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!

New Projects

Half the fun of finishing old projects is that you can start new projects without guilt.  Not that I have much guilt about knitting; there is enough obsessive-compulsiveness in my work life that I just let it rip when it comes to my “fun” time.  I digress; it’s probably that after-work bourbon again.

Anyway, I spend the last few finishing days of a project dreaming about what I will knit next.  I do try not to have more than three or four projects going at once.  I am a relatively slow knitter anyway, and it makes me too anxious when I am not making any perceived progress on something because I have fifteen different things started.  Three seems to be the ideal number for me.  I know knitters who freak out if they don’t finish one thing before starting another, and others who have dozens of things going at once, and seem perfectly content with that!  I have decided that for me it is perfect to have one “big” project (defined this month as a sweater), and one “little” project (defined as a hat or a scarf/shawl), and a pair of socks for the third project.  These definitions may well change by October, so don’t hold me to it.

The “little” project at the moment is the Birch shawl.  I plan to do another couple of repeats this week and get a picture for you.  It’s starting to look somewhat attractive, even if it is only an inch wide.

The “sock” project is still up in the air.  I joined the Six Sox Knitalong some time back, and have yet to start one pair.  The first pattern was of course due to be completed last month, but I hate deadlines, so purposely planned to start late.  (If you believe that lame dog-ate-my-homework excuse, we need to talk.)  The first pattern of the six is a lacy one called Cloverleaf Rib.  I decided to make it in some stash yarn.

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That color is just so wrong.  In reality it is a cloverleaf/kelly green.  I could not get it to photograph accurately.  The yarn is from Ozyarn, a company from Australia.  They don’t seem to have this on their site anymore, but it is a very light fingering weight mohair/wool blend.  Their needles are great too, by the way.  I started these the other night, but got very frustrated after the first row.  Mohairy, almost lace weight yarn on US 0 double points was something I was just not in the mood for at the time.  I’ll start these again later this week when I have a bit of time, before I give up on this yarn.

The “big” project is a sweater.  I was planning on doing the Eyelet Cardi from Chicknits, and still will, but the yarn I picked just turned into another pattern.  I have the Sweater Wizard software and really just needed to use it to make an adult sweater.  I’ve done a baby sweater using it, and the software really does generate very easy to use patterns.  The web site is here, if you are interested.

The yarn I am using is Sonata cotton in a medium lavender that I got at Elann earlier this summer.  It will be a crew neck style cardigan, button up, and very plain with the exception of a lace border at the bottom and at the cuffs.  Here is my pattern/gauge swatch:

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And with this photo, you can sort of squint and imagine what the sleeve will look like:

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I’ve finished the lace border on the back piece and am a couple of inches into the stockinette portion.  This should be good mindless knitting except for the borders.  This ought to be a great sweater to dress up jeans, or go with a skirt as a more dressy outfit.  Yee-ha!  I love knitting!

Shopping Cart

I’ve done a little knitting-related shopping in the last few weeks, and thought I would summarize it all here for you to drool over.
First is the gadget and tools category:

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These are bamboo needles from S R Kertzer, ordered from Handknitting.com.

After I received these and took them for a test drive, I went back and ordered more.  They come in 16″ lengths, which are sometimes very hard to find.

Here’s a heap of good stuff:

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The little tool that looks like a dental tool is called just that.  It has a tiny crochet hook on one end, and a pointy end on the other for picking out little knots.

And pins:

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These have glass heads, so you can steam over them when blocking without melting them.  What will they think of next?

And a variety of stitch holders.

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And yes, those are crumbs on my dining room table.  You want me to knit AND clean??

Then there was the little foray to Barnes & Noble yesterday.  I came home with four books:

Knitting on the Edge, by Nicky Epstein
1000 Great Knitting Motifs, by Luise Roberts
The Knitters Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, by Ann Budd
Color Works, the Crafter’s Guide to Color, by Deb Menz

Where do I shop?  Well, mostly online, though my neighorhood B&N actually has a pretty good knitting book selection.  Other than Handknitting.com, I found these goodies at Angelika’s and Patternworks.  If you’re looking to buy knitting books online, Needle Arts Book Shop has the best selection, hands down.

I’m starting two new projects, and still working on the Birch Lace shawl.  I’ve done a couple of repeats of the pattern and it is starting to look more like a shawl and less like a big red fuzz ball.  My next post will have details and pictures.  I know you can hardly wait!

Vacation, and Finished Projects

Our vacation to Nevada definitely exceeded expectations!  We stayed at Walley’s Hot Springs in Genoa, which is close to Carson City.  It is in the high mountain desert, so though warm in the daytime, it was quite cool at night.  We also had a full moon while we were there, which added to the beauty of the place.   Of course we took lots of pictures, some knitting related.

Here is the view from the balcony of our condo:

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This family provided our nightly entertainment (click to make it easier to see them!):

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Walley’s was built in the 1860’s or so.  It has a spa with several natural mineral pools.

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We did day trips to Tahoe, Virginia City, and a long bus tour of Yosemite.  We also spent a couple of days just hanging out by the pools.

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We took a trip on Lake Tahoe on a paddleboat, the M.S. Dixie.  Here I am waiting for the boat:

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And on the boat:

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Then there was the quality time on the balcony at the end of the day, with cocktails and knitting:

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I finished this:

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If I look like I had a few in that picture, I probably did.  The photographer was probably also inebriated.  I’ll try to get a better picture this week.

I also finished these:

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Details of these two projects will be on my Finished Projects page when I get a little more time to post.

The only yarn shopping opportunity came while on the bus tour of Yosemite.  On the ride home, we stopped at a Mobil gas station for fuel and food.  Along with the usual things you might find in a gas station convenience store, there was this wall of yarn:

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I didn’t buy anything, though I was tempted to do so just so I could say that I bought yarn at a gas station.  The two girls at the checkout counter were learning to knit, and graciously allowed me to photograph them:

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I’ll have updates on the new things that I am starting in my next post!

Last Post….

Until I get back from vacation, that is.  We will be gone a week, so I’ll be knitting away, but not blogging away.  We’re going to a hot springs resort in Nevada for a week.  Only my husband would arrange a vacation in August in Nevada, at a hot springs.  It actually does get cool at night there, so it should be pleasant.  And it beats the heck out of working for a living.

I got the pieces for Audrey put together:

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I’m not quite halfway done with the lace neckband.  I’m taking that and my socks on the plane tomorrow.  I should finish this sweater while I’m gone.

I have decided that I will start one more summery project before I get started on the Rogue sweater.  I just can’t get into a heavy worsted weight sweater with cables and a hood in August!  My next sweater project will be an Eyelet Cardi; pattern by Bonne Marie of ChicKnits.  I have a stash of Elann Sonata cotton yarn in a nice lavender color that should be quite girlie when it’s done.  You can find the pattern on her “Patterns” page, of all places.

Don’t have too much fun without me; I’ll be back in a week!