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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Henry's Wife?

Well, according to the questionaire . . .

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?
this quiz was made by
Lori Fury

But how is it that I end up being his LAST wife -- I wanted to be one of the wives BEFORE the syphillis! Hrrumph! Well, interesting at least. I tried taking it a second time, changing only one answer, and ended up this:

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?
this quiz was made by
Lori Fury

But after much experimentation, I can't remember which! But it was fun to notice which answers did NOT change either result, particularly when it came to "favorite clothing"!

On to knitting. Having joined two KAL's, I'm feeling like a knitter with purpose today! I also managed to finish the hat last night, and can start on the matching scarf today. Pictures tomorrow I think!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Picture Update!

I've finally gotten a few pictures updated and thought I'd add them while I was thinking about it! Here, in all it's glory, is the purple sweater:

The brown background doesn't do the rich color justice, so I took a few more shots. This one is closer to reality -- at least on my screen! I love this alpaca from Elann. It's so wonderfully soft to knit with. Can't wait to wear it!

Now, Mom's hat set. Well, again, the color was dimmed by the background, so first, a blurry but accurate color shot and then the shot with the details.

As you can see, I'm still struggling with this new camera. Since it doesn't have an LCD screen, I'm also getting many shots off center. How's that happening? Must be moving!

Well, those are the details at the moment. I'll save you the sad sight of my blue socks frogged and re-rolled into separate yarn balls. Such a sad loss. Such a short life. Ah for the resurrection of the yarn!

More Ideas than I Know how to Handle!

Well, after an uninspiring weekend, I’m finally getting some good news. I did get into the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program, and it takes place at 3:30 in the afternoon, so I’ve plenty of time to catch the bus home after each session! Today is the first meeting, and I’m looking forward to getting started. I also need to get going on my regular work schedule for the semester, so getting this meditation routine set as a touchstone for my daily activities will be a great motivator. Yesterday and today I spent much of my time sleeping off a cold – how is it that I got a beginning of the semester cold without going to campus? Anyway, I’m still sniffling, but not feeling too bad at all, so a little meditation and focused work on my research project should be right in order.

Now for the uninspiring news from last week and the weekend. I frogged the blue socks. Yes ladies of the KAW group, make room on the lily pad! “I’m comin’ on over!” I’ve never totally frogged a whole set of socks before. I’ve re-worked toes which were both long or short, but never just frogged whole completed socks! Ah well, they were just too loose all over. I’ve another pair that will get the same treatment when I feel like searching for the end of the yarn in all its woven-in invisibility. My problem? I thought / assumed I knew my gauge even though I switched sock yarns. It seems I knit a bit more loosely with Opal than I do with KnitPicks Essential. [sigh] So, back to the bare needles!

Frustrated with socks, and FINALLY finished with my last Ribbon Scarf, I went back to work on the red hat and scarf set I’m making for my mother. This is the triangle scarf and hat from Handknit Holidays. And much to my chagrin, I blurted out that I was back to work on the hat while talking to mom today – so much for surprising her! I really feel like a goof! Ah well, hopefully the style and the lovely Boheme yarn in multiple shades of red will surprise her enough for the time being. I am pleased with how this is knitting up. I am working on the scarf last so I can adjust the length to match the amount of yarn I have left after the hat. I also have picked up the needles for my purple sweater once again. I feel like a real knitter when working on the sweater – real clothing that everyone recognizes as such! A useful garment! I love knitting lace and socks, but most of my non-knitting friends seem to think both a tad impractical or eccentric. However, I like eccentric, and I love lace. I need to get back to my traveling vines shawl in Frog Tree silk-cotton if I want it ready to wear by spring. I’m going to trim it with the little dangling leaves from “Knitting on the Edge”! I can’t wait! I’ve got several shades of yarn to make the leaves, so it should look like a fall leaf-fall! This shawl / stole will be completely mine in so many ways – I owe the basic patterns to Epstin and Walker of course, but When finished, I’ll have combined them into something of my own. I’ve been charmed by this leaf-fringe since “Knitting on the Edge” came out, so finding a base pattern I liked for the shawl, and the colors that got my imagination going was a real thrill!

I’ve also got the “I wants” for some KnitPicks wool to make that computer case I was talking about. I finally found the pattern – an excerpt in the “Interweave Knits” with the red, slightly asian looking sweater on the front. Not sure which issue that one is, not the current one, but the one before. Anyway, I’m resisting the urge. I need to use some burnt orange “Naturgarn No. 1” I got from Elann several years ago – my first on-line yarn purchase actually. It is much scratchier than I expected, so I’ve yet to figure out what to do with it! However, now that I’ve had it out, I wonder if it would do for the swing jacket from Knitty? The one with the twisted-stitch detailing?

I love this pattern, and wanted to make it in a charcoal gray Galloway Highland Heather, but the color was too dark, and the detailing was lost. Hmmmmm. More ideas than I know what to do with!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Snow in the Dark

Magical stuff, isn’t it? I woke at the unnatural hour of 4:30 a.m. after having slept much of the last 24. Light headache and tensions having made the last few nights more than a little restless. Waking could have been due to that rare and wonderful sensation of having finally slept myself out. A rare treasure, that. Or it could have been the fear of drowning that is the natural result of having my Husky lick my nose -- she’s VERY thorough and VERY enthusiastic! Perhaps waking was the result of both. Anyway, I got to look out and see it snowing in the dark. It didn’t stick – Missouri is far too warm at the moment. But what a lovely sight!

I’ve just about finished my sock in a blue Opal. I used K2P2 ribbing down the whole body of the sock. After this pair, I should be up to trying a lace pattern! Can’t wait.

I have some lovely KnitPicks “Essential” yarn in a rich brown that I’m looking forward to using. I find that I like their solid yarns much more than their multi’s. For some reason, their color combinations just don’t appeal to me, and I don’t like something about the frequency and harshness of the color repeats. No soft blendings at all, just highly contrasting stripes.

Anyone have suggestions for other sock yarns with less dramatic color changes? Something the blends gradually from one to the next would be my preference, with sublte stripes, if any.

I’ve realized I’ve been having a bad week. Messed up trying to get my SSI appeal turned in. Nothing that some additional paperwork won’t fix, but it bummed me out. That and I don’t like to have to “go to war” for such things. Continually having to explain the difference between acuity and functional vision to people who have the power of pursestrings is wearing. Friends, interested strangers, even casual acquaintances don’t take as much energy as struggling with these people. Ah well. As M. reminds me, such explanations will be a continual part of the rest of my life. Best find a way to cope.

The house is shaping up, and I’ll be moving furniture and setting up the scanner for transferring books into electronic format later today. I can’t wait! Taking an exacto knife to my books will be a surreal activity for a while, but the double-sided scanner is a marvel! In addition to books for school, I’ll be able to scan and then read books like “KnitLit 3, and other books of essays K.’s been telling me about! The woman is great at describing things to me so I can decide if it’s worth the effort involved to get something in an alternate format!

Lance is modeling the ribbon scarf from Handknit Holidays -- I did three of these! I love the frothy mesh, and the royal blue Karabella lace mohair is wonderfully soft! Unless you really need the sheen of silk, it's a great substitution for Kid Silk Haze. I’ve also started organizing my stash and storing it in all the great cardboard boxes that my Braille magazines get shipped in. Got more Braille labeling tape for them, and this weekend I get to go through the whole huge mass of the stuff to sort and play with it! Yummy!

I’ve decided that the next project I cast on (other than socks!) will have to be a felted laptop case. Lady the brat-cat has discovered the laptop as a new source of warmth. Since they took the lid off the thing to eliminate the screen and the power drain of the screen, it doesn’t have anything covering the keys when I walk away from it. Several times in the last few days, the screenreader has started screeching because the cat decided to hunker down on the keyboard to warm her paws! Not a good situation!

I’m trying to remember what book or magazine has the pattern I want. I thought it was in Melanie Falick’s Weekend Knitting, but neither that book or Last inute knitted Gifts had one. I can see the picture, an orange-yellow felted rectangle with short little rounded handles – more like cut-outs for your hand to go through than real handles. Anyone know what issue of what knitting mag this must have been in? Frustrating. I’m getting as forgetful as one of the dogs!

Well, the sun is well up at this point. Time to try getting a few pictures of some of these projects to get put into this message and the last one. Maybe I can get in some time on my purple sweater today?

Hmmmm. I’ve been up for six hours already and I feel like a nap! No. No. must be productive like a regular person today! Much to do and much that I want to do. Happy Knitting!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tinking in the Dark

Twelve blocks in just under four-four time despite a medium nasty migraine. Not a bad start to my plans to get off my keaster. Glad to be back inside without streetlamps and headlights though. Sally and Kala did well with the blind cane, but Lance ran into it a few times. Not bad for an old dog. All three are as pleased with me as I am with myself. Great feedback for such a small effort on my part.

The catalyst for all this productivity? The wonderful women at the yahoo Knitters at Work group got me to pick up my copy of :”Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I want to start back on the regular use of my meditation program – maybe even sign up for the classes again. I need to get out of the house more and have more structure. Yup. Gotta get that started. I can get through the full body scan and the sitting meditation exercises without falling asleep on a regular basis. Most of the time I don’t fall asleep until AFTER I put down my knitting now. So my concentration and awareness are improving. It’s time for formal instruction and committed effort.

I finally got together with K. for our gift exchange. Having food poisoning for Christmas was not fun! I missed out on Christmas Dinner and all sorts of goodies, but I’m finally feeling better. Honestly, today is the first day I haven’t had twinges in my spleen, liver and kidneys. I never knew food poisoning would be so debilitating after the initial – umm – reactions. Guess I’ve just been lucky! Anyway, last night was a wonderful time! I managed to pick a knitting book for K. that she didn’t have yet, G was mystified by the kaleidoscope, but happy and polite about the gift. And her interest in the toy increased as the three of us took turns looking into the tube. At three she has a bit of trouble trying to close just one eye, but she’s getting the hang of it! K. and G. picked out some lovely Jaeger spun Zephyr wool/silk laceweight yarn for me. G. insisted that I would like the red, and K. picked out a beautiful green for me. Very Christmasy!! The package also included a gorgeous set of Lantern Moon ebony needles -- how did K. know I’d been coveting hers for the last few weeks? Yummy knitting toys to play with!

Took a break from writing there and spent the last few hours fondling yarn and looking through lace books. I’m dying to make something from “A Gathering of Lace,” but I’ve also got the flower basket shawl to make, and a shrug to make from the heather grey lace weight Merino Oro that I picked up last spring. So much Lace, so little time! [snicker]

Having repacked my knitting bag last night to go to K.’s, I’m also eager to get back to work on my “Wear-Everywear pullover” in the pure alpaca from Elann. Buttery gorgeous stuff. And in a lovely purple. Not sure what they called the color two years ago. Not violet. Not amethyst. Anyway, this fancy-rib pattern has had me tinking quite a bit, and I’m also knitting this project in the dark or with my blindfold on as often as not. It’s a good project for learning to solve problems with my fingers rather than with my eyes! It will be a while before I’m ready to tackle lace completely in the dark!

Hmmm. Thinking and typing are getting more difficult as I now have a thirteen year old cat with a very loud motor sitting on my shoulder! When Lady decides to come out of hiding, she’s absolutely convinced that I must be as eager for her company as she is for mine. Spoiled brat-cat! My vet tells me I didn’t cuff her about the ears enough as a kitten. I believe him. But when you get one so small you’re feeding it from a preemie bottle and having to help it relieve itself . . . well, I’m sure you understand the dilemma. But it was funny that as soon as I described her personality, he knew she’d been bottle-fed.

My mom’s Christmas is partially done. As she’s not likely to visit this site anytime soon, I’ll include a picture of the hat and scarf from Handknit Holidays. I bought the actual boheme yarn for this, not realizing that it came in different size skeins. I got one skein as the book calls for, and then realized that this was a smaller skein, and the project call for a larger. So. I was lucky enough to have ordered a variety of skeins of “wool of the Andes” from knit picks for making ornaments –-nope, that didn’t happen either -- and I was able to find a skein of iron ore that really matched the shades of the boheme very well. So I used the pure wool for the top of the hat, and did the decorative, triangles in the boheme. The scarf will be all in the boheme. I’m pleased with how the hat is coming along. Mom will like the softer and warmer wool for the top of the hat anyway! She actually lives someplace that has SNOW in the winter. Can you tell I’m already tired of mud? The set are to go with Mom’s new red leather jacket. She can also wear the set with her “snow-coat” which is cream with red and white embroidery. The variegated reds in the boheme make it a great choice for this project!

Well, time to bring this ramble to an end. I want to get a note off the girls at KAW as well. And sleeping might be a good idea since I’m feeling better!

Ah, Sally the shepherd just settled in next to me. Maybe I’ll stay put for a couple of rounds of knitting after all. I’m a sucker for a dog that settles onto my feet and sighs as she lays her head! Now all I need is a fireplace, and my picture-perfect scene would be complete. The oil lamp is good. But a fireplace . . . . nothing better!