Saturday, November 17, 2007

Changed Knitting Plans

My ADD tendencies take a wild trip at the LYS...with my friend, Christine...the enabler! :)
I went up to my LYS as a focused woman, and bought thrummed mitten yarn and roving in a forest green hue for my 8 yr old, along with yarn (Ultra Alpaca) for my yet to be cast on Hemlock Ring Throw...(what was I thinking?) this particular LYS didn't carry Cascade Eco Wool, which I originally went there for. Happy with my purchases, I quickly exit the LYS and head home, contented. Upon arriving home, my brain kicks into gear, and I realize that the Ultra Alpaca is NOT a good choice for the Hemlock Throw, with all the blocking required, and that not one of the 354 people who knit it on Ravelry used this yarn, either. Also, my son noted that he would prefer RED mittens with BLACK roving, to match his "flame" hat.
To make a long story short, my craft co-conspirator Christine came over to knit, and before you know it, we were on our way to the LYS to exchange my yarn.
First, armed with a focused friend and a purpose, I exchanged the wool and roving for Sam's colors. Good. Next, I didn't see yarn I wanted for the Hemlock throw, so Christine excitedly asks me if I'd like to knit Fiber Trends Felted Clogs (see pic above of models) with her. Sure!
I exchange the Ultra Alpaca for...Ultra Alpaca in other colorways. I was told these would felt well. I've never knit this pattern before, but I'm casting on tonight! I've already circled all of my sizes on the pattern, and just need to wind my yarn and get my iPod in my ears.
Of course, while at the LYS for 1 1/2 hrs, my mind went crazy over project possibilities: Mittens knit with Cascade 220 and Mohair (both yarns are in my stash with pattern), a Manos Newport Shrug, Felted Clogs for Mom? Gloves for Sis? No...cabled scarf for Sis? more roving? sueded slipper bottoms for clogs? No... perhaps the new 101 One Skein Wonders book? Do I need more dpns? Well, I left there dizzy, but armed with my correct purchases. Celebrating the victorious trip, we went to Dunkin Donuts. Homework for both of us tonight: Cast on Felted Clogs and do the sole, and I've got to finish my second thrummed mitten, now that I have more roving.

My Saturday Knitting

College Boy is home...I am deliriously happy, and he looks great. Norwich U. has been a great fit for him, in many ways. The June Cleaver in me made homemade muffins for breakfast, and there's eggnog, coffee, eggs, cereals, or whatever he and his roommate want for breakfast.'s back to cold cereal. :)
Oh, the Knitting news...I don't have any peace about going to the Hemlock class this morning, as MUCH as I want to...besides the fact that College Boy's roomie needs to be dropped off at Logan Airport by 1 the opposite direction of the LYS where the class is being held. I've perused the Hemlock Throw pattern and Yahoo KAL site, and I'll try this on my own. ASAP.
So, to my favorite LYS I go, the Elegant Ewe, to pick up more yarn/roving for thrummed mittens, and some yarn to start the Hemlock Throw.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What constitutes "Stash?"

Tonight, after picking up my eldest at college in VT for Thankgiving Break (see note about side trip to a new LYS store for me, on the way to Norwich ...), I had a delightful surprise, and saw that my new Holiday WEBS catalog arrived in my mailbox! After dinner, clearing the table and washing the dishes, I poured myself a cup of coffee and read the catalog from front to back page, and mumbled out loud about some of the items. THAT'S when dear Hubby said..."Dear, you already HAVE everything yarn-related, don't you?" I couldn't believe it. What does he know about yarn and things? :) He compared me to the squirrel (Hammie) in Over The Hedge....

and said my stash of yarn is hidden all over the house. Sigh...he's right. Here are some ramblings from last month that I wrote on the subject:

Stash Ramblings...
Does Anyone, Except Me, Care About My Stash?

October 22, 2007

Stash? Is this a word with a negative connotation? To I’ve come to terms with my stash, and although I’m a HUGE fan of those who podcast about theirs (Stash and Burn, one of my FAVORITE podcasts!), I’ve come to terms with my stash.
My stash is a part of me. NO, not physical, not spiritual (that’s for sure), nor in any other abnormal way. Really. Let me explain.
OK, let’s meet my stash. Once upon a time (in August), my eldest left for his first year at college, and I “cleaned” out his room, and turned it into a “sewing/craft room”, with a dresser, twin sized bed, desk, and night stand for his use while home for the holidays. I scrubbed the room top to bottom, and stuffed into the bookshelves all of my squirreled-away knitting books, pattern books, knitting technique books, my Socks That Rock Club notebook, and everything I’ve ever printed from Knitty and such. I do mean ALL of my written knitting paraphernalia. I gathered every knitting printed item from all corners of my home, and lovingly put it on my bookshelves.
Next, it was the knitting “accessories”. Yes, the “accessories”...every stitch marker, needle sizer, dpn holder, every Lantern Moon, Crystal Palace, Brittany, and Rosewood dpn... every Addi in every length that I could coax out of hiding...every knitting bag from sock bag to my Jordania Page messenger bag...and everything in between. Yes, it was painful...the items keep appearing from bags...tins...purses...stuffed into yarn balls...still in original bags...etc.
Once the “stuff” reached the craft room, I put on some Iz music, and arranged my straights in a nice clear vase, the dpns in a mug (I like to see them, don’t ask why) and the Addis are currently (gulp) in a large decorated Maxwell House coffee tin. Yup. (And, yes, I have lovely handcrafted needle holders to use if I choose to). This...was the fun part. Pardon my grammatical mistakes while I jot down my stash blurb.
THE yarn was last. You know the saying about save the best for last. I was a bit apprehensive about pulling EVERY bit of hidden, stashed, bagged, skeined, caked, shoved yarn into the room. I made sure my wonderful hubby was at work (he wouldn’t understand this humongous undertaking, and would gasp at the sight of any yarn that wasn’t currently a WIP), poured a big cup of coffee, and went to all of my nooks and crannies in the house. This was sort of fun. Yes.
Some of the yarn I didn’t even remember purchasing. It was like Christmas. Some of it was sad, when I realized that either the person intended for a particular garment had passed away (such as my sister-in-law from lung cancer at an early age), or a child had outgrown a particular pattern that I had envisioned him in. I didn’t write a spread sheet for my yarn (yet), not did I catalog it or even write down what I had. All that my ADD mind could handle was to sort sock yarn into a bin, felting wools (including my beloved Manos del Uruguay) into another, and the rest was also sorted by weights. Laceweight and Qiviut have their own tote, and I’m happy.
I realize that I’m not in love anymore with some of the particularly colorful striping sock yarns, and some yarns that were well-meaning (but acrylic) gifts...and I can safely say that these will find good homes by appreciative and appropriately chosen knitters.
Fondling laceweights, Indie sock yarns, my Manos and my STR skeins put a contented smile on my soul. Only knitters understand this. Not my wonderful hubby, mother, or even close friends who are not knitters. I have an outlet for my physical body (everyday life and my wonderful family), I have an outlet for my spiritual body (I am a born-again Christian, first and foremost of importance to me), but what defines me, besides being a Christian, a wife, a mother, a registered nurse, a home schooling mom, a daughter, and a knitting.
My stash is not an embarrassment to me. “What I’ve chosen to purchase, keep, hide away, plan for, dream about and even part of me. :) I am a knitter and I love yarn...and I’m OK with that. Truly. :)

Back to the side trip to the LYS that I've never visited before: It's Knit New London, in New London, NH...about an hour away, where my family has a vacation home on a nice lake up there. Nice shop, lots of various yarns, models, quite a bit of Manos...and a bit of everything...I was very pleasantly surprised, and I wil visit this store often while in the area. Tomorrow they have a class, and I want to go SO bad! AND there's room! It's for the Hemlock Throw, and done in a soft luscious yarn, Cascade Eco +. A good friend is trying to talk me out of going, as I don't really have the time or finances this week, and I'll probably come to my senses and go to her house, have some good company, great coffee, and a wonderful time knitting with her tomorrow instead. :) And...go to the Elegant Ewe, BUY the yarn for the Hemlock Throw, and cast on anyway!
I'll let you know.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back in the Saddle and Knitting...

Yes...the nasty bug has left me...Tis the season for respiratory infections/colds and tummy aches around here... is it where you live? We've kissed the bugs goodbye here for a bit.

The day the nasty cold came, a friend begged me to head to a LYS with her to exchange some dpns...she needed a shorter needle. I vowed not to buy yarn. I felt the Manos, picked up the Manos...but common sense (and checkbook) reminded me that I have enough Manos at home to make a few (or even many) more blocks for the Manos throw, or at least until after Thanksgiving.

So, I put the Manos back. Ahem...on checkout, I saw little filled curiosity got the better of me. Taking a peek inside, I noticed various rainbow shades of yarn and roving...AND the LYS store model for a nice thrummed mitten.
Well...never having made mittens before...never mind a thrummed one...I was intrigued. I saw the blueberry Mauch Chunky (Kraemer Yarn) that is 60% New Zealand wool and 40% domestic wool...along with some huckleberry color roving in a cute bag with directions, and I grabbed the bag and a short-sized stitch holder and went to the checkout. I think that's called impulse buying...right?
While sitting at the kitchen table while my third grader does his math and home school work, I whipped out a fun mitten...and feel SO good! Why didn't anyone TELL me that mittens are SO easy...and so is thrumming! These mittens will work out great for the New Hampshire winter that's bound to arrive here sooner or later. One slight problem: I think I put 2/3rds of the roving into the first glove, so it will be interesting on my second glove as I try to "equalize" the thrumming into both gloves. Here is the outside and inside of my first glove:

Note: While the LYS provided mitten instructions, I didn't find them helpful to a new mitten knitter using thrumming. So...I went online, and found these helpful sites:
The Yarn Harlot's article and photos on thrumming, step by step
Yarn Forward Thrummed Mitten pattern for 4 dpns
Newfoundland Thrummed Mittens
and the pattern that I used for Thrummed Mittens from Knitting On The Net.

I just love the warmth of the roving inside the glove...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mind over Matter....Written Ramblings from last Month

My Mental Faculties and Knitting (I wrote this rambling last month after returning from vacation) :)

Why didn’t anyone tell me that I’d be losing my marbles at such a young age? Is this a normal part of motherhood? Change of Life? Peri-menopause? My ADD tendencies? Early onset of some form of dementia? Alzheimers? (No pun intended...because I do tend to worry about my increasing lack of memory, fragmented thoughts, word associations, calling everything a “thingy” when I can’t think of it’s name, etc...) Science tells us to sleep well, eat nutritiously, and to exercise our bodies and minds. Hmm...I sleep approx 6-7 hours a night, waking up at 5:20 (I love the mornings, eat fairly OK since the gastric bypass 5 years ago, and etc. A bit anemic, but I take care of that as well. My spiritual life keeps me “sane” and grateful for what the Lord has done for me and for saving my soul. I am profoundly thankful for my family, and grateful for my friends. Next...exercising the mind.
Exercising the mind. Hmm. Experts say to learn new skills, play an instrument, read, do crosswords, Sudoku, and such. For me...I knit. Knitting with a new (to me) and challenging technique that is a step beyond my current skills keeps me mentally alert and I love the adrenaline rush of figuring out a lace pattern, counting my stitches, double checking a charted pattern, and trying a new knitting skill. Slow and steady, I frog, frog, tink, tink, and re-knit until I get the “Eureka!” moment of a correct knitted project. I get an undescribable feeling of contentment and satisfaction of “conquering” a pattern...and yet the soothing feeling of Manos (or whatever) and the repetition of a familiar pattern fills me with a sort of hormonal or endorphin type of happiness. As my lone knitting friend Christine reminds me, “knitting is a legal choice of drug or therapy.” :) Happiness often results as I think of the recipient of the garment, and knit as much love into the garment as I can. I think I am a process knitter, with the patience for finished garments. Usually.
While on vacation last week, I was knitting with Zephyr laceweight on a popular tourist beach. I think my family was a bit annoyed, but I loved the sea breeze, the satisfaction of the knitting (while others read or slept and snored), and the fact that I have a beautiful lace scarf that’s ready to be given as a Christmas present. I even had hubby photograph me with my project at the water’s edge. Now that’s love!
I may end up losing my mental faculties at an early age, late in life, or not at all. I do enjoy knitting, and as long as I remember this and get the chance to continue knitting, I’m a happy camper. Keep the drugs and crosswords, I’ll stick with knitting.

I'm a Whiny, Stuffed Head Mom...but still Knitting

Bring on the true friend. :) Head cold, chills, earache, bah...time for me to get jammies on and take it easy. I've been working on my Manos Throw and some thrummed mittens, and finishing up socks for my mom. Thanksgiving is NEXT week....can you believe it?
I've been listening to some wonderful podcasts...She-Knits, Yarn Thing, Ready,Set,Knit...old episodes of Unwound (I REALLY liked Kelli's podcasts!), and etc....It's a Purl, Man's new episode...etc. Rambling and NyQuiled...time to get back into bed!