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August 2004
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October 2004

Hoot, hooooot, hoot

SuppliesI'm thrummin'! Here are my supplies: fluffy fleece, Galway worsted from stash, DPNs, The Queen's* pattern and, in place of Screech, Mike's Hard Lime (it's what was in the 'fridge). There were distractions, for sure, a phone call from my sis, another from Kt; the realization that my uneasiness with the DPNs was evident in how tight my cuff was (might have fit a 3-year-old's hand), so I tried to relax and started over. I'm sure y'all would laugh, the DPNs are probably longer than anyone else's and I look and feel like Edward Scissorhands, but they're doing the job. At 12:30 a.m., I had knit my first thrummed row and one more besides. That means I'm operating on less than 5 hours of sleep today, but *Hoot, Hoot, Whoot* I'm thrummin'!

Fleece_galwayI believe it's the art of thrum-making that is the biggest challenge -- figuring out how much fiber makes a "wisp" and therefore a nice thrum, not too big but enough to be warm. Some of them are definitely fatter than others, but I think I'll get that down.

More_weekendThe LYS damages weren't too bad yesterday. I did dive into the sale bin and came up with two more skeins of the Waterspun Weekend that I'll use for more hats -- the kids like 'em so much. I also bought Judy Pascale's Shapely Shawlette pattern. They had a garter stitch version as a sample; I tried it on and didn't want to take it off. So nice!! I really want to use the beautiful Alchemy Alpaca from my Secret Pal for this shawl, but will likely shorten it by a few rows because of yardage issues. I can't wait to make this shawl!

Speaking of Secret Pals, I had a very nice, newsy e-card from mine other day -- with giraffes (my favorite!) and even a clue as to my next package (I'm still mulling it over). I'm falling a bit behind on emails and whatnot, but I'll give a personal shout soon; meanwhile, a public Thank You!!

I have at least one more package to send off to my SPII person; I hope they received the last one (haven't heard a peep).

Kt was 6, Ai 4, and Mdd just a babe at this time of year, 13 years ago, when an owl would come to visit every night. I heard him night after night -- a resounding "hoo-hoo-hoo-hooooot-hoot-hoot," close by, and at fairly regular intervals. One night, I finally spotted him, sitting atop a dead branch in one of the huge oaks in the ravine. Ever on the lookout for educational opportunities (and there are none better than those right outside your kitchen door), I grabbed a flashlight and called the grrs. Oh, that poor, poor owl. We got a good look at him, but he silently swooped away and never came back. Over the past several years, I've heard owls (though never as close) -- sometimes the "hoot" just resonates through the house! I think I've been forgiven. Last night there were two; even though there was a full moon, I couldn't spot them, but they were very close. They were hooting up a storm, each with a different tone, and it was glorious!

*If she's successful in knitting an Aran in 14 days, the Queen of the World should be nominated for Queen of the Universe, or Goddess of Cables & Bobbles, or something to commemorate such a feat.

Dual-purpose rooms

My grandparents' house was built shortly after the Civil War and is one of the oldest homes in their small city. Not much has changed. I believe the kitchen wing was a later addition, and remodeled even later. There was a full bath upstairs and a powder room was carved out of a space beneath the staircase on the main floor. The powder room was enlarged to accommodate a large shower stall after Grandma broke her hip and they moved to a downstairs bedroom.

I helped the aunts and uncles with the rummage sale at Grandma's house last Friday. Many people came just to see the house. One woman scurried by and asked, "Do you know which was the Birthing Room? I was born in that room." During the '30s and '40s, a doctor lived in the house and it also served as the "hospital." I didn't know which was the Birthing Room, but I gave her my best guess(es). All that is really known about the use of rooms at that time is that Grandma's "dining room" was the "operating room." Someone walked in through the back door last week and was transported back 70 years or so, remembering walking up those steps when they came to have their tonsils removed.

There was a real hospital built sometime in the '50s or '60s, I guess. It closed several years ago. It was recently remodeled and now serves as an assisted living complex. That's where Grandma's new apartment is... she can't seem to get away from living in former hospitals!

Fiber News I'm going shopping for thrums this afternoon! I haven't yet decided on anything -- pattern, yarn, method -- and am hoping that something will speak to me. I'm hoping it's only fleece/roving and maybe yarn for the Thrummed Mittens that call my name; I need no other yarn. St. Brigid and I had a little quality time together last night and there's another repeat to show for it. I'm finally feeling the rhythm there and this sleeve is much better behaved than the first (in other words, I'm not making the same stupid mistakes).

Talking to myself

I couldn't miss seeing the moon on the western horizon as I pulled onto the highway this morning to go to work. Words escaped my lips, "Oh My God!" It was enormous; so big that it looked like a destination.

LeavesSumacIt's autumn and Mother Nature is beginning the show. I don't think it's going to be spectacular this year because of our very wet spring and cool, dry summer, but still beautiful. On the left is a branch from my favorite ash in the back yard. I love watching this tree turn color -- a pic won't do it justice, but I had to try. On the right is a sumac in the ravine; the pic is kind of dark, but you've never seen a more vibrant red -- and it's positively illuminated in the sunshine!

I set up the ball winder and swift last night and went to work with the Cascade 220. I bought 12 hanks with St. Brigid in mind, though I don't think I'll need them all; I wound all but two into balls. DH is fascinated by the mechanics of the swift; having returned from walking the dog, he enjoyed the little bit of breeze generated by the winding, also. Afterwards, I settled in with the second St. Brigid sleeve and worked my way into the third repeat.

Tomorrow is my day off and I hope to catch up with the Queen of The World and her merry band of Thrummers. It means a trip to the LYS (I know, poor me) for the material with which to thrum. Thrum, drum, rhythm; I hope I find mine. Oh, and I love Norma's thoughts about these mitts (and there's a great story, to boot!).

Good intentions

For the past six months or so (maybe closer to a year), I've been meaning to back up all the digital pics on my computer to CD.

It's too late.

Our computer crashed on Friday, turning fatal on Saturday, and my pics are gone. I'm clinging to a shred of hope that something can be done, but it doesn't look good. My brother is geekier than your Average Joe and maybe he can help or advise.

DH had recently backed up a big project he was working on, and I backed up all the photos I'd scanned from Mom's photo albums and the Family Tree Maker file, but my most recent backup of Quicken data was in April and that means I have some work to do.

You just never know when it's going to happen... Everything's fine and dandy on Thursday night, and on Friday morning there's a message that a crucial file is "corrupted or missing" and Windows won't load. Folks, it's downhill from there. I thought I had it back on Friday night, but it was even worse on Saturday morning -- failure loading the operating system.

Typing_1This is one damn hard lesson.

It's a good thing I have this -- another little treasure from Grandma's house. I imagine that it was earned by one of her kids in high school -- either of my aunts, or possibly even my dad. Dad took typing because a girl he liked was in the class; it's a skill that has served him very well over the years. My DH has very limited typing ability, but it was enough to enable a move from infantry to company clerk (he was a "Radar O'Reilly") during his tour of duty in Vietnam. I earned a certificate for typing 70 wpm in high school, myself, but this little "Expert Typist" pin is way, way more cool. I believe I'll even wear it as I buckle down to play catch up and try to recover.

There was precious little weekend knitting time; I haven't yet cast on for the second sleeve of Cromarty, but have made a little progress on the second sleeve of St. Brigid -- a few inches.

More cables

Websleeve922b_2Hello... I'm trying again because it didn't work the first time... tap-tap-tap... is this thing on? Can you *read* me?

I'm tied up today, so I'm trying Typepad's posting into the future feature.

Darn, I hope this picture isn't too dark -- I chose it because the cables showed up "so nicely." It's the first St. Brigid sleeve. The next step is to bind off on each side and knit the saddle (the center cable). Before I continue, I'm going to knit the other sleeve to this point and at least one body piece. The saddles will go very quickly, and I want to see how everything "measures up" before I proceed. I'm a teensy bit concerned about the length of the sleeve, but I'm pretty sure that blocking will fix that.

Happy Weekend (I can't believe the next one will be in October)!!

Morning Has Broken

In the "I Don't Know What To Think Department": Yusuf Islam. I was reduced to tears over Cat Stevens once in high school when I was duped into thinking that he'd be giving a concert at a nearby venue. Easily led, I guess. I believe I still have nearly every album he ever made.

Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can't we live in bliss

'Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world...

And truly, when morning broke today, it was a glorious sky in both the east and the west. That makes for such a fine mood to start the day.

In the "I Thought I Was Funny Department": I sent an email with a link to the Hallowig to my sister yesterday, and wrote that it was a "possible solution to a situation" at their house. Almost two months ago, my very fair, very blonde niece dyed her hair jet black (it was on sale). It was a 28-day, temporary dye... but there ain't no way black is going to shampoo out of blonde; as 60 days approaches, she's definitely brunette, and that's after trying to lighten it twice with blonde dye. Anyway, I was surprised when both Kt and Ai thought that my email was "mean." Judging from my sister's reply this morning, I think they saw the humor -- not rolling-on-the-floor funny, but worth a grin.

Body1PiecesWhat? There's supposed to be a "Knitting Department"? I have a dozen rows to knit and this baby's off the needles! I held it up for DH to admire last night and confirmed that there was one more body piece to knit. "Will it be the same? ...because sometimes when the front is fancy, the back of a sweater is plain." Oh-ho-ho, who's he trying to spare...

One more sleeve, one more body piece, and neckband to go! Cromarty by Christmas?

Refrigerator Magnets

Magnet1Seven fruit- and vegetable-shaped refrigerator magnets that have clung to the door of the fridge du jour at Grandma's for as long as I can remember -- that would be going on 40 years, I would think. Other magnets have come and gone; none remain in memory, or evoke memories, like these. I just realized, looking at the picture, that I've arranged them in order of which I like best; the shot with my finger is for scale. They're definitely small treasure.

Magnet2Grandma always had numerous magnets on the fridge, but many times they held nothing or were decoration themselves -- a beautiful image or inspirational verse. She never had the fridge cluttered with snapshots and clippings (like mine); at most, they held the church bulletin and church calendar, and an occasional appointment reminder.

When I was little, Grandma's kitchen was HUGE. An efficient work triangle? Never even heard of when that baby was designed. A fairly short bank of tall cabinets, probably '20s vintage, ran about 2/3 the length of one wall and held the sink; the fridge was on the opposite wall, and the stove sat all alone on a third wall. There was a big Nutone fan with a pull-chain in the wall above the stove. Task lighting? How about a round fluorescent fixture in the middle of a tall ceiling and a bulb above the sink? The kitchen also held a dinette set and a mangle. The mangle came with the house; I never saw it in operation, but it was always there (it weighed a TON).

The kitchen was remodeled in the '70s. What was once one big, square room became two; a smaller kitchen with a more efficient U-shaped cabinet design (and a dishwasher), and a smaller mud-room/pantry with exhaust fan which soon held a couple of ceramics kilns -- 'til they were displaced by the washer and dryer after Grandma tripped on laundry in the basement and broke her hip. The fan came in handy when the laundry room also became Grandpa's smoking room after he was forbidden from smoking in the rest of the house.

The mangle was moved to a far corner of the basement 30 years ago, and it resided there until last Saturday when my uncles hauled it up through the cellar entrance and cleaned it up. My mother is interested in it; she is the only person I know who irons her sheets (apparently, Martha has two of them).

Oh, the eyes of a child. It couldn't have been more than 20 feet from the dining room doorway across to the stove in that original kitchen, but it seemed like a mile. The tall cabinets, tall ceiling, appliances jutting out from the walls, the lighting, and my little-girl-perspective all contributed to that little trick.

Olive Drab to lift my spirits

Palsock1There was a box from my Secret Pal in yesterday's mail. What great timing... I really needed a lift. And what do you know, more sock-enabling material! Palsock2This is so cool! I have seen this Red Cross Knit Kit around for a while and it's right up my alley. I love historical stuff. Though I recall seeing the kit around the blogs, I don't recall seeing finished socks -- has anyone knit them? I was a little surprised at the softness of the yarn. Yum. Thank you, Secret Pal!

Palsock4[Ooops. I just hit "Save" instead of "Preview" and I'm not finished!]

Wow, as I near the finish of the front/back of Cromarty, it's slow going. I knit and knit and knit and though I know I'm moving the row marker and clicking the counter, it doesn't seem like I'm getting any closer to the end! I would like to finish that piece before casting on anything else; then I will likely do the second sleeve for both St. Brigid and Cromarty. That's the plan right now.

I will show you the St. Brigid sleeve sometime this week. And though I was a little grumbly yesterday about all of Grandma's stuff, I have come across some "cool stuff," and I plan to share a little of that soon, too. I think it will make me feel better.

It's remover alright

To be perfectly honest, the weekend sucked and next weekend won't be much better. The only knitting was on Friday night; I'm to the shoulder/saddle on the St. Brigid sleeve and I'm leaving it at that until I finish a body piece to see how it all measures up. I keep plugging away on Cromarty, too.

My sister and I met an aunt an uncle and their spouses at Grandma's house this weekend to prepare for a rummage sale. My grandmother was a frugal, frugal woman; she never threw anything out. Ever. Anything. So, there's just lots of stuff. She'd been trying to go through and pare down over the past few years, but as my uncle said, she never really got rid of anything, she just moved it someplace else in the house (a big house). Anyway, ick; I'm glad that part's done.

I need to get rid of shit in my house.

Okay, so on Saturday night, my sis and I got home late. We sat in on the end of "My Fair Lady" with the grrs. Afterwards, I was outside the bathroom door as my sister was getting ready for her nighttime ritual and she said, "Oh, good, you have baby lotion -- that's what I use to remove my eye makeup." Hm, I thought, I don't remember having baby lotion... I poked my head through the doorway as she grabbed the pink bottle and turned it around; it was Nair. The best laugh I had all weekend. Ya wouldn't even need eye makeup remover then, wouldya?

How many times can I hit snooze?

I like Berroco's new free pattern, June. It looks like something I'd wear a lot, and I've been intrigued by Suede for a while. Hmmmm. Yet another pattern to print and file for future consideration.

There was knitting on both Cromarty and St. Brigid last night. I didn't knit as long as usual/I'd have liked because I was so, so tired and I went to bed "early." I'm happy with progress on both; very close to a finished sleeve!

Sedum2The leaves are turning (does it seem early to anyone else?). There's an ash in my yard that's my favorite at this time of year -- it simply glows as the leaves turn from green to yellow-gold and purple-maroon. It's just starting to turn. ('Twould make a lovely yarn.) Words can't describe and I doubt that it will photograph, but I'm gonna try. Meanwhile, I love the rich green and purple of this sedum as it gets ready to bloom.

I've been feeling it for about a week. At first I thought it was the a/c blowing up my back at work that was making me feel funny. Then I thought that it might be a sinus thing due to allergies (pollen counts are high, ragweed); I've never been diagnosed with allergies, but I seem to be suffering from allergy-like symptoms more with each passing year. Maybe I've run myself down and was just getting a cold -- turning out my light at 12:00+ a.m. and the alarm going off at 5:30 a.m. (many nights in a row), a/c inside, hot/humid outside, going in-and-out all day.

Likely, it is all of those things, but mostly it's the change of the seasons. There's something different in the air; it gets dark early and it's dark when I wake up; it's very cool in the morning, warming quickly during the day, and cooling again quickly in the evening. I feel it keenly every year. And it's not just me; at 8:30 last night, DH commented that it felt like 10:00, and even the kids have been going to bed early!

Spit and polish

First of all, I fixed the dumb cable. I don't usually knit during the day, for some reason, but I granted myself special dispensation yesterday and ripped 12 rows, fixed the cable, and knit 'em back up again. Having pulled the sleeve off the needles, I was able to "try it on." I became a bit concerned about the width of the finished sleeve; specifically, about bulk under the arm if all the increases were made as written. My sleeve seemed to "fit" okay, and I still have 6 increases to go on each side. I thought Katy's mom had knit this sweater, so posted my concern on the St. Brigid KAL board; turns out that Katy and her sister only wished that their mother had knit this sweater! Katy suggested that I email Wendy since she had knit SB once. Wendy kindly replied that, though she hasn't worn the sweater in a while, she likes it and doesn't recall any bothersome bulkiness; she is pretty sure that she knit it as written. She would have pulled it off the shelf if she wasn't hindered by that swollen ankle. (Wishes for speedy recovery.)

Since I was awaiting word about St. Brigid's arm, I pulled out Cromarty for the evening knitting. Woo-hoo, I am so close to finishing the first body piece. It's been a while since I had this in my lap, but we were easily reacquainted.

ObeyVery, very interesting... reading all your comments about cleaning and involving the kids and such. I think my method is most like Kim's (clean when you can't take it anymore), Rachael's (whenever, wherever), and Melanie's (piecemeal). For me, this method is often manic, inspired by hormone fluctuations or moon phases or the impending arrival of company.

Essentials are covered daily, similar to Yvette and Janet, though I don't have a checklist. The kids do help with these, but the definition of "essential" is often open to interpretation. Part of my problem with the kids is looking the other way when the standard is not quite met, and then I decide that it's just easier to do it myself. Janet seems to have mastered this. Ohm.

From time to time, I have employed the timer method that Christine uses, especially when the kids were little. Her kids fight over who gets to use the Swiffer first. My mother loved her Swiffer so much that she bought one for each of us. I made the delivery to one of my sisters; she put it together promptly and then she disappeared -- she was in Swiffer Heaven for a good half-hour.

Katy's daughter has been doing laundry since she was 6 (go, Gracie)! Occasionally, I just ignore the laundry, but it's really one of my favorite housekeeping tasks (as long as ironing isn't involved). I especially love hanging clothes on the line. I did show Mdd how to do it not long ago, and last night she asked me to make a chart because "then I'd do it a helluva lot more often." (Yeah, she's 13.) Striking while the iron was hot, I got right on that!

For a while, before my teen-age years and again when they were drawing to a close, my mother employed a cleaning lady who would come either weekly or bi-weekly. I always argued about having to make my bed on the day the cleaning lady came -- wasn't that her job? (I must have been nearing 13.) I, too, employed a cleaning lady (bi-weekly) for a short time when I worked full-time while my kids were very young. Having the entire house clean in one day, like Cindy and Melanie's mom is my unrealized ideal. I have pile problems and clutter chaos and a packrat gene complicated by sentimental tendencies and a HUGE, dusty, old house. Dealing with that stuff doesn't seem like cleaning, to me, but it most certainly is the biggest obstacle. I've been much more aware of the need to pare down, purge, and organize, but it's apparent that there is lots of room for improvement. Breaking things down into more manageable tasks is a great tip, and really getting the kids involved has to be a priority. Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts!

To counter the mundane talk of housework, allow me to share the blooming Obedience Plant (I think) transplanted from my moving-to-Indiana friend's garden earlier this summer. Isn't it beautiful?

Lastly, Stephanie is going to teach me (and a few others) how to make Thrummed Mittens!


Dsc02863Today is my day off. It's usually a big laundry day. This is what I found atop my laundry basket this morning. I think Miss Mdd is going to get a laundry lesson soon.

I am not like my mother. When we were growing up, Saturday was cleaning day. We were not allowed to go anywhere until our chores were done. Mom would split them up among us and rotate them from week to week. This is how it was when she was growing up. I learned how to clean things -- anything and everything -- very, very well, and I am thankful. Mom was a stickler and I learned all about the details. I don't put that knowledge to use on a regular basis, but I'm glad I know. My kids don't know much. I know they need to know how to do these things and they learn responsibility, etc. They do a few chores on a regular basis, but nothing compared to what we did at their age; I don't drive them. Sometimes, I wish I were more like Mom. I guess I'm not as much of a stickler -- my house doesn't need to look like a House Beautiful photographer would be arriving any minute. It's not that I don't love a clean house! What do y'all do? Do you have regular cleaning days, regular chores, involve the kids a lot or a little?

I was admiring my work on the St. Brigid sleeve last night, having completed the fourth repeat of the sleeve's main chart, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a frickin' miscrossed cable. I had a lot of interruptions last night, but still...

Fall flowers

Aster1The late summer/early fall flora is starting to get pretty. These asters have been growing near the wall in the backyard for quite a few years now; I think they were originally transplants from my mother's garden. Aster2They get quite leggy and they're top-heavy when blooming, so I usually have to stake them. This year, I cut them back by almost half in early July and I think I got it right this time. Last year I whacked too much, too late and didn't have blooming asters at all!

Do you see the little spider? He's atop the flower at left, and still visible after crawling underneath at right.

It's too funny that both Marta and I knit bulky hats over the weekend -- two nearly identical hats each! Heather says "ham-fisted," Christine says "Flintstone needles," and Yvette says just "weird." All are accurate descriptions of knitting with US17 needles! Not my faves, but they sure make for a fast knit! And Kim is right! I loved the Waterspun Weekend yarn and I wouldn't mind more. Thanks for all the nice comments -- love 'em!

St. Brigid and I spent some quality time together watching last night's football game (the Packers won, and I won the football pool again!). I only had to tink back a half-row twice to fix little things. I am more than half-way through the fourth repeat of the main chart and there are only five altogether before the saddle, so I'm going to knit until it's finished; then I'll pick up Cromarty and finish the first body piece. And then, we'll see...

Waterspun Weekend

Weekendhat1Weekendhat2By Saturday night, there were two! Oh, what fun, to have two FOs for the weekend. They are destined to be Christmas gifts (Ai loves 'em!). I used Bonne Marie's H2O Hat pattern from ChicKnits (no longer available) and the Classic Elite Waterspun Weekend yarn that I bought a few weeks ago. I got used to those honkin' big US17 needles with the Meathead last week, and decided to put them to use again. It took less than an hour and a half to knit and sew up each hat -- leaving plenty of time for other knitting! Thank you, Bonne Marie!

NewsbsleeveThere was progress on the new St. Brigid sleeve over the weekend, also. These pics were taken after completing two repeats of the main chart and I was closing in on the third. The braided cables that grow from the added stitches are well underway, as is the pattern for the additional increases at each side. And, I'm happy to report that there hasn't been a single miscrossed cable!Newsleevedet

It looks like I've entered a gold mood... With all the knitting time going to St. Brigid over the past week, Ai wondered what happened to the "green sweater," aka Cromarty. Ah, yes, I'll get back to the green. I haven't quite decided how to split up my time. Vying for attention and on the needles are Cromarty (green), St. Brigid (gold) and the Flower Basket Shawl (off-white). H2O hats (gold) have been completed, as have a couple of Starmore Galway-type hats (gray and green), but I'd like to knit some more hats for Christmas, too. I have plenty of yarn (suitable green and gold*, a little bit of blue) for such things; they are all much finer gauge than the Waterspun Weekend, though, so anything I knit with them will take more time. Decisions, decisions.

The weekend was fabulous! DH did all the outside work and I did inside work. I went grocery shopping with a long, intentional list for the first time in ages. Mom and I drove to an old and sleepy, but awakening neighboring town on Saturday afternoon to visit a new antique shop. The couple who run it recently vacated all the local malls to open their own shop; they both started in the business at a very, very young age and have an eye for merchandise matched by only a few others I know -- and personality to boot! It was truly a pleasure and a highlight of my weekend.

*It's football season. MNF tonight: Packers vs. Panthers!

Whatever it takes...

Before anything else, click over and welcome Yvette! She's been invited to blog at Life in the Frogpond! She has other crafty interests, of course, and I've seen some of her sewing... all I can say is, WOW!

Sbsleeve1aThe sleeve/swatch has been pulled from the needles and what you see is progress on the real sleeve. It is resting atop the highlighted sleeve chart that I made last night. Sbchart1 Photocopies, matboard, a ruler and pencil, tape and highlighters -- these are a few of my favorite things! Sbchart2

Okay, I have to take a moment here to say, "Yo, Typepad, thanks for the improvements to picture insertion."

The yellow highlights indicate cables that are held to the front. The pink highlights are for those held at back; I used pink only on the first repeat, so far, and maybe that's all I'll need.

CompareI am knitting a little tighter than I was and I'm twisting those st stitches on either side of the braided cable -- I like it much better. I don't know if you can see anything in the comparison photo (swatch at top, real sleeve below), but it sure looks and feels better to me! I measured the swatch yesterday, too, and as far as I can figure, the overall measurements are very close to those specified in the pattern (or what I want).

AknitsHehehe. I am complete. Ai picked up the Red Heart Grande that she chose the other day (strictly on basis of color) and now all my grrs are knittin'! Mdd continues to work daily on her Lion Brand Thick and Quick scarf, and Kt's lacy wool scarf-in-progress was delivered upon request to the dorm on Saturday. She emailed me yesterday with news of a nice yarn shop that is within blocks of her dorm!

So, I'm a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers. I hoot and holler and yell during the games, startling the kids and pets, and just generally do my part to define "fanatic" for a few hours every week during the season. I also enjoy watching other teams play (though with less passion), so tuned in to the kick-off show (Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, The Boston Pops, Mary J. Blige and more) and the Thursday edition of Monday Night Football last night (Colts vs. Patriots). I think Lenny Kravitz was lip-synching. I always enjoy The Boston Pops -- every Friday afternoon in 5th grade, we'd have an Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops interlude (my teacher was a big fan) and they'll always have a special spot in my heart.

Write it down

Ya know, I love the cables, but there are issues: see below, and here, and here, and here, and even some other minor annoyances that I've never reported; and I have to fix 'em. Well, there's just gotta be a better way, don't you think? I've been looking at the photo I posted today, and muttering to myself about inattention and lack of concentration, and wondering if there's some way to make this easier. How am I ever going to knit this sweater if it's one step back for every two forward? It's obvious that I like the visuals, having made the obnoxiously large (but darn thorough) charts for Cromarty. I'll do it for St. Brigid, if needed, but I was hoping not. The main problem is in spotting which cables are held in front and which behind. M'thinks the solution is... ya ready?... highlighters. Duh. One color for front and one for back. Double-Duh.

Am I just dense? It's a rare two-post day and it may not seem worthy, but I just had to write it down.

St. Brigid

web20sbsleeve1Well, here's a start on a sleeve for St. Brigid. Wow, I love this yarn. Ick, I hate wonky stitches. Geez, why can't I pay attention? This is two repeats and I think I'm going to call it a big swatch. A lot of these stitches are just way too loose. When I begin again, I'm going to knit the straight stitches on either side of the braided cables through the back -- I like how that looks on Cromarty and it keeps those stitches from being too loose. When the increases number 15 on each side, they are knit in the braided cable pattern, also. Until that point is reached, these stitches are supposed to be knit in straight stitch, but I may do some of them in reverse straight stitch right off the bat -- I think it will look better once the braid begins. I think... And looky there, it seems that I crossed the cables correctly in the first repeat, but not in the second.

I had a nice, 3-1/2 hour lunch yesterday with Mom and two antique dealer friends who used to be tenants in the antique mall where I worked. The husband of one of these ladies has been out of work for several months, and finally got a good job offer -- in Indiana. Their eldest is a senior this year, so Mom and kids will stay here 'til school ends. We will savor our long lunches over the next several months.


Meathead2Meathead3How about a couple of Meatheads? The fiber for the knitted one was in yesterday's mail and I cast on as dinner was being prepared. I finished it by the time DH took the dog for her evening walk! The largest needles in my arsenal are 17s, so I tried to knit loosely (per instructions) -- very weird knitting with those big sticks! Fun and fast and happy to help Larissa!

The other Meathead has always been a favorite of mine. I was nearing high school when All In The Family began to air and was beginning to "get it." I used to love watching Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, but was just a teensy bit too young (or maybe I'm a little slow) to "get" most of that.

When we're all together up north, we sleep in one large room -- bunks and sofas and mattresses on the floor. As we all settled in on Saturday night, I said, "Good night John-Boy." On Sunday night, I said it again and Kt piped up, wondering what in the heck that's about. I always liked The Waltons, too (and Little House on the Prairie), and I think I tried to get the grrs to watch it on TV once, but it was just a wee bit slow for them! Anyway, I do love classic TV and it's pretty cool that we can watch so many of those shows again. Will I ever tire of M*A*S*H?

In more knitting news, The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns/Guide to Yarn Requirements were delivered over the weekend. I also received the fall issue of Interweave Knits in the mail recently; uh-huh, the one I plucked off the shelf and bought not-so-long-ago. Does anyone want my extra issue (email me)?

I cast on St. Brigid's sleeve last night. I had grand designs on completing a repeat, but wrapped it up at 20 rows. I'll be working on that a bit more tonight and will have a picture tomorrow. I know that Katy's anxious to see the gold Cascade 220 worked into some cables. Because I'm having a little block with the pencil/paper/math, and because I really don't know how the gauge swatch (one chart) stitch figures compare to the measurements of the actual knitted garment (several different charts), I thought I'd start with a sleeve. The sleeves knit quickly on a garment like this, compared to the body, and I'm so happy that I have one of them already finished for Cromarty, that it's a no-brainer (for me) to start this way. I'll also get a good idea of overall figures and can use them to determine whether I need to make adjustments to the body.

Sitting 'round the campfire

Well, the weather was crap most of the weekend. It was nice on Saturday when we drove up, and nice on Monday when we drove home, but cool and/or rainy and/or windy all the while we were up north -- except in the evening when we sat around the campfire. The three youngest got their feet wet on Sunday afternoon, but there was no waterskiing or tubing for anyone.

We ate a lot. And played cards. And ate while we played cards. The grrs did a lot of reading. Dad had some old photographs and a few of Grandma's paintings, and we grrs helped him hang them in the cabin. There was a fairly dry period when Dad took the three eldest grrs target shooting at a gravel pit -- none of them have much experience, but all are darn good shots.

Besides us (Twin-S, Twin-K and her DH and three kids, Dad, me and my three kids), an aunt, uncle, cousin and Grandma were up north, also; another uncle popped in for a few hours on Sunday. I guess that visiting around the campfire each night with everyone was the highlight of the weekend. No one brought any s'more makings, though.

Even though I've never knit while visiting up north and thought that my hands could use a break, I threw the knitting bag in the van while packing anyway. I even took the bag out of the van once but, true to form, never did knit. I had a couple of loads of laundry to do before bed last night, though, and was able to get through a few more rows on Cromarty. I'm getting so close to finishing the first body piece, it's very exciting!

I was hard at work with scissors and tape on Friday, putting together the sleeve chart for St. Brigid. I stuffed my swatches in my pocket on my way out the door this morning, will re-read the weekend KAL messages regarding row gauge today, and will try to formulate a plan.


K had her first class yesterday -- European History taught by a professor who is a native of the Dominican Republic with Spanish as first language, French as second, and English as third. She speaks English very well, of course, but the unique accent will take some getting used to! History and English were the courses du jour; what she's really looking forward to are the art classes, and that won't happen 'til next week.

Since I refuse to be a participant in the race to the northland this weekend, we're not leaving until tomorrow morning. It looks like the weather will be more cooperative for water activities than the July 4th weekend, so perhaps there will be some tubing and skiing for the kids. I'm looking forward to picking up K on the way, and seeing her dorm room for the first time. She is looking forward to the break, too.

I was at Hobby Lobby last night to buy yarn for the new-ish knitters at my house! I forgot that my LYS was open late last night and A could have found something of nicer quality, but she's happy.

And I am within a row or two of completing the fourth repeat of the main chart on the body piece of Cromarty! One more to go and then it's neck shaping. I still have to do my math homework in regard to St. Brigid and make the chart. I'm really looking forward to starting and working with some wool for a change.

Knitting fever

Knitting fever has struck my house, and I think it's catchy. Last night, Ali announced that we had to go buy some yarn so she could knit a scarf! It would be smart to see if there's anything in my stash that she'd like (and that I wouldn't mind parting with). Maddy finished her ball of yarn and it ain't no scarf, so we do have to go buy more for her, anyway.

I had a nice visit with Grandma, my uncle, and my brother yesterday. Grandma's apartment is really very nice, but she'd rather be home. Balancing what she knows she should do with what she wants to do leads to one confused Gram sometimes. (She was sitting on a chest that was filled with linens in her tiny apartment bedroom yesterday; she said that she had to keep them all because she "has all these beds to make" when people come to visit.) For the most part, her children are trying to keep her involved in decisions, but she forgets or becomes confused and then feels pressured and then, sometimes, feels helpless and angry. It was a good day, but also very weird.

This house is the only place in my memory that my grandparents ever lived -- I think they moved there around 1960. It's an old, old house with some great architectural details -- a very big porch across the front of the house with nooks and crannies, fancy corbels and trim atop the windows, a beautiful curved wall in the dining room, which also has a built-in china cupboard with beveled and leaded glass, pocket doors that fascinated me as a child, a door in the upstairs back hall that's to die for. I brought my digital camera and snapped pics of a few of those things, but my battery was all but gone.

I came home with very few things that mean a lot. School books that belonged to Gram's parents, another book of Great Grandma's about genealogy and heredity, and the 1923 county history book that set me firmly on the genealogical trail many years ago. I also have one of Grandma's old workbaskets. I never knew her to do anything other than machine quilting and crocheting, but she must have knit somewhere along the line. There were a few pairs of needles and she obviously likes 'em nice and long, just like me! There was a folder of possible projects that she'd torn from magazines, and it's interesting to see what caught her eye. There are a couple of doilies, pot-holders and platters, a Blue Willow cup and saucer, and a bag of buttons. In the silly way of the heart and mind, it's almost the buttons that make me happiest. They nearly filled the two top drawers of Great Grandma's treadle sewing machine and I am so looking forward to a delightful sorting and exploring session with my girls. Lots o' buttons! Oh, I also snapped a few seed heads off the pretty, pale pink hollyhocks that were growing out back.

It's the first day of school

M set her alarm for 5:30 this morning! She is so funny... She wanted a leisurely morning on this first day of school -- 8th grade. A doesn't have to report to school until after lunch for her first day as a senior. Yikes. K is getting settled in her dorm and sending emails about things she forgot; her first day of classes is tomorrow. She's having a hard time getting used to the loft bed. She never really slept in a bunk bed before and doesn't like being so close to the ceiling. We considered cutting it down a bit, but then it would be useless underneath and, well, isn't that the point? She'll get used to it.

SBswatchSBswatchesTa da! Here are the swatches for St. Brigid that I've been trying to post the last few days. The swatch on the left was with my US8 bamboos, the one on the right was with US7 aluminum. The gauge is darn close to what's called for in the pattern with the 8s, but I still want to do some math.

M was knitting on her scarf on and off yesterday. I took a look when I got home from work and she pointed out a "funny" spot. She'd dropped a stitch. I told her that the best way to fix it was to rip it back to that point -- 10 or 12 rows -- and she had no qualms about it! She's a little frogger!!

I'm going to Grandma's today. She moved into an assisted living apartment a few months ago. That was hard, but she's getting used to the change. She has someone to play Scrabble with! Her household is being broken up so the house can be sold. It's going to be a weird day.