Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ghost Horses

I was hanging out on the patio, just knitting on BBS and turning the heel on Peaches and Cream. It’s cool out there in the early part of the day—a nice breeze aided by the position of the patio (away from the sun). So, I’m sitting and knitting, and when I looked up I noticed the horses in the pasture behind our house, grazing in the wildflowers. That field is so overgrown that I think the horses are going to get lost in there, sort of like that cornfield that everyone wanders in and out of in the movie Field of Dreams. They will become the ghost horses of Texas, showing up when we least expect it, and scaring the stitches right off my needles. Okay, that little flight of fancy is over!

I have accomplished a goal that has been hanging around my neck for months. I have finally cast on for my first Big Black Sock, for Socks For Soldiers. I have about three inches of the required four inches of ribbing—although I saw pictures of some BBS that were ribbed for the whole 12-inch leg. I don’t like ribbing that much. I think I will start stockinette after the next inch of ribbing and finish the leg the easy way. I say if you have to knit with black yarn, take the easiest path. This is some of the most important knitting I have ever done. My DH reads blogs of soldiers in Iraq, and many of them talk about receiving socks and other gifts from home. They feel so special when they get goodies from home, and socks are really special gifts to them. They surely deserve everything we can do for them. The sacrifices they make everyday are awesome! All you sock knitters grab your Comfort Zone dpns and some black yarn and get started. You can join here.

I’m headed toward the toe on Peaches and Cream. I’ll post a picture of them when I finish, which should be in the next day or two. And the knitting goes on....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sleigh Bells Ring....

…are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening…. Whew, it’s 100 degrees outside and I’m in my Christmas groove. I ordered this Baby Cashmere from ole favorite, and I am so happy with it. It will make Cider Moon’s Carpathia beautifully—actually, it will make two of them. OR, there is enough to make Carpathia and, if I double the strands, a pair of cashmere socks. What luxury! In reality, this is not totally cashmere. It is a merino wool and cashmere blend, but so soft and cuddly it will be a joy to knit with and heaven to wear.
I have started trying to hide my Christmas knitting from prying eyes, specifically DD and GD#3. Last year I had to put up the “Christmas Central—Do Not Enter” sign on the knitting room door early in September. GD#3 had a fit, because she loves to go in there and play with the yarn. (I’m starting her yarn appreciation training early). She especially loves to use the ball winder when I have yarn that needs winding. She is not going to be happy when I put up the sign in July. I’ll explain to her that I have to start early this year. I darn near killed myself with the Christmas knitting last year—knitting far into the night on the eve of Christmas Eve to get everything done. Now, because DG#1 reads my blog from time to time, I will also have to start making veiled mention of knitting projects that might be of interest to her. My nerves are jumping already. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Christmas is so much fun--twice as much fun if you start in the middle of the year. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

BBS Therapy

I agreed to make a pair of socks for Socks for Soldiers, an internet group that knits, well, socks for soldiers. The group is moderated, run, supervised, and generally mothered by Kim who is, without a doubt, Superwoman. Kim not only kindles a flame in the hearts of sock knitting Americans, managing to harvest great crops of BBS (big black socks) for our military men and women, but she also runs a business, is a student with a 4.0 GPA, and the biggest job of all, a Mom! How could I say no to at least one pair of socks? So here is a pic of the Opal Uni that will further damage my vision. My only salvation will be to knit with bight colored CZs. I’m taking a poll--which color should I use?

In other knitting news, I am working on the first sleeve of Something Red. I picked up the sweater on Saturday, after weeks of doing nothing with it because I felt it wasn’t going anywhere. No matter how much I worked on it, it just did not get—finished! I measured the back and bottom ribbing, which needed to be 25 inches long. It was 22 inches. “Okay,” I said to myself. “This can be done.” Then I sat down and worked on it for 2 hours, after which I measured it again. It was still 22 inches long. Now I ask you, where did all those stitches go? This sweater is killing me. Cute design, but demon possessed! I worked on it all Saturday evening, and there wasn’t even anything good on TV. I watched a bad movie and something on the History Channel, and when I couldn’t knit any longer I measured it again. It was a-l-m-o-s-t 25 inches. I bound that puppy off faster than you can say, “Holy Toledo, why did I ever start this sweater?” Now I am about half-way through the first sleeve. One more sleeve to go, and two inches of ribbing around the front and neck—maybe another week? Two? Who knows? I’m telling you this sweater has a mind of its own. But I will not let it beat me. I WILL finish it. Don’t know if I’ll ever dare to wear it though. It holds potential as a horror movie plot…”Sweater Possessed,” or “The Unspeakable Red Nightmare.”

Monday, June 12, 2006

Utilitarian Art

Okay, stand back people, I’m going to get all introspective on you! I don’t know about anyone else, but I consider those who create (knit, crochet, weave) from any fiber to be artists. They create color and texture blended into wearable art. For centuries, utilitarian artists have been considered second-class citizens. Early weavers and knitters were commissioned to create intricate, beautiful designs in fabrics, but were not considered worthy to associate with those who were called “genuine” artists. Well whoop-de-doo! Knitters unite. Join me in the revolt against snobs who think knitting is “cute.” I’ve heard it called, “a nice pastime, a good hobby, an enjoyable diversion, a total waste of time, AND a relaxing way to control anxiety (well, maybe that last one is true). But art? No one ever calls it art!

Art is meant to evoke feelings and images that touch our souls. I look at Alison’s pink Crinkle sweater, and I envision ivy and pink roses growing on trellises; I see Tanya Ilnicki’s beaded knitted bags and I think of Lalique jewelry. Last night when I cast on using Fiber Artist Peaches and Cream wool and orange needles, I thought of peach cobbler and ice cream (food always touches my soul). What we are doing is art at its best folks! All of my knitting partners are the crème de la crème of the art community. No second-class citizens here. I think we should all demand to be called artists—for that is what we truly are. We may be in various stages of expertise, but isn’t that true of every artist whatever the medium? Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned knitter, whether you knit lace or potholders, it is, nevertheless, art. I salute you my fellow artists.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I Can See Clearly Now

Failing eyesight—it happens to everyone, although DH swears that his vision is as clear as when he was 20. If that’s true, then he was having trouble seeing at 20. Mine is getting fuzzier and fuzzier as the years go by. My Mother used to say her arms weren’t long enough as she popped on her reading glasses. Now it is my turn—I have those little “tip-of-the-nose” glasses stashed everywhere: in the car, in my purse, knitting bag, workout bag, on the bookcases, in dresser drawers, beside the chair where I read the newspaper…. DH says we have spent enough on reading glasses in the last year to take a nice vacation. To Paris. Add to these the computer glasses, which are essential or you would be reading gibberish, and I have to admit I am aging. Getting old enough to be a grandmother is great fun. Being able to clearly see the sweet faces of my grandchildren--priceless!

It has come to my attention that I can no longer see knitting patterns printed in smaller than a 24-point font. The mistake in the picture (see little black circle) would not have happened otherwise. But, will I frog it? Nay, nay I tell you—it’s a silly dishcloth. I don’t think DD will stop while wiping off countertops and say, “OOOh there is a mistake Mom made, she must need glasses.” Then again…she knows me pretty well!

This dishcloth is made from that wonderful, cheap Sonata I ordered from, using the pattern by Vaunda Rae Giberson shown here. My favorite thing about knitting dishcloths is that I can finish one in an evening. They are an easy, mindless TV watching activity, and easy to pick up during long client phone calls. The problem is that one day everyone I know will have enough dishcloths (we are reaching that point now). I guess it’s back to socks….

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

This Just In....

Yessiree, we have made the big time! Here is the photo that will be used in our ad in—hold on, here it comes—Interweave Knits August ’06 issue. It’s just a three-inch ad in the Resource Guide under Accessories, but it sure seems BIG to me. And WOW! (I know, I know, I’m using too many caps and exclamation points), Their design staff did a terrific job of capturing the Comfort Zone essence, right down to the lavender color from our website. I would show you the whole ad, but if anyone reads this and looks for the ad, I don’t want it to be a ho-hum experience. I know it won’t be for me. I sent the proof to DS-I-L, who manufacturers them, yesterday. He said lovely things to me about all my work for CZ. Life is good!

Oh, and knitting, I really am doing some. Stuff like the above bites into my knitting time, but is well worth it. I am knitting the toe of Ruby Slippers STR socks with the lace tops; I have just cast on for the Fleece Artist Peaches and Cream socks. I think I will make them with a picot-edged top and maybe some gentle ribbing on the legs that will maintain the lovely color variations. I am also working on the butter crème shawl for DD. Yesterday the Postman brought me a bouquet of colorful cotton yarns from It was on sale for some ridiculously low price. Since my family thinks the dishcloths and facecloths that show up in their stocking each Christmas are mass produced by Santa’s Elves, I thought those Elves better get started. The poor little guys are so busy this time of year!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Fun and Games

Macy in pounce mode

Dead squirrel walking

It’s fun to just sit on the patio and knit while watching Macy stalk squirrels and other critters in the yard. She found a snake a few days ago. Whenever she uses a particular high-pitched bark we know she has cornered something that needs attention. This time it was a brightly colored snake—totally non-poisonous, but mad as h-e-#-@ thanks to Macy. I couldn’t shoo him away and he was striking at everything that came within two feet of him, and writhing so much I couldn’t pick him up, even with a long-handle hoe. So I did the only thing I could do—cover your ears nature lovers—I asked DS#4 to kill him with the hoe. I’m so ashamed! (Yes, I had someone else do the dirty work. Fearless Firefighter is the snake killer around here). The world is minus one colorful snake. Since I saw one in the front yard this morning, I think there are plenty left!

I asked DH to take these pictures to show the bendy quality of Comfort Zone needles. I have finally gotten used to the #1s and am sailing along on the current sock project. Now the #2s seem stiff. The thing I like about these needles is that you can bend them all around to fit your hand position or get them out of the way of other needles (click on the photo and see the bend at the left little finger). Then when they have been resting for a while, after the project is finished, they straighten out. I’ll qualify by saying that I have a couple sets of #2s that are permanently bent from constant use, but they conform to my hands and continue to knit comfortably. For hours. Without pain. Life is good.