Sunday, March 22, 2015

From Startitis to Finishitis

I seem to have left my phase of “startitis” behind.  It’s a very descriptive term I remember from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s writing.  My startitis didn’t have the same characteristics that hers does.  Mine came about because I attended a weekly knitting group.  I learned quickly that it was not a good idea to knit anything very complicated there.  The talk would make it a little too difficult to give the necessary attention to anything fussy.  I’d have to tink it back later at home and start over.
Vest waiting for finishing, Spring Mist colorway dyed by my late friend Kay ten Kraft.
I reached the part of a vest requiring some attention so I decided to start the body of the next vest.  I let this continue until I had almost finished 3 vests and 2 pullovers, knit one vest to discover it was much too large, one variegated vest knit in one pattern that I unraveled to knit in another for which I don’t think there’s enough yarn, and a hand-painted vest I changed my mind about.  I did manage to knit and finish 2 pairs of slippers (that still need to be felted--its difficult when you don't want to pay six dollars at the laundry mat to do so), a shawl, a hat, a holly leaf and berry tree ornament and a holly leaf and berry barrette.

Not to mention the sock it took me about two years to turn the heel on.  I was knitting a sock from the toe up and no one else from my group had done that.  I had trouble understand the short row instructions.  I looked for instructions for other kinds of heels.  Several sets of instructions on the web seemed to stop in the middle of the instructions.  At least this woman who knit her last heels thirty years earlier didn't know how to continue on from the instructions given.  I eventually found one heel pattern to use, but I wasn’t thrilled with the way it looked finished.  I’m going to try the Sox Therapist’s Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  I like the way it looks finished.

This past summer I tried to knit the Bold and Blended Striped Wrap, twice, and it never came out right.  I kept running out of one color.  I wonder possibly if not all skeins in the brand are the same yardage all the time. Tre o Molti might be a better choice for my selection of yarn.  It is more like I saw in my mind’s eye.

At the end of September I began knitting the Camilla shawl.  I worked on it steadily, despite having to take it back countless times, especially the fourth (Garden Gate) pattern, and after Emily caught her foot in a loop of yarn and ran away from my effort to slip it off her foot, pulling many stitches off the needle and creating a lovely hole in the knitting where all the yarn-overs pulled out.  I am proud to say that the shawl is finished.  I even wove in the ends.

This winter I ordered some beautiful Wool of the Andes Hand-Painted Special Reserve yarn to knit pretty leg warmers.  I bought Plume with lovely shades of purple, blue and a color I haven’t decided is turquoise or bright teal.  I was getting tired of the tan cabled leg warmers my mother gave me.  I’ve finished one leg warmer.

For me finishitis is the complete opposite of startitis.  I really don’t feel like finishing the garments I knit because I needed to wear them.  I’m not a big fan of picking up and knitting the rib.  It’s very easy to have too few or two many stitches.  Sewing in the ends isn’t that much fun either.  My life has been very stressful in other ways, and I expect that has something to do with it. The office temperature at work continues to fluctuate so that might motivate me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Where Are My Glasses?

Sometimes I put my glasses on the table beside me before going to sleep.  I discovered this morning this is not a good idea.  Molly also likes to walk over the table, maybe looking to see what new thing might be on the table.  When I woke up this morning, I was unable to find my glasses.  I had to wear my old pair, which are much older, to work today.  Finding them tonight is my main task.  I hope it entertains Molly.  I know now where not to put my glasses from now on.

Media Cat Deigns to Watch Cat Video

Molly is my media cat.  She loves music and the British archaeological series Time Team.  She will start complaining if I don't put something on soon enough for her entertainment. I hadn't been able to get her interested in videos for cats.  She had had her sister Midnight to play with.  Now she doesn't have her sister, there's nothing to watch outside and she's bored.  I found the video below and thought she might enjoy it.

She watched it!  Her eyes got big and she crept toward the laptop.  Instead of trying to reach a bird, like most cats, she circled the laptop warily, then climbed onto the arm of the chair and then the back.  She sat there starting at the laptop.  She seemed puzzled as to why there were birds on my laptop and their songs were coming out of the speaker.  I told her she's a cat and she's not supposed to be smart enough to be bothered about that.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Knitting's Changed Forever

Today knitting has changed for me forever!  I spit-spliced the two ends of yarns, twice.  Spit-splicing is a method of joining two ends of wool yarn together, eliminating the tails completely.  I didn't know about it until a friend rescued a piece of knitting that my cat Emily mistreated.  Because the piece was already knitted and the ends were so short, Laurie was clever enough to needle felt it the rest of the way.

I was watching the Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries on Acorn T and winding a ball of yarn when I came to a broken end.  Ordinarily this would upset me but today I thought it gave me a chance to try out spit-splicing for the first time.  I couldn't find the end the yarn broke from, so I rewound it from the other end, to find another broken end about a yard from the end I knew was there.  This was a little trickier than the video I found because the yarn was 4-ply.  I managed to interchange them quite well.  I dampened the strands with water, rubbed them vigorously between my hands, and like magic the yarn felted to a strong union.  I think this will revolutionize my knitting. 

I used my cell phone camera.  It isn't as easy to use as a regular camera.  I must remember not to chop off the cat's ears.  

Here's Christy Nelsons's video I found on YouTube that showed me very well how to spit-splice:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Long Day in the Sun

Yesterday was a full day, much of it outdoors in the sun.  After a late start because I could not find my glasses, I drove up to the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.  The day was picture perfect and the drive up Route 40 one of my favorites.  Fortunately I had found my prescription sunglasses a while ago and they helped me through the day.  I had my back-up pair of glasses with the one bow with me as well that I could balance on my nose if I had to.

(In Googling Route 40 I found no photos of the area.  Hmm, is this a possible market for photography?  It seems the only people who have noticed it are painters and realtors,beyond many people's budgets.  Sssh!  Did I type that too loudly?)

My friend Laurie of Sliver Moon Farm could not make it that day.  Her late partner's husband Nick was taking care of business.  (I really miss Kay.  Never, ever forget safety while walking by yourself..) I saw my friend Jackie and her friend, whose company I enjoyed for quite a while and someday I may remember her friend's name.  After seeing the few objects I purchased Jackie said I was bad for her because she had to visit those vendors too.

It appears I have committed myself to the Camilla Shawl prematurely.  Despite its advertisement on Ravelry, the pattern is not available. Murphy's Law has got me again.  Now I have to put in more effort to find another acceptable shawl pattern.  I hate it when I'm in a period when knitting projects come to naught. 

The body of whatever shawl I knit will be a wonderful hand-painted teal to purple yarn by The Fuzzy Bunny.   I discovered I didn't like the color of the yarn that I previously bought for the border.    The teal I already had at home went perfectly, but the combination lacked something.  I found a yarn at Holiday Yarns that I think would work well in some accenting stripe in some stitch in some shawl pattern.  The sales associate was very nice and helpful.  My choice was Andromeda's Big Sister below.

This is the yarn for the largest portion of the shawl:

Andromeda's Big Sister has lavender, blue and a hint of teal to it.  The heavier weight yarn in the color was gorgeous in a cowl.  It had something like a subtle, sun-dabbled effect.  I really don't know how dyers get some of the interesting and wonderful colors I see,   (Hmm, this would make a good photography topic, if I had a camera.)  I may want to play with this color again.

I thought I might splurge on one thing if I found something I really liked, and it didn't matter what it was.  It turned out to be yarn, not a big surprise.  It is called "Cheshire Cat Color Morph, Turquoise to Fuchsia."  Here is a link to Frabjous Fiber's Mini-skein packs.  The 100 percent superwash merino fingering yarn is by Wonderland Yarns.  I'm not sure if I bought a mini-skein pack, but I found the colorway there.

A woman had the one pack in her hand when I came to the stall and I thought to myself, if she puts it down I'm going to grab it.  And she did!  I briefly looked at another one, but I decided it was too dark.  Driving away later, I realized it took my interest the last time at the fiber festival and somewhere, sometime on the web I saw a shawl in the colorway and coveted it.  

I finished our friend Karin at Periwinkle Sheep.  I am still trying to create a sheep out of four skeins of her yarn so I didn't buy more.  I did tell her about the Tre o Molti shawl on Ravelry I thought I might try next.  I think the pattern would be a good showcase for her beautiful colors.  Compared to all the fingering weight merino yarn at the fiber festival, Karin's is one of the best and the rest is up to personal preference for colors.

Jackie wasn't impressed that I bought two pairs of old-fashioned metal knitting needles in size 7.  I was happy, though.  Emily wants to bite the tips off any wooden or bamboo needle, so I have to stick to metal.

I found I could not leave without buying one more item.  I went back to the barn and found out I just missed it.  It was a double-pointed needle holder featuring calico cats sold by Nan Urban Knits.  As I much as I loved Midnight, I didn't want the black cats because they might be hard to find if I dropped them.  I thought the tiger cats would do.  The cute faces are growing on me.

Maybe they will motivate me to return to sock knitting.

The day was only partly over.  My mother is in a Catskill rehabilitation center because of a broken hip.  I wanted to visit her Saturday, but I was exposed to a viral respiratory infection at work and didn't want to chance exposing her.  Instead I put together a care package for her Friday night.  On the drive down, I found a couple flower balloons to tie to the gift bag.

This cute little fellow I found in a flea market last week.

The last stop was my mother's apartment where I spent a few hours with her cat Susie, petting her, brushing her, petting her, brushing her, petting her, playing with her, and petting her some more.  I called Mom while I was there and put the speaker on so that Susie could hear her.  That made her very happy.

I started home just before midnight.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Unexpected Down Side of Spay and Neuter

I recently viewed the video below on Pussington Post

It looks like the cat is using sign language to communicate with his dinner companion.  Using symbols is definitely a sign of higher intelligence and evolution of a species.  This ability to obtain desired food would probably be considered advantageous to the species.  We humans are tinkering all the time with cats' ability to pass on traits that would benefit the species.  Can a species evolve in a positive, beneficial way with individuals indiscriminately sterilized?  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Giving Up

I may give up knitting the Bold and Blended Striped Wrap.  I've been working on it all summer and it still won't come out right.  The third color has come up short, whereas I had enough of the gray and the blue this time around.  I could shorten it a couple inches. At this size if I stretch when I block it, it's not going to be a shawl but a cape.  Right now I'm just tired of knitting it.  I'm going to study multicolor shawls on Ravelry for a while.  There are a few I like.