The Occasional Flake

Kelle can knit by ones or knit by twos. She can knit forwards and she can knit backwards.
She can zip zippers and button buttons. She could even finish knitting a ten foot long scarf by Thanksgiving, but Kelle cannot make a blog entry everyday in the month of November.
And that was a problem because she said she would. She told all her friends she would. Kelle had failed.

November winds proved much too strong,
the days too short and the nights far, far too long.
Falling down from the sky,
big fat flakes to land in my eye.
Falling down on the blog, my goal unmet.
Could not find my words, much to my regret. :(

I had my doubts going in to this that I would be able to make it through the entire month. ( which is why I never did officially sign up for NabloPoMo, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway.) November and December are tough months to make this sort of a commitment to, especially if you work in retail. Perhaps I will try this again for the month of January as a new year resolution, but until then:

We now return you to your irregular scheduled programming:

So for Saturday, November 17 when I started this entry, I intended to show you a Saturday Sky Picture.

The problem with Saturday sky pictures in Minnesota is that during these chilly months of winter on any given day you can go outside and the sky will look pretty much like so.

That is if you can manage to see the sky during the brief hours we have of daylight.

More and more lately, I'm thinking that the bears have the right of it.
Sleep. Hibernate.
Why brave all the snow and the cold, when you can be warm and cozy slumbering in peaceful bliss? Oblivious to the dark and cold world swirling all around you? Trust me, they're not missing anything by skipping the winter.

Anyway, what I was going to say was when the sky looked like the first picture, you wouldn't expect much chance of snow, oh there certainly could be the occasional flake, here and there but nothing to write home about.

However, when the sky looks like this.
You can bet it will soon look like this.

As it did on Thanksgiving day.
Thankfully, ours was a quiet and peaceful Thanksgiving at home with all of our children home with us.
There was mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and cranberries and stuffing and pie but no turkey.
We decided to buck tradition this year and eschewed the bird and opted for ham instead. Our family's not big fans of turkey.

Hope all of your Thanksgiving days went as planned and you had time to enjoy your family and friends and give thanks.

Oh, and it snowed, but that was outside, so all was well.

and then it snowed,

and it snowed.

and it snowed.

Hello Minnesota.

Stellar Performance

You know, this blogging every day for a month is not as easy as one might think.
I'm like all, "this is hard".
Guinifer at Half Way Down the Stairs went in a different direction she is doing NaKniSweMo - National Knit a Sweater Month. Had I been up on my blog reading and read about this sooner, I think that perhaps I would have had chosen this route and have had an easier time of it.
Then again.... maybe not.
This is currently the sweater that I am knitting.
This is a Jo Sharp Sweater Design named Stellar.

I started knitting this sweater that my sister, Lynn chose for herself, back in March when I was waiting for spring and needed something green to look at. Being who I am I decided I would rather knit the sweater in the round rather than back and forth and in pieces, so I adjusted for knitting the front and back together and started on my merry way.

I was about this far when I had one of those moments where you put your hand to your head and say, "Why didn't I think of that sooner!"

I was having lunch with a couple of knitter friends after our weekly meet up, and I was complaining that the sweater is knit mostly in reverse stockinette.

Now I have nothing against purling per se, but given my preference I would just prefer to knit, also it's faster and I was having a hard time reading the chart because usually empty squares are knit and the dots or lines are purls and this was just the opposite.

So even as I was complaining about all the purling in the round, the thought occurred to me that since I was knitting this in the round, if I knit this sweater inside out and reversed the direction I could be knitting instead of purling. I'm pretty sure I sat there with a dumbstruck look on my face. Duh!

Of course, this would mean starting over, which as usual put the project on a back burner for the summer. When I picked it up about a month ago, I decided I didn't have to rip the whole thing I would only rip to the ribbing, do one short row on the back and instead of turning back keep knitting the sweater in reverse reverse stockinette. Get it?

So this is where I was before I ripped it back.

This is where I am now.

Okay, so it's the same picture but it really is about how far I am and it looks the same knitting it inside out as it did purling from the right side. I'm also having an easier time with the chart reading.

Full Tilt

Yesterday at our weekly knitting meet up some news of interest was shared, but as it isn't my news to to tell, I will say no more and wait for the information to be revealed in due time.

What I can talk about however, is that among our little group there was a lot of interest in knitting, Norah Gaughan's Tilted Duster from the Fall 2007, Interweave Knits Magazine.
So we have decided to have a Tilted Duster KAL that we're planning to start in January, (Holiday knitting and all taking precedence) although some of us may be starting earlier.

We haven't made any decisions on how we are going to do the kal yet but if there is enough interest we could start a blog for the Kal . Ravelry has a Kal starting in January but not everyone is on Ravelry so maybe, we'll have Duster Knit Along blog as well.
The magazine is sold out but, Interweave Knits has made the pattern available as a download from their site.
Tilted Duster

Back View

Yoke Detail, It's the two button closure that makes it for me.

So we all are getting excited about the project and we are now getting excited about getting gauge. But before I get gauge I need to get yarn. I made an impulse buy a week or two ago of this Paton's Classic wool in their Autumn color way because, well because I like autumn colors.
Of course when I got the yarn home, I thought just what are you going to knit with that anyway? I don't know, I was thinking maybe an afghan? using small squares of colors or something, I don't know. I hadn't thought that far, it was on sale and it's pretty.

So I'm going to play around with this a bit and see if I can come up with something that might work for the duster. If not, so be it I have another month to come up with the right yarn for the job.

Anyone else interested in knitting a duster along with us?

Tears for Tiers

It seems I have lost my way on my Forest Path Stole and I need a little help.

The Forest Path Stole is knit in tiers or rows of small rectangles. The completed stole has twenty three tiers but depending on how long you want the stole you have the option of knitting nineteen tiers of twenty one or any number over twenty three ending on an odd row. The last row is a row of triangles to square off the end and then the seed stitch border is knit up both sides and then the top border is added last.
As I was knitting the stole I was beginning to have my doubts that I would have enough yarn to complete twenty three tiers. I didn't want to stop at nineteen so I opted for twenty one tiers.
I completed the top triangles and went back and took out one rectangle and reknit it because for some inexplicable reason a strand broke in one of the lily of the valley rectangles a little more than the half way mark of the middle of the stole.
Fortunately, I have some experience in fixing holes in knitting and fortunately this is an entrelac lace so the problem could easily be contained.
So after knitting the top triangles and then mending the hole, (see you can't even tell)
I started to knit the seed stitch border up the right side and as was I knitting I began to have serious doubts as to having enough to finish the borders.

As usual when this sort of thing happens it takes all the wind out of my sails and I lose all momentum to finishing this stole.
And once again, I was lost in the woods. Forest Path was/has gone on hiatus for the summer or longer until I can decide where I should go from here.
So, here is where I am going to ask for your help in deciding what to do because I can't seem to make up my mind. Here are the options that I have come up with so far.
Option A. Rip back the top row of triangles and two tiers of rectangles to nineteen tiers and then finish the stole in the seed stitch border and make it a shorter stole.

Option B. Finish the stole in the seed stitch border using the same yarn except in a cream color that I have in my stash. If I chose this option, I could possibly have enough yarn from the borders to add the last two tiers and make the stole longer.

Option C: Knit the border using the cream colored yarn but take the stole up a notch by knitting a lace border instead of the seed stitch border.

I've weighed each option and still can't come to a decision.
Option A, would mean that the stole is shorter but it would all be one color. However, it would mean ripping back two tiers of knitting and considering all the time it took to get to that many tiers, I have been unenthusiastic about going backward on this project.
Option B, would mean that the stole could be longer, it doesn't have to be, but it would be two toned. I'm not sure that I am sold on the cream color border but I don't hate it.
Option C, would make this stole a much fancier stole and probably take longer to finish, however it's taken this long already, what's a little longer if it makes a better stole? Then there is the question as to what lace border pattern to use. The lace pattern I used as a sample is a leaf lace border I borrowed from a stole in," Victorian Lace Today".

Before you cast your vote let me give you a little more background information on whom I intend to give this stole to and why.

I've decided to give this stole to my daughter's violin teacher Caren as wedding present.
Caren has been very generous to my daughter Anne and has mentored her in her violin playing and was largely responsible for pushing Anne to pursue attending college and making it happen no matter what.
Caren continued to teach Anne even when it was beyond our means to pay her. She even agreed to an exchange of services, she would continue to give Ani violin lessons and I would knit her any sweater of her choosing.
Last year Caren and Paul made their partnership of love, respect and affection official last year when they were married. I decided that this stole would be a perfect wedding gift for Caren should I ever finish it.
Before you decide on the color issue let me show you the sweater she chose and that I knit for her.

"You know, you worry too much, wool is wool. It's quite comfortable as it is."

Yeah well, it sure would be a whole lot easier to see the forest if there weren't all these trees in standing in the way.

You Can All Stop Looking Now

I found it.
Where his is.

Where mine was

I must have looked here a half of a dozen times.

Can you see how I missed it?

How about now?
All is right with the world again.

My Precious

I can'ts finds it. Where is it? My precious.
My wedding ring has gone missing.
It isn't lost, really, just misplaced.
I took it off a few months ago,
there is no meaning behind doing that other than it was irritating my finger.
I have been dealing with the occasional outbreak of eczema.
Eczema is a relatively new problem I have, it only started popping up in different places in the past couple of years. It usually occurs in placed where there is clothing that is binding on my skin, the tops of my feet from my shoes or the small of my back from a waistband or belt and such.
So when my ring began to be irritating I thought I would take it off for awhile.
Don't look at me like that, the bookman hasn't worn his ring for years now.... doesn't fit.
The difference here is that he knows where his ring is.
It rests on the base of the Star Trek Enterprise ornament around the shuttle craft.
I thought that I had put my ring in the same place but apparently I didn't.
So that then begs the question, Where did I put my ring?
I'm sure, I put it somewhere where I would remember to look for it,
or so you would think.
This isn't what I had planned to blog about today, but I am so distracted that I can't find it,
that I'm finding it hard to concentrate on writing today.
I guess this means I will need to do a thorough investigation of all the places it could be.
Not that I haven't gone over the same places several times today.
I'm going to have to be a little more creative.
This could take some time, you haven't seen my home.
There are any number of places that I a slim plain gold ring could hide.
Cache after cache of collected bits of flotsam and jetsam that gets put down and never moved. Seriously, this is a great place to play," I spy" because there is little things all over the place.

I don't refer to my husband as bookman because he reads a lot of books (Well okay, that's partly the reason) or because he works at a library and book store ( Okay, that is partly the reason too) but the real reason is that my husband owns many, many books. Having many, many books it then naturally follows that we have many, many bookcases lining the walls of our home. And each bookcase has the potential to hold a whole lot of stuff besides the books.

I suppose you may be wondering why I didn't put it in my jewelry box.
Simple enough, I don't have one.
I don't wear much jewelry, so I don't have a lot of jewelry. But I do have a few pins and a ring that need a place to call home.
(Hint, Hint: Children, Husband - Mom needs a jewelry box.)
Excuse me please, I'm going to try and find something now.

Another Hole in My Head

It all starts with this,

then you add some of these,
which then become these.
Then you find yourself staring down a pile of these.
and it dawns on you that there is no hope for it, you have already made your first steps on a new path, a new hobby, and there's no denying it and no turning back, the only thing to do is to see where this new obsession will lead.

It's not like I don't have anything else to do.

I'm not feeling particularly inspired today, I'm sure that you'll understand when I show you today's Saturday Skies Picture.
Ready? Here you go.

Here's what has become of the golden tree in the front yard.

What a difference a week makes.

Today my family is all scattered about, Kate's will be off to a friend's birthday party, Adam is ... I don't know where, Kurt works at the library, Buck is working and Anne's at college and I'll be in the van, dropping off Kate, picking up Kurt, going to Anne's Orchestra performance at Hamline and then, picking up Anne, picking up Kate and then home. Not much of a day off, but so it goes.

I've been giving my Starmore jacket problem a little thought, and it occurred to me that I may not have to start over on the jacket. I think I could take out the extra pattern repeat that I erroneously added thinking it wouldn't fit, it's a 32 stitch pattern repeat, at the steek.

What if at the end of the next round I knit to one pattern repeat before the steek and then knit the last half of the steek stitches and bound off all the rest of the last repeat up to the first half of the steek. I think it would work, it will look a little odd, there will be a bit of a pouch in the front but when I cut the steek, *gasp* I know, that part will be cut away.

The part about it looking like a carpet came to mind from an old British sketch show called, "A bit of Fry and Laurie", starring Steven Fry and Hugh Laurie (aka - House). My daughter and her friends have been into watching "Fry and Laurie" over this past summer.

In one particular episode they announced that their show tonight was being sponsored by (can't remember the name) carpet. Through out the sketches there were then references to (insert name here) carpet and at the end of the show both Hugh and Steven came out to end the show wearing jackets made from carpeting.

Star(more) in her eyes.

It's Friday food but I must confess, I am not much of a cook. I can cook, and I do cook, but I get no pleasure from it and therefore only cook out of necessity. Food to me is a necessary evil. It's not that I don't enjoy food, I do. I like it very much, I just don't like to be the one to prepare it. So I will leave the Friday food posts to those who have better talents like Miss T, Amy and Connie.

Instead I thought today that I would go with an Eye Candy Friday.Ceptin' I'm not big on candy either, but I does like me some cake. Cake, everybody likes cake!
Jamieson's Shetland double knitting, triple layer cake.

I rarely knit for myself, when I choose a project to knit I usually have it in mind for someone else, actually I choose a project on it's level of interest to me, what becomes of it once it's complete is usually secondary or further down the list. (Remember - Process knitter here.)

As a result I usually do not have anything to show others of my efforts, for I give my knitting away. This doesn't upset me, because the giving is voluntary, I have received what I wanted out of it by making it and I enjoy sharing handmade gifts. However it does get a little embarrassing sometimes when I'm always knitting and have nothing, except for a pair of socks or two of my own to show for it. (This was one of the main reasons that I started this blog to begin with, so I could show my friends and family that I do too knit stuff, even if I don't have that stuff around to show them.)

So with that in mind sometime ago, maybe two years, I thought after knitting two different Alice Starmore Fair Isle patterns that perhaps I would choose and knit a sweater jacket for myself to wear. Buying this much Shetland wool for the sweater is a fairly large chunk of my yarn money allotment, so I only knit one sweater like such per year or perhaps bi-annually.

This was the Starmore sweater design that I thought I would like to knit for myself. I'm not sure about the hat though, where am I going to find one like that? Still I like the sweater.

It's called Rona and it is in an Alice Starmore book, "In the Hebrides" and these are all the colors for it.

And this is how far I knit on it before it got shelved for other projects.( Another Jamieson's Shetland sweater but not for me.)

I haven't worked on this project, because something was amiss, I had a sinking feeling that it was going to be too big, so I recently brought it out of cold storage and measured it against a sweater that I'm comfortable wearing and yup, it's too big. (Apparently my self image is larger than it actually is.) So I'm planning to restart this sweater.

I can't bear to rip this much knitting out right now so I'm going to leave it, and rip it afterward if I need to. I'm even thinking that I might not want to knit this sweater after all because looking at it, I'm thinking it's kind of boxy, maybe I should think about updating it a bit, or not. I did want to wear it more as a jacket rather than a sweater. Hmm, I'll have to think on it a bit.

It does remind me a bit of a carpet pattern, What do you think? Will this look like a jacket made out of carpet?

Death by Chocolate

Before you get too far into reading this post I should warn you that there may be some disturbing imagery and verbiage about death. It is all in fun but if you are feeling sensitive about such issues right now, I suggest you skip this post. I do not intend to offend.

Sock Wars II - It's a game we are playing. We all sign up to be assassins. When the game begins we are each given a target and sock pattern and the goal is to kill your target by knitting them a pair of socks in the given pattern and sending it to them.

When you receive your socks you are killed and must surrender your weapon, (the socks you were knitting to kill your target) and send them and your dossier to your assassin so they can complete your mission and kill another target.

The game officially started on October 13th, but the game moderater posted from England, so I actually got to start knitting on them the night before. Which was great for me because I had to work on Saturday and Sunday, so it gave me a time to get them started, so I could take them with me.

The sock pattern was, Scar designed by Julie Gardner. I knit them in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in a smooth, chocolately brown. I have dubbed them, "Death by Chocolate". It is a ribbed sock with an interesting "Scar" detail and knit up real quickly, knitting two socks using Magic loop method. I completed my weapon on Tuesday night and posted them on Wednesday.

The following is the post, I posted after taking my shot at my target:

Oh, oh, it would seem I am not long for this world, my assassin has left an ominous message for me for status has been changed to read, "The mirror crack'd from side to side."

I can't say that I don't deserve it, for I cannot claim innocence in these deadly dealings, for I have not been sitting idly by while my assassin has been seeking my demise. No, for I too have been actively seeking the death of a perhaps, not-so-innocent Floridian, employing my own considerably lethal skills in my chosen craft. (Knitting socks)

The deed has been done, the shot has been fired, (I mailed them today), now we wait for the smoke to clear to see how true our aim has been. (When you receive your finished pair of socks you are done in.)

From the clue I've received I have reason to hope that I perhaps have a little time, if I assume that since it is a reference to an English book that my assassin is a Brit, which means her harbingers of death (socks) have much farther to travel before hitting their mark (Me)

In the meanwhile, I may have time assuming my Floridian surrenders her weapon (the socks she has been knitting to kill her target) quickly enough and I have time to send off a second round. Either way it's all good.

I received my harbingers of doom on Friday while I was at working so I didn't know of my doom until that evening.

The following is the post, I posted of my demise:

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott. Magnificent Wilf

And so I meet my untimely demise, death by merino socks, the only way to go. It would seem that the reference to the mirror cracking was alas not the Agatha Christy novel but rather to Tennyson's poem, "The Lady of Shalott." And so my hope that the socks were coming from England were wrong, indeed my socks of doom came to me from the sunny state of California, from Santa Barbara.

It would seem that I and my target were killed at the same time, so it was kill and be killed.
Ah well, so be it, all's well that ends well. I will rest here in peace with my toasty toes.


So it goes, I was able to kill only one target before, I was out, but it was fun.

My victim surrender her weapon, and enclosed a nice note thanking me for putting her out of her misery, apparently it was a mercy killing. I sent her weapon along then to my assassin so she could take aim once again.

The card she sent amused me very much, since our cat Hobbes, had recently caught and killed his first mouse in that same week. Just like the cat on the card, Hobbes had brought his "hunting trophy" upstairs and onto my son's bed in the early morning to "present" it to him.

My son was not amused.

Kabul or Bust.

Thank you for all your nice comments about the vest. I really enjoyed knitting it and I was happy that the pattern turned out as well as it did, it's nice when just once, something turns out like you hoped it would without having to rip it back a zillion times. Truly, I believe it was more luck than anything else.
The designer of the vest pattern that I used as my guidelines has set up a donation page for In-Vest for Peace to support Afghans for Afghans, for a donation of $45 or more you can have a canvas tote with the In-Vest in Peace logo. Check it out if you like, here.

I didn't finish it in time to send the vest and socks, ( the second pair were socks that I knit for my son a few years back, but he wouldn't wear them and said he probably never would, so I thought perhaps one of the older Afghan children would get some use of them.) that I knit along with the hats, mittens, socks, and vests knit by the knitters in my knitting group that Sue was sending out.

However, despite being thwarted by Columbus Day and no mail service, I did manage to get it to Afghans for Afghans before their school drive deadline. Scarletknitter in Ravelry left me a message telling me that she believes that she may have unpacked or packed the vest at the distribution center in San Francisco.

There is one other item that went to Kabul that I had a small part in. Stephania from Three Fates sewed together this Lizard Ridge Blanket from donated squares. A4A sent her this and this picture from the distribution center. Can you guess which square I knit?

Stephania working on sewing together the Lizard Ridge Squares on Cinco de Mayo.

Stephanie is currently working on putting together another baby blanket using miters square from the Mason Dixon Knitting book using cascade 220.
If you're interested in sending a square, I'm sure she would appreciate your contribution.
There is a group on Ravelry, Miters for Charity.
What's that you haven't signed up for Ravelry yet? What are you waiting for?

If you're on Ravelry and want to be my friend, find me. I'm in Ravelry as: 4knitsandgiggles
Tune in tomorrow for all out war.