Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One for the money, two for the show ...

Okay none of it is for money. It's all for "Getherdone" or if you are tagging your items for Andi's KAL on Ravelry getitdone2013.

I have brought an old lace stole out of hibernation because it's been YEARS since I touched it and I do not want to re-purpose the yarn. I just want it to end. Who uses the word stole anymore? Grannies? I think the rest of us folk say, "wrap" My sister would say it's like a scarf and a shawl had a love-child, but I think it's just a wide scarf. I think it's in a cascade pima cotton. I remember being at the LYS and it was NEXT to sale yarn and it was shiny and soft. I also remember detangling it sitting on the floor of an airport on the way to Phoenix.

This iis a free pattern from Lion Brand, one of my first attempts at lace (2nd at this pattern) and it's when I learned you have to pay attention to yarn overs and count and stuff with lace.

It's not pretty it's provisional -- the provisional cast on for that seamless baby shrug I have prattled on about. Cast I just in time to qualify for the knit along. 

Now that should be the last of my summer projects, but we shall see. Perhaps there will be a third wind for me.

How many things are in progress for you? 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Knitting Tid Bits

So this is my sock frozen in time. I think I know the proportions are kind of off, so I think it's slowed the momentum a bit. But don't worry, I've joined Andi's KAL (which is really a FAL - finish along) and is very awesome, because if there is any kind of peer pressure I need, it's the follow-through kind.

Andi's awesome knitalong!

(Yet for the record, it's really only your own pressure, Andi's not going to come after you with a wooden spoon like my Mom when I wouldn't do my chores, smart talking her and knocking over stuff in the kitchen running away from her -- sorry, flashback.)

This is how I have been distracting myself, I finally managed to cast on for a hitchhiker. It's fantastic times. When my mind is whirly-birding with next day work anxiety or I just can't focus on yarn overs, I crack this project bag open. The yarn is my first go with Little Red Bicycle. The colorway is "Sidewalk Chalk", and the little girl in me says, "totally."

And then there is the gift knitting.

 This one has potential to feel like obligation because I said I would make it out loud. This means there's a level of expectation. So I "have to". But it's a baby item and it's a return to pattern (Baby Sophisticate - Free). I have faith, and I'm sorry, I know I've mentioned it before, but if you're gonna acrylic, I can't hype the Brava worsted from Knit Picks enough. Get on that horse and ride it, because you and your hands will be happy with this washable soft project yarn.

What say you? We are verging on August. Where does your summer knitting stand? Have you joined Andi's knit along? Are you doing another one? Are you too deep in the heat or work or family to clickety clack?

Just a check-in.

I really cannot seem to keep up with this summer.

I have more than a handful of half started posts. But I was pulled away or quickly distracted. 

I have been enjoying bloglovin to keep an eye on my favorite blogs, but when I try to comment it seems to be failing on my phone.

However between visiting family and sorting out work I have managed a little recreation time.

I made an heirloom tomato tart when I went to visit my father and stepmother who are hosting cousin Mary.
Not the best photo but tasty I promise. I will bake another one before the end of tomato season for sure.

I mooched some breakfast off my husbands plate. We can see the French heritage with those side portions eh?
When he saw my face when I saw him butter his plate he said, "don't judge me."

Butter on butter, he knew what I was thinking, but we all have our food things. I kept quiet.

I spent some time organizing my knitting piles and my WIPs.

It's all better now.

Tomorrow I'll post a WIP. My socks are on break, but other fun things are a happening!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ellen's Wednesday Wisdom & Observations

No knitting today. Just lots of brain hodge podge.

*Chex Mix and sore throats aren't really a wise combination. However Halls + herbal tea = brush your teeth before your next meeting.

*When my husband watches R rated comedies he thinks he's a comedian, often at my expense with a crass joke. I have to admit it doesn't help when I laugh at him (even if it's out of absurdity). When he bombs really badly, I tell him he needs to "workshop it".

*When I am truly tired I carry around my knitting from room to room like a security blanket, but I just sit with it. "Too Tired To Knit". "Stop Your Whineding/Winding" "Knot enough time" "Bustin' my stitches." What do you think? A new line of sleep shirts for the exhausted knitter? Just kidding.

*Triscuts are not love and when you're having a rough day, you should back away from them and the smoked salmon spread and say to yourself. "It's time to leave, but you know we'll be together soon."

*On holding it together: Spanx makes a cotton blend underwear that really holds a girl together, but doesn't make me feel like I might suffocate. I have also learned that I should really try and stick to compression exercise-wear. I don't need my business doing any extra bouncing, it makes me feel heavier -- I'm talking about the pants. I have some groceries to hold up, and those lighter weight, weekend warrior, yoga bras don't really cut it for Cardio classes, and definitely not for running. However 2 of those lightweight bras provides decent maintenance.

*I ordered a new computer based more on my son's requests than mine or my husbands.  He is showing an interest in computer game development and movie making, thanks to camp. I still couldn't bring myself to get a Mac. After getting the faster processor and more memory, a Mac was still hundreds of dollars more expensive than the DELL I just purchased.

*Fact: I hate setting up new computers. Also, I'm so old fashioned even my Operating system is not the newest on a new computer. "Doesn't feel right." ha! (No seriously, Windows 8 seems more like a touch screen interface. If you're not getting a touch screen, what's the point? The interface seems ... unnecessary for our family. Less is more, and hopefully more stable...)

*When it rains it pours. My husband's partner is out of town on holiday this week. This means a 6 dayer for him, which is fine. This is how it used to be on a regular basis! But he's on his own opening and closing the restaurant and within the first three days: The coffee machine broke, the phone went down and the sink needed to be fixed. (Actually I think it's just he finally got around to fixing the sink, ha!) Also today the newest cook was AWOL. We've also had to rely on the La Famille Peche to ferry The Kid to soccer camp quite a bit for us, since After Care only goes to 5pm. Sheesh Christmas, I'm at work till 5:30! Even if I got out at 5pm, it would still be too late!

*Working it all out. This weekend that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to nail down the last of the summer camp plans including drop-off/pick ups, knit like a crazy woman, exercise. I believe one of my favorite teachers has a class this Sunday at 10am, which will leave a lot of knitting time. See that? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday's pleasant rush

I can say right now, this weekend allowed for some brief sock knitting on Saturday between soccer skills academy and prime time tv nodding off but it was otherwise busy, hurried but fun.

My father's birthday BBQ was Saturday. He was happy things were intimate, and it was an overall good time. We all picked plums and peaches from his trees. (Which will be used towards restaurant jam) My stepmother put out a lovely spread and was just her usual joie de vie. Then my sister and BIL took The Kid, and our boys had fun nerd screen time. 

separated by 3.5 years each.

The Manfriend and I fought the no-kid sleep and watched Timmy Lincecum pitch a no-hitter for our Gigantes. 

I turned a heel but didn't have the proper number of stitches to pick up.

Today we slept till 8am (crazy pants) and walked to the Mission to pick up Bastille day provisions for our Franco American household. 

But sans kid we couldn't help but peek into brunch options and stopped in at Cafe Tartine. Very savory and hearty. 

After unpacking the provisions we headed out to pick up the offspring. But first we had some putt putt golf and hot dogs in Alameda. 

Look at my sisters "banh mi" dog.

Tasty, non?

I would show you pics of the evening knitting but there was none. I would show you pics of a lovely Bastille day dinner except we were eating it with exceptional out of town company (PT) whom like his exceptional wife does amazing admirable work with veterans, and whom we miss living locally, dreadfully, awfully.

And though I am exhausted I am happy and feel fortunate. If you didn't have such a weekend, I wish you one. More importantly, I wish you a great week to come.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Inside a weirdo: Dreams of zombies, twins and knitting

Sometimes when my life is in busy mode, I have anxiety dreams. It's not uncommon, I hear. My usual ones involve waiting tables where I don't know the table numbers or it's really dark or I'm the only one on shift on a super busy day. There are also the standard, I have an exam and I didn't even know I was taking that class this semester, and a whole set of t-shirt dreams. These are a spin on the above: waiting tables in just a oversize sleep-shirt, going to school, taking an exam in an oversize sleep-shirt and my absolute favorite, skiing in an oversize sleep-shirt.

In this one I find myself getting off the chairlift. It's usually snowing, I have goggles, boots, gloves etc. and I only have a sleep-shirt on. I talk myself into it. "It's okay, all you have to do is ski down the hill and you can get some pants on. If you do it well and quickly, you can get a pair of pants on before anyone notices, and if you don't fall, you'll have dry underpants." (even though it's snowing)

Well I haven't had a good monster dream in awhile. The old cranium thought it would sort of shake up the usual anxiety dream rotation and threw in some rather quick but dim-witted zombies that were following me to a hospital. But then the hospital turned into my friend's house who were having some kind of super grown up rager party. You know instead of red silo cups it was cocktail glasses, but the music and dancing was out of some crazy VH1 video. (I don't think MTV has videos anymore, just lots of reality bad t.v.) I didn't get to do my best table top dances because I was in charge of babysitting twin boys who were really dirty and poopy. However my anxiety shot through the roof when I realized their tub was not easy to use and I was going to need time to fiddle with the faucet, but I couldn't let those two alone. (approx 15 mos - 2 years old). I woke up after that.

I have no idea where I get this stuff. The brain is fascinating, spooky even.

I think knowing I'm functioning on borderline daytime anxiety troubles, I have taken the route so many of you have suggested and that is taking a step back from the knitting to re-appreciate. It's worked.

I still have not bound off that shawl. It's sitting there, and that's okay. I did finish (except for that dastardly weaving part) that stroller blanket and I am almost to the heel part of my very first sock. Simple knitting in the round is really calming.

In my knitting time out I started the pattern perusing.

And here is what is on the horizon in the latest batch of knitting dreams:

I went from saying, I can't buy a whole book for one pattern (the Acorn Tea Cozy). Now feeling more sockfident, my tune is changing along with a hat, wrap and some arm warmers that have the potential to be fantastic holiday gifts ;)

Also, did you see Brooklyn Tweed is trying to woo me with his latest all men's collection. I think there are still things from the past 2 pattern releases I have been meaning to do. But a girl can dream.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Knitting shouldn't make you angry.

It shouldn't.

When things are strange or difficult sometimes one must accept, this is how things are, I know this. I have to deal with it and let it go.

Like how flossing should be automatic after the bedtime brush, and one should look away when husbands leave empty recycling 3 feet above the recycling bin on the counter because you love him and last time you checked he was the father of your kid.

These are more things that seem like "givens" in this world of daily habits, routine and structure.

My good life involves flossing, knitting and misguided recycling and well loved and adored family.  And they all seem to drive me insane at various points in the cycle of life.

But right now I am angry with my knitting, more specifically with my lace project I thought I had conquered. (yes just thinking I had conquered it is one of many mistakes I have committed on this project)

I was knitting along on my lace shawl, sure, ever so sure I was going to bind off yesterday and get trucking on something else or something new, when I realized with 8 stitches left and either a 3-needle bind off or kitchener coming --  I would be done.

I would be done AND this shawl would be ... tiny. Not handkerchief tiny but maybe more kerchief tiny. I thought that things would work itself out in the garter stitch section, alas it did not. I do not think blocking will help much, but I will still do it. I also do not understand how the kitchener or 3-needle bind off will work for this project, but I will do it.

I am feeling angry, hurt and confused by my project. I worked so hard and I still have failed.

Socks are looking sexier by the minute -- though I'm just in the tube part of sock world, we'll see how I feel when I gotta do the heel thingy.

Here's to knitting without a clenched jaw ...

*No pictures to show my shame today.  The universe is secretly telling me to suck it up and get gauge isn't it? DAMN YOU UNIVERSE! I Shake my fist at you!! I drink your milkshake!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Catch-up

This came in the mail earlier this week.

Don't freak out, most of it is for HM (we did a combined order for free shipping). Knitter with a new baby alert! She's going to knit and wash some acrylic baby wear. She said she'll save some scraps for me and I can use them for another acrylic Wonder Blanket.

Me? Back to another Baby Sophisticate Cardigan for another expectant mother. She requested it in Burgundy. The colors aren't exactly what I was expecting... I was planning on hoarding a ball or two for soccer supporter knitting. West Ham and Man City colors for some of my favorite people. However I may have to revisit the West Ham "claret".

Speaking of team support, I need to take a page from Knitspiring Odyssey and whip myself up a Giants Cowl. But I think that will have to wait till next spring... too much to do!

obligatory WIP shot crossing the golden gate bridge

... Including work on some lace. Like many of you said in your comments (thank you so much for your support) lace often takes multiple tries. I am not saying it's going to be all unicorns and rainbows from this point. But look! Progress, it feels so good. I'm a slow knitter but I've stayed up until midnight after The Kid and dishes were put away to work on this thing. I am worried if it will turn out "right". But I'm too far gone to stop or turn back now.

I finished The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie last week. Another triumph. I enjoyed it. I will definitely pick up the next one in the series. Chapter 19 opens in a way that just makes me smile and chuckle inside and out :)

"Not to be too dramatic about it, that night I slept the sleep of the damned. I dreamt of turrets and craggy ledges where the windswept rain blew in from the ocean with the odor of violets."

I finished I am the Messenger while camping at the Russian River this weekend. I really loved this story, but the ending ... I was disappointed. Without giving away anything it essentially took me out of the story, and made me start thinking about the author, and how and why he got this ending. I know it's vague. Let's just say, I would still recommend it, but I was deflated a bit.

We spent 2 nights camping out at the Russian River, a mini get away. Fun, hot and chockful of family. It turned into a mini family reunion with my husband's clan coming out on Sunday for river swimming and a grill meal. We did marinated Thai BBQ chicken wings, Rib-eye shish-kabobs with lots of roasted veggies and campfire potatoes. One sister in law brought watermelon, kid drinks, chips and salsa, the other brought her homemade levain bread and Iron Horse rose sparkling. My mother in law brought pate, cheese and her famous  Pt. Reyes Station Garden Salad (literally from her garden). The kids laughed, swam, argued and scouted for extra sugar. It was a lovely afternoon, but we were exhausted afterwards. My husband fell asleep in front of the fire that evening, and the Kid, couldn't stay up to see the stars. But this is how I finished my book :)

Unfortunately The Kid woke up with another migraine/headache at 5am and after some pacing and puking he had some mint tea finally made it back to sleep at 7 for 2 hour sleep. I am not one that can go back to bed easily -- at this point I was too far gone. At this point, it was me walking down to the river, fussing with the campsite cat,  fire starting, coffee making and tinking some late night tipsy lace errors. (Really what compels me to even pick up small needles in the dark with alcohol? Oh yeah, alcohol. ha!)

After fire roasted sausages and apricots for breakfast, breaking camp and a final swim, we were on the way back home. We stopped in Sebastapol for lunch. I was hoping to go to Yarnitudes on the 116 on the way out. I knew that Balls & Skeins was closed on Monday, but Yarnitudes was closed as well. SAD FACE. Really, they should cut a deal to not be closed on the same day ;) We are always heading up too early on Sundays  or are on the way home either after 5pm on Sunday or Monday afternoon. I will have to find some way to put this on my itinerary ... must support the industry right?

We rushed to put our camping stuff in storage and take showers. When I emerged I found the boys sacked out in front of cable t.v. in t-shirts and shorts. I got to do 2 loads of campfire laundry and wet towels.

And that my friends, is the catch-up.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What's This?

It's the beginning of a threat.

It is the beginning of a sock. That's right people. I've taken the plunge and decided to take a stab at knitting socks. All the kids are doing it!
"something seems amiss if i don't have a sock in the works"
-- life on coyote hill continues
Apparently socks and lace knitting are the summer to do. It's right up there with watermelon and sparklers and frozen grapes.

The pattern is Basic Ribbed Socks recommended by Andi from My Sister's Knitter. She's the first person to make me waver in my anti-sock knitting ways. Watching the beautiful pairs she produced and her big support of indie yarn and self-striping yarn was inspiring!

The yarn is some random sock yarn Regia (self-striping!) I picked up from the Quiet DA at HM's tea party and yarn swap almost two years ago. It's been languishing in my stash since then.

Watching the internet knit up socks is definitely an influence, but also the portability of a sock is a huge draw. The heat is a deterring me from finishing that stroller blanket. Us, Bay Area folk are not prepared for anything above 72 that lasts longer than say a 6 hr. stretch. We are spoiled and whiny in that way.

I still have my lace on the needles, but some knitting under the influence while camping set that back a bit. Hence casting on of the sock.