Monday, May 29, 2006

Lost: Violets by the River Shawl

I am beside myself with grief. Two weeks ago I could not find my Violets by the River Shawl. However, because I was over my head in completing assignments for the end of the semester, I did not have time to seriously look for it. Well, this morning I looked. it is no where to be found!! I made the shawl from a Hazel Carter pattern while I was living in Barcelona, Spain. It reminded me of my native Wisconsin, in whose honor she designed the shawl. It has violets--the state wild flower, rivers--the Mississippi and the Wisconsin and others, honeybees--the state insect (contrary to popular belief, the mosquito is NOT Wisconsin's state insect!!). I worked on the shawl mostly while sitting in the magnificent Turo Park, just around the corner from our apartment building. I had so many good feelings when I wore that shawl, from Barcelona and my beloved home state. I am beside myself with grief.

Friday, May 26, 2006

End of the semester!!

It's been a long time, it seems, since my last post. I have been overwhelmed with completing my end of the semester projects and papers. I can now say that I have finished everything!!! Last week, I had completed the work for two of my courses. This week, I completed one 17 page paper and two 2-page papers on Tuesday morning. I handed them in and took off for my parent's home, about a 3 hour drive from my home. My mother has had a very difficult year health-wise and she doesn't have the energy or strength to plant flowers. She has always had nice flowers around her house. This year she said she would not plant anything, because my parents will be going to stay at my sister's home in Colorado for 5 weeks. Mom was afraid that anything she planted would not grow--and besides, she couldn't plant anyway. Therefore, for Mothers' Day, I told her I would plant flowers for her as soon as I finished my papers. So, on Tuesday afternoon, I took off. I planted little pink vincas along the walk and geraniums and a trailing plant in the large pots. Someone will come to water the plants every week. I love doing these things for my mom, but I hate that she can no longer do them herself, if you know what I mean. Meanwhile, progress on the full body sock blanket (i.e. leftover sock yarn balnket) progress has stalled because I'm knitting the socks to get the leftover yarn!! I recently finished jaywalkers and the leftover yarn is the pale green and gold square in the bottom row. I'm currently working on socks in my favorite pattern of all time, the feather and fan socks from Socks, Socks, Socks. Meanwhile, the blanket has 39 squares. I'm planning on having 96 squares. You can see that I need to knit lots and lots of socks. However, I am reconciled to this being a long term project.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to finish my spring cleaning--in knitter's talk that means finishing old projects!. A few weeks ago, I finished the little girl's hooded sweater out of ancient but adorable yarn. Now, I'm trying to finish this sweater for myself, started before Christmas. It is a Dale of Norway pattern, using their discontinued yarn, Sisik. Since I am a woman of significantly more years than this lovely model, I plan to eliminate the little flower do-dad where the fronts join. I also eliminated the pockets because I thought they would make me look too hippy (that is, too big in the hips, not too much like the young flower child I once was). I have completed the back and fronts and am now finishing the sleeves. The sleeve on the needles is on its third iteration!!! Here's the StupidSleeve Knitter's History:
1. Knit sleeve #1. Too narrow. Leave as is.
2. Knit sleeve #2. Amend pattern. Just right.
3. Frog Sleeve #1.
4. Begin re-knitting Sleeve #1. Work about 5 inches.
5. Abandon for another project. (No longer recall which project.)
6. Months later, locate sleeve #1. Unable to locate pattern. Merrily knit away, using memory as guide.
7. Ready for sleeve cap decreasing on sleeve #1. Compare to Sleeve #2. TOO NARROW.
8. Frog Sleeve #1 for second time. My parents watch in horror. How can you rip out all that work????? Because I'm stupid, that's why!
9. Locate pattern and notes. Work on sleeve #1. So far, soo good.
10. Take vow to complete Sleeve #1 this weekend!! DO NOT START ANOTHER PROJECT UNTIL THIS SWEATER IS COMPETE!!!!
I'm in the home stretch, now. I plan to finish the sweater this weekend, if gardening doesn't intervene.

It is so difficult to convince my husband that knitting is much more important than yard work.......

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

First jaywalkers

Well, typically I don't jump on many bandwagons. But, I decided to try Jaywalker socks, because everyone seemed to be making them and I am always looking for a sock that stays up on my legs. So, here are my very first Jaywalkers, made out of a cotton/wool sock yarn, I think by Opal. I lost the label for the yarn! So sorry. I try to knit cotton/wool blend socks for the transition from winter to spring and fall to winter.
I find that the cotton/wool blend yarns knit more loosely and are not as elastic as wool/nylon blends. Therefore, my first attempt with this yarn was to use the full number of stitches. The cuff ended up "toooo loose", so I ripped it out, cast on fewer stitches and did the zig-zag design with six rather than seven stitches between increases and decreases. Well, this was "tooooo tight. So I ripped again and started with a reduced number of stitches for the cuff, then increased to the correct number for the zig-zag and this was "juuuuuusssst right."

Although the pattern is fine, I find that my favorite pattern is still the feather and fan stitch pattern, from Socks, socks, socks.

Nevertheless, my feet are very happy in the jaywalkers and I will try the pattern again this fall with wool only.

Here in Wisconsin the weather has been rain, cold, wind, rain, cold, wind. Not as much rain as in the northeast. My heart goes out to the flooded knitters in the Northeast of the U.S. May your yarn stay dry!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dear, dear friends

Dear, dear friends,
The time is coming when we must part. I just want you to know that I have loved you deeply and that you will always remain close to my (feet), err, heart. Your midnight sky/aurora borealis color has always brought joy to my eyes. I know that your start in life was a bit troubled. I am positive that in 2001 I had two skeins of your mother-form in my yarn suitcase in Norway. But, somehow, on the Hurtigruten ferry, north of the arctic circle, one somehow was lost! Maybe it was found by a Norwegian knitter who loved your partner as much as I love you!

Oh, I have so many fond memories of knitting you at midnight, in full light, on the deck of the "Midnat Sol", watching the tundra slip slowly by, gazing at fjords, looking for the next small town on the horizon and proundly showing your increasing size to fellow passengers. I know you learned a lot of Norwegian on that trip.

And then, the traumatic frogging, when I realized that your partner skein could not be found. You sobbed in agony as I gently pulled you apart, to the instep, where I added an interloper plain-skein. I know, initially she wasn't as beautiful as your mottled electric colorway, but you graciously came to accept her as part of you. You understood the necessity of having two matching socks for my two feet.

Your life has been full back in the cold of Wisconsin. You proudly showed yourselves to several years of young kids who were learning how to knit at the local elementary school. And you blushed when a visiting Norwegian commented on your beauty. I know you wanted to travel back to your birthplace in Norway with her, but you consented to stay here in Wisconsin where your warmth was needed in the winter. You happily accepted many new friends in the sock drawer, but none were as lovely as you.

I realize that you endured traumatic surgery (duplicate stitch mending) with plain-skein blue to cover the places where you had worn thin. You even endured mending of the mending. Your scars never completely healed. And I know that pilling and fading is just a sign of many years of loving wear. And I recognize that you are the first pair of my socks to be lovingly retired. This makes you very, very special.

I promise that I will not put you in a trash receptacle with leftover food and other smelly grossness. I promise that I will cherish you, wearing you only in bed on cold Wisconsin nights. You will not need to go out in public again, since I know that it embarrases you to be seen by others, you are a shadow of your former brilliant beauty and shape.

Rest assured that I will make another pair in your honor from Socks, Socks, Socks, that accompanied me to Norway. I can't find another yarn to match your unique colorway, but I will use the same pattern, Gull Wings.

I will never forget you, dear, dear friends.



Monday, May 08, 2006


Well, I should be writing my papers for the end of semester, which are due this week. and, I should be studying for my Spanish final exam, which is on Wednesday. But, it is much more fun to read knitting blogs and update mine. This is all further evidence that knitting is an addiction, but a profitable and fun one. Or, it could be evidence that I am a hopeless procrastinator and I have no self control whatever.

At any rate, above is the progress on the Full Body Sock Yarn Blanket! The bottom row is composed of squares from lefover sock yarn given to me by a friend. Thank you Jeanne Marie!!! You made gorgeous socks!

Last night I finished my first pair of Jaywalker socks that I made out of cotton/wool/nylon combination. I think that the pattern might work better with wool--no cotton. But I will wash the socks before I issue my final opinion and photo. Rather than finding the socks too tight, I found the socks too loose!!

I am having severe problems posting photos to my blog. I just lost four photos I was going to post. Rats!!! The problem has occurred with Mozilla as well as with Internet Explorer. I haven't changed anything in the camera, the software for putting photos on my computer, etc. I have concluded thaat I either have some type of interfering virus, or that Blogger has some problem. Rats!!

At any rate, yesterday I hosted a Literary Tea at my home. This means that I spent all day Saturday shopping and cleaning, etc., etc. On sunday morning, my 14 year old was pressed into service, as was my husband. Big thank yous to both of them.

I was going to post photos of the lucious tarts, cakes, etc., but they failed to upload. I was successful in loading one photo...

The vintage table cloths belong to Madge, the woman on the right. The tea was a fundraiser for the library in the School of Library and Information Studies. We had 11 people, and each brought a poem to read. After the tea, cakes, sherry and readings, we walked down the street to a neighbor's garden, to view her spectacular tulips and other bulbs, set in a hilly woods. Her gardener (she is now in her 80's) plants about 3,000 bulbs in the woods each fall!!!!! Her garden is a gift to the village in which we live, and to her many friends. She invites the entire village to walk through her garden each spring, when it is in full bloom. I think she gets as much pleasure watching people delight in the springtime blanket of color as from watching the tulips bloom herself!! Like a knitter, I suppose, who devotes hundreds of hours to make something beautiful out of a long string and two sticks, only to give it away to a friend!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spring cleaning

Ok, spring is definitely here, complete with daffodils that have finished their bloom and tulips that are waning! This means it's time for spring cleaning. No, I don't mean sweeping the cobwebs from the corners, I mean cleaning out the various knitting bags of their unfinished objects and FINISHING THEM. Or, at least, making a stab at finishing them.

My first finished object is the little toddler hooded jacket that I started sometime this winter, when I was waiting for my (dear) husband to select the colors for his Dale of Norway sweater. I was so frustrated with his inability to focus on the task and make a decision that I started another project, with yarn from my stash. I don't even know where I got the yarn. It didn't have any labels. I believe it is acrylic, but it is cute! Here it is. My daughter's church choir director has a two year old, vivacious daughter. I think it will be perfect for her. (pattern is Lillie's Little Sweater, knit all in one piece from the hood down, from Cottage Creations. No web site.)
My daughter had her coming of age ceremony at our church last weekend. It was an emotional ceremony, watching our baby be acknowledged as passing from child to more mature adolescent. In our church, the kids must write their own statement of faith; that is, their religious beliefs. They also design the ceremony, and perform the music. My dear child wrote a beautiful statement, and of course, it was the best and most sincere of all!! Here she is!
At our child dedication ceremony, shortly after birth, we give children a rose with all the thorns removed, representing the beauty of the world as we wish we could give to them--without sorrow. Now, at coming of age, we give the kids roses with thorns, recognizing that they now are increasingly able to deal with life's sorrows as well as its beauty.

Unfortunately, this must be the end of this blog entry. I have tried three times to add other photos, add to this post and publish it. Each time Blogger tells me that it has successfully loaded the photos, then they don't appear. or, the photos appear and I write lots of great commentary, and the blog won't publish. I am quitting for today while I am ahead!!