Saturday, March 21, 2009


Have you ever had one of those days?

As a fiber artist, I really should know better. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I check labels on any new sweaters, to make sure I launder them appropriately.

This was Hockeyman's favorite sweater, purchased at a local discount clothing store. Not even stopping to think about it (discount store sweaters are always polyester, right?) I tossed this beloved FS into the washing machine, then the dryer.


Fortunately, Hockeyman laughed long and hilariously at my fiber gaffe and thought it great fun to squeeze into the micro-mini version of his FS. Then he cheerfully handed it to Peeps, the smallest member of the clan, whom it fits like a dream. She loves her new felted sweater and now I need to knit or buy a new sweater for HM.

In knitting news, I hit a bit of a snafu in my swatching. I've dutifully knit 4 inches of stockinette, 4 inches of 1x1 ribbing and 4 inches of modifed 3x1 ribbing. The 100% cotton is knitting up beautifully and the stockinette stitch swatch is dead on for gauge. However, the 1x1 rib gauge is supposed to be 20 st./in. and I get 24 st./in. And the modifided 3x1 ribbing is supposed to measure 24 st./in. and I have 26. So, here is my question - since this is cotton yarn, which has no rebound or stitch memory and will probably grow some with wear, am I safe in sticking with the same needle size throughout the project. Or should I change to larger needles that will get the gauge when I reach the ribbing sections and pray that the growth that is inevitable is vertical and not horizontal?

I've been burned before with knitting cotton to the ideal finished size, only to have it stretch and grow with time. However, I LOVE this sweater so much, I don't want to take any chances with it being too loose and floppy.

What would you do?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And we have a winner . . .

After some concentrated effort and a long search (hey, 24 hours is a long time for me), I have found the perfect pattern.

I went through at least a dozen magazines, spent hours online browsing through Ravelry, and a multitude of other online knitting pattern sources. After hours and hours of disappointing results, it turns out that the perfect pattern was just waiting in the latest issue of Interweave Knits.

This is a top-down knit project with an interesting slip-stitch i-cord detail for the front facing and a very flattering shape. I am also planning on looking for one fabulous button to add to the neckline, just because I like top closures on cardigans. The simple pattern should look wonderful with the slightly slubby yarn texture and it will be the perfect weight for spring and summer sweater weather.

In stupid kitty news, Harley has decided that since we have put him on diet kitty food, that cotton dishcloth yarn makes a great between meals snack. I fell asleep early this morning, in the midst of knitting on a washcloth. (Don't ask why I was up at 3:00 am. Let's just say I was a bit indisposed.) When I woke up a few hours later, the skein of yarn was detached from the knitting-in-progress and a large section of it was all soggy and nasty. Evidently, before he made it all the way up to the bamboo circular needles, his tummy decided that this was too much fiber and caused him to . . . well, regurgitate it back up. I'm fairly certain he "regurgitated" all of the fiber but to be on the safe side, we have dosed him with preventative meds, to make sure any remaining amount should pass without incident.

Now I'm in the process of removing all sources of temptation from Harley's living spaces. All yarn is being put away in sealed containers, on high shelves and ledges (he's too fat to jump very high) and in areas where he has no access.

Obviously the "D" word has an adverse affect on Harley's appetite, too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Let the Dancing Begin!

The Christmas Gift of 2008 is now complete. A teenage Dancing Diva feels completely loved and embraced by her mother and all is well with the world.

The whoop I let out when I finished did manage to terrify the cats and cause Hockeyman to holler out, "WHAT?" I guess my celebration should have been more dancing and less whooping.

As a reward for toughing it out and finishing the blanket, I am going to cast on a new project for myself. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect summer T pattern. I am really intrigued by the whole top-down concept, so I'm looking specifically for something in that style. I recently ordered some 100% cotton yarn in a lovely ballet pink that I'm just dying to cast on.

I'm open to suggestions. In the meantime, back to the search . . .

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I'm goin' to Shepherd's Harvest


Registered right after midnight on the 15th, just because I'm anxious to get into my first choices. And just a wee bit too excited to fall asleep, anticipating another great weekend of fibery stuff.

On Saturday, I'll be in the Luxury American Fiber's spinning class all day. It will be a great chance to hone my spinning skills on some more exotic fibers and prepare me to handle more difficult fibers on my own.

On Sunday afternoon, I'll be in the Novelty Yarn's spinning class. More fun spinning experience. Yay!

Oh, and I'm staying in a hotel in Stillwater Saturday night. One with a jacuzzi. It's going to be SWEEET! One whole weekend to myself, doing what I love.

I'm really hoping to hook up with some Ravelry mates and some old friends at Shepherd's Harvest, so let me know if you'll be there.

In other news, I am nearly done with Dancing Diva's Christmas Present. I am hoping I can finish it tomorrow. Since it was a big weekend for hockey, I managed to knit quite a bit while watching some High School playoff hockey (WTG! Eden Prairie Eagles! I saw both the playoff games and E.P. rocked!), Minnesota Wild hockey (gah, they lose in overtime - again.) and the Gophers beat St. Cloud to go to the WCHA Final Five (Woot!).

In related news, Hockeyman has been signed up for a spring league, so he'll be starting hockey again on Thursday. In the meantime, he got a job at a local grocery store and will be starting his training on Monday. It'll be a big week for the HM. For those who have asked, at this point, he fully intends to return to the High School hockey team in the fall, since the young men managed to mend their ways for the remainder of the season. He just loves the sport too much to let some jerks keep him from playing hockey. We'll just have to see how next year goes.

Well, the adreneline rush is fading and so am I. Nighty, night all you fiber artists and friends!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eventful week = little knitting

It has been nearly a week since my last confession post. So many things have been happening around here. Unfortunately, none of it has been fiber arts related - at ALL!

Friday was not only the start of spring break in our district but also our homeschool academy classes. Not out of the ordinary except for the fact that I unloaded 2 kids to play dates and inherited 3 more teenage girls for an afternoon at the mall. I haven't gone and just "hung out" in a mall in my life but this seems to be the favored social activity of teenage girls. Hence, I spent hours following them around from shop to shop, watching them try on clothes, sunglasses and accessories and trying to keep from embarrassing them with my presence.

Saturday was spent power cleaning the house. Things have gotten a little behind, given our crazy schedule and having a full Saturday with no outside activities (thanks to spring break) meant we would get down to the nitty gritty and really get things sparkling. Of course, that sparkling state is already destroyed but, hey, we LIVE here.

Sunday was church and nap day. Literally! Since I'd been sick the previous week and worked so hard on Saturday, I ended up taking a 3 hour nap on Sunday afternoon. It was SWEEEEET and I refuse to feel any guilt at all. ;-P

Monday we spent at the local ski area, at the final Homeschool Ski Day of the season. Hockeyman is not allowed to snowboard during the regular hockey season, so he's been anxiously awaiting the chance to go out this year. Dancing Diva has skied numerous times but wanted to learn to snowboard this time. Bubba and Peeps have never been skiing, so this was their first ski trip. Since I don't ski or snowboard, I spent my day wandering back and forth between the different runs, checking on 4 kids who were spread out all over the place. My thighs and calves got quite the workout, tramping back and forth in the snow, so who says you have to ski to get a workout.

I've been researching a weightloss program the past few weeks and decided to give it a shot, so Tuesday was spent picking up some groceries and supplies for the new regime. Since we were expecting a "weather event" of some significance on Tuesday afternoon, it was a good thing to do my shopping early. The afternoon was spent watching weather reports and watching the ice build up on outdoor structures and praying that hubby would make it home from work at some point before midnight. He did but the roads were nasty. Thank Heavens for spring break and the lack of outside activities yesterday. I was more than happy to stay home. Of course, I didn't knit because I was finishing up the weightloss program preparations.

That brings us to today. I started my program (I refuse to say the "D" word because it only makes me crave chocolate, chips and chimichangas - this is a lifestyle change - OKAY!). It has been an okay day - not stellar - but okay. This program requires extra cooking and food prep, so lots of time was spent making food and cleaning up the extra mess. I have a bit of a headache, due to the fact that I've cut coffee out of my life. I spent the last week weaning myself off caffeine but I'm definitely doing much better today than I expected. A couple more days of this and I should be past the withdrawl entirely.

This program does have one advantage. It does utilize frequent "rewards" for goals set and reached. I'll have a goodie coming to me in 2 weeks if I can stick it out for that long. Any suggestions for non-food related rewards?

Can you spell L-Y-S t-r-i-p?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Will the madness never end???

If it's not entirely clear from the title, I assure you that I am still knitting endless rows of garter stitch. While this may not make for an earth-shattering revelation, it is, alas, what it is.

I'm also getting over another of those annoying virus thingies that have plagued me this winter. While I try to inject a little humor into my blog, I lack the great comedic genius of those who wring every ounce of laughter from a bout of the flu and subsequent infections and narcotic cough syrup episodes.

I've just managed to spend the past weekend, and bulk of the week, miserable and crabby . . . while knitting endless rows of garter stitch . . . when not collapsed in a Nyquil-induced haze of drowsiness.

However, as the fever dreams are subsiding and the cold symptoms seem to be retreating (I can almost smell things again), I am actually hopeful that the end of the garter stitch is in sight.

Who knows, maybe I'll even have a FO to show by the end of the weekend.

Then again, hubby now has symptoms of coming down with the virus thingie. There's nothing like nursing a sick husband to put knitting on hold.