Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Progress - or not

I've been working on a sweater for myself for some time now. It's the lovely "February Lady" sweater, and I'm sure you can find the pattern and the author by looking for it on the web. (I don't have the pattern in front of me, so I can't give her her much deserved credit.) The yarn I'm using is beautiful, I love the pattern and I really want to wear it - so why isn't it done yet?

It's not done yet because progress has been hard to come by. First, the sweater is knit all in one piece (except for the arms), so the rows are rather long. Second, it's for an adult woman and the yarn is maybe worsted weight, so you've got to knit a lot of those long rows. And third, it went into time-out at one point because I thought there was a dye-lot issue with the yarn. All of those things have been conquered, so you could say I've made progress.

Progress of a sort. I am finally working on the arms - you pick up stitches for those at about the shoulders and work them down to the bind-off. I thought, yesterday, that I had knit enough pattern rows and started on the garter edging. I knit all twelve rows of edging and then tried the sweater on before I did the bind-off (yes, I can do things in the right order now and then). The sleeve was not the right length. (Bet you saw that one coming a mile away.) These are supposed to be 3/4-length sleeves, but I want them longer than the "just past my elbow" that the one was. Rats! I can't even blame it on a gauge problem or anything - I just wanted, so much, to be done with the sleeve that I called it good too soon. Oh well, today after work, I ran a lifeline through the first row of garter stitch, pulled the needles and frogged the edging. I'm tinking the first garter row, and then I'll knit another inch or two of pattern rows, and then I'll put on the edging.

Stay tuned for more progress reports! (Or not-progress reports, as the case may be.)

Domestic Tranquility

does not make for many blog posts. Things have been rather tranquil in our home lately, so no interesting (or dramatic) posts. There are people who can make even the most mundane things fascinating (or humorous), but I'm not one of them - at least not yet.

Let's see - I finished the socks I was knitting that got interrupted by the "incredible hairball", I'm working on some Christmas knitting, a sweater for myself, a scarf for a friend, and EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! OK, that last is not something I'm knitting, but my husband is sitting beside my as I'm typing this, and he gets an enormous amount of glee out of the fact that I'm ticklish. Yes, this is all part of the domestic tranquility - I never said I was tranquil, just that things were tranquil.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Tonight, my dog and I had another therapy session. No, we're not in therapy, we provide the therapy. We belong to a pet therapy group - group members visit hospitals, nursing homes, care centers, etc. with our pets. My dog and I visit a county health center (it combines the functions of a nursing home, some hospital functions and a long-term care center) once a month. We've been doing this for long enough that a number of the residents remember us and look forward to our visits. I had been feeling a bit "growly" when I got home from work today - nothing special, just that it was gloomy and chilly all day, the days are getting shorter, etc. Anyway, I had to prod myself to change into the "uniform" for visiting - a sweatshirt with the group's logo on it - and get ready to go. Strange as it may sound, I always enjoy our visits to this place. The people who are there are some of the neediest people you can meet, and a lot of them don't remember us from one month to the next. It's not comparing my state to theirs that makes me feel good, though. It's having to interact with other people, and to at least be polite to them. In other words, I'm forced out of myself - and in getting out of myself, I improve my state of mind. It also improves my mental state to realize that I've made someone else's day by showing up with my fuzzy, black dog and letting them pet her. That was absolutely the case today. One of the residents, an older man, was sitting in his usual place, but looking rather dour. I walked over to him and asked if he'd like to pat my dog. He shook his head, no. I said "Are you sure? She's wagging her tail pretty good." He looked at my dog, standing there, wagging her tail at him, and he got a little bit of a smile on his face, like he was cheering up, but didn't want anyone to know. He still didn't want to pat her, though. So I backed Sheba up to him and waved her tail over his hand - that did it! He chuckled and smiled, and I knew that, at least for a few moments, he felt better. And that's what it's all about, Charlie Brown.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Love a Puzzle

And a good thing it is, too. I was working on a pair of socks last night, peacefully sitting on the couch and knitting, when, all of a sudden, the yarn goddesses delivered a huge punch!

I think I'd better set this up a little more. I had purchased a skein of lovely wool/alpaca/nylon (for long wearing-ness) sock yarn last week. I had not wound it into a ball at the yarn store. In fact, I had not even thought about winding it at the store. This was mostly because it was closing time when I purchased the yarn, though I'm sure the staff would have had no problem with my staying to wind the yarn - they probably would have offered to wind it for me, but I just didn't think to do it. Anyway, a good friend offered to let me wind the yarn on her ball-winder, and I took her up on the offer. I could have wound it by hand, but it's 450 yards of fingering-weight yarn - it's a lot faster to wind that much on a ball-winder than to do it by hand.

OK, so I was innocently sitting and knitting on these socks when I gave a tug on the working thread. Then I pulled harder. And harder. Here we go, I thought, I'm going to end up pulling a chunk of yarn out of the middle of the ball. I had hoped to avoid that by winding the skein on a ball-winder, but you can't win them all. Oh well, I thought, it's not too bad, I'll just have to wind a little yarn around the ball. I wound up the extra that I pulled out and went back to knitting. I knit up the extra and then gave a tug on the working thread. Then I pulled harder. And harder. Oh no, not again! Oh well, it won't be that bad. Wrong! This time, instead of pulling a walnut-sized chunk of yarn out of the middle of the ball, I ended up (though I tried not to) pulling something like 80% of the ball out of the middle! What was left couldn't really be called a ball at all - more like a shell.

So, now I'm sitting on the couch with this incredible hairball of yarn in my lap, and no way to proceed with my knitting except to unwind it and wrap it around the remains of the ball. That wouldn't be too bad, except for the little phrase "unwind the hairball" there. You'd think that, since the ball was wound on a ball-winder, it would be easy, but no, remember it's the yarn goddesses delivering a smackdown, and you don't get off easy with them. That yarn was thoroughly tangled, and, for a while, trying to untangle it just made it worse! It took me at least an hour and a half to undo the hairball and get it wound up. All because I tried to avoid winding a skein by hand. OK, yarn goddesses, I hear you, I will not defy your edicts again. Next time, I'll use the ball-winder at the store :-)