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Archive for March, 2007

Needle Profusion Confusion

I found in my reading today in Cassie’s blog that Claudia has a needle storage issue.  I am like a lot of other knitters in that I have many, many sets of circular needles, many of which are the same size and length.  (Non-knitters, my husband in particular, just don’t get it.  You sometimes have to buy duplicates of what you already have because a) your needles are already in a project, b) you are away from home and need to start knitting right now  or c) you are too lazy to look for the set you already own, and if you go to the store to buy a new set, you may find That Wool you’ve been waiting for your whole life.)  I used to keep my circulars in the original cases, filed in order of size in a cute little box, until one day I realized that I hate having to soak/steam/straighten needles every time I want to start a new project.  After all, time is very important at the beginning of a project; you must strike while the iron is hot, so to speak, and that three minute delay could mean…well, I’m just lazy and I want to start knitting immediately. 

My solution was to take a piece of plywood, and drill rows of holes in graduated sizes.  I did the bare minimum of sanding, painted it, labelled each row of holes to correspond to my needle sizes, and stood it on the floor in my studio/office/craft repository.  I poked each set of needles through a hole in the corresponding row, and the other end is allowed to dangle and be free.   The theory is sound.

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I actually used it like this for a couple of years, even though the intention was to hang it horizontally on the wall.  Vertically, the dangling needles tangled, and I would pull out some 4.5’s and get a half dozen assorted sets.  I keep a needle gauge handy in case I don’t trust my filing, and I did keep all the original cases just in case.  (In case of what?  WHAT?  Maybe if I move?  I’m more likely to just stuff them all into a shoebox, but still bring all the original cases.  Just in case.)  So, this morning, after reading Claudia’s comment, I descended to the basement to assess the situation and take pictures for the blog.  A light bulb went on over my head and I realized that I had a perfectly good narrow ledge shelf from that Swedish store on the opposite wall that was sitting empty, and lugged the needle board across the room to its new home. 
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 I took advantage of my new horizontality to label 40, 60, 80 and 100 cm lengths at the top of the board.

Less needle tangle!  I have solved a problem!  I am woman, hear me roar!  I am always amazed how a small accomplishment like that can make my day.  I think I’ll go and have lunch.  Woo hoo.  

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I did it.  I finished laboriously tacking down the slippery ends in the bamboo tank top, and hung it up for inspection.  The pattern warns that the finished creation will stretch out to fit you (Warning!  Warning!) and it does indeed look long and slender (moreso than I do, truth be told).        

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So, I got brave and tried it on.  Well, it does stretch in all the right places (and a wee bit in a couple of the wrong ones!), but the biggest problem is in the armholes.  There is no border or ribbing around the openings, so it rolls under big time, and consequently is more than slightly peek-a-boo.   I don’t want to put sleeves on it, but I’m thinking of just picking up and knitting a row, then casting off.  Should work, and is the laziest least amount of work I can come up with. 

Well, that about looked after my attention span for the morning, so out came the black cardigan.

I lied.  I went out for lunch and watched the rain turn to snow.  Bleah.  But I’m home again, back into comfortable shoes, and ready to attack the black cardigan.  I pulled the sleeves out of the  bag, one finished just to the top of the lace cuff, and the other one about six inches up.  Something seemed wierd, and upon investigation I found that one was on 5mm straight needles (straight?  Who put it on straights?  I never use straights!), and the other one is on a circular 4.5mm. 

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 Okay, this is bizarre.  In all my copious notes to me before I put it away, there is not one mention of the needle size.  I have no idea what size the body was knit on, so I’m going to make an educated guess.  5mm it is.  Away to the races! 

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Andy’s Birthday

Eighteen years ago to the minute, I was giving birth to my younger son.  It’s been quite a trip so far, watching him grow (and in the last two months, grow up).  We always said we wanted him to end up about half an inch taller and ten pounds heavier than his older brother, just for payback purposes, but when I told his brother that, Geoff just smiled and said “It doesn’t matter how big he ends up; he’ll never be as angry as I am.”  End of conversation.  Andy will have to be sneakier.

The pieces for the bamboo tank are finished.  I just have to assemble and then spend many hours tacking down the ends with a needle and thread.  There is no way around it.   Hopefully I can wear it without having to purchase some elaborate foundation garment…I am actually getting ready (psychologically) to pull out a WIP, and finish the sleeves!  I can’t help but think that it would be really cool to put pictures in this blog, but I am kerflummoxed.  I will keep trying, and maybe someday, Geoff will come home from the Caribbean and show me how.  (Like that’ll entice him…)

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Oh look!  A Picture!  Three cheers and a tiger for me!

                         
I took the dogs for a walk yesterday- there’s still a lot of ice and snow and standing water, so Wallace the Sheltie was somewhat less than enthusiastic.  Attie the retriever couldn’t care less if her feet get wet, but they both tuckered out about halfway around the route, and I pretty much had to drag them home.  I felt like a cheerleader: “Come on, you can do it!  Let’s go home and get some cookies!”   I hate this time of year- my floors are a mess, and the pump in the backyard needs babysitting ’round the clock.  Worst of all, there is a seemingly endless supply of dog bombs in the backyard with my name on them.  Why is it that just because I am bringing no money into the household, I get all the yucky jobs?  Not only that, I know darn well that even if I was working, I’d still be getting all the yucky jobs.   I’m sorry, I am so angry with the unfairness of it all that I am going to go and knit something.  Or maybe ice a birthday cake and reflect on how until five minutes ago, I was thinner today than I was 18 years ago.

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the Troubador

I am sitting at my desk checking my email, and my son is sitting on the floor leaning against the wall, with his feet under my desk.  This may not sound strange, but he will be eighteen on Sunday, and does not typically spend a lot of time just hanging out with me.  He is playing Mike’s guitar, showing me his progress on Classical Gas, and Anji (Simon and Garfunkel).  He is taking guitar this semester, and always has some kind of music in his sphere; iPod, guitar, computer, or the latest, a harmonica which he is teaching himself to play.  I suppose that his music is similar to my knitting; a sort of security blanket, something to do when you should be doing something else (in my case, cooking, or in his case, algebra).  He lives and breathes music, and shares it with us whether we want it or not.  To be honest, I am happy for it.  His older brother, when he still lived with us, would strap on the bass when he walked in the door, and apart from taking it off for meals (at my insistence) or showers (his own idea; something about electricity and water, blah blah blah) he would wear it until bedtime.  I have missed the music- Geoff’s been gone for almost four years, and it took Andy until this year to pick up the slack.  Anyways, it’s back, and I love it.   Thanks for sharing, Andy. 

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False Start

I am getting quite tired of snow. We have had a long winter about which husband and son have complained non-stop, and I felt it was my job to be the cheerleader and try to keep everyone’s spirits up.  After all, we live on the prairies and it is only March.   We have had at least two thaws in the last few weeks, followed by more cold and snow.  Yesterday it warmed up and I thought we were on our way (yet again).  However, today is the first day of spring and we woke up to fresh snow this morning.  It was over top of ice, and Mike called from work to say that he had clipped another vehicle on the way to work and broken his taillight.  Our mantra seems to be “we live here on purpose, we live here on purpose, we live here on purpose…” but ENOUGH ALREADY.  The Canada geese are back, the sparrows are calling for mates, my son doesn’t want to wear a coat (he’s so mature 17) and I want to wear my sandals outside.  I am tired of tying my shoes when I could just be sliding on my sandals.  I have reached my Rope Limit.

I am almost done my bamboo tank top; the front and back are done, and I just cast on the cowl neck. 
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  I am figuring out the “upload photo” part of the adventure that is blogging, and there’s a picture above, but it looks out of focus.  This is just part of the Big Adventure.   Stay tuned.  Once the bamboo is done, I think I will attempt to finish a black cardigan I started last fall.  The body is done (in one piece, to accomodate an odd number of lace repeats), and the sleeves are almost done to the cap shaping.  Glenda at Prairie Lily is a good sport and will likely walk me through it another four or five times before she gives up  on me, but I do hope to have it done by next fall.

My friend Ruth in Calgary (to whom most of my stash went in December) sent me pictures of the thirty five hats she’s finished with the stash.  I am so relieved that the stash is being used; there wasn’t enough of anything to do a whole sweater, and hats aren’t my favourite thing.  Ruth is donating them to a group in Calgary who have cold heads and no hats, so I am basking in her reflected humble-ness.  This also frees me up to buy more wool.  Just when the basement was feeling tidy.  Oh well. 

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I just got a phone call from my husband.  He went to make his business deposit at the bank that I used to work at, and found it closed.  The note on the door made reference only to an emergency situation, and as there were no firetrucks in the parking lot, the logical assumption was robbery.  Sure enough, one of the bankers came by and confirmed that there had been an “incident” earlier in the morning.  My husband and I chatted about that being another good reason not to work at the bank (like it happens every day) and what we would do in that situation.  They trained us at the bank not to be heroes (something about kissing the floor and when it was all over going home to change your pants), and I think that is what I would do.  I am not by nature confrontational, ( if I was a bird I would likely be an ostrich.  Y’know, head in the sand, the whole shebang) and can’t imagine trying to foil anyone’s fiendish plot.  My husband is a big guy, and thought that testosterone just might kick in.  I can’t imagine him clotheslining anyone- he doesn’t even watch the Sopranos.  I guess we just don’t know what we would do until we found ourselves in the swing of things, so to speak.

On a knitting note, I am almost finished a bamboo yarn tank top, and only have to lose a few pounds before I wear it in public.  The yarn has been a little slippery to knit with; too slippery for addi needles, and not slippery enough for bamboo needles.  I also just read the directions at the part where they say “the ends should be tacked down with a needle and matching sewing thread” or words to that effect. Whoa, that’s one reason that I took up knitting- so I don’t have to sew.  I can see it now.   This is going to be the gift that keeps on giving.   Pictures will have to wait; I am still feeling my way through this whole blogging thing.  Or am I avoiding it?  I just don’t want my brain to burst.

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One giant leap…

So here I was, minding my own business (well, that’s a lie, because I was minding everyone else’s business and doing my daily reading of my favourite blogs), when all of a sudden (like, over the last two or three months) I realized that maybe I too should have my own blog.  After a few back-and-forths with Ruth I decided to take the plunge.  Here I am, in all my luddite computer-illiterate glory.  Please forgive the obvious goofs, the lack of finesse, and the amateur nature of the whole thing.  I’m  just learning.

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