Monday, August 11, 2008

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green.....

No it's not easy, but green I am, and not nearly as cute as the googly-eyed little guy in the picture!! I'm sure you've already guessed as much, but ya, I've been hangin' out at the frog pond again. I finally finished one of the two table mats I was working on, and was trying to convince myself it was okay to knit that much only to come up with what seemed to me to be a bunch of holes. Then I started my routine anal inspection of my work, and realized that one end (the top in the picture) was "wider" than the other.Right away I knew why. My gauge was so far off on this pattern that I tried needles all the way from size 4 to size 11. Finally went with a 6, deciding it wasn't so fussy (this is a table mat, after all!!), and I would knit a little loose. Big mistake, that. The project got set aside for several weeks, and of course when I picked it up again, I knit in my "normal" tension. I could have easily blocked the piece into submission, but "I knew", and that would forever drive me crazy. So, a froggin' I did go, and I now have a nicely wound ball of Euroflax linen awaiting some other project. I didn't like the mat well enough to knit it again, or I would.

But wait, there's more. The other table mat I was working on had been left untouched for weeks, so I got that back out and started knitting on it again. Things were going well, and I'd added about six to eight inches of work when I noticed a piece of yarn that wasn't quite where I thought it should be. I had to study it for a while to even determine if it was a mistake or just a piece of yarn that was a bit too loose, but eventually my anality (Yes, that's a word, and if it isn't, it should be) won, and I ripped out everything I'd done. Shoot! Well, I am going to get back to that project because I love the pattern, but for right now, I'm working on something else.

SOCKS!! Yes, socks! Me... trying my hand at socks again. I left town quickly (no time to grab the knitting!) last Wednesday to take my uncle to the doctor, only to find out I would be waiting around while he had surgery on his retina. I was going to hang out at my LYS, but the surgery center likes to have someone there for the patient during the surgery. When they told us that my uncle said, "If I die what difference will it make if she's here or a few blocks down the street?" He cracks me up. Anyway, I couldn't enjoy shopping knowing they wanted me there, so instead I grabbed a hotdog at a gas station and went to the yarn shop just long enough to buy something to work on while I waited. For some reason, socks seemed like the quick, easy answer. I grabbed a hank of Jitterbug yarn I'd been admiring, a pattern for beginner socks, and some size 1 needles. I was set!

And I'm having a blast with them! I've turned the heel, and am well on my way to having a nicely shaped gusset with NO HOLE!! Oh, yeah!!! I think the third time will be the charm for me! My first attempt at socks failed because the yarn I used was limp and droopy, resulting in a sock that was baggy and ill-fitting. Frogged it before I was done and used the yarn for a child's cap. Second attempt was with yarn I'd been given, and it was so ugly I wasn't about to work that hard on socks I wouldn't want to wear anyway, so I dropped the partially knit sock and the rest of the skein right into the garbage! *GASP* I know... somewhere in the world someone could have used that yarn!

Something else I've been playing around with lately is Locker Hooking, which I'd tried out at the fiber festival. It's fun to do, and I've made three pieces and given them all as gifts. The ones in the picture are nine inches square, a nice size for a hot pad or just a little mat to set a candle, lamp, or whatever on. They were a big hit, and now two of my friends want to "get in on the fun" and learn how to Locker Hook.
Today my baby turns 22, so a big "Happy Birthday" to Nathan! He told me only two days ago that he'd love to have a hammock, of all things. Well, I never gave that (goofy) idea a moments thought, and then yesterday I walked into Penneys only to see two big boxes (hammocks, natch!!) with a sign that read 70% off. Well, they'd been $300, and were now $75. But, once the additional 40% off AND my 20% off coupon were factored in, I ended up paying $36 for a $300 hammock. That's 88% off, math fans! So, Mom did okay! Now he tells me he's going to clean up the downstairs so he has a place to set up his super deluxe, brand spankin' new, mammoth birthday hammock. We'll see...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fiber Festival Fun~~

Where does the time go? It's already a week ago that my friend Kathy and I were at the Fiber Festival in Fargo. We had the best time ever! This was a "first time" event, and I know it was very small compared to great yarn shows you all have out east, but we had perfect weather, and positively the best day I've had all summer!

We were there before it opened and stayed until it closed. There were demonstrations and hands-on activities. I could have dropped a bundle on the supplies to try several new crafts, but I managed to restrain myself. I made a rag doll and tried my hand at fabric painting using templates and Locker Hooking. I've never actually watched anyone spin before, so was mesmerized by the gals who were spinning yarn. Someday....

The Fiber Festival took place at Bonanzaville, which is a frontier setting recreated by actual buildings from the days when North Dakota was settled. You can walk through the community and in and out of the various houses and other buildings. Kathy and I felt like we'd been "transported" to a different era, and were none to anxious to return to the 21st century!

This cute little cabin was the first house build in Fargo, ND back in 1869. Hard to imagine raising a family in such a small, simple home. Inside was a loft, and two rickety old beds. What you see on the front stoop is an array of hand-woven baskets and an area to sit and work. Very quaint and charming.
We also visited the General Store, which was stocked to the brim with goods from a bygone era. We learned from the "storekeeper" that the items in the store were the actual inventory that was there when the store closed. I felt like I was in Little House on the Prairie!! Check out the Linament in the lower right corner. Everyone needs some quality Linament now and then don'tcha know!!!For those of you who love to bake and putts about in your kitchen, here are the baking goods! Don't you just love that enormous can of baking powder, and look at the boxes of Morton's Salt! The Hershey's Cocoa can hasn't changed much, has it? Both Kathy and I were just tickled as we went through this store.
And for all my knitting friends, here's the "handwork" department!! This was it... just a box of cotton.
Of course I have lots more pictures, but I'll save them for later! The school, court house, and bank were adorable, and there's an old Lutheran church where they still hold weddings!

I did buy a couple of skeins of yarn from one of the vendors, but forgot to take pics of it. I'll get those taken for next time. Last summer I bought some (WAY too much) yarn when my LYS in Fargo was going out of business. Well, happily for me it's back! It has a new name and new owners, and it's better than ever. They had a booth at the festival and then I got to see the store on Tuesday when I gave my uncle a ride to Fargo to have lasar surgery on his eye. I only had an hour to spend there (I NEEDED at least four!!) but I know that the owners are friendly and helpful, and they carry some great yarn. I would love to get back one time before school starts, but we'll see.
With all the yuck I had going on, my knitting mojo up and left me this summer. The only things I seemed to be able to work on were a couple of dishcloths, mostly while waiting to get in for doctor appointments. But, I guess that's better than nothing, and it does allow me to say I have some FO's!!
The first one is My Favorite Dishcloth from Harvest Moon Designs. I really like this pattern... it's fun, easy, and quick to work up.

Then I made two more DW cloths. I always get a kick out of watching the colors come together on this pattern. The yarn is Peaches & Cream in the Fiesta color. Really bright and summery. The one on the bottom is Sugar 'n Cream Early American Ombre. I made another one that was a great color, but sent it away for a swap before snapping a picture.
I've also gotten back to a table mat I was working on before school was out, and it's starting to grow. Funny how that happens when you actually knit on
something! I'm at least half done, and anxious to get it finished. There are a
couple other projects I'm itching to start, but I want to make some serious progress on the table mat first.
Last evening was "girls night out" with my three best friends in the whole wide world. We usually go to a restaurant, but instead met at a home. We grilled steak and chicken, and each brought something to share. There were cheesy potatoes, scalloped corn, a beauteous leafy salad, and yummy fruit. We met around 6:30, and guess who got home at 4am? Yup, it was me. And the others, too! Hubby couldn't believe I was getting home so late. Or early. Men just don't get it. We had so much catching up to do that we didn't even get tired. When we noticed that it was 3:00, we couldn't imagine where the time had gone. However, there is the price to pay. I'm certainly not a bundle of energy today, and don't suppose I'll be accomplishing great things! Frankly, I don't care. If I have some computer time, knit some, and maybe read some, I'm okay with that! And to top it off, I had left-over scalloped corn for breakfast!