Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Stormy Weather

Cathy - Have you been able to tear yourself away from news about Hurricane Katrina on the television/internet? I have a morbid obsession with weather disasters, and seeing places I know in such dire circumstances has consumed my life since Sunday. I just hope that the rebuilding process shows more respect for the risks inherent in living on the coast or below sea level, but that hope contradicts everything I know about human nature.

I have gotten some knitting done while watching the flood waters rise. The first twisted rib sock is complete. I'm not starting the second one right away, but it is not a case of second sock syndrome. I have another project with a shorter deadline, but I can't blog about it, or the surprise will be ruined.

Do you know the fairy tale of the seven swans? There are seven brothers (probably princes) who are turned into swans by an evil witch, and to undo the spell their sister must gather stinging nettles (the plants, not the sea creatures), spin them into yarn, and then knit the yarn into seven cloaks. There is a deadline, but I don't remember how long she has. Also, she can't speak or wash until the cloaks are all made. Anyway, she makes all the cloaks except the last one and it is only partially done when the deadline comes. The swans fly to her and she throws the cloaks over them and they turn back into men, but the youngest gets the unfinished cloak, so he has a wing instead of an arm.

I always loved that story, even before I took up knitting. I always wondered if the brothers really appreciated their sister's efforts. Around Halloween when my kids were little I often felt like the sister, because I always made them costumes that were usually finished about 5 pm on Halloween.

Do you have a favorite knitting-themed story? I loved your knitting-to-music comments; I should give it a try. Most often I knit to television, but occasionally books on tape.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Katrina, goob fairy, and knitting

Dear Ellen,
It looks as though we will not get a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina - however, I bet we still get the rain. Being the Weather Channel watcher that I am - I watch it especially when it is in Hurricane mode - it has been on most of the day, with the occasional switch to Book TV.

The goober fairy came today and left us this
What was supposed to be an afternoon of knitting turned out to be a few hours of picking these legumes that make many farmers wealthy in this community. My mom and I picked and picked until we got 'em all - which made a HUGE mess in the family room. It was too hot to do the work outside and to the delight of the cats and dogs who decided that romping around in the mess would be fun - we found their "stash" of chewed up peanuts under the ottoman when we started to clean up.
Speaking of stash, after my audition on Thursday evening, I got home and started getting the remnant ends of project yarn and making balls out of them - they had gotten bumfoozled in a storage container. By the way, Claire auditioned before me and Bethany after me. Two others auditioned prior to us, but I did not know them.
OTN: the baby afghan's edging continues on and on - it's like the song that never ends....
I am also working on a Dishcloth Knitalong - mystery until it is finished. I do have the beginnings of a felted purse also, but I am disciplining myself not to do anymore on that until I get this baby afghan done.
Tomorrow I should take a picture of my knitted projects - I am going to restart the socks as they really are too big on the size 3s and I best go to a size 2. I also have a plant in my backyard that has sprung up and I don't know what it is, but it looks suspiciously invasive and overboding. Between you and Naomi, I bet it can be identified.
Cathy, whose house has an earthy, peanutty smell.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Needles in my Eyes

Cathy - Before you get started on those socks, I have to tell you about needles. I know I sent you 2 #3 aluminum dps, but now I'm warning you off using them. Before I knit my first socks I bought a set of #2 Bryspun dps. I used them for 2 pairs of socks and never gave them much thought. When I started the twisted rib socks a needed #3s to get the proper gauge on the cuff so I pulled out the aluminums. What a contrast! The aluminum needles are heavy and inflexible and cold, just the opposite of the Bryspuns. I switched to the #2's after a few inches to get more shape in the ankle (Camille has very shapely ankles) and it was a joy to get back to the light, warm, and flexible Bryspuns. I fully intend to get other sizes when I need them, like before I start the second sock. According the the Bryspun website they are available at Sewperlatives in T-ville.

That baby blanket is beautiful! I still have a couple of handmade blankets that were gifts for my own babies, and I remember how happy it made me to wrap them up in love expressed as needlework.

The blue shawl is on a #4 circular needle (24", I think) and the yarn is a a fairly heavy fingering weight. When I compare it to projects I see on the blogs of serious knitters it seems like lace for the challenged, but I hope it will be lovely in its simplicity!

Good luck on the audition, not that it will be intimidating! I am looking forward to singing again. I hope to improve my attitude, and concentrate more on doing my best and less on the perceived shortcomings of others, but we'll see how long that lasts.

Gotta flit, or you won't see this before the audition. Isn't it a shame that one can't knit and drive?


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A corker of a posting

Dear Ellen,
I had to go find the corks that I was hoping I could find that belong to Naomi and are in permanent residence in my cabinet. (Husband hasn't looked there for possible stuff to throw away.) But while taking a picture, I was caught..."what are you doing?"... ummmm I am taking a picture of some corks (I would say I had a cork screw loose, but that would be a groaner and blogs make you do things that most people wouldn't even think of doing). I had never noticed what are on corks these days as marketers think of things to waste money embellish a stopper on a cork of wine. Ok before any wine aficionado(sp) clobber me for saying that, my level of wine drinking stops at "plebian" levels - like I really do like cheap wine. That's not to say I have had expensive wine, because if I have, I don't know about it.

After I took the picture of the corks and had it on the computer screen, my dear husband points out..."look, there's feta cheese on the lazy susan" (which was what I had the corks on) - so in case you can't read the print on the picture, now you know.

The hydrangea shawl is quite lovely -- if gives me withdrawal symptoms - since working on a baby afghan, which is truly pretty, but not the same as a shawl, I miss it. I have some nice fingering yarn that I can use to make one, but I am trying to discipline myself and not start another project. What size needles and what type yarn (fingering? worsted? sport?)?

The border for the baby blanket is coming along -it has gone around the bend so I am making a dent. I can now do the pattern without looking at the directions, so I know that I am in for the long haul.

Tomorrow is my audition day for the beginning of the season. Feels funny reauditioning, but might as well forge ahead!

Let's hope that that storm named Katrina doesn't do much other than blow a little wind and rain.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back to the (Empty) Nest

Cathy - I'm home, I'm beat, and I'm ready for life to get back to normal, even if the nest is empty. The trip went smoothly with Gary doing all the driving. There were no encounters with the Florida Highway Patrol, although they were out in force.

On Monday I worked exclusively on the sock and made it as far as turning the heel. I was afraid to try picking up stitches at 70 mph, so I switched to the shawl, and finished another repeat plus some more. The shawl yarn (Cashmere Silk by Jade Sapphire, in Hydrangea) appeals to me more every time I knit it. It has subtle variations in color and thickness and is so soft and glossy. It is considerably larger now than in the picture.

Back to the sock. It is much slower-going than my previous sock ventures because it is worked in a twisted rib instead of plain stockinette. I sense a real danger of second sock syndrome.

I hope your baby blanket is destined for a very appreciative new mother, since it is too much to hope that any baby will be appreciative. I bought the new Vogue Knitting and it has several patterns with attached borders. It also has a fabulous jacket/shrug in beautiful colors that I may reward myself with if I get all these socks knit for their intended recipients.

I would love to meet Naomi, not only for her gardening interests but because I, too, have a wine cork stash. I actually used lots of the to make trivets, which my husband doesn't want me to give away because they show what low-rent wine we drink. After the trivet-making phase I set aside the leftovers, and they are still in my catch-all craft closet, but I haven't added new ones for a while.

Don't let the weather get you down. When we're in the dregs of August I remind myself that I'm lucky to work and live in air conditioned places, and that nobody expects me to wear a corset!


Monday, August 22, 2005

Driving' down the highway....

Dear Ellen,

Drivin' down the highway..... you, not me - I can picture it now - two 50 something year olds with all the guitars, amps and cords in the car, with you knitting socks - be careful to not get stopped - the FHP will surely have a story to tell.
I don't need to tell you how stinkin' hot it is. As I type this, I am hearing a funny noice and look outside and it is the beginning of a summer rain storm. Ahhhhh... a relief to the heat, until I remember what happens - - the humidity just adds to the heat's fire - and cutting the air with a knife brings on a whole level of meaning.Please pause for a brief interruption in this posting....
Whew...that was close... that rainstorm got feisty - I had to show you - it came into my backyard like a wild Banshee - the dogs went wild - the cameral pulled out to show how the still air we have had has not started into motion (note the dogwood on the left). Not to mention the dog in my lap that is shaking like the leaves on the tree.

Now if we are going to play with pointy things, which could have something to do with gardening or knitting and we could stretch that with singing (baton), and I can't figure out the reading connection with "pointy things", I must get to the subject at hand. I am knitting a border for the baby blanket and here it is started:

Please note that it is about 18 inches long and I have about 8 1/2 feet more to go - yes FEET. It begins with a cast on of 11, increases to 17 for 3 rows and back down to 11. By the time I get about half of it done, I can probably do it in my sleep.

I would be remiss if I did not address the gallon containers, PVC piping, and 2X2s that you have. Not we, and I use that term broadly are in a quandary. If we keep this stuff, , we border on being hoarders. If we throw away, we are wasteful. Now..... Naomi, who is my master gardener friend, knows how to keep "valuable" things for long enough that they become vintage, if not valuable, "stuff" - in fact if I need something, I can count on her to have it 9 out of 10 times. She may or may not remember, but I borrowed some wine corks that she had some time ago - because I had a wine bottle I needed a cork for for a bazaar item (no wine in it - but bird seed). I didn't know what size, but lo and behold, Noami had a collection of those corks in an onion bag. She was kind enough to let me borrow those corks to test until I found the right one. Naomi (I write to her because I know she is reading this and I will really know she has read this when she leaves us a comment on here), I still have those corks. And I KNOW there are folks out there that would have thrown them away, but being the kindred spirit that we are, I understand about not throwing away such items - one never knows when you need it! Ellen, you must meet Naomi, you two can share Master Gardening stories!

Surely when you return, there will be a story to tell - no woman who heads down to south Florida with socks in progress and guitars and amps in the back seat of a car can come back without a yarn to spin.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Button Stash

Cathy - I will think about button projects, but you have to reciprocate by thinking about possible uses for about 30 18" lengths of pressure-treated 2x2 lumber. They were left over from 2 trellises we built about a year ago, and I couldn't bear to throw them away, so they are stashed in the shed, along with random lengths of pvc pipe and scores of 1 gallon nursery pots.

My daughter's visit was lots of fun; it is gratifying to see how well she turned out, whether it is because of or despite anything we did. My son has headed back to Miami; Gary and I are driving down tomorrow with all the stuff (four guitars, two amps, a crate full of assorted cables) that won't fit in his car.

On the knitting front I have done a few inches on the sock. There should be lots of good knitting hours on the drive to Miami. I'll take the socks and the shawl, to forestall possible boredom. I have decided to try doubling the Zephyr for the pullover. The beginnings of the swatch look like it may work.

This afternoon I ran into a woman that I used to work with, and she asked if I was still knitting. She mentioned a coworker of hers who is getting together a lunchtime knitting group, and then she reminded me that several years ago I gave her a sweater that I had knitted that turned out a little to big for me to use. You know, until this afternoon I had totally forgotten about that sweater. I guess that is an example of forgetting ones "failures" even though they may not be failures after all.

I won't have computer access until we return on Tuesday, so I look forward to hearing from you then.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Button button who has the button?

My coworker came in the other day and asked what you could do with buttons and did we need any. So I asked her what she had - and she had a bag full of what you can see on your left - hundreds if not thousands of buttons. Some are blouse buttons that are seen on men and women's shirts and blouses. Others are novelty type buttons, but but there are not as many of those. And my coworker didn't need them and so she gave them to moi. I promised to make something "buttony" for Christmas for both of them, so I need to be thinking of what I can knit and incorporate it with the buttons I have. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
It is best not to mention this in front of my husband, who gets worried about this sort of thing. I call it a treasure, he is not as embracing of the term with collections of items that can be used in the future. I PROMISE to use some of it for school projects also (now I am bargaining with myself on this and justifying why I need this many buttons).
I have arranged my audition time to sing for our upcoming year with Voces Angelorum. I am singing a hymn tune and then a Handel Selection - a simple tune that I have sung in college. It is clearing the cobwebs out of the throat to get ready to sing for our next season. My audition time is 8:00 next Thursday.

On the knitting front, I finished part one of the baby blanket. The next section is the knitted border and it looks as though it will go on and on and on. I started with a fresh skein of yarn in hopes I will not have to start a new skein in the middle. This was completed with size 7 needles and it approximately 36 inches in length, give or take a few inches.

Lastly, purple double daturas are blooming in the garden bed of my neigbor's yard, that borders our property. I have been eyeing those blooms the last couple of morning as I leave for work. Today it required a photo op - just crying for a picture to be taken.
Last but not least, my trip to Walmart included a pickup of a storage container for a friend. One would think that if the top of the container is JUST ABOVE the container itself, that they would go together....well NOPE, and what do I do - the Klondike bars were in my buggy and all I could think about is...I need to get home...these things are going to melt (my husband loves them - No sugar added) - so in my haste, I grab the top that isn't the top and away we go... you would think I would learn... this is the second time I have done this... and I can't find the receipt...
On the pointy things. . . border for a baby blanket, plus numerous and various other projects in different stages of completion.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Garden Advice

Dear Cathy -

It may be that a preference for garden monoculture is a guy thing, or a golfer thing, but I have a suggestion that may help. You should arrange more visits to public gardens, and you can point out (tactfully, of course) how nice the combinations of plants and flowers look. The pictures are from garden visits that Gary and I made on our recent trip to California. I told him before we went that my goal for the trip (besides the wedding we went there to attend) was to visit 4 gardens and a yarn shop, and he was quite cheerful about the gardens and tolerant of the yarn shop. The gardens were:

1. San Juan Capistrano Mission

2. Balboa Park in San Diego

3. Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar

4. Huntington Library ( which is a library, garden and art museum)

My own garden is looking a little ragged, but my next-door neighbors have cleared out the brush and vines (part of their major house and garden renovation) and I am so excited about the prospect of more sun and fewer invading creepers! After our trip to Miami next week I should be at home for several weekends and hope to make some gardening progress. I hope we don't have to bring current pictures of our own gardens to the Master Gardener class!

Last night I started a pair of socks for Camille. The yarn (Dancing) and pattern (Twisted Socks) are both from Knit Picks. After working on the shawl for a while the socks seem to go so quickly! I also tried knitting a swatch of the Zephyr on larger needles for the pullover I showed you, but it won't do. I need to find a heavier yarn for the pullover and use the Zephyr for a shawl, or several pairs of the finest socks ever.

Please let me know when you schedule your audition; maybe we can get together for iced tea and show and share. I think my audition went well. I'm glad it gave me a reason to start singing before rehearsals begin.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gardening and marital strife


Since you are going into training for being a Master Gardener, I hope you know that you may be taking on the role of consulting couples that might have marital differences on "how their garden should grow". You see, my dear husband has this notion that our daylily bed should have NOTHING but daylilies in it - no companion plants to enhance it. Well, I THINK that all daylilies and nothing else makes for a dull garden.
Now, this notion comes from a man who thinks the most beautiful thing in nature in the world is morning time at a golf course - all GREEN - and I guess it is like folks that don't like mixing up things for a casserole - you don't mix stuff up. Now, since the weeds have overtaken the garden in such a way that there are threats that the garden might be gone next year if I don't do something about it, we have got to come to some sort of middle road. The weeds are winning the war and I can promise you there's a briar patch out there that must qualify for the Tar Baby tale.
Naomi is my other friend who has completed the Master Gardener program and now is in making sure she keeps her hours up, doesn't know about this dilemma (well perhaps she does now since I am posting it now) .

Since this blog is pretty new, we sure would like to know who out there in the world is reading this. In my next blog event (if I remember) I will share my button story with you.
Hope you have fun at your audition tonight. Sing pretty.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Be careful what you wish for

Dear Cathy - It is with a little trepidation that I embark on this venture. I have been thoroughly intimidated by the blogging and knitting that I've seen since you first introduced me to the genre. This seems to be a good time for a new adventure, though, since life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall, at least according to F. Scott Fitzgerald. It won't be crisp for a long time here in NoFL/SoGA, but life is starting over with Philip going back to school and the legislative calendar filling up with fall meetings and project deadlines.

Besides the knitting projects and new Angels season, I begin the Leon County Master Gardener program on Sept. 8. I am excited about the opportunity to give people advice about their gardens. I do way too much of that already, but now they might actually ask for it.

I'm glad you admired the T shirt. I only ripped out about 1/3 of it, and it was worth it to get a wearable product. The bare midriff look just didn't work for me.

I'll be adding some pictures and biographical information, but for now, knit on!


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A little of this and that

Dear Ellen,
I will post to you first - since you emailed me and made the suggestion of the name of this blog, I went ahead and decided to plunge into this blog with this:

This is the finished project that you shared with me through email - if I understand your story correctly, that when you had almost finished, you took it out almost completely before starting again - do you ever question your sanity when you do something like that? I am actually envious of the finished object, the fact that it is finished and that it can be worn now.
Ellen and I actually do more than "play with pointy things" aka knitting - we have been known to sing a note or two on Thursday evenings with our women's group Voces Angelorum - or Voices of Angels. And I have even seen Ellen snitch a stitch or two on Thursday evenings during a lull in the action (gosh does that ever happen? not if Charlie has anything to do with it!).
In addition, there is the common yarn thread of reading and gardening that we enjoy, though you would never know it by looking at my garden right now.
I also know that Ellen is in the process of renovating part of her house - I am sure there are stories to tell since it was a one of a kind bathroom that at one look, if you are old enough, will know what decade it was built.

Ellen, I am handing over the "baton" to you.


Plays with pointy things

A new knitting blog for some knitting folks to bounce off of, but not to poke our knitting needles too hard at while blogging.