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Twins bound by a love of knitting talk about knitting and more.

Archive for March, 2008


Pi filling

111.jpgNews flash - Pearl actually slept in his kitty pi, completely of his own volition! He also had a nice little excursion out to the deck and down to the lawn, where he discovered snow and mud, much to his disgust.

25.jpgMinor progress on Kalbi - but I must say, sleeves in garter stitch take a heck of a long time. Of course, the longer the sleeves take to finish, the longer it will be until I discover I made the body too small and have to take corrective action. (such confidence, eh?)

I can also report minor to moderate progress with my back. The TENS unit may only treat symptoms, but it has made a big difference. With lower pain levels, I feel like I can be more active. If muscle tension is involved, perhaps it is breaking a cycle of muscle pain leads to spasm leads to pain. At any rate I am walking 3 miles most days and have started adding a little jogging.

And after being disappointed that a diagnostic test that had taken a month to schedule had to be canceled because the doctor was ill, and extremely disappointed that it took another month to reschedule it, I had to eat my words cursing the system when the doctor called the next day to apolgoize and to schedule me on one of her vacation days next week. I guess she can curse the system, but I am so pleased with her commitment to her patients. Karen, what makes a good doctor gift? She is not many years out of med school.

112.jpgThere is an adorable woodpecker (female downy, I think?) outside my window right now. I’m happy to report it is pecking on the old trident maple and not our siding. Combined with the calling cardinal that just flew by, the nuthatch going up and down the same tree, the goldfinches out on the birch eating the catkins, and the geese honking and ducks quacking from the still frozen lakes, I guess it all adds up to real signs of spring. The wet snow we expect tonight can’t stay around very long.

Love,

Ellen

Long week, long post?

Hi, Jan,

You’ve been traveling, but what’s my excuse? I think I’ve been fighting something - have felt like I’ve had a very low grade bout of flu (gee, did I just have a chill? are those my muscles aching? maybe? a nap would be nice…) - and work has been non-stop, though actually quite productive (dear boss is on vacation, as much as I adore him, I do get more done when he isn’t here). Good enough? No? Well, maybe a nice juicy photo-heavy post will make up for it.

First things first - Bea is having a contest. Hie thee there and enter, if only to generate another entry for you dear sister/mother/aunt/whatever. It is for darn tooting I will not win on skill, so I need to depend on my friends.

Second, the big knitting update.

42.jpg110.jpg32.jpgTwo things from the weekend - Pearl’s Pi, which admittedly at first looked more like a tart. Since he has been sick I’ve been meaning to knit him one and it also used up some stash. I was pretty happy with how it turned out, especially the fulling. 52.jpgI haven’t been able to catch a shot of him sleeping in it yet, though it is apparent from its current condition that someone has slept in it. I don’t think it was Wilson.

61.jpgAnd the second thing, another charity hat. Not too exciting, but it did use up some more stash. I am always amused at how I look in these pictures in the mirror - kind of quizzical, like why does that lady want to take my picture? Especially in this silly hat?

9.jpgI have also been working on a long-neglected project, the Forest Path stole from Interweave Knits several years back. You can get the actual reference on Ravelry. I call mine Forever in the Forest because I’ve been working on it for so long. I started it in Toronto where Wilson and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary, and then I lost it at Niagara Falls on the same trip, then started it again, and it just hasn’t moved very fast. I blame the bobbles in the lily-of-the-valley.

Finally, on a melancholy note, I ask that you pause and honor Wilson’s Uncle Jim, who left us this week. He was a very smart, very funny, very loyal man who will be missed by his family but recognized for a long time in the wit and spirit of his children and grandchildren and even his nieces and nephews. It was an honor to know him.

Peace and love,

Ellen

Busy Day…Busier Week Ahead

Dear Ellen,

Today is a busy day — John and Betsy are coming over to play Wii after they have dinner with Betsy’s mom and step-dad, we have Cox Cable in the house to try to fix our cable reception, a trip to Costco is needed (the Cox guy had better finish quickly or we’re in trouble!) and I’m trying to clean things up in readiness for the party we are having Wednesday night. Nonetheless, I figured I’d better take the time to post as the week ahead is even busier. I leave for Newport, RI tomorrow late morning and return home very late Tuesday. Wednesday is the aforementioned party — Allen’s entire Supply Corps School class, plus instructors, plus a few Supply Officers from the area — about 50 people. I speak at a Women’s History Month event on Thursday. So far Friday is special event free, but I won’t hold my breath as that is an entire five days away and in the scheduling time-space continuum, that is an eternity.

LotV Scarf BlockingLotV Scarf DetailEarly this morning I got busy and blocked the Lily of the Valley scarf that I reported on earlier. It feels a bit softer to the hand after a good soak in Eucalan. I’m glad as it’s for the 2009 Red Scarf Project and I would like the recipient to have something they enjoy wearing. I do like the end result, but any project in the future that includes bobbles will have to be both a fabulous pattern and for someone specific for whom I really care…they were a pain!

I also am almost finished with the Laura Mae hat and scarf for Cheryl. Bosco was kind enough to stand still for the modeling. Dale suggests that he be established as Laura Mae Scarf and HatDale’s replacement. I think Dale is cuter though, so he’s out of luck. The hat started out to be a rolled rim watch cap kind of hat, but I failed to anticipate how the softness of the fabric would prevent the ribbing from really pulling in or how much the stockinette would expand. I modified mid course and as you see, it’s really more of a soft beret. It has about 4 inches of K2P2 ribbing and then the stockinette section starts decreasing every other row after only an inch…and after only about another inch I went to decreases every row. I pulled in the lower edge by picking up stitches around and doing an applied i-cord of a length to snug up the edge to stay on a human-sized head. I’ll finish the scarf on the plane to Newport for sure as I’m down to maybe 15 grams of yarn. Granted, for Kid Seta that is a goodly amount of yardage, but we’re talking K4P4 ribbing, so fast knitting. I’m driving over to Massachusetts when I arrive at the airport in Providence and will have dinner with Cheryl. Then I’ll head back to Newport for the night so I’ll be on base where the conference to which I have to go is located. Dale and I are also going to try to be in Massachusetts for what would have been Laura Mae’s 16th birthday (April 6th). We have the tickets, but you’ve seen how my schedule goes, so we’ll see.

Love, Jan

Tater tot.

Dear Sister,
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It’s a spud, I mean, dud. I have finished the Tot Surprise. Surprise it did, in that it is not cute like I remembered the pattern to be. The cotton is way too saggy with blocking - maybe I’ll be wild and run it through the washing machine and dryer and see if we can tighten things up. The colors, which I can blame only myself for, are not working together. I see now that the hot yellow and orange just aren’t right with the cool, grey tones of the green and grey. Well, at least I gained some intarsia experience on it and reminded myself that I really don’t like knitting with cotton, except for dishcloths.

I hope your knitting is going better. This sweater is going to charity. I can’t even bring myself to give it as a gift, but at least it is soft cotton and will keep some baby warm with good intentions.

Happy Vernal Equinox,

Ellen

Charming, smart, witty…

No, not the Tot Surprise, but rather, Alton Brown and also his production manager, Athalie. We had lots of good laughs and also some pretty deep conversation about the nature of creativity, management, how not to develop a new product, and education. The man thinks about way more than cooking, that is for sure. He gives his talk at our technical conference tomorrow, and I hope the audience is as fascinated by him as we were.

18.jpgNo, we didn’t drink that much wine. I was leaning in so I wouldn’t block Olaf’s face, but I did go a bit far, I guess.

Time for bed - I have to be at the tech center to meet A & A for a/v check very early.

Love,

Ellen

Knitting Connects Us

Dear Ellen,

I’m so glad you had a chance to reconnect with Jeanne and that you posted some pictures from the trip. I know she enjoyed seeing you and it looks like the food was both tasty and fun! We do look a lot alike, don’t we?! As Jeanne looks pretty good for her years, that hopefully bodes well for us.

The last few weeks have really highlighted for me how truly important are the connections between family and friends. I feel like our knitting and this web site have helped us draw our connection closer and for that I’m very grateful. I’m also finding that when I knit for friends and family I feel more connected to them in the process. Knitting the shawl for Marie’s wedding was a labor of love and gave me lots of time to explore my feelings and hopes for her as she builds her life with Heidi. I was pleased to see Karen’s coverage of it at White Coat Knitter.

These links between us and the others about whom we care has certainly made it easier for me to deal with everything that has happened lately and has made me feel incredibly blessed with what I’ve been given — in terms of those I love and who love me, spiritually and even materially. Your thoughts about Joy mirrored mine — and are amplified as I think about the 19 year old Sailor we lost two weeks ago to meningitis and especially as I work through Laura Mae my god daughter Laura Mae’s death. The fact that we four (you, me, Marie and Karen) were able to toast her at Kramerbooks and then commit to finding all the joy we could possibly find in the wedding the next day did make it easier for me. I was able to make it to Massachusett’s to be there for Cheryl for the viewing and the funeral — so very sad, but such an enormous outpouring of sympathy and love from the community. She would have been 16 in a few weeks.

Scarf for CherylCloud KnittingI am knitting a scarf and hat to warm Cheryl’s body and soul in one of the colors of Laura’s brilliant blue eyes. As I used Marie’s shawl to meditate on the joys of her future, am using this knitting to meditate on Laura Mae and what she gave us while she was part of this world. The yarn is “Kid Seta” by Madil and it is easy to imagine one is knitting a cloud. Cheryl is Catholic, I hope it will make her think of the heavens and give her some warmth.

Lace Tunic FrontLace Tunic DetailFrom the funeral I headed out to Colorado Springs and due to many weather and operational delays had loads of airport knitting time. I finished the front of the Classic Silk Lace Top from the May-July 2007 issue of Cast On. It’s in Elann Callista, a very nice cotton, linen, viscose blend. I had previously finished the back, so now we just have to see how long it takes me to do the finishing.

If you look closely, you might make out the doggie prints from where Max immediately Dogs Sunning assumed I was spreading out a blanket on which he could sunbathe. I wouldn’t allow him to do that, so he and Ruby decided they would curl up in the mulch. I snuck this picture from a window after I went inside — had I gone outside to try to get a better angle they would have started bounding around the yard expecting me to throw something for them.

Single CamelliaSpring has definitely made inroads into the Tidewater — my camellia is blooming beautifully, though it’s kind of wet and the flowers are browning quickly. Even so, they’re beautiful and they help me remember that all things renew in their own way.

Love, Jan

I’m feeling crabby

Dear Jan,

24.jpgCalifornian combined fun and work. I came home last night on a redeye, so I am not in stellar condition, but it is better to home and tired than sitting on an airplane today, I guess.

31.jpgJeanne and I had tremendous fun going to dinner with Frank and his sister and brother-in-law. Lots of laughing. Lots of crabs - and mussels, clam, etc. The restaurant served it up right on the table and we ate with hands and wooden mallets, where necessary. 41.jpgMickey is pointing out the family resemblance.

17.jpgI was in CA for a trade show and worked the floor very hard on Friday, so had very little energy to continue the progress I’d made on Tot Surprise on the flight out. I am thinking I may rework the left sleeve ruffle as I’m not liking what I see as I bind off. While it has been fun doing lots of different techniques on this sweater, I think I could have done a better color selection. It is feeling a bit blah. (Am I a bad person for thinking “at least it is a gift for a baby I will rarely see”?) I’m also thinking the design suffers a bit from using too many design elements. I am thinking of eliminating the ruffle altogether and go for a simpler crochet bind off. (But what if the ruffle was what pulled it all together? I may make this decision after I have some real sleep.)

51.jpgGuess what old kitty was brave enough to go out in the sunshine on the deck this morning? It is below freezing but the sun is shining brightly and he is black, so he was warm enough. But I wouldn’t let him go play in the snow, all the same.

Love,

Ellen

Surprising progress.

Hi, Jan,

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Here is the promised ribbing and some color blocking. We have finished the back and are heading down the left front. Some stripey surprises await us.

I hope to get a lot of this done while in the air on my way to LAX tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing a land of no snow, but more to seeing Jeanne and Frank for supper at a crab shack tomorrow night.

I crack up the way she calls us both “Sis”. Maybe that is what she did when she was 12 and we were infants. I’ll have to work the trade show floor very hard on Friday, then I take a redeye home that night, so I plan to do substantial playing tomorrow with “Big Sis”. My one worry is I seem to be congested and tired and sneezing more than I should - oh, universe, please don’t let me be getting the viral infection that has been laying people low right and left at work.

Love,

Ellen

What is it? Why, it’s Tot Surprise!

Hi, Jan,

So, when I travel I try to visit the LYS and usually try to pick up a shop pattern as a souvenir. Last October I was in Baltimore at A Good Yarn and bought a pattern that is called Tots On the Go: Annabelle, or maybe it’s brand is TOTG and it is called Annabelle. The designer isn’t listed, though I suspect it is the shop owner, who I met and who served me a lovely cup of tea and a cookie. (or maybe the designer is Annabelle!) The sweater was adorable, and I went ahead and bought the yarn for it, Cascade Luna, a nubby cotton.

The pattern had no picture of the FO.

Now it is March, half a year later, and I am in the midst of baby season and have decided to knit it. Of course, I can’t remember at all what it looked like, except that it was adorable. I have unwittingly created my own surprise pattern. Hence the moniker.

15.jpgSo far it looks like this. From reading the pattern, there is ribbing and ruffles and color blocking and even intarsia. Should be fun to feel my way through it. I’ll post progress reports so you can see what comes of it all, as it comes.

Safe travels home,

Love,

Ellen

DST and Spring Arrival

Hi, Jan,

The clocks moved forward, so why am I waking up 2 hours early? I’m sure part of it is the usual Monday insomnia, bracing for the week (this one includes travel), but part of it was an itch to finish Spring Arrival. Meteorologically, it is ahead of schedule, but I will consider it a harbinger of spring. (Karen and Patty, I am sure you agree that spring isn’t here yet - K reports shoveling about 19″ yesterday, and I’m sure it is much the same for P. And March snow in Ohio isn’t like the couple of inches of Minnesota fluff that I scraped off the driveway last week, either.)

14.jpg23.jpgSo here it is, before and after blocking. I’m quite pleased. I overcompensated for what I considered a pinched look of the border on some completed Tulips cardgians I’ve seen. I didn’t switch down needle sizes at all and the edge wanted to flip a bit, unblocked. I hope it behaves better blocked, and next time I knit it I’ll move down one needle size or throw a few decreases into the edge.  Lindsay Pekny has given us a great pattern in this one - genius combination of colors in such a fun and quick knit.

I’m using SA as a token for a good week. I hope that transfers to you, too.

Ellen