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Getting Antsy

For so many reasons, I think that is going to be the theme of this new week.  I am antsy for my mom to arrive (is it Thursday yet?), antsy for my first acupuncture appointment on Wednesday, and antsy to finish up my Strawberry Shortcake socks, Cardigan for Arwen, and Forest Canopy Shawl so that I can start casting on some new projects.

I am dying to knit with my Dream in Color Smooshy from Erin at Eat.Sleep.Knit.  It is this beautiful yellow color, with tiny streaks of pink throughout, called Butter Peeps.  It’s been dying to become socks since I bought it, but I’ve procrastinated for a variety of reasons.  And since my goal for the past few weeks has been to cut down on my works in progress, I’ve resisted the urge to cast on anything new.  It’s been next to impossible.

The more I sit here and think about it, though, the more I realize that there really is no reason not to cast on.  I mean, I can’t make my mom’s plane get here any sooner.  I can’t make my acupuncture appointment arrive.  But I don’t really have to wait to cast on another pair of socks.  There’s no wool god sitting watching me and shaking his head if I cast on something else.

Cast-on ban be damned.  More cast-ons, here I come!

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Feet, Friends, and Fate

Man, oh, man.  Have I got a story for you today.

I drove into nearby Knaresborough to meet my friend Lou for a cup of tea and a pop into the local yarn shop, Sheepish.  While I was there, I got a glimpse of her beautiful Hedera socks, and showed her my own new simply stockinette socks in Yarn Love’s Elizabeth Bennet, the Strawberry Shortcake colorway.  We discussed the intricacies of sock knitting, and I mentioned that some of the yarn I’ve been stashing lately is so beautiful that I almost don’t feel worthy of knitting it!

At any rate, we had a lovely cuppa, and then walked into town (oh the jealousy I felt at the fact that she lives within walking distance of a beautiful wool shop!).  I was drawn to some Mirasol Hacho for myself, some for a swap partner, and then while I was there, I also decided to purchase some new Brittany Birch double pointed sock needles in 2.5 mm.  I already have a set, but decided that I might like to have two socks cast on at a time!  So, what the heck?

I returned home, and while the girls watched Diego, the washing tumbled around in the washer, and Ravelry was down (horrors!), I picked up my sock to get back to it.  I knit around, and after picking up the stitches off the side of the heel, came to knit across the cuff.  That’s when I realized it.  The needle holding those stitches had broken (inevitably happened last night I’m sure, when I thought I could ease my sock over my ankle, needle and all).  As I’d already misplaced one of the needles, and now had one broken, if I hadn’t bought that set this morning, I would have been out of luck!

Here’s what this experience has taught me:

1)  I should make more time to have coffee and tea with friends in the morning.

2)  I should consider moving within walking distance of a yarn shop.

3)  I should never resist the urge to buy yarn or needles…what if it’s a sign?

4)  I should never consider myself not worthy of yarn or needles because my skill level isn’t advanced enough.  The knitting gods might see fit to break a needle.  I’ll never tempt them again!  :)

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Red Wine and Philosophy

The girls are asleep.  Marcus is playing Call of Duty 4 on the PS3 (I just asked the name), and I am sitting on the couch, looking at the sock I am knitting.  I just had to frog (which I just learned is from the fast way you say, “rip it, rip it” when you are ripping it out after a mistake!) the heel because I miscounted somewhere and it was off center.  I managed to pick back up all of my stitches, miraculously, and now it’s sitting beside me, awaiting further action.

This error, for whatever the reason, warranted correction.  I stopped, and I plan to go back and try to make it right.

However, I’m also back onto working on my Cardigan for Arwen.  About 3 weeks ago I started the left side of the cardigan, and since this was my first time reading a chart, I made a mistake that I didn’t sort out until row 7 of an 8 row pattern on the cable chart.  I stuck the cardigan in my knitting basket, and there it sat until 3 nights ago while I figured out what to do with it.

Based on the sock story, you’d think the obvious choice would have been to rip out the 7 rows and do them again.  After all, they were only 7 rows.  I’m knitting my very first cardigan.  Shouldn’t I want it to be perfect?

But when I pulled out Arwen the other night and looked at her, I decided to keep on knitting.  To overlook the mistake, knit it correctly from now on, and go with it.  7 rows of a cable pattern had an error in them.  How many rows will my entire cardigan have?  More than I even want to figure right now!

Maybe I am feeling philosophical right now, but I wonder what the difference is between these two projects, and if there is a greater moral here.  My sock has thousands of stitches.  Smaller stitches, of course, but still thousands of them in a pair (each row is 60 stitches, at least 150 rows in a sock…you do the math!).  So it isn’t the stitch count that makes the difference.

It isn’t the price of the yarn or the time invested, either.  The heel took me about 30 minutes to do.  So did the 7 mistaken cable repeats.

Nope.  I think the real heart of the matter is how I feel about the mistake.  The sock mistake was on my heel.  Every time I put that pair of socks on, I would have felt that the heel was off center.  It would have made the socks potentially unwearable, especially if one felt right and the other didn’t.

But with the cardigan, my mistake may not even be noticeable when the whole cardigan is knitted.  And if it is, I can chalk it up as a part of the story–how I read the pattern left to right for each row, instead of only on the odd numbered rows.  How I knitted the whole thing myself and the error is minimal, in the scheme of things.  And how I won’t see that part of the cardigan every time I put it on.  It won’t change how it feels for me, how it fits, or how I feel about it.  It makes it hand-knit and unique.

I wonder about the mistakes that I’ve made in my life over the years.  There have been many that have caused me to want to frog the entire situation, to “rip it, rip it” and start over.  I’ve apologized.  Changed.  Learned and grown.  But the idea is like the socks–it doesn’t feel right, and I have to do something about it.

But then there are other situations, other moments in life like the cardigan, where the mistake is minimal.  That even if the same number of stitches were involved, it doesn’t change my life.  But I still fix them and go on.  I just don’t look to erase the past.  I simply move forward.

Is your life filled with cardigan and sock moments?  Which have you learned the most from?  Which have changed you most?  For the better?  For the worse? Do you strive to be perfect in some situations, and accept mistakes in others?  Why?

I suppose the most important thing is the change, critical in both instances.

At any rate, I suppose I’ll leave the sock and the cardigan for tomorrow.  I shouldn’t knit with wine, anyway.

PS:  Can you see the mistake, 6 cable pattern repeats later?  What if I’d never told you it was there?

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Process or Product? Why Knit?

Today, as we drove to the shop with the girls in the backseat, I sat in the passenger seat and wound a hank of Yarn Love Elizabeth Bennet into a beautiful, multicolored ball that I am planning to knit up into an equally beautiful (eh…at least I try) pair of socks.  My husband laughed.  “You realize you are a little too into knitting, right?” he said.

It got me thinking.  Why is it that I knit?  My friend Sue knits for process, no doubt about it.  Her mantra, that no knitting is wasted, is one that many other knitters share.  But when I met her, I didn’t feel that way.  I knit for the finished product.  A scarf to wear, Christmas gifts, something to do to pass the time.

Now though, just over a year later, I find myself feeling completely differently about knitting.  While I am probably not at the point that I can say that no knitting is wasted (the thought of frogging something in its entirety and having to start over brings me close to tears quite often), I do find myself growing into a process knitter.  There is something soothing about knitting.  It relaxes me.  It keeps me occupied.  It helps me stay calm and focused.

And that’s even with the fact that my knitting technique needs work.  I can’t do stockinette properly.  I get holes when picking up stitches and doing short rows.  I am fairly certain that I will never be able to cast on more than 60 stitches in the round without twisting them.  But I keep knitting.  I keep trying.  I keep learning and practicing new skills.  Some of which are even, undoubtedly, above my ability level.

Maybe I’ll become a process knitter yet…

In the meantime, take a look at some of my recent finished projects!

My Red Java Felted Bag

Pattern:  Angela’s Fabulous Felted Bag

Yarn:  Malabrigo Worsted in Red Java

A Pal for Piper

Pattern:  Blanket Buddy from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders

Yarn:  Jumbo Acrylic

Fueling the Addiction Ribbed Socks

Pattern: Basic Ribbed Socks

Yarn:  Angels & Elephants Hand Dyed Sock Yarn

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The House that Bugs Built

Ok, well, not built, but sure are infesting at the moment.

Kicka has a bit of a sickness bug, and since this is the first time she’s had a fever since she had a febrile seizure in February, I’m a bit paranoid and haven’t left the house (or her side) for the morning.  Marcus assures me there is no reason to worry, but still, what else is a mother to do?

Not only is my house infested with a fever bug that I hope that we don’t all catch, but I have a bit of a bug of a different sort–the travel bug.  From the moment we arrived in Mallorca I found myself contemplating why we haven’t been taking more advantage of Europe at our fingertips.  And so the minute I got home I started searching for cheap flights on Jet2.Com, and guess what I found?  Incredibly inexpensive tickets to Hamburg for a long weekend when my mother is here!  For less than GBP 40 a person (including luggage and taxes), the five of us are flying to Germany!  The tickets are booked, and now I just need to find us somewhere reasonably priced to stay.  But we are going!

I suppose the other bug filling up my house is the ever present knitting bug.  Tomorrow night my Nutty Knitters of Harrogate Ravelry Group is meeting at my friend Samantha’s house.  I am really looking forward to it–these ladies are such an inspiration to me, and thought I might not be able to sew on a button (seriously), I’ll try a twisted rib or a cable without a second thought.  I’ve still got six (yep, six) projects on the needles, but I am hoping to finish up the Easy Ribbed Socks that I took on holiday with me by tomorrow night so that I can show them off.

If your house is filled with bugs too, good luck!

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Poolside Seats

Home, Sweet Home!

I’m back from Palma de Mallorca after a wonderful and sunny! girls’ weekend.  The weather was amazing, for the most part, and certainly better than my husband tells me that they had here in Yorkshire over the weekend.

I hardly know where to start this post, as there’s so much to share about the weekend!

We did do a bit of sightseeing, and of that, the highlight was La Catedral de Palma.  The cathedral was beautiful.  My friend Meg and I didn’t go in, but the other girls tell me that it was gorgeous, even if it was a bit pricey at €4.

I adored just looking down all of the Spanish streets for the few hours we spent in Palma.  They were exactly like I’d imagined–picturesque.

Other than sightseeing, the girls and I spent a great deal of time by the poolside relaxing.  Of course, for me that meant that I was often seen knitting (if for no other reason than to give my non-knitting companions a chuckle!).

I did make some pretty hefty progress on my sock, though I learned that even without children and chores, when Sangria is involved I still can’t knit a sock in a weekend!

So, when all was said and done, the weekend was a huge success.  I loved international travel so much more than I expected.  I loved the time with friends.  I loved seeing the Balearic Islands of Spain.  I missed my husband and children, but have arrived home a better wife and mommy because of the trip.

Oh, and I love cappucino.

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Timing is Everything

I’m in a serious knitting mood, determined to finish the first of the ribbed socks that I cast on almost a month ago and got pushed to the back of my UFO pile.  Add to that the fact that my family and I are all pretty laid up with upset stomachs, and the timing couldn’t be better for a day of television watching and knitting.

 Timing is also everything in other areas of my life, with Easter approaching tomorrow.  My oldest daughter has asked about why we have Easter and why Mommy and Daddy didn’t eat meat on Fridays, so I thought maybe I could give a quick abbreviated explanation.  I simply explained that just like we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on Christmas, on Good Friday Jesus died, and on Easter we remember that he rose from the dead.  She hasn’t asked any other questions about it, and I’m not sure that she “gets it”.  But with her asking, the timing seemed right, and hopefully next year she will ask more questions about our faith.

 It’s the first year that Easter has ever really been something that I’ve thought about, too.  Though I’ve been a Catholic all my life, it’s only in the past year that my husband and I have started attending church more regularly and becoming involved in our Catholic community.  I suppose timing came into play here, too.

I’ve given my writing a lot of thought lately, too.  I’ve been so worried about getting my book edited and sent off, that I forgot that this book, my first novel, came to me and I was inspired.  I will be inspired to finish it and edit it, too…it just isn’t happening as quickly as I might like for it too.  Maybe I’m being too hard on myself.  At any rate, when the timing is right, I’ll know it.

Hopefully the timing of this post comes at a good time for you…whether it inspires you to finish a knitting project, contemplate Easter and your faith, or think about your writing…