Saturday, January 03, 2015


Today is January 3, and I have already blown my healthy eating, healthy sleeping, and healthy exercising challenges. The organization boxes (and trash bags) sit empty. The note cards, pens, and addresses for past due correspondence are somewhere.

HOWEVER, my participation in the 15 Hats in 2015 Challenge set out by Stash and Burn is going well! OK, it is going well because as part of the "warm-up," 2 of the hats could be knit in December 2014.

Hat #1 was a last minute gift for me. I had gotten a new fleece jacket earlier in the year, and decided I needed a coordinating hat. It is another Noro hat...

Hat #2 is the last of the hats I knit for my 4 grandsons. These hats all had a "secret:" the first 2 stripes above the ribbing had numbers of rows equal to the month and date of their birthday. The colors were chosen especially for them also- Minecraft, NY Yankees, etc. I used Plymouth Encore worcested from my stash and purchased other colorways, too.

The boys also received matching fingerless mitts, but I neglected to get a photo of all 4.

I have chosen both the yarn and the pattern for hat #3. I love to knit hats and probably knit more than 15 in any given year (almost all for various charities) so this is not a big deal for me. What is a big deal, though, is that I tend to knit the same few patterns over and over and over again, The added challenge to myself is that I will knit 10 of the hats using 10 new-to-me patterns,

Well, it is Saturday morning and I stayed up too late last night and therefore slept through breakfast, it is too rainy and cold to walk, I don't know where to begin with the organizing, and I'm too lazy to gather the cards, pens, and addresses for the letters. I think I will knit...

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Mysterious Journey

There is something deeply fulfilling about a knit-along. Even though not everyone in the Spartanburg Knitting Guild (here for Facebook and here for Ravelry) was able to participate, 26 of us completed the 3 clues/4 months mystery shawl designed by our own Julie Farmer. From choosing the yarn to "how do I p2togtbl" to "what shape is yours" to "how do I wear it"- much interaction and laughter (and some confusion) ensued.

My saga began with pride, which was quickly followed by the fall. Of course I can do this! Why bother with a lifeline or markers? Rip rip rip. When it was time to add the variegated yarn, I did not like the color combination. Tink tink tink. I do not live close to an LYS, so it was wait wait wait. When I finally found the match, I assumed that because the yarn name said "lace"  that it was the lace weight. Wrong wrong wrong. I forged ahead anyway. Knit knit knit. Upon completion, since I had 2 weights (they were very close, but not exact) when I blocked the shawl it had a definite shape to it. Upside down. Laugh laugh laugh.

Actually, I can wear it in either direction. Versatile versatile versatile.

What did I learn (besides p2togtbl)? Patience. Trust. Charts trump words. One pattern, many interpretations. Lots of smiles.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Julie!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Noro, Noro, Noro, Noro, Noro

Just what I need in South Carolina: a pullover sweater. (Well, yes, maybe this year, but it was a weird year.) More than several (4-5) years ago, I purchased some lovely Noro Silk Garden (color #73) and a pattern booklet. I finished the back and part of the front, then it languished. And napped. And slept. Got buried (though not really dead.) Then, miracle of miracles, it was uncovered in a frenzy of pre-spring cleaning.
After looking over what I had done and what I had left to do, I determined that a) I no longer wanted a pullover but maybe wanted a cardigan and b) I liked the yarn so much that I wanted to use it right away. The corollary to a) was that ( sadly) I would have to knit the next larger size and that I might not have enough yarn. The final decision? Frog it and knit several small projects (for me and for my charity basket)...


The results:
Easy drop stitch/wavy stitch

I used Size 8 needles. The scarf took about 2 skeins (100 grams.) The finished dimensions are 5" by 66

Multidirectional diagonal scarf

I used size 8 needles. The scarf took about 2 skeins ( 95 grams.) I cast on 26 stitches. The finished dimensions are 4" by 72."

Noro hat(s)
I used size 7 needles. Each of the 3 hats used about 1.25 skeins (65-70 grams. The directions were altered a bit so they would not be as pointy or large.

After 6 purl sections, I decreased evenly every row in knit section.
Purl another section, then decrease evenly every row in knit section.
Purl another section, then decrease evenly every row in knit section. 
Purl another section 2 rows only, then decreased final stitches.           

I even had a bit left over!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

10, 10%, 100, and other impossible numbers

February 2014
Well,it is almost spring, and that conjures up images (note I said "images") of spring cleaning. One way to actually make the task more palatable is to downsize first. This is a backblog from about a year ago, when I tried yet again. The 10, 10%, 100 concept is still almost impossible, but I have made some headway. I do not have to imagine quite as much cleaning...

This is what I wrote last year, but never published. There is no real knitting content- just the fact that stash is exempt from most cleaning rules!
Spring 2013...
"Downsizing" has been a popular buzz word and goal for the past few years. It is much easier said- and planned- than done! My personal theory of the best way to accomplish this goal is the Rule of Ten. (Actually, it is more of a suggestion than a rule or commandment!) I have tried it, relatively successfully, several times in the past in a few categories. I am  anxious to move out of my current house, and have been oozing my way through boxes and drawers and shelves. The idea is that there can be no more than 10 objects on a surface: bureau, book shelf (doo-dads, not books!), kitchen counter, bathroom counter, bedside table, etc. That has worked relatively well: I just stash extra things in a cabinet! Unfortunately some things seem to creep back in the dark of night...

A corollary to this rule is the 10% Rule: I have to get rid of 10% of a certain category of items, ie books, greeting cards, picture frames, clothing, etc. (Right now, the one exception is my knitting stash- I have a different set of rules/suggestions for that!) I have taken countless numbers of books to the Friends of the Library; culled 50 greeting cards from my desk; removed a number of photos from their frames, with the intention of organizing them in a scrapbook (hah!); and thought about trying on and keeping only the clothes that fit. As far as the boxes and drawers go, I successfully culled down 13 boxes of Christmas ornaments into 7 boxes.

Can you believe that if you spend a mere $20-$25 on designer make-up that you can get a bunch of samples for free? I did, and succumbed to that temptation for many years. As a result, I was able to make art out of my over-abundance.

And then tossed it! I still have enough tubes to keep my lips colorful and moist until I am well into my 100's...

Then I see the book. It crosses my desk at the library, ready to be entered into the catalog. "Living With Less: how to downsize to 100 personal possessions," by Mary Lambert. I was gobsmacked, to say the least. Could I do this? No, not now. But I can start the journey. I can inventory each room, rather than the whole house, and limit its contents to 100 items. Hmmm... I could make a few exceptions and for rooms that have less than 100 items, ie the guest room, I could "store" excess items from another room!

My neighborhood has a yard sale in the spring. The Friends of the Library have an active used bookstore. Goodwill, Habitat, and the Salvation Army always need donations.I am ready and able, but can I actually downsize?

Monday, February 24, 2014


Is a backlog of posts a backblog?

As with my knitting projects, I have started and stopped so many blog posts that I almost have more drafts than published entries! With knitting, I find a pattern, choose the yarn, flip pages for the needles (see below), and more not than often do a gauge swatch. Sometimes, however, the process starts and ends with the pattern: I do not have the proper yarn. Sometimes, however, the process starts and ends with the yarn: I cannot decide on the proper pattern. Usually, however, I can always find the right needles: my collection is fairly well organized!

For blog posts, I have titles, themes, and photos. However, these are all incomplete. Some draft posts are just clever little titles with vague ideas for content:
"Sometimes Not Knitting"
"Why Did the Geese Cross the Road?"

Some draft posts are full of clever little phrases and notes:
"To sleep, perchance to dream..."
"...just thinking about knitting..."

Some draft posts just have a photo with no words.

Some projects have no photo:
February Baby sweater- Eliz Zimmermann
Hello Baby Cardigan- Susan B. Anderson
Newborn top-down cardigan- Nancy Pietraszek
Seamless yoked sweater- Carole Barenys
Bernat Baby Softee - baby denim marl

During a recent unusual bout of weather (rain, 20's, snow, sleet, freezing rain, more snow, 2 1/2 days off work, sunshine, an earthquake, a wild thunderstorm, 70's- all within a 1 week time period!) I had the urge to finish a few projects and start a few projects- and I did!

One skein 2 hours scarf
This, however, took much longer than 2 hours! It is knit using Lace Sensation by Fiddlesticks Knitting and size 10 needles. I am not overly fond of the yarn or the pattern, but I love the little bonus at the end showing this clever way of tying it!
Mr. Flurry- I completed several of these a few years ago, and this poor guy was just missing his hat! Now he can stay nice and warm in the snow!

It is hard to see the diagonal detail on the ribbing, but it is a bit different and fun to do. This is the Twi-Fall Hat.

I have made a zillion dishcloths, more or less. A friend was making one with the DW pattern, and though I liked the pattern, I did not want another cloth. I though it would make a nice hat, so I modified it to knit in the round. It took a bit of thinking time to keep a nice pattern for the decreases...but it worked!

That encouraged me to think about getting current with Ravelry and TinkandPurl. I am trying. Today is February 20. I am taking pictures, looking up patterns, and organizing words. When will this be publishable?!?     (February 24- only 4 days later!!!)

And when will the next? And when will the next?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fantasy Mountain

Remember the TV show Fantasy Island? It was a place where clients would go to live out their dreams and fantasies. Everything they needed was provided. Usually, however, the plot unfolded to reveal that the fantasy had flaws, or was not what it was though to be. 

I spent 3 fantastic days with my daughter and about 70 other knitters on a mountaintop in Little Switzerland, NC. This is the 10th year of the Spartanburg Knitting Guild's "Knit Away in the Mountains." From 12 or so local knitters who went up for a day and night of peace and quiet and knitting, the retreat has grown to 3 days and nights of yarn crawling, classes, an amazing fashion show, wonderful food, amazing door prizes and swag, laughing and learning with old and new friends from as far away as Mississippi and Ohio and Virginia! Mr. Roarke and Tattoo would be proud of the amazing Becky and how she has organized and planned this special fantasy for us- no cooking or carpools or cleaning or going to work, set in a lovely old lodge along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the opportunity to sit 'n knit 24/7- if your hands can manage it!

This is what we woke up to on Friday morning:

This is what we woke up to on Saturday morning:

This is the gift we were given on Saturday evening:
What did I learn? Cast-ons, their related bind-offs, and the Sweet Potato heel. What do I still know? Knitters bring joy wherever they go. Tinking and frogging are a part of life. Sharing is caring.

Knitting with friends? A fantasy come true!! It just keeps getting better-

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer of the weekly blog

In my list of "draft" posts, what a catchy title and goal this was! I was going to write a blog entry once a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day, even though the "official" dates of summer do not coincide with the dates of summer designated by our education system (at least in the south!) This is only post #5 even though we are mere weeks away from Labor Day...

I like to write, knit, think, read, and take pictures. Blogging is a wonderful way to exercise these joys in one place. It is also a wonderful way to help me remember what in the world I was doing during the Summer of '13!

I knit, as evidenced in previous posts here and here and hopefully in some future posts.         

I have continued to read the Good Book this summer. My diocese has a challenge of reading the Bible in a year- something I have done several times previously, but not with a group. I'm off track at the moment, but I am still on the journey.
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is one of those books that I wished would never end. Anyone who has enjoyed A Gift from the Sea or Pilgrim at Tinker Creek would be touched by the life lessons learned from a tiny bit of nature.
Many years ago I read Gail Sheehy's Passages, the discussion about the physical and emotional aspects of the inevitable process of aging. Richard Rohr's Falling Upward, takes it much deeper into the spirit and soul. The subtitle for Rohr's book is "a spirituality for the two halves of life." Sometimes I felt like he had written the book just for me, to answer some of my deepest questions, and to assure me that it was even ok to ask the questions!

I have preserved memories through pictures of good times with my children and grandchildren this summer.

I have been thinking about all that I want to accomplish in the next years of my life, and am coming to the conclusion that while having plans and dreams and goals keeps me striving to be and do my best, I have been given the grace to see the joy in each moment.

Making plans keeps me humble. "The Summer of the Blog" is now "The Few Weeks of the Blog."

Frogging keeps me humble, too.

It also allows for redemption. This yarn is destined for something other than what I tried to make it to be!