Friday, February 27, 2009

Quintessential Conundrum

What to blog about when you are deep in the middle of a large project . . .

While I enthused about the possibility of letting go of guilt and just going with the knitting muse, casting on new projects with abandon, the reality is I live with a teenage daughter. Whilst I was more than ready to release the constraints the bound me and move on to newer, brighter, more thrilling projects, a little voice whined reminded me that I hadn't finished the Christmas Gift.

Alas, though my spirit longs to soar free and surrender to the Chronic Startitis, guilt has reared it's head and I am chained to never ending rows of garter stitch.

Granted, I am a fan of garter stitch. It is the ultimate T.V. watching stitch. I've managed to even knit during Wild and Gopher hockey games because I don't have to look at my hands as much while knitting garter stitch. However, there comes a time in every afghan/blanket project when I would swear that there has been a breach in the time/space continuum and the knitting is actually going backwards. While I know I have passed the halfway point, the end actually seems to be retreating faster than I progress toward it, like that ubiquitous door at the end of the ever lengthening hallway in horror movies and bad dreams.

Alas, I am trapped in this round of never ending garter stitch. All because a teen age girl seems to think a mother's love can only be expressed by actually finishing a Christmas Gift before the next Christmas rolls around.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

In the Spirit of Vicki Square

In the Spring 2009 Interweave Knits, there is an article by Vicki Square entitled, "Start As Many New Projects As You Can."

I think you can see where I'm going with this post.

Here, I've been kicking myself around the house, up the stairs and through the stash for the inability to finish some of the UFO's hanging around the manse. Although I had thumbed through the latest IK on arrival, I hadn't gotten around to reading it, cover to cover, as is my wont. Imagine the "doh" moment when I read this quote yesterday.

"Whatever you do, refuse to make yourself a hostage to the undone. Release yourself from the tyranny of a timetable whenever you can. Enjoy the creative flow of having many knitting projects going simultaneously, just as you enjoy a car ride without worrying about each individual moving part."
Fate managed to underscore my newfound freedom by allowing this little package to arrive today. It contains the yarn for a Vintage Gopher Hockey Sweater I'm making as part of a KAL on Ravelry. I also picked up some heavily discounted cotton yarn for a new summer sweater for myself.

Vive la nouveauté!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


There are times when you need to wave the white flag. What is the point of battling on when the battle is already lost. You can't fight nature. It is what it is. I surrender.

I simply have to go where inspiration leads, whether I leave a long trail of UFO's in my wake or not. Sometimes, inspiration hits and you are just forced to go with it until the bitter end. Hence, the latest FO is a completely new project.

DD#2, (aka Bubba) has been in need of a bag for her swim fins. I've been looking at swim meets but not be satisfied with the selection of bags available for purchase. Everyone has the same thing, which makes it harder to identify your stuff at the end of the day. So, after mulling the situation over for the entire swimming season, I had a brain blast.

Years ago, I was on one of those hunts for unique crafting materials at the local hardware store. Don't ask me why. I suspect I'd seen a craft show on HGTV that used unusual materials and was tempted to follow suit. As a result, I'd purchased lots of rubber gaskets, metal washers, chain and twine and tucked all of these various items into my stash, hoping I'd find something inspiring about owning them.

Fast forward several years - I am seeking the perfect yarn to make a string bag for swim equipment. It had to be waterproof, fade-resistant and stand out from the bags everyone else uses for their swim fins and goggles. Inspiration strikes and I remember my crazy hardware store shopping spree.

As a result (and with the help of Ravelry), I found a pattern for a crochet string bag. Super simple and fast, with the only modification being I replaced a side to side strap with drawstrings. I made it to fit Bubba's swim fins, with room to grow, since she'll move into bigger fins later on.

The Rainbow Twine is 100% nylon and should be impervious to the clorine and water at the pool. And since our homeschool group has weekly beach days in the summer, it should be a great tote for the beach as well.

As for standing out . . . well, I've never seen another one like it. Have you?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shepherd's Harvest is coming . . .

I checked in at the Shepherd's Harvest website this morning and class listings should be available sometime today. Woot!

Registrations won't start until March 15 but at least I can start my . . . wishing and hoping and
thinking and praying, planning and dreaming . . .

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Time for a change?

Thought I'd try a new look for the blog. We'll see how long I keep this style, though. I've got a touch of spring fever and I'm restless for change.

I started crocheting a beach bag with the plarn made this past week. I thought that the openness of the double crochet net pattern would allow sand to filter out and it would be less likely to mildew than cloth bags. Plarn is tough stuff to crochet with, since it likes to stick and drag as you use it. I have used almost all the red/white plarn up and am about half way done with the bag. Fortunately, with my largish family, I get a new batch of these bags every week. Another week or two of grocery shopping, and I should be able to finish this bag up.

In spite of the nagging guilt regarding the UFO/WIP pile, I have to admit that the arrival of the newest Interweave Knits magazine has cause a major flare-up of the chronic startitis I am battling. This project jumped out as a fun dance item for Dancing Diva, although she preferred this one for my ever-increasing "wannado" list. I fell in love with this one for myself. And the Net Duffel Bag - so cool!

Oh, and lets not forget the vintage hockey sweater KAL for Puck This on Ravelry. Hockeyman has picked this sweater for me to reproduce for him. This sweater was worn by the Minnesota Golden Gophers between 1936 and 1948. I've ordered the yarn, but it hasn't arrived yet. So in the meantime, I'm trying to work a little each day on different UFO's. That way, once the yarn arrives, I won't feel quite so badly about starting yet another project.

Then again, the double whammy of spring fever and chronic startitis may prove to be more than I can withstand.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What would you do if your mother asked you?

What is a knitter to do?

I have a list of UFO's a mile long. Some of them are close to done (one sleeve and some ribbing) and some are not so close (half of a twin-size blanket left to knit). I have a yarn stash so enormous, I have to use large laundry baskets and plastic tubs to corral it. I have patterns galore, shelves of books and magazines and a folder full of patterns downloaded from the internet - a veritable who's who of "wannados" lined up in a row.

What did I work on this week?

Slicing up plastic bags to make plastic yarn.

I know, I know, I'm pathetic.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Busy Wednesday post

No time for chit chat - gotta keep on movin' on - big day ahead. But another FO bites the dust.

LOVE this one. It's a Ravelry pattern called Darkside Cowl. Very fun and fast way to use up the leftover Noro Taiyo yarn.

Gotta go finish up Awana stuff and get the kids done with school before the race really begins tonight.

Ta Ta for now.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Addiction 101

I have to admit that the Hat Trick 2009 at Ravelry ended up being a blast. But I found it hard to quit knitting hats at the end of January. Hence, yet another hat FO for the blog.

This is the Sea Urchin pattern (Ravelry link) made with Noro Taiyo. It has a generous 220 yards, so I also managed to whip up a coordinating cowl with the leftovers. (Pics later)

I'm hoping that the hat addiction will slowly subside. Otherwise, when the snow melts this spring, the authorities may find we've been buried alive under a mountain of hand-knit hats.

For now, I'm chanting - must finish UFO's, must finish UFO's, must finish UFO's . . .

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Week in review

Well, the hockey news continues to be good. Team members are being respectful and Hockeyman is actually playing more shifts in games. Although we lost badly to Eden Prairie last night (no surprise there - they are very good), and HM got a Unsportsmanlike penalty (his first EVER) at the very end of the game, HM actually played a great game.

As for the unsportsmanlike call (usually reserved for bad language and/or taunting and inciting the opposing player to fight, among other things), the whole situation was very humorous. The refs were calling things tight because (a) there was a major brawl early in the first period and (b) there is a history of fights between these two rival teams, both on and off the ice. The rivalry is so serious that several squad cars and multiple peace officers are in the building during games like this. So needless to say, the referees were working hard to keep things under control on the ice.

After a major collision in front of our net, in which HM was involved, there was a little pushing and shoving going on. HM stepped in and told an E.P. player not to touch the goalie and to back off - repeatedly while standing chest-to-chest and nose-to-nose with the player who was roughing up the goalie. The Ref hurried over to break it up, without hearing the actual conversation, and sent both boys to the box.

Everyone was laughing about the call because everyone on the team, including the parents, knows that HM does NOT swear or trash talk. HM was laughing & waving to us from the box in the final seconds. Frankly, it was the funniest ending to a game I've seen in a long time. A great ice-breaker for the team, which has been pretty subdued since the Great Locker Room Brouhaha.

I think we're going to have a decent end of the season after all.

Dancing Diva continues to improve after her bout with the flu this week. She has some lingering lung congestion, so we'll probably take her in for a quick check tomorrow morning. It will be nice to return to a normal school schedule, after days of sick kids and way too much television viewing.

In sewing machine news, hubby dismantled my precious baby and thinks he can fix it himself. We need to order a couple parts but the part I was most worried about (motherboard) is not damaged and doesn't need to be replaced. Whew! Huge sigh of relief!

As for Stupid Finger Part Deux, it has healed over nicely, although there is still significant bone tenderness. It only hurts when I bump the scar but as there is no swelling, I think the Stupid Finger will soon be a thing of the past.

In knitting news, I cast on and promptly frogged the first version (picture #2 above) of the baby blanket for BFF's 6th baby. The yarn in the first picture just jumped out of the clearance bin and into my shopping basket at Coldwater Collaborative on Wednesday. BFF, having had so many babies, confided in me several years ago that she was heartily sick of pastels. So when this bright, sunny Lana Grossa New Cotton followed me home, I knew it would be perfect for the August arrival of BFF baby version 6.0.

My first thought was to do an entrelac blanket. I cast on the base squares, loving the hand and drape of the fabric. However, as soon as I started the next set of entrelac squares in blue, I didn't like the size of the squares or the colors together in such large blocks.

Not being one to shy away from frogging, I promptly ripped the whole thing apart and went searching for another idea. I found the Joyous Stripes pattern in the Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, I knew I had a winner. While the colors of the two pictures of the blanket in progress are not true (photographing red is horrible!), it does show the intricate look this very simple slip stitch pattern creates. I am totally loving how this blanket looks, feels and drapes. And the "wrong side", while not identical to the right side, is pretty enough to be the "right side", if I wanted it to.

I am feeling some guilt over this latest bout of startitis. I promised myself that I'd finish some UFO's after the Hat Trick 2009 KAL. However, with the stress issues this past week, I've given myself permission to be a bit selfish and go for any knitting that brings me joy.

And a gift for a new baby is the most joyous knitting project I can think of. How 'bout you?