Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sweater Pergatory

I was digging through my sweater trunk the other day & found a store bought sweater that I've had since high school, really. It's fairly pilly & somewhat grubby looking. I'm never gonna wear it again--so now it is in sweater pergatory. Sweater pergatory is between still being worn & donated to charity. I'm trying to determine....can this sweater be something else? Maybe a cool cat/dog bed, a throw pillow, a cushion for my spinning chair, a tote bag, a basket...? (for some reason I just recalled a scene from the movie Airplane when 2 characters are in the airport playing with a piece of paper...: Steve McCroskey: Johnny, what can you make out of this? [Hands him the weather briefing] Johnny: This? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl...source:

Thus I have begun to wonder about sweater shavers. I checked out Ravelry & learned that most people use disposable razors (now I know what to use all the razors my MIL puts in my hubby's christmas stocking every year--that he doesn't ever use); lots of people use electric shavers (I actually have one of these); and some people use scissors. I also learned to never use an electric razor (unless I want my sweater to look like its holey from being worn in The Matrix).

On the needles: I have frogged & completed the neck gaitor for an xmas gift. I couldn't stand the two colors blended. I used the Yak Neck Cuff pattern on pg 237 of Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders(this is the only one skein book I have in my library--I Love I!).
I also started a lace cashmere scarf. This is a kit purchased from one of my LYS. Since this scarf is a gift for the holidays, I have put the Modern Quilt Wrap on hold.

My social project is a pair of socks from the sock yarn that I dyed at the last spinning guild weekend. Sorry, no picture--they're only 3" long anyway, so your not missing much.

Now that it has become cold & dreary her in southern New England, I have time to "read". I cannot knit without looking. So I'm actually listening to audiobooks. I'm currently listening to "Autobiography of a Yogi" and "Twilight". I'm surprised at how interesting both books are! I will probably get a paper copy of "Autobiography...." so that I can study it further & possibly apply some principles to my yoga practice.

Jazzy had her teeth cleaned last week & had one tooth pulled. She is friskier that ever (swatting at my knitting needle last night--while I was using it. Yes, I dropped & found the stitches). We are hoping her upper respiratory infection will improve now that the nasty tooth is out.

On a non-knitting note: I have entered the modern world & joined Facebook. I have spend lots of time there & still somehow managed to neglect my farm enough that my virtual horse was eating the dried on the stalk corn or wheat instead of the grass. Which reminds me I better harvest my strawberries...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New family member

My 14 year old cat, Nutmeg, died in early September, due to kidney failure. She was the most friendly cat you would have ever met. Exactly a week after Nutty was put down, a small black & white kitty came out of the bushes to greet me when I came home from work. It was a very busy time--I think I was on a 11 day stretch without any day off from any work commitments. I gave kitty a scratch & went in.

The next day, kitty said Hi again. I gave kitty a scratch & offered her some of Nutmeg's food that hadn't been dropped off at Little Guild or returned to the vet yet. Of course, I put out fresh water & a box with an old sweatshirt.

I asked everyone I knew & ran into that week, if anyone would like a friendly kitty. She's so friendly that the neighborhood kids could pick her up by the scruff & she wouldn't struggle. She played with the kids every day after school.

When talking to the neighbors about the cat, someone reported a car driving into our parking area late Saturday night, turning the lights off, then driving away. (The next day there was kitty). Kitty went to visit my hubby while he worked on his bike in the garage. He claims she jumped up on the workbench & curled up like she belonged there (he put food & water in the garage & we sheltered kitty for a night). I put kitty in the garage a second night. I later found out that everyone in the neighborhood was worried about kitty with the rain coming. Several people put out pet taxi's for kitty to hide in.

After a week outside, we allowed the kitty in with the intention of fostering the kitty (now called katkat) until a new home could be found. I made arrangements to take the katkat to the vet the following Friday. At the vet I learned that katkat is negative for leukemia, free of fleas & mites, is 4 years old or more, and has horrible teeth--so bad that they need to be cleaned & one possibly pulled.

We have decided to keep katkat. We are saving money to have her teeth cleaned & tooth pulled. During the saving period, we hope that she doesn't go into heat as that indicates that she is already spayed (no scar is felt on her belly). I guess this means that I'm on a yarn diet---just after Rhinebeck (we won't discuss those acquisitions yet).

"Jazzy" is doing much better after a week on antibiotics for her cold & it probably helps her tooth. She has become even more frisky. She is scheduled for her teeth to be taken care of within the next couple of weeks.

On a botanical note: MY ORCHID BLOOMED!!!!!!! It took 2 years, but isn't it pretty?

The photo on the left is Salta, my hubby, & Zappa taking a break on Bear Mt in Salisbury, CT in October. The leaves were at peak--sorry no pictures of those--we were hurrying to get away from all the tourists at the top of the mountain.

On the needles: I just finished my last pair of sock wars detonator socks, destined for WI. My socks from my assassin are on their way from Norway. There are only 3 of us left in the war--the postal service will determine the winner I suppose.

I'm working on a smoke ring scarf for a Christmas gift. I'm not sure if I like it.....I didn't buy enough yarn (I was planning on making 2 separate regular scarves) so using my knitterly genius......I changed colors after each pattern repeat (see picture below). I'll either give to it's intended recipient or keep for myself & get the appropriate amount of yarn for the smoke ring. It's make from E. Lavold Silky Cashmere. Your comments are appreciated.

Surviving September

September is a busy month for me normally--bike riding, birthdays, my anniversary, last chance to squeeze in vacations, and special events for my business. Then add to that the unexpected--someone resigned at my "day" job (this would be the job where I get my insurance benefit) & I've been filling in to cover, my practice has been busy, I was invited to be a guest speaker to talk about yoga, and my 14 year old cat, Nutmeg, went into kidney failure & had to be put down. After all that, this past weekend I finally got some "me" time playing with fiber.
This past Saturday Kris from The Painted Sheep spoke at my spinning guild meeting about dying fiber. I've been wanting to do this all year! To prepare for my own dye pot trials, I purchased a few books, some basic dyes, some bare yarn & fiber, cheap stock pots, etc. I was so glad that I had asked for the weekend off 'cause then I found out that there was a follow-up workshop on Sunday--I signed up right away. Below are my results:
BFL roving (candy corn colorway)

Alpaca/Merino/Silk blended roving (sherbert colorway)
Tencel Merino roving (try to match Kris's socks colorway)
Superwash Sock yarn (caribbean colorway)

The following are pictures of my hubby sewing!!! Now before you think how lucky I am...the material he prefers to use for this task is fishing line. He agreed to give sewing thread a shot in this photo op.

For knitting: I finished my 7th pair of sock wars socks. USPS confirmed delivery yesterday10/6. I'm not dead yet--then again, I haven't visited the mailbox yet either. I'll post my death socks as soon as I get them.
I cast on for the modern quilt wrap & a skull & cross bones dog sweater. Ogee lace skirt needs to be frogged to rescue line & work out the error in the last pattern repeat--will need some wine for that. All of this is being tempered by the strong urge to spin my freshly dyed rovings---Thanks Kris for the great workshop!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sock Wars Summer

I've been thinking about my blog alot since my last post....about what I should be working on, I should post about this activity, if I only brought my camera, I need to work less so I can play more, etc. But all of this thinking didn't bring me any closer to posting. What have I been doing all this time? Oh, I've been knitting, cycling, & of course working. I, like most people, don't like to talk about work any more than necessary. So that leaves knitting & cycling.

I completed enough training to do the 75 mile Tour of Litchfield Hills in August & this past weekend I completed 100mile Flattest Century in the East (the tropical storm left just in time, so we only had to contend with wind). Yes, both rides are completed in a single day. Both rides took me approximately 6 1/2 hours to complete (the century took me about 10-15 min longer)--amazing the difference that the terrain can have over many miles. Maybe online driving directions should offer "flattest route" options to conserve gas milage in addition to "shortest", "fastest", etc.

What about my knitting you ask? If you remember, I signed up for SockWars III which began in May with about 1200 knitters. There are now less that 50 warriors. I have completed 6 pairs of socks since this war began! Two pair from scratch & the rest were completing works in progress. I am very tired of the pattern & was greatful to learn that I have been assigned a new assassin--my original assassin dropped out last week. I was hoping that the fluffy envelope in my mailbox today was a completed pair of socks, but it really was my prize for winning the 1000th kill contest--a nice ball of Tofutsies. Thank you Helen!

In anticipation of receipt of a completed pair of socks prior to yet another SIP (socks in progress), I cast on for the pirate dog sweater over the weekend. This will be my first shot at intarsia.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vacationing close to home

Like most people this year, my vacation is a little different than year's past. No long trips in the car. No evenings studying maps to prepare for days upon days spent in the wild. No stressing about something that I may have forgotten (like my passport). I'm spending 5 days getting back to nature in my own back yard. Well, not just the back yard.

It has been so damn hot & humid that the only place to be is near water. Since I live in a condo & I don't want to test the condo rules for use of sprinklers for summer refreshment, I broke out the long neglected kayak & went paddling. I went out yesterday afternoon & all day today. Today I remembered to bring knitting, food, & fishing gear (notice which is listed first).

Thankfully I got minimal sunburn (how is it that even though I thought I thoroughly put on sunscreen, it is now very apparent every spot that I missed), got several rows done on my latest sock for SockWars (yes, it is still going, & yes I'm still alive), caught many fish (the largemouth bass, rock bass, pickerel, & pumpkin seeds were all returned quickly & without me even having to lip or touch one fish). The whole day ended with a well needed, heavy shower that lasted just long enough to cause a traffic jam at the boat launch, arguments among spouses regarding getting wet while husbands loaded their power boats(it's important to note that the same spouses were wearing swim suits & just moments before were seen wading in the lake), and cleared out the entire lake for two women to swim in peace & quiet.

I also took lots of pictures of lily pads & their beautiful of which now greets you at the top of the blog.

Plans for tomorrow? Yoga, then maybe the beach.....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mercury in retrograde

It's been so long since my last post.....for those astrology buffs out there who are aware of the whole 'mercury in retrograde' thing(sorry, you'll just have to google it, I'm not explaining it here) knitting also reflects this:

So, what is this really? It is the practice for a skull & cross bone dog sweater. I've never done intarsia before & I thought I should practice with large acrylic yarn (it's taking up valuable realestate in the stash---it's like the slum yarn that is one block away from the mansion snobbery) before embarking on the actual project.

I learned not to try to have less sewing in by carrying yarn across the back (diagonally no less), because it causes puckering. I also learned that I should not try to make up my own knitting techniques yet.

On the spinning forefront, I went to the latest guild meeting & left with lots of new learning about how to spin handpainted rovings. Here are my swatches:

The one to the left is a "softly spun" single that allows long bands of color. It's not my photography slants horribly to the right.

This one is the result of a center pull ball plied from both ends. I must admit that I really need to practice winding a center pull ball using the nostepinne, so that it doesn't collapse. I won't tell you how long it took me to untangle the single so that I could ply it properly.

This swatch is the result of the 3 bobbins method. "Identical" singles are plied together from 2 seperate bobbins. Needless to say that my singles weren't identical.

The last swatch is an example of my attempt at navajo plying. I'm using the remainder of my practice roving to "get" how to navajo ply without ending up with rope or a dreadlock.

Finally here is the picture of the 2ply "Pudge"the alpaca yarn. Sent to me earlier this year. I still have to spin the other lovely alpaca roving that came with Pudge from Michigan. but I need to wrap up the stuff currently on my bobbins (which also includes my homespun w/angelina snowflake coaster---more reason to learn how to navajo ply something finer than rope).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sock Wars Update

I received my SIPs (socks in progress) on Saturday 5/24. One sock was entirely completed. The second sock was completed to the heel flap. So I really didn't have much knitting to do & the new target had even smaller feet that my original target.

I finished the socks yesterday & aired them out overnight (the socks & I somehow were always down wind of the campfire that was cooking our chicken at a picnic).

I just got back from the shipping place--it will take 7 days to get to Saskatoon Canada. I checked out the location on Google Earth 'cause the package place people kept saying "it's up there" when I asked how far Saskatoon is. Well, first of all, it's in Saskatchewan, which is north of Montana in the US. It's 2192 miles away from Torrington, CT.

I think the coolest thing about sock wars is that I would have never checked out the things to do in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Maybe the next time I'm out that way I'll try curling or lawn bowling or even the Cankerworm Festival that's held in the end of May.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sock Wars III status: I'm still alive

Sock wars diary:
5/9 received pattern 2pm. Cast on. Finish cuff.
5/10 work to heel & gussett
5/11 finish foot & kitchener toe. Cast on for 2nd sock
5/12 finish to heel.
5/13 Gusset
5/14 foot
5/15 finish off. Package up for mailing.

At this very moment I'm still alive in sock wars (meaning I haven't received a completed pair of socks in the mail). I mailed my socks off Friday afternoon to my target in Washington state. I expect that fightingpixie should be suffering her last breath with nice over sized socks. Why oversized? Well, the pattern was a bit loose. I hope that she can use them for bed socks in the very least. Although my "too loose" handknit socks that were given to me as a gift seem to fall off while I twist around in bed.

So here I sit waiting. I'm kinda impressed that I finished a pair of socks in a week--thank goodness for small feet!

In the meantime, I went for a 60 mile road ride yesterday in Norwalk, CT. Nice ride. Got 2 flats both in rear tire. Got lectured about tire pressure by the volunteer shop wrenches (even though this wasn't my issue) the second flat was from a nail.

I casted on for a market bag 2 days ago. I have been enjoying slowly knitting & the ability to do other things like laundry, sleep, cook, & update blog/ravelry. I'm still working on the updating ravelry. Maybe I'll use this brief spot of sun I see right now to take a photo of the completed toe up lace socks for an xmas gift.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Trimming cat nails

I have an old cat. She's 13 & she has kidney problems. The prescription cat food has done wonders for her accidents however, she has gained a significant amount of weight. Nutmeg was curled up on my lap the other day & dug her rear claws into my leg & put a pull in my linen pants. As she walked away from me (apparently appalled at my lack of interest in her company), I became aware of her claws sticking to the berber carpet. The only thing left to do was trim the cats claws.

I enlisted the assistance of my hubby, got out an old towel & proceeded to clip one set of claws with minimal struggle. Then things got interesting.....

I finished 2 nails, & Nutmeg started kicking, wiggling & growling. I kept trying to trim another nail, but couldn't due to more kicking & wiggling. Hubby held Nutmeg tighter. Sensing that the cat was done with this foolishness, I told hubby to let her go. Nutmeg wiggled more, he squeezed more & then the unthinkable happened--the cat shot urine in a super soaker like stream, just missing my head. He eventually let her go, she walked away & nervously began licking her disheveled fur. We got changed & I cleaned up the floor.

I think Nutmeg has forgiven me for my stupidity in thinking that I would be able to complete this task. I wonder if she'll let me finish those last two nails while curled up on my lap. Don't worry, I'll make sure the knitting is well out of the way.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Much time has past since my last post, but you don't really need me to tell you that. I'll admit, I thought about blogging, but elected to sleep, eat, exercise, pet dog, worry about paying taxes, thought about asking the mortgage gods to pre-approve us, worry about the lump on my dog, clean bathroom, do laundry, & work....all instead of blogging.

I did accomplish some knitting & even some spinning in the past few weeks. I completed the red sweater & I even wore it a couple times. I've discovered that when I wear a sweater that I have knit I feel superhuman--like I'm wearing special armor that's even more impenetrable than "I"m rubber & your glue.....". I'm a little worried how I'll feel when I wear a sweater made from my handspun. Since it will be many months/years before I'm gutsy enough to knit with my own handspun, those of you who know me in person have enough time to prepare your own armor.

I'm nearly 3/4 finished with the baby surprise jacket and I'm pushing for a finish this week.

I finished the blue merino yarn (plied & set the twist). Since I had spinning guild this past Saturday, I took some of the alpaca(his name is Pudge) sent to me by North Star Alpacas. This stuff is dreamy!!!! I've never spun alpaca & I'm worried that I won't be able to go back to wool.

Took the dog to the vet this week for a lump that mysteriously appeared on her ribcage. Xrays showed nothing (good sign) so now we are just monitoring the lump & it appears to be shrinking (yet another good sign). Here is picture of Salta pretending to be good (she was probably looking for dirty underwear).

I have revisited my New Year's Resolutions & decided to add my progress to the sidebar--it makes me feel more productive. The number on the left of the slash is actual completed items, the number on the right is my goal. I hope to spin 2 hours per week, but would be happy with just one. Now that spring is around the corner & the pressure of spending more time in the bike saddle is getting stronger, I think it is more reasonable for me to blog bi-weekly or even monthly. I'll have to see how busy work is and how the cycling season unfolds.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Taming the March lion

The weather here has been typical New England...snow that allowed for 2 days of cross country skiing (I got lost in the woods & nearly had to back track to return to the car--now I know of even more really good XC skiing areas), crazy wind (was that your lawn chair in my front yard), front yard is super saturated with water (even the chihuahua makes squishy noises when he walks on the grass), and flooding (had to go to annual road trip to Falls Village to check out the shear power of the water pounding the rocks below the dam).

I made a great deal of progress on fiber projects. Finished the 2nd pair of baby booties for their 1st b-day (new knitting rule: don't promise to knit for twins). Discovered the cat doesn't like to wear boots...

Finished the deep breath sweater!!!!!! May need to re-knit one sleeve, it may be a little longer than the other arm (must have been those painkillers from January).

Finished spinning the singles of the blue merino roving. In process for plying....

I started to finish the red sweater (seaming the sleeves) but I've been so busy working that I haven't had enough time to focus on this very important part of the project. As it is right now, one sleeve is 3/4 of the way in. Sorry no picture.

This week I hope to finish the seaming & work on the baby suprise jacket & the lacey toe up socks. I will have my evenings free while I attend a craniosacral therapy workshop near Portland, ME. I hope that some of the knitters in Portland respond to my post on Ravelry inquiring about SnB gatherings. Either way, I get to relax and knit in peace (no dogs having to potty while I work my short row heel).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy VD!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I got a Nostipinne from my hubby--a gift only a knitter could love or even know what to do with it. I'm posting in a rush--testing the new modem & waiting for hubby to show so we can get to our dinner reservation on time. We're having sushi!!!!!!

Why do I have a new modem???? Well, the phone in was so staticy over the past few weeks I couldn't use our land line at all. I got a new cordless phone & still had static. Swapped to a different phone jack & still had static. Burned sage & still had static (ok, I realy didn't burn sage but I though about it when I heard how much it would cost if the phone guys diagnosed the problem was in our house). So today was buy & install a new modem....still had static. Re-plugged the phone line filter into the new phone....static gone.

Pictures next post...I promise. And maybe even a finished sweater!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tainted yarn, sparkly wool, & much knitting

So much has happened since my last post, I hope that I can remember it all.

Two Saturdays ago, I went to a toe up sock class. This process has been on my list of things to tackle & so far things are fairly straighforward. There is always the unfounded FEAR followed by the realization that "it's just knitting & I can rip it out". As a matter of fact the yarn that I'm using for the toe-up sock was originally for a cable sock that wasn't working. I'm sure the yarn is thankful it has a new destiny besides the stash trunk. The yarn has been dubbed "tainted yarn" (yes, I want you to have the one hit wonder "Tainted Love" recycling in your head...if I must suffer than so must you) by the girls at the Wed night knitting group at the local Barnes & Noble.

This past weekend I went to a Nutmeg Spinners meeting. I nearly finished the blue merino (the wonderful apaca that arrived in the mail is in the que next, but more on that later....). I only bought $20 of purple & sparkly white wool batts. Yes, the white has sparkles in it. After the people next to me saw what I got there was a buying frenzy.

Now for the true confession....I GOT HEMP IN THE MAIL (ok, ok, it was really hemp yarn) for my hubby's sweater. Hemp is the only material that he probably can't destroy by "forgetting" the care instructions. I have a really nice boiled wool sweater destined for a tote bag 'cause it doesn't fit DH, me or any of the dogs after improper laundering.

As of this date I have completed 3 of 4 booties needed for 1 year old twins. Their birthday party was on Sunday. Only one bootie was presented as a gift (while the grandparents were still awake) the second bootie was completed by the end of the "stupidbowl". I completed a 3rd today & cast on for the final bootie today as well.

I bound off the shoulder of the red sweater (this picture is from Jan 26th & resulted in the name "Calamari sweater") & tormented the brown sweater by working a few rounds at SnB last Wed. Oh, I'm up to the instep of the lace toe-up sock.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dear Brown Sweater,

As much as I adore the fact that you are my first top down sweater, our relationship isn't progressing as quickly as I thought. I need to put you down for a few weeks. I think we should be free to play with other yarn & needles for awhile. If you truly must know, there is this fluffy thick red & black yarn that has been calling me. It's flirtatious overtures can no longer be ignored. It's 3sts/inch gauge is just too appealing.

I hope that you can forgive me & trust that I will return. Trust that there will be a time when you can return to my lap with the dog(s) & cat on cold, windy, and/or rainy days.

Your Knitter

Monday, January 14, 2008

Don't Knit on Painkillers

The second sleeve of the Deep Breath Sweater is done. Both cuffs match (one had a picot edge, but it curled in a ugly, not design element, sort of way) and are in 2x2 rib.

Knitting on painkillers is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
  • Poor posture/bad position not noticable due to blocked pain receptors (ie knitting over a small dog, while other small dog is under elbow)
  • Can't update Ravelry due to nausea experienced from reading and/or screen refresh rate
  • Can't read pattern (see above reason)
  • Gauge is looser than normal (10% due to now using metal circs & not Denise needles, 90% due to meds)
  • One doesn't care about gauge (100% meds)
  • Over estimation of knitting powers--I can thread a long circ along just one entire row of many (apprx 100) stitches in a variegated yarn & not jump to another row). This is of course to frog the 2 inches of loose gauge knitting while on prescription. It took me an hour to frog, pick up all the "frogged by accident" stitches, and start again.

Last week I discovered that I had to rip back 3 inches of a half-dome hat 'cause I forgot to change to larger needles. I was successful in that ripping event--then again it was before the prescription.

I'm trying to assemble a group of knitters to go to the Hartford Wolf Pack game on 1/19. Interested? Please comment so we can coordinate the meetup.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Typing on painkillers

After hearing most other knitters resolutions, I have put together my own list.

  • Complete 8 major knitting projects (1 sweater = major project)

  • Complete 3-4 pairs of socks (in addition to major knitting projects)

  • Complete 1 charity knitting project

  • Knit for above from stash as much as possible. If yarn is purchased, project needs to be completed prior to year end.

  • Post to blog weekly

  • Spin 2 hours minimum per week

  • Attempt dying

Note:In the event of buying house/selling condo, only 6 major knitting projects is acceptable.

I've had a great start to the year thus far. I'm hoping to complete the second sleeve on the Deep Breath Sweater today. I completed 2 sewing projects this past weekend. I made these 2 great bags for knitting & made face cradle covers for my office.

Why am I typing on painkillers? I had a tooth pulled today. Typing is not agreeing with the medicine & I must go lay down now.