It’s Done!!

Woo-hoo! Finally finished the BSJ today… ends woven in and all, and lemme tell ya, with all the five different yarns I used, there were quite a few hanging out at the edges. It was really fun to take it to my parents’ place on Easter and throw it to people and ask them to make it a sweater. No one figured it out, although my sister-in-law came pretty close. SO! First some pictures, then a few notes:

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Now the notes:

It was a fun knit, although I have to admit, it is not the easiest to jump right into. It was hard to figure out where to place the markers for the decreases, although it was easier for the increases. And without the markers, there is a lot of counting and focused attention required. BUT! Once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad… and once you get past the decreases, it definitely became easier and maybe even a little more fun. It was hilarious to see how it looked on the needles, and like I said, fun to hand off to people as a puzzle. I will probably make another one soon, but it is not my favorite baby sweater. I think it’s perfect to show off beautiful handspun yarn, and a certain number of stripes makes it interesting… and that’s where my opinion lies.

Oh one more thing, I do love garter stitch!

Ok, one LAST thing, I adore the buttons!! They’re by a small group of glass artists called Moving Mud. I dropped a bundle on them, but I don’t regret it at all. And the pcitures don’t do them justice… they are much more green.

Not Much Knitting…

… to report here. Shortly after my last post, I received word that a very good friend of ours, the best man at our wedding, had died earlier that day. I can’t even begin to express how shocking this news was as none of us knew he was sick at all, let alone that he had been diagnosed with a mild form of lymphoma several years before. He chose to tell no one and his family only learned of his earlier diagnosis–and that the cancer had turned deadly very suddenly–at the beginning of February. We found out he was in the ICU about two weeks ago, but he gave no indication of how sick he was, and he wouldn’t tell us what was wrong, nor would he tell us the hospital where he was staying. We wanted to visit, but he was to ill for company, so we waited for him to tell us when he’d be ready. We focused on the one phrase we were given–recovery is going slow–so we had no preparation for the email we were sent a few days later that meant, in fact, that there was no recovery at all. He was 36.

We are still at the age where we are attending weddings and housewarmings and sending tiny little gifts for new babies. We expect to catch up with old friends during joyous occasions, at reunions and parties, at the various conferences and retreats to which we all invariably show up. Nowhere in my conscious did occur to me that we might meet again at a funeral. I expect that our grandparents are failing, and older relatives are beginning to suffer from the maladies of old age, even that our parents are beginning to show their age, but I didn’t expect this, couldn’t, can’t believe that we’ve lost one of our own… a peer, a confidant, a damn good friend with so many quirks you couldn’t help loving him, someone so memorable that he left an indelible mark in the thoughts of all those he knew even for a short time. And that he was sick, and chose to deal with it all by himself, and didn’t reach out until it was too late… what can you do with these thoughts?

So please forgive me for my emotional indulgence… there will be more knitting news later, but I’m afraid for now I’m stuck contemplating a terrible and permanent loss that I can’t make any sense of, one that even yet doesn’t feel a part of my reality.

A Break From the BSJ

I needed to give my wrist a break from knitting, or at least that’s the defense I’ve constructed in latest detour from the baby surprise jacket. You see, my new spindle from Spindlewood came in today…

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and I just happened to have the beautifully dyed roving from Cosy sitting around at my parents place–we’ve been camping out here at their house while the hubbie’s out of town on his latest trip. So I took the fluffed up fiber…

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and gave it a few spins and managed to get a little bit to ply…

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decided I wanted to try something a bit finer, if I could, so this was my second attempt…

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Woot!! I was stuck on the “park and spin” method before this little ball, but I somehow managed to figure out how to use the drop spindle appropriately by drafting and dropping and it’s amazing how much more quickly it goes. I read somewhere on one of the spinning sites that it takes three days to make a spinner, and by my calculation, this was my third day of spinning, so I’m not an outlier.

Once you get started it’s hard to stop, so I spun up another ball, then plied them together…

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found something to wind it around, and have my first official skein of yarn!!

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Here’s a close up for those who aren’t sick of seeing/hearing of my latest spinning adventures…

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A couple of things. First, I am really surprised at how thick the yarn is even though I thought the singles were really thin. Second, I was frustrated that I couldn’t keep my strands more even, but I really like how they plied up. There were a few outright bumps I could’ve done without, but uneven strands are OK by me. Third, the yarn is a bit ropey; can you say overspun? Overspun by a HUGE amount. But hey… I’m a novice.

I’m still really excited to do this… I’ve been really good and held off bidding on a few used wheels I’ve seen on ebay. However, I’m not quite sure how much longer my herculean resolve will hold out 🙂 I think I can wait until I knit up my first project with my first skein… what to do, what to do!!

Recycling Run

Found a few nice wool–and one cotton–sweaters to collect yarn from at the thrift store close to my parents house…

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I actually put back five other sweaters, and there were plenty more that I didn’t even look at. I’ll definitely have to go back, and there’s one more big store I’d like to stop by before I head back home. Two of the sweaters above are shetland wool, and in excellent shape. The one sweater it a beautiful heathered grey with flecks of pale pink and green. Try as I might, I had little success in photographing it’s true colors, but I’ll post the one that’s closest.

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Now, I really should get back to the BSJ.

The Perfect Day

It was a pretty good Saturday. I don’t know how much better it could’ve been. I made progress on the BSJ and I got to watch Dirty Jobs and it was snowing outside–call me crazy, but I’m not quite ready for winter to be over. Absolute perfection would’ve beenif the hubby was here with us instead of being out-of-town once again. Of course, with the crazy weather, the babies and I were delayed in getting home from visiting with the grandparents… we won’t leave until tomorrow morning. But, even with few negatives,I have to say it’s been a very nice day.

Progress on the BSJ has been steady, after a rather rocky start. I’m still not sure I’m happy with my color choice, or the striping, but now that I’ve gotten into the rhythm, it’s definitely becoming an intriguing little knit.

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Of course, after I snapped this shot, I figured out that my  stitch count was totally off,  by  a significant amount, so I had to frog two inches. Luckily, I’m about a row or two short of where I was. Could’ve been worse.

The one  thing I’m beginning to  worry about is the pain that I’ve been getting in my wrist. I only have it occasionally, but I want to make sure my wrists stay healthy because it’s hard to get them to heal. I had a friend who had to give up her career due to a case of tendonitis, which is drastic, but makes me think about how important this little practice
of stringing loops has become to my daily–ok, almost daily–practice, and how much it would stink if I had to give it up even for a short time. So it’s time to start looking into how to keep the wrists strong and supple.

I’m seeing some yoga in my future.

Not Much Progress…

…has been made on the BSJ. Sigh. I’m really sad that I can’t seem to find the motivation to make more progress.

But I did find a really awesome place to buy a new and bigger drop spindle, Spindlewood Co, out of Oregon. The very first I heard of this company was while poking around in Through the Loops; everything she said about Steve, the proprietor, is true… is was really nice to chat with him on the phone today, and he’s going to do everything he can to see if I can get the spindle to me by Saturday. There isn’t much stock on listed on his site, but he was more than willing to make anything I wanted and would start on it the day I called. Of course, being a novice, I’m not exactly sure what I want, but I know I need something a little larger than the two I have now. I told Steve this and he helped me pick one out that would suit my needs, all the while assuring me that he has a 100% guarantee with his purchases and if I don’t like the spindle, he’ll take it back and send me a different one. He and his wife also told me that SOAR is going to be in PA this year, in the Poconos, which is pretty close to my In-Laws. Guess I know where I’ll be the first weekend in October!

The Problem with Ravelry…

…is that it is sucking up all of my time. The little precious time that I have to knit between squalls of temper and myriad diaper changes and endless meal preparation and story book readings is now spent clicking on newly finished FO’s and searching for new patterns and finding folks with similar tastes in projects, colors, shapes, etc. And the little ads in the sidebar? Unfair, unfair, unfair. I have been really good and have resisted purchasing any of the gorgeous fibers I’ve seen online so far, but today almost broke me as there was a 10% off for Ravelers coupon code. Oh! What strength I possessed to have passed up that bargain!! And the number of projects I’ve seen that I’ve wanted to add to my queue… as if I don’t have enough lined up already. At the moment, I only have two projects on the needles, but almost all the yarn in my stash has been planned away… maybe I should break down and purchase some extra with that coupon.

One of the projects I’m working on is a Baby Surprise Jacket. I’m loving the yarn so far, and we’ll see how the striping works out… I’m thinking one garter ridge of a “base”color then one of the other yarns, then back to the base, then back to a different yarn… we’ll see how things shape up.

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And at the risk of sounding blasphemous, and raising the ire of all devoted Elizabeth Zimmermann fans, I am not finding the pattern all that easy to work with. I’m still willing to consider that part of the problem is unfamiliarity with the actual sweater, and that once my first is finished it will all magically make sense, but at the moment I’m finding that it takes an awful lot of concentration and thinking ahead to make sure I’m staying on track. And that in and of itself is not such a problem, except for the fact that I decided to work on the sweater over knitting up my first pair of socks because I was looking for something a little less of a mental challenge. Maybe then this wasn’t quite the right choice. BUT, the online cheats I’ve found have been fairly helpful, and I’m still excited to see it develop, so I’ll stick with this until it’s finished.

Of course, I could’ve started a little hat, but the fact is that I’m really bad at having several projects going at the same time. I like to start one and see it through, and it very rare that I have more than two projects at the same time. It’s the same way with books; I can’t really stand not finishing one book before I start another. I have one sweater that’s been hibernating for a year, that I’ll start again in the Spring after I finish up all the baby knitting I have planned. I definitely see how it would be helpful to have more than one project going at times like these when I’m so tired that thinking is out of the question and I need something relaxing to click away at…

maybe if I bought more yarn…