Previous month:
April 2004
Next month:
June 2004


This is Audrey before and after the determined frogging on Thursday night. She's still stewing in the pot, but I'll pick her up and give it another go before Monday.



I knew it would be a very slow day at work yesterday, so I brought books to make working copies of some patterns. I made copies of the "Galway" chart and pieced them all together to make a 60-row repeat (that's 1/3 of the pattern). I cut and taped and marked all kinds of notes to myself (RS, WS, arrows to indicate the direction to read, order of the charts). It's been a challenge to wrap my head around all this. I'm no stranger to reading a chart, even large and complicated ones, as I've done many a cross-stitch sampler. Unlike working a sampler, though, where you can stab the fabric and start wherever you want, a knitting chart has to be followed stitch-by-stitch, row-by-row, and there is no background upon which to work.


I also brought knitting (Galway) to work for the first time ever. I forgot to grab the cable needle, though, so here's what I used instead.


Other than having too sharp a point, I really liked using this nail! I needed a cable needle for 2 sts at most, so the length of the nail was great; it wasn't rough, but it did have some texture, so it didn't slide around and even if it did, look at that great big nailhead to keep it from falling out! I managed to knit about a dozen rows at work, using my pieced-together chart, and have thought of some improvements to said chart which I will try today. I knit a few more rows last night. I think I'm on about row 26 in this picture. The Wool Ease is not the most perfect yarn for showing off the stitches, but I think it will improve as it grows. Having completed a full repeat of the largest chart and several of the smaller two, I am feeling more comfortable.

We're in for another Memorial Day Weekend of crappy weather, so knitting it will be!


Little Green Ball

While at work yesterday, I resolved to frog the body of Audrey. I wavered a couple of times when the knitting devil whispered in my ear, but there were too many things I was unhappy about to continue. And, to be honest, that darn devil's been on my shoulder since the very beginning of that piece. Why don't I listen? Why not rip out 4 rows instead of umpty-4 rows? With the number of stitches I had, there was going to be crap at the edges for seaming. I was thinking that I'd fix it with the other piece, but that's just dumb. Do it right. Just Do It. Then, of course, some of my increases were done incorrectly. I'm just not knitting that wonderful yarn into a crappy sweater that I won't wear. So, in the end, I have a little green ball to show for this week's knitting. (I took before and after pics, but they're still in the camera.) Audrey and I will make nice sometime over the weekend (thankfully, we have three days to patch things up), but we weren't in the mood for each other last night.

Lest you think it was all so grim around my house last night, let me chalk one up in the "I'm Ecstatic" column! When I got home, Aran Knitting was on the kitchen table!! I'd requested it online from a library outside our system on the 16th and have been a Nervous Nelly ever since. I was so afraid that my request would be denied (and for no good reason, either, just a feeling), and I even asked about it in person at our library earlier this week -- would they be sure to let me know either way?? (My family thinks I'm nuts to be getting my undies in a bundle over a knitting book.) Well, K had to pick up a CD at the library yesterday, and they had my book, too! It didn't even come from all that far away (I could have driven to that particular library in 20 minutes), but it hadn't shown up in the online catalog. Who cares? I've got it in my hands for a couple of weeks! Yay!!

I'd phoned home before leaving work yesterday to say that I had a stop to make and I'd be home a little later than usual. It was K on the other end, wondering where I was going. Um, well, the craft store. She said, "You can't go there without me!" So, it was an after-dinner trip instead of an after-work trip. Knowing that I was going to frog Audrey, and knowing that seaming Summer Sonata was not the kind of thing I like to do in the evening, and knowing that I had nothing in my stash for the lightweight cotton top I mentioned yesterday, it was time for fiber therapy, even if it was at a place with a paltry selection. It was dismal -- maybe 3 suitable cottons, mostly in pastels or primaries -- I ended up with some mercerized cotton in a color similar to, but much darker than, the Endless Summer Sonata. And, I was lucky to get the 3 balls I needed (of the 6 in stock) with the same dye lot (the other 3 were all unique, and even K could see the difference)! I also bought two skeins of gray Lion Brand Wool Ease that were missing their labels for $1.15 each.

I started several swatches with the cotton on several needle sizes and it was so far off that it isn't even funny. It's a pretty simple pattern, and I decided that it might be easier (and look better) to adjust the pattern to fit my gauge. But I didn't want to do that last night. So, I pulled out the Wool Ease and cast on 37 stitches for "Galway," an adorable child's hat in Aran Knitting, what else?

Even while happily paging through AK and looking at all the pretty pictures, I couldn't help but notice something else. Charts. Lots 'n lots 'n lots of charts. You know how much knitting I've done using a chart? Next to nothing. And I'm going to dive in and knit St. Brigid -- from a chart? No, from 5 charts? For some things (mosaics come to mind), I don't feel like I need to practice, but for something like this, I think it wise -- and it's exactly what I had in mind when I bought the Wool Ease. I didn't even do a swatch because what I really need is to practice technique and chart-reading. "Galway" has three charts, and I think I now know what it must feel like when a lefty learns to write right-handed. The C-B-A, left-to-right reading for the even rows is coming along okay. I don't think it will take long to memorize the symbol key, either. The A-B-C, right-to-left idea for the odd rows is just a little harder to grasp. So, I was happily knitting along, making little cables and waves and bobbles, and I really thought I was concentrating, but I was not. I guess it's all just a little foggy, really! I may have knit row 2 left-to-right, but it might have been A-B-C. I couldn't even hold the concept for 2 rows! I was in about 6 rows when I realized that it was stitch soup dripping off my needles. I ripped it out, grabbed some slightly larger needles, and started over. I was determined to get those first 6 rows under my belt, and I stayed up until I did. Just Do It. Practice, practice, practice. You're not starting St. Brigid 'til fall, right grrs??

Remember when Nike's slogan was "Just Do It"? Twin-K adopted it as her mantra a few years ago. As a New Year's Resolution, it was a bit more catchy and much more inspiring than "I will stop procrastinating." She was damn good about it, too, and it rubbed off. I often tell myself, "Just Do It."

Okay, I'll stop foaming at the mouth here in just a minute. One more thing: Have I mentioned how much I love our new potty? (For details, scroll down to May 19's Home Improvement post.) I haven't had to stand at the ready, plunger in hand, for over a week! It is the little things! Woo-hoo.

And one more thing. I hope that all of you enjoying a three-day weekend have a great one. We were very happy yesterday, here in NE Wisconsin, to welcome back the 395th Ordnance Company after nearly a year in Iraq. Could there be more perfect timing? Happy Memorial Day!!

It's not me

Typepad seems to be a bit more cooperative this morning. I see that they have scheduled some server maintenance that should help. I was getting SO frustrated yesterday because the photo album pics were so slow to load, but I checked it all out this morning and it was much better/quicker. Whew.

Before I ripped Audrey last night, I checked the Audrey blog to see what I could discern about the increases from the pics of FOs. As it turns out, I think I'm doing them in the right place, or at least the way that other people have. I'm not real happy with the way some of my increases turned out, though -- I may have knit into the stitch incorrectly on a couple. Maybe I can fix them without ripping. I don't know. Maybe I need another project -- K2, P2 over 100 sts is, well, ugh.

How about something in a lightweight cotton? A few weeks ago, I stopped by a thrift store and found two books -- one was a knitting book from the '80s featuring cotton, and the other was a macrame book from the '70s. (If you've read "About Me," you may recall that I did a little macrame once upon a time -- and I liked it!) The knitting book really had only 2 or 3 patterns that I liked, and one is a slightly blouson, sleeveless top in lightweight cotton with a little bit of cable detail and written with two options for the neckline. I think I want to make it. I need to go buy yarn. Maybe today.

It was a good day off yesterday. One of the best things was getting my hair fixed. I did something on Saturday that I haven't done in more than 20 years. I grabbed a scissors on my way to the bathroom and after I washed my hair, I whacked it off. Three inches on the floor. How about a little do-it-yourself layering? Oy. I KNOW BETTER! The only thing I liked was the new length; I have thick hair and lots of it and, well, what can I say? It wasn't good. I put my tail between my legs and went for help.

I tuned in for the last half-hour of American Idol last night. Yay Fantasia!! I loved the song she sang at the end, and heard it on the radio again this morning. Wow.


I had seen some mosaic work at an art fair during a 3-Sister (vs. 4-Sister) Weekend a few years ago -- picture frames, boxes, small tables, all done with broken dishes. It was something we put in the "that would be fun to do on a Sister Weekend" file, but I guess I couldn't wait. I've been collecting material ever since and last summer, it was a "go." We sided and painted our garage last spring and had saws and worktables and the whole shebang right handy in the garage, so I took advantage of the workshop atmosphere (and DH's willingness to help build the table) and dove right in. Yep, I'm a diver. Why fart around, "practicing" (to my view, wasting time, really) by making a picture frame when what I really wanted was a table for the deck?!

I've made a "Mosaics" photo album and have about a dozen pics in there. Many of them are progress photos -- not all of the pieces had been glued down and there was no grout. I took a few of the finished table this morning. Because of my locale, I did bring it in over the winter, and will continue to do so, but it seems to take rain just fine. I can't believe that I don't have a picture of the fleur-de-lis tray that I made for Twin-K! I know I took some, but perhaps they were inadvertently deleted. She's a smart cookie, but techno savvy? No. She is mystified by anything computer related. Is it something in their genes, because Twin-S has even less aptitude for this stuff. Anyway, I've put in a request that she snap and send me some digi-pics and perhaps that will motivate her to find the manual and figure it out. It's so cool, too, because it was part of a French-themed gift -- a creme brulee cookbook, ramekins, sugar assortment, torch and fuel!

Either my internet connection is excruciatingly slow today or Typepad didn't like being bombarded with all those pics at once -- or something. Slow, slow, slow.

Audrey's going to get ripped back some. I knitted away last night while watching "The Magdalene Sisters" with K, and I think my increases are wrong. I'm also beginning to doubt whether Audrey is for me. I'm going to rip, re-do, and then try to do a little "mirror, mirror, on the wall" assessment. Will Audrey be the fairest one of all -- especially for me? Sometimes I think I might be a bit too old (I hate it when I say things like that) for a design like that. We'll see. I'm not tossing her out the window yet.

K spotted a single DVD of "The Magdalene Sisters" on the shelf at the video store the other night. That, in itself -- a single copy of a movie -- is intriguing enough to pursue it, I guess, but it had already been rented, which somehow made it even more intriguing. So, we watched it last night. I really didn't know what I was getting into (but there's a family affinity with that name), nor that it was based on true stories and experiences of young grrs who grew up in orphanages or were sent to the "Magdalenes" because they'd become pregnant out of wedlock -- or even because it was thought that they MIGHT become pregnant (they were pretty or there was a suspicion of impropriety). Ay-yiyiyiyiyi! This was in Catholic Ireland, the story was set in the late '60s. There was also a documentary feature with women who'd lived there in the '40s, and it was just incredibly sad. Absolutely amazing is that the last home closed in 1996. 1996!

I'm sorry I don't have pics to show you right here in the blog. I'm usually pretty good about that on Wednesdays. I spent all my time over in that photo album today, so please enjoy. Let me know if you have any problems or any questions. I'll try to nail down my sources more specifically, they really were helpful.


It was Victoria Day in Canada yesterday. We lived in Toronto for about a year when I was a little girl. So, I somehow connect the dots and feel some vague association with a holiday that bears my name in a country where I once lived! Even if I don't remember a thing about living there. Plus, K was delivered by a doc who hailed from Saskatchewan. I've never met anyone else from Saskatchewan. I'm glad I met him, though, because I have a reason to say "Saskatchewan" every once in a while.

Since Wisconsin is relatively close to Canada, I'm kind of surprised that I haven't been there more often. My dad took all of us kids on a trip around Lake Superior one summer in a Winnebago (1969 or '70?). Most memorable was Thunder Bay, having my picture taken at a scenic lookout for a tourism brochure (don't know if it was ever used), and an excruciatingly long quest for fly paper. Dad took a great home movie of all five of us trying to trap flies in paper cups and releasing them outside. It was awful. We listened to Gary Puckett and The Union Gap on a cassette player and played lots of Monopoly. I still crank up the radio and smile every time I hear one of those songs.

My husband and I drove through Canada from Oregon to Wisconsin once. Oregon was the target of many British Columbia tourism compaigns, but I'll take Alberta any day! Wow. Since I was pregnant, I mostly had to watch DH enjoy the hot springs at Banff. This trip must have been in 1984, and Calgary was already preparing for the Olympics, if I recall correctly. I remember watching Calgary fade in the rear view mirror as we drove east.

Did we look like drug smugglers or bank robbers? Our entry back into the US at International Falls on that trip was none too pleasant. Our entire car and all of our baggage was searched, the authorities apparently not believing that all we'd have to show for our time there was a lousy t-shirt.

When K was a year old, we went to Vancouver, BC, for EXPO 86 -- the World's Fair, basically. That was kind of a weird trip, too. It was the first time that we ventured so far with our little girl, and she was crabby. She was suffering from her first-ever diaper rash, and it was bad; found out later that it was actually a yeast infection. It just put a little damper on things, ya know?

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick, even Newfoundland and Labrador, have been on my mind lately. That sounds like a nice drive, huh? Someday...

So, there you go, my history with Canada. You just never know what's going to set me off!

On the knitting front, I continued with Audrey last night, of course! I made all the decreases as written and made the first increase before putting it down last night. I could have stayed up longer, and I'd have liked to, but I'd be sufferin' today. I think it's going okay...

I'm so excited to work on the mosaic photo album. Tune in tomorrow!

Monday, Monday

Knitting news first! I finished the second sleeve of Audrey last night, cast on for the front/back, and my next row -- tonight -- will be the first decrease row! Yay!!

Thank you for the nice garden comments! Since the kids require so much less of my time and attention these days, it's been a lot easier to garden! Some folks are able to do both at the same time, but it's never worked for me; I could grow kids or I could grow a garden. The kids' gardening appetite has been whetted nonetheless, and K&A came with DH and me to the nursery yesterday. We froze our little tushies off, but had fun picking out plants. I bought some pink tuberous begonias for the front porch planter and some Irish moss for a spot outside the back door; DH bought some varieties of hens & chicks that we don't already have; K&A bought a mix of annuals and perennials for a bare spot in the back. Now, if it would only dry up and warm up a bit, we could plant!

I cleaned out my closet on Saturday. That's a biggie! I have two garbage bags full of clothes, and the hooks on the backs of the bathroom doors (two) are full. It's called purging, and it's a good thing. Two of my sisters may be able to make use of some of it, the rest will be sold at Rummage-O-Rama (an annual rummage sale at my sis's) in August, or given to charity. I usually use the rummage sale proceeds for school supplies, though once I used it to help fund my Maytag Neptunes, and this year it may go to stash enhancement -- perhaps the fiber for St. Brigid, unless (and this is likely) I have it by then!

On Saturday night, we watched "House of Sand and Fog." That happens to be the very first book we read for the (very informal) book club to which I belong. I can't say that any of us really liked the book, but we were all definitely riveted and had strong feelings. I had the urge to slap someone when I was reading the book, and the urge returned upon watching the movie! Moral of the story: open your mail.

On Sunday morning, M was watching "Billy Elliott." It doesn't take much for me to get sucked in, especially this movie! Though I have seen it many times, I still get emotional; it's a favorite at our house.

And because the weather sucked pretty much all weekend, what else is there to do but watch movies? On Sunday night, K and I watched "Lost In Translation." She'd seen it a couple of times already, but I never had. It was great. Bill Murray is fabulous.

Hey, Christine, I just happen to have some pics of that mosaic table and I'll get them up this week. I bought an inexpensive wooden tray at Wal-Mart last year and made a mosaic tray with a fleur-de-lis design as a Christmas present for one of my sister's, also using old dishes. I should have some pics of that, too. The biggest problem I've had with both of those projects is the non-uniform thickness of the pieces -- grouting is a challenge. It's worth the putzy stuff, though, and so much fun to do!


Warning: Shutterbug results ahead (click any or all for a larger pop-up).

GardenIt was still raining a little bit this morning, but it seems to have stopped and it's even getting a little brighter outside. Still a long way to go before I'll say "sunny." I just got back from a little stroll with the pup and could have used sunglasses. Anyway, took a little stroll to the back garden and snapped a few pics. This is a pretty good overview of a garden we've reworked a few times over the years. There was an overgrown patch or two when we moved in, and we didn't do much until the summer of 1990. I discovered that there had been an old brick patio (or something) and dug them all out (we re-used them, as we like brick walkways and the like) so I could plant an herb and wildflower garden. Later that summer, we found out that a baby was on the way, and for the next 10 +/- years, it became a wildflower/weed garden with a few surviving herbs. Then DH decided to rework the whole area. He made it smaller, more manageable and raised it a bit, and this version has been much more successful.

PoppyOne of the things I've been most excited about this year is this poppy. I planted it four years ago. It has come up faithfully every year, but has never given me a flower. This year, I have --count 'em-- TWO!! It had a flower when I planted it, and I think it was a salmon color, but I can't even remember.

ForgetI also planted a forget-me-not a few years ago. Yes, one. That thing's been spreading like crazy -- I even have a volunteer growing in the path. You can see how blue it is on an overcast day like today, you should see them in the sun.

AiumAnd a single, lovely alium blooming. In the background is a bust that K made in a high school clay class.

PotsWe love clay class! This is what A recently brought home from hers. I just love these, and I love the colors that she chooses for her projects. They are resting on a mosaic table that I made last summer from broken dishes I've gathered. I think I may make at least one more this summer -- I have plenty of material and I just can't seem to stop collecting!

SleeveAnd, finally, knitting news; precious little, really. I knitted on the second Audrey sleeve last night and you can see my progress as compared to the first -- about half-way, I guess. I'm anxious to put the sleeves behind me. I even thought about casting on for the front or back last night and working on both for a while.

A&M just got back from seeing Shrek 2, and loved it. They especially liked Puss-In-Boots, and were surprised to have recognized Julie Andrews as the voice of the Queen.


It's icky outside and my mood all day has been about the same. It's raining (a little thunderstorm, actually) and it's darn cold. If I had Audrey finished, I'd be wearin' her today! Making some progress on the second sleeve, though, and maybe I can get started on the body over the weekend.

I'm flushed

Thanks for the nice comments on my Audrey sleeve! There was precious little knitting time last night, what with sitting in an auditorium for a 2-1/2 hour spring choir concert at the high school (my butt hurts -- that's too long!), but A was in it and I'd never miss an opportunity like that! She's in the grrs chorus, but next year it's concert choir -- I insisted!

Anyway, I picked up the needles as soon as I got home and knitted a few more rows on the second sleeve. I was about 15 rows in when I decided I'd have to rip. Flabby stitches here and there -- ick. I think I cast on a little tighter than the first, also, and should have just started over from the get-go. Oh well. I stayed up and watched a couple of episodes of M*A*S*H on the Hallmark Channel so I could make some appreciable progress. You know what they're airing tonight? The Audrey Hepburn Story!

The Helpful Hardware Man who assisted me yesterday morning wasn't really very helpful -- one of the fittings was the wrong size! I had told him that I had enough experience in home repair/improvement to know that I'd likely be back and, sure enough, I was. When I told HHM-2 that it was for a toilet, not a sink, he knew right away that I'd been given the wrong one. Was I supposed to know that white fittings are for sinks and blue for toilets? Don't you think that HHM-1 should have known that??

With all my other runnin' yesterday, it was mid-afternoon before the job was complete. I really like the way the new toilet looks, and it seems to work well, too. (I was given the honor of the first flush.) All in all, it went better than most jobs of that nature.

One of my stops yesterday was Barnes & Noble so I could buy the latest issue of Interweave Knits. And in the mail yesterday was the latest issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly. I only had time to page through them for a quick fix -- there were some things that caught my eye and I'm looking forward to a more leisurely look!

Home improvement

PottyThis is what we're -- um, okay, mostly the DH -- doing today. We went to Home Depot last night to buy the toilet. DH asked the clerk helping us if it was the correct one -- twice. He tried to look at it before we left, but one would have to unpack the entire box in the parking lot in order to do so. Get a feel for where this is leading? The "Complete Toilet-In-A-Box" that we came home with wasn't the one we wanted. Nifty idea, though, everything you need, including the seat, in one box. The one we wanted actually came in two boxes, seat sold separately. So, this morning, there has already been one trip back to HD for an exchange, and one trip to the local hardware store (I did that) for some kind of tube thing with fittings. The plumbing stuff isn't actually in my area of expertise as far as home maintenance/improvement goes. That's why you get these technical terms.

I know that the old toilet isn't as old as the house, because the house was built before there was actually indoor plumbing. Most people don't put a toilet right next to a window when planning a bathroom. But it's pretty darn old. It takes a lot of water for each flush, and multiple flushes are often required. The new one is much, much prettier, the base more closely matches the pedestal sink we installed several years ago, but the tank is much smaller. I'm sure that multiple flushes will never be a thing of the past, but I'll feel better knowing that the new one is more efficient in water usage. That white spot on the wall has just been painted.

ASleeve2Here's my first Audrey sleeve and the very beginning -- 4 rows -- of the second. I'm posting a close-up photo in the Audrey blog, if you're interested. The pattern design is awesome -- I'm speechless. I am so impressed with the finished Audreys, they are real motivators, and it's interesting to note the differences in finished fit among them.

I'll be off soon to order A's senior portraits. Though we are very happy with the studio settings, the photographer and the photographs, I should have shopped around with price in mind a little more. I really, really should have. I'm feeling pretty stupid. We're not getting anything fancy here, folks, an 8x10, 2-5x7s, 96 wallets (48 of two different poses), and 8 proofs, and it's gonna cost over $850. Which arm or leg can I do without?? K's were about half that price for the same stuff; I would never have looked for a different studio were that photographer still around! Ouch.

Try, try again

The bottom line is that it all works fine if you know the right side from the wrong. Ya know, those ribs just weren't lookin' like they were supposed to -- the 3 or 4 times that I knitted and then ripped -- but I finally got it and should be able to finish the first sleeve of Audrey tonight. I hope I'll have time to start on the second.

M commandeered my knitting spot for a while last evening and while I pined for a little time with Audrey, my attention was quickly redirected to Summer Sonata (I knew I'd have Audrey time later). Hm. Yes, I did say something about it being wearable by the weekend -- meaning last weekend -- and it isn't even close. I listened to Motown 45 on TV (did anyone besides Lionel Ritchie and Gladys Knight rehearse?) and started sewing in the sleeves. I have half a sleeve seam to go -- man, it sure seemed tedious. I'm hoping that the side seams will go a little quicker!

And since I had Sonata in hand, I remembered, too, that I still have a neckline to cinch. I pulled Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop off the shelf and got lost in the pages for a while. I might have finished both sleeves had I not been sidetracked -- but no regrets!

Speaking of books, I ordered Knitting On The Edge last week from Crafter's Choice Book Club. I love edgings (Audrey's neck and Seville's bottom band) and have always wanted to knit edgings for the many shelves in my kitchen. Good enough reasons, huh? Plus, with that purchase, I think I finally have enough points for a free book.

I showed K my blog for the first time the other day; it took me a while to even admit to her that I had one. I knew she'd think it was weird that her mom had a blog (even though she's had one or two for a few years). And she did. She typed in the address, k-n-i-t-o-r-i-o-u-s, and said, "Oh, I get it!" Then she saw my cactus-coiffed pothead* picture and that really confirmed Mom's weirdness. She said that if she'd just happened upon my blog and saw that picture, well, it's just weird! She got over the shock pretty quickly, though, and noticed all the things I could do with Typepad that she could not with her current blog(s). With the level I chose, there can be more than one blog, so she's movin' in. Unfortunately, I haven't saved photos and links and things with the idea of sharing in mind. I'm going to have to do a little rearranging so that my photo albums, for instance, don't show up on her blog.

*What is it about these things? My Grandma had a few and I suppose that's why I like them; I especially like the ones with "real" jewelry, like this one. My sister gave this to me several years ago prior to a big move. The "hat/hair" wasn't nearly as big then and it's been fun watching it grow. I always thought it was the perfect plant for this pot.

Hosta happiness

Elegansfrances_williamssum_substanceThe camera accompanied me outdoors over the weekend. Just a little over two weeks ago, I snapped pics of two of these guys (E and FW), which you can see here. Presenting (from left to right, click any of 'em for bigger view) Elegans (with toes!), Frances Williams, and Sum & Substance. I love the names, I love their color and texture, I love their big leafiness -- all three of these are large varieties. I have another large one, Blue Angel, which I will show you soon, as well as some smaller (and even one mini) varieties. I have a lot of shady areas in my yard, so have developed an appreciation for hostas!

LilyAs I walked through the woods on the way to the craft fair yesterday, I noticed the lilies of the valley blooming like crazy. A went down later and picked a bouquet for me. I wish you could smell them -- so sweet!

audrey_sleeveAnd here is my progress -- before any knitting last night -- on the Audrey sleeve. I ripped once since this photo, and I fear I'll be doing it again tonight. I think my main problem last night was weariness and an inability to tell Ps from Ks while reading the pattern; the result is kind of a mess! With my mid-40s eyesight, I should probably have enlarged as I photocopied that pattern!

Warning: A bit of a ramble ahead. Feel free to turn back!

I have read numerous blog posts in recent days about support received from other bloggers -- not just in the realm of knitting, but in more personal respects as well. No matter what the reason for these posts (sometimes even questioning whether to continue), in the end it seems all about camaraderie. The knitting, of course, is the common thread in this "community," and while many people blog only about knitting, others share more details of their personal situation and even ask for advice. I am a relative newcomer to blogland, and am simply amazed to discover what a wonderful system of support it is. It's not difficult to find others with similar circumstances -- they have kids, they're a student, a single parent, an at-home mom, a professional -- or to wistfully "live" for five vicarious minutes as someone you might have been had circumstances been different. The collective wisdom and life experience, and the levels of understanding, sharing, and giving -- except for copyrighted material ; ) -- and the wit and humor with which it is all dispensed (for the most part) are unbelievable! Can you ever have or draw support from too many "friends"?

When my sisters (I have 3) and I lived in closer proximity, we would get together 3 or 4 times a year for "Sister Weekends." Sometimes we would just revel in being together, each working on our own projects. Other times, we would share something new with the others. My youngest sister worked for an upholsterer when she was in high school, and we spent one weekend together reupholstering another sister's chair. One of the twins had taken a basket-making class, and we spent one weekend learning to make baskets. The other twin learned to quilt (and will be working on her sampler quilt for the rest of her life, I swear!), and we spent a weekend learning to quilt; each quilting something -- pillow or wall-hanging -- as mom's Mother's Day gift that year.

We weren't always that close -- three of us are only a year and a half apart in age, so you can imagine what our teenage years were like (and some of us have scars to prove it)! We're all very different -- even the twins are fraternal and bear closer resemblance to the non-twins -- and have chosen vastly different paths. We have a common thread, though, and an unshakable trust in and respect for each other; we draw on each other for support, reassurance, understanding, rejuvenation and inspiration. Naturally, we sometimes disagree, and we sometimes still fight, but we can always depend on each other.

Due to distance and circumstance, my sisters and I are unable to get together as often as we used to. It is something that I miss very much. Through blogland, though, I feel that I have adopted an amazing number of "sisters" -- some more guarded than others, some are more outspoken, some I like more than others, some are more like me and others are not, some don't even know that I'm there -- and writing in my blog and reading theirs is truly something I look forward to every single day (well, almost). I'm kind of surprised by that -- that it has become so important in such a short amount of time -- and I gather that others are, as well. In this world that sometimes seems to be spinning out of control, it's kind of a grounding thing.

Anyone for a group hug??


I feel like I've been knitting in slow motion this weekend; have had some shoulder twinges, so I'm trying to take it easy.  There were times yesterday when my right arm felt like dead weight.  Weird. I paid particular attention to my posture last night as I knitted while watching "Master [of knitting -- or not?] and Commander."

I have been enticed by Katy and Sue with the idea of a St. Brigid knit-along in the fall. I fell in love with that sweater when I first saw it in Katy's archives.  I don't have "Aran Knitting," so I checked my library's online catalog from the comfort of my own home (I love technology!).  Our local library system doesn't have it, but there is one available nearby, so I put in my request.  Fingers crossed, as those requests aren't always honored. I'd love to have that book in my hands, even if for a very short while.

It's been a wonderful weekend weatherwise and I was able to accomplish a few things in the area of homekeeping, including hanging some laundry on the line yesterday (one of my favorite things) and doing some overdue cleaning.

This morning, I walked with a neighbor to a local arts & crafts festival. The new gift/knitting/needlework shop that I'd stopped at several weeks ago kicked off their grand opening week today, so I ran over there with Katie and bought a clicker row counter.  I also ordered the "Street Smarts" book from Patons that has the "Must Have Cardigan" pattern -- I've fallen in love with that sweater since seeing it on numerous blogs, and it's a "must have" for me! The shop carries a wider variety of everyday yarns & supplies than our local dime store, and better stuff than, say, Wal-Mart, plus the Maggi Knits line. At this point, they don't have enough knitting stuff that I would call them an LYS, but I do believe I'll be able to give them a little business!  Okay, this was going to be a quick update!  Blah-blah-blah.  Hope you're all havin' a mighty fine weekend.

Knitting a dream

It was worth the wait, and even the angst; I don't know if I've ever been so taken with a yarn before. Calmer glides through my fingers like air and requires a very light touch. I didn't get as much knitting time last night as I'd hoped, and am only 30+ rows into the first sleeve of Audrey, but I couldn't be happier. If it's this great to knit, I can only imagine what it's going to be like to wear this sweater -- I'm thinking it's going to just float on the skin.

So, about 15 rows in, I'm wondering what else I could knit with Calmer! I did not put down the needles to search for a new project; first things first, eh? At this point, though, I can definitely see myself using this yarn again. It's pricey, but it would be worth macaroni & cheese dinners for a month in order to save my pennies. I'd do it in a heartbeat, but the family might not be so willing!

I accompanied K to the library last night and found the most delightful little book. It is Knitting From the Netherlands: Traditional Dutch Fishermen's Sweaters by Henriette Van Der Klift-Tellegen. I have never knit a traditional Aran or a fisherman's sweater of any ethnic origin, but I do love cables and stitch patterns. I paged through the book last night just to look at the pictures; my brain couldn't help but process some of the words along the way and it's full of information! The book appeals to me in a variety of ways. First, it's a knitting book! Second, it's full of history. Third, it has lots of photographs of the very best kind -- old ones! Fourth, I happen to live near an area where Van-something is a common component in a surname. It's going to be a fun and educational read!

On the docket tonight/this weekend: Audrey, of course, and sewing sleeves and seams on Summer Sonata. Maybe I can go button shopping for Cecil, too. I'll get a pic of Audrey posted soon.

Woo-hoo times two

Woo-hoo 1: Calmer is an absolute dream. Everything you've read is true -- it is soft and light as a cloud and just wonderful to knit with. I knit up my Audrey swatch last night and it's all good! As many have done, I cast on to knit a sleeve first; the elasticity does take some getting used to and this just seems the best way to proceed. That's as far as I got because then it was time for...

Woo-hoo 2: Fleetwood Mac. I still have a voice and my ears have stopped ringing; it was a very loud concert (the mega speakers were crackling at times). K & I enjoyed every minute! Lindsay Buckingham came out hot and gave a great show to a delighted and adoring crowd. Stevie Nicks finally started having fun about half-way through, and it made a big difference. I was most disappointed in the projection and screens. Compared to Rod Stewart's production -- images, live or retrospective, were constant and crisp -- this one sucked. For the most part, the huge screen at the rear of the stage was just lit with color; kind of a waste. I wouldn't have missed it, though, and I'm certainly happy that I had the opportunity.

The challenge today will be to keep my head up and eyes open, working a 10-hour day on less than 5 hours of sleep! I'll hum to myself, and think about that pot o' Calmer patiently waiting at home.

Disaster averted

An emotional meltdown was averted today, as well. Now I'm feeling...
PotCalmerBallCalmerHaving taken care of some things earlier this week, it was I special trip to the LYS upon which I embarked this afternoon. While approaching the door, I was happy to see the "open" sign, but there was some resistance as I tried to turn the doorknob. The door was locked! There was a note on the door! Blah, blah, blah -- I don't care why the store is closed when it's supposed to be open! I don't care why it's going to close early tomorrow, either! Tomorrow, too?! When am I going to get this yarn?? I stood dumbfounded for a few minutes; I wanted to sit on the stoop and cry! I had peered through the window, though, and there were people in the back of the store, likely a knitting group finishing up. Half-way back to my car, I decided that they were going to let me in. Either I'd get my yarn or I'd leave a note in my angry-shaky handwriting demanding that the yarn be sent to me with no shipping charges. They did open the door, and they were very calm while I tried my best to be, and I did get my yarn. I didn't go into a rant (I'm saving that for you lucky people!), but I did let my situation and displeasure be known. I really didn't get much sympathy, but hardly expected to. I'm happy that I have my yarn, but I'm not a happy customer. Next time, I'm trying another shop; $20 frequent buyer card be damned.

SSsleeve2SSsleeve1Just look at those lovelies! The knitting pot has found a new occupant and is nearly overflowing. I think the color you see is pretty true -- it is a very pale, light green. It feels as marvelous as it looks and I can't wait to cast on some stitches! I think this color will be great and the fiber wearable all year long.

I leave you with a couple of shots of the Summer Sonata sleeves. I'm thinking that this should be wearable by the weekend.

One of those days

It's around 1:30 p.m. and I only just took a shower and got dressed. If I worked from home, I might never get dressed! I've taken care of a lot of stuff that was on my plate today, but there's still more. One of them is "dessert," but it won't be waiting 'til the end. Calmer, Calmer, Calmer -- I'm going to get it today and I can't wait to have it in my hands!

Can you believe I went to the DMV yesterday and didn't bring my driver's license?! The guy barely blinked; we were able to transfer the title and get the plates, the only thing was that they'd have to mail the title (because I didn't have my DL) rather than just give it to me. So, we picked up A's car last night and she was elated. She bought it from her cheerleading coach, who put together a "survival kit" and left it in the backseat -- a Rubbermaid container with various road necessities. Plus, when A went for the spare key in the unused ashtray, there was $20! Wasn't that sweet? Her first tank of gas, compliments of coach.

I carried on with the second sleeve of the Summer Sonata last night and was pleased with how it turned out. I tore out the first as far as the eyelet row where the pattern changed, and reworked it, too. They're finished! I didn't do any seaming last night, but did weave in a few ends that wouldn't likely be necessary for seaming. So, to finish, I need to 1) insert sleeves, 2) seam the sides/sleeves, 3) try the elastic thread around the neckline. An FO is on the horizon!

Okay, I'm off to do my road chores, with a side trip for "dessert." I'd sure like to knit a few swatch rows before leaving for the Fleetwood Mac concert tonight!

Angels and devils

Aaarrrgggh. I do believe I'll be hovering around a sleeve and a half for a little while here. I really need to stop blowing off that inner (knitting angel) voice; even while knitting the first sleeve, I was having some doubts, but the other (knitting devil) voice kept telling me that it would be okay. Not so! The Endless Summer Sonata yarn is great; being a mercerized cotton, it doesn't have much/any give, but the result of this pattern is really quite a stretchy, lightweight fabric. The short sleeves knit along just fine until just past the second eyelet row -- this is where the cap shaping really starts and there are decreases at the end of each row. Perhaps I'm knitting those decreases too tightly at the edge, or maybe I really don't need those selvage stitches, or maybe I'm just tense. Whatever the cause, I'm not happy with the result. The cap edge is tight, almost puckered, and I don't think the devil voice is correct when it tells me that it will all be fine when seamed. So I ripped that second sleeve down to the eyelet row a couple of times last night. I think I'm on the right track now, but the first/finished sleeve is breathing down my neck. Moving backward is never easy, but it's the right thing to do.

The kids only have a half day of school today (I don't know why), so I'll be meeting DH & A at the DMV this afternoon to take care of the title and license for A's new car! Though a 1994 Saturn wagon is not a teenager's dream-mobile, it has four wheels and is good on gas, and we like Saturns at our house!

It's another of those unexpected sunny mornings and I don't even have the lights on in the office! I hope y'all can enjoy a little ray of sunshine today, too!

1-1/2 sleeves

Well, I didn't get quite as far on Summer Sonata as I was hoping this weekend, but I do have a sleeve and a half. It won't be long now. Saturday was such a dreary day, I just didn't feel like doing anything! I would really rather be at work on a day like that. We got a lot of rain over the weekend, though, so gardens and lawns are happy -- lots of lawns around town are overdue for a mowing, but it's been too wet.

Sunday was a little bit brighter, and it was Mother's Day. One of my sisters came up and we all went out for pizza. Apparently, everyone else took their mom out for breakfast, lunch or brunch, because we were the only ones there!

I'm planning to have the Calmer for Audrey in my hands on Wednesday. I have other chores to do in the vicinity of my LYS that day, so it'll be worth the trip. I ought to have all the knitting finished on SS by then and can dive right in and swatch. From the sounds of things at the Audrey blog, I really should buckle down and swatch. Don't know if I'll have much time for that on Wednesday, though, as that's the day of the Fleetwood Mac concert! YAY!!

Pot o' knitting

pot_o_knittingThis is where Summer Sonata is hanging out. I'm not real sure why. It's very portable, though, and that's important because Mickey likes to get into my knitting and I need to put it away easily. Speaking of Mickey, I made a new photo album for the pets. You've already met Mickey, our beagle puppy, so may I introduce our kitties, Scamp and Roxie. They are brother and sister and have been part of our household for a while now. We brought Scamp home first and then broke down and brought Roxie home a week later; I think they forgot that they knew each other because there was some spittin' and hissin' for a while.

Here are the front and back of Summer Sonata before being knit together (there's a photo of that in the What I'm Working On album). Here, too, is a picture of the gaping neckband. (You can click 'em all for a larger view.) I'm pretty sure I have some elastic thread around here somewhere. Has anyone tried this, or have another suggestion? I'm hoping to have the sleeves finished this weekend.

Attached at the shoulder

I did everything I was hoping to do last night, but it was "crime time" TV on the tube instead of "Friends." I am so happy with the progress on Summer Sonata -- and K was darn impressed when I held up an attached front and back with neckband! Afraid of binding off the neckband too tightly, it turned out a bit too loose; I think I'm going to work in some elastic thread to take care of that problem. It was getting late, so I did not cast on for sleeves; instead, I enjoyed my accomplishment!

My LYS called yesterday afternoon and the Calmer has arrived. She told me that they'll be closed Friday and Saturday (they're always closed on Sunday and Monday), but that she'd be open 'til 9:00 yesterday/Thursday -- except from 5:00-6:30. Hmmm. Yes, I told her, I've tried to stop by on my way home from work on Thursday nights and found the door locked. She said that she likes to go get a bite to eat. I believe this must be the "emergency" I wrote about a little while ago. I certainly won't deny that a person needs to eat, but I work a 10-hour day with little opportunity to bolt and I pack a lunch! It just seems to me that if your sign says open 'til 9:00, then you should be open. If you have a regularly scheduled emergency feeding during that time, then change the ^*$(^* sign. So, the Calmer won't be in my hands for a week or so.

I snapped some pics last night -- garden (forget-me-nots!) and knitting -- but was unable to knock M off the computer to get them uploaded. Tune in tomorrow.


I will be able to knit together a shoulder of Summer Sonata tonight! I am going to do just the one, then pick up the stitches I need on the sides of the neck along with the stitches for the back and front that are on holders and knit the neckline rows on straight needles. I'd considered knitting the neckline on a circular needle, but I feel so clumsy with those. The way I'm doing it is actually how it's written in the pattern -- minus the short row shaping and knitting together of the shoulders. I'm thinking that I ought to be able to accomplish that much tonight, and quite probably the knitting of the other shoulder. That will leave only sleeves!

I was just thinking this morning that when I started Summer Sonata, I fully intended to set it aside the minute I had the Calmer for Audrey -- that was supposed to take a week. Well, it's been about a month! I know I would never have sat idle -- waiting, tapping my foot, drumming my fingers -- in anticipation of the Calmer's arrival, and I would have eventually started Summer Sonata, but I feel like I got a jump and now it is certainly looking like I'll have an FO very, very soon! In fact, at this point, I'll finish SS before I take on Audrey. I don't think I've read a bad word about knitting with Calmer over at the Audrey blog (button at left), and I'm still looking forward to knitting with it.

I'm wearing Nancy today. I dug a hooded, blue, zip-front, silk jacket (part of a 2-piece dress) out of the closet to wear with it, and it looks good. I think I will be trying my hand at knitting around the armholes again, but I'm going to have to be very careful. The bottom is curling a bit, too, and I'll have to figure out a way to remedy that.

Though I'm not a Friends fanatic, I will be watching the last episode tonight. It has been inescapable on TV of late. I saw a little bit of Kt & Matt's show on NBC last night -- who knew that Matthew Perry's dad was the Old Spice man?? And that Jennifer Aniston's dad is "Victor Kiriakis"??


I don't recall that I ever knitted in public. Today, I was un-knitting in public! I did the "walk-in" for an oil change and brought the Nancy sweater along to rip out the knitting around the armholes. I was concerned about finding and unweaving the ends, but didn't really have a problem. There was a young woman sitting next to me and as soon as I started to rip, she got up and moved. Perhaps un-knitting makes people nervous! I finished that chore and had just cracked a BH&G magazine when they came to tell me that my car was ready -- and washed!

I don't know if I'm going to re-knit those rows. I'll try it on and see how it looks -- maybe even wear it once -- before I decide. The armhole decreases are done 3 stitches from the edge and it just doesn't look all that bad. I'll keep you posted.

I still had time between the oil change and picking up A's senior photo proofs, so went to buy Mom's Mother's Day gift certificate (we've given her a g.c. from a local greenhouse for M's Day for years -- perfect time of year for such a gift). A's portraits are beautiful -- and so many! I brought home five portfolios with 8 photos each, plus 5 or 6 more photos. We have two weeks to choose and it's going to be very hard.

My morning went pretty well! My afternoon wasn't bad, either. Evening... Tonight was book club; it's been at 6:30 on a Wednesday night for a couple of years now, but for some reason I showed up at 6:00 tonight! There was a Wal-Mart nearby, so I decided to go look at their paltry button selection to see if I could find something for Cecil.

I finished the first shoulder on the Summer Sonata and have a start toward the second! I had time to work on it last night, and even for a few minutes this afternoon. I'm getting so excited to finish that one, and I'm off to do some more!

Boundless energy...

...and endless optimism? What could A be thinking?? While their dad was otherwise occupied for a few minutes last night, I had a quick huddle with K&A and acknowledged their desire to surprise him with a While You Were Out of his own for Father's Day. I told them my thoughts on the project and that they should think about what they want to do and we'll huddle again soon to come up with a plan. A said that we should/could do all three!! Yowza -- I think the new beau is making her giddy. I don't know if we could do all that even if Andrew Dan-Jumbo and Leslie were parked in the driveway! K was asked to photograph a friend's wedding, also, which happens to take place the same weekend. Time for a reality check!

In knitting news, I was able to skip out of work a half-hour early last night and that meant an extra 30 minutes of knittin' time while watching the news. I'm happy to report that I'm a few rows into the armhole shaping -- yay! Neck shaping is coming up.

I took a leisurely stroll down to the garden last night to see if anything was new and all I could see were dandelions! The radar must have been tuned in to other things on Sunday, because I hadn't noticed a single one. They're history now!

It's my day off tomorrow. I called to see if I could make an appointment for an oil change; they didn't have any openings, but walk-ins are welcome. I guess that makes sense on some level.

I've really been enjoying the blog entries about the doings in Maryland over the weekend and seeing all the pictures. I'd sure like to try a deep-fried Twinkie someday!

The kids are on a roll

No rest for the wicked, is there? The paint wasn't even dry on my early Mother's Day surprise and the kids were already talking about doing something similar for Father's Day -- which means that I'll be recruited. What shall we do? He'll be gone the weekend before Father's Day, from sometime Friday until late, late Sunday, so we'd probably have enough time to tackle our bedroom. Wouldn't it be nice to give his studio a sprucing up, though? And there's the old upstairs kitchen (the house had been a two-family residence on and off for years, and that room is now mostly storage) that needs a new ceiling (thanks to the roofers from hell -- but that's another story) and other stuff, and has been weighing on our minds. We have a little time to think about it, but also need to come up with a plan of action.

I spent a little time in the garden yesterday, pulling weeds (never ends) and transplanting some hostas and lamb's ear. It was a nice day. After that, I came in and finished seaming Cecil and weaving in the rest of the ends between folding loads of laundry. All I need are buttons!

We waited for A to come home from work before we ate last night, so it was quite late -- someone commented on our eating dinner at 7:40 p.m.! After that, the rest of the night flew right by! I was able to knit a bit while watching a little TV. I'm about half-finished with the second pattern section on the front. I ought to be able to finish that off and get into the third section tonight. I might have that finished by Mother's Day...

Presto change-o

Wow! Am I a lucky mom, or what? Yesterday was my While You Were Out day. It all started on the weekend of March 20th when one of my sisters was visited. She needed a birthday gift for someone -- a picture frame, specifically -- and she knew right where she wanted to go to buy it, a store that K, A and I had just been. K&A tagged along with her and when they got home, I was instructed to close my eyes while K whisked something up the stairs with her. It didn't take me long to figure out that it was likely the big picture frame that looked like a window that I'd ooohed and aaahed about earlier.

Fast forward to the week before Easter. Husband asked if I would like to take a day trip on the Monday after Easter; the grrs had something planned for me at home. At the last minute, something came up and they couldn't do it that day, so I've had time to think. Well, of course my wheels were turning! It was obviously my own little WYWO thing -- but what were they planning to do? Our bedroom came to mind first, but I decided that they'd never get that done in a day, not with all the c-r-a-p in there that they wouldn't know what to do with. I remembered the picture frame -- I'd said that I didn't know where I'd put it, but K&A both said they'd put it in the upstairs hall. Aha!


So, I suspected that it was the upstairs hall (K had done a little pre-cleaning last weekend), and I was right. A few years ago -- after I pulled down all the lovely acoustic tile in the front rooms and left a perforated lathe and plaster ceiling that sifted dust anytime someone walked upstairs, and after my sister and brother-in-law came (quick!) to help us put up drywall, and apparently because sis & I had nothing to do while the men taped and mudded the seams -- we pulled up the carpeting on the first few stairs and the landing. I'd already ripped it off the floors, finally fearing the carpeting more than what I might find underneath. It took forever, and there were a million staples and nails to remove! I just never got the spurt of energy I needed to remove it from the rest of the stairs and the upstairs hall. They're also VERY creaky stairs, and I knew that the carpet was helping to muffle that a bit. (You can see the new picture frame to the left, and the dollhouse that we made when K was just a baby.) The color is "Victorian Gold," and I love it!


What a perfect project for the grrs! K&A both love to decorate and they have a good eye. M kept the dog out of trouble! Their dad was able to lend a hand toward the end to help with the tall corner that needed patching. Our house has been remuddled a time or two over the years, but I give credit to whoever decided that this beautiful floor had to be recycled -- perhaps not with the greatest of care, but at least it didn't land in the burn pile.


Meanwhile, my mom and I had a very nice day together, stopping at some antique shops, a new quilting shop and finding fabric for her project, stopping at my LYS (still no Calmer), and visiting my grandma -- an aunt and uncle also showed up, as did my brother for a few minutes. We returned 45 minutes later than expected, but I still needed to be "out" for a while, so ran to pick up something to eat. The paint was still wet when I was allowed to see, but they did a fabulous job!

Today, I'm catching up on all the laundry I didn't do yesterday. I managed to seam the rest of the Cecil sweater and weave in some ends -- still have a few ends to go, and then buttons! I knitted about four rows on the Summer Sonata last night, and that's it! I'm hoping that I'll get a little more knitting time in tonight. Other than that, I'm enjoying my early Mother's Day present!

While you were out

Ha! It's my "While You Were Out" day. This was originally planned for the Monday after Easter, but was postponed. Today's the day! Mom is picking me up this morning and she will "keep me occupied." We'll be checking out a new quilting shop, as Mom needs backing for a log cabin quilt top that she bought at a sale and re-worked. We'll also go to see my Grandma! Yay!! Maybe we'll stop at my LYS (and maybe the door will be open) to see if my Calmer has arrived, and we'll likely check out some antique shops.

I count myself among the amazingly lucky every single day because I have a Grandma, and my kids have a GREAT Grandma! I know that she'd really like to have the kids visit, but we'll just have to make another trip.

I can't wait to see what the kids have planned (I have my suspicions), and to share with you!