Friday, February 27, 2009

The Fun Begins.

I'm lying. There is nothing remotely fun about the mess I will be living in for the next year or so. Or maybe month or so.

We have been in our home for about nineteen years, the longest by far that we have lived in any one house. All of the flooring except for that in our bedroom has been replaced over the years, mostly by hardwood. So now we are getting rid of the disgusting, dust-ridden carpet that probably adds to my allergy problems. Yay!

However, not-so-DH said he "wants" to do this himself. He has put down flooring before so it's not as if he doesn't know what he's doing. BUT it takes him considerably longer than it would take a flooring crew to do it since he is a crew of only one. So we will not be using our bedroom, bathroom and closet for an undetermined amount of time.

And there will be horrid amounts of dust everywhere, no matter how much I try to seal up the bedroom.

I say it's our patriotic duty in this time of recession to hire a local business to do this; we are probably causing some family to go without during these hard times. But as you can see from the photograph, this argument has gotten me nowhere. Sigh.

Pray for me, or invite me for an extended visit. Please!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Throwing Caution to the Wind

After reading comments on a previous post about my possibly pathological (I love alliteration!)need to use a row counter when I knit socks, I just, after row 10 or 11 (I don't know which because I think I remembered to click the counter, but I'm not certain I remembered to click it) took off the counter. If hokgardner and Mary Ellen can do it, then maybe I can too. After all, as Ann in NJ reminded me, sock-knitting is supposed to be fun, right?

So even though I'm cringing a bit, and my right eyelid is twitching now, I'm going to give this eyeball-measuring technique a try.

There may not be drugs for how I'm feeling, but there's always wine.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

First Mini Mochi Sock

I just finished the first sock made from Mini Mochi by Crystal Palace Yarns. The colors are every bit as gorgeous as those of Noro, and the yarn is SO much softer. If it holds up well in wearing, so long to Noro when I want color. It is single ply, 80% Merino and 20% nylon, color 108. Except for the problems I had with its being kind of splitty (and that could be my fault), I loved working with it. It's just so wonderfully soft!

This yarn is kind of hard to find, but if you can get your hands on some, give it a try.


Younger daughter? Found it. So there.

(And it's a CD-ROM, not a plain old CD - is there a difference? - and not a DVD. What the heck is the difference? I thought CDs were for music and DVDs for anything visible that moves.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another Addict Waiting to be Born

I recently received an e-mail from my niece, M, who complimented me on the hat I knit for Elizabeth. She also commented on other projects I have written about on my blog, and used lots of words like gorgeous, beautiful, I love it and so on.

Then my favorite niece said that she would like to learn to knit and that maybe I could teach her the next time we get together. Well, yes I can! However, she lives in Florida, has two children, and I live in Georgia. Getting together anytime soon may not happen and so I am searching high and low for a knitting CD or DVD (I never can tell the difference) that I bought a few years ago when I was trying to refresh my memory on various knitting skills. I can't find it. I'm a big believer in a place for everything and everything in its place, and I am really, really frustrated that I can't find this CD/DVD. I thought that maybe I had sent it to older daughter when she started knitting, but she claims that I didn't and that she doesn't have it. Hmmmm....

I can direct M to the web for all sorts of knitting videos and they may help. But she will be in big trouble if she does take up knitting. She said that she sees beautiful yarns at Michaels, and wishes she could use them for something. I know there are some pretty yarns there, but WAIT till she sees what is in specialty yarn shops. All the beautiful Noro, Araucania, Be Sweet, Rowan, and too-many-others-to-name yarns. Once she sees those, and breathes in all those yarn fumes, she will be an addict.

So I'll keep searching for the CD/DVD and keep encouraging her to look up online instructional videos. I'm nothing if not an enabler!

[Fair warning: Do NOT go to any knitting/sheep and wool festivals with me unless you want to come home with lots of yarn and yarn accessories (with a nod to King of the Hill).]

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Maybe There's a Pill for This.

No, not for the new stash.

I was in Austin last weekend and two knitting shops there had Mini Mochi, which my LYS was out of and was not getting any in until April! So I bought two colorways of that (106 and 108) and a skein of Rio de la Plata, kettle-dyed sock yarn from Uruguay. It's really soft and I'm curious to see what it will look like knitted up.

So, nope, not for the stash. Stash is a good thing. Stash is a necessity.

But you will notice a row counter in the photo; it's attached to the sock I'm working on. I know lots of sock-knitters, but only one of them, Jan, a knitting designer and teacher, uses a counter. No one else I know uses a counter, and I tried, I really tried, not to be so compulsive with this pair of socks. I should be able to eyeball the cuff and foot. I took off the counter after I turned the heel and tried to go without it. I just couldn't. I had to put it back on.

I think that maybe I'm an undiagnosed OCD knitter.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elizabeth Anne

Isn't she just the sweetest, cutest, most beautiful baby ever?

Elizabeth responds:

So this lady shows up. My sisters call her "Gran." My brother calls her "Dan." WhatEVER.

Anyhow, she sees me, plunks this hat on me, and says stuff like, "Oh, I just want to kiss her, and cuddle her, and hug her." Get in line, Lady. Get in line.

Then there are flashes of light in my face. And more flashes. Honest to doG, doesn't she know I am trying to sleep?

And she just goes on with things like "She's just the sweetest, cutest, most beautiful baby ever." Well, duh. I've been hearing that stuff as long as I can remember. Go bother my brother and sisters. Take a hike.

And she did. Take a hike that is. With me. And it rained. ON me. Well, that was fun. NOT.

But my mother took Gran, Dan, whoever, to someplace called the"airport" and now she's gone.

About time, I say. Enough is enough. Get a life, lady.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Elizabeth's Hat

Tomorrow I go to Austin to visit older daughter and her family. I have Valentine candy for the older grandchildren, but Elizabeth, four months old, isn't quite up to M&Ms yet. Instead, I've made her this flower-wreath hat, designed by Susan B. Anderson and in her book Itty Bitty Hats.

The hat itself is just a generic hat, easy to make, but the flowers are the fun part to make. They are EASY! And so are the leaves. The time-consuming part is attaching them to the hat itself, turning the hat around and around, and deciding when enough is enough. It's a great project for leftover yarn, but I didn't have any cotton yarn and so had to start from scratch. I'll use the rest for what the designer calls the Marley Hat, which, like all the hats in the book, is just SO cute!

For the hat I used a worsted weight cotton Plymouth yarn called jeannee. While I was knitting it up, I didn't like it much for this project - it just didn't seem as sturdy as I would have liked and the flowers get heavy. However, the hat is holding up OK even with the weight of the flowers and leaves, so I guess the yarn has worked out better than I had expected. The colored yarns are all Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic (just a few yards of each) in colors: 3528 (yellow), 3456 (cherry pink), 3713 (green), 3454 (pink), 3800 (turquoise), 3914 (lavender), and 3724 (green). But again, it's a great project for leftover yarns.

If Elizabeth will allow us to put a hat ON her, I'll take a picture of the hat on its model!

(Note: Answer to yesterday's question about balls of yarn: The owner of my LYS says that she supposes the reason that some manufacturers do not wind yarn into balls is to better show the colors - especially with hand-dyed yarns - or the textures of yarns. Also, she says that putting it into balls would add one more process to the yarn production and thereby increase cost. So put a ball-winder and swift on your birthday/Christmas/Valentine's Day/Presidents Day/ Groundhog Day/or Because I Want Them Day list!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If It Happens and I Don't Blog About It

did it really happen?

And another question, first posed (to my knowledge) by Barb Cooper's husband, when he saw the new swift she had bought in order to roll her yarn into balls: Why doesn't yarn come in balls to begin with?

Good question. Does anyone know the answer? I just spent a fair amount of time winding Mountain Colors yarns into balls in order to begin knitting a throw. I'm not complaining or whining. I'm fortunate in that I own a ball winder and swift (birthday gifts). It just seems as if it would be a logical thing for yarn companies to sell the yarn in balls, ready for knitters to use, but very often they don't. I'll ask the owner of my LYS at tonight's knit night and report back if she knows the answer.

This is the second throw I've made from these gorgeous yarns. The first I gave to older daughter for her to use in the middle of the nights when she is up with her new daughter, born five weeks early in October.

This one is for me!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Today someone sent me an email about the past, and in it was this picture of gym uniforms. I went to school in an era when we wore uniforms for gym class and this is exactly what they looked like, but in maroon - woo hoo. And...they were 100% cotton, so they did not give or stretch at all. I was 5'10" tall by the time I was in junior high, and I weighed about 119 pounds. These gym uniforms did not come in "tall." So I had to order them in size 14 to get them long enough (they were one-piece uniforms)and of course, that meant that they were far too large for me.

I can't tell you how gaw-jus I looked in my uniform. No, really. I mean it. I CAN'T!

Nostalgia is not always a good thing.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Half a Project Finished

As in, one sock knitted. But I have never had Second Sock Syndrome, so I have no worries about finishing the pair. I love wearing hand-knit socks and the weather here is suddenly warm; I do worry that spring and summer will be here and I'll have to put all my wool socks away till next fall. I know there are people who wear wool socks year around, but it's too hot here to do that.

This sock, I mean pair, is knit from Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett. It's the first time I have used this yarn, and it's nice enough. It is supposed to be machine-washable in cold water and machine dryable. I doubt I'll try that since I wash all my hand-knit socks together by hand anyway.

However, there is nothing exciting about the yarn and I will probably try the Crystal Palace Mini Mochi next---once my LYS gets some in. I had read about it on a Yahoo sock-knitting list serve (or whatever it's called) and when I asked about it last Thursday at knit-night, the store had just sold the last two skeins --- and I had just learned that it exists! I am told that the colors are as good as Noro's colors are, but that the yarn is nicer, very soft. The Crystal Palace sales rep. was at the store when I arrived, and he told me that the yarn is so popular that it may be April before he can get any more of it to my LYS.

So I'll finish this pair, and then pick out something that has been languishing in my stash for awhile...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ah, Mexico...

First of all, there's the beach. Sigh....... I really, really miss the beach.

A week ago today I left the warmth of the Yucatan in Mexico. This is the third year that I have gone with friends to various places in Mexico: the first trip was to Sayulita, a small fishing village north of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific; the second was to San Miguel de Allende, a centuries-old city in the high desert in the center of the country; and this year we went to Puerto Morelos, a tiny fishing village between Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean.

SO, first things first. The top picture is the beach in front of our house; the second picture is the view from my BED!!! I fell asleep every night watching the white foam from the waves breaking on the beach. I awoke every morning to the soft sounds of the waves washing up onto the beach. It was a wonderfully relaxing vacation.

But Cancun and Playa del Carmen are so Americanized, Canadianized, and Europeanized that they are cities I have no interest in visiting. The beachfronts are lined with wall-to-wall, enormous, gaudy resorts, condos, and hotels. Instead of staying there, we rented a house on the beach just north of the town of Puerto Morelos. It was quiet and sort of remote, but I suspect, based on the construction already begun, that in under five years it too will be overbuilt and overrun by tourists from all over the world. That's just fine; I understand. I am, after all, a tourist too. I know that resorts are perfectly nice places and they provide jobs for the locals, but I prefer being where I can see old Mexico, or at the very least, Mexican Mexico. San Miguel de Allende, by contrast, was wonderful, and I could go back there again and again. It's centuries old, very colonial, and we were able to rent a 400-year old house in the center of town. Amazing!

There was little to do in terms of sight-seeing in this part of the Yucatan. We did drive inland one day to a place called Coba, where there is a large site full of ruins from the Mayans. It was in what the locals call a jungle, but I guess it's technically a "dry" jungle. Our pedi-cab driver was a descendant of the Mayans and could speak Mayan as well as Spanish and some English. He took two of us on an hour tour of the many ruins. The third of us had been there thirty years ago and took the time to go bird-watching.

I considered climbing this, and then, after watching a youngish man struggle to get down the ruin, re-considered and just took pictures. It really was amazing to see these old, old structures, and picture the Mayans building and using them, and living in the jungle many centuries ago. Below is a typical Mayan residence built of sticks side by side for walls, and thatch for the roof. Usually, two or more of these were joined by walkways for a family's home. I suppose this is not original, but there were enough of them scattered around everywhere we drove once we were inland that I suspect that some people still build and use them. The poverty in Mexico is stunning, and so it's no surprise that people would still live in these.

The Yucatan and the jungle are supposed to be filled with wild and potentially dangerous animals: jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, crocodiles, boa constrictors, and coatamundis. The coatamundi and crocodile are the only wild animals we saw, much to my dismay! I really wanted to see monkeys in the wild, and a jaguar would have been a treat (as long as I was in a car or a building).

Meet Mr. or Mrs. Coatamundi. He is wild, but he was near a hut where the staff sells snacks and water. I saw tourists tossing food to this guy, so that's why he was so accommodating about having his photo taken.
Anyhow, the trip to Mexico was wonderful. It is the first of the trips where it occurred to me that I was someplace WARM when it was COLD at home. During the past two trips I was so entertained by sight-seeing and doing other tourist things that I hadn't even considered what a really GREAT idea Mexico is in January!

Latest Project

This is my most-recently finished project:a pair of socks made from Araucania Ranco Multy yarn, color 314. So far, this yarn and the Paca-Ped yarn are my favorites to work with. They are both soft, and I love the colors. Noro colors are gorgeous, but the yarn is scratchy and the thickness varies throughout. The Araucania and Paca-Ped yarns are just nicer to the touch and soft to knit with.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Second Occasional

Knittergran Funnybone Award

goes to Wendy Aarons for this column. (Okay, so I mean "post" but I'm old and don't always adjust to new technology terms.)

She made me laugh out loud, and since I'm back from a warm vacation in Mexico and it's COLD here and it's RAINING here, I appreciate the laugh.

The first Occasional Knittergran Funnybone Award went to Mad Mad in this POST (see, I can learn).

Thank you and congratulations, WA!!!

(legal disclaimer: No prizes, guarantees or material possessions of any sort are associated with this very prestigious award. Recognition is its own reward.)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Purse

I have tagged myself with the "What's in Your Purse?" tag. I've seen it wandering around blog-world and just had to take part so that I could rave about my Pouchee. There's nothing interesting or out of the ordinary in my purse except for my Pouchee. I LOVE it. It has lots of pockets, inside and out, and one zippered section that I put change in. I keep all my credit cards, IDs, lipstick that I never remember to put on, and other necessities in it, and just put it in whatever purse I'm carrying. I have always hated changing from one purse to another because of the nuisance of figuring out where to put what in each one. But this eliminates the hassle.

And, as soon as my thoughts are organized...MEXICO! Stay tuned.