Monday, January 22, 2007

A Candlelight Vigile

Starsky, so young, yet already it has been forced to endure so much. But the ordeal is not over for this brave little knit. After extensive seaming and trying on it has been determined that Starsky needs emergency corrective surgery to repair her freakishly long arms. Even with all five and a half inches of the ribbing cuffed, we could not find the wearer's hands. Because the set-in sleeves are already, well, set-in, we have determined the best course of action will be to actually cut the bottom of the sleeve off. New stitches will be picked up from the end of the sleeve, and a new cuff will be knit in the opposite direction of the original knitting. It is a very experimental procedure.

But the trauma does not end there.

Unfortunately the only surgeon available has never performed this sort of surgery. And due to rigorous trampoline jumping commitments (and a few nervous twitches at the thought of cutting her precious knits), this inexperienced surgeon is not available until sometime Thursday.

Let's hope Starsky make it until then.

Friday, January 19, 2007

When life hands you lemons....

Use them to remove rust stains!

Do You See What I See

I did a bunch of stuff to try and get the rust out. I tried to write it out, but it really is a long boring story. The end result is the best part.

But in case you were wondering, this is what I think helped the most and what I would do first if this were to ever happen again (which it won't because I learned my lesson):

  • Take the garments and spread them in the sun. Soak a cotton ball in lemon juice, then squeeze over the rust spots. Use straight lemon juice, don't dilute with water. Pour salt over the lemon juice. Repeat every half hour as needed.

  • Also effective was a thick paste of equal parts salt and cream of tartar. Spread thickly on spot, and lay in sun. Sprinkle with water every half hour to keep paste wet until spot is removed. This may be a better alternative for colored items.

  • My precious sweater is now blocking. And I don't want to speak ill of Starsky after the horrible ordeal it has just been through. It was an innocent bystander in an ongoing battle that is larger than Starsky can comprehend. But is it my imagination or are those sleeves the largest sleeves EVER? I know a bit of that can be explained by camera angle, and I know that the sleeves are longer than usual so you can cuff them. But is it meant to have eight inch cuffs?

    We'll just have to see how it looks once it is all assembled. Right now I don't want to subject Starsky to any more unnecessary trauma.

    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    Something has gone horribly wrong

    I don't know what I've done but I've angered someone with connections. I have inadvertently offended someone and they are seeking retribution. And they've come after me with a vengeance. Tormenting me in the most effective way they know how. They have stolen the most precious of all my precious items. A thief in the night, they've taken what will pain me the most. They've taken my knitting mojo.



    I know you're really here for some kick-butt finished objects. And I do have the Bathing Beauties, and the Rona shawl, but I am too despondent over the events of last night to feel any joy in the beauty that is the Rona Shawl.

    It all began when I tried on RPM.....

    RPM is RP-WrongIt's looking good isn't it. I love how this yarn is knitting up in this pattern. And let's be honest. Everything I've knit lately has been cream or taupe. It was exciting to watch actual colors flow through my fingers and take form. I decided to knit the larger size. The 63 stitch cast on was only one stitch off from the Pirate Socks, so they should have fit just fine. I tried them on....they didn't. They were too large. So my socks and I took an unplanned detour to the frog pond. Unconcerned I cast on for the smaller size, knit the cuff and discovered this...

    See how the orange is all on one side of the sock, and the yellow is segregated to the other side. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's true. With the smaller stitch count the yarn is, I can hardly bear to say it, the yarn is...flashing. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE flashing and it's fraternal brother pooling. I think it's exciting to watch it knit up. I've got a capital "E" on the bottom of my Pirate Sock and it thrills me to no end. But this yarn is so busy, and this pattern is so busy, I just don't think it needs a third visual element with the flashing. It will be too much. Before it looked like a good acid trip, but as anyone who has ever taken acid can tell you (not me Dad, other people, bad people who took acid in college, but not me), a good trip can easily go bad. And this trip has gone bad.

    So RPM is no more. I'm toying with the idea of Jaywalkers, but that didn't work so well for me the first time. Or a simple rib socks, maybe with moss stitch in the rib. *sigh* And these socks were knitting up so quickly, and looking so beautiful....

    But the horrors of yesterday do not end with the sock. No the sock was only a prelude to the actual terror. A large spider on the bed covers when there was really a killer in the closet. The next victim was *gasp* Starsky. And it dealt a fatal blow. It is too graphic. Standard of decency prohibit me from showing you pictures of the carnage.

    When last we left Starsky it was relaxing peacefully in a bath of lukewarm water, baby shampoo, and a squirt of conditioner. A time tested cocktail guaranteed to soothingly intoxicate your knit garments into submission.

    When I removed Starsky from it's bath I made a horrifying discovery. I always, and I don't mean always in that exaggerated way that really means sometimes, I mean each and every time, I ALWAYS wrap my yarn ends up and secure them with a safety pin to get them out of the way. I do this with every project, I hate having lots of strings dangling about. This could be why I rarely do color work, but that is a different topic. To return to the original topic, I always secure my ends with a safety pin. I NEVER take them off until it is time to weave in the ends. I soak my knits with the safety pins on, I block them. It's never been a problem. NEVER. Until yesterday. Each and every pin rusted. Some pins were regular safely pins. Some were curved rust-resistant safety pins for quilting. Some were old, some not so old. But each and every safety pin rusted. Three sweater pieces in three separate bowls of water, all covered in rust stain.

    My sweater is on life support. It's poor beautiful fibers streaked with red, and brown, and some hideous grey. A sweater that may die before I have a chance to wear it and look fabulous. I've soaked the pieces in lemon juice and salt. Today I'll try the sun and cream of tartar. But I'm not optimistic. I've been told the alpaca in it may never recover. Such a senseless tragedy.

    Someone has declared war on me, and I'm gonna fight back with a vengeance. Where the f@#$ is Boyd?

    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    If I took Lunesta how would I ever get anything done?

    It's absolutely amazing the things I will do to get out of blocking.

    I loaded the dishwasher. I watched *shudder* Teletubbies *shudder* with my children. I spent entirely Shinny New RPMtoo much time looking at sock patterns online. I deleted all the information from my Palm Pilot and then spent an hour figuring out how to restore everything (I've got Dad don't worry. It was all still on my computer. I'm still not sure how it all deleted in the first place). I swept my kitchen floor. I even contemplated washing my kitchen floor, but I didn't want to get out of blocking that badly. I cast on for a new sock instead. I wandered all day with the task hanging over my head, yet I did not do it.

    But alas, once again insomnia has settled into my life, a familiar unwelcome friend. Late last night when everyone else had drifted deep into sleep and even the cat had Wet Artstopped padding about and chosen a place to lounge for the night I gave up lying awake in bed. If I was going to be awake I might as well do something useful. Armed with my mp3 player and some pins I began

    First came the Bathing Beauties. They had soaked long enough. Blocking feels like laundry with the water and the wringing and the laying flat to dry. Maybe this is why I've put it off. I hate laundry. I'd join a nudist colony if I didn't enjoy knitting sweaters so much. What would be the point of knitting sweaters if they were to never be worn?

    It was soothing to pull and prod and pin the formless cotton into orderly shape. I soaked and pinned my sweater swatches. As I smoothed the wool and laid it flat I daydreamed of the sweaters they would become. Little sketches of perfectly knit sweaters in my mind. I fell asleep floating in soft wool dreams.

    Lacey Art

    Before I gave into my fleecy sleep I put the Rona Shawl in for a dip. I was on a roll and feared losing my momentum

    This morning Meaty came in as I was pinning it. He asked what I was doing. I told him I was blocking.

    "No you're not"Does this look round to you?

    "I'm not? Then what am I doing?"

    "You're making a spiderweb!"

    He's right, you know, a beautiful lacey spiderweb spun of silk and wool and dreams.

    As I pinned the forty eight pins in place for the forty eighth points of the shawl I came to an important decision. I'm buying some f*@$ing blocking wires. Until I do, there's more work to be done. Shhhhhhh......We must be quiet for now.

    Starsky is soaking and doesn't like to be disturbed while bathing.

    Tuesday, January 16, 2007

    Taking the Plunge

    I must do it. Today I must do it. As much as I've been avoiding it, and as much as I hate to do it I simply can not go on any longer without doing it. Am I talking about laundry, or cleaning my bathrooms? No (but I could be). No, today I must break down and block something.

    My Shelf of Aran KnitsI've finished the sleeves for Starsky. They're done in all their stockinette curl goodness. All that's left to knit is the collar and the ridiculously long belt. But I've gone insane and decided to block the body pieces before I add the collar. I can go no further on this sweater without blocking.

    This leaves me once again with the fatal choice between blocking or knitting the turtles. Truly a terrifying choice. I felt a bit paralysed at the indecision of it all. Eventually I did what all reasonable people do when faced with a no win situation. I flipped a coin. I'm going to block.

    I suppose I should start with the Bathing Beauties since they're already soaked. They just need wrung out and pinned. And then I should move on to the swatches, since I'll need something to do while the bulky-alpaca-blend-that-will-take-three-days-to-dry-that-is-Starsky pieces Cutie Girl Readsdry. And from the swatches I can knit the other sweaters during the afore mentioned three days of drying time. Once the swatches are blocked I can move on to Starsky, provided I have enough pins and floor space left to pin out a wet bulky alpaca blend cardigan. And did I forget the Rona shawl? Actually I did. Then I glanced at the side bar and remembered. I should block that before I block Starsky because the lace will dry faster, and let's face it I'm going to abandon blocking in favor of knitting as soon as the Starsky pieces are dry. I must strike while the iron is hot because honestly, I'm already tired of blocking and all I've done is think really hard about it. (Cute Picture of Bird is completely gratuitous and thrown in to keep the Grandparents at bay)

    But before I begin I've got to cast on for a new pair of socks to knit while the children play at the park.

    Did someone say

    Stop judging me. At least I take them to the park. You guys know the rule by now. An hour outside each day, just like convicts.

    Monday, January 15, 2007

    WIP Round Up, or Justification

    I've been knitting. Really I have. I know where's half way through January and I only have one pair of socks to show for it. By this time last year I had knit an entire sweater, but why compare, even if it's too a former version of myself. The problem isn't not knitting enough. It's knitting too much, too many thing. I will admit it. I've become a project whore. My number of WIPs (that's Work-In-Progress for you Muggles) is getting out of control. Let's look at where we stand. From the bottom up.

    Noro Hat for me

    Poor Unfulfilled SkeinLooking good isn't it? I bought this yarn from the LYS (Local Yarn Shop) with the intention of knitting it at their weekly open knit. That was three weeks ago. I just haven't been able to go to their knitting group. I really want to. I'd love to meet some people. It's even on the one afternoon a week I have the car. I just keep getting sick, or needing to do other things like buy groceries. I will go. I really will. Until then the hat waits patiently, all packed up in it's own project bag, just waiting to be socially knit.

    Bathing Beauties Washcloth and Soap Sack

    Taking a good soakThe pattern is from Fibertrends. It has three different washcloths, and three soap sacks. I've knit all six items and they are soaking waiting for blocking. don't get excited...They've been soaking since the Fifth. I just haven't gotten a chance to block them yet. I've been busy trying to go to open knit, and feeding my children the much needed groceries.

    Rona Shawl

    This is a circular shawl knit in the round. If you thought a top down triangular Sad Wrinkly Pile of Laceshawl was a PITA, don't bother with a circular one. It starts out small, only six stitches. You know out the first thirty rounds in twenty minutes. That's how they hook you in. They don't tell you that the final round had 1056 stitches. After round 86 the rounds were so large it was taking me 20 minutes to complete one round. There were 156 rounds. The final rounds were taking just under forty-five minutes. But by golly it's done. I merely need to block it.

    Sheldon x 3

    For Christmas I made three little Sheldon's for my nieces and nephews. My children fell in love, especially Meaty, and begged for Sheldon's of their very own. The day Dismembered TurtleMeaty laid his hand on my arm and said beseechingly "Mommy I know you can do it" I knew I had to do it. I tried, I really tried hard to knit them their very own Sheldon's before Christmas, but my turtle mojo was gone. I was tired of fiddly shells and stuffing tiny legs. I have no enthusiasm for these turtles. Knitting these turtles held no joy for me. Even the promise of their happy little faces on Christmas morning could not inspire me. My children may never know how close they came to owning their own Sheldons and how Mommy wussed out.

    Blue Yoke Sweater

    Just a sketchThis is a sweater I'm designing for me, from stash yarn, loosely based on a sweater I saw on TV. It's mostly past the design phase, and I'm swatching. They just need blocked and measured. See a pattern with the blocking yet?

    My Dad's Aran Sweater.

    I haven't blogged about this much because it was going to be a surprise for my Father. And he reads my blog. He knew I was knitting a sweater for him, but he didn't know exactly what it looked like. But I can't keep a secret.

    I've got the front and back done, as well as a sleeve.

    Almost A Sweater

    No pattern. Just my brain and a LOT of cable swatches. I swatched everything and measured and did math. I was so cautious and careful. Then for the sleeves I got lazy. I took the average gauge of the front of the sweater instead of the gauge for the moss stitch. Guess what happened? The sleeve is HUGE. Just too big to be right. I've made a swatch. It's waiting to be blocked. Need I say anymore.

    So what's a girl to do when Friday night finds her with FOUR projects stalled out waiting for blocking, and three turtles that make her want to throw herself off the roof? Does she buckle down and take over every inch of floor space with garbage bags and wet wool? Does she grit her teeth and show those turtles who's boss?

    Nope, she doesn't do either of those things. Instead she goes stash diving and pulls Photobucket - Video and Image Hostingout yarn for Starsky! I've had this yarn for a year, just biding it's time. Well it's time has come. So far I've got the back, left front and right front done. I hope to finish the sleeves today, but I'm going to have to buy a size 10 circular needle before I can knit the collar. (Yes I knit the back on straights, yes my wrists hurt a little, no I will never do that again, yes I've learned my lesson)

    Interesting side note? I didn't swatch for this sweater. I considered it, but decided with eight inches of ease this sweater has room for my gauge to be off a smidgen or two. I refuse to even check it, although the pieces do look a tad on the small side (I'm making a medium). Wouldn't it be ironic if it doesn't fit? I'd probably deserve that kind of knitting karmic retribution. Everyone cross their fingers as I boldly knit the sleeves. You didn't think I was going to block today did you?

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Happy Birthday Little Man!

    Today is my Little Man's Fourth Birthday!

    Say Cheese

    "Smile for the picture Baby."

    "I am smi-a-lin!"

    From my sweet newborn son he has grown...

    My Bouncing Baby Boy

    Serum Sickness Sucks

    Terrible Twos

    Tornado Threes

    To my little man so beautiful, and challenging.

    Fourth Birthday Cake

    So sweet, and stubborn. Such a good brother, and such a brat. He can make my heart ache with his sweetness and his thoughtfulness. He can make me laugh like no other with his silliness and thoughts. He can make me pull my hair out in frustration at his temper and attitude. Some days I want to sell him to the circus. Other days I want to freeze him and store him in a vacuum sealed pouch so he will never change from that shared loving moment.

    Happy Birthday my Baby Boy!

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    There Be Pirates About!

    My Pirate Socks are done!

    Black Purl Socks

    Words can not completely express what these socks mean to me. But I will try for these are more than just beautiful, comfy socks.

    They began in an unassuming brown package I received for my birthday. It was a sweet thoughtful birthday surprise. An unexpected friendship that has brightened my life. Part of the package contained two exquisite skeins of Lorna's Laces Black Purl yarn. As much as I love Knitpicks sock yarn, and I'll never say a word against it, this yarn is in an entirely different class all by itself. A true Pirate treasure for my birthday.

    When I found out my dear friend Katrina had bought herself the same yarn when she purchased my present I became obsessed with the idea of knitting our yarn together. Though miles may separate us, knitting the same pattern with the same yarn at the same time could be glorious fun. Our own private knit-a-long. Fortunately Katrina liked the idea as well.

    But life came along as life always does. We were both Pirate Toes participants in Sock Wars, I was moving across the country, She has three busy children as well, the holidays loomed over us. Our Knit-a-long remained a wisp of an idea. And Katrina's brother died.

    Things changed after that. Katrina's life changed after that. And our friendship gained a new bond. A sad bond. One forged in shared grief. Sometimes I think bonds created by tears are stronger than those created by laughter. But I would never have wished this in either of our lives.

    After the hustle and busy bustle of the holidays we decided to hold our knit-a-long. But now it had more meaning. We were knitting to heal our grief and our pain. We were making a conscious choice to have a bit of light fun. To smile. To create something beautiful for ourselves. To share happiness with a friend. To not let our dark feelings be the pervasive feeling in our lives.

    Pirate Socks from the side Silly as it may sound, it helped. It's a subtle shift of thought. A subtle shift of feeling. I'm still sad. I still miss my Mom. I miss her more it seems with each passing day. Time does not seem to be healing this wound. Time is pouring salt in the fact that my beautiful Mother is gone. But laughter helps, and smiles, and tender hugs from small chubby arms, and sweet sloppy kisses. And sharing some silly fun with a dear friend? It helps. Creating a tangible thing of beauty to signify this change of being helps.

    And oh how these socks are tangible beauty. Katrina has finished her first sock. But in true Pirate form, I have left the fallen behind, abandoned for dead and finished my socks.

    Watch me walk away

    There's a reason these socks are called "Walking Away Socks."

    Tuesday, January 09, 2007


    Yes, I know you're all sick of looking at Johnny Depp's cropped eyes.

    "You finished a sock in one day" you cry "You must have done something else by now!"

    Yes, yes I have. I've finished them in fact. But I've been sick...again. And I don't have pictures today. My camera batteries are dead...again. So instead of brilliant socks I give you the other brilliant thing I've made: My Children.

    My Jumping Bean

    Little People

    Chessy grin

    Sweet babies

    That should appease the Grandparents. Look for pirate socks tomorrow.

    Monday, January 01, 2007

    My New Year

    I had the Perfect New Year's Eve/New Year's Day.

    I spent it knitting.

    But not just any knitting.

    Pirate Knitting

    That's right. I was PIRATE KNITTING.

    But it gets better.

    What's even better than Pirate Knitting you ask?

    I'll tell you. It's Pirate Knitting with Katrina!

    Yarn PornAt the stroke of midnight, in two different cities, in two different time zones (so I guess that was two different strokes of midnight) we cast on using the same yarn, and the same pattern.

    Excitement was high in the air as I waited for the ball to drop. I gathered the fortifications I would need for our endeavor.


    You can see all the necessities are there, yarn, needles, pattern, caffeine, chocolate, and Captain Jack Sparrow (because one simply can not pirate knit without Captain Jack Sparrow).

    Early ProgressAt the stroke of midnight I cast on. Feverishly I knitted...fourteen rows. And then I went to bed. But don't worry. I spent New Year's Day knitting as well. When I called it a night last night I had this done.

    End of day 1

    Remember when I said I wanted to knit less this year? You know I meant over the overall course of the year. I didn't necessarily mean today. You understand that right? I can't just stop cold turkey. I need time to wean myself from the yarn. HEY! Stop judging me!