Thursday, August 23

True Confessions

First off, I was looking at old posts, and realized that I've not posted ANY pictures of MS3 since Clue 1! I am sorry - and herewith rectify the situation: instead of a grey blob, which is what I look at every day, I slipped it onto some 14" needles, so I could spread it out; pinned it, after a fashion; and took some lousy pictures. This first one shows the full length of the fabric, though the farther end is hiding in the shadows. You can at least see there is one. The white dots are the pearls.

This second picture is a closer view of the middle, between the two chevrons:

And lastly, the topmost section, the cats' paws/hexagons/daisies, as various knitters of the stole have called them

Now, about those confessions:

Some background.... Firstly, I am a contrarian. It's not something I'm particularly either proud or ashamed of, it just *is*, rather like having green eyes. If 99% of the world likes A, I'm sure to prefer B. Secondly, I am an American/English/"throw" knitter.

So, the knitters of the no-longer-mystery stole are virtually unanimous in hating/being bored to tears with, the 2.5 charts worth of the cats' paws. (what you see in the picture is approximately 1/4 of the total length of them, as the chart is written, before lengthening the stole, about which I am still undecided) I, on the other hand, am enjoying them immensely! There's just enough to them to keep me mentally alert, without requiring the rigid attention to detail that the more complex areas of the design have required. I can knit AND watch football/golf/tennis, without slighting either.

Judging by the various discussion groups and assorted blogs, most knitters seem to hate purling, and find it more difficult than knitting. Not me! The working needle just rocks back and forth when purling, spitting out new stitches like clockwork, instead of having to interrupt the smooth motion in order to stick the needle into the stitch from the left side required in knitting. On the other hand, the reason I am a "throw" knitter rather than a European/Continental/"scoop" knitter is that I cannot, for the life of me, overcome the awkwardness of the purl stitch! I know people do it, but I'm not one of them, alas.

I have abandoned, to all intents and purposes, the cable-patterned Grape Heather socks, at least for the time being. I need to frog them back to the toe, because it occurred to me that given the way my feet swell, the last thing I need is bulky patterning on my instep! I will eventually finish them, using the cable pattern only on the leg.

Instead, I have been swatching some FlockSock yarn in the "orange sherbet" colorway, which looks good enough to eat! This yarn is a lot more fun to knit than the super-sock of the Grape Heather, and it's a lot prettier, as well. It's not much heavier to the eye than the Zephyr, but it's glossy and firmly spun. I should have taken some pictures of the swatching, but, as usual, I forgot. I'm just not used to the insatiable appetite of the blog for visuals! I'll get there, someday.

Saturday, August 18

The Fall National Passtime

As the seasons have once again rolled around to the time when groups of otherwise reasonably sane men spend an inordinate amount of time and effort, not to mention bodily injury, attempting to determine at which end of a meadow an oblate spheroid of leather should rest, I rejoice! I must confess that I actually enjoy the game for its own sake, but the real reason I love the season is that it gives me license to sit in front of the TV, ostensibly watching said games, but in actuality doing needlework, without DS attempting to guilt me for not being June Cleaver, Compleat Housekeeper, he being a feetsball fan himself of Major Proportions. Mind you, he has reason to complain, as I figure that as long as we have clean coffee cups in the morning, my duty is done, and to hell with the dog hair piled in the corners. I do get to it eventually...

Yesterday, I was able to complete the stitching on the second of my designer's models, a more difficult stitch, as there were problems with the chart about which Decisions had to be made. I still need to do the finishing, but it will be ready to go to her on Monday. And forgive me, but...

I'm usually even less given to tooting my own horn than I am to throwing pity parties, but every so often I can't resist. This from my designer, after receiving the first completed model: "I absolutely LOVED your stitching and ... finish. Absolutely beautiful, stunning work." Ego-boo is soooo nice!

Today was a Banner Day, as there was not only football, but a matinee of golf, as well. As a result, I was able to do 30 rows, or 2,970 stitches, of my neglected MS3. That not only recreates everything I had to frog before laying it aside, but another few rows in addition, so I'm ahead of where I was, and a much happier camper! Tomorrow looks to be a repeat. And next week starts the US Open (tennis), which is also great knitting/needlework fodder! Ah, fall!

One of these days, I'll post pictures again, I promise. Right now, I'm either doing things I CAN'T show pictures of (more models from my designer, these in silks!), or they fall into the category of "you've seen one picture of a grey blob, you've seen them all". I really, REALLY wish I was one of these speed demons that can knit an entire sweater in two days, but I'm not.

Monday, August 6

There is no situation so dire that, by dint of application of the least degree of stupidity, it cannot be made infinitely worse.

Which, lengthy as it is, is the title of this post. Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?

About 4 weeks ago, my chair suddenly decided to quit working. I had no idea why, and we took it into the shop for repairs. Shop says $200, give or take a couple. It needs new batteries. So there it sat until last Wednesday, when funds were available. Picked it up, and on Friday, I wended my way to the grocery store, about a mile distant, and a trip I can normally make several times in a day with no problem, and no need to recharge the batteries. About 2/3rds of the way there, the chair started a mild version of the complete non-working that sent it to the shop in the first place. First application of stupidity - I continued on to the store, instead of immediately calling my then-available DS to come and get me. The chair quit working entirely again, in the store, in the middle of the way. I got a very accommodating stock clerk to push me to a wall outlet, thinking that somehow the batteries hadn't been fully charged. After half an hour or so, the chair was working again. I came home, with some problems, but not anything serious. However, I did notice, at the store when the clerk started to push me, when I moved the tab that controls the engagement of the electric brake, making it possible for the chair to free-wheel, that the tab was so hot I could barely touch it. Aha! A symptom! Something in there is overheating, causing it to bind up, effectively stopping the chair in its tracks. Now we come to a major application of that same stupidity. On Saturday, I realized that I didn't have the 5 lb. bag of sugar in the pantry that I thought was there, and therefore a run for sugar for my coffee was vital! Half a block away from the little corner store that's only 5.5 longish blocks away, on the way back, the chair totally locked up. OK, it's a pleasant, if warm, afternoon. I'll just wait for it to cool down, and be on my way. Wrong. With sundown rapidly approaching, I was getting somewhat desperate, as DS was at work, and couldn't possibly get away. The man in front of whose house I was sitting, with whom I'm dimly acquainted, offered assistance. So I left the chair at his house, and he brought me home. The chair goes back to the shop tomorrow. MORE money I don't have.

I sat down Sunday evening with MS3, with the results posted previously. This morning I picked up MS3 again, and knit away happily. No problem, I thought... wrong again. I had finished a row, and was admiring the thing, as I am wont to do, and saw something that looked a bit odd, two rows back from where I was. Seems I had forgotten to do a yo. Knew there had to be something else as well, as the stitch count at the end of the row was correct. There was, a missed decrease, of course, but not at the same spot! I tried laddering down to the yo, which was the first one, and screwed it up royally. Frog. After getting all the stitches back on the needle, I was missing 5! I didn't want to screw with it for another 4.5 hours, so decided to frog all the way back to the lifeline.

Enter the stupidity factor. After setting the lifeline at the end of row 200, and Clue 3, I somehow forgot to do the next one, which I've been doing at the end of the WS row just before the edge beading row - every eight rows, in other words. I was going along so well, though, that I didn't bother with the next TWO either. So from row 227, where I noticed the error, I'm now back to row 201. There is a tiny mote of light in this tunnel, though, as the part from the previous post with which I wasn't happy is history in the frogging.

It is time to put aside the knitting for a couple of days at least.

I'm also having a recurrence of a health problem with which I shan't bore you, and is merely bothersome, as opposed to incapacitating in some way. I wish I could just put my entire life on hold until the planets realign more favorably, or the gods relent, or whatever it takes to get things back on an even keel. Since this isn't possible, I shall retreat into reading, and maybe even get some housework done. Maybe...

At least I've got the sugar to make lemonade from all these lemons.

Some Days You Get the Bear

and some days the bear takes it 6-0, 6-0. Today (yesterday, actually - I just realized it's after midnight) was one of the latter, regrettably. I was working on MS3, of course. I sat down with it, and ticked off 14 rows (7 RS, 7 WS) with nary a problem, smooth as glass, so I was feeling pretty good about things. Then I hit row 219. You'd think a row this simple wouldn't be any sort of problem, wouldn't you? I mean, you have this mindless edge, k1, bead 1, yo, skpsso. How could you screw that up? Then you have 16 measely stitches of the border - maybe a little more complex, but still! Then it's all decrease/yo combos separated by three knits across to the other border and edge. I spent FOUR AND ONE HALF HOURS on this stupid thing! First, I came to the end of the row and only had 98 stitches. No biggie, I dropped a yo, right? Pick it up on the WS as I go. It's a piece of cake. Nope... I tinked, I knitted, I tinked some more, I laddered, I knit, I tinked, over and over and over and over again! I had as few as 97, and as many as 103 stitches at one point or another. You think it's maddening reading about it - you should have been doing it! Or rather, you should be really glad you weren't. I'm still not real happy with the edge - but I've got all the elements in the right places now, even if it doesn't look like it, and I'm hoping that blocking will improve things. I'll try and remember to post a pic of this area tomorrow. I'm too dispirited tonight to mess with it.

All in all, with yesterday's happenings, it hasn't been much of a weekend. But that can wait for a better frame of mind.

Friday, August 3

I just HAD to share this with y'all - I just now happened to stumble across it.

Thursday, August 2

A Minor Achievement

I have reached a milestone, of sorts, on MS3. I just finished the row, #210 in Clue 4, that completes the second chevron, and am now ready to embark on the acres and acres of cat's paw or daisies or hexagons or whatever you want to call them. This means I'm only 90 rows behind where I should be for the release of Clue #5 tomorrow morning! In truth, I'm far in advance of where I really expected to be at this point in time, so I feel a certain giddiness. I begin to believe that I will actually finish this thing in a reasonably timely manner! Whee!

I was going to post (and in fact wrote most of) a major rant having to do with the lack of Congressional action regarding the deplorable state of the Federal Highway system, as demonstrated by the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis, but lost heart. I mean, what's the point? So you're spared - at least this time. I'll just say that, while my heart goes out to those who have injured and lost loved ones, anybody who is surprised that this occurred hasn't been paying attention.

Wednesday, August 1

It's a New Month!

Crazy Aunt Purl has posted some heartfelt thoughts on life, here, that are so worth reading, I had to share them with you. I have been there, and, to a certain extent, am still there, and her post is/has been a real kick in the keister. So I wish us both luck! To quote an old T-shirt, "Patience, hell! I'm gonna go kill something!" (said by one vulture to another).

One more day and a wakeup, and I will once again be mobile! I will get my chair back once again from the shop. It's been three weeks, mostly because funds to pay for the repairs have not been available, but as of Friday, they will be! It means no "goodie" shopping (except for some special yarn I have commissioned from the Yarn Fairy and some cross-stitch patterns I've been saying "someday" about for a while, and are being discontinued forever [would link, but even the link is gone. Pam {and also} is holding them for me, bless her!]), and a lot of less than usual quality dining, but it can be done, and will be. ANYTHING, to get away from this house, and get some vital business done! AND, DS made noises, when we took the chair to the shop, about "It's about time you got a new one, isn't it? Maybe Christmas..." so I've got my fingers crossed, big time!

On the needlework front:

One of the models I've been stitching is done, completed, finished, and sent to the designer! Work proceeds apace on the other.

Got a bit done on the Hardanger, but not enough to be worth another picture.

Finished Clue #3 of MS3 yesterday morning, and started on Clue #4. At least until Friday, I will be working on the current clue, but then I fall behind again...sigh. It's going to be soooo beautiful, though! I'm too tired to mess with trying to take a decent picture of progress, sorry.

The Lacey Shawl is taking up less time than it was, but still keeps me busier than I would like. I fear we are in no small way responsible for the shock Anne and Anne are in, as the members of the group have fallen in love with the Bee Fields shawl and stole, and have been ordering and ordering and ordering! The KAL on BF will start in September. This right after Triinu Andreassen was swamped with e-mails and requests for info from the group. She's been pumping out and mailing copy after copy after copy of her design, and the KAL on that will get underway about the same time MS3 is ending.

I find myself wondering if this is some sort of trend. After the HUGE stampede to join MS3, and then Triinu's shawl, the reprint of the Icelandic Shawl in Knitting Daily, and now Bee Fields, it seems to be some sort of pattern. I hope this augers well for Kitri (the Shawl), when it finally gets released!