Thursday, March 22, 2012

I beg your pardon. . .

I never promised you a rose garden.   Remember that song?  It takes me back to being a little girl at our camp in Lincoln, VT.  Hours spent playing in the brook, swinging from the Tarzan style rope at the top of the hill, playing with my Barbies in the moss in the woods.  

When you're a child, things are generally pretty good.  Yeah there's school & homework but really, that's about it.  No bills, no mortgages, adult issues, etc.  You actually believe that you can grow up to be an astronaut or a fireman or even a cowboy.  Please, Barbie can do everything right?  Why can't you?

Then you grow up & you realize that being an astronaut is pretty darn difficult.  And a cowboy?  Not so much.

And adult issues?  Suck.  They're hard.  They require character & strength.  And faith.

Most people dig down & work through their issues.  They know the rose garden is there if you're willing to work for it.

Others?  Others whine & complain like children.  It's not FAIR!  Who as a parent hasn't heard that one??  I know I hear it at least once a week.  My stock answer to Sunshine is that life ISN'T fair.

So these others who whine & are incapable of working through their issues/challenges/crises are miserable.  They're unhappy with their lot in life & just unhappy in general.

The quote above was on Pinterest & I repinned it.  It's a great reminder for me & how I choose to look at the adult issues in my life.  When Hunter was medically retired we weren't sure if our insurance was going to carry over uninterrupted.  As a result, I postponed Sunshine's dentist appointment.  When we went back a month later, I explained to the receptionist what was going on & why we'd bumped the appointment back.  She inquired about his retirement & when I said "medically retired" & explained why he was retired, she drew in her breath & said "I'm so sorry".  Like something was really, really awful.  It certainly hasn't been an easy path, but really, things could be so much worse.  I explained to her that we were lucky---Hunter has his limbs & use of them.  His situation certainly isn't ideal & as I said, it's not been easy but it's not nearly as bad as it could be.  She looked at me & commented on my wonderfully optimistic outlook & how it was a great way to look at the situation.

I'm nothing if not a realist, but there is a bit of an optimist in me.  I do look for the silver lining in things but I'm not afraid to call a spade a spade.  I'd rather be happy with my lot in life as opposed to miserable day in day out.  Ten years ago when the war started, I never thought that we'd wind up where we are.  Or that Hunter would wind up where he is with me along for the ride, but you know what?  It's so much better than it could be.

Add me to the "happy & grateful" list!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Could you be more rude?

Back 5 or 6 years ago I joined a KAL group on Yahoo.  I joined a couple actually, a dishcloth group & a felted bag group.  As my love of felted bags waned, so did my activity in the group.  But I hung around the dishcloth group.  We'd do two dishcloths a month--usually a picture cloth at the beginning (knit over the span of 5 or 6 days) & then a technique cloth at the middle.  We did swaps, chatted a bunch & there was just a nice comradery.  When I found my knitting at a standstill, I'd go back & pick up whatever cloth was going on and get my mojo back.  It worked more than once!

Last summer it worked yet again.  Knitting a couple dishcloths helped kick start my knitting.  This year, I decided that I would knit all the dishcloths, that they'd be white & decided they'd be great for my Mom at Christmas as she always plays the "DO NOT buy me a gift!" card.  Oh, and let me add that my recommendation of the group was enough for the Super Bookatarian to join.

I was saddened to notice that the tone of the board had changed.  No superfluous chatting.  DON'T mention Ravelry!  Which really makes no sense as there is a group for this KAL group on Ravelry.  And lately the moderator is cranky.  Really cranky---like snaps at people.

Now, before you think I'm being childish or petty, let me explain.  Patterns are given out in roughly 10 row increments over the span of 5 days.  We're given direction on what size needles work best for the particular pattern, what color yarn, and any explanation of stitches that may be new or confusing.  There are all skill levels in this group---beginners to advanced.  While you & I may know that YO = "yarn over" there are people who don't.  And some of them may not be super familiar with google or or even that you can find knitting help on youtube.  Personally, I don't mind a little extra direction at the beginning if there's a tricky stitch coming up ahead.

So, the other day we receive Day 1's rows of knitting along with the suggestion of size 6 needles (I always use 7s), a light color yarn (I'm using a pale blue/white varigated) and he explanation that YO=Yarn Over & TOG=together.  Okay fine---I know these things and proceed to CO (=cast on) my 32 stitches.

A the end of my 5th row I realize my stitch count is off.  At the end of my 7th row I realize something is rotten in Columbus and rip out my knitting.  On my 2nd attempt the same thing happens.  So, I contact Super Bookatarian and get the explanation that (K1 YO K1) in next stitch means you knit the first stitch, don't remove it from the left hand needle, YO & knit into the back of that stitch therefore making 3 stitches out of 1.   I know increases but this one was new to me.  And apparently it was new to at least half a dozen other people on the group as there were several questions regarding this stitch.

I'm as much a fan of good snark as the next person, but the tone of the moderator in replying to these comments?  Seriously?  "Folks. .  "  Typing things in all caps.  This is a KNITTING group, we're not solving the world hunger problem, we're not splitting the atom.  This is supposed to be fun.  I don't need to be chastised.

I know moderating an online group is a huge time commitment---I've done so on Yahoo and also on FB for our PTA.  I know people have their own crosses to bear in life---I've got my own.  But seriously, a little courtesy and LESS CAPS would be nice.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hot mess

See this mess?  This is what happens when you let someone (coughcough husband! coughcough) play with your ball winder and a $30 hank of Colinette Tao.  And did I mention there was no use of a swift or a dining room chair as a swift?  I know, I still want to cry every time I look at this mess of yarn.

This incident happened at the end of January and I cannot bear to think about it but I have to.  Like I said, this is a $30 hank of yarn!  Colinette yarn!  I've had this yarn for something crazy like 3 years and have been saving it for the "perfect" project.   We all know about the "perfect project"---it's that project that you haven't queued on Ravelry yet but you will.  Once it shows itself.  And when it does, you'll be ready with the perfect hank of yarn for the perfect project.  

So, today I've decided to work through this mess and get it untangled, unknotted and wound into a ball.   I haven't found the perfect project yet but back in January, my intention was to use this beautiful yarn to make the Mermaid Tail Cowl for myself.  I wound up using some of my stashed Koigu KPPPM instead.  It's knitting up nicely and true to Koigu KPPPM it looks beautiful but still.  It would have been heavenly with the Tao*sniff*  Poor, poor Tao!

Wish me luck as I work through this beautiful yarn and get it back to its unknotted self.  I'm sure there will be a lot of frustration on my end!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


At some point in my knitting "career", I decided that Addi Turbo needles were the way to go when it came to circulars.  I bought various sizes with different sized cables.  And I loved them.  I used them.  True to my OCD-self, I had their packages labeled with the needle/cable size so I wouldn't have to rely on the packaging or reading the teeny, eeny weeny print on the cable.  For several years we were very happy, my Addis and I.  I made lot of felted bags & various other projects with them.  But I always felt that something was missing.  In the summer of 2009, I gave in to Knitting Group peer pressure, sold some of my Addis and purchased the Knit Picks Harmony Wood Interchangeable needles.  But the love affair was short lived.  The KPHW are sharp needles.  My poor little finger tips would be sore from knitting with them.  They were pretty to be sure and the wood is nice & smooth but I sounded like those ridiculous diabetes commercials where the people are constantly saying "OW! My fingers hurt!"  

Then I discovered Lantern Moon crack , I mean needles.  Their palm, rosewood & ebony needles called out to me.  I was seduced by their altruism.  I bought a few pairs of straights and was a goner.  Somehow they convinced me that I NEEDED a set of their circular needles.  So, I gathered up my ill-fated KPHW needles & sold them with the intention of purchasing the Lantern Moons.  But in the mean time I had purchased a 5/16" circular LM needle for a project (my Mermaid Tail Cowl).  I realized I'd been duped!  The LM circulars are pointy!  Owie pointy!  I had just gotten rid of pointy needles---I didn't need more.  And so I was back to square one--or was I?

A friend of mine has been working at Yarnhouse Studio so going to visit their shop now has two purposes---beautiful yarns/notions & seeing Lacey.  I've been reading about HiyaHiya needles lately & knew that YhS carried them.  Would they let me play/touch with the needles before purchasing so I could make sure they weren't too pointy for my delicate fingers?  Silly girl, of course they would!  And they did!

So today The Super Bookatarian & I went up to Opelika so I could purchase my HiyaHiya set and she could purchase yarn and some goodies for her niece who will soon join our knitting group. ( I'm going to mentor her!  So excited!!  )  I can't wait to start a project with these needles---they're not too pointy, the wood is smooth & lovely and the joins are smooth.  

Pretty cables, huh?  I have a confession---they scare me.  I know how to do them but have this totally irrational fear of them that I avoid patterns with them.  My brother (Mr. I don't really like hand knitted items & used to sell my hand knit socks to my other brother) has indicated that he'd like a black merino cable knit scarf has had to wait for the scarf because I just will not do cables.

Well, the Monthly Dishcloth KAL group's March cloth is a cable cloth.  Any other year I'd pass on it & pick up the Mid-Month KAL when it started.  But this year, I have committed to making all 24 cloths.  The good, the bad & the cable.  So, when Day 1 arrived on Thursday I admit, I panicked a little.  But I knew I wasn't going to break this commitment that I made to myself.  I WILL do this dishcloth.  I will overcome this irrational fear of cables.  I'll be mentoring Super Bookatarian's niece next school year---I need to be able to answer HER questions.  A cable stitch shouldn't scare me.  It can't.

So, last night I did my cable row.  And it wasn't that bad.  In fact, I'm looking forward to working the next cable row.  I was able to knit loosely enough (read: like a normal person who doesn't knit as tightly as I do!) so that the cable stitches flowed easily.  And today, I may or may not have been eyeing some beautiful black cashmere yarn.  It would make a beautiful cable knit scarf for my brother.  Or maybe for me. . .