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!

Knitting With Friends

DSCF1043 (rev 0)Who is your favorite person to sit down and knit with? For me, it’s my sweet daughter, Julia. For so long, we tried to find a “hobby” that she liked. Was it going to be rug-hooking? No. Cross-stitching? Not really. Knitting? YES! Knitting was a perfect fit. In fact, she took to it like a house on fire. Scarves were her specialty. I commissioned her to knit 11 scarves for some good friends of mine. We meet in Colorado every year for a long weekend of fun and scarves were just the right gift for that time of year. It was fun to pick just the perfect colors for each one of them! (Julia knit them all in “Splash” – a fun, feathery, boa type of yarn.) Here we all are with our scarves, by Julia. DSCF1094 (rev 0)

DSCF2612 (rev 0)This summer, she wanted to learn how to knit socks. (A girl after my own heart.) After her first sock was completed, she was hooked. I think her scarf making days are numbered, and her sock making days have just begun. Think of all the socks she will have knit by the time she is a grandma! It’s a good thing we have access to lots of great sock yarns. While vacationing in Colorado this summer, our friends came to visit – so we taught them how to knit socks, too. Don’t they look like they’re having fun? I have learned a lot about teaching people how to knit socks. (For example, they get a bit frustrated if you start them on teeny tiny yarn with teeny tiny needles. Go figure.) We were having such a good time knitting that week while they were visiting, that we had to make two trips to the “What’s Needling U?” yarn shop in Frisco. I love visiting new yarn shops when I’m in different towns. You’ll have to let me know about your very FAVORITE yarn shop, so that I can make a list of shops that I need to visit as I travel about.

081706pairA quick picture of my latest socks out of Claudia Hand Painted (have I mentioned how much I like this yarn? I like the way the colors knit up, I like the “springiness” of the yarn, I like that I was knitting on size 3 needles and they knit up really fast, rather than my usual size 1’s, and I like that they’re done!) The colorway is Donna’s Favorite. The cuff pattern is from Knit Socks (Peaks & Valleys). I like Claudia’s yarn so much that I just ordered more colors of it for The Loopy Ewe. Never mind that we already have lots of Claudia colors in stock and half of them have made it into my PSYB. Now we’re getting even more. (Need cute wooden sock blockers? We’re getting them in soon. Need plastic sock blockers because you use them over and over for blocking your wet socks and don’t want to warp the wooden ones? We’re getting those in, too.)

Remember the MasterCard commercial? I have a new one:

Pair of knitting needles: $12

Skein of yarn to work on: $18

Good friends to sit and knit with: Priceless

Sheri darngoodthingthatsockyarnsdonotcountasofficialstashorI’dbeintrouble

Knitting With A Cat in the House

DSCF2750 (rev 0)Oh, she looks innocent enough. Curled up on the steps, sweet as can be. But pull out a pair of needles and a skein of yarn, and she appears from nowhere, perfectly willing to frog the entire sock for you, if you’d just turn your back for a minute. She’s a sneaky one, she is. The other day I made the mistake of leaving my sock-in-progress on the coffee table for a SECOND (surely) – and when I came back, the yarn was bitten in two. For pete’s sake. Interestingly enough, she completely ignores yarn that isn’t being work on. If there is not a length of yarn pulled out of the ball, she doesn’t need to play with it. Totally ignores it. (Good thing, in our house. We do have some balls of yarn.) Even more than yarn, her favorite “toy” is a length of twine that she drags around the house. She’s either stalking it and pouncing on it, or chirping at it and waiting for it to answer her. Forget expensive cat toys. The twine is where it’s at.

So, this is Zoe – our “full of sass” 9 month old kitten. (Check out her eyes. Looks like she put on a healthy dose of eyeliner this morning, doesn’t it? She has cool cat eyes.) We had to put our sweet 17 year old cat to sleep in April of this year. It’s so hard to lose a pet that you love. Getting a new pet really helps. It’s not that you ever replace the one you lost, but you do move on to have fun and make new memories with the next one. Zoe’s a fun pet to have around. Even if she likes to play with the yarn when I knit.

I’m almost done with my “Claudia Hand Painted Donna’s Favorite” socks. I’ll post a picture of them in Friday’s post. I’m liking them a lot.

Sheri bakingthefirstdayofschoolchocolatechipcookiesafterschoolsnackforthe15thyearinarow