Saturday, February 25, 2006

Skein Whose Price Must Not Be Mentioned

Hey, Look! The Skein of Opal #1125 . . . or as I prefer to speak of it: Skein Whose Price Must Not Be Mentioned has been specially designed, just for me. My initials have appeared as if by magic, into the bottom of the heel. (LW)
See it?! I think the W is defined without too much extra imagination;
L takes a little lower case acceptance.

I'm fighting my almost compulsive need to mark the W with a diagonal red slash.

Once again I'm having issues looking for the beginning of a skein of yarn. This adult size sock is at the point I have just used all of the yarn I had to wind back to the outside of the skein after I pulled a glob from the center of the skein trying to find the end. If there's a trick to finding the center pulls, I haven't discovered it yet!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Notes from my half empty nest . . .

It's time to purge the clutter, again...

My Sewing slash Laundry Room is so messy I can't find the cutting table or sewing machine. Time has come to put things in order. I'm not going to move everything SEWING back into Stephani's room while she's away. This room works when it hasn't been taken over by sewing stuff not put away since the last time it was used or dirty clothes. The shelves & drawers are set up well enough to contain reasonable amounts of sewing items. The rest needs to go. Stuff given to me "because I might use it" needs to go. Obviously, I can't or won't use it in this lifetime. Time also for a little more effort towards finishing quilty UFO's that lost my attention.

It's day 3 of Lofty Cleaning Goal - not making progress very fast :) I found this hastily scribbled note from last year (down behind a box that needs purging!) and I came to the computer to see what it looks like in more permanent font. Not that I would procrasticlean?

(First time our Stephani Nola went away to be grown up)

A few tears crept past
And yet, not.
You write wonderfully
Just as I've said since grade 3
So as I read your blog
31 Days gone
31 days Lived
Away from me
By so far that even if you called
To say that you NEEDED me
(which you won't)
The getting there
Would take too long.

(This second time goodbye was easier, but still...)

Putting your clean clothes into the dryer
Such a wave of despair washed over me;
You're leaving in the morning.
No more crying
Not like last time.
Not for three days.
Not for such everyday things easily fixed:
Too many dirty dishes
Not enough counter space.
Fear leaving here makes you too glad.
More glad to be gone
Than glad to be back in New York.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Respect for WOOL!

I will never wash (Sara's) wool sweaters in regular laundry again!

(I probably will never own one if they have to be specially washed ... oh, now convinced they do!)

I've just felted my first knitting project - on purpose - I'm speechless!

I sort of wish I had taken it out and looked at it a little longer the first time I checked. First impression was: It's yummy! I put it back in a little longer - and then let it rinse for a few minutes in the machine. That extra rinse agitation may have shrunken it more compactly than I remember it looking at first peek. Anxiousness at water growing cold ... not knowing what I was looking for exactly, I put it back in. WOW! Thicker than I ever imagined those knit stitches could become. I believe I'm now hooked on knitting & felting wool.

Let the next project/ pattern search begin!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Strappy Doneness, at last!

I chased after 5 year old nephew Kyle all day; my proud Olympic Knitting Completion moment has become exhausted!

Posted the following at Team DPN while the the thrill was new. 3o seconds into my shower Sara knocked on the door to announce her car wouldn't start. Went outside with hair still drippy to confirm; battery sounded like it needed a charge. Kyle would be arriving in less than an hour, the house could use some kid proofing before then and there was no coffee left. Give me back my knitting needles and let me start this day over some place quieter and more peaceful!!

My French Market Bag is finished...the knitting part, that is.
(Still needs felting. Tomorrow is good :)

Connected the straps, bound the 4 top edges, wove & snipped all ends and pulled out the basting by 5:52 a.m. 02.21.06. (2 scrids of 14 inch pieces of yarn are all that remain from 2nd skein.)

Explanation for color change from 2nd skein/ not matching dye lots:
I MEANT TO DO THAT story and sticking to it ;)

New techniques tried: Knitting with wool; Knit1/Purl 1 Rib, bound off with Kitchener stitch; joining seams NOT a toe with Kitchener; circular needle knitting and FINISHING item within time allowed. (Also made first buttonhole on one of those other projects!)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Strappy Progress!

Yes. I'm done procrastiknitting (for the moment) and have moved forward with work on French Market Bag straps & binding.

Of course, when just re-learning the art of knitting, do what I do:

CHANGE THE PATTERN? Original pattern says to Bind Off edges every 25 stitches. BUT I've just discovered this Kitchener form of binding off a knit 1/Purl 1 RIB. (scroll down but you put all the purl stitches on a second needle from behind and pretend it's the toe of a sock!!)

I'm changing pattern to: knit 1/Purl 1 (from starting mark) next 12 stitches,* knit next 26 stitches, knit 1/Purl 1 next 24, knit next 26 stitches * around ending in final 12 knit 1/Purl 1 stitches to complete set of 24 rib stitches. For 3 rows.

(Hope this works - or - she's too dumb to know she should be afraid?) It's been suggested I swatch a square to see how this edge felts. Since I wanted to do a mini version of the bag so I could journal my Knitting Olympics month for February at 4x6 Lives, I'll consider this an assignment and NOT procrastiknitting!! (Steph, verbs are not capitalized?)

LOOK how well I baste...quilting knowledge comes in handy for knitting. AND the number of stitches came out perfect. [(24*4)+(26*4)=200] LOOK, Sara...mommy does math. YIKES!!


Procrastiknitting v. to knit on a project NOT already assigned. Continuing to knit project NOT under (self imposed) deadline (Knitting Olympics). my editor should evaluate/update this definition. I'm making it up!

Steph, the ipod cozy2 has biggened itself into a Cargo Pod@.

(Aren't I clever to keep the word pod in there and yet cargo allows for the size factor? I thought it up; so if it's already been done I couldn't find it online, allowing for the fact that I suck at search engines ;)

Finished Procrastiknitting item (not an FMB) seen here is nearly large enough for your camera . . . if I move the button up about 3 inches. And fix that wonky flap, while I'm at it!
*insert in Steph's sarcastic-tinged voice, "YOU are SUCH a perfectionist." here*

It's additional size would also allow your ipod, school id, money for coffee & subway pass. Dad says, "Sure. Then someone can steal all your crap at one time."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Knitting Olympic progress

Day 10
(I think!)
Will probably do a few more rows on the FMB before starting straps. Now that the meds have worn off and ruler applied, it's just at 8 inches. Original instructions made the bottom go up 9 additional rows in contrasting color, after the increase was finished. My bag is all one color so I may be measuring from the wrong place. I marked the end of increase row...not 9 up. If it's going to shrink 2 inches, guess the side should go up a little more.

Made progress on the
pretend ipod pocket. LOOKS LIKE A POCKET NOW! Turns out if you want this RedHeart yarn to wave, you must use smaller knitting needles? I like the color on this much better than the baby & mommy socks made from the same skein. Finished in time for Sara's gift giving event, even.

NOTE THE MISSING PLUMBING SUPPLIES. Application took twice as long as our neighbor (actual maintenance guy!) hoped. Turns out our 65+ year old house is crooked and plumbing outdated. Go figure!

Is that what they told you?

An ipod cozy.
Is that what they told you?

Looks more like a rectangular coaster with quills!
Size 1 needles sure are small. Knit for an hour and not yet 2 inches managed.

Should NOT have added extra biggening stitches. TRUST THE PATTERN, indeed.

Not convinced yet it will turn into a pocket as decribed here. Probably should not (credit) blame this work on the Keyboardbiologist!

And those plumbing parts? Been sitting on the table 3 days waiting to be applied to the leaking shower pipes so that water can be turned back on. Full time would be good! Except right now water is pouring from the hot water tap in the shower - even with the knobs & cut off valves turned all the way off? Don't ask me why...I'm not the maintenance guy!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What day is it?

Woke up with a yucky cough and so medicated with some wannabe sudafed to try nipping it, before it became a full on flubug. Feel better actually.

Made some progress on the FMB. Almost at the strap section...maybe a few more rows?
NO...I think I'm ready to move on to the next project so this bag is about as tall as it shall get!

Uh, about that next project? Yeah...well I sort of started it...she admitted guiltily.

Say it with her people (she needs reminding it seems... and perhaps a photo of the quilting UFO's in the next room): THERE WILL BE NO UFO's IN LAURIE'S KNITTING BUCKET!!

But I wanted to try another ipod cozy. My first effort is standing by, waiting for the knitting fairy to figure out how to finish it. (Emailed the designer and she sent advice in return mailbox. There's hope!)

Sadly Steph, as the only family member with an ipod in need of a cozy, my newest effort has biggened itself, muchly. Those darned directions must have been right? WHO KNEW? 20 stitches per front & back...not 24...just in case. Hate it when that happens.

It's even too big for Sara's Personal Organizer Device Thingy.

Unless other stuff has need of transportation, an ipod will become rather floaty.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Resume knitting French Market Bag. (More round in circles, a little boring but Eyes on the Outcome! Inches away from strappy doneness!!)

Fell asleep last night on the couch watching Fellowship of the Rings...again. Had worked on the mommy socks for a while but they were making me sleepy so I gave up. Woke up and went to bed at midnignt...pretending I could fall back asleep! Gave up after 45 minutes; got up and finished the mommy socks by 2:30 a.m.

Glad I don't have to keep them, actually. This skein of Red Heart Starbrights had way too much yucky yellow... and I LIKE yellow usually...just not so much! Plus the color changes took place every 12 inches - exactly. Larger sized sock developed yucky, single row stripes...eeew!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Knitting Olympics - DAY 7

TIME OUT called!

Sara spotted the teeny baby sock I made in order to keep a project going for Team DPN and thought it would be great if she had a mommy pair to match, so that she could give them as a gift to her friend with a new baby. "Saturday? ...this Saturday?"

aby socks are done, plus half of a mommy sock. (Thank goodness for the crochet hook! I've dropped more stitches on this one sock than all others put together since learning socks.)

So, there will be less French Market Bag progress through the end of the week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Knitting Olympics

Day 5 & 6:
First full day of Speed Knitting on the circulars went well. I've finished my first skein of yarn (223 yards) of Paton's Peacock wool, ready to connect the new skein on day 6.

BUT FIRST . . . As a proud member of TEAM DPN, not a day should pass during this Olympic event without using a DPN! I cast 24 stitches onto my Size 4 DPN's and finished a baby bootie this morning! The second is cast-on now as well.

Took mom to the eye doctor's for another checkup (scene of my first sock lesson on 12.23.05 :) and KNIT IN PUBLIC! Struck up a conversation with two very sweet older ladies with lots of knitting experience & praise at my effort for such a new knitter.

With fresh DPN's loaded and ready for primetime poking . . . Tom will spring a leak if I poke him as often as he deserves . . . back to the French Market Bag!

Progress: 24 rows completed up the side at the end of Day 5.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Morning of DAY 5:
I have successfully changed over to the circular needle! MINDLESS SPEED KNITTING ahead.

Knitting Olympics

Well, the morning started off with a trip to town to mail out a care package of art supplies, calculator, forgotten jeans & ipod cord to Steph . . . GO TEAM BROOKLYN!

Since I'm already in town and I'm this close to ACMoore, perhaps a quick visit to the yarn supply section for either another size 7 DPN or some real stitch stoppers. (Plus, last week's 40% coupon is about to expire!) I came away with both and . . . it's all Steph's fault?
1st POKE WITH A DPN of the day!!

In the end, I went with 9 Double Pointed Needles to complete the bottom section of my French Market Bag. Yeah, that's right! I can knit with 9 DPN's. 200 stitches successfully increased. (SLOW) Speed Skating REQUIRED LANE CHANGE about to take place: 1st attempt at knitting with a circular needle up next!

Where's my VALIANT EFFORT award?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Knitting Olympics

Today I watched a bit of speed skating and now my French Market Bag has become One with the (slow) Speed Skaters! Okay, mostly we are ONE with the guy on the tail end of the line!
We go round in circles and after about 135 loops around the DPN's, it's a LONG WAY back to Needle 1!

So I'm rooting for any of the skaters back there last in line. What I was really hoping for was to see them to all join hands like we did when we were kids. Was it called a WHIP? The leader skates really fast and in all directions, trying to break the chain and see skaters zoom off in all directions. Yeah, that would be an event I could cheer for!

So now that I've crowded 152 stitches (out of 200) onto four 7 inch long, size 7 DPN's, it's getting a bit tricky making the stitches stay put on the needles. Did I mention I'm new to this knitting thing? I've seen those stitch stoppers at the store. They look like eraser tops for pencils! Thought about buying some a while ago, but if this knitting thing turns out to be just another passing Laurie phase, how much stuff do I really need?!

Wished I had some stitch stoppers though, because I'm not feeling brave enough yet to try out the circular needle. I have one but it may end up in that pile of stuff I'll wonder why on earth I bought . . . but Stephani wanted a hat! oooh, blame shopping spree/packrat moment on the kid away at college . . . consider yourself poked with my Olympic DPN even though you're in Brooklyn . . . Go Team Brooklyn! . . . from the mom sideline cheering section of Maine :)

Well, this Olympic Knitting thing is supposed to be a challenge right? Determined to stick with DPN's and knitting with 8 not working out so well 'cause I really need 9, maybe packing peanuts? Didn't have any, but found some styrofoam and cut up cubes and made my own stitch stoppers.

Have decided knitting with my improvised stitch stoppers is a little like (Slow) Speed Skating WITHOUT taking the iceskate-blade guards off!!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Knitting Olympics

This day is brought to us by the Letter L!
Managed to do some more on my French Market Bag - and get this week's Letter People (almost) done!

My FMB is up to 108 stitches (out 200 before we just plain KNIT up the sides). 200 will probably be TOO MANY STITCHES for 4 short DPN's? I tried using the rest of my size 7 needles and still keep the corner increases intact.
I'm a DPN short!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Day One Pictures

Also qualify now for the "What the Hell was I Thinking?" button.
(Need to figure out how to post buttons down the side!!)
My progress so far: After much unravelling and many CASTING ON do overs PLUS first cup of coffee this morning.

Upload order is reversed?
photo #1 & 3: After an hour, 15 minutes . . . starting over . . . AGAIN!
#5: Lots of holes from YO vs M1 (Okay, which ever way you're going to increase - PICK ONE and stick to it. And WHY aren't there the same # of stitches on the 1st needle. Went to bed.

Next morning photos (2 & 4) with coffee! No DAY ONE blogging until ALL of the yarn that just came out with a simple little tug gets knit up.

Just Like Bobsledding?

Knitting Olympics
My "winter sport" to cheer along for is Bobsledding - while participating in the REAL Olympics of Knitting. Sara said I HAD to pick a sport . . . this may be the first time I've ever watched the opening ceremonies!! Well, once I found the Canadian station broadCASTING-ON realtime! NOTHING on US basic CABLE @ nearly $100 a month now? Don't get me started!!

I wasted many minutes trying to find which channel the Olympics were on!!

So IF my French Market Bag is to my Bobsledding: My boot has come untied, I've lost a mitten, I spent an hour trying to push the thing out of the starting gate . . . only to fall a couple of times and knock my helmet crooked. I can hardly see where I'm going......

(PHOTO: what happens when you can't find the freaking end to a center pull skein, so you stick 2 fingers in and PULL!)

BUT now I'm IN and we hope All Downhill From Here is a GOOD THING?

Having trouble with pattern M1's - hoping YO's will do...and I think the pattern is wrong - or I'm reading it wrong because I kept coming out a stitch short on the first needle. Doing it my way now - seems to be working.

Many false starts/frogging (?) trying to make 8 stitches start out with 5 DPN's (#7) go in a circle!! There was pitiful stomping of foot and cursing - mostly under my breath - low voice...well, except that one time... :) And Jazz kicked me with her paw 3 or 4 times trying to convince me I'd forgotten to feed her, so she got my first Olympic Poke with a DPN . . . softly though, cause I love her!!

PROGRESS: I have 80 stitches on the needles this morning. (first time 5 DPNer :) Only tore it out about 12 times. There's GOT to be an easier way to start this thing?

Looks like it's going to be a "Bumpy Ride"!!!
(Now I qualify for a Harry Potter Olympic button, too!)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fabric Postcards

The perfect mini project that can can be done in a day or two. I like trying out new ideas & different techniques. Joining a fabric card group allows swapping postcards through the mail - nice to see what others have come up with. Internet swapping has to be taken with a great leap of faith, though. The more swaps I've signed up for, the longer the list of people who do NOT keep their side of the swap. It's bumming me out!

I joined 4 x 6 lives - monthly fabric postcard journals that we keep for ourselves.
January is done! My mom taught me to make socks...took me 'til January to get it right!


I'm IN!

I officially logged in at YARN HARLOT to sign up for the knitting olympics. I was going to do the Fiber Trend Felted Clogs but decided there would be "pitiful whining, sobbing and ACTUAL stabbing of family members with pointy sticks". The rules say there's to be NO CRYING and no THREATENING FAMILY MEMBERS WITH POINTED STICKS.

(UPDATE! I have officially been accepted onto Team DPN for the Knitting Olympics. Stabbing with Pointy Sticks encouraged...awesome! I've already warned Sara. Tom doesn't get a warning ;)

So I decided on the French Market Bag.
Will need to buy more wool before Friday but I have the right sized needles. For the clogs I would have had to visit our new ACMoore store (with 40% coupon in hand!) to add to my growing stash of needles. I like making both socks at the same time...sort of. I do each sock on a set of DPN's from either end of the skein - working on them together so each sock is about at the same stage before decreasing the toes & binding off.

Instead I can use the coupon on wool. ;)

New Embroidery Guild

Last week the local "craft" column BY HAND in Bangor Daily News reported there would be a meeting at Cityside Yarn for all interested in keeping the needle arts alive in this area. It probably mentioned the theme of the day was to be lessons in Hardanger. I didn't know what that actually was and I didn't expect to stay the 10 - 2 time frame the article mentioned. But I did. And tried
Hardanger for the first time. It should actually be described as the embroidery technique about to disabuse you of the notion that your eyesight is still as good as it ever was! I had noticed for a while now that anything too close to my nose was a little blurry. The simple act of stretching out my arm a bit makes things come back into clearer focus. BUT I had convinced myself the blurry item started out too close to my nose in the first place and I see perfectly well, thank you.

UNTIL SATURDAY! February 4th may be the date forever known as the day I admitted a visual truth. Longer Arms or better light a must!