Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Garter Stitch Year

Will this year not end? I feel like I've been waiting forever, and not that patiently, and this frickin' year will NOT die!

So far it's been December for about 73 days. This day alone has lasted at least 37 hours and it's barely 7 pm. I've been watching bowl games forever and we seem to be no closer to the national championship than we were at Thanksgiving.

In knitting terms, it's been a Very Garter Stitch Year.

Endless rows of the knit stitch. No purls, no yarnovers, not even a nupp to liven things up. Every so often a short row to take you backwards and make you start over, back at the beginning.

2012 has been the world's largest Color Affection shawl.

And lest you think I'm speaking metaphorically, well, I am. But in a literal sense, everything I've knit lately has been garter stitch.

The aforementioned Color Affection. Garter.

Stripe Study. Garter.

The Brooks Farm Fifty Shades of Red vest. Modular garter. Well, you saw that the other day.

And, of course, the famous neverending Sock Yarn Blankie. Modular garter. 

My last almost-finished project? The famous patchwork sweater that might actually be completed in 2013. Modular garter.

My last frogged never-to-be-finished project? The Jane Slicer-Smith vest that I will....I WILL....reknit in 2013 or possibly 2014 or beyond. Modular garter.

I am sensing a rut. And that I'm in it.

Oh, crap!

To totally change the subject and divert your attention from how pitiful my life is, check this out. Grandson KC can SO dunk! He obviously has MY vertical leap!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fifty Shades of Red

The year is finally, finally, finally grinding to a close. Is it just me, or has this year actually been kind of crappy? I know I shouldn't complain, but 2012's been a tough one. Not just for me, but for friends and family too. (Frankly, I blame the election. I think all that concentrated negativity sucked every bit of good spirit out of the year.)

I'm looking for 2013 to be an easier, softer year.  But in the meantime, we knit.

I'm within shouting distance of the final mitered diamonds of the Acero Diamond Vest, or, as I've been calling  it, Fifty Shades of Red. Literally there are fewer than ten of the big guys to go. Maybe 8 big ones and five or six half-squares.

(Yes, Debra, I know you've told me it's not really red--it's rust. But some of it really is red and rust is really just red that's lost its way, so I'm sticking with red.")

I'm at that point where I'm halfway between "OMG, it's almost over, woohoo!" and "OMG, what will I do when it's done?" I have truly loved doing all those squares, unlike other modular projects I've worked on, and I think the difference is changing the yarn every square and feeling like each one is totally different from the one that went before.

To clarify, I love modular knitting. I think I could restrict my knitting to modular knitting only and be pretty happy. I love the concept and am always looking for new modular projects. But some are more tedious than others. For instance, I've been working for five or six years on the Tess Diamond Vest and I feel weak just thinking about it--I think it's because every diamond is the same and because I've added another whole column of diamonds to make it a little larger and that makes me nervous. I'm scared to death that I'll finish it and it'll be HUGE.

Anyway, once the squares are done, then there are two tiny places to sew--the pointy ends of the shoulder fronts get sewn into the valley ends of  the shoulder backs. Then the endless I-Cord begins, around the armholes and then around the entire perimeter.

And, since I'm a big girl, the perimeter is substantial. That's a lot of I-Cord. Luckily, the I-Cord is purple (see that teensy hint of purple in the lower right diamond above, and the top diamond? That's the purple!). Then to select a button (Cast On Cottage, here I come), and I'm done.

Lest this sound more optimistic than it really is, let us remember that the other modular sweater still hanging out, the Patchwork Sweater in Noro, only got sewn together this year (by Debra, thank you!) and still doesn't have its crab stitch edging. It has yarn, it has a button, all it doesn't have is ... me to finish it.

Did I say this is Brooks Farm Acero? And that I'm already thinking of how to get more Brooks Farm Acero? Love, love, love this yarn!

Finally, and I bet you already knew this, yes, the fawn fur butt at the top of the picture IS a pug butt. Lucy, in this case. She never even moved when I laid the knitting across her rear end and snapped the picture.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Pack

I'm a big NPR-listener, and one of my favorite segment is "This I  Believe." I love hearing about other people's beliefs, and really about other people in general. I'm always asking some stranger why he loves his job or what got her into her career or what kind of pet they prefer. In some worlds, this is considered being a nosey parker or just plain intrusive.

But not on NPR--there we can wallow in other people's "stuff" and feel perfectly normal.

Anyway, on this particular episode, a youngish woman is relating a discussion she had with her two sons. One of the boys opines that he's very grateful to be a mammal. Some of the advantages he cites were that we have hair (well, I used to anyway!), that we can have babies, and that we're warm-blooded. The other, younger, son noted the oh-so-true fact that the really hardy species, having survived from dinosaur times, was reptiles.  Plus they had scales, apparently a very cool thing to have. The older son said, "well, if you were a snake, you wouldn't be here with us, because most of those moms leave as soon as the egg breaks, but since you're a mammal you're here with your pack!"

Wow! The pack makes all the difference, doesn't it?

It made me think of my pack.

Really, I, like most mammals have more than one pack. My cubs have formed their own packs, and my siblings and my cousin live far away with their new packs. But my knitting pack is here with me every day--steady and reliable.

Even when I was a solitary knitter, meaning that I didn't have even one friend who knitted, I had a knitting pack. I had the Knitlist and the Sockknitters List and the Ample Knitters List and all those folks were my pack. Maggie Righetti was in my pack, maybe even the Leader of the Pack, though she was (and remains) blissfully unaware of my existence. My pack and I chatted back and forth about what was important in our lives--making knots with pieces of yarn--and I was part of a companionable community. Every so often I'd sneak out of town to attend a pack meeting run by TKGA or Knitter's Magazine. I still have that pack, and I meet with them online or at Stitches events--people I know only a little but we have something important in common.

But my everyday pack today is a group of knitting women--no more than five or six usually. Even though we met through knitting, our relationship has grown to be much more inclusive. We knit, eat, travel, eat some more, shop for yarn, and generally hang out. We laugh a lot and occasionally there are tears.  When things get tough in my life, either because of some real or imagined situation, they're there for me. They have walked me through everything from a dropped stitch to a family crisis.  Occasionally, I return the favor.

Together we do what Elizabeth Zimmerman advised: we keep on knitting, through all situations, with confidence.

Thanks, Pack! I love each and every one of you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

When Bad Inflatables Happen to Good People

Seen on my way to lunch today, and once it was seen, I couldn't unsee it! Oh, my!

(And, yes, this is one house, and not a big one.)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Okay, This is a Problem....

I opened a drawer today...don't even ask why...and found some yarn and a UFO I couldn't identify.

Under it was...another UFO. That one I can figure out but have no idea when I started it or put it down. And certainly not why I would have stuffed it into that drawer.

Behind it, you guessed it, one more UFO. That one I do remember, thank goodness.

I searched the entire desk they were hiding in, but no more.

Okay, Houston, we have a problem.

When I have so many started-but-not-finished projects, there's obviously an issue.

Am I losing my mind, and my memory, or is this just the result of my addled ADHD brain starting too many projects?

UFO #1: it's obviously a shawl, with a cable and lace. (Needless to say, no pattern with it.) The yarn is either heavy fingering or light sport. I'm leaning toward the first. It's got one of my KP Harmony needles in it--no wonder I couldn't find my size 8! Can't identify the yarn or the pattern. I probably put it down because I really am not that fond of heavier shawls and this feels heavy.

UFO #2: toe-up socks two at a time. I don't remember starting them but I do have a habit of starting socks and putting them down. And the whole TAAT thing is so fiddly I'm pretty sure I just threw them down in disgust.

UFO #3: fingerless mitts, one finished, one not. I do remember these. Both my daughters wanted mitts one year but in black. Really? Black? I gave it the Old College Try, but all that black on size 1's was too much for this Old Blind Mouse.

So, here's the question: how many more of these nightmares are hiding from me?