Thursday, July 27, 2006

Stash elimination...Not!

How much Manos is enough?

I'm not sure that there is an answer, but while organizing my stash (secret closet) this week I re-discovered many hanks of Manos del Uruguay. I have one completed sweater out of this yarn and found it to be extremely hot.

Isn't that what a sweater is supposed to be? I've talked with other knitters about this fact and I promise it's not me (or any medical condition). It truly is hot to wear - please let me know if you know why...

Someone had an extremely good sale on Manos at one time or another and I planned to make pillows (I think) for Secret Agent U. This has obviously not happened.

Downsizing the stash

Gasp! Don't worry--this DEFINITELY did not happen. My yarn is loved. Well, most of it. The Katia Sherry re-appeared. The explanation to BDCH was that when you begin knitting, "you'll buy ANYTHING on sale". He did promise to vacate my space indefinitely until the sorting was complete. A discussion resulted and he SWORE not to haphazardly dispose of any fiber should I come to an untimely end (I hear my friends sighing with disappointment). Anyway, there is very little in my stash that I would willingly part with. Yarn snob comes to mind and MOST of my purchases were made accordingly. There are the 'new knitter' exceptions -- like Katia Sherry-a boat load lives in a bag outside the secret closet door and is waiting for someone to appreciate it for what it could become.

Stacks and stacks of material that had invaded my yarn space were hauled out which made enough space to clear the door, somewhat... OK, honestly: Things are more organized, but there is just as much out in the open as when I started and I just can't figure it out. It isn't because a yarn shopping trip occurred (actually, it did - but the purchases were minimal).

The yarn inventory spreadsheet is updated and is probably about 3/4 finished. Whew!

Finished knits without models

Scarves rarely come off of my needles. The occasional gift might whip up for the holidays, but the whole 'fun fur' phase did me in. There are knitters who absolutely LOVE to knit scarves with fun fur - I am not one of them!

A scarf exception was made this week - the Coastal Scarf from Knit Picks (as modeled by Lucy) because Bugg is gone AGAIN ---Argg!

Last but not least- Homestead Needle Arts Garage Sale

What a novel idea - you take any item ( Needlepoint related) to the store labeled with a price and Theresa (she hated her dubbing of 'Flosstitute' and I haven't thought up a new name yet) will mind the mob. I do mean MOB!

T said that no one came at opening time - OM gosh, did she wasn't intentional, how could she have known?

Anyway, there were a few things that Bugg would like and much fiber that came home with me. All at much discounted prices (which leaves more money for yarn!)

Speaking of which, it would be COOL if one of the yarn stores had an event structured like this! Imagine the store credit you could rack up by just selling the part of your stash that you didn't want anymore...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Road Trips, Turtles, Knitting, and Salad

Shimmer in Flower Garden color E850
Discouragement has nearly set in -- Nothing is getting finished. There are plenty of reasons why, like driving and taking care of my youngest son's pets for just a few. The road has not been my friend, I have driven a gabazillion miles this week for work. These miles have led to places I hope to never see again - obscure little towns I had never heard of let alone knew existed.

The pets...I LOVE animals and always thought of being a veterinarian, but 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 turtles, 1 fish, 1 hamster, and a flock of Canadian Geese that refuse to quit ruining the yard have done me in. My youngest son - E.A. - has not appeared here yet, but his turtles
are making their debut...We brought the tiny turtles back from vacation for him 2 years ago. He was ecstatic and took very good care of them...for a while. Turtles are nasty and they smell very bad! His room smelled, I cleaned it, it still smelled. After a hesitant phone call, we decided that the turtles would be much happier if they lived in the pond out back. Pictures were promised and we launched the turtles - bon voyage! One problem down.

Darby and Lucy chase the geese away whenever we notice that they are in the yard (geese are more quiet than you might think). Two problems down. No, I didn't make the sweaters.

Waffles the outside cat was sneaky enough to get past BDCH into the house and went after Miss Kitty (inside cat). The result was not pretty (but BDCH's response was) Bugg and I witnessed him chasing after Waffles with a (hee hee hee) rolled up newspaper. Three problems down and I can live with this.
Please note: Actual animals were not maimed or harmed in any way during these events.

Where does this leave my knitting? I've finished all of the parts to the sea shell bag and need to sew 'er up, Egebo is blocked and needs to be sewn together, and my needlepoint stocking is limping along slowly. Indulgence arrived on my the form of Shimmer from Knit Picks AND a set of their new convertible needles. The needles are FABULOUS and for under $60 bucks (free shipping, too) you can't beat them. They are smooth and fast and not grainy at all. HONEST, they aren't paying me to say this!

The companion yarn was chosen during last weekend's road trip to Thread Bear. They didn't have a pink that would work and I substituted a violet-blue instead. Honest, I only bought 5 balls (EXACTLY what I needed) and ONE pattern. Stitcher Bomb is lined up for my first crochet lesson next Friday - wooohooo!

What does salad have to do with any of this? Nothing, really. Bugg just made a salad and thought it looked beautiful like the ones that BDCH make for her all of the time so we took a picture

Friday, July 14, 2006

Work interferes with Knitting!

But I did find time to finish one sock (which may be a bit small for the giftee), all pieces to Egebo sweater which is being blocked, AND order more yarn. Hey, the sale at Mass Ave was too much for my brain. While glancing at my List of Desires, there were a couple of projects that had yarn requirements. I NEEDED the yarn!

Have you SEEN the Picnic rug in RY Classic Summer Book Eleven? Oh my gosh! I HAVE to make it! I've chosen Jo Sharp 8 ply DK Wool for this baby - those colors--Susan didn't have a substitute for the pink which means a road trip, darn. The plan is to locate something from ThreadBear Fiberarts. ThreadBear is an experience in itself-I can't think of a fiber that they don't stock. BDCH was VVVVEEERRRYYY patient the last time I visited - I felt guilty for days (not). It took an extremely long time to peruse all of their offerings before I settled on a Fair Isle bag and wool for a Celtic cardigan (both of which are in line for the needles).

Back to the picnic rug - It is crochet. Did I mention that my crochet skills are limited to the basics? The 'lobster claw' has been successfully added to a couple of shell sweaters and looks fabulous. When it comes to actually constructing something with crochet, luck has not been with me. Stitcher Bomb has agreed to teach me this pattern and it looks easy enough once the middle is made. We will set the date as soon as the pink wool is acquired (I possess a burning need to have all materials at-hand before any knitting occurs).

Family visits, summer hours at our venue, and moving have disrupted Knitnite with Mitzi. I'm missin' you, lady! Remember - lift with your legs, not your back!

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Tale of Two Princesses

Bugg was the only sister/daughter/granddaughter in the family for 14 years and she enjoyed the coveted roll immensely. She received the title 'Princess' at a very early age and worked hard to modify the meaning of the word. When the Second Princess arrived in 2004 it was clear that Bugg loved her greatly and enjoyed the benefits of being a cousin...BUT she also held tightly to the title she had earned and lived all of her life.

Knitting began immediately when we heard that a baby was on the way. Yarn in yellows and variegated baby colors was purchased and was knit to become hats and sweaters. When the 2nd Princess arrived, she came on my youngest son's birthday - he didn't like sharing his birthday at all, but that is for another blog entry. It was evident that there were going to be some changes.

The 2nd Princess is a joy to us all! Her personality is very evident and resembles Aunt Kniterella's more than her parents would like to admit. I see a future in sailing through every knit store in town touching EVERY fiber, choosing the BEST colors, and heading home with bags and BAGS of new possibilities - with BOTH princesses in tow!

The 2nd Princess will be a shopper - I know, I can spot them a mile away. This is the perfect opportunity for me to get even with my brother - he was MEAN growing up (come to think of it, he still is). Age and two kids has softened him a bit, but he is still mean! I will help coach the 2nd Princess to be the best shopper and soon she will request her own Gold Card - her dad will not be able to say 'no' because she is a Princess. The yarn will be ours!

Sale yarn will entice a knitter into doing things that might not be totally rational. The Cass St. Depot had Skye Tweed from Classic Elite - on sale! What a deal, nearly $2.00 off each ball. The color - spring green. There was just enough for the cabled pullover AND it was on sale. The down side? it is a bit scratchy. Grandpa hated the color and still contends that it is too ugly for The 2nd Princess to be seen in.

I altered the middle cable by putting in a couple of reverse stockinette stitches at the base of each cable. This change made the center cable look more like a tree. Overall, the sweater turned out alright, but The 2nd Princess must have gi-normus brain because I cast off 4 times going up a needle size for each attempt just because this cute sweater won't fit over her head. If it won't fit this time, I will abandon the ribbed collar and replace it with a rolled one. It will be ready when the cool winds of the Fall begin to blow.

As for the First, Original, Truly One-and-Only Princess -- she receives hand-knit articles often. She has had many sweaters, hats, mittens, socks, and miscellaneous garments made for her. Love is knit into every stitch - she wears few of these beautiful items. This isn't because she does not like the yarn, style, or color - it is because she truly is a Princess. And I wouldn't change any of it for the world.
The 'Original Princess' - Bugg

Monday, July 03, 2006

Who put the 'Knit' in Kniterella?

A very good friend that I used to work with taught me how to knit and I am forever indebted to him. He learned while very young. As a member of a very large family growing up in frigid Michigan, he knit out of necessity. He once shared that if he and his siblings were to have hats and mittens for the winter, they had to knit them. I don't believe he knits often these days, but he and his family are in my thoughts as I form stitch after stitch for whatever project I am obsessing over.

My first sweater (acrylic) made 5 years ago. Never worn, but the kids all fought over it

In searching for the perfect FREE pattern (leaving me more $ to buy yarn) for a sweater for my husband, I became painfully aware that male patterns are scarce. I'm talking really great patterns - not ones with mega cables and bobbles (although those are nice, too). Us girls have plenty to choose from - what about our guys? Anyway, I am still on my search and if you know of a great site, please let me know.

As for my husband - I've offered to teach him to knit. To feel the fiber as we wander through the many stores I drag him to. He is content to leave the pointy sticks to me while proudly wearing the garments I've made for him. He is the most wonderfully patient man I've met. He's the one sitting quietly on the couch in the corner of the store playing with his PDA or reading the paper.

Mitzi's donation is COMPLETE! It turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined and should fetch top dollar at the auction. Hopefully, the bidders have an appreciation for the handknit!

Bugg (my favorite daughter) is out of town so BDCH was kind enough to model!

My favorite-oldest son (Secret Agent U) thinks that my blog should be more putting stuff in about my kids! Secret Agent U does not knit and isn't of the age to appreciate items painstakingly interwoven with blood, sweat, and love. There is some very special yarn tucked away in the secret closet just waiting for the day when he has someone in his life that is good at doing laundry - let's hope that is a way out into the future. He did graduate from High School last month and I am very proud. He honors me by calling when he can and sending cards for holidays that sometimes arrive on time.
A very special Mother's Day card came this year.