Feeling Low

It’s that time again. Just finished a knitting project, a thick pair of socks. What’s next? Usually it flows. But there are times it doesn’t, it doesn’t even trickle, drought time.


Yes, they’re huge size 14/15 and yes, if you want to argue that not having woven in the ends does not count as finished, go live in that world. In mine they’re done.

It’s not that I have no ideas. But either I don’t have the right yarn, the right mood, the right pattern, the right needles, the right anything. It’s all wrong, wrong, and wrong. And that’s when I start feeling real, real low.

Wanting to learn another knitting skill, I checked out Knitting One Below from the library. I love the cool columns that technique makes. A simple scarf is my goal, nothing complicated.

First of all, it takes slow color changing yarn, actually that’s a “check” for me. And it takes figuring out the stitch, check, that was a super easy check. The right size needles: lots of searching, since I never have the right size needles.Why not? After all, I have tons of needles and in every size and make. But, they are all on WIPs (Works In Progress) somewhere on the yarn shelves. I settled for what I thought was the right size in wood. I’m not a big crazy fan of wood or bamboo needles anymore. Give me my Signature needles or my Addis.

But now the problem: I hate the yarn, especially with the needles. The gauge is wrong, I knit wrong, not tight enough, I cast on too many stitches. Yes, what could go wrong, went wrong. Why could I not follow the pattern? It said to cast on 19 and that it was enough. It did not look enough to me, but 25 are certainly way too many.

I love what the yarn does, and at this point if I don’t unravel I’m hoping there’s enough for the length of the scarf. I could do some math with my scale to be sure.


I then took from the shelves about every slow color changing yarn I had 2 skeins of and cast on. That’s depressing, nothing seemed as right as the one above. I have an easier time unraveling after I put a project aside for a while and get some distance from the work I put in it. Sort of the principle of giving birth. If the birth memory stayed too long, there might never be second babies.

Frustrated, huffing, and puffing, I wove in the ends to a stack of dishcloths.


I have no plan yet to lift me up. But I’m working on it. Dealing with lows and downs makes me think of the recent suicide of one of America’s idols. Robin Williams. I got me thinking. Paying so much tribute to someone who took his own life scares me. It’s sort of a validation of suicide. I wonder if the suicide numbers go up after a famous person commits suicide.

Corporations use famous people to market their brands. They know consumers want to be like famous people. And using the same brand brings the consumer a little closer.

I’m not trying to judge here. Robin Williams must have been in lots of pain, I get that. It’s what we make out of it now. Some call it celebrating his life, but some might have a darker view on this. Just saying….

Stop Right Here!

It used to be that I had bad days. As I get older these days draw out and it’s more like bad weeks. I’m in the middle of such a period right now.

The latest happened exactly two weeks ago when I reached into our cooler and ended up in agony on the floor with lower back spasms.

I know from experience that if I don’t break the spasm cycle I’ll be out for weeks. So instead of heading to San Francisco, we head to the hospital. A couple of shots later, I barely make it out to the car. For everyone who’s had that, you know. For the rest of you, light a candle to the higher being of your choice.

Self-medicated me then heads from San Jose to San Francisco, where we had arranged a house exchange for a few days.

If you saw a woman the next day bent over like a 110-year-old or someone who’d lost their contact lenses, walking toward Imagiknit, you guessed right, that was me. But it also was the last time you saw me on the streets of San Francisco. Though Imagiknit is only a few blocks away from our house exchange gig, I never made it back as I promised. Instead, I tested out the comfort of their couch. All 5 days.

As any knitter will know, I had along so many knitting projects and yarn, I could have stayed there the rest of the year. Also, it’s no fun knitting on your back. I have no idea how the time washed over me, mostly in a daze or asleep from the medication.

Totally in awe of myself, we somehow made it back home. And exactly two weeks after the cooler incident I’m still in pain, on heavy-duty doctor-approved pain medication and in my chair in front of the computer for the first time today.

You’re caught up. I wish we could catch up with our tomato abundance. At the time I took the photo I was delusional, thinking this was a lot of tomatoes. We have at least three times as much now, and they keep on ripening at a pace I can’t even walk at.


The tomato below is a deep purple-red, fleshy and exquisite.


When something happens, something unexpected, I usually find out that I’m not alone. Thanks to the interwebs I find my experiences duplicated over and over.

A few weeks ago a friend and I were chatting in our living room when we heard the strangest of noises. To be honest, neither of us had any idea what it was nor had ever heard such a sound before. We did eventually figure out it came from outside. And this is what we found:


It turns out that exploding patio tables are not all that rare. We’ve had this one long enough I don’t mind having to get a new one. In wood, please. Imagine sitting at the table eating when this happens.

In other news, I put in a drip system in the garden, probably contributing to the back issue. It would have been so much easier to do with starter plants, but always going for the hard way, I was digging around mature plants trying to find their stems and the right placing of the drip in 100-plus degree heat.

No pictures of knitting today? I finished a hitchhiker shawl made with Wollmeise yarn, ok, the ends need weaving in, but who’s looking right now. I finished a pair of socks, again, I have to close up the toes. There just might be 5 pairs of socks needing a similar finish. I feel the holidays starting to breathe down my neck.

This pony is also learning a new trick, toe-up socks. Got some Socks That Rock heavyweight yarn. The problem is that the pattern Spice Man from Yarnissima I’m using doesn’t accommodate the thick yarn. I’m making it up as I go. And I’ve reached a point of stuckness. I have no idea what the pattern is talking about. Where do I do the decreases? The solution is making another pair of socks in thin sock yarn and following exact directions so I can tell where the decrease happens. For sure not where I tried to put it. As my friend Meg says, there’s got to be someone out there who is contorted enough that it will fit. Meg, I don’t think that holds true. At least not with anyone I know.

Someone recently asked about a baby sock pattern. I just scale down my go-to sock pattern. I love the littleness and cuteness. And did I mention they are super-quick to make?!


Confession time. I got more fiber to spin. But I have a good excuse, really. I love Inglenook Fibers. And my first ever hand-spun hand-knit item left me a few yards short. Probably because I can’t spin exquisitely thin yarn yet. I’ve been looking for months to find a fiber that I could finish the cowl with and finally: success!



Time to get off this chair and into something more comfortable.


Another Project?

This weekend I started 2 more knitting projects. Really? (Is this what you really need? More half finished projects? Are you going for the record?) I have an explanation for this starting and not finishing business. I’m a gemini. And, it’s not winter and therefore no incentive to finish up to stay warm.

I must have mentioned that I’m part of a KAL? A mystery KAL. KAL = knit along. I know I’m making a shawl, but beyond that, I have no idea. Too late I read that this is for intermediate/advanced knitters. OK, I have knit most of my life, but never a shawl.

It takes tons of concentration to knit this shawl. So what do I do? I see another shawl I like and off I am casting on for that new shawl. How fickle is that? No commitment, no regret, and just a tiny bit of guilt. I will finish the old shawl, but I’m waiting for stretches of concentrating time.

Let me give you a picture of my situation. The top is the old shawl, the bottom the new one. Here we go:



This last shawl is in The Afternoon tea pattern found here at Knitty.

Yes, I am having fun. You didn’t think I only started one new knitting project, did you? Noooooooooooooo, I had to start another pair of socks. If I paid more attention to math in school I could tell you exactly the exponential road I’m traveling, but, thankfully, I don’t remember. All I can tell you is that if I keep up with my sock knitting pattern I will have: LOTS!

This is how it works. I barely finish a pair, notice I still need to do kitchner ending and weaving in of yarns, I eye the new Koigu yarn I always wanted to try. Off I am casting on again. And even though the Koigu starts pooling immediately, I knit on. Why I can’t tell you. Like an addict, I keep on knitting, not liking what the yarn is doing and knowing full well somewhere in my mind (at least I hope I do) that this is not working out. But I ignore the voice screaming at me to stop, rip it, and start anew. Until the next morning. And I’m happy to say I got past the unraveled yarn and am happy.

So let me show you the almost finished and the new:

Fleece Artist yarn in Nutkin pattern
Fleece Artist yarn in Nutkin pattern
Koigu sock, 2nd attempt
Koigu sock, 2nd attempt

A note on the nutkin pattern: there is very little stretch and give in the cuff and leg area. It becomes a bit difficult to put on and perhaps blocking might take care of this, and if not, well, Stephen can get them on. I feel so lucky I’m with a guy who is willing to be experimental in his socks. All colors and patterns seem to be OK with him.

Shawls? Considering I never wore one in my life and neither has my daughter and my MIL is allergic to wool, well, one has to wonder what I’m up to and where I’m on that crazy meter scale.

There was some food in my life recently. I marinated some olives in zest of lemon and orange and added some garlic and rosemary and olive oil. The idea came from a recipe I can’t find anymore, but olives are an invitation to play.


I see hot peppers in the picture. Yes, I like my food hot!

And then I had all these dried fava beans. What to do with them? One option is a kind of hummus and it works well for that but it’s a hassle to peel all those favas after cooking them. I now have an easier way with the favas. I cook them with some spices and mint and onions. I end up with a broth for bread dipping and favas that everyone can peel and pop into mouth. This recipe also came form somewhere else, did not grow on my compost pile as my grandmother would say.

Here is a pretty picture of the beans before cooking:


And now it’s knitting time for me.

Hard Times

This has been one hell of a difficult week. It started out with back ache on one side last Sunday. Monday I had to go in to see the dentist for another phase of my tooth implant. With back pain. The two hours flew by as if I was having fun. OK, could have been the nitrous oxide. But the week kept on plodding along slowly with a continuous back ache. tried heat, pain meds, from strong to weaker to in between, but nothing helped. I could sit for a little, stand up for a little, and be in bed for longer periods of time. Got nothing done! Just felt sorry for myself.

Today came the break through. And of course I probably overdid it immediately. When I don’t want to tackle my mess, I throw myself in to Stephen’s affairs. I flung papers and photos and cassette tapes (yes, he saves cassette tapes, don’t ask, it’s a long story), CDs, dust bunnies and dust buffalos, and after a few hours and repeated complaints by Stephen that he did not sign up for this, his room looked much better.

Yes, and so I did kind of, with less vigor, attack my room and all my stuff strewn around the house. To be honest, I only managed to kind of organize my yarn/sewing/craft room. There is a clear path to the table and the sewing machine. And I carried my computer downstairs into our bedroom where I keep a desk that I use as I do all flat spaces in the house, to store stuff on I don’t know what to do with.

Actually I cleared the desk top pretty well, but please don’t look behind the curtain of the closet where piles are awaiting me for sorting.

I’m hoping I did no further damage to my back because I am ready to knit.

Knitting did play a role during the week, if only to finish projects and do very little ones.

Let me introduce you to my new hobby: making dishcloths. So far I only have a picture of the first one I made. While watching the Champions League soccer match yesterday (Germany against Germany, I could not go wrong), I started and finished another dishcloth.

ImageVery unimaginative, your basic dishcloth. Here is the link to ravelry and the pattern.

A friend recently gave me a generous amount of yarn. And I have been dipping into this stash. First I used the sari silk yarn. It is a rather heavy yarn, so what to make? I decided on a skinny scarf for our daughter Liana. It was not easy to knit with this yarn, it did not move along the needles easily, but it turned out well.Image

This box of gift yarn has really inspired me. And with that I present a hat for Liana:Image

This hat pattern is here. As you can see I made a little change by adding a band at the bottom. This was a suggestion by the yarnharlot. The button was an easy find at our local Ben Franklin.

And last, but never least: socks. A while ago I finished the non-wool socks for my friend and a pair for Stephen. I’m so blessed that Stephen is willing to wear about any sock in any color I make. Image

I’ve ordered some fleece artist sock yarn recently and fell in love. By accident I ordered a color twice (tiger) and at first was disappointed. But once I knit with it I realized it was a very happy mistake. I did finish the pair of socks, but I’m having a hard time letting go of them. Eventually, perhaps when I knit a second pair, I might be able to pass them on.Image

With that, I’m somewhat caught up with my knitting adventures. There is still a backlog of pictures and projects to show you. For now, excuse me while I go and knit.