Saturday, July 26, 2008

Change of Venue

I'm abandoning Blogger for greener (I hope) pastures. Plus, I felt silly having a blog called "The Big Finish" when we ALL know how well that's going. New blog address:

See you there!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Trying to Catch Up

As I promised some of my Plurkbuds (y'all know who you are!), here are photos of the sock yarn in "Plurk" colorway that I got the other day:Ok, so that photo was washed out, but I wanted you to see the tag, so you'd know how to hunt it down. But here's a link anyway, because it's hard to see. This is the yarn in all its glory:
For the non-Plurking among us, those are the main colors of the Plurk Timeline when you join up. It's lots of fun--the wittiness of knitters is a blast. Witty knitters. What can I say?

Here are a few photos of other fun stuff I've gotten recently. I wish the true colors would show up better, because this hand-dyed fiber is out of this world. This first one, the teal and bronze colorway, is really different for me. But I absolutely loved it, so I bought all she had. Now I have about 12 ounces of it to spin, and I want to know exactly what I want to knit before I spin it, instead of just spinning it, then figuring out what to do with it. This came from here.

I'm a sucker for pink and yellow together, so this (from here) found its way into my shopping cart:
And then here's a study in blues from the divine Ms. Z:
And then we sidle back to the yellow and whatever side of things for this, from here:
Obviously, etsy is a major trap for me. I have so many shops favorited it's not funny. You'd think that would be enough, but no, last night I did a search for "roving" and just about went out of my ever-lovin' mind! Do you have any idea how much gorgeous handpainted roving is out there, just waiting for my credit card to come a-knockin'? I did escape with ordering only one braid--another pink and yellow, but softer than the one I showed here. That's it. No more. I mean it. ("Yeah, yeah," they all sigh, "just like The Last Purchase sock yarn.") I know, you've read it before.

Speaking of etsy, here's another batch of really fun stuff (notice the quick change of subject?) I've already bought several sets of stitch markers from WeeOnes. That's where I got the cute sock monkey markers that were a few posts back. I wanted ice cream cones and cupcakes for my daughter, who loves both, and these were custom-designed for me:

I wish you could see the real thing because the texture and detail is beyond amazing. Missy keeps raving about what an artist Jillian is, and she's right. I simply have to stay off that site for at least a week or two!

This is what she custom-made for me when I described my Jack Russell Terrier, Boomer, to her:

I think she came pretty close, didn't she? Only the face is a little different, but it's close enough! Here's the real dawg. Is that too cute or what?

And what of SOS, I hear you cry? Oh, I haven't totally given up, but I'm still putzing along on the same pair I started last Friday. I should get them done tonight. I still haven't felt well at all this whole week, and I've been playing the violin more and doing some spindle-spinning as well. I think I just needed a little break, but I feel myself getting fired up again. The competitive urge is coming back, so though I'm down, I'm not out yet! I've had to resist casting on a sweater coat (don't say a word) and so far I've been successful at that. So it's back to socks tonight. And no more shopping on etsy!

Gotta go plurk. And knit.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Slogging Along

I'm still fighting whatever has got me down; probably a fibromyalgia flare, about which I can do almost nothing but ride it out. The fatigue is mind-blowing. I drag myself to work and stagger home and collapse and that's about it. When I don't even feel like knitting, I know I'm in bad shape!

I did have a nice violin lesson today, which lifted my spirits a little. Oh, and I learned something about practicing at home. Do not practice under a moving ceiling fan! Who knew it was that low?? It's a wonder I didn't break my bow. What's worse is that Missy was piggy-backing the baby on her shoulders the other day and ran her little noggin right into the moving fan. Yeowch!!

I'm still knitting slowly on socks. I just finished one of WendyKnits Seaweed Socks in a beautiful green-shaded Araucania Ranco Multy They are super-easy to knit, and Missy has been raving about them since the pattern first started appearing on the needles. I've cast on the second one, but it's slow going since I feel so cruddy.

I also joined a spin-for-ten-minutes-a-day group on Ravelry, so I've been using my drop spindle a bit, which is a nice change. Right now it seems like I can only do things in 10-minute-or-less increments. I couldn't even solve Sudoku in today's paper, even though it was the easy level.

I do want to post some photos, but my 10 minutes are almost up. Here's a hint: check out Wee Ones on Etsy. The woman is an artist. I got several sets of stitch markers from her the other day, and I'm afraid to look at her site again for fear I'll see something else I must have. The ones I just got were custom-made for me, so they're really special.

My 10 minutes is up. Time for my next 10-minute ice cream break.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crisis Time

I pretty much decided to throw in the towel on SOS last night, in spite of Daniele's nice comments. I just was in a terrible funk, and couldn't imagine another six weeks of nothing but knitting like a maniac and seeing myself always behind. (Not that I have any hard feelings whatsoever toward the leader. She's very nice, and she happens to be in a situation that allows her to knit more than I do. Plus she knits realllly fast!) So I was sulking and crabbing and feeling like everything was totally pointless, and I ought to just give all my knitting stuff to Goodwill and move to, oh, Alaska or someplace. Which would really be stupid, because I think I would need knitted objects there if anywhere.

But today is looking a little better. I'll keep going, but I have to do the other things I want to do. Like play my violin, for instance. It hasn't been out of its case for 10 days, which is ridiculous. And I really need to do some work in the yard, once it cools off a bit, and I'm feeling the stirrings of a basement-cleaning attack, a clothes-sorting attack, and a wallpaper-stripping attack.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should just stick with the socks...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tenth Pair Done!

Woo hoo! Ten pairs done, but I'm still behind on the leaderboard of SOS. Oh, well. Everybody's lives have ups and downs, and I'm sure there will be times when I'm knitting when the leader(s) aren't, and vice versa. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it ain't over 'til it's over!

So this is pair #8:

These are Marigold Socks, a free pattern on Ravelry. The originals were done in yellow, but I've always loved orange marigolds, so the pattern was perfect for this yarn. The whole time I was knitting them I was thirsty for Orange Crush. I'm so glad I can get it where I live now. Do you know, when I lived one county north, Orange Crush could not be found for love nor money. Go figure. Anyway, nothing tastes so orangey. Starkist orange soda, blech!!

Back to socks. This is pair #9:

This pattern is WendyKnits' Double Eyelet Rib, one of my favorite patterns (though I do my own toe and heel in my own...idiom?) I bought this yarn online, thinking it was another yarn that I loved but had lost the label for. Turned out to be completely different, but I love this too. It's Opal Rainforest; one of the "bird" colors. These socks go to Missy, so I have an excuse to buy more of this yarn. And I'll make them plain because I love the color and variegation so much.

On to pair #10:

These are Supersocke Cotton Beach yarn that I bought on clearance from Simply Socks. I've made two pairs now, and I really like how they turned out. The colors were much prettier than I expected. These are going to Missy, too.

I've been through another book: "The Age of Innocence." Great book, terrible narrator. I hate that. And they did a hideous job of editing it. Right in the middle of a tense scene, the narrator says, "Oh, let's retake that," and reads the paragraph again!! Talk about being jolted! She had an awful, grating voice too, so I plan to leave a negative review for that particular book on

I'm listening to "Sense and Sensibility" right now, because I love Jane Austen, and that narrator is fantastic. She has the amazing ability to change her voice so completely for each character. That makes listening so enjoyable. She happens to be the actress who played Mrs. Elton in "Emma" (the one with Gwyneth Paltrow) so her acting experience apparently is a great asset in narrating books. Her name is Juliet Stevenson, and I plan to search for more books narrated by her.

I feel as if I've done nothing but knit socks for years. It's like being down the rabbit hole! I miss spinning! I miss my needlepoint! I miss reading the newspaper! Seriously, to keep up, I have to knit every free moment. I'm trying to remember why I'm doing this...The prize of more sock yarn? Hmmm...

The other time-sucker is Plurk. It's so much fun, though. You have your own friends whose plurks you follow, and the back-and-forth gets hilarious. I'm in a little circle of knitters that includes Wendy from WendyKnits, and she's a riot. I also covet her cat, Lucy, and would be Lucy's stalker if I lived closer to her. Don't tell my cat. Or Wendy. She'll de-friend me.

Missy bought the Rugrat a wading pool today, so as soon as Papaw is done cutting the grass, we'll fill it. The water should be warm enough tomorrow afternoon for her to play in it. I need to dig out the pictures of Missy in her wading pool at that age. No, I'm not sniffling. Shut up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ugh, Ugh, Ugh

It's been that kind of day. I got up with a headache, but tried to go to work anyway. Took my shower, dressed, slapped on some makeup, and was in the McDonald's drive-thru waiting for my sweet tea when I realized I was probably going to throw up. I made it back home, called in sick, and took my heavy-duty meds. No throwing up, thank goodness, but I've felt lousy all day. That's a migraine for ya! It's not just a headache, it's a whole-body experience!

Once the meds kicked in, I was able to knit, so all was not lost. I finished the orange Marigold socks, and cast on a pair in Opal Rainforest yarn. I love the colors in this one: blues, watermelon pinks, and yellow. No pics today--I'm not up to that.

I had such a nice time with my granddaughter yesterday. We spent a lot of time together because her mommy was napping for a while, then went out for the evening. For some reason, Baby was in cuddly mode, and she's really starting to talk now. I asked her for a kiss, and for the first time she put her mouth on my cheek (she can't quite pucker yet) and said, "Mmmmmmah!" Instant Memaw puddle! I gave her a bath later and popped her in her jammies, and we snuggled a while before she went to bed. She's growing up so fast, and it's so much fun to see, but oh how I miss that tiny baby!

I just finished listening to "The Age of Innocence" while I was knitting today, so it's on to another book. I didn't make it back to Henry James, and I don't think I could take that today. I may have to go with Jane Austen, probably "Pride & Prejudice." I just downloaded "John Adams" the other day, but given my loopy mental state, that might be too heavy as well.

Off to check Plurk one last time before shutting down.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

You Ask For A Miracle...

...I give you the World's Ugliest Socks. (Apologies to Alan Rickman a/k/a Hans Gruber in "Die Hard.")

Now really, I find these awful. I was going to do some sort of cable or ribbing so I wouldn't keep making plain ol' stockinette socks, but it would have been like pearls before swine, or some such metaphor. These didn't even rate a ribbed top. Plus, they were horrible to knit. I thought I'd overdone it for SOS and ruined my hands, because they would hardly work. But it was the yarn, not my hands, because as soon as I cast on these:
...ahhhh, it was like buttah.

I have no idea what the Ugly Sock yarn is. I bought it at least five years ago. I had actually started knitting a sock, but I kept stopping and starting (I wonder why?) and the gauge was all wonky in different parts. So I ripped it out and rolled it up and it hadn't seen the light of day until SOS called.

Now, in the picture, they really don't look so bad. But trust me, in life they look like someone threw up a meal of grape jelly, mustard, spinach, and red Kool-Aid. None of those colors alone is bad, but together? Blecccch!

The orange socks are Marigolds by Pamela Wynn, and they're a free download on Ravelry (thanks, Pamela!!) Hers are yellow, but I like orange marigolds, and this yarn is perfect. I'm thinking about digging up some clear beads for the leg part so I can have dew on my marigolds. (The Ugly Socks have driven me to new heights of creativity in an attempt to get them out of my brain.)

Aren't the stitch markers adorable? You can get them here at Wee Ones' etsy shop. I've sworn off looking anymore, because the monkeys were the second set I bought, and I have three more custom-made sets on order. I don't really need the markers for this pattern now, but they make me so happy that they're staying. Again, the Ugly Socks have taken their toll. I need all the fun and pretty things I can get!

As you can see in the sidebar, I've succumbed to Don't ask me to explain it. You just have to check it out, and you won't really understand how fun it is until you join and start collecting friends. So jump in!

I went to the Pilates studio this afternoon for a session of Gyrotonics, and I feel pretty good, but tired. Gyrotonics is not so much a workout as gentle stretching and loosening of the muscles, with just a little strengthening thrown in. It's perfect for me because my muscles are so tight, and I need gentle work because of the Fibromyalgia. I haven't taken ballet since February, and I want to get back to it this fall, but I need to get some strength and endurace built up. I feel a little soreness starting to creep up, so I'd better get away from the computer and move a little.

But first, I have to check Plurk!

I Gave In...

...and joined It's hard to describe, and at first I didn't see the point. But now that I've got the hang of it, it's a lot of fun. Kind of like a chat for friends you invite to view your timeline, or ask to view theirs. Lots of wit and fun going on. You can get there from my button on the side.

Socks: Finally finished The World's Ugliest Socks. I thought I'd never get them done. Not only are they hideously ugly, the yarn was terrible to knit with. I thought it was me--that I had ruined my hands by knitting so much. But no, it was the yarn. So now I have this awful pair that won't fit anyone else. They'll have to hide under the boots this winter. More later, when I have pics.

But the socks I'm doing now--ahhhh, these are a treasure! Can't wait to show photos of those. And wait 'til you see the adorable things I got from an etsy seller. I can almost guarantee you'll want them too.

In other life items, we've been moving furniture. Now that four of us are crammed into this tiny house with all our guitars, yarn, looms, wheels, power tools, baby rubble, and life's flotsam and jetsam, we are constantly trying to figure out a workable arrangement so we can sit and relax without having to climb over a wheel, or move a couple guitars out of the way. It's looking a little better, and the sunroom has now become the sit 'n' knit room. That's really nice because it's so much brighter in there and I have my little corner fixed up already with the knitting bags and baskets arranged just so.

With all the furniture-moving and rubble-clearing, I had hardly any time to knit this evening. And it's way past my bedtime. I'd stay up for a while, but I'm trying out a new program at a Pilates studio tomorrow, so I'd better get some rest.

Friday, July 4, 2008

SOS'08: Sick of Socks

That certainly didn't take long, did it? Two weeks into it, with eight left to go, and I'm dying to work on a shawl, or spin, or almost anything but turn another stinkin' heel!

So here are pairs four, five, and six:

What's a little frustrating is not knowing for sure if I'm anywhere near having the most so far. Though last Tuesday, one participant posted pics of her SEVENTH pair of socks! In ten days! That was discouraging, but she did post later that she will be taking classes starting next week, so her production will slow down. I'm sure I'm not the only one glad to read that.

At least I can turn a heel now without having to read the directions as I go. I still goofed up on the last pair and had a yarn-over in the wrong place. I'm also learning that the later in the evening, the faster I knit--up to a point (1:30AM seems to be my cut-off time.) And I hate ribbing. It makes my hands hurt. Perhaps if I learned another way to knit it would be better, but I can't take the time to relearn everything!

I've worked my way through a number of audiobooks as well. There was "The Johnstown Flood" by David McCullough, which was like listening to a terrific suspense story. I had heard of the flood, but never realized what actually happened. As usual, it was more a man-made disaster than a natural one.

Then there was "The Poisonwood Bible," which I've read about seven times, but still love. Every reading (or listen) brings out new subtleties that I missed before. It's really such a tour de force that you need to read it more than once. I also listened to "The House of Mirth" by Edith Wharton, again something I had read before, but enjoyed hearing even if the ending is a bit of a downer. I'm working on "The Wings of the Dove" by Henry James right now, but it's hard going. Honestly, he used fifty words to say what only needed five. I keep thinking, "Get on with it!" I may have to give up and retreat to Mrs. Wharton--I'm going to download "The Age of Innocence" next. And I'd love suggestions. I've been sticking to classics because I don't want to hear sex scenes or bad language, so if you know of any good books without smut, please pass on the info.

So the knitting goes pretty fast when I have something good to listen to. Otherwise, the house is still pretty much trashed, though I did do laundry. I need to clean the bathroom and just get some clutter cleared up. It's amazing how quickly it piles up.

It's raining again, so I still haven't done any outside work. I need to stake the hollyhocks ASAP. They're tilting a bit!

The result of Missy's cooking:

THAT, I will have you know, is what's left of one of my handwoven towels. I made a set at least six years ago, and they're still good as new. Or at least one of them is.

Last, but not least, here's my "Caturday" photo. It's a bit of a cheat because it's not actually one of my cats, but I've been too busy getting sock pictures done to try to take cat photos. And this is so cute:

Love that expression!

EDIT: Oh, for cryin' out loud. I forgot it's only Friday. Well, I'm early for Caturday.