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Long time, no write. I hope this is going to change. Some pesky health issues made keeping up with my blogging all but impossible. Finally I am feeling a bit better.

I did manage to finish the crochet baby blanket that my MIL had started before she passed away.

baby-blanket-edit

As I said, it has been a time since I crocheted and the pattern was all in her head. I kept with the pattern blocks as she had them. The Skipper has a blanket crocheted by her and I looked to that for guidance on how to stitch the blocks together. It seems as though she liked to crochet blocks together using single crochet. Wanting this blanket to be very much still hers and not mine, I connected the baby blanket blocks in like manner.

I also looked at the border on The Skippers blanket but realized I couldn’t reproduce it on the baby blanket as it would not work. While I am pretty sure my MIL’s border would have been more fancy, I decided to make the border out of single crochet. I felt this plain border would keep the emphasis on the blocks she had finished, thereby keeping the blanket as her creation.

All are happy with the blanket.

Just A Quick Hello

I have not had the time lately to post and I really miss it. But everything here has been at sixes and sevens and I haven’t been able to steal a moment.

My mother-in-law who died was in the middle of crocheting a baby blanket for the newest great grandchild and my sister-in-law asked if I would like to finish it. I was honored to be asked. The package with blanket-in-progress arrived yesterday. As is usual with those who crochet or knit a lot, my mother-in-law was crocheting from her own pattern in her head. It wasn’t hard to figure out where she was going with the squares that will make up the blanket. Nor was it difficult to discern the same hook size she was using. I practiced until my crocheting looked like hers with the same gauge and all. Then I got to work.

I am not first and foremost a crocheter. The squares are done in the granny square style so they are not overly complicated. However, at the end of the round I am at a loss as to how to join the last round and begin the new round. Her joins are flawless and not noticeable at all. I am pretty sure the end of one round and beginning of the next takes place in a corner but the ways I’ve tried are clearly not like hers.

I’d love to show you a picture of the blanket but the battery in my camera is dead and I still haven’t loaded the photo software into the computer after fixing the hard drive. I’m telling you life has just been crazy.

I have this feeling of dread creeping over me that the great grandchild will be in college before I get this thing figured out. That would be completely unacceptable.

I’m off to scour youtube and see of they have any videos on ending and beginning a crochet round.

 

I assure you, knitting is taking place. I am working on the Cameron Shetland Shawl by Susan Miller.

the-cameron-shawl

I am working from the center out, which means I only need navigate 125 stitches at a time. The stitch repeat is only 10 or 12 stitches. Oh the numerous ways a 10 to 12 stitch repeat can go wrong. Let’s count them, shall we?

1) Knit the wrong row entirely. Repeat this periodically throughout the 242 row process.
2) Knit while someone is talking to you.
3) Knit while watching television.
4) Dog steals knitting and dismantles it to his liking. Dismantle what dog has dismantled and try to pick up stitches from life line.
5) Realize you can’t see life line because it is a very pale lavender and fades away completely against the white frothy-ness of the Shetland yarn. Starting from the beginning is the only answer. Do not cry. It is too early in the process for crying.
6) Toss stash for a darker life line yarn. Come up empty. Have an argument with yourself over whether to shelve the knitting until you go to the store and get a darker yarn or to continue with the very pale lavender because you’re afraid a darker cotton yarn might unintentionally stain the white Shetland yarn. When the migraine appears, knitting is done for the night effectively ending the debate. Take two headache pills. Go to bed.
7) Memorize the repeat of a row, only memorize it wrong. When you get to the end of the row notice the stitch count is off. Rip back to the very pale lavender life line and try to pick up the tiny white stitches. Make a cup of Chamomile tea, drink it slowly while repeating the words “It’s okay. Everything will be fine.” Put the knitting away for the night.
8) Memorize repeat of row, memorize it correctly. At end of row stitch count is off. Carefully review row. Repeat the review at least 3 more times. Fail to see where the mistake is. Rip back to the very pale lavender life line. Crying is now allowed.

Of the 242 rows I managed to knit 60 rows successfully.

Perhaps it is just where I live but the state of knitting seems to be on the wane. The large Barnes and Noble store near me no longer carries any knitting magazines. Vogue Knits, Interweave Knits, Verena, Debbie Bliss, Knitting Universe are all gone from the shelves. None of the workers I asked had a clue, but one said that knitting magazines “just don’t sell”.

I went to the local Joann’s Fabric store to see if they had any knitting magazines and they too had none. When I asked about it, I got the same answer that they don’t sell.

I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. My own automatic magazine buying stopped a long time ago. I did like to flip through the knitting magazines, occasionally buying one if there was a technique in it that particularly interested me.

I suppose the internet has made it hard for the print magazines to exist. But I do miss flipping through the issues looking at the projects and the advertisements. Not having the magazines out there is just one more way in which knitting loses its visibility.

 

Where I’ve Been

Just before Christmas I lost my computer to a broken hard drive. I didn’t know hard drives could break. It’s not like I use the computer in an Indy 500 kind of way. But break it did.

Try to get a computer fixed over the holidays. It doesn’t happen, my friends. I had to get the original operating system from the maker. I can say with a high level of certainty that I will never buy this particular brand of computer again.

At Christmas we lost my mother-in-law. No one was feeling festive.

Next up my Barnes and Noble nook died. I’ve had it for years–their original version. Because I read voraciously, the nook prevents books from collecting all over the house. My mother-in-law was also a voracious reader and we often talked about authors and shared good reads.

Then the year old car had a number of indecipherable icons light up, most with exclamation marks besides them so it conveyed a sense of urgency to understand what the hieroglyphs meant and get them fixed.

At this point, I was feeling the fates just were not with me. Though I was knitting it wasn’t the relaxing kind of work. I was making fingerless gloves to go with the cowl I knit. For the life of me, I couldn’t seem to reverse instructions when it came to the right hand glove. I ripped out twice. Then I knit a full glove only to find it too wasn’t a right hand glove. Yarn Rascal was craving the particular yarn I was working with. Rather than rip yet again Salpal suggested I gift the glove to Yarn Rascal, who had sat in my lap diligently holding the end of the glove in his mouth while I knit it. He is now the recipient of a fingerless glove and sends his love and thanks to Aunt Salpal. He says he owes you one.

Pictures of all will be coming as soon as I repurchase the photo editing software and install it.

Right now Yarn Rascal is sitting in the doorway with a pen in his mouth. It means he’s gotten into the desk drawer again, a place he shouldn’t be in. His tail is wagging madly because he knows he shouldn’t have the pen but he just can’t help himself.

Ah, me.

 

My newest knit is a cowl and fingerless mitt set from Anne Hanson called curling neckwarmer and mitts

curling-cowl-knitting-2

The neckwarmer and one mitt is complete. I can say they were an enjoyable knit because the knitting gods have already turned their attention on me and the second mitt. It is masochistic knitting at its best. The mitt was started three times because I seemed unable to put the thumb gusset in the proper place for a right handed mitt.

To complicate matters more, and afterall that is what masochistic knitting is all about, complicating things to the nth degree, I decided to knit the mitts on US size one needles that are nine inch circulars. The needles are teeny-weeny things. At first, I thought I had definitely found the way to madness. The pattern is composed of knit and purls and the purls were coming out looser than usual causing ladders. I worked on the way I held and knit on the needles and the results were much better. The problem that this change in knitting caused was once I got my knit on with the teeny circulars when I went to knit on regular size needles I was all messed up. So I decided the answer was monogamy. I will knit only the mitt until it is done no matter how much my knitting desires tend to roam.

The second problem, Yarn Rascal loves the mitts. They are small, fit nicely in his mouth and they are made of yarn. Yarn Rascal is on his liver medication and eating his special food so he is feeling much more like himself. Thus while I am knitting this tiny mitt on these teeny needles Yarn Rascal is sitting in my lap with the end of the glove in his mouth. Not optimal knitting circumstances.

He is so enamored of these mitts and the tiny needles that he stole the project last night and hid it. Before I could knit on it I had to find it which took a good twenty minutes. The dog really knows how to hide things.

If all goes as planned, and I have no reason to believe that it will, I should have the second mitt done before the polar vortex leaves. If not, then maybe by next summer.

Yarn Rascal

This past week has been kind of rough. We learned that Yarn Rascal, who is 3 years old, has a small liver that is giving him problems. While the vet says the “prognosis is good” it has meant all kinds of changes. First he must take medication which he doesn’t like at all. Second we must feed him small amounts of special food three times a day. This just kills me because I had worked so hard to find organic high quality food which he loved. The special food is made up of chemicals which I am not comfortable with, but is necessary if we want to keep the liver from going into cirrhosis.

Yarn Rascal was given to me by The Skipper when I was in the middle of my breast cancer treatments and felt I just couldn’t continue on with them. I had hit a wall physically and mentally. Yarn Rascal rescued me and helped me continue my treatments. He is also the driving force behind my staying on my cancer medication for these last three years even though I am constantly in pain from it. Needless to say, this is all upsetting.

Yarn Rascal has a natural sunny disposition and is getting back to being himself though there is a lot that he can no longer have. His chew bones that he loved is one of the casualties. Needless to say, Yarn Rascal from here on in will have full access to the yarn vault and the Rubbermaid bins he so loves to open. It is my hope that Yarn Rascal stays with me for a long time still, but I only have so much control over what his liver does.

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