Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where is it now?

Many knitters lose track of their projects.  They are given away with love, and disappear forever.  Old boyfriends are usually the source of all things lost--I know I lost my first quilt that way!  But I have no one but myself, or maybe my mother to blame about the first sweater I made.
What can I say?  I'm still intrepid after all these years.
I started my first sweater when I was in 6th grade.  A full multi-pieced sweater/cardigan which was used for my creative 'busy' time in school.  We all were encouraged to bring or do something during this 'down time' every day.  My choice was, "I'll knit a sweater for myself!"  The details are foggy.  In fact, the details were foggy by the time I got to seventh grade, however, I assume my grandmother helped set me up with pattern and yarn.
It was very much like this one (only bigger):

And I never finished it.  I have no idea what happened!  I was going great guns, with a whole class of peers ogling over my progress.  I couldn't just walk away from it, but this sad but true little story has no happy ending.  I never sewed a seam, even though I can still see the fronts and sleeves, in a dusty pink color.  It would be so amusing to stumble upon it in a box. To examine it for "creative designs" and dropped stitches.  I remember only fine work, but who am I kidding?  An eleven-year-old with the attention span of a gnat... (I couldn't remember to go to my trombone lessons, but that's another story.)
It's probably in my old boyfriend's trunk and he's told his wife that his great aunt died and left it to him.  An heirloom, for sure!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches

Sorry folks, (Eskimimi, will you forgive my creative impulse to NOT use the titles you obviously labored over for a year?) I really enjoy reading your prompts but my mind races on and on...  This week is an attempt to “organize/organise” the knitters and crocheters to write about assigned (suggested) topics.  This is day three and so far, I have managed to tweak or, as the movers and shakers of this project would say, change the titles and write such loosely related topics that they are connected only somewhere in my little pea-brain!  Alas, I digress, again, and again, so on to the topic.  Click here to see the original topics.
I like a tidy mind!  I wouldn’t mind being organized in my world but I live with a cat or two... 

Is that a good excuse? 
The truth is, I live many lives, (eew, another cat-like excuse) and just when I get a handle on one of them, something turns my fancy in another direction.  I’m one of those who goes from room to room changing direction and thoughts as I pass each object.  I could be putting dishes away and midway reach for the phone, and not finding it in its cradle go to another room where I sit down to do a crossword puzzle, return to the kitchen to get a drink and realize (like at this very moment) that I made a list earlier of urgent things to do ASA I got home today, which was 6 hours ago...  (Here is my time out from blogging so I REALLY can get those two items crossed off.)
Ah. done.  So back to the topic:
I really have only one word to say about tidy knitting, patterns and stashes:
I HEART you!
BR (Before Ravelry) in 2008 I realized I had to do something drastic if I was to knit several projects at once, and put any of them down for more than an hour or two!  I got myself a booklet and wrote down everything I 'thought' I needed to remember. 

 It was mostly successful but I remember looking up things and finding I hadn't written down the yardage.  Sometimes I refer to it now.  But, then I found Ravelry! December 2008.   
And now I feel confident and anal about putting all my eggs in one basket and trusting the wonderful, ingenious people at to keep me in line. 
I'm sure I use only a portion of their services, but I'd like to share with you how it makes my life and knitting possible:
Number One:  Projects are stored.  They have the data fields that I didn't know I needed!  When I return to a project and find there are no needles in it, I can call up that info in Ravelry and the day is saved!
Number Two:  My stash is stored. My marriage is saved! I refer to Ravelry to find the weight yarn I need for that project I want to start tonight, and not in a few days when I can get to the LYS.  (I have a lot of yarn stashed...)  And I can FIND it.  There's even a place to mark WHERE I've stashed it, as if someone would stash yarn in more than one place... I know you're out there!
Here are a few places...
In the closet

Under the shelf

Of course, even in the "entertainment center".
I would look for a pattern, need a sport weight yarn.  Look at my stash page and find:

 Celinas-Mor > notebook > stash > Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca 

Sport / 5 ply (12 wpi)

1 skein = 197.0 yards (180.1 m)

vestlands drakt


4434 purple

E drawer

    Then I would locate it in the "E drawer".  Here it is!
    I think they are very clever at Ravelry to help me out like this!

    Number Three:  The library!!  I have books, and magazines and all sorts of booklets... and single patterns.  I can search my library and (quite often) find the pattern I'd like to use.

    Number Four +++:  Messages, friends, groups, news, more patterns, 
      Let me count the ways, oh, Ravelry!  
    Sorry, folks, about the previous title... It was late at night...

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Skill or Luck?

    Do I have skill?  Or do I have determination?  As I look at 2 out of every 3 projects I knit, I see a variation on the pattern intended.  I love the ideas, and I’m SO glad there are designers out there, but I just don’t feel inclined to follow them.  I take as example 2 projects that have needles in them:  A bolero and mittens.
    Bolero (sleeves to be added) for picot dress
    The bolero is a Debbie Bliss pattern.  I’m not using the suggested yarn, and not anything like the suggested yarn.  So the gauge and size is all off.  I’m make it work, d*** it. I might (probably will) have to frog it once or twice, but eventually I’ll have a suitable FO.  

    The mittens? I’ve run out of winter.  Next Fall I’ll get back to them or if I should have a lull in creative knitting ideas they might rear up and bite me sooner!  The mittens are based on my daughter going ga-ga over the cupcake mittens of Spilly Jane.  Meanwhile, I had my sights set on convertible mittens with the handy flap that folds back to expose fingers. My creation? A colorwork pattern from Spilly Jane and a structure pattern from Broad Street mittens.  And yarn that’s “from my stash”, of course.  I’ve re-calculated all the numbers, and just hope that in half a year, I’ll still remember where I was and what I was doing!  Asking a lot, aren’t I?  I’ll MAKE it work!

    I thought it would be interesting (to me) to make a list of altered patterns from my Ravelry notebook:
    1. Picot dress 1 and 2
    2. Circus hat
    3. Bonnets (everyone of the   is with different yarn)
    4. Girly Cardi
    5. Pullover in roses
    6. Little mittens
    7. Sparkebukser in Heaven
    8. Mr. Foster and his attire
    9. Princess top
    10. Jasmine Cardigan
    11. Split Toe Socks
    12. Monkey Blanket
    13. Wrist Corsage
    14. Little Liza Jane
    15. Leprechaun vest
    16. Gauntlets
    17. Sparkebukser #2
    18. Santa’s helper
    19. Blue nursing top
    20. Reversible Baby Sweater
    21. Baby legwarmers
    22. Poncho for Mama and Baby
    23. Spiral Socks in pink
    24. Little Red Riding Hood
    25. Betty baby sweater
    26. Bump Sweater
    27. Leg Warmers
    28. Wrap me up
    29. Fair Isle short-row pullover
    That’s just the finished projects... I can’t believe the number of them, and many of the others I have a nagging feeling that I fudged them somewhere!  Good or bad?  Skill or luck?

    Ravelry link

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    A Tale of Two Yarns and Two Cities

    Day One: 28th March. A Tale of Two Yarns.  TWO CITIES
    Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

    I walk in the door, and it takes my breath away.  I can’t take my eyes off of it... The colors are amazing, and the combinations!  

    I live in a desert.  A desert where there is such limited yarns, I have to make the pilgrimage to the oasis of Yarn Durango, 65 miles away to get a fix.  With a quick phone call I can always count on finding someone to accompany me on my journey.  But on this occasion I’m not where I live, but where I’m visiting.
    I have another home away from home.  It’s 4,756 miles away from the desert and is a knitter’s dream come true. Bergen, Norway, where yarn shops, and shops that have yarn tucked in corners are on every street.  Where wool is important to survival, a necessity! That is where I found this yarn for sale, at the front door of a shop in the same building as my 3rd floor apartment.  What good fortune! That was August 2009.

    Since then, these bad boys have been calling my name and I've been calling for the perfect pattern.  Then:
    I walk in the door, and it takes my breath away.  I can’t take my eyes off of it... The colors are amazing, and the combinations! 
    (Yes, I meant to repeat myself...)
    I'm back in Durango, and it's February 2011, and the same 'effekt' hits me.  This time I see the pattern.  (Listen up shop owners: Knitted-up yarn SELLS!)
    So here I am, happy as can be with my scarf in double knitting using one of the two balls.  Why is this "Two Yarns"?  It IS two yarns since I'm using the reverse from the inside of one ball, and getting the pleasure of two colorways.
    Simple pleasures:  I sit for hours patiently waiting for the colors to evolve to the next shade and hue.  They are SO gradual that I've been patient for a month only to see Blue/Purple/Red on one side and Green/Yellow/almost Orange on the other. This may be a VERY LOOOONG scarf.  It makes me smile...

    Aside:  All of the yarn in these two pictures are the same colorway. The ball in the first picture is the very same ball on the left of the second picture, with some layers removed. 

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    What's with the Weekend?

    Things to do on the weekend:
    (caveat:  being semi-retired, there are many days during the week that are more weekend-like than Sunday, when I HAVE to get up for pay - especially unfortunate that I'm taking my time adjusting to the time change which was almost 2 weeks ago)
    Many more may find their way into my hands, but these are the top 4:

    #1 - a little bolero that makes me smile
    cotton, 3.5 mm needles

    #2 - a double-knit scarf
    Kauni, 3.0 mm needles

    #3 - Europa tedious shawl
    Merino lace-weight, 2.5 mm needles
    #4 - portable orange sock

    ALWO Sport and Sock, 2.5 mm needles
    Only the bolero has a deadline of June.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Thursday's Knit

    Being Spring Break, and deciding that I we couldn't wait a month for another knit nite, three of us met to chat, knit, and nibble on peanut crisp cookies.  In two hours I managed to accomplish 7/8 inch of the Europa shawl.  Now THAT'S depressing!  Blame it on the talking  cookies...

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Not very often...

    Count 'em.  How many times have I featured food on this blog?  A few, and not enough to make anyone think I actually bake anything... But here it is, folks.  Just when I thought I'd have nothing to blog about, I produced (re-produced) this recipe, and it was FI-INE!
    I present to you Foccacia.  Yessirree!
    And it's yummy in my tummy...
    Of course, I was inspired by one of my favorite Norwegian bloggers who made home-made marmalade AT THE SAME TIME!  I'm not THAT clever, in fact I only got to this stage when I had to leave the house (for an appointment) and my hub took over the baking with my instructions to follow.
    He dutifully let it rise and added the topping.
    And he baked and removed it from the oven too.
    Thanks to Muffin, I can bake foccacia!
    If you have a scale and a metric measuring cup, you TOO can bake your own, fresh... yum.
    Jorid's Foccacia:  
    Dough   1 kg all-purpose flour, 1 packet dry yeast, 9 dl (900 ml) water at 95º F (40ºC), a big spoonful of honey.  (My addition:  I added a good portion of pizza spices and rosemary to the dough and no sun-dried tomatoes.)
    (Muffin used sun-dried tomatoes.  Chop them up.)
    Put water, (tomatoes/spices), yeast and honey in a big bowl.
    Add flour to water while stirring.  (Use a mixer if you want.)  Cover bowl and let rise for 1 hour.

    Pour (yes, pour, it's pretty mushy) the dough into a 9"x12" baking pan OR larger that is lined with parchment paper.  Let rise for at least 20 minutes.  Poke small holes in the dough and drip olive oil over the top.  Sprinkle with pizza spices, rosemary and coarse salt.

    Bake low in the oven at 400ºF for 35-45 minutes.  (9"x12" pan = 45 minutes with last 15 minutes at 350ºF)  It should be golden brown.

    Good luck!

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    The Wind Did It!

    What do you do when you have an extra hour to throw away?
    a) Knit
    b) Eat
    c) Watch TV
    d) Frog

    Today I spent most of the day working on taxes, and then rewarding myself:  Did a little yoga (I said "little") and I knitted.  The wind blew upwards to 50 mph and my eyes are as watery and scratchy as they usually are at this time of year. I didn't go outside. That's what I blame... It was late, and I thought, one more row... and I'll go to bed.  That's when I looked down and there it was.  My teeny tiny stitches on size 2.5 mm needles were ... not quite right.
    What is that?  I dropped down a couple of rows, and picked them up again.  Still it looked twisted or something.  Then my eyes cleared just long enough to discover a loop.  A beginner's mistake... I had picked up the knitting in the middle of a row and started off in the wrong direction.  It was at least 3 rows back or 4 depending on which side you were counting.  Humility.  That's what knitting is all about.  There's the little tell-tale loop.
    Wasn't I clever to put in a lifeline?  And then not use it?  I could have, but 5 rows I saved by using an hour to pick up a row with another needle.  It wasn't pretty, and now that I'm back to where I can start knitting again, I'm off to bed. (And I'm in the middle of a row.)
    I'm afraid to look... Tomorrow I may find that I didn't rip back far enough.
    The end product.  :(
    This is a shawl that has crossed the Pacific Ocean--twice.   Started last August, and bowed out for many other projects.  Ravelry link.
    June or bust for this baby!

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Half a dress FO

    That's right, I knitted half a dress and I'm done!
    Yes, an outgrown little dress, worn at her first birthday party, has been extended by removing the bodice.
    Pattern:  Picot Dress by Debbie Bliss from Special Knits: 22 Gorgeous Handknits for Babies and Toddlers;   Yarn: Pima Cotton & Silk Hand Paint by Misti Alpaca DK / 8 ply 83% Cotton, 17% Silk, 327 yards
    The original:
    The ultimate in thriftiness... I've been cleaning out, and struggling with "heirlooms".  Instead of languishing over this little knit, which has seen better days I recycled.  It's been washed, and washed, and faded in the sun, yet, a great skirt of stockinette called out to me.  Who wants to knit endless stockinette?   I cut off the top, and unraveled a few rows of the skirt to add more stitches.  I even decided the buttons could be used again.  Birthday number two is coming up this summer.

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    A Useful Gift

    I love to knit, and I love to make things that people appreciate.  Sure enough, it was a good call to put down the mittens and scarf and finish the hat. C has traveled to England and wrote this in my comments yesterday:
      I opened the suitcase and put on the hat as soon as I got to Heathrow!!  Wore it all the way to Cambridge and again this morning.  Not like New Mexico here at all.
     Who thinks I shouldn't be giving up on the mittens for this year?

    Instead my mind is wandering and I've started re-finishing the Picot orange dress in a larger size.
    I snipped off the bodice,

    and picked up stitches without decreasing as much as the first time.
    Here's the FO for the one year old:
    So many projects... so little time!

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    And the winners are...

    Thanks so much for reading and entering my contest:  Denise, Kay, Celina, Pattie M and Patty W, Jenny and Marija.

    Marija guessed all three correctly, even though I'm not finished...  She guessed that the finishing order would be Hat, Scarf and Mittens.  The Hat is indeed finished first, and I intend to finish the scarf before the mittens.
    My plan:  Too late in the season for mittens, and/or scarf in wool, so the mittens will be put aside until I think Norway has cooled down in the Fall or until a certain birthday occurs.  The scarf... I love knitting the scarf, so I expect that to be finished without depending on the weather.
    Everyone else guessed that the hat would be done, so in a run-off eliminating the other three winners:
    Pattie M, come on down!

    The Scarf:  16" on March 16th.  Denise is the winner with 17".  Congratulations!!  You had competition close behind you with Pattie M at 18".

    The Mittens:  Does this look like "done" or 1-1/2 mittens?
    I think so too. Patty W wins with the only guess that I wouldn't finish!  She said 1-1/2 mittens... Smart she is!!  (Does she know about black hole of toddler time?)

    The prizes:

    Prize winners, if you have a definite favorite, let me know.  That and $20 (just kidding; a la Car Talk) may be YOUR prize!  Otherwise, expect a surprise package in a few days.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    A Wee Irish Song

    From one who has traveled on Ryan Air, and is half Irish.  Happy Green Day!!

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Contest is over...

    I lost...
    I feel like I lost, but as my friend says, I win because I got to spend so much time with my daughter and granddaughter.
    The even better news is that three lucky guessers won!
    To be announced by the end of the week, because I did such a poor job of getting any knitting finished, I'll have to come up with a drawing of sorts!
    The hat is leaving in a few hours for England and Denmark.  By the looks of the temps, it will be needed in Denmark.  Windy, temps around freezing, but maybe in a week it will be higher, and then my knitting in earnest will go un-needed.  It's stretchy and I'm pretty sure it will get worn in Norway by September 2011.

    No braid on the top per request.  It was super fun and interesting, but I recommend that you draw up a chart. The directions a 4 row repeat, and two separate 16 row repeats all at the same time to make the border band.  I didn't knit on this until Saturday mid-day. The other pieces (scarf and mittens) were more enticing because of the color-work. I 'heart' colorwork, and I don't know why when knitting texture is so gorgeous! More about this hat at Contest #3.

    Pattern: Braids & Bobbles (AC-60) by Carolyn Doe from Fiber Trends;  220 Superwash by Cascade Yarns, Worsted / 10 ply 100% Wool, 220 yards

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Contest #2

    This might be the final for Contest #2:  The reversible, double knitted scarf.
    It's a beauty!  And I love to work on it, but I'm going for the hat, with only one more day to go.
    Here's the scarf status:  15 inches, and I think it should be at least 40 inches when finished.
    The colors may determine how far I'll go.
    Yes, they are the same (one) scarf from the same ball of Kauni.  I'm pulling the green-yellow from the center, at the same time using the blue-purple from the outside of the ball.
    I could make this a contest... notice that the purple is turning red.   What color in the rainbow comes after purple and red?  And what color comes after green-yellow?  The answer is ONE color.  I'm anxiously awaiting the fate of the orange... Will I have orange on orange?  Will they be identical or just a shade different?  The suspense is killing me!!

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    The Hat WINS!

    Contest spoiler:  I'm not taking any more entries, so I'm going to report on progress so you can decide where you stand.
    I worked on the cupcake mittens, because I was curious to see how they would come together (being a combination of two patterns, and convertible mittens/gloves).  
    Meanwhile, I couldn't resist double knitting the scarf with Kauni so I could watch the long colorways appear.
    I didn't touch the hat until Saturday, when I asked which of the three would be more of a necessity, and the answer was, of course, the hat.  Early Spring in England, Denmark and Spain seemed to warrant a hat...  since then, I've been working on it (almost exclusively).
    Here's about 12 inches of braided and bobbled band.  I estimate it's 30% and two days to go.  Now what?   I think this contest is going to show that toddler time is another dimension!  
    And it isn't likely I'll have lots of knit time in the next two days. An all-nighter might be in the near future.
    Today I have a special service to play and two choir rehearsals in the evening.
    Tuesday I promised myself and my daughter a trip to Durango to the Sushi restaurant.  And Wednesday, it's too late.
    Ruht roh...

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    The new Young Adult Mural

    The young adult with a child in mind mural:
    Lovely, cool and playful:

    And after:

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    What's Knitting?

    Another Thursday evening with nine of us gathered for discussion about everything, and help for knitters with picking up stitches for a collar, counting rows after the cat removed the needles, and heavy duty ball winding.
    MLE is often busy, but she took time out to continue her futile attempt at finishing her sweater (in less than 7 years...).  She's got those beautiful sleeves to show for it! Go M!!

    Fee is stretching one slipper to match the other and eager to wear them. Will they ever dry?  Gorgeous grays!

    And Jee is on to something new - a baby not yet born:  Where's the sock?

    And Simone has news of a summer grandson expected, Dr. P is still wearing her Winconsin shirt, Dee is twisting those cables again and again for her baby blanket in the round, Lee is cross-stitching roses on a piano, and Bee enjoyed the Bliss!
    I showed off my granddaughter in her knitted finery, and two of the three contest pieces.  Really, I'm not swayed by guesses, and have been working on them as much as time will allow.  That's the point:  Toddler Time is a black hole!
    Cupcake mittens:  One mitten need the convertible cap, the other mitten is up to the second cupcake row (which is the very beginning of the increase for the thumb gusset).
    Scarf:  I the scarf (reversible, double knitted) in colors that I want to see.  Unfortunately, I have to look at the chart, so it's very slow going when there are 3 or 4 conversations to tend to... The pattern calls for 2-1/2 repeats, and I'm at 1.3.  However, by the size, I think I have to do at least 3 full repeats to get all the colors I want to see.
    Hat:  Ummmm.  I haven't touched the hat.  It won't be much of a priority until my daughter mentions (on Monday) that she needs it for English weather on Thursday.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Story about the Teen Mural

    After I said yes to the mural (see yesterday's blog),the girls worked feverishly in the fear that I might change my mind.  Paint was bought, all sorts of colors were assembled from who knows where, and the back bedroom became a hub of busy-ness.
    I remember at least 3 of them working on it, and I witnessed nothing since they would beat me home from school and be leaving about the time I arrived.  I don't remember seeing any progress; maybe I was discouraged from peeking.

    My favorite part of the story is the day I came home, and no one was here, the big fan was blowing through the bedroom, and my father walked in.  At the time, my parents lived next door, and were the perfect neighborhood watch. He asked how things were going, and was I having some carpeting done.  No, no new carpet, or cleaning or anything.  Why did he ask? He saw a van pull up and unload some equipment that suspiciously looked like carpet cleaning equipment.  Really?
    So I had another look at the situation in the back bedroom... The sea green carpet was still there, the fan was blowing, and I still wasn't sure what was wrong.  The mural was half painted.
    The end of the story: Someone tripped/tipped over the gallon of paint onto the carpet, and after several moments of panic, the father of one of the helpers was consulted.  Luckily he sells carpet, and I wonder if the thought went through their collective minds that the carpet could be replaced!
    No harm done though.  The carpet remained for many years.  The paint didn't show, and they all learned valuable lessons about paint, painting, and paint clean up.  Their best friend:  soda water.

    I don't remember being worried about it, however, my daughter points out that there must have been a good reason why she was so stressed out about the spillage.  I was a tyranni-mother, which I have blocked from my memory.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011


    Way back in the  90's, my daughter and her teen friends asked if they could paint a mural on her bedroom wall.  I said yes, and never regretted it.  It was a major work of the mind. It doesn't represent great painting but revealed the psyche of my daughter as a teen and her unwitting friends.
    Literature was a huge part of their lives.  Thanks, Ms. Curtin!
    And some details:

    For the past 13 years, my daughter has asked me, "Do you want me to paint over the mural?"  And at long last, I said, "Not 'want', but if you would like, go ahead."


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