Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Not here, but I got your attention didn’t I?

This is one of those posts where I am just rambling about what’s on my mind, so if you’re looking for knitting or cats, you’re out of luck today.

Here’s the thing; I was thinking about my ongoing quest to find the perfect organizational tool this morning. It never actually happens. I find a bag or a gadget or whatever that seems to have all of the right elements and every time I put it into use I find the “exception” that keeps it from being exactly what I want or need. Do you know what I mean? Take my planner for example. When I stumbled across it in the store, I thought, “hey, this one could work” It’s actually a “student” planner, so it runs from Aug 09- Jul 10… “okay, I can work with that” I thought… and I have so far (I’ll worry about what to do after Jul when the time comes). But soon after implementing it, reality set in. It’s largish about 8 1/2” x 5 1/2” which is not a bad size for a desktop planner, but proves a little impractical for carrying around with me unless I carry a really big purse (which sometimes I do, because, um, well, rabid sock knitter). That’s not actually the exception. The exception is an issue with my to do lists, last year I just used a smallish (easy to fit in any size purse) notebook and wrote out everything I could think of on a weekly list and marked things off or added to it as needed. This worked well because I had plenty of space to write and could carry over tasks when needed. I could also use two pages when necessary to list knitting projects on one and other stuff on the other. It gave me a good clear idea of things that I wanted to accomplish at a glance. The downside to that system was that I then needed a separate calendar. Thus, it was not perfect. So this year, I tried to “kill two birds with one stone” with the new planner. But… the little spaces on the weekly pages for each date don’t give me enough space to write everything down and there are no blank pages for the overview and master planning. Can you tell I used to be a Franklin Covey girl when I worked full time?

I actually still have the nice leather cover for my old planner and could buy the refills, but that’s sort of overkill for planning when to vacuum and what to knit, don’t you think? I think the thing weighs around 3 or 4 pounds when it’s got all the pages inside. (It used to lovingly be referred to as my “brain”)

Anyway, I digress. So my quest for a good system of tracking my day to day activities fell short of my needs. I’ve been struggling with how to overcome this issue and mostly losing. I often lose track of things I intended to do only to think of them much later and then I get frustrated with myself for being scatterbrained. I. Need. My. Lists!

I know there are electronic gadgets out there that can do some of that work and possibly in the future, that may be a solution for me, but until that is feasible, I guess I’ll continue the quest.

This isn’t isolated to planners and calendars. The same thing happens with purses, bags and other organization gadgets. I start out very hopeful and the thing seems so full of promise and then I discover the shortcoming. I sometimes wish I had more skills and all the right tools so that I could assemble all the right elements and develop perfectly customized things that would meet my needs and keep me exactly as organized as I want to be.

So maybe that explains in a very convoluted way exactly what happened when we tried to use a switch to connect my hubby's laptop to the internet yesterday.  It didn't work out like we thought it would. 

Anyway, Thanks for letting me ramble.
Happy Knitting!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Diversions, Diversions

Having hubby home is wonderful, but it also has proved to be a source of distraction for me. Hours that I used to have to just putter around and knit or whatever is now time when he wants to go here or there or just have my complete attention. Not that I’m complaining about that, but rather I’m still trying to adjust to all the changes. I don’t expect to get too used to having him around all the time either, because eventually, he will find some type of job and we’ll have to work out a new routine again. But it has been a bit of a diversion for me changing my routine for the past year.

I have several finished projects to show off though! The first is a diversion of the knitting kind. When we had our staff meeting at work a couple weeks ago, Linda asked for a volunteer to knit up a sample in one of the yarns that wasn’t doing so well. So, since I knew we had a car trip coming up, I volunteered. I figured I could whip up a quick little project… and I did. (Never mind the fact that I could have finished a couple other things in that time).

Here’s what I made:

Pattern: Top-down Alpaca Mitts by Ann McClure from Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences
Yarn: Schulana Mosco in color Orchid
Size 2 (2.75mm) needles

This was actually a pretty fun pattern once I got beyond a few distractions. The layout in the book created a little confusion for me at first. The pattern included written directions for the lace pattern, a chart for the lace pattern and thumb gusset and written line-by-line instructions for the construction. The lace chart and written pattern were on different pages though. Also, the instructions for placing the cables on the palm were a little convoluted and confused me at the beginning as well as the pattern being interrupted by extraneous instructions. I ended up having to knit the right mitt twice. (I added an extra pattern repeat somehow the first time, which threw off the thumb placement). The pattern is well written in terms of the actual knitting instructions, but the flow of the pattern wasn’t good for me. I really enjoyed working the smocking on the wrist. Despite my issue with the pattern, I think they turned out really cute.

Despite finishing these so quickly (about three days) I hit a bit of a rut. Last Thursday on the way to work I was trying to figure out how many things I had OTN and stopped counting at about six. It was definitely time to finish some things, so I did.

I finished the third pair of Noro striped socks, the ones I called 1-2-3 Fun Stripe:

This was just a basic sock pattern with a six round stripe using Noro Kureyon Sock in colorways S164 and S102. Knit on size 1.5 (2.5mm) dpns. I actually ripped out half a sock to start the stripe sequence in a different spot with the S102 on the second sock, but am much happier with the end result than I would have been if I would have just left it that way. I have about 10gms left of the 102 and 15g of the 164… which will show up somewhere else eventually. (Wink, nod, smile) These socks sort of remind me of Fruit Stripe Gum that I used to like when I was a kid.


I finally finished the Squirrel mittens

I loved this pattern and would highly recommend it if you are thinking about doing a color-work project.  I redid the thumb on the first mitten to correct the tension problems I had originally.  I used ML for the hand part and switched to two circs for the thumbs which worked better for the small circumference. I love the inside of the thumb.  I think these will get worn today based on the weather report!

In the midst of all this, I have been knitting a pair of plain white anklets, which have served as my demonstrator project for the sock class that is finishing up tonight. They will probably be done soon. I probably won’t post a picture, because truthfully they are really boring.  I only knit on The Big V vest project at work (when I have time) and I’m also still trying to make progress on my bi-color cable sweater (I’m doing the bust shaping and find it needs too much focused attention and dedicated time to work on much right now).  I’ve also got a partially knit shawl lurking in my knitting basket and I just started working on the socks that I actually planned to knit in January… behold, the Pop-out Penguins have begun:

And last, but not least, I cast on another pair of the Noro socks for my purse project. No pic yet since all there is right now is a cuff.

That about sums up what’s going on and off my needles, I hope your January has been a productive month!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quick Update

Hubby is officially a "retiree" again.  We have been busy with a little traveling.  Hopefully this week won't be so hectic!  We're still trying to get a routine back now that he is settled in and the holidays are over.  I think maybe finding a "new" normal is what we're doing.  I'll have some knitting to show off once I get my pictures uploaded.  Have a great week!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Noro Fever

Some people get cabin fever this time of the year; I seem to have developed a slight case of Noro fever. After finishing the second pair of Winter Stripe socks …

I rewound the leftovers and added them to my collection….

And then after knitting a bit on the right squirrel mitten, I gave in to the idea that had been percolating in my brain since grafting the toes on the second pair of Noros ... AND.... I cast on for another pair…

For this pair is using some S102 and S164 and I’m doing the stripes a little different; so far I like the result. Oh and there’s plenty yarn left from two other colorways so I can make one more pair…. But I may have to hold off on those so I can get something else done. Maybe I’ll even have some other FO’s to post soon!

In other news, DH will be out processing from the Army this week so the ticker above will be disappearing and the next stage will be for him will be to find a job… wish us luck!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, January 4, 2010

And We’re Off...

It’s been a busy but fun holiday season here at Nana’s. 

On Christmas Eve, I got the best gift ever when DH arrived in Milwaukee to begin his final leave before finishing up in January.  We attended the service at church and then snuggled in front of the fireplace at home, having exactly the kind of Christmas we’d both been dreaming of.  On Christmas day we headed down to Central IL for Christmas with my parents and brother.  My Brother was also on leave after preparing for a year of Army service and imminent departure to Iraq (he returned to base the next day and departed on the 30th – prayers will be appreciated!). 

Both I and the kitties are very happy to have DH home.  Zelda is having a hard time figuring out which lap to sleep on. 

For New Years we headed to MI to see our daughter there and catch up with the MI grandkids.  My how they have grown!

And knitting?  Well, there was some scheduled and some unscheduled projects.  I’ve made too small of progress on the sweater to take up space with a picture.  I did finish the left squirrel mitten:

If you notice the thumb is on a holder still.  I love this pattern and am enjoying getting the two handed stranding technique down.  This pattern is extremely well written and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a nice Fair Isle mitten pattern (except of course the Yarn Harlot).
The only problem I have actually encountered so far is with the thumb.  My fault not the pattern; I am finding it tricky to get the tension right at the needle change point.  I’m magic looping and perhaps should have switched to dpns for the thumb, but a) I was being too lazy to find my matching dpns for the project and b) stubborn, so I continued to knit the whole thumb even after I realized that I was not being consistent in making adjustments.   

 (can you tell?  The bottom is tight and the top is loose... ugh!)
So realistically, I will probably frog this thumb and reknit it once the right mitten is done. 

In a little unscheduled knitting, I decided I needed something simpler than the mittens to work on while I waited for hub’s flight to arrive and something less complicated than the sweater, less boring than the plain white anklets I already had on the needles…. So I cast on for a pair of Noro striped socks (this time for ME).  Just enough happiness with the color changes but nothing so complex that would succumb to errors caused by the distraction of excitement and anxiety that I was feeling that day.  I got through the heel of the first sock while knitting at the airport since I arrived early (it was rainy and blech and I get nervous driving in those conditions so I allowed myself plenty of drive time).  No biggie when you have knitting to keep you company.  I worked on these off and on and finished two socks, but the colors are so different that I immediately started another pair which I think will end up being totally mix and match. 

I’m using colors S233 and S102 this time.  I’m up to the toe shaping on sock #3, since these knit really quickly and make excellent travel knitting. 

So 2010 is off to a good start and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as this year unfolds.  I’m also looking forward to many fun planned and unplanned knitting projects. 

I’ll leave you with this shot of Zelda taken shortly after the New Year dawned:

Happy 2010!

May your knitting adventures take you many places this year and may the detours be just as fruitful.
Happy Knitting!