Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Out, out *&%^$# blue sweater!

Okay, I just give up. The past two weeks have been so wild that I've quit trying to save the blue sweater and I ripped out the whole sweater. Now, I am using the yarn to knit Knitting Pure & Simple's bulky v-neck pullover. So far, it's going fine.

I'm not sure why the simple knit-purl pattern stymied me. Maybe it's because I changed this pattern from flat to circular knitting. At this point, I don't care and I don't have the spare time to reflect on it.

First, there was the wedding and a desperate search for a dress. The Littlest Child would sit in his stroller and ask, "No Dwess, Mom?" as I rushed from store to store in the Giant Mall. I bought one at 4 p.m. for a 6:30 wedding. It was a lovely, snowy Christmas wedding. Congrats Stephanie and Darren!

From then on, I ran from school drives to tutoring to Christmas concerts and drives to outlet malls. I think I crammed a month of activities in one week.

This week the Monday Night Book Group met at my house (we read poetry) and I made my husband and children move all the household boxes from the living room to the kitchen. So, the kitchen is wretched (cupboard but no countertops or appliances or sink) but the living room is neat at least.

Now, after one last shopping trip to the Bull's Eye store and one more to the Apple store. I think it's time to pull out the knitting and just sit. Listen to Christmas carols. Put out the Christmas puzzle (we do at least one per season) and have a cup of tea.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Running and knitting - complementary?

I have to apologize for the delay in posting but reality was intruding on my lazy knitting plans. Last Saturday, my Oldest Daughter and I ran with our running club in the Minneapolis Lifetime Fitness Reindeer Run. It was about 13 degrees F. and snowy. Because of a little stopwatch operator error (mine!) I don't have an personal time (the race was a "Fun Run" - no official times) but it felt really good. It was also a hoot to people watch! Holiday costumes were encouraged and we ran as penguins but the best ones were dressed as "Mary and Joseph" - complete with pregnant belly and cardboard donkey. If we can just keep on running until February - our next race is at Valentine's Day. Generally, I find running to be a nice complement to knitting. After all that work, it is a pleasure to just sit down, put my feet up and knit along.

I'm the attractive semi-penguin on the far right of the second row. Wowza! Go Team Salubrious!

As for my knitting - I'm falling behind. The blue sweater is already boring me - just circular double moss stitch. And if I don't watch it, the purling throws off my gauge. I did finish the cute little striped cap. I put an I-Cord tassel on it but I still need to weave in the ends.

I think I might take up Oldest Daughter's socks again. They are a cable patterned sock I found on the Internet. The official title is the "Knitlist Get-together Cable Sock Pattern" by Anita Sixta. I've been finding my inner Cabler lately - I just bought some cool wooden cable needles from The Woolery - and I think I need a challenge break.

Now if I could only find a dress for Saturday - my friend Stephanie is getting married and I need a dress. Generally, I am a turtleneck and jeans kind of girl but it is a special occasion!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Just a little reality break . . .

Well, since we last met, Dear Reader, I've been on a little reality break. That's when your kitchen floor is removed and replaced, your kitchen radiators are installed at last (we've been without for a year), and you've aged one whole year. Yep, Saturday was my birthday. I had a lovely takeout Chinese birthday feast as well as great presents. Unfortunately, the "Sudoku for Dummies" book is cutting into my knitting time!

Since then, I've been beating the gauge of my blue sweater into submission and have been knitting away. I went down a needle size, removed four stitches (they were seam stitches and I'm knitting in the round) and went up to a 32 inch length needle from a 24 inch length needle. Elizabeth Zimmerman said you only need a 24 and 16 inch length needle for any sweater but I was just too cramped.

I've also finally picked up a free ball of Baby Ull from Dale that I picked up this summer at the Otter Creek Store in Mercer, PA. It was their Grand Re-opening after moving across the square. I was supposed to have knit something with my free yarn and up to 50% of some other yarn for a contest. However, the deadline is tomorrow and I don't think I'll be finished by then. I simply turned to Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns for a rolled brim hat pattern and striped the green Baby Ull with a fun orange/green fuzzy yarn from Needlework Unlimited in Minneapolis, MN. Unfortunately I've lost the tag but this is a fabulously soft yarn(like cat fur - is that a gross analogy?) and I love the colors too. This picture is way too red but I think it gives a little of the effect with green. Electric!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Lazy and not-so-lazy Thanksgiving Day

So this morning the Oldest daughter and I ran in the Minnesota Boat Club's 5K Turkey Trot. I am happy to report that neither of us were last. I was pretty happy with that. I haven't run in a race since high school and OD, never, so we were happy to just finish. It was very cold this morning and that made it hard to breathe. Notice our high fashion Minnesota outfits!

Now for the sad side of Thanksgiving. I took the blue sweater off its needle and, Yes, it was Too Darn Big. Well, up a needle size again. I think I'm having this problem with gauge because I get tense and force myself to get the right number of stitches. Come One, come all! Take a look at the Giant Sweater!

(And, notice all my worldly kitchen goods in boxes!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What a way to spend Thanksgiving . . . or I'm thankful for paper products and takeout

Well, now that my kitchen is a total rip out MESS and any Thanksgiving yummy snacks will be coming from Target - it's time to check out the blue sweater's gauge. Not really all that fun but necessary. I'll report back later.

It's an early bedtime for me tonight, however. Tomorrow is my first race since I've begun running again. It's only a 5K but I am looking forward to seeing what kind of time I get. The beginners' group part of the racing club I've been training with, Team Salubrious, trains using a 5 min run/1 min. walk format but I am not sure what I'll do tomorrow. Wish me luck! Oldest daughter is running too!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gauge problems stink!

Okay, I might be lazy but I'm not stupid. I did a gauge swatch for my OD's denim blue sweater. I made the prescribed gauge of 4 1/4 stitches per inch with US size 6 needles. I am a loose knitter so this is roughly 3 sizes smaller than the pattern writer used. I should have known but my swatch was fine. While knitting the actual sweater, however, I've been getting the sick feeling that the sweater is Too Darn Big.

Yuck. Tomorrow, I'll take the needle out and measure the gauge again. Luckily, I only have about four inches of pattern completed. So, an afternoon of ripping out while watching TIVOed Craig Ferguson.

Not to really complain, but tonight we spent the evening boxing up the contents of my kitchen. Tomorrow, my husband rips out all the cabinets. Stove. Sink. The refrigerator is already in the dining room along with the coffee maker. Now, in case you didn't notice, Thursday is a major cooking/eating holiday here in the United States. I won't be able to make microwave popcorn, let alone a Thanksgiving turkey.

I am not sure how I am going to feed everyone, but I see it as a chance to loose weight. Raw fruits and vegetables, breakfast cereal and coffee. Yum.

Next week, however, the flooring guys come on Monday and Tuesday, the plumbers arrive on Wednesday to reinstall the radiators (heat, yea!) and finally, when the cabinets are installed, the counter guy comes to measure for the counter top. I can only hope to finish the sweater before the kitchen. Perhaps a challenge?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Progress on the blue sweater

I've knitted about two inches on the blue sweater for my oldest daughter. Because the hemline is supposed to roll, instead of ribbing, I started with a round of purling, then one of knitting. This when I discovered that my cabled cast-on makes the very first row (the cast-on row) look like purling. So, it looks like two rows of purling then one of knitting - with the end result being, not very much rolling going on.

I picked this cast-on as a more flexible hemline but - I think I'll let it go a bit before frogging back down to the cast on. After all, lazy knitting is the way to go. It may turn out to look nice. Hmm.

I'm still having creation problems with the links and photos I want for this page. Hopefully, I'll get them ironed out this weekend.

The lovely snow of Tuesday and Wednesday has melted and all that's left is slop. I heard it was going to be 60F tomorrow. That I've got to see!

The baby sweater is getting close to completed. However, after two in a row, I think I need a break.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

winter knitting - just in time

Today we had our first snowfall in the metro area. Not really enough to shovel and just a little icy but cold enough that I feel empowered to stay in and knit. The Little One and I just made muffins, I put on some holiday guitar music and as soon as I help LO set up his racing set, I am casting on.

The newest sweater is "Seed Stitch Simplicity" from Knitter's Magazine Fall 2000. I'm adapting it to knit in the round and using a two-ply, rather coarse woolen yarn from Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, MN. This is a working educational farm in the Three Rivers Park District. They raise Border Leister, Finn and Clun Forest sheep and this year had the wool turned into yarn. My daughter chose a denim blue yarn for an outdoorsy-top layer kind of sweater. I think the yarn is pretty nice (not too soft, however) and you can check it out at the Gale Woods Farm website, www.GaleWoodsFarm.org.

I'm still working on the photos - bear with us!

Last night I worked on the pink baby sweater for Lea. I've progressed enough to connect the two sides. Next step is the neck bands and hood.

Lo, how a rose ere blooming - love that carol.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Yet another knitting blog - Minnesota Style!

Lazy knitters don't move fast - and after nearly a year of reading (and listening to - Thanks, KNITCAST!) many excellent yarn blogs, I've finally built up enough momentum to start writing what I've thinking about. And that's knitting. What's on the needles, what I wish I was working on and what I've learned in the process. Probably that there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I want - and still get a nap.

Minnesota might just be heaven for knitters. Ample yarn stores, great local knitters and (mostly) beautiful weather make for relaxing knitting. It's the other things that keep my projects creeping along. Husband and family, an active church life, as well as a growing exercise regimen (mostly swimming but also running and cross country skiing) plus reading and spinning are too distracting. Must Say "Time to sit down!" more often.

Right now, I'm racing against time to knit a Babies & Bears Sweater from Cottage Creations in soft Cashsoft DK for a friend who is about to have a baby any day now. I test knitted this sweater for another friend's baby just a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it very much although - in traditional Lazy Knitter fashion - it took from from July to October to finish it!

I am not a slow knitter, just an overscheduled one. I keep finding the next project - and starting it. Interfering with completionn of Baby Sweater #1 were one shawl, a pair of beaded mittens, cabled socks and a beautiful shawl from Kristmen's Design Studio called "Glorianna." Only half have been completed but that's why I need a nap. I'll be posting photos as soon as I get my camera up and running again. Thanks for stopping by -