This was a tough month for me. A week after the July 4th holidays, I came down with a miserable sinus infection. It was viral so there really wasn't any need to go to the doctor because they can't do much for viral infections. So I was miserable for about a week and a half. Just vegged out, coughing, sniffling and sleeping. Once I started to feel better, I got to trying to clean up around the house. I really have no motivation to keep the house spotless. Well, not the motivation I used to have. It's funny, I'm a better housekeeper when I'm working even though I have less time to do it. I procrastinate now. No, I've always procrastinated in my life. Not to the very last minute, but close. I blame it on having to take care of the house when I was a kid. Mom worked and I cleaned the house to help out and earn my allowance. I started helping out when I was in third grade by starting dinner when I came home from school. Yes, I was a latchkey kid back in the 60's. Funny, I didn't think much of lighting a gas oven back then, but now I think who would let their eight year old do that now. I was sort of like an only child since there is a 10 year difference in ages between me and my older brother. Looking back, I was a very responsible child, more like a miniature adult. I never had a set bedtime. I just decided when I would go. It was later than most of my friends' but not unreasonable and earlier than I see a lot of my friends have for their children now. When I was 15, Mom bought a little store/deli on Ocean Ave in Point Pleasant Beach about a block from where Jenkinson has its aquarium. I was down there yesterday looking for something unique to New Jersey to bring as a hostess gift to a knitting retreat at the end of the month. The store is now split into a bagel shop and laundromat. I spent 2 summers working there with Mom. It's where I learned how to run a slicer, cut up chickens and cut up meat. Spent the mornings getting the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia papers together for sale at 7 AM, ran the cash register most of the day and help Mom close the store around 9 PM. I got one afternoon off to go to the beach. I came back from the shore almost as white as when I went down. I worked for two summers and did not get paid. I did get a used '66 Mustang coupe when I was 16 1/2 and had my learner's permit. I had that car for a year and a half until I went to college. Then Mom and Dad sold it while I was away. They said they really didn't need three cars with me away in school. I could use one of theirs when I was home for vacations. That meant I used Mom's car, a 1968 Mercury station wagon. I took my driver's exam with that car or should I say boat. Needless to say, it was a great comedown from my '66 Mustang. I didn't have a car of my own again until my last year of college. I got Mom's '72 Maverick. It was a fast car, had the same V-8 engine that powered the '68 station wagon and maybe weighed 2/3 the weight of the station wagon. I had the car on campus and could go where ever I wanted. And since I had a very light schedule for my last year (more about that in another posting to come), I did enjoy the car. On a trip to see my boyfriend (more about him to come too), I had the car doing 110 mph on the I-77 going from Marietta to Canton. I blew past a state trooper and luckily he didn't stop me. I was about the only car on the road but I guess he didn't want to chase me down.
Boy, did I take a turn down memory lane there. So once I recovered, I took a trip to Delaware to see my brother and sister-in-law. He finally retired from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield this summer, about 6 years after he really wanted. But he's now starting up a consulting business for insurance brokers. I think my sister-in-law is relieved. I love my brother but he can be a pain and is somewhat spoiled. Since Linda (my sister-in-law) was a stay at home mom, she waited on my brother. So now that he's home, he still expects it. He's not real bad, but will ask her for a cup of tea and dessert at night rather than getting it himself. He just generally disrupts her day, expecting meals at certain times etc. She had her routines down and maybe not eat lunch or have a really small one. At least he hasn't started going with her to the store and such. That used to drive my mother crazy when Dad did that. He wanted out of the house and she wanted the time alone. Hopefully working 20 hours a week will get him out of her hair long enough. Linda isn't a knitter as such. She can knit but it isn't her thing. She is into needlework, mainly crewel and needlepoint. She's joined the Needlework Guild in Delaware. During my visit, she took me to a store in Bethany Beach, Sea Needles, which caters to both needlework and knitters. They even carried homespun from local spinners on the Delmarva peninsula. I was pretty good and only got some Kolliage sock needles (square 5" double points) and two ball of Mini Mochi. I haven't found any Mini Mochi in my local stores so I was really interested in trying it. It feels wonderfully soft and the color is remarkable. I got a colorway that goes from purple to blue to green, a favorite colorway of mine. I started a pair of fingerless mitts on the Kolliage needles and that was a mistake. The yarn is too soft an slippery for metal needles. I had needles sliding out at least expected times. Luckily, I had brought some bamboo double points so I transferred the mitts to those and it was much better. I had been using the bamboos to experiment with the one stitch below technique. I had some Dale Heilo from another project so decided to do the mitts in the book. I planned to use them as a nurses' gift for Caring for Cooper. I switched needles (both a 2.25 mm or US2) and was much happier on both projects. The Mini Mochi didn't slide off the needles and the Kolliage needles didn't split the Heilo like the bamboos did. The metals were a bit sharper so it made going into the row below a lot easier. A little thing, needle composition, can make knitting so much better or so frustrating. Slippery yarn and slippery needles can make any project a disaster. Changing to a more grabby needle can make all the difference. And the choice of needles is so random among knitters. A lot of times, it's based on what needles are available or your LYS carries. But try to take a few minutes and really look at your needles, yarn and project before starting. Are you going to be digging into stitches, as in the knit one below patterns or lace with it's double decreases? Is the yarn smooth or fuzzy? Is it grabby like some wools or slick like bamboo or silk? Is the pattern mainly stockinette or garter or is it all cables or bobbles? Are the points of the needles pointy or dull? The answers to these questions will effect the choice of needle material, manufacturer and even length. So take a moment and think before you grab a set of needles for your next project. If you do, it can make a big difference in your enjoyment of the project. Bye.