Saturday, May 27, 2006

What a long, strange - whatever!!!!

It's been a very long, weird 2 weeks. I've been working extra hours, knitting obsessively (what else is new??) and trying to make believe that I actually do have something resembling a life. I don't think I'm actually buying it, though.
The kidlet went to her HS's graduation on Thursday - 2 hrs in the sun - can you say YEOWCH?!?!?!?! As my mom said, she's doing her imitation of a blood blister. Bright red, thankfully no blisters. Yes, we ALL know the dangers of skin cancer, and it's been drilled into her head (I've had 3 removed, and she's seen the stitches and the scars), but some things apparently must be learned, rather than taught.
I'm currently working on my second pair of "Fingerless Gloves" from Not Just Socks. I finished the gauntlets a couple of weeks ago, and hope to get the pics up soon. The first pair went to my sister, with the promise that I would eventually finish the socks that I'm currently knitting for her. But, I can't help the obsession - I've got to knit more fingerless gloves and gauntlets. I'm thinking that they might sell really well at this year's arts & crafts fairs. So, I'm planning on making several pairs - and also finishing the baby blanket for my soon-to-be-born grand-nephew, the socks for sis, the monkey for other nephew, etc., etc., etc.
I'm also trying to figure out where and when to teach some knitting classes. Lion Brand yarn has started a knitting club, with instructors teaching knitting, and then those who learn are eligible to start their own knitting clubs. Lion Brand has several patterns from which to choose - all are very simple, and look really easy to teach. Of course that depends on those learning. I've not had a lot of experience teaching knitting, so wish me luck!
I'm also the area coordinator for this year's Knit In Public Day - June 10, 2006. I've got to find some place that we can knit without actually booking a park or something. I'd love to be able to go to the mall, or to a nice, shady park to knit, but I'm not sure I can do either without first getting permission, and shelling out some bucks. I'm going to look around today, cause I've got to get the info back to Danielle. For more info, check out her site:

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Of Swatching and Blocking

The quick post is - I don't. I don't swatch or block. OK, technically I block - in the washing machine.
Here's the thinking:
I used to swatch, when I first started knitting. I'd dutifully knit my little 6-inch square of yarn, measure, rip out, knit it again, re-measure, rip it out and knit the sweater (or whatever) anyway. I knit to gauge. I always have. My grandmother taught me to knit - she never said anything about knitting swatches (or blocking, either, for that matter, but that's for a later discussion), she just knit. She had a stash of pattern books that would make ANY knitter absolutely DROOL with envy! I have most of them. Some are far too delicate to even look at, let alone use to knit something. But a lot of the styles are back in fashion - it's kinda cool! She also never taught me how to read a pattern (that I remember), I just kinda had to figure that out myself. So, knitting a gauge swatch was new to me. When I came back to knitting after about a 5-year stoppage, the patterns I was seeing all had this "gauge" thing on them (this was in the 70's) - I didn't know what it was, and when I figured it out, I thought it was a waste of good knitting time to knit a small square of fabric that you were going to rip out. I never even considered knitting it, and keeping it someplace. Besides, when I started knitting again, I jumped in with both feet - my first project was an Aran pullover with a front pocket and a hood - like the hoodies my daughter wears now. Knitting a swatch gauge for that would have been a freaking nightmare! One gauge for each cable pattern? I don't think so!!!!
So, anyway - I don't knit gauge swatches.
As for blocking - pah!
It's a piece of string that you've formed into a different shape! Of COURSE it's going to look a little funky when you first finish it! But, a quick round in the washer and dryer, and, voila! You have a wonderful garment that looks like what it's supposed to look like - a sweater, a blanket, a pair of gloves or socks, whatever.
Now, I've gotta say here that I work almost exclusively with acrylic or acrylic blend yarns. I knit things that I want people to use - I want them to feel free to use the blanket I've knitted them, spill coffee on it, and know that they can throw it into the washer and dryer, and it's going to come out looking substantially like it did when it went in - maybe cleaner, but mostly the same. This is especially important in the case of baby blankets. See, I've had a baby - and I certainly did NOT have time to hand-wash some precious thing that somebody gave me. And, face it, people, baby stuff is just nasty - from formula to baby food, to juice - it all gets spilled, and it all makes a horrible (possibly staining) mess. Another point in acrylic's favor - it's really hard to stain.
I took a class in modular knitting one time. She was a lovely lady who's name escapes me at the moment, and everyone else in the class was simply awed that she had agreed to teach this class. I'd happened to be in the yarn shop she was scheduled to teach the class in one day, saw the sign-up and signed up. Anyway, she said that her favorite blocking technique was the washer. So, I felt vindicated.
There's nothing like a quick spin in the washer (full wash/rinse cycle) to make a sweater behave like a sweater. And, if it's acrylic - toss in the dryer, and you can wear your new creation the same day you finish it.
That's another thing about me - I have no patience.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Today has been VERY stressful! Work and home life have conspired against me, and I'm so stressed out that I just wanna go 'way! I want to knit, I want to learn how to spin, I want to be incredibly rich, so I can do what I want, when I want. Unfortunately, since I'm a working stiff, and the lottery gods are not smiling on me, I'm at work. Stressed out. Wishing I was any place else. Wishing I was knitting. Wanting my mommy! Wanting to go home, and curl up under a soft blanket and sleep.
First gauntlet is almost done - hopefully this weekend (I want to finish it tonight, but know that's not going to happen - even if I knitted on it all evening, I wouldn't finish, the yarn & needles are WAY to small to allow that kind of progress.)
So, I'm going to go back to my pouting now. (In my best Eeyore voice:) thanks for listening.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Today I am a mom

Today, my daughter turns 15!!! She's an awesome kid, and while I'd like to claim some (ok, all) of the credit - I can't. I tried like hell to raise her so she wouldn't spend any part of her life in the Pen, and so far, that's working out pretty good. But she's as sharp as they come, and all the stuff they say about "little pitchers have big ears" (I NEVER understood that!) is absolutely true. I could list all the stuff I've done wrong, and can think of very little I've done right -
she doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs, or any of that other stuff that drives parents right straight up the wall. She mostly does her best to be who she is - one thing I know I taught her - and to stand up for what's right and just, and she just rocks - so, for today, let's salute my kidlet! The one and only thing her father did right! LOL

I'm currently knitting the gauntlets from "Not Just Socks" - I'm using the Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch - NOT what the instructions called for, but it's got the most amazing color fade I've ever seen!
Of course, the baby blanket, leg warmers & socks are still on-going. The ADD/OCD won't let me focus on any one project for too long! LOL