Monday, September 25, 2006

Lucy Neatby, my hero; and progress!!

I love Lucy Neatby's patterns. She is creative, whimsical and interesting. A Lucy Neatby pattern is never, never boring. Knitting the item may take forever, but the experience is never boring. I have completed the first of her Mermaid Socks from Cool Socks, Warm Feet (see link in previous entry); they provide the best fit of any sock I have made to date--and I've made at lest 60 pair. It would help, however, if I followed the pattern! She clearly and unequivocally says to cast on 15 stitches for the sideways garter stitch cuff. Somehow, I was convinced that the pattern said 30 stitches. 142 garter stitch rows on size 0 needles (2 mm) was tedious and boring, but I had faith in Lucy. I wondered why my garter stitch cuff looked so much bigger than hers, but I figured she folded hers down, like the bobby socks days. When I checked the pattern today to begin sock #2, I realized that I had totally misread the pattern. My mistake completely. Forgive me, Lucy, for ever doubting you!!!
Do you think I can count these two as a FO of a pair of socks?? Or, do I need to make two more socks, and then have two FO's????
This, however, is definitely a FO. It is the accursed vest that I described in my previous blog. It was made out of Mission Falls wool, and is the Main Vest from Quinte Scrapbook. (link in previous blog.) I think it turned out very well, and just in time for Wisconsin Fall.
And, I love my buttons. They are pewter teapots and cups! In my non-knitting life I collect teacups and saucers--antique and new.

Above is a recent FO that I forgot to list in my UFO list in my previous entry. It is a wide ribbon yarn from Phildar that I purchased this summer at Galleries Lafayette in Paris! It made a thick vibrant scarf--I used a wrap and drop stitch so that the fabric would be more flexible. I had finished knitting the scarf weeks ago, but never worked in the ends. I ended up taking a sewing needle and thread to sew the ends to adjacent stitches--to avoid frayed edges sticking out.
My Debbie Bliss lace alphabet baby blanket is nearly done. (link to book is in my previous entry.) I absolutely love, love, love it. As you can see, I have completed the entire inside alphabet of the blanket. I am using a smooth white yarn for the lace edging.
I have completed three sides of the knitted on lace, and have one long side to go. I hope to have that side completed by the end of the week--for a third FO!!!! Then, I will start alphabet blanket #2. My daughter's choir director is having twins!!!!!
Oh no, wait, wait. I made a vow. No new projects on needles until I finish all of my UFO's. That means, I will need to work on the Dale of Norway sweaters--one for myself and one for my husband. Rats!! I really like working on these baby blankets!!
It is fall here in Wisconsin and the Monarch butterflies are on their way to Mexico, passing through.
And, the Thai Pavillion in our botanical gardens is a glowing contrast to the fall colors in the garden. Here it is reflected in its pool. That's real gold leaf that covers it in its entirety.

And, a photo from the garden's kaleidoscope. The lens is pointed at a revolving dish of plants.

Keep finishing those UFO's!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Race of the UFO's

Rats! I want to put new yarn on the needles, begin new projects, try out some of new patterns. But, I have a pile of UFO's that should have been finished long, long ago. I lost a bit of knitting time when I was in the hospital, but my brain is now nearly fully recovered and I am at full knitting strength!

Rats, again! I tried to take photos of my UFO's so you could vote on which to finish first, but my camera opened, then told me the battery was dead, and closed again! so, I don't have photos. But, I'll make a list. Oldest first. [Remember the March Race of the UFO's? There are some repeats on this list!!)

Item #1. I began this project four years ago, during a car trip across the United States from Wisconsin to Oregon and back. It is the Shaped Triangle lace shawl designed by Katie Nagorney and Ann Swanson in A Gathering of Lace.

Item #2. I don't know when I began this (cursed) Main Vest from Mission Falls Quinte Scrapbook. I quite forgot about it. Completely. Gone from the memory bank. Then, this summer, my husband brought out a red bookstore bag filled with "some knitting stuff". Puzzled, I opened it and voila, an almost finished vest!! (God, I hate it when my husband finds the hidden unfinished objects!!!) The two fronts were done and the back was done. Hmm, I thought, this will take only one evening to sew together and finish! Wrong. After sewing one of the front shoulders to the back, I discovered that I had two left fronts!! Then, I discovered that the neck shaping for the sewn-in left front was on the armhole side, not the middle side!! I frogged both fronts. Then, I frogged the armhole ribbing twice. Then, I frogged the entire neck and front ribbing twice. Now, I lost the buttons that I bought in Seattle last month. Now I know why the red bookstore bag was hidden--the project was in a multi-year timeout!!

Item #3. A Dale of Norway one color sweater that is almost, almost done. Started last December. This was supposed to be a fast, simple, comfortable sweater that would take a few weeks. But, I have lost the pattern. It's somewhere hiding. I know it is almost done--sewn together. I need to do the neck and front band. the pattern is #13 Lerk, from the Adult Fall 2003 No. 126 booklet. It is make out of Sisik, a great yarn that was discontinued. Sigh. I'll find the book or wing it soon.

Item #4. My husband's Dale of Norway sweater. Started January 2006. Enough said. (See my March 16, 2006 post!)

Item #4. Socks. After seeing so many of these socks on blogs I broke down and started the Potamous socks. Of course, now I can't find a link to the pattern or who wrote the pattern, but I love the socks. I'd wear them if I had only one foot. Seems that I started these in late spring, then summer came........

Item #5. Socks. Lucy Neatby's Mermaid socks. Started in Seattle in August 2006. Still unfinished.

Favorite Item #6. Baby Blanket. Started September 2006. Yippee!!! I know of three babies that are due to be born in the next few months. My daughter's choir director is expecting twins!!! She already has a two year old. A female faculty member in my husband's department is expecting a baby in October. So, I started a baby blanket out of some old Pingoin Mousse-a very soft acrylic. And, I've always wanted to knit the lace alphabet blanket from Debbie Bliss' "The Baby Knits Book" I started two weeks ago and already I am knitting on the lace edging!! I've been knitting up a storm. Do I want to make a second blanket so these are for the twins, or should I give it to my husband's colleague. There is LOT of knitting in this cuddly blanket....I don't really know the colleague well. I know the choir director much better, and she has nurtured my daughter in her singing for 11 years......

Knitter's Vow: I firmly resolve that I will finish all these UFO's before starting a new project, no matter how tempting the yarn, no matter how tempting the pattern!!!!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A life cut short

This is a photo of my cousin, Steve; he was a physician. As an adult, I kept track of him through my mom, who kept in touch with her sister, his mother. Last week my mother called to say that Steve had committed suicide.
Steve was a Lt. Col. in the Air Force and chief of medical operations for an air force base in the U.S. In 1996 he was stationed in Saudi Arabia when some people who opposed the U.S. politics and intervention bombed an Air Force barracks. Steve was thrown across his room in the barracks and injured with a chest wound. Despite his wounds (that needed surgery) he roused himself, helped evacuate others, walked to the medical compound and began to treat the injured. Others realized that he needed surgery himself and forced him to stop treating the injured. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Air Force Airman's Medal.

Steve also rescued civilians from hiking, mountaineering and other accidents. he took care of the personnel and families at the various Air Force bases to which he was assigned.
His co-workers and superiors all praised his good humor, his excellent medical skills, his humor, his ability to defuse difficult situations with a smile, a one-liner or good humor, his willingness to go out of the way to help others without being asked. They unanimously volunteered that he was both an outstanding leader, a mentor and a hero to them. Air Force personnel around the globe mourn his loss.
As does his family. He comes from a close knit family. His parents are involved in their church and in their community. His mother, who finished high school, is on the Fire Commission Board, among others. His father, who worked on an assembly line and moved up to management, is on the town board, among others.
Why would such a talented, loving and well loved man kill himself? He who regularly and selflessly saved lives in war and in peace? Was it because of the depression he suffered since the 1996 attack on the barracks in Saudi Arabia? Was it because of the debilitating and severe headaches that run in our family?
We don't know.

I never talked politcs with Steve. We probably agreed more than we disagreed--he was committed to defending our country by saving lives in war. I oppose the wars and battles our country has recently fought.

Oh, if my knitting could ease the pain of his parents, his sisters and his friends. If only I could knit a magic, healing shawl that would take the place of his comforting hugs, jokes and smiles.

Many members of the Air Force attended the memorial service for Steve. Each of them was a loyal friend and said that Steve was their hero. Each of them wished Steve had shared his pain so that they could have helped. I was so very, very impressed with all of the service people I met at the memorial.

If you oppose the U.S. foreign policies, do not oppose the military service people. They are all human, and they all suffer while they perform their jobs. My cousin is a casualty of a terrorist bombing--10 years later.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Back to Basics

I know that many knitters have thought, "I must be losing my mind!" after making a really basic and stupid mistake on a work in progress, or when unable to decipher a complicated knitting instruction. I vow never to use that phrase again--after my experience last weekend. Stay with me.

I had a routine colonoscopy scheduled last Friday morning. I came home from the procedure tired, and took a nap. My husband tells me that I then complained of a splitting headache and I fell to the floor vomiting. He soon realized that I could not remember having the procedure, having two daughters, living in Barcelona, visiting Barcelona this summer, etc., etc. He called our clinic which recommended calling 911. I was in the local ER for 9 hours, undergoing many tests including a CAT scan to make sure I had not suffered a stroke. What was clear was that I could not remember anything about my life, my recent past or my distant past. I knew my husband, but that was all. I did not know why I was in the ER. I vacillated between sobbing, sleeping and total confusion.

I went from the ER to a hospital room where I spent 2 days, gradually recovering pieces of my memory. My memory was triggered by photo images. That is, while sleeping I would remember a photo I had taken this summer and when awakening, I would ask my husband about the photo. For example, I recalled a photo of my 30 year old daughter that I took this summer during our family reunion; she was on a pontoon boat. After I described this photo, my husband explained that this was during the family reunion.

While in the hospital, my husband brought my current sock project, shown in my previous post. Although I could not remember where I was in the pattern, and I could not muster sufficient brain power to figure it out, I clutched my knitting as a tenuous but tangible link to my identity and my past.

I now remember almost everything and can fill in the missing pieces with help from family and friends. I also have very poor short term memory. But, I am making progress.

Thus, the short row wash cloth. I needed a short and easy project to reconnect with knitting.

The flower is from my trip to Seattle at the end of August, which I am starting to remember.

The rainbow, also from Seattle, is hope for future.