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Monthly Archives: February 2008

Bored with my knitting WIPs

I’m bored with what I’m knitting right now, and I’m bored with the things that are hibernating, too – or frustrated with them, which is why they are stuck in a box, not being knitted. 

I’m bored with my tank of one color, which is being knitted up in Cascade Cotton Rich DK – I love the yarn, love the color, and the pattern, being sleeveless and a top for me is sort of challenging, but it’s slow going, of course, and it’s all stockinette.  Even though I chose that intentionally because I had tried other things and failed to maintain the stitch pattern across the large quantity of stitches required to make it across my size 16W or so hips and bust.  As much as I want to make a wearable item for myself, I seem to get more enjoyment out of more instant knitting gratification, small projects that I can complete in a week or so of knitting after dinner and on break at work.  Ah, well, I don’t have any really special plans for the weekend, so perhaps I’ll make some good progress on the back of the tank.  I’m on the first increase row of the back, after finishing up the decreases for the waist and the lower ribcage portions. 

I’m frustrated with my 2nd set of spiral rib wristers.  They are based on the ones in the “Last Minute Knitted Gifts” book, but in a smaller yarn.  I’m knitting this pair in Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, which is rather tiny yarn…not as tiny as my lace weight, mind you, but tiny for such a new knitter.  I find that I rather like working in smaller yarns, for the most part – chunky yarn projects seem to get heavy for my hands rather quickly.  At any rate, because the yarn is tiny (but gorgeous and so soft!), I wound up trying the wristers on sz 3 double points, and I did OK until I had to knit back and forth to create the thumb opening.  Arrrgh!  This is the same problem I had with the first one of the other pair – I messed up the pattern because I kept getting lost between knitting around the inside (as normal) on the double points and knitting around the outside edge as though I were knitting flat, which is a bit challenging when you are juggling 4 little needles.  The instructions actually say to do these on 16″ circulars, but I don’t own any of those, and my KP Harmony interchangeables only go down to sz 4.   Anyway, I tried doing the thumb portion on the sz 4 KPs via magic loop, but once again, I messed up the spiral ribbing.  It looks awful.  So I’ll probably be frogging that first mitt a 2nd time this weekend.  SIGH.  I think I should just give in and buy some 16″ sz 3 circulars, but I’ll need 2 pair and I don’t want to spend the money on Addis when I’m pretty sure I won’t like them (metal and me don’t get along, too cold and painful), and I don’t really want to wait for them to arrive from KP, either.  So, still sighing, don’t know what to do other than frog back and hunt for 2 x 16″ sz 3’s that won’t cost a fortune. 

Guess I should spend some time tonight deciding if I want to keep plugging away trying to make something pretty out of the laceweight Shimmer from KP – using the Airy Scarf from “Last Minute Knitted Gifts”, which is supposedly-simple eyelet lace pattern using *really* tiny yarn on sz 10 needles…it didn’t look all that pretty after the first 7-8 rows, so I became frustrated and laid it aside.  Need to see if there’s something else I’d like to do with 880 yards of lace.  Even if I wind up knitting it 2 strands at once, I want to make something out of it because it’s so pretty and so soft.  But for now, it is sitting in one of the stash boxes, sleeping peacefully with the two-strand basketweave scarf that bored me to tears and the Bernat Boa “fur” collar/cuffs that was just NOT working out.

Had the weirdest experience while surfing the net last weekend in search of an appropriate newer knitter pattern for a man’s sweater.  My hubby is exceptionally fond of “ski” style sweaters, which usually translates to mean “fair isle”, a technique that I don’t really think I’m up to yet.  So I surfed.  And as I was looking at a specific pattern on a certain yarn manufacturer’s web site, once I took my eyes of the stitch pattern and sizing details, etc., I looked at the person actually wearing the sample sweater, and realized it was my brother!  Really – not his twin, but him.  Weird.  It was quite surreal, actually.  The pic is a few years old (he had a lot more hair then!!), but it was definitely him.  Wonder why he forgot to tell me about his part time modelling career…(kidding – it was likely a one-time thing – sweater was a bit over-sized for him, so I think he was not the intended model, but one who got roped in after the sweater was complete.

One of these days, I’ll get around to updating the photos on my ravelry page.  If you are a ravelry member, and would like to see some of my stuff, see me there as marlajap…

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Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

I’ve yapped about work and family, I’ve yapped about the election.  Time to get back to knitting. 

My tank of one color (using Berocco pattern, “Tank of Many Colors”, but knitting in Cascade Cotton Rich DK) is going fairly well so far.  I thought I had messed up the length between the decrease rows, which is supposed to be 1″, and looked like I went to 1.5″ between decrease 1 and decrease 2, but on re-measuring after another decrease, it really is 1″.  Phew!  It looks really nice so far, I’ll have to get a picture of it to post soon.  Meanwhile, my spiral-rib wristers are almost finished, but the thumb opening on the 2nd one is too large, so I’ll probably have to fudge that and seam it to match the first one.  I am just NOT ripping it back – the Misti Alpaca worsted is getting a bit fuzzy just from handling, so I can’t even imagine what would happen if I frogged it back 3″ and worked the yarn again.

I stopped by my LYS (Threaded Bliss in Brentwood TN) this afternoon, after getting tires for my SUV (oh, what fun!) and picked up an extra couple of hanks of the Cotton Rich DK for my tank, just in case – I should be able to get it done in 800+ yards, but I’m not as small a woman as I used to be, so I wanted to be safe.  If I have to much, I’ll just knit a little bag to match the tank or a neck scarf or something. 

Meanwhile, the balance of my tax refund is burning a hole in my knitting bag, and I’m really wanting to order more yarn.  I don’t understand why I want to stash yarn so much, I never used to be this way with craft things.  I’ve always been a buy-as-you-go type, but it’s so hard to resist bargain yarns.  🙂

Well, time for sleep now.  Tomorrow is another day of shopping – this time, for groceries and other such household needs (unfortunately!!), and then do the laundry and maybe even clean the house some.  🙂  It won’t be any fun, but the LYSs aren’t open on Sundays, more’s the pity, so I guess it doesn’t matter…

 

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Is there a valid candidate out there for me?

I feel disheartened and disenfranchised about this year’s U.S. presidential race, and I have for a very long time.  There isn’t a single candidate I can get behind, and there’s hasn’t been one from day 1 of this campaign almost a year ago.  I was raised by parents who were ardent Democrats (born in Massachusetts, what can you expect?), but I’m more of a Demorepugreetarian, meaning I’m some wild hybrid of leanings or opinions that fit into Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green parties. 

I started this post when there were still a few semi-viable candidates.  It certainly looks as though it will come down to Obama versus McCain.  For me, that’s like having to choose whether to cut off my right arm or my left arm.  They are both too far off center for my tastes.  As much as I want to vote a woman into the Presidency, Clinton wasn’t my candidate, either, although in some ways, I feel like she is/was the least of some 30 evils.  But that’s neither here nor there – both the Republicans and the rest of the Democratic party have successfully managed to make any negative thing Bill Clinton has ever said or done a big campaign issue.  Rarely has the press harped upon Senator Clinton’s position on an issue as hard as they have upon former President Clinton sticking his foot in his mouth while campaigning for his wife – which I freely admit his done a few too many times…which makes me wonder if he hasn’t a tee many martoonis, if you know what I mean, because Bill Clinton has always been a great speaker in the past…either that, or he just doesn’t really want to be the First Man.  🙂  Meanwhile, there’s one tiny little blip on the news radar when Michelle Obama slams the entire nation by saying she is now finally proud of our country and feels like this is “home” for the first time in her life, all because Barack Obama is getting votes in the primaries.  Didn’t the Obama organization slam the press a while ago for trying to make the campaign about race?  Didn’t Obama’s *wife* just make it about race??

At any rate…there’s no candidate for me, as I said to start.  I want a candidate who is vehemently against illegal immigration and anything that supports it and will, as President, veto any bill that looks, smells or feels amnesty.  But my candidate also favors some sort of healthcare reform that will help those in need – preferably without asking me to personally pay for it – I may have work-sponsored health insurance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I can afford the healthcare I need, either, not with a $1K deductible and annually-shrinking covered benefits.  I want a candidate who believes they will somehow be able to extricate us from Iraq, but not overnight and not 100 years from now, either.  I want a candidate that has a realistic plan to improve the economy and balance the budget, but I am the middle class, and like everyone else in my little lifeboat, I am tired of living from pay day to pay day in order to support non-payment of taxes by those in the brackets well below and well above me.   I want a candidate with some history I can point to that tells me the person has the ability to lead this nation, but not one so inured to Washington politics that they can’t see the problems.   I want something different than we’ve had for the past eight years, that’s an absolute. 

One thing I would really like to see – a candidate who will publicly state and personally enforce a moratorium on aid to foreign countries until we clean up our own house.  When hunger, hopelessness and homelessness in the inner cities and outer rural areas are the exception instead of the accepted, when healthcare is reasonably available to those who need it, and when our swollen welfare rolls shrink to something reasonable (and carries only those here legally), when senior citizens don’t have to eat cat food and work till they die in order to pay for their medication and have a roof over their heads, and when I can depend that I will actually receive a social security check when I retire (and that I will be able to retire before I’m dead!!), THEN and ONLY THEN can we return to being the world’s saviour.  That’s my opinion, anyway.  THAT candidate would probably never get elected, but that’s what I would like to see.

I want it all and I want it now.  Where is my candidate?

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2008 in Life in General

 

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TGIF and other stuff

Well, it’s been a really long week, and thank goodness it is finally Friday!  I’m not done at work yet, but I’m letting these really boring reports run, so I can multi-task while I wait.  I would do something work-related, but all of the things I need to be doing are pending a response from someone else, which is really frustrating, to say the least.  It has really been a full week of up and down emotions, though, and I’m hoping that it will be a peaceful weekend.  That’s a vain hope in my house, I don’t seem to know what peaceful is anymore.  LOL!  🙂

Let’s see…the roller coaster started with my crazy 19 year old dropping his college Spanish class that he has to have as a requirement for his continued attendance, something he didn’t take in high school.  Unfortunately, despite being raised mostly in SoCal and Arizona, my 19 year old cannot speak or really even read a word of Spanish that isn’t on a Taco Bell menu.  Unfortunately, his Spanish teacher is from Spain, and believes that only total immersion will effectively teach anyone to speak Spanish, so that’s how the class is taught.  No English is spoken, none is written, even the support web-site for the text book is all in Spanish.  Anyway, he spent most classes with a glazed look in his eye, unable to follow what was going on.  The only thing he really “got” was sentence structure.  So, teacher asks him a question, he’s scrambling through his notes to try and figure out how to reply, she got impatient and either told him he was stupid or that he needed to try harder, and he got upset, packed up his toys and went home, so to speak.  Sigh…

On the up-side, 19 year old got an “A” on an Algebra test later in the week, and a really good grade on the Art History one today.  My 12 year old got some good test results this week, too.  So, I just checked the grade-tracking web site for the middle school, and 12 year old is doing better in Social Studies, where he was previously squeaking a “B”, and still getting an “A” in Language Arts and his two electives.  Sadly, he’s still failing math (normally his best subject) and down to squeaking a “B” in Science, mostly due to not doing his homework, apparently (GRRRR!).

Up, down, up, down.  Work has been the same kind of highs and lows all week long.  Although I’ve been working informally and part time for almost 2 years around the organization for which I now work formally and full time, I am new in my job, at least officially.  I am a project manager for a big outsourcer who shall remain nameless.  So it’s been a rotten week in terms of being able to get the information I need to do my job.  In addition to that, a project that I really, really wanted but which was not available when this one came my way has now opened up, and I can’t be spared even part time to work on that initiative.  That smarts a little, but I know that I made the right decision to take this job, because it can work into something really good for me, I’m sure.  The up-side is that, even though I’m officially considered an entry-level project manager, my programme manager’s boss has decided that, if all goes well, they will probably turn the programme over to me to manage, because they feel I’m not going to be properly challenged in my current role.  It’s nice to have one’s talents recognized, so that was a good feeling.

Knitting-wise, I finallymanaged to cast on and make progress with the pretty pink Cascade Cotton Rich DK that was giving me so much trouble earlier in the week.  I have about 3.5 inches of the front of a discreet little tank top in stockinette stitch complete, just started the decrease at the waistline.  That’s the up side.  On the down side, I will be ripping about 5-6 rounds out of spriral-rib wrister #2, because I knitted way too many rows in the first thumb-opening pattern repeat.  Phooey.  Looking ahead, I’m casting around to find an appropriate pattern for the Jaeger Roma yarn I got on close-out.  I think I’ll need more of it, because everything I see that I’d like to make is not a cute little tank top that requires only the amount I have.  Phooey.  But I do like buying yarn, so I guess it’s not all bad.  LOL!

Got my tax refund via direct deposit today, too, so I have some money to spend.  (Up side)  The down side to that?  Well, first things first, I have to buy tires for my SUV.  Ick.  What a boring purchase.  At least I can knit while I wait for the tires to be mounted and balanced, right?  🙂

Happy weekend, everyone!  Enjoy it while you can.  I’m going to try.

 

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Not my best week, so far…

It has not been my best week in Knitting Land, at least so far.  I’ve been doing an awful lot of frogging (ripping) and tinking (un-knitting), and not making a lot of progress.  I’m distracted and stressed, and I’ve no idea why that should be so.  I can’t say whether I’m distracted/distressed because the knitting is going badly or the knitting is going badly because I’m distracted and stressed.  I’m fairly busy at work, but not so busy that it’s making me crazy.  There’ve been a few little family issues, but nothing that can’t be handled.  Sigh.  I should probably just take a break from it or at least try knitting something brainlessly stockinette or garter stitch.  Unfortunately, I’m usually pretty stubborn and obsessive about things that I think I ought to be able to do, so I’ll probably keep plugging away at the things that have been getting on my nerves.

I have the Airy Scarf in lace-weight yarn from “Last Minute Knitted Gifts” on my sz 10 Knit Picks harmony needles, and it looks pretty weird yet.  Of course, I think I’ve only accomplished 1 or 2 garter stitch rows past the first eyelet row, so not enough to really get a good look yet.  I am on the 2nd of two wristers in spiral rib (from same book as above), and they are very pretty, but I must have frogged and tinked about 10 different times to get the first one completed over the weekend.  Second one is coming along, but there has been a some of tinking going on and at least one small frogging. 

And then there’s my pretty new Cascade Cotton Rich DK in the Rose Shadow colorway…this is the 2nd batch of that brand new yarn I’ve picked up.  Haven’t even started using the Cheddar colorway yet…but the pink was irresistible, especially at 20% off any red or pink yarn at my LYS on Valentines Day.  🙂  So, I bought it, even though I’d not yet knitted anything with the other purchase.  Maybe a big mistake, maybe not.  I’m learning some things about me and cotton/cotton blend yarn.  I do not like doing ribbing or modified ribbing in this yarn.  It looks ok, not great, but it’s really uncomfortable to do – makes my fingertips hurt more than using a nice soft alpaca or acrylic.  So now I’ve been hunting for a pattern to use this stuff that’s mostly stockinette, which I know looks really nice from having swatched it.  Plus, it’s far more brainless than trying to keep a k2 p2 or p3 k1 pattern straight in my head across 145 stitches or more!  Eeek!!

I have trouble finding patterns I can use because I am just barely on the plus size side of the world.  I’m also all of 5’2″ tall on my best day.  Short AND heavy don’t go together in the apparel world – people are either supposed to be short and thin or heavy and medium/tall.  Same problem occurs in buying off-the-rack clothes – a 16 is very snug, an 18 may is usually a little large in the back of hte waist and sometimes too tight across the lower abdomen.  A 16W, however, is hopelessly large, which is very, very frustrating.  Equally frustrating is that all of them are too long in the sleeves and legs, sometimes in other places, too, like in the rise or in the placement of the waistband, all due to my being short.  Petites pants, on the other hand, IF they can be found above a size 14 (which is pretty darned rare!!), are usually too short, because I have long-ish legs for a short woman and need 29 1/2″ inseam.  Grrrr!!!  I would just sew all my own clothes to get things that fit, but, although I can sew reasonably well, I’m just not as good at it as my mother was (she could make things you would swear were sold at fine retailers), and I don’t really enjoy it all that much unless it’s to make something super-special, like a costume or home decor.   But I do really like knitting, so I’d just love to knit some things for myself, but seem to only be able to find patterns that would look good and fit well my size 4 friend who lives in Texas.  🙂

In the non-knitting part of my world, perhaps my stress is coming from my kids.  My college-aged son got into a little tiff with his Spanish teacher and dropped the class yesterday.  He needs a year of foreign language prior to reaching 30 units if he is to be able to continue to pursue a degree in this state – never took any in high school, because (a) it wasn’t required at that time in Arizona and (b) he’s got a learning disability that makes foreign language a bit tough.  Growl.  Don’t know how he’s planning to get the language credits accomplished, but I’ll be interested to find out.  Tee hee.  As for my younger son, who is 12, he’s suddenly failing his best subject (he used to really love math, I promise!!) – and he’s suffering from all those middle school issues except girl-craziness – he’s forgetful, he’s practicing work-avoidance and minimal-effort techniques on schoolwork, once in a while he fibs, he’s super lazy and would rather play all the time, etc.  Grrrrr.  I hate this stage.  Good thing it eventually passes…

OK – enough whining.  On the good side of things, I think I did find a pattern I’ll be able to use for the cotton yarn, it’s basic and boring, but it is in stockinette, the right gauge and is available for a “fluffy” knitter.  Also on the happy side, I really do like my KP Options.  The Harmony wood is not nearly as garish or brightly colored as it appears in the on-line photos, they are actually really beautiful.  They are also just pointy enough and just slippery enough for me.  I don’t care for metal needles, generally, because they are so slippery that I grip them too tightly and suffer almost instant hand and wrist fatigue (I have some tendinitis in both wrists)…and they are so cold, too, which doesn’t help the pain.  So I may never try the Options in the nickel-plated brass, but I do love the wood.  And finally, on the good side of things, my 19 year old son, who up to now has been shy and rather solitary, and perfectly happy to remain that way, has now joined the rest of us in the real world, where people actually enjoy spending time with eachother.  Translation – he finally got up the nerve to ask a girl out on a date (first time) and she said yes, and they apparently had a good time.  It’s a few years later than I thought it would be, but I’m glad I’ve gotten through the milestone of seeing one of my boys go on his first date!  Now I’ll be more calm and ready when my 12 year old hits this stage in a couple/few more years.  🙂

 

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Musings for a Saturday morning

Why the vague title, you ask, well, I have, oh, lots of little things to say, but not one particular thought I wish to expound upon for more than a few sentences.  So…

I took the day off from work to relax and recharge, so I got brave on Thursday night,  grabbed a Benadryl and a friend who knits, and popped off to the LYS for the sit and knit.  Sadly, that LYS is our closest one and it’s probably a good 25 minute drive on the freeway.  In a typical stroke of my fortune, we made good time and had free-moving traffic all the way up the freeway until we got to within about 1 mile of the Old Hickory Blvd. exit, where we wanted to leave the freeway.  There, it stopped dead, due to some 6 cars in an accident.  Ick.  The sit and knit was sort of fun.  Since we’d never been to one before, we weren’t what you would call real talkative or popular, but it was nice.  Plus, since it was Valentine’s Day, the shop had a 20% off sale on any yarn with pink or red in it.  So, I just had to add to the stash I wasn’t going to build and get 6 more skeins of Cascade Cotton Rich DK in Rose Shadow, a pretty pink for spring and summer.  🙂

Rambling on…spring training for baseball is finally starting – woo hoo!  It’s been a long and dull off-season, really, since neither of my fave teams did a whole lot in terms of trades or free agent signings – a little, but not a lot.  Diamondbacks look like they’ve got a really good rotation this year, and combining that with the core of young position players already on staff, I think that they will do very well this year.  Joe Torre as the Dodgers’ manager makes things a bit more interesting in the NL West, but Joe is no more unbeatable than any other baseball manager, as the NY Yankees of the 2000’s have proven.  Red Sox didn’t do a lot either, and I think that their rotation is going to be more interesting this year, what with Schilling out resting up his shoulder.

Even though I had the day off yesterday, with which my friend and I checked out a different yarn shop we’d not been to before, it wasn’t my best day knitting.  I was starting a sleeveless top out of the pink yarn noted above, and couldn’t seem to keep my k2 p2 rib straight, which is frustrating.  I frogged once (started over) and had to tink, tink, tink (un-knit) at least two other times before it seemed to be correct.  At that point, I realized I didn’t like the cotton yarn on that size needle and in a rib.  So now I don’t know what I will do with that yarn.  I put it aside and picked up the alpaca wristers I’m making for another friend.  I had already frogged that back several rows this week due to the pattern (spiral rib) being off.  Very weird – I’m actually very good and usually quite rhythmic with ribbing.  Sigh.  Just not my week, I guess, because I wound up frogging back everything I had done since my last frogging and trying again.  With a couple of small episodes of tink, that one seems to be back on track, too, but a little fuzzy from multiple times the yarn was knitted.

And now, we come to Saturday, a day which in my household usually means a whirlwind of errands, but I don’t have any in mind.  Hubby might, but I don’t.  I really don’t even want to do that today – I would just as soon just go get a quickie haircut, have a fill-in done on my acrylic nails, but otherwise just veg out on the couch, knitting and listening to whatever silly show happens to be on the TV…won’t happen, though, something always comes up.  Hubby was itching about the fact that we didn’t have anything planned last night.  He’ll want to go somewhere and do something for the better part of the day, and then, sometime later, he’ll be grumpy that he never gets any time to just relax.  Ah, men!  Gotta love ’em!  At any rate, as long as hubby does the driving, I can still knit, so I will survive what ever he chooses to do.  Tee hee…

 

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They’re here! :)

Yay!  My new Knitpicks Options interchangeable knitting needles arrived yesterday.  They came in with the mail in mid-afternoon, and I was working from home because schools all over middle Tennessee were closed due to bad weather.  This after 2 days of working from home and my 12 year old missing school because he was sick!!  But that’s another subject…moving on…

Anyway, somehow, I managed to wait to open them until about 5 seconds after my husband walked in the door last night.  And about 30 seconds after opening the package, I had a skein of yarn in my hand to knit with – anything, didn’t matter what, just had to take those beautiful wood needles for a test drive.  Oh, my goodness, are they FABULOUS!  They are everything the devoted fans of KP Options say and more.  Now, I haven’t done much on ’em yet, just a little swatch of Jaeger Roma and then started a lacy scarf on big needles with little yarn.  But they surely were wonderful to work with.  The proof, of course, will be in using them for a real project, say, a sweater or something.  For now, I could just spend time looking at them, they are so pretty!  🙂 

Of course, I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that, even on big needles, I’m not ready for open-work knitting and laceweight yarn.  So the 880 yards of Knitpick Shimmer that was in my Knitpicks order might just have to sit in the stash a while.

What to knit, what to knit??  Hmmmm…

 

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