I ran and did that
Thursday August 22nd 2019, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

It wasn’t upside down when I took the picture. Nor when I sent it. Again. It’s doing what it wants to do. I think this was Queguay colorway, Malabrigo Mecha, anyway.

See, I knit someone a hat, and looked forward to giving it to him at church.

Didn’t see him. But he’s always there! Nope.

Knit another hat. In case his son visits him again, and you couldn’t leave him out, right?

Didn’t see them.

So last Friday, being at Fillory for the informal knitting group and always feeling like I should buy a skein to pay for my afternoon’s entertainment, I hunched down at the display of Mecha yarn and said a little prayer, a bit of a joke to G_d: See, when I picked out the color he didn’t want to disappoint me so he didn’t come, right? But if I pick out what he wants then he’ll be there, right? So which one should it be?

This skein leaped into my hand. I worked on the afghan while the staff wound it up for me.

Sunday’s coming. It needed to be finished.

I even got the ends run in, just to make sure I don’t get tripped up at the last minute by procrastinating that part.

To be continued.



Moose with dandelion
Wednesday August 21st 2019, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

Not blocked, no daylight for the photo to help the moose show better, and I cast off too loosely in my hurry to finish it tonight and need to go back and tighten that up.

But yes, basically, it’s done and a small part of me cannot comprehend how that could be possible.

It’s either snowing or it’s coming down with chicken pox but I think it’ll do quite nicely.



Climb every mountain
Friday August 16th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,LYS

Went to Fillory to hang out and knit among friends for awhile and it suddenly hit me that wait–this thing is actually somehow almost done!

It’s taller than wide already. It’s certainly stretchy, but in its relaxed state it’s about 41″ wide, whereas I usually consider 45″ square to be the minimum for a receiving blanket.

I didn’t know when I started it small that I would be able to find more of not only that discontinued yarn but that dye lot–and I had no idea those little 50 gram balls would go as far as they have. But then, this is a much smaller blanket than the monster 1700g Rios one was. It’s for the baby to drag around behind her once she’s walking and to take everywhere she goes, and you don’t want big nor bulky for that.

It is 70/30 baby alpaca/mulberry silk. Super soft, not super practical, and yet it leaped onto my needles that first day and demanded to be for that granddaughter.

One friend held it today and swooned at the softness and totally made it feel like I’d gotten it just right–she had no way to know how much she was helping.

I debated out loud about adding an edging; the consensus was, it’s fine as is, especially for a drag-around lovie.

I’m still torn. Maybe add just at the sides rather than all the way around? Because small as it already is, it’s going to go through the hand wash cycle in their laundry.

Where the baby alpaca will want to shrink the fabric. Whereas the soft single-ply spinning means the 30% mulberry silk will make the yarn want to stretch out, most likely lengthwise. Plus there’s the lace parts, which will flatten out wider and who knows how that’ll come out.

The middle part is knitted mostly solid to give a sense of the immense height of the snowy Alaskan mountains above–but also for there to be no yarnover holes right where it’s most wrapped around that baby in that climate.

Really the only answer is to give it a quick rinse and blocking when the main part is done and see what size it is then and call it from there.

But I’m finally at the point where that is something I get to worry about now and it actually surprised me.

Somehow I am only at the start of the tenth ball and there were twenty-one. If disaster strikes and she needs a new lovie like the old lovie (good luck with that–this was seat-of-the-pants designing all the way) I’ll be able to make one. If I don’t add that edging.

Remind me if that does happen, that on that chart I (mostly) used for the moose, I added a stitch’s width to its muzzle because it looked too deer-like.

I’m pretty happy with this.



The Eagle has landed
Monday August 05th 2019, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

I wasn’t about to take a white afghan project to the garage while they worked on the car, so the languishing washable-wool purple baby dress got picked up again and the second side has gone from a few indecipherable rows to wow, that’s looking great.

The new mechanic was delighted at hearing it was for a whole new person about to come into the world and it just made his day. Which totally made mine.

With that sense of accomplishment in hand, after I got home I tackled what I’d been avoiding: I dislike doing exploratory knitting that is not usable for anything afterwards except as ripped-out yarn. I know that sometimes for all the sketching I might try I just have to do it but I fight the impatient sense of wasted knitting every stitch of the way.

I did six iterations of what my soaring eagle should/could look like. I didn’t want the classic simple gull-wing V, I had enough detail in the trees and moose that the eagle deserved the same. Not to mention eagles are big. Scale, we needed scale here.

I went from, that’s what I’d thought I was going to do but I really don’t like that, to, rip, I don’t even want to see it, to, okay, keep that to compare against while I try… To, at long last, as my strip added ever more inches, Oh! Of course! That’s what it needed!

I would not have thought of the final version if I hadn’t seen all the in-betweens.

Which I’ll rip out. Tomorrow. I don’t enjoy that part and I don’t have to yet.



Pinewood derby
Tuesday July 30th 2019, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

After a few days’ interruption, the race is on again! The moose is hiding just beyond that stand of trees, finished, and we’re 25 or 30 rows before the eagle flies in.

Every line of pines going up the mountainside is slightly different from the ones before. Slightly shorter. As they are.



Graph-feat-y
Thursday July 18th 2019, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

Sherry found on Etsy what I didn’t on Ravelry, and thank you, Sherry!

It’s not lace but it’s definitely a moose. Done from the vantage point of looking not quite straight on, and I want a side view, so, another three stitches’ worth separating the front legs from the back stretching that belly out, and likewise on another stitch’s worth lengthening the muzzle.

So far, that’s what I’m going with but I’m not up to there yet.

It is amazing how much faster it is to knit a 182 stitch per row afghan than a 279-stitch one.



Got that one right
Sunday July 14th 2019, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

I’d been thinking…but I hadn’t quite convinced myself that that was the right choice for her and she wasn’t there anyway, so, never mind.

Church was over and the navy cowl was still in my purse as people were standing around chatting, the crowd gradually fading.

I still don’t know a lot of the new people but at least their faces and personalities have started to become familiar.

Then I saw the woman I’d given the most recent cowl to and she was talking to one of her friends from back before the ward boundary changes; I walked up to them saying, I was looking for someone wearing blue!

The first one laughed, the second had no idea, the first started to tell her what she was about to be in for (man, she caught on to me fast!), and then there was the “are you allergic to wool?” out of me.

Handknit wool and silk. In a perfect match to her outfit.

She went home thrilled.

I need to start the next one, because that was just way too much fun to miss out on next week.



Give it a new life
Thursday July 11th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life,Politics

I’m a one project at a time person, but huge projects beg for a little puppy of a one in the purse wagging its tail end and begging for attention and the occasional treat of a few stitches here and there. You can’t lug the Pyrenean Mastiff of wool everywhere.

This one had been ongoing for over three weeks and it was bugging me: I wanted both the longterms done now. No cowl of mine should take nearly a month. I wanted to be able to start something new.

So I sat down this afternoon and worked for four hours straight to the end of the ball. I’m reluctant to name the source of the merino/silk yarn because their politics have become known and what I would consider indefensible–some of the very peoples that they denigrate help work in the mills that make this stuff.

But the yarn was in my stash, it’s quite soft, and it was pretty. Such a lovely drape to it, too.

And now it will make someone else pretty, somewhere where it will only be about the love in its making.

It was time for it to go.



Let there be purple!
Wednesday July 10th 2019, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Hear ye, hear ye: be it known, that at 5:44 pm Pacific the two alternating strands were cast asunder from yonder baby afghan and the US 7s put aside with the knitting pronounced Finished, on this the day of my sister’s having finished her 58th year on this beautiful planet Earth, blessed be its wool.

The afghan shall hereafter be known by her name in her honor. (Well, for today, anyway, I’ll let the kids do whatever they want with it. Let me just go run in those 32 skein ends first.)

Happy Birthday, Anne!



They took a long time to fill
Friday July 05th 2019, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Knit two afghan rows, make myself put it down and do something else for twenty minutes for my hands’ sake, repeat. That’s been the pattern for lo these many days.

Which is how I quit knitting and saw the note on Facebook from my friend Michelle in San Diego. We met when her fussy toddler was made happy by a finger puppet at Lisa Souza’s booth at Stitches years ago.

I went straight to the USGS site. From 8:16 to 8:50 pm tonight, there were four earthquakes where yesterday’s was in southern California: 5.0, 7.1, 5.5, 4.9. Felt from Mexico to San Francisco to Sacramento. (We didn’t.) Yow. That last one happened in between when she posted and when I signed in a few minutes later.

Remember when they took out the concrete floor to the shed to get at the roots after the neighbors cut down the redwood tree a few months ago? We had two water containers, 35 and 50 gallons, that they had to empty so they could move them out of the way. We’ve been putting off refilling them because we don’t have a new floor to that yet–we were waiting till the neighbors are done with their addition to their house before throwing more contractors’ trucks in this block. We didn’t want to have to empty them again to move them again to have to fill them again. One does not waste water here.

Dude. Four earthquakes in a half hour and the biggest one in twenty years: you know that’s increasing pressure elsewhere in the system.

We did what we should have done from the beginning and, flashlights in hand, washed off the very dirty tops of the lids and refilled those tanks, relieved when we could finally put that second one back on. Done.

The idea of having the storage for a water emergency but with no water in it after such a strong warning was unfathomable. Yes you don’t waste water, but we are so much more than the worth of 85 gallons.

We will rest a little easier tonight knowing that’s done.

Okay, so, back at last to the afghan. I’ve got time for one more row.

(Edit, there was another 5.5 at 9:18. That’s a strong aftershock.)



Hi, Lori, here it is
Tuesday June 25th 2019, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

I talked to an old friend briefly and she wanted to know what I’d been working on of late. I invited her over here to come see.

And then realized I’ve talked about cherries and hawks but it’s been awhile since I’ve showed pictures of the afghan I started last month. Nothing has changed except length, of course, and the pictures don’t show the depth the cables give it, but it’s slowly getting there and I’m quite pleased with it.

Also a bit ready to go work on something different soon, even while I know I’ll miss working on this once it’s done.



It’s a race
Friday June 07th 2019, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life

The men putting an addition on the house next door can see right into my family room every day.

Where I keep plugging away at the same old thing just like they’re doing; we started at about the same time.

We nod or wave hi and smile every time I go out the back door, because hey, why not.

This is ~37″ long, laying flat, and ten skeins. I’ve got seven to go.



They knew the place
Friday May 31st 2019, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,LYS

The real simple solution: I put a lid on the trashcan this evening. Stifle it, eat-eth. (With apologies to Carroll O’Connor.)

The yarn store in the beach town: I went to Fillory this afternoon to show my friends who go there on Fridays that “this is all your fault” as I showed them the afghan project with a grin.

It is safe to say they approved.

One of the staff there didn’t know how to cable six across seven stitches or how the fourth one stays the middle one going straight up as the others pass over, so now those two have helped someone else learn something new as well.

While I was there, I mentioned last Friday’s incident about the tangling yarn on the skein winder, and when I got to “she went to cut it” the three women nearest me gasped audibly.

I told them thank you. It wasn’t just me, then.

But I had done nothing about it after getting no answer from my Facebook private message asking if I could send a note to the owner, and I still wondered what the right thing to do was. Just leave it be? I mean, I could imagine a new mom running on no sleep doing something stupid in a moment without thinking straight.

Or it could be what it looked like–that a depressed clerk didn’t care and she wasn’t going to put up with any more of this. But I don’t know, and I don’t want to blame nor judge. I don’t want to be mean any more than I want her to be.

We discussed how best to bring it up.

What it came down to, as it had at the first, was, if I were the owner I’d want to know. And as they pointed out, People don’t want to go back after something like that.

Exactly.

Okay, so, I guess that means I will try after all.

But they loved how the afghan they’d helped mentor into existence was coming out, and that and their own projects were more fun to talk about.

Then I came home just in time to watch, from inside, a Cooper’s hawk do a figure eight around the awning poles fifteen feet away in pursuit of dinner and then a loop back around the first pole. Whoosh! And away!



That settled that
Tuesday May 28th 2019, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

One other thing about yesterday: when we got home after the yarn store/chocolate store/hardware store/electronics store jaunt (he got something out of that trip too, it was only fair), I was trying to figure out the math. Let’s see, I’ve knitted four, have six more, have seven of the new, do I do a fade of so many increasing/decreasing rows of new vs old and try for thirds of old/mixed/new, how many skeins, then, with that middle third going twice as far or using half as many of each but you don’t want it to look like quarters because the eye is pleased with odd numbers…

Richard’s take on it, was, I know how your brain works. You need to put the skeins out and see them. You need to look at them. He knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with it till I did.

He was right, and I dumped the whole shebang on the rug.

Six–there. Seven new–there. I could…

But there was only one way, clearly. Alternate pairs of rows the rest of the way through, ending with a solid last ball of the new in the seed stitch. Nothing else would look as good–even if I didn’t want the hassle of untangling strands from across the work and back for the rest of the project.

I like it. It’s looking good. Hassle? What hassle? What was I worried about? You need to do it to make it right you just do it.



Yarn then chocolate. Priorities.
Monday May 27th 2019, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Knitting a Gift,LYS

Alarm went off, we got up, got ready, got out the door, got onto the main road…

And in a split second of wait, where is everybody, had a good guffaw at ourselves and turned back into the neighborhood. Oops. Yeah we had a nice vacation day Friday but today’s one, too, remember? Not to mention what it was a remembrance for. With real thanks to all those who’ve served and the differences they’ve made.

Not long after that he asked me what I wanted to do with the day, then, now that we had it.

Well, we’d already avoided holiday beach traffic for good reason, so I threw out an in-my-dreams: Imagiknit and Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco.

Was I serious?

Well, actually, yeah, I’d love, but only the purest of love would make him offer to take me to a yarn store, much less one that far away… I’d bought these three extra skeins at Fillory that were just plain too off to feel good trying to mix dye lots with and I’d been trying to reconcile myself to the thought of not only buying more but buying quite a few more. That project devours yardage. And I had to see it in person.

Imagiknit’s website said they had nine. If it didn’t work we could check Cottage on the way back to see if they’d gotten more in stock. So because my husband really is that much of a peach, off we went. And he knows that that’s one yarn store I particularly do not get in and out of quickly even when I’m trying to be good–they have all my favorites. And I so rarely get there.

I spread the afghan-so-far on their counter and the young woman manning the register pronounced, simply, Wow.

That right there made it worth the trip to San Francisco.

The other, gray-haired woman went looking for the last skein but it had apparently been bought while we were on our way there. She sent us to the second room with the stronger lighting to get a better look at the colors, apologized about that missing skein and said that if we call ahead next time they’re happy to reserve… I assured her it was okay.

I had the afghan spread out again and this time Richard took a good look at it.

I’d bought ten? That’s four skeins? That’s not enough! he said decisively (he was right), and urged me to buy all seven they had that matched.

This time, (with the shop’s permission), I took one of theirs outside into the direct sunlight to see if it matched there, too. I’d made that mistake a week ago and I wasn’t going to repeat it.

The one difference, which the older woman pointed out, was that the shop’s was more nearly solid of a color while mine had more little bits where it was lighter here and there.

I could alternate rows.

The purple was the right purple, and what were the chances I’d get that so perfect anywhere else. I bought them.

They had a ball winder and swift set-up but winding the skeins was a do-it-yourself over in their classroom space. Back to the brighter room.

I had memories of friends telling me their ball winder’s gears had been stripped by people who’d cranked it too hard and the wrong way. I was not about to ruin theirs, and I’d kept him long enough; I was ready to just go.

But it was a mechanical thing, and mechanical things are toys to entice and figure out and use and feel great about and my ever-loving sat down with that first skein, got the nod from the woman to make sure he was doing this right, and set to it.

Six skeins later his arm was getting tired and he asked if I’d mind doing the last one. Not at all.

He got to wind the soft wool for his baby granddaughter in happy anticipation of getting to meet her soon, and being able to be participate in that afghan meant a lot to him.

Four hours of knitting later, sun light, artificial light: if I didn’t know where the second dye lot comes in every second row, I wouldn’t know of it at all.