Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Walk with me to the Beach

Setting out.
My husband's hobby is Ham Radio and he doesn't dare complain about a little (lots) of yarn.

On the way, our odd neighbor, and the bears. I don't really want to get any closer for a better photo.

From Aarons Beach to Haven Beach

Wolftrap Light
There it is
On the way I saw one of the ospreys, bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, various songbirds, gulls, and
the reason we call it Heron Haven


I feel like I’m on a diet – and as soon as you are forbidden something you want it more. Not a yarn diet like most of the blog-world. A UFO diet. And I’m away from home, sequestered from most of the temptation, but it’s still THERE, they are there. As I’ve already established, I have a little startitis problem.

Desire to start something new is just mocking me at this point. Resisting that desire is a tiny bit easier since most of my yarn is many miles away, and I’ve been away from home since January 7th, and I brought a bunch of lingering old projects with me. But there are the fourteen pairs-worth of sock yarn and a cone of Zephyr that have accumulated (did I mention Lots of Yarn) and are now traveling with me. The Zephyr wants me to start some lace and doesn’t care about the alpaca Fino at home.

No. No. No.

When I read Margene’s post this afternoon I had been reflecting on all this, and she hit the nail on the head. I need to free up some space in my brain.

I started this blog with a list in the sidebar to help remind me, guilt me, shame me into either finishing or frogging, loving or leaving behind those projects tucked into bags, and boxes, and totes, and taunting me from under my work table. But it’s worse than that list. I have to take a real inventory when I get home next week and drag out all the planned, started, requested, and promised projects and make some decisions before they drive me crazy. Specifically, I really should not start a couple more pairs of socks until I clear out some dead wood. Sock Madness excepted.

Now another thing, I used to eat all of the thing I hated first, so I could end my meal with the taste of something I loved. I’m applying that strategy and trying to force myself to finish the less-loved projects first. Ahh, now we’re back to WILLPOWER.

This post is already long, I know. And the rest is more for my process than any readers I may have. So, anyone who has made it this far, now’s a good time to sneak out!

Here’s what I can remember, in no particular order, and each item’s planned disposition. I only have photos only of what I have with me.


Log Cabin Blanket - long term TV knitting at the Bay house, no ETA. The giant log cabin square has lost its appeal so my current plan is to mix up large squares of different types, eg miters, stripes, etc. In Heirloom 8ply, washable wool, will end up large afghan size.

Felted Tote – working on it, the pockets and maybe a quarter of the body done, but the stiff yarn and large for me US 9’s (since I am usually on US 0 – 5) hurt my arm and I have to take this in small doses. My sister gave me the yarn years ago and I feel I should finish it and give her the tote. The yarn is too scratchy for sweaters but what’s left after the tote, doubled and felted will make a great small rug.

Touch Me Scarf – just knit the damn thing already. Love Touch Me, hate garter stitch. No pic, it’s Touch Me, it’s garter stitch.

Amble Socks – I am one and two-thirds into a pair of socks with this lovely gansey sock pattern from the Six Sox Yahoo group in Lang JaWoll. I started this pair an eon ago, and at times with the arm stuff my gauge has varied wildly. I think these socks must be ripped, given a decent interval for mourning and perhaps re-knit when I have recovered.

While we’re on ganseys, Sea Fever Cardigan – in heathery lavender Berroco Ultra Alpaca (love this yarn!) I got the ribbing done and was just about to start the body when I set this aside before the holidays. It’s at home and I wish I had it with me as I really do want to work on this one.

Idena (pink/blue) socks – last year I got to take care of Dad for almost six weeks, this year it was Mom. While in Sarasota, in desperation I bought this cute sport weight sock yarn. I’ve knit up the first sock with one size too small needles and though they will make great light boot socks, it hurts my hand a bit to knit, but I cannot justify ripping out that perfectly good sock. Can. Not. Just have to keep plugging on this one.

I forgot I started a Clapotis until I looked at the sidebar. See, too many UFO’s to even remember them all! This is in a variegated wool/camel blend from Just Our Yarn from the Fall Fiber Festival. Only a little bit done. It’s at home and I will honestly review it for rip or continue status.

Ugly sweater with some Berroco yarn that was on sale that George talked me into – I’ll have to look at this one again when I get home. I feel guilty about just, maybe, throwing it away. It’s black with bright colors shot through the yarn, and if I eliminate the icky cabley nonsense on the cardi fronts it could be a fun summer sweater. Or not, we’ll see. No pic, lucky for you.

Mystery Stoles One and Two – One in fingering wt grey alpaca, Two in undyed laceweight cashmere. Neither is very far along at all. I do like the patterns, but will have to decide whether to cut my losses on these as I haven’t invested much time. There are plenty of other lace patterns I would love to knit with these yarns.

Red worsted wt socks - will finish or rip them. They’re the last of some Knitaly from about 20 years ago. I’ll tell the story sometime of how mean the yarn store lady was that day. I use her as my role model of how not to treat customers.

I have a single sock in CTH Birches, love the yarn, hate the colorway. Maybe I’ll knit the other and over-dye both.

I know there’s more, and I will not count dishcloths.

Planned, Promised, or Requested:

Peter wants me to make him a white/off-white dress scarf and I have some beautiful soft undyed alpaca from our local Rivanna River Farm. I haven’t decided on whether to use a simple rib, some kind of textured slip stitch, or Hypoteneuse. I’ll make that Hypoteneuse one way or another, maybe as a stole for me, and not for this scarf.

I have the pattern, and yarn for an Xmas stocking for Peter that is almost exactly like the one I’ve had since I was tiny. I even have the tiny ball of super-fuzzy white angora for Santa’s beard and eyebrows! How many days until Xmas?

I have enough blue cotton classic and black provence for a couple of summer cardigans. Need to get busy. I did make CeCe last summer and might use that pattern again but with the longer sleeves. What to make with some lavender Patons Grace.

Rainbow Jacket/Viv Hoxbro – I have the kit in Color 12, the blues/greens, I need time and a recipient.

Frog the cropped cardi I knit in Noro Sakura and re-knit something I like and that doesn’t look stupid on me. Maybe the Y2Knit Feathers wrap.

And some really big lace. Like the Melanie Shawl from Sharon Miller of Heirloom Knitting. Or Hazel Carter’s Sampler Stole from Gathering of Lace. Or something fabulous from Victorian Lace Today.

Also forgot I have some gorgeous variegated blue/green yarn from Spirit Trail and some black Ultra Alpaca for the Celtic Knot vest from Folk Vests (it’s the one on the cover.)

I have promised myself some fancy Nancy Bush socks this year.

And about fifty other sock patterns.

Mitts, wristies, warshcloths. As needed.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

UFO Challenge: Endless Husband Socks DONE! Plus, more socks

Pattern: Simple stockinette, 72st, toe-up, flap-heel from Knitting Fiend, EZ Sewn Bind-off (Knitty article here)

Yarn: Trekking XXL #96 greys/greens, only about 30yds leftover

Needles: Addi US 0 / 2mm Gauge: 8-9 spi

Started: Spring 2006, set aside many times out of sheer boredom
Completed: February 26, 2007

Finished Size: Mens US 11, 10 inches from heel to cuff

Notes: The colors are muted greys and greens and the Husband loves them. I enjoyed knitting with the Trekking XXL, but next time he gets sportweight socks!

In fact it is hard to photograph your own foot. Here's my first ever Jaywalker (late-adopter on this one) in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Happy Valley. Fast, easy, breaks up the variegated yarn well (who cares if the foot pools, I'll be wearing shoes). I agree with Kim though, the ankles are a bit bunchy.

Monkey is past the heel. Still loving the Claudia's. I did use eye of partridge on the heel flap rather than plain stockinette and picked up an extra gusset stitch each side.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

UFO Challenge: Block Severely!

The Pi Shawl is DONE! It is 60 inches dry, unpinned and relaxed a bit.

Click HERE for all the details.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday Sky - Fly By

It's a beautiful clear cool sky today.

All day the planes zip up and down the Chesapeake Bay, crissing and crossing contrails fading into the wispiest of clouds. Today, they are flying by the Moon.

Friday, February 23, 2007

ECF: Hunter, Gatherer

I hunted. I found Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg. I gathered.

Claudia Hand Painted Yarn, superwash merino fingering wt, Jungle

Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock, 80% wool, 20% nylon, Manzanita

Colinette Jitterbug, superwash merino, fingering weight, Castagna

Lantern Moon ebony shorty sock needles US1

Some odd balls of Jamieson & Smith jumperweight to add to the half dozen skeins my stepdaughter brought me from Scotland.

I managed not to lock myself out of anything today, no small victory. But the brand new oven is kerflooey and it decided to broil two pans of brownies rather than bake them. They were going to a potluck tonight. Oh well.

Am I living up to the name Lots of Yarn?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blocking, postponed

OK, well the day did not go as planned. All the repair guys did their things, late, but done. UPS did not show up until 5pm with my AM delivery overnight package that I needed to be able to get some client work out today. I finally, finally got to leave the house and drove down to the beach for five minutes . . . .
And came home to find myself locked out of the house. Hilarity ensued when I went to get the key from the same person my dear husband had to get the key from LAST WEEK, who didn’t have the key, several calls to the plumber who was supposed to return the key, but actually his wife had the key . . . .
I’m going yarn shopping tomorrow. Blocking Pi will have to wait until Saturday. But in the meantime, because this is a KNITTING blog . . . .Monkey Sock from Knitty, Claudia Hand Painted Yarn in Plumicious, Beadmarkers Tabby Cat

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mathews = Mayberry, and I mean that in a good way

I finally left Hagerstown today for the Chesapeake Bay. I grew up in Maryland, near DC, but I’m sorry, Hagerstown seems gloomy. Mom can drive and go upstairs and care for herself. I’m taking a week to meet repairmen (frozen/burst pipes last week, glass guys, gutter guys, dish tv guys) and decompress before going home.

We have a place in Mathews County, VA, a few hundred yards of marsh in from the Bay. The house was a simple old 1930 bungalow. But it had been flooded by Hurricane Isabel, bought from the old folks who built it, raised up, and gutted by the time we bought it.

Before Photos, September 2004
My husband is a ham radio operator, and the salt water helps the radio waves. And there’s a lot of development going on around us in Charlottesville. In Mathews, it’s quiet and undeveloped and slow. He wanted a place for radio in Mathews. Who am I to argue?

Our “front yard”, now a marsh used to be a soybean field. It’s considered by the US Army Corps of Engineers to be a Non-Tidal Wetland. We have seen at times herons, egrets, osprey, bluebirds, many songbirds, and FOUR bald eagles (two parents, two juveniles!) After the Nor’easters this fall, we had fish next to the house.
During Hurricane Isabel the water was several feet deep in the house. If this house ever gets wet again, the whole County will be under water.
It was raining inside the house the first time we saw it.
Yeah, I know. We walked away too. But we came back five months later.

Things had changed.

That’s the big Sunroom framed in. We hadn’t found anything else that would work for the Radio, and after completely taking leave of our senses, we bought it.
Many construction trials and travails ensued. I’ll spare you the gory details of firing the builder and becoming the GC to finish the house myself.
And the After of those Before interior shots?

And so, here we are part of the time.
Welcome to Heron Haven.

There’s a little yarn shop over in Gloucester. And, I’m going to find Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg on Friday.

Tomorrow, blocking the Pi Shawl.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Deferred Gratification

It is important for me to say first that the delay in my receiving these yarns was absolutely not the fault of the vendors. They were fabulous. I ordered the yarn when I thought I was going home sooner and had it shipped there. FOUR weeks later, I asked my darling husband to send me a care package, because I just couldn’t wait any longer. Though I am leaving Mom’s on Wednesday, I’m headed to the house in Mathews, VA to check on our frozen pipes and won’t be home for another week.

Some things ARE worth waiting for!

Cider Moon sent me Icicle, their lightweight sock yarn in:
June Carter, wow!

And Wildwood, gorgeous!

Each skein is 500+yds of soft 100% superwash merino with a medium twist and a nice sheen. Plus, yes, plus, there were three mini-balls of surprise yarns!

Now the color is very hard to capture on the next yarn, since I haven’t set up my Norma-approved light box yet. But, it’s Lime & Violet Deep Blue, 460yds of superwash merino.
So squooshy, so soft, so much richer colors than I can get out of the camera.

These are great additions to the collection.

Soon, you will get some photos from the Bay.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Why I Knit, Part 2: Embracing the Online Knitting Community with One Good Arm

I’ll try to make a long story short, but it’s sort of a long story.

About three years ago, not long after I had come back to knitting, I finally decided to do something about the left arm pain that had followed me in various forms and with increasing severity since a minor injury to my wrist in late 1997 (it involved carrying sheets of plywood, because, I am a dumbass). A couple of months after the seemingly minor injury, I started a semester-long ceramics course and wanted to work on largerwheel-thrown bowls – think six pounds of clay on the wheel. By the end of the class I couldn’t even pick up a cup of coffee with my left hand. Fast forward through three more years as construction manager for a volunteer-based housing non-profit™ carrying generators, compressors, lumber, 50 pounds of nails in buckets, etc. I finally quit in 2001.

It still hurt and started hurting in new ways when I played golf with DH, or went to yoga class, or swam, or just picked something up the wrong way. So, I had to seek help. Thus followed PT, the hand surgeon, OT, Radial Tunnel Release surgery, OT, de Quervain’s Release surgery plus removal of what turned out to be fascia from Duypuytren’s Contracture (surgery #2 I blame on the splint), OT, Lateral Epicondylitis Debridement and removal of more Dupuytrens gunk, OT, and currently (if I ever get home from Hagerstown to continue) PT for all the arm/shoulder/posture/soft tissue/nerve entrapment issues you can get when your arm hurts for ummm, ten years. And, please stay with me, this is going somewhere that has to do with KNITTING.

An effort was made to “rest” my arm as conservative treatment prior to the surgeon agreeing to surgery. Anyone who knows me is laughing at the idea that I would “rest” anything. But, I was forbidden to knit. By my OT, who is a wonderful woman, for whom I eventually knit this as thanks. Because I could.

Oriel Stole by Anne Carroll Gilmour from Black Sheep Wool Co. (no website) in Classic Elite Miracle alpaca/tencel, yum.

While I was “resting” I discovered knitting blogs. There was an article in the Washington Post that mentioned WendyKnits, and she links to blogs, and they link to more blogs, and there’s Bloglines, and Googling for patterns, and Yahoo Groups, Mystery Projects, and podcasts. And so we end up here. With my knitting blog.

I was not able to knit but I started to read about others’ knitting. I learned by watching when I could not do. I was inspired to try techniques just because I’d seen them done and discussed that I never would have had an interest in trying if I just saw them in print. And it has opened my mind to how I now look at new knitting. Seeing finished objects modeled by knitters is far different from the flat posed pictures on most patterns. Things tend to look a lot better. Hearing details and failures and successes about the process leading to the products made all sorts of things seem more possible.

My newfound knitting courage has taken me to lace, and socks, and stranded knitting, and warshcloths, and Stitches East, and to work at the LYS, and to lots of hand-dyed sock yarn that inspires me to work on some colorways of my own this Spring. On a lark, I have entered shawls in the Virginia State Fair and won.

But, even though it is “just” the internet, I feel connected to something real. Something that has inspired, informed, motivated, and entertained me. Something that is an amazing renewable resource, but not one to be used unquestioningly (opinions are not facts, and your way may not be the only way). Something that has allowed me to help others find a clear path through sticky spots on their mystery shawls. Something that has allowed me to find knitters and yarn on my travels. Something that has prompted me to start asking myself Why I Knit in hopes that the answer might inspire someone else who finds this blog on their own journey.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Sky - Grey, My New Yarn - Not Grey

This Morning.

This Afternoon.

My trip to the Yarn Store.
Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, fingering wt, Plumicious.