Spring Broken

Day 6
In which I rip on spring and on spring - not so much.

Slayer bells ring, are you listening?
I had a thought for those of you who are still looking for something to knit for the
Buffy Kal.
Amy mentioned that there is a line from one of the episodes of Buffy of wearing cheese, or more like, "I wear the cheese, the cheese doesn't wear me." This brought to mind a sweater I saw in a back issue of Knitters Magazine Fall 2002 called Swiss Cheese. It also has a pattern for socks. Now I don't know if you can still get this issue, however if you can't, I think you could easily substitute a simple pullover sweater pattern and add the holes by randomly casting off a couple of stitches and then casting them on over the hole again in the next row, and for smaller holes yo/ K2 tog. Just a thought.

In the lane snow is glistening.

A beautiful sight? We're happy tonight? Walking in a winter (?) hinterland.

I give you the bridal wreath spirea, white with snow that borders our yard to the north.

How it was.

How it should be.


Spring is sprung the grass is ris, I wonder where the flowers is?

This is the picture I took of my boulevard garden on April 4th before going to see the Yarn Harlot in St. Paul.

My boulevard garden a week later.

My boulevard garden week three.

And week four.

Berma Shave


Our Spring Break, Minnesota Weather Breakdown April 2007
Saturday - Day 1 - Rain
Sunday - Day 2 - Rain
Monday - Day 3 - Overcast
Tuesday - Day 4 - Rain then Snow
Wednesday - Day 5 - Cold & Windy
Thursday - Day 6 - Sun but still cold.
Friday - Day 7 - Freezing
Saturday - Day 8 - Still Cold with even colder Wind chill.
Sunday - Day 9 - Sunny but still cold

End Spring Break.

So, not so much love from the Minnesota weather this spring break. So in an effort to comfort ourselves we rounded up some green things around us to cheer us up and bring a little warmth to our chilled hearts.

A custom made letter tile bag for my Scrabble game sewn and embroidered by my mother. She made and gave one to each of her girls last Christmas.

The hem of the green Jo Sharp sweater, Stellar, that I am knitting for me sister Lynn, eventually.

If you have a child in grade school then you already know that this is a green Tamagachi, which brings my youngest daughter hours of distraction and joy.

This, now green, heirloom headboard that came to us from the farm of my husband's grandfather, Grampa MacDonald. Oh, yes, it's true Ol' MacDonald had a farm.
The headboard is currently being used by my daughter Ani, so if you ever wondered where my daughter lays her head each night, there you go.

A 2cool4school twisted stitch knit cap. I came across this Meg Swansen twisted stitch cap design a couple of years ago and on a whim decided to knit one.

I gave it to Ani because she liked it, she doesn't wear it because, like me, she doesn't really wear knit caps.
Katie found it the other day and came into my room and asked me if she could wear it, I said "sure."

"Is it warm enough to wear it outside?"
"It's wool, it's warm enough."
So she left the room to get her winter gear on to make our daily trek together to the bus stop. She came back into the room wearing her usually gear and her old pink fleece hat that she usually wears.

"I thought you wanted to wear the green hat."
"Oh, yeah"

She leaves and comes back one more time, again without the green hat.

"Aren't you going to wear the green hat?"

"It doesn't fit under my hat, besides I'm not allowed to wear caps in school."

Confused I replied, " You don't need to wear both caps, you can only wear the green one."

"Well" she replied trying to say this so as not to hurt my feelings, "Mom, I really like the cap, it's really cool and everything, but all my friends and classmates don't wear caps like this, they wear caps like these, made of fleece and store bought, and although I know the green cap that you knit is a better cap, I really need to fit in with my friends right now." " I'll just wear it when I'm home."
"I see, so, let me get this right, what you're saying is, the green cap is, " too cool for school"
True story, people, I couldn't have made that up if I tried, I was floored.

The Lizard Ridge Square that I knit in Noro greens and blue and sent to Stephania for her Afghan 4 Afghans blanket that she is making.

And one final picture. A rather green picture of my daughter Ani, playing her Beethoven Romance solo with the High School orchestra at the Concerto Concert back in March.
For reasons that even she doesn't even know why, Ani knew she wanted to play violin when she was in second grade and could hardly wait until fourth grade when she could start playing. Apparently, violin was the instument for her and she has continues to develop her playing skills and intends to continue her music studies into college next fall.
I have heard it from other parents that they were so glad that their child didn't take up the violin, because they didn't think they could stand listening to the high and screachy notes that the violin can produce when first learning the instruments. I myself have never felt that way about her playing even from early on, I didn't mind her practicing of her instrument. (If it did, I don't recall ever having it bother me.) I don't think I could be prouder or happier for Ani and her success playing the violin.
Katie wants to play an instrument next fall. She wants to play violin like her sister, which would be fine, but Ani and I are trying to talk her into trying the cello instead. For a couple of reasons, 1. Ani and I love the sound of a cello, and 2. I want to discourge a rivalry between Katie and Ani, and spare Kate from constantly being compared to her older sister in her violin playing, and 3. because there is a lot of music that is written for violin and cello that they could play together when they are older. If we can't convince her to try cello, then she said she would like to play viola, which also has a very beautiful sound.

Ooooh, look there the flowers is!
Hobbes, you're not thinking about eating Ani's flowers are you?

Who? Me?


I wasn't going to eat them, I just wanted to taste them a little.

If you have any compassion or even the slightest care at all for me or my family please refrain from telling us how warm the weather was at the super, fabulous, exotic location that you and your family went to on your spring break.

The hold on our sanity is rather tenuous right now and I would hate for you to have to bear the burden of knowing that it was all your talk of sunny skies and warm weather that finally snapped the fine and frayed thread is our family's sanity which is currently perilously dangling over the very edge of reason. Seriously, I'm only thinking of you, talk of sand, sun and surf could very well send us careening over that edge and God only knows what could happen, all hell could break loose.
( Hell, hmm, let's think about that for a moment, well, at least it's said to be warm.... No, best not to think about it.)

A Grand Ole Time

Day 5
in which I wonder sometimes , why we stay.

The forecast calls for snow tonight.
Apparently there is some sort of tug of war going on with the seasons this year, the Spring equinox has come and gone but apparently winter has refused to pass the baton and end it's reign. This leaves us lowly mortals who are merely trying to make our way through this world at loose ends and unable to be certain of ourselves and our ability to plot our way through this world during this interregnum as these two forces of nature battle it out.

Okay that may be a bit over dramatic, but is this unusual weather making anyone else a little cranky?

(This is not the post that I had planned to post but I got to talking about The Harlot's visit and realized that this post was going to be way too long. So I will postpone my tear on "Spring Break" for another time.)

This be a picture of my front boulevard garden that I snapped on April 4th right before I was whisked away by Shelly to see and hear The Yarn Harlot speak and sign her latest book, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: the Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting, here at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

There is two reasons why I hitched a ride to St. Paul with Shelly, a.k.a. The Heathen Housewife. One is that we are currently down to using only one vehicle. My husband had the van at work and wouldn't be home until 5:30 which would mean I would have to drive to St. Paul during rush hour to arrive sometime after 6:00, which I would have done if I had no other option.

The second reason being I have a history of getting lost in St. Paul, nothing against St. Paul mind you, I just can't seem to negotiate it very well, so if I'm going to St. Paul, I try to go with someone who knows their way around it a little better than myself. Shelly works part time, teaching at The Yarnery, who was hosting the event, so I felt confident that she would be able to get us there and she did quite handily. (Thank you, Shelly)

We arrived there early, we deposited our yarn donations at the Yarnery and met with familiar faces, knitters and knit bloggers that we knew. With a little time to kill we popped over to Cafe' Latte next door, where we ran into more knitters, go figure. Shelly and I decided to be decadent and eat cake for dinner and a little salad for dessert.

After which Shelley had to head over to the law college to help with the check in and I found myself with a little time to kill. What I am about to tell you, I am not proud of, in fact, it makes me wonder about myself sometimes. I may need to stop and take a long hard look at what my actual abilities are and what I think that they are. On the upside it gives my daughter the opportunity to say "Oh, mother, you didn't"

I was aware that some knitters had planned on meeting at the Pad Thai Grand Cafe for an early dinner before going to the signing. I thought that I would see if I could catch up with them. I attained a brochure from the Yarnery and determined that the cafe was on Grand ave the same as the Yarnery only the Yarnery was at Victoria Crossing and the Thai cafe was at Macalester, or as on the brochure the Yarnery was at U and Pad Thai was at H, and honestly didn't seem that far on the map, about what? eight blocks? So I started walking up Grand Ave, thinking I could catch up with the knitters before they left.At this point allow me to give all props right now to Christy at Purling Away, who also had the same thought and wisely decided it was too far to walk.

I don't mind walking, I like walking and though I don't look it, I'm quite capable of walking long distances without much trouble, of course I wasn't wearing my usually walking shoes, I was wearing clogs, but it was fine. The weather was cold and windy but that too I didn't mind, I was dressed warm enough, my winter coat and gloves, warm wool socks and scarf.

I got as far a Hamline or N on the brochure, seven of the twelve, not eight blocks, as I had supposed before I decided this was folly. It was nearly 6:00 and even if I got to there the knitters had probably already left. So I decided I would take the bus back down the street. So I waited on the corner, debating whether or not I wanted to pop in to the Treadle Yard Goods store a for a quick look, I hear they have a nice selection of buttons. No, you know the minute I do the bus would come by and I'd miss it.

So I waited getting cold because I wasn't walking as before. I waited until 6:17 and I began to wonder if the bus wasn't going to come until 6:30, that may be cutting it close. So I decided it took me 20 minutes to walk this far, if I start walking I should be able to be back in time. I'll walk to the next bus stop and see if I can pick it up there. I got about a block and a half, a half block before the bus stop, when I watched the bus cruise on by me. I knew it, oh, well.

The walk wasn't so bad and it gave me an opportunity to acquaint myself with Grand Ave. in St. Paul. There were many interesting shops, I didn't stop to take many pictures but I did snap this pic, because, well, just because. So I walked all the way back and then on to the college, was admitted and found an open seat next to my friend Meleah (Corgi Mom) with ten minutes to spare, feeling more than a bit foolish, but at least I worked off all the sugar that I had earlier and I didn't have a long wait in line.
Stephanie's talk was fun and entertaining, as expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, catching up with the knitters, some I haven't seen in quite a while, and others that I'd only met virtually, via their blogs.
( I won't attempt to list them all Chris at Stumbling over Chaos has a good list of links to the bloggers and since virtually everyone including has probably blogged about there experience already I let them give you the whole story.)
I had gone to see Stephanie when she was in Eau Claire, WI, last fall and wasn't sure if I was going to go through the line to get her book signed, but Beth couldn't make it so I volunteered to take her book for her, and then Meleah, who came with her mother and her aunt had to leave earlier, so I took her book to get it signed, as well. I stood in line with Amy and Cynthia and had a grand time chatting with knitters. I brought along my pooling colors scarf to show the knitters who hadn't seen it yet for I haven't blogged it yet, so Amy took my picture and told me she'd blog it for me. I look a little wild in the picture, I assure you I was completely sober.

So here we are, me with her traveling sock and her with my Dalarna sock. (yes, I decided to knit it, more about that another time.)

I had Stephanie sign my book first, then Beth's and then Meleah, I had written down Corgi Mom in parenthesis' so she would recognize the name, which she did, btw. When I then told her my blog name she started with a look of recognition and then say "Oh, hi" and she shook my hand.

Okay, I believe you, Stephanie, you read your comments.
Thanks for the coming I had a Grand (ave.) ole time.

Swedening the Deal

Day 4
in which in lieu of a picture a thousand words will have to do.

Warning: The following contains mature knitting content and brief scenes of explicit cat and yarn violence and may not be suitable for those indifferent to the craft of knitting.
(Seriously folks, if you're not into reading about the punctilios of my knitting you may just want to skip reading this post.)

I'm not much of a traveler. So I've decide that it's time to take my show on the road via sock knitting, the only way to travel. I've joined the Knitting on the Road Kal. This group has been knitting the socks from Nancy Bush's book "Knitting on the Road" a book of sock patterns that Nancy wrote inspired by her own travels around the world. I've had this book for a couple of years and I thought it would be fun to knit these socks along with the group.

Before joining the group I had knit only two patterns from the book thus far. I've knit the Huron Mountain socks (the Loon Socks) in memory of my father in law for the Day of the Dead KAL and the Conwy socks for my oldest son's birthday. The sock pattern that the group has currently chosen to knit is the Dalarna Socks which were inspired by Nancy's travels to Sweden.
Nancy gives a taste of Swedish knitting "...and how Swede it is",* in the Dalarna sock using a technique they call Tvaandstickning, or twined knitting, also known as two end knitting. The knitting is done by knitting with two strands of yarn, usually a strand from each end of the ball, thus the term two end knitting. The knitting is done by alternating the two strands each stitch, picking up the yarn from underneath the other causing the yarn in the back of the knitting to twist or twine.
Although I haven't tried this knitting method I have recently I tried my hand at another Swedish knitting technique from a pattern in the current Jan/Feb issue of Piecework Magazine. For my Knit Mitt Kit partner, I knit a little bag inspired from the knitting of Swedish knitter Marta Stina.
The technique that Marta Stina uses is similar to the tvaandsstickning in that you still twist the yarn around each other each stitch however twined knitting is always knit from under the other yarn, which gives you the twining yarn and Marta Stina alternates picking up the yarn from underneath the float and then over the float. It's more like Fair Isle knitting except the floats are never longer than one stitch.
It's a good method to use for motif knitting where you don't want long floats on the back. It makes a little stiffer fabric than knitting Fair Isle knitting. I thought that it was a bit fiddly for my tastes, if I were to knit the bag again I would have just used a Fair Isle, or *gasp* Intarsia.
Probably not Intarsia though, seeing how I dislike it so much and try to avoid it as much as possible. Although not entirely seeing that I knit Teva's Durham's kilt for my daughter

                        (But that's just because I shot my mouth off to her about knitting it for her in one day. However, in my defense I didn't remember it was intarsia when I said that I could knit it in one day. I thought it was just a striped rectangle knit on size 11's and then dropped stitched and woven.)

                                      One day, two days, ten days who's counting?

                                      Also if I were to use intarsia I would probably knit the bag flat rather than in the round. There are ways to knit intarsia in the round but this raises the fiddle factor once again and if I have to fiddle, I guess I would prefer to use Marta Stina's method of motif knitting over intarsia for knitting in the round.
                                      Marta Stina's knitting method by the way, is the way I knit in my ends when I change color in knitting Fair Isle.

                                      I loop the new color over the end of the color I finished with, so that the new color end is folding back on itself. I hold the new color end as a float, parallel along with the left needle, then when I begin knitting I alternate knitting from under the float and then over the float for about eight to ten stitches and then knit normally to the just before the end of the round, if I'm knitting circularly (which I usually am).

                                      When I come back to where I changed the colors, I stop about eight to ten stitches before the end of the row and I pick up the end of the color I had stopped using, (the one that is looped with new color), and I float that end parallel along the right needle and finish knitting, alternating knitting up from underneath and over the float for the rest of the row. When I'm finished with the knitting, I sometimes turn the work over and tug the two ends of yarns that are looped to snug them up a bit and then bury the ends under the floats or just trim them if the yarn is sticky enough, ie: Shetland wool.

                                      Other than the not twining of the yarns, tvaandstickning and the Marta Stina methods are very similar, however twined knitting is usually knit by throwing the two yarns from the right and Marta Stina's technique has you holding the two yarn's in your left hand and knitting continentally or if you're a heretic, like me, using the combined knitting method.
                                      I did like the way they had you hold the two yarns in your left hand as you normally would hold the yarn except having one yarn, the float, closer to knuckle and the working yarn at the tip of the finger. I found holding the yarn this way worked quite handily. I've held two yarns in my hand before but held one over the forefinger and one over the second finger which was workable but ackward.

                                      So I've been thinking over knitting the Dalarna sock and deciding how or if I want to knit it. Except for the chain stitch detail at the cuff which uses the two end knitting and the clock detail on the side, the sock is largely just your standard stockinette sock and not a very interesting knit.I'll be honest with you these past few weeks I just haven't been feeling it when it comes to knitting and I'm not certain that knitting these socks is gonna get me out of my slump. It's not that I haven't been knitting, I have, I knit.
                                      • I finished and blocked Anne's pooling colors scarf.
                                      • I've picked up the Forest Path Stole and have added a couple of tiers to it.
                                      • I've been working on socks for the A4A.
                                      • I finished Katie's mittens and started another pair for Annie in Harlot's "70's appliance colors", (Anne's choice not mine), though I think they are going to be quite pretty.
                                      • I've decided and swatched for the Anemoi mittens, I'm knitting for myself. (Chocolate and Cherry, Valentine's day may have had some influence on the color choice)
                                      • I've been playing around at knitting target wave mittens and
                                      • I've been knitting another square for the Bear Claw blanket that I started in the summer.

                                      Still, even with all that going on I'm feeling rather blase about the whole thing.

                                      I don't really know what it is that's making me feel this way. I'm fairly certain that it isn't the knitting but more a winter blues sort of thing. I think it's just a bunch of little things that are adding up and weighing me down and taking the j out of joy and the f out of fun. Whatever need it is that my knitting has always fufilled, it's not getting me there at the moment and blogging about it even less so.
                                      Anyway, back to the Dalarna Socks, I've been thinking that maybe I would up the challenge a bit to try to "Sweden the deal" * a bit and knit the sock using the tvaandstickning method for the whole sock. I have two patterns on two end knitting for mittens, one is by Nancy Bush in the Piecework magazine and the other's in the book," Homespun Handknit, Caps, Socks,
                                      Mittens & Gloves." I take that back, there are three, two patterns in the book, one by Meg Swansen and another by Carol Rhoades.
                                      My thought was that I would knit the Dalarna Socks and maybe incorporate parts of the other pattern's designs into the socks. But I'm having doubts about whether I want to do this at all, perhaps I should just knit the pattern as is and be done with it or not knit the sock at all. I don't know. Why can't I knit just a plain pair of red socks? Why can't I knit a plain pair of red mittens?
                                      I don't know, I don't know.

                                      You're crazy lady, all these little balls of yarn is nothing but pure fun!

                                      I'm afraid there's no help for it, once the puns start rolling there's no stoppin' em...many have tried, it's best to just try to ignor them.
                                      If you can...*wicked laugh*

                                      No knitting or animals have been harmed in the making of this post.

                                      Something Wicked...

                                      ...this way comes
                                      You know the drill, yes, the title is indeed a nod to Ray Bradbury, and no, the following content doesn't really have anything to do with Mr. Bradbury or his novel.
                                      ('ceptin' that they're both about a carnival of sorts; but that's it, really.)

                                      Day 3
                                      in which I will attempt to divert your attention away from the stupid, stupid, scarfs elephant still sitting incomplete in my knitting basket.

                                      Ladies and Gentlemen and Children of all Ages...
                                      Pay no attention to that knitting sitting in the corner, there is little there of any consequence to excite anyone's, including its knitter's, interest.
                                      Rather let me redirect your attention to a few objects of beauty & interest placed before your very eyes to both pique and satisfy the appetites of the incurably curious among you.

                                      This is a Hallmark ornament carousel that we gave to each of the girls. It came with the two horses and each year a new figure is added, first there was a lion, then a giraffe and last year was a reindeer. Each year for a game, we try to guess what the next figure is going to be.
                                      Here's what we're guessing for next year, Ani says a Hare, Katie thinks a Tiger, (speaking of tigers want to see the cutest little tiger in a purple tutu? then look here.) Buck guesses a Bear, Kurt a Zebra, (ooo have you seen these mutant zebras? knit by a dragon, no less) I'm gonna guess an ostrich. Other ideas tossed around have been a hippo, a wolf, a seahorse and an elephant. What do you think? Care to venture a guess?

                                      Just for the record none of us guessed the last ornament, no one even thought of a reindeer. So were not discounting anything, we'll entertain any ideas, they're all fair game as far as we're concerned.

                                      KMKat has expressed an interest in knowing what is my current wallpaper. Currently my wallpaper is a frost peacock that graces our living room window from time to time when the temperature decides to dip down low - and currently they are a dippin' - when i dip you dip we dip, you put your hand up on my hip, when you dip i dip we dip... Okay, I'll stop, the kids they really love hate it when I break into some obscure song, even better worse when I dance to it. What I was getting at before I got distracted by the word dip was that occasionally it gets cold here where we live and this weekend would be one of those times. On the up side, when it gets this cold outside Jack Frost will drop by and paint beautiful vistas on the windows of this old house for free. How about that?! Here look, here's another one.

                                      Speaking of wicked, we've been having some wicked good fun with the knit mitt swap and while Boreas is busy blowing down his hard and cold winds on us from the north this month, I, myself have been favored by Notus earlier last month and have been the beneficiary of a warm southern breeze wafting it's way to me from South Carolina via the US Postal service in the form of a Knit Mitt Kit Swap.
                                      Leslie was my swap partner and she sent me a lovely knit mitt kit. Leslie quilted for me a beautiful bag that she made from a really lovely fabric with a snowflake design and it has a clever handle design so that one fits inside the other to close the bag. Inside the bag has many little compartments to hold my various notions. For the Mitts she sent me two skeins of Patons SWS. SWS is a blend of 70% wool and 30% soy. Have you ever tried this stuff? It's incredibly soft and word has it, it felts really well. I confess I have already begun to play around with this yarn and I find it very alluring. Also included were two sets of bamboo needles and a set of beaded stitch markers and a key chain, and also very thoughtfully, Leslie included a notepad that she made with a snowflake cover.
                                      I'm sensing a theme here, I do believe that Leslie is of the notion that there is a lot of snow in my corner of the woods, she may be right about that. All those snowflakes have put me in the mind to maybe knit a snowflake design on the mittens, hmmm....
                                      To round out the package she sent along a mitten pattern which no Mitt kit would be complete without. All in all a very good thing. I would very much like to show you this lovely Mit Kit because I don't think my mere words are doing it justice, unfortunately we're momentarily experiencing technical difficulties with the visual aspect to our program.
                                      [That is to say someone here, and we won't be naming names, but I can tell you that the first initial of their name begins with K, let the camera slip from their hand, which resulted in the auto focus being, well, out of focus. Which means that until we/I figure out a way to resolve our visual aid crisis, I will need to be a little more creative in my presentations. That is to say, I'll be stealing your pictures; just so you know.]
                                      Leslie, thank you very much for all the thought and effort you put into making your kit. I'm glad you had a good time putting it together. I think it is wonderful and I'm going to enjoy using the kit as much as you enjoyed making it.
                                      ( I'm sorry it took me so long to post my appreciation, I sort of got hung up about not being able to post a picture of it, so that others could see your good work. I will put up a picture of it as soon as I can.)
                                      Zephyrus, not wishing to be outdone, graciously carried my Knit Mitt Kit on a gentle, if not a considerably colder, favonian breeze to The Freckle Girl in the east who was my partner in the swap.
                                      Can you see where I'm going with this?
                                      The freckled one is a fan, as am I, of Eunny Jang's blog and her Anemoi mitten pattern. Although I couldn't figure a way to send her the pattern, I sent her the yarn and needles with the anemoi mittens in mind should she decide she wanted to knit them. I hope she gives it a go, I would like to see how they turn out. For my part, I'm of the mind to knit the mittens myself, if and when I ever make up my mind on what yarn and color I would like to use.

                                      In the meanwhile I will have to contend myself with a winding of another sort.

                                      Three cheers for my dear husband who broke down and read the Knitters Wish list that I forwarded to him from *Stephanie's blog last December and gifted me with this ball winder for a birthday gift last month. Yay!

                                      *There are whispers floating in the blogosphere that a spring zephyr may be blowing the Yarn Harlot in our direction, but you didn't hear it from me.

                                      The Shallow End of the Pool

                                      Day 2
                                      in which I describe in painful detail, how undeterred by the warning shot over the bow from my sister's scarf fiasco, I heedlessly waded in and committed myself to knitting another scarf and found myself once again adrift in the shallow end of the Pooling Colors Scarf.

                                      In case there are any doubters out there that remain unconvinced of my scarf knitting deficiency, I submit for you exhibit B, a further exegesis of my scarf knitting ineptitude.
                                      A little over a year ago I was intrigued by a scarf knit by another blogger, (I'm thinking it was Renee but I'm not sure.) It was a Pooling Colors Scarf by Lori Gayle by from the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave
                                      Lori Gayle discovered that it was possible to knit certain skeins of hand dyed yarn such as "Anne" by Schaefer Yarns, in such a way that the colors "pool" into vertical stripes.

                                      This idea piqued my interest and I wanted to knit this scarf. Now, all I needed was someone to knit the scarf for, someone who likes scarfs, someone who had a birthday coming up at sometime, someone like....*scans room for victim honoree* hmm, let's see, Ani, yeah, that's it, Ani.
                                      Ani likes scarfs, Ani has a birthday and Ani likes it when I knit her things. Ani, however, when I showed her what I wanted to knit for her was not as convinced as I was that this scarf was destined to be hers, but I assured her this scarf had her name written all over it. ;)
                                      All she needed to do was choose the colorway, so she chose a skein in oranges and browns, breaking from her usual black, black, and black on black.

                                      Not needing any more reason than that to start a new project (rarely needing any reason at all, to begin a new project), I dove right in and after a little fiddling with needle size and casting on methods, I managed to work with the yarn to get the colors to pool consistently in a garter stitch.
                                      The pattern suggests size us 5 needles and 41 stitches. This worked pretty well once I remembered to knit the first stitch and not slip the first stitch as I usually like to do.
                                      I was beginning to think this was going to be a breeze. I was "getting gauge" rather quickly and things were moving along just swimmingly. This was going well, too well, that should have been my first warning.
                                      I never learn.
                                      It's only when I left the safety of the garter stitch pattern and attempted to knit the scarf's stitch pattern that the bottom dropped out on me.
                                      The pattern that Lori uses is a reversible pattern. It uses yo's and has you purling three stitches together. Which is okay, but because of the way I knit, in order for me to purl three stitches together I would have to rearrange the position of the three stitches each time that I purled three stitches together. This pattern though not difficult was going to be awkward and slow going, I decided pretty quickly that this stitch pattern wasn't going to work for me if I ever intended to finish this scarf...ever. ( Is it getting hot in here? I think the irony is on, I can smell it.)
                                      I'm a pretty patient person as these things go, but this was going to put that to the test and I just wasn't in the mood to test the limits of my patience. I still wanted to knit the scarf but I was going to have to find a different stitch pattern to do it.
                                      So I did what I usually do when I am out of my depths and don't know how to proceed. I pulled the whole thing apart and dropped it into my knitting bag and I left it there until I can stand to look at it without cringing I'm somehow inspired with a better idea.
                                      In theory finding another pattern shouldn't be difficult, in theory. The problem is in order to keep the effect of the colors pooling in vertical stripes the number of stitches must remain the same, in this case 41 stitches.
                                      Even number stitch patterns won't work unless it's an even number stitch pattern + 1. So 10 stitch repeat + 1 would give 4 pattern repeats and a 8 stitch +1 would give 5.
                                      A 12 stitch repeat doesn't work, a three or nine works if you knit the first and last stitch.
                                      Cabling or traveling stitches don't work with this scarf. Having only the one skein to work with a lace pattern would make the scarf longer and I wanted to have a pattern that accented the stripe effect of the pooling colors and it would be nice if the pattern were reversable. That's not asking for too much.
                                      "Really Ani, I was gonna knit you that scarf and all but then
                                      it got all like -this is hard! -you know?"

                                      After pouring over all the stupid stitch patterns that I could find and swatching numerous times I settled on a fairly simple pattern with yarn overs and knit 3 togethers instead of purl three together, would you believe the first pattern I tried after I abandoned the written pattern?

                                      One time could just be a fluke, but twice, now twice getting hung up on a scarf knitting project, Well, that...that...that...Well, I don't know? That's more than a fluke, don't you think? You know, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... I forget the rest, but you know what I mean, don't you?
                                      So with this new year upon us, I am determined to resolve my scarf knitting issues and finish knitting these two scarfs, so I can hopefully move on to more interesting and entertaining fair and hopefully find myself in more safer waters, maybe something easier to knit like a Fair Isle Cardigan or Latvian mittens or something.

                                      My goal is to have Ani's scarf finished to give to her for her birthday on Sunday. I have been working daily on the scarf, currently it is about 2 feet long, wish me luck.

                                      The better of me

                                      Day 1,
                                      in which I explain why I believe my knitting is getting the better of me.

                                      I can knit. As to the manipulation of yarn on needles, I get it. I get it very well, some may even say I have a real knack for it, you could say a mastery of the skill. (However, I haven't completed the Guilds Master knitter program so I can't claim the title Master knitter, but between you and me....)
                                      I knit forwards from left to right, I can knit backwards from right to left, I can knit holding the yarn in my right hand, I can knit in my preferred method of holding the yarn in my left, I can knit holding one yarn in my right and another yarn in my left hand, I can knit holding two yarns in left hand and one in my right.

                                      I knit lace, I knit entrelac, heck, I can even knit entrelac lace. I've knit Fair Isle, I've knit Intarsia,( though I'm not fond of it), still I have successful knit it. I've knit socks, I've knit hats, mittens, ponchos, afghans and sweaters.

                                      All these things have I knit. I tell you all you this not to boast about my knitting skills or to discourage any nascent knitters or knit bloggers out there who happen upon this blog, but so that you can fully understand how complete my humiliation is that I am getting my butt kicked by something so seemingly simple as a couple of scarfs, but there you have it.

                                      What? Did I hear you right? Did you say scarfs? You did and I know.
                                      I have promised to knit these scarfs, one for my sister, two years ago and one for my daughter a little over a year ago; and I have been unable to successfully knit either of them. I know you're thinking, why would you promise to knit a scarf for your daughter when you weren't able to knit a scarf for your sister. Well, because a little thing like failure simply isn't a good enough reason to stop an over confident knitter like me from making more promises.

                                      What's so hard about knitting a couple of scarfs? Well, let me tell you.

                                      My sorry scarf saga begins here.

                                      I bought a gorgeous skein of Great Adirandack yarn. I, of course, have misplaced the band label so I can't tell you what kind of yarn it is or the colorway. It is two strands of two different types of yarn, one a mohair strand and the other a ribbon strand, hand dyed together in jewel colors. Because the yarn is a fairly expensive yarn, my thought was that I would buy one skein to knit a skinny scarf for my youngest sister.

                                      ( I actually bought two other skeins of Great Adironak Yarn, a cotton/rayon blend called "Tribbles" in the Cappuccino colorway to ostensibly make a scarf for my other sister, but we won't speak of that right now, I'm having enough troubles as it is.)

                                      I had knit a scarf for my daughter in a fluffy fringe yarn called splash in a skinny tube. Knitting with these kind of yarns are no easy task for me, because the stitches liked to slip off the needles, and because of all the fringe, I either A) didn't notice that I had dropped a stitch or B) couldn't find the dropped stitch to pick it up.
                                      But after much ripping and muttered curses, I manage to finish the scarf and in a blithely optimistic mood, decided that I would work the same magic on this yarn for my sister.
                                      And I so I proceeded to do so. I knit a garter stitch tube scarf on size 10 needles.
                                      However the results were less successful. The two yarns didn't knit together very well and I ended up having little ribbon loops popping up here and there. I tried pushing them to the inside of the tube, but they would keep popping back out; so in a fit of frustration I ripped the scarf and separated the two yarns into two balls of yarn and then promptly put them away to be dealt with some time in the future whenever I felt I could look at them again.
                                      A year later I played around with the yarn and I figured out how knit the yarn so that the two yarns are in color sync and I didn't have the looping problem. Now I just needed to come up with a pattern that would work for this yarn.....No idea.
                                      Another six months passes and I think perhaps I should try again, I have decided one skein will not be enough yarn to make the scarf so I purchase a second skein of yarn. Another skein of Great Adirandak yarn a different yarn in a similar colorway (Chagall)
                                      Now I have two skeins of yarns that I don't know how to knit into a scarf.
                                      Another six months later, as I was comtemplating how to knit this scarf I was struck by another inspiration, a third color, because when you don't know what to do with two colors why not add a third?
                                      I was given a chenille sweater by my sister to possibly repair and failing that recycle. So I unraveled the sleeves and now have three balls of yarn to knit a scarf.
                                      So enough already, it's just a bloody scarf, knit it already.
                                      I tried knitting a multi-directional scarf....twice.
                                      Once with one strand of yarn but I didn't follow the pattern properly and I knit the chenille two stranded so the two fabrics from the yarn had a different drape.
                                      Starting over the second time I double stranded both yarns and got the pattern right but I the result was a thick scarf with not enough drape so I scrapped the whole plan again.
                                      Scarf -2, Me-0.
                                      Desperate times call for desperate measures, I hit the book stores.
                                      As I was perusing the knitting books, I was asked by another peruser what book I was looking for and I sort of muttered to myself that I haven't a clue, but that wasn't entirely true. I tried to explain to her my scarf knitting woes and I told her I was looking for a book on knitting scarfs, ideally, scarfSTYLE by Pam Allen. We didn't see the book but the other shopper told me that she was the owner of a local yarn shop and they had a copy at her store.
                                      Really? What store?
                                      Coldwater Collabrative.
                                      Really? I have been there. I happened to have the yarn in question in my bag with me so I showed her the yarn and asked her if she had any thoughts. She thinks perhaps I should perhaps add a strand of mohair with the second ball of yarn and knit a striped scarf lengthwise which is one of the designs in the book.
                                      Could the solution to my scarf knitting woes be that simple?
                                      I'm thinking she may be right.
                                      I have picked up a copy of the book and it's come down to two ideas:
                                      The lengthwise garter stitch striped scarf or,
                                      the Sally Melville triangular, Wear-as-a-collar.
                                      Which do you think would be the better choice?

                                      A Few of My Favorite Things

                                      Raindrops Kew socks on roses

                                      and whiskers on kittens

                                      Bright copper kettles cotton stockings and

                                      warm woolen
                                      Katie with Mittens

                                      Brown paper packages tied up with strings

                                      These are a few of my favorite things

                                      Cream colored ponies and
                                      crisp apple streudels
                                      Doorbells and sleigh bells and
                                      schnitzel with noodles

                                      Wild geese girls that fly with the moon on their wings
                                      These are a few of my favorite things.

                                      Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
                                      Girls in bright tartans with smashing black leggings.

                                      Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes;
                                      Silver-white winters that melt into springs;

                                      These are a few of my favorite things.

                                      When the dog bites,
                                      When the bee stings,
                                      When I'm feeling sad,

                                      I simply remember my favorite things,
                                      And then I don't feel so bad.

                                      Happy New Years

                                      May the dreams that you wish all come true.