So Much Yarn, So Little Time

I wish I was not such a slow knitter.  Between the demands of real life, and the fact that I just don’t knit very quickly, I don’t seem to get many projects done.  I think that is one of the few disadvantages of knit-blogging.  I make my daily whirl around the blog world and get just a little bit intimidated by some of you who finish projects at light speed.  Please tell me that you have a knitting staff who works on your knitting while you are doing the other stuff that surely is part of your lives as well.  I guess I don’t worry about quantity much, but every once in a while I think…good God, those other bloggers have finished five sweaters already this year, and I’m on my first one.

Enough wallowing.  On to pictures of more yarn purchases.  Which are scheduled for knitting projects in about 2008.  This is the only yarn I bought in Germany.  Truly, I exercised uncommon restraint.  It was only because there was an awful lot of impatient foot-tapping going on from the two men waiting for me. It is bad enough having one man tapping his foot and looking like he’d rather be cleaning the rain gutters while you are trying to weigh the different merits of nine hundred balls of yarn; I had two of them.  I did not write down the name of the yarn shop, and the receipt is buried in the folder with the nine million restaurant receipts, and I am not getting up to look for it.  It’s in Heidelberg, it is on the main shopping street in the old town center.  They had a bunch of sock yarn, I bought some self striping yarn for 2 pair:

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And some novelty eyelash yarn for a scarf.  Normally I don’t buy this stuff because I don’t wear scarves, but  I loved the colors and couldn’t resist.  Might be a gift, might be a boa for me.  Who knows, I might actually dress up for the theater some night and need a boa.  Or I might just fondle it now and then.

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Click on the little pictures for a real thrill.

I am at the near-beginning of my 90-hour-7-day work week, so haven’t knit much since getting home.  I am  still pretty jet-lagged also.  And then there was the fun of getting home and sifting through two weeks of mostly junk mail.  And our internet connection was down (now fixed). And our hot water heater was dead when we got home Monday (pilot out, got it fixed).  And my car wouldn’t start yesterday AM to go to work  (dead battery, better now).  I think I’ll go watch JAG reruns…

Germany!

We have been having such a good time in Germany that I have not had any time to post.  We leave tomorrow, which is probably a good thing.  If I consume any more bratwurst and beer I will need to check into a detox center.

I do have a few pictures; of course knitting related.  The digital camera is truly one of mankind’s greatest inventions.  However, we have at least 7000 photos to sort through, many of them food-related.  John has insisted on taking photos of just about everything we have eaten while here…once I get them sorted out I might just be persuaded to post the pics of the Schweinshaxen that we had last night in Bavaria.  (That’s a roughly German word for pig’s knuckles for the non-Bavarian among you.  It’s as big as your head, and they serve it with the knife stabbed into it.)

We spent the first few days in Heidelberg, where our friends live. One of those days we went strolling through the shops in the city center.  One of those shops, just fortuitously, was a yarn shop.  Really, I didn’t know it was there.  I was only allowed about three minutes inside.

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I felt a little like I had won one of those prizes where you are allowed to run around a store for a certain period of time and keep everything you could pick up.

This unfortunately was the only yarn shop I was able to get to while here.  My husband has a low tolerance for hanging around a yarn shop waiting (it’s his only real fault), and our friends appear not to understand the attraction of yarn.  I like them anyway.

The middle third of our trip was a train trip to Berlin.  We enjoyed many museums and historical sites, and more food and drink.  And shopping, though none of it knitting-related.  The train ride was several hours of uninterrupted knitting time (well except for the time we went to the bar/dining car).

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The third “third” of our trip was a driving trip to Bavaria.  We drove there (more quality knitting time!), enjoying the journey despite a “Stau” or two along the way (traffic jam in German!). We stayed in Garmisch, where the 1936 Winter Olympics were held.  We took in the castles of Ludwig II (I am not getting out the guidebook to spell them correctly!), which are pretty impressive.  It has been fairly cool and rainy the whole time we have been here, so we did not do any hiking.  We had to leave something for next time.

I have made significant progress on John’s sweater while here.  I finished the front before we left home, finished the first sleeve and am about a third done with the second.  All I can say is thank God people only are born with two arms.  I hope to be able to knit on the long trip home tomorrow…I had no problems getting my wooden needles on the plane going this direction.  If not, I guess I will get a lot of reading and napping done.

Colorstrology!

I want to know why we all seem to love these sites, and who thinks them up. I cannot stay away from the internet quizzes that tell me what kind of person I am. Never mind that I am 40-something, tripping towards 50-something, and should already know what kind of person I am.
This one is from Kerstin. It’s the Pantone Colorstrology site; it tells you what color suits you best based on your birthday; and your personality traits based on that color and birthdate.
I’m October 5th, Winsome Orchid, sparkly, intelligent, and outgoing. Have you ever noticed that none of these sites label you as a witless, unpopular dullard with no sense of appreciation for the finer things in life??
You might notice that the predominant color in my blog banner is winsome orchid. This truly was a fortuitous choice, it appears.
I will be absent from the blog world for a few weeks. We are travelling to Germany to visit friends; and yes, I already have a list of yarn shops printed out for every town in Germany with a population of more than ten people. Our friends do have internet access, but it’s dial-up only, so I may or may not get to post for a while. I’ll probably be way too busy eating strudel and drinking German wine to get on the computer.
Have you noticed how knitters have an extra travel challenge? I have not packed or done laundry, or anything else that I really need to do to get from here to there. I do however have my knitting projects lined up, and have made sure I have enough gadgets and yarn to last me for the whole trip. I’ll be back….

Front, Done!

I finally have some knitting progress to post about.  The front half of John’s sweater is done.   I had a bit of trouble with the short rowing on the shoulders.  It seems that doing short rows at the same time that you do narrow stripes makes for some awkward moments.  Let’s just say I have a lot of ends to weave in.  But the front looks mostly the same as the back in the striping and pattern sequence.

Here is the front:

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And a close-up:

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Willie’s opinion of my work:

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As long as I’m doing the pet photos, here is Lucy:

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And Riley, having fun in the lake!

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I’m back at work this week, so am just happy to have a few moments to knit and write.  My work weeks are always somewhat insane.  My week starts on Tuesday, and runs for seven days, so I generally try to get every last bit of enjoyment out of my days off.  Here is a picture of me this past Monday, relaxing for the last time before starting in on another siege:

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As you can tell, it was a very nice day in the Puget Sound area.

Book Game

“1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the sentence in your journal with these instructions.”

“HDL cholesterol levels appear to be a particularly important risk factor for IHD in women.”
from Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 15th Edition; Braunwald, et al.

Boy, do I need to get a life.  No wonder I have no problems with insomnia, with that as my bedtime reading.  One paragraph, I’m out.  I need a good trashy novel.

I actually cheated a bit on this one.  My closest “book” is “No Ordinary Time”, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  However it’s an audio book, and I could not figure out what page 23 and sentence five would be.  I received an Ipod for Christmas this past year, and have discovered the joys of “reading” and knitting at the same time.

I’ve done more knitting on the same things.  I also think I might have found the perfect yarn for a bucket hat, but I’m just not posting any more pictures till I swatch it up to see.  It’s more of a DK weight than a worsted, so I’ll have to do a little fiddling with the pattern.

There were a couple of comments to my previous post about the “front porch” culture, and why we have so much trouble making connections in our own neighborhoods.  I think many of us turn to blogging for this reason.  Since we became civilized and moved our family activities to the back yard instead of the front porch, it is not unusual to live in a community for years and not know one’s neighbors.    Heck, there might be knitters right next door.  Maybe I’ll drag the hammock out to the front driveway for the summer.  At the very least it would entertain the locals.

Knitting & Blogging

In the past few days there have been two posts on other knitting blogs that I have found interesting.  One is from confused knitting.  The second was Kerstin’s from April 18th.

I have been thinking about why I knit, and why I want to write about knitting.  Knit blogging is a curious phenomenon to me.  It seems to me that as knitters we want to share our love for our craft with others who enjoy the same thing.

In my mother’s era, women met regularly to do the crafts that they loved.   The knitting or sewing was the initial reason that they got together, but ultimately their homemakers’ groups or craft clubs became a source of friendship and support that would last for years and sometimes decades.  My mother and her friends shared their knowledge of their crafts, but more importantly, shared their lives and all the joys and sorrows that happened along the way.

I think that we miss this type of friendship and connection in our lives.  Most people I know are too busy to have much of a social life outside of their jobs or their children’s activities.  Recently I discovered that an acquaintance of mine is a knitter.  We decided that it would be fun to get together for an evening and share a glass of wine and knit together.  Six or seven emails later, we still haven’t been able to settle on a date.  Between her busy life and mine, there is not one evening in the next month that works for us to get together.  Our lives seem to be dictated by our day planners.

I think that blogging about our craft/art is a way to fill that void.  I have a list of blogs that I read on nearly a daily basis.  I look forward to reading what my “friends” have written today, and to seeing what they are up to now in their knitting lives.  I feel like I know many of these women (and a few men!) quite well from having my morning coffee with them over the past year.

It is reassuring to know that there is someone out there who has the same love for knitting that I do.  I don’t think that it is just the actual knitting that I enjoy, though that is certainly a big part of it.  There is a definite satisfaction in doing something that women and men have been doing for centuries in essentially the same way.  Though we have a much wider array of raw materials to choose from than did earlier generations of knitters, the process hasn’t changed much.  I can easily imagine a knitter many centuries ago sitting with neighbors or family members and knitting an essential garment while gossiping or sharing household tips.  This isn’t much different than the current “stitch and bitch” sessions that our generation seems to think we invented.  And I don’t think it’s too far a leap to compare these long-ago knitters to the online knitting community of today.

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I am still knitting the same stuff.  I think I have decided to use the Interlacements Seeds yarn from my previous post for a sweater.  It keeps staring at me and whispering “sweater”.  So it’s back to shopping for bucket hat yarn.

It’s Your Fault

This is so not my fault.  I really had every intention of not buying yarn for yet another project when I have so much perfectly good yarn upstairs.  But between Bonne Marie and Becky, I just had to have yarn for a Bottoms Up Bucket Hat for the Bucket-along.  And I really looked in all the yarn boxes for something appropriate before I bought this:

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Here’s another picture:

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And a closeup:

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This is Interlacements Seeds yarn, which is a rayon/polyester blend, in the Summer Fruit color.  I haven’t swatched it yet, but the stated gauge says it will work for the hat, and that color just screams summer.

The astute reader will perhaps note that there is significantly more yarn than needed for a bucket hat.  (My husband, not easily fooled, looked at this and said, “That’s a lot of yarn for a hat.”) There were only 2 hanks of this yarn in this color left, and I figured if by chance it doesn’t work for the hat, I’ll have enough for a sweater.  Even with the hat, there will be enough for maybe a vest, or a shawl/stole.  You all just need to check out their website…I want more yarn in many varieties and colors.

I’ve been working on that blasted striped sweater still.  I swear I am not starting another project before I finish it.  So does “not starting another project” specifically mean I can only work on projects already on needles?  Or can I stretch that definition to mean projects for which I actually have patterns, needles, and yarn, and have taken pictures of and talked about on my blog??

More Ripping

Jeesh, this is supposed to be an easy pattern.  Big needles, bulky yarn, mostly stockinette stitch.

I didn’t like the second version of the cable on the blue sweater either.  I realized that what it needed was a purl stitch on each side of the cable to set it off.  It was just too smushed into the stockinette stitches surrounding the cable.  Instead of taking the whole thing back to that damn garter hem, I just undid one stitch on either side of the cable and let it unravel (ravel?) down.  Just like running a nylon.   Here is what it looked like on the second side:

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Then I used a crochet hook and purled that stitch back up.  Now here is what it looked like:

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And a few rows later:

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This, I like.  I might do this cable up the sleeve with a garter hem instead of the wide ribbing.  We’ll see.

Someone asked about the stitch markers.  Yes, I made them.  I went sort of nutty in the bead store and bought a bunch of beads along with the necessary tools and hardware and spent an afternoon making a bunch.  They are quite festive; it takes little to amuse me, as you can see.

Ripping Virgin

I’ve done another 5 or 6 inches on the front of the blue cable sweater.  Actually I’ve done 10 or 12 inches, because I knit it once, didn’t like the cable, ripped it out, did it again.

Here is the first attempt:

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I just did not like where that cable was headed.  For one thing, it doesn’t look like a cable.  It is also too skinny in proportion to the sweater front.  I slept on it last night (not literally, though the cable needle somehow ended up in bed with me).  Today, inspired by  Kerstin, I ripped.  I made the cable a couple of stitches wider, and substituted one that just twists one direction.  The color in this picture is closer to the real thing (taken outside).

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I like the second one better, though I think I will knit something else and ruminate on this for a day.  I’m no longer a ripping virgin!

I’ve had a couple of requests for the gin drink recipe from my Peeps post a few days ago.  It’s gin and grapefruit juice.  The one in the picture was ruby red grapefruit juice, though I’ve used the regular.  If you use the calcium fortified variety, you can prevent osteoporosis as well as scurvy.  There is your unsolicited medical advice for the day.

Ice in tall glass
1 shot (more or less) gin
fill glass with juice
shove mint leaves/sprigs down the side of the glass
Stir and drink
Repeat as necessary

If I don’t have mint, I’ve used lime slices.  If you have ever made the mistake of planting mint in your garden, you are already aware that running out is  generally not an issue.

And here is the cat picture of the day; Willie, tiptoeing through the tulips:

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Friday Five, a day late

1.  What do you do for a living?
I’m a physician specializing in internal medicine.

2. What do you like most about your job?
It is a constant challenge; I learn something significant almost every day.  I’ve not met a patient yet that has read the textbook and follows the “rules”.

3. What do you like least about your job?
Having to think about the financial issues; in the larger sense money does affect patient care.  I just don’t like to think in those terms, or have money concerns factor into my clinical decisions.

4. When you have a bad day at work it’s usually because…
Someone hasn’t done as well as I expected; the worst is when somebody dies when it was not anticipated.

5. What other career(s) are you interested in?
Seriously, none.  I love what I do; it tends to be an all-consuming passion.  Independently wealthy is a close second.

Wonky Stitches

I said I wouldn’t show a picture of John’s Sweater until I got to the front shoulders, but this is just to prove I actually have been working on it.

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I was worried that I was going to run out of yarn on this project, but I think I’ll make it with a skein of each color to spare.  Now that I don’t have that to worry about, I’m finding new things to fret over.  Like seaming.  I have learned a few things since I started this sweater…I began this about four years ago, right after I had learned to knit and purl.  I didn’t have a clue about selvedge stitches, which would make seaming this thing a lot easier given the slip stitch pattern.  When I did the fuschia baby sweater, I put a selvedge stitch edge on it because of the eyelet pattern.  It made seaming much easier.

I have gotton a bit bored with this, so for relief I did some knitting on this:

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This is where the wonky stitches come in.  The back is knit straight up until you get to the raglan decreases for the sleeves.  The pattern calls for a K3tog on the right edge of the sweater, and a sl1, K2tog, psso decrease on the left edge.  I ripped this sucker out twice last night because it looked like this:

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I think this is a combination of which decrease is going on which side, and the bulky nature of the yarn.  After the first rip out, I tried the left side decrease with a slip 2 knitwise, knit one, pass the slip stitch over decrease.  It looked just as bad.  The K3tog on the other side wasn’t bad, but just looked messy.  So I switched them.   It makes more sense to me to put the left-leaning decrease (the slip-knit-pass decrease) on the right garment edge, and the K3tog on the other side.  I’ve only got 2 sets of the decreases done, but I think it will look a little neater.  I hope so, the yarn is starting to get a bit on the fuzzed up side from ripping and re-knitting.

I finally found a picture of what this is supposed to eventually look like:

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Except, of course, blue.  I’m not sure I like the sleeves either but will knit them and see.  What’s with the down-to-the-fingertips sleeves on every published pattern these days?  These girls must never eat.

Peeps!

Easter is my favorite holiday.  I’m not referring to the religious aspects of the day; I’ll leave that to those who are more qualified than I am in that department.  I’m talking about the leaves popping out on the trees, and anticipating the baby ducks on the lake.  I love the tulips and daffodils outside my window, and planning an egg dyeing extravaganza.  And Peeps.  I admit it, I love Peeps.  I even admit to putting them in the microwave for a few seconds, then putting hot fudge sauce on them.  I have been known to serve this for dessert for spring dinner parties.

I’ve done considerable web research for this post.  I have searched numerous Peep sites.  You have no idea how many there are.  Here are just two:

Marshmallow Peeps:  The Official Just Born Site

Big List of Peeps Links

In my extensive research, I have not found any knitting related Peep sites.  So I did a photo shoot of my own, with the assistance of my husband/accomplice.  No Peeps were harmed in this activity (though a few were eaten).

Yes, gin was involved.

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Here they are!

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I think it’s going to be a sweater.

I did actually knit today, on a real garment.  It’s just that it looks the same as the previous picture. You guessed it, just more rows.  I might promise to post a picture of it tomorrow just to give me some motivation to knit more tonight.

What Has Brown Done For You Lately?

The UPS guy stops by our house regularly; so much so that the dog recognizes his truck and goes into that total body wag that only a happy dog can do.  She has learned to expect a dog treat from him, so makes a point of running out, giving him a friendly nudge with her nose, then tries to get into his truck.  Me too.

This is what he brought Friday:

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This is from Beaverslide Dry Goods, a wool company in Montana.

Colors from left to right are: Nightshade, Snowberry, Swift Current, and Hidden Lake.

Here is a close-up of the Snowberry:

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It looks like strawberry ice cream to me.  I am planning on eventually making Rogue with this color.  I just have a few things in the to-do list before I get to that though.  I think the other colors will be heavy winter socks or maybe hats.  I have a couple other colors of this in my stash and swatched for Rogue with one of those, and I think it will be perfect.

I am still working on John’s sweater; you know, the one with the blue and white boring slip stitch pattern.  Rather than taking up bandwidth with another picture, refer to below.  It looks exactly the same, just more rows.  I’ll wait to post a picture of it until I get to the shoulders of the front.
I almost ripped the whole 4 or 5 inches of the front striped section out yesterday.  I measured it against the back piece, and  just eyeballing it, it looked like it was about an inch wider across.  I said a few bad words, then checked the needles to make sure I hadn’t started the body on the wrong ones, which wasn’t the case.  Jeesh, how the heck could my gauge be so wildly different?  The ribbing section was exactly the same width as the back, it was just the striped part that was wider.  I just calmly folded it up, put it in its little bag, and went to bed.  Today when I took it out and measured it, it was fine.  Who knows.  I think I must not have had the edges of the back all straight and uncurled when I looked at it the first time.

Time to go knit…the sooner I finish this sweater, the sooner I can start a new one!

A Lesson Learned…

Don’t try to blog when you are dead tired.  It is about as successful as knitting when in the same state, and usually results in doing things over.
I got home late last night…about 11:30.  I work a screwball work week; 7 days on, 7 days off, the week on adds up to about 80-90 hours when things go well and I’m home on time.  It was also a very stressful day, for any number of reasons.  Let’s just say they don’t make up a lot of the stuff on ER….we have things happen in a real-life hospital that would be considered too way out there to make it on network TV.
Anyway, I decided to post, being the dedicated new blogger that I am.  I carefully composed, then in one click hit the button that closed the browser WITHOUT SAVING THE BLASTED THING.  Yes, I know talking in caps is shouting….it’s nothing compared to the swear words coming out of my office last night, followed by the sound of my forehead banging up and down on the desktop.

And I did not get any knitting done, because I decided to use those last relaxing few moments before bed to write.  And I have no recollection of what I was going to write.  And no new knitting to show for my day, as I just got home.  Fortunately some nice man is making me dinner, then I will get to knit in peace and quiet.  Law & Order reruns, here I come.

I posted a forgotten project in the “On the Needles” page.  Now I can’t find the online picture, but the yarn (Schoeller Esslinger Sunshine) was on sale on Elann recently, along with the pattern book.  Now the pattern book seems to be gone from their site.  Looks boring now, but the finished sweater hopefully will be cute.  And warm.  We don’t take spring seriously here in the Pacific Northwest for at least a month or two.