Sunday, November 30, 2003

As the (hopefully) last of the Thanksgiving leftovers warms in the oven, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on this season of joy and gratitude. In the "what is the world coming to" category, I found this - Woman knocked unconscious by trampling shoppers - Nov. 29, 2003 story in my inbox. After reading it in horror, I rejoiced in my smug superiority that I once again celebrated Buy Nothing Day instead of joining the hordes at the mall and box stores. But I realize now that I must step down off my high horse and concede that I, too, could have been part of a mob if the $47 deal was, say, "The Scottish Collection" or a 10-skein pack of cashmere yarn. Any other knitters with me on that? (For the humorless out there, I'm just joking ... I don't think I would really trample my fellow human beings for yarn or OOP knitting books ... I hope not, anyway). As a neighbor of mine -- an obsessive collector of country folk art -- used to say, "We all have our sicknesses."

I've finished the sleeves for "Shannon" and am now sewing it together. Here's a picture of it all blocked up (wrong sides):

Also, since apparently I did not have enough WIPs, I've started a Christmas stocking. I couldn't find a pattern I liked, so I took one from "Homespun Handknit" and tinkered around with it a little bit. Here's the start:

In other news, the following books mysteriously arrived at my doorstep last week:

"Latvian Dreams" by Joyce Williams;
"Around the World in 80 Sweaters" by Sue Bradley;
"Knitting for Anarchists" by Anna Zilboorg; and
"Folk Knitting in Estonia" by Nancy Bush.

I like them all. So much to knit, so little time. The Estonian patterns make me want to take up sock knitting again.

Monday, November 24, 2003

"Shannon" is nearing completion. I have about half a sleeve to knit, then seam it together and knit the button bands. Here is the back, which is my current knitting masterpiece:

Now, should I let my daughter actually wear it?

I've decided there is no such thing as "difficult" knitting; there is only knitting you've done before and knitting you've not yet tried. Some knitting requires more attention and takes longer to complete, but it is still just a combination of knit and purl.

The snow has finally arrived in Traverse City and our weather experts tell us winter is here to stay. Instead of feeling the doom and gloom that a long, cold, dark, snowy winter usually brings to me, I'm determined to take a positive spin this year -- hey, isn't it great to live in a place where I can get so much wear out of all these warm woolly things I knit??!! Right now I'm snuggled up in Lochinver topped with Samuel, both of which can be seen here.

Not much thinking today. I have to write a book review and must, must, must stop procrastinating and just do it.

Friday, November 21, 2003

A great interview with Colin Firth (aka "Mr. Darcy") proves he is interesting and intelligent as he is gorgeous. Check it out at Fresh Air: Friday - November 14, 2003 And of course, once I figured out how to post photos on my blog, this had to go up:

In knitting news, I think the color substition for the "Midnight Sun" dress looks great. Here it is:

I'm on the second sleeve of "Shannon." It will easily be finished on time, as will the boring HP scarves.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Yesterday was a great knitting day as I had tons of meetings. I made lots of progress on the two Harry Potter scarves, but they are silly and boring and nothing like the nice one I made for my son. If only I had started sooner, I could have made equally nice gifts for my niece and nephew. But, then I would have had to knit the same scarf three times, so maybe it's just as well it worked out the way it did.

Here's the picture (I'm testing to see if I have finally figured out how to do this):

In the thinking category, a must-read story came in my in-box a few days ago about Wal-Mart and how we're shopping ourselves out of jobs. Apparently, those everyday low prices can only be achieved by shipping the work overseas. It seems to me this situation can't continue indefinitely for Wal-Mart because if we lose too many jobs, they'll lose too many shoppers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Two new WIPs: Harry Potter scarves for my niece and nephew for Xmas. They won't be as deluxe as my son's scarf because there simply isn't time. I'm knitting these simultaneously on size 10s in a simple garter stitch. I'll probably make them about a foot shorter. I have lots of meetings in the next two days, so I should make tons of progress.

"Midnight Sun" is still coming along, and I have almost finished one of the sleeves for "Shannon."

The Neahtawanta Center Home page is the place to keep up with peace happenings in northwest Michigan. Great links and just about everything you need to know, including a running tally on the cost of the war in Iraq.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Today I must, must, must clean the house. I will not pick up the knitting needles or sit down at the spinning wheel or read anything until I have thoroughly cleaned the kitchen, bathroom and office. I also need to clean the litter box, do two loads of laundry and make sauerkraut. My domestic duties have been severely neglected.

But the neglect has been for good causes. On Saturday I attended a peacemakers conference at my church. We had more than 100 people from the community together to brainstorm actions we can take to create a peaceful world. All agreed that defeating Bush in the election next year is of vital importance, but that won't do it alone, of course. Nearly every U.S. president in the 20th century has waged war, and indeed, the fabric of human history is stained with blood. But just because it's always been that way doesn't mean it always has to be that way.

There are actions we will take as a group, and there are actions I can take as an individual. One thing I resolved do is to defer my Christmas gifts to organizations working to create a just and sustainable world. I have links to my favorites on my website.

Now, that applies to gifts for me. I'm still knitting gifts for others. And the peace conference was a good place to knit. I made great progress on "Midnight Sun" for Leah. I've added a band of the fair isle pattern to the bottom of the skirt, and I think the colors are turning out nicely. I changed them somewhat from the original pattern, adding purple and flipping the gold and red to other spots.

I also started the second side of the "Fish", but I made scant progress on "Shannon."

And I cast on about 8 stitches for a Christmas stocking. I'm making up my own pattern as I go.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

No knitting today, so far. Instead, I've been working on my web page, which is not quite finished, but is a lot better than it was. Check it out with the link on the right.

Now I'm about to head upstairs and work on the first sleeve of "Shannon." Tonight's a good knitting night -- Survivor and CSI, but I doubt I'll stay awake for Without a Trace.

"Midnight Sun" is cast on. I still haven't started the second side of "Fish of Prosperity."

I inventoried all of my knitting/spinning books and patterns today, and it's posted on my knitting website. I had a total of 50 items! I wish I had a place for a studio where I could keep all of my craft items.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Today looks to be a good knitting day as I have two meetings scheduled and the wait-in-line for swim lesson signup.

Right now I have 3 official works in progress and I'm swatching for a 4th. They are:

"Shannon" from The Celtic Collection by Alice Starmore. This is a child's cardigan and will be my daughter's Christmas present. I ordered the yarn direct from Scotland at Virtual Yarns. It is gorgeous. As soon as I figure out how to post photos, I'll put up the back, which I've finished. It is a two-headed dragon and a very complex intarsia pattern. Last night, I finished the second of the two front panels, so now all I have left to do are the sleeves and the finishing.

"Fish of Prosperity" from Folk Bags by Vicki Square. This is another Christmas gift for Leah. I've finished one side and plan to cast on for the second side today.

"Ripple Afghan" from Mosaic Magic: Afghans Made Easy by Lily Chin. This is a long-languishing crochet project. It has been sitting in my Lantern Moon basket for months. The yarn is gorgeous -- it's some I bought in Los Ojos, N.M., last spring break from Tierra Wools, a fabulous place. I intended to resume work on it after I finished "Shannon," but last night I started swatching for...

"Midnight Sun" from Scandinavian Knitwear by Alice Starmore. This is the dress and cap on the cover. The book is old (1982) and out of print, but I have it and I want to make this dress for my daughter before she is too big to wear it. I think I have enough leftover "periwinkle" of the Brown Sheep cotton fleece yarn I used for "Lochinver," and it would be very comfortable yarn for the dress.

There's only about 100 more things I want to make right now, so I don't know what I'll cast on for next. I suspect I'll finish the fish bag in a few days, as well as "Shannon," so I'll be ready to start another project. I have some lavendar Brown Sheep cotton fleece that I think would be perfect for a cabled sweater, maybe "Frode" from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knits.

So will the afghan ever be resumed? I think so, but I have to confess I was eager to start "Midnight Sun" because I wanted to use the lovely ebony circular needles I bought at the SOAR market a couple of weeks ago.

And speaking of spinning, I have spent a bit of time at the wheel lately. I spun some brown roving I've had sitting around for years, and I plan to try a Navajo ply on that, maybe tomorrow. I learned the Navajo ply at Maggie Casey's plying workshop at SOAR.

Another big item on my to-do list is to scour that Romney fleece I bought in August at the Michigan Fiber Festival. It has been sitting in a bag in my living room ever since.

I won't get it done sitting at the computer, so later!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I'll be showing off some of the things I've knitted as soon as I can figure out how to work this thing.

In the meantime, I have two homepages to link to. The first is a family page about our year of adventures, although it desperately needs updating since it currently is only the first two months of the year away.

The second homepage will be about my knitting, when I figure out how to get it set up. There you will eventually find photos of my knitting projects, as well as helpful information and links.

So this is basically a test post to see if I can make the blog thing work. Hopefully I'll figure out how to load files and photos to my knitting home page today and that link will be operational.