Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Zombie Fairy Tale / Tongue placed firmly in cheek

    It's that time of year again, they are starting to show all the Easter candy ads on TV. That gets me to thinking.... 

  Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a man. People thought he was all that. However, the things he said really upset the rulers of his little area of the earth. So they had him killed. They nailed him to some wood, and stood the wood up in the ground. They killed a lot of people that way.

    After he died,  his people took him down and followed their burial customs. They wrapped him in cloth and put him in a cave burial chamber. When they came back a few days later, they found that he was gone! They thought it was a miracle.

    But what really happened is that the first zombie was created. To this day, there are celebrations of the rising of this first zombie. There is even a religion based on it! It amazes even me, and I was brought up in that religion. I can't possibly be the only one who has this point of view, can I? I know that there are web sites that sell T-shirts about the first zombie.

    It happens that the holiday that celebrates the creating of the first zombie is coming. So I hope everyone has a very happy First Zombie Day.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A quick update

   I've been knitting like a woman possessed, and I've made real progress on the giant purple bag. It's gotten too large for my biggest project bag! I've transferred it to my biggest purse, the Metro Bag from Thirty One. I have it in maroon. That way I only have to carry one bag.

    According to the pattern, I'm about 1/3 of the way up the body of the bag! Yikes! I'm gonna need more yarn.....

    It made me sad, but I only got to use the inside half of that skein my good friend donated for me to use. Unfortunately, I had to throw the rest of it away, with her blessing. Hopefully I will get some more yarn today while I'm out with daughter and grandbaby, visiting my mom!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Giant Purple Bag Progress!

   It has been interesting, but significant progress has been made on the huge purple bag. It is one of the Adventure Bags from Noni, designed by Nora J. Bellows. The sizes amused me; they are listed as small, medium and huge.

   If you remember, I was only able to purchase five skeins of Patons Classic Wool in purple. Since then my good knitting friend Kim discovered one skein in her stash, and gave it to me. She's very generous that way, and a very good friend.

   The first two skeins got me as far as the entire bottom of the bag, picking up all the stitches around the other three sides, and six rounds up the body of the bag. I am seriously going to have to try and find a 60 inch size 13 circular. If anyone in my immediate geographical area has one I can borrow, give me a shout out! Crowding 208 stitches of two strands of yarn onto one 36 inch circular is a bit cumbersome. It's
 do-able, just awkward. Especially when you're trying to knit loosely.

    When I got the skein of yarn from Kim the other day, I got out the ones I was using and compared the color. You really want it to be close. In the dim light of her living room, it did not look even remotely close in color to the ones I'm using. However, once we got outside, Cherub and I both agreed that it was indeed a close match, and would not present a problem. Huzzah!

    I took a couple of photos, but it may not look like much yet. Once the body of the bag gets longer, it's shape should show up better. It's got stitch markers at each corner, so you can make out the long sides and the short ones.

    Someone at Noni translated the pattern into crochet, which I purchased as well. There is a big difference between the patterns, however, and it's one I am having a problem with. The knitted version of the bags has a rectangular base. The crocheted bags have a square base. I know you can make it any way you choose, but it strikes me odd that someone translating the pattern would change such an important detail. I checked, and on the pattern pamphlet, it states that the translation was done by Stacey Trock.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Crafting Rant and Two P.S.'s

    You know how, in a movie or a TV show, they (attempt to) show someone either knitting or crocheting, and they get to SOOOO wrong? Like someone in a commercial who is knitting on a obviously crocheted afghan? Or when they show someone actively crocheting on a granny square afghan? WRONG!! Can you tell it makes me crazy?

    My most fervent wish would be for me to be the one that the movie/TV industry hires to make sure they get it right. A "Crafting Consultant" of sorts. I am pretty sure that I'm not the only crafter that is annoyed by these unnecessary oversights. I can't begin to tell you how many movies and TV shows this has ruined for me.

    Another one that bugs me is when they show someone sitting down to knit, and when they pick up their knitting, they are in the middle of a row! I know of absolutely no knitter, ever, who would stop in the middle of a row. Unless she could get back to it right away. I think it's a very deeply ingrained knitting behavior, we just can't stop until the current row is completed.  Crocheters, on the other hand, have no compunction about stopping whenever, or wherever, they want.

    OK, I think this rant is over. I feel better already. Thanks for listening! If anyone has any thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.

    P.S.  I would like to thank my high school typing teacher, Mr. Knickerbocker, the bow tie wearer. He was wearing them before they were cool (Doctor Who reference).   I failed his class. If only he could see me now! I hardly ever have to look at the keys any more....

    P.P.S.  I've had this laptop nearly three years now, and to my total surprise, the N key is the one that is most worn.  All the other keys still look like new! This is just one of those random things that occur to me on a daily basis.    

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shopping success, for the most part (with photos!)

   That's right, I was successful in my shopping yesterday. I found a 36 inch long size 13 circular needle, as well as stitch holders. I also made a jackpot discovery of a package of 45 stitch markers, some of them big enough for at least the size 13 I'm using! A girl can't have too many stitch markers! I also found some great rings for the purse!

    Here is a photo of the short needle with all the stitches on it:

    And now, on the new circular, with the short needle included to emphasize how packed the stitches were! I had to use a point protector just to keep the stitches from falling off...

    The only thing I couldn't find was more wool. Michaels was out of it, so I went to Joann's. They didn't have any either. I'll just have to wait a while and check again.
    After I finished writing this, I was sitting watching TV. I noticed that Doctor Zhivago was on, and it reminded me that that was the Knitting Nazi's favorite movie, and that Lara's Theme was her very favorite piece of music. See, I have good memories of her as well as bad ones!  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Memories of the Knitting Nazi

    You all remember my beloved maternal grandmother, the one I refer to as the Knitting Nazi. There are so many memories of her in my life. She would come for a visit for two weeks and stay two months. She drove my mom crazy with her digs at my dad.

    One of my favorite stories, and I actually witnessed this, is the time she was laying on the couch in her nightie and robe, covered by an afghan. Her hair was a mess, and she was complaining that she wasn't feeling well at all. My dad needed to go out for something. He stood at the door and jingled his car keys. Grandma sat up, bolted off that couch, and in less than five minutes was at his side, fully dressed with her hair brushed, face made up, and her purse on her arm asking "Where are we going?"! 

    When she couldn't take care of herself any more, my mom and her sister decided to move her to a nursing home in Florida, near my aunt. She would look after her and make sure she was OK. That left us to pack up her belongings in her little apartment in upstate NY. One weekend my mother-in-law and I went up, to go through what was left and see if there was anything I wanted.

    Apparently, my aunt told grandma about this. I heard from my mom that she was telling people that I had gone to her place and stolen her things. It makes me sad to think she thought that of me. She had dementia by that time, and wasn't all there. But it still made me sad.  

    Anyway, she passed away a while ago. I recently went through a bag of her stuff that was in my closet. I found a box of embroidery thread and notions. In there was a tiny pair of scissors. They are really good scissors. I've had them next to my bed since then. Yesterday I decided to put them to good use. I remembered that she used to have them on a chain stitch necklace around her neck. She said, that way you always know where they are and don't have to go searching for them.

    So, I crocheted a long chain and put the scissors on it. Now I have a scissors necklace too. It's in my notions bag with all the other things that crafters need like stitchmarkers, little crochet hooks, yarn needle, and a small tape measure.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A surprising thing happened...

   Last night, at some random point in the evening, I became aware that I heard counting... "24, 25, 26..." Then I realized it was my own voice! Gradually the cloud lifted and I could see that I was in the middle of the cast on for the purse that has been calling to me so seductively. 

   My subconscious knitter had made me get up, get the yarn out of my stash, find the right size needle, and start casting on the stitches I needed to begin making the purse. I was completely shocked. Never-the-less, I kept going and worked on the purse base last night, then finished it this morning. Clearly, the subconscious knitter has gotten her way. It seems she is very strong willed.

    After finishing the base for the medium sized bag, I picked up the stitches along the other three sides of the base, and knit one time around. This whole time, I had been muttering to myself that it's not big enough. That one time around verified my thoughts. After this thing in it's current state was felted, it would be way too small. It looked to me like the base was already the size it was supposed to be after felting. I also felt that the needle was too small.

   So.... I frogged it. I then searched through my needle collection, and realized that I didn't have the bigger size 13 circular needle that I desired. I remembered that I have some straight needles in an old knitting bag, so I looked in there and lo and behold, I found two short size 13 needles. The don't match, one is plastic and the other is metal. But that doesn't matter at this point. They are usable. I didn't find any long needles. So the short ones are what I went with.

    I cast on the stitches for the bigger purses base at Bonny's house. They barely fit on the short needle, because the pattern calls for two strands of yarn. Either way, I'm using them until I can get to a craft store and purchase circular needle of at least 32 inches in length. I just can't work on it too much. Hopefully tomorrow I can get to a store and make the purchase. I'm hoping to find more wool, as they didn't have enough when I made the original purchase.

    Hubs just read this and is shaking his head... now I'm not sure it's gonna happen..... Oh well. I will keep you all updated!   

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It seems as though the knitting never ends.....

    Sometimes it feels that way. I knit for a while on this project, then knit for a while on that one. I pick up the super boring "no-holes-please" crocheted afghan and work on that for a row or two. That's usually all I can manage in one spurt. Sometimes I get two or even three spurts a day.

    Then along comes this pattern for a felted purse. I purchased it a long time ago, even bought the crocheted version. It's calling to me. It wants me to make it. I even bought some purple wool with which I can make it. I have the pattern out and have read it through at least three times. It's still sitting here, on the table right next to my chair.

    I am thinking that right now, I just have too many projects on the needles and hooks. Something will have to be finished before I can even think about starting another project. I'm trying to be really stern with myself, but I can feel my resolve slipping. I can't tell you how many times I've stopped myself from getting the needle out for the purse.

   Today I've been knitting on the Pi Shawl. I'm on the last section, after the final stitch count increase. Elizabeth Zimmermann says that about forty more rounds and you will think it's big enough. I have a feeling that's not big enough for me.

    I'm currently using a 29 inch circular needle. I was going to move to a 60 inch, but changed my mind because the tips of the longer needle are much more blunt. I prefer the sharper tips, especially for lace weight or sock weight yarn. So I plug along with the huge number of stitches on the shorter needle.

    I needed to write about this today, it's really been bugging me. Hopefully I can stay strong and not give in until I get something, anything, finished. I'm hoping some of you will send me strength. Thanks!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's Catch Up Time

    In case you haven't noticed, I've been out of touch for a few days. I've had some stuff going on. Thursday I babysat for Owen all day, but didn't on Friday cause his mommy was home sick. Also on Thursday, the brakes failed on mommy's car. Thank goodness Daddy was driving it at the time!

    And finally, after five loooong weeks away, my beloved Hubs came home from his business trip. There was much rejoicing in our house! That was a really hard time for me, we've never been apart for that long before. But at least I was in my own home, poor Hubs had to live in a hotel for all that time.

    Saturday we went over to see Sara and Owen, Hubs hadn't seen him in so long. He has grown so much! And he's laughing and smiling and making all kinds of baby noises now. We brought Sara's car home with us, and Hubs fixed it today. Then today we took it back to her. She still isn't feeling good, poor baby!

    I now have photos of all three of my beautiful grandchildren to show you! Here's Chloe, who just turned six.

    Here's her little brother Mason, who is almost three and a half.

   Here's one of the two of them together!

    And lastly, here's baby Owen. He's almost four months old now!

    Chloe and Mason are the children of my oldest son James, and his beautiful wife Jessica. Owen is the first child of my only daughter and oldest child, Sara, and her husband Mike. My youngest child, Jesse, is getting married in October of 2015. If he and Julie decide to have kids, they have a lot to live up to!  I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Project Photos

   Today to my complete horror, I realized that I currently have 5, yes 5, projects going at once. Four on needles and one on a hook. I think Spring Fever has hit me hard. It was 60 degrees outside today. Not that that has anything to do with anything.

    I decided to lay some of them out and take current photos. Here is the newest project, a new blanket for my favorite son-in-law. He certainly deserves it, the last one I made for him, he was dating my daughter! I feel I should mention it's folded up with the hook through it.

    Next is the double knit pad for little Owen.

 Thirdly is a current photo of my Pi Shawl. It doesn't look like much yet, but after it's all done, it's gonna be a gorgeous, big circle.

    The other two projects I didn't photograph today. I'm ashamed to say I haven't done a single row on the legwarmers since I last spoke of them. And my hot pink double knit lap blanket? Well, it's coming along slowly. I doubt I have enough yarn to do the whole thing. So I've decided to use random single skeins when I run out of the pink. I may use the whole current skein, then use the second one at the other end. That kind of makes it look intentional.

   After yesterday's rant, I got a photo of an adorable little girl sleeping with her blanket. Thanks to mommy #2. I certainly didn't intend to insult or anger anyone. I know how hard it is to have a beginning walker around. One is constantly on ones toes.  I send much love to that family and appreciation for the photo!

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Baby Blanket Rant

    This one has been brewing for a while. All of my fellow crafters know that there's nothing more special than making a blanket for a wee newborn babe. I have noticed in the last few years, however, that there are no photos forthcoming from the new mommies of their tiny little bundles of joy wrapped up in all of our hard work.

    After all these thousands of years it apparently has been determined by medical experts that babies are not to be covered by blankies while sleeping. No more bumper pads in cribs, no toys of any kind. Nothing but the baby, in very heavy jammies, in the crib. How, I ask you, has the human race survived? We all laid our babies on their tummies to sleep. Now that is forbidden as well.

    I may have told this story already, but I feel the need to repeat myself. A year and some months ago, my daughter had two friends who were both pregnant. Coincidentally, they have the same name. One's baby shower was in November and one was in December. I made for them both my signature baby blanket. However, I didn't want them to be exactly the same. So I made one the usual twelve pointed star, and the other I made a circle. They were both lovely, if I do say so myself.

    I decided in my mind which mommy got which blanket. However, at the last minute I changed my mind, and the circular blanket went to the first baby shower. It turned out that the Yarn Goddess spoke to me that day. For the mommy whose baby got my circular blanket had also gotten a round bassinet! The blanket was the surprise hit of the shower.

    I know my blankies are well loved and hopefully used, but speaking for all my fellow crafters to all new mommies: Please lay the baby on each hand made blanket and snap a photo for the crafter. Post them on facebook, or send them in an email. All we crafters really want is to see our hard work underneath that adorable little baby.

   All crafters, I believe, would like to know that their efforts aren't being kept all folded up in a drawer, never to be used. We want them to be used and even abused. We want to see them with spit up stains on them, or even worn out!

   Speaking for myself, I won't be making any more baby blankets. And that makes me a little sad. With any luck, the two ladies will read this and get my blankets out and photograph their adorable little girls sitting on them, or dragging them around. That's all I really want.

   This Rant is now at an end. Thank you, and Good Night! Please keep in mind that it's tired and I'm late.....

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Project Updates

    1. Remember the great garter stitch monster blanket I was knitting for Owen? This morning I frogged it. I just wasn't into it any more, and it was too big anyway. I re-wound that yarn and have started on a different project. I am making him a double knit pad to lay on. I'm using the Elizabeth Zimmermann one yarn version. It's unbelievably awesome.

    2. I took the Pi Shawl with me on Friday when I babysat for Owen. I got quite a bit done on it. At least I'm through the next set of lace holes, at round 36 of the 48 rounds before the next time the stitch count doubles again.

    3. I am making some progress on my own double knit lap blanket. It's getting harder to do. I'm beginning to change my mind about making a big one for the son-in-law. I think it'll just be too much work. Those of you who know me, know I'm not a big fan of work. So it's back to rethinking a crochet pattern for his blanket. But he doesn't want holes....

    And lastly, 4. I'm still thinking about recreating my notes for my story. I just haven't decided yet.... and I have gotten encouragement. Thanks to those of you who have given it to me.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You want a good laugh?

   I'm writing this as soon as I got home, because I didn't want to forget it. I am not even eating my dinner until I get this down. I've been out most of the day today with my good knitting buddy, Kim. We went on a little road trip up to a LYS in Saugerties, which we've been meaning to do since forever. It was a very nice little shop, they have tea as well as yarn.

    After she dropped me off at home, I ran in the house to get my knitting, then went to visit my friend Bonny who's laid up after knee replacement surgery. She still has to get the other knee done later this year.

    After that visit, I went to the karate school to keep Kim company, as she is putting hours in just sitting there and knitting while the Cherub does her STORM(Special Team Of Role Models) Team time. They help out in all the classes, holding pads and such things.

    After a while, we decided it was time to go to the supermarket, the kid sitting in front of us either had really (REALLY) bad gas, or made a doodoo in his pants. SO off we went to the store.

    We separated, I went over to get my friend chicken, and Kim went to the salad stuff. when we reconnected a minute later, she told me about some crazy lady who has a lightning bolt drawn on her forehead. She said it looked like eyeliner, not a sticker. We walk past this woman, who was at the deli, and I see it too. We are both wondering how much of a Harry Potter fan are you, that you draw a lightning bolt on your forehead?

   We shrugged, and finished our shopping. As we were at the self checkout, I noticed a teenage girl had a lightning bolt on her forehead too. I wondered if the two ladies were perhaps together.  As we were walking out of the store, I had sudden thought. It's Wednesday, and Easter is coming.... "It's Ash Wednesday!!" I said to Kim. We both got laughing so hard, we were still giggling as we got back to the karate school.

    I remembered not because I was brought up a Roman Catholic, which I was; but because I have some facebook friends who are good Christians and have been posting about these things. I'm still amazed that we thought that woman was a Harry Potter fan. Chuckle, giggle, giggle. I think the Catholics are now convinced that I'm on the fast track to go to Hell. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Non-Crafting Ramble

   This morning I was up very early. After I got home from my journey, I decided to stay up and make coffee. As the morning wore on, I decided I was tired and lay down to try and take a nap.

    As one lays there trying to relax enough to sleep, the strangest things run through your mind. In my case, I was thinking about those little quizzes they have on facebook, from which I discovered that I am Elmo from Sesame Street, I am the Classic Rock Band Led Zeppelin, etc. One of the quizzes was to discover what my ideal job would be. Curiously, it seems I was destined to be a writer.

    That thought brought to mind the fact that I had, many years ago, an idea for a novel. I had characters and details about their lives and circumstances, all written out in an outline. But I never did anything with it. I couldn't think of anything for them to do. Basically I lacked a plot or storyline.

     Looking back, I see I could have taken the circumstances I'd made up for my characters, and made the story all about how they got to where I originally put them. Unfortunately my notes are long gone. I remember most of the details now, and perhaps sometime I will try to recreate them and see what happens. I'll let you know what I decide, and what happens. In the meantime, does anyone have any thoughts?


Monday, March 3, 2014

Seems like progress is slow

    I calculated that I've done about 6 rounds a day on my Pi Shawl. I figured this out today at Bonny's house. The last time I was there was two days ago and while I was there, I did a lace round, which is a yarn over then knit 2 together. Or YO, K2tog in knitspeak. While I was there today, I did another lace round. Since they are 12 rounds apart, that makes 6 rounds a day.

    That doesn't seem like much, but at 288 stitches each round, that gives you a total of over 1700 stitches per day. And in 28 more rounds, the stitch count will double again. Yee haw. That's when the fun really begins, and the progress seems even slower! And don't even get me started on the border! But I think that in the long run it'll be worth it, and I'll have a gorgeous circular shawl.

    I'm hoping that this one will be bigger than the last two I made. I could re-block them to make them bigger, which is something I am considering. Although I have no space, either on the carpet or a big spare bed, on which to do so. I bought two skeins of this yarn, so I doubt I'll run out before it's big enough. Although it's a real possibility that I will lose my mind in the process...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Yesterday's Photos

    As I promised, here are the photos of what I told you about yesterday. First up is the one-strand double knit sample.

    For the next one, I pulled the two sides apart, and you can see the cord of the circular needle (I hope) in the middle.

    And lastly, here is a photo of the Pi Shawl progress as of last night. Some of you may have already seen it, I posted it on facebook last night.

    I decided that I was going to make lace holes every 12 rounds, as well as the increase rounds. I can't wait to see this one all done!