Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dear Sock Yarn

Dear Sock Yarn,

I am sorry to have to do this but I think you and I are not having the best of time together. I want to move in one direction and you just split apart. I want to groove and slide and you want to stick and be pushed. I want to bounce and spring and you want to be stiff and harsh.

Because I am stubborn I will continue to work with you until our project is done but after that I don't think we can see each other anymore.



Monday, September 19, 2011

Same Place... Different Time

Had to cast on my socks again about 3 times to finally find the right gauge to fit ratio. Apparently doing a gauge swatch is meaningless when working from st st rows to knitting in the round. I am now knitting 52 stitches on size 1 needles.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thinking is not doing

Last time I updated I was not doing so swell. I am happy to report that I am doing much better. The feud between my arm and myself has ended and we are working together in harmony achieving knitting bliss yet again.

I have been thinking a lot about my blog. Friday I wanted to blog about my exercising.. I hula hooped and did upper arm exercises at the same time. I wanted to blog about finally using bio green clean and how amazing it worked. My bathroom looks awesome! This is a big deal since I hate my bathroom.

I wanted to blog about the new bed Marty and I got delivered and our beautiful new bedding we got as a wedding present.
Our new bed!

I wanted to blog Sunday when I was finally able to knit without pain including all that I have learned since going through the experience of hurting myself so badly. But as my blog title says... thinking is not doing.


I learned that warming up before knitting and taking frequent breaks to stretch is essential to keeping yourself pain free. I have been know in the past to knit until I have had claw like hands all for the sake of one more row. I have also noticed that the way you sit has a lot to do with pain free knitting. I would often times lean to my left when knitting causing my right shoulder to compensate for the imbalance. Finally paying attention to the little things like your neck hurting or your shoulders rising. I always assumed that it was just the way I knit or that because I was working my muscles that was normal. It's really not. My body was trying to tell me something. It was saying I need a break or I need you to just friggin relax.

Stephen West

I finished my Stephen West Mystery shawl yesterday during my pain free knit-a-thon which resulted in some knitting zen moments. The jury is still out on this one. I think a good blocking is due and perhaps some time away from it.

When it was finished I slipped out of the bedroom with it on over my t-shirt and did a little run way model walk for Marty so he could admire my work. He promptly told me he didn't like it. It wasn't "me" and that it was not "my style." He went on to say "the colors did not mesh together" and he had no idea what I would wear it with.

His bold honesty that I love him so much for actually caught me off guard. I couldn't believe he didn't like it. I also know he is right about it not being my style. But I disagree about the colors. They go together they are just not harmonizing. I usually go for color harmony and I like lace. So this project really is the anti- Melissa. If that is possible.

Baby Baby

 I finished the final baby sweater that came with the wave of babies in July. This one I am naming iBaby. One of the first pictures taken of the iBaby was with his father holding him in one arm and playing with an iPad in the other. It really did look like the baby was hooked up to the iPad.
The sweater is drying now and will have tiny apple buttons.

 Knitting On My Mind

I have been thinking a lot about designing. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner but perhaps I had a brain block. I just need to come up with blank templates and fill them in. This came to me after re-reading a post I did a while back when I first started this blog. I was using my measurements to plug into what I now know to be Elizabeth Zimmerman's EPS formula to create basic sweaters. They were all raglan I just played with the necklines. It makes sense that after I had the basics down or silhouette I would be able to add texture, color, and anything else my imagination could come up with. Why didn't I realize that before? Was it because I was just on the edge of playing with boundaries? I'm not sure. I also had an idea in my head that seamed sweaters were just puzzle pieces. All I needed to do was make sure the pieces were the same size to get the to fit together. It was a big moment for me. I hope I use this knowledge sooner rather than later. Maybe it's the weather turning colder but I am longing to make myself a sweater.

I have also started another pair of socks on two circulars. They are 8sts/In on size 0 needles using tofutsies. My opinion of this yarn is yet to be made. I like that the color is more tweed then striped or striated but it is very splity. The jury is out until I finish the socks.


You can tell by the crazy eyed smile.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I am having the most infuriating argument with myself.

Me: Stop being so tired and wake up already! Being spacey is not getting anything done!
Self: I can't help it. You tried coffee, protein, sugar, water, sleep.. what do you want from me?
Me: Just wake up! I need you to be productive! Go! Go! Go!
Self: What did you just say? Sorry I spaced out for a second...

This is what I have been like since around 1:30pm. Marty and I prepared for our new bed to be brought to us tomorrow. He moved the bed and I cleaned under it. He then disassembled our bed frame (which we learned was the wrong size for our new bed. Doh!) and our head board. It's now laying around the house in our dinning room.

I had a bit of arm swelling/ pain from sweeping but it's under control. Luckily I got a couple of rows in of knitting before the swell. I knit very SLOWLY. It's hilarious to think I got into this mess all for the sake of knitting faster and now I knit about 3 stitches... take a break... evaluate hand/arm/shoulder... wait a little longer... then knit 3 stitches. It takes a long time to get through a row.

Judging by my spacey-sleepy-lack-of-focused-self I am not going to get to knit night I wanted to go. Thank you to everyone that has reached out to me even if I have not immediately reached back. I miss you all.

Maybe if my arm is ok I can drive myself to pick up yarn tomorrow... or perhaps I can get my very nice husband to take me. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Must feed the blog...

I just got home from my first day back as a Graduate student... again. I am very glad to report my hand/arm/shoulder made it safely through the parallels of writing.

Knitting On My Mind

I was able to knit two rows today! That is outstanding!! I ran around and was so happy about this Marty thought I just about lost my mind.

Stephen West
Here is the Stephen west mystery knit I have been considering. The more I look at it the more I think it seems finished with the pink stripes. I do like how it harmonizes more then the big contrasting teal...

See it more up close... I am just not sure what to do. The easiest course of action would be to continue on and just keep the teal as is and end it.

What do you think?

I also just want things to keep me warm. I am freezing. :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In Which I Spend Way Too Long Complaining

I have been in stasis. I swear I don't know which is worse. Not being able to do much with my arm including having all sorts of odd pains or the boredom that goes along with it. I am starting to lose my mind here. Apparently, knitting does a lot to keep me sane... and right now I don't feel too in touch with reality. That's not true but I feel like everything is moving in slow..... agonizing..... motion.

Marty and I did do something productive. We got a new mattress today. A very nice shower gift from his parents. It was fun actually picking it out and being outside. I have to be honest my arm is getting better. It's just very slow going.

Knitting on my mind
I have one more baby sweater to send out. It is all knitted and sewn up. Just needs buttons sew on and ends woven in.

I want to finish my Stephen West mystery shawl. What held me up was the desire to have the bolder teal contrast with the border color. The issue was I did not have enough yardage but I tried my hardest to go for it. I even Russian joined the two ends of my yarn to make it go just a bit further. I ended up 4 rows short of making a full repeat and I struggled with the decision to search for the yarn I bought 2 years ago, frog it and just let it be harmonizing with pink on darker pink or just say F&^* it and have one stripe too small. I went with the last option. I think I will be happy with it. I just wish with my decision made I could actually finish the darn thing and have that therapeutic feeling of putting the needles back in their case and all the other little project gadgets go back to their homes.

I have been really dead set focused on making shipwrecked since March. I have decided that because I want to use my stash yarn I will be using the 5 skeins of silky alpaca lace for it. Marty (my color expert :P) agrees that the beads should be clear and shiny to look like water glistening. I am thinking I will use a bunch of colored beads with this idea as the follow through.

I don't really have pictures today. I'm sorry. I know blogs are always more exciting with pictures. I mean why else look at words on a computer right? So just for shits and giggles I'll leave you with this...

Which says how I feel exactly.

Friday, September 2, 2011

And then that happened....

So I woke up this morning with my wrist/hand/fingers/arm/elbow/shoulder/neck hurting a lot. I've started to snap at my poor husband and be in a general foul disposition. I can't help it. I have set-your-teeth-on-edge-pain.

Finally I couldn't take it anymore. I decided to go to the doctor.

The facts that made my decision. It was day 4 of being laid up with a bad hand and it was pissing me off! My hand was still swelling and my wrist hurt and my head ached and it was hard to breath because my back wanted in on the action and decided to wrench my shoulder blades to the point where taking in breaths made me wince. And I was turning into a raving bitch. I couldn't control my irritability. I still can't.

The doc took one look at my "sausage fingers"(Marty's quote because of how swollen they looked) and my increasingly swelling forearm and pronounced that I had tendinitis. He then had a different doctor come in to make sure I didn't need any other kind of tests. The doc asked me to show him what caused the problem. Marty prudently told me to bring my knitting needles in case this happened. I showed him the lever knitting and he said "That is not natural. Don't do that again!" I said "I don't plan on it." He then told me the colors he enjoys his scarfs made out of (which I found rather funny) and we all had a good laugh that I hurt myself this badly on a charity knitting project.

I am now on a 6 day course of steroids to bring the swelling down and have been told to lay off doing whatever it was that got me in this mess in the first place.

So now I am frothing at the mouth even more to knit because I can't. I found out I have 4 classes to take this fall not 3 graduate level courses (2 is considered full time). I am injured and pissy.

The only good news is that
1. this is not permanent it just hurts a lot lot lot.
2. I have no classes on thursday nights so energy levels and time permitting I can go to knit night
3. My husband rocks for putting up with my evil mean side.
4. I can apparently still type.

I'm going to go ice my arm and feel angry, bitter, and sad in my own little corner.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sock tale

Here we go. As I promised... I have decided to give the story of the socks that finally fit.

I have for almost as long as I have been knitting (around 13 years) wanted to be a sock knitter. I have sock yarn, sock needles, sock books, and done a lot of sock research. I went about knitting my socks determined each time to make sure I had a good fit.

My first sock had promise. It was a toe up sock that I did all the math to fit my foot perfectly. I put it on and it hurt to walk on. They bunched at my ankles and all around just made me think people were insane for knitting socks or even suggesting they were more comfortable then my hanes cotton ones.

My second pair went nearly the same as my first only they were top down and the first time I slipped them on they fit perfectly. Unfortunately, half way through the day my socks grew to the point that they got lost in my boots. Not very comfortable having socks stabbing at your feet while your toes are freezing.

I refused to be deterred! I would make socks that fit correctly and comfortably!  I figured I knew what was wrong I am making my socks too big! That must be it. So I tried again determined with smaller measurements and more negative ease. The result? The socks did not have room for my toes. They hurt. They sucked. They were the worst socks ever. In my failure I hated socks. I decided socks sucked. Socks were silly silly horrible inventions that were only good for people with bigger feet... not my tiny 4.5 sized kids feet.

What was my answer to my sad disposition to the sock world? I bought more sock books and did more research. But fear made me not want to cast on. I looked on in envy at every sock knitter who knew something I did not. There had to be a secret and the knitting world was out to keep it from me.

A year or so later...I had an offer during this months knit night after expressing my sock knitting wanna be ways.  A wonderful women said she would show me how to do two socks at the same time. I thought what could I lose. The next week I came armed with yarn I had no particular attachment to (cascade fixation) and two set of hiya hiya 4" interchangeable needles.

We cast on x amount of stitches not even caring what the gauge was. I wasn't even caring if the socks fit. I decided I was in it for the adventure of the technique. Screw the end result.

Two hours later I was hooked. I had a groove going. It was fun and challenging and mindless and awesome. Perfect for knit night. Not wanting to completely rely on Ms. Wonderful I bought Knitting More Circles Around Socks by Antje Gillingham from my MYS.

Two days later I had these! I was so excited that it looked exactly like the picture in the books tutorial. I felt thrilled! Thrilled!

I wanted to run around with my needles knocking on neighbors doors speaking of the awesomeness that turning the heel was on two needles. Both socks at the same time! I wanted to call people and brag. Instead I quietly took a picture and filed it away for later.

I tried them on and OMG they fit. These almost socks fit my heel and every bit of my foot that they were supposed to. I kept knitting and trying them on periodically. (something I never was able to do with double points) I tried them on my right foot and I noticed I was getting close to the base of my big toe. I got excited... soon... so very soon I would be decreasing for the toes.

Marty came home and I took him by the hand. Lead him into the bedroom where the socks were being worked on and forced him to look at how awesome they were. He then asked me a very interesting question. "Have you tried the socks on both feet?" I paused. Looked at him like he was the most silly man ever and then stopped suddenly. Hrm.... I realized I hadn't. More to my horror I had in fact only measured my right foot every time I tried to make a sock. I tried the same sock onto my left foot and woah.. the same sock on my right foot was a whole inch shorter on my left. The socks I kept making never fit because I never accounted for the size difference between my two feet!!!!!

I decided to split the difference between the lengths and I ended up with
 The most perfect beautiful well fitting socks I have ever made. Ever.

No bunching... perfectly fitted beautiful lines... I am in love.

Thank you Ms. Wonderful. I now can say I can knit socks that fit!

I've already cast on another pair. But that post is for another day. Now I will walk around the house with my socks doing a little dance like I did the first time they came off the needles fitting perfectly. :D

A little less conversation a little more action

Yep... I did just rip off Elvis in my post title. :P Anyway I am probably going to post twice today. I just wanted to have a place holder and a promise that I will actually post something good today. Like pictures of knitting achievements or works in progress instead of complaining about my injury. (which is getting better. Ice is awesome!)

I am running to see my adviser to get my schedule straightened out at DePaul (Please give me Thursdays or Tuesdays off please!! I want to see my knitting friends.) And then I will post pictures of good things. :)