Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Life With Illusion

So he says to me, “Grandma, I would like you to knit me one of those illusion scarves for Christmas, with a lizard on it.” Whoa! Where did that come from? I didn’t expect my 13 year-old grandson to ask for something that I knew nothing about. I didn’t want to admit to him that I have never done illusion, or shadow, knitting, but I try never to lie to or otherwise deceive my grandchildren. I am what I am—which is far from being all knowing. For an instant I contemplated the amazing fact that he even knows what illusion knitting is. Then I replied, “Sweetheart, I have never done that, but I bet I could find out how, and if I can I will surely knit you a lizard.” I said I try never to lie or deceive—not that I know my own limitations! I’ve always been a sucker for the grandkids, and I have always thought I could do more than it turns out I can. Dancing With The Stars is out, but illusion knitting I think I can conquer. In that effort, I joined an illusion knitting Yahoo group, and told them: this is who I am, that I’m totally uninformed about illusion knitting, and does anyone out there have a lizard chart. Thanks to Krystal, who had just charted a lizard (what a surprise!) I have yarn, pattern, and determination. I can do this!

Before moseying into unfamiliar territory, however, I decided that I should maybe, sort-of, kinda, try the process and see if it is one of those things that I think I can do, but fall short on some unforeseen talent or ability—like Dancing With The Stars. I can’t dance. I spent Saturday trying my hand on a heart dishcloth, and wonder of wonders, it worked. It took me about ten rows for the light to dawn, but from there I could almost knit without the chart—almost. The resulting dishcloth isn’t great, but not horrible either. Then I started the lizard scarf and will keep you posted. At least I know that I am still capable of learning a new skill. Who knows, I may try a lace tablecloth next. N-a-a-a-a-h, I’d rather play with Macy.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Merry Christmas Jackie O.

It all started when I couldn’t find an eyeglass case big enough for my big, black Carolina Herrera sunglasses. They are my signature accessory. I wore big, black sunglasses before Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis made them famous! Since I’ve knitted cozies for everything else in the house, I decided to try one big enough for the glasses. This is the result, and I am so happy with it, I’m making more of them for Christmas gifts. After all, as DD pointed out recently, “Gee Mom, big sunglasses are popular right now. You are finally in style.”

I wore my first pair of big, black sunglasses when I was a teenager. They weren’t in style then either. For years some of my closest friends called me “Bug Eyes.” Imagine what my non-friends said about me. Then it happened…the worst thing that I could possibly conceive of…my Jackie O. sunglasses were gone. I laid them on a counter beside me as I wrote a check in a store, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man’s hand pick them up. When I turned around there was no one standing there but my husband, who swore that he did not take the glasses, and didn’t see who did. Sounds suspicious to me even now, as it did then. But then the sales clerk said she saw a man pick them up and she didn’t say anything because she thought his wife had left them behind and sent him back for them. See what trouble you get into when you take a man shopping—that’s a whole post in itself!

Anyway, suddenly I couldn’t find anymore Jackie O. sunglasses. They were not available. None to be had. This picture represents many years of sunglasses gone wrong, in an effort to find a pair that would make up for my dreadful loss. None of them worked, and now that I’ve finally found a new pair of Jackie O. sunglasses, I want to protect them at all costs. I did get a case with the glasses, but it is so bulky that I can’t find a place in my bag for it. I plan to attach a clip to the knitted case so I can attach the glasses to my body, and dare anyone to take them. Take my car—take my purse—take my shopping bag, but if you try to take my Jackie O. sunglasses the resulting brawl will not be pretty.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Little Fishy

My friend Wendy, of Wendy’s Intertwinements, sent me a gift sock fish. I love it! It is It is perfect for a skein of sock yarn. He will hang on my jeans belt loop or ride with his head sticking out of my bag, and carry my current sock project, which always goes where I go. He also has pockets under each fin for sock knitting accoutrements or glasses. Wendy made “Sock Fishy” from a pattern she got here. I went to the site, and immediately fell in love with the great row counters, among other things. Take a look.

I have been struggling with stash storage. Could it be that I have too much yarn? Frankly, I never considered that possibility. What, exactly, is too much yarn? Is there such a thing as too much? I have friends who frequently divest themselves of “extra” skeins of yarn. They trade yarn or, and this is the mind-boggling part to me, OR they give it away or sell it. MY BABIES!! How could I sell my babies? These are skeins that I have stroked and nurtured for years. I might someday knit something from them, but that is not essential to the purchase of yarn (some of it that is). Which brings me to the realization that, for me, some yarn purchases have very little to do with the probability of use. I do buy certain yarns for specific projects, but just as often I buy yarn because it feels good, is soft, is a pretty color, and/or speaks to me (see previous post). I know, I know, that’s just plain crazy. I try hard not to do it, and may succeed for months—okay, weeks. I’m hopeless.

Now I have to pay for my impulsiveness by wondering what I will do with all those cute little skeins of yarn rolling around my knitting room. Once before I suggested the possibility that they are multiplying in their various baskets and containers, but that didn’t impress DH, and I don’t think it will work here either. So, I bought that little pink thingy in the picture, but it doesn’t hold nearly enough. I think I need a trip to Ikea for shelf units! BIG shelf units! My hubby would say, “Just stop buying yarn.”

That doesn’t work for me….

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It Was Irish All The Time

I guess you all know what this is. Yup, a frog pond! I have to admit that I am not a good frogger. I hate frogging, and will go to great lengths to make a project work just so I don’t have to “rip-it.” It spells defeat to me—a lack of understanding of where the project is going. It means that I never had a clear vision, or worse, that I made unalterable errors in both execution and judgment. But not this time. This time, it was all the fault of the pattern and the fiber. (Really, I had nothing to do with it, ha-ha-ha). The two conspired to make me look like a knitting amateur. The "Twisty" pattern, although lovely on a much heftier fiber, was just not appropriate for the fingering weight, cashmere blend—even though I doubled it so that it came close to worsted weight. Yeah that’s it—it was the yarn’s fault. I will admit to having a hunch at the beginning that this yarn was destined to be an Irish Hiking Scarf. You know how the yarn speaks to you. If you listen, it will tell you what it wants to be. I have found it to be true more times than not, that the yarn knows the way, and we must follow. Note to self: LISTEN!

I have had some success in the last week. I finished Simply Red. What a great little sweater. I can’t wait to wear it, which may be a while (even though it has short sleeves), because it is in the 100’s here in Fort Worth. It is hard to knit sweaters, knowing I may not be able to wear them for, ummmm, ever. We had no winter last year to speak of. I don’t think I wore a coat more than once or twice last winter, but maybe it will be perfect for a pleasant winter day in the 70’s.

I have cast on for DD’s STR Lemongrass socks. I plan to use the same lace-rib that I used for Peaches and Cream. She told me she needs lime green socks to go with a scrub shirt she has. She works in the ER of a children’s hospital, and the kids love the bright colored scrubs. She adds crazy earrings (lizards, clowns, lifesavers, etc) and wild socks that draw the kids’ attention away from what’s happening around them. I am also ready to cast on for the Debbie Bliss sweater jacket that I’ve heard is both a classic and a stinker to knit. Why oh why do I do these things to myself?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Red, White and Going Fast

Friend Kim of Socks for Soldiers had the idea that I should put together some “Patriot” Comfort Zone needles—two red, two white, and two blue. This appealed to me, especially since, crazy me, I knit with different colored needles all the time (red, blue, green, yellow, and orange-one each). If you have visited the website lately, you have seen the Patriot needles advertised for sale. And, they have been flying out the door! We have been fortunate that CZs are becoming so popular, but nothing we have done has compared with the popularity of the Patriot needles. I received an email from Donna T., a longtime, repeat customer. She said, “I've been knitting with the Comfort Zone needles and I absolutely adore them. They are as flexible as the casein without the nasty taste when I hold one in my mouth! I also love the sharp points. I've never been a fanof blunt needle points and that was the one thing about casein needles that I really did not like. Also, the fact that they come in sets of 6 is a bonus!” I’m just wowed by the love for these needles! Okay, enough about CZs.

I finished the Peaches and Cream Fleece Artist socks. Such an easy pattern too.
Cast on 60 stitches:
Row 1: k2, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k1, repeat around.
Rows 2 – 4: knit

How easy is that? So pretty too. I loved this yarn, but it’s not Blue Moon STR. I have an absolute obsession with STR. I have to force myself to knit with other yarns. I acknowledge that this is my problem, and there is nothing wrong with Fleece Artist, Regia, Jawoll, Lorna’s Laces, Cherry Tree Hill, etc., I’ve used them all, and keep coming back to STR.

Also OTN is the pink cashmere scarf. I’m not sure about the “Twisty” pattern. I probably should have opted for a nice neat cable. I could have even done an Irish Hiking scarf. If it doesn’t start looking a little more polished in the next few rows it may take a trip to the frog pond, and become Irish in the process. I don’t know—what do you think? Knitting a project often requires a committee!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Knitting Thoughts

July 4, 2005:
…knitting reminds me of all the high and low points in life. We put it together, stitch by stitch, and there are a lot of boo-boos, flub-ups, do-overs, but for the most part it’s just “head-down data entry.” How’s that for knitting philosophy 101?

The above was from my first blog on July 3, 2005. There I was, just starting out in a new venture with Comfort Zone dpns, blogging about all things knitting related, and already over-thinking the simple things. It’s the story of my life! The first year has been fun, educational, filled with new friends, and moments of joyful fulfillment. I guess any year we live that doesn’t include tragedy (we’ve had a few in our lives, like the passing of our youngest daughter at the age of 29), health problems (had a few of those too, like most people), or business obstacles, is a great year! I’m thankful for that, and so much more. Life is truly good.

Happy July 4th, and here’s to another great year ahead….