Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

In Memorium…II

Great big, stupid, happy grin

Great big, stupid, happy grin

The house has been too quiet since July 27th. WH and I had to take Murphy to NGAP (National Greyhound Adoption Program) to have him euthanized. That decision is possibly the most difficult I’ve ever had to make. But in the end, it was the right one…for Murphy and for us.

Murphy came to us almost 7 years ago as a 4.5 year-old retired racing greyhound. He was missing a toe, rather shy and nervous, and a little bit of “velcro-doggie”.  At the time we had a Chevy Cavalier which wasn’t exactly the best suited vehicle for a 73 lbs, long-legged, needle-nosed animal. Murphy ended up sloshing around the back seat no matter how carefully WH handled the car.

Upon getting in the house, it took hours for Murphy to even decide to stop moving. Every time one of us moved, he was right there, plastered against our thigh waiting to move in lock-step. He spent most of the evening smelling and tasting everything. He checked out the cookbooks in the kitchen, every nook and cranny that could possibly exist on the first floor.

Upon heading to bed, we managed to get him to come “up” the stairs. In the morning, WH picked Murphy up and carried him down the stairs. It took WH a little over 2 weeks to train Murphy to come down the stairs all on his own.

Murphy had a special ability to charm even the most disinterested human. WH’s mother is one of the most lady-like people I know. She’s amazing and I’m always impressed with patience and grace with which she deals with life. Just previous to their first visit after getting Murphy, WH’s mother asked if the dog jumped up. We said no. He’s perfectly well-behaved.

What did Murphy do upon first meeting his “Grand-mare”? He put both his front paws on the couch, one on each side and reached up into my MIL’s face and gave her a delicate lick-kiss right on the nose.

What did my MIL do every time we visited? She made sure she had lunchmeat in the house to sneak to him as we cleaned up dinner dishes.

On MILs parlor sofa

On MIL's parlor sofa

And that was the beginning of a beautiful love-affair between 2 humans and 1 canine. All 3 of us were lucky to have each other. There isn’t a day that goes by where the 2 humans left don’t know how blessed they were to have Murphy in their lives.


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Knitting speed

Well I’ve managed to out do myself and finish my sister, Army Chick’s promotion present in record time–5 days from start to finish…and that included re-grouting and re-caulking the bathtub and fixing the broken seal on the bathroom sink.

Removal of old mildewed caulk

Removal of old mildewed caulk

New grout and caulk

New grout and caulk

I’m still getting the hang of doing self-portraits. The pattern is the Silk Fountian Hood from Luxury Yarn One-skein Wonders. I ended up using 2.75 skeins of Plymouth Mulbery Merino. Talk about “softah than buttah”. This stuff just makes you giddy.

Silk Fountain Hood

Silk Fountain Hood

Notice anything odd? Yes? It’s blue. Blue the bane of my existence growing up. Both my parents worked for the post office and wore blue uniforms. There was a rather un-holy amount of blue clothes to be laundered each week. Consequently, I almost never wear the color unless it’s jeans, a jean jacket, or my denim shirt. Other than that–nada, nunca, nadie.

However, the past year or so, I’ve been steadily working myself out of having a wardrobe of mostly black. I do like it; it looks good on me. I have waaaaaay too much of it. So now I’ve managed to work orange, purple, lavender, brown, red, and teal into my wardrobe. I’m still working up to blue. It’s going to take a while longer, yet.

Now, I have to decide to give up the scrumptious piece of neckwear. I suspect I’m going to have a request shortly from another sister for the same thing in the same color–she *likes* blue.

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In memorium…

The theater was my saving grace in college. It gave me so much of the self-confidence that I depend upon as an adult in this world. I learned to lose myself in Kauffman & Hart and Shakespeare, and later–Graham, LaBute, and Letts. Theater opened up a world of “real” make-believe that was hard work, physically and mentally but worth every minute of time spent on building the experience and honing the craft.

Friday, July 17th was a sad day for the students and alumni of Bloomsburg University’s theatre program. Michael Collins, a beloved professor and personal mentor passed away unexpectedly Thursday evening. Enough cannot be said about how many lives he touched.

As a director he touched audiences with the clarity of which he communicated a play’s voice and a deftness for story-telling that could leave you aching in your seat from the story’s emotional journey. As a teacher, his depth of knowledge and passionate sharing of experience pushed his students to reach ever-higher, even if theater wasn’t a vocation. As a mentor, his patience and frankness was a guide for figuring out in which direction to move. As a friend, his deliciously wicked sense of humor, collection of vintage ties, and appreciation for the well-timed beer will be painfully missed.

“Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even the end.”

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2 Day-old Sock

2 Day-old Sock

This sock is 2 days old. Commuter knitting and a little bit in the evening–work has been getting in the way of my normal activities since the holiday. But that’s okay because I like what I do. Really.

The designer has a beat on what makes a pattern just flow off the needles. I love patterns like this. I like designers who think this way even more so.

Oh? You want to see the 4 day-old sock? Okay. Here you go…

4 Day-old Sock

4 Day-old Sock

The ladies at Knit Night were just as amazed as I was. When the evening started I had about 3 inches of sock knitted. 2.5 hours later another 3 inches had appeared like magic.

Now–I need to go make nice with my bed since it’s decided it misses me.

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Sock Update…

Just finished 1 of the Lacy Ribs Socks at 12.15AM. I would’ve posted the pic but the camera battery decided to die just after “click”.

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I’ve been wrestling lately with not whipping myself into a guilt-ridden frenzy. As a 20-something, a very good friend taught me the concept of “you don’t have to slay that dragon today” when dealing with parental emotional baggage.  That key concept has been a life-saver.

There’s only one problem with concept though–there’s a flip-side and it’s “if you don’t slay the dragon, you’ll hobble yourself eventually.” Well, I’m at the “just realized I’ve hobbled myself” part and while I’m pretty confident in most things , there are some critical areas where the dragon is lurking.  It’s time to haul-off and attack certain things like: learning to calmly confront conflict, reasonably explain and logically defend a process, learn to handle public speaking without wanting to pass out or white-knuckle-wheeze my way through a presentation.

As a knitter of obsessive tendencies, I’ve spent quite a bit of the New Year meditating on the “slay the dragon” concept and have decided that “being fearless” can certainly be applied outside of my knitting endeavors. So, onto working on the first item on my list: learning to calmly confront conflict. No, I have no idea as of yet how to approach this but I’m sure I’ll figure it out–I figured out plenty of other stuff along the way and haven’t killed myself yet.

Onto the knitting world.

Greg’s socks are done-completed Friday AM, July 3rd. I’d say they are the fastest socks (these too exactly a month of commuter knitting and incidental time during the evenings and weekends) I’ve ever knit but Britney’s Lacy Rib Socks are flying off the needles.  WH modeled the socks last night.  He was being silly:

Silliness with Gregs Socks

Silliness with Greg's Socks

But the socks fit beautifully. I must admit the decorative rib is a mistake. Totally and utterly an incomplete interpretation of a twisted stitch from Vol. 1 of the Barbara Walker Treasury. But as with most things serindipitous–I kept it.

Stitch detail

Stitch detail

Britney’s socks (Lacy Rib Socks from Wendy Johnson’s “Socks from the Toe-up“) really are just freakin’ flying off the needles.  The first sock is complete excepting the cuff and bind-off. These were started on Friday afternoon not long after Greg’s Socks were completed.

Britneys Socks - Lacy Rib

Britney's Socks - Lacy Rib

This is really kinda freaking me out. Is it the pattern that’s allowing me to go so quickly? Is the amount of time all compressed into 4 days? Okay, logically it’s both. But still…freaky!

Now? Onto finshing said sock and starting the second one tomorrow. Yeah, nothing like a little knit ambition.

Oh, Furry Child’s illness seems to be fading. The bloodwork came back clean so we’re down to thinking “trauma” which I seriously doubt since puppy didn’t flinch at all when I a “pat-down”. For that much bruising, swelling, and edema–he would’ve had to have almost broken something. The other option is “spider bite”.

Furry Child

Furry Child

And WH is very happy with the garden so far. Now he’s lamenting the lack of worms for fishing.

Bee Balm

Bee Balm

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed



Front Flower Bed

Front Flower Bed

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I’ve been spinning up a storm lately. The reason being that none of my current knitting projects are easy.

Yes, there’s the Clapotis scarf I’m working but that’s a little tedious and it’s fingering weight yarn.  Then there’s the Vintage socks which are complicated and also fingering weight yarn.  And finally there’s the Bavarian Rockstar socks which are a little complex and on light fingering weight yarn.

See? Nothing quick and easy. So spinning has become the relaxing activity of late. No counting, no charts, no stitches or multiple tools to keep track of. Just a spindle, some fiber and my two hands. Ahhhhh.

This evening I just finished plying my very first yarn. This is the mystery fiber I received from CarlyKnits. I figured it would be a good fiber to play around with since it doesn’t feel “precious” but does have a very nice woolly but soft texture to it.

Here’s the single spun version:

I know the Yarn Harlot recommends waiting overnight to ply after spinning but I just couldn’t contain my enthusiasm.

Here’s the plied version before being wound into a teeny, tiny hank:

And here is the final product:

I should mention WH helped. Yes, WH got involved in the whole spinning process.  He simply held the ball of single spun while I plied to keep it from getting too twisted up.

In keeping with the “fearless knitter”, I’ve become a “fearless spinner”. I went to 2 doctor’s appointments last week (everything is fine–great even) and garnered some rather odd looks while in the waiting room.  While in the ENT’s office, I noticed a rather mature gentleman trying not to look too interested in what I was doing.  He kept staring and I happily kept spinning.

Later in the exam room, I was waiting for the nurse to arrive. Well I can honestly say I’ve never seen anyone with a “pole-axed” expression on their face. The nurse upon walking in the door stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me and what I was doing as if I was Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgaard fleet come to Earth himself. A rather long pause of silence ensued.

What are doing?


Two tentative steps further into the room.  Why?

Spin some more, wind some more. It’s fun! And relaxing and keeps me perfectly entertained and out of trouble–most of the time.

Blinking, more blinking.

Wanna try?

No! Er — I mean it looks like something I wouldn’t do well with. What fiber are you using?

Yak and merino. It’s really soft. Want to feel it?

Oookaaaaay.  Feels fiber. Oh wow! That feels wonderful.

Yes, yes it does.

The nurse and I continued the conversation ranging from fiber weight to relaxation techniques (she tends to hide in the bathroom with a cold beer so her children won’t bother her–good for her!).

A few minutes later, my ENT walked in, stopped squinted his eyes and blinked…

I’m spinning, I say with a big wide grin on my face.

Oh! I thought you were playing “Itsy-bitsy Spider”, he replies and chuckles in return.

Now I ask you, could a Friday afternoon spent at the doctor’s office enlivening your doctor’s day get any better?

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