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26 posts from October 2006

31 October 2006

Reminder to self

The Design Gallery, current exhibition is New School Knitting: The Influence of Elizabeth Zimmermann and Schoolhouse Press.  I missed the opening reception -- oh, that's what was niggling me over the weekend -- but the show is up through December 17th and there are a couple of other events of which to take note.  There is a virtual exhibition catalog here -- be warned, I think a person could spend hours clicking away over there...

I am a Socktoberfest failure.  Well, I guess not really a failure -- pretty much the only requirement for participation is that you love socks (and I do), and while calling it a love/hate relationship would be rather drastic, I do have issues.  I have turned the heel on my first Bayerische sock and am mid-way through the gusset and I think I'm going to rip and start over.  Sometime.  I might finish my Celtic Braid (not far to go and there'll be a pair!) first.  I still sometimes ignore the voices in my head, and sometimes even the gasping-with-surprise voices on the phone -- the ones that say, "Why would you do THAT?"  So, yeah, I'm gonna rip and start over.  I'll try it on one more time to make sure... I think I want longer and a better fit.

I have been working on a little sweater for the Dutchicans.  It's a little bit of Opptuna and a little bit of another pattern modified to my gauge with some Lion Kool Wool from stash.  There was sadness in Michigan last week, as one of the boys died -- I can't really even imagine -- so the multiple birth that was to be three will now be two.  Every good vibe I've got is for those two boys' good health and growing strength in these last couple of weeks before birth.

I meant to work on the baby sweater, or cast on a Red Scarf last night, but instead it was the Beaded Smoke Ring (sans beads) that captured my attention.  I'm going to make the sweater and scarf a priority, and the smoke ring (especially after the lace part is finished) will be take-with-me-everywhere knitting, and intend to cast on my Peace Fleece cardi on Monday at the latest!

Thanks for the kind words about Shirl and the moebius (I'm wearing it today!) -- heh, I never did give that one a pet name.  ; )  It occurs to me that I probably don't express my thanks enough.  Thank you.  Thank you for reading my ramblings here, and especially for taking the time to drop in and leave a comment, ask a question, share an opinion, a memory, advice.  I'm really sorry that I don't always respond -- I intend to, but life/time just doesn't allow.

Happy Halloween!

30 October 2006

Stick-to-it-iveness

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Last year, I packed yarn and needles to swatch for Shirley Shrugs when I went to Rhinebeck.  I didn't actually do any swatching then, but it was all really starting to come together in my mind.  It wasn't long before I had made a chart in Excel and commenced the knitting.  Blahblahblah wouldn't be finished for Christmas blahblahblah scrambled for a different gift blahblahblah finished the seaming at Ann's a year later.  Short-rowed Shirley Shrugs received the nod of approval from Ann, Cara, Katy, Peggy and Ricki -- and I think Cara dug around in my luggage and showed it to Margene, too.  ; )  Nearly every single one with an opinion to share thought that I should have one for myself.  I'll get details posted in the sidebar -- I'm a little behind with some of the details over there!

Dsc08792And lookie there, it's a moebius!  That thing was beginning to make me feel stupid.  I'm happy to have stuck with it, conquered it, and have a product, finished as intended -- a beautiful cowl to wrap about my neck and shoulders, with a singular twist.  I don't think the colors are quite so luminous in person -- but close.  It's gorgeous.  I'd almost like to make another, even bigger.

Mack and my sister came for a visit on Friday night and stayed until early yesterday afternoon.  We picked out the design for his Christmas stocking -- a Grace Ennis design.  Mack's full name is 10 letters long and the directive is that I must use the full name.  I will not be charting and knitting it, as I'd end up with a stocking for the Jolly Green Giant -- I'll use some of my embellishing skills to add it later.  Even with quite a bit of time spent away -- shopping, playing, watching football -- I managed to make some progress on putting together all my packages for the mail and hope to make the big trip to the P.O. on Wednesday, I made a big pot of Chili All Day, and managed to get a new post out of Abbey, too!  I didn't really kick her in the pants, just nudged her softly with my elbow.  ; )

Maddy's party went off without a hitch.  Her crowd is just a little bit different than Ali's, and a whole lot louder.  The party was to be over at midnight, and OMG, there was one kid doing a Chris Farley imitation at the end -- not a favorite even on a good day -- plucking my very last nerve with every word -- the nerve that had already been quivering for hours and was only a few plucks shy of snapping -- and at 12:03, it snapped I actually had to yell say ENOUGH in a loud voice.  It worked.

I also worked on a baby sweater I've got going, wound up my Morehouse Laceweight and think I found a pattern (in the book that I won last month!), and wound the Brooks Farm Acero and started on the smoke ring.  Scarf and sock talk tomorrow.

28 October 2006

It's Saturday...

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As Katie watched me head out the back door this morning, camera in hand, she said, "Saturday Sky?"

You know it, tootsie!  It's sunny and clear, but a cold with doth blow today.

Heading out to spend a little time with Mack today!  Maddy's decorating and cleaning for her party tonight, and I'll be picking up a few more things for her...

I am also going to pick up the ingredients to make Abbey's Chili All Day, either today or tomorrow... it might be good for football tomorrow.  I'm delighted that I met Abbey at Rhinebeck last weekend, now if she'd only start blogging again...

27 October 2006

Twist and shout

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That would be a singular twist, but multiple shouts.  Yeah, baby, I'm happy with it!  While Jayme kindly pointed out in the comments yesterday that I was still technically knitting a moebius, even with multiple twists, it wasn't working as the intended cowl -- too twisty.  I really liked how the colors were working in the first version, and with the addition of more stitches, it's pooling a bit more in the new -- and I still like it.  It's different, but I like it.  The blues, especially, seem much more intense when they're all together -- this color of Handmaiden Ottawa, "Ottawa Forest," still makes me think more of water than woods, though.  I hope to have this finished over the weekend.

The weekend.  I'll be recovering yet from last weekend -- with the chaperoning of Maddy's Halloween party in between.  That's a tradition begun by Ali that I wish we'd never started, but there you go.  A girl just wants to have fun.  I worry a little more every year and can let myself be carried away by all the possibilities for disaster.  Fun, they just want to have good, clean, scary fun... and chips and candy.

I have a few ABC-Along letters to catch up on, and a lot of packages of various sorts to pull together for the mail.  It just occurred to me today that my best friend's birthday is Monday -- and mumble mumble mumble on its heels.  There could be trick-or-treating on Sunday -- and I am not prepared!  I don't even known whether that's happening on Sunday or Tuesday in my area.

PMS musings (with little fiber) after the break...

Continue reading "Twist and shout" »

26 October 2006

Twisted sister

...or why, oh, why am I so moebius challenged?

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I cast on the moebius for the umptieth time on Sunday night at Ann(e)'s during the Arrested Development portion of my long, fiber fest weekend wherein I learned the source of most of the rest of the weekend's soundtrack -- the wacky AD wisecracks.  There seems to be one for every occasion!  ; )  And by that, I mean that there are many, but also pretty much one.  A one-size-fits-all wisecrack.  Yeah.

Sunday's cast-on attempt was just one of a series of tries over the past few months, once with the kind and able assistance of Amy Lu.  And still... I've been having a problem with the moebius.  I'd finally got nearly everything right, except for a big, bothersome, gaping hole that would appear at the beginning, but I wouldn't see it 'til the end.  It's a moebius, so that kind of make sense.  Trust me.  I actually figured that part out all on my own -- it had to do with one little bit of direction at the very beginning that I missed, oh, and then another one -- and I've been merrily knitting my way back to Wisconsin from New York, making mighty fine progress.  Until now.  I'm feeling downright plagued. 

The moebius, you see, is supposed to have a twist.  Mine has three.

The good thing is, I'm learning something new each time.  Today's lesson:  Every single word in those directions must be read, heeded, understood, read again, and then taken literally.  And also double-checked.

I will not let it get the best of me, so I'm ripping and re-doing.  Again.  I'm also casting on a few more stitches this time for a few more repeats -- it'll fit better.  I do all this, over and over, with the head-whacking and everything, because the yarn is just so beautiful and this item something so practical and yet so pretty.  I think I might also make some pretty, warm and matching things for my wrists.

25 October 2006

There's a little loot

Dsc08768Other than a few small gifty type things, there's my Rhinebeck haul.  I am quite happy with all of it!  Clockwise, starting with the book.

I caught Sylvia's eye as I passed the Rip Rap Meadows yarn booth on Sunday.  I went back and chatted with her while then she signed my copy of Sylvia's Farm, the book I bought.  ; )

I wore my Flared Lace Smoke Ring on both days of the festival -- I even wore it with Fib on Sunday, even though the two hardly match.  I absolutely love that thing and will wear it to death if I don't make another something like it.  When I found the pattern for the Beaded Smoke Ring, I snatched it up (though I will almost certainly omit the beads) and would like to have all three smoke ring patterns in my collection at some point.

I bought a lucet made of curly cherry.  I like to think that I will use it, but Ann's skepticism (you should have seen the look she threw me every time I mentioned it) may hit closer to the mark.  And you know what?  I'm okay with that.  Making cord with this tool will be as tedious as making cord any other frickin' way, but it's a cool tool and I like cool tools and maybe that's why I bought it.  Yeah, that's it.

Dsc08771It took me a while to decide on something at the Morehouse Farms booth.  In most instances of overwhelming choice and indecision, I walk away with nothing; this time, I managed a hank of Merino Lace, 660 yards of fingering weight for which I now need to find a purpose.  That shouldn't be too difficult, though, nor should it take very long -- those colors want to be worn.

I was right behind Kim on Sunday, purchasing a Cashmere Lace Scarf Kit from Marilyn Merbach and Rabbit Tree Farm.  I'd squeezed in and out of that booth on Saturday, but had only noticed the small collars and baby hats -- I totally missed the larger shawls and scarves.  I like those small shawls and when Kim told me that she was buying it because she'd been admiring Diane's all weekend, I had to.  I'll have happy memories of Rhinebeck and meeting both of Kim & Di while I knit and wear that little shawl.

Among my more aromatic purchases is the Muscle Wrap made by Susan Borger -- flaxseed and dried lavender sewn up in a 100% linen casing for which I will knit my own sleeve.  (Yes, I will.)  Oh, it smells so good!

Finally, it's Brooks Farm "Acero," 60% superwash wool, 20% silk, 20% viscose.  I could have bought several hanks of that stuff, let me tell you -- gorgeous colors.  As it is, I had no definite purpose when I bought this, but I now know that it will become the aforementioned Smoke Ring.

Briar Rose Fibers is where the overwhelming choice and indecision netted me absolutely nothing.  What I'd really liked to have done is backed up a trailer and taken it all home.  OMG, the colors.  My next major project, after the next ones... so, the next, next, NEXT major project... is going to be made of Briar Rose Fibers.  I'm thinkin' full out sweater.  Yum.

Thankfully, I also have a soundtrack for the weekend, thanks to Cara.  I've written before about music and memory and thoughts and feelings and, well, it was Bruce and Rick James singing me to work this morning, C+C Music Factory softening my mood at the WW news tonight (hm, yeah, I think the heartburn all weekend -- the special trip for Tums -- was a real big clue -- the food was definitely the "too much" from yesterday's post).

OMG, the laughing and singing.  I had such a great time with Cara and Ann.  They're both razor sharp and wicked funny.  Ann's a great cook (and Boar -- Boar is, too!) and hostess and I loved her house and wonderful family.  It was great to see Peggy again, and to meet Ricki.

And so many blogger/knitterly people.  The evening get-togethers in the lobby were so fun -- absolutely perfect for an elephant-eared people watcher like me.  ; )  Carole, Norma, Sandy, Kathy, Laurie, Theresa, Stephanie, Julia, Cassie, Juno, Margene, Melanie, Elise, Kellee, Cheryl, Alison, Kate, Colleen, Claudia, Risa, Anne, Nancy, Katy...  Every few minutes, another person's name or face flies into my head.  Like many others, I really wish that I'd taken more pictures.  I put up an album in the sidebar with what I've got.  ; )

It's going to be a hard week -- I've still got the New York Groove, man.  I've got it bad.

Next up, the state of my knitting.  There's good news and maybe not-so-good news.

24 October 2006

Who doesn't love...

Rhinebeck?

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It's obvious why the women on the left are smiling -- Stylish in Starmores are Susan (Katy's mom), Margene, and Katy (Susan's daughter) -- I'll tell you, just watching the parade of stunning handknits would have made for a mighty fine festival.  But the women on the right, why are they smiling so big?  They're happy, wearing their lovely knits, for sure -- Ann in her Merkin and Theresa in Rogue, Cara wearing Seraphim and knee-highs -- but those smiles are so BIG!  ; )  Must be that orange-clad fella in the non-knit -- he made for a memorable exit, didn't he ladies?  Thank goodness I had a camera to hide behind!

Dsc08755_1Dsc08765Dsc08766I'm sorry that I don't have time for linking today.  And really, I'm stealing time to post just these few pictures and bang out a few words.  Suffice it to say that it was like any other gathering of this type -- way too much of some things and far too little of others.  Mostly, way too little time to spend with people who mattered.  There are some that I barely -- or NEVER -- even saw.  I'm really sad about that, but I suppose that just means "next year..."

Oh, I just had to share the rare photo of Cara's trick -- if you've seen Ann's photo album, you know that it's difficult to perform, much less catch on film!  Poe doesn't even have to do tricks.

More later.

22 October 2006

Artsy Fartsy

Every time I try to type "artsy fartsy" it comes out like "arsty farsty" instead, and I sometimes wonder if it's my innter leprechaun coming out. "Feisty arse," perhaps? ... or not.

Anyway. Here I thought I had all this time to post on here, but mummy comes home tomorrow night already! I'll bet it went too quickly for her... by the tone of the comments coming into my inbox, it sounds like some stuff went down at Rhinebeck! I'm sure I'll be regailed with plenty o' stories.

But as promised, I just thought I'd mention a few of the artsy/crafty endeavors I've taken to the past few weeks/months. I'm an on-and-off-again knitter, and I'm a pro at scarves of just about any variety, but it takes a mean streak of motivation to get me going on anything else... although I have completed a number of pairs of wrist warmers, a couple pairs of mittens, and a smattering of chapeaus. But I always come back to the wonderous scarf, a practical obsession. My last one was nicely photographed by the Owner Of This Blog a few weeks ago in her Buttons and Bobby Pins entry. This is by far my favorite-looking scarf, but I must emphasize that I only love the way it looks, and unfortunately not the way it wears... as it's long enough to wrap around at least three times, but by then I look like I have a wool inner tube around my neck. Soooo. One of these days I'll do this again (because it was mui fun!) and I'll make it about half the length. :)

Also in those photos is a giant button necklace (which is hella heavy - and with the scarf is practically painful. I think now that the migraine I got that day was in part due to the weight) which is nothing more than a collection of random antique (and some not so antique)Dsc08700_1 buttons strung haphazardly onto fishing line. Et voila! Tres magnifique. I love it, but it's not something I can wear every day.

My "main" talent, I guess, would be the drawing. The fine arts aspect of the arsty artsy streak in me. My latest drawing is a graphite portrait of a close friend, which I submitted to a show in Chicago. I haven't heard back from them yet, but I'm crossing my fingers that I'm accepted! I love doing really up-close portraits of people, like  the perpetually unfinished one my mom hung on our living room wall anyway! It's of my little sister, and was started before she ever dyed her hair brunette...

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And that's about the last of it! Hope you enjoyed this little guest blogging experience and who knows, maybe I'll pop back sometime for a visit. :) Ciao!

20 October 2006

Bloggers Anonymous

Hi, I'm Katie, and I'm a Guest Blogger. I think by now there must be a 12-Step Program out there somewhere for the blog-obsessed. It's one thing that I have my own blog... and then another... and then a Facebook profile to boot, but now I'm guest blogging. I'm not sure where that leaves me. But if that's my only addiction, then maybe I'm doing alright. ;)

So mom's in New York kickin' it up at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival with her righteous east coast buddies, so I thought while she's away on that much-deserved rendez-vous, I'd take the opportunity to follow up on a few things she's mentioned about me recently.

Yep, I have a fantabulous new car, a black Saab 900 Turbo, which is actually quite old. It has a manual transmission and has so far been a blast to toot around in. Most of the time it takes me back and forth to work, which is currently at one of the four or five Starbucks in the area.

It's a fun job and a lot of cool people work there. I've had some opportunities to do some artwork for my store, and I just found out today that I'll be designing a promo poster for several districts in the state of Wisconsin for a toy drive this Christmas. That ought to be fun! But most of the time I just work my hardest at becoming a java slinger extraordinaire!

Living at home again and working has been a nice little break from the craziness of the past three-ish years, which involved a lot of back-and-forth from college, traveling to all corners of the country, a semester abroad in England, and so on... but traveling really is where my heart lies. When I flew in after almost four months of being away from home, I remember thinking, I am so over this travel stuff. but of course three or four months later and the wanderlust has returned! As it inevitably does every time.

Europe was absolutely beyond amazing. I'm still blown away at how much I learned there, not only from the classes that I had to take, but about several other cultures, travel, social skills, and myself. I took more pictures than were absolutely necessary (I think I had over 6000 by the time I returned)...

My favorite place (besides London, granted that I was there the majority of the time) was southwestern Ireland, where four other girls and I all chipped in and spent a four day weekend. We rented a car and learned what it's like driving on the other side of the road on motorways the width of bicycle lanes with no shoulders. We ran around precariously on the Cliffs of Moher in a winter storm. We kissed the Blarney Stone, climbed hills in Killarney National Park, stopped at a pub or two, and stayed in the most brilliant little lakeside lodge in the countryside. It was priceless.

Almost every day I try to devise the necessary means to jump on a plane to my next destination... wheresoever that may be. :)

I'll probably be hitting up Knitorious once or twice more before me mumsy comes home, so I'll try to talk a little bit about my little bit of knitting, and and maybe some of my other crafty/arty endeavors!

18 October 2006

Hip to be square

In accordance with the Rules and Regulations of Rhinebeck Bingo, and also because it's fair, I hereby present my mug.

B1 B2 *

Be forewarned, I could also look like any of these:

B4 B5 B3 B6

Dsc08527It just depends.  Also, I may or may not have my hair down on one or both days -- and all of a sudden, I need a haircut again.  And yes, I am proud to be square all weekend long.

I hope to wear this sweater on one of the days, but, again, it just depends; maybe a shawl.

Know this:  If and when you find me, I'll surely be having fun.

*The "mug shots" were all taken last month at the Harlot event in Eau Claire.  They were all taken by my sister, save the very best one (top right) which I have shamelessly stolen from Chris.  I know that she knows that a very good picture is a terrible thing to waste.   ; )

I'm super-de-duper excited to announce that my daughter Katie will be doing a little guest blogging in my absence.  I hope she tells you a little about her knitting, the button necklace she made (pictured here not too very long ago), perhaps a little about her semester in London.  We'll just have to see!  ; )

I'll never go hungry again

Oh my goodness, that was a real "treat" yesterday!  (Heh, get it?)  I loved hearing about everyone's favorite breakfast -- or their second favorite or third or fourth.  ; )  I felt as though I was being fed a little morsel with every one, except that I wasn't feeling full at all or even satisfied and, in fact, I got HUNGRIER and HUNGRIER!

How could I have forgotten the deliciousness of cold pizza or lasagna for breakfast?!  Especially when it's the morning after one of those nights, you know, when the beer was really good and cold.  And then I remembered how much I liked cold, left-over salmon, too!  And all that cereal.  Oatmeal is the overwhelming favorite -- but baked!  Whoever heard of Baked Oatmeal?  Gretchen was so sweet and sent me the recipe and I can't wait to try it.  I will make a full report.  And hashbrowns -- I can practically smell Mim's cooking now.  Bacon and eggs and waffles and pancakes and bagels, oh my.  Breakfast really is fun, isn't it?  I can see Celia foraging through the kitchen wearing her pajamas, can't you?

Thank goodness, it's lunchtime.  ; )

So, tomorrow morning, this little Half-pint is packing up her nightgown (possibly a white one) and toothbrush, flying the friendly skies, heading east.  I'll bring some yarn and a sweater, and find room for clean underwear and all the rest, too, but I know what's important.  Rhinebeck, baby, my second.  I'm so excited.  Last year at this time, I wrote about being poised to experience a knit-blogger utopian nirvana weekend of unbelievable proportion, and then, Nirvana with mods from Cara's living room.  And I truly had a blast -- a wonderful time and I met so many people.  It was fun.  This is my kind of re-charging vacation -- friends, fiber, food, wine -- and here I am, poised to do it again (this time, with Bingo)!  Not much has changed, except that I do hope to make it to "Knitter's Gettysburg," have that ride on Onslow, meet Poe and D#2 and Boar.  I'm excited to be renewing acquaintance with some over the weekend, and over-the-moon with anticipation at making the acquaintance of some others.  It can be will be overwhelming, for sure, but I will do my best.

I hope to post one more time -- tomorrow morning -- before leaving.  I hope that I'll have an exciting announcement then, too (nothing to do with babies -- puh-lease, I'm too old for that and way too young to be a grandma, though technically not, but never mind about that, and I really would love one, but no, not yet thanks).

17 October 2006

Breakfast of champions

Dsc06484_1...champion KNITTERS, that is.

Okay, I may as well run with it, so spill -- oops! -- but watch the milk!  Heh, maybe this'll turn into something fun...

What's your favorite breakfast?

Mine isn't really Cheerios & Bananas, it's just the only breakfasty picture I've got.  I love cereal!  Cereal -- almost any kind -- is my favorite, anytime, I-don't-know-what-I-want meal and the perfect snack.  I know that man cannot live on cereal alone, but how about cereal and sub sandwiches?

And the occasional seafood dinner?  And soup.  And cake.

Okay, okay, but we're talkin' breakfast here.  I'm actually not a big breakfast eater, and that's probably my #2 downfall in regards to WW (#1 would be physical activity, or lack thereof).  I usually get up, have my coffee, and maybe I'll eat something at around 10:30, but just as often it gets to be 11:30 and then I'm thinking more in terms of lunch -- which could easily be cereal.  See?  When at work, I often have a small yogurt about mid-morning, sometimes with fruit.

If I had to pick a favorite breakfast right now -- say someone asked me, like it was my birthday or something -- I'd have to say Red River 'N Oats Pancakes.  Oh, they are delicious, but you've got to plan ahead -- so we often have them for supper instead.

Yeah, breakfast... it's not just for breakfast anymore!  Tell me what you like.

16 October 2006

Introductions

There are some bloggers that I've read for a long time that I am due to meet for the first time next weekend.  I also will renew acquaintance with some, and meet others that are completely new to me.  I might have fostered enough comfort with my own moniker in the last month (the cat letting go my tongue) that I may actually be able to introduce myself. ; )  It remains to be seen if it's the Knitoriously Shy or the I'm Knitorious Vicki who makes the trip.

Webbutton_wannaplay_1Rhinebeck Bingo, baby -- that might change the face of things. Stitchy sent my card today and I can't wait!  I'm a playa and a square.

Squarelogo_1Anyway, I've been reading many of these blogs for about the same amount of time, the bloggers co-mingle and fraternize in my mind and they all know each other.  I barge through their open and inviting doors everyday, from one to the other and on to the next, as if they were neighbors on my street and down 'round the corner -- sometimes one or more of us are visiting another at the same time!  Many of us have coffee or lunch together everyday.  I not only know what they knit, I often know about their kids, what type of work they do, what they drive, their favorite shoes, when their birthdays and anniversaries are, their favorite TV shows and sports teams, what their favorite breakfast is, where they go on vacation, sometimes I know what their hopes and dreams and aspirations are, all too often, it seems, I also know the heartbreak.  Playerlogo_2While we're being all friendly and neighborly, though, the truth is that many of these people have only ever met in the far reaches of my mind.  They don't know each other at all!!!

I am beside myself with excitement and anticipation and nervousness, and look forward to some great introductions.  Perhaps we shall be witness to a match made in heaven watch sparks fly (dude, take cover!) as another Cara-and-Ann friendship is born.  ; )  Yes, I do take full credit for that one.

(OMG, did you see Cara's Short Rows yet?)

Like Ann, I'm having a hard time with the "fiber festival project."  I cast on for a plain stockinette sock the other night, as I mentioned I might, but I think it's too big and I should probably go down a needle size, but I wanted to do it on two circs and I don't have two circs of that size.  Bummer, I know.  I am just a few short rows (that's short in quantity) away from the first Bayerische heel, but not only is that not a stockinette sock, I've also been advised that turning the heel is best done alone.  ; )  I also cast on for the Moebius shawl again yesterday -- remember that?  Yeah, well, dammit.  And dammit again.  Ann, I keep getting that big gaping hole.  I knit and unknit and tried again and unknit again and knit some more -- what does that instruction mean right there?  I'll tell ya, I was in the groove with this thing a few weeks ago (all except for the big gaping hole part), but yesterday I was reading the instructions and the entire thing could have been written in Martianese.  Anyway, will you help me if I bring it?  I can't believe I'm having such difficulty with this thing -- and that it's taking all this assistance from all corners!!  ; )

Can I tell you how freakin' happy I am about winning my Fantasy Football matchup yesterday?  All of our teams/players played yesterday, so there's no waiting around 'til tonight's game for the winner of our match-up.  I was a 30-point underdog early yesterday morning, but made a few changes and drew it closed to 20 -- and I just really couldn't do any more than that, except that somehow, I overlooked Javon Walker as WR and still had him on reserve (duh!) -- this was like a completely new fantasy team for me this week because the Packers were on a bye and I'm just a freaking bleeding heart -- but anyway, it was very competitive all day and so much fun!  Honestly, my kids think I'm even more nuts.  Thank you, Jason Elam, I won by 3 points!  My record is now 2-4, which I like a whole lot better than 1-5.  ; )

14 October 2006

Surprised by the North Star

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I'm a pretty laid-back passenger, not much of a back seat driver.  It was (and will be) me who drove around with the girls when they had their learner's permits.  I didn't get too flustered when Katie hit the gas instead of the brake and got really, really close to the house.  I didn't have a fit when Ali hit the gas instead of the brake and made a big dent in the garage door.  I calmly explained the intricacies of the Y-turn as we climbed out of the ditch.  I have been known to grab a handle, put my hand on the dash, draw a sharp breath.

Last night, Katie was at the wheel.  She was down-shifting, slowing to stop at an intersection, when I drew a sharp breath.

"WHAT?!!"  Annoyed.

"YOU'RE WEARING MY MITTENS!!"  Smiling ear-to-ear, getting out the camera -- it was like running into a really, really good friend after a long time apart.

She had to take them off after a while -- it was cold, but not North Star cold -- I tried them on, admired my work.  Oh yeah, they're a little short for me.  I recalled one of my many "learning opportunities" with these mittens.  Stephanie's advice to "block some sense into the thing" always makes me smile.  Oh, man, I love these mittens!

My sky is very pretty to the east this morning.  The soundtrack is Canada geese.  This morning, we'll be buttoning up the house -- putting away air conditioners, replacing screens with storm windows (ick, that means washing windows, too).  The furnace has been on for a little while now.

13 October 2006

Knitting, Mothering, Some Bright Ideas

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Fair warning right at the very beginning... this one got a little long-winded on me, it may have even gotten away altogether.

Photo-ready with nearly two of the large repeats finished -- Bayerische With Apples.  I still love it, and the love is growing right along with the sock.  It's so textured and looks much more complicated and intense than it really is.  There's even one whole row in the repeat where there's hardly any manipulation of stitches at all.  ; )

I've heard, though, that a stockinette sock is best for the social knitting situations, so I may just have to start another before Thursday's departure.  I've never knit a plain stockinette sock, and have wanted to give it a go, and have some self-something yarn that my sister gave me for Christmas last year.  Preparations for all knitting contingencies during travel makes me more frantic than just about anything else!  Even more than what to wear.  ; )  By the way, I've added Weather.com's local forecast feed for Rhinebeck to my Bloglines, if anyone is interested.

It's so cold and windy here!  It feels and looks and smells like winter, and I've seen flakes floating around -- but OMG, Buffalo!  Brrr.  I see three new pairs of wool socks in my near future and they will be most welcome!

Lonesome_1There are still a few more days to join the Lonesome Skein KAL hosted by Carole and Susan.  There are over 100 posts already, lots of pattern links, and pictures of single-skein FOs already, too!  One item that I'll be knitting and posting over there is the Zoom Dust Mop Cover, a free pattern at Knit Playground.  I found this link a while ago at Julia's -- with pie!  I totally love this idea, having almost all hardwood in my home, and I have two such dust mops (one upstairs, one down)!  I think I'll knit mine in brighter colors, though.

Random Kid News:  Ali may be getting a different job at -- are you ready for it? -- another coffee shop.  ; )  It's the same one Katie works for, but in a different location.  She's heading off for a weekend of fun with friends in LaCrosse -- home of Oktoberfest USA which, thankfully (from this mother's point of view), has already occurred.  Maddy finished the classroom part of driver's ed this week and will be eligible to take the test for her learner's permit on the 25th.  My baby will soon be driving.

Speaking of babies, my blog friend (yet blogless) and fellow quitter Lesli has a new baby girl -- I like to think of her as my fairy blogchild -- one week plus one day old today, and she is positively perfect.  Congratulations Lesli!  You're a new mom!  ; )

I've been thinking a lot about moms this morning, prompted by Lesli's news, Katy's and Ann's posts this morning, stuff that's been ruminating. I think a lot about the Bookish Baby-on-the-way, look forward to Melanie's posts about Scarlet and Blu -- I feel so grateful to these women, and others, who share their pregnancies and their babies and their children with us.  Actually, as much as I'm grateful, I'm equally as envious that they have the technology at their disposal that makes it so easy for them to do so!  It's so cool for the babies themselves -- well, it will be when they grow up and appreciate it.

I've been thinking about Amish mothers.

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I've been thinking about the Dutchicans and their mom -- half-Dutch, half-Mexican, Michigander triplets, all boys, due soon -- and the knit-along that I haven't joined yet, but it's only a matter of time (which is actually running out, so I'd better move!).  ; )

I've been thinking alot about my own motherhood which, well, let's just say that I don't think we're in the phase that's going to be my favorite.  I've been thinking of my sisters who are mothers -- one new, one not so new.

I've been thinking about Vicki.  She's a mom.  She's a knitter and a writer, too.  She writes more than she knits and I guess I've been hoping that it'll rub off.  I recently read about a new project that she's involved in, Gravity Pulls You In: A Book For Parents With Children on the Autism Spectrum.  There are many reasons why I would take note of that, but mainly it's because I know how much a book like that can mean -- and to spread the word. 

All of us with challenges.

In my comment at Ann's today I said that I have renewed appreciation for mothers -- past, present and future -- and that I draw strength from thinking about other mothers and women almost everyday.  That's one of the ways that I "mother myself."  Self-care.  I don't know. How do I express this?

I can feel it sometimes, can't you?  It's like a mother-ring, though really doesn't have anything to do with whether you're a mother.  You just think about and kind of "mother in your mind" women in pain or need, whatever their situation, and you think about yourself in their shoes, and then them again, and then your own mother -- possibly from a brand new perspective and with new appreciation -- maybe your aunts and grandma, and your old neighbor lady, and back to yourself, and then back to the beginning again.  It's like strength is gained with each trip around the ring, or some new knowledge or realization is made, or even just an acknowledgement.  There's an energy that builds -- a give-and-take that most of the "participants" aren't even aware of -- and even at one's lowest, emptiest and most distraught, when they feel there's nothing left, there is still something to give... something to be found.  It's love and life and hurt and compassion, spirit and will and hope, sadness and tears, strength and joy, happiness, fortitude.  It's like a Red Tent.  It's like clapping for Tinkerbell.  It's pretty much behind every ((hug)) I've ever given.

Does that make sense?  I probably need to hang out with Vicki some more.  ; )

Oh, but this morning -- in the realm of writers and Bright Ideas, I woke to find that Sandra Kring left a comment on the post where I talked about her book!  Freaky Friday!!

12 October 2006

Wind in her hair

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Katie has inherited my thing for cars.  On Monday, October 2nd, I drove her to the parking lot of our nearest grocery store -- at 5:30 a.m. -- so she could take delivery of her new baby.  It's a 1990 Saab 900 Turbo which she purchased, all by herself, via the internet, from a used car dealer in New York.  She not only found and purchased the car herself, she also arranged financing for a small amount of the purchase price, transport of said vehicle from NY to WI, insurance, licensing, maintenance check-up, and purchase and installation of a new radio*.  In short, my baby doesn't need me anymore.  I'm both happy and sad, you know?  Doesn't she look happy?  I think she likes the way the wind blows through her hair when the sun roof is open.  She's also been turning heads.  You know how guys with puppies or babies just naturally attract the appreciable and admiring attention of the opposite sex?  It's like that for Katie with this car.  Who knew?  She's a little blown away, too, and said that this particular car must be the "muscle car of Saabs."  Plus, she's just so darn cute and stylish, if a mother may say.  ; )

*I don't know what to call it.  It's a radio, but ohsomuchmore -- iPod-ready, satellite radio-ready, CD player, and the display panel is a regular light show! 

KNITTING:  Deb, you were right!  I stuck with it and I love Eunny's Bayerische sock!  I took Margene's advice, sort of, in regard to the tightness of my knitting and went up a needle size; "sort of" because I only ripped back to the increase row, so the ribbing is done on Size 0 and the rest on Size 1.  I have a start on the second large repeat and tried on the sock last night (not easy with inflexible DPNs) and I think it's going to be just fine.  I'm not dropping nearly as many stitches and the knitting is much more pleasurable overall.  And I've decided that my next socks are going to be Mim's Eleanora.  Yes, I do have two (three, if you want to get technical) other pairs of socks in progress already.  What of it?

11 October 2006

Cuteness trumps all

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It's a Mackigator for Halloween!

10 October 2006

Random Tuesday

I'm having a heck of a getting a post off today, even a random one.  My camera is still at Mom's.

I've got a new email address:  vknitorious at gmail dot com.  Yeppers.  I've still got the yahoo one, but the reply-to should be gmail, as would be my reply to comments on the blog.  I've been trying to use the new one when I leave a comment, too.  ; )

I haven't completely finished the shrug yet -- maybe tomorrow.  You're sick of hearing about it, I know.  It's been a year since I first mentioned it.  I ignored it yesterday in favor of the first Bayerische sock.  I wonder if I've bitten off more than I care to chew right now with that Bayerische sock business.  Sometimes I knit too tightly, which makes knitting -- not to mention cabling without a needle -- pretty frustrating, so I have employed both crochet hook and cable needle with some regularity.  Not really saving much time, you know?  It's mostly a test of agility and trying not to poke my eyes out with all five DPNs employed, plus cable needle and sometimes hook, and also taking into account the stupid bifocals and how I can sometimes see better without them, but then it's got to be close -- and I'm not kidding about the danger with the eyes.  I had lots of practice with Shirl in cabling without a needle -- there was only one cross in the chart where I used it regularly -- so maybe as I make progress and (hopefully) loosen up, it'll be easier.  Deb, Celia... how are you doing with this pattern?  Who else is knitting these socks?

My "T" is overdue.  Hopefully T-omorrow.

This weekend (or maybe tomorrow), I plan to re-start the moebius for the gazillionth time -- okay, maybe only fourth time.  I intend to have it ready to go on the airpline, a week from Thursday, to Rhinebeck.  I'll bring both WIP socks, with Celtic Braid on standby, in case the aforementioned is too much.  I'll have to think about what else I can start pack tote so all knitting opportunities will be covered.

I'd sure like to bring home something good from Rhinebeck (before y'all get too excited, people, it will not be a wheel -- if there were 10 more minutes to each day, maybe, but not now).  By good, I mean with purpose -- memorable and meaningful.  I don't really do well in the purchasing department at these types of things, lots of onesie-twosie purchases -- last year, two hanks of STR, one hank of Alchemy Haiku, one hank of Brooks Farm Four Play -- I used the STR (anyone remember Jaywalkers?), but the other two are still with me.  No real purpose.  I certainly don't need to buy stuff to participate in Lonesome Skeins!

Tonight is WW and I am torn.  I don't know -- how long have I been doing this? -- and I'm just spinning my wheels.  I'm just not into it right now, even though I'd still like to lose a few pounds.  Oh, I am so not into it.  Problem is, it's getting colder.  I'd been wearing cropped pants all summer -- mostly lightweight cotton with a drawstring, I bought one in just about every color -- but they're not working so much anymore.  They don't make drawstring jeans.  ; )  Yes, I have heard of elastic.  No, thanks anyway.  Truth is, I do not want to buy new clothes just so I have something that fits without binding or pinching a nerve or cutting off the blood flow.  I hate buying clothes and with this attitude, well, I sense disaster, frustration, anger -- and no new clothes.  So, yeah, I'm just venting.  I don't want to be a twig -- not even close -- why the hell does it have to be so hard.  I did reach the elusive 10-lb. loss mark a few weeks ago, but as of last week I let another three drift back and this week is going to be horrible.  I just know it.  Warning:  I will not be held responsible for any sudden upswings caused by reading the following sentence.  There's been homemade split pea chowder, cream of broccoli soup and apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies from purchased dough (close enough, you know?).

09 October 2006

Monday

I don't know what I was "reading" when I was "reading my knitting" the other day.  I ended up making one arm of Shirley Shrugs almost an inch longer than the other.  It's kind of funny that I couldn't wait to get to the finish and yet ended up knitting an inch more than needed.  No one seems to care, so I guess I don't either.  It's just noted for the record.  ; )  I washed Shirl on Saturday, and spent quite a bit of time crocheting sage green Mission Falls cotton around plastic rings in order to make buttons.  In the end, no buttons.  The recipient of the shrug really does want a shrug and doesn't care so much about a shawl.  -I- care about a shawl, and if it were mine, it would be a shawl, no question.  The giftee should be happy, no?  Also, I didn't like how the buttons turned out.  I sewed up an arm, then the other, then ripped one out, but will soon sew it up again -- and maybe make a couple of little tucks in the back.  And it will be done.

Last night, I finally wound up the Lorna's Laces for the Socktoberfest Bayerische Socks and got a little start.  I'm only about half-way through the ribbing for the cuff -- that "through the back loop" all the time can be a pain, but I sure like how it looks.  This is my first time using Size 0 needles -- actually 2 is as low as I've gone thus far -- and I'm astonished.  Very cool.

Arrrgh.  If I'd left Ahman Green in my fantasy lineup instead of replacing him with Vernon Morency, I'd have come out ahead even though Greencandidit from the bench for the whole game!  It was a very sad, last-minute loss for the Packers yesterday.  Favrecouldhavedoneit.  ; )

I forgot my camera at Mom's yesterday, so I'm picture-less today.  And I've GOT to CUT this short... excuse me while I take the SCISSORS into the BATHROOM to CUT out the DAMN TAGS in this SHIRT that are driving me absolutely NUTS today.  My #1 pet peeve for the last 25 years -- haven't found one to top it yet -- if you're going to make a nice, soft-as-butter, cotton shirt, why the frick would you sew in the scratchiest, most annoying tags you can find; #1a, at the neck AND in the side seam.  Or maybe it's just me.  And it's Monday.

08 October 2006

Sunday

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I hope that Greencandüit and Drivercandüit and Jenningscandüit and Bubbacandüit, too!  (This is one of my stepdad's favorite hats.  Pretty cute, huh?)

07 October 2006

Sky

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That's my favorite back yard ash, now leafless.  We've had a spectacular week weather-wise -- foggy, frosty mornings giving way to clear, sunny skies and warm temperatures.  You can't walk anywhere without leaves crunching underfoot.

Thanks for the comments yesterday -- and for making me think.  This is why I love blogging and why I continue to blog, even though it's sometimes hard, and I sometimes have doubts -- my feelings run the gamut from forthright and funny (though maybe I'm only amusing myself) to intimidated and shy to presumptuous and sanctimonious to over-exposed to wondering if I'm banging my head against the wall just to see if it makes a sound.  Oh, there's more -- so much more I want to say, but did you see that sky?  Yeah, and Mack is coming today!!  I haven't seen him in a month -- since the day he started walking!

06 October 2006

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Dsc08660Halloween is not usually something I decorate for -- one or two of my kids are big into it, and a sister claims it's her favorite time for decorating, but it's never grabbed me.  (I was never very clever at the costumes as a kid, either.)  Maybe I saw The Birds and Rosemary's Baby at too early an age (Mia Farrow was married to Frank Sinatra at the time and that was pretty scary to me, too -- he was so old), or never quite recovered from my sleepless week after seeing The Exorcist.  Those movies are probably laughable to kids now, and I can't imagine what they'd think of Dracula and Frankenstein, or anything that Vincent Price starred in.  Oh, when I saw that tombstone -- at Target, of all places -- I had to have it!  I keep moving it around the yarn yard*.  It may show up in another photo shoot someday.  ; )

I had goodies in the mail today, too.  I had a little credit coming, so only had to shell out about $10 for those two books!  I have picked up Knitting Nature every single time I've seen it in a shop, I sigh when it appears on my computer screen -- it had to be mine.  I love it.  I first saw Knit2Together at a book store the day I was in Eau Claire to see Stephanie and was completely taken with it.  It didn't seem right to buy it then, though, I kind of felt a little like I'd be cheating.  ; )  Totally love it, too!

As you can see, Shirl is off the needles completely -- and all the ends are woven in.  It is really a very nice shawl just as it is, but there's a little work ahead to make it a shrug.

*Honestly, how many times do you do that?  The funniest thing, though, is the number of times I've actually done a double-take to read a sign in someone's yard on a Saturday morning -- how many times, really, have you actually seen a "Yarn Sale" in someone's garage?  Obviously, wishful thinking is at work on my brain!

05 October 2006

Fitting

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I bought this yarn for Socktoberfest at Yarns by Design during the Midwest Masters Seminar* weekend -- had to have it for these socks, really, with a name like "Harvest."  Isn't it pretty?  I guess this will be my third pair using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, and the sock yarn I've used most often.  I intend to knit Eunny's Bayerische Socks -- good practice for the eventual Am Kamin.

It's been a busy week at Chez Knitorious.  I've managed only a few rows on Shirl during each of the past few nights, but those stitches and rows do add up!  There are six rows to go and I expect the knitting to be finished tonight -- maybe the weaving-in of a few ends, too.  I have ideas and supplies on-hand for the sleeve closures -- and a day off tomorrow.  ; )

*The Spring 2007 session, April 28-29, will have classes taught by Candace Eisner Strick, Susan Lazear, Joan McGowan-Michael, Annie Modesitt, and Kathleen Power Johnson -- the class details aren't up yet.

04 October 2006

Sock it to me, baby

Lolly has questions, I have answers -- I'm late today, but I have answers...

Socktoberfest_3When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative, or in a class?

I started knitting socks in summer 2005.  I taught myself with a handful of good books for reference and a bunch of blog posts and bloggers behind me for support.

What was your first pair?  How have they "held up" over time?

I finished my first socks in August '05, after finally giving in to the whole sock thing -- I'd been tempted from practically The Day That I Discovered Knitting Blogs.  I used Nancy Bush's "Rib & Cable Socks" pattern published in Interweave Knits, using Mountain Colors Bearfoot.  I wore these socks quite often last winter and they've held up very nicely.

What would you have done differently?

Not much, really, other than pay attention more (there are a couple of cable crosses that went undone).

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

I have used the above-mentioned Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Socks That Rock, Trekking XXL, and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock.  I have a few other sock yarns in stash, but haven't used them yet.

Do you like to crochet your socks, or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I knit them on DPNs -- I prefer four needles, but sometimes five works better.  I have the necessary equipment to try 2 circs and have a tiny bit of practice knitting with that method.

Which kind of heel do you prefer (flap or short-row)?

I've only ever done a flap.  I like it fine.

How many pairs have you made?

I think I have made 6-1/2 pair -- counting one pair of baby socks (but not booties) and one pair of slipper socks, both constructed with heel flaps and kitchenered toes (in other words, socks).  I have one pair in progress (Celtic Braid, I'm on sock #2) and the Socktoberfest on the horizon.

03 October 2006

Shirl the pearl

Shirl1I snapped these bathroom pics on Sunday night.  I worked on "Shirley Shrugs" during every spare moment of the weekend.  At the lunch break on Saturday, I ran to Zuppa's for lunch, then walked down to the shop to buy two hanks of Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Sock for my Socktoberfest socks (my only purchase of the weekend!), and went straight back to the seminar venue and got right to work.  I sat out the break between end of Saturday classes and dinner in the "hospitality room" doing the same, and lunch on Sunday was a rinse-and-repeat of Saturday (except for Zuppa's and the yarn).  I was asked about it on occasion and I'd roll my eyes and called it "my penance."  It's all paid off, though, and there are fewer than 20 rows to go as of last night.  Margene's words have been echoing in my head: "...do what you can do... want to do it all... it's still only one stitch at a time."  She might have said something about some sort of process, too.  ; )

Shirl2Oh, my, is this ever nice around the shoulders.  The short rows worked wonderfully, just as I'd hoped, and I'm excited to finish the knitting and fool around with the closures -- probably from cuff to elbow or just above.  What I've got cooking in my mind's eye -- an optional closure at each end so that it may be worn closed as a shrug or open as a shawl, but without looking "unbuttoned," so that the closures have to be a decorative element, or... this makes me laugh... you might even say an "embellishment."  You know, I'm going to have to admit that I've had a few fuzzy thoughts about what I might like to do, but the inspirational clarity comes from one of Fiona's swatches.

Did I mention that I love Fiona Ellis?  ; )

If I wasn't so bored, I'd knit another one of these for myself.  Perhaps I will one day -- I actually have a start on one because it wasn't long after getting going on this that I could see the writing on the wall -- lots of writing (longhand) on a very big wall -- so I started another in a bulkier, woolier yarn and I really tried to sell it to Mom as being more preferable, but she didn't buy it.  I sometimes think that she might have gone for it if I'd made a larger swatch, but actually... I know my mother... she would have said, "Knit both and I'll choose," or (more likely) "Knit both and I'll take both!"  Heh.  Katie wants one, too.  I love her dearly, but she can knit her own.  I've learned many things by knitting Shirley Shrugs, and probably the most important is that I won't be knitting anything for anyone (except perhaps wee Mack) for Christmas this year -- and maybe not next year, either.  ; )

So it wasn't a very happy day for Packers fans yesterday.  I gambled in the Fantasy game and lost big.  I'll tell you who I'm happy for today, though, and it's Charlie Pena.  I cried my way through the pre-game feature on "Coach Charlie" last night -- my eyes weren't truly clear and dry 'til mid-way through the first quarter -- and I had the same feeling that I did during Super Bowl XXXII.  If we lost, it would be okay in a cosmic sense because Charlie would be so happy, the perfect seal for his wish, just as it was "right" that John Elway won that Super Bowl game.  Sometimes, it's all about the warm-fuzzies -- yeah, is my competitive streak showing?  ; )

As found at Mason-Dixon Knitting:  I've sent my foot measurements to Cat Bordhi, have you?

Still to come:  Katie's "new" car.  Socktoberfest details.

02 October 2006

Shawl we?

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This is one of two mini Faroese shawls I made yesterday from the top down.  I rather hurriedly pinned it out and might pull and tug a little differently next time, but I just wanted it down so I could see it!  The second one is all garter, which is more traditional in Faroese shawls than stockinette, though top down isn't traditional at all, yet shoulders are warmed either way -- and isn't this just fantastic?  I learned two different increases for the shoulder shaping, various ways to do the knitted-on border, mitering corners, and a bunch of other stuff!  The cast-on and beginning of the shawl were pretty cool, too.

I have been intrigued by Faroese shawls for a while now, so I didn't hesitate in signing up for this all-day class with Joan Schrouder.  On Saturday evening, between classes and dinner, I spent a little while in the "hospitality room" at the hotel (I've been working on Shirley Shrugs during every spare moment) and was fascinated by a tiny, in-progress sweater that someone had from Joan's Saturday class.  It made me look forward to Sunday's class even more -- what an excellent way to teach specifics, by working in miniature and doing every step exactly as you would on a full-sized piece.  Joan is an excellent teacher -- and I'm very happy that I signed up.

Dsc08643On Saturday, I had two classes with Fiona Ellis.  The first was "Morphing Cables" and here is my morning's work... actually, it was all play -- play, play play.  I feel like all I did in Fiona's classes was play!  It was definitely play with purpose and very energizing.  While most others in the class were much more organized and thoughtful about their designs and patterns, I was much less not structured at all.  I took it one row at a time -- sometimes one stitch at a time -- as presented on the needle, ending up with a very free-form piece.  I am no stranger to cables, I'm even beginning to rely on reading the knitting a little more than the chart or pattern once it's been established and have played around with charting designs, but I've never actually cast on a bunch of stitches and just played before.  Oh, what FUN!  Dsc08644Nearing the end of Shirley Shrugs, a very traditionally styled, organized and thoughtful cable piece, it was just wonderful for me to leave organized and thoughtful at the door, to throw repeats and row count and stitch count out the window, and to cross whenever and wherever the hell I felt like it and in whatever direction felt good at the moment -- for no particular reason.  Because of this free-formness, some of it is kind of icky, but there is a bit of promise, too, and so I am qiute happy.  My teacher liked it, too.  ; )

May I just say?  I love Fiona Ellis.  By the end of the Saturday classes, I was almost sorry that I hadn't signed up for Sunday's "Funky Fair Isles" class -- and I've never seriously considered knitting a Fair Isle (yet), much less thought about messing around with a design!

My other class with Fiona was "Hand Embellishments" and you will never see my work from that class.  This one was really a stretch for me.  I don't adorn things, I don't accessorize very well, or even wear jewelry much.  I was having a hard time coming up with "bits and bobs" to take with me to class because I just don't have much in the way of "bits and bobs" -- I ended up taking mostly buttons and didn't use a single one.  My embellishing consisted of embroidery.  I tend to go all-out in my pursuit of a craft, along a very narrow and focused path, and gather lots of "bits and bobs" specific to whatever is the current passion.  It takes a little more vision, more of an artistic nature, a bit more risk -- perhaps some degree of flamboyance (of which I have pretty much none) -- some playfulness and intermingling and willingness to experiment in order to embellish.  I admire that spirit and freedom.  I am not sorry at all that I took the class -- I learned some things that I think I will be able to apply.

Did I say?  I love Fiona Ellis.  I can count the knitting classes and knitting teachers I've had on one hand -- most of them have been at the two Midwest Masters Seminars I've attended.  I have to say that the part I enjoy most about these classes has absolutely nothing to do with the class that's being taught -- it's everything else.  I love all the stories and sharing of experience, a glimpse of the spirit and personality, the interaction with other students, the questions and answers.  People like Joan and Fiona are so energizing just by being -- their creativity and passion for what they do is evident in everything they do and say -- the room and the people in it become energized, too.  It's exhilarating and wonderful!  I feel very fortunate.

One of the really great parts of the Midwest Masters Seminars is the dinner on Saturday night and Show-and-Tell.  Both teachers and students are encouraged to show off their work and the quality (and sometimes quantity) is just amazing!  I showed off Fib (had actually worn it all day on Saturday), saw some beautiful Fair Isle and lace work, a Salt Lake City Olympics sweater (though not knit for the Knitting Olympics), "Gathering Intentions" and the cover sweater from Fiona's book, and TWO completed Am Kamin/Crossed In Translation sweaters -- just gorgeous!  One of them is pictured here -- Anita is the only other blogger I was aware of, and that didn't happen 'til very late yesterday.  I did not "advertise," and if anyone recognized me or Fib, they kept it to themselves.  ; )

I should have bought a lottery ticket on Saturday night -- I won the first door prize of the evening at dinner (Morehouse Farms Merino Knits!), and then came home to find that Celia needs my foot measurement because my number came up for the hand-knit socks!  How cool is that?

Oh, yes, I feel very fortunate indeed.

May I also say?  I love the recent improvements to Bloglines.  ; )

Amy Lu, I'm sorry you didn't make it.  I know you're going to ask what's coming up for spring...  I don't remember.  I'm sorry -- the schedule will be posted soon!  I do know that if I am to attend any Midwest Masters classes next year, it will have to be spring because the fall session is going on the road -- a very long road -- to Ireland, ten days.  Very exciting, and fun to dream about, but way out of my realm of possibilities.

Coming up this week:  Shirley will be finished.  ; )  Katie has a car.

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