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April 30, 2008

Back in business


I'm back in business. I got a new MacBook last week but had a family emergency and wasn't able to fully engage myself in learning this new and different operating system. But the little I've been able to play with it since then? Awesome.

Some of you wanted to see the nearly-complete Lizard Ridge blanket for which I knit two of the squares:

A.M. seaming Lizard Ridge

Lizard Ridge during seaming

Details: This is a group project -- a knit=along of sorts -- for a gift. I surprised myself by completely changing my mind about the Lizard Ridge by the time I finished the first square. Had I not HAD to do my part for this gift by knitting two squares, I would have given up. However, I adore this pattern now and I'm looking forward to making another one.

April 24, 2008

Wordless Lizard

Edge of first Lizard Ridge Square
Noro Kureyon Color 165

April 17, 2008

Monkey Sock :: One complete

Monkey Sock details

Monkey sock -- the full monkey

Last June, I started a sock on my birthday and four days after I started the sock, I got my Ravelry invite. Since I always have a couple of socks going at once (and feel absolutely no shame about that), I spent several hours that day and the next exploring Ravelry and adding projects and stash. I couldn't help but notice something incredibly interesting -- although I know MANY knitters who have not knit this sock pattern, it's the second most popular pattern on Ravelry (second only to the Fetching Fingerless Mitts -- which I haven't knit).

I don't know why it was such a compelling idea for me to finish this sock last week (I was SO close to finishing when I tossed them aside several months ago), I just decided to do it. I've already cast on for the second sock and the cuff that I wasn't overly fond of initially (lots of k1 tbl) is kind of charming to me now - and not at all as fiddly as it seemed in June.

Details below:

Pattern: Monkey from Knitty (Winter 2006)
Sock Yarn: Mama Llama Sock Yarn in Twisted Yarns Colorway
Needles: Lantern Moon Sox Stix, Ebony, Size 1 (2.25mm)

For the next week or so, I'll be working on a secret (knitting) project and I'll be kind of scarce. It involves NORO, so I'm sure I'll be fine.

April 11, 2008

Spring in the Suburbs

Spring in the Suburbs - Hot Pink Geraniums

I have no new knitting to show; we've been planting, painting, and cleaning. It must be a spring thing. It's also heralded by the annual arrival of ants in my kitchen. I know that if it rains a lot (steadily) and the next day is sunny and warm, a colony will have formed somewhere and they'll begin invading. Oddly, it's also about the same time I start to think about baking cookies. I believe I'll wait until I get rid of the ants* to get out the brown sugar.

I've swatched several things this past week and so far, nothing is as promising as I thought it would be. I decided this was a sign to step away from the knitting (that is, knitting-as-blog-fodder) for a brief pause, so I've been listening to the Yarn Harlot's audiobook version of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting. I highly recommend it. It's entertaining without being too cutesy or cheesy. (And, yes, I know I'm one book behind and she has a new one out now . . . at this pace, I'll probably get to that one next year).

And smack dab in the middle of this blog entry, I want to share Laurie's blog entry today. One thing jumped out at me:

I'd wasted all that energy on one thing that was past and something new that hadn't even happened yet.

I've been there -- I've wasted energy and THOUGHTS on things that were completely unfruitful. And I've wasted precious brainpower having imaginary conversations with people I was angry with at the time. I'm now 100% sure that the other person involved didn't give a second thought to maintaining that same conversation in his or her head. Obsessive thoughts like that are very close to the classic definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I wanted to bring this to my blog because it relates to why I began knitting. About four years ago, I was getting and staying so angry about perceived slights and injustices that totally didn't concern me; often I was angry or incredulous about something that was happening to a friend or family member. One night I left the house in a huff over something I had been reading online and I ended up falling in the garage and requiring a trip to the ER for stitches and a tetanus shot. Less than a month later, a friend of mine mentioned trying knitting and I was tired enough of myself that I decided it was time for a new hobby. Knitting helped me gain some emotional equilibrium and has kept me out of the ER (I learned that I am really accident-prone when I'm angry). And this is why I still knit. These days, if I feel that I'm starting to be competitive (with anybody other than myself) over knitting or anything knitting-related, I step back -- and maybe away -- for a while. Ironically, if I don't step away on my own, then some external force will exert itself -- computer problems much?

If you're stewing, perhaps step away and ask yourself why your expectations are so high or . . . radical thought . . . maybe you should dig even deeper -- why are you a knitter? For me, it's a meaningful and productive way to engage my hands and my mind so that I remain emotionally balanced and stay out of trouble. The huge bonus has been my gaining some great lifelong friendships in the process.

* Products to help eliminate the ants

Terro Liquid Ant Bait - I found it at Lowe's last year. Note: The MaxForce products are more widely available but they did not work for me.

April 06, 2008

Completed :: Leaf Lace Scarf

Leaf Lace Scarf.jpg

I love scarves. I love living in a place where our winters require lightweight accessories and no bulky outerwear. And most of you already know that I adore green. So when I saw this color of Malabrigo merino laceweight on Spritely Goods, I had to have it. Although several knits distracted me from finishing this scarf as quickly as I would have liked, I devoted myself to it completely in the last week and finished it the day of my root canal.

In the past, I've started several other BIG lace projects only to make mistakes and get frustrated. This leaf pattern was something I could manage while watching television or when sneaking in some early morning knitting time.

And then there's dreamy red laceweight yarn:

Alpaca with a Twist - Fino - Ruby Slippers
Alpaca with a Twist, Fino: "Ruby Slippers"

While it seems this soft red yarn could easily distract me (once again), I've instead rescued another lace project from hibernation. So to satisfy some tactile desires, I did nothing more than wind the red yarn and swatch with it. Now it will sit for a while until I find the perfect pattern.

Before I close, I also wanted to share this cute little accessory bag from Splityarn:

Splityarn Toadstools

It's adorable and functional. I'm using it to carry stitch markers:

blue and green stitch markers from Funessa
Stitch Markers from Funessa