And the nominations are…

kreativ-blogger2I’ve been nominated!  Eileen nominated me for the Kreative Blogger Award…what a distinguished group she put me in.  Thank you!

Here are the rules for the nominees:
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 8 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

Having duly stated the rules, I was gobsmacked by the obvious:  I subscribe to over 40 blogs, which I read as often as they publish.  I think they all deserve the award, or I would have unsubscribed and moved on.  In the spirit of fair play, consider yourself nominated.

Personal update:  finger much better, cold much worse, knitting zero.  le sigh!

A cautionary tale

No, I haven’t finished the second sock.  The usual excuse would be “the dog ate my homework”.  Yet you know well, dear friends, that no canines reside here, just Meezers.  I’ll fess up to my error, in hopes that you  won’t have the same mishap.

Last night I had gotten past the gusset of the second sock while I enjoyed Antiques Roadshow.  I was feeling a bit sorry for myself  because I was clearly coming down with a cold (thanks so much to the coughing and sneezing relative waiting in the surgery waiting room…it’s just what I wanted!).   I decided a low-fat Pop Tart was just the ticket for making me feel better.  It was toasted without burning, and removed to a plate with my bamboo toast tongs.  Ah, then I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I decided it needed to be nudged further onto the plate, and touched the far edge of it gently with my fingertip.  Youch!  The hot jam had bubbled out, and I burnt my right index fingerprint!  Even with the prompt application of ice I have a second-degree burn (a 1/4″ diameter blister).  Now I understand what they meant on those Food Network competitions when someone burned themselves on hot sugar making a sugar show piece.  No more knitting for me for a day or two. As Eeyore would say, “Don’t mind me”;  I’ll just sulk over here in the corner with my tissue box.

At least I can show you how the repeat is coming out.  It amuses me that I even care whether or not these socks are identical.  Usually I don’t bother; it’s the challenge, I guess.  As you can see they are very close.  The first sock has a few short rows of white and black tweedy on the tip of the heel, but the second sock goes right to grey.  That makes for one less round of grey around the whole sock when the gusset is picked up.  I’ll always be able to tell them apart, but no one else will notice, I think.

The first sock finished with a repeat of the pink and grey tweed that started its heel flap.  I wound off the white/black tweed print to equal the rest of the heel flap, and there I was at the light grey to start the second cuff.  That wasn’t bad at all.  Oh, and of course, that’s Torrie arriving in the picture…”sorry I’m late for the photo shoot, Meowmy!”

There’s little chance of repeating myself

When I looked at the sock yarn stash for the next project, I took into consideration the fact that DH was having outpatient surgery this morning.  (He’s home and doing well, thanks.) This Opal yarn that had been marinating for 7-8 years seemed like a good candidate.  I knew a “plain vanilla sock” would knit best in a waiting-room situation.

Last night I showed DH the cuff, and remarked on how very long the repeat is.  I had knit a 6 3/4″ cuff instead of my usual 6″ because I know Opal has a generous amount per ball. Look at the cuff:  it starts with that light purple-grey, then goes dark purple, then bright pink.  That sequence doesn’t reoccur until I had turned the heel and started picking up the gusset.

I should explain that DH is a non-knitting “muggle”, but one who has obviously paid attention to his knitting spouse.  He looked at that cuff, and suggested “It looks like the repeat is just about half a sock.  If you see that light purple coming up again, stop knitting this sock and break the yarn.  Cast on for the second sock, and come back later and finish the toe.”  That’s brilliant, I think!  I’ll show you next week how it comes out.

Much Ado about a finished object

Yesterday was very productive, and I was able to Kitchener the toe of the second Rib Fantastic sock yesterday.  ( I must confess, the name just hasn’t caught on in my mind.  I just had to open another window and log in to my Ravelry projects page to look up the name of the pattern.  Sheesh!) 

The second sock went much faster than the first.  I finally focused on the pattern, and it’s really not difficult, once I got my  attention off BBC America’s Cash in the Attic.  The directions called for a three-way distribution of stitches on DP’s, which I did for the cuff of the first sock.  I got rebellious around the time of the knitting of the gusset, and went to two Knit Picks circulars, which made all the difference in speed.  Now, I must confess that having the pattern divided into three made sense with the pattern repeats, so for the second sock I put one third on the first circular, and two thirds on the second circular, with a stitch marker between the second and third parts.  It worked like a charm.

Today is forcasted to have bumpy weather, with some thunderstorms being severe.  The photo shoot needed to be an early priority, and I was so pleased with myself that I was able to set up without attracting Casper’s supervisory attention.  The sock pictures are taken on my sewing desk, which sits at the side of a north window.  I get wonderful light by pulling the lace curtain away, draping it over my shoulder.  Socks were arranged, the picture framed, and Victoria arrived in the picture just as I clicked the shutter.  Not a cute picture of Torrie, no, just her furry flank obscuring the socks.  Drat!  Three tries later, with the same result, I decided to take a picture of Torrie without the socks.  After satisfying our diva that she was the center of attention I was able to then capture the picture of my finished socks.

Signs of Spring

I don’t care what that groundhog saw; spring is in the air here in Louisiana.  I went out on the patio this morning in hopes of being able to share some signs of spring with you.

This was the first gecko sighting of the spring. He’s welcome, as they eat all sorts of insects that aren’t welcome here.

The roses were given a hard pruning this winter.  They had gotten leggy, and hurricane Gustav had left three of them leaning drunkenly.  DH propped them up after pruning, and I am happy to report that all have “straightened up and flown right”. This is the Oklahoma rose, all leafed out and eager to go.

And this, my friends, is the first rosebud of 2009! It’s on the Rio Samba rose, which begins orange and yellow, and matures to peach.  As I recall, it was in bud when we purchased it from the greenhouse two years ago, so it has a record of early blooms.  May I say, yippee!

Knitting progress has occured this weekend.  The never-ending washcloth project has, indeed, ended.  Whew!  I went on to finish the first Rib Fantastic sock, and got a good start on the second.  The toe pattern called for was a bit of a slipped-stitch pattern, much like the usual heel.  I decided after a few rows that I really didn’t want that on my toes, and frogged back to the beginning of the toe.  This is my usual, decrease 4 stitches every other row, toe.

Slogging through knitting

I haven’t written much lately, because I have become a knitting machine.  Last fall I showed you these washcloths and soaps, which were friendship gifts for Eastern Star grand chapters (state meetings) I would be attending.  All of those have been given away, and it’s time for Louisiana’s grand chapter, my home state.  I have 17 soap bars left; as of today, I have 14.5 washcloths knitted.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I want to knit something else.  However, between here and the end of March I also have to make a gown for our DD, prepare music for three church services, as well as for that grand chapter (I’m the grand organist this year),  and in general plan a bit.  There just aren’t days to goof off.  le sigh. Oh, how I look forward to playing with wool, or alpaca, or any of the knitting delights that wait for me when I have completed my obligations!

The sun did come out yesterday, and Casper and Victoria took the opportunity to enjoy it together (something they seldom do…she’s too bossy.)  It looked inviting!

Little things mean a lot

My left upper arm (deltoid area) has been really painful for almost two weeks.  I’ve been using heat and pain meds, and spent many hours in the early a.m. in the recliner because I couldn’t sleep.  I knew that other knitters had reported arm pain from knitting in chairs with arms that forced them to raise their shoulders, so I had been careful to scoot away from the arm of the sofa when I knit.  Still, the problem persisted.

DH and I have identical desk chairs, and they are super for back support.  Mine has been wonderful as a sewing chair, too.   The arms of the chairs adjust, but I have a short body, and the shortest position of the arms is still too high for me.  I’m suspicious that the chair arms are, if not the cause, at least a large factor in my continued arm pain.  I mouse left-handed, and can’t avoid the arm rest when I sit at my computer.

Having said that, I should admit that the chairs are at least two years old.  Could this be a Ravelry injury?  I know I use my computer more than ever.  So why haven’t I done something about it?  I thought I might be able to take the arm rests off, but would end up with amputated stumps of armrest that I would repeatedly hurt myself on (you know I would).  DH to the rescue!  He went out to his workbench and got his set of Allen wrenches, and removed the entire arm assemblies.  Now I have the ultimate secretary’s chair, as modeled by Minky.  Torrie heard the photo shoot, and me speaking to Minky.  Supervision was required!  How could we proceed without her? 

This tutorial hasn’t been the usual “knitting technology”, but it certainly has been a case of technology interfering with my knitting.

Yarn petting at the appliance store

Yesterday, DH asked for a mug of tea.  I popped a mug of water into the microwave and hit the button.  It roared at me, and belched a nasty, electrical insulation smell.  I immediately turned it back off, and called DH to the kitchen.  We tried it again, with the same results:  dead microwave!  It’s a built-in, as old as the house (about 9 years).

DH set about dismanteling the built-in microwave, and taking measurements.  I whipped out my trusty camera, and took pictures to document the set-up. 

Armed with measurements and the pictures, we set off to our local big-box home improvement store. The clerk was less than helpful, and didn’t even want to look at the pictures.   All they had to offer was above-the-range microwaves, which were too big for our cabinet.

So, a bit discouraged, we headed for their competitor, big-box home improvement store #2, in Baton Rouge.  Their clerk was much more knowledgeable, in that she knew right away that they had nothing that would work for us.  She did suggest an appliance store in BR that we had done business with before.

Back to the car, and off to the appliance store.  We were greeted by a friendly lady who actually looked at my pictures, and knew immediately what we needed.  Not only did they have something that would work, but we had a choice of three brands!  And yes, they had the built-in kits that fit each brand, and would fit our cabinet.  What a concept!

As DH was talking to this helpful clerk and writing up our order, my glance fell on a knitting bag on the counter.  “Who’s the knitter?”  The second young clerk was working on her third scarf, having learned at Knits by Nana, one of our LYS’s.  (I wish I could have taken her picture, but by then my camera battery was begging to be recharged.)  I obligingly showed off my hand-knit socks, and my Chic Knits Hoodie.  Both clerks oohed and ahhed over  the knitting, and begged to pet the sweater.

After that delightful yarn-fest, we loaded up the new microwave and its conversion kit, and headed home, where DH did a masterful job of removing all the old kit and installing the new.  Guess which store will get our business when our 25-year-old washer needs to be retired?

Good morning, sun!

‘Tis a beautiful sunny morning, time for a photo shoot.  My Chic Knits Basic Hoodie has been waiting for the rain to go away. 

I used 5.5 skeins of Plymouth Galway Highland Heather, color 728, on size 6 needles.  My variation, as you will recall, is that I forgot to knit the lace pattern on the sleeves.  I did continue the lace panels up the hoodie.

I must admit I didn’t  save the sweater’s premiere for the photo shoot, but wore it yesterday afternoon to go to Office Depot.  They are a marvelous resource for knitting projects.  How, you ask?  I took them the charts for Knit Pick’s Ladie’s Jacquard Sweater Vest and they both enlarged the charts and deepened the contrast for me.   It took a $3.36 investment, but my, what a difference it will make in the knitting!

Today’s knitting will be trying to finish a clue chart of a mystery shawl that has been languishing on my magnetic board.  I knit about eight rows last night, and found that I still enjoy it.  However, I do want to use the board for the Jacquard Sweater Vest’s charts, so my compromise is to finish this installment of the shawl before I put it to nap (not hibernate).

Just saying…

The Chic Knits Basic Hoodie was finished Saturday, and washed and blocked Sunday.  It is securely shut in the guest bedroom where Casper can’t nap on it, thank you very much.

Sadly, it is a grey old rainy day.  As a corollary, I believe finished knitting objects awaiting pictures are effective drought deterrents!   Pictures another day, then.

Football knitting (did I mention there was a game last night?) was on the log cabin throw.  Nothing glamorous to see, but an excellent time for garter stitch slogging along.