Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas has passed. The first major snowstorm arrived. It was quite a weekend.
I have no idea where I took this shot but the sky was remarkable. 

I was gazing out my back door and found myself staring at the maple that holds the other end of my clothesline. The vine pattern is interesting. Well, interesting to me in that it is asymmetrical where most things in nature a symmetrical. That got me thinking.

What if I applied the same willy-nilly design to an aran style sweater?
So I did.

And I have to say I found it more difficult than when I create a symmetrical pattern. On this I studied every row deciding where I wanted twists or baubles. Normally I would crank it out like a machine. On the other hand, it can't be wrong. I didn't mark down where I twisted so I'll never be making the same exact sweater again.

I'll be ready for something plain after this.
And now for the cute portion of the blog....

 I can't decide if he's praying or hiding.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Want An iPhone

I have one of those pay-as-you-go kind of cell phones. Cheap. I can talk, text, set alarms, voice activate contacts in my address book, get on the internet (the 1x1" screen really doesn't cut it). It is a phone that works for me and my budget. I should probably add that I hate talking on the phone so the invention of texting made me giddy. I still don't use it. Not a great communicator. I do however love gadgets. I want an iPad. I want wireless internet. I want an iPhone for texting.

I want an iPhone for the autocorrect feature that has me in hysterics. If any of you have ventured out to Damn You, Auto Correct you know of what I speak. It's a total waste of time but waste time first thing in the morning is what I do. It gets the blood flowing, the tears rolling and the abs get a workout trying to control the laughing so my co-workers don't hear me. The mascara gets smeared. It's the best 10 minutes of the day.

The thought of my phone entertaining me by merely changing what I put in--wait, that would get annoying after awhile--but funny! It would be a conundrum.

I ran into another gadget I knew nothing about until the cd changer bit the dust. An internet radio. You need HiSpeed internet, which I don't have, but you can pull in stations from all over the globe in whatever genre you want. 1960's music from Britain-brilliant! It doesn't play my CD's but I want. Of course the budget raises its eyebrow like your mom did when you wanted to do something stupid. Not only am I down a cd changer (15 years old, owed me nothing) but now my boombox cd player is acting kerphlooey (20 years old). Yes, I said boombox because that's what it is. I don't  have a iPod. I've never wanted an iPod. To me it's a rerun of 1950/60's transistor radio complete with the earplugs. Wouldn't it be cooler if the iPod were as small and worn like BlueTooth phone negating the need for the dangly earbud cable? Apple, are you reading this? You'll have to work out the specifics for that stereo sound in BOTH ears.

I need new toys. I want new toys. Must get income to support this foolishness. After all, I am an American.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I'm A Renaissance Soul?

I've always been the type of person that masters an interest, gets bored and moves on. I recently learned this makes me a Renaissance soul. It's not  an attention deficit disorder, quite the contrary, I just don't understand how anyone can do the same thing all their lives and not want to check out other venues. I've always said, "you get one ticket for this E-ride, fit what you can into it. There are no mulligans." Now, when friends and family ask, "what do you WANT to do?" instead of saying "I don't know." I'm going to reply, "Everything!" At this stage of the game I know what I don't like and I know my limitations. There is a book and a website by Margaret Lobenstine on the subject. Didn't tell me anything I didn't already know but somehow made me feel better about it. Social standards poo-poo the renaissance mentality as a rule and that makes it harder to tell yourself its okay. Well, I'm telling myself its okay now. Time to move on. By the way, Ben Franklin was a renaissance soul; he did alright.

More Elastic Cord Please!

 Speaking of finding new venues. I found myself getting a teensy bit bored with my knitting. After 50+ sweaters and mittens, hats, scarves etc. it was getting dull. But knitting is my therapy, therefore I look forward to it everyday. Well!  Since I purchased Modern Top Down Knitting my mind is just a whirrrr with new possibilities. Could this be the end of my association with ribbing for finishing? No more drawstrings? Just integrate a row of single crochet with elastic cord, block, and your sleeves don't roll, the baggy cinch is a thing of the past. Here's a close up of the cord at the high waist. 

 Sorry about the lighting. I don't get home before the sun sets. I kinda cut the sleeve off the picture below but the crochet and elastic worked like a charm. I've crocheted finished edges before but this really keeps things in place.

I'm putting snaps on the band for closure. I applied sheer ribbon to match around the inside edges of the body to give it a nice finish and hide the steek. Markers are for snap placement but could work for buttons I suppose. NOT.
The lines are crocheted for decoration. I may add more before I call this done. Nice touch from Ms. McGowan's book Modern Top Down Knitting. I recommend.

"I like the elastic too, it's chewy."

Monday, December 06, 2010

Hello? Why Yes, I'm Still Knitting

 I'm still here, knitting away. Kristina McGowan has INSPIRED me! I'm putting elastic cord in everything I do.  I have found that the textile houses around here, chain or otherwise, do not carry elastic ribbon, nor do they carry a vast amount of velvet ribbon. I'm also on the hunt for pipe cleaners of all colors. I'd rather buy local but may have to rely on the interwebs to bring closure to my creative ideas.

The upcoming holidays are cutting into production but the lights are in the windows, the tree is up and 99% decorated. The cats have played in all the boxes and taken a few swings at low hanging decorations. As there is no place like home for the holiday and it looks like we may ACTUALLY STAY HOME, I need to Christmas shop and ship early. I can't believe it's actually going to happen. It's a Christmas Miracle.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Barbara Walker/Kristina McGowen/Knitting Top Down

I am a top-down knitter. I wasn’t always. I grew up knitting pieces and mattress stitching them together and Hating. Every. Minute. Of. It.
One day, I stumbled upon a blue workbook by Sidna Farley. Sidna introduced me to Elizabeth Zimmerman’s method of seamless knitting. Well, I had to learn more about this Elizabeth Zimmerman. When I purchased “Knitting Without Tears” I also bought “Knitting from the Top” by Barbara Walker the same day. I hit the ground running with EZ. I loved her wit. I thumbed through “Knitting from the Top”, read the passages and could not wrap my brain around the concept. I loved Barbara’s wit and wisdom also and though I wasn’t grasping her technique I liked reading her book.

In a period of a year or so I read "Knitting From The Top" over and over. Finally, I picked up the book, needles and yarn and dove in. I never looked back. I knew EZ wouldn’t mind too much because she is quoted on the back of Knitting From The Top that Barbara was a genius. I have designed everything from sweaters to suits. And I wear what I make. One thing that has annoyed me over the years is the comment that Barbara’s book is “dated”. The designs are dated. My response is, anyone using the technique and worth their salt in knitting after using this book has the ability to adjust the style to current fashion dictations. Even better, after learning this technique those of you that adore “retro” fashion will have no problem figuring that out on your own. “Knitting from the Top” is still the best basic instructional top down knitting book out there. If you can’t handle the dated cover, tear it off. Better yet, maybe Schoolhouse Publishing could reprint it with a “fashionable” cover. When it was originally published the cover was in fashion. I guess the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is apropos here if you get hung up on that sort of thing.

 My path to Barbara Walker is very similar to Kristina McGowen’s as stated in the beginning of her book entitled “Modern Top-Down Knitting”. In fact, it's so similar its kinda spooky. I purchased Kristina’s book because she knits the way I do. Kristina does state that the styles in Barbara’s book are dated. But wait, because she has learned the technique she’s figured out how to adjust and update. How about that? She has some nifty finishing techniques using elastic cord and pipe cleaners. Brilliant! Her focus is the sleeveless or set-in sleeve technique featured in BW’s book. I love this style except for the working with 2 balls at once but I get over it. I prefer the simultaneous set-in sleeve method as opposed to picking up the stitches around the armhole and short-rowing the cap. She incorporates crochet into her designs. For me knitting and crochet go hand in hand. A crocheted edge is sturdier where you need it. Her designs are very up-to-date.

 What will knitters say about Kristina’s book 30 years from now? The same as folks are saying about “Knitting from the Top” today. There will be someone else to come along to update the look but the fact is, we’re all still using the same out-dated, out of print book and whacking out great stuff.  We’re free from commercial patterns. Thank you Barbara. And thank you Kristina for bringing it forward with your techniques.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Allllllrighty Then.

Camera is now operational. Too bad I haven't snapped any works in process...(doink, doink, doink)Instead, I'll insert life around me. Hang on!

A trip back up Mt. Sugarloaf in South Deerfield, MA to take in the fall foliage. The Connecticut River in all its glory.
 To the west 
 To the east
Then there was a stop at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, again in South Deerfield.

 Little birds live there too.
First week in November and we're still sporting some color.

 Ah, the beauty that is Western Massachusetts.

 But all fun must come to an end...leaves, leaves everywhere.

 To the left...
 To the right...
 A crunchy yellow blanket.
 And a gnome drowning in the middle.

Looking forward to a large wind blowing these into my neighbors yard. Okay, okay, I'll mulch them stop tsk, tsking me. It's sad, my favorite time of year coming to a close and I haven't repaired the snowthrower. Who's fault is that? I'm thinking of blaming my yarn supplier. Every time I get the urge to do something home-owner-y they have a sale to distract me. Yeah, lame but that's what I'm going with.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


My camera won't upload.

A week, no, make that two weeks worth of knitting and no visual? Bah.

Bulky ragg wool pullover on the drying rack-done. Lace-weight Style To Be Determined has made it to the separation of the sleeves and body. Frankly, this one has me thinking, What Was I Thinking? To keep what's left of what little sanity I have I threw another cotton/silk turtleneck pullover design on the needles and that has the shaping of the body half done and a partial sleeve. There's one sock done and another past the heel.

Much leaf peeping has been done and now the leaves are.....leaving. It snowed briefly on the 23rd of October so by my calculations we will have 23 more snowfalls for the season. This is also how I calculate Thunderstorm Season. The date of the first one of the new year is the amount we will have. It has all the accuracy of my trick knee.

I need pictures. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Loooooonnnnnggggg Weekend

A Friday through Monday weekend with very little knitting. But....

 Mini "Seriously Simple Shawl" originated by Wendy Johnson and modified by me. You're all in shock, I know.
 Get a good look at it because it will NEVER happen again. Wendy's pattern is great, I just get ADHD knitting lacy objects. I'm still in fear that I goofed up the thing as the two sides are not identical. Are they supposed to be? Sorry Wendy but apparently seriously simple lace is beyond me. Thank goodness there are so many fantastic lace knitters out there.

Now, non-knitting time was spent here at the Amherst Woman's club in Amherst, MA. Lovely house all decked in period furnishings. Attended a wedding reception/clambake on a most gorgeous day.

This tree was interesting;have no idea what flavor it is.  It stood on the front of the club's lawn. 
We couldn't have asked for better weather.
I did manage to start a lighter-than-fingering-weight set-in sleeve project using ultra fine alpaca (Berrocco). This is going to be a long project so I also grabbed the bulky weight (see, I told you I needed to finish the shawl so I could use the size 10 needles!) and cast on for another set-in sleeve project. Notice I said project and not given them a specific description. Yes, I'm learning. I change my mind designs so often in the middle I just have to wait with the rest of you to see how it turns out. And with that, I leave you to go back to surfing the interwebs.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yesterday's Mail

 I got home last night, sat down and began the mail opening ritual. I was stoked to get this....

 ....and burst out laughing to find this!

Welcome to my 50th year!

AARP should be arriving any day now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Could Someone Slam On The Brakes?

Everyone knows my favorite month is October and my favorite season is fall. Isn't it amazing they occur at the same time? I'm sure it was part of the Master Plan.
We have a slight problem this season. Fall is occurring NOW. Four weeks ahead of time. Folks plan their vacations around leaf season in New England and this year it's all messed up. By the time the normal peak week gets here we'll have bare trees. Mother Nature is going to cause an economical glitch. Halloween is going to be pumpkin-less. They were ready two weeks ago. Seriously, Someone needs to hit the brakes.


I have a number of projects going which is quite unusual. There's the Simple Shawl. (I'm on the border, six chart rows to go!), the striped cotton sweater from all the leftovers, and the alpaca fingering weight (feels more like lace weight, but whatever) that I'm picturing with pleats somewhere down the road. The bulky Eco wool is on standby because I need the needles from the shawl project. Six more chart rows! I toyed with the idea of putting the shawl on standby but with so little left to do.....
Oh well, it is what it is. The leaves will color and fall when they want. The projects will get done. We will all carry on.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Clog update.

My disposal does not care for the following: peelings of squash, potatoes,  and carrots.  Onions, cabbage, bananas are not on its diet either.
So why do I have this machine?

"It wasn't me, I'm not allowed on the shelf. Not that it stops me."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Well That Was Short

I ran out of weekend.
I ordered the lenses. I attended the soapbox derby. Fell a little short on the rest of the list. Oh well, the forsythia's not going anywhere and neither are the stairs.
I did have an unscheduled plumbing problem that has not been resolved. My kitchen sink is clogged. I'm doing dishes in the tub. It's just not right. I'm hoping Mr. Plumber will stop by today to make things right.
I knitted and watched a painful Patriot's game.

Does this look dark olive green to you? No. You'll have to use your imagination.

The no-hole double increase. Nice to know after knitting all these years I can still learn new tricks.

Sunday, before the pitiful football game, I spent the afternoon attending our very first annual Soapbox Derby. Very successful!

Piggy was one of two crashes. Took a bale of hay to the snout and broke the back wheel. Better luck next year! There were good eats and a great turn out. Many of the "kids" participating were well over 30.  Looking forward to the 2nd annual event.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Moving On

It's finally the end of the week! Seemed long didn't it? Time to put together the weekend list. A trip to the ophthalmologist to have a new set of lenses installed; attend soapbox derby conveniently taking place in my neighborhood; introduce my new reciprocating saw to the unwieldy forsythia;scrape, sand and paint the front steps and work in a couple Colin Firth movies for knitting time. Sounds like a plan.
Now, moving on, we have finished projects and unexpected stash finds....
Buttah, the Knits Like A Dream sweater. I've worn this a few times already. The temps have been in the 70's and damp-ish, perfect. Easily went from the office to a pair of jeans.
Purple People Eater. Okay, not as wide a  boat but off the mannequin or human life form it still looks ginormous. Optical illusion.
I know I said I was going to the stash to find a worsted wool to cable and twist but, I became distracted and giddy all at once when I found this bag of Eco wool. I forgot about it. It's next on the radar.
In another stash drawer was a bag of Valley Yarns Goshen in Dark Olive. Quelle surprise! Feels a little different than the other two. I don't know why it feels different but it looks quite nice so far. I've learned my lesson. Raglan. More on this later.
Andrew says, "When are you going back to spinning? I haven't had anything decent to play with for months!"