuition credit; at work the software took care of the mechanics of that, but he and I had to wade through the form line-by-line on the phone, each of us on the IRS website looking at forms and instructions. He kept saying, Jeez, they're telling you every step without ever telling you the goal of what you are doing. Yup, the IRS is not in the business of making this process easy or self-explanatory. He wanted to know how people who are not good at math do their returns. I explained about H&R Block.
Speaking of H&R, I am using their tax software package this year and am not happy with it. I originally purchased and downloaded TurboTax, but found that it wouldn't run on my 2008-vintage computer. (Refund for it takes weeks :-( ) The Block software runs and was cheaper, but damn, there is a reason it cost so much less. I am not looking forward to reviewing the return; if what I saw going on on the screen comes through on the return, I am gonna be doing some overriding.
On the knitting front, I have another pair of double-stranded socks OTN, plus the second of another pair of fingerless gloves.
I was able to tweak the color of the socks to be accurate; the fingerless gloves are actually camel-colored. The good news is that my new camera seems to be able to focus on yarn and knitwear, something my previous camera had a lot of trouble with.
There are so many things in my Ravelry (and mental) queue that I am feeling like I will never accomplish them all. And I probably won't, especially if I keep adding things. But that's part of the fun of knitting, right? Seeing all the possibilities? That is probably a part of any creative endeavor, I guess. Choices.
On Saturday the library Friends had a craft & bake sale.
The bake sale was a huge success, the craft sale rather less.
I had eight pairs of fingerless gloves there but none sold.
This was a bit discouraging after the success of the gloves at the farmer's market, where I sold every single pair, ten in all, but it also means we have some inventory when the farmer's market starts again next summer.
Another Friend and I were on hand to take the money and bag people's purchases.
As you can see, I made good use of my time between customers.
We all use the tools we are familiar with. Smokey uses a screwdriver to tighten a screw, I will sometimes use a knife. Real gardeners use a wooden or bamboo stake to keep a houseplant upright, I use a knitting needle. Others might have used string or twine to hang the political signs on their car in parades last summer, I used yarn.
Yarn is very handy.
The zipper tab broke off one of my fleece vests several years ago. Eventually I figured out that a coilless safety pin worked perfectly as a substitute tab.
But the appearance was makeshift and non-pleasing, although I did appreciate being able to zip up the vest again. I dug in my sock yarn stash and came up with some yarn that [almost] matched the vest.
Yarn to the rescue!
Nothing like a couple fuzzy photos to liven up a blog.
The other alternative use for yarn actually involved knitting. I have an oversized denim workshirt that I love because it is perfect for layering when a t-shirt isn't enough but a sweater is too much. Over the years, however, it had acquired a couple of rips.
This is the larger hole. The smaller one is smaller and unphotographed.
Those rips have been there for a l-o-n-g time and never really bothered me. But suddenly inspiration struck. I grabbed my needles and a crochet hook and...
My stats say that this blog gets 75 - 100 page views every day. But I get five comments per post, tops. Perhaps it's my subject matter? On the rare occasional that I blog about knitting, the comment count rises a bit.
Okay, let's talk knitting.
Back in the summer, when I got really, really, really sick of knitting fingerless gloves, I cast on a couple other projects. One is now finished, the other still OTN. We'll talk about that one another day.
I saw this pattern in an email from the Yarnery, a LYS in St Paul, and it grabbed me. The pattern is nothing special -- cast on 70 st holding two strands of laceweight together and work seed stitch until forever.
But the yarn! the yarn! The Silk Cloud is similar to Kid Silk Haze but much softer, more like angora. The Cima is lovely stuff, too; the Pebble, meh. Section one is two strands of Pebble, section two is one strand of Pebble held together with one strand of Cima, section three is two strands of Cima, section four is one strand of Cima held together with one strand of Silk Cloud. And so on, seven sections in all.
When I started this it was going to be for me, but somewhere along in the process I decided that it will be a Christmas present for Elder Son's next-door neighbor who has been so very helpful and friendly to him and to us.
That is the good news. Now for the bad.
As the project went on... and on... and on, I started to screw up the seed stitch. One mistake every 12" or so was okay, it wasn't that noticeable, yada yada. But then the mistakes started happening more often until it was nearly impossible to ignore them.
Then I bound off.
Please excuse my feeble attempt to combine the two photos. It was impossible to get back far enough to get the entire scarf in one shot without climbing into the laundry sink.
Yes, one end flares a bit, although perhaps not quite as much as it looks like here.
The error I want to call to your attention is at the bottom of the scarf. Each section should be ten inches (that's 25 cm for those of you counting anywhere else in the world), and each of the first five sections are, indeed, ten inches long.
Section six and seven, not so much.
And then there are all those seed stitch errors. Happily, they are in the last two sections -- the ones I will have to frog and reknit.
I am not going to point them out. Just know that most of those irregularities will not block out. Because they are seed stitch errors..
What was I thinking? I remember carefully measuring every section as I went along. Early onset Alzheimers, I guess...
I have been knitting fingerless gloves all summer to sell as a library fundraiser at our local farmer's market. The market is sponsored by the library building committee, and the Friends have a booth there.
I knitted all summer and all I got done was five pairs?
Clockwise from upper left: JoJoland DK superwash merino, no particular pattern; Fetchings (with a couple extra cable twists because faulty pattern reading), Knit Picks Wool of the Andes superwash; two pairs of Susie's Reading Mitts (more on these below) from some Drops alpaca left over from a Red Scarf Project scarf a couple years ago; another pair of Fetchings (more below), KP WotA superwash.
The variegated ones were the first pair I knitted. Easy peasy, I can make a dozen pairs by the time fall comes!
Then I started a pair of the red alpaca ones. Between user error and doggie interference, I probably knit three or four pairs of these in order to get two finished pairs. As much as I love the finished gloves, my less-than-stellar execution is keeping me from attempting a third pair from this pattern. The alpaca is all gone now; I am hoping that knitting a pair in a less fuzzy yarn will eliminate most of the user errors. ::fingers crossed::
The gray Fetchings are a little long because I inadvertently added a couple extra cable twists at the finger end. Pattern reading = a good thing, often neglected.
The blue Fetchings followed the pattern much better... almost.
See? If I wasn't so fond of the color I might set these on fire.
I didn't notice the longer cable section on the first one (at right) until I had knit the second glove and woven in the ends on the first. Self-disgust prevented me from frogging and reknitting. Maybe next week.
I got kind of burned out on fingerless gloves, especially given how much trouble I was having with user error. Put them aside to knit a lacy cowl. And cast on a scarf/stole ( broke my yarn fast to buy this yarn). And cast on a scarf. And cast on a shawl. More on those another time.
After working the library booth at last Saturday's market, I was re-invigorated about fingerless gloves. I bound off and wove in the ends last night on this pair; tonight I will add the thumbs.
If you look closely you can see the three sets of butterfly stitches on each one.
The color is wayyy off in that photo (bad indoor light, no time to get a better shot). Color is more accurate here.
This can replace my I knit so I don't kill people t-shirt, which had a really crappy font.
Gonna wear this one to knitting group tomorrow night.
This magnet has been on my refrigerator for awhile. The sentiment is one I used to justify my knitting during county board meetings because I had observed (elderly) board members falling asleep during meetings of previous boards.
Carole has asked us for the ten patterns we could knit again and again. At first I thought, I've never knit a pattern more than once! But then reality kicked in and I remembered I did have some faves.
Ten Patterns I Could (Have!) Knit Again And Again.
Ann Budd's basic mitten pattern. I have used this for many of the fingerless gloves I have made, mainly for the thumb gusset. However, I may now use the gusset from this one because it is far easier to remember and fits equally well.
Speaking of fingerless gloves, I could knit Susie Rogers' Knitting Mitts many times. Love the finished product, although I seem to have a hard time knitting it without a certain amount of frogging and tinking :-( It is completely user error; the pattern is clear.
Vancouver Fog fingerless gloves. Twice so far, and I plan to make a few pair for the farmers' market, plus a pair for myself. I love these. I had to re-write the pattern a bit to make it easier for me to understand, but I made no actual changes.
Wendy Johnson's generic toe-up sock pattern. I like to knit socks toe-up so I know I can use as much yarn as I want, and I happen to have memorized her beginning for such.
Robin Hansen's striped mittens. So far I have only used this patterntwice, but I can foresee more striped mittens sometime in my future.
Baby Brights by Bev Galeska. Twodone and Ravel-ed, one more that needs a little finishing and to be documented. I never knit it the way the pattern shows, with the lower part in a pattern stitch; I do stockinette and stripes.
This was our group in the last parade. Lady in light blue shirt is Kelly Westlund, running for Congress from our district.
Gonna drive in the Lucky Days parade this afternoon. Got a big bowl of candy to throw to the kids along the route. I tell myself all through every parade, "Don't drive over a kid. Don't drive over a kid. Don't drive over a kid." It's a good rule.
* * * * *
Joke :: practical.
Away :: game.
Reaction :: time.
High :: times.
Movie :: times.
Decide :: later.
Afternoon :: delight.
Contrarian :: Smokey.
Understand :: grok.
Zone :: no parking.
* * * * *
I continue to knit on the fingerless glove project. Four pairs mostly done, and cast on for a fifth pair last night. Only one pair is completely done; the others all need thumbs, one pair needs its hems sewn down, and most need their ends woven in. I am saving all that finishing for some night when I am watching TV.
In other TV-related news, we just joined the rest of the US and* got a flat TV. I think it is 46", maybe 42", plenty big for our cozy living room. Younger Son set it up for us on Saturday morning. It took me roughly 30 seconds to get used to having a bigger screen. The viewing experience changes a little -- I find I am more aware of the rest of the picture, not just the main action/actor. Our old TV, a 32" digital CRT model, will go to live in Elder Son's house.
* I have found it a little disconcerting to see huge flat-screen TVs in the living rooms of pretty much every house that leaves its curtains open. Why does everyone else -- even people whom I know are on a severely limited income -- have a fancy-schmancy TV and we don't? Well, because we were waiting for the prices to come down to cheap. And they did.
Jerk :: chicken. I seem to have food on the mind this morning.
Closed :: mind.
Texture :: -d stitches.
* * * * *
Younger Son sent me a photo that a friend had taken of Ser Percival The Energetic.
Look at the size of that mouth. Now imagine your leg in there. Beware the pit bull.
* * * * *
Smokey figured out that it was the 20+ year-old sunscreen I used on Saturday that had caused the allergic reaction and made my eyes swell to monster size. So much for trying to use up old stuff -- that sunscreen is going in the trash. I don't look quite as bad as I did on Sunday, but I would still scare small children. Sheesh.
* * * * *
Earlier this week I had to drive through Lindstöm. Remember Lindström? Anyway, I got myself a small Blizzard at the DQ (mint chocolate chip, thanks for asking) and looked for a shady place to park while I ate it. (I hate having to get out of the car. Drive-through, every time.) A block or so later I found a cemetary, lots of shade. Perfect.
As I drove around looking for my ideal spot -- level, shady, not too obvious -- I came across this tombstone.
Have I been knitting? Yes. Have I been taking pictures of my knitting? No.
I have been busily making fingerless gloves to sell at the farmer's market later this summer and fall in support of the new library. The library building committee is sponsoring the market and gets the booth fees. They also have a table to sell dog blankets and other crafts, all proceeds going to the building fund.
I finished my third pair yesterday, then discovered that Ser Percy had snatched a glove from the second pair -- 100% alpaca*, no less -- and had mangled it a bit. I grumbled and fumed as I wove in the ends on pair #3, then inspected the pair #2 damage more closely. Glove turned out not to be salvageable, but the yarn was. Frogged and 1" reknit so far. Will finish this weekend.
Damned alpaca-chewing dogs...
* Apparently dogs prefer alpaca to wool. Go figger.
I declared, back in January 2013, that I would not buy any yarn EVER until I had knitted down my stash to a level wherein it contained only random onesie-twosie balls of yarn. Although I have not been completely faithful to that resolution, having purchased a skein of laceweight mink yarn at Yarnover 2013 and several skeins of DK to go with stash yarn and make a promised baby sweater, I feel I have done pretty well. Oh, yes, there were those 17 balls of red Gedifra wool cotton from I bought from Cara's destash to make the Fairfield sweater. But I started it immediately; the yarn never really hit the stash. As if that matters...
Otherwise, using stash yarn, I have made:
Seven blanket squares
Six cowls, plus one in progress
Five baby bibs
Four pairs of fingerless gloves
Three pairs of socks
One pair of felted clogs
One baby sweater (mostly from stash)
...and a partridge in a pear tree.
In reviewing that list, I see that it is easier to knit up one- or two-skein projects than it is an entire sweaters' worth of yarn. Big surprise there, no?
My latest stash project is this:
What is it? It is this:
...which can be worn an number of ways:
No, your eyes are not going bad. Several of those photos are distinctly blurry; it is really hard to focus on Kid Silk Haze, aka Crack For Knitters.
Pattern:Mohair Bias Loop by Churchmouse Yarn & Teas. Yarn: Rowan Kid Silk Haze, color 5221 Meadow; 302 yds in stash. Needle: Knitter's Pride Bamboo US#11 circ. Notes: The pattern calls for 350 yards, but I had only 302. To compensate, I used a needle one size larger than called for in the pattern and cast on 72 st instead of 84. The cowl is almost big enough to wear around my shoulders as shown on the Rav pattern page. Kym made this cowl a couple-four years ago, and I was fascinated by the idea that she could wear it around her shoulders. Knowing that I had about a skein and a half in the stash, I resolved I would make it... someday.
The Yarn Harlot calls KSH "crack for knitters", and I can see what she means. This stuff is light as air, soft as a kitten, and knits up into a delightfully warm garment. When I started the cowl, I was a bit skeptical about knitting with a yarn roughly the same diameter as [thin] sewing thread. But I got used to it -- even Kitchenering the stitches together at the end went smoothly! -- and I love the finished product.