Ramen Noodles

No, this has not become a fast-food blog.  Though ramen noodles do have their advantages.  I did a fair amount of knitting on the lavender sleeve this week.  Unfortunately “work” does not always translate to “progress”.  I mentioned in my previous post that the armhole on the finished and blocked body is a little bigger than the pattern measurements.  I will have to change the sleeve dimensions a little to make the sleeve cap fit into the armhole.  Then I decided I want the sleeves just a little bit longer than the original pattern (I have gorilla-length arms).  Sweater Wizard makes it possible to change every single dimension in the pattern on the schematic picture of the sweater; when you hit “enter” it changes the pattern instructions accordingly.  I love this software!  The original pattern instructions for the sleeve instructions were something like “increase every 4 rows 18 times, then every 6 rows 6 times”.  The new instructions were to “increase every 4 rows 25 times”, then go to the every 6 rows part.  I had just finished all the increases using the previous set of instructions, and briefly considered just doing more “every 6 row” increases, but figured I would end up with a sleeve that dragged to my knees.  So I ripped it out back to the every 4 rows part and am ready to go again.  You still with me??  Here is the ramen noodles part:

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I rolled some of it back up before I took the picture, but 30-some rows of ripped out cotton yarn looks like purple ramen noodles to me.  The good news is that I didn’t wait to decide to change this until I had finished both sleeves.  Now I just have to remember what I did when I get to the second one.

Here is the non-knitting picture of the day:

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My Christmas cacti appear to be confused about the season.
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You might have noticed a new link over in the Webrings and Buttons section on the left.  I decided in a moment of temporary insanity to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).  This group of truly berserk people commit every November to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  This started in 1999, and this year so far there are over 39,000 people who have signed up. I didn’t decide to do this until the last couple of days in October, so I’m a bit behind on my word count.  50,000 words in 30 days means about 1667 words a day.  As I’ve never written a novel before, this should be highly entertaining.  I did convince my husband that I needed a laptop computer in order to complete this task.  I will never hear the end of it if I don’t get to 50,000 words.  If you join and start writing tonight, you only have to do 2083 words a day to get there…any takers??

I’m Depressed

The votes are in.  Kerry/Edwards won by a huge margin in the election held right here at Knitting Doctor.  The turnout wasn’t huge, but the mandate was clear:  15 for K/E, 6 for B/C.  That means Kerry got somewhere around 70% of the popular vote.

Too bad the real world doesn’t mirror knitting blogs.  Clearly, knit bloggers, and knit blog readers, are smarter than the average American.

I’m looking forward to 2008.  Once W. screws things up even more that he already has, voters will most certainly put an intelligent woman or man in the White House.  Until then, we all can take comfort in the fact that America has endured worse.

Now back to our regularly scheduled knitting blog.

I finally got the body of the purple sweater blocked.  Here is a picture of the pinning ceremony.  You can see my handy-dandy steamer in the background, waiting for its turn.  Take note of my lovely home-made blocking board.

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And here everything is ready to get steamed:

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The lace detail:

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Here’s where I am on the first sleeve.  After I blocked and measured the back pieces, the armhole is a bit larger than the measurements given in the pattern, so I will need to adjust the sleeve width a bit to match.  Last time I knit a sweater, I didn’t take this into consideration;  this error led to an awful lot of swearing in the Knitting Doctor household.

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In case you thought I am hiding the green striped socks from you, here are a couple of pictures.  I finished the short row heel and am on my way up the cuff.  This turned out better than I expected.  It looks a little big on my foot because it is intended for my Bigfooted husband.  He refused to model because he was too busy sobbing over election results.

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I’m off to watch the concession speech.

Knit Bloggers for Kerry Unite!

It is one of the wonders of this world that citizens of this country have been able to vote for what kind of government they want for over 200 years. Without fear of reprisal we can decide to throw out the current bunch of elected officials if we decide that we don’t like the job they have done for us. I’ve certainly not made any secret of which side of the political fence that I am on. If you are on the other side of that fence, go vote anyway. We’ll all sit on the edge of our chairs Tuesday night and wait for the results.

GO VOTE! I’ve already cast my ballot. (I vote absentee every year, even if I’m in town, just so I don’t get sidetracked by work and not get it done.) My husband joined the local campaign workers this week and spent the day today going door to door reminding people to get out there Tuesday and do their civic duty. I would have gone too, if I hadn’t had to go to work today.

Many of the knit bloggers that I read seem to be Kerry/Edwards supporters, though I doubt that I read a representative sample of all knit bloggers. In the spirit of the election season, who are you going to vote for in the presidential election? Cast your ballot in the comment section, and I’ll tally them up and post the results. As in real life, duplicate ballots will not be counted!

And my parting shot:

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Sleeve Island

I want to know if it’s OK to drink beverages with little paper umbrellas while vacationing on Sleeve Island. Though now that I think about that, maybe it’s not such a great idea. We were invited to a party last night and I took my knitting bag along, as it was about an hour’s drive from home. We got there about 2 hours before the party started (don’t ask; it’s a really long story, and it’s NOT my fault). The hosts were nice enough to let us in anyway and give us something to drink. I really wasn’t going to bring my knitting in to the party until the sister of the hostess arrived (also about 2 hours early, but then she was family). She promptly brought out her knitting and stated that she just couldn’t sit still without it. So I went out and got my purple sweater and worked on the sleeve. She very politely commented that working on knitted lace while drinking bourbon and watching a World Series game might not be a good plan. Well what the hell did she know? I just ignored her and kept knitting until I realized that I just had seriously f***ed things up. I finished the row anyway (never stop in the middle of a row, you know) and put it away until tonight. After looking at it awhile, I decided that I just needed to go back to the beginning of the row I had been working on. Then I realized that, in my bourbon-induced knitting zeal, I had done one whole repeat more of the lace pattern than what I needed to. I started to rip back the whole repeat, lost count, and just ripped the whole thing out. During tonight’s World Series game, I redid the lace border for the first sleeve. It turned out fine, which leads me to believe that it was the bourbon that was the problem, and not the excitement of the game.

I’m done with the back and both front pieces. I was too lazy to take a good picture; here’s a pile of knitted pieces;

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And the sleeve, after the ripping and re-knitting:

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Ack. Short Rows.

I know learning new things is good for me. It’s supposed to stretch my brain and keep my mind nimble. My green striped sock pattern is a toe-up version with a short row heel. I have never tried this before, and I’m beginning to see why. Now, I like the idea of doing the socks from the toe up. You can just knit till your yarn is half gone without doing all that guessing as to whether there will be enough to get the second sock done. I keep reminding myself that I wasn’t so hot at doing flap heels and gussets either, the first several times I did it. I’ve only ripped this sucker back once so far, but we shall see. It’s really not a difficult concept once you try it and just follow the freaking directions. Here are some pictures:

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Let me tell you, I’m not feeling very guru-ish right at the moment, despite what this quiz says.

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can’t imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.
http://marniemaclean.com

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

If I sound cranky, I’m not really. It’s actually fun to do something new, even if it is a bit fidgety at first.

I promised Norma a picture from my yard the next time the sun was shining. I figured I better not wait till April to do this, so here’s one with the sun NOT shining. This is from our back deck.

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Note that there is actually some blue sky there!

Crochet Lady

No, this blog isn’t going to morph into The Crocheting Doctor. I had one of those moments at work this past week that reminds me why I will always love being a physician. I had admitted an elderly lady with dementia to the hospital earlier in the week with a diagnosis of “altered mental status”. Basically she was sent in for placement in a nursing home because they couldn’t take care of her at the facility she was in. Always the optimist, I tinkered with her medications and stopped some sedating drugs she was on, and the next thing I knew, she was awake and alert. She was still quite demented, mind you, but now very alert and interactive. One of the staff had mentioned that she was once a knitter, so I asked her about it. She looked at me and promptly said, “No, crochet.” The next day I took her some leftover yarn (the leftover balls from this) and a crochet hook. When I took it out of the bag, she didn’t even wait for me to explain. Her eyes lit up and she took it out of my hands and just started in. I checked back periodically through the day, thinking she might need a bit of help. She never did get past that first row, but she crocheted one heck of a long blue chain. The yarn and hook were discharged happily from the hospital with her.

Many thanks to everyone who left birthday wishes. I had to work, but my guy cooked me a wonderful dinner when I got home. He’s upstairs making Ethiopian Doro Wat tonight. I have no idea what inspired this, but I’m not about to complain.

Just so I don’t get kicked out of the Knitting Kitty ring, here are some pictures of Lucy. Lucy found a pile of old papers that were slated for the shredder earlier this week. Note how she looks so freaking innocent in this one.

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A while later I found her under the pile. This photo didn’t quite capture all the little shredded bits around her. I guess she was just trying to help.

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You might wonder why there are rarely pictures of Willie. Will thinks he’s a dog, and doesn’t usually stay in one place long enough for pictures.

I have been slogging along on my three little projects, making slow but steady progress. Just because it’s so damned purty, here is a picture of Birch:

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This yarn is pretty fidgety to knit with, but I adore this color. It’s finally getting to the point where I can see some progress! Oooooh! Little Birch leaves!

Speechless

My birthday was this week, and I received some lovely gifts from relatives that have left me speechless.

The first was from my husband. We had decided we weren’t going to “do” gifts this year, as we just spent a week in San Francisco and spent enough money in some very fine restaurants to feed a third-world country for months. I came home from work Tuesday and found these:

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And this:

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It’s a wine and cheese teapot, of course.

And from my sister-in-law:

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And this tasteful refrigerator magnet:

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From one of my sisters:

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And:

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From my other sister:

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You of course want to see what’s in it, don’t you? Sure you do.

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It’s a Bunko card game, complete with Barbie cards.

Last, but certainly not least, is the gift from Jen, my husband’s daughter.

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She starts out looking like this:

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You push a button on the back, and she “shushes” you:

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This comes complete with librarian bookmarks, and a Librarian Action Figure Trading Card. By the way, the librarian is supposed to be Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust. It’s a great book.

Some women get jewelry or kitchen appliances for their birthdays. What can I say; my family knows me too well.

And just because it was on the same photo card as all of these pictures, I’ll leave you with a photo of where I live. Well, near where I live.

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Purty, ain’t it?

Wall of Yarn

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My favorite part of the San Francisco trip was the little foray out to ArtFibers.  All I can say is that it is probably a good thing for the sake of my credit card bill that I don’t live near this place.  (Yes, I know they ship, but it ain’t the same…)

For those of you who have never been there, here is the Wall of Yarn:

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I sat through FOUR whole days of medical conference just waiting for the chance to get done and go to this place.  I learned many new things, and didn’t fall asleep once, thanks to my trusty knitting project.  The conference had perhaps 400 attendees, pretty well mixed half and half, men and women.   (Oh, I remember the good old days, when I was one of a minority of women physicians!  “Lady Doctors”, we were called way back then.)  I was the only person knitting, although there was one other woman doing needlepoint.  I found it rather amusing that the only people that commented on my knitting were a couple of men sitting near me that said some favorable things.

Here’s what I worked on:

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I figure I’m about a third done with this.  It was great conference knitting, with those miles of stockinette that I didn’t have to pay any attention to.

Oh, I suppose you want to know what yarn I came home with??

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The ribbon yarn in both of these pictures is called “Houdini”.  The first one really is as red as it looks.  The red shiny stuff with it is Baccarat, which is a nylon sequin ribbon novelty yarn.  The red combo will be a long skinny scarf.

The other combo is the Houdini ribbon in a fall color blend, along with Kyoto, a silk/mohair/wool blend in a lovely gold color.  This will be a wide rectangular shawl.   The women in the store are unbelievably helpful in assisting you with pattern and color suggestions.  I sort of had an idea what I wanted for a pattern for this, and the woman helping me sat right down and hand wrote a pattern for this yarn combo that I think will be perfect.

I’ve decided that as an incentive to finish that Birch shawl, I will NOT start either one of these until I finish that one.  I tried to work on it while watching the VP debate last night, but got a little worked up and lost track of where I was.  Maybe I won’t really try to finish it till after the election.

Busy, Busy,

Doing stuff other than knitting, unfortunately. We’ve had a houseful of visiting relatives the past 2 weeks. It reminds me of when we lived in Montana for a bunch of years. We used to say there were two seasons; winter and visiting relatives. I’ve also had one of those weeks at work where I look back and realize that all I’ve done for the past seven days is work, eat, and sleep. I have done a little knitting, but not so as you’d notice from these pictures.

First the lavender sweater:

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I couldn’t get it to quit rolling around and be quiet for a decent picture.

Then the Birch shawl. This is a bit more painstaking to knit. Not difficult, just one of those “pay-attention” projects. Note the dental floss lifeline at the end of the last repeat.

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And the striped socks. These don’t look like I’ve done much since the last pictures, because, well, I haven’t done much since then.

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The good news is that tomorrow is Friday for me. And we are leaving the next day for a week. I have a medical conference to attend for three days, and we’ll play a little bit as well. The meeting will provide me with three whole days to sit in a chair in a conference room and KNIT! Lovely! I used to feel self-conscious about knitting in conferences. I’ve found that honestly nobody gives a rat’s ass if I knit or not, and it keeps me awake and attentive. I’ve decided that it’s probably less distracting than if I was snoring loudly during a lecture. The meeting is in San Francisco; anybody know any good yarn shops there??

I probably won’t get a chance to blog again until I get back. Have a good week, everybody!

Go here…..

Folk Alley. I’ve mentioned it before, and will mention it again. Rachael led me to this internet radio station a few weeks ago, and there has been little else playing on our stereo since. We have our computer hooked up to our home stereo so we can get streaming internet radio with great sound. That, and the speakers we wired in to the upstairs of the house means we can listen to great music night and day if we want.

Anyway, this is 24-hour commercial-free radio, with a great announcer who tells you about all the songs. Not too much talk, just enough so you know what you are listening to. It’s a great mix of traditional folk, Americana, world music, bluegrass, and stuff I just can’t pigeonhole. And it’s all FREE!

As you know however, nothing great is really free. Somebody has to pay for it. In this case it’s mostly the listeners who volunteer to send money in. Go listen, and if you like it, send them money so they stay on the air.

They don’t pay me to write this, really!

Yee-haa, we’re going to listen to Leon Russell tonight! He’s playing at Jazzbones in Tacoma, and I didn’t find out till I figured tickets were long gone. I called and they are saving a bunch of tickets to sell at the door, so we’re going to line up in the rain soon.

I worked on that purple sweater today. Looks the same, just bigger! We spent part of the day taking a bird watching walk in the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge today, then a nap to prepare for a late night out. So not much knitting done.

Eggplant Hat

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Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran

Pattern: Kid’s Fruit Cap, by Ann Norling

Started: September 16th, 2004

Finished: same. Yes, you can make one of these easily in a day.

These are fun to make, and kids seem to like hats in the shape of fruits and vegetables. The Cashmerino Aran is a bit heavier gauge yarn than the pattern calls for. I made the medium size, and it fit a 2 1/2 year old girl just right.

You Can Do It At a Trot,

You can do it at a gallop.  You can do it real slow so your heart don’t palpitate.  Just don’t be late, do the Puyallup.

Yes ma’am, we went to the Puyallup State Fair this year; complete with three small children in tow.  For those of you not fortunate enough to live in this heaven we call Western Washington, Puyallup is pronounced “pew-al-up”, sort of rhymes with gallop.  This and other unusual place names is how we tell locals from out-of-staters.  Sequim is another good test;  locals know to say “squim”, the furriners say “see-quim”.   Some people mistakenly think we keep these unusual names to honor our local native people.  Wrong, so wrong.   We do it so we know who the visitors are.

If you live around here, every year in mid-September that silly song runs through your head non-stop.  And you just have to go.  There are cows, chickens, rides, deep-fried Twinkies (really!).  There are more varieties of fancy pigeons than you would ever believe.  There are 4-H girls and boys showing their horses and pigs.  I had a whole conversation with some very cute noisy geese with huge orange bills.  I forget what variety they were.  The only sheep I saw were in the children’s petting barn; I think the main sheep showing events are next week (yes, the fair goes on for weeks).

We ate, we petted, we admired, we saw the lady doing cowgirl rope tricks.  Any other time of year this would have been unbelievably corny.  I spent serious time in the craft pavilion admiring the many lovely quilts and knitted items.  And watched the end of the fastest fingers contest.  There were about ten women entered; they each got a ball of yarn and a crochet hook, and were timed to see who could crochet the fastest.  Here are a few of the knitted things:

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I dared John’s son George to ride the Extreme Scream with me.  I would have one piece of advice:  pee before you try this.  You get shot straight up in the air at about a million miles an hour, then dropped like a rock.

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I don’t look nearly as terrified in this picture as I really was.

As this is a KNITTING blog, here is another finished project.  I have had the yarn and pattern to make fruit hats for John’s grandchildren for a long time.  While we were hanging out here this week, I started and finished an eggplant hat for Penelope.  It started out as a blackberry hat, but the little bobbley things were just looking too weird for me.  The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

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Yes, that’s me in those fashionable slippers and robe behind her.  We were all still in our jammies waiting for pancakes when I took these pictures.  More pictures here.

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If you haven’t already checked this out, sign up for Bloglines.  It saves a ton of time if you surf through a bunch of blogs every day.  Kerstin and Wendy led me to this one.  That little sign-up button in the upper left of the page will subscribe you to my blog and let you know when I’ve updated.  Cool, huh?

Audrey Sweater

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Yarn: Rowan Calmer, in Flamingo

Pattern: “Audrey”, from Rowan Magazine 35 (Spring/Summer issue)

Started July 2004
Finished August 2004

What I learned from this one: I learned about shaping with darts, and how to make matching increases so they look reasonably neat. I also learned how to make a lace neck band to sew on after it is knit.

New Pictures

This past week has gotten away from me.  It was a hectic week at work, and this week we have a house full of family, with my husband’s two children and their families here for vacation.   Between them they have three children under the age of three (seven months, one year, and two and a half).  We all packed up and went to the state fair yesterday, which was an all day experience.  I have some pictures from the craft pavilion that I might get around to posting later on.  At any rate, I haven’t gotten much knitting done.  Penelope, the oldest grandchild, is fascinated by knitting, and at the “why” age.  Why are you knitting a sock?  What are you doing with that yarn?

The sock in question is this:

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The yarn is Rodel Sport & Strumpf Wolle, which I bought in Germany when we were there earlier this year.  I was going to do the Cloverleaf Rib sock pattern, with that insanely fine gauge stuff I posted about last time.  After about three starts and three frogs, I threw in the towel.  I just don’t need this kind of stress at the moment.  I’ve always wanted to learn to make toe-up socks, so decided that this was the time to learn.  Starting was much easier than I anticipated:  I did a crochet provisional cast on, then the paired increases were done in no time.  My husband has already laid claim to these socks.

The lavender lace cardigan has seen a little progress:

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That’s the back of the sweater.  Now it will be plain stockinette up to the armhole decreases.

I will post an update to my finished project page today as well, with the Audrey sweater and the Montego Bay socks.  Everybody is taking a nap at the moment (no small miracle with three children!), so I might get a little knitting done as well!