Hanging out the Linens

Earlier this year, in April, I decided to knit linen washcloths and I thought it would be more fun to exchange these washcloths with other knitters. So I set up an exchange with knitters from the Twin Cities Stitch n Bitch Yahoo group. There were eleven volunteers, each of us were given two or three exchange partners and about a week ago we met to exchange our washcloths.

Linen washcloth knitters, Delia, Renee and Amy at the Wilde Roast.

Here we are hanging out the linens on the laundry line. Delia felt it important to consider size and color in the linen washcloth line up.

So here they are. Pretty fabulous, don't you think?
Well I do, for most of us this was our first experience working with linen yarn. I think that we generally agreed that we all had our doubts when we began working with the yarn. It is stiff and likes to tangle and shouldn't be held too tightly or will cut your skin, but after you work with it for a while and learn to tame the finicky stuff it makes a wonderful fabric and is worth the extra effort. Not all of us were able to make it to the exchange but will be coming to the TCSnB picnic in July so we'll get to meet them and hear their war stories. I'll bring the line and we'll put up their washcloths as well. I still have to exchange with my partners so I'll post a picture of the washcloths I knit and the ones I received afterwards.

As I just mentioned the SnB group is having a picnic in July. This should be a lot of fun. It will be nice to put faces to the group members. Tipper is organizing the affair and my hat is off to her, she's doing a great job.

There is no transitional weather here in Minnesota. Officially summer began on June 21st and because it is now officially summer that means that it is hot and humid and it's going to be until sometime in September when winter begins. What? I told you there is no transitional weather, it is either hot or cold.

Oh, Oh, "Winter is Coming ", which by the way is the House of Stark family motto. Ooo, that reminds me George R. R. Martin has finally finished the next book in his A
song of Ice and Fire Series
. A Feast for Crows. Way to go, George! I was
beginning to give up hope. I'm generally a patient person but waiting for this
one has just been torturous. O.K., so those of you who don't read Sci-Fi/Fantasy
books this means nothing to you, but it really excited me.

Along with the hot weather comes thunderstorms, real boomers too. On the plus side, I haven't had to do much watering in the gardens. So, what do you knit when it's hot? not only hot, but humid to boot? Well, if your like me you're knitting Shetland Wool, just to be contrary. Seems perverse but that is what I'm working with, the sleeves of the Winter Sunset sweater. I say sleeves because I'm knitting both sleeves on one long circular needle using the magic loop method. True to form I've had to re-start these sleeves twice, but I think I have it now.

Here are more graphic images of sweater surgery. Cutting the new armhole steek.

And presto! An armhole is made.

I'm also knitting the go with the flow socks from the Interweave Knits -Summer Issue as a take along project. I take it to work and work a few rounds on my break. I'm also knitting both socks on one circular using the magic loop. I should work on the Monk's Travel Satchel but just haven't been feeling it, not sure why, just don't.

Here's one more picture, just for fun.
My youngest daughter. I'm calling her pumpkin face right now because there is big gaps between her new teeth. She has jack-o-lantern teeth to go with her potty mouth. She and I are currently at odds over her over use of the word, Poop. Right now everything she says has to include the word poop. So, I'm not allowing her to say the word poop within my earshot for the entire summer. She's handling the restriction pretty well, but isn't happy about it. She says when she's a teenager she will say poop all she wants. Sadly, I fear she'll have moved on from the word poop by then, but I don't want to think about it right now.

Check it out Ani wearing a dress
WARNING: Long meandering post ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day. It's the kind of day that makes putting up with all the other weird weather of Minnesota totally worth it. I decided to put up the screen gazebo ( because putting up with mosquito's is just another thing we have to do.) My six year old daughter Kati decided to help me. She said she was having her best day ever. I asked her why was that, she said because last year when Dad put up the tent he wouldn't let her help and he was very cranky. I discovered why a little later what made him so cranky. The tent doesn't quite fit the frame, so it's like trying to put a too short sheet on a mattress. I can get three corners to fit but can't quite get the other corner to fit the way it should. To fix the problem, I would need to take off .25" off of three of frame tubes, unfortunately, I don't have the tools to do this. So for now, I'll just have to live with the tent fitting less than perfect on the frame. Speaking of less than perfect, you may be wondering what has become of Caren's sweater.(And I will tell you, eventually)
It took me a few days of pouting before I could even look at the sweater. I took the sweater with me to the SnB to explain my problem to them, because apparently, I am the only one that was having a problem with the way the shoulders were lined up. As I was driving out there I was feeling moody. I was in the mood to turn the radio up and drive fast. I turned the radio up just as Weezer is on singing " If you want to destroy this sweater, pull this thread as I walk away..." I kid you not. Did I drive fast?, sure, but not for long because I saw the state trooper parked along the road watching for moody knitters in a funk about the sweater they are working on and driving too fast. I used to live in EP I should have remembered that that particular stretch of road is always being monitored. Fortunately, I was already slowing it down so I was not stopped. I accomplished nothing at the SnB everything that I was working on was turning to dust. I ripped out the Rogue I started for my daughter Ani because it was not going to be big enough. It would have fit her but she likes her hoodies to fit loose, so I figure best to start over now before I got to the shoulder's and found a reason to tear it apart. I ran out of yarn on the washcloth I was knitting. It is knit diagonally so I had to rip it back to the half way point to resize it. You see, the first time I thought the cloth was too small so I ripped it back and made it larger except I made it too big and ran out of yarn so now I was ripping it back again, third time a charm? somehow, I doubted it. I left the SnB not having accomplished anything, except for perhaps a lot of grousing. I did enjoy talking with the stitchers though, Amy was decked out in her new TCSnB T-shirt and tote. See

Meleah brought her latest finished sweater. Gloria She should be proud of that, it's very nice. Lisa was wearing her Mojo cap, sorry, I didn't get a picture. Ursala was there also calmly knitting on a baby blanket and smiling to her self as we groused about our knitting misadventures. She would simply say been there, done that.

To add to my discontentment my son's graduation was to be that evening, the weather was threatening rain and neither of his grandparents were going to be attending. They had their reasons for not coming and I understood but I have to admit I was feeling disappointed, not for me so much but for my son, Buck. Just the fact that Buck was able to meet all the requirements for graduation considering all he's been through, especially in the past two years is down right amazing. I'm not the only one who thought so, Buck received an Award and Scholarship for personal achievement.

My son Buck has Autism, he has Asperger's Syndrome or high functioning autism. This means that Buck has trouble interacting with people because he doesn't pick up on other people's body language and has difficulty knowing when someone is being sincere or just kidding around. He tends to take what someone says pretty literally, language all together has always been a problem for him then add sarcasm or hyperbole or dishonesty and it becomes even more of a puzzle for him. Not only, and quite possibly because he does have autism, Buckman was diagnosed with a condition called Shuerman's Kyphosis. His spine was not growing evenly and it was curving forward. To correct this problem required having a rod attached to his spine. In the fall of his junior year Buck had the surgery, a fourteen hour surgery. And despite being in pain and looking like a ghost returned to school six weeks later, after his six week checkup, in which everything appeared to healing well. We were wrong, very wrong, in truth Buck had a staph infection which loosened the equipment in his back and eventually caused it to break loose from his spine. Buck went back into surgery where he had the rod removed and he was put on antibiotic therapy for a month to be absolutely sure that the infection was gone. He then had to have a third surgery to put the rod back in. It was either that or walk around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for the rest of his life. Buck missed most of the school year and had to do his schoolwork from home. When he did return he had to wear a brace that looked like some type of medieval torture device. But he did it, I won't say cheerfully, because cheery isn't really a word that defines Buck's personality. That's not to say that he is a cheerless person either, Cindy, Buck's autism teacher, liked to describe Buck as a lovable grumpy curmudgeon. His Senior year required a lot of work to catch up for his Junior year but he kept at it and was able graduate with his class this spring as seen here.

The coming storm lost it's enthusiasm and blew away, letting us get on with the Graduation. Kurt's brother's family came for the graduation and we all cheered the graduates on.
My favorite part was when the principal during his address gave profiles of two students that he felt defined the spirit of the class of 05. One of the student's profiled was Buck (see above) but the best part was when he got to the part where the rod had come loose and had broken through the skin, there was an audible gasp from the audience. Didn't I mention that it broke through his scar? Oh, well it did. (Shudder) I wish I had known he was going to tell his story I would have brought his brace with ribbons tied on it and waved it high.

He's quite a guy, has always been. I loved him from the moment I saw him, just the way he is.

Wearing the black gown Buck said he felt like he was attending Hogwarts. Here he is with his mortal enemy, his kid sister Kate.

And just as the storm clouds for the graduation blew away, so did my personal black cloud begin to lift.
The next day, the official first day of summer vacation, things began to turn around for us. My husband, who had been laid off from work since Sept., finally snagged himself a position at a library. Woo Hoo. A new direction for him but one I think he'll be happy in. He got the call just after I discovered a way to fix Caren's sweater without ripping it back to the armpits. Woo Hoo, Woo Hoo. I think I was even more happy about the second one than the first.

So here's what I did. I repositioned the shoulder and made the steek wider by one block pattern repeat. I had to redo the back neck steek to take in more stitches but that wasn't as bad as taking the whole thing apart. O.K. so I took a few pictures because I don't think I can explain it too well. I'll warn you it looks worse than it was.

we can rebuild it, we can make it better

Sweater reconstruction

Shoulder seam revisited

And we're back, O.K that's the front but you know what I mean.

The surgery continues, I've already (deep breath) cut the steeks and have picked up the sleeve stitches. Thanks to everyone who left a comment and sympathized with my problem, even if they haven't come to that place in their knitting yet. I completely agree no one would have noticed. The problem was my own hang up and had I not figured out how to fix it with out ripping it out I probably would have just let it go....probably.

The Six Million Dollar Cardigan

I was happy, I was thrilled, I was over the moon to be finally finishing the body of the fair isle cardigan I've been working on for the past 8 months. I was looking forward to starting the sleeves. That all changed last night when I finished the last round of the body and I went to join the front to back at the shoulder. And well, here look. Here is the left front

and here is a picture of the shoulder grafted together, something is not right here

Here is a closer look.
Would this bother you? Because this bothers me, bothers me a lot. Why? Why, you ask? Because it didn't have to be this way. I was looking it over last night to see why the pattern didn't line up right. The problem is in the way the tube is divided. I can fix this, like the Six Million Dollar man, I could rebuild it, I could make it better, but to do this I would have to rip back to the armhole steeks, reposition the steeks so that the armhole steek is at the center of a block pattern and then decrease seven stitches on each side of the armhole, shaping the armhole. This will take out one block of the pattern and when I graft the shoulders the patterns will match up. There are a couple of advantages to this idea, one it will shape the armhole and narrow the shoulder seam and the sweater will be less boxy. Which isn't such a bad idea, because Caren has a smaller figure and we were a little concerned that the sweater was going to be a bit big. On the other hand this would mean unknitting hours of work. Each round took me about 20 minutes. It would probably push finishing this sweater off for another month of more.(on the other hand, it's taken this long what's another month or so?)
Here's my dilemma, it isn't a very obvious fault. It's the shoulder seam, most people looking at the sweater would never notice that the patterns do not match up, BUT (and here is where the OCD kicks in) I will , and I will know that I could have made this sweater a much better sweater, if I'd have taken the time to re-work it. So what do I do? I didn't think that this was a decision to be made at 1:30 am in the morning. I'm still on the fence. How crazy does this make me? Am I crazy enough to re-knit a third of the sweater just so the shoulder seams match up? Oh, I'm that crazy. Ask my sister who doesn't have her Christmas scarf from me because I unraveled it because I was unhappy with the way it was knit.