Love Is a Funny Thing

Sometimes, if we’re lucky, love conks us over the head.  Oftentimes it is elusive.  And sometimes it sneaks up on us when we’re not looking.

Shadow came into my life for all the wrong reasons.  I chose him sight unseen as a playmate for Kimmi (which of course didn’t work), and I adopted him with another, older male cat at the same time.  (He was an orange tabby; how could I resist?)  But the older cat actually tried to kill Kimmi (my vet said he was just being a cat, but it was much worse than a cat fight), so he had to be returned.

Even by himself, having Shadow was stressful.  He didn’t like the littler box, preferring to make his messes in the bathtub.  Since the box was right next to the tub, I tried filling the tub with water.  That got him to use the box, but the tub leaked into my downstairs neighbor’s bathroom, and I had to pay to repair her ceiling.  I would have returned Shadow, but I didn’t feel right doing so since I’d already returned the other guy.

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Oh my God!  A tree just blew by my 4th floor window.  A TREE!  FOUR stories up!  And to think just 3 minutes ago the sun was shining!  :O

Wearin’ o’ the Green

Despite being over one-quarter Irish* I have nothing green in my closet.  So, to combat this problem, last year I knit a “St Patty’s Day Cowl” (above) which had at least some green in it.  Despite it being about 71º degrees on St Patrick’s Day last year, I wore it at least for a little while.  This year the weather is more accommodating, being less than 50º, but… I can’t find it.  :/  It’s not in the closet, it’s not on my dining room table (where I stage my photos).  Fortunately, I made another little scarf with some green in it last summer, so I’m wearing it today, along with a greenish wristband watch.

triangle-crop

The St Patty’s Day substitute

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Has Anyone Else Ever Wondered…?

Punxsutawney Phil makes his annual appearance.

Once again, Punxsutawney Phil gets man-handled by Some Old Geezer. ©2017 AP (I think)

Groundhog Day:  The legend says that if the groundhog  (Punxsutawney Phil, to be precise) sees his shadow on February 2, he’s frightened back into his hole—meaning we’ll suffer six more weeks of winter.  But what happens if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow?  Does he stay topside to frolic under cloudy skies?  Does it mean spring will arrive on time?  Or early?

This is just one of the questions that perplexed me as a child.  So I did my own analysis.

If P. Phil sees his shadow, as he did this year… well, let’s see…

6 (weeks) x 7 (days per week) = 42 more days of winter
42 (days of winter) – 26 (remaining days in February) = 16 winter days in March
Therefore, spring will arrive on March 17

If P. Phil hadn’t seen his shadow?  A look at my handy-dandy calendar tells me the first day of spring for 2017 is March 20.

“Six more weeks of winter” means spring will arrive on March 17; otherwise, it will arrive on March 20.

And that, my friends, is why we don’t employ rodents to forecast the weather.

They’re Done! Sort of. Mostly.

What do you do when you know you’re not going to meet your goal?  Create a new one!  When I realized I wasn’t going to complete my Colorful Tube Socks (as they’re titled on Ravelry) by the closing ceremony of the Olympic games (of which I watched only the men’s bicycling road race, but it was a good and dramatic event!), I created a new one.  I should have said I’d finish them by the end of August, but I went with the much more nebulous “I’ll finish them when I finish them.”  Besides, on August 3o, I wasn’t sure I’d be done by the end of August.

One tube sock down, one more to finish.

Hey, hey! Progress!

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Ravellenic Games Update

It appears I may fail the Ravellenic Games.  Not an Epic!Fail, as the crash of Sergio Henao (Columbia) and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) in the Olympic cycling men’s road race.  The two cyclists, in a lead group of three riders, crashed in the late stages of the race during the mountain descent.  (I remember reading an article in Bicycling magazine, many years ago when I was actively cycling, when the author tried to scale the Alpe d’Huez, the best-known climb in the Tour de France.  He made it to the top, but hadn’t realized how treacherous the descent would be.  He, too, crashed.)

Hmm, it appears I’ve digressed into a different passion.

After 3-plus days of knitting, I have only 5½ inches to show for my work.

Ugh. Only 5½ inches to show for 3 days’—and several hours’—work.

After thee full days of knitting (today is day 4), I’m still on the spiral 3×3 rib, for a total of 5½ inches.   The entire project consists of 36 inches (for both socks).  At this rate, I’ll have completed only 32 inches by the closing ceremony.  This is my first experience using fingering weight yarn.  Between the super-fine yarn and the teeny tiny needles, progress is s–l–o–w.  I could persevere and work harder/longer, but honestly, I’m getting B.O.R.E.D.

Oh yeah.  And I think I’m allergic to wool.  😦

Actually, I could Epic!Fail if I just give up.  When I started writing this blog post, I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, but now that I’ve discussed my frustration and ennui, I’m much more tempted.  I will finish the socks eventually, because they’re adorable; but I think for now I might switch back to a couple other projects that aren’t wool.

Let the Games Begin!

The Ravellenic Games, that is.

As in Ravelry, the world’s most incredible database of all things yarn and fiber.  The idea is to knit, crochet, weave or spin your way through the Olympics.  You cannot (or rather could not, as the time is in the past) start your project until the opening ceremony in Rio, and must have it finished by the closing ceremony.

The "Do the Twist" tube socks pattern comes from the book "Happy Feet" by Cathy Carron, via Knitting Daily TV.

“Do the Twist,” from Happy Feet by Cathy Carron © 2014

This is my first year as a “Ravthelete,” having never heard of Ravelry before 2015.  I’ve entered the Sock-Putt by trying to make a pair of tube socks with a twist.  The twist is, well, literally, a twist in the 3×3 rib, a brightly colored foot, and little bobbles on the cuff.  The photo on the right shows what the socks are supposed to look like once finished.  The pattern is from the book Happy Feet by Cathy Carron, which I first found on Knitting Daily TV.  (My yarn and colors of choice are shown in the picture above.)

The local yarn shop, fibre space, hosted a Ravellenics kick-off cast-on party last night.  It was a bit of a bust.  NBC didn’t start airing anything until 7:30 (when the official cast-on time was 7:15), and when NBC did begin, it was all that pre-ceremony crap of boring interviews and lengthy commercials.  I have no idea if the ceremonies even started by 9:00 pm, when the store closed and the party was supposed to end.  I left early, having fed the meter for only 1½ hours.

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Knit Me a New Heart

My knitting heart is officially broken.  My favorite local yarn shop (acronym LYS) is closing.  The owner is retiring, and rather than sell the shop and its merchandise, she’s closing the store towards the end of August.  I. Am. Devastated.

There are two local yarn shops I semi-routinely visit, fibre space in Old Town Alexandria  and Uniquities in Vienna, VA.  fibre space is young and hip (you can tell because its name is all lower case), neat and spacious, and closer to my home on the outskirts of Old Town.  It specializes in locally-sourced yarns, very high end, and very expensive.  And you must pay for street parking, if you can find a spot. (This is, after all, Old Town.)

Uniquities is further away, but it boasts free parking, and stocks many well-known high-end yarns.  (Think Rowan, Noro, Tahki Stacey Charles, you get the idea.)  It doesn’t have one inch of wasted space.  And I love it!  So guess which store is closing.  Yep, Uniquities.

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What’s on Your Needles?

I’m not a focused person.  I start one project, get bored, then begin something else because it haunts my brain.  So now I have several items in the works.  I have finished a few things, but we’ll talk about those later.  This is about works in progress.  Even more so, those projects that are actually on my needles, not the two or three projects that are awaiting assembly.  More on those later, too.

My favorite yarn right now is Homespun by Lion Brand.  It’s not a fancy hand-dyed boutique yarn.  But it is made in America.  It’s fuzzy and nubby, and even the non-variegated colorways host are multi-hued.  It comes in 2 thicknesses, or weights, bulky and super bulky.  Which means projects finish quickly.  Always a plus for the attention-span challenged like me.

I'm using Homespun and Homespun Thick n Quick to make an afghan.

This afghan is already taking longer than 8 hours!

First up is the “8 Hour Throw.”  I’m not following the pattern exactly.  It calls for size 50 circular needles (needed to hold 40 huge stitches).  I already have a pair of straight size 35 needles and refuse to buy another pair of humongous needles.  Instead, I’m making it in three strips, changing the number of rows to get the same approximate size.  At the rate I’m going (only the first two colors of the first strip are done), I’ll be finished by next winter.  Definitely not 8 hours!

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Knitters Anonymous

Hello.  My name is Gail, and I’m a knitter.  I learned to knit at my mother’s knee, but stopped when I went off to college.  I didn’t pick it up again until all my friends started having babies, over 10 years later.  I made baby ponchos for them in various colorways.  Then another hiatus.  I halfheartedly picked it up again several years ago as therapy.  I knit a couple hats and eyeglass cases (which still need finishing).  I also attempted something for my grand-niece, but that’s a story for another post.  Then Outlander came to my television set, and I became enamored with all the knitwear.  I found Ravelry, along with patterns for cowls, shawls, and fingerless mittens.  Ravelry introduced me to boutique yarn shops as well as some tried and true old-school yarns, all of which offered still more patterns, techniques, and email lists to join.  I searched for yarn shops in my local area, and found two yarn specialty shops, and the ubiquitous Michaels and JoAnn’s.  And now?

Yarn has overtaken my home!

I filled my storage ottoman with yarn, but it overflowed.   I started buying plastic bins and photo boxes to store the yarn in, but I never have enough.

I decided to dump it all out on the floor.  I took a picture then looked around. I’d missed that box, and another box, and another, etc.  And the storage ottoman, and yarn being kept in a big basket, and a few other smaller baskets.

When the blizzard of ’16 hit, what did I stock up on?  Yarn!  Friday morning I sped out to MIchaels (passing several backed up gas stations on the way) for another stash.  And where was the first place I went once the roads were cleared?  Michaels.  For more yarn.  :/

Do you think I have a problem?