Monthly Archives: May 2007

“What I plan to do this summer” and Pavlova redux

The fact that I’ve procrastinated until the last minute to post my summer knitting goals for Ali’s Pre-Summer Contest at should tell you something about my knitting style (and lifestyle, come to think of it). I am: overly committed, think lots of things are great ideas, and somewhat motivated by deadlines. So we’ll see how I do with these goals! Hop over to Ali’s blog above, to check out the contest if you’re even more last-minute than me, and mention my name if you do!

First, the WIPs that need to graduate (WIPs sounds better than UFOs, and I do envision these being completed, as opposed to a few unmentionables up in the attic which I cannot imagine being completed, somehow!)

1) Finish the Moebius felted cat bed from Cat Bordhi’s book

2) Finish the Log Cabin Homespun/assorted other acrylic yarn afghan

3) Finish the three pairs of socks that are partly done (one pair of knitted two-at-a-time Straight-Laced Socks is mostly done but hiding somewhere, one pair of basic (so far) toe-up two-at-a-time in Austermann Step is just begun, and I have a single Jaywalker sock almost finished). Don’t let me cast on a Monkey sock until I finish at least one of these!

4) Finish the recycled sari silk scarf

5) Finish the two pairs of fingerless gloves I’ve started recently for the Loopy Ewe challenge, sew in yarn ends for two baby hats I’ve finished for the same, and knit at least a couple more hats/gloves before the contest deadline end of June (remember, motivated by deadlines! At least at the last minute!)

New projects:

5) Design and begin a wedding shawl; my thought is to use Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Pi shawl basic template and throw in whatever lace patterns that fit, and fit my fancy (doesn’t have to be done till November, though, so the goal is NOT to finish!)

6) Knit a few things for Dulaan — I have some bulky wool that seems like it would work well (deadline July!)

7) Make a lacy cardigan for The Preteen which she has specifically requested — birthday is early September, so that’s my deadline.

Ok, I think that’s enough for a start!

Knitting progress — still not much to show, but the sleevage is begun on Pink Fuzzy Cardigan (I thought about doing two at a time magic-looping or two circs, but the yarn tends to tangle, and I decided it would be faster to do them singly — and time is of the essence). Really didn’t have much time today; I’ll put in a little solid time before bed on it.


A little more fingerless glove action, not worth documenting.

Then a short wander around the garden where I saw a cute but destructive baby bunny (gone before I got the camera on) and many lovely things:


The irises remind me somehow of corps de ballet dancers all in a line, as in Swan Lake (pink swans?). Click to enlarge — can you see it?

And this new bloom was lovely with the evening sun shining through:


This is (I believe) a Carpathian Bellflower. I love saying Carpathian. It reminds me of Vigo from Ghostbusters II (“the scourge of Carpathia — the sorrow of Moldavia”).

Lastly, the Pavlova indeed needed to be made again — for a global culture school project The Preteen had, which culminated tonight in a World Expo of sorts. At least this time, by dint of repeated questioning, we had a few more days notice.

Thanks for the tips I got from Southern Hemisphere residents! The Pavlova was well-received;

in fact, upon its consumption, there was rejoicing and dancing in the halls!world-tour-global-connections.jpg

Still Pink After All These Years

Perhaps it just seems like years. (It’s only been a month, I guess.) No visible knitting progress — I seem to knit and knit and Pink Fuzzy Cardigan is still not as long as I would like it. Almost though. I may not even do an edging; on my swatch, all the edgings seemed too heavy for this ethereal little wrap. Maybe just around the neckline, to soften it. Otherwise, I think it actually looks ok without an edging.

Well, some knitting time should happen tonight, and then I should be sleeving. Pics tomorrow.

It’s birthday day today in the knit blogosphere — Wendy‘s mom and Steph‘s daughter. It’s also the birthday of my daughter’s teacher, Ms. Jaskiewicz, who has had one of my two daughters continuously in her mixed-age Montessori classroom for the last 6 years. To celebrate Ms. J’s birthday, I took the snake to school on a field trip! (OK, though I really did take the snake by request, maybe it wasn’t all about the birthday. . . but Ms. J and the snake were rather excited!) It’s sad for me to think that after the next week, I won’t have a child in her class any more; sniff, sniff! She’s been a great teacher for our girls — patient, caring, encouraging, very in tune to what two extremely different girls needed — a push here, a re-direction or challenge there, sometimes just a listening ear. Happy birthday, Ms. J and Wendy’s Mom and Amanda and all May 30th Gemini babies!

It’s also our 15th wedding anniversary today. We’ll celebrate it by going to our younger daughter’s piano recital (the Gothlet). Can you think of a nicer way? (Well, if so, don’t tell her!) My husband and I never drank the champagne we got this weekend with our bed and breakfast room, so if we feel like it, we can crack that open after the recital. But work starts all too early in the morning, so perhaps not.

A bit o’ knitting to show today from the ADD corner:fingerless-glove.jpg

Another fingerless glove for the Loopy Ewe’s quarterly challenge, in progress. I started this yesterday afternoon, and in sportweight hand-dyed sock yarn, it’s zipping along in spare moments. (Pink Fuzzy is just getting too big to carry for those moments; hence the slow progress, I suppose.)

Obligatory iris and peony and rhododendron pictures — sorry, they’re just so purty! Click to enlarge as desired:


Cockeyed Optimist

I’m definitely a glass-half-full kind of person. Otherwise, how could I look at my rate of progress on Pink Fuzzy Cardigan and think that I’d have it done today?

I realized (today) that it takes me almost twice as long to knit a row in this fine, slippery yarn loosely knit, as it does to zip along in a nice worsted wool on the appropriate size needles. So that’s my excuse. Plus my husband expected me to spend some time with him on our Bed and Breakfast sojourn; for some reason. (We did have some nice hanging-out-in-a-park-on-the-Mississippi time, he reading, me knitting.) SO:

If I were knitting this to be waist length and with cap sleeves and without edging — I’d be done except for the ties! Unfortunately, such is not the case; but it is visible progress. I want to make it about 3 inches longer (5 rows per inch; over 200 stitches and 9 minutes per row; but who’s counting?) and then knit 3/4 length sleeves. Then do an I-cord edging (which took a long time on my tiny swatch, so that will be a whole evening, obviously!). So my new goal is the end of the week. I think it’s do-able.

This weekend, before accepting the inevitable, I actually briefly considered which movie would be easier to knit during, as we chose a movie to see without kids. (Then the decision was made on other criteria, darn. But I did knit –SLOWLY, with this yarn, by feel.)

As soon as I did accept the inevitability of not finishing, I had to take a break (to rest my fingers and eyes) and finished Black Watchcloth (a gift).


And these little felted things had dried by now when we came back:

They turned out rather cute, I think! Here’s the before:pre-felting.jpg

Yes, they did fade a bit in the washer, but still cool.

Are the full-size photos OK? I love photos, being visual, but have kept them thumbnails in the blog to reduce downloading/viewing time. But the picture upload function isn’t giving me the thumbnail option right now; I’m not sure how many people have dial-up/how much of a difference the larger photos make (the resolution isn’t too high, though).

Here’s some more photos of our weekend (I’ll try for thumbnails again, these are a LOT!  Click to enlarge as desired.):

Starting out, notice the raindrops on our windshield as we cross the river, past the Traditional Memorial Day construction, and finally onto the open River Road, past the coulees of the Upper Mississippi.



When we stopped en route, at the Birthplace of Waterskiing, the sun came out, and it was beautiful the rest of the weekend.

I knit here:

front-porch-b-and-b.jpg (the front porch of our bed and breakfast)

and here:

fireplace-b-and-b.jpg(in front of the fireplace in our room)

and here:

hangin-in-the-park.jpg(hanging out in a park on the river)

but not here:

view-from-jacuzzi.jpg (this is the view from our Jacuzzi).

Kid mohair/silk can be lighter than air:floating-kid-mohair.jpg

Believe me, that slowed down my knitting too! It was breezy out there as I knit and watched river traffic:



Saw this while out walking in Red Wing:


This could be either of my daughters. . . .

We had a very nice time just being us together, and then came home today to our lovely daughters and an also-lovely garden in shades of pink:


Holiday Weekend (literally)

It’s Memorial Day weekend here and I have it off for the first time in YEARS! Woo-hoo!

My husband and I will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary by going to a Bed and Breakfast; a Victorian Inn a couple hours’ drive away, up the Mighty Mississippi river. It’s not the nicest weather, but who cares? The girls are staying with their grandparents, who will also feed the cat (the snake needs no special attention. It’s great to have a pet that only needs to be fed once a week, doesn’t need to be taken out on walks, and is quiet!). We will leave SOON, and return on Memorial Day (which is my Pink Fuzzy cardigan deadline; I have confidence I will make it! There’s all that car knitting time, and one can’t spend ALL of the next two days in the whirlpool!

So no posts for a bit; but I hope to have Actual Knitting Progress (not to mention a Finished Object!) to show next time!

In the meantime:pink-fuzzy-and-peonies.jpg The Pink Fuzzy with a soulmate.

tank-top-katia-spray.jpg An AFO (Almost Finished Object) — more later.


And some garden views yesterday evening.

Fun with Powdered Drink Mix

Knitting away on Pink Fuzzy cardigan — no visible progress. (Don’t you get to hate these projects where the number of stitches goes up every row? But soon it will stop increasing.) So no knitting pics today.

But I did snap photos of some of my fun with powdered-drink-mix yarn!

grape-kool-aid.jpg This was dyed with Grape, Blue Raspberry Ice, and a touch of Cherry.

kool-aid-dyed-ball.jpg This fruity concoction (well, aren’t they all?) is leftover reds (Tropical Punch, Strawberry, Cherry) and Orange and Lemonade — basically what was left over after my kids got done.

I also have some yarn that’s short repeats of bright colors, and some lace weight I custom-dyed teal, blue and purple, trying for a specific effect for a scarf for my friend Jean. (Came pretty close to what I had in mind!) And I overdyed some laceweight whose colors were not quite doing it for me (so why did I buy them? I’m eternally optimistic or something! I think it’ll grow on me if it’s a good deal.) I’ll put up more pictures as I run across the yarns. . . Other than Jean’s scarf, I’ve knit some orange-red fingerless gloves, a felted bowl, and a hat. Otherwise, I’ve been hoarding a lot of this yarn I dyed last summer. (Of course, how is that different from the rest of my stash?)

This summer, my plan is to have a Kool-Aid yarn dyeing party for my knitting friends! Should be fun!!

In other developments:

The garden proceeds apace, though the peonies are just taunting me:


And I spent tonight, as promised, moving the snake into her new larger home with the assistance of everyone (except The Preteen). She (the snake) seems to like it very much:


Here’s a picture of the other orange pet behind glass, not to be outdone:


“I SO wanna be out there! Watch out, naughty bunnies!”

In the mail! And Pavlovas. . .

Afghans for Afghans Mother’s Day project in the mail!



Now Pink Fuzzy has to be my priority as it’s due in a week. I can knit really fast with adrenaline on board. I will also have the second fingerless glove as a ‘pocket project’ that I can take anywhere, but I’ll be pink fuzzying whenever possible.

For those who may not read all of the Yarn Harlot’s hundreds of comments (can’t imagine why not!) — here’s an anecdote I just related in that forum, after reading her “Response to Hysteria” post.

I only have an 11-year-old version of hysteria which will not hold a candle to the future teenage/graduation version — or maybe not, the Preteen daughter just doesn’t give a hoot much of the time, and that may not change. But last night The Preteen came home to announce that she needed to bring a “Pavlova” dessert to school today. (This was new to me, but for those of you who also are not versed in this, which includes my former chef husband, it’s a meringue with fruit and whipped cream, simultaneously claimed by New Zealand and Australia as a national dessert or something, invented in honor of Anna Pavlova’s visit Down Under. I apologize to Southern Hemisphere denizens if I got any of that wrong. And I apologize to English teacher types, because that was an incredibly run-on sentence with too many subordinate clauses.) Anyway, apparently We are studying New Zealand in Social Studies now. I know who Pavlova WAS; and of course, I have some yarn from New Zealand — but I was not aware of this dessert, as delicious as it sounds! So The Preteen airily announced that meringues were easy. “Have you ever made one, girlfriend?” “Well, no, but you only need to bake it for 5 minutes!! And then you let it sit for an hour and a half! Talk about easy!” Ah, the eternal optimism of youth.

So — a trip to the grocery store (how does one really tell if a kiwifruit is ripe, especially after it’s traveled halfway around the world?) and a trip to my mother’s to borrow a springform pan later — some version of Pavlova was arrived at, by a group effort (mostly husband and daughter, but I prepped fruit and bought the groceries). I know this is payback for everything I put my mother through, but at least I never volunteered a fancy dessert on a couple hours notice. I don’t think so, anyway. . . I could be wrong about that. . . . Bake sales, yes, there were a number of those with night-before notifications, I believe. . . .

The main hysteria was on our part, now that I think about it. There was a stern talking-to administered before the Pavlovage happened.

So — everyone at school liked it, it all disappeared, but if it’s picked (by whom?) for the final project, we get to do it again. Today I found out that The Preteen’s friend’s mom (with whom I happen to work) knows all about pavlovas and makes them! Her daughter needed her to make orzo on a day’s notice. She, of course, because this is the way of the world, had never made orzo. We totally have to consider trading if we need to make this again.

Today I also found, thanks to KnittingKate, that drizzled passionfruit is the hallmark of the dessert. Ours was sadly passionfruitless (passionless? fruitless? passionfruitless!). Not easy to find passionfruit in season in Wisconsin. We’ll have to work on that. Thanks, Kate! From another Cate!

A little time outside after returning from a school picnic —peony-bud.jpgcolumbines-beesbalm.jpgheuchera.jpg

and something I bought at the picnic to support daughter#2, the Gothlet’s class:

roma-tomatoes.jpg Roma tomatoes!

When I came home from the picnic, there was something very special that had come in the mail:


Sundara yarn! Both fingering and sport weight. Droolworthy (just keep that drool away from the yarn). And a pattern for Hydrangea Socks. . .
Must. Finish. Pink. Fuzzy. Must. Not. Cast. On. New. Socks. . . .

In the Merrie Month of May. . .

. . .there is so much going on!

Today was the last day of Sunday School. Our church marked this with a ‘child-led’ service where the children were lectors, ushers, recited the Lord’s Prayer, did the music. I’m one of the Sunday School music coordinators, and I had so much great music for the kids to do that we planned for them to do 3 songs (they usually sing one song every couple months). So I can’t complain, because I brought this on myself — but it’s kind of like herding cats to do all that with the little ones I teach — 2-year-olds to 3rd graders. Well, more like herding butterflies. It was fun, but not much knitting this morning!!

Then plans included the community theatre’s production of “Big: The Musical” — which was super; some of The Preteen’s friends were in it. Now I’m supposed to be cleaning and rearranging for the snake’s new roomier home (she’s growing!) Then laundry. . . then . . . .then. . .then. . .

You know how it goes in May! And I don’t even have any graduations or weddings to go to!

I promised knitting content today.

Here’s the WIP of the day:prayer-shawl.jpg

This is a prayer shawl from Homespun, started last year — or maybe a year and a half ago — with no one in particular in mind, which is part of why it’s still a WIP. Also, love the yarn color (deeper than the bright sun makes it look) — hate knitting with this stuff. As another member of our Liturgical Knitting Group said, it should be a penance to have to knit with this yarn.  And we’re not even Catholic. . .

And here’s what I got done yesterday and earlier today:little-blue-socks.jpg

“One of these things is not like the others. . .”

So — this is where I made a Magic 28 sock; then I made a second one, but I was doing it while being an audience member, and I forgot to put in the little purl diamonds (sounds like expensive jewelry). These were to match the hat with diamonds that I had already made for the Afghans for Afghans Mother’s Day project. So I decided to make TWO more socks to match, to make two matching pairs, rather than frogging the diamond-less sock, since I had more yarn. However, today, while again sitting in an audience, I made the diamonds perfectly then proceeded to put the heel on the same side as the diamonds (i.e. the back of the sock). Ooops. Ah well, I guess, I’m still further ahead than if I hadn’t knit at all. (But I didn’t figure it out until I was completely done with the heel. Frog City.) I started the second diamond sock between church services today, and now it’s done other than weaving in two ends, so that’s pretty good (it goes fast). I will be mailing these hats and socks in a day or two (project due date May 25th in US).

I also finished this today: fingerless-glove-cropped.jpg

It’s destined for Sheri’s Loopy Ewe challenge, but I also did it as a photograph example of this sock yarn, which I have a surfeit of, and will be putting up for sale on eBay soon. It’s very helpful to see yarn knitted up before buying, eh? Especially self-striping. You just never know till you see it on the needles. I like this yarn, I just have too much.

Drama Queen

Just returned from the Preteen’s school play, where she did wonderfully — enunciated, emoted, good comic timing! She gets those genes from her father; I can’t act. It was great — a comedy-mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes in the West, called “Holmes on the Range”. (Yes, the whole play was full of puns like that. Loved it.)

Busy day with work, and I’m still behind; I’ll be going in tomorrow to work some more.

But I got a few minutes outside:reblooming-iris.jpg

These are reblooming iris I purchased from Breck’s Bulbs; they’ll bloom again in late summer, apparently; I just planted them last year, and they’re doing great.

But here’s a mystery:

These ‘border lilies” (dwarf Asiatic lilies) are the same type on each side of our front sidewalk.

Here they were last year, first year after fall planting:


Here they are coming up this year, the first picture to the left of the sidewalk, and the second picture to the right:


These were taken from the same height today — look at the difference! The ones on the right are only a few inches high, and tiny all over! Why the runtiness? The only thing I can think of is that the sidewalk slopes down to the right, and maybe the time or two that we needed to salt it due to slippery ice, the salt made the lilies unhappy. The beesbalm (Monarda or bergamot) doesn’t seem to have any issues, though; you can see it surrounding the mini-lilies. Hmmm.

No pics of knitting today; I had no progress to show until tonight, while I was waiting for the play to begin, I did some Magic 28 sockage and a fingerless glove I’m working on (tell you more later); no pink fuzziness today. I’ll post pics tomorrow.

But I do have photos of a non-yarn knitting acquisition:

A new needle storage system! wooden-needle-box.jpgtoolbox-2.jpg

I found this at Sam’s Club; it’s a solid wood toolbox and was the last one left. I had seen it before and lusted after it. Then when it was the last one, I had to act!! I was alone, though, that night, and some very nice guy who was there with his wife, and who I found out was a pastor in a small city nearby, helped me wrestle it onto the cart when he saw me struggling. Then: I found it would fit only with extreme difficulty into my little Saturn, and it was hard to lift off the cart; Pastor, who was taking stuff to his truck, to the rescue again! Sigh. I hate needing help. But it was so worth it! My husband is envious — he WANTS this — but it’s mine, all mine! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! (He’d only use it for tools anyway.)

This is what my needles are currently in, a la Wendy’s system:needle-storage-system.jpg

It’s sold by Costco for scrapbooking etc., and it works well, except I need rather more room for non-needle knitting accessories (stitch markers, gauge guides, scissors, yarn needles, etc., etc.) which I currently have in the top drawer. And my younger daughter covets it for her crafty projects. Well, really, mostly it’s that the wooden box is just SO COOL. The new knitting box has little drawers for the little needles, and bigger drawers for the bigger needles, and felt to protect my precious Addi Lace needles, and the top part will be accessories, and there’s (SHHH) a secret drawer! And a lock! Hahahaha!

So in the next few days, I’ll transfer the needles and make sure it all works. Of course, I have to figure out where to put the ultra-cool box; it obviously won’t fit in the same space I have the tower in; but never fear, I’ll make it work! I have to rearrange things anyway, because Trinity the friendly corn snake needs a bigger terrarium, which means reconfiguring some furniture. (We could put the terrarium in the front entryway, but there are those people who would not appreciate being greeted by a snake immediately upon coming into our house. My father-in-law being one of them.)

Here’s the other orange pet:

citrus-third-arabesque.jpg I think he’s doing a third arabesque port de bras. Talented ballet kitty.

Tu-tu much, tu-tu little, tu-tu late

Couldn’t resist!

Responding to multiple requests (ok, all from my friend LEE, but repeatedly!) here’s the infamous TUTU:


Other than being all one piece (many classical tutus are two pieces that are sewn together with you inside), it’s made somewhat similar to a professional tutu —

here’s a look at the dark underbelly of a tutu — tutu-underneath.jpg

it has BUTT RUFFLES! Not to mention ruffles other places (ahem). Not comfortable, let me assure you. Scratchy doesn’t even begin to cover it. Ah, the things they don’t tell you about the travails of a ballerina. It’s not all silks and satin ribbons!

In knitting news — not much. A busy day yesterday preparing for the yearly familial garage sale — I am so fortunate that my parents, who live 4 blocks from me, actually DO the garage sale along with the rest of their alley, and will sell my things. I usually help, but work does not allow this year (nor did it let me get nearly as much in the sale as I needed/wanted to).

A few rows on the pink fuzzy cardigan was it for progress.

But I did take pictures of some more WIPs and will dole them out one by one, as my pride permits:


This is a baby blanket started with stash yarn in the Ballband Warshcloth pattern a la Mason Dixon Knitting. Haven’t gotten too far — no babies I know of specifically on the way, and as it’s about as synthetic as it gets, not appropriate for Afghans for Afghans nor for the Dulaan project (it won’t be that warm). But it’s cute, and it’s using up some yarn I’ve had hanging around for years. That is, it will use it up — when I actually knit a little more on it. And it’s going to be BIG — maybe it’ll be a lap robe if the yarn holds out (or a wide, short baby blanket. . .)

The garden was pretty in cool sunshine:


purple-flower.jpg Any gardeners out there who might know what this is? I think I planted it last year; at least, I’ve never seen it before, but it looks like a real garden plant (kind of — actually, it looks like Creeping Charlie on growth hormone). I did plant some things people gave me last year, and a couple last minute perennials in the fall; it’s all a blur. You can’t tell from the photo, but it’s about 8 inches (20 cm) high. Mystery plant!

That reminds me of a story: Most of this garden really came into being after we had to take down an old silver maple (which was so rotten inside, it was actually hollow unbeknownst to us). We decided to turn its small part of the front yard, which had been mostly maple roots and impossible to mow anyway, into a ‘yarden’. With the huge assistance of our friend Adam, who used to work with his dad in a landscaping business, the yarden was planted with, basically, a lot of whatever was on sale in September (which is a lot, and actually a great time to plant perennials!) plus some stuff we really wanted, like a little Japanese maple. Well, the next year, lots of interesting things came up, many of which I couldn’t identify (“Adam? Do you remember what this is?? And this one? And…”). There was this plant with feathery foliage, rather pretty, which was doing really well. Only after it flowered did I find out from Adam that it was a weed, in the Queen Anne’s lace family but not as nice, which had already seeded literally THOUSANDS of seeds in my garden. It’s three years later and I’m still finding new weedlings. Grrrr. Ignorance is not bliss!

One last reflection: a visual illustration of the speed of sound:


By the time you hear the Blue Angels flying overhead and run out to see them, they are long gone.

Liturgical Knitting

We have a knitting group at our (very cool) church, which meets Wednesday nights while other churchly things also go on. We style ourselves “Liturgical Knitters”; however, lest you think we knit altar cloths, this is what I was finishing tonight:


This is not an altar cloth (our church is cool but not quite avant-garde to that level). This is a wild scarf for a friend and co-worker of mine who was in a bad motor vehicle accident, with multiple fractures, from which she is slowly and steadily healing. We hope to have her back with us in a month or so, but in the meantime, I thought this scarf might cheer her up. (I guess it’s a prayer scarf! I did think of her with each stitch.) I also worked on the Pink and Fuzzy cardigan, but progress is not really visible at this point. Hence the need to do the scarf! Yay, a FO!

Here’s where we knit,elc.jpg liturgical-knitting-place.jpg

and here are some of my fellow Wednesday night knitting friends (and a helper):


This is our last regularly scheduled Wednesday night Liturgical Knitting (it will start up again in September).  We need to keep the knitting flame alive through the summer, when there aren’t regularly scheduled Wednesday night happenings at church — and we will! We all enjoy each other’s company and I love seeing what everyone else is doing.  Vicarious knitting — it’s great!

More WIPs and a FO scarf picture tomorrow when I have time to take photos in natural light.