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.