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January 31, 2007

Kimono Shawl Swatch

I've been working on finishing some small surprises, and while I am in the process of finishing (felting) them, I've started a swatch for my Kimono Shawl

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I started the swatch with Size 5 Clover Bamboo Circulars and halfway through, I switched to Crystal Palace Size 5 straight needles (borrowed from my daughter! HA)

I think I prefer knitting lace patterns on straight needles. However, after knitting the swatch and measuring, I'm trying a smaller needle; I purchased extra-long Size 4 Clover bamboo needles to try. It's been a bit odd adjusting to knitting silk after knitting a lot of wool. It's different . . . but I love it so far.

I've also finished the first of my Donyale socks.

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Some people can knit a sock a day; I consider one sock in a week my personal best. It's a great pattern - textural and simple and fits my foot beautifully. I also found my new favorite toe-grafting instructions here.

And thanks to either being in my 40's or knitting a lot of socks (or perhaps both), I had to get these last week.

January 27, 2007

Overture to Estonian Lace

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Mariann told me about her and Margene blogged about her; she's considered an expert on Estonian handknitting -- so I was glad to be able to work my schedule around taking a workshop/class with Nancy Bush.

My humble little swatch is about to be ripped and reknit. Several knitters completed their small samplers, but I ended up with less stitches than I needed, sloppy edge stitches (not good when one needs to pick up stitches) and pain in my shoulder and back. But enough whining. Even if I hadn't knit a stitch, I was fascinated by what she shared about Estonian knitting. Nancy also brought several Estonian shawls to show and share. I got really comfortable with the provisional (crochet) cast-on. I now know how to make a "nupp" -- exciting stuff, huh?

I still feel anxious and worried about some things but it helped to redirect my thoughts for the day. My words of wisdom -- if you have an opportunity to learn something or to do something you've been wanting to do -- take it. Then pay it forward and help somebody else do the same.

January 23, 2007

Donyale

From Black Dog Knits - Nora's textural sock pattern, Donyale:

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Donyale's my latest sock start -- the one I intend to carry with me to knit when I have a few minutes of time to kill -- either waiting in the car rider line picking up the kids or watching television at night. I've already tried it on the widest part of my foot and it's the best-fitting sock I've knit for myself EVER. It looks really tight, but it's not. It's perfect for my wide-ish feet and skinny ankles.

Thanks, Nora for a great pattern! It is interesting enough to keep me entranced but not so difficult that I can't carry on a conversation or watch television.

I'm writing my Donyale notes in this:

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Keeping track? I'm working on a garment, a sock to carry with me, a capelet and a swatch (yet again on new needles) for my dream project. Of course, there are other small projects I just need to finish already (felting, seaming, weaving in ends).

January 21, 2007

A first for me -- a meme

This is a first for me, and I am only doing this for Amy (who doesnt do these either):

Five weird things you probably don't know about me

* I'm pretty close to unbeatable at Chinese Checkers.

* Since becoming a mom, I'm often so tired at night that I'll go to bed fully clothed (sans shoes of course).

* I used to be really into vegetable gardening and daydreamed about homesteading. Back then (late 80's) I subscribed to Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening, and would read anything written by Helen & Scott Nearing. I wore out my copies of Diet for a Small Planet and The Book of Tofu. I grew soybeans to make my own tofu.

* I love it when I have time alone. I don't think I've ever uttered the phrases, "I'm bored." or "I'm lonely."

* My favorite work of modern fiction is Lonesome Dove and both of my sons' first and middle names are based on historical western figures.

I want to tag all of my readers . . . so consider yourself tagged. If you've already been tagged by somebody else, leave the link to your five things in the comments section. Please?

January 20, 2007

Knitting and Insanity

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over
and expecting different results.
Benjamin Franklin

(I agree).

I don't know if my readers have ever noticed that there are some knitting patterns that I've knit a few times. Rather than do the same thing over and over in the same way, I take what I learned from my first one and apply it to the second one (or third -- and so on). So although I'm a repetitious knitter, I'm not an INSANE repetitious knitter.

The Purl Bee Mohair entry reminded me of my first experience knitting with a blended mohair yarn -- Kidsilk Haze. I was instantly smitten. In May 2005, my sister and I visited Knit Cafe and she fell in love with this lace capelet (pronounced "cape-let" and not "cap-uh-let") on one of their mannequins. More of the story here.

I've since knit the third capelet (a much-improved version of my first one pictured in the photo on the blog post linked above) and am still planning to knit a fourth for myself in Kidsilk Haze "Jelly":

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Here's a photo of Capelet Three snapped last year (November 2005) in the same color as the too-tight Capelet One:

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This is a simple lace pattern knit in the round from the bottom up. The only tricky thing is to make sure you bind off loosely. There's hardly a way to redeem the project if you don't. And, I learned that even though I like the sharper tips of the Denise interchangeable circulars, my gauge was so off compared to the Clover bamboo circulars that I had to frog the entire nearly-finished capelet. Check your gauge after knitting several rounds. I'll be making my own next attempt after I finish at least SOME of my works-in-progress. I'll be keeping it for myself.

Earlier this morning, I cast on a sock. I'm waiting for a bit more sunshine to take a photo of it. I am LOVING it -- and what better way to break out of my knitting slump than with a gorgeous sock.

January 17, 2007

On ice

I've been out in it today and it's not Oklahoma- (or Oregon- or New England-) bad. The roads are wet, but not slick. We're just over 35 degrees, so unless it refreezes and stays frozen overnight, we're good to go. I hope I get to see some sunshine soon!

WIth all this weather keeping us inside, you'd think I'd be knitting. But no. I've got nothing.

Meanwhile . . . watch out for falling icicles.

Thank you for the emails and comments with the great podcast suggestions. You'll be the first to know . . .

And this is for my sister Jayne; virtual flowers (with Groovy Girl Oki) till I can send you some fresh ones:

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January 13, 2007

Buffeted

Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.

So it feels like a bit of a slump right now, but I'm going to lean into it, go with it. It leads me to reassess, reaffirm.

I know I've been a bit absent and it's because I'm dealing with some . . . things. I'm not consciously or purposefully avoiding your emails, but I am a bit slow in replying. I'm still reading my favorite blogs and making it a point to try to really LISTEN to things. All of you inspire me so much.

Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals;
cherish the music that stirs in your heart,
the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness
that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will
grow all delightful conditions, all, heavenly environment; of these,
if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.

In the past few days, I seem to have stumbled across more than a few blogs discussing consumption, acquisitiveness, dissatisfaction and stash-shame. I've been reading it primarily on knitting blogs (which really speaks to the depth and breadth of the knitblog community). I'd link to them, but I feel that they were meant for me to see and read. I have no judgment to pass on what others are dealing with in their own lives. I am not ashamed of my humble stash and I feel that I have remarkable self control when it comes to buying and acquiring yarn (and yes, it might sound lilke denial, but I am at peace with my well-timed acquisitions). I love when other knitters share their finds, their acquisitions. It's a rare knitblogger (in my humble opinion) who has an acquisition "problem." People are where they are due to their own choices and decisions. Dissatisfaction is not always a result of over-consumption.

A few of my readers have asked about my plans to podcast. I still intend to do a podcast, but placed it lower on the list for a while to allow me to focus on important family issues. It's begun to ease up and I'm ready to devote some time to a podcasting venture. I'd love to hear from you regarding what you'd like my podcast to contain. I'm curious about how you feel about a podcast's focus, ideal length, interviews, whether or not to include music. If you comment here, feel free to also let me know if you'd like your comment to remain unpublished and I won't share it if that's your preference. Thank you in advance -- you all are the best readers and commenters.

For those who've seen me in person (or have noticed my absence), I know I haven't been totally present in the moment. I do miss knitting with my friends and co-workers.

January 11, 2007

Knitalong - Socks 101

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Yarn: Manos del Uruguay - Color No. 55 (Olive)

(Mr. Potato Head included for scale).

I'm knitting these slipper-type socks for this Knitalong and trying furiously to finish a pair before tonight. They're a super-quick knit with Manos del Uruguay from my stash and bigger needles than I typically use for socks.

January 10, 2007

Beaded button

From Ninfa, handmade:

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I can't wait to use it, but until I have the perfect use for it, I'll admire it.

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Thank you so very much.

January 07, 2007

Feel the failure

Failure and I got reacquainted over the holidays when I attempted to knit during my downtime. I was breezing along on Ariann (and loving it so much) when I made an error that I didn't notice for several rows. Attempts to rip back and "fix" were fruitless, so I frogged and restarted all of it -- on the wrong size needles. Eight rows of ribbing later, right before starting the set-up for the lace pattern, I realized I was using Size 4 (3.5mm) needles instead of Size 6 (4mm) needles. Failure, you are a fickle teacher.

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The thing is . . . I was quite anxious to have some progress to show knitting-wise so perhaps my wrong motivation set the stage for failure. I was also fighting with my Denise needles the entire time I was working on Ariann. In deciding to switch to Addi Turbos, I'm convinced the knitting experience will be much more pleasant when I start working on her again for the third time.

EDITED TO ADD: the yarn is Cascade 220 in Color No. 9338

Until then, I'm grateful to my failure for allowing me to enjoy some books, movies and time with family and friends.

Embrace failure. It's only knitting.

January 01, 2007

Happy 2007

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Happy New Year to all of you. May peace reign in your hearts and minds and may you be renewed and transformed.