Wednesday, October 11, 2006


It is definitely fall here in Wisconsin. How can I tell?? Well, the sumac is turning brilliant red.

The farm markets are laden with pumpkins, squash,

and apples of all types, colors and sizes.
The islands in the mighty Mississippi are turning dry and brown,
and wool socks are starting to bloom on the mums!
Oh, no! Wait a minute! That's a Socktober fest sock entry placed strategically on the mums for maximum photographic effect. It's trying to compete with the photos displayed by the Knitting Iris.
Sock pattern "Mermaid" from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet. I love the pattern and I love the yarn from Mellenweit!! This fall mermaid is anxiously awaiting a pair, but it will have to wait for a long time. I'm busy with a more important project--a matter of life over death, you might say.

On Saturday evening my 47 year old brother suffered a stroke. He and his wife live in the same town as we do. He had just finished cleaning the falling leaves out of the gutters--meaning he was tramping around on his pitched roof for severa hours--and he came in to shower. Just as he came out of the shower, he felt an incredibly sharp pain in his neck and collapsed on the bed. He called out for his wife to call 911. After spending two days in the intensive care unit, he was moved to the neurology unit and now he is on the intensive rehabilitation unit, learning to walk, to swallow and to coordinate his body. Fortunately, his mind has not been affected. We are deeply thankful that the stroke did not occur while he was on his roof! And, we are deeply thankful that his mind wasn't affected.

I started an aran cardigan for him years ago. It is on my "let's finish all the unfinished projects" list. It got moved up today to the top of the list. I thought he might like a cozy sweater to welcome him home, when he comes home. I figure if I finish the sweater quickly, that will guarantee that his recovery will come along quickly as well.

The sweater completion was stalled because I changed the pattern a bit. The original pattern had dropped shoulders. My brother is a bit stocky and I didn't want to have so much aran bulk under the armpits. So, as you can see, I bound off a few stitches to make an armhole. Good plan? Well, I couldn't figure out how to shape the top of the arms appropriately. I have fiddled and faddled and nothing has worked out. I'm bound and determined to have it finished and fit by this weekend. Wish me luck. And, keep my brother in your thoughts and prayers, if you would, please.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Knitter Self-Analysis

I've seen many knitting bloggers tell 10 knitterly things about themselves that no one knew. I don't jump on many band wagons, but the information posted by all the responders led me deep into self-analysis. What kind of a knitter am I anyway?

1. I am a process knitter. I love doing the techniques, the structural aspects, the stitch variations, the shaping variations. But, I really don't care if I ever finish the item!! That's why I have so many unfinished projects around the house, hidden in corners, boxes, drawers, closets, etc., etc.

2. I am a knitter down to my central core being. It identifies who I am. I've been knitting since I was 13. I really can't remember life without knitting. I knit before EZ started knitting camps. I knit with ugly acrylic yarn because it was the "new thing." I knit when it wasn't cool to knit because it epitomized how downtrodden and homebound women were. No self respecting professional woman in a predominantly male profession would ever acknowledged that she knit, much less wear something that she made in public.

3. Sometimes I knit to avoid having to do things I really SHOULD be attending to. Sometimes I fear that I knit so much so as to avoid reality. Is this bad or good?? I don't know.

4. My favorite knitting projects are those I make for other people. It could be a garter stitch wash cloth or an intricate cabled aran cardigan. A piece of my being goes into every stitch. And the recipient darn well better appreciate it!!!!

5. I am extremely proud of everything I make. I crave laudatory comments. I just purchased "mary jane" type shoes so that my hand knit socks can be seen when I wear long pants. I want everyone to see what I made. To be impressed. I want to walk up to strangers and say, "See, I knit this with my own hands. Every single stitch. Aren't you impressed??"

6. I love teaching people to knit. The magic of those loops making a fabric. I tell new learners that there are no mistakes, only techniques in places you don't want them. I particularly like teaching kids to knit. My elementary school after school knitting club has been my favorite activity. the only thing that give me more satisfaction is raising my girls.

7. I firmly believe that if world leaders knew how to knit there wouldn't be wars. If we could just assemble knitters from every country and every religion there would be no more hatred.

8. I purchase more yarn and pattern books and bamboo needles than I can afford. I need to stop. But I don't. This is part of my addiction--the bad part of knitting. We can joke about having a stash to last two or three generations, but I could use that money better elsewhere. I resolve to try harder to control myself. I still have enough fabulous yarn to last the rest of my life.

9. I take it personally that my husband never wore the socks I made for him. They were beautiful. He even lost them. I don't understand why he didn't appreciate them--just knowing that I made them.

10. I hope that I can knit until I die. That I don't get arthritis. That I don't lose my sight. That I don't lose my mental ability to make things. My recent bout with amnesia made me realize that our mind is a blessing. I pray that I don't get Alzheimer's Disease.

so, Knit on! As Elizabeth Zimmerman said, through all of life's crises!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Yahoo!! More projects done!!

Whoppee!! Yahoo! Yes!! Two more FO's on my list!! First, my pride and joy, the lace alphabet blanket from Debbie Bliss' " The Baby Knits Book" (link two posts ago). I used some old Pingouin Mousse yarn, now out of production. The blanket is for one of the twins expected by my daughter's church choir director--a vibrant young woman who already has a 2-year-old. Gender is unknown--therefore, I added the white lace border so that it could be appropriate for either gender--at least, I hope so. After searching the internet and e-Bay, I found some more Pingouin Mousse in turquoise. I will use that for the second blanket. If subsequent ultrasounds show the twins to be girls, I may add some pink lace trim. Or, maybe I'll stick to white trim on both blankets and just forget about colors being tied to gender.
Another of my FO's is the second sock of a pair of Mermaid Socks! Pattern used is from Lucy Neatby's book Cool Socks Warm Feet. (link two posts ago) The socks fit wonderfully, even thought the ankle looks a bit skinny in this photo. It is skinny in real life also. However, the winding ribbing makes for a snug fit that keeps the sock cuffs up and prevents them from falling down. I modified the pattern by making a 30 stitch garter stitch cuff, rather than a 15 stitch cuff. I used an Opal yarn and I don't know the color # because I threw the band away. I was afraid that one skein would not be sufficient, however it was!! I have enough left over for a pair of baby bootees!
My last photo is one of me and my older daughter on her 30th birthday. I remember my 30th birthday vividly. her father gave me Willie Nelson's "Stardust" album (a vinyl record, this was before CD's everyone) with the notation that it was "goldie oldies for a goldie moldy!" Since we are from the generation that believed no one over 30 was to be trusted, turning 30 was a life-shaking event. Sigh. I'm not really old enough to have a 30 year old daughter; nevertheless, she went and turned 30 anyway. I have been blessed to have her living in "my" same town for the past 3 years. This coming January, however, she will move to New Zealand to pursue graduate studies at the University in Auckland. I will miss her very, very much. Letting go of our children is the hardest job parents have. We raise them to be wonderful independent adults, and then they thank us by leaving the home nest!!! My daughter deserves every exciting moment she can squeeze out of life and should be free to follow her dreams wherever they lead. But I will miss her.
For the perceptive readers, you have noticed that I am wearing my Violets by the River shawl, designed by Hazel Carter and made out of silk/merino laceweight from Blackberry Ridge. The color is true to life. The best lavender/violet every made. I love their yarns and their patterns. Lucky for me, their mill is about 30 miles from my home.

My UFO list is shrinking. I need to do the lace edging for my Dale of Norway cardigan for myself and the second sock for my Pomatamous pair. I need to work on my husband's Dale of Norway multi color ski sweater. And, I need to finish my brother's aran sweater that I started 3 years ago. And, I need to finish that lace shawl for myself made out of yarn I bought when I attended Meg Swanson's Knitting Camp in 2002-- Joslyn's Fiber AngleHair. the colorway is a deep, deep cherry that doesn't seem to be made anymore.

Hmm, this isn't a short list, is it. Don't tell anyone that I already cast on for a new pair of mermaid socks that will be a Christmas present. I am using Meilenweit colortweed, color way 1001. If you can find theyarn, use it. It is the colors of a fall sunset.