Stuff

I said I would try to post more often. I meant it. Really.

But here it is, over a month later. At least it’s not a whole year this time, right?

Bistro Shirt - sleeve is happening...

Bistro Shirt – sleeve is happening…

Knitting: Working on a Bistro Shirt, which I really should be doing in a cotton/linen blend, but I’m so iffy about working with cotton that I just impulsively bought some good ol’ Patons Classic Wool and started knitting. (Yes, the yarn purchase was in a little fit of pique after a bad moment/afternoon with my mom, but I’m not writing about her today. I have decided, though, that I will buy plants instead of yarn in that circumstance. My yard is getting quite Eden-like…).

So this lovely little sweater will be much too warm to wear when I finish it. Likewise, the darling little “Orenburg Lace” scarf I knitted to wear at my daughter’s wedding – it finally occurred to me about halfway through the project that the Saturday before Memorial Day might not be a scarf-y day. But it’s pretty, and the color is called “Forever” – very fitting for a wedding, yes?

Miss Babs Yet in "Forever"

Miss Babs Yet in “Forever”

The lace was practice for a bigger scarf I plan to make with some lovely incredibly fine yarn I picked up at Stitches West – funny how when you see a knitted sample, and it seems so simple, and you don’t want to pay for the printed pattern because, really, it’s just the same stitch pattern over and over with a garter stitch border – it’s so FUNNY when you can’t seem to find that same stitch pattern ANYWHERE. Finally found one that seems similar enough, and I’m truly hoping the bloom of the teeny tiny 100% merino laceweight will make it look more like the one I should have bought the darn pattern for… Smack my forehead, please.

Listening to Linda Ronstadt today as I write – bought a couple of CD’s (more Amazon fun, but this time with a better outcome*), because, y’know, she’s not going to record anymore and she really is a big part of “the soundtrack of my life.” What a talent – so versatile, like no one else I can think of. If you don’t think so, just Netflix “The Pirates of Penzance.” So sad to think that she will never sing again, due to Parkinson’s Disease. Thank God she DID sing – that she DID put her voice out there and live her life, tough though it may have been.

Sometimes I wonder what might have been if I had not “let fear hold me back,” as one of my former bad-boyfriends once said about me. (A bad boyfriend, and a “bad boy”… too many of those). Usually, though, I’m just so glad that I did what I did (get a good day job, stick with it even though it wasn’t lots of fun, sing when I could, have a beautiful baby, finally meet my prince after the frogs and now I have a lovely little life and I can knit and write and maybe even someday start that book…). Maybe somewhere there’s someone who remembers me singing in a piano bar or at church or in the Symphony Chorus. Maybe not. It’s okay.

Still, sometimes that fantasy flits through my mind…

*Amazon update – Never found out what the problem was with them and my beloved Harlot’s latest book, which I pre-ordered and they apparently didn’t believe I really wanted. So, it was with some trepidation that I ordered two Linda Ronstadt CD’s and the Whole30 book, “It Starts with Food” – ordered on April 15, over $35 so I could get the free shipping… Got an estimated date of delivery of MAY 27-JUNE 7!

I’ll admit I didn’t even notice that until April 19. So I called them. Not a good experience. Seriously, I’m not that person, but I couldn’t understand anything the rep said other than that it was one of the CDs that was holding up the order. Out of stock (even though online it said there were two). Then she said a number of other things that seemed to be some kind of choice I needed to make, but since I couldn’t understand what she was saying, I was reluctant to say anything one way or another. So I said I couldn’t understand. She repeated. I said I couldn’t understand. She repeated. I asked to talk to her supervisor. She repeated. (AAAARRRRGGGHHH!) I asked to talk to her supervisor. She put me on hold. Someone else came on, said she was the supervisor, then started giving me options (I assume)… I couldn’t understand a word. I finally just said “I’m sorry, I CANNOT UNDERSTAND YOU. I don’t want to be rude, but I’m going to say goodbye now and I will EMAIL Amazon.” Jeeeeezzzz. So, got online and found out that they have a Live Chat feature. So even if I am chatting online with another country, which I believe must have been what was happening on the phone, it will be TYPED, and VISIBLE and presumably more clear. Had a lovely typed chat with “Joe” and he fixed EVERYTHING, got EVERYTHING shipped (the book and one CD overnight!, and even the “out of stock” one has now arrived), and I still got free shipping. Thanks, “Joe” – Amazon lives again for me! And Live Chat RULES!

In other news, I started my Whole30 yesterday – it’s a way of eating that I hope will help with aches and pains I’ve been experiencing, maybe with some body composition improvement (please?), and a way forward for a healthier life. Six decades late, but whatever. This pasta addict will let you know how that’s going in a couple of weeks. These two weeks at the beginning are supposed to be kind of tough. (No grains, no sugars, no dairy, no beans or legumes, no pasta, no alcohol, for the whole30… Your positive thoughts would be appreciated!).

The beginning of a Whole30 "Meal 1"

A Whole30 “Meal 1” in progress…

And maybe I’ll give Amazon a little more love and order Linda Ronstadt’s book

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Gosh, I could have had a baby by now…

That is, if I wasn’t WAY past having babies. But it’s been longer than that long since my last post.

I haven’t forgotten about posting – it’s just been basically impossible. So many reasons, but mostly tied up with my mom, and her house, and her bills, and her incredibly strong wish to return to “my home, my church, my friends, my town…” I think I say that little litany in my sleep now, since it is mentioned at least every other time I speak to her.

Note to Self: Try to plan for your old age, and if you can’t do that, at least try to keep your sense of humor about it. Understand that things aren’t going to be exactly the way you want, that your body isn’t going to work exactly the way you want, and that there probably isn’t going to be enough money. RIGHT NOW, practice keeping your face in a smile, because if it’s used to being frown-y, that’s probably where it’s going to go when you’re turning inward and homeward. If life gets smaller, make sure you make yourself as happy as you can in that smaller place.

Please understand, I don’t mean to criticize my mom – I’m just worried that I’ll go down that road and forget the things I’m observing right now. (I think my daughter might be a little worried about it, too…). As hard as this stage of life is right now, it could be SO much more difficult; we are really lucky in several ways, which I won’t enumerate because I’m a bit superstitious and not looking for trouble. As for my daughter, I just continually remind her that when I’m very old, and living in a yurt in her back yard, she must never make me knit with bad yarn.

Even though I haven’t been able to actually write a post, I have been watching the stats on my blog, and I’ve learned something interesting: Aside from the times when I write a comment on the Yarn Harlot’s blog (God, I love her!), or the few others I follow (Agujas, The More the Messier, A Verb for Keeping Warm), apparently the most interesting thing to anyone out there who’s clicked here is – matching self-patterning socks! Second to that, the Hitchhiker scarf. I find this fascinating. First, that searching for those terms would actually lead anyone here, and second, wondering whether anyone actually got any help from my babbling about the socks.

Anyway, it’s gratifying to see that people in many countries also had questions about matching self-patterning yarn.

I have knitted through this last few (okay, dozen) months, throwing myself into lace shawls, a giant Hitchhiker made with a gorgeous Yowza Whatta Skein from Miss Babs – wish I could tell you for sure which color it is, but I lost the band. I think it’s called “Believable.” Bought the skein at Stitches West in Santa Clara. On the way home on the train, I decided to just QUIT trying to conquer the Color Affection, set it aside, and hand-wound the Miss Babs. (That’s an accomplishment in itself!). It was actually a joy to knit the Hitchhiker, but at the time I began this post, I hadn’t had occasion to wear it yet. Didn’t quite know how to drape it (it’s BIG), and the weather was too warm here anyway. I was looking forward to fall and the opportunity to wear it, and Holden, and my Pilsner Pleated Scarf. And the little number that is pictured up top.

Pilsner Pleated Scarf. Ewetopia

Pilsner Pleated Scarf. Ewetopia

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Hitchhiker, Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein. LOVE THIS YARN!

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Holden! All those picots! And I met a new friend on Instagram when we both posted photos of Holden the same week…

My conscience says I have to admit that I hadn’t blocked the Pilsner Pleated Scarf when I originally wrote this post, with the sheepish explanation that for at least two months I had no living room floor because there were about 20 boxes of my mom’s stuff that had no place to go. Why should this matter, you ask? Because that’s where I block everything. I spread out a piece of gingham yardage and lay the wet finished object on it, using the gingham pattern to align edges, and pin through the (shag!) carpet and padding. I am very interested to see what this has done to the floor when I finally prevail and we remove the carpet to expose the old, probably ugly and pieced-together hardwood underneath. A few blocking pin scratches will likely be the least of our worries.

Still, there were a lot of Actually Finished Objects here waiting to be Actually Worn. Which brings me to what I suppose is a problem for many knitters as selfish as I (me? I?…). I have LOTS of knit objects, because I have a very hard time letting go of things to which I’ve given a lot of time and effort (y’know, kind of like, say, children). And I live in Northern California, which, while not as relentlessly sunny as SoCal, is still considerably more temperate than a lot of places. I see that our beloved Yarn Harlot speaks of her knit items being “in the rotation” – perhaps that’s the answer, and as soon as it gets even just a bit cooler here, I now make a concerted effort to Actually Wear my Actually Finished Objects. And maybe this year I’ll start knitting things that can be worn in warmer weather.

And I should probably mention that I finally finished and have actually decided to frog the Color Affection. It’s huge, and out of scale even to itself because I messed with the pattern and now it’s just a massive (really, massive) disappointment. I’m not even at the “maybe someday…” point with this thing. Sad – lots of money and time and frustration in there. At least I can reclaim the yarn and make something nice with it. Knitting is wonderful in that way!

Unblocked, HUGE Color Affection. Yuck.

Unblocked, HUGE Color Affection. Yuck.

Currently on the needles:

Yorkshire Shawl, a Purl Bumps Design, in Sweet Fiber‘s Sweet Merino Lite (Tea Leaves). Bought this at Stitches West as well. The yarn is delicious. I was trying to make myself work from the chart, got through the set-up chart and one set of 20 rows, but suffered terribly. Lots of time in the Tardis, tinking and re-knitting, not making much progress. Now I’m working from the written pattern, but I’ve set it aside for a bit because there were some hard feelings.

For therapy, noodled through a pair of toe-up, two-at-a-time socks of indeterminate pattern and nothing fancy – of course, had to re-learn everything and adjust for not having a real pattern to reference. Using a Patons Kroy Sock FX, very lovely, in Cascade Colors. Forgot my own instructions to buy 3 skeins of this yarn for 2 socks, but am keeping a good thought. I like to do a funky color on the toes to offset that issue, but the toes were first and it’s too late now! So if it comes to it, there might be a funky color at the top instead. Knitting Nazis, shut up.

(Update – finished the socks, they’re ridiculously long. I’m confused.) (OH… now I get it. Used a bigger needle. Socks fit, but they aren’t nearly as cushy comfy as the pair I knit with 2.75 needles, and they are WAY long. I can actually feel the stitches when I wear them. Boo.)

LONG, kind of uncomfortable socks. Pretty, though... ;-)

LONG, kind of uncomfortable socks. Pretty, though… 😉

And, so excited to add this – finished my first Swirl, Winter Waves, in Mayhem, a lovely Yowza Whatta Skein (about 3.5 of them, actually) from Miss Babs. This was a Christmas gift for my daughter, but was surrendered to her as soon as it was blocked and finished. It took me a little more than a month to knit it, and I absolutely love the way it came out. It looks incredible on her; starting my own now. This is a LOT of knitting…

Swirl the First... Snuggly!

Swirl the First… Snuggly!

Between finishing her Swirl and Christmas, I did two Travelling Woman (Women?) shawls for my sisters-in-law who were coming for Christmas. One in a lovely merino from FishKnits, the other in beautiful Grace cotton from Patons (for the dear lady who is allergic to wool). And I think I’ve found the answer to my issues with the chart on the Yorkshire Shawl – my husband gave me his small magnetic dry-erase board, which I used to hold the charts for Travelling Woman – with a long straight magnet that shows me the row I’m working. Yes, I know I can buy one of these several places online, but this was so perfect, and “free”! And a total revelation – loving lace knitting, now! (Picture me smacking my forehead, please).

Travelling Woman #1, Merino, FishKnits

Travelling Woman #1, Merino, FishKnits

Cotton, Grace by Patons

Travelling Woman #2, Cotton, Grace by Patons

Then there was a last minute inspiration for a hat for my niece, and subsequently another like it for my nephew in shades of brown.

Copied from a baby hat my niece posted on Facebook... So cute on her!

Copied from a baby hat my niece posted on Facebook… So cute on her!

And then, because you can’t leave anyone out (except my daughter’s boyfriend, because of the “knitting for the boyfriend” curse, and my husband, because he understands) – two after-the-fact hats in a color-of-their-choosing for my brothers.

Black and Navy held together

Black and Navy held together

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Chunky Walnut

Done and mailed on 1/6 – Twelfth Night, so technically, on time for Christmas?

If you’re reading this (thank you!) from somewhere terribly cold and snowy, I apologize for the gorgeous sunny day the outside photos were taken (today!). Please understand that our record-setting beautiful weather here in Northern California is actually a pretty bad thing right now – we’re in the middle of a terrible drought, our lakes are drying up, and water rationing is right around the corner. Would love a little bit of rain/snow, the sooner the better…

Happy to have had the moment to catch up – hoping to be more regular with posts. Probably should calendar an annual one about matching self-patterning socks just to keep the readership going!