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May 2004
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July 2004


The modified Galway hat is still pinned to the blocking board. I worked on Tasha last night, instead, finishing the 2nd back/front and knitting both edge bands! I cast on for the side/strap and knit a few rows on that, too. I brought it to work and hope that I can work on it a bit today. I think it's Aunt Lydia's denim-something that I'm using for this bag -- whatever it is, it's wound on a big ball and it gets very twisted. I really do love how the fabric feels, though; I was surprised. I will admit that I didn't swatch at all for this project -- hope it doesn't bite me. I'm not too concerned with the size of the finished bag, so, whatever.

(Warning: the rest of this post has absolutely nothing to do with knitting. It's really a bit of a ramble, again, stemming from so many things -- old pictures and grandparents and wooden bowls -- and going pretty much nowhere. It just wanted to come out, the connections from the heart to the key-tapping fingertips pretty much by-passing the brain today.)

Thanks for your comments on my mile-long cable and the Catalpa bowl. As I wrote to Ann, I think it's the story/history -- or even the perceived story/history -- behind almost any object that makes it nearly impossible to curb my packrat tendencies. I love stories. I especially love hearing them, but I also love telling them. As a child, my mother called me "elephant ears" -- I'd never go play with the other kids, but would rather sit and listen to adults talk and tell stories. (Be very quiet and don't ask questions and usually they wouldn't notice.) I'm still that way. I think that's why I like big family gatherings so much.

I think my interest in family history and genealogy is all tied up in the telling of stories and collecting of things, also, and I do it in a similar fashion. I prefer to do my research quietly and alone, in courthouses and libraries. I'm not real keen on prodding people for stories and information, but will listen intently if they're inclined to tell a story after they've had their pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Or share objects. Or pictures. The sharing of an object that has a story -- any sort of story -- is a treasure.

My Grandma K's treadle sewing machine has a story. Not trusting the quality of ready-made clothing, she would reinforce the seams of every clothing item she bought from a store. I was only 8 when she died, but I still remember where that sewing machine was located in her dining room, and the plants she had on the top of the machine that left the water rings that caused my mother to paint it green and apply an "antique" finish to it in the late '60s. We used to "sew" things on that machine when we were kids. The belt was a little loose and usually came off; it wasn't loose enough that we didn't have to really work to get it back in the groove. Mom said that Grandpa was always fooling with that thing. I wish I'd taken better care of it.

It's Grandma K's china featured prominently in the mosaic table I made last summer. A reminder. One little thing that can trigger so many memories. Memories that I like to share with my kids. The way the toast would practically fly out of their toaster, the unique smell of their house, the way Grandpa liked his Cheerios -- the only person I know who put honey on them instead of sugar. I always think of Grandpa when I smell honey. Grandma would go off on cleaning jags that led to actual scrubbing of the rafters in the attic. She never had her laundry on the line before the neighbors, in fact, she was usually last, but hers was always the whitest.

There are so many other things for which I have A story or part of a story, but not THE story. The picture of Eva, my Grandpa B's grandmother who died in 1896. She had a special place in my heart before I even knew what she looked like; a portrait was unearthed in a relative's basement a few years ago, and I have a copy tacked up on my computer desk. She's inspiration. I've visited the cemetery and photographed the iron cross that marks her grave. Was it a photograph or a plaque once attached at the bottom of that cross, long since gone? She was only 40. She may have died in childbirth, and the infant, too -- the infant may have been a twin. It's all so fuzzy. I wish I knew how it came to be that she and her sister married brothers, and why those brothers both went by the same name -- one as Jr. and the other as Jr. 2nd. (I swear to God, it's on legal documents.) I wish I could perceive Eva's story/history more clearly. I sometimes wish that I could make it up, create a story for her. I've thought about that quite often, but the collision of the real and the un-real makes me freeze up.

When my Grandma B was working on writing her memoir a few years ago, she told me that she would try to write something every evening. Sometimes she had to fight hard to come up with a "worthy" thought, idea, or memory. Other times, the thought of just one, seemingly insignificant thing would let loose a flood of memories, one triggering another, that it was hard to stop. Exhausting, too, I imagine. That's how I feel today. Melancholy, sentimental, frustrated, and exhausted already. But happy, too.

It's in the mail

BookSlShortRowsI bought buttons yesterday morning and sewed them on right away. I had originally thought of using snaps and attaching buttons as decoration, but decided that snaps and fairly bulky garter stitch weren't going to equal what I was after -- an outfit that stayed closed. I think the buttons will be okay. Here's a close-up photo of the short-rowed sleeve. This gift was in the mail by the end of the day. I included this little book as a gift for the new mom; I read a little of it before I sent it off, and put the marker at the "Motherhood" chapter. A photo of the finished hat and outfit, along with knitting details, are in the "Recently Completed" photo album.

CatalpaBowlA few years ago, our then-neighbors decided to build a garage. There was an existing garage that barely fit one car and the driveway was between our houses, but they wanted a two-car and, because of space, it had to be on the other side of their house. The neighbors on the other side sacrificed a large Catalpa tree so that this deed may be done. The elderly owner of that tree, Mrs. D., had been my brother's kindergarten teacher. She was a tiny, sweet woman with freckles and long, reddish hair that she would put in two braids and wind around her head -- she never wore her hair any other way. Once, as she was brushing her hair, she leaned out a second story window to talk with us -- it was weird to see an 80-year-old woman with hair past her shoulders! Anyway, my neighbors knew that my dad and uncle turned wood bowls and they thought it would be nice to give Mrs. D. something made from the wood of that tree; they didn't realize that the wood would need to dry and cure first. Here is a Catalpa bowl that my aunt gave me when she brought Grandma over the other day. Unfortunately, Mrs. D. has passed away, as has her son-in-law who also lived in the house. It was a gorgeous tree with sweet-smelling flowers. I don't mind keeping it myself as a reminder of sweet things.

CableMileHatBrimWith the completion of the baby gift, I got back to the modified Galway hat I'd been working on before the bee flew into my bonnet! I knit about 15 rows on Saturday night and "tried it on." I'd been expecting to have about 30 more rows to go, but I had to stop right there! It fits! Obviously (and no surprise), the Galway yarn has a different gauge that the Wool-Ease. So, here's the hat brim pinned to my blocking board.

Wanna walk a mile on my cable?


TrevorMy sister called on Friday to tell me that her co-worker had given birth -- 3+ weeks early -- to a little boy, Trevor, who weighed in at 5-1/2 pounds. That's little! There's no way he's going to fit into this outfit or the hat for months, but I still felt the pressure to finish! This is the outfit as of yesterday afternoon; as of last evening, it's all sewn up and is awaiting only buttons. I already bought buttons, but they're too big!

I loved knitting this little thing and I really like the pattern and construction. Even the 10 inches of mindless garter stitch over nearly 200 stitches (and the bruises) wasn't that bad. I would short-row the shoulders and do a three-needle bind off next time. As it was, I was too tired to think that night, so just bound off and then sewed the 3-inch seam. I did short-row the sleeves and I'm so happy with them. Sewing them in was a dream and it's a very smooth seam. Everything's so tiny!!

As written, the sleeves are supposed to be yellow with three white stripes. I reversed the colors and I think it turned out just fine. In fact, I think I like it better! I was so low on yellow yarn, though, that I did only one stripe on each sleeve. I also decided to knit two rows of yellow to finish off the neckband. I'll get different buttons today and then it's off to Kansas!

Grandma came to visit yesterday afternoon. She was very aware of where she was, and happy to be here, but she knows that lifestyle changes are coming and I think it contributes to her confusion at times. My mom came over, too. Unfortunately, K was at work and I'd just put M on the bus to camp, but A was here and that was nice. We talked a lot about gardening and took a stroll through my front plot. It's steps or treacherous paths to the back garden area -- not cane-friendly! I think it will be mid-week or so before it's known whether Gram even qualifies for assisted living.

Summer Camp
M is off for a week at YMCA camp with her two best friends. She went two years ago, but skipped last year. This year, it's horseback riding camp and they're terribly excited (they'll also do plenty of swimming and whatnot). The featured event later in the week will be a nice, long trail ride and a camp-out, then a ride back to the main camp. I went to camp for two years and loved it; I still remember "my" horse.

When M went to camp two years ago, I was working a temp job from hell (my record was 99-3/4 hours in one week; 265 hours in one 3-week period), so she was responsible for gathering, marking, and packing all of her things. Among the things needing identification was her underwear. Most people would take a permanent marker and write their initials on the inside of the waistband, or maybe they'd write out their first or last name. It wasn't until she'd already returned from camp and I was folding laundry that I saw how she'd marked hers -- emblazoned, nice and big, with her full name, spelled out, all across the front of her undies. It was hysterical and it still makes me laugh to think of it!

Runnin' on empty

OoBabyRightFrontThese photos are before any knitting was done last night. I finished the back and reached the neckline decreases on the left front before putting it down. I'm working with two very sparse skeins of yarn. It's not going to be enough to knit two sleeves, collar, and buttonbands! I bought the only two yellow skeins with the same dye lot, so I'm going to buy another white. I'll knit the sleeves in reverse -- white sleeves with yellow stripes -- and use white for the collar and buttonbands, also. I think it'll be just fine. K thought that the outfit would better match the hat this way. The hat is a completely unrelated pattern, but it is the same yarn and they could certainly be worn together. So, it's off to Wal*Mart tonight or tomorrow.

EspalierB4EspalierAfterTime for a haircut! This is my espalier tree -- it's a crabapple and it grows on the north side of the house, to the left of the front door. There's a window to the right of the door, which is centered (but wasn't always), and I felt that something was needed to the left for balance. I've had it for several years now, and need to give it a trim once or twice a year. It doesn't always flower in that location, but this spring I had quite a nice show. The leaves have a maroon cast, as do the flowers, and they turn quite red in the fall, so it looks great with the house. Last fall, I lost the three bottom branches on the left. There is something encrusted on the trunk and branches; I don't know what it is. So, I "trimmed" a bit more radically than usual, removing six branches completely. I saved one from each side and will take them to the nursery to see if they can tell me what's happening.

Thanks for all your comments regarding our safety. My sis from Kansas (Twin-S) called last night, after seeing all the whoopla on the news. They had a pretty good threat of storms from the same system yesterday, and even into today.

Grandma is coming to visit! My Uncle J called last night to see if I'd be around on Sunday. (The only thing I have to do that day is get M on a bus for a week at camp.) I realized that yesterday, my grandma turned 91-1/2, though I'm sure she doesn't count half-birthdays anymore (if ever)! As she cruises toward 92, she's having difficulties; she needs assistance and is best with diversion and activity -- so, I'll be a diversion! There's an appointment next week with an assisted living facility, though it's feared that her needs may be beyond their scope.

A very vivid memory of nearly every family gathering at Grandma's is the turn of conversation to the prospect of aging, and her plea to her children that they never take her or Grandpa to a nursing home. From my earliest memory, her father lived with them, and I'm sure she was demonstrating how she would like to be cared for in her old age. I'm not sure things are going to go as she hoped.

I don't want to end on a sad note, so I'll tell a story related to Great Grandpa. Grandma's house is very, very old, with lots of rooms and pocket doors in a few of the doorways. GGrandpa's room was on the main floor; he always had a jigsaw puzzle going and had lots of books -- and magazines; specific to this memory are Playboy magazines. During the course of one family gathering, the grownups shut themselves up in the music room behind a set of pocket doors -- for a family meeting, I suppose. My brother and cousin were about 10, and apparently left to amuse themselves. Well, they certainly did! Upon opening the doors to the living room, the grownups found the entire living room floor covered with the open centerfolds of many a Playboy Bunny!



I have a sister who lives in SW Kansas. She lives in the country (it's all pretty much "country") and has a darn good view for storm-watching. I like to watch storms, too, but I'm in an old neighborhood in a small city -- tall houses and tall trees block my view.

We had a doozy roll through last night. Emergency sirens went off three or four times (makes for TENSE knitting). A was at a friend's house across town and called from the basement (they'd been trying to have a little backyard fire). I was actually outside, watching the clouds. It was SO weird. We were right on the edge and I could see the clouds rolling and moving -- fast. Then I heard it. Half a block away, some neighbors had a better view. They saw debris flying, and saw a tornado touch down -- across town -- where A was! Thank God she has a cell phone!! I didn't see it; I only heard it, and it was eery. It sounded like a train, just as they say.

It truly is amazing. You always see it on TV, how a tornado smashes one house to smithereens and the one next door is untouched. A was maybe a mile away -- and it was SO different where she was. She saw "birds" flying way up high, and then realized that it was STUFF flying through the air -- that's when they hit the basement. When it was over, she said that insulation was all over the yard and the street -- a building had been damaged a few blocks away. I don't think anyone was injured, but emergency vehicles could be heard for quite a while afterwards.

I saw some of the damage myself on the way to work this morning. Insulation was even hanging from the power lines. There were still a lot of emergency vehicles in the area, and at least one road was closed.

So weird. I did some knitting, but that news will have to wait 'til later.

Knitting injury

I finally finished the freakin' 10" of mindless yellow garter stitch on the baby outfit last night. From the pics I posted the other day, you can see how jammed on the needle those stitches were -- they barely fit. I had to push the stitches down -- hard -- on the needle, and usually the needle was "resting" on my thigh. K nearly fell off her chair last night when I pulled down my pants in the living room to show her the small, round bruises that I have on my right thigh. I'll spare you. You don't even need to thank me. I'm sure you've got quite a picture in your head already! After k2tog over most of the following row, I'm back to a number of stitches that's more manageable on the needle.

Katy asked what I was going to do with the photo postcard featured in yesterday's post. The answer is: I'm not sure. I have a lot of old photographs, especially of women, family groups, children and babies, and weddings -- I absolutely love the settings, props, and clothing. Some of these I have displayed, but mostly they're corralled in a jardiniere and I look through them now and then. That photo postcard is special, though, so I'm going to have to figure out something so I can enjoy it more often.

We've already gone to have A's oil changed (she needs new brake pads, we'll try for next week), and I took K&A to Olive Garden for lunch. I was instructed to leave a good tip; our server, Chris, was "hot" and attentive -- do they usually stop by to ask how the food looks, and then again to ask how the food tastes? With both the salad/soup and again with the entree?? After lunch, A went home while K and I went to a shoe store tent sale (we each found a pair of sandals) and then to a nearby fabric store (I needed good thread). Next up is laundry, what else? DH scraped and primed the back porch floor yesterday, and is painting it today. The biggest challenge of the day will likely be preventing kitties and/or puppy from stepping in maroon floor paint!

Trash talk

KnittingI've already written about M and her "archaelogical digs" on the hillside -- apparently used as the neighborhood dump 100 years ago or so -- behind our house. Among the most marvelous, treasured gifts that my kids have given me are two old prints that A picked out of the trash (same house around the corner, two successive years) on her way home from school. And not long after we moved to Wisconsin from Oregon, DH brought home the most fabulous box of old, framed photographs that he found on the curb. He's been a "recycler" for a long, long time. When we met, he was on the downhill side of building a house in which he used a lot of salvaged material, and we continue to re-use things in our current home. We have salvaged flooring in the Garden Room, salvaged pillars on the back porch, and (unconventional) salvaged cupboards in our kitchen and bathroom. We have a basement full of salvaged windows, doors, and hardware.

CloseSo, after enjoying a marvelous grilled salmon dinner at Mom's on Father's Day, DH walked home. He went down an alley a block from our house. There was trash. No, he can't pass up a box of old doorknobs, various drawer pulls, and small boxes of various (copper and upholstery) tacks. And an old Bible, given to "Blanche" by her mother in 1904. Inside the Bible were two pictures; one is the photo postcard (unused) that you see here. How amazing is that? Do you see what that man is doing?? Check out the close-up. I don't know if this is my neighborhood or whether that man was a neighbor, but you can bet I'll be checking rooftops. I'm elated -- such treasure! And, yes, M rushed right over to collect some bootie of her own.

In knitting news of this century, I actually sewed up one of the side seams on Summer Sonata! It looks great and I'm very pleased. I'll do the last seam very soon, and then rip and re-knit the neckline. I also worked on the baby outfit and have less than 3 inches of the garter to go before decreases. Progress is good.


SwiftbusybackAs I snapped this pic of my new swift, DH commented on the busy background. Well, duh, we live here! I like my swift! It's a Glimakra; I have no idea of age, but I think it's been around. I needed to re-tie it in one spot, and ended up re-tying the whole thing. Then I adorned it with a hank of yarn and wound a nice ball!

Here's the baby outfit. There's barely enough room on the needle for all the stitches, and it's getting heavier all the time. I knit half a row and took a pic on two needles. The "middle" is actually the back; the body is knit in one piece and the button bands will be added to the edges. I took these pics before any knitting yesterday. As of bedtime last night, I'm a little more than half-way through the 10" of garter stitch, and then I'll k2tog, do a little ribbing, and it'll be stripes from the chest to the shoulders. The third pic is pure indulgence. I love close-up photos of knitting (and I love my camera).

CurlyKI nearly bust a gut on Saturday afternoon as M's dog was doing the potty dance by the back door and she was digging around in her purse (yeah, she's carrying a purse these days, too) for LIPSTICK! Gawd. She denies the possibility of a chance encounter with someone whose eye she might be trying to catch while walking the dog. Hmmmm.

On Saturday, a woman at a local department store stopped K in her tracks to feel her hair. I'm showing you this because I am complete in awe, also. K has recently been toying with the idea of getting a perm; however, on a mane of her length and with the end result she hopes for, it would be very expensive. Instead, she's been doing pincurls -- on hair that's to her butt -- and it STAYS! It takes her about 45 minutes to an hour to pin it all up each time. I don't know if she'd even be able to get a perm that would look so good. It kind of reminds me of Louis XIV or something. One day, she'll have it whacked off and give it to Locks of Love -- she'd like to do 20" and perhaps have enough for two.

When what to my wondering eyes...

MmakeupThirteen! One day she's mucking around in the creek, catching crayfish. Then she spends a day with a box full of nail polish, painting her nails twenty times trying to find the color she likes best. On another day, she fools around with the box of her Nana's Estee Lauder "free gift" rejects and she's wearing eye shadow. Yesterday, she turned to look at me and she'd added mascara! For crying out loud, this is my BABY!!!

hostacoralhostasblueangelCan you believe how those red coral bell flowers pop out against that light green hosta? I happened to have the camera on my shoulder last night, and had to snap a pic. The one with the garage in the background is a Blue Angel hosta -- it is HUGE! I think this is its third season and it just keeps getting bigger. I'm going to have to move some things around in that garden.

ShirtThis is the seafoam green shirt that K scored for her friend on Wednesday. Isn't it a hoot?

Well, I joined the legs of the baby outfit last night and now I'm looking forward to about 10" of garter stitch over 190+ stitches. Doesn't that sound like fun?? It will be mindless knitting for a while, so I might have to break up the monotony by doing a repeat on the modified Galway hat every now and then.

I'll post pics and more details about the baby outfit on Monday -- there ought to be some good progress by then! Y'all have a good weekend.


When I came downstairs this morning, there was a little note from A on the kitchen table. She wished me a good day at work and left three little Kit Kat candy bars. Kids! I welled up -- ya know, it doesn't take much -- but thought it was kind of silly to cry over a note and some candy bars. I'd left a couple week's worth of allowance on the table for her yesterday (with a little bonus), and she did a few loads of laundry for me while I was running around the countryside (she'd been invited, but declined). Well, it was just sweet. I'm sure y'all get the picture.

I will post a picture -- soon -- of the yarn SWIFT that I got yesterday. *Slap* Use the correct terminology! I don't have a huge need for this, but it will certainly be handy. I've tried it all -- getting the kids to stand with outstretched arms (as I remember doing for my mother), draping it over the wing of a chair, even holding it on my own outstretched feet. Yes, this will be handy.

I knit a little bit last night, but I was tired. I went to bed early. I'm hoping to get the point where I join the two pieces together (at the legs) tonight, and then I'll take a pic of that, too. That'll make somewhere around 200 stitches on the needle. After knitting up nearly two skeins of the Cotton Top, I think my hands are getting more used to the yarn (but I still don't like it much).

No yarn, but...

...I have a yarn winder! A few weeks ago, I remembered that one of the friends I had lunch with today, and who was a coworker at the antique mall a few years ago, had a yarn winder she was trying to sell. I wondered if she still had it, and she did! I've had a ball winder for years, so I think I'm set in the winding department.

We had a great lunch and some nice visiting time today. We stopped at a couple of "antique" shops. OMG, it's amazing the kind of crap most of those stores are filled with these days. I didn't find a single thing. K bought a seafoam green, ruffly shirt (the kind sometimes worn to proms and for weddings with a tux) for $1, mostly as a joke for a friend.

I'm pooped and I have some plants to get in the ground. I'm trying to time it right, considering the temperature and the number of mosquitoes.

Out to lunch

Going out to lunch (road trip, to we're leaving early) with Mom, K, and a couple of friends. Details to follow; unfortunately, I don't think any of it will involve yarn.

Clean Sweep

I'll let you know right off the bat that, once again, there was precious little knitting last night. I had to go to a dinner with DH last night that lasted much, much too long. I was determined to knit a few rows before bed, though, so have finished the first leg of the baby outfit. It's all garter stitch and I'm knitting it in light yellow Cotton Tots, with three white stripes at the leg and sleeve cuffs, and stripes at the yoke. So far, I like the pattern. I will be knitting the second leg, then joining the two, and the body will be knit all in one piece (from button band to button band), save for the sleeves. That will mean seams only at the legs, sleeves and shoulders -- and they're teeny. Having dressed three babies of my own, I have decided to forego functional buttons/buttonholes and use snaps, instead. Snaps will be easier for Mom and have a better chance of staying snapped than buttons do of staying buttoned! I'll use some cute buttons as decoration only.

Thank you all so much for your nice comments about the bedroom re-do. I'd said on Friday that it would be a combo show, and you may have already guessed that the double feature was Clean Sweep as well as While You Were Out. I'm still working on the Clean Sweep part; I'm sentimental and I'm a packrat and I'm a collector (believe me, it's in the genes -- both sides of the family), and so are the DH and all three grrs, and it's a big house with lots of places to store stuff. Well, you can imagine... It can be quite overwhelming and a great big drag. I wholeheartedly agree with Stephanie (June 10 & 11) that purging is a HUGE relief. Because of that sentimental packrat collector gene, though, I really need to make Clean Sweep a way of life, and that's not so easy; I can't let my guard down for a minute or make any excuses (too tired, don't have time, I may need this...). Diligence. Perseverance. Just Do It.

How to make a knitorious:
3 parts intelligence
5 parts courage
5 parts energy
Combine in a tall glass half filled with crushed ice. Top it off with a sprinkle of sadness and enjoy.

How about a cocktail? Thanks to Purling Swine! Sprinkle in some sadness?? It doesn't sound like a Shirley Temple, now, does it?

OK, I think that cocktail recipe is screwing up my post, so after some deleting and reposting and other stuff, I'm trying just the text. If you want your own cocktail, I guess you'll have to let Ann be your bartender.

While You Were Out II (The Father's Day Edition)




BEFORE. I thought long and hard before I decided to post the before pictures of our bedroom. What the hell. I'm not the only one with a partially refinished dresser, a dismantled vanity, piles of laundry, mending and "what am I going to do with this" stuff. That's my unmade side of the bed, with the dog-chewed Kleenex box atop my grandmother's stripped treadle sewing machine that I use as a nightstand and the non-slip pad peeking out from beneath the rug. Much of the stuff in piles is earmarked for sale or charity after my closet-cleaning of a couple of weeks ago -- it just didn't have a place to go just yet.

So, DH finally left the house at about 2:00 on Friday. Katie and I made a mad dash to Home Depot to buy paint. Kate was much more in sync with my desire for a warm, restful color than Ali was. We emptied the room except for the bed, armoire and vanity, and Ali started on spackling. We were able to knock off most of the ceiling and some of the trim (man, there's lots of trim in that room) on Friday night.




DURING. On Saturday, Kate was occupied most of the day photographing a friend's wedding, and Ali had to work at her job on Saturday night, so we tag-teamed. Since we were pressed for time, we did not strip the wallpaper, nor did we sand very well. It's not like a kitchen or bathroom... We'll see if I someday regret that decision. We painted around the ceiling fan (what fun) rather than take it down. I may work for an electrician, but an electrician I am not!


AFTER. These "after" pictures pretty much correspond to the three "before" pictures. Katie had to work for a while yesterday, also, so Ali and I finished trim, moved furniture in and around, hung pictures. I had purchased two gallons of the wall paint, figuring that we'd have to do two coats with such a change, but we didn't! I was amazed. I love the color -- a warm terra cotta, not too red or orange, not too brown.

Have I mentioned that I hurt? My butt, my legs, my knees, my arms, my shoulders... well, pretty much everything! I could have used a Paige or a Frank or an Edward, even a Ty would have been helpful!

Anyway, last night we had fun shopping at Target -- two new lamps, switchplate and outlet covers, a hook for the curtain tie-back, Reveal light bulbs (our favorites!). DH didn't get home until nearly 1:00 a.m., and I was a bit groggy, but was certainly aware that he was awestruck. He had no clue. I can't believe it.

I think I'm still a little wiped out -- my eyes were so puffy this morning that I wondered whether I should even put on mascara!

I only managed to knit about 12 rows on the baby outfit all weekend.

CAMPING (added later -- I almost forgot). Katie and a friend are planning to camp for a few days in Canada. Last year, they both went on a wilderness trip through school and thoroughly enjoyed it. This time, though, they can't go quite so far and would prefer an amenity or two. They would also like to experience a little non-wilderness Canada. They've googled and checked websites, but there's nothing like an endorsement from someone you "know." So, any recommendations for a campground (heavy on the tents, light on the RVs) with showers near Toronto? We sure appreciate it!


Mother Nature is still fiddlin' with the seasonal channels

Babycap1I wore my Birkies to work yesterday and I couldn't wait to get home and put on some socks -- brrrr! Geez, we're closing in on mid-June. No, they weren't handknit socks; I haven't any (wool). Ha! (Couldn't help it.) I have been tempted to knit socks, but haven't taken the plunge yet. Anyway, we're on the rainy/cold, hot/humid see-saw and I'm ready to get off!

AntiqueDH, Kt and I watched "Love Actually" last night. I'd started on one of the ear flaps for the baby cap and tried to knit while watching, but ended up ripping it out because I wasn't concentrating very well on knitting. I loved the movie, and got all teary-eyed at the end. (Yes, I get choked up at certain coffee and long-distance commercials, too.) And guess what? I watched it twice! We can't seem to synchronize watches in regard to movie-watching around here, and just as we finished, Mdd decided that she wanted to watch it, too. I concentrated more on my knitting than the movie the second time around, and finished both flaps, crocheted the ties, and sewed up the back seam. It's fini! Isn't it cute? (Details in "Recently Completed" photo album.) I'll start on the outfit today.

Ai filled in at the local antique mall a few mornings this week. Doesn't she look excited? Both K & A worked with me a few years ago when I worked at an antique mall, and some days are just kinda slow...

I have today off this week, rather than the usual Wednesday. DH has some out-of-town business to attend to this weekend, and the grrs and I have plans... He'll be leaving just after lunch, but we'll wait 'til he comes back to get whatever he forgot (that happens 99 times out of a 100, whether he's going to the library or going out of town), and then we'll get started. Details soon.

Bugs and bikinis

Macrame1I meant to write about bugs yesterday; you just never know where things are gonna go. I saw both a lightning bug and a june bug the night before last. They both trigger childhood memories. My parents built a house in the mid-60s and a great feature of that house was a walk-in cedar closet (in those days, building a house with a cedar closet was akin to having, say, a whirlpool today). We lived near a river and there was a ravine in the back and lots of lightning bugs. We'd run around the back yard, catch them in jars, and marvel at them up close in the dark, aromatic cedar closet. Invariably, we'd be distracted by other fun summer stuff and in the fall, when the blankets and sweaters started coming out of the closet, Mom would find jars of dead bugs.

June bugs are just stupid. They're innocuous, but they give me the creeps, anyway. They're big, clumsy, bumbly bugs and they buzz something terrible (one can sound like 20) as they bash repeatedly into the screen door and into each other in an oafish way. They often fall to the floor (knock themselves silly?) and buzz and whirl, tying to get back to an upright position and airborne again, or they bounce willy-nilly off the screen and come dangerously close to, well, me! God forbid that one would get caught in my hair. Eeeeewwwwwww.

Neither of these bugs seem as plentiful as they once were; in fact, it seemed that they all but disappeared for a while. (Maybe it was just my location.) It didn't seem right. Love them (lightning bugs) or hate them (june bugs), I am always reassured when I see them.

Mac2Mac3That's Practical Macrame by Eugene Andes, published in 1971. I found this at the thrift store along with yesterday's book. Isn't it great? I just have a weakness for stuff made with "string." I am among those who smirked about the knitted and crocheted bikinis in recent publications. How about macrame?? What comes to mind when I think of a knitted bikini is something that, though perhaps prone to stretch, would at least have a bit of coverage. A crocheted bikini would seem to have a little less coverage -- I think of granny squares and all those holes. But macrame? That's like openwork. Yowza! I just love these knots, though.

I finished knitting the cap part of the cabled baby cap last night, next are ear flaps and ties. I'm not sure if I want to do knitted ties. I'm surprised the pattern was written for flat knitting. Though I'm not an in-the-round knitter, this project was perfectly suited to circulars or DPNs. The dumb yarn is Bernat's Cotton Tots -- the friction as it passes through my hand is unbelievable.

Sun between the clouds

Cotton1They're sayin' that there was a big, boomin' thunderstorm last night with lots of rain. I was awakened only once by lightning, and only because it was like flashbulbs going off in the sky -- I heard no booms, no rain. It is cooler than yesterday by at least 20 degrees and much less humid.

Cotton2This is Cotton Knitting, ed. by Sally Harding, published in 1987. It was one of my thrift store finds a few weeks ago. And this is the top I rather like. My previous knitting heyday was in the '80s and last spring I found all my old craft and knitting magazines from that era. Yowza! Once able to move my eyes from the big hair to the knitting (and I had big hair, once upon a time, myself), there's big knitting -- big, garish, ugly, shapeless knitting. There was an "OMG" with nearly every turn of the page, though, and the grrs and I were quite entertained. I'm not nearly as tall as that model, nor that lanky, nor that long-waisted, nor that thin, but I like this simple design and believe it could be flattering and worth some tinkering time.

Yeah, after I strike a few of the WIPs off of yesterday's list. And, I forgot one. It's one I've never before mentioned, as the knitting, seaming and weaving in are completely finished. It's a long vest I knit from Lamb's Pride Worsted in "Oregano," let's call it the Oregano Vest. I love it and I can't wait to wear it, but I made a big boo-boo. I was so excited to finish knitting (that part was not fun -- a ribbing pattern that killed my hand, wrist and arm), that I forgot to make the buttonholes. I considered crocheted loop buttonholes, or frog-type closures, but neither seems right for this vest. I decided that I'd make buttonholes by machine, and already bought grosgrain ribbon to reinforce both sides, but I'm scared shitless. I'm beyond stalled with this one, I'm nearly frozen with fear -- not so much by the sewing as the actual cutting open of the buttonholes. I know that this has been done, can be done, and will be done, but has anyone out there actually done it? Paired with a gold turtleneck, it will make a very nice ensemble for the weekly Sunday (sometimes Monday) gathering 'round the television this fall to cheer the Green Bay Packers (sans cheesehead).

As far as actual knitting, I started the cabled baby cap last night. Now, I've done a lot of knitting with cotton -- in fact, I love knitting with cotton -- but this stuff is not fun. It's soft when you feel the ball and it's soft when it's knitted up, but it's almost rough as it runs through my hand. I was trying to ignore it last night, and turned a cold shoulder to the label, so I can't even tell you what it is. I did get about a dozen rows under my belt -- lots o' stitches! It's an 8-row repeat, not all that complicated, but it's sure easier when you get through one repeat and have a better feel for what's supposed to happen and can rely more on reading the stitches than the pattern. Pic on Friday.

Much a-doing

First, I forgot to mention that I added a few pics to the "In Retrospect" photo album the other day; pics of a pretty fun girl's dress I knit a long time ago and it taught me a lot.

I haven't knit anything for a baby in a long, long time, but last night I bought a little book and some yarn and will be making a wee cabled cap and a little one-piece outfit. This is for a very young girl (I only met her once) who works with one of my sisters; she's not on the best of terms with her family due to her "situation" (my sister threw her a baby shower -- because the family wouldn't -- not the kind of thing this sister enjoys) and she just got married and the baby's due next month and I just think she needs all the warm fuzzies she can get. My small part... I've got enough on my knitting plate, as it were, but we're really in no rush for wool hats around here, anyway!

There are a couple of tops I could be wearing, though. The following is for my benefit, and you can roll your eyes along with me, if you'd like; I need to get a handle on things. It's the State of the WIPs Address (in order of age, oldest first).

1) Seville. This is a short-sleeve top from a "best of" Rowan book (library) in green Rowan chenille. It's awaiting seaming and the sewing of trim around the bottom and sleeves; the pattern called for trim around the neck, too, but I'm not sure about that. I think I've stalled mainly because I'm not sure what to use for seaming -- the chenille or something else. Dumb reason, but there you go.

2) Cecil. This is the cardi on the cover of last summer's (I think) Vogue Knitting. Blocking, seaming and weaving-in-of-ends is all done. It awaits only buttons! I am having a hard time finding the right buttons and have already brought home two navy blue sets. I don't know what to do, so it's stalled, too.

3) Summer Sonata. I pulled this top out over the weekend and finished sewing in the sleeves. They were a pain. The side seams remain, and they ought to be easier. This is the top of the too-scoopy neck. I was thinking that I could pull it in a little with some elastic thread, but I don't think that's going to be enough. I think I'm going to have to rip and re-do (I had knit it very loosely), possibly making more decreases -- it's only about 5 rows. I may still use some elastic because I have a feeling this will grow a bit with the wearing.

4) Critter Blanket. I really hoped that I'd be able to knit more than one. I'd better get a move on if I hope to get this one sent in time! I'm more than half-way.

5) Tasha. Oh, haven't I mention this before? I bought a big ball of Aunt Lydia's cotton in a "natural" at the craft store some time ago and, after giving up on the modified Galway hat design on Friday night, I pulled it out and started on Tasha. (I guess I really should have been working on the Critter Blanket.) There's absolutely no pressure with this one. It's a small project and won't take a lot of time, anyway, so a few rows here and there is fine. I am surprised at how much I like the fabric! This was my deck knitting project over the weekend.

6) Modified Galway Hat(s). It's going to be over 90 degrees today. There's no rush! I am learning a lot by knitting these hats, though, and I love them, and they're small...

7) Baby Stuff (aforementioned). Have the patterns and the yarn (yellow and white machine washable cotton). They're small, they're cute, and they'll go quick.

There's stuff in the to-be-frogged pile, too; saving it for a day when ripping will be the perfect antidote to stress or something. That's a lot of stuff in the works for me, but I guess the knitting is done on almost half and it's sewing of one sort or another that remains, and the rest is small stuff. The state of things isn't as bad as I thought. I can handle that!!

Don't touch that dial

NewGalway1I would say that it was Thursday or Friday when the dial was officially turned from Spring to Summer. Wow, what a nice weekend we had! It's the perfect time to finish a wool-ish winter hat, make the grrs model it (see the new "Galway Hat" photo album), and start another in 100% wool, don't you think? I love this hat and I loved knitting it, and reading a chart is a piece of cake once you get the hang of it (about 120 rows!). For the new one, I have replaced the bobble and traveling cable rows with a big, braided cable from Aran Knitting, and I'll likely make some adjustments (increase the number of stitches picked up) to the crown. I'm using the Galway yarn that I bought at the LYS last week. I love how it's turning out!

NeedlePitcherWe've had our fits and starts this weekend. My original modification to add the cable design didn't work out. I put it aside on Friday night, made adjustments on Saturday morning, then frogged and started over. And K has cast on numerous times to make a narrow scarf with the wool that she bought last week. She wanted something a little lacy and tried three different patterns from three different sources before settling on one that 1) she likes (a lot) and 2) isn't too difficult. For a girl who's not done more than straight stitch and a bit of ribbing before, the second pattern she chose -- with a 12-row repeat, no less -- was just a tad over her head. She learned all about K2tog, SKP, and yo, and was able to "practice" those skills, so it wasn't a total loss. Third time's the charm. I'll post a pic and details soon.

IrisScampNapMTubHaving finally decided to do a little dusting over the weekend, I also decided that Knitting Central was looking pretty awful -- new acquisitions jumbled atop WIPs and items in need of frogging. I took inspiration from Knitty and plunked all my needles in this wonderful pitcher that was totally under-appreciated in the upstairs bathroom cabinet (even if the cabinet does have glass doors) and, in the process, gained a drawer in which to store yarn.

We're enjoying iris season -- this is a variety that we inherited with the property, and one of my favorites. A fernery without ferns needs... a cat! And M. I just don't know what to say about that kid.

Crown me!

Yesterday, I decided that I should stop by the LYS on the way home from work to see if there was any more of that gold Nikerboker yarn. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with it, but my list of options would improve and it would just make me feel better if I had a little more. And, it's on sale! What better reason is there? None. Well, they didn't have any more gold, but they did have some blue! I bought four balls. Sounds like it might turn into a DH sweater.

My LYS is a small space -- a small house with small rooms converted into a small yarn shop. When we were there on Wednesday, there were customers as well as a knitting group taking up space. I wasn't able to get to every nook and cranny. Last night, I was the only one there! Guess what I found? Seven more balls of the Davos -- that makes 11 total. Yay! Maybe that will become more than a scarf now.

I also bought a couple of back issues of Interweave Knits and the Fall 2002 issue, especially, looks very promising. And I looked at the Rowan Calmer Collection to get a little more inspiration for what is now, but not likely to remain, Audrey. Something with cables? I rather liked the one in the book. I have 10 balls of the stuff and might be able to do something like that.

I made quick work of the remaining four rows of the Galway hat brim last night and sewed up the seam. (It would make a fine headband on its own!) I then found my never-before-opened/where-did-I-ever-get-these/how-long-have-I-had-these Phildar double-pointed needles and picked up 126 stitches around the edge of the brim for the crown. I know that I knit with DPNs once before, but I can't for the life of me remember what, where or when. The "how" is even a little iffy. Man, talk about clumsy! I need a knitting sheath!! A knitter in the Scottish style (such as myself), who anchors the right needle (usually a nice, l-o-n-g one) against the body, doesn't have any easy time with short DPNs flapping in the breeze. A sock knitter I may never be. (I've been ever so slightly tempted with all the beauties I see on other blogs.)

I modeled Galway for K after about a dozen rows, DPNs and all, and she was mighty impressed. Yeah!

What to do?

Poppy1Poppy2Fiber ahead, but first... I have problems. I'm pretty even-keeled and even mild-mannered, but WTF is going on with my poppy?? This thing has been popping up and looking the picture of health for the past 3-4 years, though this is the first year it's given me flower buds -- FOUR of them. I'm pretty sure it's not going to bloom when it's keeled over, looking like it's having an internal meltdown! Has anyone seen anything like this before? Is it a bug? Is it because we had a bazillion times more rain than we should have last month? Or, could it be that damned black walnut tree?? I'd whack it in a second if it wouldn't take another 7 or so years for its toxins to leave the soil. A person just never knows if or when there will be a problem -- some things can't handle it at all, some things are fine unless they come into direct contact with the roots of the tree, and others aren't affected at all -- ever. I just don't want to blame it on the tree if it's something else.

Stash2Now, what would one have to do to get over the disappointment in the garden? That's right. K and I went to the LYS clearance sale yesterday, though, how'd you guess, not everything we came home with was on sale. K's selection was three balls of Lana Gross Merino Big, 100% merino, for a scarf. She learned all about dye lots the other day at the craft store, so they all match! She's doing a narrow scarf in a lattice stitch and has a few inches dripping off her needles already. This yarn was not on sale and was the most expensive.

StashThere are four balls of Tahki Yarns Davos, 100% wool, that I bought on sale. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but I just loved the color, texture and feel of this yarn -- 4 balls was all I could find. There are 10 balls of Filatura Di Crosa Nikerboker in a dark gold with flecks of color, also on sale. This yarn is 50% wool, 20% alpaca, 10% each acrylic, polyester and polyamid. I'm thinking cardi (subject to change...).

GalwayyarnIt's next to impossible to keep the eyes trained on the sale stuff. Look what I found! How could I not buy this? As I was measuring heads the other day (A, apparently, has the biggest brain in the family), they all piped up about how much they liked the Galway hat I am knitting from AK. I bought two skeins (not on sale) of Plymouth Yarns Galway, 100% worsted wool, and I'm going to make another. I might possibly make a small design change, too. I had a $20 frequent buyer card which we redeemed on the full-price merchandise, so the bite was just a nip.

Audrey. It seems that every time I get to a certain point (okay, twice) -- just as I'm closing in on the increases and the sailing looks smooth -- I begin to have doubts. I love Calmer, and I love, love, love this sweater. The question is, will I wear this sweater? I did as Bonne Marie did on May 18th and checked it out in the bathroom mirror last night. I'm not sure I liked the picture. Will the grrs wear this sweater? Audrey went into the pot and didn't come out for the rest of the night. I'm considering turning Audrey into Bobbie.

I worked on Galway, instead. Yes, I put it away and went to bed with only 4 rows to go on the brim. I wanted to leave a little fun for tonight.

BLTs for lunch

KcarMy DH makes me lunch just about every day, whether it's a sandwich to take to work or lunch at home. As I was trying to come up with a title for this post, he asked what I'd like -- so there you go. DH is self-employed and works from home and never, ever goes without lunch. When he's not around, I am very apt to go without lunch...

K doesn't have to work today, so she's lunching with us. This is how she occupied herself last week -- re-painting her car. She had more simplified sun design on the hood previously, but needed a more painterly flower. She also painted trailing vines from the hood all along the sides and, though there's mostly bumper stickers on the trunk, she painted a small flower there, too. My favorite bumper sticker on K's car? "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes." She's 19, and she does, and I couldn't be more proud.

AagainHere's Audrey again. I have a few more increases to go, and I'm much happier with them this time around. I do think I'm knitting her with a little more firmness. There have been comments about Calmer losing elasticity, so maybe the firm hand will help.

Galway130Galway120And how about a little Galway update? I did 10 rows last night before picking up Audrey, so that's a total of 130 rows out of 180. This, too, is strange for me -- I may have several WIPs at any one time (this one needs seaming and that one needs buttons and I'm still knitting the other), but I never have more than one on the needles.

Had a postcard in the mail from the LYS about their annual clearance sale. K and I are going to head over there (I'll call first!) this afternoon. I'll try to keep my wits about me.

Teaching an old dog... tricks! Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake, but eventually it all comes together. I won't say that I've mastered knitting from a chart, but I've definitely made progress. It wasn't until I showed my cut & pasted chart for the Galway hat to K (having already showed it to DH), explaining (complaining) about the herky-jerky flow, that I realized I needed only change the order of the charts. Book learnin' told me to paste down the charts in A-B-C order, but logic finally kicked in and, if you're beginning with Chart A, reading Row 1 right to left, then the charter order should be C-B-A! Ta-daaaa!!

Well, things moved along nicely after that -- and the headache I had on Saturday morning from Friday night's fitful "reading" did not return. I polished off row 120 of 180 for the brim yesterday and it's looking very nice. Having moved up a couple of needle sizes, it will definitely fit an adult head when finished.

Pleased with my progress on Galway, I made up with Audrey last night and cast on for the body again. I definitely feel more in charge this time around. I have just a couple of rows 'til I start the increases. Pics tomorrow.

I'd taped "The Singing Nun" on TCM the other night and was able to watch it on Saturday afternoon. I always seem to miss it on TV and it's been ages. It wasn't as heart-wrenching a movie as I remember, but Dominic is still cute as a button and I still like that song. I'd forgotten that Katherine Ross played Dominic's sister. Katherine Ross makes me think of "The Stepford Wives" (she was in the original for those of you too young to remember) and with a new version of that movie coming out, well, it ought to be interesting with Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, and Christopher Walken!

My baby sis, her husband, and one of his sons came up to visit on Sunday/Monday. (The other son was in Washington, D.C., with his high school band to play at the WWII Memorial! His Nana, a nurse in the war, went with him!) We invited Mom over and made burgers on the grill between raindrops and had a nice visit. They're a wacky family and we always have a ball together. We'll be meeting up again over the 4th at Dad's place, along with Twin-K's family -- fire, water, badminton, board games -- it'll be a hoot.

In regard to Comments: Yvette wondered what defined knitting in the Scottish style (as proclaimed in "About Me"), and I told her about the recent article in Interweave Knits. Turns out that she's Scottish and that's how she was taught; that's how her granny and aunts all knit! Her aunts and various others get together weekly for a knitting bee! Doesn't that sound like fun?? And I love Kathleen's use of a Q-tip for a cable needle. I had a hard enough time wrapping my head around knitting from a chart without thinking about cabling without a needle -- especially a cross-over cable -- so I'll attempt that another time! I wonder what else people have used as a substitute needle?