Thursday, January 27, 2011

::hack, wheeze:: You know else smells after three days?

Benjamin Franklin said, "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."

What else smells after three days? Colds, that's what. Sniffle, snuffle, wheeze, hack -- this one began around Tuesday of LAST week as a slightly drippy nose and a sore throat that looked suspiciously like strep. Went to the doctor Friday for a quick test, that came back negative. Okay, I thought, I'll just park myself on the couch all weekend and knit until I get better, right?

Hah. It was Monday when the coughing set in. I'd be okay all day at work, but every night, between 7 and 8, I started coughing. And coughing. And coughing some more. Cough, cough, cough, cough, COUGH until about 2 or 3 in the morning, when it stopped as mysteriously as it had started and I could finally drop off, exhausted. Why? Who knows? I tried all sorts of remedies gleaned from the internet. Cough syrup? Hah. Vaporizer? Not much. Hot herbal tea? A little relief while drinking it, after that, nothin'. Spoonful of honey? Nope. Ginger tea? So-so, mainly as a counter-irritant, but short-lived. Shot of brandy from a tiny, dusty bottle out of some long-ago Christmas gift package? Nada, and considering we're a "dry" household out of deference to hubby's desire not to follow in the alcoholic footsteps of many of his older relatives, that I'd even go for the brandy is a sign of how desperate I'd become.

Standing in a hot shower was the only thing that seemed to help at all, but again, only when the shower was running. Could it be dry air? Maybe, maybe, so last evening, desperate for a reasonable night's sleep, I went on a humidity attack. I turned on the vaporizer in the bedroom as soon as I got home. I put a big pot of water on the stove. I put my electric tea kettle on the boil in the living room. I filled the bathtub with hot water and set a fan on the sink to blow some of the steamy vapors out. Ahh, finally a little relief. Some coughing, but much less. And after an hour's initial restlessness, some sleep. (Then hubby came home at midnight from a magician's meeting, so another hour's restlessness before I went to sleep again, but at least I was sleeping!)

So tonight I'm doing the same, and also left off taking the 24-hour antihistamine that, with a decongestant, had kept an off-and-on runny nose at bay, wondering if that was drying my lungs out too much. I can live with sniffles. I can't sleep with coughing. So far, so good. A few coughs, but not much. My poor tired ribs are much relieved.

At least last weekend I made significant progress on a mystery sock KAL. It's a new pattern, Isaz, by Ariel who keeps the Adventures in Sock Knitting blog, done up in BFL Platinum from Three Fates Knitting.

Clue 1 I'd finished:

I plowed through Clue 2 while occupying the couch all weekend:

And got through Clue 3 on one of the socks:

Even though I was feeling like "ah done been rode hard and put away wet" as the cowpokes say, I was still productive. Yay, knitting!

Monday, January 24, 2011

First FO of 2011: Morgan

The hubby was complaining. We've had some cold snaps this winter, which only helped to emphasize that the thatch on his roof was getting thin. "My head is cold," he said, which provided me with the perfect excuse to finally make Morgan after it's been on my Ravelry queue ever since it appeared on Knitty.

Done up in Rowan Felted Tweed, I think it came out quite spiffy.

From the side:

And from the front:

Knitting this was an act of faith in many places, as when I read the pattern I couldn't imagine how parts of it could possibly work. So I said, "Oooookaaaay," and just followed directions exactly as they were written. Except for getting the faux seam inside-out the first time I tried it (by not quite following instructions exactly), everything else fell into place. I cut the peak stiffener out of a large yogurt tub, so it already had a curve on it.

When it was done, hubby put it on and didn't take it off the rest of the day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bad... Revolution?

This has nothing to do with knitting.

They didn't even put in les tricoteuses.

But it was just too good not to share.

I don't know what it is about this video. Maybe it's the swingin' tune. Maybe it's the lyrics, which are better (and more educational) than the original. Maybe it's the choreography (which I also prefer to the original).

But something about this music video by historyteachers just tickled my funny bone, and I keep playing it over and over. It's been my earworm all week. These gals are fabulous singers, and appear to be real history teachers as well.

So viva la Revolution in France to the tune of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance:

Check out the rest of the channel, too. St. Thomas Aquinas, improbably to the tune of Venus, is just about as fun. There's also Chinese Dynasties, Canterbury Tales, and for anyone trying to memorize all of those wives, try Henry VIII.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Crafting In the New Year

When I was a kid, we'd ring in the New Year on New Year's eve, sitting up until midnight, eating chips and clam dip, and taking the brass dinner bell out to ring it and shout, "Happy New Year!" The next day we'd have a big family dinner, generally a ham or sometimes a beef roast, since we'd been turkey-ed out from Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Dad passed away twelve years ago, and the tradition faded away for various reasons. But this year I've got a new "tradition" to go with.

Our knitting group decided to do a Craft a New Year event, bringing together our group and others from the community to knit, crochet, bead, spin, scrapbook, weave, and otherwise craft together, celebrating the human creative spirit.

I came with spinning gear to demonstrate spinning on a wheel and on a spindle.

We filled the main room of the Ike Box with crafters of all kinds.

Folks coming in were greeted with working spinning wheels and spindles.

Lavelle showed off scrapbooking and helped people make sample projects.

Betsy got a friend started with knitting.

We had a bead artist and a woodworker showing off their skills.

Many of us brought donations for the raffle. The proceeds went to support Issac's Room, the non-profit that runs the Ike Box and helps at-risk youth.

Stephania brought baskets full of Three Fates Yarns for sale. I went home with a skein of grass-green sock yarn that will be perfect for the Citron shawl, and a braid of BFL top. Now that Steph can take payment in plastic on-site, we're all in trouble.

Little Josephine took it all in -- future crafter in the making.

While baby Ellie, newest member of the group, wrapped head to toe in hand knits, soaked up all that good crafting mojo.

We raised something between $150 and $200 for Issac's Room, and had a great time.

Last FO of 2010: Greenwood Cabled Vest

Ah, Rowan Lima.

Lovely, smooshy, soft baby alpaca with a touch of merino and nylon. Rich colors with slight heathering for depth. Braided i-cord-like construction for subtle texture. 

More splitty than a brigade of pre-teen gymnasts.

Rowan Lima, how I love and hate thee. Knitting with the stuff is a pain -- or, rather, trying to pick up a dropped stitch, or trying to cable without cable needles is a pain. The loose construction makes finding the open loop of a dropped stitch a real challenge, even with the help of a full-spectrum lamp. But the result is a subtly textured knit with a silky soft finish.

I bought my Rowan Lima last summer in Sisters when driving home from a workshop that I was leading in Bend, with the Greenwood Cabled Vest in mind. 

Finally started the project in November, and finished it near midnight on New Year's Eve, just as Jack Lemmon got engaged to Joe E. Brown in Some Like it Hot. Except he was "Daphne" at the time... well... you just have to see it. I steam-blocked it this morning, and hoorah, it fit!

I knitted it up a little bit small, knowing that the alpaca would grow when washed. Even with just steam, it relaxed enough that I got just the fit that I wanted.

And from the back, to show off the cables:

I think it came out quite nice. The yarn and the pattern complement each other beautifully.

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