Sunday, April 30, 2006

Flower Power

Camera play...

Red Asiatic Lilies

Red up close

Pink Asiatic Lilies

Pink up close

*Edited 5/1/06 to correct variety of lily.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A view from the back

Before I forget, a photo of the completed Peri's Parasol Pullover.

A Y-404,aka Gisha, progress photo. There's not much difference between the front and the back except for the neck shaping. I'm shaping the armholes on the front and should have it completed tomorrow. As seems to be the case more often than not lately, I was fearful that I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish the sleeves. This yarn is discontinued and has been marinating about four years. I wouldn't hold out any hope of finding extra, so I've worked out a contigency plan just in case.

The view from the back of our house when I got home Tuesday. Inside it sounded like prehistoric hornets were attacking the house and when I changed my clothes and went around back I found out why. They finally started and the rain comes.

The view from the back today. We have several types of lilies in beds around the house. These are the first to bloom and should put on quite a show this weekend. The color is more of a deep burgundy and not quite as red. There are also peach and yellow lilies in this bed. I don't see any buds and the other plants are much smaller. I hope they'll bloom before it gets too hot.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Anonymous (Warning - Rant!)

Nothing is worse than a coward.

Today I had my first mean-spirited comment posted to my blog which I promptly deleted. It was in response to my comment about cat allergies on Purly Whites blog. The commentor suggested that my allergy problem was "in my head" and that she, Purly Whites, had taken steps to secure a cat-free washing and drying area.

I consider myself a fair person who believes in the rights of others to speak their mind. I also believe that if you are going to make negative comments or comments of any type, at least have your facts right. Repeat to yourself before you hit the "Publish" button, "RIF - Reading is Fundamental".

Fact 1: My comment was published on 4/23/06 at 7:35 PM.

Fact 2: The updated information was posted on 4/24/06, time unknown. It was a very much appreciated update and I will definitely order from Sundara yarns.

I was tempted to turn on comment moderation, but decided it isn't worth the trouble. So, if you have something to say go right ahead and say it. If your intent is to be mean-spirited or abusive, grow some b--ls, br--ts or whatever suits your fancy and stop hiding behind the world's most famous name for cowards. ANONYMOUS!!!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pollen & Cats

It has been a wonderful day. After yesterday’s rain, it was great to be able to go outside and not see the yellow green haze on everything.

This was my first time to get my hands in the dirt since Summer ’04. I spent most of the afternoon dividing and/or repotting plants and getting rid of a lot of plants that died from lack of care. In a couple of weeks I’ll know if the transplants are successful. If they are, I’m going to take one or two to the office.

Knitting wise there hasn’t been a lot going on this weekend. I’m completed the back of Gisha on Friday prior to the socks. I was about to break the stash pledge and order some of the Sundara sock yarn late last night when I came across a warning on her knitblog Purly Whites. (See "Taking Care of Business".) Not just any warning. A warning about CATS!!!

I am severely allergic to cats. I can’t even be in close contact with anyone who has been exposed to a cat within 30 minutes of encountering them. I began to visualize her description of the cat lying on the yarn, me opening the box and the ambulance arriving shortly there after. (I wasn’t hallucinating. I actually had this happen when my youngest brother stopped by and talked to me for about 15 minutes. He’s had a cat for years and didn’t air his clothes because he wasn’t expecting me to be home. In reality the ambulance didn’t get here first. The rescue squad was only 3 blocks away and they actually saved me.)

I’ve ordered yarn online and didn’t think about it, but lately I would get right up to the point of submitting the order when that pesky little question would enter my head. Do they have a cat? And why I’d wonder does this bother me now? Why?

Because I often knitblog browse and knitters seem to have an awful lot of cats and many of those same knitters are now selling yarn. This is the first time I’ve come across this type of warning and I’d like to say a big thank you to Purly Whites first for posting the warning and second for helping me stick to my stash pledge. Now if she’d move it to the store site that’d be even better.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

FO - Lilac Lace

Today has been one of the laziest days I’ve had in a long time. Last night I had plans to go see one of my nephews play soccer this morning. I was up and almost ready to leave when the rain started. A quick phone check and the sound of thunder put an end to those plans.

Since it was only 9:00 AM, I got a jump start to the day and made the sauce for tonight’s lasagna dinner. Did some laundry and fell sound asleep. I wasn’t home by myself so there wasn’t any danger, but I kept waking up to check the pot which I left on a slow simmer.

Finally woke up completely. (I'm still not sure about what was going on with the pot checking, but the last time I got up to check I turned it off.) Washed,dried and folded more clothes, got on the computer, watched Sci-Fi, started to put the lasagna together, needed one ingredient, made a grocery store run, put the lasagna in the oven to bake and took pictures of the finished Lilac Lace socks.

The lace pattern is Shetland Eyelet Pattern from A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker. My preferred method of working is toe-up using the figure-eight cast-on.

Sock specs:
Needles: Size 1 Inox dpns
Yarn: Froelich Wolle Special Blauband (The yarn is very splitty and is much lighter than most fingering weight yarns. This isn't my first experience with this yarn since I have quite a bit of it in my stash. The Maxi Ringel is thicker and knits a much better fabric.)
Size: Women's 9 1/2 for narrow foot.
Length: Mid calf as are most of my socks.

Dinner was great and as usual my brother and his family arrived almost an hour late. Needless to say, after all these years I still haven't gotten used to them always being late but they have definitely gotten used to me starting without them.

Even though the soccer game was canceled, my nephew still had a busy morning. He arrived eager to demonstrate the newest thing he's learned ... jumping rope! Yesterday when he was over my sister gave him a jump rope. She teaches elementary school PE and he's in 5-year old kindergarten. He spent the remainder of the time at our house trying to jump over the rope.

"Boo-boo", "Snickums" or "Jay", he answers to them all, is a pistol and has delivered some of the most surprising insights and one-liners I've ever heard from a child or an adult. He marveled at the Lilac socks, they were left in the room from the photo session, which in itself was surprising because he commented just last year that I'm "always reading or doing some knittin'."

One thing is certain. He knows his "Aunt B" very well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Yesterday I took a trip to the doctor's office. I was glad I made it there before the asthma attack started, the first one in 9 months, and was diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchitis. Today I'm feeling much better after stuffing myself with meds. He also gave me a steroid shot which impeded my ability to fall asleep even more and kept me awake until after 4:30 this morning.

Needless to say, I felt like hell this morning and even though I went through the trouble of getting dressed, I crashed on the bed with all my clothes on. This evening I am feeling much better and have made some progress on the Gisha sweater.

Y-404 in Noro Gisha

This looks like it will be fairly quick knit. I can't decide whether to knit it a little longer or go with the length in the pattern. Gisha is a rayon/cotton/polyester blend. I'm sure there will be some drape due to the laciness of the pattern and the weight of the yarn, but I also want to be sure that the sweater doesn't sit in my crotch when it grows from the body heat.

Tonight I'm going to get a few rows in on one of the pairs of socks and call it a night.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lace Edged Shell

Today I post another FO. The Lace Edged Shell is complete as of 2:10 PM EST. The picture doesn't show any hint of the lace surrounding the bottom of the shell. It fits me a little loosely and has quite a bit of stretch so it should fit mom.

The hardest parts were the pick up for the armhole borders and the seaming. I couldn't have seamed it without the OTT Lite. I tried to at first but realized that I couldn't distinguish the stitches with all the little tags hanging off from the colored stranded. Modifications I made were as follows:

1. The pattern has a high crew neck in the front which I made deeper.

2. The back has a deep vee and since this sweater is made for a woman well into her sixties the braless look wouldn't look so good. I eliminated the vee and made a higher scoop neck which can be worn in front. There is a seed stitch insert in the back that would have accentuated the vee. It only creates a barely perceptible change in the overall stockinette look.

3. I drastically changed the number of stitches for armhole band. I used the pattern number 76, which created an armhole that I couldn't get my arm through. Instead of going up to the next number which is 88, I picked up 108 stitches.

Today is the first Easter since I was in college that we aren't having a large family dinner. Mom is out of town visiting her friend and I wasn't about to do all the cooking myself. There are no Easter eggs or happy nieces and nephews running around. There's something really sad and strange when family traditions begin to die. I hope this isn't a forecast of things to come.

Happy Easter to all!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sniff, sniff ... blow, blow

Between sniffing, blowing and sleeping I can't seem to get much done. I've got my third sinus infection this allergy season and it is playing havoc with me. The only saving grace is that it happened after the trip.

I'm in the process of finishing the Lace Edged Pullover from S. Charles Spring/Summer 2003 in Palmas. I don't remember when I started this sweater. It must have been the first part of 2005. I found it 2 weeks ago stashed in a shoe box of all places. It's been on my sidebar for quite a while, but I didn't write down the start date in my knitting journal. It's a sleeveless shell for mom, so I hope she can still fit it.

My next sweater will probably Y-404 from "the World of Nature vol. 14" using Noro Gisha from the stash. Don't you just love it when designers give their patterns numbers instead of names? I got the yarn out of storage yesterday and started the sweater. It looked way too big for the little bit that I had done. It's been frogged and I may cast on again tonight.

I worked on the Baby Cable and Lilac Lace socks a little yesterday, but I have really got to buckle down. Normally I'd whip out a pair in no time. These are taking months and that's probably because I'm so focused on sweaters.

Now that the tissue box and the pillows have a little down time, I'm going to see if I can get something accomplished tonight. The WIP's are starting to get a little lengthy on the sidebar and that's a very bad thing. The contractors are starting the addition on Monday which will include a workroom and once I get the entire stash in the house things could go really bad.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Viva Columbia

Today I’ve been recuperating from the Vegas trip. We flew the southern route which took us over the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.

We stayed at the Aladdin Hotel and spent early Saturday evening walking and observing the sights. They need to post warning signs that state “Objects are farther away than they appear”. Saturday night went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere at Treasure Island. The show was fantastic, a visual overload. We took a taxi back to the hotel and went promptly to sleep; after all we were still on east coast time which meant that it was 3:00 AM. Sunday morning we went to the Bellagio and had brunch at the Bally.

The greatest highlight of the trip was the Hoover Dam. My sister and I took a tour bus to the dam early Monday afternoon. It is truly amazing. We didn’t take the tour but spent our time walking across and back and taking loads of pictures.

Monday night we went to see the Fremont Experience in “Old Vegas” thanks to a wonderful couple, Doug and Betty, that me and my mom met at dinner on Sunday. They drove the four us downtown since we had spent almost 2 hours at the airport waiting for a rental reservation that didn’t come through on Saturday.

The trip was great, though tiring. You need a lot more time to see Las Vegas unless you're there to gamble and I don't do casinos.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Other Things You Weren't Taught in Kindergarten

1. Don't knit or seam a white sweater if you have itchy allergy eyes and are still wearing navy eyeliner, not waterproof, and black mascara, waterproof and flakes off in little specks.

2. Even if you carefully move said white sweater away from the hot dogs with chili, you will invariably get some on it. (It's only a little speck, but gee whiz!)

3. Seaming white is almost as hard as seaming black. Duh, snow blindness.

4. Sometimes nearing the finish line is almost as good as crossing it.

For a brief moment I had my doubts. Mainly attributed to lack of focus, too much college basketball, project envy and being overworked on the job. And as much as I despise Dick Vitale, part of the college basketball thing, I can't help but shout a good ole --- "Yeah baby!!!"

Parasol Lace

The lace pattern is beautiful. Yesterday evening I seamed the shoulders and pinned the side seams to try it on. I’m so glad I added an inch. The extra length makes the lace float around the hips instead of sitting on the top.

The sweater isn't a done deal. In about another 1 1/2 - 2 hours I'll be finished. I still have the sleeve and side seams to finish and several loose ends to weave in. I'm not all that pleased with the i-cord trim around the neck and my biceps, more like flabceps, could use a little more sleeve room, but tomorrow this baby will be nicely packed in my suitcase and heading to Las Vegas.

This is my first out of state trip and first vacation since August 2004. I'm thrilled to finally take off work for fun. In the past 14 months I've used all vacation time, all sick leave and 5 months of lwop (leave without pay) convincing doctors that I wasn't crazy, having surgery and then rehabilitating my neck, left shoulder and arm. The rehab's an ongoing process, but life has greatly improved.

Tomorrow I will change my voice mail and e-mail messages. If anyone has problems in any of the software areas I support, good luck. This analyst is signing off the clock ‘til next Wednesday!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

We interrupt this program...

Sometimes I try to force myself to learn a technique that is not intuitive or comfortable. Knitting two sleeves at the same time is one of those techniques.

I’ve attempted to knit both sleeves at the same time on most of the sweaters I've knitted. Each time I’ve abandoned the attempt for the following reasons:

1. I forget that I have two sleeves and keep knitting across the second sleeve as I watch TV or talk. I thought the solution to this problem was to place a marker between the two. Nope. I always lose the marker between the sleeves.
2. I forget that there is a second sleeve and continue to knit back and forth on the first sleeve.
3. It’s a much slower method for me than knitting one sleeve at time for the reasons listed above. Which makes me wonder why I thought I would like knitting two socks at the same time?

At this moment, I have nearly completed one sleeve and have more than enough yarn for the second. I thought I’d get a lot done today but staying up until almost 3:00 AM Friday night totally squashed that plan. Around 2:30 this afternoon I found myself completely exhausted. It probably was a combination of a serious lack of sleep earlier this week; my sleep disorder has not been cooperative even with the change in meds, and the mountain of stress I’ve been dealing with at work.

One thing is certain. Anytime I take a nap and it lasts longer than 2 hours, I’ve passed the napping stage. That’s the time when I enter the "dead zone". Absolutely nothing arouses me from sleep. I slept for over 3 1/2 hours. So much for staying up late to catch up. Later this evening I incurred an additional time penalty when we went to Wally World to pick up ingredients for an Oriental themed meal. The meal didn't happen either.

In light of these events I’ve reached a compromise with myself. If I finish fine, if I don’t at least I’ll have a nice Spring/Summer sweater to wear when I get back.