Friday, February 26, 2016

The Sweater That Took Too Long

Yes!  It is finally finished-except for buttons, of course.  It took too damn long to make this thing.  It should have been a quick and easy project.

Everything I make has its own story.  Some stories just linger around in my head, but they are there.  This sweater began a long, long time ago (?two years ago).  A weaver in our guild died and her sisters put her things in an estate sale.  Luckily for us, they brought a LOT of her yarns and tools to a sidewalk sale for our guild prior to a meeting a coupla years ago.  I felt like I had fallen into a fantasy land and I couldn't imagine this much stuff.  Then I realized all the others around me were grabbing things and holding onto things.  Kick yourself into gear, girl!

Have you seen those videos of the brides that go crazy at the wedding dress sales in NYC?  Well, it was like that.  Grabbing, holding onto, and pushing aside others were just part of the action.  I spotted something in one box I wanted.  I started grabbing and pushing yarns aside.  I wanted everything I could find of this yarn.

The red is much deeper in color-a dark red.  First off I have to confess I don't like worsted weight yarns.  These were.  So I got them anyway.  The color, you know.

So milling around in my head all this time is-what am I going to do with these yarns?  I decided a sweater, perhaps.  This is how my brain works.  I put ideas in there, it mills around forever, and eventually an idea will shape itself.  Sometimes it doesn't.  I don't put a lot of faith in the system, but it works for me.

When it gets closer to making a decision-this is a coupla years later, mind you- I peruse Ravelry and other pattern sites.  I look through books I have.  I look at all kinds of things.  The thing holding me back was the yardage I had.  Of the blue there was only 875yards; the red had 346 yards.  Not really enough to make a sweater.  Combined there was 1221 yards, which is enough, but how to decide to combine the two colors.  I thought of color-stranded.  Discarded that idea.  I thought of all kinds of things.  I was just so afraid I would run out of blue.  The blue yarn is Tahki Wools Windsor Tweed.  It is a discontinued yarn.  This was it for the blue.  I was pretty sure I could get more of the red if I tried super-duper extra hard.  Hmmm.

So here I am with my friend CJE at The Yarn Barn in Kansas.  We are just like little kids in a candy store.  I didn't have anything I HAD to have.  Suddenly I was in the Tahki and tweedy yarn area.  I saw some red that kinda looked like what I remembered mine looked like.  I started picking up balls of yarn and laying them around.  I was really thinking hard.  It was like the puzzles were beginning to slide into place.  I decided it would be a simple, top-down raglan cardigan.  It would be simple to make.  It would be plain ole sweater.  I would make stripes with the red and this brown and this brown.  I had my idea in place.  So I bought the two browns-knowing fully that they were a different yarn and a lighter weight.  They also had mohair in them-so I knew there would be a fuzz factor.

So now I have a rustic throw- around and throw- on type of cardigan.  It should have been a fast knit. Stockinette is boring.  I kept putting it in the pile and knitting on something else.  I would pick it up and work some more.  I would put it back in the pile and knit something else.  I finished it despite all that.

What I learned to pay attention to is my process.  It is best to not worry too much.  The pieces will fall into place.  It is the right sweater pattern for this yarn.  A simple rustic sweater.

And...... I have two full skeins of the blue and a partial left over.  I have one full skein of the red and a partial.  And whatever is leftover of the two browns.  Plenty!

Taking a deep sigh to know that I completed another sweater and it is pretty and it is worsted weight.  All my others are either fingering weight or somewhere around a DK weight. 

So right now I only have a pair of socks on my needles.  What to do now?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February Has Two Birthdays in My Family!

Before I rush off to discuss my family, I just want to give a shout out to a movie on Netflix- Evening.  I had never heard of it, but since it has so many notable names (Vanessa Redgrave and Meryl Streep) I had to watch it.  OMG!  This was the best movie.  I think I could watch it again if I had to.  Why has no one mentioned this movie?

I am really excited about something I purchased last week.  India Flint has spent the summer in Australia thinking of ways to reach people that want to know more about her work.  She knows that folks just can't afford to jet around to places where she teaches.  Most of her workshops in the US and Canada are sold out in hours.  There is only so much one can absorb with books.  Yes, dyeing is practice and practice and practice.  So first off- she set up a private group on Facebook and newest info is posted there.  It is a fast way to get information disseminated.  Then she has created a new card game for dyers.  It is four sets of ten cards.  Three sets will have words or instructions printed on them.  The fourth is for notes or whatever we want to put on them.  When she received them from her printer, she then dyed on a whole lot of them.  That is cool too.  She said the person could use them like a tarot reading-pull one card from each pile.  Then figure out how to use that info.  Or one could just pull one card and do that activity.  The fun will begin soon.  She is preparing them for mailing out on February 29.  She is wrapping the sets in a piece of cloth that she will have dyed.  They are placed in a cardboard box for shipping.  She wanted to do a small wooden box, but the postal service told her she would have to go through a lot of customs crap declaring what is in the box, etc.  She also added an option of a dyed silk scarf for an additional fee.  I chose not to get that.

I think I mentioned that I am trying to walk every day.  My friend CJE gave me a FitBit primarily to monitor my heart rate.  I find that it does not record every step I am taking on the treadmill.  I tried to discuss this with the company without any success.  Nonetheless, it has been entertaining to view my sleep habits and the steps I take.  I am trying unsuccessfully to pay attention to the weight part.  With my history of anorexia, I am really not supposed to even use a scale.  Since I have been dealing with this for over 45 years, I think I can handle weighing once a week.  The weight is not as important to me as the Lean vs Fat part.  I really need to lose some fat.  Don't we all?

I did a strange thing this week.  I decided to go to Devil's Den State Park.  I walked a trail that  I always walk- and that I haven't had any difficulty with- because it is a loop trail.  It is only 1.5 miles. Perfect for a day that was in the 50's.  I really didn't think anything about the fact that it is a mountainous terrain-lots of up and down and roots and rocks and there were downed trees to climb over.  I got about halfway when my gas ran out.  It was a lot of sputtering and then boom! no more gas.  I leaned up against a tree thinking about my options.  Essentially it was a lot of pep talking to myself.  "you got yourself in this, now get yourself out"  "I got down here and I have to get up there" and looking up the bluff line.    As I was climbing up the rock steps to the top of the bluff, I would say "one step at a time"  "one step at a time"  rest, rest, rest  "one step at a time".

Once I was back at the car and leaning on the head rest, I had to plan how quickly I could find something to eat.  I was thinking I needed fuel.  I stopped at McDonald's and got an egg mcmuffin.  They are 300 calories with some protein in it.

After I am home for perhaps 30 minutes, I think that my blood pressure must be sky rocketing.  My ears are ringing.  No-my blood pressure was actually Hypotensive.   So this was perhaps one hour after my episode.  I wonder what my blood pressure had been when I was leaning on the tree wondering how I was going to get back to the car? 

The other thing is my FitBit gave me a badge because I had climbed 25 flights of stairs. 

Well, my body is beginning to fall apart.  I just have a hard time changing with this. 

Now to family matters.  My brother's birthday is next week.  My little grand-nephew's birthday is in 18 days.  Hmmm.

I had a dream about my brother's dog.  We had a great conversation about her sailboat with two sails and how much fun she has sailing.  So I started painting a picture of this for my brother.  I spent the best part of two days working and I hated it.  It was AWFUL!  So this morning I put aside the stupid board I was painting on.  I pulled out a sheet of my watercolor paper.  I did a fast sketch and I loved it.  It was whimsical and obviously just a sketch.  Not a painting-just a quick sketch.  I also wrote a short story of our conversation about sailing.  So those are now packaged with a note explaining it. On the outside of the note I wrote From Sukie and Judy.
.I like it.  It is silly and funny all at the same time.

MH will be getting a hat from me.  He is at the age that he will probably pull it off.  I just thought he needed a new hat when they go to Colorado.  I have to find him a new book too.  That's what Aunties provide.  Knitwear and books.  Ha!

I am still spinning the mystery brown stuff.  I am still knitting my girlfriend's socks.  I haven't touched that last sleeve on my sweater that is taking too long. 

I also have not woven.  I made a promise to weave every day.  Hasn't happened.  I had another one of my memory jumps this week.  I remember when I was wanting to weave Josef Albers color studies to demonstrate how color works differently with fiber vs. painting.  That was nixed by my art advisor.  I don't know if that shipped has sailed.  I don't know if it is something that still needs to be done.  I just don't know.  Too much happened this week after that epiphany.  I will have to think on it.

I watched a wonderful video with Susun Weed about Artemis Vulgaris-Croneswort.  Most folk call it Mugwort.  Susun's plants told her it does not like to be called Mugwort.  It makes one think of drinking from a mug.  I think I will have to go to YouTube and watch more of her videos.  She is a wonderful storyteller.  She also said that was how people knew where the herbalist lived.  There would be Croneswort growing right by the door.  When folk moved to the city, they would hang the dried plant by the door or paint a picture of it on their door.  I have it growing by my back step.  I have had these plants for at least 20+ years.

Herbs are such wonderful plants.  They have been around for a lot longer than pharmaceuticals have.  It's too bad that alternative medicine is not given more credit. 

Well, I have chattered a long, long time today.  Enjoy the sunshine.  It is a beautiful weekend.