Purple, Blue and Green

Wysteria I just love it when I try to capture a really artsy fartsy image of my wysteria vine in bloom on a foggy morning and I end up capturing my neighbors underwear hanging on the line. sigh.  Well, it’s really beautiful if you can focus on the foreground.

I need a new camera badly but can’t manage it right now so I have to work with what I have, so please pardon the frequent shortcomings of the camera and the operator.

Bbeggs_4 Bluebird Nest Update: I checked today while mom was stretching her wings and there are five eggs and she has been sitting on them for several days, maybe a week.  When the chicks hatch, there will be more photos.

After hearing all the suggestions, heavily in favor of frogging, I did just that to my Frogyarn green bag sweater last night.  Wastage was surprisingly minimal.  I have never recycled a sweater before, but if I understand the process correctly, now I need to wind the yarn into hanks and secure it and then give it a bath and hang it up to dry.  I don’t own a swift or a ball winder so I will be improvising as I have for many years now.  Anyone with an extra swift they want to unload should email me directly.  I still haven’t decided what to make out of this yarn, but I feel good about doing this.  I also remembered that I have an afghan in my closet that I made for my grandmother over 30 years ago.  It’s wool and I used 4 different 70′s colors on size 35 needles and I will try to photograph it tonight.  My grandmother was so allergic to wool that she put it in a plastic bag and kept it in a closet for probably 20 years.  When she passed away, I got it back.  The retro colors may just have come back enough for me to frog it too for a new project.  It should be a lot easier to rip since it is so loosely knit and NO seams.  The trick will be separating the 4 different colors which were held together and knitted.  Any tips?  Stay tuned.

Birthday Residuals

Bdayk It’s been a busy Easter weekend. My oldest daughter and son-in-law just moved into a new house and I was chosen to install a new garbage disposal. Aparently, it’s an essential appliance nowadays, though I haven’t had one for 10 years. Anyway, I did manage to get it in. When I arrived at their house I was greeted with my birthday present. What a sweet daughter. 2 books from my Amazon Wish List, The Sock Journal and Spam Wars (I’m still a geek) AND the cutest little sterling silver charm of a ball of yarn and knitting needles which I am sure my camera simply can’t capture and a bag of Hershey Kisses. Oops, not able to photograph that.

Bdaym And I also recieved a lovely card and cash gift from my generous and thoughtful In-laws (thanks, Harvey and Muriel), with an admonition that I buy something for myself. So with that in mind, I visited a local bookstore and snagged the last copy of Stephanie’s new book and the Folk Vests book which I have had my eye on AND 2 new knitting magazines. What a great birthday buying spree! I am saving my mom’s cash gift for my trip to Dallas this weekend, I understand there is a new yarn shop in the old neighborhood.  We are having so much fun reading At Knit’s End, yes, we.  I am reading parts of it to my husband.  He laughed out loud at one part.  He asked me if she really woke her husband up to show off her knitting?  "Probably", I said.  He thought that was just hysterical.

BabyblueTending my Knitting: I finished one sock, and this baby sweater (sans buttons) for a shower I am attending today. I used what yarn I had on hand, Bernat Softee Baby and it was some of the softest acrylic I have ever touched. The pattern is free and it knits up quickly and is very cute. I picked up the Must Have Cardi once again. I am reknitting the tops of the sleeves as I enlarged the armholes and forgot to make the changes in the sleeves. I am doing it in a very unscientific way and hoping it comes out alright. One sleeve is now finished and when the other is done, I will pick up the buttonband. I started it late last summer and put it down in the fall. It’s bugging me because it is my oldest UFO.

Squareplay The Magic Stripes sock yarn top (Square Play) continues to grow, I am on 14 of the 29 blocks for the front. I still like it, but sock yarn on small needles just takes a while.

Thanks to everybody who sent birthday greetings and wishes.  It was a nice, quiet birthday and I look forward to the next one. 

When I am Queen…

Queen_2 This may be heavy stuff, but we don’t knit in a vacuum. When I am Queen, some things are gonna change around here. 

  • There will be no capital punishment. We will not allow State sanctioned murder. It sets a really bad example of human rights and it serves no one. Also, NO torture. None of it!
  • If you are convicted of willfully harming or killing a child you will spend the rest of your life in jail.
  • If you drink and drive and cause an injury or death, you will go to jail. When you get out, you will NEVER DRIVE AGAIN.
  • Anyone, parent, grandparent, or other, who allows a child or minor access to firearms who then causes an injury or death, shall go to jail and never own a firearm again. You may not get to keep any remaining children.
  • Parents who abuse their children will lose them forever – maintaining disfunctional, violent families is far less important than saving our children’s lives, health and well being.
  • Without an advance written directive, no person will be starved to death while in a disabled condition regardless of the likelihood of recovery.
  • Education and Services for the Homeless will be supported directly by Corporate taxes and there will be NO loopholes.
  • Teaching will be a highly paid profession.
  • College will be free to those who maintain passing grades.
  • People who perform community volunteer work outside of their Church will earn credits toward their income taxes.
  • Recreational Drugs (currently illegal drugs) will be legally available. The taxes levied on them will be used for drug education. Non-violent drug related offenders currently in jail will be released and rehabbed, freeing up the prison space for all those sicko child-killers who keep getting let out.
  • Adults will be free to marry whomever they choose. End of discussion.
  • Healthcare for everyone – not health insurance – health CARE – big difference.

We realize the weightiness of these laws, but We are serious about being decent human beings and expect that Our subjects strive for decency as well. To balance the seriousness of these proclamations, We also propose the following additional new laws:

  • 30 Hour work week – go home, spend time with the family or get a hobby.
  • Fiber Arts Cable Channel – All Fiber All the Time
  • Municipalities will implement Citywide wi-fi networks
  • Fridays will be celebrated on these revolving themes:
    Hat/Tiara Day
    Hawaiian Day
    Crossdressing Day
    Bring Your Pet to Work Day

Have a little fun people!  You may go now.

A little Help?

OldsweaterI could use some advice. 

I knit this sweater about 10 years ago and it has held up very well.  I love the yarn and the color and although it fits me perfectly, for an oversized sweater, I don’t wear oversized sweaters anymore.  I can’t remember exactly what yarn I used, but it may have been a Reynolds and it’s wool.  I would like to recycle it, but wonder how it should be re-incarnated. 

Should I:

  1. Felt the bejesus out of it and cut it up into pot holders?
  2. Cut it up and make a sizable sofa pillow out of it?
  3. Or, in my copious spare time, frog the whole damn thing and wash the yarn and reknit it into another trimmer, more flattering sweater? (there may be enough for a Rogue here, okay, maybe not a Rogue, but something)

This has been a faithful and favorite sweater that I have worn on only the coldest days, but always regretted going with the bateau neckline, as my neck feels chilled even though the sweater itself is very warm. 

If this goes well, there may be a parade of sweaters to be recylced here in the near future.  I hate to waste good yarn and have sweaters go unworn.

A Show of Hands

Photo by Alan King It is amazing how I can take my hands for granted when I spend so many hours staring at the knitting that they hold.  One day while knitting in a particularly good light, my gaze rested upon my hands.  These were not the slender, graceful hands I remembered.  How could my hands have changed so much?  They looked rough and red and dimpled and wrinkled and in serious need of a manicure – which I have never had.  I began to take stock of my other features I have ignored for some time.  I have wrinkles, age spots, gray hair and droopy boobs.  The only thing I haven’t got is hot flashes and I figure that’s only because I completely confused my system by having a baby at the age of 44.   

These wrinkled hands can cook with asbestos palms from years of cooking and grabbing hot pans.  They can knit socks and sweaters or sew custom drapes and wedding dresses.    They are comfortable with the smallest DPN’s or my favorite professional grade power tools.  They can build birdhouses or room additions. They can do rock work or sweat pipes. They learned to code in their forties when fate and fortune forced a new career path.  These experienced hands are 49 years old today.

I never minded the prospect of aging, it just took me a little by surprise.  I think I much prefer the weathered hands that can do anything I will them to do, to the pretty, nail-polished hands I used to know.

Bluebonnets and Bluebirds

Clapyarn_1 A new yarn shop opened in the area, the area being within a 50 mile radius of our house, The Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe.  It’s in Cedar Park and I took my MIL there on Friday.  It’s close to my oldest daughter’s new home so I may get to visit every once in a while.  I didn’t have anything in mind when we arrived, so I just bought some sock yarn I had never seen before (Skacel Trampoline Stretch in a summery colorway) and picked up a couple of skeins of the huge selection of Cascade 220 they had (random felting project yarn).  My MIL bought some Cotton Twist for a tank she liked.  She hasn’t knitted in a while, so this might be just the thing to jumpstart her again.

In the photo you can see the Skacel, as well as the yarn for the next Clapotis in the pretty pink colorway from Paradise Fibers.  Also shown is the gorgeous Classic Elite Avignon I got in an Ebay auction (for a summer top). The recently completed Clapotis is draped in the background.  I made it a little long, hence the need to buy an extra skein, the next one will be the prescribed length. 

Bbeggs And finally, the bluebirds are official residents of our bluebird house.  When she has laid about 4 eggs, she will begin to set.  More photos when they hatch.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Return to Normalcy…sort of

SXSW Interactive is over.  My brain always swims for days after the event with new ideas and the residual high of being in the presence of such geeky greatness.  I learned a few things, met some new folks, and generally enjoyed the comraderie of like minds and those individuals who speak the same language and all understand the same acronyms.  At least for the techy part of my life.

On day four of the conference, while waiting for the Accessibility Shoot-Out to begin, I heard an audible, though squelched exclamation right behind me.  I turned to see a young woman trying to contain herself when she finally burst out "I just bought the yarn to knit that!".  She was referring to my Clapotis which I was wearing.  Yes, I fiinished it the night before.  And it turns out that this young woman was a blogger I  read regularly before I slipped into the world of knit bloggers so it was delightful to meet Christine of Big Pink Cookie in person.  She is learning to knit and appears to be catching on quite quickly.  Heck, she recognized Clapotis at a Web Geek Fest!  She obviously has a knitters eye.

Photos are coming soon for: Finished Clapotis, new Clapotis yarn, and Bluebird eggs! Yea!

Warning: Naturalist Post: Spring!

I am still at SXSW through Tuesday, so I am knitting while attending the panels, but I haven’t been able to blog.  I thought I would share with you the signs of spring at our house until I can get back to blogging about knitting.  Happy Spring!

Pear Pear Tree flowering

Bbird2 Bbird

The Eastern Bluebirds are back and checking out the nest box I provided.

Paintbrush Indian Paintbrush.  Bluebonnets are blooming too, but I didn’t get a good shot yet.  Stay tuned!

#1 Flaw Revealed

Mstop1 I am notoriously impatient.  I hate waiting for anything.  Knitting for over 35 years has taught me some things about myself and it has forced me to practice patience.  I have learned short cuts and work arounds for some of my most onerous tasks and I have learned wiley ways of "fixing" some errors in order to avoid ripping and reknitting.  There are times when I have to ask myself "Am I willing to live with it"? 

Today, while beginning the fourth block of the Square Play top (Knitter’s Summer 2004, using LB Magic Stripes, Bright Spring), I realized I had made an error.  In the first 3 rows of the first block.  I know how I did this.  I was in a hurry to get started and I assumed that it was all stockinette stitch.  Mstop3 I didn’t bother to read carefully, nor could I SEE that there is a tiny 3 row garter stitch border at the bottom of the top. If you click on the image and em-biggen it, you can see the curled edge of the bottom of the first block.  If I had thought about it for more than 2 seconds, I would have realized that something had to keep the edge from doing "the roll".  Now, I kept knitting even as this realization hit me.  I was buying time, perhaps there was some way to fix it without ripping.  Perhaps it could be blocked out, blocking can perform miracles on some garments.  Perhaps I could rip from the start and then bind it off.  Maybe nobody would notice it but me.  These are all games I play with myself.  If I were making it for a gift, it would not be allowed to remain.  I just hate wasting time!

Mstop2 Okay, I know what you’re thinking, I haven’t gotten that far, it’s not that big an investment yet.  You’re right.  I’m ripping it.  The flaw would plague me forever and then I might not wear it and right now, I think it’s a darn cute top, don’t you?

I really do learn things when I screw up.  Today’s lesson: Read the damn pattern first!

We should have these little talks more often.

No photos, just prattle

With a mere 3-5 inches to go to complete Clapotis, I ran out of yarn.  Now the  beauty of Clapotis is that I could just rip back and begin the decrease rows sooner. A few inches in length wouldn’t make that much difference. Am I going to do that?  Uh, no.  I took the cowards way out and ordered one more skein of the yarn (and enough to make another in the pretty pink colorway) from Paradise Fibers.  I had really wanted it to be ready for Saturday night, opening night of SXSW Interactive, but it won’t happen either way.  The yarn won’t arrive until SXSW is a memory and there’s no time in my schedule to rip and reknit before the conference begins.  Not to mention that this is probably my last opportunity to even wear it this season.  The weekend is supposed to see daytime temps in the 80′s.  Evenings get a bit cooler – upper 40′s – perfect "Clap" weather.  So I still excited about the conference, it’s my big thing every year, but I will have to attend sans Clapotis.  *sigh*

Did anyone else catch the shots from Mexico Fashion Week for Fall/Winter 2005?  I like to see runway designs, even though they are usually way over the top as far as what normal people would be caught dead in, but it’s interesting as a fiber crafter, to be able to take away from these shows ideas on trends and concepts that you can apply towards your own creations and let the high dollar designers take all the risks.  There are a bunch of knitted items in this show, now many are just silly, but I am impressed with the percentage of knit stuff and a couple have interesting features that could be incorporated into otherwise ordinary knitting.  Anyone else find inspiration here?

There seem to be a lot of articles in the news lately about knitting (okay, I subscribe to Google News Alerts about knitting articles) and they keep referring to the "current trend or craze for knitting".  Um, I have been knitting since 1968.  I have never considered myself a slave to fashion.  I don’t typically flow with the popular tides.  I think by labeling the resurgence in the popularity of knitting as a "trend or fad", they dimenish the knitters who;  a) have knitted for a long time, trends or not, b) become accomplished knitters and designers, c) enjoy the activity as a hobby or pastime just like any other hobby.  It just sounds dismissive of the craft as a serious personal pursuit. 

The great thing about knitting (and crocheting) being popular again, is that there are bigger selections of yarns and patterns and there is typically more energy poured into the activity (i.e. more classes) AND more knitters and bloggers with whom to share our passion.  According to the Craft Yarn Council of America, of the 38 million knitters in the US, 4 million of them learned last year!  Yes, it is popular, but I don’t like the media proclaiming that we’re all doing it because Julia Roberts is doing it.  There are plenty of new knitters who may not stick with it as time goes by, so I’d like to ride the wave of myriad yarn vendors to choose from and the explosion of knitting design magazines being offered while it’s "hot".  I will still knit when it’s not "hot", just like I did before.