Mellow Yellow

Recently I welcomed home a dozen or so knitting projects that had taken kind of an extended vacation at a friend’s house. You know that feeling you get when you pick up a half-read book and must scan through it to see what you’ve read, to guess how far you got before the bookmark fell out? Try looking at something you started making, and realizing that not only do you not know when you started it, but also have no idea what it was going to be, where the pattern is, or what convinced you to venture down this path in the first place.

Some projects, of course, I recognized right away. I didn’t even have to open my Apple-store string pack to know that there was a Season 18 Doctor Who scarf in progress inside, on now-out-of-production Lion Brand Chenille Thick & Quick of Purple, Wine, and Terracotta. (I’m still looking for three more skeins of Terracotta or I can’t ever finish this scarf. Does anyone have some?)

Other projects never got past their yarn (and sometimes pattern) being stuffed into a project bag. Those got quickly sorted out and the yarn returned to stash.

A few projects, barely started, had lost their fire. I gave each one a moment of silence, pulled out and stored their needles, then frogged the project (pulled out all the stitches and rewound the yarn ball) and returned its components to stash.

Most of the projects that were well underway seemed to be worth finishing at some point, so they went back into a mesh pop-up laundry basket I had purchased specifically for WIP (work-in-progress) storage. Yes, TARDIS cowl-redesigned-into-lace-scarf, I will finish you someday.

But Brandy, between chuckles at me, was knitting on something and I wanted to knit something too. None of my current projects seemed to fit the bill — Drunken Octopus Sweater and Cozy Slippers were both at the seaming stage and I wanted to knit and talk, not seam new things in poor light in the evening. So I looked over my prodigal projects and found Citron.

A little slice o' lemon.

A little slice o’ lemon.

Citron is a semicircular shawl pattern that came out in the winter of 2009. It’s a distinctive pattern and actually quite simple to make, but it is done with laceweight yarn. Working on it is pretty much like knitting with slightly thick sewing thread. And there are hundreds of stitches on your needle, so you need a long circular needle, preferably with very pointy metal tips so you don’t split your yarn. I have bought some quantities of laceweight over the years, but Citron is the only project I’ve ever used any with.

But first, what row was I on when I stopped?

Check your pattern notes.

The pattern isn’t in the project bag.

Well… check your pattern binders, the shawl volume.

The pattern isn’t in there.

Well… check your Ravelry library.

I got out a laptop and checked. Well, it’s technically in my Ravelry library, but since it’s a pattern from an online source, it’s not a separate PDF.

Well… check the knitting pattern folder on your laptop.

Lots of shawl patterns there, but not Citron.

Well… print it out again from the Knitty site.

I tried, but the laptop was so old and slow it never managed to load Knitty.

Fine then, use the big computer and print it out from that one.

So I did. Now I had the pattern in hand (and soon in a sheet protector). From my Ravelry project file I saw that I’d made it to (or through) Row Six of Section Three. (“You kept notes?” said Brandy. “Good girl!”)

And as quick as that, I was back knitting on a five-year-old pattern that my notes said I hadn’t touched since the fall of 2011. I’m now at the end of Section Three. There are two more sections knit in the same way, then a ruffled edging that is not really my thing but is most definitely the pattern’s thing, and I shall knit it as specified. The joke is that I’m halfway done now, and if you measure by project segments (done with three, three more to go) you could come to that conclusion. But since the middle of each section adds 23 more stitches (twice), the row I’m on has me at 177 stitches and increasing to 348, and the ruffled edging produces 540 stitches that I then must knit in stockinette for 11 more rows before binding off… there’s a lot of knitting left and I’m nowhere near halfway done in terms of time or stitches.

But I’m knitting on it again and I shall finish it. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t have bought fresh Peace Fleece yarn for a project to knit during the Winter Olympics at Sochi.

What will it be? Not socks.

What will it be? Not socks.

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Week Fifty-Two: All Good Things

This week WordPress sent me a little “happy anniversary” notice. It was seven years ago when I registered my first blog with them — the one you’re reading now. I’ve started several other blogs since then, to focus on different fringe interests, but this is the blog that keeps going and growing, and gradually absorbing the other topics back into itself. I wonder why December 23 was the special day, when I had a six-month-old baby Tommy and three older children to take care of. It was probably time to switch to a blog from my e-mail newsletter, Wisconsin Crafter, because it was the end of a year.  I like starting new things on January 1, on Sundays or Mondays, or on the first day of a month. Launching a new initiative on, say, May 17 just wouldn’t make sense to me. How would I ever keep track of it?

But since WordPress is keeping track of it for me, well, happy anniversary to me! Hallmark’s website tells me that the traditional gifts for a seventh anniversary are wool or copper. (The modern gift is a desk set. I do have an antique desk at which I sit in front of my modern computer and write, and I do have a desk set somewhere; maybe I’ll tidy it up and use it.) I think I have bought enough wool for myself that I could knit up a little something special just for me. Copper is a bit trickier. Jewelry seems like an obvious path to take, but I don’t have pierced ears and I don’t wear rings, watches, or necklaces. I do have a few friends who make custom jewelry, and maybe they can give me some suggestions for some sort of commemorative item. A copper pen? A little hand-hammered copper bowl? I’m not sure.

Scratch that; I just found and ordered a hank of wool/silk laceweight yarn in a gorgeous tonal copper colorway. As my son James would say, “Achievement get!”

Well, now, since I’m closing out the year, I’d better be honest and take one last look at those resolutions I published 52 weeks ago.

Thusly, I resolve that, in 2013 (!!!) I shall:

  1. Blog on Chocolate Sheep again, and regularly. Dare I say, weekly?
  2. Finish the Doctor Who scarf I’m knitting for my friend Ginnie.
  3. Complete my calculus class.
  4. Learn one new cast-on.
  5. Find a Most Excellent Job in my chosen field of technical and scientific editing.
  6. Learn one new cast-off.
  7. Help my kids be awesome.

Seven looks like a good number, don’t you think?

I think I can honestly say I accomplished numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7. Number 6 just didn’t get much attention, and Number 3, as mentioned in greater detail a few weeks ago, was a spectacular failure. Overall, though, I think I did pretty well. The weekly blogging was sometimes a challenge, but I did learn how to use the Schedule function for posts so that I could publish pre-written ones when I was traveling. After a while I got used to the rhythm of writing what was essentially a weekly column, and I found I could usually produce something mildly entertaining by Thursday (sometimes Friday).

So, do I have any new and impressive resolutions ready for 2014?

No… not really. I still have a lot of unfinished business around here. I would like to become more monogamous with my knitting, and finish the really large projects I’ve been working on for the last couple of years. I’d like to start quilting again and make some more durable and functional quilts that the kids and I can use. I’d like to deepen my friendships. I’d like to be braver. I’d like to be a better cook. I’d like to study more math and physics. And most of all, I’d like to keep writing. I can’t (and won’t) promise that I will keep to a regular weekly schedule for my posts here, but it’s quite possible that I’ve picked up a very good habit and that’s when the writing will appear.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good year for me. See you on the other side!

Week Twenty-Nine: The Big 4-0-0

This post is my 400th post on this blog, which I started on December 21, 2006. I also note that on Ravelry I have 198 projects listed, and I’m sure I will cast on for two more very soon — just because.

I’ve been oft accused of always starting and never finishing, but those numbers demonstrate that I’ve been putting in a lot of work over the years, from weaving sentences and stories to knitting everything from celery to blankets and even (gasp!) doing a bit of crochet. In that time I also learned to spin on a wheel, started a local knitting group, and initiated an annual social event to coincide with the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Cybersocially I’ve joined Facebook, G+ (for all the good that does), LinkedIn, and goodness knows what else. I have also started a bunch of other blogs, but since I haven’t finished them, I won’t speak of them now. So there.

My first knitted item, from 2005.

My first knitted item, from 2005.

So, what action befits a 400th post? Casting on for a 200th project? Knitting something from all the scraps of the previous 199? Trying something completely new? Or just saying “happy accomplishment to me” on the blog?

It may be time for a poll. (“A poll! A poll!”)

Note that you can add your own unique reply, and/or vote for as many existing answers as you like. I will monitor the results and respond appropriately.

Published in: on July 18, 2013 at 10:00 am  Comments (1)  

Week Twenty-Six: We Shall Never Speak of This Again

I started this blog somewhere around 2006. We were innocent knitbloggers then. We posted pictures of our kids and used their real names, talked about where we lived and when we were going on vacation, and basically shared all kinds of details about our lives. That changed for me the day I was checking my statistics page and noticed that people were using my firstborn son’s full name as the search term for finding my blog. All right, Search Engine Optimization is one thing, but there are very few people who are on a “need to know” basis for my firstborn’s middle name. At that point I removed a lot of kidly photos from my blog, and tried to share personal information more thoughtfully.

These days I spend quite a lot of time on Facebook, and I wince at the ways people leave themselves bare and vulnerable. They announce with great fanfare when they will be away from home for extended periods of time. They post pictures of their children for all the Public to see. They advertise their preferred bedroom activities in one post, then complain about their stalking ex in another. They complain about their jobs, then complain that they’ve been “let go.” They issue vague, passive-aggressive status reports so that cyberfriends will rush to their emotional rescue. It’s tough stuff to watch, and it makes me that much more aware of any details I post about my own life.

That being said, I marked a very personal milestone last week, and I thought it needed to be mentioned — once and only once. Last week I was divorced. Now, I have been married before, and counting from the date of my first wedding, I have spent 80 percent of the time from then to now in a married state. But I am single now and intend to stay that way.

It’s been a long time since I last called myself single. I’m finding that no matter how much time I think I need to have in order to understand myself, I’m underestimating. (Sheesh. I have a lot of me to understand. No wonder I’m hard to live with.) I also have children to co-parent for the rest of my life. Because they are important to me, and their mental and emotional health is important to me, my blog is not going to be a space where you will see me bash an ex, any ex. Life is tough enough to handle without making it hard on other people with open wounds, petty jealousy, and juvenile revenge fantasies. I may struggle sometimes, but I’m doing my best to be decent to everyone in this situation, including myself. I trust that if I hold myself to that standard, others may eventually reciprocate. (Sadly, I have some prior experience with this type of thing.) But even if they don’t… I won’t regret walking the high road.

Now it’s time to move on. Want to see an artsy shot of the geeked-up Tardisvan?

oooo-WEEEE-oooo.....

oooo-WEEEE-oooo…..

In the last week I’ve driven another thousand miles, attended a family reunion, finished a pair of socks, knitted one slipper for my grandmother, grilled hamburgers (and portabella caps), cleaned and reorganized my rental house’s laundry room (well, I’m almost done), and maybe done another thing or two here and there.

Redskin, I mean, Redhawk hockey socks!

Redskin, I mean, Redhawk hockey socks!

This weekend I have a big plan: to support my knitting friend Bonnie Stedman Dahnert. She’s the honorary chairperson for — oh, heck, read all about it here. Come back when you’re done, and I’ll put the rest in my own words.

I started our local knitting group, but Bonnie is our rock. She seems to know everyone in the county, know what to do on every occasion, and know how to teach any knitting technique you need to learn. She has taught some people to knit, and others how to crochet, and others how to spin. She has given advice, yarn, driving directions, restaurant reviews, prayers, and compassion to everyone who needed them. We half-joke that whenever we don’t know what to do, we call Bonnie. When my youngest son had a stitches-requiring accident last summer and my husband was away, I instinctively called Bonnie and she immediately said “bring the kids here.” She watched my other kids until after midnight, when Tommy finally had his stitches in.

In return we have shared her joys and tried our feeble best to help bear her own fears and sorrows. I don’t know if the newspaper article I linked to fully describes the anxiety our group felt when we realized the toll this second round of chemotherapy was taking on her, and how close we came to losing her. The CaringBridge site that her daughter Brigitta set up for her allowed us a glimpse into the minute-by-minute fight that she gave this second round of cancer. I do know that “she responded well to the treatment” is not the most accurate description of Bonnie’s fall and winter of 2012.

So, Saturday. I’ll be there for her as leads the lap of cancer survivors around the track, and as she speaks to the crowd. This morning at knitting-group she gave us pink-ribbon buttons that say, “No one fights alone!” And she’s right. We all have to fight for each other. It’s a bumpy ride, this short life, and we need to spend our time making it easier for each other.

Week Fourteen: Art Imitates Art

I am turning to writing more and more often in order to express myself. Given that I have a degree in writing, this should come as no surprise to anyone, especially myself.

However.

I am now journaling every day when I wake up, and just before I fall asleep.

I am now composing my blog posts over the course of several days, and editing them.

I have recently written A Poem. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.)

These are things I have not done for some time. For over a decade I have been occupying my time with (and defining myself by) my children. As important as child-raising and human-socializing and person-educating can be, it doesn’t take away from the importance of my Prime Directive, which is to treat yourself kindly and use the resulting energy to treat others kindly. This life is a bumpy ride, for which I believe we are each issued only one ticket, and we need to be each other’s shock absorbers. (And I’m finding out as I proceed through life that there is a lot of shock to absorb. There is a lot of pain out there, both having been suffered and awaiting the suffering of.)

I have found it interesting over the last few years that when I meet virtually with old friends, they don’t ask if I’m married. They don’t ask if I have kids. They don’t ask if I’m working or studying. Without memorable exception, they have all asked the same question of me: “Are you still writing?”

It gave me pause.

Was I?

Did journaling count? I have kept journals off and on over the years — but mostly off in recent years. (So I was kind of hoping that journaling didn’t count.)

Did scrapbooking count? For a while there I was designing pages and describing events so our memories would be easier to summon in the future.

Did blogging count? I started Chocolate Sheep in 2006? 2007? after writing a monthly e-mail newsletter called Wisconsin Crafter.

Did social media count? I have posted approximately 12,300 posts on Ravelry since I joined the site on September 27, 2007. On that site, which now has over 3 million members, I have started groups, adminned groups, modded groups, participated in groups, and lurked in groups. I have been on Facebook since (apparently, according to Facebook) sometime in 2009. I can’t even count how many notes, status updates, private messages, and comments I’ve written there.

Did they mean, Had I written a novel? or Had I published my short stories? or Had a written something else, something “official”?

I think what they really meant to ask was whether or not I was still myself — whether I had kept on doing the thing that defined me as “me” to them. They were checking in to find out if I were the same person they had known years ago, and whether or not time had changed me. I’m pretty sure they didn’t want to see my unfinished novel (and I’m certain I didn’t want to show it to them). They didn’t want to read my scrapbooks or see the hand-stamped cards I’d made. They were touching base about one thing they were certain was still true.

I didn’t want to disappoint them, so I said “yes.” It seemed very important that I say “yes.”

Exactly why was it important that I live up to [what I thought were] their expectations?

I wanted to be the same person. I wanted to be someone who hadn’t given up her dreams in the face of life and its challenges. I wanted to be that writer who kept on writing, no matter what life had thrown at her. And since nobody was demanding to see any evidence — such as links to articles I’d written for The New Yorker, perhaps — nobody was the wiser.

But really…. I really wanted to be that person. So over time, I have started writing again. I started different blogs in order to focus on different topics. (And I also discovered that I really enjoy the creative process of setting up a new blog. I have set up ten of them. Really, I can stop anytime I want to. It’s totally under control.)

So here I am, writing about writing. And while you can call yourself anything that you want, I personally find it easier to accept the label “writer” after I’ve clicked on the “publish” button.

Myself, many moons ago (1987), editing my own writing with a red pen.

Myself, many moons ago (1987), editing my own writing with a red pen.

I’ve also started reading again — new books, classic books, fiction, nonfiction, intriguing books on display at the library, my kids’ books. I’m getting new stories, words, and writers into my head. Instead of comforting myself by reading my favorite stories over and over, I’m gently reading my way out of my box. I’m also reading books about new ways to think about life, the universe, and everything — including thinking itself. I have purchased three new bookcases for my personal space alone (and applied Eminent Domain to acquire one from my eldest son’s room), and they are spilling over before I’ve even had the chance to bring up the many boxes of books that have been stored in the basement for the last several years. Probably for several years too long. Anyway, they can’t come up into the light until I have somewhere safe to put them, and we’re still pretty crowded here, topside.

So much to read, so little time.

So much to read, so little time.

And yes, I’m still knitting…. looky here! This week it became increasingly obvious that I wasn’t going to have nearly enough yarn to complete Wingspan with even the two skeins I had, so on Tuesday one of my errands was to find a complementary color in the same weight to do the neckline edging. I didn’t get any college scholarship money on my color-matching talents, so I was a little nervous about the skein I’d picked. I took the project and the extra yarn to knit night to set some groupthink on it, and lo! and behold! they said that it was good! I proceeded to join the new yarn and knit six rows as quickly as I could, but with each row taking about 30 minutes, I knew I wouldn’t have time to cast off right then. I took care of that task on Wednesday afternoon, then ever so promptly wove in all the ends. I threw it around my neck and fell in love with it immediately.

20130404_175004

And ah, there is so much more to knit… and to write. But tomorrow I’m going back to campus to study my calculus before it’s too late.

Published in: on April 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm  Comments (1)  

One sad Hufflepuff

It is with a heavy heart that I pass along the news that some of my most treasured handknits have expired. Yes, I know there are greater losses. But these knitted items were kind of a benchmark for me in a lot of ways.

First off, I didn’t knit them. They were the first handknits I ever received, from the first knitting swap in which I ever participated. It was the summer of 2007 and Harry Potter mania was in mid-swing. One night I’d probably had half a glass of wine too many, clicked on a link, and Bam! I was in a Harry Potter themed knitting swap. We had fake wizarding names and everything.

I remember the timing because it was when I was starting to knit the Ravenclaw-colored socks for my downstream swap partner, my youngest child was admitted to the hospital and being fed some high-calorie meals around the clock in an effort to pack some pounds on him. I was pretty stressed out and struggling with the double-pointed bamboo needles and actual Sock Weight Yarn, but I was making a game effort of it sitting on the hospital bed until the afternoon I pulled too hard on the wrong needle and yanked it out of about 25 stitches. I knew then it was time to quit without really quitting. I called in a favor to my cyber sister Lauren in Scottsdale, frogged the project, and sent her the yarn so she could make socks for my partner. I did make some beaded stitch markers and get other goodies for my downstream partner, but in the end she barely acknowledged receipt of my packages.

My upstream pal, however, was a whole different story. Jules sent me a pair of striped Hufflepuff socks, a drawstring bag with lotion and goodies, and my favorite type of Ritter brand chocolate — dark chocolate with marzipan. You can relive that happy moment here at my One Happy Hufflepuff post from June 21, 2007.

Jules was also the first long-distance knitter I met in person. We got together once at a cool yarn/fiber shop near Springfield, Ohio, that had, among other things, a claw-foot tub FILLED with yarn. It was on that day that I bought my first package of stitch markers, and a hank of yarn I just KNEW I would make into mittens someday (and I eventually did). It was that first meeting when I told Jules she had the hair of a spinner. Do you believe me now, Jules?

We met up again a couple of years later to visit a yarn store in Dublin, Ohio, and get some Jeni’s Ice Cream while I finished Those Noro Socks.

Many things have changed since then. Tommy put on a few pounds and got discharged from the hospital. I learned to knit socks and even more intricate items. I had meetups with other knitters, created a little knitting get-together we like to call Unwind, and started a local knitting group that’s been meeting for almost three years now. I’ve done another Harry Potter related knitting event, and got re-sorted; I’m no longer classified as a hardworking, loyal Hufflepuff but a brainy, clever Ravenclaw who has gone on to knit herself some nice ‘claw-colored items.

When you knit…. people don’t often give you knitted things. But other knitters know this, and the kindest of them make sure that the handknits keep getting parceled out. I cherished those socks, and this winter I was wearing them to bed when I felt especially cold. One morning a couple of weeks ago I took them off to discover that they had given their all.

I’m sorry, Madame Pomfrey / Jules / Crafty Peach. But they were loved.

Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 8:53 am  Comments (2)  

Because I like you

I’ve been sneakily adding pictures of finished objects from 2008 to their corresponding places in my half-complete list.

I need to do some photo shoots of the FO’s that still live with us, but some of the giftknits’ photos were lost in the Great Hard Drive Crash of June 2008 and I won’t be able to put up photos of them. You will just have to Use Your Imagination.

This also means I will be trying to sync up what I have in iPhoto with what I have in Flickr with what I have in Ravelry with what I have in the WordPress Image Library. Please send aspirin, or perhaps a six pack of a local amber ale.

Knit Night was great. I claimed a table in the back room and for the first time in my life, my friends came back and asked if they could sit with me. With ME!!! I am finally one of the Cool Girls!!! And I got to show off Tom’s Mittens and the bamboo socks, and work on a Super Secret Project for almost the whole time. KittyMommy and Molly Bee and Dale-Harriet and Yo Jane were there, among many many others — it was a pretty packed house.

I want to cast on for my January Personal Sock Club socks now. I’ll be thrilled if I can get the cuff region completed tonight. I’ll sneak in a few more pictures if I can.

Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 8:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

So, this one time, at Sheep and Wool…

…we had this little party, and about 40 people came? And had cheesecake? And won door prizes?

And then we all got massively tired and wished we could sleep for weeks and weeks. But we did take some pictures. They’re not great, but they’re pictures, and they’ve already taken Stage One of their journey and now actually reside on the computer rather than in the camera.

I’ve got a few things to do first (like shower, and run out for diapers and wipes) but I want to take advantage of this being a 3-child school day and put up a very nice blog post with some of those pictures and lots of words.

Here’s our display at the Country Store on Saturday morning. I don’t know why the camera was doing that! (Hi Brandy!)

Here are some sheep (including Shetlands). Check out the horns on that Jacob!

The lamb in this picture is 4 days old. It was soooo small!

Four-day-old lamb, 2008 WI Sheep & Wool

 

 

Shetland sheep, 2008 WI Sheep & Wool

Shetland sheep, 2008 WI Sheep & Wool

 

Jacob Sheep, horns and all![/Jacob Sheep, horns and all!]  

The feed is sweeter in the other pen!

The feed is sweeter in the other pen!

Here is the food at the Afterparty before anybody had some. Chocolate chip cookie pizzas in three flavors, pizzelles in two flavors, chocolate dipped pretzel sticks in four varieties, and two types of cheesecakes with three fruit toppings. Coffee, soda, water, etc. The wine was a door prize ONLY.

 

Chocolate dipped pretzel sticks

Chocolate dipped pretzel sticks

 

 

Cheesecake bar — New York style and chocolate mint chip

Cheesecake bar — New York style and chocolate mint chip

 

 

Chocolate chip cookie pizzas

Chocolate chip cookie pizzas

 

Here are the door prizes, almost all of them. Some people came to the party and dropped more items on the table.

And here is the TARDIS I made just for the party. You won’t believe how cool my children think this is, and where it is now.

Off to do errands, then I’ll fill it in later.

A tremendous thanks to everyone who attended, everyone who just stopped by the table to say Hi even if they couldn’t come, everyone who helped in any way, and especially to Cheesehead with Sticks, who really made it all possible. I really hope there’s an event like this next year, even if I’m not involved with planning and running it.

September 11: OK, I almost give up. Sorry about the formatting. If I can figure out how to fix it, I’ll do so one picture and caption at a time, saving in between. Meanwhile, I’m on with the rest of my life.

Ravelympics, Day Twelve

Finally, some progress. Last night the gods smiled, the angels sang, two cans of Coca Cola kept me alert, and I got some knitting done on the second Rose’s Wrist Warmer. I was feeling pretty good about this all day today until I grabbed some heavy pans while preparing dinner and got so much pain in my left hand I thought it was broken. My very first thought was d@mm!t, there goes the wrist warmer. But it seems much better now. I’ll just knit s-l-o-w-l-y and perhaps my hand won’t mind.

Want to hear about the Mystery Knitter I met at Irish Fest? Of course you do! But first, some background.

In May of 2007, in cahoots with my never-met-but-sure-we’re-sisters blogger friend Lauren, I checked out a web site called Clanarans, which promised a sweater or sweater kit that corresponded to your Irish clan. Lauren was able to order sets for her surname, but for some reason “Dooley” wasn’t included. Not Irish enough for them? I don’t know. Anyway, I emailed them about it, supplying the English and Gaelic spellings, and asked if they would have it available someday. They wrote back and said, Not now, but keep checking. So, every few months I’ve been checking. Still no Dooley sweater.

So. Fast forward to Sunday at Irish Fest. I was at the Cultural Village anyway, so I decided to take a look through the tents and see if there was any wool. A few years ago, there was; lately, not. But you never know. I went through every tent, I tell ya. Nothing.

There was one tent left, which looked like it was probably selling T-shirts and jewelry. I decided to go in anyway.

Just inside the door were dozens of knitted wonderful things. Aran sweaters, baby bonnets, “longies,” mittens, you name it. I recognized the sweaters immediately, but a big sign behind their table confirmed it. Clanarans.

“You know,” I said to the woman on the left, “about a year ago I emailed you because you didn’t have a sweater for my name.”

“What’s your name?” she said, jumping up to check the list.

“Dooley.”

“Hmm, we still don’t have it. Tell you what, e-mail me with the Gaelic spelling of it and I’ll see what I can do.” She took out one of their flyers and wrote her contact information on it, then looked up at me. “I’m the sweater designer for Clanarans.”

Folks, she also had just finished four days of teaching a class on sweater design as part of Advanced Knitting during Irish Fest Summer School. She teaches you how to select cable patterns, allow for proper size and fit — the works.

Guess where I want to go next year!

It gets better. I pulled out my completed Rose’s Wrist Warmer for her to see. “You can do this,” she said. I felt that same warm rush I got in college when a professor told me I could write. My goodness, I’d been writing constantly since I was about eight years old and pretended to start a neighborhood newspaper. But the Validation by an Expert still gets to me, in a good way.

So, I’m going to email her, and keep plugging away at this. Four years ago I didn’t own a set of knitting needles. Three years I thought I’d only need one pair if I picked the right size. Now I’m afraid to count them. If you insist upon learning something…you can. You truly can.

Published in: on August 19, 2008 at 8:36 pm  Comments (4)  

In and out

Hi all, we returned from the Trip Of All Trips on Sunday and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. I can’t tell you how many miles we put on the ol’ van, but we had an oil change the day before we left and we probably need another one by now.

Here are some bizarre statistics:

States visited: six
Knitting completed: two sock-heel flaps
Yarn stores visited: one
Yarn stores spotted but not visited: three
Ravelry members met: three 
Great-grandmothers visited: two
Number of times Tom fell down the stairs: one (the first day)
Knitted items photographed: three
Blogs I read: none

So, I still have a lot to catch up on. Unfortunately for everyone who’s waiting for me to catch up to them, tomorrow is the start of the Olympic Games and, more importantly, the Ravelympics. I am only doing one project, but there are many more people planning to do many many more projects. It seems a little silly when I try to explain it to non-Rav people, but we of Team TARDIS are having lots of fun already. I have new friends all over the world because of mutual love for Doctor Who (keep it clean in the comments, ladies) and it’s just one more fun thing to do. Oh wait, one more stat.

Anthropomorphized fat globules knitted and sent to to England: one.

So, the deal is I cast on for my project during the Opening Ceremonies, and try to cast off before the Closing Ceremonies. I’ll be knitting a pair of Rose’s Wrist Warmers, the ones Rose wears in Doomsday (last episode of season 2 of Doctor Who). This should certainly be doable for me. I’m slow but I can crank out a pair of mittens in a weekend if I need to, but there’s just one thing. The pattern is….charted. The backs feature traveling-style cables with seed stitch in the middle, and the Very Colorful Chart is something I’ve never followed before.

We’ll see.

Because I spend more time on Ravelry than I should, and I feel guilty, I will make an effort to post on the blog every day during the Ravelympics instead of just hanging out over *there* with my *Ravelry* friends. Who knows, I might even try to post a picture.

Progress report: Pre-Ravelympics

Bamboo socks: Sock One at foot, Sock Two needs gusset stitches picked up. 
Silk Lace Stole: Still stalled.
Tyrone: Still stalled but I’m getting encouragement from afar to finish.
Secret Christmas Project: conceptualized, begun, and hidden. This is a **new** project and I’m looking forward to the Reveal pictures at Christmas. But I can email details if you’re interested.
*Sheesh, am I doing anything else?*
Heelflap scarf: Still stalled. 
Irish Hiking Scarf with cursed yarn: Still stalled.

I sense a theme.

Anyway, hi to everyone in Blog-Land, and I’ll try to catch up on your blog (and revamp my own) soon.