Friday, August 29, 2008

Surreal to insane...

...and everything in between. That's been my week. I've had lots of bloggy thoughts that just haven't made it to the screen. Pictures too. Preparing for the girlie's sleepover birthday party tonight -- me and a houseful of 12-year-olds...aie, aie, aie! After the dust settles, there will be some blogging. Honest. 

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Knitting (and yarn) update...

So the intarsia I was lamenting in the last post...I figured it out and it went much better second time around. Here's a glance at my pretty argyle square...

...I'm doing the lines by duplicate stitch because I was too chicken to try and juggle five different colors at one time. I think if I do it again, I'll bite the bullet and try, though, because getting those lines to go in the right place was some kind of crazy at times.

This was going to be an afghan square for a swap I'm in. I thought intarsia would make for a better colorwork option for an afghan than fair isle, as there wouldn't be the stranding on the back. Unfortunately, the back of intarsia doesn't necessarily look all that pretty (at least mine didn't...maybe others are more skilled at it). So I had the bright idea to knit it twice as long as need be and then fold it over and seam around it, so it would actually be two squares back to back. Good idea in theory, only it made for one very thick square, which I figure will not go well with the recipient's other squares, weight-wise. :::sigh::: Thus, this square is being relegated to the corner...maybe I'll use it as my 12th square in my own swap afghan? I don't know. But, suffice it to say, I've done two squares worth of knitting and still do not have a square to send my swappie. Will be making a third try on that soon.

In other projects...I have one sleeve left to knit for my mom's sweater, then the seaming and button band and it will be done. Her birthday is tomorrow, so clearly she will not be getting it by then. It shouldn't take long to finish, though. I just needed a break from it for a bit.

I also have another swap project -- another pair of pasties -- to work on and finish by month's end. I've got a fun idea for them, and they shouldn't take long either.

I haven't worked on my Swiftly Turning afghan in a while, nor have I added to my Ribbon Lace scarf in a couple of weeks. I did start a new pair of socks for the boy, which I'd promised him some time ago. I'm half done with the first. I'm using a sport-weight yarn for them, so they are going much faster than most socks.

Speaking of socks, check out the pretty new yarns that have come to live in my stash recently...

This is a beautiful DK weight yarn from Knitted to a T. The colorway is called Heart Throb, and it is even more beautiful than this picture shows. I'm envisioning a pair of socks for myself with a nested heart motif if I can manage to create it.

Also, these beauties came this week from The Loopy Ewe...

That site is such an addiction for me! The yarns are, from L to R...
  • The YoYo; colorway: Eleanor Rigby
  • Indie Dyer; colorway: Dragonfly
  • Yarn Love; colorway: Tuscany
  • The Schaefer Yarn Company; colorway: Evergreen
So much good sock yarn, so little time! Makes me wish I was faster at knitting socks. And like so many of my hobbies, I've found I've got a "collector" mentality going on with sock yarns. Every time TLE adds a new yarn (or new to me, anyway) to their shop, I find I can't wait to get a skein of it. It's a sickness, I tell you. A sickness.

I also ordered a sweater lot of this gorgeous yarn from Three Irish Girls. I think I would order anything from a company with that name! LOL They're having a sale right now, though, so that is even more incentive than just the cool name of the company (and the colorway names...totally yummy and romantic and could I pass up buying something with a color name of Irish Sea? It takes my mind right straight back to my day in Ardmore. Who wouldn't want to wear and Irish Sea sweater???). I'll post a picture of all the yarn goodness once it arrives, probably in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Me and the intarsia?

We're not getting along so well.

I'm working on a project (that I can't show you right now -- top secret for the next couple weeks!), and I was inspired to do a geometric intarsia pattern for part of it. I've never done intarsia before (big clowns and flowers and Mickey Mouse faces smack in the center of sweater fronts just aren't my style), but I can read a chart, and I've done Fair Isle knitting, so I've dealt with multiple strands how hard could it be, right? 

Not that hard, I reasoned. So I started and was just humming along, it was looking good, and then I made the fatal mistake of gloating, just the teensiest little bit. Not even out loud, mind you. But karma, she has her ways. She heard my silent gloat and proceeded to stick it to me. 

This particular intarsia pattern is symmetrical, thus when there are, say, three stitches of Color A here, there should be three stitches of Color B there. Thus, when in Row 21 of the 24 row repeat I found that I had three stitches of Color A here and five stitches of Color B there, I knew I had a problem. And when I started counting and realized that the mistake that led to this stitch count discrepancy apparently happened back in freakin' ROW TWO, I knew karma had been by for a visit. 

So, I put it all down, walked away, taking deep breaths, and went out to mow the lawn. You know I need a time out if I go mow the lawn, because I never mow the lawn. Not my favorite job in the world. (With the husband's broken ankle and the son's seasonal allergies in full bloom, it looks like I'm going to be mowing the grass for at least the next few weeks. Let's hope I don't have bad knitting to walk away from every time I do it!)

Now the lawn is mowed, and the 21 ill-fated rows have been ripped back and I am ready for Take 2. Honestly, it's probably a good thing. While my first try (error withstanding) was looking pretty good, I had been figuring things out as I went along, so the later rows were definitely a little neater on the back side than the earlier rows. Not so much that I wouldn't have been happy to leave them alone, but this way is probably better. It's is yet another of life's learning opportunities. Yeay. I feel so enriched.

Ahem. ;)

(P.S. I realize that not all intarsia patterns are gaudy and tacky and unattractive as I may have inferred above. My comment basically comes from the many intarsia patterns we used to have in older books and leaflets in the discount racks at the yarn shop. I have seen some absolutely beautiful intarsia work, but as a style, it just doesn't usually float my personal knitting boat.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

...and the choreography was unbelievable!

This has to be one of the best non-stupid Youtube videos I've ever seen. These guys are amazing! It totally made me smile and laugh first thing this morning -- before coffee, even! Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Five Minute Friday: Fall...

Wow, I haven't done a FMF list in a long time! So it is fortuitous that today is Friday and I have a list topic in mind! Fall. I can't get fall off my mind lately. It happens every year around this time, but this long stretch of unseasonably cool days we've had have definitely put me in mind of September or October rather than August. I'm even wearing a pair of my hand-knit socks tonight, for goodness sake! It's a treat!

What other treats do I look forward to as the days get shorter? Here's my FMF list to explore just no particular order...

1. Cooler temperatures! 
2. Colorful leaves.
3. Apple pies.
4. Canning an overflow of tomatoes (if they ever turn red this year!)
5. Knitting woolly things.
6. Wearing sweaters!
7. A return to the routine of the school year.
8. An end to reruns.
9. Firewood stacked on the back porch.
10. Starting to see the winter constellations.
11. Plans for a fall camping trip.
12. The smell of the cool fall air outside.
13. The smell our house has when the furnace first starts to run (not sure's probably really dusty and unhealthy, but the smell is comforting to me).
14. Planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
15. Remembering past fall seasons.
16. Frost.
17. Pumpkins.
18. Mums.
19. Bales of straw and scarecrows and Halloween decorations.
20. The harvest moon.
21. Re-reading "Dancing at the Harvest Moon" (which I do every fall!)
22. My birthday, which I share with my BFF!
23. Thoughts of New England (where I will be going for a long weekend in September with aforementioned BFF to visit this amazing writer!)
24. Bonfires.
25. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I'm sure there are more things I could list, because I totally love fall. It is my favorite season of the year. Me + fall = true love. I heart fall!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anxious legs...

orange socks
A pair of pretty, newly finished socks for my anxious legs.

It sounds weird, doesn't it? Anxious legs? I have a long history of anxious legs, and it has nothing at all to do with legs that want to be moving. Everyone has experienced "butterflies" in the stomach, no? Usually when you're excited or nervous or anticipating something? Right. Well, I get the same thing, only I get it in my legs. Butterfly legs. I know. Weird.

What triggers this odd malady? Thinking about the future. Planning. Thinking about planning. Getting ready to make a list to help me plan. In other words, it's a pre-cursor to planning. Seriously. Once I sit down and get the planning underway, it subsides. But as I sit and think, say, about making a list of things I want to accomplish in the next six months, for mind starts to visit all the things I could write down, and immediately, my legs get butterflies.

As I look at my stash and think of all of the wonderful projects I want to knit, and how I might be more organized so this actually happens...butterfly legs.

As I sat today at Starbucks and started outlining objectives and curricula for our upcoming school year, and all of the cool things we might do as we study...butterfly legs.

As I think about all of the things I want to share with my daughter as she grows into a beautiful young woman...anxious butterfly legs.

What is this all about? Why does the thought of these things have this affect on me? I've never considered myself prone to anxiety issues. I don't easily get nervous. Yet, planning -- something I love to do! -- triggers this weird reaction. 

I wonder if maybe it has something to do with potential. When I begin to plan something, I'm acutely aware of the potential that plan holds...that the individual elements of the plan a bagful of marbles just straining to break free. 

Perhaps what I'm feeling is not so much anxiety as it is energy. Potential energy. Once it is set in motion, becomes kinetic, the marbles break free and feeling dissipates. 

Interesting. Someone should study this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to routine...

...or as routine as it gets in the summer. Real routine will begin in about two weeks when we get started back to school. But for now, it's still summer.

The kids had a blast at camp. They came home full of stories and everything they had to say was positive. They both seemed to step out of their comfort zones and challenged themselves -- C. rode the zip line -- "It was exciting and terrifying," he said -- the boy does not like heights, so this was truly a step out for him. E. attempted the high ropes course. She had to be rescued part way through when she couldn't keep from falling, but she tried. They both spent a lot of time on the water, and they interacted with many different kids both from their group and the other groups there. 

When I went to pick them up on Friday night, I completely expected my daughter to run up and hug me, hugger that she is. Instead, she waved from afar, and went about talking to friends before finally coming over to where I was. I was glad she enjoyed herself so much that I wasn't her first thought upon returning home.

But home they are. It was a busy weekend. While they were en route back to western Pennsylvania, my husband was busy breaking his ankle. This is a man who twitches at the thought of not being able to be busy, yet he is resigned to four weeks off his foot. I offered to teach him to knit. He declined. 

Allergy season is upon us, as evidenced by C.'s incessant sneezing and nose-blowing for the past two days, poor kid. But, it's that time of year...he's probably in for another month of discomfort before it fully abates.

E. has her birthday coming up next week. She'll be twelve. This means we have one more year before there are two teenagers in our house. Lately I've been thinking about all of the things I really want to teach her, to share with her...not academics, but things about real life. Things that are important to learn from your mom. Things like, "Know you are loved, always and immutably." And "You come from a long line of strong women...draw on their strength when you doubt your own." And "You are unique and special and perfect just as you are...don't try to be someone else." 

These life lessons are hard to learn and easy to forget. They also make up the sentiments found on any number of greeting cards, it seems. But for my girl, I want them to be real and personal and ideas that she can live her life by. I know it is more than a matter of just telling them to her. For this reason, I am thankful that we homeschool, that I have so many more hours with her than many parents have with their kids, hours that allow me to teach by example and to have conversations and to hug...lots of hugs.

Friday, August 8, 2008


"The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air." Galadriel, Fellowship of the Ring.

It's Friday. The last day of my kidless week. It's been a lovely week, but you know what? I'm ready to see my kiddos again. I dreamt about them last night. It's time! I can't wait to hear how their week was. I can't wait to see how camp has changed them, because there are always changes.

It's time for changes, I think. I am sitting here on the back porch, with my coffee and a couple of blueberry biscuits left over from yesterday's bout of domesticity (recipe* courtesy of J. L. at I Live on a Farm). 

In about six months, I will be longing for a day like today.

It is a sunny day, but there is a refreshing cool breeze, and there is hardly even a hint of humidity in the air. It's another gift of a day...a misplaced fall day dropped here ahead of schedule. No complaints from me. I'll take it! 

[Edited: the day turned out to be Irish in nature...beautiful sun and clouds against a blue sky one moment, a rain shower without warning the next. The day went on like this, only enriching its beauty.]

But the autumnal feel to the day makes me think of what is to come. The first full week of August has passed. Neighborhood kids will be heading back to school in just two weeks -- two weeks! I've always kept fairly close to the public school dates in so far as beginning and ending our homeschool year. Last year we started nearly a month early, which was nice, because it allowed us to end early. This year our schedule won't allow for as much of a luxury. Still...we will begin soon. I need to take some time between now and then to get organized.

Autumn also means a busy time outside. With any luck, we'll have tomatoes to can (if they ever decide to ripen at all!). 

[Insert impromtu garden review here...]

I saw a hint of red peeking through the vines today. Hopeful, I picked it, only to see this indignity. Someone had the audacity to bore a hole into our first ripe tomato! The nerve! So I chucked it down over the hill.

The rest of them all look like this. Green, green, green. Perhaps it is only my imagination, but these two look like they're trying to turn. Maybe? Perhaps if they glanced over to their right, they'd be inspired...

...our neighbor's tomatoes seem to have the hang of this ripening thing!

At least there are peppers! Our first two! These aren't exceptionally large peppers, but I was afraid to leave them on the plants any longer lest someone decide to munch on them as well. They'll be perfect for stuffing.

Where we lack tomatoes we make up for it in potatoes! Kevin dug our first basket of potatoes last night, for which I celebrated by making french fries. Around here, it is never potato season, but french fry season, as Kevin insists there are no better fries than those made from freshly dug potatoes. I humor him. To me, grease is grease. :}

Seriously, though, look at the size of this bad boy! He's family-sized! There were two like this!

[Back to our regularly scheduled blog entry now.]

My husband and kids will work every weekend to cut fire wood for both our house and the in-laws' house. I know Kevin has other projects in mind to complete before fall ends. Even if these do not directly involve me, I will play a support role however I can.

As discordant an idea as it might seem, while autumn brings school and harvest and winter preparations to our world, it also brings calm to mine, mentally if not physically. Maybe it is my internal clock that for so many years centered around the school year. September always meant a return to a familiar routine. The details of the routine might change, but the routine itself is still present. And it is a comfort. There is much about fall that I love, but the re-establishment of routine after the laid-back nature of summer is usually at the top of my list.

Things are changing. Like Galadriel, I can feel it in the very air around me. Stay tuned.

*Just a note about this recipe...I tweaked it to use 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup unbleached white flour, which then required closer to one cup buttermilk. I'm trying to add more whole grains to our diet, and this was an easy substitution that still yielded a very tasty biscuit!

P.S. Lest the flowers feel left out, here are a couple gratuitous flora photos...

The coreopsis is finally blooming again!

Doesn't Nigel look happy nestled back behind the Black-Eyed Susans and the purple coral bells? Far happier than he was, I imagine, when he was stranded back in the weeds that were towering over his head earlier this summer! (Yes, we named our gnome Nigel. We're nothing if not alliterative.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Six down...

It's Wednesday already. When I dropped the kids off on Sunday to leave for camp, the coming week seemed endless. Now the fourth day of camp week is nearly spent (the sixth, if we count the two days last weekend when the kids and hubby were gone, and of course we do!). It's been a good week. Quiet. Low key. Productive but not in a manic sort of way.

How have I spent my week so far? I admit I've done some cleaning. Not the most exciting thing to do during a "free" week, but it is easier to do when I'm not constantly being stopped and side-tracked by the needs of kids. My bathroom is cleaner than it has been in months. Today I tackled our bedroom, which is now mercifully cleared of piles and dust. I've purged my bookshelves and have at least four boxes ready to go to the half-price book store soon. Tomorrow I hope to improve the condition of my living and dining rooms. (Really, I'm not so much of a clean freak as much as I just do not like clutter. Clutter is like static to my senses, the grating of nails on a chalkboard. It is also a constant battle in a small house. Thus, when I get weeks like this that allow me to attack it uninterrupted, I like to take it.)

Aside from the cleaning, I've been relaxing. Knitting. A lot of alfresco knitting, actually. And alfresco dining. And reading. The weather lately has been beautiful...not nearly as humid as August usually is here around the 'burgh. So I've taken advantage of it...eating my meals out on the back patio, knitting and reading in the front yard where I can enjoy the sight of my pretty flowers...

...Black-Eyed of my favorites...

...a hibiscus flower...fancier than the ones my mom has in Florida...

... and watch the birds at the feeders...

...a pretty gold finch...the red house finch was being stubborn and I never did get a good picture of him...

...a sparrow of some sort on the left; a tufted titmouse (I believe) on the right; and a mystery bird in the back...

...another tufted titmouse (or maybe the same one?) with a Carolina chickadee peeking around from the back...

...lastly, an ornery blue jay...these guys have the audacity to think they can actually perch on my bird feeders when they are clearly too large! It's comical.

Something I'm learning this week is that I do not spend nearly enough time out of doors. And I think the computer is largely responsible. Especially since I got the laptop, which I can access from upstairs. It's so easy to get sucked into reading blogs and boards over at Ravelry, playing games on Facebook and Plurking. I'm making an effort this week to do all of this less, and to enjoy real life -- outside -- more. I'm hoping I can convince my kids to do the same once they get home from camp. Turn off the TV and the DS and the Wii and go get some fresh air!

On that note, I think I'm going to enjoy an after-dinner cup of coffee and refill my bird feeders. These birds have cleaned them out again!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sleep is optional...

It is not often I'm awake to hear the early morning bird songs as nature wakes to a new day. I can't recall the last time I actually witnessed the sky lightening or the sun rising. It may well have been last year at this time, after I dropped my son off to get on the bus for camp. Perhaps this will be an annual occurrence?

I am a night owl, not one of those early morning birds eager to catch the worm. I'll happily stay up until 2 a.m. with the knowledge that, most mornings, I can sleep until at least 9:00. Seven hours of sleep does me just fine. Sunday is the one day a week I usually have to set the alarm. Church is at 9:00, so I'm up at 7:30. One short sleep night won't kill me, though I get out bed each sabbath morning promising myself an afternoon nap (though I rarely follow through).

Today it is Sunday. This morning, very early, I took my kids to church to drop them off for the carpool to the camp buses. They'll be home late Friday night. Knowing the rendezvous time was 5 a.m. (otherwise known to me as "ungodly o'clock"), I attempted an early bedtime. Midnight. It's true what they say about attempting to change your bed it slowly, a little earlier each night over a week or so, because to try and change it drastically in one night? Probably will not work.

And work it did not. I laid in bed and tossed and turned. One o'clock passed, then two. Surely by then, I thought, I should be falling asleep. It was my normal bedtime, after all! But no. Whether I was keyed up thinking about the kids' upcoming week (myriad thoughts of my own youth group trips from years ago came flooding unbidden through my sleepless brain) or perhaps it had something to do with the iced mocha I indulged in last evening (though coffee rarely keeps me awake at night, no matter how late I drink it), sleep was elusive. By 3:30, I abandoned pretense and got out of bed, allowing my husband the luxury of a bed sans a restless wife.

Sitting in the silent dark of the living room (not even the birds were stirring yet), I logged on to the computer. I checked Plurk. Only one update. I checked my Ravelry boards. Very few new posts. The rest of the world was sleeping. How dare they, when I could not?

Four-thirty finally came, and the kids got out of bed. With minimal bustle and little conversation, they dressed and gathered the last of their things, stuffing packs of Pop-Tarts into their backpacks to eat later on. I paused during the process long enough to take in the intensely black sky that showed off the beauty of the constellations even more than it had earlier in the night when I'd gone out to gaze at it. Perhaps it was worth being up at 4:30 a.m. just for this?

With the car loaded and me inexplicably wide awake, we headed to the church where we gathered with the families of eight other middle schoolers and their chaperones. Last minute paper work was cared for, luggage was tagged (that became my duty for the second year in a row) and loaded into the two vans making the trip to the bus pick-up point. Forty minutes later, the campers were blessed and in the cars, and we parents were back on our way home.

My trip home included a McDonald's drive thru, as I was ravenous after my unplanned night-long vigil. Not the healthiest way to start the day, but it satisfied.

I'm currently reading Brida by Paulo Coehlo. Early on in the story, Brida comes to spend a night alone in the forest, awake and fearful until she remembers the words her father used to say to her when she was a child, "The night is just a part of the day."

"The night is just a part of the day. Therefore she could feel as safe in the dark as she did in the light...'I learned about the Dark Night,' she said to the now silent forest. 'I learned that the search for God is a Dark Night, that Faith is a Dark Night. And that's hardly a surprise, really, because for us each day is a dark night. None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, and yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.'" Brida, pages 16, 17.

There is magic in the dark night. I do not pretend to understand it, but every time I experience it, it is a gift. I witness the same aspects of God's creation day after day by the light of the sun, and for a few hours here and there by the moon's illumination. But these dark, dark nights? Where the stars are as deep as the sea and the very air around me carries the weight of a different dimension? The darkest minutes before the eastern sky shows a sign that morning indeed will come? They are rare for me.

The silence, the stillness, the uninterrupted time alone. They are a gift, and I am thankful for them this early Sunday morning. I will pay the price later as I begin to drag and my body starts to ache for lack of sleep. But it will be worth it for what I received in exchange. And I can always take a nap this afternoon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Eight days free...

This morning my husband and kids left for their annual tractor show weekend. Ordinarily they'd camp at the show until Sunday, but this will just be an overnight since the kids need to be up pre-dawn on Sunday to leave for their week of camp in Michigan with the youth group. Still, if you add it up: two mostly family-free days (today and tomorrow) + six kid-free days (Sunday - Friday) = eight free days for me. I haven't had a block of freedom this long in...forever? Definitely not since before I had kids. Almost forever.

And while my friend Molly exhorted me on my Facebook wall to NOT use this coming week for things like cleaning, cooking, laundry and organizing of any kind, these activities are exactly what pop into my mind first. Do the things that are easier to do without kids present either undoing or whining about having to help. However, the other thing that pops quickly to mind is: how much knitting can I get done in eight virtually uninterrupted days?

I have no intention of using my entire eight days on practical activities, though I will (just because I am me) make a lengthy to-do list of things I'd like to get done. If I get one-tenth of them completed, that will be success enough. I will, however, use as much of my eight days as I can justify to do fun things, such as lunch with friends (have at least two lunch dates scheduled already), probably some knit-shop excursions (even if I am seriously trying to limit my own yarn buying at the moment) and, of course, knitting. Lots and lots of knitting. Inside, I'm squeeing with excitement at the thought of it. ;)

In the mean time, here are some current goings-on, with pictures...

I took big-time advantage of KnitPicks' recent 40% off book sale. (If I can't buy yarn, I can buy books, right?) This book, Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns and Miles of Yarn, is one of the best fiber-related books I've read in a long time. The stories of these ten farms (including one less than two hours away from me!) were so much fun to read, and the photos -- oh, the beautiful, beautiful photos! -- would make the book purchase worth it even if I had no interest in fiber or knitting. A couple of things struck me as I read the, every farm profiled is dedicated to environmentally-friendly farming practices, many of them seeking to be sustainable and giving to the communities around them. I love that. Second, many of the people who started these farms did not do so until later in life, when they were in their 40s and 50s. This gives me hope! Not that I have serious aspirations to be a sheep farmer (I think I am far too lazy), but as I approach that mid-life period where the empty next is not far off and the husband and I will need to decide what we want for the rest of our lives together, it gives me hope that it will not be too late to try new things that are not possible, or feasible, for us right now. (BTW, the KnitPicks book sale goes through August 8th. Just call me an enabler.)

On the needles right now are three projects I'm loving...

This is the Lace Ribbon Scarf from Spring 2008's Knitty. I started this five months ago when I joined in with Amy Singer's "Liberate Your Laceweight" campaign. This is actually fingering weight yarn (Ellyn Cooper's Yarn Sonnets, Fine Merino), but it was one of the earliest yarns I'd added to my stash and thus in the spirit of liberation, I chose to dig it out and do something with it. It hadn't worked for the project I originally bought it for nor did it want to cooperate with anything else I'd tried to use it in. However, it has turned out to be perfect for this scarf. The scarf has been a pick-up project when I'm between other things, which is why the progress has been slow, but I've got the lace pattern memorized now and I'm loving knitting it. The colors of this yarn are incredible... do not do it justice. I work on this scarf a lot in the car when I'm waiting for kids to get done from various activities, and when the sunlight comes through the moon roof and hits the yarn...holy cow, it just makes it sing. I so cannot wait to get this done so I can block it and be enraptured by its full beauty. But, again, it will be a while, because there are other projects that need my attention. Such as...

...Hey, Teach! (Also from Knitty, one of this summer's bonus patterns.) This is the pattern my mom and I finally settled on for me to make for her. She wanted a light weight black cardigan that she could take with her to restaurants and such for when the A/C is too much. I just started it this week and it is moving along quickly, though I have to say I turned into an idiot at the armhole shaping...just could NOT line the lace pattern up right after that and had to rip back twice (lace, such fun to tink...not!). This should not have been hard...bind off six stitches, subtract six stitches from the beginning of the lace work, be at the right place. Yeah. I'm to the point of ignoring the chart altogether now and just winging it. It's working out. (Oh, the yarn I'm using here is Lang Kappa, cotton with 3% polyester...I'm knitting it on larger needles than called for to get gauge in the pattern, and it is draping beautifully! I think it will be perfect for my mom!)

Also, a sock...

I'm back in sock mode! I made the first sock of this pair back in March as well, when I was teaching a friend to knit socks using the Magic Loop. I went on my sock hiatus after that, and then ended up doing the Hooha Socks (which are both finished now) before deciding I wanted to finish this pair. I love LOVE love this yarn. Zitron Trekking XXL. This colorway? I could just eat it up. It is beautiful. It reminds me of the striations of the rocks out west, specifically at Arches National Park in Utah.

(Ok, this photo does not offer the most vivid representation of the rocks' colors, but you get the idea and besides, it's a cool shot...left to right, my friend Myrna, me and my two kids.)

Anyway, I was trying to be all artsy and creative by taking photos of my knitting outside in the flower beds, a la Yarn Harlot, or Anne Hanson, whose blog always has the most lovely photos of both her knitting and her gardens. My alfresco knit photography efforts yielded somewhat dubious results. The scarf on the azalea worked out ok, but the sock? The rhododendron was less than cooperative and repeatedly tried to eat my ball of yarn and then spit it out onto the mulch below. Which means I will now be knitting with a unique blend of superwash wool/mulch yarn that I imagine will likely feel similar to my unhappy experience knitting with Noro Kureyon sock yarn (sigh).

At least the mulch is the same color as the sock yarn...