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Author Archives: heatherinsf

The Anklebone is Connected to the Wristbone

The Anklebone is Connected to the Wristbone

I have been waiting months for this, my ankle is doing well in physical therapy which means I can use crutches! I’m bipedal again! I have been able to walk around at home and a little at work using crutches, finally, with partial weight bearing.

The other side to this is that using crutches is killing my shoulders, forearms, wrists and hands. It’s all kind of bad. Any kind of crafting is just not possible and my handwriting is become like the finest doctors, completely scrawly!

I’m eyeing my projects and just hanging out with them, happily. I know I can work on them again, someday soon, and in the meantime I pet them and admire how they look and feel.

  • A bias möbius cowl in palest lavender kid mohair. It’s so soft and fluffy and ethereal.
  • The Kauni cardigan. By all that is yarny I will finish the sleeves before Christmas!!!
  • a baby dress for a coworker, it’s a little dress but she was born in June so I think I will have to make a new project for her, and save this for some other lucky wee girl.
  • The Scottish Thistle shawl in Kauni. I made a good start but the color stranding isn’t quite right so I’m going to frog it and start over. I do realize that this is a perfection issue!
  • A Zephyr Cove shawl in deep purple, vineyard hued sock yarn, I’m very close to starting the lace border, this was a delightful thing to knit.
  • The Happy Crochet blanket, I’ve made 34 out of 600 squares. It’s delightful and it does making me happy.

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    I need buttons!

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    I finished the solid purple yarn and have half a ball left of the multi, so pretty.

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    Aren’t they adorable?

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    The center of the granny square looks remarkably like spray cheese, does it not? And no questions about spray cheese. It’s dairy. I need this for my ankle. Heh.

    I almost forgot about this last one:

  • The neverending Viajante! In Malabrigo lace, I have a skein to go for this shawl/poncho.
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    The Vaj)

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    Me and the Vaj in the sun!

    Here’s to the path of healing! Hopefully the MRI I get tomorrow shows improvement, next week I will know my fate. It had better be improved or it’s back under the knife. Wish me luck!

    Happy Crochet Blanket, 1/30th Done!

    I am happy to report that after a few weeks, and a lot of personal trauma, I have completed 1/30th of my Happy Crochet Blanket!

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    Obviously, it doesn’t look like much now but completing one little granny square of each of the color patterns sure feels like the start of an accomplishment.

    I have fallen extremely behind my goal of doing three a day because of life events, such as getting run over by a wheelchair, a massive electric wheelchair, while I was on the bus seated in the handicapped seats. Happily the accident only set back my ankle recovery by a week or so but obviously having to go back on pain medication and the stress this has cost me has put doing anything artistic on the back burner.

    I’m so very lucky that my friends and family pitched in and helped me raise money so that I can take the bus to and from work, and to my PT appointments. There’s an incredible amount of kindness in this world and somehow I was lucky enough to tap into that and it has helped me feel so much less stressed. Thank you all for your help and kindness!

    So this weekend, after being able to buy groceries again, I made myself a lovely large latte laced with some delicious coffee liqueur and finished the first round of many of my colorful granny squares.

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    Pretty soon some dear friends will come over for dinner, a humble repast of local brought bratwurst, pasta with slow roasted tomatoes and padrone peppers. It feels good to be up to being creative again, with my hands with fiber, and with food.

    Now I’m starting round 2 of 30 of the Happy Crochet!

    Officially A Hooker

    Today, with the help of a friend from my LYS Kraft group, I officially became a hooker!

    As I wrote about earlier, I bought a starter kit for a adorable granny square crochet blanket and today Erin and I sat down and we (she) figured out the pattern. The Mercerie’s merino yarn is so very pretty and the colors work together really well, it truly is a Happy Crochet Blanket!

    It’s fun getting patterns from other countries but sometimes it causes a few problems. For example a double chain stitch in the United Kingdom is a single chain stitch here and their charming half treble stitch is a half double crochet in the US. We wrote it all down, it will be okay.

    Also, I find that crochet charts look to me like childhood doodles. This must be my knitting brain speaking!!! Likewise, when I talk about knitting patterns my crocheting friends look at me with abject horror and confusion. It’s really fun to cross over to the other side and try to understand this new skill.

    After a bit of fortification, lattes and mimosas, we got started with the pattern and and ended up with two test squares using my largest crochet hooks. Happily my test square looked a lot like hers!

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    Then, with lots of gentle encouragement and support, I swapped out to the correct size hook – a 4 mm, also known as G, and tried to duplicate my work using the correct combination of yarns. It took a little bit of time but it worked out just great.

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    After my friend left, I had a little snack and started in on square #2 and it went pretty well. I was very pleased with myself that I remembered how to do it when was alone, a true test of whether or not the lesson took hold.

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    Actually, I finished a third square, and decided I need to give my neck and back a break and I needed to watch some trashy TV.

    Eventually, I will have 600 little squares and they will be crocheted together to look like this:

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    After being puffed with pride after conquering the puff stitch, I had some time to do a bit of math. I need to do 600 granny squares to finish this blanket and I think doing three a day is a reasonable goal. That’s roughly 199 days, which means I might be finished with the squares by February 15 of next year. And then I have to seam it all together. What have I done…?

    It seems like inordinate amount of work, but the colors are so beautiful, I love the way they look and it’s going to be so much fun to have this on my lap come next winter.

    597 to go!

    An Ocean of Blue

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    An Ocean of Blue

    A while ago I joined the Simply Sock Yarn Club, where they send you gorgeous sock yarn and pattern suggestions each month. I love these clubs, it’s like getting a present to yourself every month.

    The first installment is a gorgeous set of gradient yarn from Miss Babs, she calls it Shades of Peacock.

    Shades of Peacock

    To me, it perfectly matches one of my favorite rings, a blown glass ball filled with azure liquid, my own personal drop of the Caribbean. It’s a big ring and I wear it most days.

    Shades of Peacock

    The club recommended several patterns for this yarn but I chose Spectral, by Debbi Stone, The Stitches of My Life. It was designed for this same yarn but in a grey gradient.

    It’s a cowl with a lovely texture to it and knit in the round.  It will be a perfect thing to go with my ever-present black jackets during our very foggy SF summer.

    Finally I feel good about trying to knit something besides the never ending Vajiante poncho, I knit and knit on it and I swear it goes nowhere.   After my latest ankle procedure a week ago I am still taking pain drugs and just don’t have much cognition, but like the waves on the shore, the pain is ebbing away and my mind is clearing.

    I can’t wait to get home from work to start weighing out the yarn so that I can start it when I am up visiting my family this 4th of July!

     

     

     

    A Pause For Healing and Minor Knitting

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    A Pause For Healing and Minor Knitting

    I’ve been quiet for a little while because I’ve had another procedure on my ankle, minimally invasive this time but still annoying not to be allowed to walk for the past month. Surprisingly I have not felt like knitting at all.

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    I have been working on my Vajiante or “Vag” shawl and have made it to two of my craft nights! That group really lifts my spirits! Despite being extremely challenged by simple stockinette I have managed to make some progress on it and hope to wear it this year.

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    Yes, I have been dropping stitches all over the place, but hopefully they won’t show too much after it’s been blocked. No matter how carefully I repair them, I still feel like everybody can see exactly where they are. Or is it just me? I feel like my brain is taking a vacation, involuntarily, while my ankle is healing.

    I have about one and a half of a skein of yarn to go to finish this shawl/poncho. It is interminable, but what else do I have to do.

    Well, actually I do have a few other things I want to do! For example I decided to branch out from my current repertoire and try hooking.

    Some lovely Twitter friends shared a beautiful crocheted blanket of floral-based granny squares and the colors were just so delightful I had to try it. I impulsively bought the first installment of a kit for this blankets and I have no idea what to do now.

    I’m having another yet ankle procedure on Thursday, so while I’m home recuperating I shall indulge myself on YouTube and try to learn a few of the basic crochet stitches so I can attempt this beautiful British pattern.

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    It is called the Happy Blanket from The Mercerie in England and I hope my friends at craft night can help me with the crocheting aspect as well.

    20140624-224541-81941024.jpg(this is craft night)
    (P.S. The saddest part about craft night is really can’t tolerate any alcohol right now, not even my favorite Lime-a-Rita.)

    I found a bit of cotton yarn and tried to make a dishcloth. I think it came out really nicely, but I swear it fried up all the remaining brain cells I had because it shouldn’t have been this hard, and after just completing one I feel like I’m done.

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    I have enough of the yarn to make about five more, if I can wrap my head around that!

    I also bought a beautiful pattern that I saw on my friend Chris’s Facebook page, another Ruth Sorenson pattern using Kauni yarn done in fair isle and depicting Scottish thistles in a beautiful design. Since I’m Scottish, I figured I had to make this so perhaps someday I will. Here is the Flowers of Scotland Shawl.

    20140624-223439-81279094.jpg(Ruth’s photo from her Ravelry page)

    It’s just beautiful, I love the colors, but is much too ambitious for me right now. Her designs are lovely but her pattern instructions are possibly not translated in the best possible manner from their original Danish (or is it Norwegian?) for my current levels of comprehension.

    This section made me cry.

    Increase 1 st on both sides of the
    shawl as shown on the chart. Increase
    each row 3 times, then knit 1 row without
    increasing etc.

    Oh my.

    Before my first minor procedure last month, I had finished one sock of this really cool pattern and started the cuff of the second sock, and then lost the pattern and I can’t figure out where I got it from or where it might’ve gone to. It was on my bed when I came home from surgery and then it is gone. It is not under the bed, it is not on my dresser, or on the coffee table, or in my pile of baskets of knitting and yarn. So I’m a bit stuck. Perhaps I’ll do what my friend Kathy at Princess Animal does and just knit a second stock in a completely different pattern and say to heck with it.

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    I still also have the Swiss cheese scarf using Knitwits ombre yarn. I just cannot count properly right now in order to get the buttonholes to offset properly.

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    This, by the way, is officially the world’s worst photograph of me. Ever. Please just look at the beautiful yarn that I’m holding up and imagine you can’t see anything else. Thank you.

    So as you can see, I have been thinking a lot about knitting, but not actually doing much of it. I’m hoping this brain fugue is just temporary and a side effect of the pain medication they have given me, and not some permanent vast wasteland of stupidity that will afflict my creative processes forever.

    Fun Baby Projects – Wave Jumpers

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    Fun Baby Projects – Wave Jumpers

    I was ever so delighted to hear that one of my coworkers is having a first baby. I was even happier to hear that he’s having a baby girl! Baby girls mean that I get to make cute little dresses, like my favorite baby pattern, the wave Jumper.

    I went through my yarn supply to see if I had any cute sock yarn in girly colors, and all I could find was this really cool sock yarn called FlatFeet. You unravel it as you knit, it’s rather cool. I wish more of my sock yarn came knitted up like this.

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    My coworker lives in San Diego and is a big-time surfer, so I thought that these cute hippie like colors would be super darling on his little baby beachy girl.

    The pattern is really easy it is a modified feather and fan lace, knit in the round with a little stockinette tank top from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders that was a gift from my dear mUm.

    Despite having some shoulder issues from doing too much at work, I have been managing to knit a little bit of it each day and I think it looks completely adorable.

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    The baby is due in June so I have plenty of time to get this blocked and finished up for them. I can’t wait to see a picture of her in it!

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    Two Giants Shawls, So Little Time

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    Two Giants Shawls, So Little Time

    —–> March 2014 <——-

    I realized the other night that all of my current knitting projects are insane.

    I have the Event Horizon Pi Shawl, which was supposed to be finished last Friday on Pi day (3/14), however I was only up to the second ball of yarn on Friday, and it only measured 1 1/2 feet at that point, to the target of 6 feet.

    Over the weekend I worked on it exclusively and added the third ball of yarn, making a total of 800 yards of knitting completed. As of last night I added ball number four, completing 1,200 yards of knitting, which is officially at the half way mark.

    When you think about this, that means I have been working on this since January, I have 576 stitches on the needles for this shawl and there are still 1,200 yards of yarn left to go.

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    For perspective:

    • 1,200 yards is 1.097 kilometers
    • 1,200 yards is 3 laps around a standard track
    • the 1000 yard shot used to be the exclusive mark of a military sniper or top competitive shooter, now it is 1600 yards

    I’m still working on the second ball of yarn for the VIajiante shawl, that one is going to take even longer than the pi shawl to make.

    —–> Zoom to today <——-

    Pi Day has come and gone, and I have done a lot of work on the shawl. Last week I finished it!

    I didn't use all of the black yarn for the border, which is nice because now I have almost a full ball to use for some other project. In total, I knitted a whopping 2200 yards!

    It still needs to be blocked, which I have to figure out how to do. My knitting group thinks that I should block it out on my bed, and sleep on the couch for a couple days while it dries.

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    It doesn’t look very lacey right now but the blocking really stretches out the lace and makes it look more airy and light.

    I’m not exactly thrilled with the color transitions, but my knitting group said it was gobstopping gorgeous so I am going to go with their feelings on it and perhaps it will grow on me in time.

    Until it’s blocked it is living on the back of my settee and perhaps someday I will find a nice little black dress to wear it with.

    It feels really good to have this project done, it’s the largest piece of knitting that I have ever made and the most intricate.

    I have been combing through the book Stories in Stitches 2 to see if there were other lace project that I might attempt, thinking perhaps a doily might be fun. I need to get some cotton perl yarn! Perhaps yarn in a color?

    Startitis: The Viajante and The Mohair Bias Loop

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    Knitters know of the curse of “startitis”, the irresistible impulse to start many projects all at the same time.

    I most definitely have a healthy case of this, the moment I came home from Stitches West I started these:

    I have in progress:

    All I want to do at lunchtime is work on the Viajante and, when I get home, knit on the Mohair Bias Loop! It is like an irresistible compulsion.

    But the Viajantes is so wonderful and simple, I am making it out of the dreamiest Malabrigo Silkpaca, a silk-alpaca lace yarn that is soft and airy, it’s going to be gorgeous to wear.

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    It is a fun design and I have wonderful support from the LSG group on Ravelry. LSG stands for Lazy, Stupid and Godless, and I just love these ladies.

    The Mohair Bias Loop is the simplest pattern that I found at the Claudia Handpaints booth at Stitches West. Years ago I made a pretty spiral scarf out of Alchemy Haiku, and it had a tragic end. I made another and it’s pretty but I missed the airy loft of the silk mohair thread of the Haiku yarn.

    At the booth I saw this gorgeous, glowing fluff of the Haiku knitted up into a pretty, simple cowl shape. I have cones and cones of silk mohair yarn from Artfibers, but I coveted a skein lying next to the sample Bias Loop that glowed like cranberries roasted on butter at Thanksgiving. They were meant to be mine.

    I started it last night after I finished my embroidery and thought about it all day.

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    After a few hours I was more than halfway done.

    Mohair bias loop

    It did not take long to finish it and I wore it to the book reading by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, the “Yarn Harlot”. She complimented me on it, which thrilled me down to my toes. She’s a tiny lady and I crouched down as far as I could so spare her from yet another “Mutt and Jeff” photo.

    Me & @yarnharlot - such a fun night.

    Despite all my projects lurking in the wings I am really tempted to pull our the cone of palest lavender or the cone of vibrant burnt orange and make this according to the pattern, which fits around the shoulders like a shrug. The gorgeous Haiku skein did not have enough yardage . I think I might have to cast on one immediately!

    The Rug Named Rover

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    While at Stitches West I purchased an outrageous, bodacious skein of alpaca yarn from Ranch of the Oaks that is almost roving, which was displayed for knitting into a rug.

    Stitches West

    How insane is that, a rug out of pure alpaca! The skein was so large and pettable that we nicknamed it Rover, therefore the project had to be called “The Rug Named Rover”

    When I got home, I let “Rover” rest on my vintage Victorian settee, named Vicky.

    Alpaca rug

    I pulled out my size 15 knitting needles and the skewered skein took up by comfy chair completely. My chair is named Martha, because it’s a Martha Washington chair, a gift from a dear friend who’s mother collected gorgeous antiques.

    Alpaca rug

    Even though it was late and I was really tired I just had to cast on, 17 stitches on the giant needles and keep going in garter stitch.  It was an upper arm workout!  The giant skein bounced around under my feet exploring under the coffee table and the rocking chair like it had a mind of its own.  Each row took 2 full arm length pulls from the skein.  I felt like I was armwrestling an emu.

    Alpaca rug

    For scale purposes only, here is the rug in progress on the needles, with my bare tooties, a dainty ladies size 9 foot.  Please note the swollen ankle after walking on cement floors all day!  This was the longest I have been on my feet since my ankle reconstruction.  It wasn’t too bad in hindsight and standing on the rug in progress felt utterly lovely.

    Finally finished, after just a day of fast paced knitting.  Walking on the Rug Named Rover is so soft, it is a lot like petting a nice dog with your bare feet.

    Alpaca rug

    I have “Rover” in my kitchen in front of the sink, but when I am at the stove a lot I just slide it over. My kitchen floor space is so small that the rug fits perfectly in front of the stove, or in front of the sink or the miniature cutting board on the other side.  It is so thick and soft, it is far superior than the gel mats one finds in kitchens, and is washable in the bathtub with a little gentle shampoo.

    If only money wasn’t an issue, I would have taken advantage of their 2-for-discount skein offer and made one of these for along side the bed or underneath my chair.   However, it is divine walking into my kitchen barefooted, I don’t usually cook without shoes or slippers but these days I have enjoyed violating my rules with luxurious abandon.

    I Am An Artist

    I am taking a coffee break today to knit, greatly enjoying a cushy chair at an Global Conglomerate Coffee Chain Shop, watching the rain splat against the window, chuckling schaudenfreude-like at people behaving like a combination of ducks, wet dogs and angry cats as they come inside, and the hiss of the coffee machines transposed over the mellow 1930s jazz playing.

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    A lady next to me had her hair clip resting on the table, and I chatted with her as she too uses the same, unusual brand.

    When I pulled out my knitting she exclaimed,

    Oh, you’re an artist!

    No, I just like to knit, and i do a few other crafts.

    But you are an artist, what else do you do?

    I told her about the embroidery I finished last night and she asked to see a photo, then she saw my needlepoint pillow on the couch at home and remarked on that.

    I made that, it’s petit point in Persian wool. It took me 6 months to stitch while I got over a breakup.

    I could never do that, it’s beautiful, you’ll have it forever.

    Suddenly I saw myself in her eyes, a stylish lady wearing unusual glasses and jewelry, an artist, living in a home filled with unique and colorful things. An artist!

    I guess I really am. The world looks and feels different to me somehow, now.

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