Thursday, August 25, 2016

Gnomes

We had some insane storms yesterday, so I spent a bit of time moving from place to place at work, watching the radar and staying away from windows. Everything turned out just fine for me, although there were some tornado touch downs in other areas.

When I finally did get home--after staying late because a second cell of storms was coming through right over our heads--I realized I'd forgotten my knitting at work. Last night we planned to watch the final Inspector Lewis, so I went to the yarn guest room to pick something to work on.

I remembered that a friend had shown me a picture of a knit gnome and gently hinted that she and another friend would both adore them. I dug out some scrap yarn, size 3 needles, and some poly-fil from the linen closet. Today, Gnome came to work with me to do a little exploring.

He hung out in my plant.



 He approved of a flower left from an event we had here.


He approved less of the bird. It alarmed him a little bit.

Travelling Gnome (mine ravelled here)

He's about 4" high. I have no idea what yarn I used. I just searched for the correct colors. I converted the pattern to knit it in the round, and I used black French knots instead of safety eyes. I knit the beard together with nine stitches of a round in the face color instead of sewing the beard on. The little guy took about an hour to make.

Today when I got to work someone had set my knitting bag on top of my desk. I'll now go back to my regularly scheduled knitting.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ravellenic Color Affection-- Anyway

Quite awhile ago, I wandered around Simply Socks, holding skeins together trying to find three I liked for a Color Affection.



Then I set the three skeins together on a shelf and walked away. The Ravellenic Games were a good motivator to get this knit. It's a lot of garter stitch and not a lot of counting, so it worked well to knit while watching the Olympics.

Color Affection (mine ravelled here),
and Cascade Heritage Solids in 5648 Strawberry Cream

I was surprised when I ran out of the dove-colored yarn. When I looked at the label, I realized why it had happened: Yellow Label is DK. Rookie mistake.

It ended up fine anyway.


Then, many, many rows into the third and final section, I realized I hadn't read the pattern carefully enough and hadn't increased two stitches on the end every fourth row. I had just increased one stitch.

It turned out long enough anyway.


I thought for sure I'd left enough yarn for the bind off. Of course, I ran out with a few inches of stitches left. I used dark scrap yarn to finish, and it looks great anyway.

On one hand, I feel ridiculous I made mistakes I could have avoided if I'd just read a little more closely and been a bit more cautious.

On the other hand, I like it anyway.


While I'll try to learn from this and read more carefully before I begin knitting, this project didn't turn out to be a cautionary tale. It turned out great, and I hope to wear it a lot this and future winters!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Protection

You can protect yourself from misfortunes sent by Heaven,
not from misfortunes that you bring on yourself.
-Zen practice

My Buddhist tear-off calendar recently displayed the above quote. I kept it on my desk for a few days, then recycled it. This morning, I dug it out of the recycling bin.

Today, I know that my brain is creating problems that don't exist, judging people who need to be shown grace (including myself), and generally being a jerk.

I haven't had much success getting my internal self turned around so far today, but I am going to reread that quote throughout the day and remind myself how much power I have over my own experience. And when negative thoughts arise, I'm going to do my best to acknowledge them, let them go, and move on.

So say we all.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

State Fair

I hadn't been to the State Fair in years and years. I went last year because the Indigo Girls were on the free stage, and I had a great time. The weather wasn't too horrible, and neither were the crowds. Plus, Indigo Girls AND an elephant ear. Excellent.

I also really loved walking through the exhibits, especially the quilts and the knitting. Because I knit, I could really appreciate all the work that went into each item. Because I once knit that quilt that only had 90 degree angles, I could marvel at the skill it took to craft the quilts with intricate patterns.

And don't even get me started on the quilts that were entire hand-quilted. Rock on, quilters.

So, this year I decided I'd enter some knitting. I remembered that I didn't agree with all the judging decisions last year based on what I could see in the display cases, and so I didn't get my hopes up. I don't know what the criteria is for judging, but there has to be some subjectivity. I entered three things I'd knit during the year.

Falling Stars got an honorable mention. 
That's code for "doesn't get a place, but is still fancypants."

Sidere didn't get anything.

Knitsonik mittens got a second!

 Most importantly, I got this the evening I went to see how I did:


I'm really happy with how my items did. I'd never, ever knit something specifically For The Fair, but I'm happy to enter stuff I knit for another purpose. And if nothing strikes me as something I should enter, I am always happy to go admire other people's work... and eat an elephant ear.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hope

Morning glory vine is beautiful. It has lovely heart-shaped leaves along delicate tendrils of vine.


It will also strangle every plant it gets its tendrils on. To remove it, you need to carefully unwrap it from the plant it's climbing; if you tug you'll pull out the plant you are trying to save as well as the vine.

But, man, it's beautiful. It always makes me think of a Small Potatoes lyric from the song "Hope (Robin's Song):

So I looked around for something hopeful 
that I could send to you--
looked all day and half the night.
And there in the storefronts and the sidewalks
I saw a skinny little vine
climbing a traffic light.
From the pines down to the projects,
life pushes up through the cracks,
and it's always going forward, and it's never going back.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Stripes All the Time

I'm not sure why everything I've worked on lately is striped, but it has been. I feel fine about that.

Gummy Bear Socks (mine raveled here), 
knit in Knitpicks Felici in the Gummy Bear colorway

Diagonal Ribs (mine raveled here), 
knit in Knitpicks Felici, Fanciful colorway

Turn a Square Hat (mine raveled here), 
knit in leftover Noro Silk Garden in colorway 252 
and Knitpicks Swish Worsted in the Cobblestone Heather colorway
 
And my current project?

Zigzagular Socks (mine raveled here), 
knit in ONline Supersocke 100 in colorway 1317

Stripe on.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Call Me Savior (of the Occasional Plant)

It comes as no surprise that I am weak in the face of clearance plants. I see a rack of half-dead plants, and I am overcome by twin desires of frugality and a need to bolster my savior complex. 


The plant above is some sort of verbena. I planted it in front of a perennial grass in my front flower bed a few weeks ago and hoped for the best. It's been greening up nicely. Yesterday, it rewarded me with this bloom. There are more clearly on the way.

It's this sort of success that makes it more likely I will buy half-dead plants in the future. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's definitely one of my things.