around n round she goes

A blog for my knitting, spinning, quilting, violin-playing, or whatever else floats my boat

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Location: Texas

Monday, April 30, 2007

Carrots and Sticks

I'm ready for DH to come home. He won't be home 'til Wednesday, though. I miss him.
This is a photo-intense entry by the way....
Isn't it beautiful? The picture doesn't do it justice - it's huge and has dozens of flowers. We celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary while he was away and he had these delivered to my workplace. You should have seen me trying to get these home. It took 10 minutes just to figure out how to fit them in the car.
That's just one of the carrots to get my work done. Here's the other - some of the things I'm promising myself when it's all finished. As you can see, the qiviuq scarf is making making progress. Actually, it's been a few days since I took this picture - half the wine's gone now.

Now for the sticks:
The accidental compost heap. We discovered the lazy way of creating compost. Just don't bother to bag up the leaves that drift down to the bottom of the driveway. By spring there's wonderful black dirt underneath it all and great big fat earthworms. (And the occasional Texas Earth snake.) The only thing required is to turn the pile every once in awhile - which is what I did on Monday.

These aren't 'before' pictures, more of like 'middle' pictures of the dining room. Large pieces of furniture got moved around. Glassware, pottery and crystal got dusted and rearranged. The wood floor got cleaned. The rug got vacuumed. A picture finally got a frame. A tapestry was hung on the wall. All in preparation for this: Mom and Dad's old oak roll-top desk. A piece of family history. A remarkable piece of engineering. (Can you tell I'm excited to have this?) Dad and I took it apart at their house, put all the pieces in my car and his car (it wouldn't all fit in mine), then reassembled it in our house.
And the rest of the room looks much better, too. This dining room suite was originally my great-aunt's and is made out of rock maple. I love it and am glad I've got a nice big dining room to accomodate it.That mirror above the buffet is incredibly heavy.

So that's how I've spent my time since DH has been gone. Oh, and I cleaned the kitchen (a fairly big deal in itself). Since I didn't end up taking any vacation time, I feel I did pretty good. Not much knitting, but that's ok, I'm going to knitting guild tomorrow night.
I just found out my violin lesson is cancelled tonight, since my teacher's got bronchitis. Guess I'll actually go to the grocery store instead. I haven't bothered to buy groceries since DH left.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I am Bert

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you live your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others
Everything is true except the neat part....but I'm working on that
Well, the DH is on his way (as of about 7 minutes ago). Last time he went out of town for awhile, I painted the master bedroom. He didn't even immediately notice that the walls were no longer icky off-white and were now a restful blue. What kind of trouble can I get into now? (insert evil chuckle here)
Of course, I'm limited by the fact that I have to work all week (although I may squeeze in a vacation day later in the week). So that leaves only the evening hours and the weekend for potential mayhem.
I'm also limited by messing up my neck (again). Note to self: Don't try to carry your laptop backpack, your book bag and your purse all on one shoulder - you will pay for it later.
I think I can still manage some interesting things while he's away. My only problem - do I blog about it here while in progress? Before and after pics, etc.? He did say he was going to share my blog URL with his family so they can see it. There's no computer at his folk's house, so that's safe enough, but I'm pretty sure both his sisters have access.
Oh, well. I may just wait 'til right before he's coming home and post everything.
By the way, if any of his family does come visit this site - Hi, everybody! Did you like the socks?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

3 weeks, 3 pairs of socks

I feel like I've joined that 52 pair plunge knit-along. DH will be boarding the plane with these Socks that Rock next Monday.

From left to right - Nodding Violet, Scottish Highlands, Midsummers Night - all medium weight

I'll probably write up one of these (they are all pretty similar) and post it as a free pattern.

And just in case I should go through sock-knitting withdrawal, I immediately cast-on for another pair in stash yarn (for me this time).

But I do think it's time to take some of these poor neglected WIPs in hand and get them finished up:

1. Tina (abandoned almost 2 years ago)
2. The 2nd qiviuq scarf
3. My fisherman's sweater
4. My 2 Fair Isle designs (still in the design and swatch phase)

My first inclination is to go with the qiviuq scarf, just because it's a smaller project that won't take so much to finish up. That's even though I only got about 2 repeats (of 25) done right before Mom's surgery. (Late update - I have indeed restarted the qiviuq scarf - it's now 4 repeats of 25.)

Then Tina really, really needs to be knitted up. She's been patiently waiting for an awfully long time and I've got a lot more lace knitting under my belt now. My vision isn't significantly better, which was the main reason I put her down, but I'd still like to give it a shot.

That will probably get me through 'til July - just the weather for knitting a nice warm sweater. (please note sarcasm in voice) Then I can take up either my fisherman's sweater or one of my Fair Isles (Ok, ok, I know where the vote will go there.)

Let's see if I manage any of the above. I've tried this before and usually go off on a tangent.
Emy so seldom poses for me. In case you're wondering where her attention lies, the cockatiels are over there. If she gets too close Jack will stick his head through the bars and pick at the clothes pin holding up the birdy bloomer until the clothes pin snaps off and flies at Emy. I thought it was a coincidence the first time I saw Jack do this - it wasn't.
And it looks like this fellow has already had a rough spring. I think it's an American Painted Lady. Late update - my DH and I looked in the butterfly book. It's an American Lady, not an American Painted Lady.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A turn of phrase

I went over to my folk's house the other night and we listened to a short-story, The Night Bookmobile, by Audrey Niffenegger (read by Christina Pickles and presented by Selected Shorts). Rather eerie, but very thought-provoking.

We started talking about favorite authors and their wonderful use of language. A sentence or phrase that causes you to think, "I'd never have thought to use that wording for this person/ place/ thing/ situation, but it's perfect". Words that evoke an emotional response or allow you to 'see' what's going on.

Mother asked me which I'd rather have to live without, beautiful music or beautiful words. This is a tough one, because I really enjoy both. I think, though, if I had to make a choice I'd rather live without the beautiful music than miss the beautiful words.

That's part of what this blog is about, after all. An opportunity to tune my use of words, to pin down coherently the thoughts tumbling chaotically about in my brain. I sometimes will let a post ferment in my head for several days before it gets typed up, and even then I may go back and change it many times before I hit the 'publish' button. (OK, sometimes I'll change it even after then.)

I was mentally composing this one at 3am this morning. I hate it when I wake up and can't go back to sleep. I feel like the 'before' picture of one of those prescription sleep-aid advertisements.

What does this have to do with knitting? After all, this is mainly a blog about knitting. Nothing, of course. But I've realized that some of the blogs I enjoy reading most not only have interesting content but often have that great use of words. Part of the reason I started blogging was to emulate those bloggers and authors I admire the most.

It's all about my search for a perfect turn of phrase.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cable Surgery

As a continuation of the theme from 'Toe Transplants' I thought I'd show this one too - my method for fixing a miss-crossed (or just missed) cable.

1. Discover you went too many rounds before you executed your cable about 5 rounds ago.
2. Cry (or swear) - depending on your temperament.
2.a. Decide that, in future, you shouldn't drink wine with dinner and then attempt to knit anything more complicated than a garter-stitch scarf.
3. Decide that, even though no-one will ever notice, you'll know deep within your heart that it's wrong and you just can't live with that.
4. Decide that dropping just the cable and re-doing it will be preferable to ripping back to the mistake and re-knitting the last 1/2 inch of your sock. Besides, this is a great opportunity to document how to fix these things. (This decision may have been influenced by the glass of wine earlier.)
5. Assemble your materials - the offending sock, several smaller dpns (I used some 2mms), a small crochet hook, a really good light. A glass of wine is optional - but you should probably wait until afterwards - see 2.a. above.
6. Isolate the offending stitches (I included the purl stitches on either side) and remove them from the needle.
7. Carefully, drop those stitches until you get down past the mistake. You'll have all those wonderful loops of yarn hanging around - don't worry, we'll deal with those later.
8. Take that smaller dpn and pick up your live stitches.
9. I took it back to the row I should have cabled on, so I went ahead and swapped the arrangement of the stitches so the cabling cross is on the needle in the right order. This is similar to 'cabling without a cable needle' (that link is to WendyKnits' wonderful tutorial).
10. At this point you've got a choice - you can re-knit each row, using the loop of yarn hanging behind your work as your working yarn (be sure to use your smaller dpns for this). Or you can use your crochet hook to pick up each individual stitch row by row (rather like picking up a dropped stitch). Since I didn't have a lot of stitches or a lot of rows, I opted for the crochet hook method. I also didn't have any other cable crossing to worry about. If I had, I would have probably used the knitting method.
11. Carefully pick up one stitch at a time, starting along one edge, and work it up to the top using the loops of yarn in the back of your work. After each stitch, gently snug the work up to your existing knitting.
12. The purl rows were easier to pick up from the back side of my work.
13. Check the work carefully to make sure you got it right this time.
14. Of course, since you made the same mistake on both sides of your sock you get to do this all over again!

Re-knitting the rounds may be an easier option, but knowing how to do just the cable section is real handy when you're working on a complicated Aran sweater with 220 stitches on each round and you find that you crossed a cable in the wrong direction about 20 rounds ago. (Ask me how I know.) In that case, I re-knit each row of the cable section, making all the cabling crossings as they came up.

After you're all done, pat yourself on the back (and have that glass of wine).

Look! She's almost a lap kitty now! The paws and elbows are on my lap! It only took 2 1/2 years!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Imagine StarWars storm troopers invading the home planet.
I'll have my life back in a couple of weeks.
Then we start implementing a new financial software package. My life goes away again.

In the mean time - look at SIL #1's new socks!

Socks That Rock medium-weight in Nodding Violets on size 2 (2.75 mm) Brittany dpns.
Pattern: my own with a little lace pattern from Mary Webb's Knitting Stitches. It's the 'easy lace stitch #2' on page 250. (This cracks me up by the way - the whole book is like that; no names of stitches, just 'medium cable #4', 'easy lace #1', etc..) Don't get me wrong by the way; it's a really nice little book and those descriptions make it really easy to pick out what you want.

'Easy Lace Stitch #2!' I wanted a vine-like effect.

This is my first experience with Socks That Rock. Lovely stuff, although I think I'll go for the lighter weight next time. But before that - here's SIL #2's sock started:

Socks That Rock medium in Midsummers Night. Nice thing about the medium weight yarn - it knits up a lot faster than the Lang Jawoll that I used on Mom's socks.
I may even try for one more pair of this stuff for my MIL before hubby goes off to visit them later this month (or maybe not). I have one more skein of the STR in the Scottish Highlands colorway. I was going to be selfish and knit them for myself, but I may be nice....

And looky at the new spinning wheel! All I've managed to do so far is put it together (very easy) and treadle a bit. Boy, is it quiet! And smooth! But I may not have a chance for too much spinning until the storm troopers leave. And I am planning on using it! Regardless of comments left to the effect that no-one has ever seen me use a spinning wheel. Spindle, yes, spinning wheel, no. It's all a matter of getting the right tools, right? That's why I needed a new wheel, right? ;=)So tell me... do you name your inanimate objects? I know lots of people name their cars, their computers, their spinning wheels. Maybe it shows a dearth of imagination, but my car is the 'new car' (and will remain that no matter how old it gets - this is a family tradition), the computer is 'the computer' (or perhaps more accurately 'DH's computer' since I rarely use a computer when I'm home), the spinning wheels are 'the Hitchhiker' or 'the Lendrum'. See - boring. Maybe it's the accountant coming out. Knitting uses up all the creative juices.