Thursday, August 31, 2006

Maybe it's the way I hold my tongue...

Weird! Today the Doppelganger must be asleep, because the pics uploaded without any trouble at all. Isn't The Bean a cutie? And the Sock it to Me yarn is gorgeous. I have added about three inches to the foot since taking that picture. I haven't been knitting a whole lot these past few days.

On the exercise front, I failed to mention in my rant (see previous post) that I substituted walking for the running-on-the-treadmill that I was "supposed" to do. The only muscle pain that is nagging at me (so far) is from doing the scissor leg lifts. They were relatively easy to do - for an old out of shape lump like me - but oh, the soreness. I was expecting to experience soreness in my arms, shoulders and back because of the little dumb-bell routines I've been doing, but so far all is well. I appreciated the comments from Hege and Beverly. It's always wonderful to be encouraged.

Tomorrow the Curmudgeon and The Good Son and I are planning a day-trip to Baker, Oregon. (It's officially named 'Baker City' now, but when C. And I grew up there, it was - and ever will be, in our minds at least - 'Baker'. Furthermore, we weren't consulted regarding the name change!)
I am looking forward to seeing the town again - it's been over 10 years since we've visited there, which is odd, given that it really isn't so far away. But life is busy, ya know? I imagine there will be lots of changes - lots of 'revoltin' developments' for us to curl our lips at. Have I mentioned that C. And I sometimes lapse into Old Foggy Mode?

I'll try to remember to take along the camera and maybe the Doppelganger will allow me to post a pic or two with my next post.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Doppelganger and a Rant!

Well, today is one of those days when the computer is refusing to upload images to my post. I have a cute picture of The Bean - 2 days after her ninth birthday, and a pic of the gorgeous Sock It To Me yarn sent to me by my blogger friend. I'll try again later and see if the anti-image doppelganger is still in force.

Now, ready? I have a rant. For some time I've been looking for some kind of exercise program that would fit in with my weight, age, sedentary nature and natural inclination to not move. Every plan I've found has included exercises that I can't even begin to do... push-ups? no. Pull-ups? no. Abdomen curls? no. I am remarkably out of shape. But I want to be more active and figure if I start small, with appropriate work-outs, I can progress. Seems reasonable, right? Well, last week I read about a site that advertised trainer-tailored plans for anyone. Even me?

After reading their user agreement - which took about 25 minutes I signed up and among other things, I told them my age, my weight, my health issues and the fact that I don't belong to a gym. I opted for the plan to become more lean. (Choices were loose weight, become stronger, or develop more endurance. Actually, I need all of those, but I expected that if I could work off some of my weight, the other two would be positively affected.)

Boom. Back came my exercise plan and the first thing on it, the "warm up"? Run on a treadmill for 6 minutes at a moderate pace. Now, what's wrong with this picture? (Also included in the plan for that day were exercises involving a weight bench, an exercise ball and a pull-up bar.) First of all, I don't think anyone in their right mind would expect that someone my age and weight would be able to run for any length of time. Second of all, do they expect everyone to own a treadmill (or an elliptical machine), a weight bench, an exercise ball and a pull-up bar? Surely I'm not the only obese, almost-60-year-old woman with diabetes and high blood pressure who wants an exercise plan to loose weight, become stronger and have more endurance, and doesn't have a home gym set up in the family room.

I sent them a message asking what on earth were they thinking? But haven't heard back from them.

Ok, rant over. On the plus side, I decided to take matters into my own hands and devised a simple exercise plan for myself and I also called the care line here in Idaho to request their packet on exercises for oldsters... Both things I ought to have done many moons ago. I did my plan in excel - wish I knew how to show it here in my post, but I don't. If anyone is wondering...I also am trying very hard to improve my eating/diet.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Roses and Yarn and Birthdays

Sunday morning we left the house to go for a very early ride and as we came out, I looked back at the house and saw the first rays of sunlight shining on our little front porch. See the Adirondack chair at the far left? That's where I usually take knitting/yarn pics and also where I sit outside to watch the sky at 0-dark thirty nearly every morning. The Big Black Dog (Kiwi) comes out with me so she can play fetch in the dark. (She's awfully good at finding her ball when it bounces weird and gets away from her.)

The Curmudgeon has taken such good care of the roses this summer. They are all blooming like mad right now.

I forgot to mention yesterday when I was talking about my internet 'friends' that a very exciting event occurred last week. I had been reading here, and the blog writer had a little contest. She invited readers to guess where she and her family were going on vacation, and her hints were: 1) they intended to go canoeing and 2) there weren't many yarn shops there. My first guesses were already taken, so I guessed my home state, Idaho. We have gorgeous lakes and rivers for canoeing (but we're famous for our white water river stretches) and there aren't many yarn shops in Idaho. Nobody guessed the correct state, but the blog writer had her children pick names out of a hat and mine was one of two names picked. She had promised a 'knitterly' prizes and I don't know what I expected (maybe a tape measure?...knitters seem to be unable to find tape measures when needed), but the prize that came in the mail just blew me away! Two lovely skeins of "Sock it to Me!" yarn and home-made stitch markers made by my blogger friend herself! The yarn is gorgeous...Variegated with watermelon pink, fuschia, purple, orange-pink and a little sky blue for good measure.

I couldn't help myself...I immediately cast on for Wendy's toe-up feather and fan socks. Which meant that I had to do a provisional cast on. I've done that kind of a cast on a few times in the past, but still feel anxiety about it. After a couple of false starts it went smoothly and the toe is done plus a wee bit of the foot. I'm using U.S. size 1 needles. I usually use size 2 needles for socks, and I've noticed that the #1's are harder on my hands. Oh well. Live and learn, right?

Today is The Bean's ninth birthday. How can she be nine already? She is a fledgling knitter... We use this little rhyme for knit stitches:

"In through the front door, run around the back. Peek through the window & out jumps Jack."

Does anyone know a rhyme for purl stitches?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Just What I needed

I've been away... Not physically, but spirit-wise I suppose you could say. Not very much knitting going on, but lots of other stuff. Among which is that I've been thinking about life and where I am right now in my life journey (hopefully the journey isn't ending any time real soon). And, I've found some inspiration and direction - along with a whole bunch of other neat things - through the internet.

Nearly every day I try to check on all my favorite blogs (most of which are knitting blogs), and the list grows as my 'usual' blogs refer to other blogs and when I check them out I find that they are inspirational or funny or interesting or whatever. So, I add them to my favorites list (which remains un-organized and apparently un-organizable) ... You can see the semi-viscous circle of semi-exponential proportions can't you? But I digress.

A little history: I learned to knit when I was about 14. My best friend and I wanted to learn to knit to fulfill some sort of badge thing through the youth group at our church. There was a lady in our congregation who agreed to teach us to knit. Under her tutelage we went to the LYS and bought yarn and needles and then she had us knit a sweater - everything from casting on to ribbing to stockinette, decreasing, button bands, the whole nine yards. After that I knit quite a bit through the rest of high school and college, but my creative and crafty energies drifted off to other endeavors about the time I got married. I did knit a couple of sweaters and vests for the Curmudgeon, but I never did knit anything for the kids. And then, I didn't knit at all. For many years.

About three or four years ago my health deteriorated to the point that just going to work each day became pretty much the limit of my energy and ability. I had to give up being the choir director at church, I quit going to my weekly group with a few wonderful friends, I quit shopping, I hardly socialized. And depression set in. I'm not talking about the "I-feel-'blue'-today" variety. (There are few good things that came of this change in life style, but mostly it was and remains a time of loss.)

I no longer had the energy to sew and my eyes had gotten so old that counted X-stitch was out. I needed something to do that I could do sitting in my favorite chair, and also something that would provide some calm in my life. Knitting was a logical and welcome choice. (I was totally unaware that there was a knitting revival going on across the land, and specifically a sock-knitting revival.) The Curmudgeon took me to the LYS and I told the lady that I wanted to knit socks. I had chosen socks because knitting two socks would take much less time than knitting a sweater, and I knew I would need some sooner-than-later gratification, and I had never knit socks before and wanted to learn to do something new with my rusty knitting skills.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Except for the internet. As I was knitting one of those first pairs of socks, I googled on 'hand knit socks' and found Wendyknits and was introduced to the whole world of blogging. I had never even heard of blogs before. Every day I would look forward to reading Wendy's blog and then one day I noticed that she had a list of other blogs on her side bar. Other blogs!!?!

Now, as I said earlier, I have literally dozens of blogs I try to check every day, and since being fired from my job last December (just two weeks before Christmas!), I usually have the blog-reading time I want. (But, I sure wish my computer would tell me when there's a new post on one of "my" blogs so I wouldn't have to go to each one every time to see if there are posts I haven't read...)

I've found the most amazing group of "friends" through blog-land. Not that any of them (or, hardly any of them) know me or reciprocate the friendship. After all, I haven't been blogging myself for very long, and I've been way too shy to leave comments until quite recently. But I've met guys who knit, grannies who knit, young mothers who knit, famous authors who knit, knitting gurus who knit (that's redundant, isn't it?), re-born knitters like me, irreverent knitters, speedy knitters, slower-than-molasses knitters (I especially like them) and totally un-characterizable knitters. They have all become important to me - they're my circle of friends. I follow their knitting adventures and mis-adventures, their domestic situations and life styles...I have met their children, parents, friends, spouses, partners and even their pets. And, each one of them enriches my life in his or her unique way. Recently I found another 'new to me' blog and this post. And, it was just what I needed to read.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Am I beginning to "Get It"?

Although I have been dreaming of new socks (and thinking about the coming cold weather and the need for more pairs of warm socks), I have continued to work on my Rosebud Shawl. It's going much better than the last time I wrote about it. And, I think I'm beginning to get a glimmer of understanding about lace knitting...

I've only knit two lace projects before Rosebud. In each of those projects (both scarves) the lacey pattern was quite apparent after just one pattern repeat, and neither pattern bunched-up very much. So, as I knitted along, I could see progress and design with nearly every row. Rosebud, on the other hand, just looks mostly like a jumbled snarl of yarn. You can only see a hint of the pattern if you stretch-out the knitting and hold it up to the light, and then you can only see a small patch of knitting that looks like it has a plan. Part of my glimmer of understanding here is that lace knitting requires faith and that it will turn out to be at least somewhat like the picture of the FO on the pattern, and patience to keep on knitting until you can block it.

Also, I've noticed that the more I knit, the more I tend to fool-around with any given pattern. In this case, I'm adding several pattern repeats to the first section of the shawl - which will result in a longer shawl. In the pattern, when you finish the first section you are one fourth of the way through the shawl. (In musical terms, this is an 'ABBA' design. The two 'A' sections are identical and the middle 'B' sections are each equal in lenth to one 'A' section.) When I reached the point in the pattern where the first 'A' section was to be finished, I looked at my little jumble of weird knitting and decided that the shawl wasn't going to be nearly long enough. I'm a big lady, after all. I stretched it lenghwise and it was about 18" long, which would result in a shawl approximately 72" long after blocking. Since I want the shawl to be a bit longer than that, I'm adding several pattern repeats to this section. And that means, of course, that I will add a few pattern repeats to the middle section and to the final section as well, to keep the ratio of A's and B's correct.

There just isn't enough knitting time in the day for me. I want to knit so many things. As I said, I'm dreaming of socks and also thinking about the second Fair Isle mitten to do, and I really want to work on a Fair Isle project on circular needles (a hat? A bag?) before I try to tackle a whole sweater knit in Fair Isle. Maureen remains my inspiration... And to make matters even more frustrating, I find that sometimes I just have to set the knitting aside and do something else for a while, even if it is during my 'knitting' time. Aaughhhh!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Could I please have some cheese with my whine?

After finishing the vineyard stripeys, I really wanted to start something entirely new (you know how I am...), but I disciplined myself and picked up the Rosebud shawl I started for Amazing Lace. Yesterday. Want to know how many rows I've completed? Well, I've knit about 12 rows and un-knit about 15 rows. You do the math. Is this even possible? I can't figure out why I'm having such a hard time. There is one mistake in the printed pattern (the last stitch in row 5 is incorrect), but I figured that out the first time through. And, I'm counting the number of stitches between markers for each pattern repeat to make sure that I'm not goofing it up, but somehow I still manage to keep making 'mistrakes'. Of course, Pookie was here yesterday - that may have had something to do with it. (But today has been no better.)

Is this a SIGN that I really do need to start something new? Oh, probably not. So I shall persevere.

Every day when I sign on to the computer I check all the knit blogs that I read, and I keep finding more outstanding blogs that I keep adding to my list. (Knit bloggers are the best.) And this very wonderful plenitude of interesting/funny/informative/moving knit blogs takes a long time to go through...And that brings me to a confession:

I can't figure out how to add a list of my favorite blogs to my sidebar. I'm such a dork. And a complaint...

I've lost the ability to organize my favorites...Every time I try, the computer says it's "loading", and there it stays. Forever. I would really like to get all my knit blogs into one folder, and all my how-to web sites and individual blog postings that illustrate or explain a technique into another folder, etc., but MSN refuses to allow me to organize them. I've looked and looked for a way to contact MSN to see if they can help me with this, but every time I try to contact them, I get their help site in German. Does anyone else out there have these kinds of problems? Or, is it true that my computer really is possessed? Maybe I should festoon my computer with garlic or something.

Boy, I sure am full of the grumpies today aren't I? Sorry. I'll just stop now before it gets worse. Happy week end everyone.