Through the Back Loop

Adventures in knitting, fiber arts, and family.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Mail Call

Yippee! Driving home with the summer-like sun pouring down, great tunes on the car radio, and talking to the DH on the phone (don't worry - I have a hands free system) I am given some more great news. Cast On is waiting for me and so is the brochure for Midwest Stitches 2004!

First the brochure:

Gee.... so many classes and so little money! I have already picked what I would like to attend, even if it turns out I can't make it. The Chicago suburb is only a 3 hour drive from my Wisconsin home, and I have relatives in the area I could stay with, or the family could go camping. Anyway, the classes I picked are:

Friday morning would be the hardest - do I go to Beyond the Linen Stitch with Jean Frost or Switch to Continental Style Knitting with Leslye Solomon. I think the Continental class.

Friday afternoon - Exploring Color Harmony with Maureen Mason-Jamieson.

Saturday afternoon - Knitting in the Shadows with Maureen Mason-Jamieson (maybe I should just invite her to my house if I want to go to two of her classes! HA!)

Sunday all day - Seamless Aran with Beth Brown Reinsel.

Total cost - $285 early bird or $325 after May 24. Hmmmmm, Mother's Day is coming up, but I need a new dishwasher. What to ask for????? The conference, of course! I've never been to a Stitches conference, and it looks like a great time. I think the best part would be sitting around with others while knitting and learning new things. Maybe I will earn the cost at the art fair this summer. Oh, you're wondering what the heck I'm jabbering about now? My sister-in-law makes beaded earrings and necklaces and sells them at a small art fair. I run her booth while she gives henna tattoos. Last year I knit while I ran her booth, and her business doubled from all of the people asking about my knitting. She told me I should make a few things to sell so I'm going to try (See Coming Soon). The fair is July 10th, and it is held near Hayward, WI. Before I can be allowed into the show, the artist panel that runs the show has to vote me in. I'm thinking of bribing them with expensive gifts!! Hee Hee.

Cast On

All right, what is up with this magazine? I know that they are trying to make the magazine a technical reference, but does that mean they can never put in a nice pattern? I think there were three patterns that I liked (the baby jumper is cute, but of course its cute, its for a baby!). Diamond Lace made me spit up the wine I was drinking. Can you say bosom? Cleavage? Revealing? To top it off, I read the title wrong. It isn't called "Edged Surprise"? Oh, oops, it was supposed to be "Edged Surplice". Rule number 183 of knitting like a goddess - Never knit a pattern if you need a dictionary to understand its title. Thank you

Surplice - (n) A loose-fitting, white ecclesiastical gown with wide sleeves, worn over a cassock. Cassock? What the heck is that? Thanks again

Cassock - (n) Ecclesiastical
An ankle-length garment with a close-fitting waist and sleeves, worn by the clergy and others assisting in church services.

Ok.... this rose-colored yarn called Rio is knit into a form fitting wrap-around sweater that I would never be able to publicly jam my size 44CC bosom into without making every human being who saw me in it want to throw up. On second thought - it may work great for my "Fat Lady at the Circus Act" if only I was planning to join the circus.

Oh, well. I liked the sock pattern, even if I have seen at least eighteen patterns almost identical to it. And I can make that to fit my size 11 foot.

One more thing, wish my oldest daughter luck at her 3 on 3 tournament that starts tomorrow. She has to play 7 games between 5:00 and 9:00 pm. Can you say..... Exhaustion?

Now, go and knit your socks off! Did you notice that I have finally started the second kid sock?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Public Knitting Bag

While work slowly progresses on the sleeves of the GA Cardigan, and I wait for the copper Lopi yarn to arrive in the mail (my first yarn purchase by mail), I thought I would talk about my public knitting bag. I have carried this thing around with me since I was 15 years old, and I'm not saying how many years ago that was! No, not the same old red knitting bag that I first had, that I miss, but a public knitting bag. Sometimes I have used gym bags, dufel bags, canvas tote bags, a large summer purse, and once even the plastic bag from the yarn store (I didn't like that one). Right now I have a cool one, it's a large canvas tote that I picked up on a trip to England last summer. It has a British flag and "Portobello Road" is embroidered in large print. It is a great reminder of a great trip..... the family trip where I wasn't able to get inside even ONE stinkin yarn store. But, my DH won't let me complain about that anymore, something about statute of limitations.
Back to the bag. Everywhere I go, the bag goes with me, but I don't always knit. I would love to have knit during my daughter's choir dress rehearsal last night, and eventually did sneak in a few stitches, and I would love to knit when I go to conferences, but there are so many people that don't understand. They don't get it that I listen better and enjoy things so much more when I can knit at the same time. I have had too many bad experiences where the seminar presenter commented that, "it must be nice that someone could come today to work on their needlework projects". I love showing off my projects to people near me and talking to them about knitting. I love to hear that their grandma taught them how to knit when they were 7, but they never got past making the Barbie doll blankets. But why do other people have to glare while I knit during "innapropriate" times? I guess it would be better if I doodled on my paper or balanced my checkbook like so many of the glarers end up doing. What's up with them? So, although I knit proudly in public (at soccer games, in dentist's offices, at the library, and at swim meets), why does it sometimes feel so wrong to pull out my knitting at other places?

Now go knit your socks off..... at a seminar or some other "inappropriate" place!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Color my World

I have finished the body of the cardigan, and here is a picture of the front as I was doing the final color work for the body.

Here is a picture of the back with all of the weaving. I am actually pretty happy with the neatness of this, it is only the second time I have worked with more than one color doing anything but rows. I appreciate any comments - in support or instruction!

At times I had three colors going in a single row. It was slow going on those rows as I haven't mastered how to knit with two colors using both hands so I had to drop and hunt. Then, of course, there is the twisted mess that needed to be cleaned up, sometimes during the row. But it was worth it for me to have this turn out well. I can learn a better way to do this another day.

Now, most people would be excited to be this far, and I am, but I bound off the body in fear, knowing that I had no clue how to proceed with the sleeves or the buttonhole bands (of course with most things in my life I have no clue, but this seemed to bother me more). Well, I picked up the 60 sleeve stitches that have been waiting and screaming at me to hurry up, picked up 12 for easement under the arm and planned my paired decreases. It is going well. I have only 7 more decreases and hopefully this will work out well with the start of the color work in the sleeve. This morning I did some Internet surfing to find ideas for how to do the buttonhole bands. I found a method on and chose One Row Buttonhole Version -4. I think I can handle following the instructions - I haven't had my butt kicked by a set of written instructions yet, but you never know!

As for the yarn diet, you may notice - of course now you will notice because I'm telling you to look at it - that I just bought some yarn on Friday. Well, that doesn't count! (begin 4 year-old rant) It's not my fault! I had to do it cuz I ran out of the copper Lopi! No one saw me do it! Well ok, Talia was here, but she can't tell anyone! I won't do it again. Promise! I won't buy anymore yarn - hmmm - at least not until I start those baby caps! (end of 4 year-old rant).

Now go and knit your socks off - it's the weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I ripped and I ripped

Yep. I ripped it out and started over with the color work. The nice part was that I got to try it on for size and it fit really well. Gee, maybe there is a designer in me - I made this pattern up from looking at the original and then resized it to fit the lady's body 20 years after the first one was made. And I have never knit a top down sweater before. I like the thought of no seams, but with all of the color changes I have had to weave in a heap of threads!

Wow! You would swear I had never knit before. I got one row of color almost done (for the second time)and found a mistake in the beginning of the row. Rip. I counted carefully, twisted the yarns and watched a movie with the family. Almost done with that first row (for the third time) and... what's this? A mistake AGAIN! RIP! After the fourth time, it was right. I spent the whole night ripping and redoing. This always feels like such a waste. I will post a picture of the cardigan when I get the ribbing on the body done so that you can see the shape.

Non-Knitting News

I did take some photos today - it was a beautiful day, so here is a shot of one building I go to each day. This is the view from the driveway as I go to my parking spot. It is one of my favorite parts of the day.

That's Lake Michigan. Beautiful, I think!

At this building, there are two stray cats that the custodians feed each day. They are very sweet, but will never let anyone within 10 feet of them (I've been trying for six years). I have named this one Camo, see why?

Well when I got home and put these pictures up on the computer, my cats got all jealous and started posing for me. Holly was a real ham. Here is a nice shot of her. This picture is for all of you doubters out there, I know who you are (Mom, Teetzens, Pam & Felix, and Tom & Amy). Holly really does exist!

Talia wasn't as photogenic at first, then she did her death pose.

It's quite a long scene with tons of gasping until she falls over with a thud! Any agents out there need a cat to act dead?

Here she is a little more alive.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

To rip, or not to rip

Finally, I reached the color section in the GA cardigan and enthusiastically pulled out the tan wool to begin the intarsia. Five white, one tan, five white, one tan, etc. One row done, and I'm feeling like this will be fun again, not to mention that in only 8 rows I will be starting the very short ribbing and then the major work is done. I started the second row, five white and one tan, five white and one tan. Hmmm... In the upper part of the cardigan I had twisted the colors so that the tan wasn't laying so exposed (the picture might show this). There was a lot of color work so longer strands didn't seem so exposed and vulnerable so I didn't twist them as often. Eventually I let the strand go across five stitches and it seemed fine. This lower part of the cardigan is very exposed and will probably get more wear than the upper part of the cardigan. Hmmm, do I rip or don't I? You can tell I'm not really enjoying this project so much. While the top-down knitting is new and interesting for me, I’m bored with the colors and the sea of stst was too much. This project was one reason I started blogging, to help me get through it! If you read the Yarn Harlot, like I do, you will see that one of her readers sent her a box of chocolates just because she said she would like some. Hmm.... got me to thinking if I could "wish" for something myself! Maybe a knitting fairy to finish this stinking cardigan! Do I rip or not?

Oh, the friend who was expecting twin grandbabies became a grandmother the day after I wrote that I needed to start the baby caps for her. Two precious little girls - Emma Jean and Sadie Lynn - everyone is doing well. Hopefully I will get those caps done before the girls start college!

Well, I'm off to watch if my postman brings me a box of chocolates, or some other treat!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Vengeance of the God of Knitting Pattern Boredom

Why is it that with only 11 rows to go until I can start doing color work and finish the major part of the GA Cardigan, I find my mind can't be focused on my knitting? I have been naughty and upset the pattern god. It would take me less than an hour to get to the color work, but have I done anything on it tonight? What have I done to upset the God of Knitting Pattern Boredom?

It used to be that I would only work on one project at a time. I wouldn't think of starting a new project until all of the ends had been woven in and all of the seams had been stitched up. Finally, I became brave and had more than one project going at a time. I have a little bit of this fanatacism left, though, because I refuse to start the second sock until I get this GA Cardigan to the sleeves at least. Not to mention I have a few baby hats to knit up quick before three babies are born. Oh, no! Not my babies (I wish for one more, but not three)! My friend will become a first time grandma in May. Her son is having one child and her daughter is having twins. Welcome to grandmotherhood!

To the god of knitting pattern boredom, please forgive me and let me finish this long patch of boring stst in beige!

Now go knit your socks off, because I can't start mine yet!

Friday, April 16, 2004

Fortune Cookie Challenge

My family loves to go to Chinese restaurants. When the waiter or waitress puts down the bill with the fortune cookies on it, we anxiously wait to see who will strike first. You see, the fortune cookie gods and goddesses have set the cookies on the tray in a way that they "know" who will grab each one. It is fate. Of course, my husband and I always read the fortune in the adult version by adding "in bed" to the end. Not out loud of course, there are children present, but we give each other that little look, knowing that each of us has added it in our own mind.

Well my fortune cookie challenge tonight is to satisfy the new ring I have joined, Knitting Kitty by talking about at least one of my cats, satisfy my DH's desire to update everyone on his kidney stone story, and somehow relate everything to knitting.

Here goes!

My DH thought everyone would be interested in wanted me to tell you about the kidney stones he passed. Yes, there were more than one! He routinely passes them every three years, at least. Without telling you how old he is, he probably wouldn't like that, he has finally decided to take the test to find out why he produces kidney stones. Last Friday (on the forty-first anniversary of his birth - - hee hee), he was given the "JUG" to fill. Our daughters have cracked jokes everyday about having special "orange juice" in the house because the "JUG" is the same color as an orange juice container, and it must be kept in the refrigerator. YUMMY!

He had to fill it for 24 hours and started yesterday. While knitting on the GA Cardigan and surfing the Internet, I made a sign for him and eventually taped it to the toilet so that he wouldn't accidently "go" in the wrong place. The sign said, "Not in here!" The family got a kick out of that one, too, because I put it on the bottom of the lid so that boys would see it before going and girls wouldn't notice it.

We have two cats. I will tell you about Holly because I can weave her into this story. Holly is a tiger tabby, she is 3 years old and is very shy. She loves to be pet by us, but no one outside of the famiy has seen her. Some people don't believe that she really exists. You can't pick her up unless you like having 10 inch long scratches running up and down your arm. Holly has a few strange habits. Most of them are cute, but one is very odd. We never taught her to do this, but she likes to go pee in the bathroom sink while a family member uses the toilet. She has done this since she was a kitten. Saves on cleaning cat litter, but we have to check the "status" of the sink when company comes.

For some reason, my DH felt he needed to pee in the bathroom even though he could have gone in the container anywhere. And he would flush the toilet out of habit, but that's not important to this story! Each time he needed to go to the bathroom, he would first get the "orange juice" container out of the fridge, go to the bathroom and fill the container while Holly went pee in the sink! He, of course, would be looking at the sign I made for him when I was knitting on the GA Cardigan.


I got all three stories together! My mother would be proud!

May the fortune cookie gods and goddesses smile down in favor upon you and give you fabulous fortunes..... in bed!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

A Meeting of the "Knit-Wit" minds

Well, today was the Knit-Wit social gathering I started back in September. Only one person could make it, but we had a great time. The others all had conflicts today which is odd, we normally have 5 - 6 people knitting away in the coffee shop. BLISS!! Coffee and knitting! Life can't get better! It's always great to see what everyone is working on and be able to talk outside of work and not feel like we have to rush back to our rooms. I worked on the GA Cardigan while I was there, I'm sure hoping to get the body done this weekend. I will have to knit like crazy!

I am struggling with this site now that I tried to add the pictures. Please post a message if you have suggestions about how I can either make it work or give it up! GGGGRRRRR!

Broken Blog

Seems like these pictures are making the blog not load properly, and sometimes not at all! I think I will have to delete them. Drats! Please put a note on my message board letting me know if you can or cannot see the pics. I tried to access the site from work from different computers and had an awful time. HELP!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Here is a picture of the GA Cardigan. I copied the design from looking at the original, and I'm pretty happy with the shape.

Tell me what you think about the colors! Traditional? Nostalgic? Sickening?

And here is the Sassy Shawl. I am using alpaca wool for this one and designed it myself. I think it has turned out pretty well.

The feel of the wool is wonderful! I worked on it a lot when we were driving to North Carolina and it was like I was wrapping myself in the wool as I worked. Very soothing!

I'm off to knit my socks off!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Work! Bluch!

Today Spring Break officially ended, even though I tried to stay up all night last night thinking that this would make the break last longer. All it did was make me tired so that I yawned all day at work today. Now I should be in bed, but the caffeine from the coffee I finished an hour ago is raging in my veins! Ach voi!

And what is it about work? What a distraction to knitting, I didn't even get one stitch done today. Hmm, hang on.......

There I just did a stitch, but that hasn't made me feel any better. I once read a blog where the knitter decided she had finally achieved the "perfect job". She was spotted knitting socks in public and another woman asked her to make a pair of knitted socks. The customer offered to pay "whatever was necessary" to get socks hand knit like her grandmother used to give her. The knitter was ecstatic! Be paid to knit? PERFECTION! She raced home to figure out how soon she could quit her job to become a professional knitter. The knitter figured out a fair amount to charge; she wouldn't mark up the cost for materials and thought a dollar an hour, although a pathetic salary, would be all anyone could really afford. Luckily, before she called her boss to resign, she realized that no one would ever pay her what she had estimated as over $100 for a pair of hand knit socks. Sadly, she went to work the next day. I know just how she feels!

The GA sweater (actually cardigan) got rave reviews at work today. "Beautiful", "Wow", and "I like it" were surprising for me to here? Can't they see the throwback 70's coloring that screams, "This is not pleasing to the eye!". I guess they can't hear it. I have to find some way to get pictures on this site for free so you can see the coloring and make truthful, brutal comments about the colors. Again, the sweater is being made for someone who wants these colors. She saw the sweater on Sunday for the first time and liked it. She would tell me if she didn't, I know her well enough to know that, so I knit on in confidence that she will like it when it's done. I am on body, storing the sleeve stitches until later (I'm knitting top down), and I'm cruising now that the Lopi colorwork is done for awhile. I'm working hard to get it done so she can still wear it at least once before it is too warm. Yep, I live in a freezer; just check out the temp on the weather pixie! Cold enough for a Lopi pure wool sweater in April!

Well.... I'm off to bed. You can go knit your socks off!

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Happy Easter.... Holiday Knitting!

How wonderful, a holiday to rest, relax, and knit to your heart's content!

YIPPEE! New home! No, I haven't moved, but my computer has. Last night we moved the computer into the future "coffee shop, computer, reading room" and it is lovely in here! This is step 20 of 200 in our home remodeling project!

Have you read the spring issue of Knitty? Here is my geek code.

------Begin Knitter's Geek Code Block-------

KER+++ Exp++ SPM++

?Cas !AddiT Steel+ Wood++

Syn++@ Nov+ Cot++ Wool+++

Stash+@ Scale(+++) Fin

(Felt Int Tex Lace FI)>Ent

(Swatch) Flat++ Circ++ DPN++ Blog >ML

FO=too many to count WIP=3

Cr++ !Q !X Sw *Tat+

-----------End Knitter's Geek Code Block--------

The GA sweater is almost to the armholes, it will be there by the end of the day. I think it's time I picked up the Sassy Shawl and got that closer to the end. I'm ready to start the Fuzzy Feet, but I want to have something finished first.

Now go and knit your socks off!

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Happy Birthday to my DH!

Yesterday was his birthday and we had a nice time doing things we like to do (except I did force him to go to a yarn shop... More on that later). We went to our favorite restaurant where the waiter spoiled us without knowing it was a special day. Always love it when that happens! We left a VERY nice tip for him. Some shopping, some coffee, some eating, and a beautifully sunny day that wasn't in the forecast made it great!

Ok. Now about the yarn shop. I have been there many times, and the woman who runs it is very nice, I like her selection and I like the store. I have nothing to complain about..... except...... I have read on many sites how some knitters prefer to order online because there is a better selection. I love going into the shop, the feeling of the place, touching the yarn and all of the sensory experiences there. But now I understand what online consumers are talking about. I went to the LYS because I needed more Lopi wool for the GA sweater. She, the owner, had thought one skein of each color would be enough, but it wasn't. Darn, twist my arm to go in there and look around! So in I went, confident that both colors would still be there as it wasn't all that long ago I picked them, and they weren't the nicest colors in the world. Well, one color was there and the other one wasn't. No big deal, I could order it online I'm sure. The colors are separated so a change in dye lot won't be noticed. But then I saw a bunch of beautiful colors in the same shades that I had been picking from. If those colors had been there the day I originally purchased, I would never have chosen the colors I did. I commented to her, "These are beautiful colors. They weren't here the last time I was here." She responded by saying that things in the store change often so you need to keep coming in order to see the different selections.

Now, I have already ripped the GA sweater and started over once for size. I have just finished the major color work and am excited by my progress. I don't know what to do. Do I rip it apart again and start over with the nicer colors or do I just keep going with the ones I have? What a dilemma. The more I look at the GA sweater, the more I'm thinking that the colors I have in it now are ok... very nostalgic and traditional. I'm sure the sweater will be appreciated, but I would have more pride giving her a different color combination. What do I do?

Go knit your socks off!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Ahhhh! Spring Break!
Well.... surprisingly enough, this year I'm managing to get a lot of work done around the house, plus feel like I'm getting enough done with my knitting. My youngest daughter is moved into her new room and only needs the curtains hung that I sewed and a few shelves to make her room complete. I'm hitting the rummage sales to find her a nice desk that I would paint to go into her room. It took me two days to clean out her new room (and seven bags of garbage to the curb), and I still have the toy box to take care of.

Today was beautiful outside. DH and I worked our tails off cleaning gutters, raking up sticks and cleaning up the path at the side of our yard. Then it was off to watch my oldest daughter at Dressage practice. She had a wonderful ride.

I start and end each day with knitting and a nice cup of Java..... and get as much knitting mixed in during the day as I can.

Tomorrow is car shopping with my mom and out for lunch. Thursday is more cleaning in the house and Friday is DH's birthday. This has been a relaxing yet very productive break!

I'm going to go and knit more on the GA (God Awful.... one of the knitwits named it)sweater which is about 20% done.