Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's not perfect

I changed my mind about what was in the center after the first two passes of pattern stitch, then I mucked up an edge and in the process of ripping back started back in pattern going in the wrong direction. But I learned the technique and that's what important.

This is the result from the Orenburg class I took yesterday. Joan was a very patient teacher with a great sense of humor. She gave us some good tips for various issues, like splicing slick yarns or working in the tails of yarn. Joan's also very approachable; we had a great conversation at lunch about the internet's impact on knitting. She will be teaching at Stitches West next month, so if you're going, look her up.

I really enjoyed the technique and foresee using it in future patterns. There are several characteristics of the Orenburg style that I like.

--The lace pattern is done on one row and the return row is knit across.

--The edge on the sides is done at the same time as the center.

--It's seamless. No knitting the edge separately from the center.

I promise the next one I do won't have as mucked up a center as that one. Just a note as why my descriptions of the method are sketchy: the method I learned is described in sources that are under copyright. I recommend that if you're interested in learning more about Orenburg shawls that you either take a class (ask your LYS) or find a book that teaches the method.

A UFO rises

Last year I started a love affair with the Vine Lace pattern and cast on a scarf in Suri Alpaca. I was able to finish one ball of the yarn but after I had started the second, it languished and ended up in the UFO basket. After working the Orenburg lace, I was in a lace mood and dug it out to do a few rows. I've fallen in love with the pattern all over again and now it's my end up a gift later on.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Girly ick

Guys, be warned. If you don't want to read about girl stuff, best move on to the next blog on your list. No knitting content worth writing about here today.

If you think back to only thirty years ago to what modern medicine had to offer for women for dealing with the side effects of estrogen, it's amazing what is being offered now. The one thing that has always been a standby, however, for problems that couldn't be fixed with a pill or minor surgery has been the abdominal hysterectomy. During my life all I heard was that many hysterectomies were unnecessary, that the operation was a moneymaker for the surgeon and the hospital, and that the woman was put through unnecessary agony for a problem that could have been fixed with less invasive methods, such as hormone therapy or minor surgery.

I'm not an expert, so I can't say whether it was true or not that many unnecessary surgeries were performed. But I can say that for every woman I've spoken to who has had a hysterectomy I have not had one say they wish they had not had it. "Miss it? Heck no!" "I'd do it over again!" "I felt so much better after I had mine!" "Sure they split me halfway open to do it, but it was worth it!"

Laparoscopic hysterectomy is not as common as the abdominal method for the surgeon has to be more deft in technique to perform it well, but the recovery time is reduced because the abdominal muscles aren't sliced open and the incisions are much smaller. It's the method I'm getting, barring their finding abnormalities on my ovaries or in the pathologic sample taken from the endometrium. It means I am able to go in the morning, have it done, and go home that evening. This for a procedure that not that long ago required that the patient stay in the hospital several days and require a six to eight week recovery. I may be out for no more than a month.

Do I feel like it's going to be unnecessary surgery? Do I feel like I'm going to be butchered for my "female troubles"? Let me put it to you this way. I started my period Wednesday. Thursday I passed a clot nearly the size of a playing card and had the cramps from hell while Niagara Falls poured.

The sooner it's done, the happier I will be. And thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, I won't be sliced open like a watermelon to have it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Gearing up for the next few days

As I look over the next week and think of the things I need to do before I'm laid up, one joyful day of play shines over the hours of necessities. Saturday I'll be taking a class on Orenburg lace from Joan Schrouder. While I don't expect as thrilling an experience as Franklin's at Stitches Midwest in 2005 where he learned the process from Galina Khmeleva, I've had it from word of mouth that Joan's a very good teacher and expect to learn a lot from her. Besides, we're having class at a brewpub. What more could you ask for? It will take my mind from making sure I have all my supplies in, that I'll have a ride to the hospital at five in the omigod morning, and that my boss won't implode when something minor happens at the office and there isn't a procedure for it.

Friday's the meeting with the surgeons. I was excited in the beginning but now I'm starting to get a little anxious. What if I catch someone's cold in the interim? What if it ends up being a full blown hyst? Do I have everything covered for my absence? Are there bills I've forgotten only to rise up when I don't have the money?

As long as the cats don't use me for a trampoline, I'll be fine.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Yesterday I delivered the hat to Don S at choir and he was tickled to death. He said that when I emailed him the teaser picture he couldn't wait to get it. It looks quite good on him, though you'd have to take my word on it as dingerdong me forgot to bring the camera to rehearsal. But it was so warming to see such pleasure on the face of a recipient.

Dale KAL

A fellow knitter on the GLBT knit list mentioned in a post a week ago that she was going to be working on a Dale of Norway sweater as part of a knit-a-long. The idea of being part of a knit-a-long for Dale sweaters appealed to me and as I had yarn stashed away for such a project I was able to jump in with both feet. I didn't realize when I signed up that the word had been out since late November of this and that it would start on January 20th, so I felt like a latecomer to a tour with questions that I'm sure the guide had already answered.

If you're not familiar with Dale of Norway, they're best known as the source of the sweaters for the US and Norwegian Winter Olympic teams. Some knitters are diehard Dale fans and collect the patterns. There are sources for the authentic patches and accessories on the Web to add to your Dale sweater to make it a truly Dale sweater. Of course if you add up the yarn, the buttons, the braid, the patches, and the pattern, you have one expensive sweater. But with judicious shopping you can find the materials and not have to hock your first born child. I was fortunate to score the yarn in the discontinued/overstock room at Woodland Woolworks a couple of years ago. The pattern was up in the air at the time, but I opted for Sirdal as my choice. It has a nice balance of patterns all over it and only requires two colors.

Friday I didn't have my long needles for casting on the body of the sweater so I started with the right sleeve. It starts with a split cuff. With color work. Whoever devised this must have been a troll from the depths of a northern fjord. And is named Hrgundebjarndisigmir. And hasn't had trollish delights for donkey's years. Knit the hem section. Knit the turn row. Now knit from this chart using two yarns back and forth, maintaining gauge and keeping the stitches for both colors even. Oh yeah, and don't forget to put in the buttonholes. They're in the pattern somewhere.

Oh yeah, there they go. Right in the middle of the pattern. Hm. Okay, knit on knit on knit on.

Okay time to knit in the round but not here. You have to do it over here. So you have a flappy thingy for your buttons. Isn't that clever!

Okay so far so good now what do I knit?

Now are you going to use braiding or not?

Um, what do I have to do if I do?

You have to do this.

Oh. But the picture doesn't look like that. It has this chart starting from the braid, not that one. So what do I do if I don't want braid?

You have to do this.

Um, but that's the same only ten rows sooner. And it still doesn't look like the picture.

Bugger it, I'll do it my way


The result so far is above. If I want braiding, I have room for it. If not, it still looks fine.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


A hat for Don S. who worked hard to obtain lodging for Reid and I at choir retreat last fall. Yarn is from stash so this is FO #1 for the Knit from Stash 2007.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Snow events are not common during winter in Portland. When they occur, they start off pretty then turn into ice. It doesn't get cold enough to keep the snow fluffy, so it melts during the day and solidifies at night, making the next day horrid for commuters. This morning we got hit with some snow in quantities that shut down the commuter train MAX and had folks either calling in or crowding onto the buses to get to work. A few foolhardy folks went out in their SUVs with thoughts that their all-wheel drive will beat the snow. They ended up spinning out or wrecking on the side of the road. Others who were more cautious made it in. I'm walking distance to work so I hoofed it in, watching the flakes fall and enjoying wearing the woolies I've made to keep out the cold.

Don't tell me all cats don't like snow. Buster experienced snow for the first time when he was four months old and loved it. This morning, he was tentative, but when he realized what it was, he skittered about the porch like he was on speed, then catapulted off into the snow. Imagine an 8 year old who has been told that school's closed and it's okay to go play outside as long as they want. Later this afternoon after I had returned home, he went out again, digging his paws into the soft snow as if attacking invisible mice.

Knitting content

I'm currently working on a stash hat in Dale yarns in preparation to knit this as part of a Dale sweater knit a long. I had found the yarn at Woodland Woolworks in their overstocks room a couple of years ago and was thrilled to find all of it in one dyelot. This was before I embarked on the Peace Blanket or other large projects, so it has sat for some time. My upcoming convalescence will give me the uninterrupted time I need for the pattern. Dale patterns appear intricate but with care you can execute them. The key is maintaining even tension throughout the colorwork so you don't have puckering or loose stitches.


The Rogue is done. I won't bore you with waxing poetic about the pattern, but I highly recommend it. I found it easy to follow and came together beautifully.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Goofy sh*t

There's a lot of it out there. This is what some of them came up with.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is: Countess Duffy the Ebullient of Bartonhurst in the River Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
How evil are you?
Your Band Name is:
The Badass Hussies

I thought I was such a kind gentle person. Guess the inner me isn't.

Knitting Content

While I'm cruising along on the second sleeve of the Rogue, I'm thinking of what I can do to get some of this stash made up. I've been thinking of a vest of many colors that could go with some of my wardrobe with the remnants making up a Dulaan item. My stash has single skeins of colors, so a number of things will end up being color work.

For those folks who are interested in the Shelter Shawl pattern, I'm in the process of getting it proofed. I hope to see it available in the spring. Cross your fingers!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A return to normalcy

It's a nice quiet Sunday morning after a hectic week. Anyone who says accountants are wusses has never had to deal with a fiscal year end. Most year ends at the office have been pretty mellow but this one was fraught with computer glitches and people running about like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get all the information put together for closing the books. All in my group were involved with the process in one way or another and I put in overtime. I'm just glad it's over and we can start moving on to the next brouhaha: preparing for when I go on medical leave.

The Rogue hood is grafted! If I had a choice between grafting and cutting a steek, I'd be reaching for the scissors. I don't know what it is about grafting that my brain can't wrap itself around. I can see how the stitches weave their way in and out but when I try to do it, the graft ends up looking like the dog's breakfast. So when a fellow knit lister suggested this site, I was so so grateful! It has you do a chimney of waste yarn after you reach the last row of the place you want to graft. Instead of doing a chimney in the round on the edges, I did extended edges with waste yarn, following the pattern on the first row, then stockinetting the remainder. Having a good contrast yarn is very helpful in this process because all you do then is follow the yarn as it winds through your pattern stitches and snug it up. I didn't take out the waste yarn until I inspected the work. Sigh of relief when it came out beautifully. Now off to making the second sleeve. Joy joy joy!!!

On the political side, it's gratifying to see Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Not so much that she is a Democrat but that she's female. Other countries have had women as the leaders; the US is lagging behind. If the Speaker had been a female Republican I would have celebrated that. In the end it's how good a job she does in running the House and getting legislation through. It requires people skills, organization skills, and a mind that can switch from one subject to another at a moment's notice. Kind of like a mom, don't you think?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Hope you didn't wake with a nasty feeling that you did something really really stupid the night before. Like announce your resolution to lose 40 pounds in front of a crowd of your friends and family. Or find yourself in the county jail for DUI. My New Year's Eve was spent quietly, watching the idiot box and working on the first sleeve of the Rogue. The fireworks got the cats a little jittery but otherwise it was a mellow night.

I can truly say in looking back at 2006 that I did not break any of my resolutions that I made last year. Of course they were all done tongue in cheek. You don't think I'd put my REAL resolutions up here do you? Silly.

I do have a couple though for 2007.

I will try my best to stick to my Stash Bust 2007 promise. I need to be more frugal in my spending habits and this will help in that area.

I will refrain from posting slurs on my family on this blog. I had put in an entry that was construed as offensive. While some feedback I got from readers indicated they agreed with me on my feelings, the reaction from one of the members of my family was more a point of "if you want us to accept you for what you are, you need to accept us for what we are, even if you don't agree with us." The offensive portion of the entry was removed and apologies made. This is a public space and some things don't belong here.