Auntie Ann Knits

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oh, the possibilties

Thoughts on the red DK merino --

Might it want to be this? or possibly this?? ETA: I have about 1540 yds, enough for either of those sweaters but not enough for just any sweater.

Thoughts on the lovely variegated purple-y, lavender-y, wool and tencel sock yarn --

I don't think it wants to be socks. I think it wants to be this, or more likely, this.

Or something else yet to be found among the treasures here. It is 475 yds of sheen.

The purple/lavender yarn sits on my desk, because I just love to look at it.

Any suggestions? After my treatment I do have some hope of knitting again, soon. But not today.


Stitches Haul

Stitches haul -- part 1:
stitches haul 1

I have been putting off posting these because of having to mouse to do it. After yesterday's treatment I felt better enough to go ahead and post these. But I am not imagining my need to avoid the mouse -- just the few clicks needed to do this made my hand tingle. I should try just moving DH's mouse over to the left. Because I do miss posting my pix.

So, what are my favorite colors? Anyone? Bueller?

Those are sock yarns, from top to bottom:
50/50 wool/Tencel blend, 4 oz./475 yds., from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm, via the Full Thread Ahead booth.

80/20 wool/nylon blend, 4 oz./500yds., from the same sources.

100% Merino, 354 yd., Fleece Artist.

The wool/Tencel blend is very soft and silky. Almost too much so. And very shiny. Would I really make this into something to hide in my shoes? I'm re-thinking this, and thinking it might be better as a simple lacy, skinny scarf. Because I just love the colors and the sheen.

Just to confuse the question of favorite colors, here's part 2 of the haul:

I'm afraid this doesn't do justice to the color. It's a beautiful red, just the way I like it, with no shades of orange, peach or tomato red to be found. 10 skeins of lovely DK merino, color "garnet", in search of a project.

Maybe with these?

But the best part of Stitches West for me was spending the day with DD and seeing her learn more about knitting. We took two of the "market sessions" (1-hour classes) together, and she learned to do cables, yarn-overs, the skp decrease, and slip-stitch color knitting. Priceless.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pins and Needles

This morning I went for acupuncture, and this is what I looked like when I got home.

Well, OK, my hair is longer, but other than that --

I love my acupuncturist, and I almost always feel much better after a visit. Normally I am a rather skeptical person, but somehow I am ready to submit to treatments by her that I would seriously question from someone else. Not just the acupuncture itself, but Chinese herbs, patches, and a cigar-like herbal thing that she lights and passes near the areas to be treated, heating them up. I think she calls it mox, or moxa.

I am not one of those who believes that anything labeled "herbal" is somehow beneficial or even benign. Far from it. And yet if she prescribes it for me, I take it.

And I do feel better today after being treated. Not 100% well, but better. And for today, that is plenty.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ode to Knit Bloggers

I'm so excited -- DH is making me this!

Oops, that's the wrong one! But if you want the instructions for that one, go here.

No, he's making me the yarn swift seen in these instructions. Beautiful in its simplicity, isn't it? I was inspired to ask him this favor after reading on Deepa's blog that she had bought a Mama Bear swift, which mine will resemble somewhat.

Now, unlike Deepa, I am not such a prolific knitter that I am needing to wind a lot of yarn. But I happen to have a woodshop in my garage, and a woodworker in the house. I asked him to do this for my birthday, allowing several months of lead time, since, like many a knitter, he always has multiple projects in the pipeline. Unlike many knitters, his hobby is also part of his (our) livelihood. He produces wood furniture (so far usually built-in vanities) to order from time to time. So I figured I'd wait a while for my swift, and that was fine with me.

I guess I picked the right time to ask! It's not done yet, but it will be soon (I only asked him this morning!). Depends on whether he decides to put multiple coats of whatever on, to finish it. He's already been to the hardware store (might have been going anyway, though) for the dowel and some hardware, I think he had the rest in stash. What a guy!

Hmmm, now I am trying to figure out how to get a tracing of one of those nice sock blockers, so he can make me some. Shouldn't get ahead of myself here, but you know -- there's always our anniversary, and Xmas.

And for the ode part -- no, I am not going to write poetry. You can thank me later.

My good friend Everwhelming Liz wrote me at the last minute before I went to Stitches West (she was trying to hold out, hence the last-minute request) to buy Cookie's Twisted Flower Sock kit for her. I went skiing the day before with the family, and didn't check email before going to the show, and so didn't see her email until I got home. Doh!! But another good friend, Deepa, saved the day!! She got the pattern and yarn as a favor to me and Liz, when she's never met either of us, and will send it to Liz in Texas. Aren't knitbloggers the best?? Thanks, Deepa!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Day -- oh, the heck with it

Still no knitting for a while, but it is too tiresome and depressing to keep track of the days. At this point, it is mostly likely not a matter of days but weeks. Thanks to all of you for your sympathy and support. I have been nudged (in the best possible way) into spending more time stretching and exercising, and to call my acupuncturist. I hope that will help.

Anyway! We went to Monterey last weekend and saw the famous "Lone Cypress" pictured above along the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach and environs. For our $9 we got a lovely drive including gorgeous coastline, and got to ogle the Pebble Beach golf club and many mansions. We also got a lovely map and brochure, which said, among other things, that the Lone Cypress is "eternally revered as the symbol of the Pebble Beach Company". Oh, please.

We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is always a delight. We always see something we didn't see before. This time, it was the tuna feeding. No, not us feeding on tuna, but tuna feeding on squid. This was quite interesting, and we had an especially good docent? naturalist? I forget what he called himself. The crowd cheered when either of the two sunfish in the same tank (very large, slow and unmaneuverable) got some squid. They also get their own feeding where the fish is stuffed into their mouths, but we didn't see that. We also went tidepooling and saw lots of very interesting creatures.

A dad who was there at the tidepools with his very young kids made a show of "rescuing" a fish that was in one of the tidepools and didn't appear to be doing so well. He tossed him into the breakers -- only to have a gull swoop down on him mere seconds later. Alas! But his kids hadn't noticed this and we all told them that the fish had swum away. Can you blame us?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Day 6 -- No Knitting (are we bored yet?!)

I know I am.

More in my series of amazing images-from-the-net (no mousing required!):
This is your hand.

This is your hand with tendinitis.

Just for clarity -- I do not have DeQuervain's, I have general tendinitis and probably irritation of the nerves of the hand, wrist and forearm. Sorry if this is a bit graphic and depressing. I am actually a little bit better, but I definitely see no knitting in my future for at least a week at this rate. I have been reading blogs (unread posts -- down below 90 for the first time since December!), sorting through my knitting magazines to cull a few for my next knit night, which will feature a swap of unwanted patterns, magazines and books. I have such pack-rat tendencies that I have only pulled a couple from the pile that I can bear to part with at this point, but at least I have tabbed some of the others for easier future reference.

However! I am looking forward to going to Stitches West the weekend after next. I am too late to sign up for any of the 3-hour or 6-hour(!) classes, oh well, but hope to get into some of the 1-hour "market sessions", and to find some that will interest DD. That may be the next time I knit -- can you believe it? And despite my inability to do a darn thing with my stash currently, I am definitely going to treat myself to some stash enhancement.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Day 5 -- No Knitting

GS Hoover

Going to my GS leader meeting tonight, so that will help with the "no knitting" rule.

What? Oh, her? That's Lou, the leader of GS Troop VIII in the District of Columbia.

You may know her better as Mrs. Herbert Hoover.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Day 4 -- No Knitting -- The Rules -- The Eye Pillow


Hopefully this post will not be quite as boring as it admittedly sounds. My challenge is to make a post without any mousing at all, due to my hand injury. Um, and without any knitting progress at all, also due to my hand injury. Sad to say, these things mean - no uploaded photos of my own. I am forcing myself not to knit until I recover from January's mouse-inflicted hand injury.

Rule #1 -- Must. Not. Knit. This rule applies on any day where I was not symptom-free on the previous day. The insidious thing about over-use injuries like my tendinitis is that they creep up on you, and often there is a delay between injury and onset of symptoms. Knitting can cause a relapse, and I might not know until the next day. And despite avoiding the mouse for the most part for a couple of weeks now, I am still feeling the symptoms. Some of the worst symptoms occurred after I had stopped mousing much. However, I think I am now improving slowly.

Rule #2 -- Must. Not. Mouse. I am a telecommuter. The office had major technical problems in January, for weeks on end. My cable connection died and had to be replaced. My laptop may have had a virus, and was replaced. Some sort of perfect storm, or convergence. It sucked, big time. The temporary replacement laptop didn't fit the docking station that lets me use a regular keyboard and monitor. So for a couple of weeks I had to connect the laptop over the internet to the office computer to download my documents into emails, open the emails on DH's desktop computer and work on them there. With his mouse.

I should have known that this might re-injure me. Should have taken more care as time went on and the situation was not remedied. Should have taken the trouble to somehow make the situation better ergonomically. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda. But I didn't. It was a time of great stress -- for days we had to make lame-sounding excuses to our clients about why we couldn't get their work done, without making it sound as though it was our fault in any way. And when I finally got the laptop-without-docking station, it seemed like great progress -- I could actually connect to the office again. Happy day! So with trying to catch up on all the work that the clients were clamoring for, ergonomics went by the board. Bad telecommuter. And I am suffering for it.

Rule #2 applies pretty much like Rule #1 -- no mousing on a day where I had symptoms the day before. The only way that I know how to store, do my lame-ass editing and upload photos is to use a program on DH's computer. Ergo (LOL), no photo uploads.

However! Instead of whining any more, I can show you something else that I made. Or at least a photo of how it is used.

I have a silk eye pillow filled with flax seed, much like the one way back there at the top of the post (I sure have blathered a lot), which is available here.

If you have never tried one of these, well -- you are really missing something. When I am trying to go to sleep, it is so relaxing to have this on. Something about the complete darkness and the weight of it. It was invaluable a few years back when I was in the hospital after my appendectomy (and yes, it was an emergency -- everyone asks that. There is pretty much no other kind, people). It never really gets dark in a hospital room. My eye pillow was my friend.

DD, who is slow to get to sleep, took mine and wouldn't give it back. Aargh! The outrage! What to do? I use mine most every night. It occurred to me that I did not need to hunt it down in her room and re-take it by force, since it would be a snap to make another.

There is an extremely detailed set of instructions here, and I am sure many other places on the web, also. But it doesn't come down to anything more than making a small fabric pouch (each of ours is 4" x 8") and filling it with flax, rice, lentils or such, adding lavender if you like (I prefer 9 oz. of unscented flax, cuz that's what my original weighed, flax is what I had on hand, and I'm not very fond of scented products). In our fabric stash we had some nice stretchy fabric and the resulting eye pillows resemble those squishy "Koosh" pillows you see in airports and in bed and bath places.

So now between myself and DD we have three eye pillows, the original and two new ones. The new ones were made completely from materials on hand. And I don't have to arm-wrestle DD (she'd probably win) for my eye pillow.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Granny Squares Re-Done

I love this granny square afghan I happened to see on the CRAFT blog.

In the dim and distant past I knew how to crochet, and this could inspire me to try it again. I love the varying sizes of the squares, like a crazy quilt. I am trying to think of a technique for knitted squares that would be similar in look, but so far it evades me.

It also reminds me a little of the fabulously creative and evocative Quilts of Gee's Bend, born of necessity and grown into a unique art form. I saw their exhibit at SF's new de Young museum in the fall, and they were amazing in so many ways. If you get a chance to see this exhibit I would highly recommend it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Red Scarf

I figured I had better post my one measly red scarf before Valentine's Day. And here it is:
Red Scarf

Thanks to Maia for the pattern!

This was a fun and relatively quick knit. This is also the first "real" scarf (not counting fun fur scarves, which I admit to making and wearing, and moebius scarves, which I suppose are real scarves, too) that I have made since high school, if memory serves.

ETA -- I forgot to put anything in the first post about the Red Scarf Project! What an oversight! Some of you possibly recognized the tag as one that was created especially for that project. I have blogged before about the RSP and why I think it is worthy, although I'm sure others have said it better. Next year the RSP will get more than one red scarf from me, I hope.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Apropos of nothing --

Yet another product I had no idea I needed: Hollywood Coverups .

I stumbled across these while searching for a Socktopus online. Isn't that Soctopus cute? At the moment I have only 1 pair of hand-knit socks myself, but I hope to have more, and of course there are those other unmentionable delicate items. There is an IKEA in the area, but not all that convenient to me.

The "Coverups" remind me of a story from college days. One of my roommates was in the school choir, and one night while they were waiting to go on (wearing formal dress), it was quite chilly. One of the guys looked at her and her friend and said, "can't you put band-aids or something on those?" Naturally, they gave him all kinds of grief, and later presented him with a found plastic toy part shaped something as though it had a nipple, covered with a band-aid.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Updates, get your Updates!

Update on the tail of the bad dog: Muffy has just gone home. No more mobile trip hazard. Of course I swore Muffy to silence about the incident at the emergency vet's -- if he knows what's good for him.

Update on faux Jaywalker socks: I gave these to DD, they were slightly too big for me. At this point, I am not enamored of stitching on the bias -- it lacks elasticity.

[ETA -- a big shout-out to Julia in St. Paul, MN, for your comment on my last post -- you made my day!]

Other random updates:

After a huge crash, my work-issued laptop and our work server are working again, pretty much. I'm no longer supposed to use my work email address for non-work email, or to store personal documents on the laptop (at least if I expect them to be backed up for me). Has anyone used Google Docs & Spreadsheets?? Any feedback would be most welcome.

I attempted the Mermaid socks I have seen various places in blogland, notably here. I did this while waiting to receive Lucy Neatby's book Cool Socks, Warm Feet in which the pattern is found. My copy came from here, because my LYS didn't have it in stock. This seems to be another highly acclaimed knitting book that doesn't mention negative ease, which I personally find critical to making a well-fitting sock. I have yet to find a sock book that does discuss this.

Being impatient, while waiting for the book I started a cuff based loosely on Grumperina's famous Odessa pattern. I thought it was too tight.

I received my book and began a "true" Mermaid sock, which has a different combination of increases and decreases to make it swirl. I thought it was too loose. The gauge directions are unlike any I have seen before -- you swatch with "the smallest needle size you are comfortable with", and then go up "a size or two" when starting the sock. Huh??! I have to say I was not completely surprised not to get a good fit this way, and yet this pattern is so highly acclaimed that I trusted and tried it anyway.

At this point I have gone back to my original "Odessa" type sock, ripped back to the ribbing to correct a mistake early on, and am trying again. I think I was overly pessimistic about it being too tight. We'll see. Both of these stitch patterns are pretty elastic despite the stitching on the bias -- they act a bit like ribbed fabric. I think either of these stitch patterns would be attractive for my self-striping sock yarn, which I am trying to use up. If I can solve the gauge issues.

Knitting progress will be a bit slow for a while around here -- not having my working laptop for most of January meant using DH's computer for work (I'm a telecommuter), and apparently I can no longer work with a regular mouse with my right hand for any length of time without my tendinitis flaring up. My normal set-up has a touchpad that I use on the left, and I have no tendinitis problem that way. Had I anticipate this I would have gone to greater lengths to get the right ergo setup during January, of course, but I didn't and now I am paying the price.