Archive for September, 2004

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

I continue to learn the same things about myself

I am aware of the fact that I hate contention, but it still surprised me last night when I couldn’t sit in the room while the presidential debate was on. I listened to it from the other room, but I couldn’t stand to watch.

During said debate, I worked on a mitten. I’m about to close it off and start the thumb, which is nerve wracking because this is my first time using the “afterthought” tecnique. Abigail wants a pair of mittens herself (although she won’t knit them. Or will she???). She thinks the V’s are hearts, and told me that she wants hearts and stars on hers. Hey Stephanie, how do I thrum stars?

Since I haven’t heard from either my mom or my sister, it’s probably safe to say that they haven’t been reading the blog. Perhaps the mittens will be a surprise after all. Who knew? OR, hehe, maybe I’ll keep them.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

What I learned yesterday about thrumming mittens

When, while enjoying a lively knitting group, you become distracted and get off of your thrumming pattern, it is very worth it to take the 5 or so minutes to frog a few rows, rather than spend 45!!! trying to perform stitch surgery on a thrum. Just don’t do it. The only reason I did it is because the conversation that distracted me in the first place continued to command my attention. After literally FELTING the wretched thrum by all my attempts, I finally came to my senses and realized that I had wasted what seemed like close to an hour of good knitting time because I refused to pay enough attention. Frogging a couple rows on a 45 stitch mitten is no big deal! Aaaggh! By the time I realized this, and got back to knitting within a few minutes, I was very disgusted with myself.

I did have a wonderful time last night. Loads of fun. I am discovering that I am not the only one that had no freaking idea what thrumming was. Most people look at my mitten in progress like they are seeing a space alien. Just like I did when I saw Steph’s post last week. Next, what they are actually seeing begins to sink in and their eyes widen a bit at the incredible coolness and they ask to stick thier hand in. At that point, it becomes a respected and admired endeavor. It’s nice knowing that it wasn’t just me.

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

We be thrummin’

They’re coming together nicely. Making many, many thrums isn’t nearly as tedious as I would have expected.

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That is a single round’s worth of thrums. I’m having fun with this so far. I’m also having creative thoughts. Wouldn’t a matching purple hat look cute with thrummed ear flaps? I think so.

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I’m doing them both at the same time since we’re getting instructions bit by bit from Stephanie. Plus, I really need to get mom’s sweater done, so the quicker I get these done, the quicker the endless cotton sweater will be finished. That reminds me…. I am so happy to be knitting with wool again. It settles into such happy, even little stitches. Mercerized cotton is a cold, impersonal cocktail party where image, etiquette and connections are everything. Wool is a cozy, fireside game night with friends and fondue. Pass the grapes!

Monday, September 27th, 2004

I went to the stash and found a pretty!

Can I just tell you how much of a dork I am? Well, I’m going to.

In case you haven’t noticed the changing sidebar in the last few days, I’ll draw your attention to it now. See anything different? That’s right. I’ve joined some knitalongs. Now, the funny thing is that the resulting loveliness from both of these knitalongs are going to be gifts. The Harry Potter sweater is going to Abigail who, at SIX YEARS OLD, is smitten with Daniel Radcliffe. The thrummed mittens are going to either my mom, or my sister. I am undecided.* The reason this is funny is that both of them, on occasion, read the blog. They are learning of this the same way you are. Right now. In this entry. I thought about trying to be sneaky. I thought about banning the both of them from the blog for a couple weeks. But in the end, I decided that the whole experience would be more enjoyable for them if they got to watch with anticipation the creation process. Plus, perhaps I can work some bribes.

This is not why I am a dork. I am a dork because, well, let me back up a bit.

So I’m reading Stephanie’s blog last Wednesday, (and I have to say, it’s one of my favorites), when she introduces me to the world of thrumming. I had never seen nor heard of such a thing, being the sheltered, mild climate raised girl that I am. I thought to myself, “Mom complained about her cold hands incessantly last winter. She could use some of these! Ooh, GIFT opportunity!” I took Steph’s button and joined the knitalong. Then I hit the books and tried to find (sorry, Steph) proof that she isn’t insane, and that thrumming is something that is done and accepted in the mitten world. It’s true. I found it.

At this point, I thought, “I need to find some roving.” A day or so later, I remembered that brief, humorous, and now frequently joked about period of time that I thought I was going to learn to spin. I have roving!

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Pretty roving, along with three spools of twisted fiber that still need to be plied.

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I was happy with the thought that I would only need to buy wool that would coordinate with the previously forgotten, and now remembered roving to complete the mittens. Now we get to Sunday evening, when I decided that to humor my anticipation, I would go to the stash and look at colors. I have a lot of Encore (which is an acrylic/wool blend) that I could play with to see what colors looked good. I broke out the stash. Almost immediately, I saw three skeins of purple yarn that I had grabbed out of a sale bin at my LYS a couple years ago.

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(That’s a pretty bleached out picture. Here’s a better representation of the actual color.)

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It was cheap. There were no labels. Now we’re getting to why I’m a dork.

As I recall, my LYS owner said that they were wool. They feel like wool, but I was unsure, mainly because they are also extremely soft. Making thrummed mittens, whose single purpose in life is to warm and protect hands from viciously cold weather, out of an acrylic blend seems really stupid. I fondled the yarn, trying to determine if it is, in fact 100% wool. Then it hit me. Wool smells REALLY bad when it gets wet. I snapped off 10 or so inches of the yarn in question and dashed to the sink. I soaked it, I pat it dry, and thrust it up to my nose. I inhaled deeply. There was an odor there to be sure, but not as strong as I would have hoped. I went BACK to the stash and snapped off 10 inches of the Donegal Tweed I used for my poncho in January, knowing that IT was wool. I got it wet, pat it dry, and smelled. It was similar. I smelled the yarn in question again. Its odor had picked up quite a bit. I guess it takes awhile to release that gosh awful smell. Finally, to be absolutely sure of the nature of the mystery fiber, and what I thought I was smelling, I snapped off a similar length of Encore and got it wet. I dried it off. I inhaled. Ah HAH!

I can now safely determine that the yarn responsible for my ridiculous behavior has a significantly higher wool content than the Encore. I would guess that it is pure, and would make lovely mittens. 100% stash project! Woo hoo!

And yes, I am insane. As I was standing there, in my bedroom, repeatedly smelling in turn three wet little strands of yarn, I decided that you all needed to hear about it.

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From left to right….. Mitten mystery fiber that definitely contains a high percentage of wool, Donegal Tweed poncho yarn, Plymouth Encore.

The purple mitten yarn, which is darker than the photos, is very soft. Perhaps it has some alpaca in it? I know that it doesn’t feel like the Donegal Tweed at all, which is a much coarser fiber. So here you see what I am going to use to make Stephanie’s thrummed mittens. Wish me luck.

* My mom and my sister both live in the high desert of Central Oregon where it gets DANG cold. However, I think mom would actually prefer something pretty and cabled. I happen to have found a mitten pattern that is pretty and cabled. Anne would probably LOVE purply thrummed mittens. So therein lies my quandary. (Feel free to enlighten me, either of you.)

Sunday, September 26th, 2004

Homespun is not my friend

While it may be soft and lovely, Homespun is definitely not going to make a regular appearance around here. The stuff is not much fun to knit with, at all, and Olivia agrees with me. It is possible that on different needles it would work better. I have read on a few blogs that plastic yarn likes plastic needles. I still use bamboo for nearly everything, and would rather find different yarn than buy different needles so that I could test it out. On the plus side, since I don’t hold Homespun in very high regard, it caused me no pain whatsoever using much of the remaining skein to stuff the rabbit. This worked out great, considering that the square wasn’t knit very tight, and was therefore pretty see-through and penetrable. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Diane for her comment last week, inspiring me with the idea. I honestly don’t think I would have thought of it on my own. At least not before trying many other severely less intelligent methods. So Diane, I thank you. Stuffing the bunny with it’s own yarn worked out loverly.

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Yes, that’s a bunny butt.

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At the birthday party, Olivia forgot to mention that she made the gift. I can’t believe that! I would have thought she’d be obnoxious about the fact, being so proud and all.

Here are some additional pictures from the bunny shoot, in case you are interested. I used to designate these links for family, but I am getting that some of you out there like to see my kids!

Saturday, September 25th, 2004

Health Group- week 16

Good morning. Sorry this is late. I’ve been assembling a garter stitch rabbit for a birthday party, and the morning got away from me. I haven’t even had breakfast or dressed yet.

I had a pretty good week.

Monday, I did weights and 50 minutes on the treadmill.
Tuesday, I did the same.
Wednesday, I did my physical therapy stretches and treadmill. (I don’t know why I haven’t been getting the stretching done. I do the PT exercises during my weight routines, but the stretches for some reason have been getting neglected.)
Thursday, I did the treadmill for 50 minutes.
Friday, I did treadmill for 45.
Today I am going to do treadmill and upper & lower body weights. That way, I will have done upper body twice and lower body twice this week. I can be happy with that.

Fortunately, the couple pounds I seem to have gained over the summer are gone. Woo hoo! I’m HOPING that the treadmill will break this @*$?&! plateau I’ve been on for a few months. It’s killing me.

UPDATE- I’ve done my weights, upper and lower body. Still haven’t eaten, so I need to take care of that, then I’ll jump on the treadmill and celebrate a successful week! Not one lazy day this week!

How was your week, ladies?

Friday, September 24th, 2004

Girl’s night out

I had a wonderful evening last night. I went to a Body Shop Party at a friend’s house and got to soak, scrub, and moisturize my feet, and eat yummy things. From there I went to the knitting group I’ve started attending Thursday nights. Very fun.

I am happy to say that I’m over half way done with the armhole shaping on mom’s sweater. I’m almost to the neck shaping where I begin to work the shoulders separately. The end is in sight!

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Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

These are the times that try a woman’s soul

Yesterday was a very emotionally trying day. That happens sometimes when you have four girls in a house, all of whom are feeling contrary at once. So to balance the time and effort spent exercising tremendous self control in order to fulfill my role as the “adult” in the home, I spent a lot of time knitting on mom’s sweater and drinking hot chocolate. Sounds wonderful and fulfilling, doesn’t it? It would have been, were it not for the fact that it was done merely to restore/maintain my level of sanity through a challenging day. So while I feel gratitude for a hobby that is accommodating and relaxing on such days, I do not feel as indulged as I probably should.

When she wasn’t crying, screaming, or arguing with me, Olivia knit on her bunny.

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Doesn’t that look lovely and peaceful? Yes, we’re focusing on the positive right now.

She has lost some of the excitement associated with knitting a new project. I think she is disappointed that it is merely a square, so she’s knitting it in short spurts of a couple rows at a time. I continue to reassure her that once the square is done, we will cinch it up into a cute, shapely bunny, but the concept is a little hard for a 5 year old to grasp. I have confidence that after the first one is done, and she sees what actually happens to the boring old square, she will be more enthusiastic about knitting more. In the meantime, she lays the pattern out next to her whenever she knits. No, she can’t read, but it makes her feel better, and it’s really cute.

I’m a centimeter and a half away from the armhole shaping on mom’s sweater. I’m reminded of a blog entry I made at about this stage of the back. “This is the (front this time) that never ends…. No it goes on and on my friend. This poor girl, STARTED knitting it not knowing what it was, and she’ll continue knitting it forever just because it is the FRONT that never ends…” Gotcha!

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

Olivia’s knitting again

We went out last night and picked up some soft, pink yarn so that Olivia could knit this cute bunny for the birthday party on Saturday.

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While we were out, we also bought a mini puzzle and some candy, to complete the package. Olivia loves how soft the yarn is, although she has discovered that it isn’t the easiest to knit with. I’m mildly concerned about the resulting rabbit for a couple of reasons. First of all, she’s knitting in garter stitch as opposed to stockinette. Secondly, this is hardly the “slightly fuzzy, smoothly twisted yarn” that the pattern calls for. Homespun is a very soft, BUMPY yarn. That combined with the garter stitch is going to make for one bumpy bunny. We’ll see what happens.

Monday, September 20th, 2004

Ribbing and cabling again

I’m making some nice progress.

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Unfortunately, Olivia came home from school today overjoyed by the fact that there are birthday parties approaching. How many? I don’t know as I haven’t seen sight of any invitations yet. From the excited babbling, it sounds like there are two for sure, one of which is on Saturday. However, there is a third name being thrown about, so it is unknown exactly how many dolls I am going to be making in the immediate future. There is a positive side to this. By the time we’re done, I am going to have saved a boatload of money on birthday gifts. How do non knitting folk afford the rigors of classmates’ birthday parties?

UPDATE- I am rethinking the doll thing. I think it may be time for Olivia to start knitting for her birthday parties…… more tomorrow.