Monday, May 30, 2005

Hopping on the Bandwagon

OK--it's happened. I'm officially a member of the "I Heart Cathay" club. I started "Spring Fling" from Knitty using a rich purple Debbie Bliss Cathay. Spring Fling is a lacy short-sleeved cardi that I'm knitting for The Daughter to go with a lavender flowered dress she loves. The purple matches the centers of the flowers, and I think it will look quite nice. Holly paved the way for me by carefully reading the pattern before she started, noting that the larger sizes are written to go to the hip rather than cropped. Well, thankyouverymuch, Holly, because cropped is what we want, and I'll know to pay attention to length. (She's so handy.)

I cast it on at Knit Happens this afternoon. Casting on is such a dreary task-- but it is much easier when in the company of friends, and the task feels so good when it's over. I've finished most of the bottom ribbing tonight while watching TCM Memorial Day Movies and the Concert at the Capital.

It's a nice break from Fibonacci. We drove to Pennsylvania yesterday to see The Husband's parents. I made great progress, and actually closed the neck hole. The end is in sight. I need to charge ahead, and determine whether I need to make a visit to the online store to pick up another ball of the darker color. We shall see.

I have, I think, evidentiary proof that knitting is therapeutic. Here's why:

I had the day from-- well, let's say the day I don't ever want to repeat-- on Friday. (It had very little to do with being a nurse, and nothing to do with my coworkers, in case any of you are reading-- and if you are, you know exactly what I'm talking about, and my sympathies are with any of you who have found yourselves facing what I did. Suffice to say, I'm not well trained or experienced in psychiatry, which might have helped.) Anyway, I met The Husband for dinner which was preceded by a vodka on the rocks. When I got home I knit for awhile before falling asleep, and I was able to calm down a bit. We left fairly early on Saturday. I knit all the way, and while we were chatting with The Parents-In-Law. We had a nice dinner out, and then The Husband and I proceeded home. It was dark, and I didn't want to goof up my Fibonacci progress, so I wasn't knitting. And I began to obsess and stress over the Friday situation. I wish I'd been able to take my blood pressure, because I'm sure it would have been sky high. When I returned to home and reliable light, I started knitting again, and calmed right down. I'll have to keep the bp cuff with me.

This afternoon was most pleasant at the shop. I was greatly honored to be allowed to actually try on Inishmore, which we discovered looks pretty marvelous on just about anyone. Here's today's progress report on everybody else: Maeve was back from her travels with an amazing fairisle creation that took my breath away. Katie's dewdrop-in-the-grass Martha just seems more gorgeous each time I see it. Aimee's Harriet in blue-and-ice Cathay (which I'm sure she "hearts" as well) is beautiful. Kristine's cute, cute baby sweater continues to grow, and Wendy is working her magic on an awesome shawl. And Kelly continues Clapotizing. It's lovely. And big. And I met Stephanie who's working on a blanket.

The Son and The Daughter went to Blacksburg to celebrate the holiday with their friends, as well they should. I, compulsive mother that I am, will, of course, not sleep well until they are back. How is it that they can be gone for months at school, or out of the country paddling around islands or playing concerts all over Europe, and I don't worry a bit. But give them a long weekend away when they've been under the wing, and I stress? It's probably normal. I'll have to ask my mom. And knit some more.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Feelin' Good at the Happy Place

First of all, I think I fixed what I needed to so that people can comment. If not, I'll try again.

What an awesome Latenight at Knit Happens. I got off work in plenty of time to spend plenty of time, which is a most good and wonderful thing. And what to my wondering eyes should appear as I walked in, but The Astounding Wendy-who-Knits and the Amazing Innishmore. I doubt there will be a picture taken that does it justice, though many pictures were taken. But not by me. (Remember-- still trying to catch up with the 21st century). Simply beautiful.

And simply beautiful people, several of whom I've not seen for quite awhile-- including the hostess with the mostest yarn- Kristine who's gettin' back to Harriet, Miss Cindy who finished knittin' on her lovely lime Emily and showed us Lucy (the top, not the cat), The Fair Phyl who was charging through a fancy schmancy orange (of course) scarf on log-sized needles, and Liz with her sweet sockies (and sweet Godivas). We were joined by Jon-from-New-York who had an amazing baby blanket in 1" intarsia squares (Kristine went almost apoplectic). And many more friends I've seen in the more recent past.

Holly's working on a nice little lace short-sleeved cardi. I have the pattern, and she inspires me. I picked up some pretty purple Cathay to make one for The Daughter.

Now I must say that many people are making much progress on numerous projects (there's definite Martha progress going on), and I just keep hackin' away and hackin' away at Fibonacci. This Must End. Soon. (Sound of loud lamenting Irish Sighs). I'm almost to the end of the neck, and then I start counting rows again, so it'll go faster. Or at least it will hopefully seem so. Good thing I really like the colors. And the yarn.

Last night I just. couldn't. take. any. more, and with elements of my stash beckoning, I started Klaralund using Lorna's Lace Grace (a mohair boucle') in the Somerset colorway. It's beautiful-- a seafoam green and a lovely pink and a muted blue. There's just one problem. I reeeeeeally want to use it for Klaralund, and I have 5 skeins. I think I need 9. So, I decided to try interspersing Classic Elite La Gran Mohair that I got at KH.

I found a color that exactly matches the seafoam green. Exactly. I knit about 8", and noticed that I got some wicked pooling of the green. Darndest thing-- sections of lovely green and blue and pink striping interspersed with large splotchy chunks of nothin' but green. It's a beautiful green, but the effect looked disturbing, and I realized that I couldn't be happy with it. So I picked up a pink that works well with the colors, and I'm going to use another skein of the Grace, and alternate every row. (Grace, Green, Grace, Pink).(omigosh-- it didn't occur to me that the green and pink thing is going on. I really didn't realize it. I hope I'm not considered a pink and green groupie....not that there's anything wrong with that...) I haven't done this kind of thing much in the past, but using the circular needle will allow me to start from either side. Now if I can just keep track of where I am... There is some room for error, and I'll just hope that it works out. It'll be interesting if nothing else. Note to self-- frogging boucle' is not something I want to do a lot of.

The Son is Back
Yep. Got back from Mexico at midnight-thirty on Saturday night. He'd been taking a field ecology course, kayaking and studying the ecosystems on the islands in and around the Sea of Cortez. (I, alternatively, spent my college summers working as a camp counselor and swimming teacher and taking Shakespeare.) (!) He had the good sense to bring home presents. Coffee, seashells,rocks and tequila and some other kind of booze that we haven't figured out yet. The KH gang pointed out the interesting turn that life takes when one's offspring becomes an expert on the finest nuances of the beverage of choice. It's good stuff. Except for getting chopped up while rock climbing, and burning his face to a crisp, he survived well. I'm glad to see him. Tomorrow is dvds and maybe Star Wars. And maybe some housework.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Rainy Days and Fridays.. Not Gettin' Me Down

So this morning it was pouring, and I had to drive to Winchester. The Son's University was having orientation, and since I'm on the Parents' Council (I only THOUGHT PTA would be over when they graduated from High School), I was asked to come and speak to parents about the trials and tribulations of sending your first-or-subsequently born off to college. And speak I did. I saw some drippy eyes, and remembered how stressed I was-- not that he'd be away, since we'd done summer camp forever, and I'd been working since before he was born. My biggest concern was that I hoped and prayed with all my heart that I'd raised him right, and prepared him--given him what he needed in life to make the right decisions. And as I see my friends who are expecting and those who have newborns, I remember how I loved every stage of their lives, and wished that the kids could stay just like that... but then they'd grow to another stage, and I'd think the same thing. I realized that what I'd been doing for his whole life was getting him-- and me-- ready for this transition.

So, a couple of years ago The Son called me, and said "Mom, I want to tell you something, and I don't know how you're going to take it." Hooo boy. I took a deep breath and braced myself. OK, said I--- Let's hear it. "Well," said he, "I started going back to church and I'm in the choir." Much relief.

The Daughter and I decided to take in a movie this afternoon. I don't get out to movies very often, because we have 3000 (or so it seems) cable channels, and The Husband doesn't enjoy the movie-going experience. So I usually try to hit a few when the kids are home. In deference to The Son who will arrive home at midnight tomorrow from a field research class in Mexico (kayaking in Baja-- you may all say "aaaaawwwww") we are holding off on seeing the latest Star Wars. We saw Crash--what a great movie-- but be warned: It's not a feel-good flick. It's heavy, so be prepared. The story line is intertwining and disturbing, and really, really well done. I will see it again and probably buy it on DVD when it comes out.

And then we decided to see another film. So Monster In Law it was. I had Fibonacci with me, and did a couple of rows during the interminable junk prior to the movie. We enjoyed it. Jane Fonda, whatever you may think of her, was very funny, and Jennifer Lopez did a pretty good job imho. Wanda Sykes plays Jane Fonda's assistant, and she is terrific. It's not history-making cinema, but as a nice little diversion, it fits the bill.

And that's how I spent my day.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

...Where Everybody Knows Your Name, or at Least Your Blog

Can there be a better place than Knit Happens Late Night? Sitting around the table, sharing stories and jokes and technology tips and, oh yes, of course, knitting. I just love seeing the progress on everyone's wips. Knitters know what we mean when we say Ravenna (not the one in Italy) and Martha (not the one who just got sprung) and Clapotis (not an infection) and Rebecca (not of Sunnybrook Farm) and Innishmore (not looking for Guinness after having a few). And even Fibonacci. And all are growing by leaps and bounds. Koigu is not a kind of fish that lives in little ponds, and Lucy doesn't have some "splennin' to do"--- well, I could go on and on, and probably would --but this has been quite enough.

Now I know that everyone is really excited about the Innishmore knit-off, but I gotta tell you.... There's nothing like walking into the shop and seeing Wendy with this HUGE--as in the front is mere rows from being done-- piece of beautiful aran knitting. And the reaction of everyone who walked in was the same. "Omigosh!!" When you go to her site and see the pictures, you can't help but be most impressed. And as lovely as the pictures are, they really can't capture the depth and texture and rich color of this project. I am in awe.

A very nice lady came to the back table and asked everyone what they were working on. It was very sweet, and reminded me a little of show and tell. And I realized that the projects were as diverse and interesting as the people knitting them. Did I mention how much I love this environment?

I was touched that people wanted to know where my blog was. And I thank you all for the shout-outs. I will actually get some links in, and add some pictures to this, as soon as my kids are available to help me. I know I could figure it out myself, but it's such a bonding thing to do-- having them teach me. Now I'm not computer illiterate-- I've been using them for many many many moons (omigosh I just realized that we got our first pc when The Son was a couple of months old-- what a concept! and we have 8 functioning computers in the house) but I've been preoccupied with other things, so haven't gotten up to speed with the rest of the digital nuances. But these things will come. Soon. You can hold me to it.

So Holly, and Erin, and Ann, and Kelly, and Shelley, and Brittany, and Rosanna, and Wendy, and anyone who I have inadvertently missed, it was a lovely time. (and for those who weren't there-- and you know who you are... Maybe next week?)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Home again, home again

How on earth can one person accumulate not only enough stuff to pretty much fill a 5X10 storage space, but also the back of the Explorer plus the 2-seat fold-down? The Daughter is home, and we got her moved out and checked out of East Ambler Johnston at VT with about 10 minutes to spare. Some of us do well with deadlines. And we have almost 3 months before we get to do it all again!

But it was beautiful in Blacksburg-- the mountains never fail to inspire me, and the weather was great. And I had plenty time to knit on the road.

I'm almost 1/2 done with the top. That means I have more than 1/2 to go. In stockinette. Just stockinette. Rows and Rows and Rows of it. I know-- who was the one who chose this project? and who loves the colors? and who gets to wear it when it's done?

I had a discussion with Holly about being a project knitter or a process knitter. My problem is that by nature I fly from one thing to the other, and without a huge amount of discipline (meaning looking at my stash and dreaming instead of starting something new) I would NEVER finish ANYTHING. So I moan. But it feels so good when it's over.

And if that ain't motivation to keep on keepin' on, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Time Flies By...

DH and I travelled to Blacksburg today to pack out The Daughter who has most successfully completed her first year of college. Can it possibly be 10 months since we brought her here as a brand new Freshman? It's been quite a year. She joined the Marching Virginians, played at most of the Hokie football games, went to the Sugar Bowl, joined the band sorority, and survived a pretty darn heavy schedule with some pretty darn good grades. I can still remember her first day of pre-school. It just seems so impossible some times. I try not to get weepy thinking about it, because it would just embarrass her beyond words. So we look forward to the summer and having some time with her and The Son before it all starts over again.

The really good thing about riding to Blacksburg with DH driving is time to knit with zero guilt. The frustrating thing this time was that I'm still trying to recover from what has been a very busy week and a half, and I kept falling asleep. Nonetheless, I made some progress on the top-- but I swear that the next project will not have an appreciable amount of stockinette. My lord, it's boring. But I am successfully keeping track of the stripes and haven't goofed yet.

So, we packed stuff, and 0rganized stuff, and now I'm at the hotel washing stuff, so we can put it in vacuum bags in the storage unit. The plan is to take home as little as possible, and to schlep back even less in August. However, from the look of things today, the back of the Explorer will be packed, nonetheless for the trek home. It's nice to be able to spend a couple of days, instead of killing ourselves. We plan a leisurely trip back, travelling some of the back roads rather than I-81- land of semi's and my least favorite interstate.

And back to the dryer I go.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Minion or Sycophant????

Well, it appears that I've really done it now. On Wednesday (I know it's Sunday, and I'm on a break at work- but ...) I was sitting at the back table of Nirvana-land, and was graced to be in the presence of not only Wendy-who-knits but also Carol-The-Knitting-Wizard (who is definitely not going to knit me a black lace shawl to use as a mantilla if I ever get to go see the new pope-- but gives me great advice on socks), both of whom I hold in great esteem for their immense talent. And, they are kind enough to give helpful hints in a very generous and gentle manner. And, they are each in their own way, very funny people. And they are fun to be around. And no, I don't consider myself to be a groupie. Although there are definitely those who fall into the category, I'm told. So Wendy was describing something she collects, and I of the short attention span, felt the urge to imitate said object, and so now I have been officially dubbed a sycophant. I don't know if that's good or bad, or just sad. I'll try to figure it out.

Meanwhile, coming off nights resulted in a day of intermittent consciousness. I did a few rows, but mostly snoozed. Since both my offspring are away, DH took me to dinner last night in Old Town. What a lovely evening-- haven't walked around there for awhile (except from parking meter to Knit Happens). I need to get out more. So today is supposed to be beautiful, and I hope that those who have the opportunity to be outside (or those who have windows to look out) can enjoy this Mothers' Day. And so-- back to the lil' ones....

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Making Progress in So Many Ways

Life's a little upside down right this minute. I worked a couple of night shifts, forgetting in a burst of altruism on Tuesday about Maryland Sheep and Wool today. I decided it would be perilous to my life and to that of others to drive up there on minimal sleep, and I need to get turned around to work a day shift tomorrow morning. Oh well, I'll live vicariously through the descriptions I get from my KH friends, and try not to moan too loudly . I can't imagine a nicer day for it-- the sun is shining and it's warm-but-not-too-warm, and I just think that those sheep and dogs and shoppers and spinners and yarn-sellers must just be having the best time--- (Reminder to self--- put this on the calendar for next year and let NOTHING stand in its way.)

I guess I'll go work on Fibonacci. I got quite a chunk done on Wednesday-- most of the first sleeve. During a lull last night, I made a little chart to track the stripes. Hopefully it will help, and I won't have to do too much ripping. It's a short-sleeved top that is knit across from the sleeve, and I 've just done the cable cast-ons to form the length for the body. I'ts going nicely. I have to keep stopping myself though, because I usually knit continental, but I have to "throw" for this project because for some reason the tension on my purl rows is way off with this yarn. It's got some spring to it, but I guess less than the wools I've been using. Never had a problem before. The back table crowd had many guffaws when they saw my swatch with the wonky purl rows. I keep going into auto-pilot and setting up the yarn with my left hand. Then I gently reprimand myself, and go back to the throw. Despite the minimal additional effort and minor hassle, I have to say, it is TOTALLY worth it. I really really like the way it's knitting up, and I LOVE the colors. I am definitely going to get more of this type for future projects.--- (typical a.d.d.-- I'm not even 1/4 of the way through this, and I have at least 5 projects in the wings and 2 others on needles, and so on, and I'm talking about buying more yarn.) (Down, girl-- it's ok.) But hey-- I'm not spending anything at MSW because I can't go!!!. (I say again-- Down, girl).

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Beginning again

I started on the Fibonacci sequence top-- but only barely. I actually did swatch the yarn, and discovered that I need to knit it tightly, because my purl rows were visibly looser than the knit rows. Good thing I discovered it while swatching. Other than the sequence, this is basic mindless knitting-- stockinette stitch, but I need to pay close attention to the row counts. I wondered why I decided to do this next, rather than something a bit more challenging, but I think that it boils down to wanting another short-sleeved top. We shall see how this goes. It's not difficult, but it's all done in one piece, starting at the sleeve edge, so I'll end up with a couple hundred stitches. I think I like the yarn-- it's a cotton blend with some spring to it, so it won't get sloggy or too heavy.

In the rest of life, it's Nurses' week, and many activities-- ceremonies, luncheons, gifts-- very nice. I work with a great group of people. Being a nurse and working in the area I do means long, wacky hours, stress, emotional drain, and the most fulfilling experience I can imagine, even when things are going badly. I am blessed. And tired.