Archive | November 2020

Adventures in Swatching

Don’t I feel silly! You know how I’ve been swatching for my Oxbow cardigan, and I just blocked my third swatch? When I checked my gauge on that one, I realized I was getting MORE stitches per 4″ instead of fewer. I have no idea how I had this kind of brain fart, but I know when my second swatch gave me 15 stitches for 4″ and I needed 13, I thought, “Oh, okay, I’ll go down a needle size!” Dummy. I have now done my fourth swatch which is really the first swatch done a second time. Cross your fingers it’s right this time!

While this dries, I’ll go back to knitting my happy Christmas socks and watching movies while I have a lazy weekend!

Here come the holidays

Oh golly. 2020, amiright? Good news: we’re all feeling fine, the boy’s test was negative and my tests have been negative, and the two weeks since possible exposure are up Monday. Of course, we’re very lucky: someone else I know tested positive this week (though honestly, I’m not sure they’re very good about staying home/not socializing etc).

Bad news: the girl is not coming home for Thanksgiving. I know it’s the right decision but I hate it quite a lot, and today it’s hitting me hard as the husband plans the menu and I know it will just be the three of us. I am trying to remind myself to be thankful that everyone I love is still alive. And the three of us are going to be as careful as possible so that with any luck, she can be here for Christmas. (Just let me be optimistic about something, okay?)

My recent ennui has extended beyond this blog and into my knitting. I frogged that cowl and it was satisfying, but I don’t have a new pattern picked out for the yarn. Besides a third swatch for my Oxbow, which is drying now, all I’ve done is make two bobble hats.

My former boss has commissioned four of them for new lab members, which is the only reason I will consent to doing bobbles anymore. But now they’re on hold because I’m waiting for more brown yarn to arrive in the mail. (I wanted to say “post” there. I think I’ve been watching too much British TV. Can I just say, watching Diana on The Crown is quite sad. We’re not too far into the new season yet, but it just makes my heart ache a bit.)

Today, though, today I’m going to try to break through the wall with some Christmas knitting. I remembered I had a sock kit in my stash, plus my new self-striping from Two Sisters is here. Which one to knit first? Oh, and I also got some gorgeous new yarn from the Lemonade Shop the other day. So many yarns I want to play with!

I think today will be a couch/tea/knitting/movie marathon kind of day. And dogs. Always dogs. Here, have a photo of Duncan in his new pajamas. He’s quite dapper, I think.

Happy weekend, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday

The title is a little bit misleading: I have no sock to show you. I have no sock progress to show you, though my Tainted Love sock is growing and I’m halfway through the foot. Instead, I will share with you my sad sock story: my Christmas socks itch my feet!

I wore my newest WYS self-striping socks yesterday and by the time 5 pm came around, I couldn’t keep them on any longer, they just felt so itchy and prickly. And I have three pairs of WYS Christmas socks! Guys, I was so sad I immediately went to Etsy and bought this yarn from Two Sisters Yarn Co. I WILL have Christmas socks, by golly! Now I have to decide whether to gift them to someone else or keep them and just plan on wearing them for short durations.

In better news, I did finish a lingering WIP over the weekend. When my second Oxbow swatch did not give me the desired results, I was discouraged and needed a win, so I pulled out my ripple bralette that only needed straps and binged the last season of Schitt’s Creek while I finished it.

Though this mannequin is a smaller size than I am, I am happy to report that it does fit me. It’s not perfect: the body is about an inch too long and the straps maybe 1/2″ too long. But certainly wearable … assuming I can wear the wool against my skin. It’s Malabrigo, which I can easily wear as scarves and socks, so maybe it will be okay. Anybody have any magic wool wash suggestions to help make itchy things less itchy?

Frog or not?

While my second Oxbow gauge swatch was drying after being blocked (I know! I did a proper gauge swatch!) I pulled out a lace cowl that I’ve had on the needles since mid-August. It is languishing, I must admit. It’s Malabrigo Arroyo in a beautiful purple/pink shade but it grows SO SLOWLY. I think I’m used to worsted and bulky cowls so this sport weight is taking much longer. Plus it’s lace, and it’s a 32-row repeat. And that presents another issue: last night I got to the bottom of the first page of the pattern and thought that was the end of the repeat, so I started again with row 1. I got three rounds in before I realized that I’d only done 24 rows of the 32-row lace pattern. Heck.

Now I’m not even sure I want to keep working on this project. I don’t want to frog back those rounds. I know the error won’t be noticeable when I’m wearing it, but the principle of the thing is annoying me. Plus, I never find myself eager to work on this project; it’s always “Okay, I guess I better do some more of that one.” That’s the biggest red flag, isn’t it? This just might not be the right combination of yarn and pattern. What do you think: frog or not?

FO Saturday

So I’m a day late, whatever. I actually forgot I’d finished this. It was up in the craft room on the mannequin, waiting for photos. I think I knit this last weekend, when I need a good, quick bulky project. It was billed as a one-skein, two-hour project, and that was almost true. I did only use one skein, but I had to skip a couple rows at the end. And I’m pretty sure it took me longer than two hours, but I was watching Schitt’s Creek so that was fine by me.

This is Malabrigo Rasta in a purple whose name I’ve forgotten, and the pattern is called Why Wait (Rav link). I used size 13 needles but I almost think I would have liked size 15 to give it a little looser drape.

I also finished my first swatch for my Oxbow cardigan, and even though I can’t find my handy gauge-measuring tool, a ruler was enough to tell me it was definitely too loose. So now I’ve got gauge swatch number two about done, and hopefully I can find my gauge tool today. That reminds me, maybe I should add a couple of those to my Christmas list. They’d make great stocking stuffers!

You all will be glad to know that the Zoom calls were fine (though there ended up being FOUR. That’s the most I’ve talked to people in a very long time.) The vet visit wasn’t quite as good. Jack hates the vet so much by now that he wasn’t sure he wanted to get in the car, and then we had to really struggle to get him inside. But we got the meds he needed and he was very happy to come home.

Unfortunately, my fears about Friday the 13th weren’t quite unfounded: we found out that one of the boy’s friends tested positive. Even though they’ve only been around each other in a small group of four, with distancing and masks, it’s enough to make me worry. None of are symptomatic at all, thank goodness. I’d taken a test on Wednesday, which came back negative, and we’ll get the boy tested Monday. So cross your fingers that we’re able to dodge this bullet, and be sure to wear your masks!

Today my goal is to get some chores done and hopefully get the Christmas tree up and lit! Not decorated yet, I’ll do it in stages, but I’m ready for a sparkly tree. Anybody else decorating for Christmas already?

Friday the 13th!

EEK! Are we all bracing ourselves for whatever will come our way today? I know I am. I have three Zoom calls today (I usually have zero) where I have to talk to people and they will see me. And I have to take Jack back to the vet, because his last hot spot healed weird and now he has two more small ones and ARGH. By now he hates the vet so much that even with two of his happy pills, he fights when I try to make him go through the door. Last time it took me three tries to get him inside. I’d love to have someone helping me, so I could be pulling him and they could be pushing him from behind, but the vet prefers only one person per pet right now. Like I said, ARGH. So to heck with trying to worry about looking “good”, today is a comb my hair and wear sweats kind of day!

If I’m lucky, I will have some knitting time today. I have no FOs to share and actually no new knitting photos, so instead I’ll just share my new yarn.

The Cascade Eco is a dark purple that will become an Oxbow cardigan. I started my swatch last night. The middle is a delightful sock set from Ruby and Roses yarn. And I was finally able to get a copy of 52 Weeks of Socks. When I went to pick it up from Yarn Social, some yarn followed me home. The WYS is the Fairy Lights sparkle colorway, and the purple is Old Rusted Chair squish DK. That one is feeding the stash at this point, though I’m thinking a cowl. I do love cowls.

Hope everyone stays safe today! Happy Friday the 13th!

The Story of Freckle

September of 2001 was a bad month for everyone. But along with 9/11, we were dealing with the death of my husband’s grandmother and with my parents moving to Arizona. It was not a good month. But after my parents moved, I was tying up some loose ends at their house (this was 19 years ago; I think it was a garage sale but who knows) and there were two tiny orange kittens running around outside. I played with them and watched to see if anyone came to claim them, but saw no sign of it. So I did what any crazy animal lover would do, and took them home with me.

We already had two cats, so the husband wasn’t thrilled, but he went along with it. I named one Thumb, for the extra digit on one paw, and the other Freckle, for the freckle on one paw. Sadly, Thumb had some health problems and didn’t make it through the night. But Freckle thrived and settled into our family.

This was Christmas of 2001, and man alive, look at those three babies! But don’t let that cute little photo fool you — Freckle was the orneriest cat I’ve ever had, always getting into things and knocking things off tables and desks. I loved him but to be honest, he drove me nuts. A few months later, my parents came for a visit and this happened:

My dad had recently lost his previous cat, and he and Freckle bonded. I confess, I was more than happy to send Freckle back to Arizona with my parents. And Freckle lived out there for 11 years, coexisting with their dog and getting into all kinds of trouble. After Dad died in 2012, Freckle moved back here with my mom and tolerated her new cat and all the new children petting him and squeezing him.

Today I had to take Freckle to the vet for the final goodbye. He was 19 years old, wheezing all the time, down to skin and bones. Just like it often is, we knew it was the right time but it still sucked. Thanks to covid, I didn’t get to go inside, but the vet came out to the parking lot to give him the sedative so I could hold him while he fell asleep. It felt right, me being the one to take him. We got to come full circle. It’s hard to ask for much more than that.

Sock It To Me, Monday!

There’s an exclamation point there because this was a GOOD Monday! On a whim yesterday, Sarah and I decided to do another socially distant knitting date at our favorite rest stop in Iowa. So instead of working, I was hanging out with a cool friend and knitting and hiking!

I got my Tainted Love sock to the heel flap, and the black ribbed hat to the point of decreases, so I’m calling that a productive knitting session. And the project bag was a gift from Sarah because it has the state bird of Missouri on it, which is apparently a bluebird and which I’m sure I knew at some point but had forgotten. It just makes me like the bag even more than I did already!

This might have been our last knitting date for a while, because the cold weather hits tomorrow. Glad we got another one in this fall! Hope your Monday was as good as mine!

Catching Up

It’s been quite a week, friends. For all of us, I think. My brain was full enough that I haven’t had the energy or motivation to blog, but I’m hoping things will start to change now — in a lot of ways! I’m sure my views are no secret, but I’ll just say that I felt an enormous sense of relief yesterday, and I felt my body relax in a way it hadn’t in about four years, I think.

Yep, I wore ALL the things to vote. It was quick and simple at my location, and everyone was polite and friendly. I finished my Christmas socks while watching A LOT of election coverage, and started a new pair. Jack sat on my knitting bag at one point, bending my needle, but thankfully the husband was able to bend it back without damage.

The sock is my Tainted Love birthday yarn from Sarah and gosh, isn’t it a great mix of colors?? I love it! And yesterday afternoon I felt so good that I decided to work on something besides a plain sock, and pulled out a lace cowl.

Though I want to finish some WIPs, I have to admit that my brain is wandering a bit and making me want to cast on some new things. I should just remind myself that now is the time to finish strong for the year, and meet my goal of using at least as many skeins from my stash as I added to it. Surprisingly, even with all the stress-shopping of this year, I’m on track to at least break even. It would be good to get a win out of 2020 … I mean, another win!

Sock It To Me Monday

I’ll tell you what, election anxiety is socking it to me today! I made the mistake of scrolling through Facebook and it’s just not worth it right now. Unfortunately my job involves social media so I can’t unplug completely, but I’m doing my best to limit exposure. And the best way to do that is by knitting!

We’ve been bingeing Designated Survivor the last week or so, so my sock got plenty of love. We also recently watched The Queen’s Gambit and it was fantastic. Highly recommend! The black is the hat the boy asked me to make for him; he even thanked me when we decided on yarn and pattern, bless his heart! It will probably be my voting knitting, since it’s just 1×1 rib for several inches, and it will go in my new bag, which just arrived this morning.

Happy Monday, friends. Wishing you peace today!