Sunday, February 25, 2007

A true addiction

I've been reading Mason Dixon Knitting for several months now, and those two gals met on a Rowan message board. Rowan Yarns - what is it about them? In the past, they were a bit difficult to get here in Atlanta. Apparently they have rules about distances between shops that could carry them, opening order amounts, and all that. I had not been seduced by Rowan.

That changed last summer when I went on a shop crawl with my boss to check out the competition. I've reached an age where I appreciate simple, classic clothing. Quite honestly, I may admire a 40 or 50 year old woman who wants to wear something that shows off all her many tattoos - I admire her guts, not her fashion sense, but I know that I would look as ridiculous in a get up like that as she does. So when I picked up Kim Hargreaves Summer Tweed Collection pattern book, I was hooked. Most of these are basic sweaters that are pretty timeless. And Summer Tweed - a blend of 70% silk and 30% cotton. I have had sweaters out of silk cotton blends before. I know they don't hold their shape as well as something with some wool in them, but that never stopped me from literally wearing them to death. I would only give them away as they either fell apart or no longer fit me. I started to look for Summer Tweed online.

Online, you say. But Eve, you work in a LYS, why not support one of those? Mainly because I feel no real compunction to support my competition, especially when I can find colors I like on sale online. I am nearly finished with Basil, a long sleeved, V-neck Summer Tweed sweater. This morning while perusing MDK, I followed some of the links to an online shop, then wondered about another one that I had heard was having a sale. There I found another color of Summer Tweed, marked down 40%. Butterball, a nice pale neutral color. Thyme will soon be on the project list. Thyme is a cardigan knit in basketweave.

Yes, I know you need pictures to see all these things. Bear with me as I learn the vagaries of blogging. I have worked extra days this week, and being no longer 23, I find I'm pretty tired at the end of the day. Add to that hitting the gym and walking Sassy this past week, and I've been going to sleep much earlier that I would like (except for the 2 nights I unfortunately found documentaries on lake monsters and the CIA's Project Stargate on PBS)

More later. I hear Keith finally up and moving which means the Sunday Pancake Breakfast will soon commence.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What not to watch...

when knitting. We all have that actor or actress we can't take our eyes off of. Who know? It may be Cary Grant or Michelle Pfeiffer or Malcolm MacDowell. For me it's been vintage 1980's beefcake thanks to year end sales and DVD discount bins. I've been watching Kurt "Call me Snake" Russell and Arnold. (Translation - Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China and The Running Man) And thanks to them I have some tinking (unknitting) to do. I finished Keith's sock while watching Running Man and found myself wondering about some extra stitches that were supposed to have been used up. This is the one with 11 stitches per inch, so I'm not thrilled about undoing it. However, I will always wonder about it, and at least I learn from my mistakes, so undo it I shall.

There are some amazing knitters out there. I'm talking the kind that no longer have to look at their work at all. I know one who knits mega fast on size 3 (pretty tiny) needles while looking all around and acting like a junior high kid with some of the snarky comments. She can continue to knit while dozing off (or so I've heard). Perhaps someday I'll get there, but I lack the confidence to boldly knit ahead too far without looking. I've done a bit too much ripping out.

I will admit that not all of my ripping out has been from checking out beefcake in action movies. I do have a most able assistant, the very spoiled 16 year old Scooter who thinks my lap is often the best place in the entire house to sleep. Who cares if I'm in the middle of a row? He is sure that his comfort is my only concern. For the most part, he is right. He was feeling puny a few months ago, and I convinced Keith to let him stay and sleep with us. We normally have to keep the cats out since they need petting and feeding at 3 am, then 5 am, with the real breakfast at 6:30. I could tell that Scooter was not feeling well at all since he let me sleep almost the entire night. Luckily now he is back to his youthful self the few hours of the day that are spent awake. The picture above is Scooter with his shadow, Grey (aka Princess Plumeria).
Wow, sounds like I need to get a life. After being at work all day, checking out all the new yarns as I either enter them into our inventory system or get them out on the shelves, it's hard to get out of the knitting mode. I'm around yarn and knitters all day long on the days I'm at work, and I spend more of my time off with knitters too. In some ways it seems like a cult. The yarn stores, both local and online, happily take my money. We speak our own lanquage of SSK and PSSO. My nonknitting family doesn't always know what to think when I whip out something to work on when we're out to dinner. I can no longer just sit and watch TV. I think the hardest part though is the choice do I knit or read P.D. James latest book? I haven't switched to audio books yet because I do love the printed word. And having a knitting project in the car makes the sometimes abysmal Atlanta traffic bearable. After all, if it takes 30 minutes to go one block, you might as well work on that sock.
More later...

Monday, February 19, 2007

40 degrees and yardwork

Today was the first day in about a week that it's been warmish here. We've been having our 1 week of winter for 2007, and it looks like spring will be here by week's end. By 9:30 today it was around 40 F outside which is plenty warm enough to do a bit of long needed yardwork. About once a year I tackle the granite stones that line the street along our yard. The grass grows over the tops of them making the yard look somewhat unkempt. I usually trim back my butterfly bushes in late Feb or early March, but with all the warm temps, it's almost too late to do it. Those were my tasks today. We had lots of sunshine and dry air. It was one of those days that we don't have too often with clear skies and low, low humidity. Needless to say, I was soon in a t-shirt even though the thermometer said 48 F. The yard looks slightly more groomed. I have a rosebush that is terrifying. It is covered with long, sharp thorns that look like big cat claws. It's a climbing, spreading rose that has been trying to take over the entire island where it is. It can wait until tomorrow.

I returned the trap today to Lifeline Animal Project. I had read somewhere that most cats, once they've been trapped, usually don't get trapped again. The woman I spoke to said some of the trappers keep trapping the same cats over and over again. (Apparently some cats never learn) That's a relief because one of the kittens had been trapped and escaped when I was attempting to feed it. I tried for 4 days to trap it with no luck.

I am so close to being finished with Keith's first sock tonight. I'll have the knitting completed, but I'm closing the toe by Kitchener stitching it together. This will create a toe that appears seamless if it's done properly. I'll have him model it and post it soon.

One more observation. Spending 30 minutes at 3 mph on the treadmill at the gym is no preparation to a 20 minute walk on asphalt with a hyper dog. I blew off the gym this morning to walk Sassy and do yardwork instead. Keith has taken her jogging some, so she pulled my out of shape a** the entire walk. I see I definitely need to hit that window tomorrow when the working people have left and before all the retirees show up to use the equipment.

Can you tell I'm trying really hard not to turn this into a knitting blog? My head is buzzing with what project can I start next? I do have another sock on the needles, I'll need to start the second sock of Keith's pair, but do I want to start on the cabled tank for me or Jesse's Flames for Keith? (Tank top will win out - less work, and I'll be able to wear it long before it gets cold enough for him to wear his wool sweater).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I was asked today why I decided to start blogging. Truthfully, it is because of Will, who works in one of the stores in the same strip center. He's going to teach English in South Korea for a year, and I thought he needed to set something up so we can all read about his adventures. I'm woefully ignorant about life in South Korea, and I have these ideas of what it must be like. I'm embarrassed to say it's probably about as real as any depiction of the south by Hollywood. I'm visualizing him having to kill his own chicken for dinner, and he's probably really going to be living in the exurbs of Seoul.

As for us, today was a typical Sunday. It's been cold here all week. I added another birdfeeder to our front yard. I was planning to take down the old one which really needs to be thrown away, but I've left it out for the time being. We have had masses of birds outside all week, including a flock of American goldfinches joining the regulars - the cardinals, titmouses, chickadees, downy woodpecker, redbellied woodpecker, etc. I even saw a Cedar Waxwing outside this afternoon. I know, you're thinking how very exciting it is. I told you it is quiet, lazy Sunday.

I'm nearly finished with the first sock for Keith that I've ever made. He rags me about the length of time a sock takes, but this is on size 1 double pointed needles, and I'm getting 11 stitches per inch. Think about it. 1 inch has 11 knitted stitches in it. The sock circumference is 100 stitches. I can work for several hours on this sock and not see any visible progress. Then all of a sudden I can tell that all that work has actually made a difference.

Luckily, I'm also working on a sweater for myself from Rowan's Summer Tweed. This luscious yarn is 70% silk, 30% cotton. It's worked on much larger needles (size 8's), and I've working both sleeves at the same time. I should have this one finished sometime next week. I have already finished the front & back. Unlike other knitters I read online, I'm lucky to get 2-3 hours of knitting in a day, and some days I don't knit a bit.

Anyway, pictures of both projects to follow later. I do have the yarn and pattern picked out for a sweater for Keith, but it looks like it will be next fall before he gets it. I haven't started it yet, but it's close to the top of the "to knit" list. I don't know if Amazon has pictures you can see, but it's Jesse's Flames from Stitch N Bitch Nation. Woo hoo! I get to tackle intarsia again.

I was also dismayed when I recently organized my yarn by the amount of sock yarn I have. I could knit socks for the next 2 years and still have yarn left. I must stay away from all the handpainted yarns out there. I have several Bearfoot from Mountain Colors, some Cherry Tree Hill and Greater Andirondacks Yarn. And no, dear family, socks still take way too long, so don't expect any handknit ones yet.

See why I don't talk about my knitting on the phone? It's like another language. That's all for now.

Starting out

Hi family and friends,

We, okay I, decided we needed to start a blog. This way you can see what we're up to. Truthfully, I'm mostly knitting lately, and I can now prove it by posting some of my projects. I've also been doing some TNR, which is trapping, neutering and returning feral cats in my neighborhood. I've done 2 cats so far. They've both been spayed and gotten their rabies shots. I've got to return the trap on Monday, but that's ok since it gives me and the cat colony a break. Luckily there are only 4 cats total to TNR. The neighbors don't mind the cats, they just don't want to bother with them. Quite frankly, I'm just as glad the neighbors don't mind them. Their backyard has been perfect feral cat habitat for many years now. Grey and Monster spent some time there during their early kittenhood before I moved Fluffy (aka Beatle) into the house.

Anyway, bear with me as I learn to use the digital camera and all the bells and whistles of blogging. Keith will probably post some too.