Sunday, December 20, 2009

Real Men Knit

Last night, my LYS closed its doors for the last time. I am a bit bummed about that.

But, last thursday I went to the shop to take advantage of a sale and Lorilee, the owner, stuck this little piece of paper cut from a page in a magazine onto my shirt. When I looked down, I got such a kick out of it!
I am not sure if this is a logo for a group, design for mugs and shirts, or what. I looked high and low on the internet for this image, and came up with nothing. If any of you know where this image came from, please let me know!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back from Limbo

I do apologize for not posting new entries. I got a little too busy when Spring came around the corner. There were things I had to focus on: my job, my work at the college, my garden, and my knitting.

My full-time job at the carpet warehouse did some major downsizing due to loss of business (blame it on the economy). Half the work force was laid off. Thankfully, my position was spared, but more is now expected of me to make up for the other people who are now gone. It is my knitting and my teaching position at the college that keeps me sane these days.

The garden over the summer was a success! I may have bought too many plants and planted them too close together. Orderly rows soon became an unruly jungle that one must crawl through in order to harvest the produce. That is something I will have to keep in mind for next year ~ seedlings may be little and cute, but they don't stay that way.
The bumper crop from the garden was a lot more than one or two persons could eat (I had 26 tomato plants along with a lot of other things). I had to invest in a food dehydrator, and break my canner out of storage. Starting in July, and lasting all to way to November, I was drying and canning my harvest like there was no tomorrow.

My pantry is now full of jars and bags of my garden produce. I have no fear of starvation for the Winter.

Over the Spring and Summer I did work on my TKGA Master Knitter Level II assignments whenever I could find the free time. Took a few visits to my college library to hunt down information I needed for the paper I had to write for this level.

One of the requirements for this level is to knit a vest. Rather than knitting from a published pattern, I decided to take the extra step and designed a vest pattern of my own. Now, I usually can knit up a vest in two weeks, but this one took me two months since I was making it up as I went along and writing the pattern down as I go. Yea, I am a sucker for punishment. Yet, I am pleased with how the vest came out!

The patterns for the cables and the side panels are from Barbara Walker's Treasury books. I decided to be a little more daring with the central chevron pattern ~ I charted it from my family Aran jumper. I had to, since I never could find a published pattern for that particular chevron. I think this may be a pattern that is unique to my Clan. You can see the pic of my Aran jumper below to make that comparison with the vest above.

It took about a month and a half for the committee to go over my work. They were pleased with the results, and contacted CAST ON magazine to have my vest pattern published in a future issue. So, if you would like to knit this vest for yourself, keep your eyes open for the Fall 2010 issue of CAST ON for the pattern! I am super excited to have the opportunity to have a pattern I created to be published.

I got busy getting the Christmas tree up and.......

knitting my mother a Faroe Lace shawl that she wanted from Meg Swanson's A Gathering of Lace. She has some specific requirements, the main one being that the shawl be made with plant fibers for summer wear (Mum is a natrural red-head, and prefers to be protected from the sun).
I looked high and low for the right fiber and rejected them all. I was about to give up when the owner of my local LYS suggested bamboo. I took a look into that and found it to be perfect ~ silky soft without the price of silk. Even found it in the color Mum requested.

I have been growing my hair out. It is so thick and highly textured (yes, natrual)

But, soon I will have to get it chopped off. I am scheduled to get a cochlear implant sometime in January or February. They will have to drill holes in my skull to insert the electrode array and the internal processor. I've decided to donate my hair to Locks for Love prior to the surgery. It will be a load off my mind not to worry about grooming that thick mane while I am healing (one side of my head will be extremely sore). The upshot is that some child receiving chemo would have a wig of real human hair, and hopefully I will be able to hear something when they "turn on" the implant. Wish me luck on that!
This is all for now. I will try to do better with future posts. Drop me a line sometime for more news if it gets quiet.
Happy Holidays, keep your knitting needles moving, and stay warm.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Afghan is Here!!!!

I took a vacation from both jobs on the first week of March, locked myself in the guestroom, and preceded to knit a border for the afghan. Once that was done, I then had to graft all 21 pieces together to come up with the finished product. All I can say is that "I am glad it is over!"

It was a lot of work, but well worth the effort!
The afghan is now being displayed at the local yarn store City Knitting ( So, stop by, and have a look-see if you can.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Quick Note

This is just a quick note to let you know that I am still alive and kicking. And I finished the last of the 20 squares I need for my afghan.

The Latvian Moon Cross.


The Tree of Life.

This reminds me of a frosted wedding cake.

The Aran Sweater Square.

And here's the socks I am knitting from the sock flat. As you can see, the color bandings matches on both socks!! Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Productive Vacation

For those of you who are not in Michigan, I gotta' tell ya' that the weather has been frightful! I don't mind the snow, in fact, I love the snow ~ what I am saying is that things have been a bit unpredictable around here concerning the moods of Mother Nature. We get snow dumped on us, followed by a heat wave, and then more snow! Frankly, I am just sick and tired of shoveling the slush (those are almost 50 pounds a shovel-full!). Supposenly, if the weatherman is to be trusted, we are getting more snow over the weekend, followed by an arctic blast at the beginning of the week. Amen to that!

I took two weeks off from both jobs for a much needed "quiet time" for myself. Since the weather was a bit uncooperative when it comes to flying I decided to stay home, and just have a quiet holiday. It also gave me the time I needed to catch up with my knitting. Two jobs can be harsh, and the afghan project did stall during the pre-holiday rush. It was also quite a suprise
to rediscover that I do have a cat! I got into such a routine of filling the food and water bowls and cleaning out the litterbox in such an unmindful way that the cat was forgotten among all the mayhem. Well, believe you me, the situation was rectified during my vacation. I went to the pet-store to get some catnip-filled toys, and Hecate (the cat's name) and I spent a very long afternoon just playing and having a blast. We knitted together during the down times, with Hecate keeping my lap warm, and I think she approves of the afghan since she could never resist burrowing under and sleeping on my squares.

I managed to finish 5 squares during the 2-week vacation. Now I only need to knit 5 more squares and I will finally have all 20 that I need for the afghan!

The DNA Square.

The Pomegranates Square.

The Cathedral Window Square. This square has a quirky essembly. Instead of working back and fourth over the entire square, each pattern is worked individually, and you pick up stitches before working the next pattern.

The Bobbledy Aran Square. And it was the designer that came up with the name.

Over The Top Square. This is where I got so sick and tired of bobbles that I wanted to drive to Portage, hunt down the designer and shoot her!

I usually have a pair of socks on needles for "contemplative knitting". Socks are so easy, and the construction is so basic: toe, foot, heal and cuff ~ or the other way if you are knitting from the top down. I don't really knit socks from a book anymore, which makes it easy to carry the work-in-progress around in a bag, and just knit whenver there is a bit of time ~ like waiting in a check-out line. Anyways, I've been keeping an eye out for yarn for the next sock project, and I finally found it at my local yarn store. This yarn is not in a ball, hank or skein ~ it has already been machine-knitted into a flat piece of fabric!
This is a "blank" and it is very interesting. Rita of Yarn Hollow hand-dyes these sock-blanks and you unravel it as you knit your socks! In this blank, two yarns have been knitted together, and then dyed. This allows for a pair of socks with the colorways that matches each other! I will give a better idea of what I am talking about in a future blog post with pictures. Keep your eyes open!
Keep the yarn on the your sticks and I am rooting for you!