Thursday, December 13, 2007

Agility of the Brain

Can I keep this brain agile or is it too late? One of my knitting gurus (You know who you are.)referenced an interesting article in the NY Times earlier this week. It had to do with keeping your brain agile as you advance into your septua- and octogenarian years. The idea is you need brain stimulation: work, travel, play cards and board games, work with computers, write books, do puzzles, knit . . . Whoa! Was that "knit" I saw as I skimmed the list? I'm there!

I cast on the lacy socks that were not comforting to knit and decided to switch to some mind-numbing, plain stockinette socks. Then I read the complete article. It seems for the stimulation to be beneficial it was found that novelty was crucial for the aging brain. Doing the same thing over and over again, without introducing new mental challenges doesn't cut it. So the article warns me if I knit, I must challenge myself with more than simply stitched socks. I should try a complicated pattern or garment. I'm almost tempted to start Koigu's Charlotte's Web Shawl. I said "almost." I'm ready for more stimulation, not a nervous breakdown.

I shopped my stash and found the navy Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock purchased four or five years ago when I first became addicted to knitting socks and collected patterns by the binder and box full.

I'm going to cast on the Blueberry Waffle Socks (fingering weight). In my current level of life's stresses the lacy skirt is challenge enough and I need some comfort knitting. I will make the Blueberry Waffles--simple yet stimulating--at least more stimulating than knit every row and less hair pulling than lacy socks knit with splitting Wildfoote.

My guru puts me on the right path yet again.

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Search Of: Comfort and Joy

I am having a heck of a time. 'Tis the season to be jolly. Oh great ti-i-dings of co-om-fort and joy, comfort and joy. I'm looking for some comfort and joy. I'm in search of it here, there and everywhere. Even in my knitting.

The lacy flirty skirt, as I call it, has been ripped back to the lifeline and the lace begun again. I worked on it last night while watching Wynton Marsalis' Red Hot Holiday Stomp live from the Lincoln Center on PBS. I'm not very much of a jazz fan, but that show brought me much comfort and joy with arrangements of Christmas classics (Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer never sounded so good [cool, hip] before!), other songs and a Maya Angelou poem set to Wynton's music and danced by Jared Grimes. Check your PBS listings and catch the next showing.

The 2007 Beach Socks are finally finished. Fraternal not identical and they're not freaking me out.

Wait'll next year. I fully intend to actually knit the 2008 Beach Socks ON THE BEACH!

I put some new socks on the needles, a pair of nemisis socks that I started once before, before I was a "bona fide knitter." They were too advanced for me. I gave up on them that time. They are lace, knitted on 000 Addi Turbos, a Nancy Bush pattern from Folks Socks. They are no longer too advanced for me and now I have figured out the problem with them. They are not fun to knit! The yarn, Brown Sheep's Wildfoote, splits like crazy when using those 000 needles, especially during SSK and K2tog and there are a lot of those in the pattern. Urrrrgh!

I have so much else going on giving me agita and angst I do not need that from my knitting, especially my zen inducing sock knitting. When I have a few minutes later today, I will cast on another pair of socks, solid color, Lorna's Laces, no pattern more involved than 2" of 1x1 ribbing and some good ole stockinette, knitting every round on a long circular. Just writing it soothes me.

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, December 2, 2007

HELP! Throw Me a Lifeline!

The linen skirt is back on the front burner. The beach socks ( which were not made on the beach) are just one waiting room visit from completion. Winter has come with snow and icy rain. All is right with the world.

I put a lifeline in the linen skirt and will rip it back to the vicinity of the increase row for the lace to begin. I have a new take on the YOs thanks to my first lesson in Basics Basics Basics. Who said I didn't need to take that course?!!! I think I was doing YOs right, but the first round of YOs might have had a boo-boo or two. The YOs occur on purl rounds. After the pattern is set up in rounds 1 through 6, they go like this:

Rnd 7: *P12, YO, K3, YO: repeat from * to end of round.

All even rows are "knit the knits and purl the purls."

Rnd 9: *P12, YO, K2tog, K1, SSK, YO; repeat from * to end of round.

Rounds 7 and 9 are repeated alternately until ending with row 57. There is a note after the list of rounds to be worked as Rnd 7, "NOTE: your knit sts will increase by 2 with every rnd worked." After the list of rounds to be worked as Rnd 9 there is a note that "your sts between your K2tog and SSKs will have increased by 2 with every round worked."

And finally this little bit of information, 12 purls + 25 knits = 37 sts in each repeat.

From the pattern directions to my needles is all I can say!

I plan to use stitch markers, do what I think I should, be consistent and go for it! But first I think I'll check with the Ravelry members who have made this skirt. Du-uh! Why didn't I think of that three weeks ago?!!! Heck, I might even make a graph as well.

Anyway, that is my December challenge and now it's time to go crank out some socks on my new sock machine, right after a quick look in Ravelry. Is there such a thing as a "quick" look in Ravelry?

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Still Here

My muse seems to have left me. My linen lace flirty skirt has attacked me. I've been tagged TWICE! and I just can't seem to put pen to paper . . . er, fingers to keyboard. I've probably lost the small following I had. Come back, pleeeeeease!

First of all, after I made my list and checked it twice I remembered a lot of projects that should be incorporated into that list of priorities. I'm going back to my modified version of Guru Laura's Rule of Threes. More on that to come.

Secondly, the first plunge into the lace of the flirty skirt has derailed me. "Knit the knits, purl the purls" has me all a shook up. Are YOs knits or purls when you get back to them on the next round? When you're doing YOs is there such a thing as a purl YO? In my shaken up stage I took another plunge and enrolled in TKGA's Basics Basics Basics which wasn't to arrive for weeks. It arrived in days--so fast it made my head spin! So now I'm shook up and my head is spinning. Not good when at the threshold of the big holiday season, especially when you're trying to clear out and sell two houses and clear out and remodel the one you're living in. But I can do it because I'm a woman--W-O-M-A-N!

And last but not least, in this entry are seven random and/or weird things about me you probably don't want to know and couldn't care less about. 'The reason for these seven things?' you ask. My guru Laura, The Scarlet Knitter, tagged me. To make it even more interesting one of the other people she tagged, Necessary Chocolate, also tagged me. Thanks ladies! Now do I get to write 14 random/weird things about myself? I can do it, but I'll limit myself to seven right now:

1. I'm left handed until my right hand thinks it can do the job better and then I become right handed. I write right handed, eat left handed; draw right handed, color left handed; wield a knife left handed, cut with scissors right handed; juggle? I use both hands and still can't do that.

2. I love Cape Cod. It makes me happy. It is my Laughing Place.

3. I'm a hobby junky.

4. I'm a collector, a very bad thing when you are a hobby junky. I have doll, rabbit, dollhouse and coin collections. Also yarn, fabric and needlepoint stashes. I mean COLLECTIONS and STASHES! I won't even list the minor ones.

5. I hate heights. I'm talking about higher than the second floor. Flying requires much psyching up on my part. Forget walking across a bridge. Save me from those glass capsule elevators providing a panoramic view as I rise or fall. (Well, it feels like falling!) And don't even think about getting me over to the observation window in a tall building. Just writing about it makes me weak in the knees. Steps with no risers? There'd better not be very many!

6. I can keep a secret . . . forever.

7. I am a loyal, protective and trustworthy friend. After all, I will carry your secrets to the grave.

Second seven to follow. Right now I'm trying to come up with three others to tag. Problem is many of those I'd like to tag don't have blogs. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn't it?

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, November 5, 2007

Making a List . . . Checking It Twice

I went to a dollhouse miniatures show on Saturday. Dollhouses were my passion three hobbies ago. There is knitting, sewing, doll collecting, quilting then dollhouses. Before that there is needlepoint with a little cross stitch and crewel thrown in and crochet. What can I say? I'm a hobby junkie. And you will notice that I don't refer to any of them in the past tense. Anyway the biggest most prestigious show in the area, Philadelphia Miniaturia, was held last week in Cherry Hill, NJ.

I hadn't attended the show in years. My mother, Margaret, and I used to attend yearly without fail when we were Mari-Mar Miniatures. We were never vendors there, not good enough, but we knew many there from other shows we were part of and we'd spend the day shopping and getting the inside info from friends in the know. We retired from the miniatures game and my mother became unable to attend the shows. She passed away almost two years ago. When I first got there yesterday it was odd not to be able to reach out, grab her arm and say, "Mar, look at this!"

Oddly enough the show was almost too big. There were sooooo many vendors--two ballrooms and a lobby full! Many were new to me, but there were still some friends left from the old days. We talked about the show's beginnings in Philadelphia, actually Willow Grove, a Philly suburb. It was held in a seedy motel, the George Washington Motor Lodge, and was the show not to miss. All the best miniaturists were vendors there. This year's show was the 39th year and the vendors are even more talented. Miniatures have come a long way since using acorns, bottle caps and "found" items to outfit a dollhouse. I watched some of it evolve in the 80s and 90s, then missed a decade. In the new millenium, miniatures and dollhouses are really something to behold!

I was determined not to buy anything. I have a workroom full--a miniatures and dolllhouses stash to rival any yarn stash! Looking on the vendors tables I was freshly reminded of just how much I do have. However, around my third hour there, I succumbed. It was the needlework that got me. I know I have many needlepoint kits of the fine scrim--40, 54 and even finer--that I gave up on when my eyes aged, but I didn't have any knotted work or punchneedle. I do now! What the heck! My eyes have been rejuvenated with surgery. I can see again. I'm going for it. I also bought another magnifying headgear thingy as insurance. I should be good to go.

Which brings me to the list I'm making and checking twice . . . I'm packing in new projects for my hybernation this winter as if I don't have enough already packed in! However, it is now time to rein myself in and make a plan. I'm currently working on the lacy skirt without regard to time, temperature, meals, obligations or completing the beach socks. The skirt has grown unwieldly and can no longer be my take-along project so I will go back to completing the beach socks while on-the-go. The list continues as follows: finish lacy skirt and start lacy socks, finish Abundance Afghan then start the Vivian Hoxbro sweater. If my timing is right this should occur right after I've had a class in shadow knitting at the Pottstown Knit Out and Crochet Too in January. That's as far as I'll go with the list today. I'll check it later and again tomorrow.

I have another list to make. I've been tagged! More on that in the next entry as I have real life and the real world intruding on my hobby schedule today. I'm outta here.

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stitch Markers--Just What I Needed

Yesterday my knitting guild, Liberty Bell, to which I returned last Monday after many months absence, just in time to sign up, held a beaded stitch marker workshop and luncheon at the Riverton Country Club in NJ. Aching face and newly painful foot did not keep me away. Neither did the torrential rains.

Our little group had a room to ourselves with two round tables set for lunch and a long table down the middle of the room with chairs on each side to accommodate us and containing a smorgasbord of beads in separate packs and on paper plates. There were place settings with packets of tools and supplies for each of us.

We began by claiming a packet of tools and supplies and perusing the bead smorgasbord to select four larger beads and eight smaller ones to compose our first four stitch markers. There were so many to chose from it was a hard decision which got changed many times as the morning progressed.

We learned to twist the wire, add beads and finish off. That is the short version. It was a little more involved, especially the first one. By the third one I was off and running. There were very few mistakes that could not be turned into design features. We stopped for a lovely lunch of chicken Caesar salad topped of with apple pie a la mode. Mmmmm, yummy! Then back to the beading.

Delphia was an excellent teacher. This is the first workshop or class of any kind that I have taken and been pleased with the take home results. I usually learn the process, hate what I've done in class, then go home and construct masterpieces. This time I have very nice stitch markers, one of which I'm using to mark the beginning of the row as I knit like crazy on my lacy skirt. Where's the lace? It's coming. What you see at the bottom is the casing for the elastic and closer to the needles the first purl row where stitched will be picked up for the first row of lace.

I didn't have my camera at the workshop and the pictures I took with my PDA of the guild members refuse to transfer over to Blogger. However, here are some pictures of the stitch markers I made in class. I am trying very hard not to become addicted to making stitch markers.

A bona fide beader? I don't think so!

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, October 15, 2007

Back from Stitches East

I am coming down from a knitting high and a buying frenzy. Stitches East in Baltimore was a blast in more ways than one: *classes, shopping, dining, pain. Repeat from * three times, ending at shopping on the last day.

I arrived in Baltimore disorganized (left my blouse, hand knit sweater, camera and Stitches name card holder at home) and unprepared (didn't have all my homework swatches finished). Luckily things went uphill from there. I didn't need another white blouse or a heavy sweater (although I wanted to wear something I'd knitted for once). The weather was wonderful, warm and sunny each day. As for the name card holder, I used the el cheapo they give you and was only a little inconvenienced by not having a place for pen, bank card and hotel keycard. About the camera, there were a few times I wished I had one, but the one picture I saw of myself made me hope that I don't appear in any others. Which brings me to the pain. I was having some kind of sinus/neuralgia/who-knows-what episodes each night. It started Wednesday night at home, excruciating pain on the right side of my face. It returned every night I was in Baltimore making for sleepless nights and swollen eyes and face days. What a sight. You can see for yourself. The cute one is my knitting guru, the one who declared me a bona fide knitter, Kathryn.

I found Stitches East to be smaller, less well attended and a little subdued this year. Some old favorites were among the missing, but some newly acquired favorites more than made up for it. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy it just as much, maybe even more, without the throngs of people. On Thursday evening at the Market Preview, after the Kaffe Fassett slide show, I was able to walk right up to him for the book signing. It did help that I already had the book and didn't have to wait in line to acquire it. The book is lovely, colorful eye candy. If you wanted to make the Foolish Virgins sweater years ago and were intimidated by the magnitude of it, there is a scarf--Foolish Virgins at half the angst.

Most of the Market Preview I was on a mission to buy a Vivian Hoxbro sweater kit. I saw it first at the Mannings' booth, but they didn't have the colorway I wanted with them.

I found it at The Needle Lady. Love it! A touch of purple, worn closed or with lapels, no buttons, lots of knit stitch, my kind of project.

Both vendors were very generous in allowing me to try on the samples. However I am still not sure what size I should make. Both booths said their samples were S/M but the one at The Needle Lady was larger and fit me better. Hmmmm, do I make the S/M (anything with "small" as part of the size makes me nervous) or do I go with the L/XL? Suppose I'm really a M/L. Anyway, another booth had something that caught my eye that will delay the start of the Vivian Hoxbro Rainbow Jacket.

Fine Points from Cleveland, Ohio, was the booth that kept drawing me back and had me pulling out my bank card again and again. I even resorted to cash a couple of times! I bought the pattern and yarn for this skirt. I bought a T shirt on which I based my color selection for the skirt, earrings to match and another day, hand painted shoes!!! They will not be worn with the skirt ensemble however.

Here is a picture of the sample skirt: (Fine Points' picture used with permission)

My colors are these:

And here are my over-the-top shoes:

I've been writing this blog entry for a week (Don't ask!) and Stitches East is becoming just a pleasant memory. Quickly, before it fades away entirely, here is a fast forward recap: Took classes and bought books for reinforcement on finishing techniques, Intarsia and needle felting. Met and talked to old friends and new. Bought everything from sock yarn to a sweater kit. Had wonderful seafood dinners at a restaurant whose name already has escaped me and a couple of pleasant room service meals. Spent more money than ever before--I even bought an iron for goodness sake! But back to the meals: we enjoyed one dinner all the more because of the company. Eugene and Ann Bourgeois of Philosopher's Wool fame were seated beside us and we became a foursome. They are an informed and interesting pair. Dinner became a delight. In addition to being entertaining, The Philosopher, very cunning and quick on the draw, picked up our check and insisted on paying. Ann, whose free online video clip of her two handed Fair Isle technique is worth her weight in gold (or my weight since she doesn't weigh very much), was in total agreement. Ya gotta love 'em!

The painful part of my Stitches East experience was, and still is, excruciating facial pain I am experiencing each night and now sometimes during the day. Yes, I have been to the doctor, but no, not the dentist. X-rays yesterday. Diagnosis soon. In the meantime I am knitting away on the underskirt of my "flirty skirt." Nothing has enthused and sustained me as much as this skirt since the Noro Kureyon I purchased at last year's Stitches East that had me knitting like a madwoman until I finished my first sweater which, by the way, was the one I forgot and left at home this year.

Let my momentum continue!

Bona Fide Knitter

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How Bittersweet It Is

I'm knitting again. Not great masterpieces but my comfort knitting, socks. In the three weeks since I last posted an entry here I lost my dear aunt. Ruby passed away on September 11 at 95.66 years of age.

This picture was taken on her 95th birthday on January 14. She had a good life and a peaceful passing. It was hard for me to let her go. I'm still trying to fill the void. I've returned to knitting.

I am doing comfort knitting. I'm knitting socks. Presently I am working on the second of this year's beach socks, so called because the yarn has cotton content and was meant to be knitted on the beach on Cape Cod. I didn't get to the beach this year. I needed to stay closer to home. So the pair of socks have taken an inordinate amount of time to complete. Unfortunately I didn't knit on anything else in the meantime. I'd lost my knitting jones.

It's back, or at least it's coming back. I'm knitting socks on my circular sock machine as well. I've knitted three pairs. I've also knocked the whole thing over onto the computer keyboard, magnetized my ribber needles and turned my electric cone winder into a whirling dervish. But that's a story for another day.

I have a desire to start another pair of socks, one that might qualify as an attempt at lace knitting. They are the Chaussettes de Dentelle (Lacy Socks) in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks done on size 000 needles using Brown Sheep Company's Wildfoote. Folk Socks was the first sock book I purchased and the Lacy Socks was the first pattern I attempted from the book. They were to be a shower gift for a bride-to-be. The couple married, bought their first house and are expecting their first baby. The socks were never completed. They were far beyond my ability when I started them. I think I can do them now that I'm a "bona fide knitter." I think I need the concentration involved.

It's autumn. Time to think Stitches East. It's almost here. I have homework to do for my classes. I need to get that done. I hate homework! I miss Ruby.

Ruby at TGI Friday, March 2006

Bona Fide Knitter

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Going Into Autumn

Now that for all intents and purposes summer is over, my thoughts are turning to fall knitting. I've already jump started my gym regimen and I'm working on my eating habits. (Kitchen renovation is not diet friendly.) So it's time to get my hobbies in order as well.

Walking the treadmill for an hour gives me lots of podcast listening time and I've found another to add to my list of favorites: Sticks & String Podcast "by an Australian bloke who knits" named David Reidy. I love this bloke! I've not yet listened to the requisite six podcasts before forming an opinion, but I've listened to the promo and three podcasts and I can tell. This guy is good! And he speaks the language without 'air fillers' (uhms, errrs, aaahs), has nice music choices and no fits of giggles. He provides information on what he's knitting, why and for whom. There are book reviews and even "patten" reviews. ("Patten" is Aussie for "pattern" as we say it in the States) And speaking of the Aussie accent, I love it. It's very easy on the ears and so is David Reidy's voice. Shades of Crocodile Dundee. There has been an enjoyable essay in each of the episodes I have listened to so far on such topics as why we give away what we knit and why we meet to knit. Give this bloke a try. I've already succumbed and subscribed.

Okay, I can't avoid mentioning my knitting any longer, or should I say 'my not knitting.' I'm about to make a list and check it twice. Then I'm going to eliminate the naughty and concentrate on the nice. Santa Claus is coming to town. By that I mean I'm making a list of the items I am going to work on next. The list will not include any of the exasperating UFOs. It will consist of only the items I plan to complete this year, maybe by Christmas. I will follow the advice of David Reidy and not let deadlines take the fun out of knitting. I will just enjoy the process. Sooooo, I am allowing myself plenty of time to complete a gift project by starting it now and the other items on my list will be knit when they're knit, and in some semblance of order. Part of the enjoyment of the process is the visualization of the completed item. I have visualization down pat. I need more actuality. Completing AFOs (Actually Finished Objects) is my plan going into autumn. The list? Coming soon.

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Summer's Over!

I can hardly believe we are at the weekend heralding the last weekend of summer. I know, I know, there is still some summer left, but for all intents and purposes, it's over. Where did it go? Where did I go? How did I enjoy it? What did I knit?

Summer started for me with at trip to My Laughing Place (Everybody's got one. More on mine another day.) where I dropped off spouse and LWDs and continued on to Portland, ME, for the Sasha Festival, a doll collector conference. It was a wonderful long weekend full of fun with like- minded people with the same interests.

I returned to Cape Cod and lazed around until time to return home. I never got to the beach that trip. I just barely got the screened porch hosed down for future reading and napping. We dust-covered it and returned home to a blistering heatwave that rocked the city in July. I was further rocked by the rapidly declining health of my elderly aunt, Ruby, who is 95.

It was just by the skin of my teeth and urging by my family that I went off to Frederick, MD, for a long weekend for the Circular Sock Machine Conference. I returned home after that to the start of my kitchen renovation which continues. It's been delayed by my changes and additions and an attempt to get a vacation in. I had a couple of nights and a day of shopping at a B & B in Rehoboth Beach, DE, the outlet Mecca. Then, after a couple of postponements,we went back to Cape Cod.

While back in MA I went to a doll 'show' and sale where I met with my doll guru and we had a wonderful day shopping and eating at an Asian buffet. After that wonderful Sunday (Could it have been only last week?), the next day I received disturbing news of my aunt and returned home ending my vacation in less than a week. And here I am. Home for the holiday weekend, making sure what is best (as best I can) is done for Ruby and catching up on my blog.

The danger of being home with no pressing errands to run, no kitchen counter granite samples to track down, is Internet shopping. All those books I'd been considering at Amazon might make their way to a cart today. I came this close to ordering bar stools from for a breakfast bar that I don't even have yet and might not get! It must be time to start knitting again.

Knit? Did somebody say 'KNIT'? I have been knitting somewhat halfheartedly on the omnipresent waiting room sock, which was to have been my beach knitting, for weeks and weeks now and am just about at the toe of the first sock. Knitting has really taken a backseat this summer. Too much heat, humidity and real life. I have done good by my Legare sock machine though. I've made a few pairs of socks and finally put the summer anklets up in my recently launched Etsy shop. Yes, they were to be summer anklets and they were made in time for summer, but just didn't get listed until now.

I do get around to doing most of the things I set out to do, like this blog entry I've been trying to get around to. Well, this was it.

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, August 10, 2007

Knitting? Not!

How telling is that?!!! I found that appropriate bit of lace wall hanging in a little shop in the seashore town of Rehoboth Beach, DE, where I spent a couple of days with my friend and knitting guru, Kathryn. There were many little hangings and this was the only one with that on it. There it was, hanging apart at the front of a peg with some others with a different message. It was down at knee level and seemed to leap off the rack at me just as I walked by. I wonder why.

Kathryn and I had been planning a knitting getaway ever since Stitches East. She found this great little B & B on the Internet and we set a date, booked the Garden and Wedgwood Rooms and met there, she from VA and me from PA. Although she brought the book One Skein, yarn and needles to make cupcakes from the pattern inside, we got no knitting done. I brought my ubiquitous summer sock along, my latest started sweater and the yarn and pattern for something I haven't started yet. Still, no knitting was done. I didn't even knit a stitch on the sock. We shopped. I mean WE SHOPPED!

The Rehoboth Beach area is an outlet mall Mecca and the regular shops in the town and in Lewes were great as well. We did the obligatory yarn shop crawl, but were disappointed to some extent. We went to Knitty Gritty in Rehoboth Beach and found it to be a knitting and needlepoint shop. It has been my experience that stores that try to cater to more than one hobby usually fall short. Knitty Gritty proved my point. There were needlepoint and knitting yarn and supplies. I score it needlepoint 3, knitting 1. Needlepoint wins the game at Knitty Gritty, but not by much. Both were lacking. I do not have to visit there again unless I revive my needlepoint obsession. And maybe not even then if I check my stash. Yes, I have a stash of needlepoint canvases and Paternayan yarn from 1970 something. So what!

We also went to Ginger Moon in Lewes, DE. It turned out to be an antique store which carried knitting yarn, "Fine Yarn & Antiques" it says on the card. There we met the proprietor, Evie McPhee, who was knitting away on some fabu something in a myriad of fine yarns. All the yarns she carried were indeed fine. All kinds of silks and wools and combinations, all top end, grouped in colors and spilling from drawers and doors of antique chests and cabinets. The effect was quite enticing and had I a pattern in mind I might have bought a skein or two of something. The displays were that striking. However, I came away with only the new Vogue Knitting Special Collector's Issue for Fall 2007 in the knitting category.

Then, from the antiques category, I bought a non antique new cotton rag rug in bright yellow and pale sky blue for my new kitchen-in-the-making and, lest I forget, a rabbit picture hand painted in "o3" on a weathered board that was to be for my new kitchen also, but will better match the rabbit theme at the Cape Cod place. It is also 'non antique.' The "03" is 2003.

I will return to Ginger Moon. The yarn and antiques work very well together and there was enough of both. I just need to have a project in mind and many ducats in my pockets.

In another shop in Lewes, Twila Farrell, I bought my find of the day. In addition to "The Sock Lady," I could be called "The Shoe Lady." My shoe collecting had been stuck in a Birkenstock and Crocs rut lately, but I am redeemed. I got this brand new, fabulously funky pair of Dick & Jayne platform, peep-toe, slingbacks at half price. Shades of the 1940s! I feel I need some black trousers, a white rayon shirt and a snood. I could knit a snood!

Back at the Rehoboth Beach outlets there were some very good bargains which came home with me from the LL Bean store--three pairs of pants at $4.95 each for me and some shirts and knit tops for much more for the darling husband who would be unloading the minivan upon my return.

Although a great time was had, there was knitting--NOT! . . . Maybe next time.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Knitting on the Back Burner

Well, folks it's been almost two weeks. The long absence is not because I've lost my knitting jones. It's just that it's been so hot and I've had so much real life intruding on my play life. I know, I know, knitting relieves stress and is a good thing to do when the trials and tribulations come in torrents. I have been working on the requisite pair of summer socks. I'm at the heel flap and decided on Eye of Partridge which takes a little concentration and paying attention to row count. When the going got really tough I couldn't work on it for fear the partridge's eyes would be crossed.

However, since real life was requiring that I do a lot of driving to and fro, hither and yon, knitting did not always work. I found knitting podcasts to be soothing, comforting and informative . . . for the most part. Let's hear it for knitting podcasts!

Although I am a high tech wannabe and covet every innovation marketed, I am relatively new to the MP3 player/iPod arena. I'm an audio book fanatic and until recently a tape in the car cassette player or a Walkman (remember those) at the beach served me well enough. It wasn't until I discovered the selection of audio books downloadable from my city's free library system that I had to have an MP3 player. I bought a Sansa because the free systems use Overdrive and run only MicroSoft and not Apple. Why can't they all just get along? I was introduced to podcasts, more specifically knitting podcasts, by one of my knitting gurus. They are what is saving my sanity these days, along with a stitch or two knit on a sock.

Now about those knitting podcasts, I haven't listened to each and every one, but I've tried quite a few, so many that I bought an iPod Nano just for the podcasts so I can keep the Sansa strictly for free books. I am not writing to point out the negative because I think the podcast thing takes a lot of skill, planning, organization and more. However, I must say that the cream rises to the top. I will drop some names here, but will not name the ones I feel are lacking. Let's just say I have listened to some I labeled SSGG--Silly, Silly, Giggling Girls. I gave each podcaster ample time to overcome the beginning uncertainty and hit her (or his) stride. I did not pass final judgement until I had listened to at least six episodes, if they lasted that long . . . and if I lasted that long. Okay so maybe I gave up on some after three episodes.

The SSGG spend an hour giggling and saying silly things about silly things. They throw in a giggly tale of what's on their needles or just came off, give helpful hints, rave about yarns and give some book reviews. They sometimes do interviews. It's difficult wading through the murk in hopes of hearing a gem or two. It is usually two women, one of whom is at the mic, the other across the table? . . . room? . . . continent? The second woman sounds far away most of the time. Within the SSGG realm of podcasting there might be one or two worth wading through if you can get past the giggles and double entendres, sort of separate the wheat from the chaff.

Most of you are probably way ahead of me and have been listening since the inception, but I will give you my top picks so far. I expect to add more to the list as I catch up on what's already available and check out the new ones added daily.

1. The first podcast I was turned on to was Brenda Dayne's Cast On. Try it. You'll like it. She is absolutely heaven to listen to, speaks the language without what I call air fillers (umm, aaah, mmm) is informative, organized and articulate and I even like her choice of music. She had me at "pick up your pointy sticks and cast on" or something like that.

2. It was with great excitement that I downloaded the first Knit Picks podcast and Kellie Petkin did not disappoint. She is another who speaks well and gives an organized podcast full of information, funny asides (knitting related), book reviews and interviews.

3. Webs podcast, Ready, Set, Knit!, was a radio show first. I'm so glad to be able to listen to it now far, far away from the store, but with the website only a mouse click away. I've been to Webs a couple of times for meet ups with my Circular Sock Machine friends. When I am in MA vacationing it is many hours closer, but still three hours away. Six hours round trip to shop for yarn is not a thing to do every weekend. However, I sure wish I could! It's a great store and they present a great podcast. It's easy to listen to and informative on many levels. Being in the fiber business gives these podcasters plenty of inside information to impart and they attract all the knit stars to their store and I'm hoping to catch up with interviews that have been done and the new ones to come.

4. I must include the one guy I've really liked so far even though I haven't listened to the requisite six podcasts. So far I like It's a Purl Man. I like his style and his content. I like hearing the other half's take on this whole knitting thing, what they're knitting and what they like.

5. I'm adding this one even though it is now defunct: Unwound with Kelli Robinson. Her podcasts really drew me in. From the abundance of information to the invitations to participate, Unwound is a gem of organization and content. Maybe once Kelli is into the groove of her professional job she will find she can come back to podcast land. Months have past since her final podcast, Episode 12, "Farewell." Maybe she withdraws even that little thread of hope. Even so her 12 episodes are worth listening to whether she comes back to continue or not.

It has taken me days to write this little blog entry and during that time I have listened to many more podcasts. There is an epidemic of umms out there! I know we all say it sometimes, but people, PLEASE! Stop saying it after every other word! Even the people who are virtually umm-free themselves are being ummed to death by people they interview. Please, please, please check yourselves. It's okay to be silent for that nano second it takes to say umm while you collect your thoughts or notes or whatever it is that gives you that brain blip!!!

Umm, and that's all I have to say about that.

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, July 6, 2007

Those Old Knitting Magazines

"We're having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave," an old song starts. Well, it's actually happening here in my city as I stay indoors as much as possible and peruse the old Vogue knitting magazine from 1965. I've told you about it, how my copy was a mess and I got a better one from eBay. Now that I have one which I can page through without fallout, I've been reading it and marveling over how such mags have improved in 40+ years.

On the left, "dog chewed" and on the right, "mouse nibbled."

I knitted this sweater back in 1965. Even though it was before I became a "bona fide knitter" I did a good job on the knitting, even if I do say so myself. I knitted in a white yarn. I don't remember the fiber, but I do remember it came from a yarn shop, not Woolworth's so I probably bought what was called for, Spinnerin Homespun and US 13 needles. It was called a "Husky Knit." I knitted and knitted. I finished quickly . . . for me. Remember, I was a backward purler causing my stytches to be twisted and hard to knit into. As you can see the pattern was reverse stockinette. I don't think I knitted the pockets. When the main pieces were done, I sewed the sweater together and never needed the pockets. The sweater was gi-normous!!! (A made-up word combining gigantic and enormous to give you a better idea of just how much too big it was.) I knew I was a tight knitter and was making size 42 instead of size 40. I wonder if I did a gauge swatch. Probably not.

The sweater was big enough for my husband to wear and for me to get inside and wear it with him! The pattern sizes went up to 44. Mine was at least a 50. It was off the charts!!! I put it away and contemplated ripping and knitting it again. It stayed "put away" for many, many years, until I heard of a senior citizen group who wanted old yarn, previously knit yarn or old sweaters that could be used for the yarn. I did the ripping and donated the balls. Furthermore, neither my husband nor I liked the look of wearing a sweater on the wrong side. I still don't like reverse stockinette.

The photography in this magazine is surprisingly bad. These fuzzy pictures are not a result of my poor photography. They are actually fuzzy in the magazine. Maybe it was "artful"? However, I would think in a pattern book you would want the texture, the stitches, to show.

There are some great patterns in the book, colorful designs but pictured in black and white, a far cry from what we get today. In fact most of the photos are black and white and some are line drawings.

There were only five colors used throughout the magazine, including the cover. The few sweaters pictured in color were of the same hues: red, mustard, beige, green and blue.

There was even a hazy, foggy or sun glare patch in the picture on the right. No, it isn't from my flash. The magazine picture is exactly like that. Artful? We've come a long way, baby!

However, with all its early lack of technology, the sweaters were great. They are still great today. And now that I'm a bona fide knitter, I intend to tackle another one . . . when I start jonesing again.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Am I Losing My Knitting Jones?

I don't know what's the matter with me. I can't seem to get enthused about any knitting projects. If I have a flicker of enthusiasm it burns out as soon as I have the yarn. I'm not jonesing anymore!

I began to feel my addiction slipping away right after Sally's Favorite Summer Sweater (SFSS) kicked my butt again this year and I decided to frog it and put the yarn away once more. I was all pumped up again after Maryland Sheep and Wool when I bought the Stars sweater kit from Philosopher's Wool. I immediately wound the yarn into center pull cakes, studied the instructions, had misgivings,--this was more like Intarsia than Fair Isle wasn't it?--bought the book, had second thoughts, started a practice piece of two-handed Fair Isle that was going well, then stopped.

The Spring 2007 Knitter's Magazine gave me hope. There were many patterns in there that got my juices flowing. Since nothing in my stash, no UFOs were moving me, I ordered the yarn pack for the cover sweater, Sectional Citrus. I watched for the mail in happy anticipation. I was going away on vacation. I needed that yarn pack to take with. Weeks went by. It didn't come. Vacation departure date loomed. I decided to check the site. Lo and behold the yarn was on "backorder." Ooooooh no! Say it isn't so!

Since I didn't have a basic sock on the needles, I grabbed a ball of sock yarn with cotton content from my stash and took it on vacation. That was nothing new since I always take a sock project. I felt empty not having the new sweater to start on, especially since it's a summer sweater of a cotton blend yarn and I'd convinced myself that the weight of the Philosopher's wool in the hot and humid summer was what made me back off that project.

I had also found a battered copy of an old Vogue Knitting for Men from 1965 that gave me a few laughs and had me champing at the bit to make socks, an argyle vest, something, anything! Unfortunately my copy was dog chewed (which is quite different from dog eared). Some crucial words at the edges of the pages were missing. I found a replacement on eBay, mouse nibbled (which is quite a lot smaller than dog chewed), but perfectly legible on every page. I bid. I won. I picked yarn from my stash for men's knee socks. The magazine came and I took it on vacation as well. Then my knitting jones left again. I had no desire to devote all that knitting to a pair of men's knee highs that would not last very long on my man's feet and legs.

I pulled out Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks thinking I'd rather use my Opal Uni in a subtle darkish purple (more subtle than the purple the flash produces) on long socks for myself, "Ladies Useful Stockings" to be more specific. Not happening. The feeling left me almost before I got the book off the shelf. What . . . is . . . the . . . matter . . . with . . . me?!!! The Summer 2007 issue of Knitter's left me cold, figuratively speaking. (The weather is too hot to be cold physically.) Patternworks, Valley Yarns and Kint Picks have all sent temptation in the form of catalogs to no avail.

The yarn pack for the Sectional Citrus sweater was waiting for me when I returned from vacation, eight balls of Berroco Love It. I cast on and knit a row. I let it sit for a day or two, then frogged. I cast on and knit enough to measure my gauge, but not a true swatch, and let it sit for even longer, then frogged. Late last night I cast on again and knit to the first increase row. I'm liking it. I feel a frisson of my jones returning. Can I hold on to it? Let's hope so.

Bona Fide Knitter

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

I alluded to a doll festival in my last post. These girls are Sasha dolls and since they are dressed in appropriate colors for the 4th of July I thought I'd begin this blog entry with their picture and wish you all a happy and fun-filled day of parades and picnics, topped off with music and fireworks this evening.

So back to my update: I spent a glorious three weeks in New England. I love our little place at Cape Cod except I never have enough time there to really enjoy it these days. It's an eight-hour drive from here, which would be great knitting time, if I wasn't the Self-Appointed Designated Driver for the Duration. That being the case, no knitting on the way up or back unless I get a few rows done on a sock when we stop for lunch. But I digress.

Once on the Cape for the first time in the season there is some dusting and cobweb removal to be done, some head shaking and hand wringing over what the winter has wrought in leaks and squirrel damage and then the real vacation begins. This year it began for me when I drove off from there to Portland, Maine, with my basket full of Sasha dolls for the Sasha Festival. Unless you are a play doll collector and have attended one of the functions, you can't imagine what it's like. Think Stitches on a much smaller scale, including Opening, Day, the Fashion Show and Banquet, Student Banquet and the Market.

Picture a bunch of adults carrying dolls and waxing poetic about face molds, brown or white stringing, Studio, Frido, Trendon and Gotz, and you get a vague picture of what it's all about. I mentioned before these are "play" dolls. They are dolls originally made and manufactured as toys for children to play with. There are adult collectors who "play" with these dolls. They have doll clothing stashes to rival any yarn stash you might have. The playing consists of dressing and posing the dolls for display--alone, in groups, in scenes and in doll houses. Many people design and sew wardrobes for them. There are many knitwear items and even books of patterns. There's a whole culture out there! Sasha dolls are just one brand. My collection started with American Girl dolls. I have many Robert Tonner, Helen Kish and Sylvia Natterer dolls as well.

So I spent a looong weekend in Portland, Maine hanging out with like-minded friends. Of course there was a yarn shop hop. Only the hop turned out to be just a small bounce. The three shops listed as being close to the hotel were not doable in the short amount of free time we had. Two of us did meander to the closest one, less than a block away. I won't mention the name of it because I do not have a rave review of the place. In fact it was quite disappointing, rather dull in appearance and low on inventory.

The Festival ended and it was back to the Cape for a final week. I stopped for a quick visit at my favorite yarn shop there, Adventures in Knitting, where it's bright and cheerful, has lots of inventory, and had expanded into another store! There are other yarn shops on the Cape that I really like, but had to save visits to those for the next trip: Ladybug and Blue Heron.

No beach time, no knitting time that trip. Maybe that's why I'm feeling out of sorts. In fact I'm wondering if I'm losing my knitting jones. Hmmmm, we must delve into this. Next time.

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm Back

Where have I been, you wonder? Well, it's a very long story. I can't believe I haven't had anything to say in a month! Actually I had plenty to say but no time to say it. I'll try to catch you up in stages. Doing it all at once would be too much to expect you to endure.

First let me say what kept me away. We (mostly I) did a major de-cluttering and dust bunny-ectomy. I had a deadline and finally got it done, something I've been talking about and making half-hearted attempts at for months (years?). The impetus was I needed a house appraisal on short notice, two weeks to get the house in shape to receive an appraiser! We did it! Don't get too excited. The place isn't "de-cluttered." The clutter has been organized--boxed, bagged and filed for future perusal. The plan is to go through every hiding place and cut the clutter to the bone. In the meantime, I can't find a damn thing!!! But it's neat and clean around here.

The day after the house was shipshape, we left for vacation on Cape Cod. The first few days there we were too pooped to pop. After the first week I left the husband and furkids and drove up to Maine for the Sasha Festival, a doll festival. More on that hobby another time. When I got back to Cape Cod I had to recover from the Maine trip. Too many early mornings, all day festivities, late dinners and into-the-wee-hours gabfests.

The third week of our Cape Cod vacation I recovered enough to get the porch ready for our next trip and drive home again. I had three days to attend to business back here then I was on the road again on an overnight trip for a concert in Virginia, Wolf Trap, Denyce Graves, Carmen in Concert. I just got home a little while ago. I stopped at a yarn shop. At last some KNITTING content!

I'll start at the yarn shop and work back. The shop is called Uniquities and is in Vienna, VA. It's a great place! I always check the 'net to see what yarn shops might be in the vicinity of my travel destination. Sometimes what I find is disappointing. This one is a winner. Unfortunately I didn't have time to linger but I saw lots of yarn and books and tools of the trade. There were three rooms chock full of what knitter need. I wish I could be more specific. Suffice to say they had everything! I was in the market for a worsted weight yarn, washable because it will be used for a baby, and in colors not babyish. I didn't want the usual baby neutrals--mint, yellow, combos of baby pastels. I also didn't want brights, darks or solids. What's left, you wonder? I found something and that's all I'm going to say right now. Don't want to give anything away to someone who might be reading.
There was knitting at the doll festival. I made knitted favors to give to my close doll friends. I bought the doll size knitting baskets and knitted the started socks on doll size double pointed needles. Actually I did the knitting on one circular (Magic Loop method) and slipped the stitches onto toothpicks, "doll size double pointed needles."

I won an exquisitely knitted doll vest and socks made by one of my knitting gurus. The detail isn't captured in this picture. It's something to behold. I'll try to get some better pictures, more up close and personal.

So that's the beginning of my update. More to come.

Bona Fide Knitter

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fait Accompli

Yessireee! I scored an issue of the vintage Vogue knitting magazine alluded to in my previous blog entry. You can find everything on eBay! I didn't want to give too much information before for fear of someone else finding the little gem, wanting it and outbidding me. In the last seconds of the auction there was another bidder. However, I bid to win and win I did, although not at the ninety-nine cents I was hoping for--especially since it's coming to me with mice bites and eau d' damp cellar.

So there it is, Vogue Sweaters to Knit for Men and Boys, circa 1965. More about it when the upgrade arrives. Mice bites have got to be smaller than dog bites!

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Everything Old is New Again

In the throes of de-cluttering I came across a very old knitting magazine. The cover is torn, teeth marks abound. One corner is chewed off, another chewed into pulp. (We had a mongrel puppy named Pepe back then.) Luckily, I throw nothing away. Thus the need for massive de-cluttering around here. The magazine has some wonderful sweater patterns in it and a few sock patterns as well. In an attempt to not cut my own throat in the quest to find a copy in better condition, I will give no more information than that about the magazine until I get my hands on a replacement. Then I'll tell you all about it and include pictures. In the meantime the copy I have is complete in its directions as long as they don't run into the bottom left corner. I'm thinking of making a pair of socks from it.

I also have a folder of tear sheets, clipped and saved newspaper and magazine patterns and old pamphlets. Most of these treasures are crochet patterns. They're from the days when I wished I could knit fast enough to make something before it went out of style. I longed to knit better so I did collect some knit patterns that struck my fancy. One booklet in particular, Tiffany Glass Knits from Columbia-Minerva was a favorite of mine although the patterns were beyond my ability.

The problem I see now is that although my knitting expertise has increased and expanded and I can knit well enough and fast enough to make them, my age and body have also increased and expanded . . . Need I say more?

But aren't they cute? The longer ones (mini dresses) would make nice tunics or tops to wear with the leggings being worn today. It seems the newest young thing to do is wear a short dress as a top over jeans.

But no retro bull's eye circles, PLEASE!

Bona Fide Knitter

Friday, May 25, 2007

Knitting Limbo

I'm in some kind of knitting limbo. The UFOs have lost their pull. Even empty needles and new projects are not calling to me. Yesterday I left home without portable knitting (socks) and didn't realize it until I was sitting in the visitor's chair at the nursing home and had finished filing my nails! This is not good.

The usual stimuli are not stimulating. The yarn for the Philosopher's Stars sweater no longer beckons, nor does the latest Knit Picks catalog.

I listened to the next three episodes of Kelley Pitkin's Knit Picks Podcast and though excited by the sock knitting theme and book review of episode #3, I did not rush immediately to (or anywhere else for that matter) to order any of the books reviewed. I must admit that I might have purchased the Favorite Socks book from Interweave Press except for the fact that someone here misplaced the bank card and after hours of looking I had to report it lost and order a new one which won't arrive until next week. I'm grounded as to Internet shopping until the new card arrives. You wonder who would do such a careless thing? It wasn't me. There are only four of us here and two are little dogs. That leaves . . . I won't put it in print. Of course shortly after I cancelled the old card and ordered the new one, I found the old one. It was stuck in with the business cards in my PDA cover. Don't ask.

Anyway, my knitting has taken a nose dive. I have a yarn pack coming from Knitter's. Maybe that's what I'm waiting for. More on that when it gets here. I am determined to finish the soy sauce socks before I go on vacation. I'd better get knitting!

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Something for Sunday

I've seen many pictures of beautiful blooms from knitters' gardens so I thought I'd show my rhododendrons in almost full bloom. The sun came out just as I took the picture.

It's been a long, lazy Sunday. No knitting yet, but I did put swift and winder to work and wound some little hanks of sport yarn into little "cakes." As of now the yarn is for my first pair of toe up socks. We'll see if that's what the yarn tells me it really wants to be.

Nothing new on the knitting front. I'm still smarting from having to put SFSS back in the UFO box. I'm working on the soy sauce socks and revamping ideas on what to do next. I'm in a wishy-washy state of mind, one minute one sweater, the next minute another. Do I even want to start a sweater going into June, July and August? The jury is still out.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stitches East

Can you believe it's that time again? Well, actually it isn't. Stitches East isn't until October 11 - 14, 2007 in Baltimore, MD. Why do I want to write about it now, you ask. Because I have a major complaint. I received my brochure today, Thursday, May 17, two and a half days after the registration opened! Now, that might not seem like a big deal to most of you, but if you are a bona fide knitter and Stitches attendee who signs up for classes, you know how quick on the trigger you need to be to get your first choices. Some are already sold out!!!

The current techniques and trends--anything that's hot-- any short rows class, Lily Chin, Sally Melville and other 'name' teachers' classes sell out in the first minutes of the opening of registration. I say minutes, but it probably takes hours before the first deluge of registrations are processed by the the staff and the red SOLD OUT flags start to appear. You need to have the brochure with the class listing at least a week BEFORE registration opens so that you can agonize over the schedule, find your note you made last year of what you wanted to sign up for this year, and fill out the registration form.

If you're signing up by snail mail, you need to time it's delivery to reach Sioux Falls, South Dakota on the first day. You can FAX or sign up on line at the stroke of 9 a.m. CST (or should that have been CDT?). If you are not computer literate you are going to catch a bad break.

I am lucky enough to be online, a member of Knit U and have the time to check my mail daily, sometimes multiple times a day. It was more luck that I read an email giving a link to a PDF version of the soon-to-be-mailed Stitches East brochure. I was able to give a heads up to my Stitches roomie who was in travel status for work and might not have read her Knit U email. So we had a couple of days to decide on our classes and extra curricular activities before registration day.

On the appointed day at the appointed time the class schedule still hadn't appeared on the Knitting Universe website. Thank God for that PDF file. My friend printed the whole thing out, leaving the hotel's printer inkless. I read online. Not ideal because of all the clicking back and forth from class offerings to scheduling to class descriptions. Flipping through a hard copy is easier and less time consuming.

And then the sign up! Snail mailing the filled out form to arrive on d-day is easiest, but will your form get there and get processed before your most desired class is sold out? Forget calling. The odds for getting in are too great, worse than first hour of voting for American Idol. Busy, busy, busy! Forget FAXing! I programmed my FAX feature to send my form at the stroke of the hour. Busy, busy, busy signal for automated try after try. Back to the website for the sign up. Not there yet. FAX--busy, website--not there. Did the site crash under the pressure? FAX, website, FAX, website and then, wonder of wonders, the blank page sprang to life and there was the class schedule, shopping cart and checkout page. Whew!!!

By then an hour had passed and I was in a frenzy. I had to stop the FAX from its automatic re-dial and sign up manually. I entered my choices--First, Second and Third--and checked each twice. No mistakes. Cart filled. Automatic checkout done. Oh no! Was the card information from last year still current? NO! The Kaffe Fassett event had to be signed up for even though it's open to all registrants? YES! Back to the cart to sign up for Kaffe. Call the card company to make sure that although they issued a spiffy new card with same account number, the old card not due to expire for another year is still valid . . . "Ummm, maybe." Of course I can't get through on the phone to the Stitches registrar. Too much!

After all that, none of my classes have sold out yet. (But one of my friend's has. I hope she got in in time. She's still in travel status.) I probably should call today to make sure my card was okay. I wonder if can I get through . . .

In case my complaint got lost in the telling, bottom line to the powers that be is, NEVER EVER AGAIN MAIL THE BROCHURE TO ARRIVE AFTER THE REGISTRATION OPENING DAY!!!

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

White Socks and Soy Sauce

I had a near disaster. I rarely make white socks, but I'm hand knitting a pair from what I think is an old Trekking XXL colorway. The ball band is missing. The wool is white with tiny lengths of red, blue, green and yellow, just long enough to make one stitch using US 1 needles. I've been making these socks since last summer. They were to be my beach project, but I didn't spend much time on the beach. They became my portable project for the fall. I remember making quite a bit of headway on sock number one at Stitches East during the long fashion show and banquet last November.

A week ago I picked it up again and finished the first sock and started the mate. This week I've been making the leg. Yesterday I worked on them during some wait time at the auto repair. I threw my zipped plastic project bag into a supermarket plastic bag along with some mail when I returned home. I went into the kitchen threw the whole thing on the counter and rummaged in the fridge for leftover Chinese food to have for lunch.

While the chicken lo mein heated in the microwave I got comfortable and immediately forgot the bag on the counter. I ate lunch, complete with a packet and a half of soy sauce. Can you see where I'm going with this? Are you wondering what I did with the rest of that soy sauce packet I used only half of?

As usual there was a plastic bag used for trash and garbage on the counter near the sink. I threw the soy sauce packets in it. Later my husband cleaned up the kitchen, collected the trash and recyclables, got it all consolidated into appropriate containers and placed at the curb for pick up in the morning.

Later, when I decided a nice, fast inch or two of mindless stockinette in the round would be relaxing, I couldn't find the bag I put my knitting and the mail in. I searched high and low. I recalled my actions upon entering the house earlier. I had visions of the bag with my knitting in it ending up on the kitchen counter. Then I had visions of my knitting resting in the trash and garbage in a container at the curb for collection! My husband went out to do the dirty work of checking the garbage. Sure enough it was there.

I knew I was in trouble when he brought it in sans plastic store bag. Sure enough the mail, the completed white sock, the partial second sock and the attached ball of yarn were saturated here and there with soy sauce. The completed sock and the ball of yarn had attracted the most of that dark, dark, brown liquid. It was awful, ruined, I was sure.

Resourcefulness kicked in. I took the sodden sock mess to the laundry room and ran cold water over the biggest stain while I looked around for a possible stain remover. Oxy Clean, would that work? I looked back at the sock in my hand under the stream of water. The soy sauce was gone! It was a miracle!! In the second I looked away all the soy sauce rinsed right out!!! Either the wool had some kind of protective finish or soy sauce isn't the vicious stuff I thought it was. I was able to get every trace out of all the wool without even wetting the whole pieces or the whole ball of yarn. Disaster diverted.

As for the mail, it was junk anyway.

Bona Fide Knitter

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Another Week Gone

Time flies when you're having fun whether you're having fun or not. I had no particular fun this past week and it flew by anyway. It's hard to believe it was a whole week ago that I was at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Yes, at this time last Saturday morning I was parking at the wrong end of the Main Exhibition Hall. I think time flies faster the older you get and I must be at an age where it zooms by, fun or not. Next it will be moving at warp speed (which is faster than 'zoom' so I might as well make it fun while it lasts.

More about the Festival: I bought some household items, a broom and a couple of hand towels. I even took pictures of a broom maker and his wife and his brooms which were works of art. I didn't buy one of his ($50), but found something more suitable to my pocketbook ($18) by another broom maker, whose picture I didn't take.

These look like brooms for riding!

Making a weekend of it allows me time to see everything and spend time admiring the animals. What can I tell you, I love animals! One of the most attracting things I saw at my first MDS&W four years ago was a woman calling herself "The Barefoot Spinner." She was sitting at a spinning wheel with a huge angora rabbit on her lap, gently pulling off the angora and spinning it. She pedaled the wheel in her bare feet (as the name implies) and I was mesmerized. I wanted a spinning wheel and a rabbit right then and there! Never mind the fact that I don't know how to spin or take care of rabbits. I was able to contain myself. Another hobby or animal is nothing I need. But four years later I am still mesmerized by it all and still feel the pull of holding a bunny and pedaling out angora yarn in my bare feet.

She had socks on this year. It was a chilly morning.

It's hard to tell which is bunny head or tail.

There were more animals there than you could shake a stick at. Actually there were sticks being sold, lamb prods and walking sticks, but not for shaking at the animals . . . unless you were a shepherd trying to move your flock I guess.

There were alpacas, llamas, and lambs, but none can voice their displeasure better than a sheep being groomed for the show ring:


Bona Fide Knitter