Saturday, November 30, 2013

After Thanksgiving Blues -- and Purple and Greens and Reds

Lorne's Vegetarian Turkey

Ahhh! Thanksgiving is over. The dishes are all washed and put away until the next holiday. I finished my job last week and start my new job on Monday. The house is clean(ish) and all the company has returned to their respective homes. The house belongs to me again and I am going to spend the next two days knitting. I will finish my purple shawl (wait until you see it). I am making a Colorado hat for my pregnant friends and some fingerless gloves for another friend. I don't plan to move from my knitting chair until Monday.

The "under 30" group
I hope all you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was wonderful. My son Lorne made a vegetarian turkey and Dane, Ken, Lorne played music.

Back to the needles.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Old Dog, New Tricks - My First Adventure into Toe-Up Socks

I have been knitting since I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I was so young that I don't even remember learning how. I know it was before I could read. My mother loved to tell the story about one of my first days of school when I recited the alphabet back to the teacher. I said "H, I, J, Knit, L, M, N, O Purl."

I grew up on the prairies of South Dakota so our winters were spent trying to keep warm. Grandma lived only a few miles from us so she was at our house often. Mom and Grandma would sit in the parlor knitting and talking. Since I was a restless child (I think that is what they used to call ADHD), they taught me to give me something to do. Soon I was knitting slipper and doll clothes. I never really played with dolls, but I knitted clothes for them. I also remember knitting hats for my many cats.

I started knitting socks when I was in grade school. It was an easy transition because doll clothes were often done on double-pointed needles. Every single sock I ever knitted was on cuff down and I haven't used a pattern from beginning to end in years. I would look for a lace or rib pattern to use on the sock, do the math, and just start knitting. I have always done the toes and the heels the exact same way. After all, if something works, why fix it.

So at the ripe old age of 60 (yes, I am admitting my age), I decided to try my first pair of toe up socks. It's not like I had anything against toe-up socks; I could just knit socks faster cuff down. However when I found a pattern for hearts as the lace pattern in a toe-up pattern, it was time for this old dog to learn a new trick. I had this bright, bright scarlet red sock that was perfect for a heart lace pattern. So following a sock pattern -- remember I haven't followed a sock pattern from beginning to end in years, if ever -- and tackled a new way of doing toes and heels.  And I loved it! Not only is it fun, but the fit over my toes is even better than my cuff down. It is probably also the joy of learning something new.

So the lesson here is even after knitting for 55+ years, there are always new adventures, new skills, and new methods to learn, not just in knitting, but in life as well. And who knows, maybe one day I'll even try knitting socks on circular needles! Hmm, I'm not so sure about that. I really love my DPNs!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Knitting Journal

I am at heart a writer. I write for a living and I write for fun. I write serious fiction and I write comedy. So it would only make sense that I would not only do a knitting blog, but I have a personal hand-written personal journal as well. I carry it with me most of the time and the condition of my journal proves that it is well-used and well-loved.

Yes, it has come apart, but it
is a blessing because it is
easier to carry with me.
I don't mind if you read it because it is dedicated to my knitting observations only. You will not find any personal secrets of my dislike of most green-colored yarns, heart-felted confusions of liking double-point needles over circular needles, or descriptions of clandestine rendezvous with crochet hooks or weaving looms.

My key to color-coding my notes, and
a cheat sheet on how to do the
Kitchener stitch, because I can
never remember how to do it.
I use my journal keep track of what I am knitting. My journal has come to my rescue many times when I pick up a dormant project and can't remember what pattern I was using. I color-code my projects as starting (green), progressing (pink), frogged (red), and finished (orange). Besides, it's fun to go back a year or so and see what I was working on at the time. Sometime I see a project I completely forgot about and go down to my craft room to find it and finish it.

My journal is a perfect place to create charts or
copy one from my books to take with me.
Although I make many of my own stickers, I
will purchase some if I really like them.
The stickers are just a very fun and entertaining way to play with my journal. I usually make my own stickers. I have copies of my favorite photographs either ones I have taken or ones I have copied from the net. I include pictures of my family and, of course my cat Neko, just to make me smile while I write. I put in knitting-related cartoons and memes I find on Facebook. I also include pictures of my completed projects because I take a picture of everything I finished. (I love digital cameras!)  I arranged them on a Word document and print them out on full sheet sticker paper -- it comes in white or clear paper. I usually use the white because my journal is graph paper and the lines show through.

I put the stickers on a
few pages ahead of time and
write around the photos.
I like the graph paper so I can make charts of what I am knitting.  Then I don't have to carry a pattern or a book with me. I like the design of this journal so much that I purchased another one to use once I have finished this one.  However, since I have used only a little over half of this journal in three years, I think I am set for a decade or so.

I don't consider the writing in my journal any piece of artistic genius. It is a dumping ground for my thoughts so great writing isn't a priority.  I will put quotes and saying that I like in there as well, but anyone reading my journal will become quickly become bored. They would like the pictures and knitting charts better than anything I write.
I include a lot of pictures of my sons in my journal
as well as many of my Neko