Random on my Grandmother’s Birthday.

1. Last night, instead of knitting at Barnes and Nobel with the knitters, as is our custom, we went to one of the member’s houses. We don’t do this often, but she’s been through a lot building this house. (A crooked/bankrupt builder who took money and didn’t do the work. The moment she got the keys in her hand I’m certain she wept out of joy.) We had knitting at her house last night, and I’m sure a wonderful time was had by all. We didn’t leave till almost midnight, so I’m yawning through my day today. (She, unlike Barnes and Nobel doesn’t close at ten.)

2. No, I didn’t have her permission to write this.

3. And yes, she does read this.

4. She is probably laughing her ass off now.

5. A. Hi Tracy!

5.B. While I’m giving shout outs, Happy Birthday Gonna! Hope it’s a good one!

5.C. I think blogs are much better for wishing happy birthdays than Facebook.

5.D. By the way, you’d all score me great Grandson points if you say something in the comments. No pressure. At all. Well, maybe a little. Pressure is good. A powerful motivator, I say. (I do have competition from the young one. No longer the only grandson.)

6. I knit a shit-ton of lace edging last night. I need nine scallops for one edge. I had two when I got there, I left with almost eight. I would call that a good evenings knitting, no?

7. After knitting about 25 of these little scallops since  May, I have almost all the rows memorized. I wish this had happened sooner, but better late than never. The edging is not quite as painful to knit as it was the last time I had a bought with it, but it’s still hardly anything resmebling fun.

8. After I finish this edge, I’ll go on to knit the next one, so once I’m done with it, I’m really, truly done with it. I look forward to that day.

9. It’ll be a while before that comes though, as much as I hate to admit that. I must get this Christmas show on the road. I’ve got a fair amount left to do. A hat, a few Tams, slippers, scrubbies. It’s do-able, but I must stay on track. I’ve got 26 days.

10. Pardon my french, but oh shit.  26 days.It’s go time people! Get on track! Toe the line! Take no prisoners! Stare down the barrel of the gun! PEE INTO THE WIND! And make some tea.

(By the way, if someone wants to drop by and clean my house right around the 23rd, that would be great. If you could bring some cookies with you, fantastic, but I’ll take what I can get. )

I’ve trapped my last fish

Last Sunday, after writing that I could finish off the Fishtrap Aran if only I would sit down and work on it, I sat down and did just that. I’m starting to learn to do things like that. (That’ll greatly help me pull of this whole Christmas thing.) I knit the button bands, knit in the one-row button holes. (What Fun! To big though.) I  did a sewn bind off around the whole bloody thing, which took about three hours, and I had to change the thread about four times. I put on the buttons, using two different kinds because I’m cool that way. I washed it last night, put it on the table to dry.

Today I put it on to model it for you. I was utterly pleased with the cables, and was ignoring that the armhole is too small. (My fault, I sort of skimmed that part of KW where she tells you to make the armhole big enough.) Anyway, as I slid my arm in to the sleeve, I heard a pop.

I’m sure all the knitters know what I’m talking about. That moment where you hear something go wrong with your knitting and you’re hoping, hoping that it’ll be something that can easily be fixed.I looked, certain that something big had happened, like the sleeve had fallen off and it was unwinding itself as it fell to floor, or that the button band had decided that it was too good for this sweater and bailed. Any number of bad things could have happened, some of them without personifying my sweater.

It wasn’t that bad, just a shoulder seem well, ceasing to be a shoulder seam. I’ve got a huge gap right in the middle of it, which I must fix soon, because it was my plan to wear it today, and I’m a little cold without it.

Have some pictures, even with the holes.

 

There we are. I’m glad to be done with this one, as fun as it was to knit. (And as much whining and complaining as I did, you would get the notion that this wasn’t a pleasant knit.) It was knit with a grey yarn I picked up on a cone at Goodwill. (The biggest problem about Goodwill — it’s often to hard to see what it’s made of and how much you have.) The blue is from a sweater I pulled apart last month. I think they complement each other nicely. The pattern was mentioned in KW but further expanded in Knitter’s Almanac. I knit it at 5 stitches to an inch, on a US 3. I started it on. . . Well, I forgot to write that down, but it was a while ago, I can tell you that much. It took at least a month, but that was with many, many forays into other knitting.

It’s a light, warm sweater that I’m sure will make a handsome addition to my growing pile of handknit sweaters. I have a large amount of them . . . 15 for myself, plus both of my parents have one. Granted, there’s a lot of them that I won’t where in public, but when I first finished them I was quite please with them.

At any rate, snow and frost have come to Ohio. Sunday night I put some handknit socks out on the deck to dry, and went to bed forgetting all about them. When I got up and went running the next morning they were frozen stiff. I wish I would have thought to take a picture.

The State of the Knitting and my Foot

There is a lot of knitting around here. I just realized this, and it startled me, as these sorts of revelations usually do. (I also realized that I’ve got a lot of books, worrisome all this seeing things.)

It’s not just knitting in general, it’s all the things that are actively on the needles. Zimmermann and Christmas meet for the first time this year, and keeping up with both amounts of epic knitting proportion is not exactly easy. (The two are as related as I can make them, which is not enough. It’s not like I’m going to be ripping off ribwarmers for all the family.) Let’s take a look and see if this is as bad as I think it is.

1. The Fishtrap Aran. I am so close to this one that I can smell it. I really wish I had the gumption to pop in a movie, knit for two hours and finish it off. (There’s gumption all right.) Instead it sits by my desk and I work a few stitches on it while waiting or reading. All I’ve got left to do are the button bands, sewing in (And possibly lengthening) the sleeves, and the ends. That’s it, and I’ll be done. (I think I see how I’ll spend the rest of my day.)

2. Tams. I’ve done one of these, it’s blocking on its plate right now. I’m about halfway on another one, just started two days ago. I’ll probably do three or four in order to have fulfilled my obligation to this. It’s kind of fun, knitting little hats in whatever pattern I want to, playing with color just like those islanders did long ago. (There wasn’t a lot going on there, I can see how those women entertained themselves this way.) They also go quick and make me feel clever as a cat for inventing patterns while the hat is still on the needles.

3. A little Christmas present. I don’t really want to say more, even though the recipient doesn’t read this. It’s a little scrubby, and there will be more too. I loathe knitting these things, but people love getting them. I know it will mean more to the recipient simply because she knows how much I loathe making them.

4. The Hybrid Sweater. This was started, oh dear god, three weeks ago, and it still hasn’t broke three inches. I would blame the gauge, a damn six stitches to the inch, but that would sort of be like blaming the dog, you know. I started it on a whim, using some self-striping yarn that I picked up at Big Lots. (It was on sale.) The fabric is a little on the flimsy side, which is okay — sweaters make me too hot all the time.

5. My Traditional Shetland lace Shawl. This thing will be beautiful if I ever finish it. (I started it way back in May.) I’ve gotten most of it done, all the needs done are two sides, grafting and blocking. That’s it, and then it’ll be done. I wish I could find the time to get a move on this one, which probably won’t happen till after the holidays. (Tax class and Giant Scary Exam number two will both end by the middle of Decemember.) In order to finish this, I’ll have to knit that horrid edging again too. I’m resisting the urge to count all the rows of that that I’ll have to knit.

Not so bad, or at least not as bad as I thought it would be. It seems like it is simply because it’s all clustered around my desk. I have like three of those things within arm’s reach. We did have an episode last night, when I was attached by the current Tam. I was getting out of bed for some water or something, and on my way to the bathroom the Tam then launched it’s assault. Or I just stepped on a needle. Not really on a needle, but a needle sort of embedded itself into my foor sideways. I stepped into a needle. A Susan Bates number two if you must know.

I would have taken a picture, but my ability to operate a camera was slightly impeded by the blinding pain I felt throbbing up my foot. It hurt to bad to scream. I just stood there whimpering. Whimpering, and thanking god that I’ve dragon feet that are about as soft as sandpaper. (What it went into was mostly dead skin, sorry if you were eating.) Oddly enough, there was no blood. Probably because I haven’t felt my feet for about two weeks. There are a few benefits to living up here in the frozen north.

My foot’s still throbbing.

And one question, does anyone know how you are supposed to wear a Tam? I thought I did, till I actually had one in my hand, then I was at a loss. I also think that Tams are simply what my generation would call, “slouchy hipster hats”.

 

There’s got to be a morning after.

Happy, a day late, Thanksgiving. I had a decent day, as I hope all of you had at least.

Why only decent you ask? That’s a funny story. Well, for you.  Let me explain.

Okay, my mother was running late getting ready and whatnot, so she asked me to make the green bean casserole, which was what we were supposed to bring. Now, I don’t care for the stuff, given my lifelong prejudice against green beans. (I feel the bitter sting of irony considering they grow like a weed in my garden.) But other’s feel differently. Anyway, I started making it, feeling a little like the Swedish Chef — a feeling that always predates disaster.

I should have taken it as a sign when I opened up those french onion things and they went everywhere — I mean everywhere! That should have been a sign for me to stop right there, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. But, I have issues with reading these sorts of signs outside of books. So kept blithely moving along.

Since I don’t like the stuff, I don’t make it often, understandably so. I wasn’t 100% sure of what to do, and we don’t believe in recipes around these here parts. It ended up a little soupy, so I pulled out a can of the homecanned green beans that I’d grown this summer, and my mother had canned. I opened the can, dumped it in, and suddenly something started to smell a little funky. I got my mother, asked her if she smelled it too — I wanted to make sure I wasn’t having a stroke or something like that. She did, and as we got closer and closer to the bowl it got stronger and stronger.

We stuck our heads in the bowl and came up heaving.

Oh god, the green beans had been improperly canned, and I’d forgotten to smell them. That was the most vile, wretched, revolting smell that I’ve ever come in contact with, and my mother agreed. (Remember, she had two kids and used to be a babysitter.) She threw it, along with her morning coffee away. I was barfing in the sink that I cleaned it in. I was in the backyard at one point, fertilizing the holly, and the neighbors said, “Hi Garret, Happy Thanksgiving!”

I felt a little bad as I threw up in their general direction while I waved.

Other than that though, things went well. I was able to eat dinner, though I did feel the bile rise as I passed the green beans. This further proves that Thanksgiving cannot go off without a hitch. One year my aunt was horribly sick, my grandfather died the next year(On Thanksgiving day), same aunt was ill again the year after — with others this time, my sister was in a car accident the next year, and could only eat mashed potatoes, and then this year my mother and I thought for a few minutes we were going to die. (She still hasn’t ate yet.)

Though I must give my father some credit. This year he was the problem solver. He fixed my sister’s flat tire, pulled some sprite out of his ass for mom and me, and got some cheese and crackers to replace the ruined green bean casserole. And he was in an oddly good mood.

The holidays affect us all differently.

Boys won at Trivia. You always play Trivia after big meals, do you know this? You must, it’s Ohio law. Boys always win at Trivia too. This is not to say that men as a rule are smarter, just in the case of my relatives.

Then I swung danced with my friend, once on the lawn of my uncle’s house (passerbys thought we were drunk), and once in line at the sales, who also thought we were probably intoxicated. (She was being coerced into going, and I went because she kidnapped me.) There was this wonderful woman who applauded our dancing, and said I made a better Vanna White than she did. (True too.)

I thought I saw a former love of my life at THE SOURSE OF ALL EVIL, but it was someone else. I was slightly disappointed, but relieved too.

Tell me about yours? I want to know all about the dog that ate the Turkey. (Bridget, I’m looking right at you.)

A sewn steek and my ramblings

Sorry for the lack of blog yesterday — I just know that you all were utterly devastated for not having me. I’ll try to do better. It was spent pounding the pavement, looking for work.  Literally pounding the pavement — I must have walked five of six miles. My options were rather limited too, I can’t work in clothing, to dangerous and I probably wouldn’t make much money. Food I could do, I just loathe how crazy people get around their food. Coffee shops I could do, but there goes any chance that I will blink at all in the next three years.

But I’m not terribly hung up on this whole working thing. I’ve made it this far without a “real job” I can probably make it a little while more. (Oh, just let me sell one of those books!)

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is in just a few days. It seems like it should be much farther away than that. I’m not really in the mood for being thankful, which is a shame, but I’ll just have to learn to live with it. (I’m doing a good job, just feeling guilty because I’m not blubbering over like some emotional opera singer about what I have to be thankful for.)

I’m wearing a pair of jeans that fit me perfectly, I suppose that will do.

In regards to my knitting, which is in a paltry state. (Not really, now that I think about it.) I’ve got the Tams started, more on that later, but for now I have to show you what I did on Sunday, in between studying Social Security benefits and watching three episodes of Dawson’s Creek.

 

Sewn, on a machine, and cut. Oh, that was so fun, and so easy too. I didn’t feel like changing the bobbin, so it’s part black and part grey. I did it once with straight, and once with a moderate zig-zag, following my mother’s advice. It’s holding very well, better than any crochet steek. Chopping took a moment of courage, but the snip snip was thrilling. I love it.

There were a few moments where I was a little unsure. Like when you sew fabric, it wants to go through the machine — knitting doesn’t, and you kind of have to pull it along. So some parts of it aren’t exactly sturdy, and I now get why it is that you should do two seams. And I was always forgetting to backstitch. But who cares, it worked, right.

And I’m also very proud of the fact that I even remembered how one uses a sewing machine.

I’m still just not sure how one goes about doing it on a circular piece of knitting.

Saturday Knitting Update

Knitting time has proved itself to be a fleeting thing over the past few days. The Bookshop needed me to work an event yesterday, so what was a free evening, became one of actually having to actually work with my boss. (I like her in theory, not so much in practice. ) And then I got home, and was really tired, (It was a super busy event.) and just sort of stared off at the TV for about a half hour. I then worked on the Hybrid sweater, with is very, very slow going (I’m not so sure about this six stitches to the inch thing) instead of my quicker progress projects.

But this morning, I finally, FINALLY, finished the last sleeve of the Fishtrap Aran. This means, that if all goes as it should, I have trapped my last fish. You have no idea how happy I am with this. This pattern is very fun and very charming to knit — it makes you feel like a bucket of clever. However, the margin of error is huge, and you have to watch yourself like a hawk. The funny part is that after working on nothing but this for a few days, you look at a regular plain knit stitch and you’re not 100% sure of what you should do to it. Just knitting it seems to easy.

What else has to be done to this? Well, sew, cut, button band, and wash. That sounds like a lot, but it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Maybe I’ll find some time tomorrow to sew/cut. I think once I get that done, I’ll be so enthused about this that the rest will take no time at all.

I’m still not sure that I like the fabric of the Hybrid sweater. It’s a little thin. This could be good or bad, and I sway back and forth between the two. I’ll show you once I have a little more. The fact that I have a plan to knit a little more shows that I’ll probably keep it, then decide during the yoke that I hate it, and then have to grit my teeth to finish it.

At least I’m self-aware.

My plans for the rest of the day are to shorten the sleeves on the Gonorreah sweater, finish another Harry Dresden Novel, hopefully work on my book (this one is optional) and head to the coffeehouse to hear my friend play music.

My word, who lives better than I do.

I hate titles (Don’t think this is about titles at all)

I’ve mentioned once or twice that I’d grafted one part of my Shetland Shawl to the other part. I can tell now that it’s going to be a very small shawl — it was in one of those rare moments of knitter clarity I saw this. Still though, it’ll be pretty. Maybe I can convert it into some kind of a Shetland curtain.

As an aside, I would like to point out that I have issues with curtains. I love them and think that they’re pretty, but I hate that they keep light out. I would sooner have natural light than anything else, and only during the hottest days of summer can I be convinced to pull down my blinds, to keep the sun out of my upstairs, 90+ bedroom.

Anyway, I started the edging for another piece of this yesterday, plaining on working at it at knitting. I’m starting to get close, somewhat close with this one, (still a lot of knitting left) and I really would like to finish this off soon. Granted, I want to finish everything on the needles soon. (Fishtrap Aran? Oh, I must get a move on. )

I forgot the chart at home though, so I had to work on my “backup project”. It was a sock, a soon to be Present and I was very glad to get a move with this one too. I knit about half a sock in an evening, so really, if I worked on this thing all day (not all day, you know what I mean) I could probably knit it all in a day. Cool huh? I have this holiday thing so licked.

(Don’t mention this to me till January, at least.)

Anyway, now that I’m in possesion of a decent hat making needle, it’s probably about time to start thinking about Tams. She said to experiment with them. What fun. Experimentation takes time though, and that’s something that I am running out of. (Overslept, and when you mostly work from home, this can be dangerous. ) Maybe this weekend I’ll pull Alice Starmore’s book on Fair Isle knitting and play with some of her patterns and charts. (Making careful not to violate copyright law. We don’t want that again!)

Last night one of the knitters gave some yarn she didn’t want. She does this often, and I gleefully accept. (She introduced me to Cascade 220. And Sari Silk. I feel sacred touching it.) It’s a cotton-wool blend, in a lovely red. She said that she started many projects with it, but just couldn’t make it work. (Doesn’t bode well for me.) Anyway, last night I pulled this out of the bag.

Not the real color, it’s darker, nicer.

“Claptois!” I laughed so hard and thought that was way more funny than it really was. It returns. (It also made me think of Silvia, who called hers “The Clap,” and these were the same knitters who named my sweater “The Gonarreah sweater.” It was much more funny inside my head.