Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

One skein and one sleeve

I truly though nothing could top yesterday's knitting debacle. Today Kyle was kind enough to agree to pick up my additional ball of yarn, as my hours wouldn't allow me to get there before they closed. He took the ball band from the yarn I bought Friday to show the store owner. Wouldn't you know it, in 60 hours, the store managed to sell every last ball in my dye lot. Of course! Kyle called me at work and I couldn't believe it. I just about told him to forget it, I was ripping out the whole thing and knitting a hat. But I thought it couldn't hurt to at least look at the different lots next to each other. It could be worse. The new lot is a bit brighter, but I can knit both sleeves with it, and I don't think the difference between the body and the sleeves will be that noticeable.

So, tonight I reknit the top and shoulders of the sweater, bound off (again), and knit one sleeve. And I stayed up far too late to do so, but I'll never get it blocking in time otherwise. I hope to block it tomorrow before bed and think very dry thoughts. Barring any new catastrophes, that is. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Knitting Disaster

Andrea requested a daily progress report on how The Plan is going. Well, pretty poorly, in fact. I was awfully frustrated until I started thinking about how many issues I've encountered with this one simple, silly little sweater, and it's actually almost funny. Almost. So here goes.
  • Friday: I did finish the front of the sweater, and began the back.
  • Saturday: I knit to within one inch of the top of the back of the sweater. Then I panicked about the pattern's plethora of seam sewing and ripped it all out. (I hate to sew seams and I'm not very good at it. And why do it if you don't have to?) Surely, a redesign to allow for knitting in the round, a 3-needles bind-off at the neck, and picking up arm stitches was the correct choice. As I cast on with my trusty size US7 needles, I started to wonder if I even owned any size 8 circulars. (Only the first 2 rows are knit with 7 and then the pattern increases to size 8.) I checked. Nope, no size 8, 16" circulars in the house. It's now 8:30pm on Saturday night. So I think, "Hmm, the drape of the fabric was rather loose with the 8s, I suppose knitting the whole thing with 7s will actually be an improvement." But what about gauge, you ask? I need to cast on more stitches to compensate for smaller needles or the sweater will be too small. Never one to fuss too much about gauge, I make a purely random decision to cast on 100 stitches in stead of 90. I knit almost 3 inches before bed.
  • Sunday: OK, I should be starting on a sleeve this morning, but there's no need for panic. I have all day to work on this. So I knit. And knit. And knit. I knit while watching 4 episodes of Hero's that Kyle taped for me for just such an occasion. And as I knit, I vaguely consider at what point I should stop knitting in a circle and start going back and forth to allow for arm holes. The original pattern is 40 stitches around the arm at the top, decreasing to 30 at the wrist. Do I consider the size 7 needles? Nope. Do I take time to measure my gauge and calculate mathematically? Nope. I'm a scientist, but I'm also impatient. I make a gut decision - 3 inches. I will need arm holes three inches deep. I proceed. I knit back and forth while watching Lord of the Rings. I execute a most beautiful (if I do say so myself) and clever 3-needle bind-off at the shoulders, weave in my ends, and proceed to the first sleeve. I'm feeling good. I am a Knitter. A Knitter who can rewrite whole patterns on a whim! And it's only 2:30pm. I can surely finish the first sleeve today and be right on target. Hooray! I do realize, however, that due to the smaller needles, I've used more yarn than the original pattern called for. Not to fear, I'll pick up stitches for the first arm and then, when Kyle has time, get him to drive me to the yarn store (my sister has my car and I'm afraid to drive the scary manual transmission truck into town when it's busy). So I pick up stitches. 30, to be exact. Wait, only 30? The number that should be decreased to by the wrist? With larger needles? Uh oh. Can I pick up more? Nope - 30 is all I can squeeze. Hold on. Just how deep should a sleeve hole be for a newborn, anyway? Let me check some size charts on the internet. More than 3 inches? Like maybe 4? Oh No! I panic. A lot. I am very upset. I look at the sleeve hole long and hard. Yep - it looks small. Like, too small for a baby's arm, small. I don't want to rip down 4 inches on each side and start over. I panic more. I wander around the house dazed. I am a Terrible Knitter. I stink. Why did I ever think I could randomly adjust a pattern, willy nilly, and it would work? Arg?! It's now 3pm and Kyle offers to take me to the yarn store. Nope, I say. I am a Terrible Knitter and his cousin will be getting a Store Bought gift. There's No Way I have time to fix this. I mope. How did this happen? Things were going so Well. I sweep the floor (I clean when I'm mad). Fifteen minutes later I'm still muttering under my breath, and Kyle asks for a more detailed explanation of the problem. I demonstrate. He says, "So why don't you just take apart the very top and make the arm hole bigger from that end?" Hmm. Why didn't I think of that? Sure, it'll make the whole thing an inch longer, but that shouldn't be critical. The problem now is that the store closes in 20 minutes. The store is 15 minutes away. We RUN to the car (shoes in hand) and Kyle (my Hero) drives to get me there as fast as (safely, legally) possible because this is a Knitting Emergency. With 5 minutes to spare, we reach an empty parking lot next to a locked yarn store. Sigh. Kyle will try to pick up the yarn for me tomorrow, but given the last 48 hours, I am not hopeful for a happy outcome.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Procrastinating again

I have a baby shower to attend next weekend, so when did I start considering what I might knit? Yesterday, of course. Never fear, I have a Plan:
  • Friday: knit front of sweater
  • Saturday: knit back of sweater
  • Sunday: knit sleeve #1
  • Monday: knit sleeve #2
  • Tuesday: sew seems and block
  • Thursday: knit entire sweater because I failed to meet objectives Saturday through Tuesday
  • Friday: panic that sweater will never dry by Saturday morning
  • Saturday: run out to store to buy a baby sweater

The color of Christmas (knitting)

Yarn for some of my Christmas projects arrived this week. Woo hoo! I hope I'm not being too ambitious this year. I assume that by next year, I won't have time to make anything homemade, so I'll enjoy this while I can.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Steady On...

....like the honkers
They pass through the air
You can hear them coming
And you step out and stare.
They're in chevron formation
And they'll follow their leader
Who'll tire when she's flown
Through the sunshine
And the thunder.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cranberry Apple Crisp

1. Mix topping:
  • 1 C. oatmeal
  • 3/4 C. flour
  • 3/4 C. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 3/4 C. chopped toasted nuts
2. Combine the following and put in 9x12" baking dish:
  • 8 large apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/3 C. cranberries
  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
3. Add topping and bake at 375F for 20 minutes covered, then 40 minutes uncovered.

Oh, and I debated titling this "Kyle Gets Lucky" (refer to earlier post).

Mystery Project

Here is the beginning of a mystery project. I can't tell you what it will be, or who it's for. But it's really fun to knit, and isn't it pretty? It's in a llama/wool blend that creates such a lovely fuzzy halo around the finished fabric. I really adore this yarn. Thanks, Erika, for donating it to my stash!

I ordered lots of yarn today for various other upcoming mystery projects. I don't know how I'm going to blog about any knitting between now and Christmas. (Or, for that matter, how I'll ever get it all done.) OK, everyone - stop reading. Kidding. But you might have your picture taken with a finished knit to post after I'm done. You've been warned.

Death of an Apple

Apple Orchard

Mom and I went to an apple orchard yesterday. It was the perfect fall day, and I had fun just hanging out with Mom. We weren't the only ones with that idea, however, and the trees were picked almost bare. Next year we'll try a less touristy orchard. The make-your-own caramel apples were great, however, and I also scored a mini acorn squash that I'll enjoy for lunch today. If Kyle's lucky he'll have apple crisp tonight.

Friday, October 19, 2007

This Morning

I was home sick yesterday with the flu, and as I'm not scheduled to work today, I have the luxury of recovering fully with tea and cranberry muffins. I feel much better.

Madison and Library Knitting

I'm falling behind in posting, thanks to a busy week of work, play, and having the flu. On Kyle's birthday we met Jason and Michelle in Madison for a great day just bumming around. We got turned around in the capitol building while searching for the observation deck, and theorized that the confusing passageways could be to blame for our state's lawmakers failing to pass a budget (now something like 112 days pathetically overdue). Our elected officials are aimlessly wandering the halls, unable to determine how to get to meetings and the assembly hall. One is so desperately lost, he's given up trying to escape and is living in his office.

Sunday I tried out the knitting group at our local library. I took along my blanket, which is progressing slowly because it is going to be huge. They were a small but friendly bunch, and I'll probably go back again. They are also members of the Walworth county knitting guild and invited me to join them. I'd love to, but I'm not sure if now is a good time to join another group that will require time away from home. But it was nice to escape the football on TV for a few hours. Kyle doesn't watch very often, so I shouldn't complain. I just don't know how anyone can stand to listen to those idiot commentators for more than 10 minutes without stabbing their ears with a knitting needle.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Steamy October Camping

The combination of autumn color, migrating birds, and weather in the mid 80's made this weekend's camping trip to beautiful Kettle Moraine (Ottawa Lake) a bit surreal.

Punkin learned to swim and scored a few pancakes, but wasn't too sure about the whole camping thing (I'm sure she'll write about it on her blog).

The highlight for me was Meredith and Ewan joining us for dinner and a campfire Saturday night. We ate pizza pudgy pies and Kodiak Apple Surprise under a starry sky. The K.A.S. was our own creative invention, and I'm happy to share the recipe below. (And shhh....don't tell anyone, but the surprise is that the apple EXPLODES into molten apple sauce with bits of cake yumminess around it.)

Kodiak Apple Surprise
  • Cut the core out of an apple from the top, and scoop out any remaining seeds with a spoon, being careful not to cut through the bottom.
  • To the hole in the apple, add 2 spoonfuls Kodiak pancake mix, 1 spoonful water, 1 spoonful brown sugar, and a big dash of cinnamon. Stir carefully with a knife or spoon handle.
  • Wrap in foil with a big "handle" at the top. (This'll remind you which end to keep "up" and serve as a handle for moving around in the fire.)
  • Place wrapped apple on hot coals for a long time. Think it's done? Check it. Has it exploded yet? No? Put it back in the fire.
  • Enjoy.

Thank you, Mer and Ewan, for forgetting your ground cherries at our camp site

They were delicious. You forgot your bug spray as well, but that we will return to you.

Friday, October 05, 2007


I am blogging today in protest of the side column of my blog being HIJACKED by Kyle. (The Dirty Laundry Situation.) All in favor of removing this (to use the term very loosely) "feature", please leave Kyle a nasty comment now. Something along the lines of: "Kyle, How dare you squash her creative spirit by encouraging her to focus on such mundane tasks as the organizing of clothing in the traditional manner? Who is to say that sorting clothing into piles by alternative criteria such as smell and expected-lifespan-to-next-washing is not equally valid?" If we all let our voices be heard, we can truly make a difference.

Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Drive-by shooting

Sometimes while Kyle is driving I like to roll down my window and take pictures.

I am especially amazed by just how flat the farm land is near our city. It'd be fun to live in one of those farm houses and watch storms roll across the land. We've got a great storm outside right now. I'm looking forward to listening to the rain on the roof from under the covers. Good night!