Friday, December 30, 2005

'Tis the Fifth Day of Christmas

and as some observant people have noticed, I did not blog on the fourth day. That was because a certain vest was proving recalcitrant and I spent 2 hours trying to realize my plan for a neck bind off. A good chunk of that was spent unpicking my first few tries. By the end of the evening, I was not speaking to the vest (but I was muttering about it a good deal) and so I decided not to reward the cantankerous thing with a picture in my blog. One of the good things about yesterday - and there were quite a few, actually, just nothing pertaining to finishing the vest's neck edging - was that I started my next project, a pair of mittens.

Yesterday I finished the patterned knitting of the vest, sewed the steeks, sliced the steeks open with blantant disregard for the integrity of my yarn, learned that to havea perfect 'meet' at the seam, I'll need to work half a pattern row before doing a 3-needle bind-off, and worked on the neck until I got sick of it.

Today, I conquered the neck, began and finished the nicely cooperative armholes. I'm going to save the Weaving of the Ends (not too many) for tomorrow. And who knows how far I'll get on the mittens! (First, *I* have to figure out which Fair Isle pattern I'm going to use on the cuff. So many choices, so few mittens...)

Despite the fact that all I've been talking about lately is knitting, I do have some children. They are very good about me being occupied during school vacation, and rarely remind me that they're bored and have nothing to do. It's counterproductive to be bored when one's room could use a good cleaning. And if there's fresh snow outside, well, then ... make snow forts while the weather is cold!

I have an important knitting lesson for those of you who knit. I'm sure you've heard it said many times (or at least read it) that you should always check your dyelots, and buy enough of a single dyelot to finish your project. But have you ever noticed a difference in dyelots? Excluding hand dyed yarns, of course? I never have. I've run into problems when I try to order more yarn 10 years after getting the first bit of yarn in a freebie bag from someone emptying their closet, and finding the company is closing out that style and only has two colors left, but actual dyelots problems? No. Not me. Not until ....

Look carefully. You will see that these two balls of Palette yarn are black. One is dyelot 3753, and the other is dyelot 4320. Can you see the difference between the dyelots? I thought so. I will be *very* careful, especially when using the ball on the left, to get the same dyelot if I need more of that shade of black.

Other knitting musings. The neck on my newly finished vest looks awfully small. I was all prepared to be smug about following EZ's directions to a T (so far as her directions are that precise), and not trying to follow the 45 degree angle of the pattern lines, which would give a short choppy neck ... but what did I end up with? A short, choppy neck. It fits very nicely over my husband's head, so I'm not concerned with it not fitting. But ... it just looks tiny. The next time I make a vest in this gauge, I think I'll start the neck shaping about 10 rows before finishing the sleeve shaping (sorry, Elizabeth). There's also the matter of picking up stitches along the edge. Typically, you pick up 4 stitches for every 3 rows, because standard gauge is like that ... 6 stitches = 8 rows = 1". My gauge was more like 6.3 sts = 6.3 rows = 1". So I picked up one for one, and my, is that ribbing around the neck a bit stretched. Not terribly so, but I'm going to let the vest stew for a few days and maybe (after the mittens are done) I'll take out the neck ribbing, pick up more stitches, and re-knit the thing. Without trying to do a sewn cast-off.

And thus closes the Year of the Vest. I realized, as I was sewing the last bit of ribbing down, that I've made four vests this year. One in April for my Master Knitting project, then two in the fall for a friend, and now this one. I've also made a goodly number of socks this year - maybe over 20 pairs? (including two argyles which don't match .. one for Master Knitting, and one for my husband. The match to that one will come some time after I get him to try on the first and find out what adjustments are necessary to make it fit.)

Don't expect any more Days of Christmas posts. I've gotten you up to date on all my Christmas yarn goodies, the Vest Blitz is done, and mittens await. Since this entry is already rather long, I'll save my Knitting Small Diameter Openings Mutterings for another post, next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

And the third day of Christmas

Isn't that a lovely box of yarn? It's KnitPicks Palette, a fingering weight yarn perfect for knitting Norwegian or Fair Isle sweaters. My mom picks such good presents for me.

Today I got another box in the mail, also from KnitPicks. One of these days I should confuse the post office and get yarn from somewhere else. The new box has yarn for mittens, plus some lovely sock yarns and a calendar with pictures of ... what else ... yarn. I am a happy camper.
As you can see, the vest is moving along nicely. The green thread mid-picture is the bottom of the neck. I've about 6 more rows to go to finish the 'v' and then I just get to knit until 27 inches. It doesn't seem like I've knit much today, but I suppose I must have since I'm almost done with a skein of gray. I just might finish up the patterning part tomorrow. But not if I don't get to knitting, and stop blogging. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

On the Second Day of Christmas

I didn't get anything new today ... no turtledoves especially, which would have driven our dog batty. But if you'll remember the smaller box from yesterday? Here are the contents. Aren't they lovely? One skein of every sort of Merino Style that KnitPicks makes. I love how soft it is. It's a pleasure to work with.

How much of a pleasure, you ask? Perhaps this vest picture will give you an idea how much time I've been spending letting the merino run through my fingers. The little snippet of yarn you see is what will become an armhole. I've got about 18 more rows to go, and then I get to start the V-neck. It is tricky juggling the pattern and the decreases, but I've not gotten out a pencil to draw them in on my chart yet. Partly because I didn't have a pencil handy, and partly because I've almost stuck the chart away, and I don't really want to bring it back out.

Here is a picture of the Selbu Mitten from Folk Mittens in progress. It's finished now, and is nice and toasty warm. I didn't have enough tan to make a second one but have a fraternal twin in blue and white. One day I may make a match for either of them, but perhaps not. The wind doesn't care that my mittens don't match ... it just stays out!

Goals for this week: Keep knitting that vest! I may get it finished this year, but don't need to. And since I do have some mitten yarn coming, I may divert my energies from the vest for a while. But then again, it will be easier to work on the mittens full-steam if the vest is finished. So maybe I won't. Perhaps KP will make it easy for me and the yarn won't get here until the vest is finished.

Monday, December 26, 2005

On the First Day of Christmas

my mother gave to me, LOTS of yarn and knitting goodies. Boxes that you just *know* came from KnitPicks are just so much fun. And my life is being full of fun.

First, the boxes. Here are the ones that were wrapped and in the crib. A new tradition, you ask? Like having a baby in a manger? No. It's a practical solution to what to do with presents when they are in the same house as a dog who likes rearranging all carryable objects. What was in the boxes? Stay tuned!

Then, t
he yarn my friend brought over for a vest. I used a K1 P1 alternating invisible cast on (depending on which book you read) and my first attempt was miserable. I didn't use needles 2 sizes smaller for the ribbing, and I didn't trust Elizabeth Zimmerman when she said to use 90% of the Key Number (which is 288.) I ended up with a floppy rib, distorted at the lower edge, that was looking to be 42" around. Ick. Frog. Change needles, trust Elizabeth, and start over. It's moving along quite nicely now, and I think it may be finished in 2 weeks or so. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the steeks ... to steek, or to work back and forth. Fortunately, my mom solved that problem by getting me Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and there just happens to be a V-neck Fair Isle vest with sketchy enough directions to give me the clues I needed.

Now, my before-Christmas knitting. I did, I did, I did manage to finish up my swatches and written work (unless you count footnotes ... those are yet to be sprinkled throughout my paperwork as the spirit moves me.) My swatches are all tagged-n-bagged, sorted neatly by swatch number, and awaiting their Final Placement into the Fat Notebook. Working with a Skinny Notebook is much easier (besides, the swatches can't fall out if they're not in there), so I'm going to keep the swatches in their own baggie until I'm ready to send everything in for evaluation.

Lastly and leastly, at least for today, is a picture of a Barbie shawl. Knitters will, in desperation, invent strange things when they're away from a new ball of yarn, have just finished making a pair of socks, and are at a Christmas Program rehearsal in which they play only a minor part. I invented something akin to 'cast on 12, work in k1p1 rib for a few rows, then switch to stockinette stitch and at opposite sides of the shawl work a yo k1 yo every other row, and bind off when it looks like the yarn is about to run out. The embroidery scissors are in the picture for comparison.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas, all!

It truly is a Merry Christmas here. I've made a double batch of Chai and have 6 jelly jars ready to go out as gifts, accompanied by fresh homemade biscotti. The stollen is rising in the window, ready to be shaped into loaves. I've gotten all my directions for swatches written, charted, graphed, and annotated. All my book and magazine reviews are written. All the questions are answered. One teensy, tiny, one page report remains to be written after lunch. One charming little lace swatch awaits reknitting. And then .... I shall take a breather and cogitate on design elements of sweaters and hats, while doing some other knitting.

Yes, other knitting! I'd have pictures, but my printer still isn't agreeing with my photo chip. I finished the brown/tan Selbu mitten, and am waiting for some mitten yarn to arrive from KnitPicks, courtesy of a friend. Yesterday, more yarn arrived from a friend (beware friends bringing yarn?) and that is going to be knit into a vest ... today should see a gauge swatch at least started on that project. I also have yarn to finish off a scarf cowl in Grandma, and bought some MORE yarn on Tuesday (as well as complete sets of sz 2 and 3 Brittany Birch needles ... yumm) to make the socks from Winter 2005 Interweave Knits.

It's a delightful thing to sit at a desk surrounded by knitting books, a sleeping dog, rising bread, and a pile or two of completely tagged swatches. And don't forget the Ghiradelli chocolate sitting just out of arm's reach! (I won't mention the fudge that set in 2 seconds flat yesterday, as I was tilting the cooking pot to pour it out.)

May you know the joy of the wise men when they saw the star, and join them in worshipping the One whom it signified!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Getting organized ...

The paper-generation portion of my MK work is moving along nicely. I really, truly, intend to get it all done this week. This week I've done two magazine reviews and two book reviews. One fiber report and one blocking report remain to be written. After that, I'll be down to writing directions for a swatch, coming up with a chart for another swatch, and a few odd questions. This is starting to look doable!

The socks are done, and I'd have pictures of them as well as the Barbie-sized poncho that I made out of the leftovers, but my printer has decided that I am inserting my picture chip backwards. I know I'm not ... but may have scratched the chip somehow trying to get it in. I hope not! The camera still likes it. I was beginning to wonder what I'd work on for my travelling knitting project, but what did I find in my e-mail box but a project waiting for me to happen! God provides. This project will be triply fun because it a) is to help a friend, b) will help me better guide another friend through the same project, and c) comes at a time of 'what shall I knit?'

The sewing is also done, or at least as done as it can get without an inch or two of velcro.

It's been a happy day...

Friday, December 16, 2005

9 days to Christmas...

Yes, nine days left and I have almost all my gifts made. I need to spend an hour or two with my sewing machine and cutting table, and then all the gifts I had planned on making as of December 1st will be done. And if I spend this weekend with my knitting needles, then the gift I hadn't planned on making will be done as well.

The sock is Knitpicks Gumballs with a fuzzy yarn from Hobby Lobby. The fuzzy yarn sure is fuzzy, isn't it? I decided to work some ribbing in the sock yarn, and then do a fold-over cuff. They're being quite fun to make. (Photo by ds)

Progress is being made on the MK swatches, but unfortunately I forgot I'd used my circular needles to make a project in between swatches, and I worked 3 swatches on size 10.5 instead of 8. I'm going to re-do one of them (the Mosaic swatch) but hope another one will be okay as is. The doily pictured here is another swatch. I ended up making two of them. The first one was so lovely ... right up until 5 stitches from the end on the last round. Then I discovered a mistake. Since the pattern was so delightful to knit, I decided to finish the first one off and knit a second one. The picture here is actually of my first attempt ... there are two errors in it, but sharp are the eyes that will find them. Mosaic knitting, at least on the wrong size needles, looks a whole lot better in pictures than it does live. I hope it will improve with different needles, but I have my doubts.

I borrowed Principles of Knitting from the library this week, and have alternately been amused by or or enjoyed it. The author does have some strong opinions, mostly that the way I knit is not the way one ought to. She also doesn't care for a tubular cast-on. That is one thing I have definitely learned from the MK program and will carry over into other knitting ... tubular cast ons! I made a pair of mittens (pictured) while waiting for my KP order, and used that cast-on. Then I read about how awful it was, and decided to knit another pair of mittens using the cast-on the book preferred. I'll give each pair of mittens a few months of Minnesota winter, and check to see which one survived better. Two out of two people that I've taught both to found the tubular cast-on easier to learn.

I hope to get most, if not all, of my MK paperwork done before Christmas - barring the hat and sweater design stuff. I have two swatches left to knit, one or two to re-knit, and a caboodle of paper to generate.

I am pleased to announce that I have solved the Norwegian Thumb Gore Mystery, with help from KnitU and the Internet. The pattern has a TYPO which is not mentioned in the errata for the book. Once I searched on 'Selbu' instead of the gore, I found it, and my confusion vanished like the snow outside my window will next May. (Slowly, and with some reluctance)
I'm not thinking about school any more. Standardized testing is finished, the booklets have been sent back to Hewitt, and dh is drywalling in the school room. It's a bad time to be thinking about cleaning.

Merry Christmas, all!

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's winter

And winter is a grand time of year to sit back, sip cocoa, and knit.

The first semester of school is drawing to a close. We've made good progress. I can't say that we've enjoyed Tapestry of Grace, since it fell by the wayside in our second week. Nor can I say that my students delight in studying all their spare moments, for they don't. One scholar would rather build unique buildings, and the other would rather doodle, knit, read, or all three simultaneously. Still, we worked through the first half of the Homer workbook, are on track to finish our Singapore text (and series) before spring, and are moving along in Latin.

I love new beginnings. Already I'm thinking about tossing out all the work from the first semester and having clean and tidy notebooks for January. I'll have to do that with my own books ... 'sides, it wouldn't last but a week with my children's. Before we get to those new beginnings, we need to do our mandated yearly testing. That will be next week sandwiched in among baking, crafting, and yes, building unique buildings.

I haven't knit any new swatches for my Master's program since last week, but I have gotten a good bit of writing done. I even had a friend test my pattern for Bavarian Twisted Stitch. She persevered through the twisted purls, and announced that my pattern is fine. I don't know that she'll ever work the stitch back-and-forth again, though. I did finish up two pieces of footwear, decide to save one for after Christmas (since I have my doubts the first will fit ... I'll just have one to re-do that way), and the yarn for the other two socks is on order. I forgot I've got two children to make pajamas for ... but I've got fabric for one of them, and it got pre-washed yesterday!

My Quest of the Month is to figure out How to do a Norwegian Gore. It's explained in Folk Socks, but it has never made sense to me. There are just Plumb Too Many Stitches in the finger portion of the mitt after working the thumb opening. Even the charts agree. If you've got a chart for mittens that's 60 stitches wide, and you add in 10 stitches for a thumb gore, and keep them, you've got 10 stitches more on the needles than you have on the chart. Pffft. I suppose it could be a typo ... but there's a similarly wrought gore in the Fall '93 Knitter's magazine, and two identical typos stretches my credulity.

I love Christmas baking. Today we made Swedish Rusks (aka Italian Biscotti), and one of these days will be just right for a batch of Stollen. And then sugar cookies, and then spritz, and then ... oh, too many good things.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Joy of Swatching

Diogenes is edited. The poncho is ready to be mailed. The garden is under a few inches of snow. Laundry is done. It's a Saturday. It must be time for knitting swatches!

I've done a 'how in the world does this work?' swatch of Entrelac. It's an interesting technique. I may make a pair of socks in it someday, but unless I figure out a friendlier way to pick up stitches from left to right along a selvedge, I probably won't do much with it. I did, however, manage to do this entire swatch without purling anywhere except for the ribbing. Knitting back backwards, anyone? I'm not looking forward to writing down the step-by-step directions for how to do this, however.

One of my swatches has acquired the name of "UgliStitch." It's actually an elongated stitch, but I am not fond of doing those. I'd much rather do fine lace or Fair Isle than elongated stitch stuff. Abigail *would* love how the UgliSwatch looked, so I will no doubt be talking her through the process one of these days.

I'm going to upload some other photos of swatches into my Yahoo Pictures page. And then ... off to knit! Christmas is a comin', and I've got 5 1/2 pieces of footwear to finish before then. Let's see ... two will take a day each, two more will take about 3 days, so I've got 17 days to make 1 1/2 items ... it'll work.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Pictures

Life after Poncho is proceeding apace. I've gotten the requisite standardized test ordered for my children, Christmas presents are purchased or - in two cases - in progress, editing Diogenes is moving forwards, and I am working on MK level III. I've also upgraded my computer with more memory, and gotten a new CPU fan. The previous one was growling at me so much our dog was beginning to take offense at it.

Here, by popular demand, are some pictures of the finished poncho. I've decided that myMK cable design project will be a hat to match the poncho. The yarn is smooth and light colored, and I've got some cable motifs to work with ... so why not? That leave a Scandinavian or Fair Isle pullover or cardigan for my other project. Oh, the possibilities!

I'm working on a second scarf cowl, this time in a sock yarn. I think it will turn out quite well, but if not ... it'll go back into a ball of yarn to become some fingerless gloves/wrist warmers.

And because I've now entered the phase of Life After Poncho, I've gotten some work done on my secret argyles. Nothing tricky about the pattern, it's just that the work is clandestine. If you're reading this blog, they're not for you. Unfortunately, about 2-3 inches of the work was backwards. A misplaced diamond will do ugly things to a sock. I decided to set a good example for Denise, and frogged rather than compensate. (I've gotta admit, though, I *did* make some errors yesterday, and they're going to get disguised with two duplicate stitches added in to the finished product.)

Saturday, November 26, 2005


The Cashmere (Wool) Crossings Poncho is finished. It took 26 skeins, over 120,000 stitches, oodles of cables, and a bit over 5 weeks, but it is complete. Well, except for blocking, which is almost optional. After it's blocked, I''ll get some pictures up.

I ended up ordering the whole set of Shadow merino laceweight yarns, and a skein of Grandma for a present. Grandma, the person, has a very interesting colorway around her eye at the moment, due to a collision with a doorway. The pinks and purples of the yarn beat the green, navy, and wine of the person. I'm sure someone, somewhere, has created a 'Black Eye' colorway though.

I've got two projects on the needle right now - sock and sock. I also have a project off the needles, called Tubular Swatch - Swatch #1 of my next Master Knitter course. I've made one swatch, and it came out well enough that I know a tubular cast on doesn't produce a tube for a sock. the edge stitches need a bit of work, though, so I'm off to Sample Swatch #2! I am going to learn *so* much from this.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Snow is forecast for tomorrow. Snow is one of my favorite types of weather. It's right up there with the rumbling thunder of scattered storms drifting across the prairie, and the rustle of a nice brisk wind - preferably cool. The best kind of weather is the kind that is enhanced by a cup of hot cocoa, chai, or tea.

I just started the 15th and 16th skeins of the poncho, and am a little over halfway done. Twenty rows to go, and the neckline will be DONE! I am hoping to finish it by Christmas. I've got 3 other Christmas presents yet to make, and then can dive whole-heartedly into Level III of the Master Handknitter program. I've finished off the scarf for my Aunt, and am making progress on a pair of socks. (Two pairs of socks, really, but ssssshhhh ... not everyone knows about both of them.) I also made 2 Dairy Queen hats, but am not quite happy with them. Found a typo in The Opinionated Knitter too.

Halfway through the poncho was about 13 skeins, which means that I need 26 for the whole thing, and rats - I only have 20. I'll have to place another order with KnitPicks. While I knit tonight, I'll be musing about what I can order to bring my 11 dollar order up to a 30 dollar order so I don't have to pay for shipping. Hmmm ... the whole set of Shadow, perhaps, and a book? Or maybe some needles? The delights of contemplation are boundless.

In the poncho picture, you can see two main cable panels, three if you peer into the upper right corner. It's 6 'main panels' wide, from the bottom front, over the arms, and down to the bottom back, and 8 repititions long. A lotta knitting, but a lotta fun. And it's a handy blanket already ... my legs didn't freeze on the way to church, because they were snuggled under 1 1/2 lbs of wool!

Miniscule goals for next week: Finish the neck area of the poncho, and get an order in to KnitPicks. And finish the colorwork on one set of socks.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Poncho Proceeds

I did so-so on my goals. I'm 9 skeins into the poncho. Some days see the demise of an entire skein, others don't. The scarf cowl is about 24" complete, out of 42. Socks are going almost nowhere, but they've at leastbeen started. The schoolroom is slightly more organized than before, and I haven't written a single letter. But I have gotten our finances brought up to date, and helped see yet another book through the final publishing phase.

My creative blogging juices seem to be non-existent! No goals for this coming week ... I'll just see what I can get done.

Friday, October 21, 2005

On to the poncho!

There is such delight in finishing a project, especially when the finished item is going to a good home. Such was the case last night at 10 PM, when I cast off lots of little tiny stitches in a stretchy cast off. I was so delighted with the entire knitting universe that I decided to cast on 307 stitches for my next project right then and there. The shawl is now staked out over bath towels in Abigail's room (the book is just beyond the halfway point), and the poncho is about 5% finished.

The photo is a smidgen dark, but you can see the gal wearing 3700 yards of cashmere ($700 worth, retail) and the beginnings of my woolen version, in a very pale lavendar. I think it is going to be lovely, and snuggly to work on as the weather turns colder. If - big if - I can do a skein a day, I will have it finished before Thanksgiving.

My socks in Jig are finished, and I've got a decent start on my
next 'carry along' project, a scarf cowl in Sweat Pea laceweight from KnitPicks. It's not as handy as a sock for knitting in the dark upon, but it's not too far off. I've got 41 inches to go of straight knitting, then decreases, a seam, and it too will be finished. Sigh. Too much fun. There are just so many neat things out there to knit.

Not much other news is happening. Dan is enjoying his new part-time job, I'm enjoying Pachebel's Canon in D, the children are enjoying having the end of Greek in sight, and the rest of our studies are proceeding apace. In my goals for next week .... have 5 fewer skeins to knit up into poncho, an orderly schoolroom, and one letter ready to mail.

Monday, October 17, 2005

No worms here!

A friend of mine is having worm problems at her house. My problem is not worms, but parsing nuns. It's amazing how one's eyes play tricks with text files after a few hours of edits. Not everyone gets to parse nuns, you know.

And that reminds me of the Japanese Beetle lesson I learned this morning. Succinctly put, it goes like this: When making pancakes in the fall, do not assume that little brown specks on the griddle are overcooked pancake batter. There was no brown speck when I flipped the pancake over, so I did a dissection after it had finished cooking. Gentle palpation disclosed the area to be investigated, and there, in a fine state of stink, was a cooked Japanese beetle. I don't recommend them as a pancake topping, or interior. I'm keeping a closer eye on my chai these days as well. I do NOT like stinky lumps in my chai.

The Homer IG went to press today. Once we get it back from the printer, it will undergo a final scan and then be available. Hooray! This means that I now have time to make some minor fixes to the Homer workbook, and then start in on digesting Diogenes. I *really* want a new computer. One that opens files in less than 2 minutes, and can switch back and forth between e-mail and editor faster than I can knit a round on my socks.

Knitting goes well. I had lots of time to knit on our vacation to Des Moines, where I met some ClassEd and TAH friends, and visited with my sister and her family. I worked on the shawl for the most part, but when it got too dark to see the lace on the drive home, I switched over to a sock and continued knitting. That sock is finished now, and I've got TWO more projects on the needle. One is clandestine, at the moment, and the other is a scarf cowl I'm making up for mom. Although it's not a sock, it will replace a sock as my travelling project. How complicated can 'k 44. Repeat until scarf is 42" long' get? True, there's some shaping on the ends ... but I'm beyond that part, thanks to my poky editor. The shawl is 5 pattern repititions from completion. My goal is to finish it by Sunday. I'm timing myself to find out how long it takes to knit a repitition, and my estimate is 85 minutes -- which means that a completed scarf takes about 45 hours of solid, non-stop knitting.

Next week, I should have some shawl pictures!

Ivanhoe is a fantastic book. I'm going to keep an eye out for my own copy, and would really like to know why I haven't read it before now. Are there any other books out there I should have been enjoying the past 20+ years?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fall has arrived, and it's time to knit

There's nothing so delightful in the early autumn as the panorama of some recently knitted socks. From left to right, there's Parade Blues, Dancing Two-Step, Jig, and Parade Plum. All are pairs, except for Jig, and Sock 2 should be popping onto my needles in the next few days.

Of course, rows of skeins waiting to be knitted into a poncho are another welcome sight. I am exercising great restraint, though, and haven't started it yet. Instead, I'm continuing to work on the shawl, and have 14 rows to go until I'm halfway done! I doubt I'll finish it by Oct 15th, since I was out of yarn for it for a while. I'll keep going, though, and see when it gets finished.

While I was waiting for more yarn, I diddled a bit with Swatch #2 for level III. I've never before had a problem with rowing out, but this swatch and I just didn't get along. The pattern is easy enough, but the rowing out was aggravating. I'll try some different needles the next time I tackle swatching. Since I've got shawl yarn, though, there's no reason to swatch for a while. I've also got poncho yarn, sock yarn, scarf yarn ... all sorts of yarn!

As fall is approaching, however, the time comes to check out what clothes my children have for the upcoming season. Tomorrow has been dedicated to a) finding my son's room, b) removing enough material from it so that he can easily clean it, and c) checking out what clothes fit whom. The next day will be a day of filling in wardrobe gaps.

School is progressing along smoothly. We've got just two more weeks of Greek to go, and then Latin will be our only foreign language of study. As life gets more settled, I am more confident we can accomplish what I've planned (math, Latin, Greek, CW-Homer, Bible) and can see room to add a few other things. The #1 thing to add at the moment is NEAT HANDWRITING. I'm not sure if I want to buckle down and figure out explicit instruction beyond "Write neatly. Like this," or get a book that sets it out for them. TOG has fallen completely by the wayside. Oh well.

Our current read-aloud is Watership Down. I've never read the book before, but it got favorable reviews from some on-line friends, so I decided to give it a try. Patrick was suspicious it was the new Redwall book -- so the book has definitely found favor with him. My other reading is Ivanhoe. And, of course, knitting catalogs. In all the spare moments of my time that I can muster, I'm working on an answer key for the Homer workbook. The hardest part is figuring out what to answer. One can't really provide an answer for an essay, can one?

Goals for this week: Complete 7 repititions of the lace pattern, read 7 chapters of Ivanhoe (as long as they're of decent length), finish up the answer key, and keep up with Bible Study. Two more weeks to go in Exodus, and then we're on to Leviticus!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I love lace!

It's a good day when I can get some major knitting done. Sunday was such a day. I finished a sock, and 42 rows of stole flew through my fingers, and the end is in sight. Not because it's close, but because I've got enough of an idea how the stole will block, so I know how much I have left to do. Rats, it's time to order another two skeins of yarn so I can finish the project. I'm using a pink preemie hat as my ball holder - did you know that 440 yards of laceweight will fit in a preemie hat? and I blocked a bit of the shawl Saturday night so Kerri could see what it's going to look like. I discovered that this is also a ring shawl, in that the entire width of the shawl will nicely fit into a woman's wedding ring, with space to spare. The shawl is going to be 5 pattern multiples by 30 repeats ... if only I were using whatever yarn the original was made in, I'd be almost done now! That one only took 3 multiples and 18 repeats to be 37x77". I'm aiming for 27x60.

I acquired 3 more projects to work on over the weekend. A Fair Isle vest for a friend, a scarf for an aunt, and socks for another friend. All fun to do, and relatively quick. Almost anything is quick compared to the poncho on my list, except perhaps level III.

And level III arrived! I am quite looking forward to beginning on it. I now know the technicalities of what I get to design, and saw the particulars for the swatches. They are going to be such fun! I'll be learning lots of new things, among them, double brioche stitch. Of course, when I saw that I had to get out my IK that had a section on brioche stitch, and think about what scarf I would make in it for practice, to learn the stitch.

This afternoon, between rows, I updated my photo album to include projects from July, August, and September. I forgot to get a good photo of the Golden Gopher vest, but there is one of it in progress.

School is going along well, my editing is behaving itself fairly well, and not much else is happening at the moment. The weekend will be busy, so that's a good thing. Watch for an update next week!

Friday, September 23, 2005


Today was Ladies' Craft Day, and what a fun day it was! I got a box of yarn from KnitPicks, which included a very early birthday present my mom told me to get for myself. All of a sudden, I am surrounded by delightful projects to knit ... might it be time to ration my internet usage so I get more knitting done? Perhaps!

I know I just made a list of things that I'm going to be knitting, but I need to think them through again, so here goes.
1) The Golden Gopher Vest - I've got the yarn, and plan to finish it tomorrow.
2) Kerri's Lace Shawl - 3 repeats of the pattern are done, perhaps out of 18. Goal: Oct 15?
3) Kris's Poncho - half the yarn arrived today. Will start when #2 is done.
4) Parade Socks in plum. 1 done, 1 to go.
5) Other Socks. Have yarn for 2 pair.

And for the 'have not yarns yet'
6) Scarf for Aunt Dolores
7) Dairy Queen hat for mom
8) Fair Isle vest (ooh, yummy!)

Oh, and there's that level III also. And my children wouldn't mind having mittens for this winter.

Writing this all down helps. It really does. If I work an hour or two a day on knitting, I can realistically finish off my 'big' projects by the end of November. Now, two hours a day may not be realistic on some days, but still ... the end of November is something to shoot for. Winter is coming (hooray!!!) and that always lends itself to more knitting.

Today I learned that Profiles in Courage, by John F. Kennedy, may not have been written by John F. Kennedy. And that Elizabeth Zimmerman knit while riding on motorcycles as a passenger. For some time she did it without her husband (sitting in front of her) knowing about it. Doesn't that sound fun?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Level II passed

Good things come to her who waits. Finally, and at last, my level II resubmissions returned to me today. The letter was dated August 28th ... and it began with the word Congratulations. I've ordered the instructions for level III, and have no idea when I will begin working on that level.

For unto me has come this day, in the city of mine own, a boatload of work. True, it hasn't all arrived this day. And indeed, some of it is not yet here. But my plate is about to run over, and my cup is stocked with cocoa and my larder with tea, so I'm all set to be productive.

What's on my plate?
- files to proof for the next book in the CW series
- print copies for a forthcoming workbook in the CW series

- Kerri's shawl (OTK, but may get frogged, depending on what Kerri thinks of loosely knit lace. I prefer a tighter knit myself, but I think this is nice too.)
- Kris's poncho (not OTK, but the yarn is coming! See next item.)
- Marcia's vest, which is not exactly OTK, but neither is it finished. I'm about 3-5 yards of having enough yarn to finish the final armhole facing. So I had to order another skein. And so, well, I had to order more stuff to get free shipping, see ...
- Socks. The TwoStep socks are finished, and I'm almost ready to turn the heel on a pair of Parade socks in plummy colors.
- Level III, which is at the bottom of my priority list. I can say that now, because I don't have the instructions yet. I really do want a clear plate when I tackle this. I think.

- The average household stuff ... teach children, keep the floors clean, walk the dog, feed the household occasionally, clean the clothes ... plus keeping up with friends and family.

So you can see, I have no excuse for not being productive. Doesn't that sound lovely?

'Scuse me while I go proof a manuscript.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Happy Birthday Patrick!

Finally and at last, Patrick's birthday has arrived and the sweater which I have been covertly knitting can be revealed. The back has Carson Palmer's number, and our surname. The sweater fits, has growing room, and looks pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself. The only drawback is that it's not washable acrylic. I've told Patrick that if he throws it in the wash, it will become a felted back about the right size for our dog.

And here's one of our photos from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. I kinda like it (the photo, that is. Of course I like the zoo.) The Sun Bear was looking for a spot to hang out, high up (see the hut roof under the bear's neck? That's ground level, give or take a few feet) and happened to be cruising right past us.

While we were in Omaha, Mom went to her 50th reunion, we did touristy things, went to a YARN STORE!!! and had a grand time. I got a book on knit wraps, and convinced my cousin to pick one that I could make for her. She has excellent taste, and picked a cashmere poncho requiring 3234 yards of worsted weight yarn. If I can find enough of the same color on sale, the cost would be just under $700. Budget-conscious soul that she is, she decided that a simple wool would do quite nicely.

Here's one of the Parade Blue socks that I knit last month. My current project has obtained the nickname of the Gopher Vest. Just think of the blue/white Snowflake vest in Golden Gopher colors, and you'll be right on. It's going well, but if I ever want to make this size again, I think I'll use sport weight or DK yarn. The vest isn't stiff, but its not far from it either. I think a lighter yarn would have a nicer drape to it.

My projects OTK are the Gopher Vest, and the first Two Step sock. Projects-in-Waiting are Kris's Poncho, Kerri's Shawl, and socks socks socks. All in all, a lovely situation to be in. Still haven't gotten back my level II resumbissions, but they should be arriving one of these days, and then I can either re-knit a swatch, or order level III and smile at it while polishing off some large projects. I have, however, almost decided to definitely make a Fair Isle sweater, and a cable hat. Unless I do it the other way. Or maybe I could do two sweaters and two caps, and then pick which combo I like best?

School is going well. We're going to have FOUR DAYS of school this week, hooray hooray. And maybe even four days next week? I've drawn up a rough schedule, and now comes the testing, trying, and making sure if fits our family. TOG is going a bit by the wayside, but I do hope to pull on it for some directed readings and discussions. Ds is designing a map, akin to the map project from week 1, but he's doing it with the cities of Workbook, Math, and Greek, with Homework Lake and Desk River.

I've been reading quite a few children's books lately (funny how that happens when you have children around), but have picked Profiles in Courage by JFK for my seriouser reading. The introduction is a small political education in and of itself, and I'm looking forwards to learning about the senators JFK selected.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Checking in

What a week this has been. The flooding in New Orleans and Katrina have been a whammy that I can't comprehend. Minnesota has mosquitos and blizzards, but those are relatively easy to deal with. Hunker down, know where the nearest woodburning stove is if the power goes out for a while, and toast marshmallows. Or knit.

Speaking of knitting (and you knew I would), the Parade Blues socks are finished, and I frogged the Two Step socks, one of which is back on the needles. They were just too snug. I suppose I could have found someone with a smaller foot ... but they were also a bit lengthy, and that combination of food would be hard to find. I've got 4 seams to go on the sweater, and all sorts of nice yarn sitting at my feet that is waiting to be used. I suppose I'll start the burgundy/gold vest (like the blue/white one I made earlier) first, but the lace yarn is calling my name.

I would like to proudly report that I have taught our dog the 'down' command. We have a ways to go yet, but if we're in a quiet room, and nothing is going on, and I tell him 'down', he lies down within 30 seconds about 80% of the time. I also may have solved the problem of him telling me where I should be. One squirt bottle of water! In past weeks I've been putting him in his crate 3-5 times a day for unacceptable behavior (aimed at getting me to do something I'm not doing.) That number has been 0 the past two days, and the squirt bottle isn't getting used much. Twice the first day, then once yesterday ... and may the downward trend continue!

We'll be out of town next week, but I'll try and update after we get back.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

School has begun!

It's true. Finally and at last, the long and boring summer is over and we're back to the delightful experience of learning. Dd is excited to find where I put her math book so she can get back to algebra, while ds is scheming to get his work done as quickly as possible so he can get on with life. This year introduces the first year of Required Reading for my scholars. Patrick confessed, "This book isn't actually bad," after he finally decided that reading the book quietly was indeed the best of his available options. He's waiting eagerly for the next Redwall book, and I'm on the list for Eldest.

School is also off to a bumpy start, because tomorrow our schoolroom is being taken over by people wielding tape, paper, and drywall mud. Saturday will see the advent of The Texturizers, and Monday, well, Monday we're driving to Minneapolis to get a stander for dd. We'll just have to stop at a used bookstore and the Olive Garden as well, rats.

I met my goals from last week - got all my Bible Study work done, and only one day's work per day. The TwoStep socks are finished, and Parade Blues are on the sock needles now. The sweater is coming along as well, as is Abigail's quilt.
Six blocks down, 14 plus the trimmings to go! And one of the books I edited has been hanging out as the #1 in sales for Recent Books.

This upcoming week should be fun. I'm expecting a shipment of yarn from KnitPicks, with yarns for more socks, a vest for Marcia, and the beginnings of a lace shawl. Gotta love lace shawls. I may also get my Level II swatch back, and there are two more packages coming. One with household stuffs, and the other with an Elementary Greek text.

Goal for this next week: continue with daily Bible reading (and recording of reading), plus enjoy all those packages! I'd like to finish the Blues socks, but that may not be realistic, and maybe - just maybe - I'll finish up a sweater.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

One week until school starts!

I am delighted to report that I finished the first sock on Saturday evening, the sweater front yesterday evening, and have turned the yarn I brought home yesterday into a stunning replica of Swatch #20, but with a 16th row and better tension. Or at least, better tension in some places. The swatch is currently drying, and if the humidity is right, I'll get it sent back tomorrow, thus meeting all my goals from last week. Unless, of course, I get penalized for not weaving in all the intarsia ends on the sweater. I've got lots done, but a dozen or so more to go.

Today also saw the release of the Book B set. I do so enjoy finishing up a project. Rather like tucking in ends.

We're looking forwards to the start of school next week. Both children have finished up their summer math books (Keys To...) and I am hopeful that the irregular exercise of the math portion of their brains will have prevented major memory loss. Dd is exicted to continue in Algebra, which I find exciting. Math was one of my favorite subjects in school. That and band. Anyway, our school shopping is complete, our TOG notebooks decorated with a map of the Nile basin, and I'm looking forward to another year of learning. Time management will, once again, be my major bugaboo. I just *know* I could accomplish everything if I used my time wisely. And didn't sleep, probably.

This is also the last week of our I John Bible study. Tomorrow the assignment centers around the sin leading to death ... what is it? Can we know? If I am diligent and apply myself, I should know the answers by this time tomorrow. I have been impressed with the emphasis I John puts on love, and doubt I will ever forget the 3 tests he covers again and again ... doctrinal, social, and moral. Or "Jesus Christ is God's Son", "Love your brother", and "Keep God's commandments". It boils down so nicely.

I don't really have any decent goals for next week. There's a sweater back, but I haven't even cast on for that yet. And a sock to finish, but if I work on the sweater, I won't be working on it much. Being faithful in my Bible study is a good goal ... I'll seize on that one. And perhaps even get some pictures of my WIP to share.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Resubmitting Level II

Where is this week going? Monday evening was spent at my mother's house in preparation for our quarterly Mom's Day Out on Tuesday. Of course, we spent the evening knitting and cross-stitching. Tuesday was full of miscellaneous shopping and, somewhat not so miscellaneously, getting material for a long-promised quilt for Abigail's bedroom. We found some lovely pinks and greens at Hobby Lobby, and the material is now washed and folded, awaiting its dissection into approximately 720 tiny triangles. Barbara Frietchie's Star, here we come! It will be a mother-daughter (me and mine, respectively) project for the forseeable future.

Wednesday evening was also spent at my mom's house, in preparation for a 6:00 AM departure for some doctor visits in Minneapolis. They went surprisingly smoothly, and we got the good news that Abigail has reached the 4' 6" mark. Afterwards we went to Half-Price books, where I found Padraic Colum's The Golden Fleece as well as a hefty book on ancient civilizations which will work in wonderfully with TOG Year 1. My children read most of it on the way home from the bookstore. Why do I continue to entertain the delusion that one day, I will be able to get a book, and later assign it to them to read?

The new KnitPicks catalog also came this week, and I'd like to say here and now that I think it is unfair. ELEVEN new yarn lines? And most especially, two new sock yarns and one new line of fingering-weight Fair Isle yarns? That is most definitely unfair. And waaay too much fun. Especially as they were thoughtful enough to offer a package of one ball of their 30 colors of Fair Isle yarn. Waaaah!

ALSO this week, the proof copies of Book B arrived. At least, they arrived in Minnesota. I don't know if anyone else has gotten their proof copy yet. Things look pretty good, and once the other proofers weigh in with their findings, I will be able to turn my attention to the next set of books which is already well under way.

And today, when we arrived home from the doctors', there was upon my desk a large box with a return address reminding me of the knitting guild. At long (but not too long) last, my level II package came back to me after wandering through the US in search of evaluators. I didn't pass. I didn't expect to on my first try. I wasn't too sure I wanted to open it, though, and find out just how much I needed to re-do. But I mustered up my courage, carefully cut the tapes, and found the evaluator's letter. I am so thrilled I have only ONE swatch to re-do ... the Fair Isle one ... because somehow, I missed row 16. Tsk! It was my favorite swatch, so I am looking forward to re-doing it, after I raid my mom's closets for more of the yarn I used last time. I goofed on one pattern as well, so will need to go over that with a fine-toothed comb and re-write/re-submit it. Everything else was in very good to acceptable shape. Aaaaaah.

In other knitting, my sock and sweater yarn arrived last week, and I'm making good progress both on the sweater (two sleeves done, and the front is done to just above the armpits) and my take-along sock. I'm working it on size 0 needles, at 11 spi. I do that sort of thing occasionally to remind myself why I 'always' work socks on size 2 needles. Did you know size 0 needles go right through clothing? They could almost be used for acupuncture. I cautioned my daughter - who is sewing together a knitted stuffed horse at the moment - about the dangers of working with small double pointed needles and using your body to nudge the needles around a bit. She could get one stuck in a stoma.

Reading. I have been reading lately, I'm sure of it, but am not sure what. Oh yes ... yarn catalogs! And making plans for homeschooling, but if I go into that now, I surely won't have anything to say next week.

By this time next week, I hope to have finished the sweater front, the first sock, and gotten my resubmission into the mail.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Fair time already?

Today was County Fair day. Abigail was determined to enter something in the fair, and as she hadn't finished her horse yet, she entered a stuffed teddy bear she knit some months ago. Today, she is the proud owner of a Red Ribbon. She also encouraged me to enter something, and as my Rosemaling sweater would have needed a depilling before being fair quality, I decided to enter the vest I just finished. For some reason, knitting is one of the least-represented areas of handcrafts at the fair, and our entire county only turned out four projects. Two were eyelash scarves. Those things are so cute!

<-- Here's a detail of the back of the vest. It was a pleasure to knit with the alpaca and silk blend, which I would never have gotten for myself. Of course, I couldn't just sit and admire the vest. I had to start a new project. I'm working on a sweater in BLACK, of all colors, by my mom gifted me with an Ott-light and that really makes all the difference in the world for being able to see what I'm working on. The front of the sweater will probably be in Intarsia, which is not my favorite thing to do, but it will look good when it's done. Or else. My 'pick up and go' project is a scarf in Wiggles yarn from Hobby Lobby, and I've ordered yarn for 4 pair of socks so I'll not have to dig deeply into my stash searching desperately for enough yarn to make something simple again. I really HAD to order yarn, because I needed some more black for my sweater, and the sock yarn was just to qualify for free shipping. Really.

In other news, we're beginning to gear up for school, but the rest of the world is against us. I first planned to start on the 22nd, but that happens to be Ladies' Craft Day, a once-a-month occurrence that I couldn't possibly skip. So the start was moved to the 23rd. Except because our Precepts leader is in the Ukraine at the moment, we decided to skip a lesson and so Bible Study was extended a week .... and doesn't end until the 23rd. So at present, we're planning on starting on the 24th of August. Unless something else comes up. A half-week of school would be a good way to get back into the routine, though, so I'm hopeful nothing else comes up. My gearing up for school has consisted, so far, of getting assignment notebooks for the three of us. I need to get some more work done but there's still time!

I've finished reading Lilith, and am ready to read it again and start mulling over things. Maybe even take notes on it. Dawn, interested in discussing Lilith instead of Don Quixote? I can think of all sorts of questions! My next book to read should probably be the Tapestry of Grace Year I Notebooks. All several hundred pages of it.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Happy Birthday, Abigail!

My daughter (the pink one) is now in double digits. She'll cheerfully tell you she has attained one tenth of a century. Her brother will add that she is now a decade, or half a score old. She had a delightful party with a small group of friends, and is settling well into the responsibilities of a 10-year old on summer vacation.

Our dog still doesn't know the command 'down.' I have, however, learned some things about him. For one, his appetite is bigger than the vet thought. He is MUCH easier to live with when fed 1-1/2 cups of dog food a day, instead of the 1 the vet recommended. And for another, he is much more amenable to being trained to lie down when he is exhausted. A two mile walk in 90+ degree heat, followed by clicking and treating for lying down, works wonderfully. And speaking of heat, we are now enjoying the 3rd longest streak of days 90 degrees and over since records began to be kept. Today is supposed to be the last day of the streak, hooray. The computer is just 7 ft from the window a/c, but still .. it's nice to sleep every once in a while, and that's upstairs and a great deal further from that same a/c.

My editing came to an abrupt end on Thursday, when we launched a new website with several book offerings. After a brief hiatus where I had nothing more to do than check on sales, I'm back to the salt mines with another two books. I'll take 2 over 10 any day. As well as editing, I'm learning about spreadsheets, accounting, and tax laws.

I finished the sock that was on my needles, and the next pair of socks as well.
This picture was actually taken before my last blog entry ... the next pair of socks is the same pattern, but in blues and purples. The vest, made from a lovely blend of silk, alpaca, and wool, is nearing completion. Today I sewed and sliced the steeks, leaving just the neck placket and the armhole linings to go. After I finish this vest, my project list is looking pretty skimpy. I should find out what I need to re-do for MK level II in the next couple of weeks, but beyond that, my needles are free for doodling. Fortunately, I have some yarn that's free for doodling too.

I was inspired last week by my friend Lene to again pick up (after finding) Lilith, by George MacDonald. It's quite different from The Princess and Curdie. Very quite different. Once I finish it, I'll probably go back to the beginning and start over again. Reading it in my 30s is certainly different from reading it at 17.

What shall I have done by next week? Finish the vest, or at least use up all the yarn I have for it and order whatever else I need, and do a better job on being prepared for Bible Study. I've got day 1 of 5 done, and there's one day left until we meet.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Can it already be Saturday? My calendar says it is, but it certainly doesn't seem like a week has gone by already. For one thing, I haven't done enough knitting. I hope that tomorrow will see the end of the socks I started last week, and the start of a next pair. The vest has been started, but doesn't seem to be going very quickly. Not all that surprisingly, vests don't knit themselves while sitting in a box. I am on my 3rd skein of main color, so SOME knitting has occured.

Editing and uploading has played a major part in my week. By next Saturday, I am hopeful that I will be finished with all that I am working on now, and will have a teeny break in which to contemplate this fall and schooling. Really, things are pretty well set. We'll continue on with
  • Singapore Math
  • Oerberg's Lingua Latina
  • Classical Writing
  • Greek
and for a bit of balance to my language and math strengths, toss in Tapestry of Grace. I am not sure how I am going to blend it all together ... that's the planning part. It's been so easy thus far, with two bookworms, to check out some library books, wait two weeks, and then find where the books have disappeared to. But at soon-to-be 9 and 10 years old, my students are getting to the point where I ought to be doing more discussion of their reading with them. I'd rather read than discuss something myself, or at least knit while discussing it, so this year promises to be interesting. I try to add just one new thing a year, and this year, it's TOG/discussion. And if my missing box every arrives, my son will have Runkle's Geography to delight himself with. I can honestly say I wish the post office would have lost a yarn delivery rather than the particular box it did. Rather than my Master Knitting box? That's a hard call. The box, by the way, did arrive in Ohio and has been sent out to some evaluators. I hope they find my work a pleasure to review, instead of a painful exercise in counting mistakes, oversights, and dumb errors.

I have been reading more fiction again. This week has seen The Shakespeare Stealer and Gypsy Rizka in my hands. And some non-fiction too, all dog oriented. I've read The Dogs of Bedlam Farm, Don't Shoot the Dog, Adoptable Dog, and -- you guessed it -- other dog books. I didn't particularly care for Adoptable Dog, but it does give you good things to think about when choosing a pet from a shelter.

Next week at this time, besides having polished off some editing work, I hope to have finished the sock on my needles, be at least halfway to the armpits on my vest, be current on my Bible study homework, and have made good progress on teaching our dog 'down.' 'Sit' is going pretty well, and if I can teach him 'down' ... well, I've NEVER been able to teach a dog that. If I can, it shows that reading lots of books (especially the right ones) can make a person a better trainer.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Wherever did this week go?

This week has been a blur of editing things on the computer, waiting for the computer to respond, rebooting the computer because it's not responding, and editing things. I have managed to get over half a sock knit while waiting for the computer, so it's not all bad. Uploading a picture of our dog Terry just took 40 stitches. Sure wish I'd been able to give this computer to dh, and get the brand new one he now is using. My turn will come, though. One of these years.

Dan was kind enough to mail off my MK box a week ago. Through a comedy of errors, I asked him to send it media mail - which it wasn't - and we were only charged for a 1 lb box - which it wasn't. I talked with the postmaster yesterday about paying the extra postage, which is a good thing. And found out that we've not heard from the Lost Mail office about my Lost Package, which contained all the books on my wanted list from the past year or two. Used. Cheap. Rats.

So, what have I been knitting? Dishcloths, when my attention needs to be elsewhere. Finishing baby socks (preemie socks?) from IK, with an interesting bind-off at the toe. It makes for quite a ridge, but on the outside, so as long as they're not to be worn with snug shoes, they'll be fine. And my box of new yarns came, so I have started one pair of socks, and will be starting the vest tomorrow. I love starting new projects.

I have been reading manuscripts. And proofing manuscripts. I heartily recommend never, ever having 10 projects to lay out, style, and proof at the same time. When I've not been doing that, I've been reading posts about the next 3 projects. Or calculating cost data. Or putting on my Accountant hat. I did actually sneak away from the computer long enough to read Lloyd Alexander's The Gawgon and the Boy. Charming book. Had some poems in it that we learned this past year, like Shakespeare's "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" and Requiem, by an author whose name doesn't escape me, but neither is it standing out from the other authors I know of. It was a good book to read. This week I shall read Once Upon a Marigold, a rather silly princess-type story that I was delighted to stumble across again at the library. Piper's Future Grace and Uncle Tom's Cabin (not by Piper) are also on my to-do list, but really ... with so much serious reading going on about trochaic and feet and vestitution, my away-from-the-computer reading can be light. I also have been walking the dog.

This coming week will be filled with more editing, more knitting, more reading, and a bona fide Moms' Day Out on Thursday. Mom and I haven't decided if we'll head up to the Cities, or stay local. Regardless, it will be a good day.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A joyous week!

I'm not sure where this week has gone, but it has gone quickly and well. The children and I spent a good bit of time over the weekend looking at, and on Monday went to the Animal Shelter to see if one of the little cuties we had been dreaming about was available for adoption still. They weren't. Another dog had just been brought in, however, and although the shelter knew next to nothing about him, I figured a terrier-type that could quietly wander around a room with 4 children, 30 cats, several adults, and a door constantly opening and closing as people went in and out probably had some good things going for him. We brought Terry home, and have been pleased as punch. He's housetrained, crate trained, kid-proof, and seems ideal in every way. My mom came along to the shelter with us, and ended up adopting a dog herself.

My level II material is in a bag, waiting for a box, and I am ready to get it mailed. It's pretty close to the suggested weight limit of 5 lbs, so I'm waiting to hear from the guild about whether or not they'd like me to include the whole pattern book as per the directions, or have an alternative that will weigh less.

Since finishing the vest, I've made two dishcloths, one pair of felted slippers, and have started in on the Baby Socks from Summer 2005 Interweave Knits. Gotta be knitting something! Today I ordered yarn for 3 projects - 2 socks, and one Scandinavian-style vest which will be a delight to knit up in alpaca/silk.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A sad day

It's been 11 months since his diagnosis of kidney disease, and today our beloved beagle Snoopy died. We miss him, and his death leaves us petless since the family hamster passed away at a ripe old age about two weeks ago. Everyone feels a little bit lost, and I keep looking for the next puddle to clean up.

Not much has been happening in my knitting world. Well, perhaps that is an understatement. I finished off the berry socks, began and finished Dickey Von Beethoven in KnitPicks' Shine Twist Cabin yarn (almost exactly two balls for the project ... which means almost no leftovers!), poked yet another hole in my index finger with my size 2 needles as I worked on the gray vest ... 8 rows to go until I am FINISHED! and have just begun some Mohair Ballet Slippers from Felted Knits for a friend. The Berry socks found a home with another friend, also. Once I get the vest done, I'll put together a bibliography for my Master Knitter answers and get that packet sent off. I'll then have at least six weeks of free time before I can even think of starting on the next level, or more probably, redos for my current level. Problem is, I'm just a wee bit short on projects. Oh dear - I'll have to find something. One pair of socks is most assuredly NOT enough to keep me knitting for 6 weeks. Perhaps it's time to dive into my son's sweater? Time will tell.

Goal for this week: Get that gray vest and accompanying materials out the door! Or at least onto the blocking board and drying.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

My take-along project has made good progress as well. I've finished one sock, sans heel, and am just about ready to begin the ribbing on the second sock. Now, I should be getting more yarn from KnitPicks today or tomorrow, but in case I don't, I dyed a second skein of sock yarn so I won't be projectless. I used Lemon-Lime and Berry Blue. Unfortunately, I dumped a packet of the first into the dye cup of the latter, so I didn't end up with blue and green vareigated yarn, but a blue-green green vareigation. It's still pretty.  Posted by Hello

The bolero knit up quickly, and I finished it yesterday morning. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, and hoping that I can make some for some of my daughter's friends. It's worked from the bottom of the back, over the shoulders, and to the bottom of the front, all in one piece - except for the ribbing. I used just over 4 balls of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

On with the new!

I'm not planning on having daily updates, but today saw so much get done that an update is almost required.

I ran out of yarn for the vest, so it is sitting quietly in the bottom of my knitting basket. The shoulder seams are done, one side seam is complete, several ends have been worked in, and I'm on the back 9 of the neck ribbing. (The front 9 is what will show.) Not much is left to be done. I even sat down and polished up the written work for my level II submissions. I'm sure I'll have to resubmit something, but at this point I'd rather resubmit than drive myself buggy looking for what someone else might not deem correct.

I frogged the Viennese Shrug after recording my needle size and gauge. That freed up a cable so I could start in on the Bolero for my daughter. So of course, I had to begin it. The pattern calls for 5 balls, so if I *knit* each day, I will have it finished in about 5 days, before my other yarn arrives. Should life intervene and I don't have that much time to knit, it will take longer. But not too much longer.

And lastly, but not leastly, I started my socks. It is good to have a take-along project once more. It travelled to my daughter's piano teacher's 90th birthday party today. She has been teaching piano for over seventy-five years. Talk about consistency! She also does Hardanger, one of my favorite kinds of embroidery.

My first attempt at dying yarn with Kool-Aid didn't turn out quite as I envisioned, but it certainly is photogenic! This skein of fingering-weight yarn is Grape, Black Cherry, and Blue Raspberry Lemonade. I served the leftover dyes to my children for lunch.  Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

From Marion Foale's Classic Knitwear, this is the back of my Level II Master Handknitter vest. Charming, isn't it? Sure hope it blocks nicely.  Posted by Hello

Beginning in the Middle

I've been thinking about having a knitting blog for some time, and as my current project is winding to a close, have finally decided to take the time to start one. It will take some time away from my knitting, but I think it will be a good record of what exactly I am up to throughout the years. Since I am indeed in the middle of some things, I may as well set forth my current Plate of Knitting.
  • Master Handknitting Level II (OTK and in the Word Processor)
  • IK Bolero Jacket in Mulled Wine for my daughter
  • Kool-Aid dyed socks for me
  • Viennese Shrug (needs ripping actually...)
And then, for the things I don't have the yarn for yet, but will be working on once the above plateful gets thin:
  • A sweater for my son
  • Felted ballet slippers for a friend
  • Shine Twist Dickey von Beethoven for mom
Did I mention the yarn for the above things should be arriving next week? Well, I did have to order something to go along with the one skein of grey I needed for my vest, didn't I? And yes, Denise, only one of the things on my list is actually on the needles at the moment (if you don't count the shrug, which I'm not.) The socks should be finding their way on TO the needles this weekend. Socks are a better take-along project than a man's extra-large vest.

I'm currently reading Marriage to a Difficult Man, by Elisabeth Dodds, about Sarah and Jonathan Edwards. Fascinating reading. If I weren't reading that, I'd be working more on digesting Future Grace, by John Piper. I'm still somewhere in the introduction to that one, though. It needs more chewing on than does Sarah Edwards.