Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do You See What's Missing?

I packed so carefully for my trip to Mexico. And what better thing to do to relax but to sit at the beach and knit?

So I packed my sock pattern, two kinds of sock yarn, two row counters, my gauge, my tape measure, my sewing needles, my crochet hook for the inevitable dropped stitch, and my ......, my ......, where the $%^&* are my knitting needles????

And guess what they don't sell in Walmart, or Mega Mart or even in a craft shop in the Yucatan?

Yup. Knitting needles, that's what. Good grief.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

I am just back from Puerto Morelos, Mexico, where two friends and I rented a house for a week. Two of us are somewhat left of liberal; the third (not I) is more conservative left. The ONLY English-language station that we could get was.....FOX. Boy, is that NOT the place to get the news.

And President Obama just signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Yay!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009


On Wednesday I leave for Puerto Morelos, Mexico with three friends. I thought I had it all worked out. First step: Buy a new suitcase that is large enough to carry everything. (I like to pack everything I can think of and then make choices about what to wear when I'm at my destination.)

I first went to Macy's where there is a BIG sale and newspaper coupons to add to the sale discount. Nope. Luggage was still hundreds of dollars. Then I remembered that a friend had told me to buy luggage at places like T J Maxx or Marshall's. At T J Maxx, I found a 30-inch, HUGE, RED Samsonite suitcase for $89.00. Score! I was hoping to find red luggage so that it was conspicuous on a luggage carousel at the airport, so I'm quite happy with my find.

Second Step: I came home to pack and had thought that all of my summer clothes would be stored in one place. Nope. Would be all clean. Nope. Would be already ironed. Nope.

Rats. So now my packing is much more involved than I had expected, and I have to iron. I hate to iron.

And as a note on packing, I travelled last spring to Paris with a friend who retired from US Airways, and travelling non-rev with her means taking only carry-on luggage. Ouch. That was really, really difficult for me. But somehow I did it (wearing the same black pants every day helped) and managed to bring back a copper saucepan, two clocks made from round wooden cheese boxes, and fragile geese salt and pepper shakers. I have no idea how I managed it, but I did, and I probably should let packing so lightly teach me to do better on other trips.

Or not.

This is the South?

We had a cold weekend, and the ice in our little pond in the back yard froze...I think for the first time ever.

Poor fish!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Pictures Don't Do Them Justice

or: I can't get a decent picture.

A knitter friend told me how to make bowls from old records. I would say that it is idiot easy, but that would make me an idiot.

Her instructions: Take an old record. Put it on a bowl. Put it in an oven pre-heated to 275 degrees. In under three minutes you will have a bowl, shaped more or less like the bowl you put the record on.

However, the first time I tried this, I looked at the bowl. I looked at the record. I looked at the bowl again. I looked at the record again. Hmmmm.... The record is large and flat. The top of the bowl is large and flat. So that means put the record on top of the upright bowl. Turn on the oven light, sit on the floor and watch what happens. Hmmmm....not much.

The light bulb in my brain clicked on! The record won't melt into the bowl; it will melt over the bowl.

So I turned the bowl upside down, centered the record on top, and in under three minutes, had a bowl.

My sister and her two adult children are coming for a visit this weekend. My sister LOVES Olivia Newton-John. Me? Not so much. She also loves Jimmy Buffett. She will be the proud and thrilled new owner of record bowls.


Why I Gave Up Knitting

for about ten years.

When I moved to Georgia from Florida, I thought: Now I can knit again!!! There wasn't much inspiration to knit in Florida, with weather that was rarely cool, let alone cold. There wasn't the variety of non-wool fibers that we have now -silks, bamboo, lovely cottons. At least not in the only yarn shop anywhere near me.

What did I pick for my first project? The lovely sweater above. I mean, who wouldn't want shoulders like that? Gaw-jus. And what yarn did I choose? 100% black mohair. Big mistake. I had never knit with mohair and had never knit with such a dark color. I bought bamboo needles, another mistake.

I struggled for months with this project. I couldn't tell the stitches apart because the black mohair was so....mohair-y. That meant I couldn't get a reliable stitch count. As time went on, the black dye from the mohair penetrated the needles, turning them black. Then I REALLY couldn't see details.

I kept knitting, swearing, knitting, swearing. For months. And months. And then I gave up. I put the whole mess away in a closet, and decided that until I finished that sweater, I wouldn't knit anything else.

Amateur!!!!! I know better now. I always have multiple projects going at once, with others hibernating.

Well, that sweater hibernated for about ten years, until first granddaughter was born. I took the sweater out of Siberia, studied it, and threw the whole thing (except for the knitting needles) away. Again, what an amateur. I couldn't have frogged the sweater; the mohair was too stubborn to take out, but I could have kept the unused yarn for another project.

What's done is done, but I wish I had known then what I know now. I wouldn't have: a. bought that particular project; b. stopped knitting; c. thrown the whole thing out.

With age comes wisdom - I hope.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Noro Two

I finished my second Noro striped scarf, and this one is for me! It is made from two skeins each of Silk Garden, colors 8 and 211. Some of the other kids at knit-night are on their third so I need to catch up...just kidding. But they are fun to knit; every two rows the color changes so it's never boring knitting. Since it's k1,p1, the knitting rhythm becomes sort of trancelike, and it's kind of a zen project. Very relaxing.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lessons Learned

Lesson #1: The Universe does NOT care what I say or do. There is no bad Karma. (I still hope there is good Karma) How do I know this? Take a look at the repaired stocking and look at yesterday's before picture. Jan, our knitting guru and GENIUS, repaired it so well that the repair is very close to invisible. Yay!!! I do not have to knit my half-millionth and one(th) stocking. Whew....

Lesson #2: How to repair a large hole. I watched very carefully as Jan used sewing thread (less visible) rather than yarn to weave through all the loops. She then pulled the two ends of the broken yarn to the inside, tied them, and sewed them down to the inside fabric so that they will never come loose again. She also had a second method she would have used if this hadn't worked: pull out a bit more of the knitting at the bottom of the hole, knit however many rows necessary on those few stitches, and then use the kitchener stitch to graft the top and bottom of the hole together. Wow! I would never have thought of that.

It's good to know very clever people who are generous enough to want to share their skills!

AND, I was tagged by Calicobebop, so now I have to do some thinking in order to write that post....that gives me something to do while I'm knitting.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bad Karma???

Is there such a thing? Does the universe really care that I complained about making yet another Christmas stocking from the same pattern that I've made roughly a half a million stockings from?

Maybe. This is granddaughter #2's stocking, made for her in 2003. So it's only five years later and there is a huge hole in it. Arghhhhh.....

I'm going to the LYS today where Jan, our knitting guru, is on duty Wednesday afternoons to help people with knitting problems. I first met her a couple of years ago when I CUT into the knitted fabric of a sweater for granddaughter #2 when I was trying to cut the stitching I had used to sew the front and back together. I thought it was a destroyed sweater, but Jan was able to fix it and not leave any evidence that it had ever been cut. Amazing. I hope she can work wonders today, or better yet, teach me how to work wonders. If not, I will infer that the universe DOES care.

Monday, January 5, 2009

As Seen On TV....or Not

To continue with the topic of M.E.'s post and younger daughter's post:

I present to you the cell phone-garage door opener-pen-holder whatchamacallit thingy.

I think it's brilliant. I received it as a stocking-stuffer type Christmas gift, and I wish I had invented it. I don't know if it's ever been featured on As-Seen-On-TV ads, but if not, it sure should be. I don't know where it came from or where you can get one, but you should look for one. I can't count the number of times I have had my phone fall from my lap, where I had forgotten I put it, onto the pavement when I got out of the car. And I can NEVER find a pen when the drive-through teller asks me to sign something. And the garage door remote? We just had to put in a new opener, and the new remote is so tiny that I fumble around in the junk portion of the dash to find it. This thingy fits in the cup holder, holds all this stuff, and all my problems are now solved.

And if Mary Ellen says that the Sham-Wows work as promised, then those will be my next purchase - although I'd rather find them locally. But no matter what younger daughter says about the Kinoki pads, I'm NOT trying those. They look disgusting!!!

Oh, and wait! There's more!!!

Older daughter taught me a cure for hiccouphs and it works!!! I promise. While I was at her house, I had the hiccouphs. Older daughter asked me what I had had for dinner the night before, what I had had for lunch, and what I had had for breakfast. I sort of knew what she was up to but played along. As soon as I started thinking about previous meals in order to answer her questions, the hiccouphs stopped! They really did. The trick is to distract the sufferer and make her focus on something else.

So that's a bonus for my faithful readers. :-)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Two Finished Projects

This hat is proof that you can really screw up a pattern and still end up with a hat. The pattern was given to me verbally, and I scribbled the directions down when I got home from knitting. It calls for 112 stitches, knit on size 7 circular (and then dps) needles, five inches of 4 x 4 ribbing, then 2 1/2 to 3 inches of stockinette, and then: knit 8, knit 2 together on round one, knit round two, repeat. What is considered known (but not by me) is that on each subsequent decrease row, you knit one less stitch, then knit two together. (i.e. k8, k2tog/k7, k2tog/k6, k2tog, etc.)

Fortunately, I was at knit night, held yesterday afternoon at a knitter friend's house since the LYS was closed, and mentioned that it was taking a long time to decrease enough to need dp needles. That is when I learned my mistake. My friends told me to just jump to k4, k2tog and go from there rather than frogging the whole top of the hat. Whew. ... I finished it up and it looks like a hat!
This is the mystery knitting I did for younger daughter, whose taste is always a guessing game for me. It's a loopy scarf, made with Twinkle extra chunky yarn, on size 17 and 19 needles. The red is gorgeous but doesn't show up well in this photo. Unfortunately for me, she loved it, so I didn't get to keep it. But fortunately, she loved it, so I get to knit another one! Now I have to decide what color.