It’s A Kind of Magic

This week my WIP is a little magical.  It is a shawl, but is a very magical shawl indeed.  Sadly, it is not so magical that it knits itself.  Nor does it knit up at a magical pace.  And there is no guarantee that is will be the perfect size when it’s finished either.  (Just for the record, I have never figured out exactly what the perfect size for a shawl is.  It seems to be way too dependant on my mood.)  It is magical because of the stripes.  Those little colour changes are happening all by themselves in the right place and making perfect little sections.

Now, before you start thinking that I have figured out the secret and am some sort of knitting wizard, it’s really not that at all.  It’s the yarn.  It’s all the yarn.

The Yarn Harlot first blogged about it here and you can imagine what happened next.  The yarn became a very scarce commodity.  There were sell-outs, and back orders, and now it seems that scoring a skein of the magic yarn is the same as winning the knitter’s lottery.  Somehow, my knitting guru managed to do just that and for Christmas a few of us received  skeins.

 

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This past weekend I cast on the shawl.  It says right inside the ball band, to be used with topdown triangle shawls.  I checked Rav and the Caterpillargreen website and picked a pattern.  I grabbed my 3.5’s and cast on.  Four and a half hours later I was cussing the yarn and the dyer.  I was oscillating between thoughts of auctioning off the skein and lighting it on fire in the courtyard.  It was not going well.  Colour changes were happening everywhere except where they were supposed to.  I was miserable.  I was frustrated. I was so very, very unhappy.

I had gone up and down needle sizes, tried a different pattern, added a second colour.  Nothing was working. So I took to Twitter and posted my woes.  Very quickly I received helped from another knitter.   She pointed out that gauge is super important and to try again.  So in one last ditch effort I went up another needle size.  4 mm way the key.  They were the saviour for the shawl, and at that moment my sanity.  It all started to work!  It started striping by itself!!!!

 

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Now the shawl is flying off the needles.  My goal is twofold.  First I want to finish it this week so I’m ready for the weekend.  (More about that on the weekend ;)  Next, I want to somehow win the knitting lottery when Caterpillargreen updates again.  They have some truly beautiful colours just begging for me to knit with them.

Yarn : Caterpillargreen Merino Twist shawl striping
Colour: Warm and Fuzzy
Pattern: Simple Yet Effective Shawl

For more great stuff check out the Yarn Along at Ginny’s and KCCO at Frontierdreams.

 


The End Did Come

There were moments.  There were moments of panic and doubt.  There were moments when I couldn’t bear to look at the remnants of the skein for fear that looking would make it run out faster and ensure that I wouldn’t be able to complete the socks.  There were moments of absolute certainty and confidence.  No matter what I was thinking at any moment, the only thing I was thinking about was if I was going to be able to finish the socks.  I thought about it while I was knitting the socks.  I thought about it while I was in the shower.  I thought about it while I was thinking about writing this post.  I thought (or more accurately) I fretted constantly about if I had enough yarn.
I squished the ball.  I poked the ball.  I eyeballed the ball.  I breathed a little sigh of victory every time I finished a section.  Even though that relief was very temporary and almost instantly replaced with doubt.  This dance, this tango, of hope and doubt caused my relationship with the socks to be a very unique one indeed.  There were moments when I knit them at a fever pace and there were moments when I literally froze with the socks in my hands, unable to knit a stitch.
Finally, I decided that what I needed was mojo.  I needed the mojo of other knitters.  The more knitters I had near the socks, the more likely I was to finish them, or at least that was my thought.  So there came a day when it was a friend’s birthday.  She is a long time knitter and I knew the likelihood of at least one other knitter being there was high, and I was right.  Three knitters in one place had to be enough.  I hoped it was.  I said a little prayer to the knitting goddess and really hoped that she was listening.
I don’t know if any of that made a difference.  I suppose in the end nothing I did or didn’t do would have really made a difference.  The amount of yarn I had wasn’t going to magically change.  Knitting or not knitting was the only difference to be had.  So in the end that’s what I did.

And there was an ending.  Actually, it was the last thing I really accomplished before the plague was bestowed upon me and left me only able to complete one or two rows of a heel flap in a day.  But, as I knew it would, the end did come.  And there in the grande finale, the only thing that was left for me to do was revel in glory and the satisfaction of having a finished pair of socks.

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Yarn: Tanis Blue Label in Poppy and Sand

Pattern: Lumberjacks

 

For more Friday knitting check out Creative Friday, and Fiber Arts Friday.

 


Identity Crisis Knitting

The Fibre;

I’ve made Jaywalkers before.  I have in actuality made eight complete pairs of Jaywalkers.  That’s sixteen individual socks.  I know how this pattern goes.  I know what to cast on, and when to start the heel.  I know when to start the toe.  I know how to tell if a yarn will be too tight or too loose, and how to fix that so that the socks will fit perfectly.  Most importantly, I know how they should look.

I know that if it is a self-striping yarn it will most likely look something like this.IMG_2727

Or maybe this.

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Or maybe even like this.

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I use this pattern with self-striping yarns because it works so well.  The pattern does not overpower the yarn, nor does the yarn in any way overwhelm the pattern.  They are a wonderful compliment to each other, a perfect synergy of yarn and pattern that blends beautifully to make my favourite socks.  These socks are reliable.  They are stable.  They are ever-present. They are Jaywalkers.

Until now.  The only things I can say us that this pair, my newest of my beloved Jaywalkers, is having an identity crisis.  They have no idea what they want to be.

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Truly, there is some multiple personality disorder happening here.  Big stripes, little stripes, all out chaos?  Sure! Why not?  Forget order.  Defy expectation!  Be whatever you want to be.  And while you’re at it, befuddle your knitter.  Leave her shaking her head and wondering what the heck is happening and if the second sock is in any way going to match the first.  It’s all just so much more fun this way!

The paper,

This past weekend I went with my hubby to return some books to our local library and came across Cinderella Girl by Carin Gerhardsen.  It’s a Swedish murder mystery that I had heard a few rumblings about.  It is the second novel in a series, but I didn’t realize that and jumped right in.  This book is working fine as a stand alone, and while there is some back story that probably would have been better filled in, it’s not difficult to infer what’s not actually there.


Here’s the thing.  This novel is written exactly they way you would expect a Scandinavian novel (or movie) to be written.  The pacing is different.  It is slow and very methodical.  It’s barely over 300 pages, and it took until page 80 for the first murder (in a book that claims to be a murder mystery) to occur.  I’m still not certain who the main character is, or how pretty much any of the separate story lines connect.  Currently it’s just all sharing the same space in between the same covers.

I would like to point out that none of this is making for a bad read.  This book is neither unenjoyable or horrid.  It just is.  It is contemplative and detailed and a rather easy read.

For more great stuff check out KCCO and Jenny’s Yarn Along.

 

 

 

 


YOP Update March 1st 2015

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I really feel there should be more of an update to the list.  I feel like I should be crossing things off with gleeful abandon and that there should be some measurable amount of forward momentum.  But there isn’t or at least it doesn’t feel like there is.  Sigh.

My Sister in law, on the other hand, is making stunning progress with her crocheting.  She’s completed her first pillow case and a baby hat.  She’s struggling a little with the second case as she can’t seem to replicate the mistakes she made on the first one.  The joys of becoming more confident in your craft.  Even her wool licking dog, Miss Daisy, is getting in on the action!

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And now for the list.

Redacted YOP List

WIPs:
1. Icedfinished Feb 2015
2. 64 crayons Finished Jan 2015
3. Vincent price socks – should be much closer than they are.
4. 10 more squares for Nordic Holiday

Not WIPs:
1. Lumberjack X4 Two pairs finished Jan 20.  Two  to go.
2. Baby gift for the April baby
3. Jaywalkers

4. socks (unknown)

5. Socks (unknown)

 

 


The Posts That Should Have Been; or; The Ravages of Illness: There But For the Grace of Modern Medicine…

There were supposed to be blog posts in the last week or so.  There were supposed to be posts about amazing victories, and new projects, pages read, and wild dreamy knitting.  They were there, floating around in my head and oh so close to my fingertips.
Then, instead, my throat started tickling and I felt run down.  Shortly after that, my voice got super scratchy.  I began to wonder if I had developed a nocturnal glass eating habit, because it really was the only logical explanation for how crummy my throat was feeling.  Then I lost my voice altogether, and stayed at home for a day and napped.  And then napped some more.  And by the next day I was lulled into a magical dream world, where I was actually getting better instead of worse. I was getting my energy back and I downgraded my throat pain to merely having ingested powdered glass, say as an appetizer, as opposed to a main entrée of giant shards of plate glass misery.
And then it all went back to hell.  Or more accurately, I was invaded by a bacteria from the seventh circle of hell itself.  That obstreperous little bugger had the gall to settle right in and pipe up with “How you doin?” And when I didn’t immediately respond with “get out now”, it decided to take me back to hell with it and make me it’s bride.  That was at about 4 in the morning this past Saturday, when I woke up after not really having slept and realized that the entire right side of my body from the base of my neck to the my eyebrow  was lumpy and swollen.  I became intimately and simultaneously aware of every inch of my gums, my teeth, every sinus, and my inner ear.  I couldn’t see a damn thing because my right eye was swollen shut and I couldn’t turn my head because my shoulder had completely seized.  The only blessing was that I could barely open my mouth, which turned out to be a good thing as it was the only thing keeping my ridiculously swollen tongue in my mouth and not slopping about on my chin like a dog who’s just had a great run in the woods.  All I can say about my neck is I had no idea glands could get that big.  Oh, and I had a fever.  No idea how high it was, but having the cold sweats made the whole thing THAT MUCH BETTER!!!!!!
I started making a mental list of things that I was going to need to have my husband bring me when the doctor I was going to see would no doubt hospitalize me because I very quickly realized that this was the sickest I had ever been in my entire adult life (and I’ve had cholera)!!!!
At this point I have a pro tip for ya’ll. When you are this sick and you get someone to take you to the closest clinic, openly weep in the waiting room.  Literally sob like a child into the chest of the person beside you. If that’s the person who brought you, great!  If not, do it anyway!!  Make a new friend! The overall impact of this behaviour is that the staff get you into a see a doctor really quickly to keep you from upsetting the other waiting patients.  Keep right on sobbing when the doctor walks in and feel marginally vindicated when he looks at you and says “oh you poor thing.  I’m so sorry you had to wait at all”.  Another pro tip:  When your husband asks if you want him to come into the exam room with you, say no, because you’re a grown-ass woman and you don’t need help to go to the doctor.  Say this because it is what you would always say.  Say it even though you can barely speak, and even though you’re not really processing any information right now, like things that people (hypothetically doctors, even) are saying to you.  That way, later, you can look at the bottle of antibiotics and realize that you did, in fact, go to the doctor, and that whole thing wasn’t a multisensory hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation and pain.
The (completely real and in no way a hallucination) doctor really was fantastic and he did manage to convince me that I had neither meningitis or mumps but did confirm that I had strep everything north of the collarbones, and he was pretty sure a wicked sinus infection caused by the strep everything.  We had a very brief discussion about if I was actually going to be able to swallow penicillin or if I would need an IV.  (I’d like to point out that at this point I did not care how I got the drugs.  As long as I got them that was all that mattered.)  I also didn’t find out how high my fever was because all the doctor said was “well, that’s, um, high”.
In the end, I was sent home with my hubby and a rather large amount of penicillin.  (Ed note:  She’s not kidding.  She looked it up.  It’s about the maximum dose for a person of any size, and about the longest a person should stay on it.)  Shortly after that there was also ice cream and Popsicles and a new hot water bottle (to replace the one tragically lost in the great DPN Incident of two thousand fourteen), and Advil.  And by the second round of drugs there was enough of an improvement that I could actually sleep.  And around the third round of drugs we noticed that I had a black eye caused by my sinuses swelling up so badly.  But I was able to sleep, and eat very slowly.
Over that entire 7 days I knit one half heel flap.  That was it.  Now I’m four days into the wonder drug and things are so much better.  My black eye is almost gone, my sinus infection is clearing up, and tonight I was able to open my mouth wide enough to eat without dripping dinner down my chin.  And last night I finished the flap and turned the heel and started the foot of my sock.  And really, is there a better indication that a knitter is on the mend then when she actually starts knitting again?
So, now the plan is to catch up on my work and give a thought to those missing blog posts.  They are still there and they are itching to get out.


A Race Against the Yarn Update

I mentioned earlier this week that I am currently in a race with the yarn that I am using for my SIL’S Christmas socks.  There are only two competitors in this dash to the finish line: me and a the remnants of the a skein of Poppy yellow label from Tanis Fibre arts.  Right now I think we are in a dead tie, still going neck to neck.  The good news is, we have passed the halfway mark.  The first sock is finished and while the leg is a tiny bit shorter than I would otherwise make it, I’m certainly not going to attempt to add any additional length by doing something foolish like frogging back and adding more rows.IMG_2715

This is now the time when the real race begins.  There was never any doubt that I would conquer the first sock.  The question has always been the second.  The accursed second sock.  The sock that can make or break the whole deal.  The sock that will either catapult me to victory or leave me weeping uncontrollably in the corner with nothing but an unfinished sock with which to dry my eyes.  That is the sock that I am starting.  With uncertainty being my only companion in the fray, I am jumping in head first.IMG_2716

Keep your fingers crossed that when I emerge, there I will be a with a big smile and warm toes.

 

 


Paper and Fibre February 11, 15

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The Fibre

This week’s fibre is a little bit of a risk.  Well maybe it’s not.  It’s almost certainly, maybe,  not a risk.  Here’s the deal.  I’ve started my SIL’S Christmas socks.  The pattern is Lumberjacks.  The pattern is not the risk.  The pattern is awesome.  This is my third pair in as many months.  It’s great.  The colour is fine.  She’ll love red socks.  The yarn is great too, but it’s also the problem.  You see the pattern calls for a huge amount of yardage for each pair of socks.  I’m not sure if it’s a difference in gauge, but according to the pattern I should need just over a skein of the master colour for a pair of men’s socks.  As it turns out I need less than a skein.  I fair bit less than a skein.  So considering that I only used the red for the heels and toes for my hubby’s socks, and the ladies socks have fewer stitches per round and fewer rounds over all, I should need a much smaller amount of yarn than with the men’s socks.  So I should have enough red yarn.  It seems reasonable to think that.  In fact it seems foolish to think anything else.  I’m almost certain this will work.
A yarn scale would make my life easier and happier.  But that would require me to know where my scale is and right now I kind of sort of don’t.  And anyway, it’s way more fun not knowing and having the anxiety spur me on.  It will make me a faster knitter since we all know that if you knit super fast you will in fact avert a pending yarn shortage.  But that’s not going to happen.  I think.IMG_2670-0

The Paper

The-roadThis week I finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy. As the story progresses you realize that it is, at its core, a very complex discussion on humanity and human nature. It asks the question, how do we retain our humanity in the face of insurmountable odds? Why do some people maintain a moral code of conduct that is reflective of current values, and others morph into something abhorrent? Or are do some people adapt while others cling to the past? It’s a fantastic metaphor for heaven and hell. It’s both brutally grim at times and uplifting in its depiction of a father and son’s unwavering love. I’m not certain I can recommend this book, but if you can deal with the writing style and very dark content it is worth the read.

For more great Wednesday stuff check out the Yarn Along at Ginny’s and KCCO at Frontierdreams.


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