There Are Tears Around Here

DSCF2783.JPGOh, there are tears going on today. Not the loud weeping and gnashing of teeth kind of tears, but the big ol’ crocodile tears that flow slowly down your cheeks and just keep flowing and flowing. (Where does all of that “tear liquid” come from, and why don’t you ever run out? I want to know.) College Boy went back to college this weekend, and we had to leave him and drive back home today. I just hate that. I thought it would be better this year (his sophomore year) but it’s just not.

Last year, I could truly claim that it was all about HIM … and hardly at all about me. I was hoping that God had led him to the right college (because, you know, God might’ve made a mistake, you never know.) I was hoping that he and his room-mates would click. (There were three in their room. THREE!) I was hoping that he’d adjust to sharing a room with two other guys after having his own bedroom for 18 years. I was hoping that he’d make good friends. I was hoping that he’d feel like he fit in. I was hoping that he’d have good teachers. I was hoping that he’d find a part-time job that he enjoyed. I was hoping that he’d keep in touch with us. I was hoping that he’d be happy. And I was hoping that I’d find a way to survive for 55 days until I could see him again. (Well of course I counted the days. Absolutely.) All of that was going through my head, all summer long, leading up to taking him to college. It made me kind of sentimental and weepy, all summer long. (But I kept it to myself. A little teary sniffle here and there, in the bathroom or when I went to bed. Nothing in front of anyone. Nothing to make anyone think that I was going around the bend or anything. I had the lid on it.)

The week that we were going to leave last year, I pulled out of the driveway to go to the grocery store, and saw the cute little neighbor boy riding his Little Tikes car down the sidewalk. Well, that about did me in. Surely it was just a couple of years ago that Danny was doing that very same thing? (Ok, well maybe not. He has been 6’4″ for several years and that doesn’t go inside a Little Tikes car. So maybe it has been just a bit longer than that.) By the time I got to the grocery store, I was thinking that I had better not see anyone that I knew. If I could whip through the aisles and bite the inside of my cheek, I might make it home before the tears came again. As I was checking out, I heard a “Well Sheri! Hi!” It was sweet Ruth Ann from church. She said, “How are your kids doing? They are getting so old!” I said (overly-brightly), “Well, Danny is actually leaving for college the day after tomorrow!” In her kindest and most sympathetic voice (because she has been through that), she said, “And how are YOU doing with that?” I burst into tears. Right there in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. Jeez. She said, “Oh my!” The checker said, “Oh my!” and I tried to get out of there as soon as possible. A melt-down in the grocery store, of all places. I still try to avoid Ruth Ann at church, as she now thinks that I must be emotionally unbalanced. Jeez.

Back to this year – I did great all summer long. No worries about Danny and college. I already knew that he loved it up there and that he felt like he belonged there. I knew that he had made great friends and that he had chosen to room with two great guys – Phillip and Nathan – this year. (Yes, three in a room again. By choice. Go figure.) I knew that he had a terrific job, that he had chosen good classes, that he would have great teachers, that he would be good about keeping in touch with us (hey Danny – call me!), and that he was exactly where he was supposed to be. There were no worries about him this year. (No teary outbursts in the grocery store either, although I’m still avoiding sweet Ruth Ann.) No, this time when I had to give him that last big hug and tell him good-bye, it was ALL about me. Sure, he’ll be happy. But I’m wondering what I’m going to do without him around here. I already know how empty his bedroom feels while he is gone. I know that it’s sad at the kitchen table with his seat empty. I know that when I hear a car in the driveway, it’s not going to be him. I know that when something glitches on the website, I can’t go racing into the other room to have him solve it immediately. (He’s College Boy, but he’s also Web Guy.) Yes, he will be so missed here at home. Thus, these crocodile tears at the end of a long, weary day. sigh.

But – good news! Danny’s room-mate Phillip’s mom is a knitter! (Hi Jari!) And she cries, too, and she knits socks, and she misses her boy! A new friend in the middle of “It’s all about me and how sorry I feel for myself” day. That is a bonus gift. So, I’ll survive this day, and I’ll survive this school year, and all will be well. After all, there are only 59 days until Fall Break.

Sheri Ithinkalongrelaxingeveningofknittingisinorder,don’tyou?

Works Out Of Progress – How Much is Too Much?

I have been having fun reading knitting blogs. It’s so inspiring to me to see all of the completed works that come off of everyone else’s needles. Socks, shawls, sweaters, blankets …. People seem to get more knitting done than I do. People seem to be able to knit and read at the same time. People seem to have more Works in Progress (WIPs) that are being worked on. Mine, seem to become disinteresting to me after a bit. Mine can only be called Works Out Of Progress (WOOPs).

In the interest of true confessions making myself accountable to all of you, I am sharing my WOOPs. Wouldn’t it be nice if I made some kind of a plan to finish up one of these WOOPs every two weeks and then photographed it for the blog so that you saw progress being made? Right.

DSCF2773.JPGThis is a bag from Bags – A Knitter’s Dozen, done in some wonderful Schaefer yarn that I bought from one of the three LYS’s that get too much of my money. (But they love me.) You knit the base, then knit in the round, increasing stitches until the colors start to line up. Then you knit and knit and knit until it’s as tall as you like, then you finish it off. I got bored with this because the colors never really lined up like they were supposed to. Since this was the third bag I had worked on like this, I knew the yarn would do it – but it didn’t. So I stopped knitting. It would be a good mindless knitting project to pick up again, when I need it. It has gorgeous blues in it.
DSCF2774.JPGHere’s another one that stalled – same bag, same wonderful Schaefer yarn in a different colorway. Now this one really did have a good reason for being put on hold. I needed a mindless knitting project about that time, and I was at a point with this one where I had to pay attention to finishing off the drawstring top. So this stalled project really wasn’t my fault. At least it had the color stacking thing working.

DSCF2772.JPGI was going to have this sweater finished by April, so that I could wear it on a trip that Paul and I took to St. John. It’s a t-shirt style sweater and I had such high hopes that I bought enough yarn to make it in two different colors – this shocking aqua and lime green, and then a more sedate taupe color. I’ll include that in a near future blog about “yarns/patterns purchased with all good intentions but not made – how much is too much.”

DSCF2775.JPGNext, a baby blanket from Knits From the Heart. My friend has had her baby. I won’t tell you how old the baby is. (Less than a year – it’s not that bad.) I had the hardest time finding the right weight yarn to do this in. I, um …. didn’t get very far, did I? But I will finish it, because it has cute raised hearts knit into the pattern. All I have to do is make 3 rows of 3 hearts each. I can do that. Surely some other friend will have a baby girl one day.

DSCF2776.JPGA scarf in a color that I love. Truly, I am so over making scarves that I’m wondering if I’ll ever go back to this? But I do love the color, and I like the way the two yarns are knitting up together. It’s soft and it would look great with my winter coat. Ok. Maybe I’ll spend an evening and finish it up. (But do note that I have the width thing down for scarves, now. See “Top Ten Dumb Knitting Mistakes” #1,2,3…)

DSCF2755 (rev 0)A sock. I really shouldn’t include this, because this is a planned Work Out Of Progress, in the truest sense of the word. But lest I deceive anyone, I thought it ought to be on this list as it is not done. My theory – in order to help prevent Second Sock Syndrome – is that you should knit one sock from a sock yarn, then knit one sock from another sock yarn, then maybe even a third sock from a third sock yarn. By the time you’re done with all three “singles”, you can go back to the first color and make the twin, move on to the second yarn and finish the twin, then complete the twin to the third, without being so bored with the color again. All of a sudden, you have three pairs of socks done. So this is Cherry Tree Hill Java (which reminds me of two wonderful things – coffee and fudge. Come to think of it, I probably did not get bored knitting this wonderful color. Coffee and fudge. How can one get bored with that?) I am due to return to it shortly.

DSCF2781.JPGAnother sock. Same story. It’s out of Socks That Rock – some divine colorway that they don’t have anymore. I would LOVE to carry Socks that Rock at The Loopy Ewe. Would all of you people who have an “in” with that brilliant Tina at Blue Moon Fiber Arts please tell her what a wonderful little sock shop I have here, and how great it’d be for you to be able to buy STR along with all of your other favorites at The Loopy Ewe?? She promised me that I’d be the first to know if she decided to open accounts to online stores. Ohhh, I so hope she remembers that. But surely one of you has significant pull with her, right? One of you has to be the best friend of the sister-in-law of her second cousin’s husband who works out in her brand new beautiful warehouse. Can’t you get this nice guy to take five minutes of his coffee break to put in a good word to Tina? Even though his conversation would probably go something like this: “I’m supposed to put in a good word to you about something called The Goofy Sheep or something like that that my wife’s sister’s best friend is going on and on about for some unknown reason. So there. I put in a good word. Back to my break.” Surely it can be done. Surely it would help my cause. I have such faith in you dear blog readers. (And hey – if you click on that link and wander over there to Tina’s website, you just make sure you come right back when you’re done, got it?)

DSCF2778.JPGAnother bag. (Is there a trend here? Socks, bags, socks, bags….) This is a wonderful yarn that I bought at a Quilting/Yarn shop in Breckenridge, CO. This is going to be a great bag, one day. It’s just kinda boring to work on. Knitting, knitting, knitting, knitting, knitting (well, you get the idea) around and around and around and around and around (well, you get the idea) – with no end in sight. The thing about this one is that it has to be knit huge because it’s going to be felted. And someone had the brilliant idea to make it even bigger than the Booga Bag pattern called for, because “wouldn’t that be just a great size??” It’s enough to drive one to drink. (Note the little tiny white cat feet in the top right-hand corner of the photo. Zoe was just sitting there waiting for me to turn my back so that she could bite that yarn in two.)

DSCF2782.JPGA little teeny tiny red sock. When I started The Loopy Ewe, my mom gave me a 20″ tall stuffed sheep that she used to have in her kindergarten classroom. Since our Loopy Ewe in the logo is wearing red socks, of course I figured that I needed to knit little red socks for the stuffed guy. (He sits at the entrance to The Loopy Room.) I made two socks. This is the third. They took all of 45 minutes each to do. There really is no reason that he stands there with socks on his back feet, and none on his front feet. No reason at all. Do you notice that I am using a combination of metal and bamboo needles? That’s because my other size-whatever-these-are needles were in use, on yet another WOOP.

DSCF2777.JPGLast but not least, a baby hat out of self-striping sock yarn. I am making booties to go with it as well. It’s from the book Not Just More Socks and I’m having fun working on it. (Do you use self-striping sock yarns for other things? How easy is it to make something that looks oh-so-impressive with stripes and dots of color, just because you’re using this special yarn? I’m telling you, if you gift people with knitting from these yarns, you will get lots of knitting gift credit. Lots.) I have been working on it this week, so I don’t think it can actually be considered a Work Out Of Progress. I think that qualifies as a Work IN Progress, don’t you? Also, because I anticipate finishing the hat and booties up this weekend, that has to make it an IN, not an OUT. A WIP not a WOOP.

So – there you have it. My WOOPs. Aaaahhh. Confession is good for the soul. I feel much better. I have pulled out the WOOPs, I have documented them with photos, I have confessed my knitterly shortcomings, and I feel better. I’m going to go start a new project.

Sheri dyingtodoaLogCabinBlanketmaybeI’llstartthatthisweekendwhatd’yathink?

Life Around Here

DSCF0515 (rev 0)There are confessions thoughts circling in my head today. Since this blog is about what’s going on in my head knitting, I thought I’d share these things with you.

I am married to the world’s best husband. Surely. Here is a glimpse of what he has heard from me this year:

January: “What would you think about me starting a new business – opening a yarn store here in St. Louis?” (“Interesting. I think you’d be good at it. Why don’t you start researching it and praying about it?”)

February: “What would you think about me doing an online store instead? Specializing in sock yarns, patterns, and cool accessories?” (“Interesting. Do you think there are enough sock knitters in the world to support that?”)

March: “Can we invest $xx,xxx in my new business?” (“Interesting. If you have your Business Plan written up and that’s the investment that you have come up with, then yes, we can do that.”) Actually, he may have gulped in there somewhere, too.

April: “I’m calling it The Loopy Ewe.” (“Interesting. Loopy, huh?”)

May: “I really would like for you to go to the Needle Arts market with me in Indianapolis in June to get a feel for this new business. What do you think? Just this once, will you come traipse around a huge exhibit hall of vendors selling all things needle-y come with me?” (“Interesting. Sure, I’ll go along this first year.”)

June: “Wow – isn’t it amazing how many people are into knitting and how many wonderful yarn options are out there? Aren’t you glad that you came to this Market with me? Isn’t this fun?” (“Interesting.”)

July: “Umm – clean jeans? There really aren’t any clean may be some in the dryer. Maybe.” (“Interesting. Ok, I’ll throw a load in the washing machine.”) “Um – dinner? I, uh, was planning that we’d order pizza or something. Sound good?” (“Interesting. I’ll call it in.”)

August: “Hey, my professional photographer husband – we just got a bunch of new yarn in that we need photos of – do you have time after working your full-time job today and coming home beat to take some photos tonight?” (“Interesting. Yep, let’s set it up.”) “Hey Honey – do you mind running by the grocery store on your way home from work to pick up milk and bread? I have a few more things that I need to do for Loopy.” (“Interesting. No problem.”) “Oh my gosh – can you believe I’m getting orders from east to west, and as far away as Canada and New Zealand? It’s so exciting to finally have all of this come together after so many months and months of planning!!” (“Interesting! I’m so proud of you.”)

September/October/November/December: Sheri finds balance in life again learns how to make things look like they are running smoother. Did you know that if you put a bunch of jeans in the dryer at 5:50 (they don’t have to be clean – just throw the ones in there from the overflowing laundry basket) that it will SOUND like you have been productively doing laundry all day long instead of knitting when your spouse walks in the door at 6 pm? And if you throw some dryer sheets in there, it will also smell like you have been doing laundry. Did you know that if you buy a frozen lasagne at the grocery store, you can slide it into your own pan while it’s still frozen and it will bake itself right into shape and look like it’s homemade? Did you know that if you swipe a few tables with lemon-scented Pledge it will smell like you have been cleaning the house? (In a pinch, just pour Lysol in the sink for a few minutes – same effect.) Did you know that if you are walking around the house in a hurry with a load of sheets (just take the clean ones out of the linen closet – same effect) when your husband/kids arrive home, that it will look like you have everything efficiently under control and no one will ever know that you spent a good portion of the day knitting?

Sheri Paulreallydoesn’tsay”interesting”likethat

Sheri’s Top Ten Dumb Knitting Mistakes

Today’s post is going to make you feel really smart about your knitting skills. You will read through this list and say, “I can’t believe she didn’t know better than that.” over and over. It’s always nice to start Mondays out by feeling good about yourself. So here are my top ten dumb knitting mistakes. I should probably do a new “dumb mistakes” list every year, but there comes a point where you want to stop admitting them.

1. I cast on 20 stitches for my first scarf and it looked so wimpy and narrow. I kept casting more and more stitches on until it looked “wide enough”. No one told me it would grow wider looking as it grew taller. It ended up being WAY too wide. The scarf ended up being a shawl. Sort of.

2. On my second scarf – I repeated the whole process because I didn’t learn the lesson with my first scarf. (The conversation in my brain probably went like this: “Hmmm. 20 stitches. Looks too narrow. Must add more.” to which my other self replied, “Oh, but remember your first scarf? You know it will grow bigger as you knit it. Stop now and back away from the needles.” My smarter first self replied, “It’s just too narrow. I know best. I’m adding 20 more stitches in there.” ) The scarf ended up being frogged.

3. Started with the right amount of stitches on my third scarf (see, I learned), but still accidently added in too many stitches as I knit along on it. None of the directions for the scarf said M1, but I did it anyway. The scarf ended up being frogged.

4. When I graduated from garter stitch scarves and decided to make my first bag, I kept forgetting if I was on a knit row or a purl row, so I had to put a rubber band on one of my needles as a guide. If the knitting was on that needle, then I was on a knit side. If the knitting was on the other needle, I was on a purl side. (Yes – I have since learned to identify a knit row and a purl row. I don’t know what my problem was with that bag.)

5. Under-felted my next bag and sewed the suede bottom on it anyway because I didn’t really think it would matter. I then had to unattach the suede bottom and re-felt it when I realized that my knitting needles (it was a knitting project bag) kept poking through the side. Apparently the degree of felting really does matter.

6. Worked on my next bag with circular needles – my first time with that. It said stockinette stitch, and of course I knew that meant knit a row, purl a row. After a few rows, I realized it was looking weird. I couldn’t figure out why. Then I found out that when knitting on circulars, you just keep knitting all rows for stockinette stitch.

7. Made a hole-y mess of my first attempt at yarn-overs, and so I gave up ever knitting lace or anything else that would require one. Then I had the nice lady at my LYS show me how to do it. (Honestly, if you’re trying it by yourself, is there anything in the way it is worked, and the way it comes out in that first row, that makes you think you have done it right? Anything at all?) I am glad to report that I have them down pat, now, and can do lace patterns.

8. On my first sweater, I didn’t read the directions closely enough to learn that the ribbing on a sweater should be knit with a different size needles. Had to frog that.

DSCF2729 (rev 0)9. Knitted a lovely hat (the Bias Hat out of Not Just More Socks) that is big enough for a woman from the 60’s with a bouffant hairdo. I love the pattern and I love the way the self-striping yarn worked together on the top. I kept it in tact, so that when the bouffant lady shows up at my doorstep, I have a present for her.DSCF2730 (rev 0)

10. I knit my first sock by reading the directions and teaching myself. (There is a problem with that right there.) It was a toe-up sock, and I thought that I was supposed to wrap and re-slip ALL the stitches each time I did a row in my first short-row toe. So for the first row, I slipped and wrapped the last stitch. For the next row, I slipped and wrapped the first one AND the second one. For the third row, I slipped and wrapped the first, second and third stitch, etc. I was concerned about the long piece of yarn wrapped around all of those stitches – how does one hide that, I wondered? sigh. I didn’t frog it. Even though it was wrong, it was still looking like a real toe on a real sock and I was too in love with the idea of knitting my first sock, that I just kept on going. By the time I got to the heel and did it, I knew it was wrong, so I frogged the heel. I figured out how to short-row correctly and did the heel the right way. I still have an interesting “short-rowed-toe” on that first sock.

Sheri there,nowdon’tyoufeelawholelotsmarterthanmeinyourknitting?HaveagoodMonday!