Thursday, June 28, 2007

Whithering on the Vine

I swear, I think about my blog every day. Life, however, has not been providing me with ample time for reflection and photography, so of all my favorite passtimes, this is the one that sunk too far down on the list. I promise to do better from now on!

My vegetable garden has overtaken the prairie, except a great many of the prairie grasses have declared war and are moving back in. I've suffered both car and computer failures in the last 2 weeks too. Whine, wimper, sniffle!

Janine (Feral Knitter) is designing a Celtic Knot Cardigan, and I trust her implicitly, so I'm following in her wake. She is just sure she'll never need to pass the pattern along, knowing that I am loathe to knit sleeves. (For clarification, I have nothing against sleeves, I just LOVE knitting bodies!) I have outfoxed the Feral One, and have my sleeves complete! Jamieson & Smith FC56 on size 4 needles. I will be casting on the body next time I sit down to knit, which may well be in a week. I'm preparing for 4 sessions of Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp, and now have less than a week before I leave.

I am a list maker, and my list is extremely detailed. Having arrived at camp several years ago without any shirts, and once without pajamas, I've learned that I can't take anything for granted. I can no longer assume that I won't forget the basics, because my brain has chosen to let me rely on more pedestrian methods, so I refer to my lists endlessly. I use a database on my Palm Treo 700P (my external brain). I can sort the list alphabetically, or by room. Once an item receives its check mark, it magically disappears from the list until next time I need it. As the list gets shorter and shorter, I know I'm getting closer to leaving home.

The tricky thing is, never check the box until the item is actually packed. You can't say "I'll check off toothbrush, because I'm going into the bathroom to get it right now". No, no, no! On the way to the bathroom, I'll notice that the floor needs sweeping or mopping, then that the toilet needs a scrub. Soon I'll be happily dusting the ceiling for cob webs, and the next day I'll wonder why I have not toothbrush at camp with me! Lest you think I'm a compulsive cleaner, I will clarify. I only clean under duress, which means when company is immenent, or when I'm leaving town (because I like to come home to a clean house). Otherwise, I can walk past heaps and piles fo cat/dog fur, dirty dishes, and stacks of mail for weeks!

More to come - - Amy

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sir Edward Saves the Day

Safe to say that life has interfered with my knitting! My garden (aka vegetable farm) now has a fence and has been thoroughly weeded and my house has undergone spring cleaning and clutter removal. Some items to go on eBay, some items to St. Vinnie's, and some to the dump! Whew, I love it when the decks are clear!

Always wanting a lovely photo to open a blog entry, here is one I took with my trusty Treo walking from Meg Swansen's Schoolhouse to her Warehouse a few weeks ago. Wisconsin in springtime is a wonder, isn't it? What a commute Meg has (although she cuts through the trees).

My Adult Surprise Jacket is coming along nicely, but with modifications along the way. I slipped it off the needles the other day to see what it would look like, and I was relatively pleased. Here's the picture (notice I didn't bother getting off the couch to take it!).

I decided, however, that the maroonish strip was too close to the front edge, and that the neck was a little deep. (Let me explain. The neck is too deep because I'm going to put in a small saddle shoulder. This is because I tried to out-smart EZ and make the sleeves narrower, and they are too narrow! Moral: Never try to out-smart EZ!). So, I ripped back to the part where I put the neck stitches on hold (on the garish teal yarn) and put fewer on hold. Then I decided to make it a V-neck instead, and started decreasing on the neck edge to create the V, and I kept increasing the miters past the maroonish stripe to get 8 ridges of solid blue before putting the front stitches on hold. Now, if you've never knitted an ASJ, this will all seem like Old Frontier Gibberish, but trust me, it will make sense to somebody!

I'm now satisfied that I'm on the right track, but wait! I was certain I had enough wool to finish! Now it seems I won't. I'm using Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran that I purchased in England or Wales in 2000. Believe it or not, the color is Mariner (blue). I had copious quantities! However, Garter Stitch being what it is (a little hoggish in the wool requirements) and my body being what it is (a little long and wide for quick-and-easy knitting), I seem to be running short. I still have 2 fat balls of wool, but have not finished the body, and then need to lengthen the sleeves.

So, I start searching the internets (sic) and find that the Aran weight of that yarn was discontinued in 2003! There are several batches for sale on eBay of different colors, so I could mix in some Navy and make it look intentional, but what fun would that be? So I searched "completed listings" on eBay and found that 2 skeins of the exact dye lot had been sold 3 weeks ago! I wrote to the seller, asking if they had any more (they did not) and to the buyer asking if I could please purchase it from them or exchange it with another yarn. I didn't get an answer in the first 48 hours (although I checked every 15 minutes), so I thought all was lost.

Then, I got an email from the buyer! He's a wonderful British knitter named Edward who understood my plight and will send the yarn right off if I pay for postage. He only asked that I send him some merino sometime in the future! Of course, I'm sending it immediately with my profuse thanks. Don't you love a story with a happy ending?

Back to the garden/farm/yard... I was ready to mow this morning, but Parsnip was using the mower. Guess I'll have to knit instead!