Monthly Archives: July 2008

Of knitting mojo lost

Last weekend, I thought I was such a smarty knitter when I “created” my own lace pattern for the cuff of a sock by sort of crossing two patterns that I like.  So, using the already-completed 1×1 ribbing section of OYT Bamboo, I began knitting my little lacy cuff.  And all went well through Friday night and Saturday during the day.  It was looking really pretty, if not quite how I pictured it in my head.  And then came dinner out on Saturday night, and errands on Sunday morning.  I took my sock along, as I have done with others in the recent past.  And I kept on knitting, making a note each time I had to stop as to where I left off.  So all should be well, right?


Wrong.  Somehow, someway, it’s all wrong.  The first 1.5 repeats of the pattern look beautiful.  From there, it’s a big mess.  More frogging.  I swear, if I don’t get out of this little knitting funk, I’m going to grow webbed feet and start croaking.  I didn’t have the heart to frog it last night, so I spent the night watching the Karma Yarn Swap on Ravelry.  That forum moves so fast that you actually can spend an entire hour (or two or three) watching it!  Oy.  It’s addicting, I swear it is!  Don’t go there, my fellow Ravelers!  Once you enter KYS, you may never come back out.  Even if you never claim or offer something – it’s like playing the slot machines in Vegas – you’re sure that the perfect offer for you is right around the corner.  When I wasn’t doing that, I did manage to get the buttons sewn on to my own Dot Check Cardi (FINALLY!!), only to discover that it is a bit wide in the waist/hip, and perhaps a bit shorter than I had thought.  Beautiful, but not the best fit.  It’s a cotton/acrylic blend, so I will try blocking it this weekend and see if that helps…I did lose a little weight over the last couple of months, particularly across the belly/hips, so that possibly explains the off-sizing.  At the moment, it looks as though I stole it from a really rather chubby child.


I didn’t have the heart to frog it tonight, either, so I spent the evening alternately surfing Ravelry for a project that suits my yarn, stalking the afore-mentioned KYS forum, and swatching one of my craigslist yarns (the blue Patons Rio on my acquisitions page here or in my stash on Ravelry) in plain stockinette.  And yes, my knitting mojo is so lost right now that I even managed to make a mistake in a freakin’ swatch.  Now, THAT I’m definitely not frogging or tinking, that would just be stupid, eh?  🙂  Hmmm.  Maybe I need to crochet something to find my knitting mojo.  Interesting thought – take a break from knitting to get back into the groove.  Hmmmm.  Nah.  Haven’t got a clue what I’d crochet, either.  I really think that’s half the problem – I just don’t have a pattern I’m all excited to knit right now.


Oh, well, time to hit the pillow and try for some sleep.  Tomorrow is another day.


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Purls and curls

Ahhhh, Saturday!  Joy!  I’ve really done not much but knit today.  I was up at six (dog and I both needed to respond to the call of nature, so to speak), goofed around on the ‘puter till seven, and went back to sleep with an awful headache.  Got back up around nine, when our friends who recently moved into their new rental house came by to pick up more of their stuff (Dog barking = Marla waking).  So I said “hello”, grabbed a shower and off we went, leaving our friends plucking their stuff out from underneath our house (crawlspace). 

Husband, younger son and I got a quick junkie breakfast this morning at Mickey D’s, then trekked off to husband’s workplace to drop off some larger items that would be difficult to carry on his motorcycle (which runs great, but does still have a leaky tank), and then hit Barnes and Noble to stare at books, which is nearly-free entertainment for all three of us.  Well, ok, cheap entertainment.  I stared at knitting magazines, but didn’t find one that jumped off the shelf and said I had to buy it.  Son decided he had to have the pocket (??) version of “The Dangerous Book for Boys”, which was fine with me, that’s a fun and interesting book.  As I was standing in line to pay for it, a 75% off knitting book I’d been looking at a moment before started crying my name…I jumped out of line and grabbed it, because there’s some really pretty sweaters, scarves, hats and also a small stitch library in it, as well as some instruction on more intermediate techniques, such as colorwork, entrelac, etc.  Anyway, have to just love that B&N discount card when combined with the final sale book bin – the whole thing came to under $20 (tax incl.) for books that originally cost $15 and $25.  🙂


Gave up on the Horcrux socks earlier this week, after finishing an entire sock, which looked great until I put it on.  Once I did that, the grafting on the toes pulled loose, and I noted big holes in the gusset where I picked up stitches (and not at the corner of the flap, either – really ugly!), plus I discovered that I had dropped a stitch halfway through the foot, which was also creating ugliness.  I didn’t even bother to frog, I was so ticked.  I was 2/3 of the way convinced I should just put my whole stash and all needles up for sale on Ravelry…for about 15 minutes.  Then I decided that it was just one of those knitting failures and I should keep on trying. 


The next night, I grabbed my OYT Bamboo and the dpns and decided I would start some kind of different sock, so I took all that and a stitch library to my sit & knit night, and got quite a bit of cuff ribbing done.  Moving along, following night I messed up the *&)(^$@#@ trellis lace stitch pattern and gave that up.  Temporarily.  Picking up some organic cotton from my stash, I decided I would try a more simple lace stitch and make a wide scarf/small wrap.  You guessed it in one – messed that up, too!!  Guess it doesn’t pay for me to try to knit lacy things and watch movies at the same time!  LOL!


Friday night, however, I finally got myself together, started again with the OYT Bamboo, and got a decent sock going.  This time, I’m sort of making up my own lace stitch, in that I’ve expanded upon the one shown in Hatsuyo’s Lacy Socks, which I recently knitted.  So far, it’s coming along beautifully, no mistakes that I didn’t catch in time to tink a few stitches and fix.  Phew!  I think I have my knitting mojo back, but only time will tell. 


As for my hair, well, I really tried not to shampoo at all.  But being a smoker, I think my hair might get a bit dirtier and smellier than most or maybe I’m just that addicted.  So last weekend, I bouth a Burt’s Bees shampoo that has no sulfates (detergents), no parabens, and nothing of some other thing that’s really bad and unnatural.  I used it on Monday, and *hated* it immediately – it seemed to be far worse than regular shampoo, stripping my hair completely (like wet Barbie doll hair!  UGH!), so that I had to condition it three full times and then leave some conditioner in to get it feeling soft.  I had a great hair day, very curly and nice, and stayed that way, but still, UGH!  So, the rest of the week, I just conditioned.  And I didn’t itch, but I didn’t have great hair, either.  I woke up Friday, and my hair was just flat and felt rough, so I dared to try the Burt’s Bees shampoo again.  This time, I believe that I discovered the trick with this stuff, which is to use just a very small amount, and to only just run my fingers through my hair, no scrub/rub, then rinse quickly.  I did that yesterday and today, and I admit that I still have to condition it 2 times afterward, but I’m getting the most beee-u-tiful corkscrew curls and my hair is soft, soft, soft…which is amazing, considering that it’s been twice-colored since my last haircut.  Yee-hah!  So – no shampoo doesn’t seem to work all that well for me – tighter curl, but not fabulous curl without styling product.  But low-poo (as in shampoo with no detergents) seems to work very, very well.  So nice to see and feel my curls looking all pretty and soft and nice.  Ahhhh!


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2008 – A fiber odyssey

And so, as my fascination with knitting continues, and as the Horcux socks proceed (and not very well, I might add), I am embarking on a second odyssey for this year.  I have curly hair.  Naturally curly hair.  I have almost always really loved my curls, never been much for the straightening routine.  This is partly because it is too much work – 45 minutes to pull all the curl out, another 10 to put just enough back, and then walk out the door, hit the humidity and literally *feel* all the work going to waste.  Sigh.  It’s also partly because I really like the curly look, it’s different, and I like being different.  Plus, I have to admit, I don’t really have much talent with round brushes, blow dryer and curling iron.  The very thought of flat ironing my hair just seems stupid – so much heat and damage for a temporary look. 


My curls are the very puffy kind, the ones that start out super-tight as they air dry, and then get puffier and bigger through the day.  Ugh!  I used to be a total hair product junkie, always searching for the newest/latest/best thing to plaster on to my hair to keep my curls looking fresh.  Finally, a few years ago, I gave up all the product and just left some conditioner in my hair each day to keep the curls from drying out too much.  That helped a bunch and my hair was in better condition, especially since I also stopped coloring it.  Enter the grey hair.  Yuck.  For a long time, I could kid myself that the grey hairs were hidden in the wildness of my curls.  It finally got to the point a few months ago when I could *really* see them, and they bothered me quite a bit.  So I got stupid and colored my hair, and now it’s super-dry again.  Sigh.  And the color just washes away because curly hair is sooooo porous.  So.  In an effort to improve the condition of my hair, I am trying the Curly Girl routine for hair care, which revolves around, among other things, stopping use of detergent-based shampoo forever.  That’s right.  Just stop washing your hair.  Detergent isn’t good for curly hair.  Wash your scalp with a good conditioner.  Condition your hair with a different conditioner.  Hmmmm.  Sounds weird, but sorta makes sense.  So I bought the book yesterday, read it cover to cover in one evening, and I’m officially trying the routine as of 5 days ago. 


My head itches.  People who’ve been doing this for a long time tell me that’s normal.  Grrr.  I will get through this.  The itching will stop as soon as I find the right combination and “dosage” of conditioners, and as soon as my head gets over the sensation of not being stripped of every bit of natural oil on a daily basis.  🙂


Horcrux socks were a fun knit tonight.  Husband and I decided to have a Potter-fest this week, which we do now and then.  We start on Sunday night with “The Sorcerer’s Stone” movie and watch one a night until we get through “The Order of the Phoenix” on Thursday night.  So it was kind of fun to work on this particular sock while watching the movie.  I just wish the darned thing didn’t have so many mistakes in it.  If it weren’t just for me, I’d have given up in the middle of the heel flap.  🙂


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Of (knitted) Horcruxes and Horsepower

Well…I finally settled on a yarn and a pattern for my next pair of hand-knitted socks, after several fiascos.  I’m currently about 3.5-4″ into the cuff piece of a Horcrux sock, from a pattern available only to members of the Six Socks Knit-A-Long Yahoo! group.  I joined that group, at least in part, to obtain the Horcrux socks pattern, which is a really nice sock even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan.  I am one, but not completely rabid, just a fan – I’ve read the books, seen the movies, know the differences between the two.  Period.  Anyway, the Horcrux socks have a lace section in the cuff that contains a zig-zag pattern that looks like the scar on Harry’s forehead, which can be considered to be the last Horcrux, the one Voldemort didn’t intend to make.  So, I’m working on that rather happily, and looking forward to the August 1 KAL sock pattern.  Now, I have to admit that I’ve never been part of a KAL before, so this should be challenging.  Pic of SIP (sock in progress) to follow, as soon as I can manage.


Meanwhile, on the home front, it seems that my husband, who is a *mechanic* by profession, has fuel and/or charging system issues on all three of his “daily driver” vehicles.  Now, my husband is a great guy, and for the most part, he actually prefers older vehicles so that he can tinker with them without screwing up the motherboard (newer cars have computers, older cars don’t).  Right now, he actually has 4 of them – a 90’s Dodge pickup; a ’73 VW Beetle we’ve had since ’93; a ’68 VW Baja Bug with which husband’s parents gifted him over the winter, and, as I think I’ve mentioned, husband recently purchased a ’78 Suzuki GS750 motorcycle from a craigslist posting, for $700. 


Of the 4, only the truck is running reliably and well these days.  So husband is feeling a bit horsepower-challenged, if you know what I mean.  The truck is nice enough, but it’s normal function is as Older Son (20 yr old) Daily Driver.  So husband is not enjoying sharing it, nor am I enjoying sharing my ’04 Pontiac Aztek with the two of them.  But that’s another story.  Back to our main theme. 


The ’73 Beetle (Bug)?  Well, after giving my husband over 10 years of excellent service, it started getting a bit…cranky, about 2 years ago.  Now it’s beyond cranky.  After trying everything he can think of to fix it, Beetle isn’t getting a full fuel filter after a little bit of driving.  This makes driving somewhat unpleasant, especially when the car chooses to sputter and then die in heavy traffic at 5:00 in the evening, when it’s well over 90 degrees outside.  Monday, it not only sputtered and died, it decided to belch smoke from under the rear hood.  Lovely!  


Now, the ’68 Baja is yet another story.  Why would my in-laws gift my husband with such a cool car?   Because they didn’t want to mess with it anymore, of course.  It was too unreliable, kept breaking down, so they gave their problem child to…their problem child!  LOL!  But, my husband, brilliant mechanic that he is, truly believes he will be able to lick problems that his father could not.  Whatever!  In the meantime, the generator has died due to the vehicle has been languishing in the garage since January.  So, can’t even try to figure out the problems till generator is fixed or replaced. 


Motorcycle?  Yeah, well, those fixer-upper fabulous deals are almost never as great as my husband thinks they will be.  This one, so far, required tires ($155 incl. mount & balance), special tools to tune it up and synch the carbs ($120) and registration/title (~$50), in addition to the basic purchase price.  Cosmetically, I’ve been a nice wife and haunted ebay for emblems, since the bike was stripped of every possible Suzuki logo ($58 so far, still short at least one emblem).  It also needs to be painted, quite desperately, so husband bought a (very nice) new air brush tool from a co-worker at a serious discount of about 75% off list ($50).  So, now the $700 motorcycle (which is worth $650 in good condition according to kelly blue book and NADA) has cost us $1183.  But who’s counting, right?  OK, I’m counting.  Why?  Because it still isn’t working properly – the gas tank leaks!!  IF we can find a used tank in good condition with all the necessary parts in it, it’s going to cost *another* $150-200 or so.  All in the name of saving money on gas, because “honey, a motorcycle will get 40-50 miles to the gallon!”  Um, yeah, it will, if he ever gets to actually ride it farther than the nearest gas station!  Since he can only carry about 2 gallons of gas in the tank without having the precious fuel leaking onto the ground, I’m guessing husband will not be riding motorcycle much in the near future. 


After all of that fuss and bother above, which comes on the heels of and during our providing food and utilities for an extra 2-4 people since last Thanksgiving (Fred’s parents and our friends that just moved into their own place last week – both separately and, for quite a while, all together!!), I’ve discovered that the economy has caught up with me, my tax refund and stimulus funds are gone, and money is suddenly a bit tight around here.  So I’m very, very crabby.  I loathe having to throw the bills up in the air and then pay the ones that land first, so to speak.  Will try to control this crabby/whining tendency and be my usual charming self.  The yarn will soothe me, if I can just concentrate on the knitting instead of thinking about the vehicles and money and the drive-by promotion I received on July 4th…and what to do with all of the “mistake yarn” in my stash, of course…and…


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Socks and more socks

So – I finished the lacy socks and they are Beee-u-tiful, if I do say so myself.  I will get the pictures up, I promise, but I can’t do that while using my work-provided laptop to post, so I need to get a few minutes on a computer that is actually under my ownership.  LOL! 


Anyway, once I finished those, I launched right into yet another pair, using Kollage Luscious this time.  The colorway, Bouquet, is just beatiful, and the yarn is soft and nice, but a bit splitty.  Sadly, I just can’t seem to make something I’m liking with it.  I think I need smaller needles.  I only have US

 2.5 and 3 size needles (3.00 and 3.25 mm) in Knit Picks Harmony, which seem to be my sock needles of choice.  I have bunches of Clover bamboos, but the tips are not at all pointy on those, AND my size 2’s are 7″, which just seems really clumsy for socks.  I like my 6″ Harmonies.  So I’m seeing a KP order in my near future.  Anyway, I’ve given up on the Luscious for the moment, since I popped into one of my LYS today and sprang for another ball of the On Your Toes Bamboo yarn, plus a ball of Berroco Comfort Sock

The bamboo is in a similar colorway to the one I’ve already knitted, but this time a solid gray-lavendar, and the Comfort Sock is rather boring, just plain navy blue.  I’ve avoided buying the Comfort up till now because the LYS only had it in solid gray and solid blue.  Bleah.  But, I am sure I can knit some nice socks for someone on my holiday list from it, and it’s super-soft, so I’m giving it a shot.  Plus, it will work on the needles I have (LOL!).

OYT Bamboo #2


Husband has his motorcyle running (rather well, too), but has yet to take it for any real rides, other than into town to fill the tank with gas, which is only a few miles, round trip.  It’s registered, it’s insured, but the only days he worked last week (Thu and Fri) were pretty rainy around here, and he hasn’t gotten a rainsuit in case of sudden downpour yet.  Since neither VW is currently running (oy vey, what a MESS!), he’s been driving his truck, which leaves my 20 year old son driving my car to work in the late afternoon, and husband swapping vehicles with son on the way home from his work.  Yeesh. 


Our friends that have been staying with us since Christmas moved out this weekend.  They found a killer bargain on a rental home in the northern edge of eastern Nashville.  I haven’t seen the house yet, just some pictures.  It seems nice, but needs a bunch of work, which they will be doing part of in order to “earn” their half-priced rent for the year..  It’s a HUGE house on around a half acre, though, and I think they’ll have some fun trying to fill it up, since it’s just the two of them, a cat and something like 13 ferrets who will have a big fat basement almost all to themselves – well, the ferrets, the laundry area, and a little office for the man of the house to goof around on the computer at night and on the weekends.  My friend is very happy it’s a big house, though, because she has a nice room on the main floor to use for sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, etc.  Her office, so to speak.  It’s nice that they have their own place now, it’s nice to have ours to ourselves again…a bit quiet right now, but nice.  But it’s worrisome, too, because I think they may have jumped out too soon, with not enough money in their pockets to insulate them from any little emergencies.  In fact, they wound up leaving about 1/3 or so of their stuff here for the time being, because of budget constraints on buying gasoline to get their full-size van back and forth from our house to theirs.  Sigh…worry, worry.  Not much I can do, though – they are grown-ups who have to make their own decisions, of course.  All husband and I could do was to keep assuring them that we were in no hurry for them to move and that they could stay as long as it took for them to be securely on their feet.  I know it sucks living with other people and feeling like you’re imposing, and I guess they’d had enough after almost 7 months of that.  Sure hope it all works out ok…(and if/when my dear friend reads this, please take no offense…I have to vent my worries somewhere, you know, and this is pretty damned anonymous, really!)  Heck, hardly anyone actually reads my blog anyway.  LOL!


Well, must go now.  It’s raining sheep and alpaca out (instead of cats and dogs), and my sock yarn is calling me.  🙂


ETA – Finally got some time on family ‘puter at 7:00 am on a Sunday morning – everyone else is sleeping!  LOL!


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Devilish little socks

Well, I’ve spent most of this week working on my latest socks, which have a lacy leg and are made from On Your Toes Bamboo, which is really a pleasure to work with and is working up into a nice cushion-y sock.  I like it.  I’ve finished the first sock, and experienced about an hour of 2nd sock syndrome (not too bad, all things considered).  I’m coming into the home stretch on sock #2, which is a freakin’ miracle, because, for some reason, on the 6th consecutive sock, I suddenly developed a complete inability to keep the correct number of stitches on the heel flap for more than 2 consecutive rows.  Yeesh.  I literally frogged that damned heel FIVE times.  To add insult to this injury, once I finally managed to have 31 pristine rows of heel flap, my fried brain decided it was now time to pick up and knit the gusset.  Now, if you’ve knitted socks (and it seems as though most knitters have), you know very well I skipped the all-important step of turning the heel…which I figured out after picking up all the stitches.  Growl…so, frogged again.  Turned the heel.  Picked up and knit a 2nd time (which, for some reason, didn’t go as quickly and smoothly as the first time).  Knitted the gusset and about 2 more inches of foot before I discovered that I had somehow dropped a stitch in the middle of the gusset.  No idea how THAT happened, because I still had the right number of stitches on every single needle.  Growl.  I managed to fix that one without frogging, but it was touch and go for a minute there, ‘cuz I couldn’t find my favorite crochet hook for using with sock yarn. 

And now, I have about 1.75″ left to go before starting toe decreases, and I think I’m going to run out of yarn before I’m done with sock #2.  That will REALLY piss me off, because I’m pretty sure that my LYS doesn’t have another skein of the OYT Bamboo in this colorway.  Sigh…the socks certainly do look pretty though.  I too some pictures of finished sock #1 and in progress sock #2 yesterday, so I will add those here as soon as I get them off the camera and on the computer.

Sadly, my tiny little sit & knit group is falling apart – my friend Lisa is moving to Nashville, about 40 miles each way from here, so at $4+ per gallon of gas and not owning the most fuel efficient vehicle, I don’t think she’ll be able to make it very often. Phooey. On top of that, one of the other two knitters sent me a note yesterday saying that the coffee shop we usually meet in has closed. That leaves, mostly, Starbucks, and we didn’t really enjoy the atmosphere there the one time we met to knit there. We’re probably going to try a little meat & three restaurant that’s owned by a friend of one of the knitters this week and see how that goes. For those of you not from the south who do not know what a “meat and three” is, it’s a restaurant that cooks homestyle food, where you order a meat entree and choose three side dishes. Hence, meat & three…generally accompanied by sweet tea (or unsweet tea, if you aren’t Southern). I’m not Southern, so mine’s accompanied by diet Coke most of the time! 🙂

Husband finally got the $700 motorcycle running.  He bought it a few weeks ago through a listing on craigslist, and I personally think that, despite the fact that he hasn’t spent all that much to get it running in terms of parts (but plenty on specialty tools and tires), he got perhaps just a little bit ripped off.  This is primarly because both kelly blue bookand nada show the value for that bike fair condition to less than $700. In the long run, however, it doesn’t matter to me, as he’s having a lot of fun fixing it up and feels really good about how much progress he has made with it since bringing it home. It barely ran when we got it here, and now, it’s pretty much ready to ride. 🙂 Have pics of him on his new toy to post here as well, as soon as I can get them off the camera and get some time on one of the family computers, instead of my laptop for work.

We had a great Independence Day – who needed to go to a fireworks show?? There were so many families in my neighborhood setting stuff off that it was hard to know where to look. We were among those with fireworks to share, which we did. Husband and younger son love that stuff. Older son doesn’t give a damn, which is just as well, because he worked the early evening shift and didn’t get home until about 9:40 or so. We had a very early dinner that day, so that older son would not miss the bratwurst and hot dogs, as we seem all to often to make those on a night when Joe has to work. Other than assisting with supper cooking (husband did the grilling) and running out to purchase a new grill, I just…knitted…badly (see above)! The new grill was a plus, though, I must say – we got it at Home Depot, it’s a 2007 model by Charbroil that was marked down to $119 now – big primary grilling rack, really big upper rack, 4 burners inside, 1 outside, and just NICE. I grilled bbq chicken on it today, and it was soooo good.  I like my new grill…except that  I can’t knit and grill at the same time…


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