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September 26, 2006

Progress-less posting

I've tried to make it a practice to only post when I have progress to show but I realized something today and I just wanted to get it out and commit it to the blog. It hit me that I can't possibly knit quickly enough to keep up with the really trendy and cool knits out there. I still haven't figured out what I enjoy knitting most (socks are WAY up there) because there's a LOT I haven't tried yet. I'm always VERY tempted to try knitting all the adorable things I see in knitting magazines and on all your blogs but the reality is that by the time I *have* the time, it's completely and totally LAST YEAR. However, I can count on the fact that socks never go out of style.Today, I enjoyed wearing the socks I knit for myself (but oh my . . . they're slick on ceramic tile floors).

As futile as it is to figure out how to fit the endless "WannaKnits" in to my schedule, I can still visit a blog and be blown away by a design, a finished garment or a flash of fiber and just have to have it. Most of the time, I can step back and resist because I know that little something will be there when I need it and I'll remember where I saw it and can sleep on it. But when it comes to clothes, I've always loved a good sweater. I've been through decades of photos recently and most of the shots of me over the last 24 years since I started buying my own clothes have been all about the sweaters. I can't possibly own enough of them. So naturally now that I'm a knitter, what was I to do when I saw Ariann? (Note to knitwear designers: this is the most awesome form of instant gratification - thank you for making it easy). I purchased it, downloaded it and now I've printed it and am planning to take it to bed with me and . . . sleep on it. After all, I still have to choose a yarn.

September 20, 2006

The things I knit for love . . .

A year ago today, I took a photo of an in-progress tiny sweater:


My son, a second grader at the time, requested it. When the request for knitted items comes from a 7-year old boy who loves the "Mouse" books, who could refuse?


That sweater, along with last year's Socktoberfest, got me interested in knitting socks again. So, naturally I was delighted when Lolly decided to hostess it again. Have you joined? It's almost SOCKtober!

If you give a knitter some DPN's, she'll ask for two skeins of sock yarn . . .

September 16, 2006

Comparison and Creativity

I've spent the morning catching up on some of Marisa Haedike's Creative Thursday podcasts and there are two that I've replayed several times and written down some quotes:

"If anyone you know is a naysayer -- if they question your dreams, if they can't be truly happy for you when you're winning in your life, then some housekeeping may be in order." (Episode 15 - It's All About Support)

"You don't have to make people wrong to decide to go separate ways. You can still love them and let them go." (Episode 15 - It's All About Support)

" . . . comparison sometimes makes me miss the greatness of what's happening right now in my life." (Episode 13 - Comparison)

" . . . what if we look at other peoples' lives just long enough to be inspired . . . " (Episode 13 - Comparison)

The only thing that a creative act has to produce is joy and satisfaction. If it doesn't, then perhaps you're creating for the wrong reasons -- for approval, for an audience, for one-upsmanship. If, when other people share their creative successes, you feel the need to diminish or dismiss them instead of celebrating right along with them, then perhaps some self-examination is in order. There is ENOUGH to go around. YOU are not diminished by another person's creative success. It amazes me how few people truly believe that.

UPDATE: I've saved this link to one of Keri Smith's blog entries and I go back and re-read it quite often. I want to save it here and keep it with this blog entry.

September 14, 2006

Twitch and Shawn Colvin

Shawn Colvin has a new album that debuted September 12, 2006. Ripping out rows while listening to Shawn helped me rip back almost a dozen rows and then re-knit and make up for lost time on the Twitch sleeve. Her "Words" (BeeGees) cover is smooth, acoustic, and lovely -- not overproduced.

My theory is that sleeves are a good thing to start knitting if you're trying to knit something new . . . a new yarn, a new pattern . . . knit a sleeve! It's a swatch, right? If it absolutely needs ripping and re-starting, at least it's not an entire sweater back (after all, you wouldn't start by knitting the front would you?)

But I'm here to talk about cotton -- about knitting stockinette with cotton. You can look at my Twitch sleeve and you can tell where I made the adjustment in my tension so that the fabric would just look better. But it hurts to knit this way (purl, tighten, purl, tighten, then hold the yarn close to both tips). Where wool is forgiving of my stockinette-knitting methods ("rowing out" is something I can't seem to avoid), cotton might as well shine a floodlight on my weird knitting. So although it's a shop model, I'm planning to proceed so that hopefully my mistakes can help teach others. ("Do as I say and not as I do.")

Today's progress on TWITCH Sleeve #1

Today I mentally closed a door on something that I always thought I would do -- go back and finish getting my B.A. in Business Administration. This doesn't make me as sad as I thought it would, and there would have been a huge opportunity cost to going back at this point. Granted, this doesn't mean I won't EVER take a college class again -- it just means that I won't go with a "PLAN" to leave in x-number of years with an actual piece of parchment. It's really kind of liberating. It feels good to close the door of my own accord -- it's a gift to myself and permission to worry about ONE LESS THING in my lifetime.

September 13, 2006

Louisa Harding Twitch

I started a sleeve for the Louisa Harding Twitch boy's sweater. The patterns in The Magical World According to Miss Millie are adorable.

Lousa Harding Nautical Cotton

Louisa Harding Twitch Sleeve

This pattern is both fun and a learning experience. Kids' knits go faster. You'd think I'd have figured this out before now, right? And, until now, I've avoided stripes in my knitting (unless it was a felted bag) because stripes made me nervous. When there are wide stripes, yarn has to be cut (because I haven't learned how to carry yarn up the sides) and cutting yarn worries me. I like the idea of being able to rip back if I need to and yarn that I've cut is quite a commitment -- it can't be uncut. But this sweater (aptly named Twitch because it's making me twitch . . . just a bit), is helping me overcome that stripe apprehension. I am embracing the stripes. And there will be many.

What's really making me happy are the sock monkey colors. I love me some sock monkey.

Monkey Mail from Jerri

September 10, 2006

Sunday inspiration

click to see it ridiculously large

There's a lot of inspiration to be had right now; it's beginning to look, feel and smell like Fall. I'm mentally re-arranging some ideas and project plans as well as fixing in my mind the things I want to learn how to do. Of course it didn't hurt that I was around some new yarn yesterday. I'll be knitting an adorable shop model for an under-represented group of knitwear recipients -- little boys. It's a classy and simple striped sweater from one of the newest Louisa Harding books, The Magical World According to Miss Millie. The sweater is "Twitch" and the yarn is Nautical Cotton and I'm anxious to try it out. We also have another of her new books, Winter Muse Classic and I fell in love with everything . . . but mostly "Ginger."

I was also knocked out by the Light and Shade Collection at Kim Hargreaves' site. Tender's my favorite there.

We'll see what I actually end up knitting though. I like thinking about it almost as much as actually doing it. If something is not already complete or almost complete, I'm not committing to knitting Christmas gifts. I want to continue to use knitting as respite and not as a cause of stress.

September 08, 2006

Stash Smarter

Interesting that I should read this right after I made a stash list. First, I've got to mention, I'm not ashamed of my small stash. I'm probably more embarrassed about the mess I make when I have knitting in progress:

Messy projects

I can, however, totally relate to the entry I linked to. It's true . . . you can only knit so much. And substitute knitting for any other undertaking that consumes time and disposable income and you can only do *that* so much. It's a time thing more than a money thing for this knitter and I feel conservative with the stash I have. Everything I have (with few exceptions and I've identified those and dealt with them) delights me and inspires me.

It's apparent this week more than any other that there is only SO MUCH; and I am grateful that I streamlined my life several months ago and walked away from things that were sucking valuable time and energy. I've reached the "enough" point. I have enough "things." I'm not burdened with stuff and I'm not compelled to find healing through retail therapy (not even if it's disguised as thrift or frugality).

Even though I mentioned I would be sharing the stash I would like to sell, this week has been full of other demands - conversations with school counselors, VA benefits coordinators, teachers, property managers, sisters, parents, and you know . . . LIFE. Not much knitting has been done -- especially not the productive variety. I've made anti-progress.

You can only knit so much, do so much, live so much. Make the most of it!

September 07, 2006

Last minute knitted thoughts

My little project from Last-Minute Knitted gifts isn't going so well. My gauge is so incredibly loose (on the recommended needle size and using the Alpaca Silk yarn called for) that if I were to put anything gifty into the bag, you could see right through to the contents. To give myself a break and some distance from its imminent frogging, I started something else with some leftover sock yarn. Again, my gauge is so loose that I think this would fit Chaos. Odd how my formerly-tight gauge has loosened up so dramatically.

At times like this, picking up and knitting on a sock is soothing, so therefore, that's what I'm doing. While I knit socks, I can deal with whatever it is that I've been avoiding thinking of and mentally deal with it. Giving away or selling my parents' things has been both upsetting and cathartic. It's upsetting when choices and decisions are yanked away from me and things are carelessly tossed. It's cathartic when I can put together missing pieces and lost information. And when all is said and done, It's interesting to learn what is really important to both my parents, to hear their stories and their memories. Consequently, most of the focus in my own life lately is that I don't want to leave behind a mess (hopefully in the FAR future) for anybody to have to deal with. Change can come suddenly.

Red Tail Hawk Mountain Colors Bearfoot

I'm considering buying Quicken to replace Microsoft Money. Our bank is upgrading their online banking and will enhance the functionality of integrating with personal finance software. Since I'm the one who does our income tax return every year, I think Quicken will work well for me.

In knitting-related news, I'm excited about the workshop I get to take early next year with Nancy Bush. I'll miss out on the retreat in Galveston, but I'm thrilled to get to make it to her Knitting Estonian Lace workshop (hosted by the shop).

The Santa Fe Ruana was set aside for a while last week, but it's coming along nicely with no danger of imminent frogging.

Santa Fe Ruana Progress as of 9/7/06

September 05, 2006

Organization for the Knitter

This weekend, I worked on getting my small stash of yarn and knitting supplies organized. Although I don't think I've accounted for all my straight needles, I've set up a knitting needle inventory spreadsheet to keep track of what I have so that I don't end up purchasing duplicates. (So far, the only duplicates I have were purchased on purpose - i.e. the 2.25 mm DPN's).

Knitting Needle Inventory
Click to see it larger

If you'd like your own knitting needle inventory, here's a .pdf that you can print and fill out. Leave me a comment if you'd rather have the Excel spreadsheet file and I'll email it to you.

I also worked on my existing "stash" spreadsheet (<---you can click this link to download a blank Excel spreadsheet file):


Both of these spreadsheets will also be on my Palm TREO so that I can carry them with me. Otherwise, what good would these be?

I realized that I do a lot of heavy cleaning, organizing and decluttering when I am starting to launch something new. Right now, it's in the "under consideration" phase so I'm not ready to talk about it.

Some of you might already know that I used to design and sell rubber stamps and I've decided not to market them any longer. Drop me a line if you'd like to get a box of unmounted rubber stamps (mine and others that I've purchased - some already used) for the cost of Priority Mail postage (approx $9 USD). Keep in mind that these rubber stamps are not wood-mounted. You'll be receiving several duplicates of unused stamps that you can either keep, give away or sell on eBay. If you're interested, act quickly by sending me a comment on this blog entry. (pending transaction - thank you Cheryl G).

I'll also be posting later this week some of the stash yarn I'm selling.