Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another sighting (!) ...

... Of UFOs that is. This maroon sock is an adaptation of a pattern found in the Summer 2000 issue of Interweave Knits (Traveler's Stockings). It's written to fit an "average woman's foot", but since I have larger-than-average-women's-feet, I took it up a couple of needle sizes (from size 0 to size 2). I'm also doing short row heels instead of the heel flap type in the pattern. Another adaptation is that the pattern calls for some stitch decreases as you work down the leg toward the ankle, and I used fewer stitch decreases because I have heavy ankles. Oh, sigh.

For some reason knitting these socks is very hard on my hands and wrists, so I put them aside (quite a few months ago) to work on something easier on my old arthritic joints. How do I like this pattern? Well, I like the smaller band of cuff-pattern you get when you knit on size 0 (looking at the picture in the magazine). If I ever knit this pattern again I will most likely try to alter the pattern itself instead of just increasing the needle size. I've tried the sock on though (as much as I can at this stage), and it fits well, feels right and looks OK.

On the Vineyard Stripeys, I've gotten all the way around the heel of sock #2, so it's all downhill from here. Woo Hoo!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Is my computer possessed?

Yesterday I couldn't upload images to save my soul and today it's working just fine. I have no idea what I was doing wrong yesterday or what I'm doing correctly today... But I won't complain!

I spent the better part of yesterday re-organizing my knitting notebook (which was so stuffed I don't think I could have added even one more sheet of paper). The curmudgeon had brought home three colorful 3-ring binders, and they are now the proud holders of gobs of Very Important Knitting Information. I'm one of those people who learn more easily from reading something than by seeing it done, so over the last few years (since becoming a re-born knitter) I've down-loaded and printed everything from knitting tips and how-tos to patterns and general information. It was really good for me to go through everything yesterday - I had forgotten about many print-outs, and discovered some gorgeous patterns that I didn't remember at all. I guess that's one good thing about older age and memory loss...When you go through stuff it can be almost like Christmas - lots of good surprises.

I read in Spiderwoman's blog today that she is beginning to suspect that blogging about UFOs is a jinx: once she posts about a project it frequently gets relegated to the pile of UFOs in the closet. For me, it works pretty much the opposite. When I post about a project, I am re-enthused about it and want to work on it. And I really want to finish it so I can move on to another project (with less guilt). For instance, right now, I'm down the ankle rows on the second Vineyard Stripey and I can't wait to finish it because I have some purple-dress-red-hat sock yarn and I can't wait to start the feather and fan socks a la Wendy. (Not to mention all the other UFOs that have been calling seductively to me...)

Today will be the ninth day in a row that Boise has had 100-plus degree temperatures, and tomorrow's high is forecast to be 99 so we might break the 9-day record (set in 2003, I think). Next Monday it is supposed to be down to 86 for a high. I can't wait. I woke up early (very early) this morning and went outside to sit in my favorite chair (well, it's the only chair) on the front porch and it was a balmy 73 degrees out there at 4:10 AM. I noticed that Baker City, my old home town had a 56 degree temp at 6:00 when I caught the local news and weather. But Ontario was 77 (!) so I shouldn't complain. I'm not, I'm not.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One down, one to go

Well, duh...the problem with mittens is they're just like socks. You finish one, you feel so good because it's an FO, right? And then reality kicks in and you realize that now you have to knit another one! (I'm having trouble with uploading images to the blog - but trust me, I did finish mitten #1)

Also finished the vineyard stripey sock and am more than half-way down the cuff of sock #2.

One thing I have to say about having multiple, simultaneous projects on needles is that you need to keep meticulous notes regarding just exactly where you are in the pattern and what modifications, if any, you have made. Picking up a UFO after several weeks (or...months) really tests the old noggin, and those notes are necessary. And the better your notes are, the more easily you can pick-up the project and keep knitting. Several times in the past I have avoided UFOs because I had had a foggy recollection that I made changes to the pattern or didn't keep track of "things" the way I should have and didn't have complete-enough notes to get myself back in the stitchin' saddle again. Ah, well. It's all part of the learning process, isn't it?

One of the reasons that I'm so obsessed with knitting is that I've realized how much more there is to learn about knitting than I ever guessed. (I love to learn new things!) And the internet makes it so easy! We only have one decent LYS here in Boise and it is clear across town. If I had to drive over there every time I had a question or needed help, I would just give up I think. But all I have to do is google on the problem or technique and within minutes I can usually find very specific and helpful directions to get me past the hurdle.

Well, wish me luck. I'm going to try again to upload those pics. If they don't appear, you'll know what happened.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Is this Roswell? Sure are a lot of UFOs around here

I used to worry about my UFOs. Some people stash yarn ... I seem to stash UFOs... But now that I'm the ripe old age of 59 (as of yesterday), I've decided to look at the situation in a different way (I've actually been looking at it from different perspectives - read 'rationalizing' - for a long time.) The truth is, I just like to start projects more than I care about finishing them. There you have it. I love the new-project-excitement, the planning, the swatching, the pattern comparisons. I think I've mentioned this before...

So, anyway, above is a picture of Mina's Vest. (Mina is my oldest grand-daughter, usually referred to as "The Bean", and is going to turn nine years old next month.) It is being knit from Ram Wools' Cameo Cotton in color #10, which is actually a beautiful light aqua. My picture doesn't begin to do it justice. I am making-up the pattern, but borrowed the shell motif and the seed-stitch cable panel from Alice Starmore's Cape Cod in "Fishermen's Sweaters". I love that sweater! Couldn't quite see trying to knit one for myself - Ms. Starmore's sizes don't go that large, and the sweater already has 85 bazilion stitches in it to begin with, so trying to make it larger would really (totally) be daunting. The resulting compromise (my love of the pattern vs. my need to knit something more within my feeble abilities and attention span) is Mina's Vest. And, yes, I will need to finish it within the next 6 to 9 months or Mina will have outgrown it. But grand-daughter number two, Leslie Elaine ("Pookie") gives me at least two years in the unhappy event that I procrastinate beyond nine months or so.

It was 100 degrees yesterday and we are still living without our air-conditioning. Today's high is only predicted to be 95 - a cooling trend! Now that I learned (via The Yarn Harlot) that Lee Ann's surgery went very well, I can share that I've actually been very comfortable without air conditioning - just closing up the house in the mornings when the outside temp begins to rise, and using fans strategically placed throughout the house.

Remember the heel on Vineyard Stripey that I fouled up? Well, it got ripped and re-knit and I am now about a third of the way down the foot. Plain stockinette...Idiot-proof knitting. (Or so I hope.) ;-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Knitting and reading - the fun never stops!

Above are photos of the Rosebud Shawl and the Vineyard Stripeys. You can see that my camera and I have issues. Not to mention that I keep forgetting how to save individual photos (after I've tweaked them to get them as clear and color-true as I can, which isn't very) in such a way that I can find them again and upload to the blog. Forgetfulness is a wonderful thing. Not.

Also, I can't figure out how to upload more than two photos to any given post. Or, if I ever knew, I've forgotten that, too.

Last night while watching "Dune" on DVD, I snarled up the heel on Vineyard stripey, so today it's un-knit, un-knit. Rip-it, rip-it. Usually, sock knitting is a no-brainer for me, but I shouldna-hadna-oughtna tackled a heel while sucked into Dune. (The DVD reminded me how much I've enjoyed reading the book many times in the past. Maybe it's time to read it again.) I have several favorite books I re-read every few years - Dune is one of them.

Also the Elswyth Thane Williamsburg novels (especially the first three or four) and Stephen King's "The Stand". And "Watership Down" by Richard Adams, "The Hobbit" and the trilogy by Tolkein, and all of Guy Gavriel Kay's novels. Sometimes I don't re-read entire books - just my favorite parts, but usually I start at the beginning and just read to the end. Hmmmm.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Drat you, Skippy!

Speaking of time-warp! I'm still trying to get accustomed to June-ness and here it is July! And, I've been too long away from writing (this blog). I have been in a funk and while in a funk I am easily discouraged. (Actually, I have an evil twin named Skippy and I think s/he has been in control these past weeks.)

In spite of the funk, I have been knitting and reading my favorite knitting blogs -- as well as discovering some new ones. One exciting thing that has happened is that I actually got a comment to one of my posts! Thank you, Antynin. What a smiley-spirit-lifter-upper that was. And when I shared the info on frogging (rip-it, rip-it), the Curmudgeon laughed so hard he nearly cried. (It doesn't take much to amuse us. What can I say?)

I have not knit any further on the Rosebud Shawl. Still bogged down with misgivings regarding the yarn color-pools and the cast-on edge.

Socks-on-needles -- I'm almost up to the the heel of sock #1 in the Vineyard colorway of Simple Stripes from KnitPicks. Just a plain-ol' ribbed-cuff sock a la Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts' "Simple Socks - Plain and Fancy" (my sock bible). I am thinking about using Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Feather and Fan Sock pattern found here for my next pair of socks. (An opportunity for me to learn [again] how to do a provisional cast-on. Oh, sigh.)

And I'm nearly done with mitten #1 of the February mitten from "A Year of Mittens - A Monthly Celebraton" by Ann Swanson & Katie Nagorney. I have knit using two colors before, but hated it because my yarn always twisted into a snarl. (I hated it so much that I can't figure out why I bought the mitten patterns and yarn in the first place. About a year ago.) But I LOVE the look of Fair Isle, and following Wendy's advice while she was knitting Mara (back in June sometime), I just decided to jump in and try it (Just Do It!) again. Sometime after I started on mitten #1, exciting thing number two occurred: I heard about this site (from Maureen), and on the site, I discovered an excellent little video about how to knit Fair Isle while holding the two colors separately in one's two hands. No twisting! It felt awkward at first, but now feels almost "normal", and I am wanting these mittens to be done so that I can try a real Fair Isle project on circular needles. (The dpns required for mittens are challenging, in spite of the fact that I knit socks on dpns all the time and love doing them.) (Maureen also provided some wonderful advice and encouragement about knitting Fair Isles - Thank you, Maureen.)

And, finally, in hopes of attracting cosmic BAD KARMA on Lee Ann's behalf (see the Harlot's July 13 post), I would like to point out that our air condictioner konked out Thursday evening, just in time for our 100-degree-plus weekend. We're not getting it fixed any time soon.