Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Week 4 = Project 4

Well, I did it. Four projects in four weeks. *phew*

This week's FO is a trio of Lizard Ridge panels!

I now have 13 panels finished. I need about 30-35 for a queen-size blanket. Depressing, isn't it? Good thing they're so dang much fun to knit!

It was fun to get so many projects started and finished this month, but I think next month's personal challenge will be a little more free-form. February's challenge is...

In February I will knit something for all three of my Knit if Forward members!

Isn't that exciting? Now I just need to make up my mind about what I want to knit for each of them. They're all such different people! What fun!


The New Works Festival came and went and I'd say it was a pretty successful venture. I didn't screw up my lines, I didn't fall down or trip over anything... I'd say I did a smashing job. ;-) I only went to the one night (Thursday) but I know that on that night they sold out the house! There was even an angry mob (okay, irritated group) of people outside the theater who couldn't get tickets! Even better than my own little piece was getting to see my friend Hailey's piece performed. It was awesome! Way to go Hailey!

The Mister had a pretty big evening himself. He hasn't been out and about much in the theater community in awhile, but apparently they've been waiting for him - he came away from the show with a screenplay and three scripts to read! lol!! Damn Directors. I feel so upstaged... ;-)

Yarn and Stashing

I've been a little overwhelmed by yarn this winter. Yarn for Christmas, yarn at Christmas... and damn little knitting being done with it all. I have a bazillion plans, mind you, but when am I ever going to have time to knit it all? While lamenting my hoard, having just left an order for a bag of JoJoLand with the LYS, The Mister had some encouraging words of wisdom. His thought was this:

It's not yarn in your stash - it's potential.

Every skein of yarn you have has unlimited potential - it could be anything; a baby hat, a lace scarf, mittens, that White Lies Design you've been dreaming off, or maybe an Annie Modesitt... and in that state of not-yet-being, it has all this additional value. Because once you've actually knit it, that's what it is - the potential is lost.

Isn't that interesting?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Week 3 = Project 3

This week's object was alot of fun! I decided I needed a pair of mittens and it was about time I used up some of those random skeins of Paton's Classic merino I had lying about. The Deep Olive is a color I really like, particularly for something that could get pretty grubby, like mittens. I looked at some mitten patterns, but nothing was what I wanted. So I went out on a limb, and designed my own!

Now, a mitten is basically a tube with a thumb stuck on. So I cast on 42 stitches on US4s and did some 2x1 rib, about 2.5 inches worth. Then I switched to US6 and decided to go with the Reverse Staghorn Cable from A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker. I love that book. So many patterns, so little time.

I knit that for a little while until I thought I was about where my thumb should be - say, 5" from the cast on. Standard seemed to be about 8 stitches for a thumb hole, so I used some waste yarn and knit 8 stitches, then put those back on the left needle and knit them again with the working yarn. I learned this trick doing Knitty's Fetching, and I think it's brilliant. Then I just kept knitting until I felt like it was long enough for my hand. I stopped on the last row of the pattern so that I could sort of follow the general shape of the staghorn with the decreases. I did paired decreases every other row until I had 16 stitches left. Then I Kitchenered. Went back and picked up those thumb stitches, plus one in each corner for good measure, and knit a thumb. Did paired decreases at the top of that and Kitchenered.

And I ended up with these...

Aren't they cute?!?! I just love them. The Paton's gets so soft and fluffy with washing and they fit nice and tight, just the way I like it. I did kitchener the top of one of them a little tightly, but they'll do. I still have the worst time Kitchenering - I feel like I do it differently each time. But, I suppose as long as it doesn't fall apart, I must be doing it right no matter what it looks like!

At knitting circle this week Kathy kindly delivered my latest order from Sereknity: a second skein of the lavendar silk/wool I bought before Christmas, and two skeins of the most yummy-licious alpaca/wool/silk yarn I have ever drooled over, and it's in my newest favorite colorway... Rock Lobster! Officially, I placed the order for a friend of mine, but I didn't want to deny you the awesomeness that is this yarn...

The color is even better in person. I'm never happy with the way my camera shoots anything red. But it's awesome. And soft, warm, fuzzy, luscious.... you know, all that good stuff. Thanks Heather - you totally ROCK! And if I'm lucky, she'll even let me keep it! Heh!

For next week's FO I'm going to try to get a couple of panels for my Lizard Ridge done. Give my brain a rest while I try to figure out what to knit for Kyle... I have an idea... I just need to decide on colors...

How's that Kyle? Teaser enough for ya'? ;-)

Monday, January 14, 2008

heh heh

from xkcd

Week 2 = Project 2

I'm a day early for my Week 2 FO post, but we got about a foot of snow this morning, so I gave myself the day off and knitted instead. Well, I shoveled, too...and cooked french toast... but mostly, I knitted.

Pattern: Entrelac Scarf by Allison LoCicero
Yarn: Jojoland Rhythm
Needles: US8

This pattern is an easy knit, once you get the hang of entrelac. Which happens pretty quickly if you've ever turned a heel on a sock. The yarn is what really made it a treat. I *heart* this yarn very much. The colors are lovely and they have a nice long run of each shade. And in four skeins I found exactly one splice, and they matched up the color on either side of the knot. Aren't they wonderful!

After much debate and input (thanks Kath!) it's been decided that this pattern definitely does not require blocking. Just look how amazing it is on the "wrong" side:

I think that looks so cool.

I chose this scarf as a sort of test case to see if I like doing entrelac. My LYS has an Autumn shawl in the window and it's really caught my eye. Now that I've done, and enjoyed, entrelac, I think I'll move that pattern up my queue a bit. Oddly enough, the pattern requires 10 balls of Rhythm, available at my LYS for $5/each.

For Christmas, I received a gift certificate to my LYS for $50.

Coincidence? I think not.

Since Week 3 doesn't "officially" start until tomorrow, I used the time today to work on Rogue and Bee Fields. I did the arm hole shaping and part of the back on Rogue before I got to the 38 rows of stockinette and got bored. Save that for tv knitting. So while I still had some daylight, and The Mister was safely holed up in his office writing, I dove into Bee Fields again.

I love this pattern. It's just that I'm such a slow knitter, and for me, knitting lace requires perfect lighting and perfect quiet, so I don't get alot of chances to sit down with it.

I'm up to row 19 for the second time (out of four *sigh*) and I think... yes, I think I can see a pattern emerging...

Lace is cool.

I've been thinking about the FO a Week Challenge that I gave myself for 2008, and I'm thinking that I may change it to be a different Challenge every month. That will give me the chance to finish some larger objects I have hanging around (hello Rogue). So January is still One FO Per Week, but February will be something different...

...stay tuned. ;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

of Peace Fleece, eagles, and cool gifts

We're getting ready for a big winter storm Sunday night, but for today it was all about spring-like weather! It was so lovely out this morning, The Mister and I decided to walk down to the center of town (about 2 miles) to have a late breakfast. We stopped at the end of the road where you have a good view of Maudsley State Park to watch the bald eagles for awhile. This morning we counted only three juveniles , but one of them flew right over our heads at about tree height so we got a *really* good view of him. Lovely. I still can't get over how big they are. I can't wait until the adults start arriving. They usually get here in February, at which point you can hardly throw a rock without hitting several sitting in trees, soaring over the river, fishing by Deer Island - it's quite a sight!

On the way back, our mail carrier stopped us on the road to give me a package: my Ravelry swap yarn! I love Ravelry so much. This time I've swapped a large quantity of Araucania Nature Wool that turned out to be too thin for what I wanted, for 8 skeins of Peace Fleece in Volgasippi Blue.

I love this yarn so much. And it's from Porter, Maine, near where I spent my summer's growing up, so it's extra special.

And the "cool gift" part of the title? The Most Wonderful Miss Kath brought by a little goodie that she found for me online...

Isn't that cool? It's an etched shot glass from Bread and Badger's Etsy shop. I ask you - what's not to love about Etsy?? Now if I could just find that nip of B&B that Santa left in my stocking...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Week 1 = Project 1

I had to switch gears mid-week, but I did it! One week, one project.

Pattern: Vine Lace Baby Hat by Sandi Wiseheart
Yarn: about half a skein of Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK in peach
Needles: US3

I did the newborn size and I think it's just about right. It's being modeled here, unstretched and unblocked, on a medium-sized grapefruit. I love this lace pattern so much, and the decreases in this pattern are brilliant.

So, there it is. One week, one project. Now it's back to the entrelac scarf I started New Year's Day. My goal is to finish that for next week's project. I'm just getting into the third skein of four, so I should make it. Also, having done the pattern for a while now, it's becoming almost automatic. Great for TV knitting.

In other news... I'm embarrassed to admit that I received more yarn in the mail today. I had totally forgotten about my late night shopping trip to Discontinued Yarns during their recent Cherry Tree Hill sale. It's not as bad as you might expect... I only got 4 skeins. But Oooo what skeins!

Two skeins of Wool in the Woods Capri in "Monet" for a baby sweater, and...

...two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Jumbo Gems superwash merino fingering weight yarn. 420 yards per skein! And did you see the colorway of the top skein? "Key West Waters" - well, I mean... I *had* to have that, didn't I? :-)

Kyle asked where my Mom got all that Cashsoft yarn. Kyle, I wish I knew! Something about her hairdresser's son. I can only assume he scored at an auction, possibly for a yarn store going out of business. Although I prefer to picture a scene from the Sopranos; big burly guys with bent noses and New Jersey accents selling my grey-haired Mom all this yarn that "just fell off this truck in front of my Uncle Lou's place..." heh!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Brought to you by the letter R

We finally got up to see my folks for our Christmas, and...

...well, see for yourself...

That's yarn. Rowan yarn. Alot of Rowan yarn.

And it's mine, all MINE! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

My Mom somehow came into several thousand skeins of Rowan Cashsoft yarn. Aran, DK, 4 ply, Baby DK.... we're talking ALOT of yarn here, folks. I had asked her to put aside a grocery-bag full for me, sight unseen. Added to that is another two bags full for a Christmas present (thanks, Mom!). And then, this morning, Mom-The-Enabler had put all the remaining yarn she had in a huge, colorful, delicious pile in the middle of the living room floor.

Yeah, I bought more. ;-)

The end result of this yarn shopping orgy is 74 skeins of Rowan Cashsoft.

74 skeins

of Cashsoft

I may just leave it on the floor and roll in it nekkid.....

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year

This has been one crazy year, full of beginnings, movement, transitions. Phew! And I don't think it's going to settle down anytime soon.

The wedding was the big deal for this year. Alot of damn work, but gosh we did have a great time. I haven't gotten as much knitting done as I wanted (well, who has?) but I did learn to spin and that was a big deal. I've hooked up with an amazing, supportive, FUN group of knitters and spinners here in town which has brought me great new friendships. My family is well and healthy. The Mister has finally gotten the job of his dreams. Yup, all in all it's been a great year!

Looking forward to next year, we still have alot to do to get where we want to be. Paying off our debt, purchasing a house, and getting me more time to knit are on this year's agenda. If you're going to dream, dream big! :-)

The Mister had a good idea for a knitting resolution, which I think I'm going to take on. One Finished Object a Week for a Year. I thought it sounded terribly ambitious at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I've been whining about all those single or paired skeins of yarn lying around, and how it would be nice to have a store of FOs for gifting... and I'm perfectly willing to adapt the One FO Per Week so that two socks (or mittens) counts as two weeks if necessary, without it feeling like cheating. In a pinch, I'm even willing to count felted cat toys (hey, I'm not proud, and neither am I a Superwoman). So what do you think? Who wants to play along??

Another thing that makes the idea appealing, is that on New Year's Eve we found out that we're expecting a grandbaby! The Mister's step-daughter and her husband are pregnant! We'll know the gender next month sometime, but whoever it is, they're due to arrive in July. Wow. I'm still reeling, thinking of myself as a grandma at 41. Eep. I can tell The Mister is still taking it all in as well; he's been awfully quiet about the whole thing since we found out. I'm figuring he'll probably make it into the weekend before having a total meltdown. ;-)

But, that means lots of tiny, quick projects - booties, hats, baby sweaters, etc. I've already started filling my Ravelry queue with the obvious things like the PeaPod Set, Baby Surprise Jacket, Tulip Jacket, etc. Thinking about baby-friendly yarns that I'll actually want to knit with is going to be a bit harder. Thankfully it's a summer baby, so cotton is an easy pick. And I think I'm the only knitter this baby's got, so the field is wide open! heh!

Gad. A grandbaby.