Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Super Secret Stuff

I can't show you what I'm making, but I can show you what I'm making, if you catch my drift.

One of the current can't-show-you-the-actual-item projects is this zippered fabric tote, from this tutorial by Dragon[knit]fly. I've made a couple now, and though I had a hard time visualizing what I was supposed to do, I just followed the instructions, and voila! I had a lovely little zippered box. You can make one with 2 fat quarters, some interfacing and a 12" zipper, easy peasy. It's a fun blog, and maybe there's a new baby in the Dragon[knit]fly family by now.

I'm also sewing these slippers

from Favorite Things, though maybe they're no longer producing the Pitter Patters pattern  I bought my copy from Keepsake Quilting, and it seems to be available from them still. This is a really versitile slipper pattern, sized to fit infants through adult men. It's not a difficult pattern to sew, though by the time you get done, you're stitching through quite a few layers, and I opted to hand-tack the outer bias tape on top, rather than try to machine sew it around the outside of the slipper, or hand sew it to the non-slip bottom (and by this, I don't mean that I hand-sewed the bias tape to the slipper. I used the machine for that. I just hand-tacked the fold-over down). I do think the footpad is a mite narrow (on the other hand, I come from The Land of Wide Feet), but that's a fairly easy adjustment. Once my next shipment of Jiffy Grip arrives, I intend to make a pair for myself, which I can actually show you.

I can show you the progress on the Lapland mitered square hat, though, since I don't know if that will be a gift or not (I'm thinking of putting together a mitered square workshop, and may just toss it in with other samples for that class). It's coming along, and I was right to try mitered squares with this yarn- they're a perfect match.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What happened to November?

I lost November in the shuffle, and despite the Knitted Gift Tub (which has lots of things in it),  I'm not even starting to be ready for The Holidays. This is the first time I haven't had my trees up by Thanksgiving in years. But it's going to snow today, and that will probably put me in the mood to decorate.
The Girls and I made some Turkey Cookies before Thanksgiving. The cookies were easy to assemble, and The Grands had a great time. They made some fantastic gobblers. And of course, they got to eat the leftover components- so things were a little giddy around here for an hour or so, lemee tellya.

I'm in Book Limbo for a bit- the manuscript has been sent to my agent, so as I wait for her assessment/suggestions for rewrites, I've been sewing. Unfortunately, Certain People read the blog, which means that I can't show any of the things I'm sewing right now, but trust me, they're pretty darn adorable. (I'll post pics after Christmas).

I can show you this though:

I started another mitered square hat. This yarn is Lisa Souza Sock, colorway Lapland (though it looks Watermelon to me). I tried and tried and tried to find the right stitch pattern for this yarn and nothing looked good, not Aunt Helen's Variation, not Waffle, not plain stockinette (the color changes are too short for stripes but too long for attractive blotching), not Entrelac. As a last resort, I tried mitered squares, and that did the trick. I think this hat is going to be adorable.

On the health front- I'm improving. My voice is shot, and will remain so until I'm done with the inhaler, but otherwise, I'm coughing less. And today, I will up the treadmill distance to 1.5 miles. I've been increasing the length and intensity of the workouts gradually (I'm impatient, but not anxious for a relapse)- when I work up to 2 miles and 4mph walking with a good incline, I'll be ready to try running the odd quarter mile. I've learned that Linda Ronstadt's Poor Pitiful Me is the perfect song to accompany a 3.5mph workout. It's good to sweat again- I've missed it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mitered Square Hat

In amongst all of the other excitement, I did find time to finish the Mitered Square Hat, knit with leftover Twisted Fiber Arts Playful yarn.
I love how it came out.

So did the three girls  (ages 8-11) who were here when I finished it. They all begged for one.

Maybe Santa can do something about that...

It's easy peasy to make:
Heavy Fingering Weight Yarn (though regular fingering will work too), Size 2.75mm needles (dpns and 16" circ)
4 rows of 19st mitered squares (instructions here)- 14 squares each row
Sew the back seam, pick up 140 sts around the upper edge.
K 4 rnds.
Dec Rnd 1: *K 12, K 2 tog*, rep around
Dec Rnd 2: K
Dec Rnd  3: *K 11, K 2 tog*, rep around
Dec Rnd 4: K
Continue in this manner, working one less st before the dec on each odd rnd, until there are 10 sts left. Cut yarn, thread tail through remaining loops, tighten and tie off. Weave the ends in, wash and block.

This hat fits me just fine-it's snug and it reaches just below my ears. But if you want a longer brim, just work another row of mitered squares. If you want a bigger hat, work more squares in the row. If you want a smaller hat, work fewer squares in a row. Regardless of size, pick up 10 sts per square for the crown. You could also pick up stitches along the bottom edge, and work a ribbing or border if you like.

Laying flat, the hat measures 8" long and 9 1/2" wide.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Okay, now I'm thankful

I was going to write a cheery little post yesterday, about how thankful I am for all of you, but I woke up with a migraine, and that sort of set the tone for my day.

I was quite old before I realized that I've always had sporadic migraines. When I was a kid, I'd get them after marathon reading sessions (we're talking 8 hours on the top bunk, reading an entire Nancy Drew on a Saturday). We called them Sick Headaches, because I would, you know, get sick, but we didn't know that there was an official word for them. As an adult, I learned (oh so slowly) that chocolate, exhaustion, and dehydration would trigger them. I did my best to avoid all three (and only reintroduced chocolate to my diet in the last few years, with no ill effects). But over the last eight or nine years, they lessened (as my hormones disappeared), and I hadn't had a migraine since the night before my Grandson was born. He'll turn 7 in a few months.

I thought I was done with them.

Unfortunately, I was wrong, though as migraines go, yesterday's was minor- my guess is that the culprit was exhaustion (writing 2/3 of a book in 3 weeks while recovering from bronchitis, and that the minor-ness was aided by my age and lack of hormones)(good riddance to them, I say). My head didn't explode and the nausea only lasted for 5 hours. My younger sister has them much worse (she carries a hypodermic with her and is allowed to self-inject), so I've always considered myself lucky (comparatively). Needless to say, the big turkey blowout with the houseful of people was out of the question. The Hub packed up the food and it all went over to my son's house, where they had a wonderful time, with my absolute blessing. I slept, when I wasn't, you, know, getting sick...

But today, today I'm tired but feeling so much better (the day after a migraine goes away is always a good day because you don't have a migraine and you have been forcefully reminded how good that feels. We frequently fail to appreciate not throwing up). So today I will say how thankful I am for you all, not just on the fourth Thursday in November, but every single day. I love those of you who post in the comments, and I love those of you who just read (take a peek at the hit counter- we're closing in on 500K hits- nothing short of amazing).

Thanks all of you for being there!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

105 Bottles of wine on the table, 105 bottles of wine...

This is what The Hub did while I worked yesterday:
These are the wines that we started last January (or was it December?). They've been clearing and settling since February, and were more than ready to bottle. The assortment includes: Rhubarb Riesling, Chokecherry, Gewurtztrauminer, Chablis, and Barbera. All of them are mighty good, though I refrained from doing more than tiny-tasting any of them because....

I wrote 19 pages yesterday! Over 5,000 words. But the most important were the last two: The End

Take one down and pass it around!

p.s. This is the 13th time I've gotten to write those last two words (metaphorically for the knitting books, since that text is written out of order), but it's the first time I've ever done it twice in one year!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Before I buckle down

Before the nose hits the grindstone, I made progress on the Mitered Square Hat:

I've finished the brim, and have picked up the stitches for the crown. I'll work four rounds of stockinette, and then begin the decreases. The bottom edge is nice and even, so I won't add a border unless I need some more length.

On the stove last night: Fannie Farmer Fudge, with an experimental Sea Salt version. Oh my.... sprinkle the buttered pan with a very light amount of salt- not a coating- and then pour the hot fudge on top of it. If you've had salt chocolate, use about that amount (just enough to taste but not enough to overwhelm- it may take a bit of experimentation to find the right balance). And use a mild granulated white salt, not flavored or smoked. I went with Korean Isle Fleur de Sel from The Meadow, which may not be available online. This will substitute nicely.

p.s. no, it's not a low-carb recipe...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Popping in

Sorry, things are crazy here, what with trying to finish the first draft of the YA, Thanksgiving prep (many fattening foods to prepare), and feeling better but not quite up to snuff yet. I haven't had any time to blog today, and may not tomorrow.

In the meantime, I did a test run of the Turkey Cookies:
The Grandgirls are going to love putting these together. I may try to find some smaller base cookies (these are cheapo molasses cookies- excellent value and good taste, but a tad big), but otherwise, the notion works very well. If you squint, you can totally see a turkey there.

Tonight's menu addition? Fudge...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mitered Squares, again, some more

I felt well enough yesterday to accompany The Hub on a longish grocery run out of town, and lived to tell the tale (in fact, I am almost willing to say that I'm nearly feeling okay-- it's been awhile since I've been able to say that and pretend to mean it) (and there have been no leg cramps since I placed a bar of soap at the end of the bed. Coincidence? Mind Games? Possibly. Probably. I don't care).

As a result, we have Texas Caviar, Cranberry Jalapeno Relish, and Tapenade, all marinating in the fridge, waiting for the Thursday Blowout. As another result, I only wrote about 1/3 of the required words yesterday, so I need to double down today.

Before I hit the salt mines, here's the progress on the Mitered Square Hat.
The yarns used are all leftovers, all Twisted Fiber Arts Playful (the heavy fingering weight). The colorways as follows: Bottom Row: Netherfield (with some Scorched on the back), Row 2: Firefly, Row 3: Valkyrie, Row 4: Karma. I will probably put another row of squares on, and then join and pick up stitches for the brim. Stats so far: 19 st mitered squares, 14 squares per row

I'm thinking of adding a Mitered Square Workshop to my roster. It's a fun process, easy to learn, and it would be nice to have a couple of half-day classes (most of mine are all-day affairs). What say you all to that idea?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Giving Thanks for Linkies

This will be the first Thanksgiving in years that I won't have my Christmas trees up early (not a word from the curmudgeons who complain every single year about the fact that stores put out Christmas stuff before Halloween. Every single year.We'll just have to agree to disagree). I simply won't have time to decorate until after I finish the YA first draft. And not that I have much Thanksgiving bric a brac, but it won't be set out this week, either.

But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy contemplating Turkey Crafts. Like these:
A knitted Turkey Dinner.  Love those celery stalks.

And a knitted Turkey Baby Hat.

And this perennial favorite,  the Sexy Turkey Hat, with matching Tea Cozy.

And this one, which is actually pretty darn cute.

Or this totally adorable Turkey Finger Puppet.

And if you're not in the mood to knit turkeys, make some instead, from ginger snaps and candy corn.

Gobble gobble, indeed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Settled at Netherfield

If I could have but both of my feet settled happily in Netherfield, and everyone else's feet covered equally well, I should have nothing else to wish for...

Hand-dyed self-striping yarns are notoriously variable as to their repeats (I know, I wrote a book about it once), so though I'm just a tad bit anal about my toes matching, I don't quibble when it comes to Twisted Fiber Arts yarns- even gloriously mis-matching is beautiful (and this is just a minor difference, and since I don't wear open-toe shoes with socks, it truly doesn't matter).

I had no problem knitting a pair of my generic socks from the Playful base (which is a bit heavier than usual fingering weight,  with a skein weighing in at 120 gr, and 360 yards). In fact, I have a nice size ball of leftover yarn.There would have been plenty for larger feet as well (I'm a size 7-8). 
I'm going to wear them today. I have a skein of Netherfield Arial, which is a true fingering weight, which I will probably use to make a pair of lace socks.

For my next take-along project (not that I'm going anywhere, any time soon), I started a leftover Twisted Playful Mitered Square Hat. I have a few more squares to add to the first row, and I plan to make each row of squares with completely different colorways (I knew that there was a reason that I never threw away even little amounts of this yarn- that it would come in handy sometime). I think I'll pick up and knit a few garter stitch rows along the bottom edge, to even it out, and I plan to sew the tube together, and then pick up stitches to knit the crown decreases in random stripes of whatever yarn I have left. It should be pretty cool.

In closing, I am going to say this very very quietly, lest I jinx myself: not only am I feeling better this morning, but I think... I think that I might finish the first draft of the YA on time. Maybe.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Tab- Lowe Mother and Daughter

And here's yet another reprint of Patience and Prudence (and Dress Up Dolls). The dolls now have blonde hair, but they have the same poses. This was a cut set, and most of the clothes are the same as in the Patience and Prudence book. But there are a few other outfits as well (which makes me think that there was probably more than one version of P&P as well, one with more pages of clothes, since these extras are very nicely drawn).

I also have no date for this book (I just have the scans, not the actual paper dolls- the scans came from a friend), but I am pretty sure that it came out before Dress Up Dolls, since the clothes in Dress Up were completely redrawn, and much more in the 60's style.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Charlie Hearse

See what I did up there? These leg cramps are killers. Get it? I crack myself up sometimes.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the suggestions for dealing with the cramps. I am going to follow Kate's advice and consult with the doctor (if for no other reason than to give her an anecdotal connection between Symbicort and the cramping), and then I'll try several of the suggested remedies. I put a bar of soap under the sheets (hey- in my house, we buy warts from each other to get rid of them, and it works. I'm not above using magic), and I'm drinking a Tonic and Sam's Choice Water right now. If the Dr says it's okay, I'll take a potassium supplement (bananas are forbidden fruit in our version of Diabetesville).

Speaking of Tonic Water- I am new to the ways of tonic, and had no idea that there was such a thing as Diet Tonic Water, though I'm glad it exists (90 calories and 24 gr of carb per serving of the regular? I think not). I would not be able to drink this unadulterated (and I'm not in the mood for Gin at the moment), so mixing it with the Sam's Choice helps. There's still a bitter aftertaste, sort of like the white pulp under the skin of a grapefruit, but otherwise, it's palatable. And if it'll help lessen the cramps, I'll drink it straight.

In the meantime, work progresses apace on the YA Fantasy, and I'm down to the foot on the second Netherfield sock.

And Shopko, a local discount store, has the coolest linkable letter Christmas ornaments in stock this year.
You buy the pieces individually, and then assemble them to make words and phrases. I picked up enough to make everyone's name (though it took multiple trips, since in my fuzzy-brain stage, I managed to forget several vowels, and a couple of consonants, entirely). Are these fun, or what?

And as a carrot (per Mary), this book (all signed and inscribed and everything) is waiting for me when I finish the YA. I dare not crack the spine until I write The End. However, it is calling me... I am trying to be strong...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Charlie, meet Horse

In my ongoing determination to keep you all posted on the minute details of my bronchitis recovery (you want a cough by cough description, right?), I mentioned yesterday about waking up with leg cramps. Multiple leg cramps. Every night. I thought they were caused by the cessation of exercise (you can't go from 3 years of daily workouts, to nothing, without paying a price). On the other hand, I learned the hard way, that it is simply not possible to exercise when you can't breathe. I deemed breathing more important, and stopped running. Or walking. Or moving mostly...

The cramping seemed like an unfortunate, but logical outcome to the sudden change in routine. Yesterday I started a regimen of slow walking on the treadmill- just a mile at a time, nothing speedy, nothing to tax my lungs, just something to stretch those calves, hoping that would help.

This morning, unfortunately, I was awakened by the Monster of all Charlie Horses (we're talking nasty here). Afterwards, The Hub suggested that maybe there was a link between my current meds and these new wake up calls.

Google is my friend.

Since I now know that I'm stuck with the leg cramps for the duration (I have 3 more weeks of inhaler treatments), I'm searching for something, anything, that might help.

So, Blogiverse- what do you do for leg cramps? I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I got nothin'

I made some progress on the Netherfield mate, but it looks just like the first one (beautiful, but not beautiful enough to document every inch for you), I cranked out 1,600 words on the YA Fantasy (!!), and I managed to walk a slow mile on the treadmill without losing a lung (it was necessary- I've been getting charley horses- yes plural. My legs do not like this inactivity). But none of that is photo worthy.

In the absence of anything reportable on my end, here's a very cool commercial (from Israel, I suspect). My guess is that they covered the items with crochet first, and then unraveled it, and then edited and reversed the order. No matter how they did it, it's cool.

And if this doesn't make you smile on a dreary Monday, nothing will.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I do not cough for my own amusement

I would be a very different sort of person if knitting with yarn called Netherfield did not make me think of P&P. The above header is one of my absolute favorite quotes from the book, and it almost never makes it to the filmed versions (which are but pale imitations of the written, Colin Firth notwithstanding)(and I can barely watch the Kiera Knightley installment, though I think the dirt and mud, and pigs in the courtyard ,are probably very much proper).

As you can see, I finished the first Netherfield sock, and it's as gorgeous as its namesake (okay, so maybe you have to be an Austen Sock Knitter to believe that a hand knit sock can be rightly compared to an iconic fictional location, but there you are). I cast on the mate, and will work on it in the evenings when I'm not writing. For whatever reason (and I am not about to examine it too closely, lest it disappear), work on the YA Fantasy is going extremely well at the moment, and that takes precedence over all things, including knitting. And cooking. And bathing.

I'm not much for the whole NaNoWriMo thing- I'm not nearly as concerned with getting a certain number of words written in a given amount of time, as I am with getting the right words written when they're ready. But I have a deadline, and miraculously, given the iffy state of my lungs (and the fuzzy state of my brain), I've been cranking out 1,000+ words a day lately. So even though I'm not officially participating, my goal is the same as the WriMo folks: to finish this book by the end of the month. I still don't know if I'll make it, but the chances are better this week, than they were last week.

In the meantime, I'm improving slowly. I learned on Friday that driving 40 miles and sitting with good friends for 3 hours was all it took to drain my reserves, so I'm cutting back on activity for a bit longer (lordy- I'll have to start from scratch when I can finally start racking up the miles again). Mr Bennet has not yet authorised to cough as much as I chuse (which is not at all), but I'm getting there.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Traveling Woman, and Netherfield has been let at last

I had a lovely time at knitting yesterday, but was distressed to find that sitting and talking for 3 hours with great friends, surrounded by good coffee and yarn fumes, left me shaky and exhausted. I guess I have a ways to go before I can call myself recovered.

I did finish knitting the Traveling Woman Shawl on Thursday night, so I could show it off yesterday.

As with all unblocked lace, it looked pretty pitiful, all wrinkles and blobs.

Ah, that's much better. Though I discovered the drawback to knitting lace with a totally inelastic yarn- it doesn't stretch (duh). I really wanted to block the edges into scallopy points (as I've seen in many of the bazillion finished Traveling Woman photos on Ravelry), but even though I bound off with needles 2 sizes larger than what I used for the knitting, I simply could not shape the edge into anything but a straight line (not that those are straight edges, but you know what I mean). It's certainly pretty, but not what I had envisioned. Final dimenions: 52"x 19"- a perfect little neck warmer for chilly mornings, and it's light enough to wear as a scarf over a nice sweater indoors.
I also learned what most lace knitters already know- brushed mohair is not ideally suited to lace. It's gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but I lost a whole lot of stitch definition by using a fuzzy yarn for this project.

On the other hand, a little fuzz is a good thing. Since this was a very fast project, I think I'll knit it again, with a wool yarn, just to see the difference (maybe with some beads along the edge).
But even when I'm healthy, I can't knit anything that requires concentration (and even easy lace has to be paid attenion to) while I'm at my knitting group. So I dug through my Twisted Fiber Arts Stash Box (yes, it has, and deserves, its own box) and finally decided to wind up my skein of Netherfield (in the Playful base- a heavy fingering weight, my absolute favorite yarn for socks). Netherfield is the colorway that I coveted the most, back when Twisted consistently sold out their entire stock 15 minutes after opening up sales. It took me several months to score a skein, and it's been sitting in the box, waiting for inspiration ever since. I finally realized that this yarn doesn't want fancy stitches, or patterning. A plain vanilla sock is the perfect display for the amazing dye work of Meg from Twisted. Look at those colors! Worthy of the name, no? Can you not see Jane and Bingley cavorting among the flowers? (and at least on my monitor- those colors are exactly what the yarn looks like in person).
And as a special treat, after knitting, I stopped at the Starbucks in the Target store and had a Salty Caramel Hot Chocolate. I am not given to initials in all caps often, but OMG!

(side note: it's just as well that I didn't see the nutritional info on that little cuppa until just now... again OMG!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday Tab on Friday- Patience and Prudence, Abbott

As long as we're on a Patience and Prudence kick (the singing sister duo from the 50's), I thought I'd post the original. I don't own this set- these scans were cobbled together from a couple of friends' sets, and I had to enlarge some of the scans so the clothes were on the same scale. The dolls have the same position as last week's reprint, but totally different clothes (and I still think that the poses were at least *inspired* by the Merrill Cathy Goes to Camp set, posted a couple of weeks ago). Abbott was a subsidiary of Lowe publishing.

Please note that this is the authorized edition... none of that unauthorized stuff for us, nosiree...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Travelin' On

I have 2 rows left on the Traveling Woman shawl, which I will finish tonight. I also hope to wet block and pin it out, so I can take the finished shawl to knitting tomorrow.
It's going to be strikingly beautiful, I think. Though, as with all lace, we won't know what it *really* looks like until after blocking.

My teeny criticism of the pattern (not charting the beginning and ending stitches) still stands, but truly, it's an easy lace pattern and it's more than likely that my own fuzzy-brainedness interfered with my ability to remember to K2, YO at the beginnings or endings of a couple of rows. My biggest problem with this project has nothing to do with the pattern or my brain's spotty functioning- it's that this beautiful yarn is totally inelastic, and the needles I'm using are fairly blunt. That combo makes some of the SSK (or as I prefer: K2togTBL) and K2tog stuff needlessly difficult. If I had a sharper needle in the right size/length, I'd switch in a flash. But I don't, therefore I complain.

By tomorrow morning, I hope to have a pic of the finished shawl, which may be a world record for begin-to-end on a project of this size (mostly because it's not a big shawl, and because I can't do much else except knit and cough).

Speaking of coughing- for those who have asked: I'm feeling better, slowly but surely. I'm done with the antibiotic, and will finish the Prednisone in 3 days. I'm stuck with the inhaler for a full month, but as much as I hate it, I'd hate pneumonia even more. The hardest thing now is to refrain from exercise- even walking on the treadmill leaves me drained and coughing, so the best and wisest course of action is to give myself a week to rest. But after exercizing 6 days a week for three years, and running 3 miles a day for the last year, I feel like a slug just sitting around (not to mention that I have not cut 400 daily calories to compensate for the lack of motion). However, my improvement is steady, and I hope to be back to full speed by the time I throw that blasted inhaler away.

P.S. You want evidence of the fuzzy brain? I forgot that it was Thursday. Again. I'll post the paper doll tomorrow. Sorry.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Traveling Woman Shawl(ette)

My friend Pat asked me to look over the Traveling Woman Shawl  (Ravelry link) pattern because she was having a hard time following the chart, though she freely admitted that she had a hard time with charts in general.

I said I'd download the pattern and check it out (it's a free download) for her, and we'd get together on Friday, before our knitting group meets, to see if we could figure out what the problem was.

I saw immediately what her problem was- though almost 5,000 Ravelers have this project in their queue, and 183 pages worth of them have posted pictures and comments, and though I didn't read them all, I could see that very few had any trouble with the instructions whatsoever- I thought the instructions and charts were a little hard to follow too.

I'll grant you that I'm no lace expert, but every lace pattern I've knitted (or designed) with a chart, has ALL of the stitches for each repeat right there, on the chart. For this pattern, every row begins and ends with K2 and a YO, but those 3 sts are not on any of the charts, which confuses my brain mightily. When I follow a chart, I don't want to have to memorize additional stitches- I want them all on the chart in front of me.

Even more mystifying, Row 2 on both the A and B charts are basically *not there* except for the center stitch, even though every other row is represented fully. I cannot for the life of me figure out why that row wasn't drawn and charted like every other row.

Now, these are very small criticisms, and experienced lace knitters will have no problem whatsoever following the instructions or charts, but I can see why Pat was having trouble. The pattern itself is lovely, and the lace is easy (it's a variation of the Horseshoe Lace pattern, which is funny all by itself, given how obsessed I've been with that repeat for the last month), and the shawl is easily enlarged from a small neck-decoration to a full-sized shawl. I do recommend the pattern, as long as you can remember to add those uncharted 3 sts on every row, and you can just work Row 2 without further instructions.
It's a very quick knit- I started it mostly because I thought that would be an easier way to help Pat, but I've really enjoyed working on the shawl. I am on the final chart now (the openwork border), and may actually finish the knitting tonight (I decided to make the small version, even though I have plenty of yarn).

The repeat is gorgeous, and the yarn is even gorgeouser. It's from Twisted Fiber Arts, one of the yarns from the Luxury Yarn Club from a year ago or so. The yarn is Fluffy (90% kid mohair, 10% nylon), 450 yards, 120 grams, the dye pattern is Subtle (softly mottled), and the colorway is Vixen. Like all Twisted yarns, this is amazing stuff- incredibly soft and fluffy (just like the name), and the colors (red, orange, gold) are fantastic. This sort of brushed mohair isn't perfectly suited to lace knitting, but it's coming out really well (you don't want to have to rip this out, but so far, I've not made many mistakes) and it's going to be totally gorgeous.

And I'll have more than enough yarn when I'm done to knit a scarf (or maybe a really fuzzy doll sweater...)

Side note: this yarn and colorway do not appear to be available at the moment from Twisted, but that doesn't mean that it won't show up on the roster again sometime

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Didja miss me?

While we were in North Carolina, my sister Sandi looked at my huddled, pitiful, hacking self, and said, "You don't get sick often, do you?"

{cough} "No, " I said. {cough, cough, hack, cough}. "I'm never sick." {cough, cough}

"I can tell," she said, not unkindly. "You're not very good at it."

Truer words were never spoken. I started coughing a week before I left for NC, and I assumed that I would either will it away, or ride it out quickly and easily. Almost 4 whiny, complaining, ugly weeks later, the cough had morphed into a whooping/gasping/nasty sounding thing that made it impossible for me to even walk 2 miles on the treadmill without losing a lung (and running, especially running out in the chilly air, was, and is, totally out of the question). Still, I had taken penicillin (okay, it was OTC Mexican Penicillin, but it was medication, and I did a full course) and I thought I was on the mend. Then on Saturday night I had a breathing episode (which is a misnomer- it was more like an inability to breathe episode), which quite frankly, scared the bejabbers out of me. On Sunday, I went to the Acute Care Clinic where they took one look at me and prescribed an inhaler, steroids, and a strong antibiotic, and very sternly told me that if I wasn't markedly better in 5 days, that I was to return. They didn't lecture about the Mexicillin, but I sensed deep disapproval.

The antibiotic put me to sleep (10 1/2 hours the first day), and the prednisone keeps me up, and the inhaler makes me cough (this is my first experience with one- I bought into the commercial animation, where a puff of magic stuff opened your airways and you breathed easier... not so. The inhaler makes me cough, and it makes my lungs hurt, and it tastes vile and it can cause thrush if I don't rinse my mouth thoroughly, and I have to use it for a full month). But... this morning I had a sensation that I did not, at first, recognize. Then I realized that a car was not parked on my chest. So I may have turned the corner on this thing.

In addition to all that (and Sandi was right- I am terrible at being sick: I whine, I feel sorry for myself, and I am just enough of a hypochondriac that I think I'm far sicker than I am, while at the same time resisting going to the doctor*, which means that when I really am ill, I am REALLY ill by the time I finally do something about it), we have had company for the last 5 days, and I am deep into the first draft of my YA Fantasy (which I rashly agreed to have done on Dec 1)(Is it gonna happen? Maybe. I hope. if I don't sleep for the next 3 weeks).

So, blogging (like my daily 3 mile jog) went by the wayside.

But when I was awake, and not coughing and not blogging and not writing and not sleeping and absolutely not running, I was able to knit and catch up with my fantastic (and very patient) sister-in-law.

I finished the festive socks.
They turned out pretty cool.

And a friend of mine was having trouble with the charts for the Traveling Woman Shawl, so she asked if I would look them over for her. I decided knitting it would be easier than just looking- and I got a good start. I'll post links and all of the stats and the comments tomorrow.

But right now, I think I'll go take a nap.

*this is how pitiful I am- not only do I think I am very ill when I have nothing more than a hangnail, I am afraid that whatever it is that I have, is a whole lot worse than anything that I can imagine, so I put off going to the Doctor because I don't really want to know the real diagnosis. Like I said, pitiful (the only thing that I'm pretty sure that I don't have is Housemaid's Knee).