Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Knitting

This could be a post complete with pictures and links and all sorts of wonderful stuff. But it's not. Because I'm buried under a pile of Holiday Knitting.

Notice that I capitalize Holiday Knitting? I do that because it has taken on Monumental Importance.

Because you see, I'm making ______ for _______. And also, _______ for ________ and _______ for ________ and _________ for ________.

If that wasn't enough Tim is making _______ for _________, _______ for __________ and we're both working on a hat and scarf set for a little girl in foster care who wants that for Christmas, in purple.

Not to mention another ongoing project for _________.

How many of these things are done? Hmmm. I've ripped out the ________ for _________ no fewer than 4 times. Then decided that I just didn't like the yarn in that pattern. So, I decided to make ________. But Tim was using the right needle tips on a _________ for ________, so I started it on a size down (since I tend to knit a little looser, anyway. But 'ya know what? I'm wondering now if that yarn is right for that pattern, or is just to heavy for the size 7 needles. Maybe I should recast on with the 9's (obviously the 8's are being used.)

Another's day knitting to be frogged.

Have we taken on more than we can chew... er... knit? Possibly.

Every year I swear I'm going to start in July. Every year I get started somewhere in October. All would be good, if suddenly, mid November, I didn't add 5 people to the list of knitted gift recipients.

So, obviously, I'm going to go knit. If I don't pop up until christmas, at least you'll know what I'm doing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where I've Been

Mostly I've been sitting on my ass doing nothing. It truly amazes me that one fractured toe could sideline me so completely. Actually, I got back to work on limited basis, two weeks ago, and that has kept me busy.

As those who were at Rhinebeck saw, I finished Tim's sweater in the nick of time:

When I say in the nick, I mean it. At 10:30 the night before Rhinebeck, the sweater came off my needles.

Unfortunately, that's the last Finished Object that I have to share. I have 4, soon to be 5, projects on the needles and while I'm working on at least one of them every day, I feel like I'm making no progress at all.

I'll try to grap photos of WIPs to satisfy everyone's photo lust.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did You VOTE Today?

Today's election might just be the most important election we will see in our lifetimes. So many issues are in flux: Women's Health Rights, Marriage Rights for ALL People, the Economy, the War in Iraq (and Afghanistan) and maybe, soon, Iran.

Who you vote for today will shape the history of this country. You will be shaping the history of this country.

Of course, I want to tell you all to Vote Obama/Biden, because I think they're the best choice for this country, but more than anything else I believe that voting is the most important privilege we, as citizens, have.

We saw, in 2000, how just a few votes could make a difference. 2004 was also close. We're hoping that 2008 will be a landslide, but you just never know.

So, if you're registered, get out there and vote!!! You'll be glad you did.

Remember, if you don't vote, you forfeit your right to complain.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Startitis and Knitted Gifts

Ooh do I have a wicked case of start-itis. I have started 3 projects in the last 3 days. Considering that I'm a fairly monogamous, sometimes a little polygamous, knitter, the idea of 3 new projects and one continuing project on the needles is a little overwhelming. To me.

I know, there are lots of people who regularly have that many, and more, project on the needles, but it's a new behavior for me. Usually, I have one fairly boring knit, that I can talk through and not have to pay too much attention; and something more complex that I can watch TV through, but not necessarily make conversation. I have both of those on the needles now. Plus I've added a beaded lace scarf that is taking all my attention (at the moment. That may change as I become more familiar with the pattern), and another beaded lace scarf that is going to be a present for someone (I'm not sure who...yet).

Which brings me to the next point. Knitted Gifts. Who to knit for? Who will appreciate it? Who won't...and why not?

These are the questions that rattle around in my head whenever I start a gift project. See...I like to give knitted gifts. Probably for the same reason I like to cook for crowds of people. It's a way I get to share my love. However, just like I won't cook beef bourgingnon for a vegetarian, I'm not going to spend the time and energy (not to mention the yarn) on a project for someone that won't wear it.

I had this conversation with someone a little while ago. This person said that while s/he would love and appreciate the time and effort put into such a gift s/he would probably not ever wear it. And while I appreciate knowing this, it makes me so incredibly sad that I will never have the joy of spending hours handcrafting a gift for someone I love...because honestly...I make garments to be worn, not stuck in a drawer and "appreciated."

Honestly, I don't understand why someone would prefer to wear something constructed from the cheapest materials possible, made by a machine operator who earns 30 cents a day, over something that was hand-knit, custom fit, and crafted with the best materials available, including my own handspun, handpainted, 100% 'soft as a baby's ass' merino wool? Is it that we all have visions of reindeer sweaters knit out of Red Heart acrylic yarn.

Maybe I have too much time on my hands. Maybe I know the difference between having my feet go through the sweat/freeze/sweat cycle of nylon socks vs. the warm, toasty and DRY sensation of wool socks. Maybe because I know that during the time spent knitting something for someone, I think about them - what they mean to me - what I mean to them, and somehow all of that gets knitted into the garment. Whatever.

I don't have any of these answers. So for now, I'm going to go downstairs and work on something soft and wonderful and beautiful.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Doctor Says

My toe is definitely broken. ;-)

Yeah, we knew that. He looked at the pictures and looked at the toe. He looked at me. Apparently the doc in the ER did a fantastic job of setting the break. Hooray!!! Also, I have two separate injuries.

1. There's the fracture in the distal (furthers away from the body) joint.

2. I "jammed" the proximal toe joint (where it meets the metatarsal), hence screwing up the ligaments and the reason I have pain there as well as the fracture sight.

Fortunately, that should just heal over time. In fact, both will. The bad news is that I already have some arthritis in the proximal joint and will probably develop arthritis in the distal (fractured) joint. Oh well. I'll be 50 next year. I guess arthritis is par for the course.

As for work. I can work when I feel like I can work. As a massage therapist that means I have to be able to stand on my feet for an hour at a time, 3 or 4 times a day. I'm not there. Maybe next week.

I can drive as soon as I can put a "closed" shoe on. I'm not there yet either.

On the knitting front.

I have cast on for Mr. Greenjeans which will be knit with Plymouth Galway Highland Heather in a dark green, color 703 on the color card. I got the yarn at Rhinebeck on Sunday. It's very soft and I hope will make a snuggly cardigan.

I have also cast on Falling Water Scarf in Tina's hand dyed merino laceweight, colorway Lady Sapphire. I love the rich blues, and it has been patiently waiting for me to clear room in the queue.

Also, I'm about to cast on Waves of Grain (which I think is drop dead gorgeous). I'll be using my own laceweight100% Merino, spun from Carolyn's Flames colorway.

I'm also working on the socks. Still. They were put aside when I realized that I couldn't finish them and Tim's sweater before Rhinebeck, and the sweater won. I have been trying to pick them up but have too bad a case of "startitis". Obviously.

There's litle more I can do these days but knit and listen to audiobooks...and write (but I haven't been in the mood). At least this week. Next week might be different.

More later....

Monday, October 20, 2008


Saturday was Rhinebeck! Thanks to my incredibly wonderful husband, I got to go, broken toe and all. Tim dropped me at the main gate, I hobbled from there to the Wheelchair Rental kiosk, and then got pushed around for the rest of the day. I had to get up a few times, in order to get into some of the booths, but for the most part I was able to sit in the chair all day.

For those who are not fiber afflicted, Rhinebeck is the NE Fiber Event of the Year. I look forward to it all year, and I would have been disappointed beyond belief had I not been able to make it.

Where else can I get the chance to see wool (still on the hoof, in some cases),

andLLamas and Alpacas

and angora bunnies AND all of my fiber friends

(although these are not all of my fiber friends) That is (l to r) Diane, Eric, Tina and me in the wheelchair.

We also saw, but didn't get pictures of: Jess and Risa, Carolyn (with whom I'm planning a surprise for someone). We had lunch with Tina and Kristina and her mother, Marian (who don't blog)

And we got to do all of this among the beautiful scenery that is the Hudson Valley in October.

Of course, I stayed about an hour or two too long, and had to ride home with my foot on the dashboard, and go immediately to lie down (with my foot elevated on 4 pillows) when I got home. Was it worth it? You bet!!! I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Stash pictures will have to wait until one of two things happen: I get better or Tim decides to photograph the stash.

Tomorrow is the Dr. appt. We'll see what he has to say about my toe.

Friday, October 17, 2008

View from the wheelchair

Yesterday morning. I woke up, went downstairs to get coffee. Missed the bottom step or two....and crunch.

This is me, in the emergency room of St. Mary's Hospital, calmly knitting on Tim's rhinebeck sweater, waiting to be called in for x-rays.

This is the X-ray:

See the diagonal line that goes ALL THE WAY ACROSS MY BIG TOE?? That's the fracture line. Yes folks, a complete fracture of the right Hallux.

See the strange angle of said toe? Listing to starboard. That's not the way its supposed to be. Getting that set was the most painful experience of my life....even with the Novocaine block.

This is me waiting for Tim to bring the car around.

Will we be at Rhinebeck? Planning on it. I'll be the one in the wheelchair wearing a turquoise shawl, and the ugly black ortho-boot, floating in a haze of Percocet.

I may not get the sweater finished in time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where Has the Time Gone?

I've been knitting. I've been trying to get Tim's Rhinebeck sweater finished (this coming Saturday). There may be pictures later (when it's done) but not just yet. I have 3/4 of one sleeve left to finish. I'd rather have root canal.

There's something to be said for miles and miles of stockinette knitting. It's easy, especially when done in the round; you don't have to pay much [any] attention to it, so it's great to take to knit night or any other time you want to be talking and knitting; it even works when you're watching a movie with subtitles.

On the down side, it's mindnumbingly boring. It's knitting that can be done if you're in a coma. If you're not in a coma when you start, you will be by the time you're done.

On a top-down, raglan sleeve, sweater, after the yoke is finished, and you're no longer increasing for the shoulders/sleeves, there is nothing to do but knit. No increases to keep track of, no decreases to keep track of. Nothing fancy like yarn-over's; or my favorite double vertical decrease. Just knit, knit, knit, knit, knit. Not even the occasional purl to yank you out of your stupor, let alone a stray cable.

Getting to the ribbed cuff was jumping into a cool refreshing lake. Thee was something else to do beside knit. I got to Knit 2, Purl 2. Yeah, that's exciting. Not. So, anyway, hopefully Tim will be wearing a sweater with both of its sleeves on Saturday.

Of course, this means that when I'm not knitting I'm looking for the next project. I've come into possession of Barbara Walker's "The Craft of Lace Knitting", copyright 1971. In it are the most lovely lace stitch patterns, and I think I'm hearing the call to design another shawl. I was so pleased with how Caribbean Breeze came out. I've gotten compliments every single time I've warn it, and not just by knitters. Strangers have stopped me to comment on that shawl. Ladies and Gents, we have a winner.

So now, my little creative brain is thinking about what to do next. I don't know, but I'll get there. But first, I have to finish the boring red sweater (which is so comfy, I know Tim's going to wear it all winter).

Whatever is next is going to be lace. It will be more complicated than what I've done so far. And, as much as I've queued a whole bunch of lace shawls...I'm kind of more interested in designing my own, so we'll see what this winter's projects are.

I know I want to knit Mr. Greanjeans, for myself. I'm going to do some kind of Aran pullover for himself (I must love him a lot), and more socks.

Also, I need, need, need to spin!!! And, I want to do some lace project with my handspun. Looks like I can keep myself busy all winter, and I haven't even been to Rhinebeck yet.

If, like me, you're appalled at the idea that Sarah Palin is qualified to be the President of the United States, check out this video. If you're not appalled, you've probably not been paying enough attention.

But on to other topics.

I was in the pool at the Y the other night and starting wondering about something. The pool isn't that big. It's a standard, olympic sized pool. 8 lanes. 2 lifeguards, one for each side. Now, each of the lifeguards has, strapped to him or herself this big red floaty thing. Strapped to them.

A couple of things occurred to me.

1. I know it's a flotation device, but why does a lifeguard watching 650 square meters of water need a flotation device? Personally, I'd like to think that someone guarding my life would know how to swim.

2. How long does it take a swimmer wearing nothing but a bathing suit, jumping off a 6' high chair to get to the bottom of the furthest, deepest part of the pool.

3. How much LONGER does it take for the same swimmer to get to the same place with a big, ungainly, red flotation device strapped to his/her back? I understand the need for flotation devices in open water situations, but the pool at the Y? Isn't that like hunting mosquitos with an elephant gun? Maybe I'm strange, but in a save my life situation, I think I'd prefer someone getting to me fast and yanking me to the top, rather than being hampered by the big red floaty thing with the long leash worn on the back of the person who is supposed to be saving my life.

4. I wonder how many lifeguards get tripped by the leash on the big red floaty thing when they're trying to get out of the chair in a hurry? (like in a life-saving situation).

These are the things I think about while swimming laps at my local Y.

On to the weekend recap:

This past weekend we went apple picking with friends, including 15 and 19 year-olds. There is nothing quite as good as an apple plucked directly from the tree. They're different. Crisper. Juicier. Sweeter. Tarter. Better.

I'll leave you with pictures.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finished Objects and the Cold From Hell

I hate when clients bring the plague into my office. Why don't they tell me they're sick *before* they've gotten their germy hands on everything. I washed my hands, I thought I'd washed down everything he'd touched with alcohol, but alas, I missed a rhinovirus which has taken up residence inside my sinuses, my nose and my chest.

What I hate is that anything that sends my immune system in overdrive also send me into fibromyalgia flare-up. So in addition to the whole cold/fever thing, I also hurt like hell.

With all this going on, we still went to BJ's yesterday and did the major monthly food shop, and stopped at Lowes to get styrofoam insulation boards for blocking the Pennance Shawl which is, indeed, done!!!!

There it is being blocked. I spent a good chunk of the early part of today grafting the sucker. I'd never grafted seed stitch before.

Unfortunately, you really can't see the stitch definition:

And, since it's raw silk, you can't even imagine the texture.

Is it okay to be that much in love with something you've produced yourself?

Speaking of love...

This is 4 oz, just under 700 yards of merino goodness. The dying was done by Carolyn and I'm just head over heels in love with it. I'm thinking of an oversized Clapotis scarf (not quite enough for the shawl.)

Just because I love it so much, here's another picture:

Speaking of finished objects, here is the cardigan for baby William, the very young son of one of Tim's co-workers:

Those are my glasses to show scale.

I just adore the little seed stitch collar and the bar increase on the raglan.

In fact, I loved the bar increase on the raglan so much, that I decided to use it on Tim's sweater.
You know how the bar increase is a very visible increase? And if it's not there, you really can tell?
Well.....The other night, I was looking at the sweater:

What you can't see in this picture, but what I could see...and once I saw it, I couldn't NOT see it, is that I missed one of those wonderful bar increases.

And so, I decided that I'm a good enough knitter that I don't have to rip back 15 rows of sweater, I can just fix it. So I put nearby stitches on stitchholders, grabbed a crochet hook and more needles, and proceeded to rip down to where I'd made the mistake.

Tim and Kali left the room

Morgan was pressed against my leg, lending moral support

I knit, I ripped, Morgan purred. I knit and ripped some more. Morgan purred harder. I knit some more. Between us, we persevered.

Morgan claims she was never worried.

But I think she looks relieved.

I have a cute new gadget. It's a row counter stitch marker, for when you do something every other row (like a bar increase on a raglan sweater).

Basically, it's two jump rings, each with a different color bead, joined by a split ring. On increase rows, I pick the green ring. When I come around again, and it's not an increase row, I pick up the red one. That way, if I put my knitting down in the middle of a round, I can just look at the marker and tell if it's an increase row or not. Or frankly, with the onset of menopause, if I get to the middle of the row and forget what I'm doing.....

And last but not least is another handspun that I'm in love with. This started life as two bobbins of laceweight spun on Phaedre. One was 100% wool (unidentified) and the other was 100% merino. In an effort to clear the bobbins, Tim plied them together. This is what resulted:

And unfortunately this does not do it justice. It's airy, it's light, it's freakin' wonderful and I only have 200 yards of it. I don't think I'll ever be able to spin more.

Right now, I'm still working on Tim's sweater (which will be done by Rhinebeck) and the socks, which I still don't want to talk about. Let's just say I've cast them on for the 7th time. I'm down to 60 stitches (from the pattern's called for 84) on size 1 needles. I think we have a winner.

Asherah has a 1/4 full bobbin of BFL in Lichen from Miss Babs

and the camera doesn't do the colors justice. Mauve and green and grey. Moody and autumny. Deep woods and rocks that don't get the sun. The roving is whistle clean and smells yummy and sheepy (in the best possible way).

That's what I've been up to.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Falling Down a Well

No, actually, I haven't fallen down a well. Unless you consider falling down a well and falling through the hole in the page the same thing. I've been writing. Finally, the book has taken on its final shape.

Yes, yes, I know I've said that before. But this time I mean it. It's different. There's a different quality to the re-write. I'm reading the 2nd draft and cutting out huge swathes of materal. Even stuff I like. If it doesn't further the story....zap. If it's pretty but doesn't say anything....zap. If it doesn't give us information that is vital to the reader's understanding of the character...zap. I know how it ends. I changed a major relationship. I've cut out an entire story line, because it's not relevant.

It's a topic that has come up, in one way or another, in a few things I've written in the past 15 years, and I'm thinking it might need its own book.

And I've been knitting. I'm working on a top-down raglan sweater for Tim, that I hope to have finished by Rhinebeck. Yeah, don't laugh....Risa, make them stop laughing. It's miles and miles of stockinette, and perfect for zoning out in front of the TV. Tomorrow, after I upload pictures, I will show you The Mistake and fixing The Mistake. Suffice to say that Tim left the room, and Morgan curled up and lent kitty moral support.

Coming off the needles, as soon as I get a chance to sit down and Kitchener 80 stitches, will be the pennance shawl that you all saw at WOOL. Piccy's next post.

Then there's The Sock. I just went looking for a link to the sock, but perhaps Tina didn't blog about it.

Relaxing in a bath is 675 yards of 26 wpi merino that was dyed by Carolyn. I also plied (Tim did the spinning) an as yet undetermined (a lot) amount of mystery wool given to him by Diane (who, as far as I know doesn't blog...but should).

Also, there will be pictures of a lovely lace weight that happened by accident and we don't know if we could replicate if we tried. Hmmm.

So, just a teaser to let you know that I'm alive and well...and should be taking pictures and posting more in the next day or so.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stop The Madness

There will be regular blogging later, but for now, I need to spread the word about a movement that is taking place in our country regarding a woman's right to choose her own methods of health care.

The department of Health and Human Services is currently considering whether certain forms of birth control actually constitute abortion. This includes Birth Control Pills and IUD's. The following is from the Planned Parenthood website

We have until September 25 to raise an outcry.

President Bush's regulatory change lets health care providers define abortion, which could threaten access to birth control and broader reproductive health care, and allow federal funding for so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" that refuse to inform patients of or provide patients with a full range of reproductive health care options.

Now that the new rule has been issued officially, we need you to speak out during the official 30-day comment period before the rule can go into effect.

We need as many people as possible to submit comments to the Department of Health and Human Services before the official comment period ends on September 25.

Go here to make a difference!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

What a great weekend. It helps that most of the time my birthday falls out on Labor Day Weekend, so for most of my adult life it has turned into a three day festival. This weekend was no exception.

There was one little glitch, my back went out on Friday, so I had to cancel plans to celebrate my dear friend Flame's 40th birthday, as I was flat on my back marinating in Vicadin and Flexeril. This was NOT helped by my chiropractor's long standing practice of taking the week before Labor Day as a vacation week. To make matters worse, this all happened too late for me to cancel my two appointments of Friday, so I worked through the pain. Not a really good idea. I paid for it on Saturday.

But Sunday...well...with enough pain-killers in me to withstand the journey, we drove down to Catskill, where Tina and Steve were gracious enough to host a little party for me.

First, I got to see Tina's new harp:

And to greet Nuala (Tina's parents' dog).

Watch Steve set up the new Flat Screen TV:

Then we went downstairs to hang out on the lawn, under a tree. Tina and Steve live in this awesome victorian mansion that has been carved up into apartments.

That's only part of the building. I love that building. One of my lifelong dreams is to own an old Victorian and restore it. One of my friends, Dave, is already in the process of doing it. Say hi to Dave:

Dave was at the party.

So was Diane:

And her incredibly sexy, knitting husband, Eric:

Personally, I think the only thing sexier than a man who knits, is a man who spins. The only thing sexier than that, would be a man who spins...while wearing a kilt. Oh...the palpitations.

Tina took pictures too, so I'm sure they'll hit her blog at some point in the near future.

Of course, when knitters and spinners get together to celebrate, there's loot:

There are books on spinning, and knitting lace and knitting shawls...and lace shawls. A wonderful writer's notebook from Katie, chocolate and fiber. My husband outdid himself by cleaning out my Knitpicks wish-list. Does it get better than that? Especially since he bought me my Kromski Sonata and that was supposed to be my present for the year. I think I'll keep him.

There was cake:

Then, as if that wasn't enough, Monday we went to one of our favorite farm stands down in Valatie, Golden Harvest Farms.

It's bittersweet for me to see farm stands in early September. On one hand, I love the abundance represented:

But on the other hand, the end of Summer is fast approaching. Autumn is so lovely but so short here, and then we dig in for the Long Dark Winter.

Oh, and did I mention that we hit a destash sale and more fiber arrived while I was at Wiawaka?

I am about to get ready to go to the chiropractor (thank heavens), so I will leave you with some shots of late summer abundance:

Until next time.....