Postpartum Dilemma

When I get toward the end of a knitting project I start getting postpartum depression. At that time I often put down that knit and start another one. Probably for the second and third time. Don’t even think it, but yes, by that time I have also already ordered yarn to lift the mood or whatever else needed feeding.

This is how my wips grow from knitting project to knitting project and my stash grows exponentially. 

What I don’t understand about myself is that when a project is actually finished which means all ends woven in, kitchener stitch finished socks, blocking done, buttons sewn on, etc. I feel wonderful and accomplished. Next thing that happens, I feel I’m owed a reward and go yarn and pattern hunting. 

So, I increase stash if I do and I increase stash if I don’t. 

It’s a vicious cycle I can’t seem to break. The question poses itself if I should break it. 

This winter when our daughter comes to visit I’ll just have to make sure she keeps on knitting. She usually does when visiting but then not when she’s away from here. But since her inheritance will be a huge yarn stash that I need to protect beyond death, I need to work on her.

Should I suggest a new girlfriend that knits to our son? Nah…. that seems like going too far. He loves the one he has, and so do we, though she’ll never be the knitting type.  

Is it too late to adopt? I mean I’m 60 and more suited to be a grandmother than a mother. Plus, I didn’t produce avid knitters the first time around with my biological offspring.

What a dilemma. And what a joyous first world problem!


Hell hath no fury like me casting on. If a knitting pattern leaves the cast-on to me, I’ll use the long tail cast-on method. It’s what I’ve been taught as a child and have used most of my life. I have learned many other cast-on tricks techniques since my elementary school days in Seckenheim, Germany, and I love them all. I have no favorite, the long tail cast-on is just habit. Though I’m willing to be the sheep who follows a suggested cast-on in a pattern blindly. Who am I to question the designer. That’s the little sheep in me, follow the authority.

I cast on with two needles and don’t start with a slip knot. I’m not sure why just about every youtube video or knitting book will start out with a slip knot. There might be a conspiracy. My people are looking into it.

Since I cast-on with two needles I pull every stitch tight, because when I remove one of the needles the stitch has just the right looseness and the stitches stand like soldiers evenly spaced with their neighbors.

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But there is trouble in marianna’s long tail cast-on paradise. I pull pretty hard on those stitches and there is some yarn, actually only three so far, that breaks. The latest is Brooklyn Tweed’s shelter yarn. I think it’s the lack of twist in the yarn. With the long tail cast-on, you are untwisting the yarn that comes from the ball. Every stitch unwinds it a little bit more, in the wrong direction of course. If you’re starting out with low twist yarn, trouble ensues, you end up untwisting the ply. And if you’re working with single ply, you can be in major breakage hell.

I tried being gentle and not pulling too tight, which is very difficult since the motions I make are more reflex than thought out, so it took three cast-ons before the yarn cooperated. That makes me angry. I’m thinking about spinning the yarn again and putting more twist into it, but I guess that probably removes all the qualities the yarn offers. Knitting the yarn poses no problems so far.

For Brooklyn Tweed yarns, shelter and loft, I suggest an alternate cast-on. I wish Jared Flood would actually suggest one suitable for his yarn. I am that way, wanting to be told. I am not into reinventing the wheel by trial and error.

Yesterday I promised news from the good vibrations cowl. Yes, the one that started out venomous and now is a tamed pussycat with lots of goodness. Unfortunately it’s still drying and blocking. But here is a preview. Let’s all agree I didn’t make any mistakes and anything odd is a designer choice. The best news is that I have enough yarn for another one, perhaps I’ll reverse the colors?

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The postal carrier just came to the door with a package. It has the yarn for liana’s sweater and I’m a bit disappointed in the color. It’s not as bright as I was hoping it would be. Actually, it almost duplicates the shelter color you see above in the cast-on.

Included in the order were three skeins of yarn new to me. Not unhappy at all about them. But pictures tomorrow or after the weekend. Because we have tickets to the KVMR Celtic Festival. For a while there I was worried the festival would be smoked out, instead, perfect weather.



Rain, Shelter, and Loft

So many posts have been started and rejected in the last few days. The King fire has been raging and so has the smoke in our little town, and my mood. The whole town felt crappy and I had nothing nice to say. All I could do is spit venom.


This picture should give you an idea of how we all felt. A big thank you to Rick Ewald for letting me use it. And a thank you for being braver than me and going outdoors to take this picture for all of us.

This morning, waking up to the sound of rain, had me opening the windows and admiring the sound closer up from under my covers. Sad to say, it’s not even noon and the rain is over. Wonder how the firefighters feel? Is it muddy? Is the rain helping extinguish the fire or just making it harder to fight?

Toby’s hotshot crew is moving from the King fire to the Cascade fire. It’s only 35 acres at this point. But I believe it’s in the Tahoe National Forest and after all they are the Tahoe Hotshots. the last time I met and talked with Toby he was coughing away with a respiratory illness that he shared with the rest of the crew. I can only imagine how they sound right now after inhaling the King fire smoke up close. Somehow we should have the technology to protect our wildland firefighters.

The cowl I’m knitting had so much smoke and bad vibes knit into it that it needed the cleansing. The rain washed all the smoke and vibes away and the cowl is left with pure good energy. Instead of choking the recipient, it will lay cozy around their neck.

Last weekend I got a chance to score some yarn at A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland.  A sweater in the new Brooklyn Tweed collection knocked my socks off.


I want to fit into that sweater. I need that sweater, but I’ll settle for Liana having it. Since the yarn, Shelter, is a little pricey, I got a couple of skeins at Verb to test drive. And while there I thought I’d try some of the Loft yarn.


This yarn photographs very nicely, but in reality the colors are much duller. The yarn also tears very easily. When I cast on I tend to pull on the yarn, can’t do that here unless I want shredded yarn. If I cast on very gently it works, when knitting I had no issues. It is the softest yarn. I thought it might be itchy or scratchy, but no, super soft and gentle.

That said, I will not be using it for the sweater. The price is too rich and I could not find a color I would be happy with. So I ordered a substitute and am keeping my fingers crossed. Should arrive Saturday. What to do with these skeins? A hat, of course.

Unfortunately I not only left yarn money at Verb but also indulged in a little fabric. You know how that goes. I’ll just take a look and since I don’t need fabric I won’t be tempted. Nice try, Marianna.

The first fabric to call out to me, actually shouted out, brought memories of my childhood. This fabric could have come out of any child’s book I was reading in Germany.


And almost, and I really mean almost, I got away, until I discovered the following while she was cutting the previous.


From then on, it was shutting my eyes and mind tightly to not let another expense in.

So what will I do with the fabric? Why? Do I need to do something beyond stare at it and touch it?

Other people get happy having a glass of wine, I get happy looking at my fabric. And ecstatic and downright drunk looking and touching my yarn.

And now to the neglected baby sweater. Oh, the intentions were good. But then the package arrived with the yarn for the next project, and what can I say that I haven’t said so many times before? I’m fickle, I’m a yarn addict, I’m a start a new project every day addict….

But I am almost finished.


I know it looks an awful lot like the last picture I posted of this little gem, but notice the arms. I still need to weave in lots of ends, sew down the seams all around and add a button band or some sort of band. It’s not that cold yet, I have time. I do, really.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the cowl with all the good vibes.


You’re Welcome

Hold all the thank yous.

Galileo Galilei, sorry, you had it wrong. I understand, because I was born so many years later and you could not have known. But here I am at the center of the universe.

Knowing we’re having a drought in California I knew it would be perfectly safe to make some major changes to our house that needed the storage of many items outside, exposed to the elements. Since the only element to consider right now is the sun, we were good to go.

Once all the shit stuff was outside and I’m in the middle of a huge chaos exchanging one room for another, rain! I rescued all the belongings that needed shelter and kept the rest outside. Probably did them a lot of good to wash the dust off a bit.

So, yes, of course it was going to rain, and you’re all welcome.

Since I find the pictures I could take of the big chaos very depressing, I’ll post some other photos of a phenomenon yesterday.

It’s a massive pyrocumulous cloud from the King Fire. Before I confuse you with describing that kind of cloud, I’ll send you over to wiki to read all about it. And I’ll share an impressive photo from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation taken from Lake Tahoe last night:


Today was a super exciting day because Toby is home for his two day r and r period and we got to go out for breakfast. Unfortunately he’s very sick with constant coughing, respiratory problems, and headache, all of which he shares with the rest of his crew.

No time for the weary, they’re back to some fire tomorrow.

As usual I took a picture of young and old man.





Yarn Addiction

I’m a true yarn addict. I don’t even have to look up the word addict, I know I define it. Because I have not mortgaged the house or gone without food because of yarn, I tell myself all is OK. But is it?

Here is a sample process. I just received an online yarn purchase. It includes yarn I wanted for a project which I start immediately.

DSC_0002Never mind all the unfinished projects around the house, including the socks started yesterday.


A little time goes by, I finish this project and the socks, and find myself on the computer again looking at yarn. Remember, I don’t need any yarn. I have wonderful, delicious, expensive yarn already. Lots of it. And you know why I have that much? Yes, I want that free shipping, an excuse to buy more than needed and it builds a stash.

But how about that shawl, I would like to make it but don’t have the perfect yarn for it. Let me see if the perfect skein is out there. Oh wow, look at that one. And look at the sale going on here. Free shipping if I order over $x, well, no problem, I always could use more sock yarn.

Trouble starts now, and if I ever was concerned about reaching the free shipping quantity, come on, I know better.


Holidays are already looming for knitters. This is a period of time where no excuses to buy yarn are needed. Or a baby on the way? Buy away! No baby on the way? Just in case your kids will ever have them, knit in advance, you never know how long you’ll live.

The reasons are endless, probably as long as the reasons for having that next drink. Except our reasons make more sense because we produce. We can do a show and tell without stumbling around embarrassed.

But really, do I need all the shawls I’m knitting? I never wear any, so who are they for? I just don’t want to be saved from my addiction. Not yet.

What stage am I? I admit to being an addict, yet don’t see a need to change that. It’s not that bad, I say. I’m not hurting anyone.

Or here are some other reasons to keep buying yarn. Knitting reduces my stress, it relaxes. I only buy when I need to make gifts. A yarn addiction is much safer than using drugs or alcohol, though some of us knit with that glass of wine next to us. I don’t buy everything I like. My stash is much smaller than so-and-so’s. I don’t buy the most expensive yarns. Add your own here….

The excuses are mostly true, not so with a drug addict’s excuses. Does that make me a better addict?

If I get hung up on a yarn, I need to buy it or obsess on it until I buy it or another yarn comes along. There is always this other yarn. There are so many choices today.

OK, here is what I told my husband and actually believed at the time these words were spoken. I think I have now tried about every sock yarn there is, except perhaps one or two and once I try those, I’m done. I’ll only have to buy sock yarn when I actually need it and then know what kind to buy.

Two sock yarns I haven’t tried? And I believed that? True addiction. I have bought two different kinds since then and have many more on my waiting list. What else is going to come out of my mouth?

Edit: I’m reminded of a friend who knits. She wants to make a pair of socks, she goes out buys the yarn and makes those socks. She feels on solid ground to me. Realistic. I live in the land of possibility. I live on a cloud surrounded by soft, squishy yarn and many ideas swirling around of patterns I could knit up. Dreamer. There are times I would rather be in control, but not that much.


In California we’re living with a drought. Showers are often far in between. I don’t get out all that often, so I don’t mind waiting to shower for a day or two. And beyond walking a couple of miles every morning I’m not breaking my back or a sweat. Just a little when knitting frustration comes along. So when Stephen walked into the house with a friend we had not seen for 100 years it was embarrassing and wonderful!

I’m waiting for my next surprise because I’m all showered and freshly clothed now. Bring ’em on. It was so, so good having that instant connection again. And she knits!

Do I need to say more? I got to show her all my latest knitting and we looked at each other’s ravelry pages. How crazy is that? And the have yous and did yous and on and on. I think I didn’t let her talk. I was overflowing. She was a good sport.

And now I’m reading her blog. And I’m liking it. And I have frogged the socks several times now today and am starting over again. Did I say she knits? I look differently at knitters. No, no, I’m not saying we’re better. There is a sisterhood or brotherhood or is it a knitterhood?

I’m still 60 and hating it. When I have to communicate with someone who has never seen me before I feel like explaining that my 60 is nothing s/he can imagine. I listen to the Pixies and dance and would still go into a mosh pit for a few moments and take my pants off at a Muse concert, not.

I’m not my grandmother’s 60. I’m my 60 and still not liking it. 60 defines me more than my massive heart attack or bypass surgery. Life is strange. Knitting makes sense. Did I say she knits?

The shawl for the mother-in-law is finished. Birthday coming up soonish. I’m ready. I made the Alice’s Embrace but used half the amount of yarn asked for. How could that be? Acrylic Marble yarn with number 13 needles makes a generous 20 inches by 60 inches shawl. Did I miss something? Probably, but all is good.

Have a look:



Sleepless in Nevada City

I could complain, but I should know better. I don’t fall asleep easily under the full moon. I’ve known this now for how long? But do I pay attention? Nooooooo. I go right to bed, don’t fall asleep, realize it’s a full moon, then play games, read every news story online in English and German, read all the blogs I like, check online order status of various purchases, check Facebook, read a little in a book, and repeat the above just in case there is something new. I know, I know, being in front of an electronic screen does not help with the falling asleep process. But not wanting to wake up Stephen, I like keeping the light off. That only leaves the iPad or getting up. And I’m way disconnected from being upright by now that it’s not an option anymore.

Next month I’m planning on a full moon pajama party knit night going until the last one of us is too tired to hold any needles. We’ll see if this comes off the ground.

My yarn purchase yesterday was acrylic yarn for an Alice’s Embrace shawl for Stephen’s mom. Since she’s allergic to wool, or was at some point in her life, and her husband does the laundry and probably has never heard of hand wash knit items, I think acrylic is a good choice here. Plus, I’ve been lusting after those big skeins of cheap yarn.

Progress is amazing. I feel like Alice in Wonderland knitting with those number 13 needles and chunky yarn. But it’s also tiring moving the big needles around when one is used to number 2s.

OK, OK, here is a picture of the shawl so far. All 43 cm or 17 inches of it.




Dear Neck

and other body parts. We have to come to an agreement if we plan to keep on living together. I’ll try to treat you nicer and you keep down the noise. Agreed?

Neck, I’m especially talking to you. The last few days you’re acting like you forgot how to hold up a head. You’ve done it the last 60 years, come on, did you forget? Am I not treating you right? Talk to me in other modes than pain please. I’m willing to listen. If you throw this pain my way you make it difficult for me to listen, all I want to do is scream and take pain pills.

And Back, thank you. 5 weeks of pain was enough and I got the message. But you, too, please don’t come down crashing so hard on me, gentle reminders will do it. And Back, one more thing, that drip water system needed to be put in. And yes, it involved lots of bending down and all and yes, you’re 60 now, but come on, give me a little slack.

Neck, you did see what I made for you, right? Isn’t it lovely? So start treating me that way. And please do stretch a little instead of hiding between my shoulders, the shawl will look so much better that way. You know, the way Toby does it. He is a role model to all necks around the world.




This was an interesting pattern. Like with most patterns that say read through the directions first, I ignored these words and headed right to cast on. I mean what could go wrong? I can knit and purl and do yarn overs and cast on and off. I can knit 2 together, even through the back loop. I can weave in the ends, I might not like it, but I can do it.

I did read enough about the pattern to know I might not have enough yarn. So I improvised and reversed main and contrast colors at some point.

Then I came to the part of changing directions in knitting. I can do that, too. But the math seemed wrong somehow. I did what I do best in times of trouble, eyes squeezed shut I knit on, one row at a time. If I follow the directions all should be fine. Most of the time this works, not always just mostly, but I have to give it a try. It worked this time. I now realize my math mistake, but calculating while knitting is not my strong point.

What has me flabbergasted is all the yarn I have left over. And I did recount the repeats and am good there. I don’t knit too tight, so that’s not an explanation either. For now I’ll have to let that one go and enjoy the shawl.