Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thought for the Day

It would be so much more useful, when knitting the first row after the cast on, if I would do so with the end of the yarn attached to the skein, rather than the long-tailed cast off end. Twenty-seven years I've been knitting, and I still do this.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Socked In

I've decided that it is officially the coldest, wettest, nastiest spring in the History of Robin. We're in for another uninspiring day of drizzle interspersed with episodes of pouring rain. It's enough to make a person grow mold.

Fortunately, cuddling up in a pile of yarn is a pretty good antidote for that sort of thing, and what could be toastier than handknit socks?
twin rib socks

This pair of twin rib socks was cast on back in March. These were the ones I started in a herringbone pattern I eventually decided wasn't simple enough for good travel knitting, frogged and reknit in something I could remember without a pattern. I've knit several other pairs of socks in twin rib, and so when other easily portable projects like hats and mittens came along, it got pushed aside. But finally got some attention last week, and I finished knitting them over the weekend.

And since I'd been poking around in the sock yarn barrel, I'd been reminded that I'd picked up more yarn to feed my brother-in-law's red wool sock addiction. So I cast on a pair of those Sunday morning. And here they are.
red wool socks

Gotta love worsted weight for socks. Only 52 stitches around, and the larger row gauge just seems to make them fly.

So now the question on my mind is, what next? Another pair of red socks for sure. (I'm casting them on as I blog.) And I've been dying to try the merino tencel sock yarn I picked up a while ago, so that's a strong possibility. I'm hoping to get some time to do some sums and choose patterns for the gansey. That's been sitting way too long waiting for design time. I've got a simple ribbed hat on the needles, just to make sure I've got something easy ready to travel. And then then I'm screwing up my nerve to try intarsia.

One thing's for sure...I'm not leaving my pile of yarn until the sun comes out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Meet the Stash

Well, Toni has showed us hers. (Bravely done, Toni! ) so I figured it might be a good idea to get mine out in the open. For one thing, I've been catching myself thinking, Oh it's only three bags--oops, forgot the baby yarn. I’m pretty sure losing track of how much yarn you have is one of your seven early warning signs your stash might be on the verge of going critical. (I'm not sure what the other six are, but maybe Toni can enlighten us.)

Plus, hauling things out of closets is intensely interesting for the cats.

So- in downstairs stash (okay, stashing in more than one location- that's probably another one), we have the bag of wool on the right, the bag of acrylic on the left, and the canister of sock yarn in the center. The wool bag includes all the sport weight wool for the gansey-in-progress.
downstairs stash

I'm actually kind of pleased because earlier this year I had *two* bags that size of acrylic, and one of them was emptied and is now being used for finished knitted items awaiting donation! Really, I don't need to have this much acrylic on hand. So I’ve been working on knitting it down. And speaking of things awaiting donation, here's some more acrylic which has been converted to mittens:
and even yet more mittens

There's also a knitting basket (not pictured) with a few odd skeinlets in it, and of course my knitting bag, which has various things in progress.

In upstairs stash, we have the baby yarn- I've been trying to put a dent in this with the mitred square blanket, but in such a light weight, it's taking forever. And in the adjoining bags we have more of the blue and yellow acrylic I've already made two sweaters from (there's enough for at least one more here, and something less than a sweater. Maybe a shrug or a vest. Those were given to me. And then two more sweaters' worth of yarn that I bought just before my mom's friends destashed the other two bags in my direction.
upstairs stash

So, it's seven bags. That's not so much, is it? (Warning sign number 3?)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Don't Sit in the Comfy Chair

As I was driving home from karate practice last night, I was thinking of things that I needed to do when I got home. After karate is generally a good time to do things- I tend to feel more energetic after practice, so I try to knock off a household chore or three before I settle down with a book. Now there is always a long list of things that I want to do at home. And as I contemplated my mental list with some irritation, I asked myself a very simple question. What point is there in being annoyed at things not being done, when the reason they aren't done is I'm not doing them?

I want to be very clear- this isn't a spousal dispute. My delightful spouse does his share of the chores, and with better grace than I do. The kind of chores that are bugging me are ironing the pile of (my) clothes that have been sitting up in the sewing room, a while. Mending the two or three items that have been waiting for attention even longer. Not being able to sew because the sewing room is full of crap. The piles of clutter that are sitting in the living room where I dumped them because it was less trouble than putting them away properly. Collecting tools left all around the house because I didn't put them away in the workshop downstairs when I was through with them. Not being able to find tools I need because I left them all around the house instead of putting them away in the workshop where they belonged. Having materials for multiple projects sitting around waiting for me to get a Round Tuit.

The solution to this is pretty simple, too. Don't sit down. Especially don't sit down somewhere comfortable. That's a surefire route to picking up a book or my knitting and spending the rest of the evening in an immobile lump, excepting only the flip of pages or the click of needles. Pure basic physics-- a body at rest tends to remain at rest. (Especially if it's my body.)

You'd think that by my age, I'd have figured out that pleasant diversions need to be balanced by some picking-up-and-putting-away, and that making a list of projects needs to be followed by some doing-of-projects or the list just gets overwhelmingly long.

Hopefully writing it down on the blog will help me to remember.

Last night, I made a start. I stayed on my feet. Picked up, cleaned up. Washed my raincoat and winter coat (something I've been telling myself to do for a while- they were disgusting). Cleared off the ironing board, ironed, and did the fifteen minutes of mending needed to get things out of the sewing room and back into the closet. Put tools in the basement. Paid a couple of bills.

It's never a surprise to me how much better I feel after having done this stuff. Now I just have to remember how to do it more regularly. Stay out of the comfy chair. At least until chores are done.

Biscuit's only chore is being a cat, which he does just as well in a comfy chair as anywhere else.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Exceptionally Randomly on a Friday

*I have set up a kind of Darwinian flowerbed cage match in my side yard, planting anything I could find that's supposed to do well in shade in an attempt to find something flowery that will grow there.

*Smart money is on the nasturtiums.

*I felt very smug at the gas station this morning, watching people spending a hundred dollars or more to fuel their massive SUVs and pickups.

*And even smugger when I remembered my faithful little compact station wagon has been paid for since 2002.

*And smugger yet, when I reflected we saved an additional 94 miles of driving this week by carpooling. (15.7 miles each way, whenever I drop my husband at the train station instead of us driving separately.)

*I keep seeing references to the book/movie "Water for Elephants" (which I have not seen). Every time, it reminds me of a prior book/movie, "Like Water for Chocolate" (which I also haven't seen) and I somehow merge the two and get bizarre images of chocolate elephants flashing through my brain.
chocolate elephants

*Who knew there were so many photos in Google Images of chocolate elephants?

*The short row heel has many benefits, but a few minutes of inattention can still bollix it up something fierce. Even if you've knit dozens of them before.

*However, knitting dozens of short row heels does mean you have a shot at fixing it without ripping the whole thing out.

*Though you may need to try a couple of times before fixing it right.

*I have never before known a cat who comes quietly up behind you, stretches up, and pats you on the rear to let you know that he is hungry.

*I want to know who ordered more rainy cold March weather. It was bad enough when it actually happened in March. In May, I want to find out if there is a returns policy.

*Thick and Quick chenille makes charming and very fast scarves. (I knit both of these last Saturday.) I wore the black one to work Monday, and was very glad to have it- I cuddled into it all day against the chill of my office.
two chenille scarves

*Yes, I really do think like this. Don't feel bad if you have trouble following it, I often have to pause and retrace a train of thought through a dozen steps to figure out how I got from the weather to chocolate elephants myself.