Monday, February 26, 2007

February Knitting

Dear Blog-

I know, I know. I know what you're thinking. Where has she been? She doesn't call, she doesn't write. Doesn't she love me anymore? Has she (Gasp!) stopped knitting?

What can I say? It has been a really, really busy month. My middle sister was here visiting for a week, and staying mostly with my parents, which meant a lot of driving back and forth for me. DH and I took her to the Gem Show and had a great time spending money there. After she left I was knitting like mad to catch up on projects and knitting patterns, there have been Dr. apts. for me and DH and Mom, classes at the guild, classes of my own to teach. DH has been in the hospital... I swear there has been something going on every day this month, not a single day to sit down and gather thoughts to write.

I enjoyed my sister's visit- even tho we have traveled back east and seen her and her family a few times, my parents hadn't seen her in about 5 years. I didn't think my mother was going to give her up for a night so that we could have her over. But we did have her for a brief overnighter, and going out to dinner, a trip to the Gem Show where we wandered around and she spent lots of money on herself and my SIL and her kids. I would put a picture in here of the two of us, but MAN do I look fat, much bigger than I look in my mirror, I can tell you that. But with DH's and my health issues we are both on a diet as of this past weekend, so that should start peeling off.

Let's see... When she left I had an apt. with my primary care Dr., who referred me on to a cardiologist, again. Thank God the man doesn't think I am after his bones. But he has concluded that since we ran a full gamut of tests last year with nothing showing up, this time we are going to do an angiogram and a renal angio and get it over with. I kind of sat there in shock, my husband had one last May and needed three cardiac stents, and had another this past week with another stent. So that was two days spent at the hospital, the day of the procedure and the next day as they kept him in overnight. He hates staying overnight and I hate it too. My Mom also has had some apts. she needed to be taken to, her vascular surgeon and a place that is going to put her into a drug study for a vascular medication which requires weekly blood work, and let me tell you, that seemed like the day that was never going to end.

I've been doing a lot of teaching at the shop, which always feels good, my felted bowls, a first sweater class which is an ongoing project, some felted mittens, Knit Dr. I had two patterns that I had to finish up quickly, one was a request from one of my clients, and another was for a class at the shop.

After seeing my Winter Woodlands Wrist Warmers at the shop, one of my favorite clients suggested that I write a similar pattern with a heart motif for a child's size, that she would like to make for her grand-daughter. So as soon as my sister left, I dove into that, playing with various yarn weights til I hit on that it really needed to be done in dk weight alpaca. So I wrote up and knitted the adult size, then wrote and knitted the child's size. The adult size has a double heart motif running up the back of the hand, the child's size has a single heart motif on the back of the hand. I did twitch the lace pattern a bit to make it an easier knit, and more definition at the top of the heart. So I write up the patterns, chart the charts, and then turn it over to my husband who can put the chart into the pattern and do up the key to the chart. Then I put the finished file into Mocrosoft Word, then into Adobe .pdf, and finally into payloadz, and he comes back in and puts the pattern up for sale on the website. It is a pretty time consuming process, especially if I forget for days on end to ask him to update the website for me.

Here they are...

And if you are interested in purchasing the pattern, it can be found here as an instant download. They are called the Sweetheart Wrist Warmers. Please take a minute, too, to take a look at my other patterns.

So with those finished, I turned to the felted tool case for knitters that I have been wanting to design for some time now. This one is made with Noro Kureyon, and the pattern is written so that there are no seams anywhere. You knit it, felt it, and then sew the zipper in afterwards. I will put the pattern into payloadz after I write this, and then have DH put it up on the website later today. It is a fun and easy knit, and teaches you a few new tricks in the process. And the finished case is really, really roomy. The one you see here is at the shop as a demo and I really miss it, I'm going to have to knit another for me to use.

As far as other knitting-related activities, our guild had a great class with Maureen Mason-Jamieson this month. She was very nice, and I took two of the three classes that she offered while she was here. The first was a 3 hour class in Collar Obedience that showed us a perfect way to make shirt-style collars on sweaters. I am knitting the Algonquin Cardigan from Morehouse Farm right now, and I am going to use her technique for the collar. I told my husband after the class that afternoon that I already knew (and had taught to my sweater students the day before) 2/3 of what she showed us, but the 1/3 that I didn't know more than made the class worthwhile. And of course there are all skill levels in the class, so there will a lot for newer knitters to learn.

The second class that I took from her was the all-day Saturday class in Japanese Knitting Techniques. This was a class choice that I campaigned hard for, and I am so glad I did. We learned a whole lot of wonderful techniques to make better short-rows, better buttonholes, better 3-needle bind-offs... I really loved it. Although my asthma was very much NOT HAPPY that day, and it seemed as though everybody in the room conspired to wear as much perfume as they could find, I did manage to make it up til about the last half hour.

On my other knitting projects - the afternoon after that class, by the time I got home and has breathed clean air for about half an hour, my breathing was a lot better, so DH took me to the knit shop that I really, really don't like, so that I could test drive some Inox needles for my Scheherazade Shawl. A few rows sitting there at their table, and I knew I had at last found my needles for this yarn. The yarn is so danged fine in weight that the sts were hanging up on every single circ I tried before then, except for the Addi Turbos that were much too slippery for the merino yarn. An incredibly kind person from the Knit Talk list sent me some old nylon circs that she loves for lace knitting, and while they did do the trick, I found the cable to be just too stiff for me. I was so delighted with the Inox that I finished the first chart, and then over the next two days worked through Chart 2. I've put it aside now while I work on the Algonquin Cardi, but I am so much more optimistic about the project that I don't mind setting it aside in the meantime, I know I'll get back into it easily after this. Here is how odd their shop is - A Saturday afternoon, and no one in the shop except for the three employees, who are all sitting at the table knitting. I sit down with them to knit for about 10 - 15 minutes, and not one single word do they speak to me except, 'Do you think those will work?' Heck, at the shop where I work, by the time you have sat at our table for that long, we know your name, your life story, the names of your children, spouse and pets, where you live, what kind of projects you like to knit. Can you imagine sitting at a table knitting with someone for that long and not speaking? They also assume that since one has a certain skill level, and they don't recognize you as a regular customer, you must have just moved to town. When I went in about a month ago to ask about needles for this project (unfortunately didn't bring the project with me), the owner picked invisible hairs off of my alpaca lace cardi for a bit so that she could check it out, and then finally asked, So, have you just moved to Tucson, or are you visiting? Neither, I said, I've lived here for 25 years. She didn't know what to say after that. I don't come here because YOU have been incredibly rude to me several times. But sometimes a knitter has to do what a knitter has to do, and I wasn't buying another needle for this project off the internet and finding out that it wouldn't work, it had to be in the flesh.

Anyway, so there you are. I will show you my Algonquin Cardi and my Scheherazade Shawl progress next time. I've also finished my Emilie's Hooded Scarf, and finally ripped out my socks and restarted them with a new pattern in the new Interweave sock book. We'll talk about all that later...



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