20 May 2018

When Swatches Lie

Well, OK swatches don't lie, but they can tell us things we don't want to know.  I have been wanting to make this top since last summer.  I didn't tackle it last year, because I was determined to finish my Cranberry Custom Fit sweater no matter what, and did not want to even think about starting something else.

But as you know, that sweater was finished, another was actually started and successfully completed (I still find that hard to believe!), and this year I decided somewhat informally that my knitting goals were going to include learning some new things.  (I say informally because for the first couple of months of the year, my knitting goals changed several times a day.)  So a few weeks ago I bit the bullet and purchased the pattern and some Quince & Co. Sparrow yarn in the colorway Port.  My "learning" for this was going to be knitting with linen yarn.  I know it's supposed to be tricky, and that it also softens and becomes much more lovely once it has been washed.

Starting off, there are already two things here that are So Not Me:  1) I actually purchased a pattern.  I am such a cheapskate when it comes to patterns, and I think it's because I feel like "little" purchases add up so fast I'm always surprised.  If I spend $$ on yarn, I'm spending all of it at one time, right in front of me.  But if I buy three patterns over the course of say, a month, and each one is $6.00-$10.00, all of sudden I'm surprised at how much I've spent; 2) I am trying a type of yarn that even a lot of really experienced knitters I know just won't even try, as they think linen is AWFUL for knitting.

I can tell you right now, that it's not really wind-able into a center pull skein - ask me how I found out. ;-)  But that aside, I got two skeins ready and knitted a swatch.  Obviously, it's different than using wool - I mean, it's got NO give or springiness at all (kinda like me on my best days).  But I didn't find it particularly frustrating, and I dutifully knitted my swatch, gave it a soak, and a bit of blocking.

Proof (and yes, it's a bit wonky.  Work with me here).

The pattern calls for 5.5 stitches to the inch.  I'm usually pretty spot on getting gauge, which is lucky because I'm not someone who can easily figure out the math/measurements/whatever involved to adjust things.  I measured in four different areas, and each time got 6 stitches to the inch.  GAH!  I asked God WHY SUCH TERRIBLE THINGS MUST BEFALL ME???? (Oddly, he seems otherwise occupied and not completely focused on my knitting.  Thanks, Obama.)

Sigh.  I don't want to go up a needle size, because I like the fabric I have with this swatch, and think going up would make it too sheer for my tastes.  The pattern says that the resulting top has approximately 2 inches of positive ease.  So it seems that my choices are to go ahead with this, but then possibly end up with a top much bigger than I would like, or actually go down a size, and then worry that it will be too form-fitting for my taste (and my form).

It's true.  These are the times that try men's [women's] souls.  WHY MUST MY SWATCH LIE TO ME????

I shall have to make a decision and go forth.  And I will, and hopefully it will all work out in the end.  But I didn't choose the color "Port" so I couldn't w[h]ine.  (I'll be here all week, folks!)

Anyway, if you have any words of wisdom, feel free to share.  If not, fall onto your knees and thank whatever deity you believe in that such tragedy has not entered your life (and you can also thank them for not making you Overly Dramatic while you're at it).


In other news, yesterday was of course the royal wedding, and the excitement level at our house was insane.  This photo pretty much sums it up.

I will say that I thought her dress was lovely, and I hope they will have a happy life.  I shall leave it there, since I have *many* thoughts about the entire topic, but let's just stick with the kind ones, shall we?


And, finally (yes!), I will just share with you that 40 years ago today, The Tim and I graduated from college.  I was first in the class!**

Have a nice Sunday.  I just saw the sun come out here, so I'm gonna get dressed and take a walk.

**we graduated in alphabetical order

17 May 2018

The Case of the Rattling Brain

I didn't really mean to be incommunicado the past few days, but things at work have just done me in, and only because it's the day before Friday am I able to function at any proper level.  And seeing as it's Three on Thursday day, why not do a post with that prompt?

So here are Three Random Things Rattling Around in My Brain:

1.  Tonight I want to swatch for my next knitting project.  I attempted to do so last night, but it was not to be.  The yarn was not cooperative for winding, and my thoughts were too scattered for swatching properly.  I am hoping to knit a summer top.  Actually at this point, I am determined to knit a summer top.

2.  I'm not going to be able to get going on fixing up the garden this year until the first weekend of June.  This weekend is going to be rainy (as the whole week has been), and next weekend we plan to be out of town for Memorial Day.  Yes, I know I could do things during the week, but once I get home from work the idea of physical endeavors that are not absolutely required does not appeal.  Also, how did next weekend get to be Memorial Day already???

3.  This summer, I really want to do some sewing.  I managed to clean up a lot of crap that was in the craft/office/sewing room last weekend, so that I can actually make it to the sewing machine and clear off the sewing table of things completely unrelated.  I have a bit more to do, which will work nicely on this rainy weekend, and then I can get started actually doing something on said machine.  At the moment, I'm not sure what my first project will be, though I must admit that Kym's tunic has me itching to want to try something like that.  But since I haven't sewn for a while, maybe I'll start small and work towards that.

What about you?  Anything interesting rattling around with you?

13 May 2018


Hello from rainy Philadelphia!  I signed up to do the 3K walk of the Susan G. Komen Foundation Breast Cancer Race today (it's always on Mother's Day here), but though I am not afraid of the rain (I like rain, except when I get soaked on  my way to work), I've decided to be a weather wimp and wait it out.  Partly because I packed away my sweatshirts in a fit of conscientiousness, and getting one out to wear would require more de-organizing and re-organizing than I am in the mood to do this morning.

Yeah, I know that was all superflous information.  So let's move on.

I have two FOs to share, so let's get going with the first one, OK?

Project:  These Socks Have No Class
Pattern:  Just a plain vanilla sock pattern made shorter in the leg
Needles:  Size 1US
Yarns:  All leftovers from other projects - the dark green is Reflections at Roclans Out of the Dyepot Merino Fingering, green colorway; variegated is Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in the Molly colorway; orange is Ancient Arts Fibre 100% Superwash BFL Wool 4-Ply Fingering Sock in the Orange Tabby colorway.
Modifications:  The socks are all modifications of a regular pattern!
Notes:  I was originally planning to make scrappy short socks, but decided that always changing to do stripes was more than I was inspired to do at the time.  So I grabbed the first three balls of leftovers, and made these.  I knit the cuffs in 2 x 2 rib for 12 rows, then switched to the variegated for 1.5 inches.  Then I used the Orange Tabby yarn for an Eye of Partridge Heel Flap and heel, then returned to the variegated for the gusset plus two extra rows.  The foot went back to dark green, and the toes reverted back to Orange Tabby.  They are weird but I really like the way they turned out.  :-)

So I have my next pair of socks for my Box o' Socks, and I have a feeling that they will amuse me every time I put them on.


Today is Mother's Day here in the U.S., and if you celebrate, I wish you a happy day.  I will close by sharing one of my mother's inspirational sayings from when I was growing up:

"If you're born to hang, you'll never drown."

And there you go.

09 May 2018

Differently Ravell'd

Wednesday has arrived, which means it's time to join Kat and others for Unraveled Wednesday.  This week I have no knitting to show, though of course, knitting is occurring.  Nope, today I am going to show you a different use of a different needle that I learned in a class this past weekend.

As I've mentioned before, this year I didn't make it Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I would have enjoyed it I'm sure, but since I knew for awhile it wasn't gonna happen, I wasn't too sad about it.  Then I saw that the Butcher's Sew Shop was offering a class in Beginner Embroidery on the same Saturday that everyone else would be taking the bus to Maryland.  Since I had a credit voucher from a class I had to cancel out of, I decided to sign up.  I know basic needlepoint, and can do counted cross-stitch, but I've always wanted to learn embroidery.  I figured there was no time like the present, and especially since the class was being offered at the location near to our house, I signed myself up.

There were about 15 people, none of us with any experience, which meant we were all in the same boat, as far as knowing how it all worked.  The instructor was really great, and incredibly patient.  The class was from 1-4 in the afternoon, and it was timed perfectly.  We all had a chance to learn the stitches she wanted to cover, and get a little bit of practice with them.  We learned back stitch, chain stitch, fern stitch, lazy daisy, cross stitch, satin stitch, branch stitch, French knots, queen  stitch, and spider stitch.  My efforts are below.  It was fun, and just challenging enough for my brain and hands, and I'm so glad I attended.

The only down side was not any fault of mine really, but you can see the fabric has some dark areas on the upper right.  Well, we all had the same project, and she had printed the image using an inkjet printer, on something called Sticky Solvy, which dissolves in water once you have embroidered the image.  As a result, as we were working, we all ended up with ink in our fingernails and on our hands!  But that's not really a huge problem as far as I'm concerned, only that the first time I noticed my fingernails I thought, "Wait - I washed my hands today!"

As far as my reading goes, I'm planning to start this book today during my lunch hour at work.

I've been intrigued since I first read a review of it, and have seen it mentioned favorably on a couple of podcasts.  My name finally rose to the top of the hold list at the library, so I am really looking forward to seeing for myself how good it is or is not.

And that's what's going on with me.  What kind of good stuff is going on with you???

04 May 2018

Let's Write Some Friday Letters

I had forgotten all about Friday Letters (were they originally Kym's idea?), until I looked at Bonny's blog today.  I enjoyed her post, and since I was in the mood to write today but was uninspired, I thought I'd do a few letters of my own.


Dear Pantsuit Politics,

Thank you for your podcast!  Not only is it interesting and lively, but it provides a calming influence in the current political climate.  Why can't the rest of the country talk about things reasonably like you do, and like we used to do?  In any event, you give me hope that we will somehow be able to move forward.  Keep up the good work.


Dear Camille Cosby,

WOW.  Really?  I mean, I'm all for loyalty to one's partner, but comparing your husband's conviction to what happened to Emmett Till?  And wanting the legal team involved on the prosecution side investigated for misconduct?  Wow.  Personally, I would have already dumped him, but in any case, I'd just keep quiet.  But you decided speaking out was the answer.  And ... WOW.


Dear Paul Ryan,

Admittedly, even on your best days, I think you are a tool.  But clearly you have never ever spent any time with Jesuits, or if you did, you *really* were not paying attention.  Thanks though, for the high level of amusement you have provided.


Dear Puerto Rico,

I know.  It's been 255 days and counting and still you are not really any better off in most areas where you were.  And hurricane season is getting ready to start again.  I love you, but right now that isn't helping much.  And I'm doing what I can to help, but I'm sure by now you have realized that since you are neither wealthy nor lily-white, and have only limited voting rights, the Orange Monster and his ilk can't be bothered.  I hope you get even a tiny bit of comfort from knowing that someday, somehow, it will come back to bite them all in the posterior.  In the meantime, God bless all of you.


Dear Springtime,

I've been told that you will be coming back, starting this weekend.  Please do.  You're the only thing standing between me and a too early, too long, summer!


Happy Weekend!  I  hope it's a good one for everyone.