Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Contrisstmas Eve!!!

I know I've mentioned that I am SO glad to be home but I have to admit that the thrill has turned to exhaustion! You know-- when you have unpacked and done laundry, gone through the mail and caught up on some chores, faced the work on your desk and the looming deadlines--- and still have way too much to do! I confess to secretly coveting that 'easy button' on the Staples commercials, wouldn't that be lovely? As usual, I'm working much too hard (okay frenetically!) to get to the time of year that should be punctuated by quiet relaxation. The reality of course is that sitting around a beautifully decorated house surrounded by completed handmade gifts, caught up on work, and smiling blissfully over a mug of eggnog is not a true reflection of what ever happens. In my life anyway! Because we left when the tardy leaves had not all fallen, coming home meant the necessity of getting all the remainder leaves removed from the yard. Thank heavens for my leaf blower! Once the yard was (relatively) leaf free it was time to get the outdoor decorations up. I'm a weekend after Thanksgiving decorator so to be 'far' behind was a bit disconcerting. The lights are up and look really great, thanks to the fine folks at Target who had a great sale on lights when they put them out (seemingly after the Fourth of July) I added a few strings of red lights to the sea of white and quite like it. The garland is wrapped and lit around the banisters, the mantel is beginning to look festive and before I go to bed tonight I've promised myself that I'll have a good run at the rest of it, right down to the laundry room tree!

Knitting has taken a back seat to life in general since returning home and that makes me feel rather naked without the needles that seemed to be so regularly and comfortingly in my hands. When things with my birth family were making me a little wild, there they were! Not mind you that my family were awful, they were not. It is just that as an adult it's a little weird to be surrounded by (and taking part) with traditions that are not entirely yours! Nothing too bizarre but I did find myself in my bedroom with the door closed taking large gasping breaths a time or two. Or six. Maybe stories later as things sort of get sorted out. Okay, okay---- more than likely stories later, you know me I spill it all! I will take up my needles very soon as I need to keep going on the holiday knitting train. At least I am not succumbing to the gorgeous Silent Night Tree Skirt from Donna Yacino at Berroco, now that would be pretty crazy. I could get it started though......... just a few stitches??? It might be done in time for Holidays at the Home, just a thought! I do kind of get a tiny giggle when they say that it could be a capelet by eliminating a section of knitting---- it puts me in the mind of Bernice from an old Christmas Designing Women show, the one where she wore the tree skirt as a holiday skirt, too funny!

I'll add a photo from our last evening in Arizona. My Mom's boyfriend (just too weird to even go there, okay?) suggested that we might want to go out for pizza at a place where an antique theater organ rose up out of the floor and the guy played happy little ditties accompanied by drums and musical whatnots in the walls and ceilings that came on at various times in the performance. No, I'm not kidding, I have photos to prove it!

Mr. Organ Himself (there is a joke in there somewhere!)

And of course, the dancing puppets segment. Really.

And of course the very best thing about Arizona was my two stops at Jessica Knits in Scottsdale. What a fabulous store! I purchased yarn for a scarf and will call today for another ball as I underestimated the amount I need. (Of course!) Jessica and Deanna are just wonderful, the shop is stocked with incredibly wonderful yarn and the most exciting accessories EVER. I think that if you are a knitter you would never, ever make it out of this store without a bag full of something wonderful. I purchased a couple of books that I couldn't resist, "Knitting Little Luxuries" by Louisa Harding when I just couldn't figure out what to knit my Mom.

She requested something knit for Christmas, and in an Arizona climate I was a bit befuddled. It is December 1 tomorrow and I still don't have the vaguest idea but I'll get there! I also bought "Greetings from the Knit Cafe" by Suzan Micher because the book just appealed to me. I absolutely love the Triangle Shawl and the computer keyboard cover--- for whatever reason! That is Jessica and Deanna and I below------

The photo doesn't even begin to show off the amazing cuteness of this shop!!! Or Jessica and Deanna!
Jessica on the left and Deanne on the right!

While I was there I had the opportunity to see the Lace Style Trunk Show from Interweave, what wonderful things to see! I loved the shrug and might just have to knit it up. Please do not ask me when, that would be simply unkind. Of course I'm still drooling over those cute little Cake Tape Measures and the Amy Butler Bags. I did pick up an uber cute sterling chain with a skull with sparkly eyes and the crossed knitting needles through it--- adorable!

Below, from the Hat Factory and ready to add a little holiday happy to my holiday gifts:

On the left is the brown/white hat from Knitty, center is a plain ole' hat, and the blue hat on the top is (of course) "The Unoriginal Hat", because I had to !

My lampshade is wearing the fun (and unblocked) furry shrug for my daughter the Thin One.

And in the Big News Category, it is of course Contrisstmas Eve! I'm super excited to bring you 25 Days of Knitting Contrisstmas--- starting tomorrow, December 1st!!!! Each day on the blog I'll have a knitting celebrity interview (they were SO much fun!), a holiday recipe, a simple gifty knit pattern, or a fun goodie you can use for your own holiday celebrations! Look for appearances by Lolly, Kelley Petkun of KnitPicks, Grumperina, Nicole and Jenny from Stash and Burn, Carrie from Socks in the City, Sheri Berger from The Loopy Ewe, Laurie Perry aka Crazy Aunt Purl, and Norah Gaughan!!! It all kicks off tomorrow with Kathy Elkins from Webs! It will be fabulous, wonderful fun!

Please join me for a happy world-wide holiday party! 25 Days worth of holiday knitting good juju! And..................... Happy Contrisstmas Eve!

While you wait you just might want to print out these cute little knitted sweater ornaments from Berroco and have them ready to adorn your holiday decorating! I have a little tree in the sewing/knitting room and they would be tres cute!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jiggety Jig

Home again, home again, I am delighted to be home again!

Have I mentioned delighted? De-Lighted! Tired and overwhelmed with everything that has to be done (not at the least getting decorated for the holidays) and work. Ah, work!

While I was in AZ I got a bit of knitting done at what has become known as the hat factory. Can you say family meetings? Ack. I am woefully disorganized at the moment and have only been out of the suitcase for a few hours so you know that means that photographs are scattered and putting them together with verbiage is probably not going to happen at the moment. Okay, maybe two moments!

The dogs were SO excited to see us, I only wish that the rest of the people in my life were as happy to be part of the daily grind. Thanksgiving has been dealt with, family memories (good and bad) have been tucked away and now I'm ready to put my head down and get on with it, there is much to do.

Mostly, I'm SUPER excited about a special holiday series here on the blog that will begin December 1st, woo hoo! Stay tuned! Until then, I'll be back with obligatory photos and some wild stories of dysfuction................. after all, isn't that what families are all about???

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving dear Blitters! As I write this it is Thanksgiving Eve and I've spent some wonderful time with my Mom, my brothers are en route and we will have fun, food and laughter until Sunday when they leave for home.

Should I need (ha!) to knit while the house is full (can someone say Stress Management???) I can haul out my new purchases from Jessica Knits, the absolutely incredibly fabulous yarn store I wandered into today in Scottsdale AZ! I knew it was going to be wonderful from the website but I was unprepared for all of the really great yarn and etceteras! I'll share goodies later, I promise. Suffice it to say that I was enchanted!

On Thanksgiving (and every day) count your blessings and pass one on!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Time 2 Travel

It is hard to believe that it's time to pack again! Ack! The suitcase is out and the washing machine is doing its duty to make clean clothes for the trip. The most important thing is that the new and improved zippy bags are loaded with Travel Knitting. I'm proud to tell you that there are few repeat projects. Last night I finished the shrug for a Christmas gift knit from the furry novelty yarn that I had to call from Virginia and get more of! It is the cutest thing! So I'll be taking the earflapped hat from Knitty, yarn for 3 hats, and socks. The shocking award goes to the fact that I don't have a Big Project going! Kind of weird, eh? I am comforted knowing that there is both knit shops AND the internet in Phoenix should the desire strike to take care of that problem! It would be totally horrible to have to purchase more yarn, I'm sure this won't happen! (go ahead and sing the liar liar pants on fire song, really, I won't mind a bit!) I've already googled knit shops and "Jessica Knits" is on the top of my list. Their website looks great, like this is a yarn shop not to be missed! AND---- 'on their needles' is the Blue Sky Alpacas Rectangular Scarf! C'mon, let's be serious! After all, not only do I love Scottsdale but one of those great Mexican restaurants with margaritas that live on in my memory is there as well. Here's the plan, stop for excellent food and a few margaritas and stumble into the knit shop and purchase under the influence! I know, probably not a great idea, sadly. Yarn first--- THEN margaritas?

I'm going to visit my family for Thanksgiving (along with a bit of work that will only take a couple of days) and the story is probably one of the best ever told! Because as everyone knows I not only tell all but will talk the paint off a wooden Indian (now there is a turn of a phrase!) I just have to share. I'm visiting my birth mother for 10 days and sharing my first Thanksgiving with her as well as my three brothers and their families!!!! How completely great is that? We have never all been together so you know it is going to be a wonderful time.

I found my birth mother when I was 40, on the fourth of July through the power of the Internet. It was a group on AOL that I stumbled across when I heard something from a friend. When I checked it out I never thought that I'd actually find my mom. I had known I was adopted since I was old enough to hear the story of the whole thing from my Mom and grew up knowing that I was chosen and special and very, very loved. My Mother had given me my original birth certificate when I was a teen ager and I guess the time was never quite right. After all, I had a wonderful childhood and great parents along with a brother who despite the usual crud was (and is) a great guy. I loved my grandparents and adored my faraway Kansas cousins. Finding my birth mother was a series of flukes and coincidences that led up to having an intermediary met through the online group calling her and asking if my birthdate meant anything to her. The words that followed, "Are you my daughter?" would set in motion events that brought us together. It was a blessing to discover that not only had my birth parents married shortly after I was born (my Mom was 14!!!) but that they were still together! The rarity of that never escaped me, amazing when you think about it. That two young kids married under rough circumstances, had three more kids all boys, and stayed married through the years. Wow! The funniest thing was that using the parents names from my old birth certificate with the local phone book was the 'trick' that found them, they'd been there all along! When my dear birth father passed away a couple of years ago they were months shy of celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary! I learned so many great things about myself from them, why I was directionally challenged, that I looked like my Mom, and why I was at times quite funny. The journey to discovering who I was because of my birth parents continues to this date.

So, this trip promises to be full of laughter (my family is very funny), many tears, and more things learned about the self inside of me that just IS. Just because. I'll be bringing home more than completed knitted items in my suitcase, no doubt I will be coming back with more love, and great joy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

1 Week and Counting

It is one week and counting to Thanksgiving! Not only my favorite holiday but according to the Today Show, it is the fave day of many Americans as well. A pure holiday centered only around being thankful, how great is that? No gifts, no expectations, just thanksgiving. Fabulous! Of course, the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes, the green bean casserole, the sweet potatoes and the cranberries, or the assorted pies----- well they don't hurt the cause of a great day either! My countdown is a bit different this year, not the cooking and the planning and the shopping and the crafting but the packing. We leave Sunday for a bit of work, hugs from family, and a good measure of play. My countdown also includes planning for Travel Knitting. Please, please don't remind me that a good bit of my previously planned and hauled Travel Knitting has not been finished!!! In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter!

The cast on beginnings of the really sweet cabled bag. This was the pattern I discovered at Michael's of all places when picking up stitch markers and looking for black Christmas ornaments. The pattern book I ordered STILL hasn't arrived so I guess it is a good thing that I have this cute bag to occupy my time. (I need to occupy my time because the ten projects that seem to be hanging around clearly are not enough!) The yarn is Paton's Classic Wool Merino in the Aran colorway. I'm just ready to get my cable on and am quite frankly waiting a bit for a slice of peace and quiet to get it going. Not that the pattern is difficult but way too much has been buzzing around me to really sink into the project.

Now c'mon............ that is a cute little bag! My daughter will love it! No ribbon for her, that's for sure, I'll find another embellishment perhaps.

More of the Classic Wool I bought for a purse for daughter number one who loves all things animal print. I thought the purse handles were too cute and will look quite fab on a red bag. That is if the dang pattern will ever arrive. I have come to expect really great customer service from the likes of The Loopy Ewe, KnitPicks, and Webs if I order something----- not waiting and waiting and waiting. If the pattern has not arrived by Saturday when the window closes on packing the Travel Knitting, I'm going to get ugly about it!

Clearly, I'm becoming as obsessed about bags as I am with hats? A seasonal disorder perhaps?

What else would this yarn be? Of course, the much favored, loved and highly recognizable Sugar and Cream. I have a fun and kitchy project planned for a touch of the holidays using this yarn. It has already been taken to the Dirter, wound into center pulls and placed into zippy bags along with my sketch so it's ready to go. Why IS this yarn so much fun anyway???

Last night was another night of errand running (ack!). It included a stop by Lowe's to pick up a new lockset for the front door, I mean how much fun is THAT anyway? $179 spent on something stupid like a new latch/knob thingie for the front door when I could have bought more yarn. Seriously!!!!

I did buy a bit more yarn, (in the name of full disclosure), the Hat Knitting seems to have developed a life of it's own. The red hat from the Licorice needed double points that I did not have. So a mid-day stop at Knitorious on my way back from the Post Office was in order. I ran into Ann and Rachel and it was so great to have seen them. I had seen on Ann's blog that she was knitting the Unorginal Hat from the Harlot and it looked pretty cute. I really and truly did not need to knit this but being the fine sheep that I am (baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!) I succumbed and bought a yummy skein of Malabrigo in purples and blues to make the hat. It really IS cute! It actually uses size 11 dpn's and those were the reason I'd come into Knitorious to begin with so it seemed like a logical, if not absolutely thrift conscious decision!!

The new addition to the Malabrigo family............. gorgeous!

Driving back from Lowe's last night I swung by my local (nasty) JoAnn's because their Licorice was on closeout! Dana turned me on to the Licorice (and still hasn't made her hat---- the shame of it!) This is turning out to be very holiday hatable and I purchased the black/white and the gray/gold combo's. If you see a woman running around Arizona with zippy bags crammed to bursting with hats in progress, that would be me.

Grandboy hats, yes I think they will fill the bill! My oldest grandson is definitely into the chicness of black and white!

The final announcement of much WaaaHoooooo is that the leggings are done. Finito. It has been a very long time since something coming off the needles has felt quite so good. It is a reminder to me to look hard at a project before it gets cast on as well as to re-evaluate the work in progress. Sometimes it just doesn't feel good, or it is not as intended, or your life has simply changed to the point that continuing to work on 'the thing' is painful. Or you could be like me and stubbornly continue on, working away when every stitch is the complete antithesis to happy knitting. They are DONE, and with the exception of some clear elastic that I think will make wearing them (even though I am not the wearer) a lot happier. Naturally, when I was at the fabric store last night I did not buy clear elastic. That dear Blitters would have been far too easy.

They look, well they look pretty icky just laying there in a puddle on the couch, don't they? I'll see if I can't grab an 'action photo' later. For me........... I'm just glad this project is over!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rainy and Gray

Veteran's Day Monday------ less traffic, except in the mall. And wouldn't you know that is where I did manage to spend a couple of hours today. I was able to have a nice wallow in Anthropologie checking out their always amazingly lustable items. Their sweaters are just great, some younger and trendier than I would wear of course, but they are great. Amazing how many of them are picked up by knit patterns in the following season!

Cool Nano case, eh? I bought three, one to keep and two for my girls who love their iPods as much as I do. This one is great, hard case to protect and yet it shows your fab color (mine is red). I found it at The Container Store for $6.99, can't beat that! It was right next to Borders (home of Interweave glory) and a fabulous White Mocha Maple----- too good for words!

Meg Swansen says that True Knitters are those that "have to knit everyday". That makes me a True Knitter indeed! My knitting early this morning was on the leggings that I SWEAR I'm going to get done in the next day or two. They will be done before I leave and embark on yet more travel knitting. I say that because you know dipdog well that I can lie like a freakin' rug and say that I am not going to cast on any more projects but my nose is already growing at an alarming rate! I have three more projects sketched in my little travel notebook so you can bet they'll take shape soon. Especially since I have every intention of soon having another set of needles to use. (And shhhhh, don't tell anyone but I BOUGHT more needles too!) The leggings had the crotch stitches on wool and I finally couldn't stand looking at them gaping anymore, it was somehow------------- well, lets just say that I was tired of it. I decided to use the three needle bind off and I think it's perfect for this area. Definitely stronger than a plain graft and if there is anyone staring at the crotch of the leggings that bloody close, well they are on my short list! They're currently on waste yarn for a try on and I'll know how much more 2x2 ribbing they'll need to get to the end of the road. I looooooooooooooong for the end of the road!

My little girl dog was sick last night so I was up early on duty and blocked the Mystery Frag(ment). Even in it's wee-ness, it's still pretty cool. Can't you see it on a black or dark velvet pillow as the envelope flap?

As long as I was unable to get any sleep due to a small furry not feeling well annoyance, I sat with Miss Hana Dog and cast on a swatch for her sweater.

Pretty great, yes? The colors are wonderful, the yarn was el cheapo and is fun to knit. A perfect combination for a doggie sweater which I think should not be the very finest of yarn. Unless you are Melissa maybe and face the lure (and discounts no doubt) of Webs every day! Or maybe if you are Sheri and live with the unbearable temptations of The Loopy Ewe!!!

I picked up the new Interweave Knits today, very yummy projects, I have to say that I like the issue a LOT! Like I need the encouragement, right???? At first glance through I can't say what project I like more, and the knits in the ads are equally enchanting!

On this very rainy and gray (although happily well above normal temperature) day, I'm a bit blue myself. Daughter number one has my heart a little sore. She has three amazingly wonderful boys, good and funny kids each of them. Her husband is, well I've disliked him since the day I met him. As a matter of fact my nickname for him is a long one that can't be repeated in its' entirety except to say that it partially entails the fact that he is fat, lisps, has red hair and his masculinity is perhaps akin to a pencil. The man is rude, selfish and just totally unlikeable. As my daughter told me when I saw her, she now knows what everyone tried to tell her, she married too young and he was too old and unappropriate. She was just in a hard spot in her life then and got carried away by the whateverness of the whole dang thing. I hate it. I don't hate that she understands that she deserves better, I've waited a long time for her to grasp that she is wonderful and beautiful and special and to see her self esteem rise up out of the muck. Was it totally great to see her hubby and know that I really didn't care what he said or did or thought as he was a short-timer? Yes. I ache for my child, my oldest. The end of a marriage is a totally sucky thing. Totally. No matter how it ends (and she has not made that final determination yet, but it is very over) it hurts like every breath of hell! And I, her proud and adoring mother can do nothing but listen, and pray, and love her and pray some more. I can only hope that my experience in the marriage ending department can be drug from the ashes and used for the good of someone I love, when it was so hard for me at the time.

When I divorced it was not because he cheated on me, or beat me, or anything that I could point a finger at and say 'aha'! But sometimes, the things that go on behind closed doors are the worst offenders of all, the horrible things that destroy your soul and puncture your heart. Self esteem suffers so dramatically, at least it did in my case and that of most women going through divorce that I have seen. In my case, my ex was cold, emotionally vacant, and just flat mean. Mean to the point that when he'd say something ugly I could feel one more little piece of my heart just breaking off, never to be seen again. And I knew that at some point there would be so little functioning heart remaining and the loneliness even in the midst of a marriage would be so great that something would snap and I'd be empty. That is absolutely what happened and nothing that anyone could say or do could begin to put me together again. I think that is the hardest thing to go through---- to know that YOU are the only one that can begin to rebuild your soul. That you have to be the one that believes that to have a wonderful life is something that is expressly deserved, and then to act on that knowledge. My daughter is just realizing that she is broken beyond any repair and that she just might deserve to be happy before the end of her life. If you have gone through a divorce, or even the end of a relationship, you know that it is just one of the mile markers on the road to wholeness and that the peace that eludes you is perhaps only temporary.

Friday, November 9, 2007

What else to do?

What in the world should I do when I've been publicly bitchin' and bemoaning the fact that I have become awash in a sea of cast on projects and wip's in various stages of their bad selves? Feeling like total crap because I'm up to my (adorable) butt in work, and can't seem to manage to get diddly squat done-------- ack!!!!

Only one thing to do if you ask me. Well okay, two things.

1. Buy more yarn
2. Cast on (yet Another) project

Yes. More yarn. Here's the deal, I think I have a bead on this problem! Whenever I'm out and about (y'know---- post office, bank, studio running around) I always pass one of the chain stores not necessarily known for yarn that makes my blood boil. But, it IS yarn after all and you can find some good stuff! Maybe not excellent stuff, but good stuff.

In my recent quest (post travel knitting) I continue to believe that all my loved ones will receive lovely little gifts of hand knit happy. Maybe just a hat, or a little bracelet bag or something but ALL will have the flush of overcoming joy that only hand knitting brings! Instead of actually working on something that I need to finish------- somehow I cast on more projects.

At Michael's yesterday, they had on sale lovely wool............... perfect for a couple of cute handbags. They even had a DARLING pattern that they're doing a KAL with. The book I ordered has not yet arrived so apparently that gave me the excuse to do this bag "WHILE I WAIT". Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. It isn't like I don't have other projects to occupy me, sheeeesh. So far I have 14 rows of stockinette and am ready for the first cable row.

Back to my rationalization (which is GOOD, y'gotta admit!) I think basically that yarn from one of the chains doesn't COUNT! Yes, that is right. Order the lovelies from Webs, or The Loopy Ewe, or KnitPicks, or visit your LYS---- now that counts!!! It has more weight to it....... the lust quotient is higher, you have to think about it! But yarn from Michael's? Nope, you can buy that buddy, pop it into the bag and go off happy as a little clam with no guilt to bear. See? All yarn purchases have their place. And if it is wool, good wool, in a great color, hey-- so much the better!

I must admit that in order to actually have a free cable from that big ole' box of Denise needles to use for the freshly cast on bag (yes, that is how many projects I have in various stages of completion scattered all over the house)---- I actually had to cast OFF the Mystery Stole! Yes, I did! I cast off the triangle of it loosely in knit and will block it off. My initial thought was to put a pretty brooch or button on it with a yarn loop and use it as a little pretty on a turtleneck, or something. I'm not so sure of that idea now that I'm ready to block it. It might be the flap of an envelope style pillow. The main point was that now a cable was free. The fact that the Mystery Stole is DONE (done is done, no matter the way of done!) well, that frees a bit of angst.

I have to face the facts, either I need to buy more needles or I'm going to have to stop being such a tramp with yarn and projects and get busy knitting. Finishing has to be of a higher priority I think!

Photos of the new yarn haul in all of it's guilt free happiness plus the new wip's to follow. At the moment I'm just overcome with it all! :)

Get Knittin'! Easy for me to say-------- working 12 hour days this week and hosting a wee small dinner party tomorrow night. Ack! I slipped home for an hour and a half this afternoon in order to start preparing the requested menu. Meat loaf ("not the fake kind with turkey, the kind with pork and beef and that really good sticky sauce! And don't forget the bacon!") I make a killer meatloaf, the topping is a combo of ketchup, steak sauce, mustard and brown sugar. I got two big ones into the fridge (I'm sending home one for later) and a big ole' pot of corn chowder. Put some rolls with that, some mixed veggies with a side of mashed potatoes and I think comfort will be served. I'm writing this still at work and it is after 8----- when I get in I need to make the last component of dessert---- banana cream pie. Can you tell that men have made the menu request?

I hope that you have someone to cook yummy comfort for you!!!! Now, I'm afraid to tell you that I have Travel Knitting coming up in a little over a week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Monogamous Knittery vs. Stitch Strumpet

With a hard freeze in the air and temps this week in the 40's and 50's fall has definitely arrived. The bummer is that the leaves definitely are not as pretty as in years past. While there are spots of yellow and orangey red, it seems that the drought and high temperatures of early fall have zapped the trees of much of their vibrant color. Many of the trees seem to be going from green to falling crunchy brown with not a lot of passion.

While cooking dinner last night I was listening to various podcasts and taking stock of knitting projects. It occurred to me that I have way too many projects going to be personally comfortable, my own passion level is perhaps a bit too spread out. How does serial monogamy affect knitting? Do we embrace singular projects vs. abundant projects as a matter of personality? Can we enjoy knitting a large number of goodies from our project bags at one time in our lives and shun the variety for one true love at another? Do the quiet introverts among us choose to knit stitches from one project while the more extroverted, wacky knitters bounce between many works in progress? It's interesting when you think about it! From my experience, I think that very few people create projects in the same way ALL the time. For example, a one at a time knitter may do that 80% of the time but may perhaps expand their horizons seasonally (the call of the gifting!). Conversely, it seems that for the most part, the person who has many works in progress going at once almost always is able to choose from a variety of things to work on.

Me? I have discovered that I truly prefer one love in my life at a time! While I enjoy the heart pounding flirtation with beautiful and exciting knittery and have recently succumbed to the multi-zippy bags containing items in various stages of completion----- I have to say, I don't like it! Perhaps I'm a one project knitter at heart? Less of a stitch strumpet? (Don't you love that word? It's definitely a throw back to a gentler time!) Currently, the Elizabeth Zimmermann leggings from Lemongrass Swish have been a slog of a project (read:miles of stockinette) since September 3rd for pete's sake! Granted, I also had the Mitered Square Sweater on the needles and it had a higher 'woohoo' factor--------- but the leggings just flat need to be finished. They're almost to the waist so will require a couple more inches of straight stockinette before switching to several more inches of 2x2 rib. We're getting there. I'll feel sooooooooooooooo good when it is done, you just can't know! Well, blitters---- of course you can!

But the rest of the projects? The ones cast on with mad abandon in the name of travel knitting? Hats and shrugs and socks? Even a scarf I didn't tell you about, it was my sordid little secret! Of course, only one project was actually finished and now the rest sit in their plastic prisons and taunt me! I don't like having so many wip's going! Personally, I think it says about me that I'm one of those simple people, a neat freak of sorts that requires life to be Just So in order to have even the feeling (and feeling is the operative word) that life is firmly in hand.

My plan is to focus on the leggings right now and get them DONE! Then I can turn my attention to the smaller projects on the docket for holiday gifting. I believe it was Kathy Elkins from Webs whose voice told me how many days until Christmas there were from her podcast listened to last night. Ack! I feel less stressed somehow if there are not a bunch of projects waiting in the wings, the amount of stitches are impossible to calculate and somehow I'm just way less in charge.

Having a buttload of hats on the agenda wasn't exactly planned, and the whole notion of 'in charge' is a mirage............... but it's my reality! I'm knitting my way (for the moment anyway) back to a more monogamous relationship with my knitting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Finding My Groove Again

You can see that by the time I got to the bride above, my knitting was getting a bit large to slip to the woman in white! She's knitting on the end of the Mitered Square Sweater and it covers quite a bit of her lovely gown. Chrissy was one of the most laid back brides of the season, never demanding and without a needy mother (always good) and just generally a kind human being. At the time this photo was taken the bride and groom had been out for 2 hours on various locations around town doing a photo shoot and she was HUNGRY!! My kind of girl, when your tummy is rumbling--- well, you'd better get after it! So at the request of the wedding couple we pulled behind the long white limo into McDonald's having given the bride strict instructions that a McRib was most definitely out of the question.................. red sauce and a white dress can be a bad combination! Fortified with chicken nuggets and a sprite she was all smiles again and more than happy to pose with my knitting.

My desk has gotten no more organized since returning to the studio, as a matter of fact I think it's gotten much worse. At least the piles of Do Me Items have gotten moved into the appropriate piles with a sort of rank order assigned to each. I think a long day and some midnight oil is required to get caught up. Don't you hate being behind the curve? I have reorganized my travel knitting (in their various stages of knit-ness) back into zippy bags and ready to jump into the tote for their turn as project du jour, and my hopes that they'll soon become fo's. The holidays are beginning to loom large in my thoughts and knitted gifts need to start rolling off the needles so that the pressure thing doesn't happen in December!

I've been sketching a couple of designs for knitty gifts------ and dying to get to them. Three rows on a hat do not a completed project make after all! I just can't quite seem to get back into the groove. Grooves can actually be difficult to find once lost (as we are all very aware of) so I'm searching hard today!
  • Drink lots of Pumpkin Spice Tea
  • Take stock of work projects
  • Head down, tackle desk
  • More tea
  • More work
  • Teensy Tiny Knit Break
  • Working Still
  • Clear desk
  • Tea Time
  • Sigh, and Knit
With any luck at all the groove will be recaptured and I'll settle in, certainly the rest of things will fall in place? I'm the sort that has to be organized after all, it does make the rest of it work together a bit better.

Confession time: I bought more yarn yesterday----- nothing big mind you, but more yarn. Some fun thick and thin for the hat design, some very plain (on sale) wool for Christmas gift hats, and aPatons pattern book that unexplicably called my name and jumped into my cart. I hate it when that happens! I had actually gone into Jo-Ann's of all places to purchase a replacement zipper and some cream colored thread and because hat knitting doesn't require the very finest of yarn and good stuff was sale priced I succumbed to the temptation. Really, I don't get it, sometimes temptation is strong and you'll buy yarn for the sake of it---- and sometimes temptation is about the Good Stuff only!

I used to be so proud of my ability to control my stash, when it came in--- it was knitted. Now? Not so much! Maybe it's just part of the new groove!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Best........and The Worst of It

Well the best of it is of course these three handsome boys! Jacob (on my lap) is not a photo guy as you can tell............. but he told me repeatedly "I'm just glad you came Mimi!", which of course covers up for any of his on camera stinkiness!

As always, by kids all over the globe, bunny ears are pretty dang fun. Jacob thinks that if you close your eyes they don't count. I miss them already and find that life is about 90% quieter and almost unbearably less exciting!

On the worst front that would be my travel knitting! I finished the lovely periwinkle toned shrug. The pattern was an internet freebie and it has given me great pause on the freebie front let me tell you! The shrug, while very cute and the yarn is delicious------- finished blocking and will fit an 8 year old. My daughter, for whom the gift was intended, is very svelte but not of 8 year old proportions. I'm cranky!!!!!!! The PROCESS was delightful, I'd use the yarn again in a minute, and of course the sheet knitlyness of it was everything knitting is all about. The PRODUCT sucked! So, those of you with a child in the 8 year old range------ let me know! My other shrug, with the fun novelty yarn is not finished but very close. I can't be sure but I think it is headed for the yarn extraction zone. I can't bear to find out that this one is outward bound! It would make a great hat and scarf I think------ and that may be the end of it. Harumph. The Lopi made it out of the zippy bag and the earflaps are done and I'm ready to cast on for the body of the hat, my youngest grandson will enjoy it I think!

That of course is me in the mitered square sweater! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It looks actually quite great open, the upper fronts flop down nicely and give a sort of sweatery lapel look, very casual. Please ignore my neck, I beg of you! Is it not just THE WORST??????????? I think that when I was 60 pounds heavier my neck was at least not imitating a stupid turkey! I always thought I would age gracefully, I really did! I was apparently stupider than can be, stupid--- stupid---- stupid. Of course when I had the thought of sailing with a smile into my golden years (which by the way I have NOT arrived at!) I was younger----- with that taut nice skin and firm jawline that defies even the thought of age. Older and wiser is altogether crap if you ask me. I digress, forgive me. In this current time of neck warp, I am going on record right now to say that I am going to have a neck job done. Really, I'm not kidding! I hate my neck and if I have to knit the cheap stuff to pay for the neck then so be it.

I am of course lying to myself. There is no way I will knit the cheap crap, at least for any sustained time frame. But for the moment that little white lie to self is enough to make me investigate the possibilities. You know I tell all so count on the fact that I'll spill the details as they unfold. My hair looks pretty crappy too if the truth be told but I think you hardly notice. Really. It's my reality, I cling to it.

LOVE the back of this sweater! And only one flippy point----- ack!

My wrap up would be:
  • Loved the process, the mitered squares were fun
  • I'm expert + at picking up stitches
  • I like Noro in principle but probably won't be in a hurry to knit with it again
  • The sweater is a large, I was chicken to knit a medium. It SHOULD have been a medium but the whole weight loss thing has me not thinking in medium at all. Despite that, and because of the wrap aspect, it fits great.
  • The shawl pin is from Ruby Vegas ( and is great. Simple, geometric and looks nice on the sweater. I do have to be careful with the whole seatbelt thing though!
  • Nothing feels quite as nice as a sweater finished!

The grandkids were great, my daughters' were wonderful and the trip was a wonderful success. Too fast, but a fast trip is far better than none at all!

The travel knitting thing kind of makes me laugh! Because I used to live in Hawaii, traveling to the Mainland was another kettle of fish! My travel days were routinely 14+ hours, punctuated by a lot of airport layover knitting. I am used to being a travel project warrior and used to get a lot more done, just based on hours spent. Because my wait at the airport was under an hour and the trip itself was 2.5 hours------------- far less knitting happened than was packed. It's all good! The periwinkle shrug that will fit someone else's child was fun, the novelty yarn was interesting to knit because I never work with the stuff, the Lopi hat was begun and so only one ball of yarn actually saw no action outside of my suitcase.

The entire week flew by in a blur and when Friday came it was time to repack the suitcase and think about heading out. The nor'easter was winding up and the wind gusts were upwards of 40 m.p.h. A tailwind was confirmed once I boarded the flight bringing the flight time to an hour and 40 minutes. With only two podcasts listened to from the many loaded before I left and knitting and reading to do I knew I'd have to hunker in to enjoy the last blast of my getaway.

This was not to be.

Once boarded, I discovered that the entire section of seats around me were filled by women. Women coming home from a CONVENTION. Women, who apparently had no hobbies, did not read, and had nothing to DO in their seats but talk too dipdog much and drive me absolutely mad. I knew it was going to be one of those trips when the woman across the aisle and one seat forward approached her seat. She was a large woman, really large. I watched her put one butt cheek into her seat and wiggle and wriggle (not a pretty sight) until she had packed herself into the chair. She then very loudly announced to the entire plane that the seat was made so tiny that it did not have a regular sized seat belt but a teensy one and it would not fit around her. PUH-LEEZE----------------- the problem with the seat belt requiring an extension had very little to do with the size of the seat and much more with the size of the behind!!!! I can say that, I come from the larger behinded folks myself! The flight attendant was very kind when she approached and said that she would find her an extension. Personally, I don't think that she really needed one. If we did have a crash landing I was pretty sure that this woman would leave the accident site with that airline seat still crammed on her tush, just following right along like Mary's little lamb!

I reached into my travelers bag of tricks knowing that there were several ways to secure my privacy and enjoy the rest of my trip. I had dug into my totebag (the way cute one) and had my iPod around my neck so as we leveled off out of the climb, when I heard the ding-ding, I immediately popped the earbuds in and cranked up Socks in the City and prepared for a lovely, if not too fast, flight reveling in the happy aloneness that was mine all mine. After all, what is the universal meaning of an in flight iPod? Leave me alone, that's what it says, leave me alone go away........ shhhhhhh with you! The silence lasted about 30 seconds. First of all the endless chirping and chattering was so loud that I was unable to turn the sound up loud enough on Carrie! Can you get over that? So I tried Stash and Burn------ after all the girls are a bit rowdier than S.I.C. Nope............. almost impossible to hear. You know, my podcast listening is a near religious experience not to be sullied with! I switched to Bon Jovi------- which did almost cover up the irritating twittering. I pulled out my knitting. Then it happened.

TapTapTap. I am not kidding you. The woman across the aisle actually reached out and tapped me on the arm. Three times. I paused my iPod and smiled, ====== yes??????????? What am I knitting? I told her. IPod back on. I'd love to tell you that the tapping woman knocked it off but that would be lying. The tapping woman continued this behavior for the entire flight. She was apparently raised by wolves. Five minutes goes by and the woman in the seat next to me wants to have a conversation. Pause the iPod. Converse. This goes on for the better part of an hour. I'm nice, really I am. But what I really want is to be left alone. This is not going to happen. I did have a few moments of guilt thinking about Kelley Petkun's sweet way of traveling with extra yarn and needles to teach those interested folks along the way. I did not offer much in the way of knitting instruction. I did ask what part of town they lived in and directed them to the closest fabulous knit shop near them and urged them to take a class and fall in love with knitting. I even wrote down the name of the shop and the owner's name. I was achingly nice when I wanted to shove them out the windows. I only refrained because you can't go to your LYS from inside prison walls and I was also a little afraid that I'd be sucked out of the window with them and might have to spend eternity with them or something as my punishment.

When the woman in the seat next to me sneezed and I could see the sneeze----actually SEE it in the light of the cabin, that was pretty much it for me. I was ready to impale the broad right then an there with my Denise's! Unbelievable! I held my breath as long as I possibly could and hoped that no sneeze particles were making their way into new territory, me! I'd barely gotten over the fact that I was surrounded by sneeze-lets when she had to go to the loo. Gathering my needles and yarn, never an easy feat in an airplane----- I let her out. Unfortunately she returned in time to continue to bug the hell out of me for the remainder of the flight. She never mentioned my neck so I suppose I should give her some points or something!

I did manage to get ALMOST finished with "Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair" and I have to tell you, it is light and bubbly, funny and fresh in that honest wonderful best friend kind of a way. Laurie------- I can't wait to have a glass of wine with you! Can we have two or five?

I've unpacked, picked up the extra ball of yarn from my LYS (Thanks Knitorious!), done 3 loads of laundry, and blocked the shrug for the 8 year old. Because the weather is getting ready to move past nippy right on to butt cold I've mowed the yard for hopefully the last time and gotten everything except the roses and the herbs put to bed with the leaves blown. I seem at odds and unable to sit and knit from the 'new stuff' so that means it must be time for the short rows on the leggings.

I'll be SO GLAD to get them done.............................

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Flew in on my Broom....

I flew home last night, my broom made great time due to the tailwind. When I left Virginia the hurricane in the Atlantic was stirring up a nor'easter and the winds were howling!

The photo is of my boys------ in all their Halloween glory! The amalgam of superheros was Nathan, Kyle the rockstar is in the center and Nathan is the Army Guy, (army guy with candy!).
I had a fabulous time and have since worked half day and had photos taken of the mitered square sweater so I'll be sure to share that soon.

My comments about travel knitting also promise to be a hoot----- good grief when I share what I actually got done you will get a good chuckle!

Back to work!