Weirdness

Yes, I haven’t been here in a while, and yes, that could be considered weird. But it’s not.

What has been weird in the knitting world to me is knitted washcloths. That’s why I always questioned my first knitting project, foisted upon me by my knitting teacher at school. Yes, it was a washcloth. Yellow with a green border, cotton, thin cotton. It was a washcloth you put your hand into, can’t remember what they are called.

My first attempt was so crooked it would be considered art nowadays. Somehow I could not control tension and probably gave up knitting for a few years for that reason.

In my grown up knitting career I knew a washcloth is something I would NEVER knit. Never is capitalized here for a reason, I really mean it. But here is the weird part, I recently knit a dishcloth. How is that any different?

I had some hesitation, remembering how I scoffed at the idea and how this is going overboard with the back to basics/land kind of idea popular today. But I kept an open mind and there is some pretty cool cotton around, and cheap at that. Resistance being futile when it comes to yarns and ideas, the first chance I got to buy cotton, I did. Next thing I knew, there was a dishcloth. The best looking dishcloth I had ever seen.

The problem of course is that I do my dishes with a sponge, but Stephen, our main dish washer here loves a dishcloth. That solved another problem for me. How could I get something I knit get dirty on purpose? Crazy and weird, but Stephen had way less hesitation than me. And before I could take a picture, it was in use. This morning I rescued it from the sink to get an appropriate picture for you. So far I have not transferred the picture to the computer and you might have to wait until tomorrow.

Promises, promises….

I’ve tried, promise, I’ve really tried today. Got out my best camera and took lots of pictures, imported them to my desktop computer and mailed them to myself. Here I’m at my ipad trying to figure out how to get the photos out of the mail and into this post. Usually I’m pretty good with technology, but this has me stumped a bit.

First I want to show you the fingerless mittens I’ve been making. These here were for our daughter Liana. The other pair I made for our son’s girlfriend and promptly forgot to take a picture. Believe me, they were good.

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I will not bore you with all my yarn pictures, but will serve them up a few a day. This here is the most intriguing. Apparently it’s recycled sari silk. Wonder how it’ll knit up. What you see here is my friend doing a crochet with it. It feels to me it wants big needles. Will see.

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Look, I only have the thumb left to do. So what’s keeping me? Cleaning and knitting on other projects today.

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Let’s face it, it’s not the weather either for these. It’s what you say? It’s almost gardening time. And so this morning started out with a trip to town. Here is my loot:

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I feel punchy and better get out of here for today/tonight.

Slime

The phone rings and the caller asks for me. Yes, speaking. K-designers here, remodeling, I’m all ears since we are on the do not call list. If you complain too early they hang up and you never get details so you can register a complaint. I engage in a little conversation. Who are you? How did you get my name? Did I sign up for something? My name is in your computer? Yeah, right.

I finally point out that we’re on the do not call list. And that I’m going to turn them in, ha. That’s when they tell me they are also associated with a non profit and therefore have a right to call me.

This is the slimiest maneuver I’ve ever heard of. They did not mention the non profit nor were they calling about the non profit. But by associating with a non profit they think they found a loop hole. If I ever had done business with them before or was planning to do business with them, this would absolutely kill it.

We did call them and complained, they weren’t even apologetic. Perhaps calling the non profit is in order.

Breathtaking!

More tomorrow, but a friend gifted me with yarn. Marvelous yarn, pictures tomorrow.

The Domino Effect

Or how I lost free will and learned to go with the flow.

A few days ago with the help of a little spring fever, I decided to wash our extra pillows, well, at least wash four of them. While they were drying outside, it started sprinkling and I had to move them inside into the dining room. At the best of times one has to negotiate around the dining room table that takes up most of said room (did I mention we have a smallish house?). After two days of maneuvering around the racks with the pillows I saw it was time to act.

A few years ago I bought these wonderful colorful plastic bags that one can suck the air out of and manage to store bulky soft items in less space. Me being me, I never bothered to suck the air out or for that matter even use these bags. But today was going to be the day. It worked beautifully. Why didn’t I do that before? Never mind, it’s me. I vacuumed the hell out of these bags, finding more and more items to store that way.

Even these compressed items need a little storage space of which we happen to have very little in our house, since I’m a collector of many things, not just yarn. I emptied a shelf of clothing I had not seen for years wondering what it was doing there. Ah, buttons missing, wrong size, but so pretty and could be used for….

Clothing that can’t be worn but using up space is of no use. I ended up sewing two buttons on shorts, two buttons on shirts, patches on two pants and another button on a sweater. Felt pretty good and proud.

In the meantime I had stripped the bed and the laundry was ready to be hung outside. Perfect outside laundry hanging day, sunny and windy. Darn, what’s that? A broken clothes line? Yup, apparently since yesterday our neighbor’s tree snapped a few branches and then snapped my clothing line. I had another clothing line and immediately installed it. So far so good. I’m several loads invested into this line now and am counting on it not snapping again.

Did I say I have not knit a stitch yet? That is correct. Tonight! I did finish my fraternal fingerless mittens. I’m not excited how the colors worked out, perhaps a hat would have been a better choice. Usually I love long repeating colors, but not sure it worked here.

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Instead I made the bed with new sheets (that’s sort of redundant, why make bed with old sheets? I mean dirty sheets. The sheets I used were old but not dirty). This was the time to switch sides with Stephen. My shoulder has been bothering me and in spite of a recent cortisone shot, the pain continues. I’m working on a new theory: it’s caused by holding books and ipad with my left hand that puts strain on my arm. We will see if I only get pain on the right side now or if the pain stops on the left.

This is when I discovered the box of assorted board games and pieces. Might as well deal with it now. After the massive heart attack and bypass surgery in October, I did not answer any emails or inquiries from boardgamegeek anymore. This is where I log my games and do trades or sales. If you are even slightly interested in board games, this is The Site to use. I updated my information and placed the games back neatly into the storage container waiting for someone to bite and claim them.

Toilets

It’s amazing the s#%^t life throws at you. It is that kind of day. Of course it pales in comparison to the people in Boston, so sad.

This morning I woke earlier than usual to make it to a 10 o’clock meeting of yarn bombers in our area. I delayed working on my second fingerless mitten last night, so I would have an easy project to work on and get to talk and know everyone. Of course there is always the never-ending sock project. I had both tucked away in my bag.

Every single person at the cafe was on their portable computer. No yarn or needles in sight. So I strolled through town, browsed the book store, talked to friends I ran into and eventually made a loop and was back at the cafe. Still no yarn, except what was in my bag. So I went home.

For a couple of days now I had the door to one of our bathrooms closed so no one would use the toilet. There was a little wetness that could not be explained by impaired aim. Somehow my thought is always: if I can’t see it, it might not exist. But in the back of my mind I knew I would rather live in a two bathroom house, especially after running into Stephen a couple of times while heading to the other bathroom.

So when our son Toby shows up and asks what work there is, did I ever have a job for him. It builds character to learn how to do improvements around the house, and who am I to stand in the way of our son’s character.

First go to store and buy new wax seal, most likely the culprit. Then remove the tank from toilet bowl. Well, how? Rusted on nuts and bolts did not budge even after many, many sprays of WD40. One more spray Toby? He was not convinced. Instead he talked me into removing the whole toilet with tank still attached. I know the danger zone we were in. Toilets are porcelain and can break. If that happened, well, new toilet. Then we thought it best to move the whole thing outside. Yes, good idea, more access all around, but bolts still not dancing, not even one partial turn. Now what? Well, I did have the correct little saw to threaten the bolts with. I must have bought that when I installed this toilet and removed the old one. The problem seemed familiar all of a sudden. Note to toilet hardware manufacturers: please use materials that do not rust since toilets have something to do with water, unless you don’t flush, but let’s not go there.

It took a while but eventually we succeeded. And managed to saw into the tank seal. No problem, it was not looking its prime anyway. Back to the store for new bolts and nuts and seal. Yes, I know, I said all we will need is a wax seal, but bear with me, we are building character here. The rest of the story went smoothly and after three hours we had the toilet installed, but I had not knitted one stitch.

But, this is what I’m going to do next, sit down, relax, and knit a while on the second mitten. Ok, I now have four mittens that still need a thumb, I’ll get to that too.

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Taxes

If you’re like me than finals during college days would trigger house cleaning, ok, apartment or room cleaning. No way to sit down and study without noticing every detail of dirt in the room. At first I would clean the parts that would draw my attention, but in the end I had to give up and just clean everything so I would stand a chance of passing my classes.

This is what’s happening right now. Taxes are due on Monday and it’s a major stressor for me. Though you wouldn’t think so considering I am here with my almost finished socks next to me, Netflix on, all my yarn nesting in ziplock bags in bins, all my patterns in sheet protectors in new shiny binders, everything but the stack of papers on the table relating to last year’s endeavor to run a food business. If avoidance were my goal, I’d get an A. Somehow this explanation might not work with the IRS. But look Mr.Taxman or woman, all the pretty yarn protected from moths and patterns organized in binders. Yeah, sounds lame even to me. I’ll get right on it tomorrow.

Did I mention I was looking for my book on mittens? Found it, right after asking two friends if they took off with it. That’s another fact of life: ask if someone has seen your missing item and you will find it within minutes and feel like a total idiot. I’m ok making a fool of myself, just wish I would have thought of it earlier. Unfortunately, the book did not have all the cool designs I thought it had.

It will be sock knitting taxes for the next few days, with sock knitting in between, to keep sane. One of the sock knitting books I keep on coming back to is Getting started knitting socks. If you are interested and can afford to, buy locally. It’s a pretty handy reference book by Ann Budd. I covet two books of hers: knitter’s handy book of top-down sweaters and the knitter’s handy book of patterns. I’m afraid I blew my knitting budget wide open lately and don’t see these books in my near future. But a woman can dream, right?

Catching up

Buying stuff in large quantities apparently makes me happy. Imagine me very happy having returned from a trip to Costco. Although, even large quantities of reading glasses are not enough for me. In the last 2 days I misplaced two pairs.

Alas, my Costco shopping might have reached its peak. I just got notice from my doctor that I can quit the Coumadin. No more biweekly Coumadin checks anymore for this woman. Instead I’ll come up with other age related problems. Shoulder problems. They are especially painful, right after lower back pain on the Marianna pain scale. Whereas my kaiser doctor recommended I see a chiropractor for my back, he did say he can help with the shoulder. After a painless injection of cortisone, and armed with papers for exercises, I’m hoping for the best. Add: Some happy pills for the pain on the way home and lest I forget, a trip to the yarn store and some extra yummy universal wisdom yarn called poems in my little hands.

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I did degrade the environment a bit by buying large quantities of plastic bags to keep my yarn stored. Somehow I’m starting to fear moths. Though apparently from the 15,000 species of moths, only 2 devour animal fibre. I wonder, do they attack sheep for their wool?

And to show you that I’m no slacker, here are the fingerless gloves I’m working on for Stephen.

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Told you, no slacking here. I did not get to do much knitting yesterday while out in the world. Short waits everywhere. No, I’m not complaining, just observing.

My friend does like her socks. They were just about the right length, a bit more and I’m ready to decrease. And then the other sock. I find it amazing that anything can grow visibly with number one needles. But socks re that way for me. Just when I’m about to complain and grow tired of the pattern, the colors, I’m at the tip of the sock. Of course there is another one waiting for me. In the meantime I’m knitting the second sock so Stephen has another pair.

Last night I noticed the possible cause of my shoulder problem. I read in bed, books and ipad. Holding all with my left hand, so perhaps the left shoulder problems stem from that little habit? Maybe it’s time to change places with Stephen in bed.

Today is a successful day. Partway done with taxes. But knitting calls. Especially the poems yarn. Making myself some fingerless gloves.

Patterns

I just developed my first pattern. I knit during the week, walk to the yarn store on Saturdays and rest on Sundays with potluck with friends and a couple of episodes of Carnivale.

While walking to the store I imagined that I could get more yarn and not feel guilty because, really, I’m burning calories, serious calories on the walk partially uphill. How this is related to buying guilt-free yarn still needs to be worked out. I’ll keep you posted.

The most exciting aspect of having children is that they turn out to do miraculous stuff you never dreamed of and you get to be proud of them. But the next best thing with these children is when they step in your foot steps.

My daughter lives in Denver, a couple of states over from our lovely California. Yesterday she announced that she will take up knitting again. I told her to refresh her memory with a scarf she started years ago in knit, and to refresh her purl method. Then I’ll help her with the hat she found on ravelry.

I was dancing around the house I was so happy. And today I picked up the perfect noro yarn for the project. The hat is for boyfriend and he likes green.

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Needles are to match the project and I was very tempted to go with the much cheaper Hiya Hiya needles. But then could not resist the addi turbos, my favorite. I find the Hiya Hiya needles too light. I want a little substance but not super heavy. Everyone has their opinion on needles, I’m an addi girl woman and occasionally will consider wood or bamboo.

On to Ben Franklin where they had a wonderful but pricy Cascade Casablanca yarn. A good thing none of the colors called my name. Both stores I visited today did not carry poem from universal yarn. I would so like to fondle a skein or two. Yes, I’ve read queerjoe’s blog this morning.

For the rest of this day I will beat a pair of fingerless gloves for Stephen into submission. I did not get to bed until after 3 am this morning in sympathy with my lawyerly husband who was working on a deadline. But wee hours are no time for new patterns.

Here is the Dashing pattern at Knitty. Apparently there is trouble ahead with the thumb thingie. I was afraid to read the more detailed instructions, just charging ahead as usual.

Can one learn?

Last November after I came home from a 20 day hospital stay after a massive heart attack, quadruple bypass surgery, and a pulmonary embolism I decided to finish all my started knitting projects and knit a sweater for Stephen. I looked through every bin and basket and finished tons of socks. Since socks go missing in the wash I must have thought why knit the one that gets lost anyway, save myself some time. Well, it doesn’t work that way. I also made a sweater for Stephen to replace the ones I made 20 plus years ago with arms that stretched to the floor by now, or arms that never stretched, and other imperfections.

I did good. Though I avoided major unfinished projects. There is a cardigan I made for myself. All it needs is seaming together. That’s my, well, what’s the word here? Let me just say, I might be in a nursing home or dead before this thing will be finished.

Now I do have a friend who offered to do it for me, but I’m stubborn, and also see it as a teaching opportunity for myself. Plus, I’m a control freak. If that means, I’ll never wear this thing, so be it.

But I digressed. I need to acknowledge here that in four months I managed to produce more unfinished objects than I finished. Part of this is Stephen’s fault. He had to get me a gift certificate for my local yarn store. Did he not know what that would lead to? Does he know me so little after almost 33 years? Or does he care so little? Well, in that case….

Last evening, Thursday evenings, when a few of us get together and knit, I finished knitting the man purse. Actually, I ran out of yarn and was too lazy to get up and get some more. It also looked big enough. For now I’m holding out on the felting as there are other projects that need felting and finishing first. Let’s do them all together.

During my recovery I had a friend who checked in on me daily by phone. She even cooked some meals for us. So I decided to knit a pair of socks in gratitude. Turns out, her house is full of cloth moths and she refuses to use anything toxic. Did you know that of the over 15,000 types of moths only two devour animal fibers? Well, she has them and can’t use anything with wool in it. A sock out of cotton? How about acrylic? I’m a sort of yarn snob, but even in the unmentionable fibers I found nothing suitable.

That’s when it happened. Checking out a tiny, packed to the ceiling craft store, I saw a yarn that read wool-free sock yarn. It must have been the psychedelic neon colors that drew my attention. What was I supposed to do? Miss my one chance of paying back my friend who once mentioned she loves colorful socks?

This picture does not do justice to the screaming colors, but you get the idea.

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I will only be knitting one and then get her opinion before I continue.

Wool Stalking

There is some wool yarn that has been stalking me for years after my love affair with it has long gone. 20 plus years later I gave up on ever making the kids little coats. I did not know at the time they would be in their 20s by the time I got around to actually using the yarn, so I had bought way too little.

My go-to item for thicker yarn of which I only have a small quantity is a hat. Now that my repertoire has expanded it might include fingerless mitts. But a few years back a hat it was. There was enough to make many hats but I limited myself to two. Son Toby never wore his and eventually returned it. Husband Stephen was much nicer about it but eventually also complained about the itchiness of the material.

Earlier this year I’ve tried a man shoulder bag that I frogged yesterday and started over. This time it’ll be a felted man bag. But it might have different dimensions from my intentions. I know that felting can change a lot, but this bag is too wide to keep hope alive. I could sew it sideways for a different bag, wider than tall. It is the fashion now, right?

Or I will give up and throw or give the yarn away. Here is a picture of my latest attempt.

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