A morning peek

BlockingfrontOh yeah.  I pinned out the front of St. Brigid last night and had myself a little peek this morning.  Someday, I'll buy some better pins and a Spaceboard; in the meantime, I work with what I've got:  a motley assortment of regular sewing pins and a cardboard thing that I bought at a rummage sale for $1.00.  It's big, folds up like an accordion, it's gridded in both inches and centimeters, and I haven't perforated it to death yet.  It's getting a little warped because I have even used it for wet-blocking.  I had concerns about odor from wet paper, but so far so good (nothing's ever sopping wet).  For the front of St. Brigid, I blocked in the manner instructed, using a freshly washed towel, spun on the "max extract" cycle, to lay atop the knitting.

Kristi has finished her St. Brigid!  Go see!  Inspiration...

I finished the back last night and got one of the sleeves back on the needles.  Today, after I do our taxes run the vacuum and do a little dusting -- okay, maybe I'll do our taxes organize (or even put away) paperwork the mountain of knitting books and stuff that's accumulated around my chair -- I'll do the taxes saddles.  Why put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today?  Taxes.

Aipotsfeb16Bowlfeb16Okay, now that I've set my priorities and have a plan...

Ali has a clay class for art.  Second semester has just begun and the pottery is already flowing.  I might need a whole new cupboard or something just to display her stuff.  Katie had an aversion to the wheel; Alison has taken to it like a duck to water.  The morning sun is streaming into my kitchen this morning -- just the kind of day I like for doing the taxes cleaning and knitting.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Nothing too special for Valentine's Day going on over here.  The kids don't have school today, for some reason, and there was a dance at the high school last night.  One of Ali's friends raided her grandma's closet and they wore matching, lime-green bridesmaid dresses, ca. 1975, from the friend's aunt's first wedding.  They're halter-style with a separate cape -- pretty funny, but really pretty cute on them!  I'd have pics if Ali hadn't run off with the camera.

We had a good weekend.  The weather on Saturday was nothing short of gorgeous for this time of year; we took our time and had a nice drive down to my sister's.  We had just enough time to hit a couple of second-hand stores before heading to the cabin.  There's a little more snow in that part of the state and I learned about Yaktrax, but not before I slipped and fell on the half-assed path between the parking area and my sister's cabin (my whole butt feels like one big bruise).  Thankfully, the fall doesn't appear to have affected my back (knocking on wood).  Anyway, I'm thinking about getting some Yaktrax for myself -- they made a huge difference.  The kids think I'm nuts, but it can be treacherous just walking the dog.  They're young, I'm old -- I am more fearful of falling every year.

I didn't get as much knitting done at my sister's as I'd have liked, but more than usual when I'm on the road.  As of last night, the front of St. Brigid is off the needles (after ripping and doing another repeat) and I'm so much happier with the length.  I had to rip the back only a few rows to get it back on the needles and I'm about half-way with that additional repeat.  They're not actually extra repeats; the sweater will be just as written.  No, Katy, it ain't no fun.  Mary Beth shared her Aran-ripping tips, and I think I do it similarly.  I only tink if there's just a short way to go -- a row, maybe two.  Otherwise, I rip it to the row before the one I want on the needles.  Then I kind of tink, but I do it on a right-side row -- it's easier for me to read the stitches on that side and know where I'm at -- putting each stitch on the needle as I rip.  I, too, fix twisted stitches when I come to them while working the row, rather than worrying about them as I get them on the needle.  If I pull a stitch out or feel like I might drop a stitch during this endeavor, I stick a cable needle into a few of the upcoming, yet-to-be-ripped stitches to keep them from dropping, too.  It is painful to rip, but really not as bad getting it back on the needles as I was anticipating.

So, I will likely have the back finished tonight.  Then I'll be getting more stitches back on needles so I can adjust sleeve length, if necessary, and do the saddles.  I don't know when or if I can get the book back from the library (interlibrary loan) and I didn't copy the page with the blocking directions.  Grrr.  I can't imagine that there's anything too special there -- can someone clue me in?  Damn, I wish they'd reprint that book.

Abbey of my new favorite chili recipe, Chili All Day, tagged me for the music meme, which I did a little while ago (it can be found here.)  I found that after I'd finished thinking up 100 Things, I couldn't stop, and it's the same with this thing.  So, I'd like to add "So Happy Together" to my list of favorite songs -- I know I thought of many others, but that's at the top of the list.

Screw that groundhog!

PugPansies_1Pansies and pugs mean springtime!  There was a wonderful promise-of-spring surprise waiting on my doorstep yesterday.  A present from a pug-loving, Onslow-owning, Blue Plate Special-knitting, east coast knitter!  Thank you, Ann!  These very sweet plates will easily find their place in my collection.  The pansies used to be pretty much confined to the living room, but a good number of things have found their way to the upstairs bathroom and now, with the pansy wallpaper in the upstairs kitchen, there's plenty of room for more!!

I have it on good authority that Onslow may be back on the road today -- will be keeping my eyes peeled for an update.

NeckThere's St. Brigid's neck version 1.0 -- a completed left shoulder and a start on the right.  This will all be ripped so I can add another repeat.  The woman in the mirror last night didn't like what she saw.  The Oatmeal comparison and the "you're fat" consultation aside, I've got to go with my gut on this one and my gut says to do one more.  That means one more added to the back, too.  It's not so much that I think it'll be a teensy bit shorter on me than I'd like -- I could live with "teensy" -- it just looks unbalanced, even incomplete.  A minor setback about which I am very zen and process-y.  So, perhaps I'll finish the front and back over the weekend instead of by the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, the girls and I are heading south for a cozy overnight in a one-room cabin -- they are very excited to visit their auntie.

What was the question?

I'd like to spare you the blow-by-blow, row-by-row, got-a-ways-to-go finishing of this sweater; maybe wow you by starting Clapotis or some Latvian mittens (maybe I'll win a pair to ease the pressure), or tell you that I've succumbed to the Must Have KAL or started Rogue or joined the Fisherman's KAL, or cast on for the sweaters I've promised Katie and Ali (the yarn for these mocking me daily, I should just put it out of sight) -- knowing that Maddy is waiting in the wings, wanting only a single Natalya mitt, and DH wants a sweater (but he doesn't know exactly what kind), or that I dusted off Cromarty (languishing since September, when I actually thought there was a chance I'd finish by Christmas?).  All these are among the things that float through my head whilst I work row-by-row to finish this sweater.  Alas, none of the above.  I finished the last full repeat for the front of St. Brigid last night and tonight will commence with the neck shaping.

In other news, I am not in jail.  There were two incidents last night that could easily have led to incarceration.  The first was when I stopped to pick up Kate's paycheck.  I have been picking up her paycheck since September when she went back to school.  Last night, the young buck assistant manager was flexing his scrawny muscles by refusing to give me her check without written consent from Katie.  He went on and on, as I felt my face get red and the steam come out my ears, finally calling the "real" manager (who I'd missed by 15 minutes) who, of course, told him to give me the stupid frickin' check.  I did manage a "Thank you," but I really wanted to break his skinny little neck and that would surely have led to the first arrest.

The second arrest would probably have been only for assault rather than murder.  As I neared the end of that last full repeat, I thought that I really ought to make sure that the length was good -- it's last call for pattern repeats!  DH was already handy, but I wanted Ali's opinion, too.  I called her in from the kitchen and her friend Patrick, over for a quick visit, followed her.  There was a moment of silence as I "modeled" St. Brigid and DH & Ali contemplated all there was to comtemplate.  That's when I heard Patrick say, "You're fat."  Ali looked at me, her eyes wider than mine, and we turned toward Patrick with a "Whhaaa??"  That silly little boy was smiling at, talking to and petting the dog.  So, saved himself from assault and me from a second arrest.  Good one, Patrick!

Oh, and the decision was to leave it as is -- seven repeats.  It will likely block just a bit longer than Oatmeal, hitting right about the top of the thigh.  To fringe or not to fringe...


OatmealThis is Oatmeal.  It is to me what Plain Vanilla is to Norma.  Y'all know what I'm talking about.  This is my comfortable, "go to," everyday sweater.  "You're wearing that again?"  It's a cardigan, but I always wear it buttoned.  It's not knit very well (I wasn't purling correctly at the time), but I love it -- the yarn, pattern, fit, pretty much everything!  There's hardly any shaping, and it's mostly stockinette with twisted rib from the shoulder to just below the arm.

I originally knit this sweater in Debbie Bliss DK Merino.  It turned out a little too small for me and none of the girls liked it, so it marinated until I finally frogged and started knitting it again last month.  "Eh," I wasn't thrilled.  I used some of for Mom's Natalya mitts (which she loves, by the way, and they aren't scratchy at all).

My sister had been visiting from Kansas when I was knitting the original and she decided to cast on, too, with stash yarn that she just happened to be hauling around in the trunk of her car!  Once back in Kansas, she decided that she just wasn't into it, so shipped it to me.  Voila!  Oatmeal, my favorite sweater.  I think it's about two years old -- from Vogue Knitting, a special issue in 2002 devoted mostly to men's sweaters (pattern #Compare_122).  The yarn specified was Adrienne Vittadini "Emma" (cotton/viscose/silk).  The yarn from my sister's stash was Classic Elite "Mackenzie" (70% wool, 30% silk) tweed.  I wore the sweater to Katie's LYS on Saturday (more on that in a minute) and the shop owner and a customer both described it as "oatmeal" -- with no prompting from me -- and likened the yarn to Peace Fleece, for those of you who know what that's like.

Feb6aSo, Oatmeal is kind of my standard.  And it's the standard to which I'm comparing St. Brigid.  Really, all I want is a sweater that looks good and fits.  Right now, it looks pretty much right on, and St. Brigid will be a little bigger when blocked.  Perfect.

Feb6cOn Saturday, Ali and I made a mad dash to Kate's school because her roommate was moving out; the 'fridge and microwave were the roomie's, so they were going, too.  Katie could certainly survive without a microwave, there being one on the floor kitchen, but absolutely nothing is safe in the community 'fridge, so we went to buy a mini for her room.  We ended up with both for less than $140.  Ali had to be back for work on Saturday night, so we couldn't linger long, but we had a great time -- went out for lunch, did a little shopping, had a car wash (it was a gorgeous day!), and visited Katie's LYS (literally, right around the corner from her dorm).

The LYS was small, but nice.  Lot of samples.  Samples help sell stuff, ya know?  I now have a mitten pattern on back order -- flip-top mitts -- for Ali -- and she made me get the Donegal Tweed yarn for them already.  I fell in love with the Clocks vest sample, from Folk Vests, knit from Mission Falls 1824 Wool, and bought the book.  (It's been a folky few weeks 'round here.)  I've seen that book a number of times before, but that sample did it for me.  And I wear vests.  And there are other intriguing patterns in that book.  I don't know when I'll knit it, but I will.

On Sunday, I was in my PJs -- at least for most of the day -- celebrating International Pajama Day and having a big bowl of Cheerios for breakfast 1:00 p.m.  I was the only one home for much of the day, which means that eventually I had to walk the dog.  So I did have to put on some real pants, but believe me, they were COMFY!

Since I was dressed, we went over to watch the Super Bowl and have pizza at Mom's.  The only good thing about the Packers not being in the game is that I could relax and knit -- and I did.  I'm mid-way through the fifth repeat and I think it likely that St. Brigid's front will be done by the weekend.  Woohoo.  I'll cheer about that since the Eagles gave me nothin'!

I'll admit it...

...I'm looking at the pictures, too.  Sandy cracked me up in yesterday's comments when she said that she didn't believe I bought my "little magazine" for the articles!  To be accurate, it's Knitter's #11, Summer 1988, and there's really only one picture that I get even close to excited about -- the Willesden Cardigan & Vest by Nancy Bush, a cabled v-neck pattern.  Otherwise, there are lots of big, round, padded shoulders and angular/modular patterns -- not as bad as another '80s knit magazine I flipped through where the models, with shoulder widths rivaling those of Labelle, looked ready for Sunday's big game.  There really are some interesting articles, though I haven't yet read any of them.  There's Knitster's Notebook by Nancy Bush; an interview with Joseph Galler who was 86 at the time and had, with is wife, a yarn showroom/warehouse in NYC (how is it I've never heard of Galler yarns before?); interestingly, the Forum article is entitled "Copyright -- when is it wrong to copy?"; there's something called Ginny's Secret Seam (from looking at the pictures, it seems to involve a knitting needle and a crochet hook); an article about linen by Nancy Bush called "Fields of Flax"; lots of interesting tidbits.

Jan31Back26sleeveNow here are some knitty-porn pics of my own to get excited about!  The bulk of two sleeves (sans saddles) and the back of St. Brigid!!  It's Cascade 220 (color 4010) -- yum.  I cast on and knocked off a few rows for the front last night.  There's a long, long way to go, but I'm on the downhill slide.

Lynne tagged me for the music meme.  I probably listen to less music right now than at any other time in my life...

1) Total amount of music files on your computer.  I have no idea; probably not many since it's fairly new, and none of them would be mine.  I had some on our old computer, and the kids had TONS, but they were lost when the hard drive croaked.  It looks like my album collection would rival Liz's in size, though; can't give 'em up.

2) The last CD you bought was:  Not for me; three Disney Karaoke CDs for my nephews and the Honey Soundtrack for Mdd -- all for Christmas.  Mdd actually went out and bought the stupid soundtrack for herself just before Christmas -- after I'd already ordered -- so I still have it.  Anyone want it?

3) What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?  "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," Eurythmics.

4)  What are your five favorite songs and why they mean the most to you (now here comes the good stuff!)

  1. Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler.  Best friend.
  2. Old Time Rock 'n Roll, Bob Seger.  Dance!  Broke a shoe to that one once.
  3. What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong.  Hope.
  4. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Judy Garland or Eva Cassidy.  More hope.
  5. I Only Have Eyes For You, Art Garfunkel.  Love.
  6. Bonus:  Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head, B.J. Thomas.  The 45 I got with my first record player, along with this LP.

5)  What 3 people are you going to pass this baton to and why? To be determined.


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

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

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

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