Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's STILL Snowing!

I got to test my all-wheel drive van - my client got it for me for $312 last spring - in the snow. It uses too much gas, it's sitting on a heavy-duty truck chassis but rides comfortably & goes like stink in this stuff. You should see it go up a steep, snow covered hill from a dead stop!! I've sold it to a client of mine who needs a heavy duty van but haven't found anything smaller yet so I get to drive it for another month or so.
I needed milk, catfood & toilet paper yesterday so I had to go out. I didn't shovel my drive, I swept a path with my broom!! But, I took the bag of salt, the shovel & the wire bottomed broom with me when I went - it was 8.4 inches on the nose in my drive & well above the tops of my rubber shoes, dammit. The cat refused to go out yesterday - smart cat! She preferred to sit in her window seat & growl at the birds that came into the garden to eat the leftovers I tossed out.

After all my scooting about, I came home to finish my new socks in the picture above. I just loved this OPAL yarn when I saw it in the Bargain Basket & saved it for myself. I decided I needed longer winter socks so I whipped it out & knit it up for ME.
About halfway thru this pair, I realized they looked awfully familiar. I couldn't stand it so I checked the sock basket for something in the same sort of pattern or colors that I made up in the past. I thought maybe I'd knit up some OPAL in a slightly different color combo or something. Can you believe it??? The exact same colorway! The one on the right is a little faded from all the washing but it's exactly the same colors as the new one on the left! Well, obviously I like this pattern!

If you look closely at the heels though, you'll see the older sock on the right has a short-row
heel which I believe is from Jan's Sock pattern & the left hand sock has the Queen Kahuna heel which I'm using these days!

I've knit so many socks in the last few years that it's really hard to remember what I've worked with & what I've just admired. Wish I could say the same about my SWEATERS. In this weather, I just wish I'd finished one of them by now.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Here we go again!

The cat has finally realized that there is no door into Summer today. She's had it opened several times & driven me batty until I opened the window by her shelf a couple of times too. She DID go out & lick the snow on the stairs outside her window but she really didn't want to go outside into it. She finally decided it was a good day to sleep. I agree with her! I've been a little under the weather for the past few days & don't want to go out either. It just took her longer to decide .

When the Weather Pundits predicted more of the White Death, I went shopping for more fruits, veggies & cat food - we can last it out!!

The Wednesday Nite Nitters met this week with a variety of projects so we decided to take a picture of the whole mess of them to post on the blog!! In the top left is Laura's alpaca afghan, then Kathy's wild green socks, in the lower right - Gail's monet afghan from her 'Tea Exchange', in the lower left - Gail's finished Icelandic Shawl & then my Opal socks on top of Laura's afghan. Karen's wild socks are in the middle! Aren't we a Crafty group???!!!

I have two pairs of socks on the go right now - the weird colored ones for the BT's mom - she wanted some longer socks for winter now that she's getting around so much better since her knee replacement! She & the Worst Half seem to be on the go constantly so they need Boot Socks now. I'm just about finished hers, I'm in the mindless midfoot where I'm debating about whether to put a contrasting toe on or not. I'll have to reinforce hers, no matter what I do but will I, won't I, will I, won't I????

My Opal socks have their heels turned & are also on the home stretch. I made them a little longer to keep out the winter drafts on my legs as well - Maw had a good idea. There's nothing like that first blast of cold air on your bare legs when you exit a nice warm car . . . .

By the way, I pulled out my last dye mistake this morning & wondered what to do with it - I spun the wool from my Brown Sheep mill ends into lovely fat skeins that hung as ART in my livingroom for ages. I splotch dyed them one day & realized - after the dye was dabbed on - that I'd forgotten the vinegar!! Most of the dye came out when I threw the skeins into the vinegar. I splotched some more dye onto the yarn & cooked it in my microwave for 3 minutes. This is the result. It's a soft, springy singles yarn that knits up about a worsted weight in the sample swatch. I may just knit some mittens - found a pattern in an old KNITTERS magazine for sideways garter stitch mittens. They would work very nicely when sitting outside drinking coffee at Starbucks!!

Ooooooo - just looked outside - it's really coming down!! Looks like there'll be FUN FUN FUN on the roads tomorrow morning!! Good thing I'm cozy in my home office until midmorning.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Just bring me the money

Oh, I love the early part of the year when the Taxman calleth. This year he actually got his butt in gear & got not only the tax programs ok'd early but even got the Summary software up & running almost a month early on the website!! I bet some of those government employees actually worked in the month of December!! Imagine that??!!
So, I'm anchored to the computer, spewing forth mountains of paper for the Taxman. Nothing like a few T4s to get your blood running in the morning . . . . .

So, the sun is shining & I'm in the office pounding on the keyboard - but not for long. I & the latest Ugly Opal sock are heading for Starbucks to knit & work on my tan. Remember the socks from the last post??? Well, the heels are turned & I'm on the home stretch, on the way to the toes. Usually I put a contrasting toe on most of my socks but I won't be doing that for these ones. The BT's mom is really hard on the upper toe of her socks - comes from having a shortened tendon in one big toe apparently. This causes the nail to rub against the TOP of her sock & wears a hole in it quite quickly. Since all my solid yarn which matches anything in the is sock is Sisu, I've decided to knit all of it the same AND reinforce the toes with fuzzy nylon. I have a lot of fuzzy nylon in several colors which I bought to reinforce heels & toes. I learned that most people don't need reinforcing since most sock yarns are at least 20% nylon & they wear very well. But, the BT's mom needs it because of her strange toe. Good thing I'm a packrat who doesn't throw things out . . .

And the right hip triangle in the Ginny sweater is progressing nicely. I figure by the time the weather starts to warm up to early flowers, I'll have a new sweater to wear . . . . . .

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How the Time passes

I know it's been more than a week since I wrote or posted a picture of my maudlin going's on. I don't need to be reminded! But, I've been busy. And not with crafty things neither!! It appears Revenue Canada - oops, CCRA since they got their new charter - well, it seems they've finally got their act in gear & we can file all the 2007 reports early. Holy Crap!! My tax software was ready for sale 10 days ago!! The tax software people have to wait for Revenue Canada to OK their product before we can buy it. We can't file T4s because Revenue Canada's ON-LINE software isn't usually ready till February! This year all of it's ready to go & has been for almost two weeks!! So, I'm filing what I can early!! Balancing Payroll books, doing Spread Sheets, filling out the forms . . . . . . who has time to knit???

Well, there is this little pair of socks I've been knitting . . . . . I know I swore I'd knit NO MORE SOCKS till one of my sweaters was done BUT I still need a little, portable project to carry around in the car with me. When I'm waiting somewhere or out for a coffee with friends, I just don't want a big project. I want something small that can just be whipped out, a few stitches done & put down again. I NEED a small project. And the BT's mom needs some longer socks for her new walking shoes. Now that her knee's been replaced, she's more active & her short socks leave her legs cold so I said I'd knit her a couple of pairs so she stops pinching the Old Man's socks. This is the next offering - I'm just starting to turn the heel. This is some of the OPAL Uglies that I found on sale before Christmas at my favorite yarn shop, Knitopia. I'm glad the BT's mom loves it. She says it goes with lots of her stuff!!! Okaaaaaaaaaay . . . .

And speaking of the sweaters, I'm working on the right hip triangle for Ginny. It's the sweater with the increases down the centre back, front & sleeves. When finished, it has a very deep dip, front & back so the sides have to have triangles knit in the sides to even it up before the edging, collar & button bands are done. It's just large & bulky so it's not the sort of thing you pack around. Arvik is in waiting since Ginny is closer to finishing but it's next.

Haven't been spinning anything but have been perusing my Knitting magazines, my collection of books & B
arbara Walker for a next project. I have several skeins of different shades of purple yarn spun up - some contain silk & some don't. I may take the easy way out & just knit a shawl to curl up in when I watch tv. I'm not sure I have the courage to wear one in public, but there is this simple sweater designed for scrap silk yarn that keeps calling to me. It's just two rectangles & a square with sleeves & I might just have enough yarn to make it. It's knit on large needles in a large stitch so it's very shawl-like in texture. Mmmmmmmm. . . .

Saturday, January 12, 2008

No one here but us bags

I've almost finished the silk waste knitting bag I started last week. I decided I needed big round bamboo handles for it. And a flap to close the top. I've cast-off for most of the top except for a 2" flap on either end to fold over the handles to hold them on. I'm really hoping I have enough to knit a flap to close it with a big button or something . . . . . a bone?? a wooden spool??
I knit a rectangle in garter stitch for the bottom. And then I picked up stitches all around the rectangle increasing at least 4 stitches on each corner and a couple here & there on the sides to make the bag fuller.

And I found the other bag of silk waste. It's really nasty, hard, itchy stuff. I probably should wash it first - it's dark but probably with dirt. And, I think there's actually more of this stuff than there was of the brighter silk. I picked a lot of wood waste out of the brighter silk that I knit the bag with too. But, I think it will have to wait for warmer weather AFTER I've finished a couple of my sweaters!!! I'm cold. I need a sweater!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Agony & the Ecstasy

I've already attempted to blow my New Year's resolutions all to Hell. I have some of my friend Karen's sock project bags. Karen loves to find these & has rules for buying the bags.The rules for these bags are #1 - they have to be see thru & #2 - they have to be under a buck! I got lucky & was able to get the BIG Kahlua bag for my Arvik sweater project but mostly these bags are too small for anything other than a pair of socks. I need another BIG bag to hold my Ginny while I'm working on it. So I came up with a plan - I've wanted a felted bag for sooooooo long but my apartment size washer just won't make felt - but someone pointed me at a Knitty project, UNBIASED. It's knit from waste Silk Sari yarns! Perfect for a knitting bag I thought!!

Now, last year, I bought 15 skeins of yarn on eBay. I planned to unwind it somewhat, pull it & re-spin it into something useable. Bad Idea. It's waaaaay too dirty, scratchy & itchy to do much with. I unwound several skeins & got about 30% more yarn from it's sad & overtwisted skeins. Pulling them to make it thinner proved to be ruinous to the fingers & joints. I threw it into a drawer & forgot about it.
But, I still need a knitting bag that's roomy enough for a large project & tough enough to withstand the poking from needles & scissors. It also has to be able to sit on the floor wherever I go but not look like a beat up gunny sack or torn plastic bag. And I've got 10 skeins of Sari Silk & 5 of rayon - Oh, didn't I tell you that I bid on two lots & ended up with both of them??? I ended up with similar items but one lot is much darker than the other. I'm tempted to use them both in the project just to get rid of them! And I figure even though I've violated the brand-new resolutions of the New Year, it might be forgiven because it enables the other projects. This project looks like mindless knitting, so it shouldn't take more than a couple of evenings in front of the tube . . . . . . .

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ain't it Great?? It's 2008!!

I text messaged "Happy New Year" to everyone I knew with a cell phone this morning. And I actually heard back from several of them!! No, kiddies, I did NOT do it at one minute past midnight. Yeah, I was up listening to John Grisham's,"Steet Lawyer" on the computer while I caught up on tons of unread emails. And I admit I played a little Super Bounce Out too. I had beer in the fridge & vodka in the cupboard so I could've partied. The BT & I decided it was too cold to sit outside & drink in the New Year as we did last year & neither of us wanted to sleep on the other's couch afterwards. So, we yakked on the phone, sent happy text messages at midnight & went to bed in our own beds. Ain't we the exciting couple??? We DID talk about spending NEXT New Year's someplace warm & nice, with a beach & happy natives willing to bring food & drink. Hopefully it'll happen in THIS lifetime . . . .

I spent some of my holiday time knitting on Arvik. I've got about 8 inches of the top done so far. I've even added a row of purl stitches to the stockinette every 5 rows just because. And I added some extra stitches to the fronts not including the 7 sts for the seed button band. I intend to pick up the stitches around the neck & knit a hood but that's only tentative right now. I'll also put a seed stitch band on the bottom instead of ribbing. I'm trying NOT to poke my nose into any other project until this one is done.

And then, I've got the 'G
inny' to finish as well. 'Ginny' is down to the side triangles of the hip shaping & I'm tempted to just pick up all the stitches & knit a decorative border instead. The pattern is designed to dip deeply in the front & back but the sides are picked up & knit in a triangle to match the front & back dip & give a level hem. It's knit in a comfortable discontinued yarn that I've loved for years. I knit several sweaters out of this yarn years ago & wore them to death. I grew out of one of them & the lace panel started to unravel on the second so I pulled them both apart & let the yarn "age" for a few years until I needed a new comfy sweater. Maybe, I should just finish 'Ginny' first since its much closer to being finished & then go back to Arvik.

Oh, there's a
lso sweater #3 in the basket!! I'd almost forgotten about it! I have this ratty old fuchsia acrylic sweater that I knit for myself about 12 years ago. I had a client who insisted on gifting me with money one birthday ONLY if I spent it on something personal for ME. I promised. So I went out & bought this wonderful fuchsia yarn & knit up the Moss Stitch Blazer from Big Knits by Dawn French & Sylvie Soudan. My client & I were both thrilled with it! I'm still wearing it although it's no longer fit to wear in public. The cat fights me for it every time she finds it laying somewhere & it's full of pulls - but I love the color! For several years, I've been buying the Dalesman Fuchsia wool from Birkeland Brothers every time I'm in the neighborhood. I've got about a dozen hanks now so I started knitting the Moss Stitch Blazer in Wool this time. I love the color - it's exactly the same shade as the acrylic yarn I loved so much. I've got the back finished & part of one front done too. I'd also like to wear this sweater some time soon.

The clematis is a reminder of summer when my trellises were covered with red bean flowers, white something-or-other that climbed & these gorgeous clematis flowers. They were the size of bread & butter plates!! And, now that Christmas is over, my RANT button is put away for another year. In my humble opinion, Christmas should become a family holiday again with candles, dinners, good fellowship, tempting smells & kindness for all. Eliminate the ads, Fire the PC police, Ban Boxing Week, Erase the guilt, bring back the fun, legislate SNOW & neighborhood sledding.