Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Knitting Fairy

My HoneyBunny and I were out shopping the other day and he found this adorable little fairy for me.

She has the sweetest little expression on her face! It's because she is knitting, of course. The little spool has a couple of buttons and a lady bug at the bottom. This was the best picture I could get of her--she is tiny! Anyway, I couldn't help but share this cute little figurine with the world. It's not everyday that you find little knitting knick-knacks. I love her!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, August 27, 2007

What a week!

The past week has been exhausting! Finally after 9 months of fighting a workman's compensation insurance company HoneyBunny got his final spine surgery ok'd. So Wednesday afternoon he went in. His condition has improved so much it's amazing. The results are much better than we had anticipated and we are so happy. Here is a picture of the screws that have been holding his lower vertebrae together for the last 2 1/2 years. (Sorry, yes I realize they are huge and that it is gross to imagine those screwed into someone's back bone.) I think that if they showed you the screws they were going to use before they put them in that the majority of the patients would chicken out of the surgery.
For some reason I thought that this surgery would allow me an obnoxious amount of knitting time, but the whole thing took so little time that I haven't had hardly any time to knit. I was in the waiting room only 20 some minutes when I was summoned to meet with the doctor. Then he was only in the hospital over-night (Note* the last two times he was in surgery for 5 hours then the next time 3 hours and spent 4 days and then the next time 5 1/2 days in the hospital). It's is nice to have things turn out right for once though!

I am almost finished with spinning the scratchiest wool on the planet--thank goodness! I am going to have to attempt to repeat the color on some of my soft and lovely wool. It is so beautiful! I am very fond of deep, rich blue colors anyway. I also have to get my socks for Sockamania finished!! I only have 3 days left.

I guess I better get back to work!!
Happy Knitting!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Last of the "Steel" Wool...for now

I am finally finishing the last bag of that awful wool fiber I mentioned in a post a few months ago. Here it is ready to dye.

The tools. It's going to be pretty!

It turned out a beautiful denim blue! I have several skeins spun up. Remember, looks can be deceiving...

I love the color! It turned out so good! It's a could scrub baked-on cheese out of a pan with it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Philosophy

I have long thought, believed, and expressed to others the idea that everyone can (and should) knit. I have told countless beginners, as they struggled with each stitch, that within their DNA is a knowledge of how this works.

Here is my thinking: starting about a hundred years ago and then going backwards in time everyone knit, crocheted, spun yarn, and wove fabric for clothing. After all, if you didn't do one or all of these things you were wearing animal skins or running around in your birthday suit. When you needed socks, for example, there was no Target or Wal-Mart to go to and purchase a nice six-pack of white, cotton tube socks. You either made yourself a pair, was lucky enough to have a wife that had extra time on her hands (HA, HA!) and would make you a pair, you were royalty with tons of money at your disposal and you would pay the Master Knitter in the town to make you a pair, or you simply went without and had cold feet (which would be a real problem if you happened to live somewhere that was cold). Say you needed a winter hat, mittens, long johns, a warm coat (sweater), etc. Where would you get it? You made it! EVERYONE did this! That means that everyone on the planet today had ancestors that knew how to do this hand work.

**By the way, I am not the only person who believes this. I picked up Elizabeth Zimmerman's (for you non-knitters, Elizabeth is one of THE most well known knitters in the last 100 years) book "Knitters Almanac" the other day and was surprised, and pleased, to read that she believed this also. This book is really good and should be a part of every knitter's library! No wonder she is so revered. Not only was she a talented and accomplished knitter, but she was witty, clever, and very no-nonsense-straight forward. My kind of person!

So, somewhere hidden in your DNA is the ability and knowledge of how to knit, spin yarn , crochet, etc. If you haven't tried it, you should, and don't worry...your hands will remember what to do.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A "Black Hole" Project is Finally Finished

In her book "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off" Stephanie describes a phenomena that occurs quite regularly in knitting called "Black Holes". I am sure many of you have experienced this. It occurs very frequently when you are just starting to learn how to knit--which is why so many beginners give up. What happens is you find a great project, that may or may not be a large project, that you are just dieing to make. You cast on, with great anticipation of the end result, and begin knitting furiously. You knit for several hours or even days and suddenly notice that you have only knit one or two inches into the item. Confused, you get annoyed, but you knit on, now obsessed with making progress. Hours and hundreds of rows or rounds later you stop and take another measurement. Still only about two inches. Very annoyed and feeling a little on the edge you now attack the knitting project. You may find yourself murmuring incoherently and bursting out in swear words occasionally at this point. Days, perhaps weeks have past. Dishes are piled high in the sink, no one has clean underthings to wear, and the children are cowering, white-haired gnomes that scamper about fearful everytime they sense another out burst coming from you. The husband has even given up asking if you will be cooking ever again and has assumed his position on the couch with the remote and a delivery pizza next to him. Suddenly you snap out of it, sort-of, and realize that you have a black hole project--a project that sucks all of the stitches you create into itself without ever getting bigger.

I have had just such a project for the last year or so (I have lost count of the exact amount of time because of how long it has taken). This was not a difficult project. It used decent sized needles--US 7, and aran weight yarn. It only needed to get to 11 inches before the shoulder decrease then 2 1/2 inches more in the pattern and three rows of ribbing. Simple right? So I thought. After knitting the first three inches I noticed that no matter how long I worked on this project I had clearly quit making progress. So when I snapped out of the insanity that a black hole project creates, I set the project aside on my desk. I have made 20 or 30 pairs of socks, two sweaters, several washcloths, and who know what else in an effort to get over the effects that this black hole project brought on.

I was feeling pretty confident about finishing a few months ago so I began knitting again. I did make some progress so I pushed on. Suddenly discovering that it was swallowing rows faster than I could knit them I immediately stopped and put it away--thus preventing the "crazy" cycle from starting all over.

So, I started my Sockamania project, finished the pair of socks that I featured in the last post, and did a bunch of housework.

Several days ago, feeling good about the project again, I said, "That's it! I am finishing this project and getting it off of my desk if it's the last thing I do!" A little dangerous I realize, but I was feeling a little rebelious, dangerous, on the edge--so what the heck--I pick it up and furiously attacked the project. Twenty-four hours later......TA-DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a lovely pattern. And my daughter totally loves it, even telling me thank you--as if I made it for her.

The pattern is in Interweave Press "Wrap Style". It is called "Spiral Shell" and the designer is Deborah Newton. She makes no mention of it being a potential "Black Hole" project so I will have to assume that I am the only one that experienced it with this pattern. I would offer one bit of advice, when you get to the ribbing, I would go one or two needle sizes smaller to knit it and then cast off pretty tight. I did not and had to put elastic thread though the top so that it would stay put.

The next "Black Hole" project.......

It's a great t-shirt, I just can't seem to get any farther.

How about you...any black holes in your knitting universe lately?

Knitting Forever!

Monday, August 06, 2007

My How Time Flies

Well, I do apologize. I did not realize that it has been almost two weeks since I posted. School is getting ready to start and that is a very crazy time of the year for me. School clothes shopping, school supply shopping, birthday present shopping, grocery shopping, and shopping. I used to love shopping about 20 some odd years ago. Now it's just not as much fun--spending my own money instead of someone else's changes the whole experience.

So, I had a birthday. I will neglect to mentio
n which one, but as you can see from the picture I don't look too bad for my age--and no plastic surgery! There is something to be said for eating right (who am I kidding!? I believe in dessert first!) and taking care of your skin from a very young age.

I had a great week of--yes, you guessed it--shopping, going out to lunch with my daughter, and HoneyBunny took me for a beautiful drive, sent me the flowers that you see there on the table, and just spoiled me rotten with gifts (as usual). I even got a couple of new knitting books and some yarn--imagine that!
So I made him some socks. I love to knit for him! He thinks that I am the most talented, clever, and perfect woman on earth because I knit socks for him. Who doesn't want to knit for someone like that?

I must confess though that I am neglecting several WIP'S (that's Work In Progress for you non-knitters) that are beginning to complain loudly that I am avoiding them. I hope to work on them this week. However, I joined the Sockamania club and am thoroughly enjoying the socks I am making for it! I am a compulsive sock knitter, I admit it. I can't help it! You would think after making so many that I would get sick of them and stop for a while--not so!!! I just break it up by having three or four pair going at once and then mix it up with a poncho, sweater, and capelet or two.

It's terrible, my desk never collects dust because the surface is always covered with WIP's of all sizes and shapes.