Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in Review

December 31 always affects me. For years I wanted every day to be remembered and was sad if it wasn't. I think I just really wanted every event to be memorable. Now I realize that individual times and things aren't likely to be memorable, and that what I really hope for is a life lived well. I spend a lot of time in my head, and I don't even talk about much that's important to me for fear of disappointing myself as well as the people in my life. So my goal for 2008 is to reach more openly for what I love in this world, and to continue to learn generosity from many of the wonderful people in my life.

I've been taking the Build Your Skills knitting class from Rebecca
at Village since March, and toward the end of our last 2007 session, she asked each of us to list our completed knitting projects. Last night I completed my 34th knitted project of 2007. Many of my projects this year have been small in size and time commitment and large in regaining skills while learning new ones. I didn't list the projects I haven't completed, which include my first lace shawl, my first toe-up socks, and Rowan's Lynton cardigan in Cotton Jeans yarn (they are first on my list for completion this new year).

In 2007 I knitted my first pair of socks using the Pure and Simple topdown pattern, and knit four more pair as the year progressed. I've now learned four more ways to cast on and observed a new cast off, although I haven't yet tried it. My two gift bags were my first attempts at beaded knitting and the Fair Isle was done while I still only knitted with the throw technique.

Rebecca gave us a class to familiarize us with continental knitting, and in October, I took a class from Karen Alfke to learn two handed knitting while making her Banded Fair Isle Tam (see photo). I knit the green one in class then designed new bands for the next three) and I realized that although I progress slowly, Starmore and other Fair Isle patterns are not out of my reach. My niece liked the tam I knitted for her, and she created a band design for me to knit the same tam for her friend, Abby. I call that a triumph!

I'm becoming reconciled with swatching from seeing the amazing swatches my Nihon student friends knit for their projects and from the success I've had due to swatching first. And, as a result, I not only allow for the swatching in my yarn purchase, I've learned that I knit so loosely that it will be rare for me to knit a pattern with the recommended needle size.

My biggest project was completing a UFO that had been weighing me down for three years. I had chosen S Charles Micio for the wonderful softness and vibrant color, then found that the pullover sweater I was knitting had no body. I frogged the entire back and front and what I had knit of the sleeves, then chose a simple Nashua cardigan pattern. To get my gauge, I combined it with Falk's Dalegarn sportweight and swatched to get my needle size. I went to my first Beppa button sale and bought the lovely silk buttons, and my last minute panic about whether I had enough yarn was unfounded. My next learning experience was learning about the woolly board. Naomi brought hers over, and it worked like magic. I would have never considered soaking the sweater for 30 minutes in warm water then spinning it for 30 seconds in my washer, but I trusted Naomi's guidance. My cardigan now fits like a dream and is a joy to wear when it's cold. The photo color doesn't do the yarn justice.

The other sweater I completed was a Sirdar chunky knit from Rowan's Ribbon Twist. I had another panic about yarn quantity when I decided to add long sleeves and learned the yarn had been discontinued. It's a wonderful yarn to knit - I have about 3 yards left. This is another one I wear only when it's cold. (Thankfully, I still had Naomi's woolly board, but it's now been finally returned to her.)

Janine Bajus is holding student Lori's swatch homework, and Naomi is holding the one she knit (Note how Naomi is wearing the colors she swatched with!). Thanks to Janine's class, I've learned that the color sense I've felt as long as I can remember is still with me, and I'm building confidence about trying color combinations with yarn. I've learned that having specific times to knit and a fiber community inspires me to do more and stick with my projects. And in 2008 I intend to keep my project list updated so I can put my energy into reviewing my progress instead of counting them up in December.
And, finally, I'm learning to blog. I haven't been consistent with my postings, due to failure to commit the time, moving slowly on my knitted projects, and some uncertainty about what will be interesting and fun for others to read. So I plan to have more fun with my blog in 2008.

It's important to knit things we like, don't you think? My December projects each began as gifts and were given with love. Happily, some were received with sweet enthusiasm, and I learned who I will knit for again as well as who I will not. One item that began as gift is now part of my own wardrobe, and I have no regrets about the effort I put into it. I've made some valuable new friends in 2007, and I get to continue learning in my class and at Madrona Retreat in February.
2008 looks to be a very good year!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

One of those days...

I would describe myself as an optimistic person. I work hard to understand things, and take the brightest spin on what I experience from life. And when I feel a little battered by life, I wonder what I'm supposed to learn from the lessons tripping me up.

Take the last 24 hours, for example. Last night at about this time, I was on my way to bed. I've been working on a gift for my sister-in-law, Gail, involving casting on 648 stitches that are knitted and gradually decreased, then increased back to 648 stitches on the other side. I had reached the final 4 rows nervously watching my ball of yarn, and I realized that I didn't have enough yarn for all 4 rows. It was my second time knitting this item from a different color of the same yarn, so I didn't expect a problem. I didn't really want to go buy another skein of the special Blue Moon Washington State Cougar colors, but I didn't even have that option since I bought the sole skein that arrived in the recent shipment. I left it until this evening, and it is now frogged back to the middle, is back on the needles, and the yarn wound back into a ball. As if the past hours of knitting never even happened.

Then this morning, I was up and anticipating the full day of class with Naomi at Churchmouse Yarn & Tea learning about Color Design and Customized Fair Isle from Janine Bajus. I drove to Naomi's, and in the course of attempting to turn my car around to park leaving room for the gardening to be done while she was gone, I scraped the front bumper of my red car on the white railing. It's amazing how white stands out on red. I expect it to come off without much ado, but still! Good thing she drove downtown from there! No telling what else I might have done.

We did make the ferry to Bainbridge Island by literally running down from Seattle Municipal Tower all the way to the ferry terminal, and we were on time for class. There were gorgeous Fair Isle sweaters displayed throughout the store. My favorite was a vest by Katie Swanson. I asked to buy the pattern, and was told she has never written it as a pattern. I hope she does one day - it's beautiful and I would love to knit it.

The class was intense and informative. Janine has a way of helping us to tap into internal reaches to see things differently and to use what we see in a new way. We each brought a color inspiration and a pattern, and got a bit of a shock at how much work it takes to plan Fair Isle color design. Janine pointed out that designing a sweater body and the pattern are minor compared to choosing successful colors. That was a real wake-up call for me - I've frequently found patterns for sweaters and thought I'd like to knit them in a different color combination. It was never as easy as I thought it would be, and now I know why. She had every Jameson color except Sky for us to sample, and we swatched right there to examine hue and value before winding off yarn to take home and swatch in our individual pattern. I'm swatching for Rosemarkie since I'm still a newbie at Fair Isle, so I'll share my swatches here.

My mom arrived at the shop at 6:30 to take us home for dinner. My dad cooked a great meal and my mom had made a pie - it was quite lovely of them and we all had a nice time. Naomi met my dad for the first time, and commented to me how lucky I am to still have them. She's right. And I'm lucky they live close enough to visit.
Time passed quickly and we suddenly needed to catch our ferry back to Seattle. My dad drove us to the dock, and in getting out of his car, I dropped my purse upside down. I grabbed it and we dashed as we heard the last call for walk-on passengers. We made the ferry, sat down to catch our breaths, then I thought I'd call George to tell him when I'd be home. But I couldn't find my cell phone. I called my dad, who went back to check the sidewalk where I dropped my handbag, and the taxi driver waiting for a fare asked him what he was looking for. When he told her, she said a young guy had picked something up, then she heard him telling the buddy picking him up that he had found a cell phone. Then the two guys left.
I was contemplative during the entire ferry ride, the drive back to my bruised car, and the drive home from Naomi's. I planned to call and cancel my cell phone service and wondered what my lesson was meant to be. Ultimately, I agreed with Naomi that I really need to get more sleep (so I don't make so many dumb mistakes is what I think, not what she said). I feel like there's so much I want to do that I just don't have time for, and somehow, the idea of staying up feels like I'm getting a little more of life... until I have to get up and function in my job and other parts of the real world.
When I walked in the door at home, George told me that a guy, Nate, had called and has my cell phone. He'll be coming to Seattle tomorrow for a ball game and will leave the phone at the ferry lost and found. I tried calling him to make more secure arrangements, but he didn't answer at the number he gave George. So I'll go to the Seattle ferry terminal tomorrow in hopes of getting my phone. And meanwhile, I think I'll go get some sleep.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knitting at Karen's

Karen Campbell is the power behind Two Swans Yarns, and she was kind enough to host our monthly knitting group at her house so we could have access to her yarn supply as each knitter chooses the next knitting project.

On Saturday morning, October 20th, George left at 4:30am for his motocross race and a few hours later Naomi drove as Melinda and I carpooled with her to Karen's lovely country estate for our knitting day. Through the front door past the formal dining table filled with a rainbow of Jameson's colors, cozy sitting room with baskets of yarn and inviting books, plenty of natural light to knit by, and butternut squash soup on the stove... it was a heavenly day that passed quickly.

Knitters came and went throughout the day; 12 to 15 people made the trip to Kent. Some brought projects so there was knitting as well as show and tell. Many of us perused our coveted Alice Starmore books to choose a project pattern and purchase the yarns immediately from Karen to take home that day. Thank you, Karen, for all your hard work up and down those stairs and with amazing patience as we asked questions and changed our minds. If you could stand it, I think it would be great if this was an annual or bi-annual event to prepare for seasonal projects.

Naomi modeled Ryan's hats knit from just two skeins of Jameson's - you may have already seen them on Ryan's blog. Ryan says the pattern will be ready soon, so we can all choose our colors. I'm planning to knit one for our sailor, Jon, who is based in Tokyo, but currently at sea on the Kittyhawk for its final world tour before decommissioning.

I've settled on Rosemarkie for my first Starmore so that I'll be swatching it in Janine's class next month and putting the colors I choose on Two Swans wish list to make it easy for my family to access my Christmas ideas. I was considering trying Starmore's Oregon as a vest using the color way in the new Vogue Knitting, but I regained my senses before making a commitment. I'll graduate from Rosemarkie before entering knitting college in the form of twice the colors. I'm excited to see the projects progress over the next weeks.

Thanks to inspiration from the Knitting Daily newsletter, I've been thinking a lot about my UFO's and have been making a serious effort to finish the projects that have been languishing at the "nearly finished" stage. My next post I'll share my progress - it already feels great!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

I ride the bus to work from a park & ride every day - the ride home is invariably so crowded that Cherie and I are standing for the first portion of the 25 minute commute. We have to put our things at our feet to be able to hold on to a post or railing. Wednesday last week, I was carrying my purse, book bag, and small knitting project bag containing my latest socks (one sock complete, the other just turned the heel), and they were snuggled between my feet until I picked them up to exit at Northgate park & ride. I ran some errands and arrived home an hour later without my knitting! Upset to distraction, I went back to the park & ride to check the parking lot and the stands, with no luck. I completely lost my appetite and sat down with my coat on to knit my cotton jeans sweater and generate good knitting carma. George was very understanding and patted my shoulder every now and then; I slept badly. I checked Metro's website in the morning - no information until after 10:30. A call after our staff meeting and received the message ALL LINES ARE BUSY. CALL BACK LATER. At lunch, Cherie kindly came with me to Metro's Lost & Found where my bag had been turned in, intact. I am still amazed and was so thrilled, I couldn't concentrate the rest of the day. I am thankful for the kindness of strangers, whether it was a passenger, or someone clearing the bus at the terminal.

That Thursday was also the much anticipated craveparty at Alderwood Mall with Jamie, Cherie, and Debra. I was excited to learn just what is "glam-casual" since I was out of the fashion swing while I wore a uniform. We got a large shopping bag with discount cards and samples, ate dinner at Macaroni's and watched the first of a couple of fashion shows. We also got discounts at the stores in The Village - the outdoors part of Alderwood. We were sprinkled on a little when we arrived, then the rain really began while we watched the first fashion show. We used umbrellas to go from store to store, but in the end the rain made it too cold to stay the entire time. We liked jewelry at Cintli where Jamie bought a very fun red ring and I bought a rectangular shaped hollow silver bangle. They have a shop at Pike Place Market that I'd like to visit... I would try the craveparty again when it is all indoors and the stores come to us with massages, facials, etc.

Fall came rushing in faster than expected. We still have our patio umbrella up, and I thought it would launch into the atmosphere with the wind yesterday. A tickle in my throat last Friday has gradually become a full blown cold in spite of my efforts to fight it off by taking it easy. I've been at home Tuesday and Wednesday trying to avoid sharing it with my colleagues - I'm planning to be back at work tomorrow though! I know I'm not feeling well when I don't have the energy to knit!

As you can see in the first photo, I did finish the socks from the lost&found project bag, and am working on the swatch for my first Lucky Lurker socks. My other nearly completed project is the fair isle bag for my Rebecca class. You were right, Naomi! I did a fair isle vest when I was in college, so it was just a matter of trying it again. And I've already added a couple of techniques to my previous knowledge just by talking with other knitters. I'm heading to Bainbridge this Saturday for a two stranded knitted tam class at Churchmouse. I'm looking forward to it now that I have some recent experience.

My last visit to my folks' on Bainbridge, my mom showed me three sweaters she has saved through the years. The photo on the left is a ski sweater my dad knit for her in about 1960. I don't remember the name of the stitch, but it was the first time I remember him knitting. So that would be when I learned to knit at age 7. Around 1986, I designed and knit this intarsia patterned cotton sweater (while I was at school in Germany) to match the fabric of a skirt I sewed for Mom. I also crocheted her one of those bobble sweaters that were popular for awhile - I told her it was time to get rid of that one!

In May of this year, I took a class at Acorn Street to knit a Noni felted bag. My gauge was off, so I needed nearly twice the yarn, and my purse turned into an exceedingly large bag that seemed to take forever to knit. I felted it twice to try to reduce the size - I would have preferred it more felted than the first time, and not as felted as it is now (15"w x 9"h). Still, it's pretty fun, and I love the handles. I attached the flowers with pins for now, since I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with it, and if I use the flowers, I'm thinking of adding beads. I love the ruffle!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Old Fashioned Quality

Time flies by at the end of summer. August is a busy family month, and this year was no exception. I took a four day weekend for Labor Day and now am readying my psyche for less time off as the cooler months roll in. Knitting again has put me in a sort of homey state of mind, so the thoughts of cold don't bother me this year.

The home arts are being infused into my consciousness from a number of sources, resulting in my desire to have my sewing machine in good running order, and in my choice of a crochet project in addition to my knitting projects. I hope the crochet project is fun - Ellen suggested I consult Deb at Village Yarn & Tea if I run into trouble, and it doesn't look like such a difficult pattern. I'll reveal it after I'm sure it's not too difficult for me at this stage.

The crochet bug confronting me came in the form of my dad's sister, Aunt Carol. Her birthday is in February, and while I rarely acknowledge it on time, I like to give gifts when I find the gift that matches the person. Several years ago, I pestered her into writing down the pattern for one of the crocheted potholders I remember from her mother/my Grandmother (that was what she liked us to call her). She sent a small package containing not only the hand-written pattern, but a collection of potholders in a variety of designs and fibers. Aunt Carol had mentioned that there was not much selection of quality threads in her area of Utah. So, when I was at JoAnn's last winter and saw a pile of crochet thread big balls in bright, vibrant colors, both solids and variagated, I bought 5 or 6 colors and sent them to her. She sent a great thank you letter with photos of my cousins and their children, and I resolved to send her thread whenever I find good colors and good quality.

What a lovely surprise when I received a small birthday package from her in mid-August containing potholders crocheted from the very threads I had sent her. Each one is a different pattern in such beautiful, vibrant colors that each is like a jewel. All used the sunny yellow of my laundry room for accent. I hate the idea of using them the way potholders are used, so they are currently functioning as trivets. Aren't I lucky?

I learned to sew in fall in my 8th grade Home Ec class (nearly 40 years ago), and sewed most of my own clothes after my parents bought me a sewing machine for Christmas that year. It's a Penncrest (yes, that's present tense) and it took me from learning how to use patterns right through tailoring and flat pattern design. It has sewn everything from alterations, complete sets of bridesmaid dresses, curtains, to stuffed animals - at one point I thought my career would be as a tailor. I've never truly needed more than what it does.

Recently, it was struggling with heavy fabrics, so I decided to buy a new machine and give mine to my niece or sell it to a friend. I took it to the shop I have used for a dozen years for a tune up and was told it probably wasn't worth working on - they offered to throw it in their dumpster for me. I wasn't able to make the emotional disconnect on such short notice: I put the machine back in my car. I mentioned my plight at Rebecca's Thursday night Village Yarn knitting class and Chris spoke up, suggesting the guy at 200th and Aurora Avenue North in Shoreline. I went there last Friday and met "Big Bad Joe". I told him about my machine and asked if there was anything he could do. He said yes, of course, and lifted the machine out of my trunk.
His view is that the current machines will never be as good as the old (and extremely heavy) machines, and that the old ones can always be tuned up to run like new. He was as good as his word - for $30 less than the other place would have charged for my hopeless case, I received my machine back the next morning sewing as well as it sewed when I first got it. And George enjoys old codgers, so we bought a vacuum cleaner as well. I'm so glad to have found Big Bad Joe! His son purchased the business from him 12 years ago and is as committed to the quality as his dad, but Joe isn't ready to retire - he says he came with the business. Quality and small business owners are still around if you know the right people! Thank you for such a gem, Chris!

And my knitting has continued happily - my next post will include more, but here are two pairs of socks. The Pure & Simple socks for my dad are Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Granite with Koigu heels and toes, and the photo just doesn't do the color justice. I blocked them, and my dad sent them right back to have me reduce them. A quick wash without any blocking had them fitting him the way socks should fit, and he wore them fishing last week. I'm just finishing another pair of same for George. The basket weave socks for my friend, Cherie, are knit with Panda Wool and were literally "Made in Egypt" while I traveled there with my dad in 100 - 135 degree weather. Amazingly, the bamboo in the yarn helped keep the yarn from sticking too badly to my hands in such heat, and a number of other travelers on our cruise down the Nile kept tabs on my progress. I liked the finished product well enough to buy two more balls to make the same socks in a different color!
More of my projects next time - and I won't wait so long between posts!

Friday, August 10, 2007

A brief look back...

It's an adjustment to be writing again. I journaled daily for years and when I went back to read what I had written, I had often written different words than I remembered about the subject.

My most recent writing until now was a unit newsletter in my previous job as a Community Service Officer (CSO). I've been thinking about that time after going to a talk on personal safety at work given by a crime prevention coordinator I knew when I was on the police department - talking with her took me back to my eleven years there.

There were 19 of us in the CSO unit. We were uniformed, drove marked vehicles, and were dispatched by police communications to handle non-enforcement calls made to 911. We described our body of work as similar to the mortar between bricks - officers handled enforcement calls and we handled what was outside their scope of duties. Our work varied daily, ranging from welfare checks of ill or elderly citizens and landlord-tenant disputes to taking juvenile runaways and missing person reports. We met people who were at critically low points in their lives and worked to give them the tools to help themselves; we were very often able to resolve situations without police officers to assist us.

The newsletter I wrote was a monthly review of the kinds of calls individual CSO's had handled and the outcomes. I took great pleasure watching everyone read about themselves and each other - we didn't know then that we were an endangered group, about to become extinct due to the decision by the new police chief and mayor.

The chief announced that our work was not essential to Seattle and blithely cut our unit during the 2002 budget crunch. A group of unpaid volunteers called VSTs (Victim Support Team? I don't remember now) was ostensibly in place to work with domestic violence victims, but we watched them offer to do more than their defined scope of work. After we lost our jobs, VST's have continued, but we still hear from officers how much they miss CSO's and would like us back. A 30 year unit with hundreds of years of memories and experience was lost when we were eliminated. This photo is not our uniform, it's a t-shirt that we had made to wear under our uniforms.

Losing a job we thought was important was a crushing blow for all of us, and most of us carry that experience still. My life perspective was altered forever in that I expected to work as a CSO until I retired from that position. Now, I take nothing for granted, and am thankful to be employed. I was very fortunate to find a wonderful new career with the City after being unemployed briefly. I enjoy being once again surrounded in my work by quality people who are inspiring to work with and have added yet another dimension to my life.

In addition to finding new friends to add to the friendships from my CSO days, my creative side has reawakened. While with the police department, my work used all my creativity. In my last 18 months as a CSO, I finally pursued my love of photography, taking community college classes to learn darkroom developing and printing. My creative juices began flowing in my personal life again, and they continue to strengthen. My photography has taken a back seat while I regain other skills, but like knitting, I'm sure to go back to it before long.

Ah, my knitting! In February, I cast on the socks from my earlier post, and at the same time, I cast on a baby sweater for my friend Claudia's one year old daughter, Hannah. It's a sweater I've knitted several times, and since it is a simplified Aran design, I thought it would be a good way to bring back my skills without overwhelming myself with an adult sized sweater.

I chose Tiny Tots acrylic yarn for the washability and look; in retrospect, it takes away from the cables and moss stitches because it is so textured. Still, it was worthwhile, and I added Hannah's signature colors and delivered it to Claudia in time for Hannah's first birthday in April.

Next, I cast on a second sweater from the same pattern. This one for my niece's (Rachel's), baby boy Connor, to be born in May. I used Jean nee from Plymouth Yarn - beautiful machine washable cotton with a wonderful hand. I completed it the morning of her baby shower, sewing in the ends after blocking the night before. Rachel asked me if I would sew a "Handmade by ..." tag in it too.

The final sweater this year from that pattern was again from Tiny Tots yarn provided by a friend who wanted a 6 month size, and didn't want it to have sleeves. More good practice for me, this time in altering a pattern. Again, the yarn texture doesn't do the pattern justice, but she was very pleased with the little vest. Next time I face the return to adult sizes!

Monday, July 30, 2007

I've always liked the color red...

... I just never planned to own a red car. I knew I wanted low maintenance, reliability, longevity, and at least the features I had in my Jetta. My decision was to buy a used Lexus. The color of the best maintained car with the lowest mileage in my price range was "Pearl Cinnabar." The purchase on Friday took all day, thanks to the seller not having the required originals for transfer of the title, and thanks to my distracted error in locking the key to George's car in his trunk so we had to make a round trip from Bellevue to Kenmore and back in Friday afternoon traffic. The dust has settled, the car is finally in my driveway, and I like red more than ever!

I looked forward all that week to knitting at Naomi's, and took the opportunity to go back to my Forest Canopy shawl. I need to be focused when I work on it, even with a lifeline, or I just make too many errors. I took a break from it while I was on the car mission and knit two scarves from Ellen's Mermaid design - one with Rowan's Damask linen yarn, and the other with a sort of chenille blend. They were good practice for my beginning lace knitting and good opportunities to try two different weights of yarn. Blocking was the other technique I practiced; a wet block for the Damask and a dry block for the chenille. The timing was perfect since I've been reading about blocking in the Interweave newsletter. The photo doesn't show the pattern very well - suffice it to say that I'm ready to try the Mermaid shawl with my Sea Silk. As soon as I finish the Forest Canopy shawl.

Meanwhile, I'm getting ready for a sweater project and having to decide which to tackle first between the Rowan Classic Lynton cardigan with Cotton Jeans yarn, or Ruth's Kauni cardigan. I've been swatching the Cotton Jeans, and it looks like I'll be using US 5 instead of 7 due to my "relaxed" knitting. (I don't want to refer to myself as a "loose knitter" do I?) At Rebecca's class at Village on Thursday, I'm planning to begin swatching the Kauni yarn for my first attempt at Fair Isle since college. Well, the Lynton will be fun, and the Kauni will be challenging!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The end of my Jetta era...

Thank you, Naomi and Jamie for your enthusiastic comments - being a novice blogger, it's fun to get your response and encouragement is a good thing! Since my last posting, I've been in the throes of choosing a used car to buy, and selling my beloved VW 2000 Jetta GLX. Several days on craigslist, and the Jetta is being sold next week to Daniel, a Microsofty (softie?) from Ethiopia, who I like very much and I think he will enjoy the heck out of my fun car.

I will continue driving George's "grampa car", his gold Buick Century, until next Friday, when I get to complete the purchase of my 1998 Lexus GS300. I was mulling over whether this was the car I wanted when the seller called to tell me he was going on vacation and wouldn't be back until July 26th. I couldn't meet up with him that day because I'll be at Stitch'n'Pitch, so we'll do all the paper work on Friday. This will be a good week!

As promised, the next photo entry of my knitting is the pair of socks I knitted with Naomi's guidance. First I had to shop for yarn (and ended up buying yarn for three different pairs of socks), then needles. I hopefully bought 2's and 1's in circular and knit my swatches, then I bought the

Addi 0's I've been using for every pair of socks since. I'm now working on my 4th pair since beginning, and my gauge is standing solid. This is On-Line yarn, and it was great to knit with. I did have some gapping at the top of the gusset on the first sock, but after reading Charlene Schurch's hint in Sensational Knitted Socks, I haven't had a gusset-gap since.

Next time I'll share a couple of my aran baby sweaters. The pattern is from a German knitting book, and I've knitted several variations over the years. I knitted three of them while I was working on my socks so I could begin to get my knitting chops back to where they had been.

In closing, and by request, here's a photo of George at a motocross race in Washougal, WA. As you can see, Maverick is not intimidated by a motocross jock. And that motocross jock isn't such a tough guy!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A very good place to start

My first posting, and I'm a little bit speechless.

First, I'm planning to share my knitting projects. In fact that's the whole reason I was inspired to start a blog. Although I learned to knit as a child, I have put down my needles for years at a time. Now it seems like precious time lost, and I feel the urge to catch up. Of course, I'll never catch up the way I continue to buy yarn without regard for how much yarn I already have. The good news is that what's different now is that I'm becoming part of a community of knitters so that the things that caused me to stop knitting in the past are no longer likely. The other good news is that having so much yarn is just another step to my charter membership in the knitting community.

I may also mention George (my "significant other" for the past 11 years) at times, because he's just as important to me as knitting - just like I'm just as important to him as his vintage motorcycles. I won't say how many he has, but I do wonder what the motorcycle equivalent of a yarn stash would be called.

My industrious friend, Naomi, inspired me to return to knitting with a passion, and has shown me more than a few things. Besides starting me with my first pair of socks ever, she showed me how to post a photo. My first attempt to post a photo, made on my own, is out there in cyber-space somewhere, and I don't know how to go get it.

So instead, I thought I'd post my good dog's adoption photo. This is what I saw on PetFinder when I called George and told him "You have to see this boy!" Maverick came with his name and was about a year old when he came home to us in March of 2005. He's a Boxer-lab mix and is the best dog ever! As everyone who has adopted a critter knows, he has issues, but now all he really wants to do is hang out with his people. And chase the ball. And go for walks. And eat.

I've been taking photos of my knitting and will add one each post until I catch up to what's finished so far. It shouldn't take long! I'm relearning things I've done, trying things for the first time, and doing a lot of tearing out and starting over. I guess there's nothing wrong with that!