Sunday, March 29, 2009

Americans Don't Knit Socks

The water is as high as a bassets belly around here, to say I am tired of the rain would be an understatement. This is the second weekend in a row that has been a total wash out. And even if it weren’t raining the ground is so saturated you can’t work in the yard without sinking up to her ankles. I suppose you could say it is a good weekend to stay in and get caught up on those knitting projects, or that painting project, or any of the fifty other things that I really should be doing around the house, but I want it to be warm and sunny, and to be able to wear shoes that are not water proof! Back to the subject of knitting…

Do not underestimate the power of yarn to avenge itself for being neglected. It you are going to go to the trouble to remove it from your stash forcing it to leave friends behind, unwind it and then leave it. It will get even with you, trust me.
Case in point, my poor neglected barn jacket. While I eagerly knitted socks for dear friends wanting to get them in the mail as soon as possible, I locked the blocked pieces still on the blocking table in a room that gets little visitation during the week and only occasionally on the weekend. The pieces still on the needles were lovely placed in my project bag next to my knitting chair only to have balls of sock yarn tossed in on top of it. I can assure you dear reader, this is a prescription for disaster, if ever one existed.
After all the socks, I wanted to mail to family and friends I returned Sunday evening to the barn jacket.
Now at this point before you begin to ask herself how a silly ball of yarn do anything but lay there, and you think I have started to imagine things, let me explain. I have noted here previously that the left front panel and I were having out troubles, it refused to bend to my will and match the right side or the back, despite my frogging it twice and insisting it match. I frogged it again Sunday and knitted twelve inches, up to the point of starting to shape the arm holes, not wanting to force the issue I stopped there for the night, with the promise of returning Monday evening after dinner. Now I can understand how the left front panel would be skeptical at this point. I have made many broken promises to it by now. But Monday evening I did return and began reading the instructions, - let me just say at this point dear writers of instructions around the world, if you have two front panels and you write instructions for say the left front panel of something, and then for the right panel, don't just say “repeat as for left side” because if you repeat as for left, I will have two lefts. I am already fighting defiant yarn and now I have to think in my head about doing the opposite of what the instructions so that I have the decreases at the correct end, just a little constructive criticism – so as I sat down to knit Monday night and looked at the instructions for the left front panel, the yarn released this mysterious fume and I read the instructions and thought to myself I've already knit the left side, so I starting thinking in opposite terms and knit myself a perfect right panel. Yes! I got the right length, gauge, decreases in the right place. I took it to the blocking board and realized I know have two right front panels. What? How could this happen. I thought I heard the faintest whisper of laughter. But, I got the best of the yarn, because I then realized I have misinterpreted the instructions the first time I knitted that nearly perfect right front panel. So now I have a perfect right front panel and tonight I will frog the imperfect right front panel back to there the armhole shaping begins and correct the little mistake and I will then have a wonderfully perfect left front panel, again. There take that you scallywag yarn! I will be victorious!
I am also working on a pair of socks, (I’m sure you knew that, right) and we braved the depressing weather to go to the mall and the bookstore, so that hubby could try to find a gift for a friend’s birthday. I not being in the shopping mood after the (insert any number here) store, found a comfy chair in the bookstore and began working on the sock. Sock and I were very happy together in that chair, when we heard a voice that sounded like it was talking to us, I looked up and there was a lady taking the chair next to me. She smiled and in a lovely German accent asked if I was from Europe. I smiled, said no, I was from Virginia. She looked at me surprised and smiled again and said she thought I must be from Europe because she had never seen an American knitting a sock before! We both laughed and began a wonderful conversation about knitting and other crafts and we both made a new friend. But quietly to myself I was still laughing a little thinking of all my American friends who knit socks. The whole conversation was worth the trip to the mall for me!


Happy Knitting. Please friends don't let friends neglect their knitting.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm Ready for My Close Up - Not

I was struggling for content this week, things here have been shall we say less than exciting. I did finish a pair of socks. I now have three pair wrapped and ready to ship off to a dear friend and her family. I haven't made any progress, absolutely none on the barn jacket and the guilt is nearly overwhelming. I do have a second pair of socks on the needles for hubby.
We have gone about four days now without rain, so the lake that is my backyard is starting to recede. The number of muddy paw prints in the house is unbelievable. I put throw rugs and runners at the doors, wipe feet and paws and still tracks are all over the house looking like a stampede of wild hounds has barreled through here, actually that isn't too far from the truth.

The sun is shining but it is still chilly a mere 47 degrees. Molly is the only one who is willing to spend any time outside. But, even now she is all tuckered out and ready for a nap.

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Lily who has become quite lazy this week, is also ready for a nap, but not because she has been outside patrolling the yard, searching for squirrels with her sister, but because she she is well, lazy.

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Rosie is also napping, but that is just what bulldogs do, they eat and they sleep. She is a master of both.

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With all of this peace and quiet around the house, I plan to pull out the very neglected and patient barn jacket and finish up the left front panel and one sleeve. Then it will be ready for seaming and then adding the button band and collar.

But then the question is what's next?

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A minor symbol of the stash the real thing is tucked away in it's own room. I have a list of items I want to knit for Christmas next year and if this barn jacket is any indication of the time it is going to take, then I'm already behind schedule. So again the question what next. I'll let you know what I decide.

Enjoy the start of spring and the rest of the weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring has Sprung

Happy Spring! We have had rain here every day since last Friday, it has been cold and depressing and I think it was old man winter trying to hang on until the very end. That is not to say it was suddenly warm and sunny with bunny hopping in the fields here, but it is sunnier than it has been and it did not rain today. It is going to be consisently in the 50s and 60s for the next 10 days if the meterologist can be believed. Frankly, I am going to take their insights with a grain of sald and watch for mares tails in the sky and for a ring around the moon before I believe we will not be getting any more rain. We do need it. And spring will be so much greener and lush with it all the rain. It is certainly feeling like spring with the time change coming earlier this year.
I'm stalled in the knitting processes this week and I am hoping spring will give me the inspiration to pick up the pace and get some stuff done. Problem is I also have painting projects around the house that need doing and so far I haven't figured out a safe way to paint and knit at the same time. If anyone has any thoughts in that area please let me know. I hear my WIPs taunting me nightly as I steal longing glances at the project baskets as I run past with my laundry or pick them up and move them as I vaccum. I dream about them when I fall asleep without having spent any time with them at all.

Please friends don't let friends neglect their knitting.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Love/Hate Relations - Socks

Socks, I love them. I am cold natured and I love wearing heavy socks to keep me warm. I love knitting socks because they are small and a "go anywhere" sort of project. You can shock people while waiting some where, by whipping them out of your purse and starting a very hands on non-technical sort of activity while they are texting on their iphones and blackberries, with a bluetooth contraption sticking out of their ear making them look like the cyborgs from Star Trek, but I digress.

Socks are handy things, dead useful and most of the time I'd say fun to knit. But not today. I am plagued by my socks this week. It's really not their fault, it is more of life getting in the way of my knitting. Every time I try to knit on them, something draws me away and I don't get to come back. Since this time last week I have probably knitted a grand total of four inches divided between two different sock projects. The Barn Jacket is lying neglected in my project bag, cursing me as we speak. I am dreading the retribution that will come for the weeks of neglect when I do finally get back to it.

In an attempt to stay connected with my socks while not actually holding them. I found this on the web this morning.

Early origins of knitting

Like weaving, knitting is a technique for producing a two-dimensional fabric from a one-dimensional yarn or thread; however, it does not require a loom nor other large equipment, making it a valuable technique for nomadic and non-agrarian peoples.

The oldest artifact with a knitted appearance is a type of sock. It is believed that socks and stockings were the first pieces produced using techniques similar to knitting. These socks were worked in Nålebinding, a technique of making fabric by creating multiple knots or loops with a single needle and thread. Many of these existing clothing items employed nålebinding techniques; some of them look very similar to true knitting. For example, C3rd-5th socks. Several pieces, done in now obscure techniques, have been mistaken for knitting or crocheting.

Most histories of knitting place its origin somewhere in the Middle East, from where it spread to Europe by Mediterranean trade routes, and then to the Americas with European colonization[1]. The first references to true knitting in Europe date from the early 14th century[citation needed]. At this time, the purl stitch (the opposite action to the knit stitch) was unknown; stockinette fabric was produced by knitting in the round and then cutting the piece open (a process now known as steeking). The first reference to the purl stitch dates from the mid-16th century[citation needed], but the technique may have been developed slightly earlier.


Source:
Wikipedia

So socks have been the bain of knitters for centuries, I feel like I am in excellent company this week as I imagine knitters in the Middle East or Nordic countries feeling the same frustrations as they turn a heel or pick up a stitch in between, chasing after children, cooking meals or washing the laundry.

I don't feel quite so bad about my socks now.

Have you hugged a knitter today?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Extremes

I had planned a mid-week round up post this week on Wednesday, but by the time I sat down to my computer, I was shocked to realize it was already Sunday and we have gone through extremes this week. In a way I suppose it is good that I have been forced to wait until today to touch base with you. Because without it the subject would be quite different.

It would have been about my almost uncontrollable ability to gravitate to the underdog in nearly every situation. For example, last weekend it was cold and it rain hard both Saturday and Sunday. And then Sunday night things got interesting they was sleet then snow. the snow, I had been hoping for all winter I awoke early Monday morning and rushed to the T.V. knowing I would see my employers name at the bottom of the screen giving me that gift of a three day weekend, I was wrong, we only got an extra three hours. But, as usual talk at work was about the weather and how pretty the snow was, and they were right it was pretty and as I stood at my office window and looked up to watch the snow fall as if I were part of a snow globe, I realized, snow gets all the glory. It white and pure, it can be shaped into balls of fun or a snowman. But icicles never seem to get the attention they deserve.

And you know icicles are just as unique as snow flakes but noone seems to notice. So here is my small tribute to the icicles that graced our house for a couple of days this past week.

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The pictures do not do them justice, they were so pretty. And stayed around for days, showing a greater commitment than did the snow.

The last faithful icicle disappeard Wednesday, and just a few days later on Saturday it was a beautiful sunny 77 degrees here, and today will be even warmer, the Easter Lilies are blooming, Lily and I met several people out yesterday enjoying the sunshine as we enjoyed our walk.

Extremes in knitting this week would be the fact that I have cast on another pair of socks and I am not quite finished with the last of the pretty in pink ones from last week. I do have plans to finish it today, though. Then I will have to concentrate more on the jacket, the poor thing is just laying there being neglected.

I hope everyone is having good weather this weekend! Happy Knitting...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ups and Downs

It has been a week of ups and downs here. We found out this week that our Golden Retriever, Molly has Lymphoma, it is pretty far along. She is elderly and of a breed prone to such illnesses. When I found the lymph node on her leg, I was afraid that it might be something serious. We took her to our vet right away and he had the results for us the next business day. It confirmed my worst fears.
We know our time together is limited and we are trying to make sure we do not waste a moment or opportunity.

When I am stressed I have to stay busy wear off the excess energy I suppose, so I finished one pair of socks and started and completed one of a pair this weekend. When under stress, knit.

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The sock on the left is one of a completed pair. The leg is a scrolled ribbing pattern. The one on the right is a crosshatch lace pattern on the leg. I have cast on it's mate tonight I have completed the cuff and starting the leg pattern. I'm knitting from the top down. I should have the mate done in a couple of days. Work will be interrupting my kntting time once again tomorrow. Unless I have a little bit of luck.

It has been raining steady all weekend. Tonight it will drop into the 20s and it will all freeze the rain is supposed to turn to snow. With just a little luck they will close our office tomorrow and we can have a three day weekend. Keep your fingers crossed on that one.

I hope everyone is staying warm I know down south got hit with a lot of snow. Stay warm and dry, knit a little something and if you have a pet give them an extra hug.