Sunday, February 25, 2007
What a whirlwind! Last week was really hectic with work, meetings, and more work. Then there was planning and packing for Stitches West. And Wednesday we were on our way. I told myself I’d manage a blog post as soon as my first day of class was finished, but found that I was unable to download pictures and use the hotel’s internet service. But now I’m home, so here we go . . . .
On Wednesday, DH and I and our friends, C and E drove south to San Francisco. We dropped DH off for his checkup at the VA hospital on Thursday morning and took a drive down Highway 1 while we waited. We walked around the grounds of the Montara Lighthouse hostel, one of my favorite places. The clouds were gorgeous after our rainy drive the day before.
We headed south again and checked into the hotel and Stitches West. Then it was off to my first class, Intarsia Without Fear, taught by Edie Eckman. Check out that sweater she made! (Apologies to Edie, that’s the best picture I managed to take. Sheesh!)
Besides learning about intarsia, I learned a lot about how the direction of the yarn affects that stitches. Changing colors and weaving in ends can cause stitches to slant in odd directions and almost get scrunched out of view. I learned how to counteract these tendencies.
This was the way things went in all my classes — I gathered knitting tips that would improve my knitting way beyond the topic of the class. Now if I can just remember them and put them into practice!
After my not-so-delicate explanation to our husbands that we would not be going to dinner with them ( I hated to ignore their disappointed puppy-dog eyes, but what’s a knitter to do? ) , C and I joined the line waiting to enter The Market, which promised to have more yarn than I’d ever seen in one place before.
Then an endless stream of knitters started to join us from the escalator. We all spent two hours surrounded by yarn of every kind imaginable. I was in a daze. There was something for everyone. The best part was being able to get my hands on yarns I’d only read about and see what it was really like. Well, I guess the very best part was the yarn I bought, but that will have to wait for my next post.
For now, I’ll leave you with a common sight in the hotel lobby. It was funny to see yarn mixing with drinks on the bar. Knitters were working away — and talking nonstop — everywhere in the hotel.
My husband kept me up to date on what everyone was knitting and wearing. It was fun to have the guys along, and they threw themselves into the spirit of it all.
But I’m exhausted, so the next two days will have to wait for another post. It was great fun, and now it’s time to get some rest.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Has anyone else noticed that the mail is a wee bit slow lately? (It seemed quite fast during the holidays.) Or is it just because I’ve been watching for my “puffy?”
Well, today it arrived. Two beautiful cloths from my exchange partner, Cheri J., for the Monthly Dishcloth KAL.Â She sent two fragrant candles, a cute card, and the patterns for the cloths, too. Sweet!
The Lace Zig Zag Dishcloth is one that I have been planning to make someday.Â It just happens to match a scrubby I made recently, so my kitchen is stylin’. The Heart Lace Washcloth is going in my bathroom. I love the lace pattern (even though I managed to photograph it upside down!)Â Â Cheri picked out two of my favorite colors and did a wonderful job with these cloths.Â Thanks, Cheri! I’m a lucky swapper, lately.
On my end, I’ve been working on my crochet sweater whenever I’ve had the chance. It’s coming along nicely.Â I have one sleeve left to make, but I couldn’t wait any longer to check the fit and see if I would like the style. So I sewed one side together.
I have been seriously thinking about adding a knit ribbing to the 3/4 length sleeve ever since I started the sweater. I will probably give it a try after finishing the last sleeve and seaming it.Â I’ve also thought about adding knit ribbing at the bottom of the body.Â Oh, and there’s a little collar to add, too.Â So close!Â I only have two or three more days available to work on this before going to Stitches West, so I hope I can finish it.
Speaking of Stitches, I sat myself down and made the swatches that are needed for one of my classes, so that is ready. Then I started packing my knitting bag. It’s only a week until we leave, so I’m trying not to leave it to the last minute since I’ll be working pretty steadily for several days.Â Of course, I am a bit excited, too.Â I’m really looking forward to learning some new techniques while I’m there.
I’m off to work on that sweater now.Â Have a good week — and stay warm!
Friday, February 9, 2007
No knitting or crocheting in the last few days. A bunch of pickled beets is all I’ve got to show for my time. Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m thrilled with my pretty red jars. I love beets. Mom and I put up a couple dozen jars of these. My portion is sweetened with Splenda and they taste as good as the sugared ones. And why wouldn’t they, since they are the very source of sugar. When I look at these I see dessert in a jar.
The rest of the week has been spent working and dealing with another death of a very dear friend. This makes six deaths of loved ones in six months, and I gotta say it’s wearing me down. I remember when my parents reached their fifties and their friends and family started rather steadily dying. It seems I’ve reached that time in my own life. I’m trying to come to grips with it as just one more part of the cycle of life, but I’m not so thrilled with this part of the cycle, if the truth be told. We did have a robust wake for our friend, who was one of the sweetest women I’ve ever known. As Vonnegut would say, “So it goes.”
I’m glad there are so many things to sweeten life: flowers, music, family and friends, knitting and crafting, the ocean…. The list is long and at the end of it is sleep, which was in short supply for a while. So I leave you with a picture of a little catnap with a rock for a pillow. Next week there will be knitting!
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
I’ve managed to squeeze in some knitting lately. Slowly, but surely, and all that.
After buying 20 balls of Elann’s Pasticcio cotton, I quickly crocheted a lace dishcloth to see what it would look like. It’s very soft and I like the colors. The variegation doesn’t show well in the photo of the dishcloth, so here’s a picture of one ball. I’m not sure what I’ll make with all 20 of those skeins, but I’ll probably make some chemo caps and dishcloths as well as a nice summer top.
I also made a simple chemo cap with some Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria in the color Sky. I thought it would take more than one skein, but I had quite a bit left over. I’ll be able to make another cap. It’s really soft and the pattern worked up big enough to easily cover the ears.
I used The Rolled Brim Boyfriend Hat pattern that is one of the featured hats for Caps for a Cure, just to try out the pattern. I’m not really fond of rolled brims, so I did some ribbing for the first inch instead. The pattern worked up nicely, with easy to follow directions. I’m hoping to try several of the recent patterns mentioned on the Caps for a Cure board.
My crocheted sweater is moving along nicely, with all the body pieces completed. I need a couple sleeves and then it can be put together. I’ll wait to take pictures until it’s done, since big black pieces are not really that interesting.
I also resurrected my Shedir cap that I started back in September. I worked a couple rows, hoping the pattern would start to show up soon, but it always seemed rather muddled. Then it hit me! I was reading the chart back and forth, but since this is knit in the round, I needed to read from right to left only.
Rip! Fortunately, I had placed a lifeline after the first nine rows of 1×1 ribbing, so I managed to save that part. I worked it back to the starting point and added a few rows. Now the pattern is showing! I copied the chart in a bigger size and am enjoying working on it a little at a time.
And little is definitely what the knitting will be like now. I called our school district to sign up to substitute teach and was shocked at how quickly they put me to work. Less than 24 hours after calling the district office, I was back in the classroom. My head was spinning! So much for easing into it. I’ve decided that subbing is the way to go as long as DH keeps dragging me off on crazy motorcycle adventures. So semi-retirement it is . . . and semi-knitting, to boot.
Friday, February 2, 2007
For the 2nd Annual Brigid in Cyberspace (Silent) Poetry Reading
This poem is by the author who first made me love poetry in my late thirties.Â I used this poem to teach poetry to high school students, opening their minds to the poets of the Beat Generation.Â I think it goes beyond the metaphorical subject of writing poetry to speak of the risks we take in any of our creative, unique, or risky endeavors. In fact, I think it applies to the very risk of sharing our individual opinions on various matters. I hope you enjoy it!
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti