Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some Progress

Well, there are still eight UFO's surrounding me but I have made some progress.

Here's the Weaver's Wool Mini Shawl:

I worked on it at knitting group yesterday and during the FUSP service this morning. It's difficult to get a good idea of how it will look because it now has hundreds of stitches per row and it's bunched up on the circular needle. I plan to do about ten more rows and then add a chevron border using more of the Berroco Geode. I'm very happy with the color combination. I'm blatantly copying Patrice's Bunchberry Field interpretation of this shawl which is just beautiful. I've always thought that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I hope Patrice thinks so too.

On the way home from FUSP this morning I had DH drop me off about 1.5 miles from the house so I could have a walk. I left my knitting bag in the car. He stopped at the store for groceries so I was home for a time without the shawl. I didn't want to lose my knitting momentum, so I picked up the Kauni sweater and resumed work on it. I finished the body and did a three needle bind off on the shoulders.

I wish this were a better photo. It's dark out and I had to use flash. I didn't realize I was supposed to cast on extra stitches to steek the neck opening. I've decided to wing it. I'm picking up stitches to make the neck band and once I have them all on the needle, I plan to cut away the excess fabric. It's unorthodox, but I think it will work. Here's a close up of the stitches I've picked up so far.

Once I've knitted a few rows of ribbing for the neck opening, I'll cut off a semi-circle of fabric, turn the rest under and tack it down.

I had a lovely thank you note from Gizmo's expectant parents who have received the little yoked sweater and like it. They tell me he'll wear it home from the hospital and promise to send photos. I'll post them in November which is when he is due to arrive.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Down, Eight to Go

One project finished, the smallest one, therefore the quickest. If you've read my previous post, you've seen there are eight other projects that fall into the UFO category.
Now that the sweater for little Gizmo is finished, I'm zeroing in on the Oriental Lily Dress for Linny. I'd like it to be finished before I go to Cali at the end of July.
I think it's too early to judge whether I'm on the road to recovery from acute startitis, don't you?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Acute Startitis

I don't seem to be able to settle on one knitting project. At this moment, I'm sitting surrounded by unfinished items. In the chair with me are:

Dick's Kauni Sweater with the body nearly finished. I need about one more pattern repeat on the body and I can do the steeks for the sleeves. The whole idea of cutting the sweater has me uneasy so I'm not too motivated to do that last inch or so.

Also sharing the chair with me is the Oriental Lily Sweater/Dress for Linny. I've got about five inches done on the skirt and have about five inches to go. And, I need to do the sleeves. I love the color and the feel of the yarn (Berroco Geode), but I'm tired of stockinette stitch over and over.

The third item in the chair with me is my newest project, the Kindred Knits Yoked Cardigan, for Gizmo. I stumbled on this pattern today as I was surfing ravelry (as a way to avoid actual knitting) and decided it would be perfect for the baby to be of my daughter's close friend who lives in San Francisco. The baby isn't due until November, so there's no big rush, but it's such a cute pattern I wanted to cast on right away.

On the floor next to my chair is a canvas sack with the sleeves and body of Decimal. I started this project in mid-March while I was still in Florida. It's time to join the body and sleeves to complete the yoke. I'm just not very excited about this sweater and I don't imagine I'm going to finish it. To frog or not to frog...

Sharing the sack with Decimal is a Kid's Top-Down Raglan by Gail Tanquary. I started it thinking I would donate it to charity. It's a stash buster and I do intend to finish it.

Across the room in another canvas sack is the Weaver's Wool Mini Shawl. If I am struggling with round after round of stockinette stitch on the Lily Dress, imagine how I feel about increasingly long rows of garter stitch. I know it will be beautifull when it's finished, but I just don't have any motivation for this project right this minute.

Also hiding in the bottom of another canvas sack is Eyelet Cardigan by Norah Gaughan. I really don't like projects that need to be sewn together and I'm not happy with how the first sleeve attached. I've started to take it back off so I can resew it, but I'm not optimistic it will be any better then next time.

Then, there are the projects I was reminded of when I reorganized the stash. Deep down in the Rubbermaid tubs, I found two half finished baby sweaters, Peapod Baby Set by Kate Gilbert and

Carlos by Berroco Design Team. Carlos needs an inch or two on the front and two sleeves. Peapod needs more work and may just be heading for the frog pond.

I should be summing up this post with a humorous paragraph outlining a cure for acute startitis, but I'm stumped. If any of these or future projects required the purchase of additional yarn, I could say I'm not buying at this time. And, I'm not. I've even stayed away from our LYS's huge sale. Each time I start a new project, I'm knitting from stash and that's a good thing, right? The question is how to stop starting. If anyone has any advice for me, I'd love to have it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stash Organization

Stash, organized
Originally uploaded by rallaronson
The corner of our bedroom had become a disaster area. In addition to the yarn bins, there were shopping bags full of yarn. There was no sense of organization in the way the various yarns were stored. This afternoon I pulled the bins out to the living room, cataloged and photographed the skeins and entered all the information on ravelry. It was a much bigger job than I thought it would be. I finished the wool and the wool blends. I still need to work on the cottons and the acrylics. I knew I had a great deal of yarn, but I had no idea how much. I've promised myself I will knit my way through stash yarn at least until Stitches East in October.
I'm exhausted right now, but also exhilarated. It's a chore I've been thinking about for weeks and I'm glad I've made so much progress on it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

WWKIP Day 2009

The Union County NJ Crafters decided to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day with a Picnic at Nomahegan Park in Cranford. It's been raining for days now in NJ, but this morning dawned sunny and dry. The park was quite muddy and we had some difficulty locating a picnic table that was in a relatively dry spot.

Hillary, Jess and I arrived around 10 AM and began knitting at once.

As the morning progressed, more and more members joined us.

The park was an active spot today. There seemed to be three large groups that had reserved the picnic groves. We could smell chicken and hamburgers grilling. People walked back and forth to the playground, passing close to our table, but no one approached us to ask about our activities. We had prepared for some interest and members planned to teach knitting and crocheting to passers by if anyone expressed an interest.

Our group ultimately became large enough to require the extra table I had brought from home. And, the party chairs that Dick and I bought years ago for an event that was canceled finally found some use. Around 11:30 we decided to break out the food. Each member made a dish to share and there were some very delicious offerings.

Here we are, clearing our knitting away and setting up to eat.

There were chips, salsa, salads, fresh fruit, drinks and brownies.

Midway through lunch, Cindy arrived. Here she is demonstrating her soccer chair. She explained to us that the built in canopy protects her from sun and rain. That's an important accessory these days. And, there has been a lot more rain than sun.

The weather was somewhat threatening. At one point, it seemed as if it would rain any minute, but the dark clouds passed over and the sky brightened. Around 2:30, it became threatening again and we decided to pack up our gear and head home. As I was unloading all the gear and getting things stowed in the garage it did begin to rain--and it's continued to rain all afternoon and evening.

We had one new member, Joan, and she promises to join us at our regular meetings on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

All in all, it was a successful day. Of course, we knit in public, at Starbucks, Coffee Beanery and Panera all the time. It was nice, though, to share food and be in the outdoors.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Now You Don't

Shadow Pot Holder
Originally uploaded by rallaronson
Here's a photo of the Vivian Hoxbro potholder straight on. It looks like simple stripes (although you can see a bit of the shadow knitting). When you look at the post below, you can see the stripes much more clearly.

Now You See It

Shadow Pot Holder 2
Originally uploaded by rallaronson
I've become a fan of Vivian Hoxbro. A few months ago I made some potholders using her mitered squares technique and was very pleased with the results.
The potholder here was made with a technique called shadow knitting. Careful placement of knit and purl rows reveals hidden stripes when the object is viewed at just the right angle. It's an easy knit and I like the contrast of black and white. Next time I'll try a hidden pattern.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Grandkids on Video

I've been video conferencing with my California grandkids off and on for nearly 18 months. They would look at me on the screen and I would look back at them. It was wonderful to see them, but hard to have any meaningful interaction. The picture and sound quality weren't that good and I wasn't sure they really "got it." I hadn't seen them in person for nine months. Seeing them on the screen was nice, but it didn't seem real.

In May, I spent two weeks with them and my husband joined me for the second week. Both kids warmed to us very quickly and we developed rituals, reading books, singing songs, playing games. The children seemed to really enjoy being with us. When Perry really liked something he would say and sign, "More, more!" One of their favorites was singing the hokey pokey.

I've been home for a little over a week now and tonight we had a video conference. Both children recognized us immediately. We sang songs and Perry signed, "More, more," as if we were there in the room with them. It was ten minutes of real connection.

It's so hard to have grandchildren (and their parents) who live so far away. I'm booked for another visit in August and really looking forward to it. In the meantime, they will be nearby in my computer.

Here's a screen shot of the two kids watching me on their Mom's computer screen. You can see they are really engaged.