Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Will Not Give Up!

This is just a brief little note to myself that is based on perseverance.  I struggled for the first two rows on the Fair Isle vest.  I was determined to do everything according to Meg Swanson's video.  I was going to set up my pattern work just like Meg.

Okay, Okay!  Not exactly like Meg's vest, but close. 

So after unknitting the second row not once, not twice, but three times, I screamed.  I am sure that this is early onset dementia.  I cannot believe this could be so hard.  I got to the last stitch, and I was one stitch off somewhere in 288 stitches!  ARGGGGH!

Why was this so hard?  I have done Fair Isle before.  I have done charts before.  I have done more complicated knitting than this.  What is wrong?

I went to bed so frustrated that my eyes were watering from trying to read the damn chart.  I lay in bed thinking about the damn thing, and I finally gave up and went back into the living room/knitting room and went back over the thing from the beginning.  I finally found the mistake within the first 20 stitches, which meant I would have to unknit back to that mistake.   The next day, of course.

Well, after a fitful night of sleep, I tackled the dreaded vest thing while I was fresh and the light was bright.  I unknit to the mistake, counted out loud, and got to the end without a mistake.  And I did what I had been taught by my grandmother-I set up markers in certain places that tell me if I am on track.  And it worked!  I went back to my own way of doing the thing, and it worked!

I am cruising along now with one OXO and one Peerie finished.  I am on the second OXO and I am sailing along.  I know immediately when I have a mistake and I unknit back to that spot and continue on without frustration.  Sorry Meg-I can't do it your way.  I have to do it my way.

And one might ask-Why is it so hard to get this thing going?  It is because I am centering the pattern so that there is the center of an X on the front and the center of an O on the back.  It makes it "pleasing" to the eye.  Or something like craziness.

Anyway, now I am unsure if I like the color of the Peerie.  I am going to look at it again in the daylight.  It seems awful bright to me.  Like "Look at me" bright instead of blending in pretty.  I am unsure if I can actually unknit that much knitting.  Is it worth it?

My brown semi-gansey is still growing, but it is slow going.  I pick it up when my eyes bother me from chart work.  And it is faster knitting than two-hand stranded work.

I can actually do the Fair Isle while t.v. is going now.   So my method is working.  I only made one mistake last night, and I figured it out before the marker came up.

No other news.  My neighbors are gone for a coupla months, and I am getting the mail, the newspaper, and checking on the house once a week.   I talked to one of their sons and he wanted to make sure I would call him for anything that goes on at his folks house.  This is my third winter to do this and I can't understand why everyone is so nervous this year.

I leave you with these two definitions.  People tell me I am stubborn, and I can be bullheaded.  But there is a big difference.  Have a good weekend.  

Perseverance-Steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness
Stubborn-Unreasonably, often perversely unyielding; bullheaded. Firmly resolved or determined resolute

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Lot of Sun, A Little Spring, A Few Storms

Okay, I know that everyone and everybody has talked about the weather.  But isn't it weird?  Today I have the back door open and the heat is turned off.  Patty likes the opportunities of going out and exploring all on her very own.  I allow her the freedom because that is a big step for a scared little dog.

And then there were the tornadoes!  I know that every time there is unusual warm weather and sudden colder weather that collide "up there" some where, there are serious storms.  I also know that that is usually the case from March on around here.  Whew! 

I feel like I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We have February and March to get through yet.

I am plugging along on the semi-gansey with the stockinette knitting round and round.  I am a teeny bit over halfway up to arm hole.  The Fair Isle vest is coming along.  Now that I have my tried and true method in place, I am having success with the knitting.  I am almost through with the first OXO section.  I am ready to see a Peerie show up. 

I finally opened the door to my sewing room and straightened up the mess in there.  I am forcing myself to finish the binding on the quilt that was laying over the back of the chair.  I pat the pretty blocks I last worked on, but I am going to finish that binding.  It felt really good to feel the cloth again.

My friend CF spent the night Sunday night, and we went to the new Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville yesterday.  It is very lovely and the architecture is fabulous.  They have a nice collection for a beginning and it will be interesting to see what they add. 

Today my friend CS came over with her spinning wheel.  She felt like she needed a refresher course, but I allowed her to just feel her own way through getting started and spinning.  She does fine and just needs some encouragement to "just do it".   We had a great catch-up on everyone and some gossip, and it was fun to just "visit" over the wheels.  She is going to take her wheel with her to Colorado when they go next.  That will be great quiet time to just sit down and spin.  She finally relaxed when we got back from lunch, and I didn't have to say much.

So two days of visits and I am tired.  Isn't this my time to be a hermit?  I guess with the nicer weather people are out and about.

I almost have the shed cleaned out and organized.  I watched Peter Walsh on the OWN network last night and that motivates me to get rid of more stuff.  The people he helped last night had an airplane hangar filled to the rafters with "stuff".  Whew!

Jeopardy is on.  Gotta go.  Have a good week!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January Is A Strange Month

 A while back, I asked a photographer why I always have trouble photographing my skeins of yarn.  I know I have a little bitty point-and-shoot camera, but surely there has to be some way to take a good pic of yarn.  My main problem is the glare that comes from the skein.  I don't know if there is something in the fiber or the dye, but it glares.  The photographer suggested I get a portable light diffuser and try that.  So I got one.  My photo assistant had to help me with this.  This first shot is with the sun behind me.  See my shadow?  This one is with the sun facing me, but the camera down facing the light diffuser. 

 We seem to be having a little turf problem in the family.  Noodles has tried to be the dominant one in this family.  Friday night he took over Patty's new bed.  This is Patty's Christmas present and she LOVES her bed.  Well, you can imagine what happened when Patty saw that.  She rolled her eyes and couldn't get up courage to take it back.  So she jumped in my chair and made a nest of the towel I keep in the chair for pet hair.  I took the chair back, straightened the towel, and told her to get up her courage and let him know what she wanted. 
 So she jumped up on the chaise, turned her back, kicked everything off that she could, tried to dig up the quilt that is on the chaise for pet hair, and generally sulked through the evening.  It was  pathetic.
Today, two days later, Noodles ate a few bites of Patty's breakfast.  I don't think he has the teeth to chew such big bites.  But he managed two bites.  This is pathetic.  And dramatic, huh?

So this is my photo of the newest yarn.  There is no glare.  As he suggested I added a black board to absorb light.  The only problem now is washed out colors.  The pink is really coral and the blue is really turquoise.  So I am happy I fixed the glare problem.  Just how to do I get real color?
So what is happening with the weather?  If anyone figures it out, let me know.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

In knitting, I am working on the semi-gansey I am planning.  I love, love, love the targhee wool I am using.  I am convinced that this is going to be one tough sweater.  It will be an everyday sweater for sure.  No fancy stuff with this sweater.

I am also knitting the ribbing on the Fair Isle vest.  I finally made some decisions on the colors I want in it, and ordered all the yarn Friday night.  I think it will be non-traditional by the time I get it done.  I am using a  k1p1 rib instead of the corrugated rib.  The person I am knitting this for is thin and uses his vests as a substitute for fat stores.  So I wanted a snug rib to hold it close to his body.  There is more stretch there with this rib and I think it is more appropriate for him.  I am also doing the ribbing in a light color instead of a dark color.  He wears khaki pants a lot, and I think the color I chose will go with the khaki pants.  There will be less transition between colors.  Okay, I know that last one is an excuse for using the lighter color instead of the darker color.  But I think it will work just fine.  

I haven't been spinning this week at all.  I finished the stretched merino, and I am so not in love with stretched merino.  I have been knitting like crazy on the two sweaters.  I also taught a class yesterday, and I had to knit my sample pieces and get the instruction sheets copied, etc. 

So what to spin now!?  Well, I think I want to tackle the camel/merino that I bought a long time ago.  There isn't a lot there, but I can always order more if I get excited about it.  I also have a new bit of BFL handpainted that is really yummy looking.  4 ozs is multi-Fall colors of cranberry, orange, green and yellow.  4 ozs is just cranberry.  I like it a lot. 

Has anyone else noticed there is nothing on t.v. any more?  I have my favorite shows, and I suffered through all the Christmas reruns.  I like HGTV, but I don't care about million-dollar homes and how people decorate them.  I also cannot take the sulky, spoiled kids who are buying a home and want two sinks in their private bathroom, a spa tub, a rain shower, and BIG walk-in closets.  And big, beautiful kitchens that have all their wants included.  I was flipping through channels and I caught, "I don't really cook anything at all, but I want to be able to have my friends hang out in a pretty setting.  I need a lot of room to go from the refrigerator and microwave."  Please tell me this is crazy!

Well, it is time to go see if there are any podcasts I want to listen to while I putz around in the studio.  I just finished a good audio book, and I may have to get another one out of the local library.  

Have a good week.  I think we are to have rain tomorrow, and one bad cold day.  But the rest is looking good.  What a strange January this is!! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Knitting Universe

Just some random thoughts today.  I am slowly moving into hibernation since the weather is holding nice for a while.

Patty and I went to a local state park and hiked on one of the trails there on Sunday.  It was a lovely day-a little bit of wind and just the right temperature.  I was a little bit nervous when I came to the bluff.  We have a topography here of carst limestone.  We have lots and lots of bluffs that just drop off to a steep decline.  I walked quickly past that so Patty wouldn't explore the edge. 

I am knitting something of my own design.  I used a basic pattern for a recipe, then I took off with that.  We will see how it turns out.  I am knitting in the round, round and round and round.  Then when I get closer to the yoke, I will add some colorwork.

I wrote down a quote from Cast On.  It is a podcast with Brenda Dayne.  There are "looking moments" in knitting-usually at the end.  This is when you look at something you have made and you are marveling at how good it looks and how skilled you are and how much you love the yarn and how great you feel.  I like that.  I wish I wasn't so critical of what I do.  It is marvelous when I spin the yarn and knit the garment.  Or when you knit something that is made of a gorgeous yarn that is so soft and cuddly.

I am spinning this yarn that is made from "stretched merino".  I am not enamored of this process of messing up a good fiber.  It is supposed to give the look of silk when finished.  Well, it does look silky in the sheen, and it is "heavy", but merino is supposed to be soft and poofy and squishy.  This is not that.  It is easy to spin, though, and I guess that is a good thing. 

CJE and I spent the day Saturday going to the LYS in Bentonville,and we did some sitting and knitting.  She said that someone mentioned to her that she seems to be knitting a lot.  She told them "When I am sittin', I am knittin'"  I guess in a perfect Knitting Universe, we would not seem to be so strange when we knit all the time.  It would not seem so strange if we only go to functions that have places to sit and knit while you listen to the speaker or to the music or whatever.  It would also be nice to have someone who knows the language too. 

R and H are going to go to Mt. Magazine to celebrate their first anniversary.  I hope the weather holds out for them.  They spent New Year's with R's cousin Shelley King in Austin.  She is a professional singer/songwriter, and they were her guest at her gig New Year's Eve.  I hope they had fun.  My brother told me they stayed out really late, although he and his wife did not participate in any late night stuff.

It is funny how both of my brother's daughters look so much like my mother.  I showed some friends a video of Shelley, and the picture of my mother on my shelf.  They couldn't believe it.  And the younger daughter looks more like mother because she is so thin.  She has certain mannerisms that I recognize as Mother's.  Weird, huh?

I did some yard work last week, and my sinuses paid for that.  It was just a little bit cool, with some wind, and all the mildew, dust, and whatever particles flew up my nose.  I guess I just wanted to be out in the sun.  It was so nice last week.  We are having sunny, cooler weather so far this week.

So enough of this stupid random thought stuff.  I am going to go sew.  Have a good week.  We are moving into the first week of 2012!