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June 2004
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August 2004

Not a stitch

It's a good thing that I'm flexible... I don't think I even had a chance to glance longingly at my knitting last night! Best intentions, blahblahblah -- it was laundry, plus I left work a little later than usual, and I took a little detour! I guess I'm still catching up from the whirlwind last weekend. The grrs have been helping, and even M has taken an interest in the washing machine control panel and learning which dispenser is for which liquid, but they only go so far...

It appeared to be a basket of clean towels sitting by the dryer last night, but towels were really only the top layer. Underneath, all squished, was a load of "lights." Here's my Heloise-ish laundry tip: If you forget about a load in the dryer (or it's squished under a load of towels in a laundry basket) and you have a strong aversion to ironing (as I have), separate the wrinkles-don't-matter stuff from the items you wish to have wrinkle-free. Throw the latter back into the dryer, along with a well-moistened cloth (a dishtowel, some socks, underwear from the load that's sitting in the washer work well, too), and turn it back on for a while. Voila! It really works. If you want to feel like a true model of efficiency, let the dryer do it's work while you take your morning shower. It's heady stuff.

image_825cover_500989My detour last night was to my really local yarn/gift shop. There's a "yarn" partner and a "gift" partner. For the first time, the "yarn" partner was at the helm when I stopped in. She crochets much more than she knits, and she's a talker -- in a good way. I had asked them --
a l-o-n-g time ago -- to order "Street Smart" for me, as the "Must Have Cardigan" was put on my must-do (someday) list the moment I saw it. Well, booklet is in-hand! I also bought a couple skeins of Elsebeth Lavold's "Silky Wool." It sounds so yummy -- and it feels that way, too! I plan to make a nice, wide, long, cable-y scarf as a Christmas present; wide and long enough to cover the head and still wrap well around the neck.

The good news is that it's a very light day at work today and I brought Cromarty with me. Knitting will be done!


Update: 2:42 p.m. Knitting has been done! I always feel weird knitting at work, even if there's no one here and nothing to do -- like I'm so obviously not doing anything even remotely related to work. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures and I've gone without knitting for far too long (over a week!). As of this minute, the first repeat of Cromarty Chart D is complete!

No doubt

ScampIDoes it look like this cat has any doubt about where he stands in the grand scheme of things? I don't think so. And Mickey will attest -- this is definitely the preeminent pet in our household (at least in his own mind). K was in the back yard doing a photography assignment for me yesterday, and Scamp was a presence that just couldn't be ignored.

I think I've emailed everyone personally, but in case I missed someone, I just want you all to know how heartfelt your good wishes are. I am truly moved by your care and concern. Special thanks to Katy. And just so you know, things are going well; it's all very hard and it will take a while, but forward plans are being made and it's good.

ScampIIMy knitting is home!! So is my underwear, clothes, make-up (I have blush on today!) and my current book, but y'all know that I wasn't real concerned about those things! But, um, I didn't knit a stitch. Instead, I had two Coronas -- with lime -- and, well, let's just say that my tolerance has changed somewhat in the last 20 years. I can't go knitting on Cromarty when I'm feeling loopy!! We'll surely spend some quality time together tonight...

The long and winding road...

...from Barnes & Noble shipping to my door! I placed my order on the 8th or 9th. You may recall that A wanted The Notebook, and she couldn't find it locally -- at the time. Since there was free shipping on orders over $25, I found a couple of books to order for myself. On the 10th, it was in York, PA; on the 12th, St. Paul, MN; on the 16th, finally shipped from St. Paul -- via Jacksonville, FL; back to St. Paul again by the 26th; and finally delivered to my door yesterday, the 27th. Well-traveled, huh? A day from St. Paul to my door? Seems to me we could have skipped the trip to Florida and I'd have had my books on the 13th.

Meanwhile, M found a copy of The Notebook and read it; A took it up afterwards and finished days and days ago, and now we have an extra, unneeded copy...

Guess what I got?! I already stuck 'em over in my sidebar... Best of Knitter's: Arans & Celtics and Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans by Gladys Thompson. I drooled all over Arans & Celtics last night, as I'm still without actual knitting. I even held a skein of the superwash on my lap and considered casting on -- for what, I don't know! I managed to exercise restraint and am looking forward to a future project -- the tough part will be choosing, I love almost all of them!

My knitting will come home tonight!

I'm with it

I'm back at work today, and that's a good thing. The brain cells disbursed along I-70 over the weekend are finally finding their way home and I'm feeling a little more with it. I couldn't concentrate on anything yesterday!

I picked up the Summer Sonata last night, but then realized that almost all of my knitting supplies are on hiatus along with the actual knitting. They'll all be back tomorrow. I looked through the stash and patterns in an effort to come up with a quick & simple, mindless project -- the concentration problem made that a pretty futile attempt.

I am excited about acceptance into the Knitting Blogs web ring, and now, Secret Pal 2!! Woohoo.

I'm back

We left Madison at 7:30 on Friday night, arrived at my sister's in SW Kansas before noon on Saturday, loaded up what she wanted to take with her without incident (left behind a lot), and arrived back in Madison at 7:30 on Sunday night.

We stayed in Topeka on Saturday night for a much-needed rest, otherwise we were just drivin'. I can't believe we made that trip -- about 1700 miles -- in 48 hours.

It was a rescue mission. Plain and simple. Thank you all so much for your well wishes and good thoughts. I don't want to hang out laundry that isn't my own, but I'm comfortable saying that my sister is in a better place, but now she has to realize it, too. It's going to take a long time for her to heal and become whole again, overcome uncertainty and find her way.

She has -- and is finally accepting -- the love and support of the many people who love her and care for her. All of my sister's belongings are in storage in my youngest sister's garage in Madison. Due to the frenzy of unloading, my bag is also temporarily in storage in Madison!

I brought very little with me on the trip, but among the things I packed was my knitting! And not just Cromarty, but the Tasha bag, too! Argh. I didn't really think I'd be able to knit during the trip -- and I didn't expect to work on Cromarty at all (which is why I brought Tasha) -- but both of these sisters are knitters, and I wanted to share my work. My sis (formerly of Kansas) brought her basket of knitting needles and pattern books/magazines with her, as well as her tub o' yarn, and I think she'd really like to get back to knitting. A simple project to occupy her mind and her time and her hands. I guess I was hoping to inspire and encourage her by bringing my own.

And guess what she had in her basket of books? The Celtic Collection, the very book in which the pattern for Cromarty can be found! I'm looking forward to going through her stash with her, perhaps helping her to choose a project. Anyway, there has been no knitting and there will be no new knitting for at least a few days. This might be a good time to focus on and finish Summer Sonata!


Later. I wanted to share... My sister didn't have ready internet access in Kansas, so I printed out information and sent it to her. I think it helped her to realize her situation (especially descriptions of serial bully and signs to look for in a battering personality) and understand that her own feelings are not unusual. I'm sure there are thousands of sites out there...


And one more thing... I was just admitted to the Knit Bloggers web ring! Yay!

Was I going somewhere?

Yesterday, I was so excited about balloon flowers, thrift store knitting needles, and a coming-soon knitting (and cross stitch) shop in St. Louis, that I completely forgot to write anything about my knitting! Well, I've completed the first and begun the second Chart C repeat on the body piece of Cromarty, and am within a half-dozen rows of completing the first Chart D repeat. I can now estimate that it'll take one ball of Calmer for each D repeat.

In the mailbox was "Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy," by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts. I'm told that resistance to sock-knitting is futile, so now I'll be ready when I'm overcome by Sock Fever. This was my first-ever Bonus Points purchase from Crafter's Choice Book Club. Their service and delivery is excellent.

We're still waiting for a delivery from Barnes & Noble. It appears to be hung up in Minneapolis. I guess free shipping on orders over $25 means don't be in any hurry. Hmph.

I wasn't planning on going anywhere this weekend except, perhaps, the grocery store or something. Well, big news: life is unpredictable. I'll be driving to Kansas, leaving this evening. My youngest sister, stepfather and I will be going down there to get another sister. Plans are uncertain beyond that; the important thing is just to get her outta there. I may not be back 'til Tuesday.

So, y'all have a good weekend, okay?

My beautiful balloon

BellflowerHere's that pretty little balloon flower that I promised to show you. Aren't those buds just the coolest thing? K and I saw a real hot-air balloon floating in the sky the other night. I'd sure like to do that someday.

I went thrift store shopping with K&A yesterday. I had an armload of Aunt Lydia's rug yarn at one point -- all at a really great price -- but the grrs nixed it on the grounds of color. I can get carried away by the deal, so I didn't mind when I heard, in an incredulous tone, "Do you want a rug in that color??" My only prize of the day were some lovely, 14", beautiful blue, US8, metal knitting needles. I'm waiting for the day when I have my turn at scoring big in the thrift store knitting hunt.


Will you look at this? I received at email from a lady named Sandy the other day. She lives in St. Louis and is planning to open a knitting shop called knitorious in September (now closed). She couldn't believe that we shared a name. We have a lot in common -- we're about the same age, both live in old houses, both collect old china (she hasn't intentionally broken any yet, but I have a feeling that she will someday), and we share a love for knitting and a now name! She said that yarn vendors are busy, busy, busy and it's been hard to get attention from them!

A trip to St. Louis has been on my list for a while -- maybe October or November. Hmmmm, wouldn't that make a nice birthday present?

Funny Face

SleevesIt's official. I've dropped out of the Audrey Knit-along. I hated to do it, but it is what it is. Cromarty! I neglected to show you a picture of the completed sleeve. Here it is atop one of the finished Audrey sleeves. Darn that Laurel color, it just refuses to be true!

It's slow going on the body -- 184 stitches and all that cabling, I'm lucky if I get through two rows an hour right now. I'm hoping that my speed will pick up a bit. I'm closing in on the completion of the first Chart C repeat, but there's still a ways to go before the first repeat of Chart D is behind me.

HydrangeaI have three hydrangea bushes planted out front, but only one of those is giving me flowers (two) this year. Isn't it lovely? I snapped a pic of the balloon flower this morning -- one of the most interesting flower buds ever -- but I messed up. Hopefully, I can show you tomorrow.


VeggiesThe tomatoes were used for BLTs last night and enjoyed with reheated green beans from the night before. Artichokes and corn are now a delicious memory. The blueberries were mostly enjoyed right out of the box, but a few found their way into a cereal bowl (Special K with Red Berries -- and Blue Berries!). Mmmm. The potatoes still need purpose.

My favorite way to enjoy blueberries, though, is sprinkled with a little sugar in a bowl of cream. I like sliced tomatoes sprinkled with sugar, too. A garden-ripe, sun-warmed tomato is best eaten like an apple, sprinkled with a bit of salt -- seeds and juice dripping from chin and elbow! I usually do this standing over the kitchen sink.

PostwashPrewashAt left is the before-washing pic of the St. Brigid swatch, and at right, post-wash. I didn't particularly enjoy knitting with the superwash wool. I really don't consider myself a yarn snob, but I do like a yarn that feels good. It did improve visually and texturally after washing. I'll use it for a future project, but not St. Brigid. Um, yes, that is a mis-crossed cable...

Yesterday, I received the color cards I ordered from Beaverslide Dry Goods and they are being taken into consideration. I know I'll use their wool for something!

In Cromarty news, I knit about a half-dozen rows last night. I'm anxious to complete a full repeat of Chart D. I'm still lovin' it!


We have a Cromarty sleeve! Wow, that was fun. I finished it on Saturday night; I didn't cast off, but rather put the stitches on a holder -- I have a feeling that it may be a tad long and a few rows will need to be ripped when it comes time to put it together. I used just a teeny bit over two balls of Calmer for one sleeve, so I think I will need a ball or two more for the whole sweater -- it would make me feel better to have it, anyway! I cast on last night -- twice -- 184 stitches for the front/back. That's a lot of stitches on the needle and, yes, easily miscounted. The second time, I cast on based on the number of stitches needed for each chart repeat and put a marker between. I knit 3 or 4 rows before removing the markers altogether and had 6 rows completed by the time I put it down for the night.

I also knit a "swatch" for St. Brigid over the weekend, using the Norwegian Superwash wool that I received from Elann last week. I've never used a superwash before, and I'm still unsure. It has a funny feel and a sheen that I'm not crazy about. I knit most of a swatch as suggested in the book, then cast on a few more stitches and knit a repeat of chart C. The superwash is a very dark green, and I wanted to see how the stitch pattern would show up. Then I washed the swatch and set it out to dry. It's a little better after washing, but I'm thinking I'll probably use something else for St. Brigid. That is such a gorgeous sweater, and I'm so looking forward to knitting and wearing it; it's going to be made with something I love!

I went to a farmer's market on Saturday and had a blast. The weather over the weekend was perfect for such activities. We had fresh corn and artichokes on Saturday night! Our season isn't long enough for artichokes, but these were locally grown in a greenhouse. They were teeny (M scoffed at their size and wondered "why bother?"), but YUM. The corn was delicious, too. I also bought a pound of beans, a quart of Michigan blueberries, and some tomatoes. There's a picture of my bounty in the camera, along with a snap of the above-mentioned swatch, but I didn't have time to get 'em ready for the blog.

Pics tomorow!

Getting my fix

SleeveFixVanna found my "i," so here's my cables-half-fixed pic that I wasn't able to post yesterday. You can click for a larger view. Warning: It's a big-ass view!

You can see that the rows on the left just snuggle up real close and then veer off from each other again. The rows on the right did the same thing -- at least I'm consistent in my mistakes? -- but in this photo I've already fixed them and one crosses over the other, as it should. There are a few more details about how I did it in yesterday's post.

There was an estate sale on the next block this morning, so DH and I took a little walk. I bought a couple of big piles of dishes for less than $1 -- all good mosaic material. I better get busy making something!

Wishing a good weekend to you all!

Pat, I'd like to buy a vowel...

...I'd like to buy an "i." (I can't think of "Wheel of Fortune" or "Jeopardy" without being transported 19 years -- sitting on our futon couch in our house at Cape Meares, OR, drinking milk and eating snickerdoodle cookies while nursing my firstborn and watching those two shows after a day at work.)

After ripping and fixing only the stitches that needed to be fixed on the first of the brainfart noncables, I took a picture so I could show y'all. I downloaded it, fixed the color, re-sized, and then emailed it to myself at work. Unfortunately, it was mailed to "vick...@whatever" instead of "vicki...@whatever." Gawd.

I had just about every stitch holder and cable needle in use for this project. It was really quite a juggling act! For some reason, the fixing of the first cable went much smoother than the second -- you'd think I'd have had a better feel for it. On the first, I ripped down to where I forgot to cross, put my cable needles into use as I arranged the stitches in their proper formation and used a crochet hook to knit 'em back up -- each stitch, two rows at a time. These are travelling cables, so the fix required patience and attention. On the second, I ripped down to the spot and decided that I'd fix 'em one row at a time. That really wasn't as smooth a process. It was 10:30 when I finally had everything as it should be, and I stayed up for about another hour so I could do some actual knitting on the saddle.

Yeah, patience and attention. I wish I could tell you how long the fix actually took -- it really didn't take anywhere near the 4-5 hours that passed on the clock from start to finish. I had numerous interruptions and distractions -- feed the kids, answer the phone, at least an hour talking to my sis in Kansas, de-stressing after the angst of that call. Ugh. Why oh why is she so far away? Why can't she let go of a relationship that has left her completely demoralized and nearly dehumanized? How can I help her rediscover and believe in herself? I am so sad for my sister, and feel so helpless.


Okay. I figured out my sleeve chart for real yesterday. Rather than taping yet another chart revision on top of the existing revisions, I made copies and used them to make a whole new chart. I figure it was a good use of time and materials as I will eventually have to knit the second sleeve and I'll also be able to use parts of the sleeve chart to make the front/back charts. As I progressed on the knitting, using the original and oft-revised chart, and started working rows in the 100s, they were getting wonky and not lining up horizontally. This time, I taped the whole thing down on a sturdy piece of matboard (which I scored so I could fold it and people could sit near me while I knit, if they wanted), and I left a teensy bit of space between each repeat. It is much easier to read.

Joy. I finally got to the knitting last night and was so close to the cast-offs and the start of the saddle that I just had to get there -- and knit a couple of rows of the saddle for good measure. I "tried it on" (along with a ruler) for all to see and everything seems right. But, uh-oh, what's THAT? Just a couple of rows before the decreases, there are two cables in the main chart that are supposed to be crossed -- and they're not! Oh, the thoughts that jumbled in my mind: how did that happen? is there a problem with my new and improved chart? do I have to rip? can I rip and re-work just those areas? the cast-off edges look so nice and scream "progress"! DAMN!

What would you do? I went to bed. It was hard, but the Practical Vicki won last night (that alarm goes off real early). I need to focus and have patience and that's not usually me past 11 p.m. It was the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning and let's hope this day flies by because I want to get home and FIX IT (hopefully without ripping).

NorWool2NorWool1In other news, there was a box on my doorstep when I arrived home on Tuesday. Some Norwegian Superwash Wool in a color called "Lichen" (dark, dark green) and long (could be longer) DPNs. I had opted for Parcel Post rather than Priority Mail from Elann, since my PayPal balance was limited, and in return for my "patience" and the savings on shipping, I could buy one more skein of yarn. That's what it's all about, huh?

There should be a package from Barnes & Noble arriving any minute. I ordered "The Notebook" for A and, since there's free shipping on orders over $25, ordered a couple of things for myself. Stay tuned on that. And, Crafter's Choice sent me something which reminded me that I had a point balance and I ordered a book from them, too, for only the cost of shipping. Ooooh, I love books!

One hundred

This is my 100th post to the blog. I don't think there would be a more fitting time to receive this:
Thanks to the marvelous Katy!! I'll have to play around with the blog and my new button!!

And that's pretty much the knitting content today. I worked on A.C.Cromarty last night and finished another repeat. I'm not far from the saddle, and today I want to take a good look at that -- how many rows it will take to shape the saddle, how many complete patterns repeats, how I can best use the pattern on that stretch and make it look nice? I may end up fiddling with the length of the actual sleeve in order to get the saddle to turn out nicely. Sounds like more copying & pasting, huh?

I've mentioned before that I once worked as a typesetter. My first job in that arena was working for my dad on a weekly shopper that he published in a small town in WAY northern Wisconsin. We had antiquated equipment and remedial lessons on how to use it -- somehow we published a paper every week, anyway. Some time later, after he moved to Oregon and I to Superior (WI), my mom called to tell me that a shopper in NE Wisconsin (where she lived) was looking for a typesetter -- "Is that what you used to do for your dad?" My reply: "I dunno." I didn't know that there was an actual name for the job I did!! I called the shopper and talked to a very nice man who told me that it sure sounded like I was a typesetter. He invited me for an interview and I took a long bus ride to get there. He sat me down at a Compugraphic Mark IV (one of the best photo-typesetting machines ever!) -- this was not antiquated equipment, "Compu-" meant computer! Well, it was a blast and I picked up quick. Oh yeah, and they hired me. Well, it was computerized, but we still had to run the paper through a developer and then cut and paste as needed -- we used X-acto knives, scissors and rubber cement and pasted up ads, business cards, menus, raffle tickets (anything that was on its way to a printer). Further developments in typesetting computers lessened the need to cut and paste, and desktop publishing programs for PCs have all but wiped out typesetting. Oh, but I do still love to cut and paste, so playing with these charts, for me, is a BLAST!

The above is yet another example of sitting down to blog about something, and finding myself blogging about something completely different.

HollyhockAhollyhocksThese are for Sue. The white hollyhock is one of two blooming in my garden. Another stalk has appeared and I'm anxious to see what color it is. I'm always surprised. I love these single, old-fashioned varieties. The other pic is of A in 1992 standing in a grove of hollyhocks that grew on the south side of an old service station not far from our home. It was torn down a very short time later and is now used by a car dealership -- and they don't have any hollyhocks growing!

MallowYarrowKdaisyAstilbeAnd, because there are no knitting pics, some flowers. At left is some white yarrow against a pink mallow backdrop, followed by K's pic of her Gebera daisy, and with astilbe bringing up the rear. Pretty, pretty.

I fixed my Cromarty sleeve chart last night. I’ve had a scanner at home for years and I sure love the copy feature! I did a little knitting, also, but A was watching VH1’s “I Love the ‘90s” and I couldn’t help but be sucked into that – to the extent that I had to put down the knitting. I was a little annoyed by all the bleeping – I’m not a prude, and can bleep along with the best, but I found it quite distracting.

K has the day off and her 6 a.m. breakfast date was changed to a 5 p.m. meet-up, so I think she’ll be thrifting today. She’s on the hunt for more buttons and for a cardigan with a placket, more similar to the cardi pictured in the Anthropologie catalog. I’ll have to let her know that I found my stash of other/better buttons last night.

Still waiting on my most recent order from Elann – I hope it will arrive today; I did opt for the slow, cheap shipping, so must be patient. It’s wool and long DPNs. Wool + Long Needles = Happiness.

Hope you have a little happiness on your doorstep today, too!

Anthropologie at home & Cromarty

The new anthropologie catalog came in the mail the other day. Katie says that she would like to live there! She was most taken by {this no-longer available sweater} and took it upon herself to save $120+ by using part of a twin set that I bought on clearance last year or the year before and by raiding my button jar.


Once upon a time, we splurged and bought her a pair of lace-up moccasin boots from that catalog for Christmas. A few months later, she found them at a Minnetonka retailer for far, FAR less. This experience somehow awakened the frugal gene she got from her dad's mom's side of the family and from my dad's mom's side of the family, and she's more able to squash the impulse and shop around -- or make it herself!!

And, calling upon the practical gene (also from the above-mentioned sources), this year for Christmas (yes, it's more than 5 months away), she's wondering if we'd be willing to pay half of some needed car repairs and call it an early gift. Lord-y. My children never cease to amaze! Car repairs as a Christmas gift!!


Besides the knitting, there was some figuring and calculating done this weekend. Charged up by the very positive response to Friday's post about A.C.Cromarty, I attempted to revise my charts according to the row gauge I was getting. I also cut up an old sheet to the pattern measurements and compared them to some existing clothing to determine fit. The end result of that experiment is that I will still make the sleeves a little narrower than the original pattern so that there isn't as much bulk under the arm, but will probably not revise the body to make it narrower (I'm still keeping that option open, though). Between the time of this photo and the end of knitting time last night, the fourth repeat of the center pattern was completed.


And just before finishing for the night, discovered a little mistake in my chart where I apparently got a little cut-happy in my cutting and pasting and whacked off two rows where I shouldn't have. That will be fixed (more cut & paste) today!

Why did I click "upgrade" rather than "renew" for the virus protection on our computer? There would have been a helluvalotta more knitting time over the weekend had I done so. Several hours, three blasted trojans, and several annihilated adware programs later, we're back to normal at home. Darn, I hate spending time fixing that kind of crap.

Does something seem familiar?

My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your kind sentiments. The circle of life can be bewildering sometimes, but it is what it is.

AudreyCromartyCromartySleeveWhat's going on here? Something seems familiar, but one of these things is definitely not like the other! Oh, where shall I begin?

Though I haven't struggled too much with the knitting of Audrey (and really rather enjoyed it), it became more clear with each completed row that she wasn't a sweater I would likely wear much. It's a beautiful sweater (check out all the finished ones!) and I admire the design, but it's not for me. I'm joining Norma and Bonne Marie (May 18) in the termination of Audrey (are there any others?). I haven't frogged yet, but I have commenced on something new with the Calmer...

May I present Audrey C. Cromarty. This is really a bit of an experiment. Okay, a lot of an experiment, coupled with a Bad-Ass Knitter attitude and a blind, work it out on-the-fly determination. I fiddled around with the charts for Cromarty to make both the body and the sleeves narrower. (Yeah, that was me, scarcely a month ago, learnin' to read a chart...) I couldn't wait for the yarn I ordered for this sweater, so thought I'd "just see" what would happen with the Calmer, being handy in the knitting pot and all. (Maybe there'll be enough of the other stuff for St. Brigid.)

SleeveCableSleeveDetail1I have to say, I'm not unhappy. I would never have thought of cables with Calmer had I not taken a peak into the Calmer book at my LYS one day. I think this is the type of cabling to do with Calmer, though, lots and LOTS, very busy; a single cable or even a repeat pattern of small, simple cables would be "bleh." I sure wish this was touch-o-vision -- this feels so yummy, like a sweater I could live in!

I have some hurdles. I've made a few mistakes and still have to correct a correction. I'm getting the stitch gauge I want, but the row gauge is off, and that will require more fiddlin'. I may not have enough yarn (I'll have to check with my LYS. Norma, we should talk dye lots...). It's a challenge to try and make it work, and I'm up for it. What do you think? What's your gut reaction -- like it? love it? hate it? she's wasting her time?

Garden stuff

Foxglove2Foxglove1I've been doing a little knitting, but there's nothing about it here...

Ha! I was third on the list for a google search on "hostas are boring." Well, I used to think so, but not anymore. Hey, these are exciting -- FOXGLOVE! I've tried so many times to get these darn things growing in my yard. This was yet another last-ditch attempt (and, yes, I would likely keep trying) to get something established. The stalks are not very big, but look at those flowers!

Bellflower2Bellflower1These are some bellflowers that have been growing on the west side of our house for as long as we've lived here. For all I know, they're a weed. But aren't they lovely?? They have made the lack of foxglove much more bearable over the years.

KGardenIt was finally dry enough (if not sunny) to skip down and check out the back garden -- K checked her small plot, also, and was pleased with the progress.

Flowers are good, and help to soothe a heavy heart and rattled nerves. I received word yesterday that a cousin died. Ted was a year younger than me. He had a form of leukemia that is completely treatable and curable in children, but very rare in adults and the prognosis was never very good. Ted was tall and lanky, and so very warm and friendly, he could instantly put anyone at ease. He had dimples that would melt your heart, and I'm sure he flashed 'em constantly right up to the end. We always lived a far distance from each other, so didn't spend a lot of time together, but our get-togethers are memorable nonetheless. He leaves a wife of only 6 years and his stepchildren. His parents, my aunt and uncle (Mom's brother), have already passed away, too, so only Ted's two sisters remain in that family. I can't even begin to describe how my heart feels about that.

We'll miss you Ted.


Several loads of laundry later, the laundry basket is almost back to its normal overflow level. Our crazy weather (wet & cool) doesn't allow for line-drying, so sleeping bags will have to wait. DH did the grocery store run while I ran 20 miles up the highway with Mom yesterday to search for a deli for which we had very vague directions and not even the name. We found it, as evidenced by the containers of yummy chicken salad that came home with us. She'd had some at a recent gathering and scoring some was yesterday's mission. Mmmm, it's made with dried cranberries and pine nuts, and I'm going to have to find or try to replicate the recipe!

The modified Galway hat met with the approval of my youngest sister over the weekend -- and she requested one for Christmas. She wears hats a lot and it looks so cute on her, I will likely fulfill her wish. I forgot to copy the directions for making the braided tassel from Aran Knitting, so have been figuring out how to do that. I've made one attempt, and it's okay, but I think I can do better.

I worked just a little on Tasha yesterday. Had to rip a few rows after finding a mistake. You'd think I could do that cable blindfolded... I've also been playing around with the Calmer. I still have two sleeves and half a body piece for Audrey knit up -- haven't ripped 'em yet -- but if this new idea works out, they will be sacrificed. All the finished Audreys look so lovely and I do love it, but I'm still leaning toward making a $100 sweater that I'd have more occasion to wear than that one.

In gardening news (briefly), we have FOXGLOVE! I bought yet another pot last year -- one last chance to get some going -- and we have flower stalks. Two of them -- one white and one purple. They are small, but they're there! That stuff grew all over the place when we lived in Oregon and it's so lovely. The rose mallow is blooming nicely, as is the lavender, and there's one healthy hollyhock that will soon be blooming. I haven't even walked down to the back garden since we got home because it's been so wet; I think the weather will improve this afternoon, so perhaps after work.


LazyThis is what most of our Fourth of July weekend was like. If I had a picture of Mickey eating, you'd get an idea of what we did the rest of the time. The weather could have been a bit more cooperative -- it was a bit rainy on Saturday and chilly most of the time -- but it was just right for playing SkipBo (a card game cousin to Uno) or sitting 'round the campfire. The kids went out in the paddleboat or rowboat a couple of times and they even did a little swimming, but there was no waterskiing or tubing.

I was a little nervous about taking Mickey up north with us. My dad has had some wonderful dogs, all well-behaved and obedient, and I wasn't sure how Mickey would behave -- her first road trip and so many people. She was a sweetheart! We also learned that, like many dogs, she's not a big fan of fireworks.

DH and M took a hike with Dad and they found an area that was apparently used as an informal dump. You know what's coming, dontcha? They found some old broken dishes -- some nice designs and marks -- and old bottles.

The badminton net was never unfurled. That's unheard of for a weekend like this! We usually play informally, but a few years ago, there was a full-blown double-elimination tournament that was eventually called because of a lack of light and the two finalists being named co-champions. We decided that we need a do-over, so we're all checking our calendars and hoping for another get-together at the end of August. Maybe the weather will be more cooperative in terms of watersports, too.

PhildarMarkersUpon our return, I had mail from France! I received this package as a thank you for sending a copy of the Interweave Knits article about knitting styles to Yvette. She -- and all of her aunts -- knit "weird," like me! Since then, we've both been intrigued by the number of weird (aka, right-handed or lap-) knitters standing up to be counted! Anyway, this gift is way too generous as a thank you for some photocopies! There are a couple of skeins of Phildar, some homemade, beaded stitch markers, some lovely soap, and some terrific samples for the grrs! Thank you, thank you, thank you Yvette.

The only knitting I did all weekend was a couple of hours in the car on Saturday and for about 15 minutes upon our return home last night. I have a few inches of the cabled strap for the Tasha bag on the needles. It's the same cable that I used on the modified Galway hat.

I'm off on an outing with Mom this afternoon, then it's back to work for the rest of the week.

Almost an FO

GeraniumsThe knitting is complete on the modified Galway hat! I had both K&A try it on last night and it looks great. It was too late to take pics, though. This hat will have a tassel, which I have yet to make. Because of my DPN clumsiness, there are a couple of wonky stitches to fix, too. (Thanks for sending the link, Yvette; I'll be ordering longer DPNs soon!) There will be pics next week.

In the meantime, here's a picture of some cards that my DH has made for me over the years. They reside on the "architectural" piece that hangs on the wall over our bed, and I snapped this when I was taking the While You Were Out pics a few weeks ago. Geraniums. It's hard to tell (sorry that it's kind of dark), but all the petals on the card at left are heart-shaped. Special.

I pick up M tonight from her week at camp. Can't wait to hear all about it. The week flew by for me, I imagine it was hyper-speed for her! I'll throw in a few loads of laundry and we'll start packing up. We're heading north tomorrow for a long weekend at Dad's; two of my sisters and their families will be there, also. I don't know if there will be opportunities to knit, but I'll bring Tasha (at least) and Be Prepared.

I forgot to mention yesterday that Twin-S called on Wednesday night to thank me for her belated birthday gift (the phone card she was using -- she's SO in the boonies), and to let me know that the baby gift had arrived and was much appreciated. Trevor is so small, his mom thought it might be a year before he'd fit into the outfit. How many times did I put things away for the kids to grow into, only to pull them out too late -- squeeze them in for one wearing before passing it on to someone else. They grow SO fast!

Belated Canada Day wishes to those north of the border, and a happy Independence Day to those south. See ya'll on Tuesday.


Choose your fiber

TashaBy some unknown miracle, I had time to photograph, download, re-size, and save pictures to a CD this morning before leaving for work! Tasha is first up -- this is a front/back piece and one of the cabled top edging pieces. I didn't do any knitting at work yesterday (was playing around with charts for another idea, instead). She was my evening appetizer while watching the local news last night.

BackFrontThen K piped up. The Galway brim was still pinned to the board and in a very conspicuous spot (for ease of admiration, but apparently calling out, also) and K wondered aloud if I was going to work on it anytime soon. So, it was wool for dessert. I seamed it, picked up stitches and worked 5 rounds with my short DPNs. I knew they were too short for me when I bought them, but they didn't have any that were longer and I needed them. Now. I can't even describe what it's like for me to work with these, being the type of knitter that I* am. Something like working a full-size hat with miniature needles. Never mind that I don't have much experience with in-the-round knitting, precisely because of my knitting style. At least I can "anchor" DPNs, unlike circs, however uncomfortable it may be. It was warm yesterday. I was sweatin'.

I think K would like me to have a few of these hats knit by fall so that she may guiltlessly pick one of many (okay, probably more like several... or maybe a few) to take with her to school. No worries, K. I love playing around and knitting these and your enthusiasm only makes me want to do more!

RoxyThe kitties are much more tolerant of Mickey lately. Scamp -- the intimidator -- has lightened up. With M away at camp this week, Mickey has been sleeping with us. We usually have cats on the bed instead of dogs. Though they're more tolerant, the sharing any type of furniture is a ways off yet! Roxy found the glider to be pretty darn comfortable this morning.

*Right-handed. Previously self-described (and often affirmed by others) as "weird," I've recently been describing it as the Scottish method (from an article on knitting styles in a recent issue of Interweave Knits). It sounds less weird, and I think there are Scots in the family tree. Unlike Stephanie, I do not anchor the needle under my arm (though I think I've tried that), but at the crook of my thigh/torso. Where her needle is more horizontal, mine is a little more vertical. In the case of too-short DPNs, the needle is anchored higher on the torso; it's been known to rest on the belly, but the waistband is nice (especially if you're wearing a knit top -- poke).