Feeling Low

It’s that time again. Just finished a knitting project, a thick pair of socks. What’s next? Usually it flows. But there are times it doesn’t, it doesn’t even trickle, drought time.

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Yes, they’re huge size 14/15 and yes, if you want to argue that not having woven in the ends does not count as finished, go live in that world. In mine they’re done.

It’s not that I have no ideas. But either I don’t have the right yarn, the right mood, the right pattern, the right needles, the right anything. It’s all wrong, wrong, and wrong. And that’s when I start feeling real, real low.

Wanting to learn another knitting skill, I checked out Knitting One Below from the library. I love the cool columns that technique makes. A simple scarf is my goal, nothing complicated.

First of all, it takes slow color changing yarn, actually that’s a “check” for me. And it takes figuring out the stitch, check, that was a super easy check. The right size needles: lots of searching, since I never have the right size needles.Why not? After all, I have tons of needles and in every size and make. But, they are all on WIPs (Works In Progress) somewhere on the yarn shelves. I settled for what I thought was the right size in wood. I’m not a big crazy fan of wood or bamboo needles anymore. Give me my Signature needles or my Addis.

But now the problem: I hate the yarn, especially with the needles. The gauge is wrong, I knit wrong, not tight enough, I cast on too many stitches. Yes, what could go wrong, went wrong. Why could I not follow the pattern? It said to cast on 19 and that it was enough. It did not look enough to me, but 25 are certainly way too many.

I love what the yarn does, and at this point if I don’t unravel I’m hoping there’s enough for the length of the scarf. I could do some math with my scale to be sure.

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I then took from the shelves about every slow color changing yarn I had 2 skeins of and cast on. That’s depressing, nothing seemed as right as the one above. I have an easier time unraveling after I put a project aside for a while and get some distance from the work I put in it. Sort of the principle of giving birth. If the birth memory stayed too long, there might never be second babies.

Frustrated, huffing, and puffing, I wove in the ends to a stack of dishcloths.

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I have no plan yet to lift me up. But I’m working on it. Dealing with lows and downs makes me think of the recent suicide of one of America’s idols. Robin Williams. I got me thinking. Paying so much tribute to someone who took his own life scares me. It’s sort of a validation of suicide. I wonder if the suicide numbers go up after a famous person commits suicide.

Corporations use famous people to market their brands. They know consumers want to be like famous people. And using the same brand brings the consumer a little closer.

I’m not trying to judge here. Robin Williams must have been in lots of pain, I get that. It’s what we make out of it now. Some call it celebrating his life, but some might have a darker view on this. Just saying….

Where’s My Mojo?

It’s gone, just gone. Can’t find it no matter where I look. Have you seen my knitting mojo? ¬†Have you perhaps stolen taken my knitting mojo? Wherever it is, whoever has it, please return!

I’ve been too busy lately, mostly being busy with doing nothing. At least I can’t see results of my busyness. Usually that means I’ve been online going nowhere. Not this time, at least not that I’m aware of. Or am I on autopilot and don’t even know what the left hand is doing? I just can’t get into another gear with my knitting. Holidays coming up very fast and Hanukkah on turbo-speed or even warp speed heading our way this year, makes no difference, I don’t feel the pressure.

Good for my heart. Bad for holiday presents. I always have some super easy knitting on hand to do while waiting for appointments or attending classes. That would be washcloths or dishcloths. But how many can one woman make if she doesn’t even have enough people who use these items? Socks are another knitting project for on the go, as long as they are simple socks. But I got it into my head that I’ve made enough simple socks in my life and now it’s time to work patterns into socks. I have two such projects on the needles and neither is the perfect no mind needed kind of knitting.

An update on the deathflake mittens: I managed to knit with the right color progression, see below, but noticed that I knit very loosely when knitting stranded and, yes, frogged it all again. My next attempt is with smaller needles but I put it aside for a while to finish a pair of socks.

Here are the frogged mittens:

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You see where I’m heading here? I’m burned out on dishcloths and washcloths and simple knitting but can’t find the stretch of time needed to make more complicated items like patterned socks or shawls or sweaters or….

That’s what I call a major mojo problem. I’m making an appointment with another season of “The Good Wife” and knitting today. It might be the cure.

I’m a very handy person when it comes to problems around the house. At least I think I am. This might all be a big delusion I’m finding out now. Yes, I can put down laminate flooring, but I can’t do the finishing touches. For years now, we are missing the finished edges of our floors. And where the floors turn into stairs? Ha. That has never been worked out in my mind. And the fact that I stopped cold when it came to the dining room and living room.

I also do plumbing jobs. Most times with a little bit more success. OK, you’ll never have to worry about that stopper again once I got my hands on it, and who needs it anyway in the bathroom. Our latest is the shower, it drips. I worked my magic, but unfortunately it had nothing to do with the shower head. The drip, I diagnosed, is caused by the thing that turns the shower on and off. I could replace whatever part is worn out, but I’m pretty sure I should turn off the water supply first. Now I know how to turn off the water supply to toilets and sinks, there is a handy knob to turn underneath them. But where does one turn off a shower water supply?

Doing research online tells me this shut off mechanism is not easy to find for showers and tubs and there is talk about concealment of these valves. Is that fair to the amateur plumber I ask? Since I’m not about to go hunting for something someone was trying to hide from me, probably successfully, I’m aware I have to shut off the water supply to the house if I am to make the repair. I can do that and have done that before. But, here is my fear: what if I can’t fix the problem? Then I’m stuck with a shower that would spew out water and the only control is no water to anything. Can I risk that? This is one time where I need to follow up and fix the whole problem and not just a part of it.

Next! Believe it or not, both our bathroom sinks are malfunctioning. They were both clogged up. No problem, I have done this many times before, get down on the floor unscrew the trap, clean it out, and reattach. With my frozen shoulder it has become somewhat of a bigger problem, but I can still do that. Unless part of the metal pipe breaks off. No problem, I put a plant in there so no one is tempted to use that sink. And after all there are two sinks in this particular bathroom. So I go clean the other sink and reattach the trap and guess what, something is wrong and now water leaks out of the trap. That has never happened before. The only solution I can see is get a new trap and keep my fingers crossed. That will be a purchase made later today.

At least the sink in our second bathroom still works, but I’m starting to feel squeezed. We have not renovated our bathrooms since we moved into our house in 1992. My belief is that we still deal with fixtures from 1976 when this house was built. But the new roof and gutters ate up our extra money and we’ll have to wait for a while before any thoughts of a new bathroom get to cross our minds.

No wonder my knitting mojo left this house new roof and all, who wants to live in a one bathroom sink home?

I’m still struggling somewhat with the heart anniversary, and I’m following along and reliving the events. You can stop right here or follow Stephen’s posts from last year.

“October 18, 2012

Still uncertain about the atmosphere on this planet…. A pretty rough day here: another transfusion and a many-syllabic-named lung problem, on top of the usual pains, discomforts, and indignities. I hereby predict much better things for tomorrow. Marianna on the Mend! -S

October 19, 2012

What’s the point of surgery if you don’t have scars to show off? This is a lesser one, of course, on the arm that graciously gave of itself – the one that hopes to soon join its partner in knitting. All in all, a better day today. The highlights were pretty high – including several hours of visits from 5 friends (asked if she’d seen the tunnel of light, Marianna responded no, it was dark and smoky, with jazz playing); and the lows were manageable. Onward! – posted by the husband of the Bride Of Frankenstein

October 20, 2012

No sugar-coating in this update (that would be bad for M’s diabetes). The only good news is mostly symbolic: 8 days after our ambulanced arrival, she’s finally out of the ICU and into her own room. Other than that… Not a good day, sorry to say. From a pre-dawn attack by a seemingly psychopathic (but presumably incompetent) couple of syringe-wielding nurses, through an entire day and evening with energy tank registering empty-minus, this has been the one step back that paves the way for tomorrow’s two steps forward. As for tonight… I think I’ll stay right here and create my own ICU. -S

October 21, 2012

The Creature Walks Among Us!

Best day yet. Two hallway walking journeys, a coupla hours of chair sitting adventures, and another good visit with friends. Marianna is well spent after all that, but definitely on the road to the road home. As always, thanks for the supportive e-shouts! -S

October 22, 2012

If you’re following Marianna’s journey from death’s door to health’s highway, you know what to expect: this was another 1-step-back day. The apparent culprit: meds that kept her blood pressure too low. Way too low, like ~74/45. Less pressure on her healing heart, but it prevented her from doing anything beyond breathing. With blood pressure meds on hold, she’s back to her self, as we look forward to morrow…. -S

October 23, 2012

A pretty good day in general – a little more walking, a lot more waking, and a major post-surgery highlight: sitting in a chair for an hour’s worth of bathing, hairbrushing, and braiding by 2 attentive nurses. I (Stephen) promise you: Marianna was in full radiance.

Still no word on our return date (probably accompanied by an oxygen tank), but I think it moved a lot closer today. -S”

Yarn Pooling and Other Pools

The saying that getting old is not for sissies seems more true every day I age. OK, right now I have no problems and I’m not complaining. I spent last week with my in-laws in the Bay Area. Both had serious falls with debilitating consequences and needed help. I imagine if that would have happened to them at a younger age they would have walked away from it or been fine within days, but this is taking a toll on their quality of life.

I had along the spinning wheel, a basket of wool, and a basket of yarn and projects. Did I need it? Nooooooo, it serves as a security blanket only. Without, I would have yearned for all the knitting I could have gotten done, ha. I did spin every day, but knitting was more of a problem. On the drive down I made a dishcloth in the car. Once there I only managed to knit on a sock, disliking the pattern and frogging the whole thing. Started anew with another pattern but this is on hold too. A facecloth is almost done in a nice organic cotton yarn. Will I learn from that? Again, nooooooo, because how can I anticipate knitting conditions or moods. I might pack lighter with clothing. All I needed was underwear, a pair of pants and a couple of t-shirts. Not 4 pair of pants and t-shirts for the whole summer. They do have a washing machine after all.

Swimming was my treat in the evenings. The pool is open until 10 pm and I used the last hour to indulge myself, alone. A whole pool and hot tub just for me. I’m glad we saw the bobcat wandering around on our last day there or I would have been more nervous walking to the pool and being there by myself. But what is a bobcat going to do to me, right? Whatever happened to my youthful invincibility? Did it all get used up?

But I have a much bigger problem now that I’m back home and into my knitting rhythm. While gone, two of my yarn orders arrived. One is a skein of Wollmeise Pure from a Ravelry user, the other 2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Sportmate in the color Zombie BBQ. The latter is for Liana and because she really does not need anything and I got the last 2 skeins, I’m making a scarf. But let me introduce the color first:

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The photo does not do the colors justice. I have never loved colors that much and a name so matching.

Then the yarn decided to gift me. A gift I would have embraced with any other yarn but Zombie BBQ. Can you say Christmas, traditional. Let me show you my dilemma.

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This is so not me, or my daughter, at least I don’t think it’s her. It might be a case of me trying to be cool and hip and again ending up being the dork with the Christmas scarf. The obvious choice would be to frog and start over. But that’s like throwing a gift away, how can I do that? I have posted on a knitting site for opinions and so far every single reply came in as keep it.

There is another way to look at this. Skull and XXXs, can you see it? Especially the zigzaggy thing happening in the X.

I’m OCD about the whole affair now and can’t just move on to another project. I have looked at other yarns by the same manufacturer in the same color. Am I crazy? While looking I found colors I might like even more. But, for now I’m stuck. The obvious did occur to me and I have a call out to Liana to see what she thinks since it is for her. Duh!

Hard Times

This has been one hell of a difficult week. It started out with back ache on one side last Sunday. Monday I had to go in to see the dentist for another phase of my tooth implant. With back pain. The two hours flew by as if I was having fun. OK, could have been the nitrous oxide. But the week kept on plodding along slowly with a continuous back ache. tried heat, pain meds, from strong to weaker to in between, but nothing helped. I could sit for a little, stand up for a little, and be in bed for longer periods of time. Got nothing done! Just felt sorry for myself.

Today came the break through. And of course I probably overdid it immediately. When I don’t want to tackle my mess, I throw myself in to Stephen’s affairs. I flung papers and photos and cassette tapes (yes, he saves cassette tapes, don’t ask, it’s a long story), CDs, dust bunnies and dust buffalos, and after a few hours and repeated complaints by Stephen that he did not sign up for this, his room looked much better.

Yes, and so I did kind of, with less vigor, attack my room and all my stuff strewn around the house. To be honest, I only managed to kind of organize my yarn/sewing/craft room. There is a clear path to the table and the sewing machine. And I carried my computer downstairs into our bedroom where I keep a desk that I use as I do all flat spaces in the house, to store stuff on I don’t know what to do with.

Actually I cleared the desk top pretty well, but please don’t look behind the curtain of the closet where piles are awaiting me for sorting.

I’m hoping I did no further damage to my back because I am ready to knit.

Knitting did play a role during the week, if only to finish projects and do very little ones.

Let me introduce you to my new hobby: making dishcloths. So far I only have a picture of the first one I made. While watching the Champions League soccer match yesterday (Germany against Germany, I could not go wrong), I started and finished another dishcloth.

ImageVery unimaginative, your basic dishcloth. Here is the link to ravelry and the pattern.

A friend recently gave me a generous amount of yarn. And I have been dipping into this stash. First I used the sari silk yarn. It is a rather heavy yarn, so what to make? I decided on a skinny scarf for our daughter Liana. It was not easy to knit with this yarn, it did not move along the needles easily, but it turned out well.Image

This box of gift yarn has really inspired me. And with that I present a hat for Liana:Image

This hat pattern is here. As you can see I made a little change by adding a band at the bottom. This was a suggestion by the yarnharlot. The button was an easy find at our local Ben Franklin.

And last, but never least: socks. A while ago I finished the non-wool socks for my friend and a pair for Stephen. I’m so blessed that Stephen is willing to wear about any sock in any color I make.¬†Image

I’ve ordered some fleece artist sock yarn recently and fell in love. By accident I ordered a color twice (tiger) and at first was disappointed. But once I knit with it I realized it was a very happy mistake. I did finish the pair of socks, but I’m having a hard time letting go of them. Eventually, perhaps when I knit a second pair, I might be able to pass them on.Image

With that, I’m somewhat caught up with my knitting adventures. There is still a backlog of pictures and projects to show you. For now, excuse me while I go and knit.