Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good Saturday, bad week

Here it is, Saturday already. I thought it would never come and it’s finally here. I haven’t thought much about posting or even knitting for that matter, because it’s been a really long tough week for me. It seems like some days are longer and harder than others and this week was pretty much a week full of those days. Work was difficult; there’s a lot to do and not enough staff to do it. I’m sure that’s pretty much the same everywhere, though. “Do more with less” seems to be the mantra in our place, though I hear they are going to put on some new staff soon.

Anyway, I went to our local SNB on Tuesday night and it was so nice to just sit down and knit and talk to people and not think about work or bills or my Mother and her issues (believe me, you don’t want to know). I don’t even think sometimes when I’m knitting. It’s just “check the pattern, k1, p2, k2, p6 …….” and so on and on and on and I don’t have time to think about anything else. That’s what I really like about knitting; it takes me somewhere else. It takes me to a place where the only things that matter are what stitch comes next and what color yarn shall I pick out of my stash to knit with and what will I want to do for my next project? I’m sure those of you who are knitters will know exactly what I mean. Some days I really need my knitting time and I make myself take time to do some and some days, no matter how much I need it, I have a really hard time squeezing it in. So this week was one of those weeks. Pretty much the only time I got any knitting done was on Tuesday night at SNB and I didn’t get too much done then either. I find it difficult to concentrate on a pattern that is more complicated than knit and purl when I’m trying to hold up my end of a conversation, so I try not to bring anything tougher than that to SNB. This week, I packed badly and ended up bringing DH’s felted clogs. I’m on the short row part and I kept losing track and having to frog the row, so I finally put it down and just chatted. We had two new members this week and one of them came because I invited her. DH and I usually go to the local bookstore on Friday nights; we check out magazines and books for our respective hobbies and I knit for a while as well. Well, I’ve been posting to my SNB list in the morning when I know I’m going to be at the bookstore that night and on this particular night, someone showed up that I hadn’t met before. Turns out she has a hard time at the meeting because it’s at a coffee shop and she’s sensitive to smells, being pregnant, so she hasn’t been in a while. We sat down at a nice big table and knit and chatted and got to know each other a bit and found out we actually live near each other. Small world, you know? Turns out there was another woman in the place who was interested in our knitting and kind of joined in on our conversation as she was seated at a table near us. I don’t mind anyone kibitzing; after all, DH often says I’ll talk to anyone as long as they listen… So, this woman got to chatting with us and ended up giving me her email address because I expressed an interest in her wool. Yes, she has sheep! Only four, but she has sheep and she shears them and spins their wool and knits. You never know who you’ll meet at the bookstore, do you? When I got home that night, I sent her an email and told her about the SNB group on Tuesday nights and asked her if she was interested. She turned up at the meeting on Tuesday night, having joined our Yahoo group that day. She also brought some of her wool to show us and some roving and other things for us to check out. It was fascinating. Turns out she also teaches spinning at a local historical site during the spring and summer months. Also, small world that it is, turns out DH knew her 35 years ago and they had a lot of friends in common, so they spent a while talking, too. That’s right; DH comes to SNB with me. And he likes it. He also tells me things like, “If you want that yarn, buy it.” and “Did you know there’s a yarn shop on the way? Do you want to stop?” Really. He is an amazing man and I am so lucky to have him.

Yesterday, Friday, was a very long day for me. DH had taken the day off and I had to go in to work early. I went in to work at 7 am and didn’t leave until 5 pm. I had to be at a meeting that took about three hours in the morning. It had been scheduled to run from 9 to 5 that day, but we made good progress and were able to finish up early. When I went back to my desk, a friend of mine in the office came over and absolutely made my week. She gave me an autographed copy of “The Friday Night Knitting Club” by Kate Jacobs. Ms. Jacobs was at another local bookstore last Sunday, doing a reading and book signing. I wanted to go, but no one wanted to go with me, so I ended up staying home. My friend got two copies of the book; one for each of us and both autographed by the author! Of course, this means I didn’t knit last night because I just couldn’t put the book down; it’s so good. I’m already more than half way through it and can’t wait to pick it up again. Julia Roberts, who knits BTW, has purchased the film rights and will be making a movie out of it. What you need to know is, if you can get your hands on this book, pick it up. I guarantee you’ll love it.

This morning I didn’t feel like doing much after such a tough week, but DH suggested we hit a few garage and/or estate sales. It sounded like a good idea until I found out the temperature was 8 degrees, it was snowing and the roads looked slippery as hell. We went anyway. We weren’t in a hurry, so I drove slowly and carefully, probably pissing off other drivers, but I eventually made it home in one piece and didn’t even slide a little when I stopped on our road. After stopping at two estate sales, a moving sale, and a garage sale, we decided to hit the local diner for some breakfast. This was at 11:55 am, so we just made the breakfast specials, too. After a leisurely breakfast, I asked if he minded if we stopped at a yarn shop since I wanted to get some dpns (yes, I’m going to “get” socks, if it kills me). I had planned to go to the new LYS that just opened in December, but DH surprised me with a different suggestion; why not go to a LYS that we just found the other night? I had heard about it a few weeks ago and completely forgot it was there. When we did find it earlier this week, it was closed so I couldn’t go in and check it out. Today, it was open. That was a good thing and a bad thing. I say that it was a good thing because it was open and a bad thing because it was a really nice little shop and they had lots of goodies for me to look at and buy at good prices. Bad things happen to me in yarn shops, especially yarn shops like this … I take out my credit card and use it. I do try to buy things I will actually use, but sometimes I go a little overboard. Today I bought not one, but two sets of dpns: bamboo, in two different sizes. I also bought two skeins of sock yarn, a “clicker” type row counter, some point protectors, and felting needles. I finally felted the “Cherry Bombed” sweater, after taking it apart into its separate pieces, and I plan to make a bag of some kind out of it. I have some roving in pretty colors that I got when I visited my sister in Kentucky and thought I might try needle-felting some patterns into the felted bag for additional interest. I’ve taken some pix of the felted fabric and will take some in-progress pix while I am figuring out and sewing up my bag. Once it’s all done, I figure I’ll post it here all in one set of pix from beginning to end.

Anyway, I think I’ll go off and look at my groups and check my email and go to bed early. The pipe that empties my washer into my dry well is frozen and I have to go to the laundromat in the morning to catch up on laundry. Fortunately, we had enough clean clothes to get through the week, so if I go tomorrow, we should make it another week. Maybe by next week, that pipe will either thaw or we’ll figure out a way to thaw it so I can do my laundry in my own washer. At least I don’t have to dry it there, too. I can still do that home. Till next time,
“Wear natural fibers; hug your cat.”

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Morning

Well, somehow I just screwed up last night and lost a long, rambling post that took me about an hour to write. I wanted to just cry. This blogging can be so frustrating to me at times. I never seem to have time to sit down and write and when I do, it all goes up in a puff of computer "smoke". So, if I can remember what I wrote last night, I'll give re-creating it a shot here.

Let's see, I think I started with my new pictures. I posted a shot of my WIPs. There are (finally!) more than one at a time. How all you other knitters manage to keep everything straight I'll never know. Anyway, the lavender-gray cabled scarf on the left side of the picture is something I liked and started around New Year's but haven't finished because the weather around here has been so wacky. I mean, in the middle of January, we had 70 degree (F) weather in upstate NY! Go figure. I think if it stays like that, I won't mind so much. At least we don't have to shovel. I know lots of people are unhappy that there is no snow (or at least very little right now), but I'm not a skier and I don't do outdoor winter stuff, so it just doesn't bother me. I like hockey, and that's winter, but it's indoors, so I'm not missing anything. There I go, rambling away again.

Back to WIPs: I also have, in the upper right corner, some funny looking green and brown thingies that are going to be Fiber Trends Felted Clogs when they grow up (or shrink down...). Near them is a navy blue pair that I just cast on last night for DH, although since I took the picture, they've grown a bit. In the upper left of the picture, you'll see a lovely light purple ball of yarn on top of a (hard to see) denim blue swatch. The swatch is to be felted so I can figure out how big the unfelted part of my laptop case needs to be. The purple is Berroco Ultra Alpaca (yummy soft yarn) and I've started my first sock of a pair on dpns. I have done one pair on two circulars, but Mom got those and I thought they were tedious at best. They were all 1x1 rib and stockinette on little tiny needles. I felt like I was knitting on toothpicks with string and couldn't wait for them to be done so I could give them away. Mom does like them, though. These are the "Thuja Socks" pattern from Knitty and are a "men's" sock pattern, but I have big feet, so I think they'll work out fine. I am using size 5 dpns which is a size smaller than called for in the pattern, and I plan to lengthen the ankle and leg part a bit to make them more "lady-like", but I think they'll work out ok. The pattern is very pretty and is NOT all rib and stockinette, and that really makes me happy because if you're going to do something over and over and over, you might as well make it something you have to think about while you're doing it. The only dpns I have are aluminum, though, and I'm finding them to be very slippery. I'm wondering if I'd like working with wood or bamboo better. I may just buy a set as my "frequent buyer" card at the LYS is nearly full and a couple more purchases will give me some extra yarn money. I don't really need more yarn, but as DH says, "It's not a question of 'need'; if you want it, get it." He's very reasonable about things like that. Probably because he's a musician and he feels the same way about his instruments the way I do about my stash.

In the meantime, my faithful personal assistant, Alvin, has come to join me on the couch. She can't get into my lap because that's where the laptop is, so she'll settle for laying next to me (for a while, anyway). DH took a picture of us knitting; I've also posted that. Those of you whose cats also own them will understand when they see her "helping" me knit. She often lays on me or near me when 'we' knit. She's kind of an "old lady"; she's 13 now, give or take, and she decided she owned me about 12 years ago. I guess she was right.

The picture labelled "Cherry Bombed" is the sweater I wrote about in my last long ramble. I'm in the process of decontructing it and I think, no I'm sure, that I'm going to felt it and see what I can do with it from there. I may try sewing it into a bag for my knitting, but I'm not quite sure what it wants to be yet. I'll put a picture of the FO when I know.

I'm sure I've forgotten something, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. Oh, yes. Author Kate Jacobs will be at the local bookstore doing a reading/signing of her new book "Friday Night Knitting Club" at 2:00 p.m. I plan to go, but we'll see. I will be getting the book, either way and will 'review' it here when I've finished. BTW, Julia Roberts has bought the movie rights and will be making a movie of it; she knits too, in case you didn't know. I didn't, until recently, that is.
Bye for now.....keep your fingers crossed that I don't lose this one, too.....I WILL cry, then.

I want to cry now

I just spent an hour writing a post and I lost it. I don't have brain space to do this all over again tonight so I'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Now I'm cooking with gas

Hooray! I can finally put pix up. DH (Mike) took some photos of me with my 'personal assistant' today so I could put them up on the blog. Miss Alvin is my personal assistant, as evidenced by the picture at left. She has input on everything I do; in fact, parts of her are included in all my knitting as well. ;o)

So, here I sit, typing madly, with my faithful personal assistant lying on my left arm. I have a laptop, which I use mostly in the living room. When I'm knitting, Alvin sits on my lap to keep me warm and the laptop is on a tv tray so I can refresh it once in a while and check on my lists. When I'm typing, the laptop is on my lap and Alvin sits on the arm of the couch with some part of her usually on my left arm, making sure I don't go anywhere. If I knit, she occasionally puts a paw up to touch the yarn, effectively letting me know that it's really hers; she's just letting me use it for now. If you look at the picture below left titled 'Alvin & Cherry Bomb(ed)' you'll see her guarding "her" yarn.

That sweater will be the one thing that makes me nuts. It's the first sweater I ever did and so far, the only one. The pattern is from "Big Girl Knits" and it's called 'Cherry Bomb', hence the name 'Cherry Bomb(ed)'. It is supposed to be a sleeveless tank - not likely with my arms. Anyway, I checked out a list I belong to where the posters work exclusively with the patterns from that book; they informed me that the designer of the sweater had included sleeves that could be knit up to fit on her website ( so I decided to try it and add sleeves. You'll notice that the sleeves in the pattern are short. I wanted it to have at least 3/4-length sleeves but ended up with full length sleeves. Once I got them started, I found out that in order to fit my arms I had to CO 90+ sts, so to make it all work out, I ended up doing the whole sleeve. Once I got it all fit together and sewn up, I decided to try it on. Let's just say I should have done that a long time ago. I discovered that the amount of cleavage on display was not something I was comfortable with. Turns out the neckline ended up being below my boobs. Now they are ok to look at, but I didn't plan on showing everyone....I'm glad I didn't weave in the ends yet.

So, it's now classified as a "needy" project and I'll be trying to figure out what to do to fix it because I don't want to frog the whole thing. The body came out well and the sleeves fit perfectly. That said, if I can't fix it, I'll felt it and make mittens or something. It's made from nice wool so it will felt if I want it to. I suppose that's a plus in the long run.

Tonight I'm working on the second of a pair of wristwarmers using a super soft merino wool from Italy that shows the cables beautifully. I had planned to make something else with the wool, but when I saw the stitch definition, I had to do these. I've put up a picture of the completed wristwarmer. I think I can finish the second one tonight; there are two hockey games on, so I'll be parked on the couch for the rest of the night.

"Wear natural fibers; hug your cat."

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

What am I doing here?

What am I doing here? What on earth made me think I could write something that others might actually want to read? And does it really matter? There are some things I just can't worry about. Who did I start this blog for? Me - that's who. Me, who wants to have a place to write down things I think about when I'm knitting and things I think about when I'm not knitting.

I was home sick today from work - you don't want to know - and I decided to lie on the couch with the cat and watch hockey, which is the only sport in the world worth watching (this is NOT debatable, by the way). The US and Canada were playing in the World Junior Championships. I don't normally follow Juniors; I'm an NHL gal and I watch 2 to 3 games a night, on average, depending on which teams are playing. We have a hockey TV package, and my DH and I are totally addicted. I tell folks we have a mixed marriage; he's a Bruins fan and I'm a Rangers fan, but we get along well on games, as long as the Rangers aren't playing against the Bruins, that is. Anyway, he was at work and I was home alone with the cat (her name is Alvin - that story another time), watching Junior hockey, yelling for the US and knitting furiously to keep from biting my fingernails off. And then Canada won, after one of the most thrilling games I've seen in years, and a 10-minute sudden death overtime, and a 7-round shootout. I felt totally washed out. What a let-down to see our kids lose after working so hard for so long. I'd really like to see a 7-game series between the US and Canadian teams that played today. I'd pay good money to see them play and I bet there are a lot of others who would, too.

Anyway, isn't the name of this blog "Knit Circle"? Where did that ramble about hockey come from? So, what am I working on while watching all this hockey? (Buffalo is playing Ottawa right now - no score yet, but it's a good game.) I started the "Irish Hiking Scarf" on December 28 or 29 - I'm not sure which. I had already made a pair of wristwarmers that I got from a blog at . The wristwarmers match the scarf and the blogger also has a hat designed to match. I may do that next. I did my wristwarmers in Cascade Pastaza - 50% llama/50% wool - in a soft grayish-lavender color. I'm doing my scarf to match and, if I have enough yarn left after the scarf, I'll try the hat. I'm kind of a one-project-at-a-time kind of person, but I will occasionally pick up more than one thing at a time for a change of pace.

I've also discovered that I'm an insatiable yarn-ho....I looked into my stash and can't imagine what I'm going to do with all the yarn I have. We went to visit my sister in Louisville, Kentucky before Thanksgiving, and folks on a list I belong to suggested I check out Sophie's Yarn Shop. OOOOOOOHHHHHH, I liked it. Such very nice people working there and I ended up spending a little (yeah, right...) on some new additions to my stash. I got 18 skeins of baby alpaca that's just dying to be knit up into a lovely soft something, but I don't know what yet. I thought I'd make a sweater from "Big Girl Knits", but I'm leaning in a different direction right now and I might make it into a vest or a cardigan, if I can get the nerve up to try something like that. It's a lovely deep cranberry color, and if I ever get a picture up on this blog, you'll see that I have dark hair and fair skin, so it would suit me well. I've heard of folks saying that the yarn will tell you what it wants to be, but it's not talking right now, so I just take it out and feel it and sniff it and wonder when it will talk to me.

I also have some lovely merino in a soft forest green that shows stitches off beautifully. I had started a sweater, but I don't like the drape and I think the needles are too small for the project as it seems stiff so I'm thinking of frogging the whole thing and re-winding the balls and seeing what else I can make with it. DH bought me "Cables Untangled" for Christmas and I may look in there to see if something jumps out at me. Cables would show up so well on this yarn that it might be a shame to just knit a flat fabric like stockinette with it.

"Cables Untangled" has something like 12o+ cable stitches in it and I'm thinking that I should get some yarn just for swatching cables. I figure I could do each of the cables in a swatch big enough to practice on to see which I like doing and then keep them all and stitch them together into a blanket for couch-lounging. I'll keep that thought in the back of my mind for my next shopping trip. My local Stitch'n Bitch did a "yarn crawl" recently that I couldn't make it to. They had a great time and we talked about doing it again when we met last night. We meet on Tuesday nights and knit and talk and have a great time. Even DH comes with me; if he gets bored, he just plugs into his Ipod and tunes out with a hot chocolate, though that really doesn't happen often. He says I go to stitch and he goes to bitch, so it works out well. Enough for tonight; I need to pay attention to this game, there's goal under review and the score is Buffalo - 0 and Ottawa - 4 and it's getting interesting.

Monday, January 1, 2007

First Day, First Post

This is my First Post in my First Blog on the First Day of the New Year, 2007. I figured today would be a good day to start a blog, so here I am, joining the ranks of those who write about whatever takes their fancy.

My particular fancy is knitting. I am a "picker", meaning I knit Continental style, holding the yarn in my left hand. I also try never to knit with straight needles; for some reason, I just don't like them. I use circulars almost exclusively for projects, whether knitted in the round or flat. I guess I just don't like long needles. They are awkward to handle and they make my hands and arms ache after a while, so I just don't use them. If I have to knit on straight needles, I prefer the shorter ones, but that's a rare occasion.

I just started knitting last February, teaching myself from places on the Internet. Now I'm absolutely hooked and knit whenever I can. I've joined a local Stitch'n Bitch group and met some really great people. We meet once a week at a local coffee house and have a great time stitching and bitching together. I've learned so much from reading blogs on the 'net and from knitting groups on various sites and sometimes I just want to talk about what I'm doing. I also hope this will be like an online journal of my projects; that way I can keep track of what is finished, especially since I can't remember everything I've done this year and I didn't write a thing down.

I started out planning to keep a knitting journal, writing everything down about projects I start. I wanted to include a swatch, the ball band, info on the project and who I knitted it for (if it wasn't for me, that is...). But that plan went by the wayside quickly. It's much more fun to knit than it is to write about knitting. I hope that doesn't mean this blog will go by the wayside, too, but for some reason, I find it easier to type than to actually put pen to paper and fill out a paper journal.

So here I am, typing my thoughts into a brand-new forum for me and hoping it makes me keep track of my knitting life. Feel free to add your thoughts at any time. I am open to all kinds of communications and/or constructive (please) criticisms with regard to what I write here. I will try to keep it as interesting as I can, but I'm warning you, I can be very boring sometimes and I don't always realize it, so if it gets really bad, let me know. I'll do what I can......