Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Part I – The end of being driven nuts – $%&#@%$ sweater frogged!

Well, I did it…I frogged the ‘Salt Peanuts’/’Drive Me Nuts’ sweater on September 20th. I finally listened to all the folks who were saying how stubborn I was being (they all said it in a much nicer way than that, though) and figured out that the only person going nuts here was ME. So, I frogged the whole thing, good parts and all, and re-wound the wool into nice, new cakes of lovely raspberry pink projects-to-be. Then I went looking for a pattern and found a nice, easy, not so nuts pattern on Knitty.com called ‘Sonnet’. It’s a lovely pattern by Kristi Porter and it’s based on some simple calculations after you knit a swatch to determine your gauge. I know, I know… knit a swatch? What’s that? Well, I decided a long time ago that I really have to knit a swatch whenever I do a pattern because I’m the only person I know who has knit a 35-pound tarp, I mean poncho, because I believed them when they wrote that ‘gauge doesn’t matter for this project’. WRONG! At least for me, it mattered or it seemed to, anyway. You could have covered a Volkswagen with that poncho…

So, all that being said, I really didn’t have to knit a swatch for this pattern. I had already knit one up for the frogged sweater and I still had it in my knitting bag so I pulled it out and started from there. ‘Sonnet’ is a square-ish sweater that is knit from side to side, knitting the sleeves separately and sewing them on later. Minimal finishing and that just sounds so good to me at this point. This sweater will be perfect for my Mom, who is always chilly when she’s downstairs in her house and she’ll love the color, too. The neckline is not too high, and Mom doesn’t like things tight around her neck, so I think it will all work out perfect in the end.

I started 'Sonnet' the next night after my trip to the frog pond, and I’m very happy with the way it’s turning out. I’ve only got one small problem and I think I know how to fix it. When I was starting the left front last night, I noticed that the box stitch section – the rest is garter stitch, how easy is that? – did not appear to be in the same place on the left as it was on the right, so I laid out the sweater on my bed according to the diagram with the pattern and went over the directions to see what I’d done. Lo and behold, there it was; I had somehow missed knitting a 4-½ inch section of garter stitch on the right front. I was checking off the pattern very carefully, too, I thought, but I missed it just the same.

Now, with my previous history of sweater frustration (see also ‘Cherry Bomb’, now a felted bag and ‘Salt Peanuts’ as noted above), you might think I would consider this to be a setback, but no, I won’t let it be. I ‘adjusted’ the pattern so that the pattern stitches match on both sides and I will pick up stitches on the right front and knit those 4-½ inches right back in because it’s just garter stitch and I think I can make it work. Besides, the buttons will be on that side, so it will be underneath the button band, and Mom might not need it to be that big, so I might not have to add in the entire 4-½ inches. As long as it turns out symmetrical, Mom will love it because I made it for her. That sounds conceited, but Mom is like that. Also, I found some lovely buttons at a LYS that was going out of business that will be just perfect for this sweater.

Part II – More wooly adventures…

This last weekend, Mike and I went to the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties, NY. We go to this festival every year and have done so for about 10 years now. It’s grown from a small, farmers market/craft fair kind of thing with really good food to a huge, farmers market (with top prices)/ craft fair (with top prices) with mostly really good food (at top prices) and it’s now too big to have fun at any more. We nearly lost each other a couple of times and I didn’t even buy any garlic. Fortunately, I got lots of garlic earlier at the Vermont Garlic Festival in Bennington over Labor Day weekend, so I’m not going to run out, I hope. The food was pretty good, at least the selection of food they weren’t out of was, but the crowds were just no fun. They really need to consider a bigger venue for this festival. I bet there were 30 or 40,000 people there on Sunday alone. We had to take a shuttle bus from the car to the grounds because we were parked so far away! Anyway, this part is titled ‘More wooly adventures’ and you’re probably wondering why on earth I’m going on about garlic, right?

Well, just as we had made up our minds that we didn’t want to stick around any more because we couldn’t even make our way around the farmer’s stalls easily because of the crowds of people, I spotted it! WOOL! Spun wool in the loveliest faded denim blue and sunflower yellow in a big basket at one of the garlic farmer’s stalls. That farmer and his wife also had fleeces and other sheepy goodies, but I ended up buying four nice hanks of yarn, two each of the yellow and the blue, and since they are 100% wool, I think I’ll make some slippers and felt them. I think the blue on the bottom and the yellow on the top will be lovely. And as I fondled the fleece – I’m a little weird here as I like the feeling of greasy fleece and I don’t mind the smell, either – the farmer’s wife asked me if I’d like a chunk for ‘hand lotion’. I, of course, said ‘sure’ and she came around to the front of the stall and tore off a huge hunk of fleece, much more than I would have taken if she had told me to just pull off some, and gave it to me.

Mike thinks I’m nuts, but I fondled that hunk of fleece all the way back to the car and my hands just felt so soft and nice…but, I REFUSE TO LEARN TO SPIN so I won't be more than fondling that fleece or any other! I keep saying that I won't spin and Mike keeps telling me that every time I say it I sound a little more intrigued by the process, and maybe I am, a little…I just don’t need to be learning to spin my own yarn when there is such nice stuff out there for me to buy and more importantly, there is such nice stuff in my own stash that is just waiting to be knit up into something. I know, excuses will get me nowhere, but I just don’t have the brain space for another new, expensive hobby.

Part III – Current Projects

Let’s see; what is on my needles right now?
§ ‘Drive Me Nuts’, formerly known as ‘Salt Peanuts’; Replaced with ‘Sonnet’ for Mom;
§ Toe-up socks that I can’t seem to get around to finishing; (still…)
§ ‘Branching Out’ scarf from Knitty (about five feet long, still almost done…);
§ ‘Gryffindor House Scarf’ from “Charmed Knits”; this one is all stockinette, in the round…ho-hum, boring as all get out after about two rows, but it’s spoken for, so I have to finish it; (thank God it’s hockey season – maybe I’ll get around to finishing this during a game, though my gauge might change if the game gets really intense!)
§ Lacy Prairie Shawl from ‘Folk Shawls’ by Cheryl Oberle in a cream-colored alpaca – so soft and slippery and warm that I can’t wait to get it around my shoulders during the winter (not much bigger than the original picture as I’ve only done a few rows because I let myself go so crazy on ‘Drive Me Nuts’);
§ A fun and funky scarf for a Christmas gift that is easy and fun to make (picture posted – see above for why it's not finished either...);
§ Various washcloths, etc., for spa sets, as Christmas gifts for friends at work; and
§ A couple of scarves that never seem to get done, though I work on them what seems like a lot.

Part IV – Me again

Work is still a bit difficult; the person they hired to help me out isn’t…She seems to think it’s beneath her to even talk to me. Oh well, I printed up the ‘Attitude’ e-mail that got sent to my BusyKnitting group and posted it on my cubicle wall and I just keep referring to it whenever she starts in. I mean, really, how do you deal with someone who takes everything you say as a personal insult? I can’t even leave work on her desk that she knows she’s supposed to do; she goes in and whines to the boss that I’m abusing her. If I tell her the sky is blue, she says it’s green; if I tell her the correct procedure, she tries to change it to suit her needs, not the needs of the unit. Oh well, enough venting about work. Update: had a little conversation with my boss late this afternoon; apparently the tension is getting noticeable and the comfort level in the office is going down. He understands me as we've been working together for ages and she just got here a few months ago and in speaking to both of us, he seems to think it's somehow her that's the problem...DUH...I told him that I guessed I would have to be the adult, even though she's in her 40's, and see if I could bury the hatchet (and not in her head, either!). I'll try to work with this woman because I need to keep my sanity and my job, and because she's not driving me out of a job I've had for over 30 years! Keep your fingers crossed, all, and pray for my sanity!

I’m still busy and have lots of stuff to do at work, so the days go by fairly quickly. I was hoping to get some overtime in before Rhinebeck, but it’s not looking like I’ll be able to do that, so I’ll have to content myself with fondling and not buying that much this year. Cash is a bit tight, but I’ll pull myself up and not waste as much as I have been and that will help.

The knitting lessons for Mom and Chloe went ok. I mean Chloe is just turned 8 years old and her attention span is about 5 seconds at a time. Mom didn’t turn off the TV while we were having lessons and Chloe just couldn’t get the hang of knitting as she was looking over her shoulder at the TV more than at the knitting in her hands. Mom used to knit – which I didn’t know – and remembered fairly quickly how to do it, but she tends to knit extra stitches into her projects or drop some occasionally and needs checking on periodically. She’ll be ok, though I don’t have much hope for Chloe just yet. She wants to learn, but can’t sit still long enough to try to do it. I guess I’ll keep up the lessons until they either learn or give up.

Well, I think I’ve bored on enough for this time…remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cat!