Sunday, January 28, 2007

Magic Yarn Ball, take 2

Actually, this is take one-the ball of yarn I sent to my MDC swap partner. She was kind enough to take pictures for me, as I forgot, as usual. I would also like to point out that her pictures are far superior to those I would have taken myself, so it's best for all that we waited and let her do it.

The ball, all wrapped up. The yarn is 3 ply wool from Little Turtle Knits, in the After The Rain colorway. That is actually the second skein that I ordered, it's twin was used in the very first custom soaker I ever knit. Memories...................

My partner was actually a fairly new knitter, so I sent her two needles that she needed to add to her collection. The stickers Ellie picked out are actually displayed on the crown my partner's daughter was making when the yarn arrived. I also added some tea, some lip balm, some lotion, and a few yards of ribbon, as my partner likes to make bows for her daughter's hair. The biggest problem in the whole process was the wrapping. As the proud owner of a ball winder and swift, I hadn't hand wound a ball in recent memory, and I have no patience for tangled skeins. After trying to make the ball from the skein lying loose on my couch, I changed tactics. The skein went on the winder, was made into a cake, then I wrapped the goods from a more civililzed direction.

I'm now off to spend some time working on a pair of longies for a customer. The simple acts of swatching and casting on were giving me fits last night (note to self-experimental techniques are best left for personal knitting, and best explored before 11pm). At about midnight I decided I was far to stupid to deserve to ever knit again, but daylight and coffee have granted me perspective and the courage to knit again.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Plunge

I'm going to do it. I've been running this over and over in my head for weeks. It terrifies me. I'm going to do it anyway. I'd post pictures, but I can't find my camera cord, so you will just have to take my word for it that it's time.

I'm going to knit from stash. I'm going to knit from my existing stash for three months. You will have to take my word for it when I tell you that this, by no stretch of the imagination, will prevent me from knitting just about any item I can imagine. There will be some very specific rules that will allow me to make vital purchases, but the rules will be so tricky that it will be almost impossible to have that happen.
  • Purchases are allowed for custom soaker orders. However, I will take an accurate inventory of my available customer stash so I can do everything in my power to suggest a stash yarn before I stoop to ordering.
  • I will rid myself of the burden of plastic yarn that I will never use. I don't need 20 skeins of Homespun, as I will never knit an afghan that would melt in the tragic even our house burned down. I have no need for fun fur, and I'm not sure how it got there anyway. Someone will find it at Goodwill and thank the heavens, and I'm all about making others happy, even if they have crappy taste in yarn.
  • I will frog all UFOs that don't fit or that I have set aside for the simple fact that I hate them. The yarn deserves better than to sit there with no hope of ever being used, and I could use the needles. It's not the yarn's fault that I have no concept of guage and a short attention span.
  • I will create a binder of patterns. I will exhaust all free options (including patterns I own but have never looked at) before buying a pattern, but if it has to be purchased to use up some yarn, a pattern or book is an acceptable purchase.
  • I will have a sock-in-progress at all times. It's stupid to keep buying gorgeous sock yarn if I'm never going to use it.
  • I will take and post pictures of my progress, to hold myself accountable. As soon as I find the camera cord.

Ready, set, knit.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The good, the bad, and the hysterical

We are on day 8 of the "GREAT BLIZZARD OF 2007" (insert music of impending doom, ala KING 5 news), and things around here are getting a dicey. If I wanted snow on the ground, I'd move. Canada has been suggested if I decide to do it, as well as suggestions of warmer climates. I'd rather just have our rain back. It's snowing right now, although the tv insists it's not.

Al Gore is right people. You should listen.

We have been working on distracting ourselves around here while trapped indoors. A few diversions

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This is the Magic Yarn ball, from a swap on MDC. I made one up and sent it to another knitter (forgot the pictures. Darn). This is mine. The outer yarn is a fingering weight wool that will probably be footie socks to match my clogs, as the browns are pretty darn close. Excuse the shaker behind, it needed some propping for effect.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The treasures unwrapped. Courtney loved this part. Note the gorgeous skein of bamboo yarn, tucked in the very center. Dave thought I had lost it when I started dancing around the kitchen blabbing about bamboo. You see, I insisted that I needed the Knitpicks Options needle set for Christmas because I hate bamboo. It's different when it's yarn, then I love bamboo. He will never understand me.
Things aren't all perfect, though. Look at this.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
A teeny tiny newborn soaker. It was coming together fast, and perfectly. Then I somehow lost my ability to count to 17. I knit the entire lower back portion, wondering all the while why it was so tiny. Worrying that by the time it was long enough, it would be way to narrow to cover a diaper. If I had any brain in my head, I would have stopped at any number of times in the process and counted. But no. The frogging had to happen after I was halfway through the front flap. By that point, the skein I was working off of was really floppy and starting to get tangled,and I was working with 3 working yarns at the same time. This picture was taken after frogging a few rows, and finally admitting it was really hosed up and as tangled as an octopus. Instead of yelling, screaming, and saying bad words, I sat it down, took a picture, and let it rest for 24 hours. Things are better now.

And finally, a bit of evidence of what my children do to each other when trapped indoors for too long.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, January 15, 2007

Why and how.

This is actually a spin off of a post on a knitting message board, asking about "knitting philosophy". It got me thinking about why I knit, how I knit. Not how in the sense of how I form individual stitches, but how I go about the process and my projects.

Honestly, I think I knit to combat some very real mental issues. I self-identify as having adult onset ADD. I wasn't like this as a child, but as an adult, relaxation and focus just isn't my thing. I can't just sit and watch a movie, or ride in a car, or listen to the radio. Knitting gives my hands something to do, which in turns takes just enough pressure off my brain to allow me to focus on what I'm really doing. Much to my husband's disbelief, I am paying attention when he is talking to me while simultaneously counting the decreases in a soaker.

I obviously don't for the satisfaction of finishing a project. Any observant human being would take one look at my house and realize that finishing is not. my. thing. I can see 3 unfinished projects right from where I sit, not counting the ufo's tucked into a few bags beneath the blankets under the end table. My dresser is a resting place for three unfinished sweaters that may or may not fit by the time I finish. I strive to be a more goal oriented knitter, and I fail miserably at times. I can fly through a pair of longies for a customer, because someone paid me to do so, and guilt is a motivator. But put a pair of socks for me on my needles, and it's a crap shoot. Of course, this is the theme of my entire life, evidenced by the stack of unfinished books on my nightstands (but the books are generally covered with ufo's, so no one knows I'm also a voracious reader).

I also knit because it's a socially acceptable shopping outlet. I used to buy shoes I didn't need or didn't really like, matching outfits for the girls when their closets were overflowing, and lotion and shower gel in every scent under the sun. Then came wool. My stash takes up the area of an entire table, overflowing into bags and totes beneath. Every once in a while a skein or two comes upstairs to be wound, but it's mostly yarn that I may never use. I'm strongly considering a six month "knit from stash" process, but I need to think on that some more to create my own set of rules.

Finally, I knit because it's cool. Although it's a trendy hobby, for me it's not about other's perception of my activities. It's much more about the fact that it allows a non-artist to be artistic. Knitting allows me to practice the techniques I teach pregnant women-patience, focus, and trust in the process. Knitting allows me to be gentle on the earth by using minimally processed yarns, and it allows me to support small businesses and avoid the 'marts of the world. It allows me to help families keep their kids in cloth diapers, which really does all of the above things as well. It has taught me to slow down and focus on the details, to forgive myself for mistakes, and that sometimes it is worth going back and starting over.

I've be a very different person without my knitting, and I can't really remember what I did before.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Finish what you started.

A secret about my life as a knitter..........I suck at finishing things. Actually, it's a theme that is pretty consistant throughout my entire life, but with knitting it is clear for all to see, demonstrated through little piles of wool strewn about any space where I spend any time. These are longies, made of Beaverslide organic merino and dyed by (still working on this link thingy-help!). I have 3 rows to go, which would require less time and effort than posting this, yet they have looked like this for two days. So today, they will be finished, washed, lanolized, and drying.

These are chemo caps for an online friend's daughter. You can read her story here The purple is an acryllic my sister brought back from South America (note to self-don't ask non-knitters to bring back yarn from their travels, as they wouldn't know wool if it bit them in the butt). The pink is also mostly acryllic, I think it's Lion Brand. If you know me at all, you know that plastic yarn rarely touches my needles, but I'm glad I had this on hand. They fit the requirements for chemo caps, as they super soft and washable. The purple is done save for the weaving of the ends, so thats about 48 seconds of work to do. The pastels will take a bit more work, as I have an entire 7 or 8 rows of decreases to go. It's a stretch, but I'm going to do it.

I do have distractions today, as the weird weather in the Northwest continues. Today, we woke to this little distraction.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
It's a bit hard to get anything done with everyone in my family home in the morning, and I still haven't knit a stitch. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

My first post, for a big day.

I thought it was appropriate to start this blog on the day that I meet it's designer.

Yes, my life is a bit too tied up in my internet friends. Notice, I didn't type "friends", as Dave would. The women I have met in various online communities are my true friends-the ones I turn to when I'm in a panic, or coming off a birth high, or so fed up with my kids/knitting project/state of the world that I just need to process it all. Some days I think that I need to get out more, spend my time with people that live near me, people that others would say really exist. But I know in my heart that I have more in common with those few special women on most days than I do the people who populate "real life".

So today, Ellie and I are off to meet Sabbath and Autumn. The UnPops are practically writhing with jealousy. I've been up since 5:30, wondering what I'm going to wear, how my hair will behave today, and obsessing that maybe she will see me across the mall and run away screaming. But once I get past that anxiety, I'm just so freaking excited I can't see straight to actually meet this person, the one that I just know is the coolest mama on the planet.

More later, including pictures. I have knitting to discuss, births to process, and opinions to spout. But today, I simply needed to mark this occasion, the day when my life becomes just a bit more real.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Here you go Megan!

I created this blog for you! Yay for pretty blogs!

If you have questions on how to do anything give me a holler. It's really quite easy to use, and add links and lists and other things to. Just ask me!!


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Test Post

Checking out the layout....