Friday, June 27, 2008

Shawl Knitting and Shin Splints

The center of my pi shawl from the July projects from EZ's Knitter's Almanac, quite possibly my very favorite knitting book of all time. I just reread it every so often when I'm feeling out of sorts. My favorite thing to do? Have a very important errand that forces me to leave Jeff with all the kids, take myself to Taco Via, eating refried beans and chips and reading my Knitter's Almanac. I leave refreshed, ready to deal with almost anything the crazy house full of kids throws at me and with a very full belly. I know, I know. Therapy would probably cost a lot less than my yarn habit, but it works for me. Plus there's usually good food involved.

I'm too lazy to actually take the shawl off the needles and photograph it properly. This is the high tech version, folded a paper plate, shoved it in there and bunched up the other half of the shawl underneath. Center the whole thing on two pieces of paper? Stunning. I'm actually on what I think will be the last 20 rounds. Should be adding a border and casting the whole thing off soon.

The shin splints? From my little adventure trying to not leave this munchkin waiting for me at the airport. I was wearing moderately inappropriate shoes. Low heeled flippy sandals that I went running across the landscape between terminals. At least they weren't fancy high heelers that would have torn up my feet. I've just got a good case of the "OW! Damn! OW!'s" now with every step I take. Looking at that face, it was totally worth it.

Jeff and the 3 boys (damn I'm outnumbered seriously without my daughter here) have decided tonight's the night for the big family tennis tournament. I play tennis about once a year. I've already played with Jeff a week ago when it felt like 138 degrees in the sun. It wasn't pretty. I think that plus the shin splints ought to be enough to get me some more "errand time" but it doesn't sound like that's gonna fly.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And people wonder why I knit so much...

Honey, if I wasn't knitting most of my day, I'd either go entirely insane, start killing people or drink. OK, drink more than I do now. Somehow knitting balances me in the freaky world that surrounds me.

Yesterday, all I had to do was drive to the airport to pick up the youngest Weasley (my son Joey) from the airport. He was flying solo for the first time, returning from his dad's in New Mexico. Being an extreme Type A personality, I left early enough to leave time for construction issues, parking issues and knitting time waiting. My apologies to my local knitters who've already been through this story once.

Short story: I was there to pick up Joey as he walked off the plane and all is well.

Long story: You don't want to read it and if I had to go through the whole thing again I'd probably have to go home an go back to bed.

Medium story: Construction down to one lane on 635 to the airport put me behind schedule, but I wasn't worried since I'd left early. Terminal B circle parking lot not only full, but blocked off and no entry allowed. Parking lot between terminals B & C full, I end up locked inside where the stupid ticket machine won't accept my ticket, won't let the stupid bar go up so I can get out of the parking lot and NO ONE is inside the stupid guard box with said bars across the road. I'm locked in for over 20 minutes here. People stacking up behind me while I'm trying to back up and decide whether driving up the really REALLY big hill and over curbs in my truck or busting through the gate at the parking lot exit would be the best bet of getting out and doing the least damage, hopefully avoiding prosecution by airport authorities. I'm trying to back up and try the hill when other cars start piling up behind me. 2 cars back is this woman that's cursing me at the top of her lungs. I realized I'm walking back TO HER CAR with my hands in fists balled up so tight that I had fingernail marks in my palms the rest of the afternoon. I am not a violent woman, but I swear it was all I could do not to punch her right in the face! (As Teri pointed out, my metal hiya-hiya double pointed needles would have done the trick, good thing I didn't have any in my hand at the time or Joey would have been hearing, "Sorry your mom can't pick you up today honey, she's in jail" and you KNOW they'd have taken away my needles. Not a pretty picture.)

ANYWAY, a very nice man came up while I'm in tears, worked with my stupid parking lot ticket and on the 14th try it WORKED! There were NO buttons on the stupid ticket taker machine to call for help, it just kept beeping and saying "insert ticket" over and over. I gunned it out of there without doing any damage to people or airport property, went to the lot PAST the next terminal and found the last parking spot. In the midst of this I received an update from the airline saying that Joey's plane would land 20 minutes EARLY. Are you freaking kidding me?

Oh, and it was in the upper 90's and muggy as hell. I hit the ground running, run past the C terminal, run past the stupid parking lot I was locked in, wishing I'd see that same lady locked in herself but no one was there. Ran, ok stumbled along through the B terminal because you KNOW his stupid gate would be at the other end, right? Saw a Southwest plane unloading at gate 22 where Joey's plane was supposed to be and people walking along. As I stumble past, gasping and sweating and looking around like a crazy woman, I shouted at people "Did you come from Albuquerque?" Seriously, people pulled their bags closer to their bodies and looked around for security. Someone finally said "no" so I dragged myself to the arrivals screen and saw the flight was on the tarmac and going to a different gate.

I also had to pee the entire time. But I made it. I was there with a smile. Sweating like a pig and shaking, but I was there.

Oh, and my daughter? She's coming back from NM in a couple of weeks. Get to do it all over again.

THIS is why I knit. After the 25 minute hike back to the parking lot with Joey we just sat in the truck with the air conditioning blasting. I told the kid it was to cool down and I wanted to hear about his trip. It was really so I could knit a few rounds of my pi shawl, preparing myself for whatever crazy shit was coming my way next.

The yarn crawl on Saturday? Fabulous. I really behaved myself too. Most shops gave 25% off. TWENTY FIVE PERCENT. I spent less than $150 and was in and out of FIVE yarn shops. Amazing. I ended up with two skeins of crafty in a good way sockyarn (did you know she's going back to school and not dying for a while?), Cascade now has sockyarn. I bought some in a blue that matches the ribbed happy-happy-joy-joy sweater I made a few months back and some dark green for lacy socks of some sort. Can't wait to see how they knit up. What else? Oh, a skein of Schaefer elaine to use as a border to make my migraine blanket a bit bigger. (I knit it out of all the ends of the elaine yarn I'd made scarves out of my first winter as a knitter and it's a titch colorful). I also picked up a cute flower hat kit for my new nephew/niece (we don't know which yet). OK, it's for a niece, so if it ends up another nephew, I'll have to hang onto it. Colors in the pic above. Driving around the country with women you like buying yarn? It doesn't get better than that.

My Maltese Fisherman's hat from EZ's Knitters Almanac for June. I still have needles in the top as Jeff needs to try it on and I'll see if it's big enough or not. I couldn't wait and already cast on and have knit almost the entire pi shawl, July's project, out of laceweight painted yarn I bought at the Knitting in the Heartland vendor market.

Mom's felted ballcap, 2nd version. This one seems to be more adult-head-sized instead of too felted for a child to even squeeze on their head. I'm still not a fan, but it's done.

You know, knitting as therapy isn't that bad of a deal. The only main side effects are no storage in the home (it's all full of yarn) and lots of hats. lots and lots of hats.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Every time I go to the Sunflower Knitters' Guild meeting I get all kinds of inspired. We meet the 3rd Monday night of each month at Toto's on Johnson Drive in Mission, KS. Combine that with falling asleep while knitting and reading Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac, and there you have it. A gnome hat, or as EZ calls it, the Ganomy. Made with every little last bit of my mountain colors mountain goat in bark brown. I'd made Jeff a pair of socks from this yarn that felted in his boots the first time he wore them. I made it with two strands held together to get gauge. I also ran out of yarn a bit before the end, but very close. In a very Zimmermanny moment, I created a new ending for it and I think it'll work. I really do like the construction of this hat, your ears are covered and warm, good fit.

We always run out of hats around here, scandalous for a knitter's house, so I'm on a mission to knit a bunch of different hats to stock up for winter.

My new mission is to try to make all the projects in EZ's Knitter's Almanac in the months prescribed. I'm sure many have done this, but it seems like a monumentous task to me. One hat down, two more to go in the month of June. I've just finished the neck shaping on the Maltese Fisherman's Hat out of brown sheep bulky. Hope to have it done in a day or two. That is, if I can put down the sock yarn blanket.

OH and YARN CRAWL!!!!! Damn, I love saying that. No, Hollering that. I'm an official driver for our KS yarn crawl on Sat. Can't wait! I got my final severance check from the old job. As a smart woman, I'm investing it. Investing it in YARN. :) OK, so I already put $$ into the kids' savings accounts and mine & Jeff's too. AND the knitters made me promise not to knit while I drive. Or at stoplights. Cripes. I wasn't even the one who knits while driving on WARD PARKWAY! You know who you are. At least I just knit on really long straight roads. Usually.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Will somebody please make me put down the credit card and back away from the yarn shops?

Oh my holy hell. Do you KNOW how many yarn shops there are in the Minneapolis area? It boggles the mind. I've also noticed an awful lot of liquor stores. Long winters. Travel tip----instead of just googling for yarn shops when you travel, you miss so many cool shops that may not have websites---google for the local knitting guilds and check out their list of shops! Here's the list for the Minnesota Knitter's Guild. If I make it to two or three shops each trip, I should be busy from now until I retire, should I still be working for the same company. Last trip I visited Skeins (no website) and the Yarn Cafe. I wanted to go back to both of these this time, but made myself go somewhere new.

This trip I went to Depth of Field which I must say was a FABULOUS fun place to visit, entirely too much money was spent. Let's just say malabrigo lace found its way into my hands and didn't want to leave. mmmmmmmmmmm malabrigo. On a side note, did you hear about the fire at the Malabrigo plant? OH let's hope they find a place to keep up their dying and such!

Tonight I took myself to Excelsior after work and stopped in at Coldwater Collaborative, a very quaint shop in a beautiful little town in the middle of all these suburbs. Much money was spent here as well, I left with some of the most amazing sock yarn I've ever had the pleasure of fondling. Casbah sockyarn from Hand Maiden. 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon. Gorgeous colors. At that moment I could have rationalized selling off a kidney just to go home with the rest of those skeins.

ANYWAY, very cool shop! It was a beautiful night. I wandered down the block, took myself to dinner and sat at an outside table eating my steak and taters, walked further down the road, and there's a LAKE there. I had no idea. I know this land is full of lakes, but man it just sneaks up on you. BEAUTIFUL. I sat on a bench, knitting away, enjoying the evening. That's the kind of business trip I like.

Wishing you good knitting views where ever you sit and knit!

Friday, June 06, 2008

From Super Knitter to Super Knitiot in a single bound round!

Well crap. Crap, Crap, Crap. Had a nice long road trip last weekend to Lake Webster campground in western Kansas. Five hours each way. FIVE HOURS! of NOT having to drive. So, I cast on the sweater that WILL be mine. Though I'm sure she didn't realize it at the time, Marnie actually designed Astoria just for me. It will be mine. It's even knit out of my very favorite yarn, Cascade 220! Can you believe it? So, off to knit my first official piece of colorwork. Yes, I had some mosaic on Jeff's boyfriend sweater, but that was actually just slipping stitches and only knitting one color at a time. This one should be interesting.

Being a fan of the top-down knitted raglan, you'd think I could handle the basic fundamentals. Yes, the increasing and all that went perfectly. But after I got to the campground, looked down and after FOUR HOURS of knitting (I took a nap at one point) I saw a little thing. A little blip. Kind of a hole-ish thing. I thought, oh, surely I just twisted a stitch, nope. Maybe I purled at some point instead of knitted. nope. I had set it down, picked it up later and proceeded to KNIT IT THE WRONG DAMN WAY! And then knit on for the next three hours. I'd short-rowed myself a nice little blip/hole/eyesore. I'm sure another knitter wouldn't even bother, but being super Anal knitter, it has to come out. I was so disgusted with myself I put it away and haven't had the heart to frog it or even start over yet. It's pretty much a frog the whole damn thing option. It happened in about the 8th row or so. Seriously? The first thing I learned after the basic knit stitch was to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure the yarn from the ball is attached to the needle in my right hand. always. fuxxing knitiot.

Ah well, the sweater is packed for another trip to MN. I've been consumed by another project lately. Wanna see?

The Itty Bitty Sock Yarn Bits Blankie!
The details:
Needles: 2 sizes larger than you usually use for knitting sock yarn. I knit most socks on 1.5 hiya-hiya's, so am working this on a size 3 addi turbo circ.
Yarn: Leftover bits of sock yarn. Save a little bit from each to use for darning.
Cast on 64 stitches (or how ever many you want to!) I normally use 64 stitches to start a sock from the top down. Knit until you almost run out of yarn, change colors and stripe away. When you feel like it, bind off. Pick up another yarn and pick up and knit stitches along the sides, then knit away. I'm planning to do this in a log cabin type style. Knit one side for a while, bind off, pick up stitches on the next side and knit away. I'll post an actual pattern once it'd done, but you get the picture.

***Make sure to slip the first stitch of each row purl-wise with the yarn in back. This makes for a lovely border and also much easier to pick up stitches later! OH, except when you are knitting the first stitch of a row with a new color, knit the first stitch with both strands, then continue along with the new color. Otherwise, first stitch is always slipped.***

I'm off to accomplish nothing other than a few inches of my itty bitty sock bits blankie! I'm not sure if I have the heart to frog what I've started for the Astoria sweater or not. I'll probably just pack new balls of yarn and leave the first part to frog for the bottom after the hard part is past. Cripes almighty, you'd think the color work would be the hard part, wouldn't you?

Off to Minneapolis for another week for the job. Got a LOT of neat yarn shops all mapquested and printed out. Hope to make it to a couple if I have time. Gotta love yarn shops open until 7pm! WOO HOO!

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