Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Functionally Ugly

Clock Losing Numbers by Martin Paul

Oh my! It HAS been a while since I posted. Where HAS the time gone? As usual, the summer is flying by. Why doesn't the winter seem to go by as quickly? We have been busy preparing for Meredith's departure for Grad School in NYC and her transition to REAL adulthood...(translation: she gets to pay all of her own bills!!!!) Part of the process was a super-mega-monster-bargainbasement-everythingmustgo!-garage sale over the July 4th weekend. Here is what our living room looked like in the staging process:

Amidst the chaos there were 154 Beanie Babies (I nearly cried when I realized how much of MY money, time and energy was embodied in that mass of fake fur), a Tamogachi that preoccupied most of an entire summer and fall, countless pieces of plastic jewelry and other chachkis, an entire set of Boxcar Children books, a pen and ink portrait of Mel Gibson and more clothing than an entire middle school can wear in a month...and SO much more. Categorizing everything took both us the better part of a week and when we brought everything out front it covered our entire front lawn.

The event was a success for the most part. Activity was brisk, bargaining was encouraged and after seven hours of hawking her wares (with my assistance) she netted $200 and a painful sunburn. (My suggestions to put on sunscreen went unheard until far too late in the game.) We sorted through the remaining items, carted an entire carload to Goodwill and set aside the rest for a followup event to be held in a couple of weeks with some of her friends who realized that they too could turn those childhood treasures into cold, hard cash.

Stay tuned for further adventures in the saga!

Now, as for the knitting. I've been a busy girl. The title of this post refers to my efforts since my last post. First the good...

Isn't it adorable? It's a baby blanket for Brendan's bestfriend's new grandson done in a tetris pattern. (I was SO hooked on tetris for years!!!!) I found the pattern on ravelry (of course!) and the link to it is here.

I don't crochet so I love the mock crochet edging that is so much easier than it looks! Thanks, Gracielou!

The Bad in the title refers to my agonizing efforts to produce this:

It is the bottom border of a camisole that had me at first glance. I LOVE this pattern and was determined to pull it off. Four frogs later, I finally figured how to correctly count my Yarnovers on each round of 285 stitches and thought I was off and running. Now, I need to disclose that, when stressed, I become a tight knitter. Ok, that's an understatement. I become a "can't-squeeze-the-needle-into-the-stitch-for-all-the-money-in-the-world" tight knitter. So moving the stitches around a 40" circular needle soon became a test of physical strength. And then the unthinkable addi turbo needle BROKE! The cable came right out of the tip. I stared incredulously at the *&$#% thing, muttered one of the beloved late George Carlin's seven words that can't be said on television and threw the whole thing on the floor. Time invested to date?...literally entire days of knitting. And the worst thing of all was that it was Fourth of July so no yarn stores were open. I was forced to stew in my own pity and self-loathing until the next day. In hindsight that was probably a blessing since I was probably breathing fire and steam at that point. God bless Skacel and their unconditional guarantee policy. The next day I was able to calmly walk into the local yarn store where I had purchased the needle, rationally explain what had happened and exchange the broken needle for a new one. I was so grateful that I even bought some wonderful yarn that just happened to be on sale and sitting in the bin next to the cash register calling my name.

Armed with my new weapon, I set about starting the project over. My calming mantra was "loosen up, it will be gorgeous." This effort seemed to go so much better, sliding around the needle like a little greased piglet at the county fair. After finishing all of the rounds I surveyed my handiwork and realized to my horror that somehow the entire piece had become twisted!
How the hell had that happened? I NEVER twist in the round. But the knitting gremlin was sitting there on my shoulder, yelling "gotcha" and laughing his maniacal laugh. This was a project doomed to failure so I cried "uncle" and picked out a different edge for my summer top. DAMN YOU, KNITTING GREMLIN!

Ok, now for the Functionally ugly...

When I broke my needle and had to wait all of 24 hours to get a new one, I decided to use that time productively. While cleaning out closets for the garage sale, I came across piles of old plastic bags. I remembered reading an article on line about making "plarn" from bags and knitting it into reusable grocery bags. I grabbed my scissors, rolled the bags up and started cutting up strips and stringing them together. This is what I ended up with:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you PLARN!...sticky, smelly, nasty but amazingly durable.

I set about knitting it up on the biggest needles I have (17) and this was the result:

Pretty blasted ugly but it will last forever. It really drove home to me why plastic is such an environmental nightmare. It is the ecological equivalent to the cockroach, virtually indestructible and likely to outsurvive every other substance on planet earth.

I made two major miscalculations when I started this project. The first was how unwieldy this stuff was. My hands ached after only a few minutes of manipulating the beastly stitches. And secondly I soon realized that working with plastic yarn on the hottest, most humid days of July was just plain stupid. So, for now, this project will be shelved until the temperature and humidity is more cooperative. I probably also should have cut the strips thinner than I did and not used my good sewing scissors which have now been rendered as dull as a presidential debate. Oh, well. Live and learn.

Tomorrow is our 32nd Wedding Anniversary so my guy and I will take the day off, head out with our cameras and document a gorgeous summer day somewhere along the coast. We'll stuff our faces out in public for a casual lunch and a more formal dinner and spend the day reflecting on how lucky we are to have each other. Stay tuned for some pics and a play-by-play.

1 comment:

donni said...

Congrats on surviving the Garage Sale! My husband keeps threatening to start pulling some of our stuff to the lawn someday! I hate pricing all of that stuff, let alone making DECISIONS about what to let go. *shudder*

Happy anniversary! We celebrated our 32nd in March. Time flies, huh? lol