Whatcha Been Doin?

I noticed that I haven’t been posting much, so I wondered, what have I been up to?

My husband has been gone for most of the last two weeks. That means I’ve been cooking and cleaning and child rearing on my own.

On top of that, my parents are coming to visit! Yay! Besides the extra cleaning required, it means we will be having good conversations, spoiled grandkids, shopping, and all the good things that come with Mom and Dad being near. Oh alright, we’ll probably have a spat or two, but Mom and I’ve mellowed over the years.

If you check out my “On the Needles” section, you’ll see several of the projects I’ve finished or am in the process of finishing.

Hubby’s Dr. Who type scarf- this scarf has lots of color and will end up being about 15′ when finished. It has taken 2 weeks to hand knit. It was supposed to be in Garter Rib, but that little note was in fine print on the page I wasn’t looking at, hence the reason that it is in garter stitch.
Garter stitch is when you only knit back and forth. Garter rib is a pattern of knit 2, purl 1; or some variation on the first row, with the second row being knit only. Little detail, big difference in appearance.

Ruffled scarves- ruffled lacy scarves are all the rage. They are quick knit or crochet scarves that look tricky, but arent. So grab a skein of Starabella or Red Heart Sashay, spread the lace out, spear through a few of the top holes (with the glittery thread at the bottom), and knit. I’ve knit up 6 or 7 of these, sold one, and need to sew up the lace ends on the rest.

Mom’s wrap – I’ve been working on this one off snd on since July. It usually depends on whether or not the kids were playing on my ipod, which had my row counter on it. Arrowhead Poncho this is the pattern I used. I widened it and made one side much longer to accomodate a wrap effect. When I give it to Mom, I’ll take pic, and you’ll see why that was necessary. I’m a short 5’4″, but my mother is 5’10”.
I also made two others of these as gifts for my mother-in-law and a friend. It’s a terrific pattern.

Aside from all that hand knitting, I’ve been working on fixing up some machines. Right now, I’m cleaning a Singer 360. This along with the main carriage and lace carriage, is my Christmas gift from my husband. I’m getting it clean so that I can repair the Studio 700 I bought for $25 +S&H, and my 322 that has a bent bed. Hubby thinks he might be able to get it straight enough to make the right end more useable.

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I’ve been knitting socks up on the left side of the 322, but for sweaters, I need more room. As soon as the 360 is cleaned, I’ll swap out the 322 so that it can be repaired.

The 700 is considered one of the best models for its punchcard and knit radar 7. Both of which have issues. I have a parts machine that I picked up to help fix it, but I don’t have enough room! We’ll need the kicthen table when company comes. Hubby and I also had to fix up the 700’s carriage, as the main drum on one side was obliterated due to poor packaging.

I’m also trying to get a craft circle going on Thursday mornings, and teaching techniques to a friend. I’m hoping to start teaching classes as soon as my house gets in order. We’re still working to get the garage cleaned up, and several friends have been kind enough to move and need moving boxes :).

It’s been busy, and will continue to be! I keep having to push back scheduling classes. The Navy has finally started a Respite Care program, and hopefully soon, I’ll have someone to watch the boys while I teach in the evenings, if hubby is gone.

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Time Flies

Oh my, where to begin? I’ve gotten some lovely packages this week. My coffee syrup order from Lollicups. White chocolate, chocolate mint, caramel and raspberry. Finally getting my morning coffee in the groove again!

A very dusty, damaged Studio sk700 found its way to me from E-bay. With some cleaning and repairs, I will hopefully have it working soon. The knit radar (a nice device designed to make any yarn fit a pattern) is broken. The mast part of the yarn tension unit is missing. The row counter is missing the triangle that forwards the count. Worst of all, tho, is the carriage that keeps shedding parts. Just a wee bit of work and elbow grease ahead.

A package from Goodwill auction came bearing a Corona carriage, clamps, and the coolest little patterning gizmo I’ve ever seen. It also had a tappet tool and some transfer tools. The second auction box had a tension mast and rod (thank goodness), garter bar set, some cooky tools and a knit radar 5, complete with patterns.

I’ve been wanting a garter bar set since I got started. On E-bay, they range in the $24-60 range. I had already bought an incomplete kr6 pattern set, so now I will have a set to share with a friend. I’m hoping to repair the kr7 in the 700 with the parts from the kr5. If I can’t, I’ll exchange them until I can get the kr7 fixed.

To make simple sense of all that: 1. My coffee fix is fixed, 2. I got roughly $300-400 worth of equipment for about $100. Of course, I lost my glasses for most of the week and can’t find a tappet tool.

Queen Victoria is due to deliver sometime very soon. Yes, girls, we will have baby Wawas soon. Call it Christmas in September. Of course, they’ll probably be Solstice pups and tempermental.

Jamie has been cleared by the cardiologist, and the neurologist upped his meds. Otherwise, little man is doing great!

The twins have been doing their first week of homework cheerfully. That probably has something to do with the gummy bears and m&m’s I’ve been bribing them with.

I attempted to go to a yoga class this week. Apparently the moon and stars were out of alignment. We got there late, my neighbor and I. I was definitely feeling motivated, so I worked out with the Xbox. Yes, it hurts to breathe. And walk. And lift objects. Enthusiasm can overcome many sensible ideas.

I also managed to unload baby clothes and socks. In the process, the garage got trashed. Just another thing to fix this weekend. Hopefully, I will be moving freely by then.

I’ve almost finished Alex’s sweater and gotten 50 odd rows of Mom’s wrap done. I keep dreaming of sweaters and patterns, but other things keep getting in the way. It is almost Friday, and I’m behind in some things, ahead in others.

Time has flown by, forgetting that it should’ve stopped for me. I feel like I got dragged behind a low flying pegasus.

Dinosaurs

Knitting tools are as simple as two sticks and some twine. Some knitting machines are barely more than that. There are those with shiny buttons and knobs that hook to your computer. Machine knitters hope that the new generation will show an interest in the old ways, reviving machines that seem to be going the way of the dinosaur. Some of them really ARE dinosaurs compared to the few, sleek new ones. For the most part tho, they still work.

I saw a knitting machine from 1898, in full operating condition. Antique? Hell yeah, but man, it was cool. Kind of like a teenager who plays chess with the really old guy down the block. The amazing thing is that apart from metal to plastic, the basic designs haven’t changed much in the last 70 years. Sure, the caddies of knitting machines can run themselves, but for the most part, they are still manually manipulated to some extent.

Knitting machines have always been a bit pricey. The Ultimate Sweater Machine runs a cool $240 in stores, despite the plastic parts and cheap tools. The antique metal bed machines usually go from the $50’s to $1k plus, fully loaded. Some still work great, as cherished items from the unsung knitters. Others need a heck of a lot of TLC as they were bought by someone who wanted to learn, but didn’t have the time or maybe the help they needed to learn the machine. A crafter looking for the next big thing.

Those of us who can’t afford a Passap or Brother 940i scrounge for parts. We’re at the mercy of those who can name their price. If I thought I’d get lucky, I’d go dumpster diving!

Why the rant? I’ve met so many people that say they can’t knit. They’ve never heard of a knitting machine. If you want to create something find a dinosaur, ask around, get tangled up a few times, and you might find it enjoyable. Create something! Find a passion for a life spent on computers and cell phones. Look to the old to make something new.

Oh, and if Armageddon comes, learn to knit. Shopping malls won’t be restocking!