Saturday, February 23, 2008

Warning label

To say the least, it has been an aggravating start to 2008 where my health is concerned. I rarely get ill...really! But, since the New Year, I've battled a nasty cough/mild bronchitis that dragged on forever, very chapped toes (to the point where they just hurt when it is really cold outside), and - starting on Saturday night - a nasty little bout with an intestinal bug/food poisoning. Nausea hit me like a freight train at about 7:00 pm and didn't exactly let up fully until Monday evening. Thankfully, that was all there really was to it, except for a bad case of the fatigues afterwards. Whatever it was, it just sapped the livin' beejeezus out me. So much so that I actually took it downright easy at the gym on Monday a.m. and issed a whole day of work, stayed in bed all day, and actually took two naps. Up until this point, I hadn't taken a nap in, I reckon, 5 years or so. Guess I'm making up for lost time.

I started to feel close to 85% by Tuesday evening, but was still enjoying my "cocooning" in bed - rather than sitting in the living room in the evening after work, I continued to get all cozy and cuddly in the bedroom, eating my dinner on a tray, and carrying my knitting along with me. I was still falling asleep before 8 p.m. every night, but getting later each day.

Wednesday night was no different and downright hilarious. I've been working on "Sweet William" through all of this. It was perfect: enough to keep my mind off the nausea, but mindless enough for me to work through being a bit tired and queasy. I was almost back to my regular bedtime on Wednesday and on the one row in the 6-row repeat that calls for any attention - the cable row that I'm doing without a cable needle. I must have dozed off 4 or 5 times while doing this one row, sometimes in mid-stitch, but always - upon awakening - telling myself, "I can finish the row", "I'm awake now", "Just a little bit more". HA!

With my little sleep sessions, I think it took me a good 20 minutes to get across the row of 124 stitches. By the time I was finally done, I was too bleary-eyed and simply bemused with my sleep knitting to accurately determine if any serious mistakes had happened while I multi-tasked (aka sleeping and knitting at the same time). When morning came, I realized - chuckling to myself - that there were whole stretches of the row that weren't cabled at all, some that were. I guess it could have been worse!

I sometimes take an aspirin with a mild sleep agent, like Excedrin PM, to ease my intermittent insomnia. I guess I should read the warning label before I take one in the future:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Word of the Day: Plethora

pleth·o·ra /ˈplɛθərə/
1. overabundance; excess: a plethora of advice and a paucity of assistance.

2. the number of sweaters Ewe Little Dickens wants to start and knit RIGHT NOW!

Normally, I'm not a spring sweater person. I love fall and winter and, accordingly, fall and winter knits are my favorite. Give me a good, Shetland wool over cotton any day! This year, though, the spring yarns and patterns are wonderfully tempting...could it be that this long, cold, and snowy winter is getting the better of even me?

In addition to the two spring sweaters in the queue already, several have cropped up lately that have caught my eye and for which I already have yarn that would work. First off, there's the neat little cardigan from the spring issue of Interweave:

I can always find something I adore from RYC and this year is no different. There are a few from their latest pattern collection, but I think the "Bubble" cardigan is downright sweet:

Then, while cruising around the free patterns I've downloaded this past year, I re-acquainted myself with the "Isabella" vest from Knitty:

This is getting downright silly.

Finally, there's the Lacy Cardigan from Classic Elite:

I'm progressing quite nicely on the sleeves to the ultra cuddly, ultra wintry Jack cabled pullover. But, with the spate of bad winter weather we've had of late, the call of these Spring Lovelies has been intense. What's a knitter to do? Cast one on, of course:

I at least stuck with the original plan of starting Sweet William next. It's already proving to be a nice little distraction and the 6-row stitch pattern is just what I needed lately - different enough to keep my interest, but easy enough to memorize. The 6th row is where the magic all happens with cabling all the way much so that I'm cabling without a cable needle which really speeds things along!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

And the winner is...

well, it was a tie. Not exactly a heated election (but, heck, I got 3 more votes that I thought I would :-), but my spring sweater will be Sweet William simply because I was secretly rooting for it and swatched it up way back on Monday. Yup, I'm a cheater.

mmmm...Calmer on Colonial Rosewood needles. It's like dark chocolate.

I count Calmer among my "desert island yarns" but I actually haven't ever knitted anything in it. It's the name - it just sounds so delightful, doesn't it? - the colors are beautifully rich and it just feels so delicious.

So, after I'm done with the Jack cabled pullover (I'm cruising on up the front to the neck, with the sleeves yet to go), I'll get started on William. Hmmmm...two boy name sweaters in a row? What are the odds? I'm going to have to change the name of the sweater not because it is another boy name, but my first spouse's name was William and I don't want to have any bad juju associated with this pretty sweater. Any suggestions?

In other knitting news, I finished the cutting and lengthening of the sleeves on Teahouse. I'm so glad I did this, as I wore the eternally-putzed-on High Neck Cable sweater yesterday to work and it feels so much more comfortable now that those sleeves are also 1" longer. I haven't worn Teahouse much since making it last fall, but I think now that I just feel better in it, it will see more daylight!
Can you tell where I cut and started to knit down toward the cuff? I can't! As I mentioned in a previous post, all of this putzing has resulted in the development of a new class I'm going to offer at Ruhama's this spring entitled Knit Fix - I think we'll cover how/when to tink, how/when/different methods to frogging, picking up dropped or fixing twisted stitches several rows down, adding length or changing pre-existing edges (of course!), plus fixing mis-crossed cables without ripping all the way back! Any other topics?
Speaking of boys, my DH is getting a promotion today from me. We had an impromptu Valentine's Day gift exchange after work yesterday and he took my hint beautifully and presented me with the Stardust DVD. It's just the thing I need now as a special treat after working like a dawg at our sale and with football season being over. The movie just makes me happy and I soooooooooo need that right now.

The other reason DH is getting a promotion is that he tidied up the bathroom yesterday afternoon while I was at work. He knows how I detest going any longer than a week between cleaning and, with the big sale and all this weekend, my schedule was all screwed up and it was going to be some 10 days between bathroom scrubbings. As I was getting ready to shower this morning, I noticed how sparkly the tub was and figured out that he had cleaned the bathroom without a single hint from me. That also makes me happy. So, from here on out, DH will now officially be BH - Beloved Husband - rise and be recognized (can you tell The Tudors is in my Netflix queue?).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Good, better, best

It's wild and wooly out there...and, thankfully, everything came out perfectly. So much so, that I did the Dance of Glee this morning and considered buying a lottery ticket. Here's the rundown:

1. good: I am a self-professed weirdo when it comes to my 5 am workouts. I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to the endorphins and absolutely hate to skip a day (in fact, I've probably only skipped a handful of days in the last several years, always followed by great regret). So, the local media hoopla about 18-20" of snow hitting hard right when we normally leave the house for the gym left me nervous and anxious. Well, when I awoke this morning, the roads were barely covered and it hardly had snowed at all. We got to the gym just fine, had a good spin, and came out to find that the snowstorm was just beginning in earnest.

2. better: both my Beloved and I came home to messages that our places of employment were going to be closed! DH was, and I quote, "bitterly disappointed" that we hadn't gotten much snow in the am - he was trying not to get his hopes up, but how can one not when the thought of a grown-up snow day may be at hand? Well, his wishes were granted!

Mine was totally unexpected. The owner of the shop is an intrepid soul and can't remember if she ever closed due to the weather. Living just 1.5 miles away, I fully planned on being there, too. Snowy days at a yarn store can be rather cozy and we do get some brave customers trudging in on foot looking for that one extra skein of yarn, a replacement to a missing needle, or even a whole new project to pass the day with. And, with our big sale this weekend, there's always something to do! When she called, though, my feet began the Dance of Glee - sure, being at a yarn store when it is snowing and blowing is fine, but it definitely can't beat being home with my own knitting and my Beloved, to boot.

3. best: Lots of knitting has been done! I started the day on the front of the Jack cabled sweater which is now beyond the armhole shaping and cruising quickly up to the neck. I've just switched over to modifying a very simple yet extremely wearable mock turtleneck sweater I made last fall, "Teahouse" from Jo Sharp's Village collection knit in Silkroad DK Tweed in a rich chocolately brownish/merlot color called emporio. I do love the yarn, but - in all honesty - the bit of silk in the blend makes the ribbing stretch out immediately and it lacks any elasticity. Plus, my sleeves were just a little too short for my liking.

So, emboldened by my successful and relatively painless modifications to the High Neck Cable sleeves, I pulled out the scissors and snipped away:

I plan on adding about an inch or so to the overall length of the sleeve and re-doing the ribbing on a smaller needle. That should do the trick nicely.

To end, here's a photo out of our living room window at about 10:30 am - I was thinking that this still may be all hype. Sure, it was snowing and it was windy, but it still didn't seem to bad.

I was wrong - here's another photo about 90 minutes later. There is another side of the street out there, somewhere!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Warmer Weather

I love the snow, don't really mind the cold (although I could probably pass on when the wind is howling out of the north, letting the wind chills bottom out), and I love winter weather knitting. But, it is this time of the year that my thoughts do turn to lighter fare and the annual spring sweater. It certainly doesn't help that we received the new spring yarns and patterns from Rowan at the shop this week - very pretty indeed! Rowan has been, over the years, the one company that I can usually turn to to find something to knit...although I'm more than grateful that the designs featured in the magazine have gone back to the more classic Rowan look.

With some of my Christmas Cash, I scored Rowan's new pattern collection for their new organic cotton yarn, purelife. The yarn itself is luscious and - especially for a cotton - feels wonderful in the hand. The colors are ice cream-y pastels, but I'm still blissfully de-stashing (it feels so good to be slowly working through those bins in our spare room!). I do have a quantity of Calmer in cork, a tobacco brown color that would work quite nicely for the adorable, textured pullover "Sweet William" (sorry for the photo - the collection is so new, I couldn't get a photo even from Rowan's website!):

But, I also had in mind Nicky Epstein's Berry Cluster Pullover. Earmarked in the stash for this project is Blue Sky Alpaca in rich eggplant and I have pearly beads for the berry clusters:

Decisions...decisions....can't make up my mind. Your thoughts? Cast your vote on the poll over on the right!