Thursday, June 5


Here they finally are! One pair of Azure socks, knit, washed, blocked, and now tidily folded in my sock drawer. I am so proud of me I could bust! Not only did I knit them at the same time on 2 circs, a new trick for YT, I used the pattern only as a guide, and modified the hell out of them to fit my feet in their most ugly swollen state (see below), and not only do they sorta fit, they FIT! Like they were custom made just for my feet. Hey, they WERE custom made just for my feet! By ME!

Actually, the knitting has been finished for almost a month, but I've been 'otherwise occupied', and haven't had the time or inclination to wash, block, or blog until now. I was sorta lackluster about the yarn, KnitPicks Essentials 75/25 wool/nylon superwash fingering weight, but now that they've been washed, and I've actually had them on my feet, I'm a great deal more enthusiastic about it. They are just unbelievably soft and cuddly, and my feet are going to be soooo toasty warm when it gets a bit cooler. Yippee!!!

This is the top of the instep, showing off the pretty pattern. I think the stitch definition in this yarn comes out pretty good, especially considering that some of the knitting is more than a little bit sloppy!

This rather bizarre looking picture is the inside of the toe of the sock, turned to the outside, with some of the sock stuffed into it to spread it out so you can see it. Why am I posting this? Why, because it's part of another trick this old dog picked up while knitting these, the Magic Cast-On Toe. Below is the exterior of the toe, treated the same way. Looks pretty nifty, doesn't it?

And here is the back of the incredibly dumbass heel construction, which has the virtues of looking pretty, and being damn comfortable. It's a cast-iron bear to DO, however, and I seriously doubt I will ever do it again.

And finally, the sock on the ugly ass swollen foot! My feet are at about their maximum swelling at this point, and really really uncomfortable. It's even worse when they're also cold, and that is now going to be a thing of the past. Kindly note how smoothly the line of the purled stitches between the lacy bits on the side increases in size, yet remains a straight shot from the toe all the way up to the ribbing. I tell you, these socks FIT!

My undying thanks to the Tsarina of Tsocks, who taught me how to do it, by teaching me the structure underlying ALL sock construction. How'd I do, teach?

Tuesday, June 3

1993 - 2008
Long ago I looked across the street and saw that the incredibly stupid feral queen that produced a litter every two weeks, or so it seemed, had picked an utterly unique spot to deposit her current batch - at the base of a gabled window that protruded from the roof of the house. As the days passed, and the kittens started moving around, the spot become less and less tenable until one day, when the kittens were eleven days old, I saw that two of them had fallen from the roof to the ground below. I dashed across the street, and picked them up and brought them home. One of them didn't make it. Tomcat was the other.
Tomcat was named for the Navy fighter aircraft, because that's what she wanted to be when she grew up. Alas, she never achieved that goal, but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying! She was never a large cat in size, probably due to prenatal malnourishment, but she had the heart of a lion. She was a superb mouser, but the true joy of her life was going up against the tough alley rats that infested the neighborhood. When she was only four months old, still a baby, she took on and beat a rat that was almost twice her size!
Aside from her lethal ways with rodents, she was a sweet and gentle cat, loving to curl up and purr on my lap, though I'm not sure she ever forgave me for moving us away from that neighborhood to more civilized surroundings. I allowed her to have one litter of kittens of her own, and she was a superb mother to them, teaching them proper cat manners at an early age, and making sure that they had the basics of rodent management. None of her children had the great love for the sport that she did, though. Of the four, one has died, one still dominates the household of a friend of mine, and the other two live with me still.
She had weight management problems the last three years, losing a few ounces every month, especially in the heat of the summer, and never really gaining it all back. She gradually became slender, and finally skinny. Last Wednesday, she went out in the afternoon, as usual, but disappeared from the yard that night. She was gone all of Thursday, and not until Friday did she re-appear, incredibly filthy, and very weak. I have no idea what happened to her, and truthfully, I don't think I want to know. I cleaned her up, and made sure there was plenty of food and fresh cool water.
I knew though, on Saturday, that I would soon lose her, as she refused to eat her all-time favorite food, fresh chopped chicken. She had an odd seizure on Sunday night, and I stayed up with her all night, calming her down again, and just holding her and petting her and telling her she was a great cat, and very much loved. She purred, and curled up happily. Eventually, on Monday morning, she arose and made the rounds of her favorite nap sites, using each in turn. Alyce (vet) came by and confirmed that yes, I would soon lose her. IV's and force feeding were possible, but to little point, only prolonging the passage, and making her miserably uncomfortable.
She wanted to go outside in the afternoon, as usual, but I didn't let her, though I did open the door and she smelled the world through the screen. She died in the night, peacefully, in her sleep. We buried her this morning, behind the patio, in one of her favorite lurking spots.

Thursday, April 24

A Tale of Two Swatches

Here we have a poorly lit photo of two swatches, in identical yarn (Elann Peruvian Baby Lace Merino - 50% baby alpaca, 50% merino), in identical pattern (the test swatch for Susan Reishaus' Mystery Lace - 21 sts wide, 20 rows), but using two different sizes of needles. This is several days after blocking, so they've relaxed quite a bit. They were actually identical sizes (3 inches tall, 3.5 inches wide) on the blocking board. Alpaca doesn't block the same way pure merino does, that's for sure!

The one on the left is knit on size 3 needles, and blocked very VERY hard, as you can see by the zig-zag edges where the pins went in. Below is a larger pic of it, with the yarn almost true to color. It's actually a bit dustier IRL. To my personal taste, the pattern is just a hair too sqooshed in, too "solid" looking. Even under the very hard blocking, the design definition is somewhat lost, and the leaves on the sides are very blobby looking.

Here is the exact same swatch, but knit on size 4 needles. See how the leaves have opened out, and the entire design is just a bit "airier"? I like this better, and it's the way I'm going to go. I'm almost tempted to try it on size 5 needles, before I actually cast on, part one of the actual stole having been released, but I probably won't.

BTW, I told you, a few posts back, that you would be seeing more of this yarn. Yep, it's the "waste" yarn I used to hold the stitches on the sock. I have a tendency to use waaaay more yarn than I need to do the long-tail cast-on. It also becomes stitch and row markers, so not actually wasted.

There's another mystery shawl KAL coming up, the "Slo-Bee", to be Faroese shaping, which I really like, that requires almost 3,000 yards of yarn. OUCH on the yarn budget! There will be much lace knitting going on here for a while. I'm going to have to finish up a couple of those needlework projects that have been languishing at the bottom of the WIP basket, if only for a bit of mental relief from the intense concentration the lace requires.

Wednesday, April 23

Do Me A Favor, Willya?

The next time I say I'm going to follow a pattern exactly, will you just say to me, "Azure Sock"? That'll do 'er. Thank you.

I have just finished constructing not one, but TWO toe-up flap and gusset heels, and I tell you: Never. Ever. Again! At least, unless I fall utterly in love with a design that can't be executed in any other way, but the Tsarina of Tsocks wouldn't do that to me, surely! And I haven't, at least so far, fallen so utterly in love with a design, other than hers, that I would knit it if I didn't like the process. I digress.

After finishing the first one, the decision on whether to do the second on on the paired circs or the expedient needles (see previous post) was a no-brainer. With stitches at strange angles to each other, multiple short-row wrap pick-ups in the same row, etc. the last thing I needed was extraneous needles and yarn flapping about as well.

When we left the sock last post, I had completed knitting in the integral gussets (completely opposite, I discover, from the top-down method, when the gussets are knitted last). In retrospect, I think I would have completed at least the straight section of the heel flap before I put the gusset stitches on the expedient needles, but it seemed simpler the other way at the time. Boy, can I be wrong!

* I started to describe this entire process, stitch by stitch, and decided I didn't want to bore you. You're welcome. Suffice it to say that the person who originally designed this type of heel was a serious masochist who must have hated knitters. *

After all that, I have to confess that I slipped the sock on, and found it to be extremely comfortable, and I'll confess that, for all the excess structure, I rather like the look of the finished product. Here are pictures of the current progress:

Just the leg and cuff to go!

Closer look at the heel.

Tuesday, April 15

It's Winter Again!

The weather is unbelievably screwed up this year - I know, it's been weird for several years, but this year absolutely takes the cake!

Normally, this part of Florida gets a total of about six weeks of 'winter', but it's usually broken up into shorter segments, with nice fall weather interspersed. (Note: 'winter' here means the daily highs are in the upper 40's to low 50's, overnights down sometimes into the 20's, and VERY rarely into the teens.) 'Spring' is usually 18 hours or so sandwiched inbetween late winter and early summer. Blink and you'll miss it.

THIS year, we have had a real, honest to gosh Spring! Partly cloudy, windy as all get out, the occasional refreshing shower, the sort of days when it's warm in the sunlight, but a touch of chill in the shade, and lasting for over a MONTH! Sheer bliss!

However, for some ghastly reason, we are, instead of heading into summer, going back to winter! Record (and I mean official, all-time RECORD!) lows, and low highs, as well!

Rant now over - knitting proceeds, but right now, I need to go clean up the kitchen.


Here we have the front of the foot of the blue 'Azure' sock. There are actually two of them on the circs, but for the purposes of this blog entry, I'm only showing one. They are knit to the point where the gussets are finished, and it's time to start on the heel flap.

Here's a side view of the sock, showing the nice gusset, all done.

And now we run into a wee little problem, one that's obvious in retrospect, but I'm not really known for my ability to foresee these little snags...

The problem is that it is now time to turn the sock, and knit back across the stitches that will become the heel flap! Now, I could just do that, and ignore the second sock over to the left there on the same circ, and flap all this stuff around over and over again while I knit this flap, then go over and do the second sock, with yet more of the flapping of stuff around, but I'm just not crazy about doing that. For one thing, all the yarn would get horribly tangled up. So, it's time to go to Plan B.

Oh, well - plan B required a pair of 2.5 mm straight needles. I don't seem to be able to lay my hands on fact, I know darn well I don't have a pair of 2.5mm straights.

So we end up with Plan C. Slip the first forty stitches, here on the right needle, onto a 2.5mm DPN. Slip the remaining stitches from the back of the sock onto another 2.5mm DPN.

Whoops! The stitches from the first DPN are already dropping like flies! To the "accessories drawer"! Add two point protectors on the non-working ends of the DPNs, and voila!

The reason for putting ALL these back/sole stitches on the needles is that after a few short rows, it's time to start knitting them into the gussets, so might as well have them handy, yes?

The remaining stitches, the front of the sock, need to come off the circs as well, of course, or I'm still flapping in the breeze. So I put them on a 'holder', see?

And since I took these pictures earlier this evening, I've gotten 14 rows of the heel flap done. It remains to be seen whether I do the second sock on the circs, or transfer it to the expedient method as well. We shall see.

Don't you think the yarn making up the stitch holder is pretty? You'll be seeing more of it.

Sunday, March 30

Progress proceeds on the blue Azure socks...

Chugging away on the Azure socks, here. This picture was taken night before last. Note how artfully the natural curve of the cord of the circ covers the upper left of the sock on the left. I didn't plan it that way, but it does make the next pic a little more dramatic, I guess.

Here's that covered corner. Do we all see the big, fat, HOLE in the middle of the pattern where it has no right to be? Do we also notice that the nicely established pattern curve just disappears at the same spot? Proof positive that one should NOT sleep whilst knitting! Obviously, Something Must Be Done about this. Sorry the pic is so blurred, but you can still see the problem quite clearly, I think.

Isn't it handy to have all those extra needle tips just hanging there when you're knitting your socks on two circs? One tip is carrying the correct stitches on the left side of the error, the correct stitches on the right side of the error are on the cord where they belong. The bottom needle is holding the stitches down to which (love the grammar!) I frogged. It's the one free (of 5 - the other four are on the Never-Ending Practice Sock) #1 DP, handy for moving the stitches when knitting in the round to fix the goof.

And here's the finished repair! Still not perfect, by any means, but it IS a whole lot less noticeable, and I wrestled with this mess for four hours last night. I am especially proud that I actually REMEMBERED to take these pics in progress! So, Tsarina, it DID happen!

I think I'll go knit some more now, while pretending to watch golf. Bai...

Wednesday, March 26

My Day...

I did laundry.

For a change of pace, I had my annual mammogram this afternoon.

'Nuff said...

Monday, March 24

Hubris or, If At First You Don't Succeed...

This, in case you can't read the ball band, is KnitPicks Essentials sock yarn, Gulfstream color, one skein of which is, obviously, caked already. I was going to post another pic, of BOTH skeins caked, but in retrospect, it seemed redundant, so I didn't. I got it on sale as a clearance color, with the intent of making "everyday" socks with it, whilst learning new techniques. Recall a few days ago (March 12 - Some Days...) I mentioned casting on new socks, experimenting with the Magic Cast-On and knitting them on two circular needles. Well, this is them.

Here is where the plan starts falling apart. These are two circular needles, as specified, in 2.5mm size (US 1+). However, one is a 32" Harmony, and the other is a 47" nickel-plate. Both are LOVELY needles, BTW, though the join on the Harmony is just a tad rough. It's a pleasure to knit with it anyway. However, for purposes of knitting socks, even TWO socks, they are, shall we say, overlong? It's like knitting with half an octopus! I intend to replace them as soon as practicable, with 24" needles. I'm going to get another 32", though, just in case that seems to work better, as I am getting used to the spacing on that needle.

I cast on on March 13th - and frogged - and on the 14th - and frogged - and on each and every day since then, up to night before last, I cast on - and frogged. Tension on the Magic Cast On is more important than one is led to expect. It helped a great deal that a discussion of different techniques for casting on without needing short-rows was conducted on Ravelry (the Tsock Flock group) in which the necessity for an initial slip-knot was derided. The arguments against using it seemed cogent to me, so I decided to omit it. Should you decide likewise, I strongly suggest you handle the first loop of the cast on as though the yarn was already coming from the previous stitch, i.e. get that twist into the loop! It makes things mucho easier.

This is either the second or third attempt, I don't remember which. I'm getting the tension down pretty good, but it still has the slipknot loop start. If you look closely (click on the pic to biggen it a bit) you can see the toe tip forming, and the complete invisibility of the cast-on. I likes it! This part of the learning process actually went pretty smoothly, especially in comparison to the two-socks-on-two-circs farce.

Once upon a time, back in my youth, I could read a set of directions once, and follow them with no further need to reference them, and produce the desired result. Alas, senility is creeping in, and this is manifestly no longer the case. I have no idea what I was doing, but I think, among other things, that I learned how to do the Magic Loop, because at one point I ended up with all four sides of sock on one needle. I tried, at one point or another, every possible combination of socks and needles, including one weird cross-wise thing that had the top of one sock on the same needle as the bottom of the other sock, and the bottom of the first sock on the other needle with the top of the second sock, and needing to knit both from the middle out.

Fortunately, I was struck by a blinding light, and realized that if I thought of the two needles as the circumferences of two dinner plates stacked one on top of the other, with the socks trapped between them, it all became pelucidly clear. See?

And here's a closer look at one of the socks.

Here's a cheerful sort of thing to start your week with. The view last Saturday, looking up from my computer chair out the window...

Friday, March 21

Spring Hath Sprung!

And though technically, by clock time, it is no longer the first day of Spring, if you go by astronomical time, it IS still the first day of Spring, so I'm not late, so there!

It seems fitting that I should be informed on this day that my Challenge Exchange piece was received by Rolande, and I can therefore finally post the pictures of it! I regret that there is no coin or ruler to indicate scale, but I took the pics for gallery purposes on the EMS board, where such things "aren't done", don't ask me why. Suffice it to say that the piece, in finished and closed form, is a 3" square. It's stitched on very pale (think early Spring early morning sky) blue, 32 ct. Lugana, using 2 strands of regular DMC floss.

Here's the stitching part, completed, and ready to be finished into the needlebook.

The inside and outside of the finished book:

For some strange reason, I couldn't get a decent picture of the lining fabric, but you can get a hint of it under the blue felt "pages". It's a swirly scrolly design in shades of gold, with a touch of metallic gold accents.

And in somewhat different format, the front and back of the finished book:

And yes, it's completely hand-sewn from start to finish, not one machine stitch in it. I'm a little braggy about the initials on the back bottom right corner. On the diagonal, and only two threads high!

Happy Spring, y'all!

P.S. I discovered a way to make the pics a little bit bigger, anyway - just click on them, then use your 'back' button to return to this page.

Wednesday, March 19

More Rodentia

Today I "just happened" to go past the computer toys department at Wal-Mart, and this jumped into my cart:

It's a Logitech LZ3 Optical, and in addition to two buttons that both WORK, the scroll wheel has a couple of bells and whistles I'm gonna need to get used to having. If you move the wheel from side to side, it scrolls side to side - no more pointing at bars and clicking and holding and shoving them around! If you click the wheel like a button, it then functions as a zoom. Fun, huh?

I've also got another new toy. In truth, I've had this one for a month, but haven't shown it because of the (*&^^& mouse problems. Remember I said I was going to dole out the goodies the mail person brought? Well, this is another of them.

I can haz yarncakesez naow!

Deliver the yarn! Deliver the yarn! Deliver the yarn! Deliver the yarn! Deliver the yarn!

Wednesday, March 12

Some Days...

You know the kind - the ones where one small glitch occurs, and then it cascades, and snowballs, and before you know it, you're facing utter disaster.

It happened like this - I finished Mouse Tracks last night, after one final marathon day of knitting my brains out, and saving just a tiny bit of the yarn because I have faced my inner demons and I AM going to take Swan Lake apart again, fix the damned mistake (which may necessitate the additional yarn), and reblock it. But I digress already!

Today I ventured into blocking Mouse Tracks. I got the frame assembled with no problems this time, six foot by one, and started to thread the wires and lace it to the frame. Note "started" - I kept dropping the wires because I started at the narrow ends, THEN did the length. Actually, this did work out better than doing it the other way around, but dropsies are the pits! The REAL comedy started when I had it all done to my satisfaction. It blocked out beautifully at just short of six feet long, and seven inches wide.

Note that the frame is 12" wide, the scarf is 7" wide, but the blocking wires are 36" long. This necessitates that the two wires on the short ends of the scarf must lie on TOP of the frame, rather than nestled into the frame. However, this causes the length of the scarf, weighted down with a total of six wires, to sag more than a little bit in the frame. This is not acceptable! The fix seems simple enough on the surface - just put more wires crosswise under the scarf, but laying on top of the frame, like this: (sorry, you're going to have to click the link to see the pic - my right mouse button has gone west.)

Then they had to be tied down, so they wouldn't shift. Forty miles of nylon cord later, voila!

Now comes the fun part. A bit of background first, though. You may recall I have mentioned that this house is TINY! I have one room that is supposedly my "studio/office", but also serves as a storage area for all the impedimentia that for one reason or another needs such. This cuts down on space something FIERCE. Then, recall that in addition to knitting, I also stash for embroidery, quilting, and just plain sewing. The computer and all ITS peripherals and supplies is also in this space, which means that there isn't room to swing even a small cat in here.

Next, the fact that I am quite possibly one of the klutziest people on the planet comes into play. The frame has to lie flat because of all the wires sticking out on either side of the frame, so I am maneuvering this six foot long, effectively 3 foot wide awkward menace. The plan, such as it is, is to lay it with one end on top of the armoire to the left of the computer, across above the monitor, with the other end on top of the data disk case, which in turn is atop the tower case.

Can you say 'domino effect'? One of the wires hit the disk case, knocking it over into the next stack of stash, which is, from the bottom up, one large three-drawer chest containing embroidery fabrics and kitted projects awaiting attention, two of those little three-drawer plastic thingies from Wal-Mart containing sequins and beads and charms in the bottom one, and my small collection of hand-painted cotton and silk embroidery flosses, my silk embroidery ribbons, and my assorted fine embroidery braids and blending filaments, and on top of THOSE, a small box containing my blank stationery notecards and postage supplies. There is then a six-inch "air space" between all this and the large gate-leg table that is my all-purpose crafts and sewing table, which is against the wall perpendicular to the wall containing the computer desk and the aforementioned stacks of drawers. BTW, the computer desk is in the middle of that wall. I haven't mentioned the similar stacks of drawers on the OTHER side of the desk. Aren't you glad?

Anyway, when all the dust settled, there I am with the frame in my hot little hands, staring at this huge pile of CD/ROMs, baggies full of threads and ribbons, spools of more threads, bags of sequins and small beads and charms, and notecards and envelopes, all shoehorned into that tiny six inch space between the leaf of the gate-leg and the side of the large chest.

So that's why I'm not casting on for a new pair of socks tonight. And yes, I am actually going to finish this pair, and I am going to follow one single pattern, no modifications or changes. Just to make it challenging, though, I'm learning on this pair how to do the Magic Toe Up Cast On from Judy Becker, AND knitting two at once on two circular needles - just to keep from being bored, you understand.


Thursday, March 6

Catching Up is Hard to Do

But I'm at least going to let you know I'm still alive. No pictures, alas, as my right mouse button has decided it doesn't want to work, and the WYSIWYG image adder in Blogspot won't let me upload pics the long way - it INSISTS I right-click to paste URLS, etc. Grrrr!

Anyway, Mouse Tracks is almost 5 feet long now, and I'm rapidly approaching the end of the yarn, so it looks like I'll make my 6 foot target, just barely. Maybe. The deadline has been moved up on me, though. I thought I had to the end of March, but nooooo ... her last day is the 13th, so knit I must in every spare instant.

I also entered an embroidery exchange on one of my favorite embroidery sites - Ellen Maurer-Stroh's forum - but I can report that all the embroidery is finished, and I have only to make the embroidered (cross-stitched, mostly) fabric into a needlebook and mail it off. I have taken pictures, and will post when it has been received - not that I think a non-English-speaking Frenchwoman is going to be reading what's mostly a knitting blog in English, but one never knows.

My vision is slowly improving - but my computer and close-work time is still seriously limited. I will try and get the stupid mouse fixed, so I can upload some eye-candy to occupy you. DO remember that, among other things, Spring has sprung, down here in the Deep South, and the azaleas and dogwoods are doing their annual thing...

Thursday, February 21

Best Laid Plans, blah, blah, blah

This dizziness stuff is not being cooperative at all, I fear. The doc says he thinks it's probably related to spending too much time on the computer, so I'm not supposed to even turn it on. Can't hack that - but I have reduced my staring at the monitor time to about half an hour a day, which goes by in 15 secs. I read my most fav blogs, check to see if there's anything I MUST attend to immediately in the e-mail, and it's all gone! Tonight I'm cheating just enough to blog the fact that I won't be blogging much for a while.

Progress report on Mouse Tracks - there are now about 2.5 feet of it, and it's growing, as I don't have to LOOK at it much in order to knit it. The yarn looks like it will hold out for the entire 5 feet I "planned", and perhaps even more. Trying to do almost any kind of close work (reading charts, embroidery, reading, etc.) is next to impossible, as the eyes just don't want to focus. I don't know what I'm going to do once I get it done. Sigh...

Wednesday, February 13

Mouse Tracks or, A Rodent is a Rodent is a Rodent

I learned last week that my favorite doctor will be finishing up her residency and departing these shores come the end of March. I shall greatly miss her. I decided that I wanted to make her something to say ‘thanks’ for her superb care, so I started hunting for an easy pattern to knit a scarf with the Zephyr left over from the MS3 stole. I settled on the excellent Alison Hyde’s “Rabbit Tracks” pattern, as it is very simple and I am a (drops pitch about an octave) s l o o o w k n i t t e r.

However, since I was using much skinnier yarn, and needles of a size commensurate with the yarn, my rendition is considerably smaller in scale. I’m doing 5 repeats of the pattern, as you can see, and have done borders of k2,yo,k2tog/ssk,yo,k2. My “plan”, such as it is, is to knit until it’s either around 5 feet long, or I run out of yarn, whichever comes first.

Alpaca Swatch

The swatch in the lovely baby alpaca/merino yarn is driving me totally bonkers! I mean, it’s just a stupid swatch, and I already know everything the stupid thing can tell me, really, but I would like to actually finish it, both because it’s excellent practice for the same pattern that appears in the background for the first three clues of the stole, and also as the “record shot” for my knitting journal, such as it is. I have frogged the thing and started over FOUR TIMES!!! The first one was legit, as I mentioned, it being obvious after the first three rows that the chosen needles were too small. Moving up to the 3.25 needles, I’m getting just the fabric I want, and it fits the given gauge for the pattern as well. Trying to knit it with this dizzy business (getting better, slowly, as I have greatly reduced my computer activity), and on 14” Inox needles, leads to error after error after error. On one row of 29 miserable stitches, I somehow managed to come out with 11 extras! There is no way a simple misunderstanding of the pattern could lead to such excess, and I have no idea what did, either. Rrrriiip! I have a Knitpicks nickel-plate circ on the way, and I hope it will help. The Inox are just not meant for knitting lace. They do NOT like doing the k2tog through back loops at all, and even balk somewhat at a simple k2tog or ssk.

I’m not enjoying knitting this yarn as much as I had hoped, either. It’s not BAD yarn, and it does have the advantage (if such it is) of being somewhat hairy, so that any cat hair that wanders into the picture becomes unimportant, but it’s not as smooth and soft knitting as it feels in the skein. I think that alternating knitting it with the Zephyr may also have something to do with my perception of its qualities.

Weather Report

The severe weather/tornadic activity down this way that may have made its way into your news, as y’all’s snow is making mine, managed to pass to our north and south, leaving us with a lovely, soft, much-needed rain. We’re getting more of the same today.

Sunday, February 10

Mysterious Objects Identified

You'll recall the last photo from yesterday's post? The Tsarina twigged immediately on what it was, though the extensive conversations we've been having on the subject probably helped. Those hunks of PVC are the ingredients for Part I of my latest unvention, a modular blocking frame for my lace. There are still bugs in the system, as the photo below will demonstrate:

The center bows severely, and will need, as I had half-thought it would, some cross-bracing. Assembling this simple shape was a major comedy. I'd get 3 sides of the thing assembled with, I swear, all the piping seated fully into the couplings, then try to add the fourth side. At which point, at least two of the joints on the first three sides would come apart again. This happened more than once before I got it all together to stay. But I persevered.

It is possible, I suppose, that my most current physical ailment wasn't of much help. It would appear that I am suffering from a surfeit of computer twaddling. Yesterday I was tippy-tapping away on the keyboard, when I very suddenly became extremely dizzy. So dizzy that I nearly fell out of my chair, in fact. I abandoned my tapping, and laid down, which helped a bit. Watched TV and knit in the evening, still spinning, and awakened this morning feeling considerably better. Went to the computer, and the first time I had to scroll down, wham! Full dizzy returned. Turned off computer, and went and vegged on the Saturday gardening/woodworking/home improvment fodder on PBS. Came time for Pebble Beach, and I'm still somewhat dizzy, but thought it would be splendid background video for the genteel process of assembling the frame. HAH!

My blocking skills are also somewhat rudimentary, I fear. I fully intend to reblock this (MS3, the symmetrical version, if you were wondering) when I have the next group of pieces for the frame.

I did discover, though, as I was standing back admiring the look of the finished stole finally spread out so that it could be seen, that I also really should reknit the last three rows of the right hand side, and the center panel (not that there's anything wrong with the center panel, except that it's knit integral with the right side of the stole - grrrrr). My grevious error will not pass the galloping horse test, I fear. It rather jumps out at one, doesn't it? You can see it better in the next pic, which also shows the neat angle of the welding rods that form the point.

And what, you may ask, was I knitting this morning? Why, the first two swatches for the Spring Surprice Shawl, of course! The first one I only needed three rows of the swatch on the size 2 needles to know that they were going to be too small, but the second swatch, on size 3 needles, is looking much better. I'll post a pic when a) the swatch is finished, and b) I can get back to playing on the computer, after the dizziness passes.

And, by the way, the move to the great new house? Did Not And Is Not Gonna Happen, dad-rat it. Seems the putative landlord's wife put her foot down and said "No, we will not rent the house. We will sell the house!" Force majeur, so we're staying put here. I'm gonna miss that butler's pantry.

Thursday, February 7


KnitTech has kindly pointed out, last week, that it is (past) time to update this here blog, so here ya go:

The nice postwoman delivered several goodies today, but I'm going to ration them. Hey, more blog-fodder! I'll be nice though, and give you the best first. See?

This is 1650m of Elann's Baby Lace Merino, 50% baby alpaca-50% fine merino wool, nm 2/22, in the Regency rose color. It's going to become LUL's 'Spring Surprice Shawl'. Yeah, we all know it's misspelled, but we like it that way! Here's a closer look at it:

This yarn is soooo soft and squooshy - I can hardly wait to see how it knits! Which I'm going to do, just as soon as I can get this stupid blog thing to co-operate. This is the second time I've written this post! Hence the title....

I'm not going to tell you what this next pic is, though I suspect that my knitting friends will recognize it immediately. The rest of the story? Next post...

Wednesday, January 2


Here I am, to wish you a Happy New Year, but belatedly. I am the World's Most Practiced Procrastinator. You should feel honored that I'm only one day late!

My "New Year's Resolutions" are already down the tubes, at least partially. I think I've succeeded in one, though. I did cast on for my first project of 2008, a headband. I say I "think", because I'm still not sure if I'm going to continue with these needles, or go up another size.
Another resolution is to get more needlework finished. I am happy to report, though, that the MS 3 (Swan Lake) stole is off the needles, complete, and beautiful. I'm not attaching a pic, though, as it still needs to be blocked, which isn't going to happen til next month, because...

Mostly things are delayed because last week DS informed me that we will be moving at the end of this month. The "new" house will, I think, be more comfortable and useable than this one is, as the rooms are larger (as they would almost have to be - my present bedroom is CROWDED with just a twin bed and a chest of drawers in it!) This house is all wood, and the new one is brick, another big plus. It has a very pretty front porch that is just screaming for hanging plants. It also has a very wide coping on top of the brick, lots of space for pots, with a central column for a "feature" pot and plant. It also has a FIREPLACE!!! and a butler's pantry! It's only a few blocks away from this one, but closer to bus routes and the grocery store and a Lowe's (heaven help me!). In the meantime, there is much sorting, organizing, and packing to do, leaving little time for knitting, stitching, or blogging.

Another big plus for the new year is that my meds once again seem to be balanced out, so I can actually make plans of a sort. Nice change, that. The past couple of months have been a real see-saw. The results of the MRI, by the way, are quite interesting, in a macabre sort of way. I do NOT have a tumor in my brain, as we thought might be the case (symptoms seemed to favor it, so we still have a mystery there), AND, I seem to have somehow acquired what appears to be a chunk of metal in my left frontal lobe. As the only serious injury I have sustained to my head could in no way account for this, the explanation I favor is that aliens have somehow inserted some sort of peculiar device, for unknown purposes. Stay tuned...

I thought I would start off the new year by introducing y'all to the members of my family. We'll start with the most junior member. This is Da Punk.

The picture is very soft (read lousy) focus, but I chose to use it anyway because it's illustrative of the reason she has her name. It started as Pumpkin, for the color of her eyes (even more orange than in the pic), was almost immediately shortened to Pumpk, and as her personality developed, Da Punk.

I rescued her when she was a small kitten from a group of young teen boys who were torturing her. She is still, 18 months later, only somewhat socialized and won't allow DS to even come close to her, let alone touch her. She doesn't know what she's missing, as DS is a highly skilled cat-petter. She seems to like me, though, as she sleeps curled up with me at night, and lives mostly in my bedroom. She loves for me to pet her, as long as I only use one hand at a time. Both hands, especially if they are on either side of her, freaks her, and she will not tolerate being held for more than a few seconds. Getting her to the vet is a leather gloves exercise, requiring much patience. Fortunately, it doesn't need to be done often!

I'm only going to do one a day of these intros, as they will all be longish.