Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wisconsin Fun

Within 6 hours of landing, a new knitter was born. My cousin who claimed to be hopelessly uncoordinated picked it up effortlessly. She accused me of being overly complementary just to hook her in (pun intended) but I am stating it here publically that she really was a quick study.

We started with a book mark so she could make something useful right away. She warned me ahead of time that she doesn't like to practice. Her lesson was followed by a trip to the yarn store. I had to hold her back from creating an entire stash in one day. I sent her back to Michigan with yarn for a felted phone case and a felted book back. We figured felting would be good for a beginner since mistakes disappear in the washing machine.

I picked up some ribbon yarn for a quick little purse for one of the children. Here's the problem with traveling light - I didn't have the right needles. Oh well, can one really have too many sets of size 8 dpns?

I've knitted at least two more rows of the endless secret stole and finished the increases on my fun stripey socks. I've also nearly finished the aforementioned purse. I guess it's time for another stop at the yarn shop!

My knitting has been repeatedly interrupted for any number of family activities. All fun and important, of course. Here are a few scenes from America's Dairly Land.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

America's Dairy Land, here we come

I'm up to row 330 on the stole - yeah - that's about half way. There was a very scary moment when I couldn't locate the directions for rows 331-418. The pattern was free to particpants in the KAL, but that ended long ago. I know the directions are out there, but I don't want to lose momentum.... thankfully though I am somewhat more organized than I appear (or feel). I really did download all the weeks and had them in one place, just not in the right order.

The stole is packed and will head with me to WI tomorrow. Along with the toes of my next pair of socks, half a bag and a few random skeins of yarn that will hopefully give birth to a new knitter.

This oil crisis is a bad thing for knitters. Here's why - high oil prices mean the cost of fuel for airplanes is up which means they are starting to charge for every bag you bring. Suddenly, every ounce is up for debate. I can't just toss all the supplies and a bunch of extra yarn in my second checked-in bag! Must it come down to undies or that hat I've been dying to finish? Admittedly, the yarn can be crammed in the corners. The real problem is how few accessories can I get away with? I used to just toss in my Denice needles and the Knit Picks kit, but now, I'm thinking I could just pick up extra needles at my destination. Maybe I should only visit the homes of people who knit :)

The question of the week is where do you like to knit - pretty much anywhere. Sometimes I'll knit standing up in my studio. That's when I know I'm supposed to be doing something else, but I just want to get in a few rows. Mostly I knit sitting on the couch watching television after the kids are (supposed to be) in bed. I have a coffee table with drawers so I can keep all my supplies near by and a couple of projects. DH bought it for us, I suspect after he got tired of the knitting baskets everywhere.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Time and the Livin' is Busy

I thought things were supposed to slow down in the summer! Hah! Is it possible they are actually busier? Maybe it's just because the children have invaded my office. At one point earlier this evening, I was trying to figure out what day of the week it was - I was stunned to realize it's only Monday! I have packed at least three to four days' worth of activity into it.

It seems we just got back from CT and now it's time to pack for WI. I'm sure it will be a great trip, even though it will start at 4 a.m. Most flights leave early so that connections can be made in hub cities. Ours will go through Detroit. It's never easy when the alarm goes off, but we'll be at our destination by noon.

In the midst of my craziness, a package arrived out of the blue from Alaska - isn't this yarn gorgeous? It's hand painted merino/mohair/nylon - fingering weight. It's like Wisteria translated into yarn. A gift from a fellow mom and yarn addict - Holly Jo. She posts great pictures of our northern-most state. I'm making some great plans for it - scarf, socks gloves, perhaps, but for now I'm just enjoying it's loveliness.

The gorgeous soft peachy-pink traveled all the way from Finland. It is a bamboo/soy yarn, the likes of which I have been eager to try. It's very soft and has a glamorous sheen. It's from my wonderful SP12 Pal, who also sent very yummy chocolate (shhh, don't tell the kids - I have some stashed in the freezer so I can savor it), a pack of darling daisy buttons and some sweet heart magnets that have already been claimed by the little ones. For those of you curious about Finland, my pal also sent a link to some awesome pictures. The little ones were amazed to see all the snow given how hot it is here. (How quickly we forget) I love these exchanges because it's so fun to get to know someone you'ld probably never otherwise meet.
And finally, under the influence of the UFO KAL, I've once again picked up my Secrets of the Stole - this is the first once from last November. I love knitting lace, but it requires a degree of concentration and there are so many rows in this project! I'm nearing 300, but I'm not even close to half way there. The funny thing is, I started a turtles' club for those of us who were going slower than the speed demons and most (if not all) of the turtles have already finished! The problem is I get distracted with things I can finish more quickly.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yarn on Vacation

The most important question a knitter must answer when going on vacation isn't where to go or what shoes to bring; it's what project (s) to pack. Which brings me to this week's SP12 question -

What is your favorite type of project to take along on holiday? If you'd like to share a little extra...Tell us about a time that you packed too much knitting or were stranded without your knitting

I always pack more than can actually knit during a trip, just in case. I always pack several projects so that if I get bored with one or something goes wrong with it, I have another option. This is because of a bad experience early on in my knitting career. I was making a scarf for my mother out of a lovely, soft wool tweed. I started off well enough but then realized the needles were the wrong size. I was faced with either knitting knowing I would have to frog or just sitting in the car and looking out the window.

I try to knit at least a little bit on every project I bring with me to justify having brought them all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

UFO no more

The summer of ufoing is off to a good start - we've got people signed up and getting motivated to pull out the unattended projects multiplying in their drawers, closets and knitting baskets. Soft blue mohair sweater? Electric pink scarf? Nearly finished silk beret? Get them out, get them done - or frog it and free yourself from the guilt.

The link for those who are looking for like-minded peers to cheer you on:

We'll post pictures, offer prizes and maybe even offer a few lost projects for adoption.

The loose rules are this - you post a project and set your own deadline. The rest of us will be on the sidelines encouraging you to keep on track.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Socksy Wangy

When dh was in Kenya for the Peace Corp, he had to do his laundry at the river by hand. He would lay out all his socks on the rocks to dry and his students would come by, shake their heads and say in a bewildered tone "socksy wangy" which in Swahili means "many socks." They don't generally wear socks and often don't even wear shoes so they were amused by this mzungu (whiteman) who spent so much time on his footwear.

So what would they think of me not only washing but making my own socks? Here are the aforementioned blue ones - It helped in terms of getting them done that I generally prefer shorter socks. They are sooooooooo comfy! I think they are Lorna's Laces. I think they might be a tad big although I carefully swatched.

And then I have toes - lovely well shaped toes using the provisional cast on method. Notice the matching stripes. I started out pretending that I didn't care if the stripes weren't lined up from one sock to the other, but I knew in my heart of hearts that it would bother me (like the princess and the pea) and that since I would be spending so much time making them and hopefully wearing them that it was worth losing an hour or so to do it right. I frogged the sock I'd started and launched off doing two at once - it was much, much easier to do the cast on the second time and not as hard as I expected to do both at the same time. I may like this method slightly better than the figure 8 cast one.
The week 5 question for sp12 is Where do you like to vacation (spend time?) Here is a picture of it - that's our little beach in Old Lyme Connecticut. It's a rocky patch of sand on the Long Island Sound that's rather nondescript but it's become one of my favorite places in the whole world. I've gone there every summer since I first started dating dh (well over a dozen years ago). At first we went to stay a few nights with his family who vacations there. Then when we had kids, we started renting our own cottage. Now in my mind its the place we go to get away from all the worries and rushing about that is our everyday life. It's a place where we slow down and just hang out together. We just got back and I miss it terribly already.
The other place I like to visit is Wisconsin, where I grew up and where my parents still live. I appreciate my home state so much more now than when I was growing up and feeling like all the action was happening anywhere else.
The second question was Where would you like to go? Paris. Of course I just went there, but that just confirmed what a great place it is and how much I would like to spend many, many more days there. After that, I'd like to go pretty much anywhere. I love to travel. I love to meet people. I love to explore.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Happy (belated) Fourth of July

It took me 6 days to discover that the little store near our cottage has wireless - woohoo! But who wants to be on the computer when there is sun, sand and surf? So, a few pics will have to suffice.

On the knitting front - I took on the challenge of a provisional cast on for a new pair of socks - not quite sure I'm a master, but I think I at least earned my yellow belt!

Blue socks are done and oh so comfy. Too bad my teens think it's geeky to have a mom who wears socks with sandals - too bad for them at least!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

U know U want to finish your UFO

We've all got them - hidden in the back or our closets, buried deep in our knitting baskets lurking in unopened droors.

Some are nearly finished -just a few more rows or a sleeve to finish. Others are just barely begun. They sit waiting for you to come back to them, to fall in love with them all over again or to just be done with them.

Perhaps they should be passed along. Maybe it's time to give up and frog.

There's a new group that can help motivate and inspire you to do something, anything with them to clear them out and make way for other projects.

Check it out:

There will be prizes.