Don your mark. Get set. Go!
Saturday February 04th 2017, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Knit

We went out to dinner with good friends Nina and Rod and parked behind a red Prius that had this on it.

Looking later, I didn’t find that one, but that’s why this one, a plain ball of yarn with needles, is now on its way here–just in time for Stitches West in two weeks.



One bobbin
Wednesday February 01st 2017, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Knit

Done in the lace pattern in Karen’s Water Turtles shawl, just the instructions shown between the asterisks, since there are no side edges.

This project was bugging me. It was on a circular needle with a poorly-made join, the yarn was many strands of cobweb-fine silk and cashmere plied together on my wheel rather than all originally millspun as one, so little bits of that yarn kept snagging against that join. And then I’d have to try to work the silk (it was always the silk) back into its new stitch.

It was my thrown-in-the-purse mindless project for those times when I’d really rather be getting that blanket worked on which is really too big to lug around.

Said blanket was stalled out anyway while I waited for more Rios. It came today (wow Webs was fast!) and wonder of wonders, it matched, and I was itching to get to it.

This was somehow demanding to go first no matter how I felt about it. Just one hour, I told myself. Just do one hour. Sit down and who knows, maybe you’ll even finish it and that would feel great. (I knew it would be more than an hour, and it was–all it had needed was for me to get started so I could keep going.)

Bad photography aside, it’s turquoise and as it came off the needles stitch by stitch I thought, this is actually really nice. What was my problem?

It is blocking as I type and I need to cast on a different purse project. Let me find a different pair of needles first.



Brainstorming
Monday January 30th 2017, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Knit,Politics

So now there will be a scientists’ march on Washington, and one expects that all those who believe in science will be with them in person or in thought. One must be prepared for such things: and so, the brain hat pattern. Please pass it along.

Less visible of a statement and more of maybe an in-joke (if joke is the word) but certainly a cool project would be the double-helix DNA scarf that I remember its creator knitting for her thesis advisor while working on her PhD, back in our Knitlist days.



One single skein. And then another.
Saturday January 28th 2017, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

On my way out the door to Al’s memorial service I stopped a moment, looked at the finished cowls in ziplocs, and one leaped out at me and into my purse as if the others didn’t even exist: that one. It had been sitting there waiting to be discovered ever since I’d made it. I even ran the yarn ends in recently in anticipation but had put it back away–it wasn’t its time at the time but now maybe it was.

Talking to one of his grandchildren afterwards whom I’d met when she was a little girl, she was wearing a blouse…and the blues were a match. Well there you go. From me and her grampa, with love, since she used to see me sitting knitting waiting for my girls to come out from their music lessons with him.

(I was wearing a cowl in a similar shade playing backup plan just in case but when she exclaimed over hers and how good it looked with what she had on, I couldn’t improve on that.)

Tonight we went off to a semi-annual Saturday evening church meeting, and the local Mormon mission president and his wife were among the speakers. Now, my brother and he were great friends growing up together and her grandmother was my sister’s favorite teacher at church and I’ve wanted to knit for her for several years now before they finish their assignment and go home. Which is coming up. I just never know when they’re going to show up because they float between a lot of different wards.

I was still wearing that other blue.

So I asked her afterwards if she liked the color. Why, yes she did. Could I, then…? She was quite surprised and quite delighted, and started to say something to the effect that but then you won’t have–and I laughed. “I’m always knitting.” Matter of fact, right there in my purse was yet another cowl. And it was, fancy that, a near shade of blue to hers. So there you go.

It felt good. It felt really really good. That’s why I make random cowls, because they like to run out and go play just like that.



Pink P-hats
Friday January 20th 2017, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Knit,Life,Lupus,LYS

I love that yarn stores across the country were reporting shortages of pink yarn, and that Malabrigo dyed extra due to the demand, sure that it could not arrive in time but people were asking for it anyway.

I laughed at reading that the chunkier yarns went first. Well, yes, you can knit those faster.

The original pattern, for which the New York Times said Malabrigo Rios was the recommended yarn, was as simple as it gets: knit a length with ribbing at the ends, fold it in half and sew the sides and let the ends of the square stick out for the ears once you fit it over a round head. The beginneriest beginner can do it.

I loved the photo someone posted of a planeful of women on the way to the march in DC, some with their hats on for the camera. I grew up in the DC area. I remember the marches and the hitchhikers along the roads afterwards, the sense of being part of history even as an onlooker. I fervently wish I could be there, heck, I wish I could be at the local one but I just cannot risk the sun time with my lupus.

Not to mention that my friend Diana’s memorial service, saved for after the holidays so that people would be able to come, is tomorrow. Diana herself would have changed the date in a heartbeat had she known about the march but it is what it is and I will be cheering her on her way and her loved ones in their grief. And that is how we create the changes for the better around us: one person at a time in each moment as it comes and to the best of our abilities.

I love that Kate at Dragonfly Fibers, in my husband’s hometown of Kensington, MD, posted a picture of 1,500 donated handknit hats, many of them with a note from the knitter to the wearer. She had volunteered to be a distribution point. These had filled her van and she had that many more to put in.

Every single one has been spoken for now.

I love that the project has sparked an interest in knitting nationwide. I love that some entrepreneur designed one fast and got it out there with more realistic ears, mass produced, even if it was $35 and they’d forgotten in their rush to even say what the fiber content was. (So, probably acrylic.) The more hats made, the greater the chance that everybody could have one.

I just couldn’t quite love the idea of putting the Donald’s worst denigration of women on my own personal head. But after the marches tomorrow, I imagine every one of those handknit hats (and maybe even those manufactured ones) is going to be a treasured family heirloom and a proud story for the great grandkids to come. I imagine the knitters of the donated ones and the wearers finding and befriending each other, having already together promoted the ideals our country stands for.

I just so much love that everybody’s doing what they’re doing.

I got requests, and then more requests, and then I would have had to make three for those guys and then for these other guys too and and and there just seemed to be no way to do it right–my heart was with them but if I stopped knitting the afghan I might never return to it. It was a little overwhelming, knitting-wise. I bailed.

I finally wish I’d at least made one, too.

Don’t have any chunky pink but I can double the strands…



Blankie
Sunday January 08th 2017, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Not much of a blog post, but I did get past the twentieth repeat tonight. At the rate I’m going, that’s about thirty hours of work so far.

Thirty-odd repeats to go and then the top edging.



On the way
Friday December 30th 2016, 12:15 am
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

This didn’t get finished in time.

In part because I ran out of yarn. I had made a baby hat, weighed it, measured it, and thought yeah I have plenty to make a matching sweater. Well but no I didn’t: there was no third skein different-dyelot emergency backup like I thought, either. Oops.

I searched my stash. There was more Malabrigo Rios but there wasn’t any Bobby Blue nor one that would do as a contrast color.

I do love that I got to use the musk ox needle (bought as a souvenir there last summer) as both stitch holder and working needle on this particular project. It needed to be part of it.

I’d started at the back, added and subtracted for the sleeves and then come down the front. I had not planned on a cardigan but somehow in the adding and subtracting stitches I discovered the knit 2 purl 2 was going to turn into a knit 4 at dead center–man. Someone goofed. (Note that I was totally winging the whole thing–there is no pattern.)

Typing that out it hits me that I could have added two more stitches and turned it into a cable going down from the V. If I’d thought of it in time. I would probably have just made it but with zero left to finish that neck a little more neatly.

Adding a button band and around the neck meant more ribbing and more yarn and I just plain didn’t have it. I would need to see the colors in person and had no way to get to a shop. Post-concussion, I’m not driving yet.

So it didn’t go into Michelle’s luggage to be proudly hand-delivered to her big sister and brother-in-law in Alaska tonight.

I did show off to Richard that all those funny angles I’d been knitting actually looked like a baby sweater now.

We all piled into the car and he asked, Which airport?

SFO.

Oh, okay, not San Jose, good thing I asked.

We were almost there when he asked me, Do you want to go to your yarn store in South San Francisco on the way home?

Me, surprised: Yes! Sure! Thank you! It hadn’t even occurred to me or I’d have brought it with! (Thinking, this not-driving thing gets SO old and here he’ll be taking me to the very place that dyelot came from!) I opened my phone and checked their hours. We were good.

And that is how once again we ended up at Cottage Yarns together at rush hour to Kathryn’s surprise. Remember those skeins of Bobby Blue I bought to go into stripes in that afghan? I asked her. They weren’t bright enough. She nodded. I did a hat and sweater instead–I need contrasting, or something, for the button band.

She knew right where the Bobby Blue was and opened the bag with the same dyelot mine had come from.

And we were good to go. And did. And drove home in the mildest rush hour week of the year.



Out for a stroll
Friday December 16th 2016, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

Finished the hat and cast on the next instantly: the bug has decisively bitten.

Meantime, we decided to test drive the walker idea in the real world and went out for a scoop of Smitten ice cream, which is inside a large grocery store.

Strolling the aisles, Richard watched my walking-on-jello gait a moment and remarked, “You know, if you ran into any of your friends you would really scare them.”

Naaah. They’d get a scoop and come join us and make Ministry Of Silly Walks jokes, just like he and Phyllis and Lee did when they dropped off the walker.



Running right along
Thursday December 15th 2016, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Knit

I knitted all day yesterday. Iced my hands and went right back to it. Started 440 yards Tuesday, finished it tonight, and started in on a hat that is now a third done.

At some point (“Check back in 24 hours for further updates ” just now on restoration of our  ‘net service)  I’ll be able to show them off.

And the walker. It is dark red. It is borrowed. It is wonderful. It is time.



Backedup
Tuesday December 13th 2016, 12:33 am
Filed under: Knit

Our ISP is having a meltdown in our area and promises to restore service around 1:00 am. I’m just not that dedicated a blogger. Signing off on Richard’s phone’s data usage for the night.



Stitch consistency: getting it right
Wednesday December 07th 2016, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Knit

Slowly, slowly….



But man, it felt good to be back
Tuesday November 29th 2016, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

I knitted a little today.

I hold the weight of the work in my left hand when I knit and I had just started a cowl project before my fall, i.e. something small and gratifyingly easy to see progress on, so since the right hand had the easiest job I figured just run the yarn between ring and middle finger and over one from the usual and see where that might get me, tension and gauge-wise. Just try it.

There being two black velcroed strips holding my pinky and ring fingers snugly together for at least the next four weeks.

This is where it got weird: I think I was keeping the tension okay, not that, but the fact that–the yarn tickled. It kept, y’know, moving, too, pulling across those unaccustomed skin surfaces for enough minutes that I wanted a break from it aside from needing to rest the hands themselves.

In forty-eight years of knitting, I’ve never had it running through there before. After the three rows I did it even began to feel slightly rough. But that Madeline Tosh yarn was far from rough.

Is it possible (as I picture guitarists with their hands on the strings) that knitters’ callouses are a thing? On the insides of our fingers. So strange. I don’t know, I can’t get to mine to see.



What I did for ohIdunno, awhile there
Tuesday November 15th 2016, 11:14 pm
Filed under: Knit

Maybe 30, 40 minutes, no biggy.

I haven’t splurged on an oak skein winder and ballwinder set yet, even if I admire the handcrafted ones at Stitches every year; there’s a fellow who makes beautiful ones and I’m sure I’ll think hard about it again come February. I always do. (See? I’m still talking myself into it.) Think of all the time I could save, and all those nice flat cakes that don’t roll around all over the place while you’re trying to knit.

And yet.

I know I’ve said it before, but I do like these.

(Yarn: dk cashmere in what they call a set i.e. closeout, eight ounces from a larger cone, was a traffic-cone vivid orangey-red; I hanked, scoured, and overdyed it with a little black and got a deep brick with hints here and there of the rose that the camera favors. No nostepinne involved, just me.)



Tic-tac-toe at ten repeats, forty to go
Friday November 11th 2016, 11:25 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit,Knitting a Gift

From the woman who likes to think that she never, ever starts a project without having enough to finish.

I did that. Inadvertently. Who knew I was going to make all the changes I did after I got going.

(Can you just see baby boy fingers yanking at those white tic-tac-toes on the back? Especially should he ever get a new sibling? As in, *remember this? I might have to make him another baby blanket after this one just to, y’know, make sure he stays toasty warm up north there.)

Knowing they stock Rios, I went to Uncommon Threads yesterday for the first time in years and was well rewarded by running into an old friend who was as thrilled to see me as I was to see her–we were in a knitting group together when our children were babies. Jamie!

So. I am now at the end of my first skein of the blue/green Solis and I don’t have enough to get the afghan as long as I want with it. So I thought I’d make wide stripes: a skein’s worth of Solis, done, one of somethingelse, Solis, somethingelse, ending with Solis. That I could easily do.

I know, I tried this at Cottage Yarns last week and came home with two and then decided they were too gray.

There were just two that could work at all at UT, too, but they were a lighter shade of my Teal Feather border and I was going to need this settled pronto.

Tonight I knit a tiny swatch of it, the best test of color. The light always plays off the surface differently in the stitch than in the skein. I held it against the solid teal border under the light.

Yet again I knew even if I didn’t want to know. But hey, it looked great as a contrast to the Cottage Yarn stuff–they can go and be too gray together.

Distance and parking and time in the sun vs inventory. Imagiknit is the American distributor for all things Malabrigo.

I sent them a note: not too yellow? No gray? No streaks of black? Just happy blues and greens shading in and out? Maybe I could do it all in Solis after all, alternating the dye lots.

*Ohmygoodness, there was a comment there from our late friend Don Meyer on that post. Wistful. It was like a wave hello across time.



All in a day’s growth
Thursday November 10th 2016, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift,Mango tree

And a day later, wait, are those flower buds on the new mango branch? In November?! The camera kept wanting to focus on everything but them, but clearly, this week’s unseasonal warmth has been good for the tree. Several growth buds that looked completely dormant yesterday swelled an inch today. 

Whatever this other plant is, its scented flowers always begin when the rains come and I love it.

And the afghan keeps coming slowly along.