Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hand Candy

I feel good. My mood is better, I feel like I'm getting some decent sleep, and my stress level has lowered a lot. It's because Spring is on it's way. I was thinking this morning about why it feels like Spring is coming and came up with the following:

1. The birds are singing in the morning when I go out with the dogs. They are singing their wake up calls to the sun and the day.

2. I don't need to put on (a) hat, (b) scarf, (c) gloves, (d) wool socks, or (e) fleece jacket just to go outside with the dogs. This morning it was just my robe over my nightgown and my hot cup of coffee.

3. The camellias are starting to bloom, the anniversary rhody is in bloom, and the crocuses are blooming.

4. People are smiling and saying good morning. It stays so gray and damp in Seattle in the winter that the mood matches the black raincoats.

5. I can knit in the car on my way to work without turning on a light. This is big because I generally knit socks during my commute to and from work. Need light for little stitches you know.

Currently I'm working on three pair of socks, two on one 40" circular needle, and one on double points.
All of which are in various stages. I'm using the standard stock pattern from Charlene Schurch's book Sensational Knitted Socks. I took Charlene's sock class the first year I went to Madrona and have been in love with knitting socks since. This is a great book because she spells out how to get socks to fit. Charlene is a lovely lady too. I enjoyed getting to know her and appreciated her patience.

This first pair is just a plain knit sock, done on size 1 double points, in Universal Yarns Ditto.
I like using the double points, but decided to stick with the long circular needle as long as our puppy, Johnny, insists on jumping up in my lap, and getting into my face. I can just see one of those needles ending up in either his nose or mine.

This pair is on size 1 40" circular needles. Much safer when you have a busy, busy puppy in the house. I like these a lot, but frankly the gray tones are too much during gray weather. I tried to find the yarn label, but it is a washable wood, and again, just a plain sock pattern. I plan to finish those this spring.
This is the pair of socks I am in love with. I started these on Saturday, and am now doing the gusset decrease on the second sock. I am using size 3 needles and the yarn is washable merino wool from Fancy Image Hand-Dyed Yarn in Shelton, Washington. This yarn is hand candy. It's hard to put down. It is so soft and warm, and I'll miss knitting them when they are done. These aren't for me. They are for a special lady who needs some comfort socks right now. With each stitch is a prayer for her. I am enjoying knitting them because I am thinking of her and feel she is close by. Knitting is a tangible form of being connected with someone when they are far away.

I'm glad I'm feeling better. I wasn't sick or anything like that. Just feeling like I was SICK AND TIRED of winter. It's been a long one for some reason.

Well, off to fondle the hand candy some more.



Monday, February 18, 2008

Madrona was wonderful. I had a great time and learned many new things. Today, however, I'm tired. My brain was on overload the entire weekend but that's fine. That is what the Madrona Retreat is all about. Knitting classes, knitting friends, and knitting.

On Thursday I took Pat Brunner's Class "Make it Fit." Boy did I learn a lot about how to make a sweater fit before you start on it. I know alot about fit when it comes to working with fabric, but I have been stumped as to how to adjust for knitting. Basically it comes down to the armhole and the shoulder length. It was a pleasure to take this class and to get to know Pat. She is a delight. Thank you Pat!

On Friday I was in Margaret Radcliff's class "Side to Side Sweaters." Margaret showed me the cable cast on so I could really understand it. What a great cast on for adding on stitches when knitting these side to side garmets. Margaret is a kick too. I had a lot of fun in her class. I'm looking forward to using the principles she taught us with the sweater kit I bought from Philosopher's Wool.

Saturday a.m. was Evelyn Clark's class "Beginning Lace Knitting." Another great class with good principles and tips. One thing I did learn about myself in this class, however, is I need a quiet place to get going on lace knitting. Too much commotion going on around me does not work with reading lace charts.

Cynthia came down on Saturday afternoon and she and I went to the Marketplace while Susan was in class. I bought so many wonderful skeins of yarn and I WANT TO KNIT THEM ALL RIGHT NOW. Too bad I don't have ten hands (and maybe a multifunctional brain). Susan, Cynthia and I went out to dinner Saturday night and had a riot.

Sunday a.m. I was in Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's workshop and of course, it was great. Stephanie is as entertaining in person as she is in her blog. I learned the trick to counting rows in Stephanie's Class. Thank you Stephanie. You count the ladders instead of the stitches. What a treat for my older eyes.

The weather was beautiful, mostly dry, a little chilly, and sun! The sunrises were spectacular, and the sunsets just as beautiful. It's good to be home, however, and back with David and the doggies and Abby the Alpha Cat.

Now to find a place for all of the lovely yarn I bought ...


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Off to Madrona!

It's really early on Thursday, and I'm finishing up my packing for the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. Susan and I will be heading out at 7:00 a.m. I am really looking forward to this.

Today I will be taking Pat Brunner's Class "Make it Fit" and I am ready for this. Pat is a class act and her knitted garments look beautiful on her. She is also an ample size woman so she gets what it's like to knit up a garment in a plus size. I am looking for answers and guidance.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has been commenting in her blog The Yarnharlot how she is looking forward to the "warm" weather in Tacoma at the Retreat. She also made the comment that she probably would bring the Arctic air with her since she didn't get her sweater finished. Well, Stephanie, this morning we had frost for the first time in several weeks. At least it is dry, and you will see some blue sky.

I made a very profound discovery this week. Socks you knit during the summer months will be too big for you in the winter months. Why? Generally your feet are larger in summer because of water retention, especially as you get older. I've been trying to figure out why my socks seem too large this winter, then it dawned on me I generally knit them in the summer because they are small and easy to deal with when it gets too hot to knit.

You may not hear from me over the weekend. My computer will not be going with me. It is going to go visit the Geek Squad at Best Buy to get a new video card. I spoke with Jeff at work yesterday (he's one of the senior analyists) and that's is his prognosis.

Well, off to finish packing. Happy Valentine's to all of you.



Monday, February 11, 2008

Edgar Barked

Yesterday I noticed a ugly mistake on the baby blanket I am knitting for another first time grandma. It was on the edge of this diagonal blanket so I went ahead and frogged down a couple of rows. Everything was going along beautifully. I was very carefully picking up the loose stitches and putting them back on the needles. It was a very peaceful moment. All of the dogs were napping, we had some rare sunshine coming through the window, and I was very calmly picking up loose stitches on the needles WHEN EDGAR BARKED!!!!!!!!
Now I love Edgar with all of my heart. He is one cool dog. His bark, however, is LOUD; very, very LOUD. When all is nice and quiet, calm and peaceful, and then EDGAR BARKS, your heart stops and whatever is in your hands flies. I have no clue as to what he was barking about, but it did accomplish one thing ...

I dropped a stitch and it went down several rows. Not too much of a problem you say, except, I can't figure out how to pick up stitches with a crochet hook and keep the garter stitches. I can pick up stitches for stockinet without a problem. But garter stitches ... maybe I'll save this for my mentor group with Stephanie at Madrona this week.

I woke up this morning and turned on my computer and everything is huge. The letters are huge, the pictures are huge. I tried to fix it on the control panel, but everything is still huge. Part of me is enjoying the big letters, much easier on the eyes, but another part of me is really bugged by this. Anyone out there have any suggestions besides a tune up with the Geek Squad?

This morning when I was out with the dogs I noticed Spring is finally on its way. The daffodils are starting to pop up their little leaves and the sparrows are singing. Finally. For some reason this seems like it has been a long winter. I think it's because I want to get outside and dig in the dirt. I love to knit, but knitting all the time starts getting to be mundane. I need to be outside checking out my beds, talking with the flowers, and planning my vegetable patch. I feel such a connection with God in my garden and I have missed it over the winter.

Well, I'm off to fix the baby blanket. Hopefully Edgar can stiffle any barks until the task is done.



Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another Fast Week

It's Sunday already! Again, the week flew by. We started the week off celebrating our 30th anniversary. Look at these beautiful roses. David had picked each one, and there are 15 roses, one for every two years. This is just one of the reasons why I love David so much.

I am so ready for spring to get here. We have had so much rain, and 5 days of wind. The saving grace is it has warmed up. Everyone I talk to is ready for Spring. I can remember wetter, colder and grayer winters, but for some reason this one seems LONG. It's been great for knitting, but I am so ready to get outside and get my hands into the garden.

Today I am getting myself ready for Madrona. Susan and I will be leaving bright and early on Thursday morning for Tacoma, and will be there for four days. I've been looking forward to this for months. I was looking through the class supply/homework list for the classes this year, and it's looks pretty minimal. On Thursday I will be in Pat Brunner's "Make it Fit" class. On Friday, it's Margaret Radcliffe's "Sideways Sweaters". Saturday morning I'll be taking Evelyn Clark's "Basics of Lace Knitting". I'll finish off the Retreat with spending Sunday morning with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Looks good to me.

We had a baby shower at work for Linda, a grandma-for-the-first-time to be. Her son and daughter in law are expecting a little girl any day now, and Linda is thrilled. Like me, Linda raised boys. I knit the round snuggle blanket and she was tickled PINK to receive it. It was passed around and totally admired by all, nonknitters included. I forgot to take a picture of it after I had it washed and blocked so I asked John (our official department photographer for all of our social events) to take a picture for me.

Unfortunately the heather rose color isn't showing up in this picture, but I am really pleased with the way it came out. As you can see by this picture, it was snuggled by everyone. John took a great picture of Linda snuggling with the blanket but unfortunately I can't get it downloaded so take my word for it, LINDA LOVED IT. I am so glad because it is gratifying to see one's knitting project bring joy to someone.

This past week I have had several telephone calls from Frank and John about various issues, and I LOVE our two sons so much. David and I are so thankful for the wonderful young men God has given us. Frank and John, I love you!

Well, Louie just came in barking which means (1) he needs to go outside to poop, or (2) he already did poop, and come see! ... It was No. 2.



Monday, February 4, 2008

The Dead Brain is Functioning Again!

I got a great email from Frank. It is "your blog is getting pretty boring....You need to post more often..." Well, couldn't agree with him more. The only excuse has been a fried brain when I get home from work each night.

Whenever our client X emails and asks if we can jump through four hoops before 5:00 pm, we of course say yes, and with a smile. Of course, with client X it's easy to have a smile because they are a great client to work with (fortunately). When you have four client X's, and they all want you to jump through three, four, five, and yes, even six hoops before the end of the day, the brain is totally FRIED by 6:00 p.m. There were several days I worked 12 hours days, and you know what, at my age, that is getting to be a bit much. I could do it without any problem in my 20's, but trying to keep up that pace in my 50's is nuts.

David and I went over to Sequim over the weekend and I feel recharged. Finally got some sleep. It was quiet, and relaxing, and the only thing I had to make sure of was to check to see if Johnny had on his belly band when he came back into the house.

Tonight David and I are going out to dinner to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Can you believe it? 30 years with the same wonderful man. I look at David and think how lucky I am and how much I love him. He is my best friend and soul mate. He is also the best dad in the world. We have so much fun together, and I can't imagine what the past 30 years would have been like without him in my life. I love you David, and look forward to 30 more years.

Well Frank, you said the blog was getting boring, and I said I agreed. I did find something interesting, however. I doubt if you will remember these dolls, but many of us will.

Thees dolls, in particular the blond dolls, remind me of the kids from the movie Village of the Damned. It's the eyes. The sweater is called the Loopy Cabbage Patch Doll Sweater, and it is cute, for a Cabbage Patch Doll. The website is all about Cabbage Patch Dolls and really is quite nice if you are into these dolls. My niece Casey was nuts over these dolls, and yes, Aunt Sue did knit sweaters for her dolls, and it was fun. After ten sweaters, however, I said enough was enough and told Casey she needed to start collecting spoons or stamps. I wonder if she still has all of those dolls.

Okay Frank, find me a topic to ponder. Or maybe, you could even do a "guest blog" on knitting for us. Thanks for the email, it needed the wake up call.

Off to dinner.