Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Mother Died Last Night

My mother passed away at midnight last night. I knew it was coming but didn't expect it to be so soon. I thought she would at least make it through Christmas and her birthday two days after.

I had prepared myself for this news, but it is still hard to take and I suppose I am still in something of a state of shock. I had prayed just a couple of days ago that if she had to go that G-d be merciful and make it quick so she wouldn't have to suffer. I am at least thankful for that, she simply slipped into a coma and never woke up again. I think that's preferable to suffering a painful, lingering illness and death.

She's at peace now.

I am in Florida with a load heading to Ohio. I am waiting for our dispatch office to open up so I can find out if there is another driver in the area or a reasonable distance away who needs a load and can take mine so I can get home. I am grieving for my mother and at the same time my head is swimming with all of the details that must be attended to. I can't even think straight about all of that right now.

I tried to get at least some sleep last night after getting the news, but it was spotty at best. I remember at one point, between the tossing and turning, having a brief dream that I had rushed home to find that she was in fact still alive. Some part of my mind trying to deny the reality I suppose.

The clock is moving painfully slow right now. I just want to get this load off of me so I can get home where I am needed.

I regret not having made it there to see her one last time before she passed. I truly thought we had a little more time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Knitting To Take My Mind Off It

Yesterday I learned that my mother is in the hospital and has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The prognosis isn't very good at all.

I am very worried about her, and depressed about the whole thing. I really feel for her as this is the 4th time she has had to deal with cancer, each time worse than the time before. The last time they had to remove her larynx.

It's especially frustrating for me because I am out here on the road, far away from where she is, although in reality I know that if I were there I really couldn't do anything anyway.

I just trying to keep myself busy right now, knitting as much as I can to help take my mind off things. I'm just praying that when the specialist sees her on Monday that it turns out to not be as bad as they are saying.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sweater Progress 11/27/08

I now have the sleeve stitches on holders and am working the body of the sweater. I'm just working on it a little here and there as time allows. It's coming along.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Sweater Progresses

Now that I am back on the road my knitting progress has slowed. As my truck broke down and I have been sitting around a motel waiting for it to be repaired I've had some knitting time and have made a little progress on the sweater.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweater Coming Along Slowly

I didn't get as much done on the sweater today as I would have liked, but between house cleaning, cooking for myself, and compiling a text to speech engine for my mother's laptop (she can't speak), I just didn't get as much knitting done as I would have like. Tomorrow I'll be hitting the road again so that will slow down my knitting too. Ah well, no rush I guess.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Starting Another Sweater

With the slow economy the trucking biz is dead. Since I'm just sitting at home hoping for a load to come through soon I decided to sort through my yarn stash to see if I could put together enough yarn to knit a sweater.

I don't have enough of any one color for a sweater, but I can put together something of multiple colors.

It won't be pretty but it should be interesting LOL

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Knitting Bigots!

I accidentally walked into a bar in El Paso the other day and the bartender told me I couldn't carry a backpack into the place.

Huh? This was my little knitting pack. A one strap, small, day pack. I always carry my WIP in this pack.

We "discussed" it for a couple of minutes with me at one point explaining to her what was in the pack and offering to allow her to inspect it. She declined and told me that I would have to leave the pack outside the door.

No way! I was not going to leave my pack, which contained my WIP as well as my entire set of Options outside the door, in the rain, for someone to steal.

Besides, I wanted to work on my WIP while enjoying a cold beer.

End of story, I told her where she could step off and I returned to my truck to watch a DVD and work on my WIP. To heck with her and her crappy little bar.

I just left a much nicer crappy little bar in MO where they not only didn't object to my pack but expressed a lot of interest in my WIP.

One guy asked me if I was knitting (well obviously I was) and said it was cool and that I was too big to say anything else even if he didn't think it was cool.

I ain't spending any time in any place that doesn't allow me to knit. To heck with them, I can spend my money elsewhere.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finished The Pink Baby Booties

I finished the pink booties this morning. I hope the mother likes them.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Finished The First Bootie

I finished the first pink baby bootie. I hope it doesn't look too terrible.

Working On Pink Baby Booties

A husband and wife trucking team I know is expecting a little girl in December. She asked me if I would make a pair of booties for the baby as she thought it would be cool for the baby to wear booties made by a fellow trucker.

She had offered to pay me for them but I keep putting her off as to the price. I told her not to worry about it, they shouldn't cost more than $10,000 or so. Of course I have no intention of charging her for them, they'll be my gift to the baby.

I really hate following patterns and much prefer to make up my own stuff. I naturally approached the booties the same way. I tried a few different techniques, including toe up, but they were looking more like socks than what I had in mind.

I finally hit on the idea to make them sole up. That was sorking out exactly as I had in mind and went great until I got the point where I needed to shape the toe.

I knew short rows would do the trick, just as with a heel, but I just couldn't quite get it the way I wanted. As much as I hate using patterns I started searching the net for them anyway, trying to get some ideas as to how best to make the toe.

I hit on a bottom up seamless bootie pattern by YarnThrower that was amazingly similar to what I had already done, and used it to do the toe. It was exactly what I had in mind and worked perfectly into what I had already worked out. So I can't take 100% credit for the design of the booties as I did rely on her pattern for the toe shaping.

Looking at the photo of the bootie in her pattern it is very, very similar to my own, with only some minor differences. I guess we had both hit on the same basic idea for the bootie construction. I thank YarnThrower for the pattern as it got me past a sticking point.

I should have the first bootie finished shortly and will post a photo once it is.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Finished The Sweater

I finally finished the sapphire sweater. I think it turned out ok for a first attempt.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

FInished The First Sleeve

Ok, I finally found the time (thanks to the truck breaking down) to finish the first sleeve on the sweater.

As I hadn't done the decreases quite as often as I should have the sleeve isn't as tapered as I wanted and had to improvise a bit for the ribbed cuff, but I don't think it came out too badly.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sweater Progress Pic

The sweater is coming along. So far it's been knit mostly in truckstops and pubs all over the country. I just have to finish the sleeves and it'll be done.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's Looking Like A Sweater

The sapphire sweater is shaping up nicely. I've finished the body and started one sleeve. It actually looks like a sweater!

I was working on the sleeve in a small pub last night and got quite a few compliments on it. A couple of people looked at it, looked at me, and couldn't quite connect the two LOL

I hope to post a pic of the finished object soon. It really is coming along more quickly than I had expected.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sapphire Sweater Is Still Coming Along

I'll try to post an update pic of the sweater soon. It's coming along. I've done the arm holes and am working on the torso now. Amazingly enough it actually fits.

I was working on it in a tavern Saturday evening and a couple of women were looking at it and saying that there was no way that sweater would fit me, it just looked too small. Of course that was because it was scrunched up on the cable.

Nothing would convince them except for slipping it off onto a pair of 60" cables and putting it on to show them.

No big deal I was at a point I wanted to try it on again anyway.

They were really amazed when I reached the end of the skein and showed them how I use the felted join to add the next one. It was like putting on a magic show

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Perfection Is Overrated

I was watching a crafts program and the woman was saying that a big hindrance for a lot of people is that they get so hung up on trying to make things perfectly that they wind up either not enjoying it or simply never finish at all.

She said that perfection is highly overrated. It's a hobby and one should enjoy it, not stress over making it perfect. I have to agree with her completely.

I remember when I first started knitting. As I tend to be something of a perfectionist by nature I experienced a great deal of stress trying to learn and trying to make it perfect. A guy on MWK (thanks MMario) told me that knitting is supposed to relieve stress, not cause it.

I gave that a great deal of thought and realized that he was exactly right. I stopped stressing over trying to make it perfect, and just started making it. My knitting improved very quickly after that and I actually enjoyed the process of creating something, even if imperfect, with my own two hands.

Perfection is highly overrated and can actually get in the way of enjoying our knitting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First Progress Pic Of Sapphire Sweater

The sapphire blue sweater is coming along. I've taken the first progress pic of it. In the pic it looks like the left sleeve is a bit shorter, but that's just the pic they're actually the same.

I think it's coming along ok for my first attempt at one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Raglan Sweater Coming Along

Despite doing all the measurements and calculations for my first raglan sweater, it's still very cool to actually see it taking shape as I knit. I'm doing it top down.

Between doing laundry and assorted other odds and ends I haven't been working on it as much as I would like, but it's coming along. I started it on 16" circs and have transferred it twice to longer cables. I am still working on the raglan increases but the actual shape is visible now and it's looking just like I thought it should.

I tried it on last night while transferring it to the latest cable length, the Options with 32" cable which is what I'll knit the remainder of the sweater on. The neck fits perfectly and what there is of the raglan increases lays exactly as it should.

As long as I keep checking it for fit as I go along I think it's going to turn out pretty good.

I'll post a progress pic or two once it gets to a point that it looks like something worth taking a picture of.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Starting My First Sweater

I received my order of Sapphire Heather Wool of the Andes yarn from Knit Picks and will be using it to knit up my first actual sweater. I love the color, and if the gauge swatch is any indication it's going to knit up quite nicely.

Right now I am knitting up the swatch between doing laundry and going across the street to check on my mother who just had throat cancer surgery on Friday. I haven't yet finished the swatch but already have a pretty good idea of the gauge. I'll finish the swatch anyway just to be sure.

As I haven't found an in the round sweater pattern that I really like, and don't especially like following other people's patterns anyway, I am just going to wing it and do a simple raglan style sweater. I may or may not put a couple of cables in it for style. Since it's my first sweater I figure I'm better off to keep it simple.

Wish me luck.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rough Time

My mother is going in for throat cancer surgery today and I am over 1,000 miles away. I'm trying to get home ASAP but am being met with delay after delay. With any luck I'll be there Tuesday. I'm trying hard to stay positive and not be overly worried about her, but it's tough.

I got the alpaca vest about half way finished but the sport weight alpaca is just too thin and soft to have a decent shape for a vest. It just didn't look good. I wound up frogging it and decided to use the yarn to make a hat and scarf combination.

While working on the hat I was still trying to decide exactly what I wanted it to look like. I decided to make something different and am going to knit a very long hat that the top will wrap around the neck like a scarf. Kind of a combination hat and scarf in one.

I have no idea how it'll look but what the heck, it might be pretty cool.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I Am A Tourist Attraction

I'm sitting around the truckstop in Cali waiting for dispatch to find me a load. It'll be tomorrow now. It's a really nice day here. The sun is shining and there is a breeze blowing. Although the breeze is slightly chilly the air is still reasonably warm and the sun feels especially good.

I was sitting at one of the picnic tables near the building and knitting when a tour bus pulled into the truckstop. A passel of tourists piled out of the bus. Most of them were elderly but there were a few younger ones as well. From what I could hear of their speech they were from Northern Europe.

I can usually recognize various languages even though I can't speak them, but I am not entirely certain where these folks hail from. Their language is one I've not heard spoken before, but it sounded almost like a cross between Russian and Greek. Definitely one of the Slavic languages to be sure.

They all disappeared into the truckstop and I didn't give them another thought until they all eventually came back out again and started running all over the truck parking lot snapping pictures of various big rigs. I saw one lady walk close to my rig a take a pic or two. I just kind of chuckled to myself as I know the trucks in Europe aren't even close to the size of the rigs we have here. I'm sure it was really something for them to see and get close to those big trucks although I was a tad concerned that they might get run over or upset some trucker who didn't want his picture taken.

I resumed my knitting after watching them for a minute or two and then one of the elderly guys with a huge moustache approached me and said something or other in his language while pointing at my knitting and making motions as if to take a picture. He was obviously asking my permission to snap a pic of me knitting.

I smiled and nodded my assent. He motioned to a lady who stepped up a meter or so away from me and snapped a couple of quick pics. She said thank you in English with a very heavy accent and it sounded something like "sanks yoo". I just gave her a smile and told her she was welcome.

I started to resume my knitting when a few more came over and snapped pics of me knitting. I guess giving my consent to one was enough for them all to have a go at it. I really didn't mind too much.

The old guy with the huge moustache came over to me and pointed to my knitting and made a motion around his chest. I understood he was asking if I was making a sweater. I nodded and said "yes, a sweater" although I know he didn't understand a word of it. He understood my meaning though and said something to the lady that I assume was their word for sweater.

Either that or he told her I was making a really large hat LOL

A couple of the folks, both men and women, gave me the thumbs up for my knitting. No matter where you go everyone seems to understand the thumbs up thing. I just smiled at them, thanked them, and went back to my knitting. I was starting to feel a bit like an animal in a zoo and was kind of glad when they finally got the cattle call to return to the bus.

I guess they'll be able to tell the folks back home how American truckers sit around and knit when not working LOL

Frogged The Vest

While knitting the alpaca vest I started to notice that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish it. By my calculations there should have been enough.

I checked the size of the thing and realized that I had made an error with the gauge and was making a vest to fit an elephant. Now, I'm a kinda big guy but not that big!

I checked the gauge of the vest itself and found my error. My gauge swatch had been 6 stitches/inch but the actual vest was coming out at 5 stitches/inch. That one stitch per inch had thrown the thing way off and it was coming out huge.

Lat night I frogged it, redid the calculations for the correct gauge, and cast on what should be the correct number of stitches for the size I actually want. So now it's started over once again.

Ah well, it's a good thing this alpaca yarn is so nice to work with. :D

Friday, March 21, 2008

Vest Is Coming Along

So far so good on the alpaca vest. Right now it's just a lot of stockinette stitch in the round, but it's starting to actually look like something LOL. Still several inches to go before I reach the point where I need to work it flat for the arm holes and the V in the front.

I'll do the back up to the shoulders, and then do the front up to the shoulders and then connect the shoulders with a three needle bind off so that there is no seam at the shoulder. But as I mentioned, I have a ways to go yet before I need to worry about that. For now it's just several more inches of stockinette.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Alpaca Vest

I decided to use my newly purchased pound of alpaca yarn to make a vest. It's my first attempt at making anything like a vest or sweater so it should be interesting LOL.

I'm using the Unisex Vest pattern from Lion Brand's website and adjusted the stitch count for using size 7 needles and to make it an XXL so that it should fit me if I did my math correctly.

I've cast on the back, finished the ribbing, and have just started on the body. That's a lot of knitting in sport weight and will take me a good while to finish the thing as I am not the fastest knitter in the world. But it should be a good learning experience and good practice for the sweater I plan to make soon.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


After being couped up in this hotel all week yesterday I decided to take a cab and visit a LYS. While their selection wasn't all that great the ladies were nice and I spent about an hour there just chatting with them. They don't get too many men in there and I think the novelty was fun for them as they didn't seem to want to let me leave.

I did find a one pound ball of sport weight alpaca yarn in a dark charcoal gray color and bought that. At $42 + tax it seemed a bit high to me but it's a very nice feeling yarn. Now I just have to decided what to make with it.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Cabled Tie - Final Design

After much improv and frogging I think I've finally come up with a pattern that I like for this.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cabled Tie

I thought the first go at the cabled tie looked a bit boring so I decided to frog it and try something different. I'm kinda liking it.

More Ties

After creating the hideous Skittles Tie I decided to try a few different designs for ties to see what I came up with. I finished one in a base green with shadows of other colors, and am working on a cabled tie in Mango.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

WIP - Hideous Tie

The hideously ugly multi-color tie is coming along. It's turning out to be every bit as ugly as I had intended.


I'm still working on the blue door curtain. That thing is going to take a lot longer than I expected but that's ok, no rush on it.

I'm also working on a very ugly but very colorful knit tie just for kicks. It promises to be very hideous when finished. Exactly what I wanted LOL.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blue Door Curtain

As I am starting to feel a little better from the flu I decided to start a new project. This one is for the house. There is a door in my bedroom that has a window that runs most of the height of the door that I have been meaning to put a curtain on for some time now.

Today I decided that instead of going out and buying a curtain I could just knit myself one. I'm doing it with worsted weight yarn on size 15 needles so it should knit up fairly quickly. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Working On A Couple Of Things

I have a couple of projects in the works at the moment but this recent bought of the flu has put me off my knitting. The cough just won't go away and I'm still feeling a bit ragged. It'll pass soon I'm sure.

I have yet another hat on the needles. It's actually at the start of the top decreases, I just need to finish it up. I've also started a pair of cotton socks, toe up, but haven't gotten much past the cast on at this point.

Right now I'm at home resting. Hopefully I'll be feeling up to snuff soon and get the needles clicking again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Finally Finished Sabrina's Scarf

I am feeling a little bit better from this flu and managed to finish up Sabrina's Palindrome scarf. Now I just have to get it in the mail.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

No Knitting - Flu

I haven't been doing any knitting for the past week due to being laid flat by a nasty case of the flu. It's finally starting to break so hopefully I'll be back to knitting, and back to work, soon.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Moss Stitch Hat

I made this hat using moss stitch for the main body of the hat. It made for a nice texture.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Camo Hat

Just a simple watch cap made with camouflage yarn.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More Colorwork

I made this beanie based on a pattern I saw on a piece of pottery. While not perfect I think it's better than the first attempt at stranding.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Seriously Ugly Hat LOL

I wanted to learn stranding to work with more than color and be able to do some more interesting designs and patterns. I made this very ugly hat as a practice piece just to learn the technique.