Monday, April 30, 2007

Some Progress... being made in the realm of knitting. Here is the Booga Bag.

Here is a shopping bag.

They are coming along nicely.

Saturday was the CT Sheep and Wool Festival, hosted by the CT Sheep Breeders Association. I took the boys up and we all had a grand time. Here is Isaac posing with the UConn Flock--all there to receive their springtime hair cuts.

There were dozens of vendors selling everything from fleeces to yarns and everything in between so the shopping was pretty good. I scored some loot.

And so did the boys.

There were workshops and many, many more fiber-bearing creatures were on display or for sale. Isaac's favorites were these.

I liked these.

They also had sheep dog trials and demos and Ox cart rides

(another favorite of Isaac's).

There was Celtic music and food (lamb, of course) and people knitting in the pavilion outside, or trying out their new drop spindles at lunch. And spinners. I almost forgot the spinners, as if that were possible. The place was lousy with spinners. It was awesome. I can't wait for Rhinebeck.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

it's more serious than I believed

My knitting groove is so thoroughly off that I completely forgot about Knitting Group on Friday and scheduled not one, but two appointments, and will be unable to go. I am becoming alarmed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Groove is Slightly Off

I've cast on and frogged the same shopping bag about five times now. I really want to knit a bunch of them, but I just don't have the right needles. I ordered a circular needle from Patternworks, but it isn't here yet, so it looks like I will have to take a break from this one.

I cast on for the socks but my gauge doesn't match the pattern's gauge. I'm trying to decide which to adjust--the pattern or my gauge. Having cables involved complicates things a bit. Maybe I will have to design my own toe-up cabled socks?

I haven't yet cast on for the Booga Bag. Perhaps I will move on to that and make some progress there, but I'm skeptical.

Also, I should probably work on my swatches, but until I get my groove back, I think I'm just going to stay away.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Knitty Gritty Harlot

Here is my sock-in-progress, enjoying the Harlot on Knitty Gritty.

She was clever and fun, as well as informative. Thanks, Harlot! Hope you do it again soon! (Maybe after you've caught your breath from the Cast Off tour?)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sewing's Last Hurrah

After dragging out all my sewing stuff last week to sort through and get rid of, I realized I had a little sewing wanted to get out of the way before I put the sewing machine into cold storage. Thank goodness I did this because it cemented in my mind the reasons I am giving up on sewing for now. Here they are, in no particular order:
  1. sewing takes up a lot of space--you have to have room to lay out the fabric and cut it. I don't have room.
  2. sewing is dangerous--while I was doing this project, I suffered no less than 3 pin sticks and a burn from my iron. In fact, of all the times I've burned myself with the iron, it was while I was working on a sewing project. Also, when I first started sewing, about 15 years ago, I actually sewed through my finger with the sewing machine. It was quite painful.
  3. sewing requires a certain amout of precision--and that requires concentration. I just can't concentrate the way I need to.
  4. sewing makes me mean--man, was I shouting at my kids! I am such a bad mommy when I sew.
  5. sewing takes up too much time--since I don't have a dedicated room for sewing, I have to drag out all the stuff for the project and do my best to finish the project so I can put all the stuff away. This last time, I started at 9 am and by 5 pm, I was still in my pajamas, I hadn't fed my children, the sink was full of dirty dishes, the laundry was in a huge unfolded and wrinkly pile on the bed, and I was still NOT FINISHED with my project. What about dinner? Yeah, right.
I guess what it boils down to is that I just don't enjoy sewing. I never did, really. I got into it so that I could make garb for the SCA, but I'm not doing that anymore, either. It's just time to let go and make room in my life for other things, namely knitting.

Knitting is a much better hobby lifestyle for me. With the exception of stashing, it takes up very little space, it's not nearly as dangerous as sewing, it's much more forgiving and fudgeable than sewing, and I feel much less compelled to finish a project in one sitting. Also, I am the opposite of mean when I'm knitting. Knitting makes me happy and relaxed. Isn't that what it's all about?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Meditation on a Yarn Stash

It's official. My yarn stash has out-grown its assigned container.

And here is the yarn I have stuffed into my knitting basket:

I know many of you super-stashers out there are saying "you call that a stash?" In my defense, I offer the following:

1. That yarn is packed--I mean packed--into that 18 gal container as tightly as possible. There is a lot of yarn in there and the lid is has to be smushed down in order to get it to lock (but it doesn't).
2. Up until recently, I have mostly been a project driven knitter--that is, I buy yarn for a specific project, knit the project and throw out any remaining useless lengths. This aspect of my knitting self has evolved a bit. I have a single pet skein of Inca Print that lives in my stash only to make me happy.
3. Finally, I have not been knitting that long--only since the Fall of 2003. Building up a respectable yarn stash takes time.

Now, we live in a small condo with limited storage space. The container for my yarn stash lives in the PAX wardrobe workstation where I have my 2 computers and all their accouterments--you know: keyboard, mouse, usb hub, switch-box, cd burner, speakers, printer, scanner, software cd storage, computer books, paper, cables, cables, cables, etc. etc. Thank goodness I have the PAX workstation. I can close up the door when people come over and hide this disaster. But I digress. I am talking about stashing.

There is room in the workstation only for a single 18 gallon storage bin, so if I want to add to my yarn stash (and you know I do--there is a Fiber Festival coming up), I will need to do one of two things. Either ditch my computer and his companion, along with all their coincident slag, or I will need to find somewhere else in my house to stash my yarn.

What about here?

This is my fabric stash and I am letting it go. That's right--I've decided to give up sewing. At least for the time being. It takes too much concentration to sew properly and with two little ones, I just don't have it in me. This is also why I don't knit lace. I will keep my sewing machine, of course, and maybe in a few years, when the children are older, I will come back to sewing. But for now, all that cut fabric is taking up premium space that can be utilized for yarn and I am going to be ruthless. Once those bins are empty I will have 4 (!) bins for yarn and a place to store them. I'm going to go get my timer and Flylady the heck out of them.

Stash enhancing excursion, anyone?

Sunday, April 08, 2007


It has been a while since my last post and I think I ought to take care of that, even though there isn't much to post about.

As far as my knitting life goes, I'm just about done with Isaac's Ribwarmer.

The challenge in this has been that EZ's original directions are for a kind of one-size-fits-most-adults in a worsted weight yarn. I'm knitting for a 5-year-old in a chunky acrylic (ick) blend. It's been a great project, though, and I can't wait to knit about 500 of these for Christmas gifts. Let me tell you, if you have not done one of these, run to the bookstore and pick up Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop. This is the most amazing pattern and has really changed my perspective on the applications of knitting. Thank you to the Yarn Harlot for alerting me to the joys of knitting with EZ! I can't wait to do a Baby Surprise Jacket (where knitting meets origami).

I have completed the first swatch for the TKGA Master Knitter Program and I am having second thoughts about jumping into this. I do not enjoy swatching and am feeling very intimidated about doing the required research paper. Granted, it only needs to be two pages long but I am doubting my ability to go on for two pages about the care and blocking of knits. Also, I have only done one swatch (and it's not perfect) and the others are ahead of me. Maybe I will do another swatch today.

On to things other than knitting... I discovered the World Handwriting Contest today. (The website is dreadful, but the contest sounds like a lot of fun.) I really want to enter, but am not sure if I have time to practice. I loved practicing handwriting in grade school. I remember spending almost the entire summer between third and fourth grades practicing cursive writing. The way the graphite from my pencil would flow out onto the page into beautifully connected letters and words was so relaxing and almost hypnotic. It seemed like I'd write and write for hours.

Finally, today is Easter. Here are the boys hunting for eggs in the living room:

And look, here they are playing NICELY with each other for a change:

This lasted for all of thirty seconds; thank God I got a picture. I would have thought I imagined it otherwise. They have been fighting almost continually for the past week and I am starting to loose my mind.

Happy Easter everyone, and Happy Knitting!

Update 4/9/07: I finished the ribwarmer last night. Check out the gallery for pictures!