Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Good Thing

It's a good thing I'm so committed to this finishing attempt. Otherwise, I might have gone to a yarn store today and bought five Dale of Norway patterns, and another Norwegian-type pattern book, and the yarn for a baby dress from that book, and yarn for a baby sweater that was half-price.

Yes, definitely a good thing I would never give up so completely and get totally carried away. I'd never be able to hold my head up in public again.

But, you know, those Dale patterns are hard to come by once the print run is over. I mean, how often do you run across the St. Anton 2001 pattern, or the Salt Lake City 2002? Not that it matters, of course. I wouldn't buy them even if I did find them, because I'd be totally breaking my own resolution to not buy any more stash. Especially not yarn, even when it's 50% off. Nope, not me. I'm tough. I'm strong. I'm...hey, is that Panda Wool on sale too?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Random Stuff

So far I've resisted casting on the Dale sweater. I worked on the Crayon Box jacket all evening last night, and actually finished the first sleeve. The pattern tells you that it will look way too small and short, and boy is that the truth! But she assures you that it will work, so I'm taking it on faith. Besides, it's a modular knit thingy. I can surely figure out how to add squares if I need to make it bigger. Surely.

I'm in a total funk because I can't drive to Indianapolis tomorrow night to see the Yarn Harlot. I don't know if she'll get around this way again on this tour, and I REALLY wanted to go. I might console myself by casting on the Dale sweater.

Pictures of completed projects are way overdue, but I haven't had a chance to get them done. I need to because I could really use the socks right now. My wool ones are too warm. Meanwhile, here are a couple more pics from the Fiber Event.

We grabbed this poor knitter and made her stand in the freezing drizzle so we could photograph her fabulous sweater. (She didn't want her face in the picture, and I forgot to ask her name. I feel bad about that.If anyone recognizes the sweater and slicker and knows who she is, let me know so I can credit her.) This is a Philosopher's Wool sweater, and it was absolutely gorgeous! She said she bought a kit, and it was great, and that she would recommend their kits to anyone. I have that book, and I've drooled over it for years, so maybe it will go into the queue right after the Dale sweater! And now that I look at the picture a little closer, I realize that those mitts are pretty cool too!

These were the only two alpacas we saw, and Missy fell in love. She keeps asking WHY we can't keep one in the back yard. She swears the village council will think it's just a weird dog. I think she's delusional.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Project #10 Done!

Finished the other teal novelty scarf, and it's a beauty. I think I'll keep it for me!

Now, I had said that when I finished my tenth project, I would reward myself by starting the yellow Panda Silk socks (the formerly "Last Purchase" socks. Hah.) But, you know, I'm just not dying to get the yarn out and give it a go. Maybe I'm "socked" out. Also, I got a sudden itch to work on the Crayon Box Jacket this morning, so that's going again. There's a clue in here about why I have so much stash and so many UFOs. I would have thought that I'd be leaping for joy to start the socks, but the jacket is calling. This is the story of my creative life. I'm okay with it though, because writing about the finishing attempts has helped me so much. I'm actually finishing things! I mean, ten projects in less than two months is a superhuman feat for me!

BUT. I discovered that I had done most of the squares on the Crayon Box Jacket wrong, so I basically started over. I can pull out the old squares and reuse the yarn, but I didn't have the patience for that this morning. It took long enough to figure out what needle size I had been using (it's never the same as what the pattern calls for), and which size square I was making. Once I got that all sorted out, I did something unprecedented. I WROTE THE INFO ON THE PATTERN!! Yes, folks, she CAN be taught!

This thing is like eating peanuts--I can't stop. Once I start a square, I have to finish it, and then I have to start the next one to see how it will look. That's a good thing, I guess. Maybe it will get finished before something else calls. Nah, not likely. Especially as the Dale of Norway sweater (which is not on the First List) is calling. I even knitted the gauge swatch for it.

Why would I get the sudden freak to start something so huge, you ask? My guess is that it's because since I started this blog, I've been led all around the Internet Knitting Universe, and I've seen so many beautiful sweaters that I want my own. I'm ready to move on from the novelty scarf and sock mode I've been in. (I have the yarn for one more novelty scarf, then that's IT! Though it will go perfectly with a skirt and sweater set I just bought a couple of weeks ago, so maybe I should whip that up real quick...)

Anyway, I have the stash. I have the skills. I have some books to help me work through any difficulties of two-color knitting. And I want, I really want, a Dale sweater. If I start it now it should be done in time for winter. Total Project-Starting Justification going on here, but please play along. You know that probably 99% of you do the exact same thing. I don't want to hear from the other 1%, thankyouverymuch.

In other non-project news, we've learned this weekend that MeeMaw and PaPaw are not in any shape to care for a 15-month-old for more than a couple of hours at a stretch. Missy is on a mini-vacation (which heaven knows she deserves) and we've been taking care of the baby. One of her friends kept her overnight Friday and part of Saturday, but she's been all ours for the rest of the time. Between my fibromyalgia, and hubby's picking up and bringing in our new furniture (also with the help of a friend) we both are creeping around here like little old folks. It doesn't help that I did some furniture moving myself yesterday, along with cleaning and laundry. I feel like I've been beaten with a rubber hose. But we wouldn't trade the time with this little sweetie for anything. We just need her to have naps a bit more frequently!

Re the furniture moving: I've done a bit of work in the Sewing Room Hellhole, and it's looking a teeny bit better. It's going to be a long process.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can I have a Do-Over?

This week has gone well (read that with REALLY heavy sarcasm.) It started Sunday night when I couldn't get to sleep, and finally drifted off only to have one of those nights when you sleep for 20 minutes, then lie awake for two hours. ALL sleeping was over when I woke up at 4AM, rolled over and felt a horrible pain starting in the center of my chest and spreading all the way up into my jaw, down into my ribcage, and over into my shoulder. Once it eased and I could breathe again, I staggered to the kitchen and took a couple of aspirin. Then I went back to bed. I know--stoopid. I'm concerned enough that I'm having a heart attack to take aspirin, but then I go lie back down like everything is just peachy.

Once I realized the stupidity of waiting until 9AM to call the doctor (because he would have just told me to go to the hospital anyway), I woke hubby and told him to take me to the ER. Well, that's not exactly true. I took a shower and shaved my legs and THEN woke up hubby. I had to! YOU know what those hospital gowns are like! At least I didn't wait to put on makeup! But furry legs were just too much.

Long story short, we ended up staying in the emergency room 11 hours (which felt like 33 hours.) They kept me overnight, did all the blood tests and a stress test, and all is well. It was not a heart "incident." Apparently you can have acid reflux or esophageal spasms that will produce the same painful symptoms. I've been taking a lot of anti-inflammatory meds for my back, and my stomach has felt pretty ragged lately, so that seems to be the problem. The meds they gave me for that are helping already, so I'm in good shape. And it is good to know that the ol' ticker is in good shape too. I celebrated by having a Milky Way (and as my brother said when I told him that, "And I salted it too!")

I did get a little knitting done. I had started a sock out of Tofutsie yarn, and I got almost to the point of turning the heel, so the two days weren't a total waste. It's a shame I didn't get more done--when will I have another two days to lie around and do nothing? But there's always a catch, and this one was that they had me on blood pressure meds until the test results came back, just in case, and those made me feel so groggy that all I could do was watch TV when I wasn't sleeping.

So I'm still trying to catch up. I got way behind at work, so I've had to put in a few extra hours there. I need to check the status of the laundry, but I really just want to go knit. That's nothing new though, is it? But I think the litter box is reaching critical mass, so I had really better get busy.

Oh, yeah. New scary thing. Marcia now has Noro sock yarn in stock. And she has the purple. And the shop is like a quarter mile from my office, and right on the way to pick up the mail. How long will I be able to resist? The clock is running...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One step up...

...but a couple of steps back. I finished two projects yesterday, but I've bought yarn and fiber in the last few weeks, so I don't know if I'm getting ahead or not. I guess I am, because at least I'm finishing things, and I've been able to resist starting new stuff. I consider that progress. And I'm only two projects away from rewarding myself by starting the Formerly-The-Last-Purchase-But-Now-The-Obviously-I'll-Never-Stop-Buying-Yarn Socks.

No photos of the finished projects yet, as our camera equipment is out on loan to our son, who was photographing a wedding yesterday. BUT, I think it's time to show the Sewing Room Hellhole. Brace yourselves.

Yes, it's awful. But I'm not the only one with this problem, because Abby was complaining about the same thing over on her blog. I left a comment for her about how we need to use the "Clean Sweep" method of organizing, which is that you take everything out of the room and put it on a tarp on your lawn and sort it into piles to keep, give away, or sell. The problem is, I can't get all of this stuff downstairs and outside! But, really, I will have to take out as much as I can and reorganize somehow. Like Abby, though, I don't know when that will be!

This room is only like this because Melissa had to have a room of her own, so my other sewing room went to her. I didn't have time to sort my stuff before the carpet people came. I just had to scoop it all up and shove it in this room. The cardboard boxes that you see in a couple of the photos contain knitting projects, the shelves that you can barely see on the back wall are full of quilt fabric (covered with muslin for protection), there are also a few boxes and baskets of yarn on the shelves, and the biggest thing in the room that's causing most of the trouble is my 45-inch loom. I've been seriously thinking about selling it, but I'm still trying to figure out where I can put it so I can actually use it. I haven't come up with an answer yet, so eventually I'll probably have to give up and let it go.

Also tucked away out of sight are a number of boxes and bags of fleece and roving, and the closet contains lots of roving as well. So now you know why I started this blog. I'm hoping as time goes by I can start carving a path through the room, finishing projects and clearing out boxes and bags. I know that everything that's in there is there because I loved it enough to buy it and plan a project. I've just gotten sidetracked (NO KIDDING!) But I'm going to get to it, and either use it or let it go to someone else who will love and use it. It's just going to take a while...

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Not Working

I really thought that I could stick to my resolution to not buy more yarn, to finish all the projects I've started, to get a grip on the stash. But it is just not working. I did resist Panda Wool for the second time in one week, and I walked away from the super-super fine alpaca and silk shawl yarn. It actually wasn't that difficult, and I had been feeling rather smug until today. Today I realized that my fatal weakness is Noro.

It was understandable when I had to snap up that skein of Noro sock yarn a couple of weeks ago after I had sworn to stop buying yarn. It's hard to come by, so I grabbed it when I could.

And, really, there's nothing wrong with sticking a ball of wool in the baby's hands and saying, "That's Noro. Say NO-RO. Come on, say NO-RO." (Baby responds, "Blblglpthlg." We think she's getting close.)

And I had to buy the new Noro pattern book when I saw it last week, because eventually I will finish all these projects and will want some new patterns to work on.

And yesterday, when I was at Marcia's shop, and there were three balls of the new Taiyo yarn that she had special ordered, and they were on the table right in front of me, and the customer that had ordered them happened to phone and said she wanted seven balls of the ten that came in the order, which meant that those three on the table were the only ones left, and that's just the amount I need for my favorite pattern in the new Noro book...well, what would YOU have done?

But now I know I'm doomed. I just checked my email and clicked the link to an online shop and what do I see at the top of the page? "We now have Noro sock yarn in stock!" Right above the color chart. And one of the colorways is purple. I'm sunk.

You don't really think I'm going to tell you what website that is, do you?

More non-fiber-related photos. Cargo pants and flip-flops. How cute is that? (Say NO-RO, NO-RO...)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Road Trip

This is the part where I try to post photos without losing everything I've written and bashing my head over and over on the desk. At least I found the doohickey and got the pictures onto my computer by myself. That's progress (Ha--I accidentally typed "project" instead of "progress." Hoo boy.)

So here we are traveling to the Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana. We saw pretty skies:

and nice truckers:

We had tunes...

and cherry-flavored M&Ms...

and at least ONE of us got to knit. She was trying to finish a hat in time for the next day.
The trip went fairly quickly, and before we knew it we were in our room in Indianapolis. My KnitPicks order had come earlier in the day and I had hidden it in the trunk, so I brought it in the room and surprised Melissa (AKA the viper) with her very own Harmony needle set.
After a not-very-restful night, we headed for the show.
Me, pre-coffee:

Things were better after a slug or two of joe, and we did some KIP in Denny's while waiting for our Grand Slams (buy one, get one free--more money for stash!) Finally we got to the show, but we had to take a moment for a seaming tutorial because the hat decided to be a headband. This is because Melissa (A) refuses to knit a gauge swatch and (B) refuses to knit a gauge swatch.

We bundled up and braved freezing drizzle to start shopping. Most of the booths were inside, but the walk between the barns was miserable. Anyway, my first purchase was at the Sistermaide booth, where there were all kinds of handmade items.

I picked out a couple of shawl pins, but they were determined to sell me more, so we had to dicker a bit.I ended up with three shawl pins and a darning egg. Good purchases all.
I found a fleece that wanted to come home with me, but I hugged it and told it no.It was very sad.

My sock-yarn resistance failed me here at the Knitting Notions booth. I tried to sneak and got caught. But look at that color! Who could resist?

More gorgeous stuff:and the cutest darn felted thing I've ever seen:


They lured me in slowly......but I was soon captivated. And I learned that one cannot spin while wearing cowboy boots.We bonded......but I managed to walk away.

While I was bonding with the wheel, Missy was bonding too...(cute headband, BTW)...and buying her own fiber......which is exciting since she doesn't know how to spin yet. I think the attraction for her is that there is no gauge swatch involved. This was the Chamomile Connection booth, just chock-full of luscious silk blends.
I did some test-spindling at Handspun by Stefania, and bought the Tom Forrester Kundert spindle in the second photo. I'm a sucker for natural cherry.
Here's the Briar Rose booth and I had to have some of their handpainted shawl yarn... ...but which one?? I ended up with the one in my right hand.
Speaking of shawls......this was made by Nancy McKellar of Fuzzarelly Fibers and it won second prize in the competition. Look behind the shawl in the next photo, and you'll see the batts of angora blend that she sells. I really, truly intended to buy some, but her booth was right across from the Jensen wheel booth, and, well....
Why are these people smiling? Because I went back and bought the wheel that I had bonded with in their booth earlier. This is Carl and Shelby Jaeger from Ixonia, Wisconsin. Very nice people, but I'm much poorer because of them. Ah,'s a fantastic wheel.
After Carl helped me load the wheel in the car, we decided to call it a day. I think I was a bit in shock anyway. I mean, I had completely forgotten about the angora batts after all!
So here's the final stash tally (minus the wheel):
And this has nothing whatsoever to do with fiber, but she's just so stinkin' cute that I had to include them: This is my grandbaby, who else? Which reminds me, I need to finish her sweater...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I Was Right

There was danger lurking at the fiber fest today. But not in the form I expected...

I am extremely proud of how little fiber I bought. I only bought ONE skein of sock yarn! And I actually had Panda Wool in my hands, and I put it back and walked away. I think that's progress in the overall hoarding scheme of things. I did buy a skein of laceweight alpaca (and a pattern for it) and a couple of ounces of an alpaca/wool/silk mix, and a little bit of tencel just to try out. So overall the fiber picture wasn't as bad as might have been expected.

I ended up with two spindles, a book on ganseys, a darning egg, some hand-turned shawl pins (one for a gift), and a Jensen wheel.

Oops, what was that last thing? Yeah, I can't believe it myself. I'm too wiped out to spell out the details, and I'm trying to steel my nerves for when hubby gets home and sees how big it is (he saw the pieces as I was bringing them in, but he had to leave before I put it together.) It is truly a fabulous piece of engineering--spins effortlessly. I got the one with the orifice on the right side because of the way I hold my fiber, and I can't believe the difference in how easy it is to spin! I just didn't realize how big it is until I got it into my tiny living room. Pictures will be up ASAP.

Now I have to divest myself of a couple of other wheels, and I've decided to let my big loom go. If you live in the SW area of Ohio, keep your eye on Craigslist, because I'll be putting them on soon!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Danger Lurks

The good news is that I finished the blue Panda Wool socks yesterday. Yay!!

The bad news is that we're going to the big fiber fest in Greencastle, Indiana on Saturday.

I keep telling myself that I'll only shop for books or maybe a new spindle, but you and I both know that I'm not going to be able to resist all the luscious fiber that I know I'll be surrounded by. So why am I going? Well...because I can? And because it will be a nice mother-daughter bonding trip? And because someone has to help support all those hard-working people who make a living from the fiber arts?

I know. I have no backbone.

BUT--I have now finished SIX projects, which is amazing for me. I've been working on both big and small projects, and I almost finished the baby sweater/coat yesterday. I've sold a few things on ebay, and plan to list more. I'm in the clutter-clearing mindset, and that's spilled over into other areas of my life. So overall I feel pretty good. I'm not going to get bent out of shape if I buy fiber this weekend. But maybe I should try to not buy any more sock yarn. I think I have enough. I also have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

I finally made into a fiber blog ring, and lemme tell ya, some of those people out there are amazing! I've only been to a few blogs so far, but the work--or should I say ART--that is being done is humbling. It makes me want to just slink back into my corner with my boring little socks and tiny cross-stitch pieces and keep my mouth shut.

I did take pictures of the Sewing Room Hellhole, but I'm too stoopid to put them on the computer by myself. Well, not really. I just can't find the little doohickey that you stick the memory card from the camera in so you can connect it to the computer. Maybe I should buy a doohickey just for me. If only I knew what it was called...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Progress Update

Since it's been about a month since I started this blog, I thought I'd do a progress summary. So far, I've finished five projects and started one new one (from yarn that was on the list, so it's okay.) I'm a bit proud of the five finishes, until I look at the photos and see how SMALL they are. But I'm not going to get discouraged--this has been a good thing for me, and I'm going to stick with it!

The baseball game rule has also worked very, very well. Here's the needlepoint I've been working on during the games:

I'm amazed at how much I've gotten done since instituting the baseball game rule. I had only gotten about the bottom two inches done before, so I'm thrilled to see so much progress. I am, however, a little sick of it. Not a problem; the team is on the road starting tomorrow, so the sub-rule goes into effect: Work on the quilt during away games.

Here are more projects I've been going at steadily:

This is the second sock from the blue Panda Wool. It's going quickly, though I miss my "magic loop" needle. I hope this will be done by tomorrow, and will be the first finish for April. And yes, as you can tell, I have really big feet.

Here's the lace scarf that's driving me a little buggy. I can't do anything else while I'm working on it (like listen to a recorded book) because I have to keep whispering, "Yarn over, knit two together, knit three, slip slip knit, yarn over, knit one...") You can't see the pattern well now, but it will show up when it's finished and blocked.

I started these socks Saturday because I needed something mindless to work on at a wedding shower that evening, and the blue socks were right at the heel-turning point. I've not done enough heels yet to be able to do them mindlessly, so I wanted something easy. I've never done a pattern in socks, because I've always used variegated yarn, but this started looking a little blah once I was past the toe, therefore the tiny two-stitch cable. Looks nice, but is still mindless enough to carry around to parties and such.

Here's the really interesting part. (Well, I hope all this other stuff is at least mildly interesting.) The attempt to get a handle on projects has trickled down to other parts of my house. We put in a closet organizer a couple of weeks ago, so last week I purged the bedroom of unused clothes, junk on the computer desk (which shouldn't even be in the bedroom, but we're out of space,) and four grocery bags full of books that are now in the trunk of my car to be taken to the library as a donation to the yearly sale. That felt really good, and I've actually been making my bed, pretty much for the first time in 26 years.

So last week, the bedroom. This week, the kitchen. Check this out:


Clearly, I now need to go to the grocery store. I don't know how long we'll last on bottled water, a big container of masa flour, and less than one-fourth of a bottle of wine (the part that concerns me most.) At least we have pickles in case of a real emergency, like, well...I don't know what. Whatever it would be, we've got it covered.