Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh, well

Knit Night
Gorgeous Yarn


More stash. Another project!

(This is Blue Sky Alpaca, Dyed Cotton, colorway 628. It has more green in it than the picture shows. It will be a wrap: stockinette stitch surrounded by seed stitch.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

totally tubular, dude

I don't know what that means. I had thought it had something to do with surfing until I watched a Globe Trekker show last week, and the surfers in southern Mexico talked about surfing in the "pipe." So who knows...

Anyway, I digressed. When I wrote about the circular scarf I was knitting, what I really meant was that I was knitting a tubular scarf. It's knit on circular needles and will form a tube when finished. I don't know where the pattern came from, but all the other kids at my LYS are making it, so I had to as well. It's knit with 86 stitches on size 6 needles, 16" long. It's a perfect no-brain-needed project, unless you're knitting it in stripes and have to count rows. I am just knitting in this green until I run out of it and then changing to magenta and knitting until I run out of that. The finished project is somewhere in the vicinity of six feet long. Yikes! I hadn't thought about that when I started the project; this yarn is really just thread and so I hope I can finish the thing before I, uh, die. Or go crazy, whichever comes first.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good Intentions

Gone Bad.

I just went to the grocery store to buy something healthful for dinner. I did accomplish that. Then I walked past all the crunchy, salty snack foods I love. I walked past the chocolate. (I really, really love chocolate.) Then I walked past the Krispy Kremes. (I really, really, really love Krispy Kremes.)

But then I spotted the candy corn and candy pumpkins. Resistance was futile. I'm putting them in a dish that has a lid. Think that will help?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

As Always

Mrs. G. says it best. Check it out.


No, that's not a real word, but it should be. It's a word I learned from a friend of mine, and it means, of course, something that makes one nervous. I told my older granddaughter about this word one day when she was up in a tree in her yard---WAY up in a tree. She laughed and now when I visit, up she goes and then yells to me, "Hey, Gran! Is this nervacizing?"

Well, YES! But now it's getting worse. She is on a climbing team and this is her almost-eight-year-old self in the picture. I conveniently forget that I was a climber as a kid. We had several large willow trees, and my sister and I spent many, many hours in them as kids, just hanging out, talking, plotting (against our brother) and dreaming. I loved those trees.

But now that it's my precious granddaughter, I say "Enough! Get down from there!"

Not really. She's been trying to climb anything and everything since she was a baby. A friend of mine remembers when Ella, at only three months old, tried to climb up her when she was holding her. We have pictures of her climbing door jambs, the outside of stairways, and of course, trees.

So Ella, learn to climb well and safely, because I know you're going to always be looking for a way to go UP!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mistakes Were Made

Many, many mistakes were made. First, there was this:The pattern calls for a garter stitch edge but I had purled a row on the back instead of having knit it. My knit night friends told me not to rip out the whole thing, but to just put pins in each of the stitches that needed to be ripped back and then repair each column row by row. OK. I put in the pins. And blessed FSM that I had been using Knit Picks interchangeable needles. I could just unscrew the needle itself from the cord and put a stopper on the cord.

Then I started ripping out one column (probably not the correct term) at a time. This is knitted in two strands of yarn at once, and one of them is mohair yarn. Very difficult to rip out. I once stopped knitting for about ten years because I was stuck on a black mohair sweater and wouldn't let myself start another project until I finished that one. (Knitters, stop laughing!) I never finished that sweater, but that's another story for another time. I am a knitting coward; I am terrified to frog anything, and I have never done this type of repair before.
But as I said, mistakes---plural---were made. After one hour, I finally got two columns put back together and then noticed that I had skipped one whole row of yarn. So out came the two columns. I re-did the first two columns and slowly finished the third and fourth. Partway through the fourth, I came across a strand of yarn not attached to anything. A cut end! Where this came from I have no idea, but that end sabotaged the rest of the repair. I found the other cut end, knotted the two together, and decided to stop before I did any more damage.
It is repaired to the best of my ability. I know I should consider this a learning experience, but I swear to DOG, what I have learned is: next time this sort of thing happens, I will call it a "design element" and move on.


Everyone at my LYS has been working on circular scarves. They are knitted on a 16" length, size 6 circular needle. Most of the knitters have been picking out about 10 colors and knitting the scarves in stripes. But last night, one of the knitters was working on hers---all in one brilliant yellow color. So I thought, hmm.. why not just two colors and not in stripes. I found these gorgeous colors (Rowan kidsilk haze: 70% super kid mohair, 30% silk) and fell in love. PLUS, I had a coupon for ten percent off any one purchase during September. So I HAD to buy it, right?

I started this afternoon knitting with the green, and will continue with that until I run out (3 skeins) and then switch to the magenta. I think it will be gorgeous! However, my joy in the project was briefly derailed when I started casting on; the yarn is the thinnest stuff I have ever used. Really, it's just fuzzy thread, and I am not exaggerating. After a few rounds, the stitches became a little easier to work with. I have learned that Addi turbo needles do not have very pointy points. I imagine it would be impossible to knit lace with them, but I don't intend to try lace any time soon.

To add to the thrill of this new project, my husband left a window open (no screen) in his basement office. Two chipmunks have come by to visit me. Indoors. I screamed, then dh caught the first one. The second is somewhere still, but I've let the cat in and maybe he can hunt it down. I think chipmunks are cute, but good grief! They belong outdoors!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Preciou.s.s.s.s.s.s

My preciou.s.s.s.s is in the hospital. Sniff, sniff. The wireless connection wouldn't connect any more and I have no clue what is wrong. The staff at Frys said that if the card for the wireless is dead, it can be replaced in house and that will take seven days. If the motherboard is fried, the computer has to go back to HP and that will take six or seven weeks. WEEKS! Yikes. This loaner is probably perfectly nice, but it doesn't have any of my stuff in it, all my important documents, my pictures, my....everything!!! It is all backed up on a server in the house, but I don't want to put it on a temporary computer, and so, it's not easily accessible.

The weird thing about electronics is how cheap things get, and how quickly. My computer, which is still under warranty (phew), cost just over $700.00. The loaner, which is comparable and is supposed to do everything mine does, costs $389.00. Wow. If I hadn't had the warranty, I would just have bought this one, I guess.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Stash

Well, this will teach me to brag about how little stash I have. I went to last Thursday's Knit Night at my local LYS and this Colinette Jitterbug (color: Lapis) just jumped right out at me! Really, it did. So I had no choice and this beautiful yarn is soon to join my sock stash---just as soon as I stop petting and admiring it. I am working on another project at the moment and haven't had the "knit socks now" bug hit yet.

Also, I just found TWO grammatical errors in my last blog. GASP! I am an English teacher, and I proofread and proofread and proofread. Geeze...

And another also: I drove to Clemmons, NC this past weekend to a friend's house. It is 307 miles driveway to driveway. On Saturday we drove from her house to Blowing Rock and back . I don't know how far that is because part of the drive is on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is gorgeous, and I look out the windows, paying no attention to anything but the view. Anyhoo, on the whole drive, I saw only five bumper stickers: three for Obama, one for McCain, and one for Ron Paul. This surprised me, but maybe it's just too early to have many bumper stickers around. I only have two stickers; one says SSK, which allows knitters to find each other in public parking lots (this hasn't happened to me yet, but it could, theoretically) and one which says FSM, the logo for the Flying Spaghetti Monster (described as an internet parody of religion). I have nothing against religion except for the followers who are nutjobs, and I see way too many bumper stickers in Bible Belt Land that say things like "Atlanta Belongs to Jesus" and "Everyone Knows that God is a Republican." So my FSM is my silent and very ineffective response to those people. Some rebel I am.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why I Will Never Knit Fair Isle

I am currently working on a Christmas stocking for new baby, and I have made so many of these that you would think I would know what I am doing by now---but NOPE. I don't know how to do fair isle, intarsia, or stranding or whatever the skills are that this project requires. I just sort of do whatever and hope for the best. So Santa looks OK from the front, right? Except for the missing eyes which I will duplicate stitch in when the whole thing is finished, along with the baby's name and the year 2008. Do I know how to duplicate stitch??? Well, not exactly. The knitting guru at the LYS showed me how many, many months ago when I started this project, but now I'm a little unclear. I'll work it out, or ask for help---again.

The reason I say that I will never do any beautiful fair isle knitting is in the picture below:
Knitting fair isle designs requires working with more than one color at a time. I hate working with more than one color at a time because doing so means that I will have this mess on the back while I am trying to knit. I end up with the strands all wound up around each other and have to keep unwinding them as I go along. The only thing that made this stocking easier than all the hundreds (I swear) that I have knit in the past is that our guru told me to just work with 24" or so of the yarns (except using the whole ball for the background color) so at least I didn't have to wrestle with three balls of yarn while I was knitting. Now that Santa is finished, I can go on to finish the foot, sew the whole thing up, stitch in the eyes, name and year, and it will be finished. Thank goodness!!!

What is shown in this picture is what has allowed me to get back to knitting without so much pain. It reeks---it's made of whatever wet suits are made of and it REEKS and always will, according to the therapist who gave it to me. But it allows me to knit. (My sincerest apologies to anyone who gets stuck sitting near me.)
While I have been catching up on my knitting, I have been catching up on shows I had not watched before. Law and Order, of course, and also House. What an odd show:

Each episode is as follows: A patient with weird symptoms shows up at the hospital. Dr. House, loveable but scruffy and crabby, and his team mis-diagnose the patient a whole bunch of times. Since the patient is mis-diagnosed, he is also treated incorrectly for his mysterious condition. Those treatments cause more symptoms. Sometimes members of the team go to the patient's house to snoop (look for clues to his illness); sometimes they don't. Then in the last ten minutes or so of the show, something suddenly occurs to Dr. House, he has his team treat the patient appropriately, and everyone lives happily after.

The End.

Well, the end except for this question: House is forever popping pain pills without benefit of a drink to swallow them down with. How does he do this? I can't do this. Just wondering.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yay! Another FO!

After taking two months to finish one pair of socks, I've now finished three projects in about two weeks. This is a sweater for my grandson, who will be two next Wednesday. I found the receipt for this yarn when I pulled the yarn out of the bag to begin knitting. I bought the yarn on September 17, 2007---grandson's first birthday. Although it sounds as if it took a year to knit the sweater, it didn't really; it was only on the needles for about the last two weeks. However, it was supposed to have been done in time for Christmas last year. Ooops...

The yarn is Jelli Beanz and I do like knitting with it. There are lots of choices of primary colors for the background color, with even more primary colors worked into the yarn. It is 75% wool and 25% nylon. The pattern is from Ann Norling and I love using it for children's sweaters. It's knitted top down, and there are instructions for four different yarn weights, cardigan or pullover versions, and three different necklines.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And The Winner Is...

The first occasional Knitter Gran Funnybone Award goes to:

(Imagine drum roll here)

Mad, Mad. Check out her blog “I really, really need a job,” and then--- come back!!! There’s more!!!

Her story about what her daughter said when asked to tell us/the class/the school/the whole world about her parents is hysterical and she does a great job telling it. I laughed out loud, a lot. But it did make me wonder, what if.....

I am happy that, to my knowledge, my two daughters were never asked to talk about their parents. When we lived in Florida, I lived, ate, breathed, slept, dreamed tennis; I was even a USTA tennis official for awhile, working as a line judge and chair umpire at professional tournaments. When I wasn’t doing that, I was playing tennis---lots and lots of tennis. I LOVED tennis.

One day when I was driving home from the club, younger daughter, who had been at the club’s pool, said that another girl there had asked her where her mother was. She answered that I was playing tennis. The friend asked if I was any good. Younger daughter’s answer? “No, she’s never been on tv.” Well, yes I had as matter of fact, but as a line judge, not as a player. But still…

Anyway, I imagine that if my daughter were in the same situation that Mad Mad’s was and had been asked to "tell us/the class/the school/the world" about her parents, she would have said:

She’s not any good at tennis.

(And a big thank you! to hokgardner for suggesting that I check out Mad Mad's blog)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Stash Hoarder? Not Me.

I do not have very much stash. (See below) For those non-knitters out there, "stash" is yarn you have in storage for projects you may not even have come up with yet. This is an embarrassing amount of stash, not because there is so much, but because there is so little. Most self-respecting knitters have lots and lots of stash, so much stash that they hide it throughout their homes---under beds, in closets, in basements and attics, and other places they think their significant others will never see it.
Mine all fits in ONE container:
One 13" by 21" by 7" container. My knitter friends would laugh at the idea that I even consider such a small amount of yarn to be stash.

My sock stash:

My sock stash will eventually make nine pairs of socks. Again, my knitter friends would laugh.

There are people who are hoarders. I am not one of them. When I see "professional organizers" on HGTV, I hear them say that anything you haven't used in one/two years, get rid of. Some members of my family claim that my philosophy is that if I haven't used it in a day or two, I want to get rid of it. NOT TRUE... After older daughter was married, my s-i-l told her that he thought I was trying to get rid of everything in my house, box by box, by shipping it to their house. Again, NOT TRUE. Isn't there some sort of statute of limitations on how long adult children can store stuff at their parents' home?

Older granddaughter is now reading Nancy Drew books and I found a lot of them this weekend in my basement. They belong to my younger daughter, who lives in LA, and I left her a phone message asking if I could ship them off to older granddaughter. Before she could even call back, I had the books all boxed up and labeled to be mailed. When she did call back, she warned me that the Nancy Drew books she had were for middle-school or high-school readers, not for almost-eight-year olds. Too late! They will go to the Post Office today, and then my older daughter can figure out what to do with them.

Box by box by box by box.....

Friday, September 5, 2008

Can You Say "Paradise"?

That’s what our neighborhood pool felt like today. For some reason, once the end of summer vacation comes and the kids are all back in school, no one comes to the pool, and so I have it to myself. It was lovely this morning: the bluest, cloudless skies; no noise except for the birds and whatever the noisy insects in the trees are; perfect temperature and humidity; and the occasional, silvery corporate jet gliding noiselessly overhead, very high in the cloudless blue sky. I have said for decades that the only thing I would trade my soul for is my very own swimming pool. Natas, are you listening?

When I lived in Florida, I was a regular long-term substitute teacher in a school for the gifted. It was a separate facility, on its own campus, and the students had to meet IQ and other ability requirements to qualify for the school. The kids were amazingly bright, smarter than most of the teachers probably, and teaching there required that the teacher’s ego could stand knowing that if a student questioned something, it was OK to say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out.” We couldn’t fool these kids. Since it was a separate school, the kids weren’t bullied by the types of people who would call them “geeks” or “nerds.” They may have called each other that at times, but all in teasing fun. They tended to spark off each other so classes were never dull and it was a blast to teach there.

One student has stayed in my memory. His name was Joe, but when I took over the class for the remainder of the year at the start of second semester, I couldn’t figure out who he was; he signed his papers “Natas.” I asked Natas to let me know what his real name was so that I could record his grades correctly in the grade book. Turns out, he was signing "Natas" because that is "Satan" spelled backwards. It was meant to shock, I’m sure, but I just said “OK.” Let’s just say that Joe was dancing to his own music. He was sort of Goth before Goth was even in existence and occasionally got in trouble for his behavior and his appearance, but all in all, he seemed like a nice kid. His poor father was called in once for a conference after Joe had done something wrong, and he certainly was rattled by his son’s behavior. He said to me, “Do you know he signs ‘Natas’ on his papers?”

Well, yes I did, and I told him it didn’t worry me, that it was just meant to shock and it wasn’t working. He finally bought his son a computer (before the days when every home had one, let alone multiple, computers), hoping that using it would inspire better work. Oddly enough, Joe started signing his papers “Joe *anonymous*, 3rd.” I guess he liked how his actual name looked in print.

We teachers wondered what would happen to Joe. Would he end up a bored office worker? A conservative, right-wing Republican, very strict with his own children? I hope not. I hope he’s found a creative and fun way to make a living, and is able to use his sort of odd outlook on life in a way that he and those around him can appreciate. It’s just one of those things I will probably never know….


What? Who’s there?

It's me, Natas.

Huh? Wha…?

Quitcher bitchin.


Didn’t you just go on and on about how no one is at the pool and the weather is perfect and blah, blah, blah?

Well, yes.

So you already have your own pool. Stop bugging me. I don’t want your soul. Geeze, you’re practically circling the drain aren't you?

Uh, well, I hope not, but...

Well, you're old. So there's not much soul there for me to work with, right?

Well, Ohh...kay . I see your point.



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cooking Post

I never thought I would write a cooking post, because, well, I'm not much of a cook. Take out is my favorite meal. And after my chicken-on-the-grill adventure (not enough coals, coals on one side of the chicken no longer burning so I had to keep opening the grill---losing heat---to turn the chicken around), I was sure I'd never write about cooking. But today, I had a success, largely by chance of course, and I just wanted to share.

I need croutons for dinner, and there were only the boxed varieties (yuck, unless you like chemical flavors) at the grocery store. So I took some soon-to-be stale bread, cut it into cubes, and put the cubes on a baking sheet sprayed with PAM. Then I poured a liberal amount of olive oil over them, topped them off with garlic salt, and popped them in a 300 degree oven. While I was reading other blogs, I occasionally remembered to check and turn the croutons, and after about 20 minutes or so, they were done! They are cooling on a paper towel because I apparently added way too much olive oil, and next time I would add more spices, perhaps. But all in all, I'm quite happy with them and they were easy.

I have a feeling that most other people know how to make croutons, but for me it was a new adventure, and I thought I should share. :-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Finished Objects

Yay! Two projects finished---finally! After spending two months knitting a pair of socks, I was able to get busy on two other projects-one, the dreaded beaded scarf, and the other, a scarf I had bought the yarn for about four months ago. It was nice to knit on something other than size two needles for a change.

I like the beaded scarf, and knitting it was much easier than the beading process was. Sixteen-hundred beads on yarn a bit too thick for the holes in the beads---not fun at all! I used the kitchener stitch to graft the two ends together, and it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. The seam is quite visible and since the scarf could conceivably be worn with either side out, the seam detracts from one side a bit. I know (now) that the kitchener wasn't designed to work with a combination of knitted and purled stitches.

The second project is a scarf (Horndal Scarf from Noro Revisited by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton) and it's an easy project. The garter stitch sections are knitted in Noro Kureyon and the ribbed sections are knitted in Noro Blossom yarn. As always, Noro colors are gorgeous, but I don't like the sudden surprise of knots, especially knots that cause a sudden shift in color. When I use Noro in the future, I will re-wind it into balls so that I can look for knots and color shifts before I knit.

Next project? I am starting on a sweater for grandson, who will be two this months. I bought that yarn last fall to make him a sweater for Christmas. Ooops......

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why So Few People Read My Blog

(And I sincerely thank those of you who do read it.)

It's because I am not clever---check out this blog, and add her to your "favorites" list. She is clever and funny, and by the way, how do you add pictures with your own text to blogs???

To Older Daughter:

I take back the Ravelry access information I sent you. Delete it from your memory and your computer's memory.
Dad told me that you have picked out names for New Baby and you won't tell the grandparents what they are.
Mean, I say. Just plain mean.