Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Looks good to me

There is something to be said for finishing a project. I think the dishclothes are perfect for that. I must say that I haven't ever knit one. Isn't it a good feeling to finish a project and without all those seams to sew and ends to weave in?

My mother, your Nana, not only knit them but also crocheted dishclothes. I am sure it must have been the same reason, just to have a project finished in a short time. She also did some pot holders - I think crocheted - but I still have a couple that she made. I haven't used them very much so they are ratty from use. They should last many more years that way.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dishrag Diva

Well, I've got several unfinished projects in several bags laying around my office/knitting room - the Einstein Coat, Fisherman's Shrug and Clapotis to name just a few. But, this week I've focused on knitting up five (count em') five dishcloths that will be a gift.

I have to admit, I've become slightly obsessed. I'm knitting dishcloths like they are going out of style, starting on number six this afternoon - for no good reason. Maybe it's because I have so many unfinished articles laying around that it makes me feel good to finish something in just a couple of hours. It sure isn't because I like to do dishes!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Happy New Year

Sounds as if your new year has been busier than mine. I'm so glad you have learned how to work the knitting machine. Would you recommend it to other knitters? I've thought about getting one, but it's never gotten beyone thinking about it. Next thing you know you'll be turning out sweaters faster than you can buy yarn to support the habit!

My new year hasn't been too great so far. I went to Jersey City on Jan 2nd and worked a few days. I didn't feel well - felt as though I was getting a cold all week and by last weekend had a full blown cold. I was due to leave again on Tuesday for Jersey City again, but didn't feel like going. I've spent all week at home and finally decided on Thursday that I needed to finish some knitting projects. The only reason I wanted to finish, of course, was so I could start a new one! I did complete the Nora Gaughan sweater from Interweave knits. I made it in black Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks. There are one row of eyelet stitch on each side of the front and back. I chose to weave some satin ribbon through the eyelets. I think it looks pretty good. Today I made a couple of boot length skirts to wear with the sweater. I'm hoping that it will work for me to wear at work.

We're having a weekend of bad weather - sleet storms and expecting snow tomorrow. It was 70 degrees here on Thursday afternoon, then didn't reach 20 during the day yesterday. We had one sleet storm yesterday and another today. Expecting snow tomorrow. So the knitting weather is great. I started the Harmony sweater with Louet Gems Merino. I'm using the blue colors which I don't think show up right in the picture. This is the right front, started the left back today. It requires concentration to keep up with the rows, but I like the way it is looking at present.

Can't wait to see how the finished sweater looks.

I'm due to leave tomorrow for Spartanburg SC, late in the afternoon. I'm not sure that'll happen, given that the weather is calling for 3 - 6 inches of snow tomorrow. I can't take this sweater with me, since there are so many balls of yarn. I wouldn't have room for clothes, but if I can find a way to take it, I will do so.

Christmas was so great, thanks for all you and your family did to help us enjoy it. Heidi still talks about wanting to live in NC. I'm not totally opposed to that idea, as I am getting pretty tired of flying from Wichita. I can't seem to be able to make a connection to save my life. This last trip to Newark arrived 1 hour late on the outbound flight and then I missed my connection on Chicago - due to a delayed flight from Newark to Chicago, so I had to stay overnight in Chicago on Friday. I'm just as glad to be home sick this week. At least I don't have to deal with the delayed and missed flights.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Nothing Has Happened

In spite of a motivational rally cry from a perfect stranger, I've made no additional progress on my Claptois. So in the absence of knitting to share, I though maybe a little caffeine motivation would help get things going. So, if I were coffee, what kind of coffee would I be? Let's see what the all knowing Internet has to say?

You Are a Frappacino

At your best, you are: fun loving, sweet, and modern

At your worst, you are: childish and over indulgent

You drink coffee when: you're craving something sweet

Your caffeine addiction level: low

It is true - the Internet does know all! I hope to have knitting progress of some sort to show later today.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Let's Make Something Happen

I'm not as positive of a person as I want to be. I want to be positive. I really do, but I'm more of a realist. You know, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst kind of outlook on life. But today, I sat next to a very positive businessman who let you know he planned to rub some of that positive energy off on every person he talked to on the phone.

I was sitting at a B&N while a colleague finished up a business meeting before we went to the airport and the positive businessman sat down at the table in the cafe next to me. At first I thought he was talking to someone he knew when he answered his phone "Joey Brown, Let's Make Something Happen." How many people answer the phone with a rally cry? While I thought this was a one time fluke, he proved me wrong by answering the phone 25 or more times over the next two hours the exact same way, sometimes asking someone to hold and picking up call waiting on the other line this exact way. So here's what I figure:

1. He has great self-esteem
2. He truly believes his product/service can make things happen. What that product/service is, I have no idea. I never heard him say. Obviously a soft sale kind of guy.

I attempted to "make something happen" with my Clapotis on the flight today. I'm slowly but surly getting there. It took me about 30 minutes to figure out where I was in the pattern, but I got things back on track and did a couple of the straight row repeats. I hope to be starting on the fourth section by the return trip home.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

On the Road Again

I leave for Scottsdale, AZ tomorrow for the rest of the week. While I didn't take the time to pack my actual luggage for tomorrow's trip tonight, I did spend 20 minutes deciding what I would take with me to knit.

I bought new yarn, a new US 5 circular and printed out the instructions on how to knit two socks at the same time on two circular needles for this trip over the weekend. But when it came down to packing time, I decided I wanted to finish my Clapotis that I started oh about six months ago. I just hope I can figure out where the hell I am in the pattern. So in she goes for my trip to Scottsdale tomorrow along with some directions, an empty floss case and my iPod with new music to jam to and podcasts to catch up on. I should be set for my 4.5 hour flight there and back, right?

I'll get to the sock thing on next week's trip.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year Tension

This year has been full of tension, so far. Knitting machine tension that is. I've enjoyed playing with my new Christmas toy - an Ultimate Knitting Machine.

Now that I think about it, it's been a long time since I got a real toy at Christmas. I really don't remember the last time I got something that I could play with. I think that it might have been a badminton/volleyball set that was a gift to both me and my sister when I was 15. Now, I'm not athletic in the least bit and I'm not sure why my parents thought it would be a good gift. Maybe they were hoping that I would suddenly become coordinated or graceful. While neither of these two things happened, I do remember playing with it, so maybe it wasn't a bad choice after all. When it comes to gifts, I'm more of a clothes, jewelry and music kind of girl.

This year my mother made another good choice and gave me an Ultimate Knitting Machine. I thought I'd like to have something to use to knit things that require a lot of stocking knit or large pieces, like blankets. After playing with it while being banished to my sewing room for two days straight while my husband watched football, I think it will be perfect for those two things.

I knit 200 rows of 50 stitches in about 20 minutes, and that's with screwing up several times. It made me want to open the window and shout - "I'm the fastest knitter in the world." Prior to this 20 minutes of success, there were plenty of lessons learned. The most important - tension is EVERYTHING! Even the smallest amount of tension on the yarn impacts the needles. When there is too much tension in the wrong place, the needles hang up. When there isn't enough tension in the right place, the stitches fall off the needles and you have a mess on your hands.

I've experimented with making cables, changing colors and doing a bit of fair isle. It really is very easy. The hardest part is really doing the ribbing. The machine knits with the wrong side facing you, so all the purls are facing you. In order to create a knit stitch on the side facing you, you unhook the stitch, unravel and reladder it so the stitch is now basically reversed. I stink at reladdering normally, but with the weighed hem that hangs on the bottom of your knitting it's not so bad, but it is time consuming. Right now I think I could hand knit ribbing faster than I could reladder it on the machine and evidently a lot of people think this because there are instructions for how to remove your knitting from the machine and hand knit the ribbing in the instruction guide.

I'm using Caron Simply Soft right now to experiment and make baby blanket. It's wicked cheap and the machine likes it - which is the most important thing right now. Of course the edges curl into a tight little tube without any blocking. I think I have figured out a way I can create a garder stitch boarder while it is on the machine, but this requires me having to reladder four or five stitches on the left and right sides of the blanket, then pick up the bottom and top hems and do those by hand. Being a total yarn snob I'm trying not to think about all the acrylic that my hands are touching and just focusing on the fact that people who have babies need something they can wash over and over again and they won't care that it isn't a natural fiber - although, the sweaters and booties I will hand knit will be of a cotton blend I'm sure.

Needless to say, I have a lot of playing to do to decide how I want to use this new toy. There's a lot of details and handwork involved in this machine, even though it is every quick for basic kind of stuff, you've obviously got to know what you're doing to make anything useful. More tomorrow. Happy New Year!