Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Woe is Pi

Today, as evidenced by the 'alarm' that was sent by Kelley at the EZ Yahoo group---- is the day to be FINISHED with the Pi Shawl. I am not done, woe is me! I think that by the time the day has gasped it's last I will be done with the last row of the Gull border and ready or at least started the garter edge, but then again you just never know. I SO want to be finished with it, I have a gazillion projects lined up in my mind. It is waaaaay too hot to even think about slipping that lovely woolly beauty around my shoulders so I think when it is done I'll have to drape it around some deserving piece of furniture so I can admire it until the cooler weather comes.

Have you seen this cute hat pattern from Knitty? It is wonderfully perfect for my partner's nephew, a sophomore in college who is the Soccer Stud of the known world, our own Beckham. I think I'm going to have to put this on the list for Christmas. VERY cute------ way too 'hip' for an old broad like me, but for Kyle it will be true perfection!

Speaking of Christmas, during my walks the past few mornings (a hot slog, but that is beside the point)-- I have been thinking about the dreaded Gift List. Not, mind you, the list that actually will get knit, that list becomes finalized somewhere in the middle of December after tears and gnashing of teeth when the very real possibility exists that despite careful planning and much knitting into the Wee Hours, it just ain't gonna happen. Ain't. Gonna. Happen. I hate that list! :) But this year I've decided that I'm really going to try to be practical. You know, hats, mittens, things that might actually be possible. Never a slam dunk but a possibility. We cling to our own realities when it is almost August, hope still springs eternal and we just know that This Year WILL be different!

I was in Michael's yesterday while out running errands. (Yuk!) Everyone knows that errands are endless and the day is gone before you know it. While there I picked up the new "KnitSimple" fall issue, I am in that lean time before the new InterWeave comes out y'know. I didn't have huge expectations but I have to tell you how pleased I am with this issue! It The woman's hat on the cover is along the lines of the Knitty hat, but knit in a nice chunky yarn billed at a 2 hour knit. Sweet! I think that Danielle and Alex might have to have one for sure. Then I found two projects inside that I'm actually anxious to make, the ribbed shrug on page 46 is just darling--- but then I'm a sucker for shrugs. I am absolutely gaga over the top knitted in the modular style on page 49, the "Mitered Sweater". Knit in a lovely Noro this sweater rings my chimes in every area, cute style-- different construction--- the fun of picking up stitches from modular pieces as well as I-Cord----- woo hoo! KnitSimple, along with every other fall knitting mag I've seen are touting this fall as the year of the vest--- the vest as a must knit. There are a couple of Fair-Isles with cute scoopy necklines that are very knit-worthy indeed.

The modular top is on the far left----- the other projects from this issue are way cute too. The folks at Vogue knitting are doing a fab job with this magazine, I'll have to make sure to pick up future issues.

Tomorrow will be time to get the Pi off the needles and blocked--- I hope. The rest of the Staff at the Studio is off to a conference tomorrow so I will be working from home. For those of you who have some understanding, this means that I will work a bit in the morning and then I will knit, make tea, knit some more. I'm actually planning a cast on party, and a list making moment, and in the middle of all of the unabashed freedom of the day I will probably have to do a load or two of laundry and maybe run the vacuum.

I know------ it just sounds like bliss! Well except for the laundry and the vacuuming that is but then again I never promised to do it, I am just considering it!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Knit and Stitches

Oh lawsy me----------- a weekend off! Is there anything better in the world? I don't think so actually. I very rarely ever enjoy a weekend off, I'm usually herding brides and attending to the details of wedding photography, so when it happens I revel in each and every second! While Monday morning (my USUAL day off) does find me with a bit of work on my desk to shuffle through before enjoying the last blast of my weekend I am relaxed, energized and ready to go!

Knitting was not the only recipient of my time although I did get quite a bit done on the Pi Shawl. My lovely Pi has only one repeat left of the Gull border before I will do the narrow garter border worked sideways that EZ speaks of in the July chapter. I am very anxious to get the shawl blocked! I've pretty much neglected entirely the MS3---- perhaps I will pick it back up soon. Then again---- there is that new bag pattern and all the new yarn, and the socks and.......... sigh. The same old quandary! What to do? I'll have a bit of travel time this week so I'm sure the socks will get picked back up and I'm so anxious to work on the Mittennettes as well! The only reason I haven't cast on already for the bag is that the yarn hasn't arrived, when it does all bets are off!

The sewing room and I became re-acquainted over the last couple of days and it was bliss. Those that know me, family and friends, have always told me when life gets a little 'crunchy' to GO SEW! They've always been words to live by. I made a trio of adorably cute DPI cases to gift away in the next couple of weeks---- sooooooo cute! I'm actually thinking of taking them to Etsy, what do you think?

the cute little inner pocket:

It is difficult to see the little buttons that close the bag---- , they look like little knit stitches, or maybe bullions, very sweet.

My wall quilt in progress is "Seek Happiness"--

I love the theme, to seek happiness because happiness is totally a choice! Ain't it a fact!!! I had such a good time putting this quilt together, and it is an original. The quilt has some computer printed graphics and text, some applique and a bit of tulle overlay in places. It needs to be batted and backed, and I will machine quilt it with black rayon thread, gold rayon thread and add some beads and bling. It makes me happy. Of course it goes without saying, please do not ask me WHEN it will be completed. For the moment it hangs on the sewing room wall and I'm enjoying it au naturale! :)

Sometimes projects don't have to be finished IMMEDIATELY! Do they?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Love Monogram

Knit for the Love of it

It started with the measuring tape, as it usually does. I got it for my Mother one Christmas when there wasn’t a lot of money; it is hard to narrow down the year as there were quite a few tight money holidays. I purchased it from the Lillian Vernon catalog and sent the order form off with my check in the days before the instant gratification of online ordering through the Internet. My mother was an avid craftswoman and needle artist with an emphasis on knitting so I knew a tape measure was just the ticket. The case was silver, sterling it said and the tarnish that exists today tells me that this is at least partially true. I had it monogrammed, BJJ, not because there were more sterling silver tape measures in the house but because it was pretty, and she liked pretty even as sensible as she was. Mom always did like pretty. Every time I would come to visit I’d notice the tape measure near the sofa where she sat doing another Aran sweater, or perhaps a fussy piece of lacy something. I knew she used my gift and probably thought about me each time she slid the tape from the shiny case to check her progress on a project. As I held the tape measure, now mine and most cherished in my hands I remembered her lasting legacy, that of using your hands to create love with yarn and floss and sometimes strange things like pantyhose and empty liter bottles. My Mom gifted me with the art of being creative, of loving fiber and of enjoying the work of my hands.

I was 7 when I learned to knit, I mean REALLY learned to knit. I had flirted with one of those early I Cord machines and had knit the same two rows of garter stitch, ripe with holes and ladders before having my Mother cast on afresh—but I was only 5 then and not experienced and mature like knitting at 7. My Mom and I were off to Girl Scout Camp, how I had looked forward to it. With my troop of giggling girls I spent weeks folding newspaper and cutting and lacing oilcloth to make a serviceable Sit-Upon. I had created my Buddy Burner and had collected recipes for delicious Toad-In-A-Holes and Campfire Stew. My bags had been packed weeks ahead of the day we were to leave for camp, I was so excited. And there, under the swaying oak trees, the Spanish moss waving to me from their perch above, I became a Knitter. A group of girls, I remember about 10 of us, sat with my Mom on our Sit-Upons, ready to embark upon the adventure of knitting. My best friend Carolyn just didn’t get the whole thing and soon ran off for a boring game of some kind. She still doesn’t knit, poor thing! But under the tutelage of my Mother we all learned to cast on our thick woolen yarn. As we learned to form the stitches our clunky wooden needles worked under our furrowed brows. “In through the window, out around the back, out through the window and off pops Jack” mumbled our lips as we worked the verse to guide our clumsy fingers. Calamine lotioned poison ivy and red bumps of mosquito bites were forgotten as the magic of knitting grew under our fingers. It was a wonderful two weeks at Camp, and by the time I left for home I had almost completed a scarf. It was royal blue and the stitches were so tight that it really didn’t have much drape. But I had insisted on the heavier yarn because I so loved the color, and at the time I found the scarf to be perfect and I wore it for several years until Kenny Morris stole it from me. I heard he married badly---- darn shame, isn't it?

The case is now tarnished no matter how many times I polish it, and it boasts years of use marks-- fine scratches and scuffs. It resides in my felted knitting bag, back in the pocket keeping company with the other tools that see frequent use. Still the silver tape measure always brings me back to my Mom and her stitches. I will always see her using it, and I will always hear her voice and feel blessed that she gave me one of life’s most precious gifts.

Her sewing box, Wedgewood inspired blue and white with a ding on the lid, a few old and ratty skeins of yarn long missing the identifying band, a crochet needle too fine for much of my use today and a package of long rusted sewing needles are my reminder of my Mom and that summer comes but once a year. It is time to laugh, and love, forget about the things that really don’t matter in the long run, and to knit like you first fell in love with it. To hunker down with a big smile and knit like crazy, to knit for pure pleasure and maximum satisfaction.

Knit for the love of it, the happy process of smiles and giggles. And maybe, if the day is to be perfect you might open a box of graham crackers, and slide on a hot melty marshmallow and a square of chocolate and enjoy one of the finest summer treats in the world.

The Gull border is coming sloooooooooooooooooooooowly because I can't sit in my jammies and knit all day and am a little miffed about it! This is the last nubbit of yarn before I crack the last skein.

the growing 'raisin':

I bought the CUTEST pattern for a bag last night (Dana you got me in trouble!) and the yarn for it from KnitPicks. I must say that I'm now very anxious to give it a go. Deets later...........

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hully Gully

Okay, so it is not exactly the Hully Gully, but I am taking a run at the Gull Stitch for the border of my Pi Shawl. So far I have 1 1/2 repeats done for a total of maybe 2 inches. Needless to say the border is going to require more. Much more. Good thing that the shawl is not going to be a stress filled rush job--- even at the end! Yes, there are definitely other lace borders I like a bit better, but I remain comfortable and happy with my decision that this shawl is going to be totally EZ. You will notice that I have one week to finish 'on deadline' and 1.5 repeats of this pattern is not exactly the land speed record. I only wish I could call in knit......... er sick. Instead I stalwartly KNIT ON!

Can you even believe the impact that the Harlot has over the knitting world? It amazes me more every day! Not (please believe me) that I do not simply adore her. I have all of her books and don't miss a blog entry. This woman should be President! Well, except that she is Canadian, that might make a bit of a problem, but I digress. The Harlot rocks the knitting world pure and simple! Because of her comment about the Mystery Stole 3 that Yahoo group's numbers are over 6K, when she commented about KnitPicks they will undoubtedly get a huge bump in numbers (not that they need them). What a wonderful, glorious, marvelous phenomenon! When the wonderful Wendy comments about Nana Sadie Rose's tote bags they fly off her sewing machine, Kelley urges us to knit EZ and over 600 DO, and Amy now has us lusting after Vespa's! Amazing I tell you!!!!!

So here is to the mover's and the shakers of the knitting world------ big and small. Those that are big names and those that are just the knitters next door that we have read and feel connected to. The podcasters and those who's voices are for the moment mysterious. Each and every one of you make my life and the lives of countless other knitters richer, happier, more creative and interesting. To Sheri and Amy, Stephanie, Carrie, Natalie, Kay, Renee, Jenni,Vickie, Wendy and Kelley, Lolly and the rest of you that make me anxious to fire up the laptop day after day. I am inspired more than I can say and even though you make me cast on (and on and on) and spend money on projects that I had not counted on---- I am indebted. Seriously, in more ways than one!
Thank you, gracias, mahalo, GrĂ sce, merci------ I applaud you all!

I did NOT accomplish my list from the other day, sadly. Border's did not have the new Interweave Felt (boo hoo), but I did get the rest of the list done. Maybe I should just give up the whole list thing after all--- first on my list is to get the Pi finished by the time July wraps up. Please don't remind me how close that day is coming and how crowded my schedule is.

The 'new' KnitCast I was so excited to hear turned out to be the 'teaser blurb' that was featured on Cast-On last episode, the fresh release is scheduled sometime soon. Until then I've listened to all of the new podcasts I subscribe to so other suggestions to expand my list are always appreciated!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Last Slice of Pi

Well dear Blitters-- it is official, the last of the 576 stitches in lovely, pure, sweet knitting bliss have given way to the lacey border. The last slice of Pi, as it were. I've been agonizing over exactly what would be a suitable edge for the last 40 rows of the shawl and finally decided this evening to go with the Gull border in the book spoken about by Elizabeth Zimmermann herself. It seemed only right to go 'all EZ all the time' for this particular project. Because I chose to go with the simple shawl I didn't go with the garter border but I know that will be really striking and I'm looking forward to seeing photos. I confess to being horrible about that, I will make a knitting choice and when I see someone else's creation I'm likely to stamp my feet and wish I'd gone down that path as well. I've only knitted one row of the Gull pattern and am almost done with the next row of purl stitches (the new Zen), but I can tell you that as sad as it is to give up the comforting knitting for the lace pattern--- after the lace of the MS3 this pattern is cake. CAKE! It is so much slower that I am having to sort of reset my inner compass for the project. The rounds are going so slow in fact that I really don't have an ECD (estimated cast off Date) for the Pi. Just between you and me, I'm ready for it!

Speaking of cake, I broke down and actually ATE a piece of cake at the wedding I worked on Saturday. I've been on the Cake Wagon for quite some time but this cake was from the best bakery in town and when I saw it was chocolate with their heavenly buttercream frosting... well I just had to give in. The slices were just mere slivers of teensy goodness so I didn't feel nearly as bad. The event itself was amazing right down to the Dom Perignon that flowed like a river. Of course, I had a wee glass of that too! :) I almost never eat and absolutely never drink at a wedding but for Dom..... well you just have to make an exception! The bride and groom insisted that the vendors eat and my choice was beef, it turned out that the beef choice was Beef Wellington for heaven's sake and it was so yummy. Personally I think that the flaky exterior knocked off all my resistance for the wedding cake. There is no excuse for the glass of bubbly other than the fact that I puredee wanted it! You know the line from Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" --- "Sometimes you just gotta' say.................." My knitting bag went with me to the wedding Saturday, I had to stay with the car behind the limo at the photo shoot for about 15 minutes or so and had a long wait in the back of the church during the ceremony so I did get about 5 rows done. The wedding coordinator who was working the event was mesmerized by my knitting, by the time the ceremony was over she said that she wants to get out her needles again. Isn't that wonderful? As long as she is not battling with me over the yet to arrive Wollmeise at the Loopy Ewe I consider that a success!

The back to back wedding weekend is behind be an other than walking this morning, mowing the lawn and hopping in the shower I have only three objectives for my day off:
  • Get self to Border's and pick up the new felting mag from Interweave (and any others that are freshly out)
  • Get self to the mall to get a new pair of walking shoes. (You will please note that I listed in order of more importance the trip to Border's above my shoes). I flat wore my shoes out, killed them dead and a nice new pair that might even be more kind to my achilles tendon problem will be a bright spot in the day. NOT as exciting as new knitting fodder but fabulous nonetheless!
  • Knit Knit and more Knit I am not sure if I will pick up the MS3 at all. (At this point I'm so boogerin' far behind it seems pointless to hope for a catch up!) Sadly, as much as this sounds like hours of wonderful knitting, it will end up being far less than I would like.
My walk this morning was exceptional as the weather is still under 70 when I roll out---- ahhhhhhhh how fab! Except for blowing out my shoes, but in the scheme of things it was a small problem. And the best part is that I not only have 2 new knitting podcasts to relish but I'm trying out a new one............... well new to me, KnitCast. I'll report back later! Today as I walked back from the park I listened to the new Knit Picks with Kelley Petkun, one of my favorites (and how I got involved in the Yahoo EZ group to begin with), and it was a good one.

Friday, July 20, 2007

More Work---- Less Knit

Thank heavens the weather is going to be great, that is all I have to say! Not your typical St. Louis Missouri weather, the thunderstorms rolled through last night breaking the awful heat and humidity and through the weekend mornings are going to be delightful with highs only in the low 80's. I can take that. Double weddings, double brides to herd today and Saturday. Both of my brides are sweet as pie and I've been looking forward to their weddings since we booked them in----- thankfully no bridezillas! (If you overbitch when you knit, does that make you a KnitZilla?) Hmmmmm.

The cameras are all packed away and the batteries recharging so I'll have to owe you photos. (or get a cell phone with a camera and I just can't do that so please don't ask!)

I am very slowly plodding through Clue 2 of the Mystery. I really don't know why I can't leave it alone, it is beyond addictive. I've also decided that I like the fuzz of it (I've been grousing about it) and I think it is going to be quite fetching! Tonight when I was just too tired I knit and re-knit the same row about 4 times until I decided I was more mentally suited to the zen of the Pi. I was so hoping to make the border by Saturday but with the weddings I'm not sure I'll make it.

For fun I've been slowly collecting goodies for my secret pal on the Knitter's Virtual Vacation. Two rounds of bingo (which were fun) left me with zilch on my card however! St. Louis has some great things to pull together so I've had a great time. Guess what MY LYS is????? Go ahead............. think about it! I should say one of my LYS's anyway. Any idea? While you think I'll just sit here and hum the Jeopardy theme song? Give up???? THE LOOPY EWE!!!!!! I'll be picking out something fabulous for my pal from the Ewe, who wouldn't love that??????

And lastly, I'll photograph my worsted weight lovely from Fearless Fibers that arrived today just ahead of the rain! It is gorgeous and I think it will be perfect to knit up into the fingerless mittennettes pattern I purchased on Etsy. (You will note that I have long since lost the battle with keeping the stash low and the projects on the needles of a manageable number!) It is is golds and russets and just so yummy!!! Did I tell you that when I was in my moment of purchasing weakness on Etsy that the reason I just knew it was alright to buy more yarn when I have 4 projects currently going (two being largely ignored for the most part) was that I heard Carrie (Socks In The City) in my head saying----- awwwwwwwwwwwww go on. You really don't have that much stash, no you don't, and you know you deserve it. Geez, I saw her jumping up and down with little hand-knit pom poms cheering me on. I don't have nearly the stash she does (or many other knitters) but by heavens I am working on it! I'm dying to add some cashmere to do a moebius too, must be the intrigue of the Pi. The upside is that after the Pi most things seem like light knitting!

One skein at a time!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Movin' on the Mystery (sort of....)

I actually had a bit of quiet time to sit with the MS3 last night and am FINALLY done with Clue One. I feel extremely self satisfied with that accomplishment and have chosen to ignore the fact that most of the group participants are working on Clue 3. Show offs, that is what they are!!!! I'm fighting the urge to frog it all back and start with another yarn, yes I still have this urge. It is fuzzy, I don't usually knit fuzzy and it just seems very open. Mind you, the gauge swatch I knit made me happy enough but I do reserve the option to change my opinion. The real reason I don't start over is very simple. I may never get this knit up again. Ever. So I am making my peace with the furry MS3 and my poky progress and perhaps someday off the group I will knit it again is something smooth with smaller needles. Or not! I am finding this particular piece of lace knitting SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO satisfying, it is a wonderful mental counterpoint to the Pi. I removed my Frequent Frogger button from the sidebar as my frogging is less and less. Now I am just slow, thanks for the cute button I found at Natalie's blog! I will soon be ready to work the border on the Pi so Miss Mystery will be taking another hiatus.

I had to get up and stretch for a bit because I'd developed Lace Neck all hunched up with my needles and the chart and wandered in to look at the laptop. Something came over me and before I knew it I'd purchased a gorgeous skein of yarn from Fearless Fibers on Etsy as well as the cutest little pattern for fingerless mittens from Chez Plum. I have to say, she has adorable patterns. I plan on knitting these little mittennettes for my partner who will enjoy them a great deal, they'll be perfect. Now to decide the yarn. I am absolutely sure that I will have to purchase more yarn for this. Maybe a lot of it. :)

Work continues to be very busy this week, lots of brides to herd and a double wedding this weekend to ride herd on. Despite that, I do hope to keep the needles clacking in order to find a bit of peace and quiet!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Brides Love Pi

On a very warm Saturday in St. Louis I did what I almost always do---- have the opportunity to assist a bride at her wedding. Normally I get an opportunity to know the young woman, and have hopefully built a rapport before the Big Day. This past weekend I knew I'd be having a 'bit of a sit' as the bridal party had a long location photography shoot and for at least a few of the stops I'd be sitting in the car parked a bit illegally behind the limousine. Because of the scheduling I packed my Pi Shawl and actually did manage about 4 rows on it's 576 stitches. The photo below is Ashley showing that without a doubt Brides Love Pi.

Wish I were as upbeat about the MS3................. yikes. I don't walk on Sunday morning, it is my down day so I was looking forward to a long leisurely knitting of the lace. Unfortunately I knit and re-knit the same 5 rows this morning so that I am still sitting on row 53. I don't know if it is the opposite zen of the knitting the luxurious Pi vs. the tedious (for me) lace of the MS3 or what.............. but whatever it is tonight I'm not sure if I will ever get that bugger done! The Pi, absolutely, I'm just a few rows away from deciding what lace finale she will get.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Baby Blue out the Door

One of the things I love the most about the summer flower garden is zinnias! They are arguably one of the happiest flowers, so pretty! Mine are having a fantastic year!

Oh huzzah, the baby blue sweater is done and out the door! Unbelievably, I did not photograph it. My niece was in town on business so I sewed on the last little pearl button about five minutes before meeting her at the airport to hand off the sweater. Being in a photo studio, you would have thought I would have grabbed a camera but nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! She loved it, and that makes me smile.

So, here is what you do. Look at the blue swatch of knit below. Squint your eyes. Imagine a hood and two sleeves and adorable antique pearl buttons. There you go.......... it was cute.

I'm just glad it is done and gone because I still have the Pi (19 rows, a slow slog) of the last 40 rows. AND the MS3, untouched for 3 days. Please, please don't remind me that tomorrow is clue 3, I can't stand the pressure. I think the Pi is going to have to have more than 21 more rows, it just doesn't look big enough by a long shot. Jenni tells me not to fret about it at this 'jellyfish' stage......but I do.

Thankfully I am home from the studio early today and it promises to be a lovely afternoon. I might just be able to go sit out in the back yard under a patch of shade with the dogs and knit on the Pi. Doesn't that sound like a plan?????

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Solidarity in the Ranks

I was walking in the park today and about halfway through the first half of my Lean Walk II routine. The mornings are still hot and humid and trust me when I tell you that I'm no raving beauty when it comes to my appearance power walking the park sans makeup and with frizzy hair! I was immersed in my routine of interval walking (and trying to keep my speed up) so I was pretty well focused. I noticed a runner in the distance--- I mean it is a city park and I wear my iPod so I try to keep tabs on things around me. She appeared very slender, and as the distance between us shortened I could see that she was older than I am and wearing hot pink shorts and a t-shirt along with her iPod. She also wore one of those quirky (to me) Lawrence of Arabia style hats--- you know the kind with the long brim in the front and the panels that hang down in the back to keep the sun off your neck? Personally I don't wear a hat they make me crazy. Plus, I love the very chic racing stripe of tan that runs around the back of my neck and extends a bit lower where my sweaty t shirt slides back. What can I say, I'm just bitchin' hot! :) Anyway she is running a pretty good pace and just before we are to pass each other in the opposite direction, this woman comes to a stop! I mean, right in front of me she does this little jump thing and with bent knees comes to a stop with her right fist raised in that sort of solidarity salute. Think of Lech Walesa in the 1980's, well except a lot more feminine. Before I could react or even say anything she is off and running again, smiling all the while. I think I managed a 'good morning' but to be honest with you I'm not 100% positive. I still had a couple more miles to log walking in the park so I was giving some thought to her encouragement. At the 50 minute mark, I saw her again. She was running on a perpendicular path to mine in the park and as she ran by me slightly ahead of my position and heading to the east she gave me that Solidarity fist again while calling "keep it up, you are doing great!" It made me smile in a big way! I don't know as if I have seen her before this morning, at least not regularly (the hot pink shorts would have made a bigger impact) but I will remember her now. Whether or not she has seen me, or she just knows that I'm out there working very hard, I appreciated her enthusiasm and her desire to perk me up. I am down 38 hard fought pounds and there are days I want to give it all up and just become the sedentary knitter again but that wasn't working for me at all.

The morning with the runner made me think about what solidarity and encouragement means to us, the knitting community. For the most part, it is why we read knitter's blogs, why we take part in guild meetings, go to classes and camps, hang out with other knitters and generally want to suck the air of others who engage in crafting yarn with pointy sticks. We NEED encouragement, it is the wind at our backs when we are involved in a project (especially one that is having some problems!) Just think of all the times when someone stopped by your blog or saw you at the stitch and bitch and told you what a fine job you were doing and that they loved something about your knitting?

Along the lines of being a blessing to others, or the random act of kindness, encourage someone today. Stop by a blog and leave a comment of encouragement and Knitter's Solidarity. It doesn't have to be a dissertation! Just stop in your tracks and offer a word of support, encouragement, and some of that good stuff we're so good at extending to each other. Hot pink shorts are optional, yet strangely encouraged.

Wow, great job! I LOVE it! Wooooooo Hoooooooooooo!

The poor dogs, our beloved Prince (in blue) and Hana (in red) have colds. So they are wearing their sweaters (hideously storebought---- my apologies) while they are in the a/c. Hana is a Cat-Dog, as you can see. Not only is she confused as to her dog-ness but she is a stealer of the first degree. Last night I couldn't find my tapestry needle, it was slipped into the paper case and left on the coffee table. Sure enough I found the needle in the dining room in the hidey hole corner chewed to smithereens. ARRRRRGH! Her brother did not tell on her, which in most circumstances would be praised, in this case he could have let me know, it was my last one. (They run away somehow)
. There are times even the dogs have a show of solidarity, they don't rat each other out, well-- unless there is food involved and then all bets are off!

Striking a cat dog pose

Ninja quick turns while Prince looks unimpressed.

Monday, July 9, 2007

In Praise of Lifelines..............

So there she is in all her glory. My MS3. With no beads. Sorry, it wasn't working for me. Really if the truth me told I got a little snarky so I'm going PURE, aka beadless. I bought beads in a size too small and they just looked pure dee stupid. If I hadn't waited so long to sign up for the Mystery Shawl then I'd have had plenty of time to mail order some great ones. Big surprise, a last minute project turned my head and left me scrambling. Regardless, I would like to make this again in a non-fuzzy with beads. If I'm being totally honest I think that making this again will more than likely not happen as while I'm knitting TWO shawls the do me list grows longer by the hour. Ignore the blue lifeline about an inch below the needles, although it is a lovely blue! I've only had to use my lifeline once, which I consider a miracle because I'm not a dedicated lace knitter at all. But I have to tell you, KNOWING it is there is worth more than I can say. It feels very good knowing that if it all goes awry, I will be able to safely frog back to the land of perfection.

You will also notice that my lace knitting is, well--- ahem, it has a chart that is slow to read but a paper sort of lifeline. I have long known that my brain does not remember complicated stitch sequences past say------ four. And the further I get past my Sparkling Youth I find that complicated means anything past k1, p1 or yo. I think that's why I don't knit scarves now because when I get to the Home I'll be knitting miles of them! (It's okay really, I've long since dealt with it!) So on my chart I use a series of Post-It notes. The first is cut down to the sticky part only and taped together to form a moveable 'line'. That blue sticky line moves up the chart as each row is completed. Then working as brackets are two more Post-It's, and they move along as each stitch is knit---- I might keep 8-10 stitches inside the opening between the notes at a time. Yes, it is slow, but I hate to frog, I am a Knitter who knows her limitations, and it works for me. The bonus is that I've only frogged once and judging from what I've read on the group list, that is pretty darn good! I've moved on to the second half of the first clue. Because the second clue is out and finished by many in the group (and I haven't even peeked I promise!) and the third clue is due out this Friday it is safe to say that I am behind.

Row 51 MS3................. just waiting. And waiting. This for me, while enjoyable and rewarding is definitely not the kind of knitting that is mindless---- and there are times that I dig mindless in a Big Way. Maybe if I did lace exclusively, or lace projects back to back to back I'd be more comfortable. For mindless Zen happiness I turn to my Elizabeth's Year project---- the Pi Shawl.

Honestly, it is just a sad and horrible thing on the needles at this stage isn't it? You can't even see the pretty color of the yarn. I am 10 rows into the last increase section, 576 stitches on the needles with markers every 20 stitches. (Which is a lifeline of another kind and a lifesaver to boot!) 30 more rows and then a border of some kind. I do want to do something lacy and lovely but to be honest with you every pattern I see turns my head in a mad flirtation and I just can't commit to anyone!

Work has been crazy, we're ear deep in brides (many of them -- well let's just say that they are NEEDY) and everything that goes along with it has kept my knitting time way too short. My latest socks sit in the wooden bowl on the coffee table and mock me. 4 rows of ribbing on the Addi's tell me that they are neglected and full of sorrow, maybe envy.

The baby sweater is at the studio almost finished---- hallelujah. I knock back a few rows while on the phone, the endless on hold's with someone, and when a project has me waiting for something else to happen. Thankfully baby sweaters are small, rather mindless, down and dirty and rather happy going. Nothing like a finished project. Almost anyway.

Nothing like the comfort and security of a lifeline either!

Saturday, July 7, 2007


Pundits around the world are calling today, 7.7.7 a very lucky day, especially to get married. Ask Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, I guess they need a bit more luck (poor dears, no financial security and so darn unattractive) in their lives as well. As the C.D. of a photography studio, the wedding today will be low key by the 7.7.7 standards I've seen hyped! I always enjoy my time with the bride and her family, we've normally had a good relationship for up to a year (or sometimes more) so that by the time her big day arrives I look forward to seeing her (and vice versa) and I know that I make a difference in her once in a lifetime special event. There was a bride last year who said she wished that she brought her knitting with her while she waited for the ceremony to start--- now that would have made a picture my blitters!

Just an image from a wedding a few weeks ago---- I thought you might enjoy it.

7.7.7 will find me at a wedding and trying desperately to stay away from the cake, definitely an occupational hazard. I find no burning desire to join in on the YMCA or the chicken dance, and can pass by the champagne and h'ors d'ouevres but the wedding cake calls my name at the top of it's lungs!

But when I get home I think the mindless bliss of Shadow on my needles will call to me. After all, I have to get going on the MS3 shawl. Last night I knit up a lace swatch and am using my Denise 7's, they will glide through the sticky-ish mohair. I'm rethinking the beads, I love beads don't get me wrong but I think this might be a wicked frustration from what I'm hearing from the Yahoo group. We will see. For today, the Pi, and maybe tomorrow night or Monday I can work on the MS3.

Or not! :)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Madness on the Horizon

No, I have decided not to give you any knit related photos today. If I did I'd have to fess up about the MS3 yarn. And the beads. In two colors just in case. And the fine little crochet hook because hook around here disappear into some sort of pit. Maybe the house is haunted by an old crocheting spinster who feels compelled to add them to her ghostly stash. I digress.

I did join the MS3 group a couple of days ago and feel absolutely positive that I didn't need to. But the lure was simply too great for me and I joined. Then I felt the growing remorse that I should just bow out, I didn't have time, I didn't need another shawl! After all, I just completed the very last increase row of the Pi Shawl for Elizabeth's Year and 4o rows of over 500 stitches on that big ole' circ will keep me busy. Really busy. So what gives? Oh right, like you don't know!! You know full well what happens when temptation creeps into the soul of a knitter. Today I bought a lovely cream (ecru?) mohair blend and some beads in a cream and a really pretty pinky coppery bead just because. I was going to use KnitPicks Shadow in a really yummy caramel color (the color way escapes me at the moment) but to be true to the theme MS3 should be light and on the off white range. I never did much follow rules so we will see what ends up on my needles.

Mind you, I have a hectic work schedule all weekend long and won't get to any of it unless something gives. I suppose I could just stop sleeping but as I've said earlier, it isn't a great option.

If you are peeking over my shoulder I also bought a couple of balls of ecru Sugar and Cream. I'm thinking of knitting up a sweet facecloth for my Secret Pal with Knitter's Virtual Vacation and pairing that with some yummy handmade soap as part of her goodie bag.

The butterfly is sweet in the pic above, yes? My garden this year is struggling with the heat, poor thing. And it is just too hot for me to sit outside when I get a moment and knit so I don't get to really enjoy it much.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pooped Out

Pooped out is perhaps a poor choice of titles for the blog today knowing my luck with plotting and scheming birds on my walking route. Today it merely indicates my complete dislike of having a holiday smack dab in the middle of the week, after all-- returning back to work is always beyond distasteful, it is generally not a lot of fun and a task that must be undertaken with the greatest stoicism possible.

The holiday was quite nice though, as far as the Fourth of July goes anyway. I'm not a huge fan of 'home fireworks' generally. While it is a great idea I suppose to involve the family and the neighborhood in lavish displays of sparkly light, it is hot, and messy, and well, can you say money going up in smoke? Literally. That is just my opinion of course and I'm entitled to it! Literally. I have never really enjoyed anything beyond going to organized fireworks displays at various locations around the U.S. and watching the festivities, appropriately ooooh'ing and aaaaaaah'ing of course. My partner and her family are complete Wild People when it comes to the 4th, insanity is the order of the day. First of all everyone must gather the appropriate pyromaniacal accoutrements from the fireworks stands, hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth. Then they begin gathering in the early afternoon for food (my favorite part hands down) and then the inevitable sorting of the Boom Boom Booty. The daytime display is normally limited to bottle rockets, the rockets that dislodge a parachute over the neighbors roof, the jumping jacks, the clucking chicken (I do enjoy the chicken), or the other jumping, whirling, noisy 'things'. Ice cream and snacks are generally enjoyed just before dusk when you need to cool off a bit and then the evening entertainment begins. Ah, darkness. It brings the Big Booms, the rockets that paint the sky with colors, the Cherry Bombs, the myriad of explosive things that bring the night sky to life. I am not sure and can not back this up with any kind of fact but I believe that the neighborhood I was in last night could have sustained a third world country for a year on the fireworks that went off. It was something.............

They played with their incendiary toys, and the occasional bit of baseball, and I was knitting. I sat in the shade and knit on my lovely brown Pi Shawl for hours. It would have been absolutely blissful (and still was in large measure) if it wasn't over 90 degrees with humidity to match. Even in the shade the sweat trickled at times and a facial mopping with a paper towel was necessary in the others. I had to modify my 'tension hold', usually accomplished by a pinky finger looping of the right hand, because I was so hot and sweaty that the yarn refused to move through my grip no matter how loosely I held it. It was wonderful fun to watch the firebugs present have a thoroughly entertaining time of it however.

It is so hard to see much of the Pi's 288 stitches on this circular needle. I'm almost ready to do the last increase row and will then have 576 stitches--- definitely time to get a longer cable out of the Denise case! It is doubly hard to imagine that when blocked this will be a shawl, light and open but not too-too. I've seen photos of some of the other group members on the Yahoo site and I have to admit, I do love the Really Open ones, they look so soft and fluffy.

I did not buy any fireworks, not one tiny anything---- even poppers! I am absolutely certain that because I was fiscally responsible that I can order anything I like from the Loopy Ewe. So positive in fact that I will be getting on with this task in short order. After all, it is the day after a holiday, how productive can one really and truly BE at work anyway??????

And on a final note is my (very) bad photo of the WeeAngels bonnet I finished last week. Old camera, tired fingers = a photo that doesn't show the 2x2 basketweave or the very simple edge. I know that it will make a difference to a family. Don't forget WeeAngels!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Freedom Ringing

For all of the Blitters (blog reading knitters) in the U.S., may you enjoy a wonderful 4th of July. I hope that your celebration finds you surrounded by friends and family and with time to knit to your hearts content.

I was up early walking (and finishing #51 of Cast-On with Brenda Dayne) and finished my barbeque offering of cole slaw and red white and blue jello salad. Not very exciting but there you have it. I'll be traveling an hour away for the holiday fun today so I should have some knitting time. Well, that is my plan and you know full well how THOSE go! We're taking the dogs so if they are particularly hyper in the car there won't be any travel knitting as I'll have one or two dogs up my nose.

Enjoy a wonderful day no matter what you find yourself doing!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Still no visual

My camera woes have not abated--- which is a source of minor irritation, but in the grand scheme it is really okay. I'm coping and trying not to lose my ladylike demeanor. (It's my reality, and how I deal with it really is personal at this point, yes?)

The Pi Shawl has progressed to the place of knitterly bliss. I have increased to 288 stitches (thanks to Kelley Petkun for the wonderful suggestion to add a marker every 20 stitches) and just can't tell you how much I'm enjoying the solid romp of knitknitknit. No lace patterns for me, but I'm still strongly considering a nice lace border having 'interviewed' several fine candidates. The color is a very nice rich brown with some high and lowlights of other lovely earth colors, it is such a nice yarn. I did purchase enough of the 'Campfire' colorway because I couldn't make up my mind with the color from the online photo (which was easily justified because it is quite inexpensive), now I'm wondering if I want to do the lace border in a contrasting/coordinating color or just keep it all meltingly monochromatic. With miles and miles to go I have plenty of time to make up my mind. I am channeling EZ somewhat I think, even in the heat of summer I have begun craving a nice cup of tea! Now if her wisdom will even minutely sink into the dim recesses of my brain that would be really fantastic!

I'm back at walking, and the doggone tendonitis is still a problem. I think it is something I'm just going to have to get used to................ or give up my walk and I just can't do that. Today for example was my day to listen to the latest KnitPicks podcast, and it was amusing as usual. It was lovely to walk home from the huffpuff time of walking and enjoy a vicarious visit at the Black Sheep Festival, I could see the yarn and rovings in my mind. Tomorrow I have two other podcasts in the queue ready to go. See? If I give up my walk/podcast time then I'd have to listen during my knitting time. Heck, we can't interfere with the TiVo schedule or my current book on tape now can we?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Film at Eleven

Well I'm cranky, there is just no other way to say it. Cranky with a smile however---- it is knitting crazyness and no matter the cause, well it's still knitting. I mean how bad can it be? (Don't ask).

I'm having camera woes, it will all be sorted out in a day or so but not having pics makes me a bit out of sorts. But I'll catch up, really.

Saturday I finished a sweet little preemie bonnet in off white cotton for my WeeAngels. It is the sweetest little thing, no need for ribbing on this one and it is worked in a 2x2 checkerboard with a pom pom on top.

Then I was SO excited to take the last OnLine sock off the needles, woo hoo! The grafting on the toe went just perfectly, I think the Moon is in Aquarius or something because the toe finished up in lightning speed and I "didn't have to hold my tongue just right"! A finished pair, nothing makes a knitter feel quite so perky I don't think.

My cranky woes stem from the EZ PI Shawl I'm doing with the Elizabeth's Year/Kelley Petkun group on Yahoo. I just fried my ever lovin' little brain out on the cast on. It was HORRIBLE! I sat over those needles (and crochet hook at times) trying and trying and trying to work through a circular cast on. I think at the end of the evening last night (way later than I care to think about) I had tried two kinds of circular cast ons, knitting a little square and picking up around it, crocheting around a ring and picking up, and a few others too silly to mention. When I finally took my sorry self to bed I had bupkis, nada, squatto, zilch. Defeated and cranky I wandered over to (yet again) Google circular knitting cast on's and I found a method I had not tried and that I thought sounded pretty straightforward. I am, if nothing else, a straightforward girl after all. When I got up this morning first thing and the fried brain was as fresh as it was going to get I cast on and gave it a try. The method I used was the Belly Button cast on, brilliantly invented by Rosemarie Buchanan at Two Sticks and Some String. I am now (with a heavy sigh and much joy) off and running on the Pi Shawl. Thanks Rosemarie, you were my saving grace----- and that's a fact! I was hoping to have the shawl and the new gorgeous socks to alternate with during July, I may have to give up that goofy notion straight away! Dear (helpful) Elizabeth over on the Yahoo group thoughtfully (!!!!) actually did the math (well, you know that is one thing I am less than likely to do--- EVER!) and to complete the PI in a month it will require knitting well over a thousand stitches a day to complete that baby. That just sounds so much better to me than the Absolute Truth of 1900.5 stitches per day, I think that qualifies as "well" over 1000. Blissfull socks at this point seem like sheer lunacy! Regardless, I'm knitting away and hope to move past Cranky and on to Bliss in short order. I have to, I figure that Elizabeth Zimmerman herself would absolutely haunt me if I was less than Zen.

You will perhaps notice that I did not don my gear and lace my shoes this morning heading out into the early morning for my power walk, and my beloved podcast listen on the way back. Cranky Number Two (in a big way) is that I have somehow fluffed up my achilles tendon and it is now really bothersome. It happened about a week and a half ago and I thought I could just keep on walking and try to take it easy when I could----- i.e. ignore it---- and this plan of action did not serve me well at all. I've not walked since Friday and have been trying to give the tendon a rest. I'm hoping (for the sake of my netherregion) that I'll be back out on the pavement very, very soon.

Please remember WeeAngels------ and pass on the word, I appreciate it!