Thursday, March 29, 2012

Did I Do That?

Several years ago I ordered two skeins of "on sale" silver grey, lace weight cashmere.  I couldn't make it behave and had a tangled mess on the first three projects I tried.  Since I had over 1000 yards of the stuff I decided I could at least double it and use it for a good sized shawl.  Never did!

A few weeks ago I lost my mind and picked up a crochet hook to make a dish cloth and ended up failing on the first cloth and barely finishing the second, AND swearing I would not crochet again for a while.
Combine loser cashmere yarn and less than successful craft and what do you have--the beginning of a silver grey, cashmere, reasonable facsimile of a crocheted shawl.  Time will tell!!  Send out good thoughts for me!!
The green bag is...mmmmmm...coming along.  When I was ready to start the top section I realized it was a combination of cables and dropped stitches.  I don't do dropped stitches, at least not deliberately.  I have fooled with this pattern from the get go anyway, so I decided to do my own thing again and just make the top section staggered cables.  It is working to my satisfaction and I guess that is all that matters.  It's a good thing no one is going to ask me to review this pattern.  And that's all I'm saying about that!   

Max writes a letter to the editor regarding the local squirrel population.  You may notice he is left pawed.
 Life is good!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Goodies and More

I finally rewound my swap ball from Grace's St. Patrick's Day swap.  I was amazed as the goodies fell out!  There were cute little butterfly buttons (they will be perfect for the lace edged cardi), needle point protectors, sunflower tissues, chocolate (the Milk Duds are shown but I ate the chocolate bar--of course), and best of all shamrock socks.  All that and great yarn too.  What great swap swag!!  Another big thank you to my swap buddy Karen.
I have been spending tons of time on the Sunshine Bag and have reach 50% of the required 3.5 inches of linen stitch before beginning the cable section.  I love the size of the bag and am still digging the linen stitch.  I am also still amazed and annoyed by the things the pattern does not tell you.  After reading and re-reading the pattern for definitive information on needle length (nowhere  does the pattern suggest that you might want to start the in-the-round section with DPN's).  In the absence of DPN's you will struggle with 12 inch, 16 inch, 20 inch needles and still not have a perfectly smooth transition from the flat bottom to the circular sides of the bag.  None of the needle sizes I tried worked for smooth knitting around the tight ends and long sides of the bag.  In other words, there is no easy way, which is probably why the pattern does not address the problem.

Anyway, it gets easier as the bag gets longer and I know I will love the bag when it is finished and lined with bright turquoise.  I'm tossing around the question of "to zipper or not to zipper."  After the needle problem, the zipper thing should be a snap!!  Oh wow!  I could use a snap....

Life is good.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome Season

We have a tradition at our house.  For many years I have made a front door wreath for every season to brighten our entry and say, "Welcome to our house!"  Sometimes I buy a new style wreath form or a different size, and other times I strip and reuse a previous season's wreath and use new flowers, vines and ribbons.  It's a silly little habit that delights the family and never fails to bring comments even when it is similar to one I have done before or not quite as stylish as the previous wreath.

Do you have a wreath on your door?  I've always hoped I wasn't being foolish to consider my wreaths a tradition, so I was pleasantly surprised last week when I stopped by DD's house and saw her wreath on the door.  I commented on how pretty it is and she said, "Thanks.  I made it myself."  The torch has been passed!   

AND I think it is a little more welcoming than a neighbor's sign that says, " We don't dial 911."

Summer is supposed to be about hot colors, if we are to believe the fashionistas.  I don't know if it can be called "hot" but the green Knit Picks Shine for the Sunshine Bag can only be described as GREEN!  I have never used Shine yarn before and I'm loving it!  I also love the linen stitch even though it makes my hands hurt a little.  At least I think that's what is making my hands hurt.  Maybe it's the ugly, rainy, heavy, yucky weather we are having?  N-a-a-h-h-h.

Life is good!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yes I Can!

I told sweet Grace I would send a wash/dish cloth for her sweet daughter's shower and I have been slow in making good on my promise.  So, I thought I would get started this weekend and maybe knock off two cloths.  Problem--I fell in love with the Nubbie Scrubbies pattern and it is crocheted.  I.  Don't.  Crochet! 

I thought, "How hard can it be" and gathered a crochet hook (from Wal Mart) and some peach colored Peaches and Cream, and started.  I followed all the directions and ended up with a hot mess.  It is so bad I could not possibly send it to Grace.  I had two options, to start over or to knit a cloth.  I decided I could not let this little wash cloth beat me.  I can crochet!!  Yes I can!!
The second time through I used some of my favorite Blue Sky organic cotton in a squash color and I crocheted as if I was knitting--counting stitches, frequently checking the pattern, and stopping every row to make sure nothing was wonky.  It worked and I am so proud of myself I just might crochet again, in ten or twenty years.  I suppose I could develop a fondness for crochet but there is the fact that it makes my hands hurt.  The only other time I did it around twenty years ago, I was much younger and it made my hands hurt.  I knew then that it would never be favored over knitting--that it would probably never be tried again. 
Our son and daughter-in-law were visiting from Chicago this week and our sweet DIL, who is always honest and direct, asked, "Mom, what are you doing?  That's not knitting is it?"  I told her I was crocheting a dish cloth.  She said, "It looks like it's hard."  I told her, "No, it's just me.  I'm making it harder than it is."  AND SHE SAID, "Well, I think you should stick to knitting!"  Smart young woman!!

Life is good.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Lots O' Luck

Yesterday my swap box came from Karen in New York.  This was for Grace's St. Patrick's Day swap and what fun it was!!  Karen included a crocheted shamrock pin and a Lots O' Luck button to wear for the season.  I put the shamrock on right away and had to fight off hands reaching for the button.  Get away, get away!  I can hear things rattling in the middle of the yarn ball and can't wait to get to them.  Can you guess whether I plan to rewrap the yarn and claim the goodies inside.  Of course I do!

I wrapped the goodies for my swap partner one at a time and have never had so much fun--one at a time, around and around.  They would slip out and go flying across the office and by the time I had everything tightly bound in the ball we were rolling on the floor in laughter.  Best ever swap Grace!!
I have a confession to make.  I made a boo-boo.  I flubbed.  I screwed up the organic cotton shawl and had to tink back six rows to unscramble even a part of it.  Another part is not repairable unless I rip the whole thing out again.  Not gonna'!  (See inside blue circle in photo).  What I will do is install a lifeline and hedge my bets.

I know I have shared my philosophy on knitting errors in the past, which is that I am not perfect nor is my knitting.  My Mother's friend Stella, the wonderful lady who taught me to knit, was someone who today would be a professional knitwear designer.  My feelings about this come from her.  She could knit a shawl, afghan/blanket, sweater without a single flaw or glitch but chose not to.  She would deliberately place a reversed stitch, an inch without a pattern repeat or a yarn over in a place where it did not belong.  Nothing that was obvious, but she knew it was there.  She told me, "Perfection makes me nervous.  I'm afraid that when I reach perfection it will be all over."  I never asked her what would be over.  Knitting?  Life?  I was 9 years old and I guess I didn't want to know!

Anyway, the mistake is there and if anyone notices it when it is tossed around my shoulders I will just say, "Oh well, I guess I haven't reached perfection yet."

Life is good.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Weekend Fun

On Friday I couldn't wait to get home and get into the kitchen.  Do you have a routine to end the week?  Mine is cooking.  We grab a sandwich at Sprouts or a salad at Subway all week but Friday is ALL MINE!

I decided to make spaghetti and DH was saying, "Yum, yum," all the way home.  How do you make spaghetti?  There are so many ways to do it that I am often surprised that it is still called spaghetti and not "that pasta and ground beef with sauce stuff."  I mix ours together after the spaghetti and the beef/sauce mixture are cooked so it is a sorta, kinda spaghetti casserole, then sprinkle with an asiago/romano cheese mixture.
After dinner I relaxed with my knitting, a glass of merlot, loving the fact that when I cook I don't do dishes.   Also, I made scones last weekend so I finished the day with a scone and a cup of Tazo Calm tea. 
Scones are my next favorite way to finish off a week.  I make mine using a British recipe with flour, sugar, butter, half and half, baking powder and baking soda (no eggs) all thrown into the food processor together, then I add cranberries or nuts and occasionally grated dark chocolate.  They are light and sweet and go with a hot cup of tea like nothing else in the world!!  Also, I sometimes serve them with fresh preserves.
The cast on rectangular shawl in Blue Skies Skinny Cotton is growing and I can't wait to finish it for the summer.  It will be perfect to toss around my shoulders to ward off an air conditioning chill.  Love it!!

Life is good!!

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Big O

That's ORGANIZATION ya'll.  Okay, a little cheesy!!  Organization is on my mind a lot right now.  The last few (or four, or five, or dozen) times I have opened the big yarn cabinet, everything inside has tumbled out.  I wouldn't even bother to count the number of times I have picked up that yarn and piled it back into the cabinet.  It would only point out that I should probably put the cabinet flat on the floor and just throw the yarn in the open doors.  I need help!!
Considering the fact that I am one of the most organized people around, at least at work, it didn't make sense for me to continue fighting with the lack of order, so on the way home today I stopped at the Dollar Store and bought plastic baskets in three different sizes.  LOTS of baskets!!  I finished the top and middle shelves this evening and will save the big bottom shelf for the weekend when I can pull everything out and dive in.  Then, I can think about what to do with the rest of it--the stuff in baskets and the sagging hanging shelves. 
Hot pink cowl in linen stitch is finished and blocked.  Cowl #2 is started, along with a lace scarf in organic cotton.  Pictures next time.

It is amazing how much knitting I get done between clients in the office.  The most important thing is that it gives me a method of relaxation between hurricanes that I wouldn't have otherwise--except for the time I spend shoe and bag shopping on the internet!  Aren't these the cutest things?  Okay, okay, back to work!!