Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What the Wednesday?!?!?

Aunt Sarah has on her production-elf-hat and the stitches are flowing. There are the effs that have been oh-ed, the things waiting for the post office, the items already gifted, (oh, those December birthdays!) the projects nearing completion, those waiting for a quiet moment of attention, the ones not yet begun, a last-minute addition or three to the list, and that is just the knitting. I have plans for three of four scarves I want to weave, and a general idea for the fourth.

Today I can show you a quick, satisfying, well-received gift. Last week was Katie's birthday, and I gave her a hat I knit from her handspun. It is a bit on the small side, but she loves it, paraded around in it, said she was going to bring it for show-and-tell, and patiently posed endlessly for her mother at the camera. She was even sweet enough to let me get a snapshot, too. Let me just add, that, in certain situations, knitting with extra-bulky yarn might not be the worst thing in the world.

I am feeling much more peaceful after the resolution of a stressful situation. It really was not so much about me, but rather someone else's issues spewing forth in a most unpleasant manner, and I was in the line of fire. I was beginning to think that it was going to turn into a great big deal, and it nearly did, but at the last moment the person was able to see what was happening and turned it around and things are back to being good.

I am not feeling quite so much peace about some postal issues. I have been expecting packages and they have not arrived. There is a possibility that they have not yet been mailed and I do not want to pressure anyone, (and we all know how bad I can be about mailing things) but I also do not wish to appear to be someone who does not acknowledge receipt of a package. Beyond concern that they could have gone missing, I am not really worried.

However, I am a bit worried that the ukuleles I ordered for the nieces and nephews will not arrive in time. Apparently, they are still out-of-stock, but we remain hopeful. Their books and pitch pipes are here already, and we have something of a backup plan for just in case, but I really want the ukes to be here for Christmas.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Demanding December

Our December has been very busy so far, and I think it will continue to be very full. It started (on the first of the month, even) with the Athens Christmas Parade. Baby Tanya (who will be 23 on the 24th) is Miss Merry Christmas for her school, Athens State University. She was a bit overwhelmed by winning and then discovering that fulfilling her responsibilities for the title and finals overlap quite a bit, but she is honored and the credit to the bookstore will help with textbooks next semester. Anyway, the parade was quite the experience, and if I were to offer suggestions for planning it next year, it would be to consult a train schedule. The parade started late and was interrupted by trains passing through town. We were very cold by the end, and my mom and Bruce are forever in my debt for the extra handknits I shoved in my bag as we headed out the door, or they might not be thawed out yet. Still, it was great to be able to get out and support her, and we cheered enough to let her know they were there, but not loud enough to embarrass her.

Getting a good photo just was not an option for me. If there are settings I could have used on my camera that would have helped, I do not know which I should have used. The headlights, streetlights, and traffic lights all shone in from different directions, and the pictures I took ranged from terrible to what he have here.

Still, the picture is special to us for reasons besides showing Tanya in the parade. In the background, you will see a courthouse, and outside it, a statue. That is where Bruce and I got married.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crossing the Finish Lines

SaltPeanutsFOWell, NaBloPoMo is over, and I met my goal of posting each day. Some entries were lesser in quality than others were, but I made it through, and it also helped me to reconnect with blogging. Of course, I am, once again, behind in emails, comments, and reading, but that is nothing new. I am really glad I did this, and having you all stick with me all the way through has been wonderful.

NaFiSweMo is over, too, and I achieved my goal with that.
Most of the time when I finish a sweater, I am so sick of it that I have a hard time finding the love for it, but not this time. I am so very pleased with my new sweater, and I have not taken it off since I finished it. I have already received wonderful compliments on it, and my friends can tell that this is a sweater that I will wear often. Salt Peanuts is a great cardigan, the color I chose is perfect, and I have even more love for the yarn (Patons Classic Wool) than when I started. I do not think I could ask for more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pajama Pants and Peanuts

In something of a surprise, bringing my colder weather clothes into the rotation and putting the summer ones away for the year did not coincide with a burst of unseasonable warmness. Instead, it is still cold, and I get to wear the pajama pants I made for myself. Yeah, I have a sewing machine and play with it a little, but it is not getting much attention because knitting gets all of my free time right now. Speaking of that, I need to get back to that last seam.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday, the 28th?

Cyber Monday and all of its coupon codes and emails have been raining down on me, and it finally got to me. So, a little bit of yarn fell into an online shopping cart, and will be on its way to me soon. Nah, I did it on purpose because there is some yarn I needed for gifts that I just do not have. The truth is, I already had the yarn in the virtual basket, but didn't get around to sending in the order until today. I kept fretting about colors, but it is a good thing I did spend extra time checking that, because I almost made a big mistake.

Speaking of yarn for gifts that I do not have, I bought some bulky yarn. As you know, that is not really my style, but I understand that there are some sparkly vampire movie fans in the family, and I think those mittens would make great gifts for a couple of people. They were chatting the movie and books up while we sat around and visited after Thanksgiving dinner, and that is when I got the idea.

Speaking as one who has not read the books, I will say that I am not much interested. I did watch one of the movies when it was on tv the other night. My nose was so stuffed up that my mouth was hanging open, and I could not think or do much, and from the commercials I had seen, that seemed to go along with the movie, so I lost a couple of hours to it. It just is not my deal, but I really do not care that other people love it. I kid around a bit, but I do not want to make fun of anyone enjoying a book, movie, or music. We all like what we do, and I hate to see people feel ashamed about things like that.

Anyway, can you believe that this is the 28th day of the month? Time has been so weird for me lately, and I was quite surprised when I realized that there are only two more days left this month. I keep plugging along on my NaFiSweMo project, but I need to kick it into a higher gear if I am to make my goal. I have one sleeve set in, and it took longer than I had planned, but the second should be quicker. Of course with these colder than average temperatures, (they say we are getting snow tomorrow) each moment with the pile of wool on my lap is good, and it is great incentive to keep working on it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Two Heads Are Better Than One

I cannot make any promises for better photos of hats I knit, but with this new model to help, I might have a chance. The head is a gift from my friend, Helen, and I love it! Now I just need to get busy knitting a hat.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

UM...A Little Bit of This + Little Bit of That = Not Much of Anything Right Now

Not settling in and seeing my way all the way through to the end of one thing is really not paying off for me, or so it seems. From knitting to reading to housekeeping, I just have overwhelming piles of unfinished-ness everywhere. Then again, I am making my way through several things. Right now, it is just difficult to see that I am making any progress, but little by little, I am chipping away at it. I am going to keep on keeping on, and I will have something to show for my efforts soon.

Crushed :: Bug
Thanks :: Again
Steam :: Punk
Bulletin :: Board
Budget :: Minded
Value :: Worth
Aquarium :: Shop
Logo :: Tee
Information :: Overload
Lend :: Lease

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baby's First Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! This is a favorite of mine, and it does my heart good to celebrate a day of thankfulness. Every day, of course, there are many reasons to choose to feel thankful, and I know my days are better when I make this choice. I am grateful to be joining in with others in celebrating this day, and whatever I do today, I hope it shows.

So, what is with the title of today's post, you might ask? Well, the son purchased a house last month, (another reason to be thankful) so this is his first Thanksgiving in his new home. He played the part of the host for the big shindig. Since he is still very new to learning about the mysterious happenings of the kitchen, (so many stories) we brought the food.

Weird, wacky, and wonderful do not even begin to describe the day, and I do not have enough words to describe how thankful I am for it all.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Prepping and Unpinning

The cranberries are cranberrying, the pie is chilling, and the squash and friends are assembled and waiting for their time in the oven. I just have to stand on the Wii Balance Board with the turkey to see how early I need to get up in the morning. Everything else will wait for tomorrow.

Our weather continues to bounce from warm to cold with some rain in between, but I know that we will continue to have more cold days. That has kept me from just letting the pinned out pieces of my cardigan sit until next week. The seaming of Salt Peanuts is underway. So far, I only have the shoulders and half of the collar done, but it is progress. Once I get the sleeves in place, I think the challenging parts will be done, and the rest should go smoothly. Having The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques by my side always helps. Wanting to curl up in a new sweater and read a book or three helps, too.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Decisions, Decisions, Nothing

In a fit of madness, I almost considered beading the nupps on the Swallowtail Shawl I am knitting. That led me to trying to decide whether I want to bead or nupp. After that, I got lost in the stash, and I do not have a clue as to how that happened. Several more leaps followed, and I was on Ravelry looking at patterns. Then I was calculating yardage on some handspun. Then I was back on Ravelry trying to figure out what to do with 75 yards of laceweight. Then I was dizzy and my Tuesday was over. I hope yours was more productive.





Monday, November 21, 2011

Mumbling and Bumbling Through My Monday

Perhaps I need a jumpstart of sorts, because I am having trouble getting this week going. I feel like that guy from the Cheerios commercials back about thirty years ago. You know, the ones where the chalkboard stick guy tries to ride his bicycle up a hill, but then rolls backwards. I tried to find a video, but my google-fu eludes me at present.

The good news is that I made it to the grocery store, and I do not think I will have to return until after Thanksgiving. The other good news is that people are having a lot of squash this year. I know this because I saw someone taking the last two from the bin and then receiving apologies from employees about there being no more.

Maybe I need coffee. I think I have only had a couple of cups of it so far this month. Yes, coffee is probably the answer. At least I think it is, but now I have forgotten the question.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

May the Way of the Hero Lead to the Triforce

I am more excited about this than is reasonable, but there you go.

p.s. I think that the music on the cd might be perfect (for me) to weave to, but I cannot explain why I think this.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Still in Pieces

I confess; Salt Peanuts is still pinned out, waiting for seaming time. I cannot determine if it makes it better or worse that it took me several more days to get it out of the water and blocked. I just could not crawl around on the floor with pins, schematic, and tape measure without going into a coughing fit. Anyway, that is my excuse, but I will get to it soon, because I want to wear this sweater. It just occurred to me that I need to make a decision on the closure. The pattern uses a ribbon, but I am not sure about that. I have not spent much time looking at ribbons, but nothing I have seen thus far does it for me. I do not think I want to go the button route, but it is a possibility. There is always the option of using a shawl pin or stick I suppose, but for now, I am thinking of using i-cord. It should work, and it would blend in with the rest of the sweater. Then again, I might just be using the closure issue to avoid settling in for a long seaming session.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Birthday Cupcakes

Ever since Joan started The Cupcake Fiber Co, I wanted to experience her creations, but the opportunity always seemed to slip away, just when I thought my time had come. However, thanks to a thoughtful birthday present, it is my turn! Oh, how I love my bfl/silk batts, the color is gorgeous, and the spinning is a dream.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Triple Thick Thursday

Some people are more challenging than others are when it comes to giving gifts. My stepdad is like that. He tells people to just forget about getting him anything, but that seems wrong, especially when I know of something he will like and use. Several years ago, I knit a hat for him. It was a plain, black, superwash wool hat. It bore a great resemblance to cheap, black hats that can be purchased anywhere. However, it was what he wanted, he liked it, and he has worn it often. Since wearing the handknit wool hat, he now knows the difference, and appreciates how it keeps him warm without making him sweaty. The problem is that he has several of the cheap, black, acrylic hats from the store, and is pathologically unable to get rid of anything. He keeps grabbing one of the bad hats, and then remarks how it is not as good as his wool hat. I figure the solution is knitting another hat for him, but not black.
Right now, he is in Afghanistan. He was back for a couple of weeks in October, and it was clear that he was skimping on his cold-weather clothing. I would hate for his frugality to hurt him when there is something I can do to help, so I decided to knit a hat for him. I tried to be sensitive to the fact that he prefers boring plain, so I chose some calm blue, and instead of a colorwork pattern, (which really adds warmth) I knit with three strands of yarn at once. This ought to keep Papa warm this winter in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Auntliness is Next to...

Free childcare? Hrm--I think I meant something else. I do love being an aunt; it is one of the great joys of my life. In the biggest surprise of the year thus far, my sister told me that I will appear even auntlier towards the end of April. Our minds are still swimming over this news. My mom has been buying new things for the baby, and my grandma is crocheting and quilting away. As for me, I am waiting to find out what brand it is before I start anything. The projected date for that news is sometime in the first week of December.

Since my sister's big announcement, I heard the rumbling of a rumor, and then confirmation of said rumor. My brother and his wife are giving serious consideration to increasing my auntliness, too. Shhhh--that might be a secret, though.

Life is full of surprises.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten Repeats Tuesday

Well, I am going to have to check everyone else's Ten on Tuesday lists, because I do not have that many ways to use cranberries. Instead, here is a shawl on the tenth budding lace chart repeat on a bag of cranberries on a Tuesday.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Water for Elephant Skins

Finally, the knitting of Salt Peanuts is complete! All of the pieces are soaking their cares away and looking forward to being pinned out into their cute sweater shapes. They are optimistic and believe that the seaming will go smoothly, and that the sweater will fit. Until it is time to put it all together, I am getting my daily dose of fiber. I am taking two and trying again in the morning.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

UM...Sniffle...Snuffle

The annoying cold continues to drag on, but I think my brain is getting closer to coming into focus. I have high hopes for a more productive week. I had better be more productive, because my lying about has me behind on housework. Last week was also complicated by three or four days of Aunt Sarah duty due to an ill nephew, and then Veteran's Day on Friday was time with both the niece and the nephew. The parade was good, and then I fell asleep for a few minutes during Puss in Boots. Anyway, assuming that no one caught my cold, this week should be calmer. Maybe I can even prepare for next week; it is going to be a big one. Not only will there be Thanksgiving, but also more Aunt Sarah duty. My sister hopes that I will keep my nephew this weekend so that she and her sweetie can have a weekend away. Her hopes are about to be dashed. I want a weekend away with my sweetie, but I know this is not the time for that.

I will settle for having some time to knit and watch Dexter. I just received last season's dvd set, and I am ready to see what happened. I so enjoy settling in to watch a television show on dvd, just escaping from my brain for a few hours.

Speaking of my brain...



Help :: Me
Close :: Call
Start over :: Again
Dirt :: Gossip
Kilometer :: Mile
Speedy :: Gonzales
Shop :: Closed
Trumpet :: Horn
Dog :: Hair
Canoe :: Tip

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Planning

I picked up a little yarn at a sale several months ago, and when I showed my purchases to my mom, she took a special interest in a ball of mystery laceweight. She usually joins me in oohs and aahs over pretty yarn, but I could tell that she could see that yarn becoming something for her. This discussion reminded me of another we had about shawls a few weeks before, and I began to formulate a plan. Then, the idea melted away with eleventy-billion degrees of the summer.

Well, it is not summer now, and her birthday is not too far away, (but not too close to do this) so I think it is time to plan for her new lace. I have been flipping through my books, and I have some ideas. I know that she is looking for something triangular and not too big. That gives me many options. I could use an established pattern and knit it as written. However, I could take a stitch pattern and use it to plan a pattern on my own. I guess that can be called designing, but that feels like too grand of a term.

Anyway, the first step is to calculate the yardage on my mystery laceweight yarn. As that is not my strong suit, that might be the most challenging part of this process.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Fun Friday

Probably not going to knit as much tonight.



















However, I did finish plying my little sample from the yarn store, so I did get my daily dose of fiber.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Peanuts to Moose

I was good at kept with my cardi, and it is back on track. However, the excitement with Salt Peanuts is reaching that point where I need better powers of concentration. I am about 1 1/2 inches before the directions include this note:
Armhole shaping, neck shaping, pattern reversal for collar, and short-rows for collar worked at the same time; read the following instructions all the way through to the end before proceeding.
Of course, the best part about that means that I am really closing in on the end of this piece, and that feels good. I also think it will feel good to wrap up in this sweater. I think it is going to be very cozy and comfortable. I hope that I am right about that.

After this, I can move on to other knitting. While I did briefly feel the need to cast-on for something new, I think I am feeling more like finishing other knits first. First up on the finishing list, of course, are the Sea Mineral Mittens. I think that will pretty much take care of the w.i.p. pile, and that is
another good feeling.

MischievousMooseForJThen, I will move on to some gift knitting. I just found out that someone has lost his hat and would really like a new one. I understand that there was even an offer to pay, but I just do not want to get into that. If they want to do something, they can, but I would rather not have that discussion. I will knit the hat, and knowing that it will be appreciated and worn means a lot to me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

For the Random

When I cannot concentrate, I am grateful for the Random Wednesday.

I have to rip back an inch on Salt Peanuts because I was not measuring and knit too far. I do not mind it too much, because I was busy visiting with knitbuds.

I have hope that I will finish this sweater soon because our weather is predicted to be freezing on Friday and 80 on Monday.

NaBloPoMo is still fun, and I am glad to be able to say that. What I do not like is that it is no longer on its own site and has been absorbed by BlogHer. Perhaps I would like the BlogHer site more if I gave more time to exploring it, but I kind of doubt it. I find it to be too busy, redundant, and a bit tedious.

I want to stay true to my Salt Peanuts, but the itch to cast on something new is getting stronger. Maybe I can satisfy it with a MochiMochi, but only after I get the cardi on the right track. Then knitting something new is like a reward for good behavior, right.


Wait--do you hear that sound? It is a close-to-complete pair of mittens declaring that they should come before anything else, even a Teeny-Tiny MochiMochi.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Timely Ten

As I have been suffering snuffling along with this stupid cold for the past few days, it was easy to compile a list for this week's Ten on Tuesday topic.

Ten Ways You Care for Yourself When You Have a Cold

1. Neti Pot--It takes a bit of getting used to this one, but it really helps
2. Puffs Plus with Lotion--When I need to use a lot of tissues, these are much easier on my skin
3. Tea--It helps me get in the fluids that I need, so I drink a lot of weak tea
4. Chicken Soup--They say it helps, and they say if is all mental. I really do not care what they say; I
just know that it feels soothing when I am sick.
5. Juice--Again, they can continue to debate debate whether Vitamin C helps, but I am still drinking my orange juice
6. Mindless Knitting--When that is the extent of my abilities, once I get going, I can crank out miles of this stuff*
7. Lemon Water--Getting in enough fluids is important, and a little lemon in my water really helps me stick with it
8. Hand Lotion--Washing my hands often is important, but it leaves them needing a good hand lotion
9. Hand Sanitizer--For those times when I cannot get up and wash my hands or do not have access to soap and water
10. Hot Bath/Shower--It can help ease breathing and warms me up when I feel chilled

*The Proof:

Monday, November 07, 2011

State of the Sweater

When I made my bold declaration that I would finish a sweater this month, I knew that at some point it would mean actually picking up the pieces of my long-neglected Salt Peanuts and assessing the situation. Now that I look at it, this big, crumpled pile of gray wool no longer feels overwhelming. I can see how it may not look very promising right now, but I am so close. I just have to finish one of the front pieces; I just have to figure out where I am in the pattern. Yeah, letting this sit for so long was not one of my better choices.

I do not even remember why I set it aside. Probably, it was because the weather turned horribly hot and I could not face putting more work into something when it seemed like it would be ages until I could actually wear it. Now, however, our weather is featuring cooler temperatures on a more frequent basis, and I want to have my new cardigan. Additionally, Helen has joined me in the agreement to finish a sweater this month, and I do not want to let down my accountabilibuddy.

I super-swear this is not an excuse to put-off my deadline knitting. I am working on it, and it will be done soon, too. Now it is just a race to see which I complete first.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Chirp...chirp....chirp

How about a story to start our time together?
It's just like the story of the grasshopper and the octopus. All year long the grasshopper kept burying acorns for winter while the octopus mooched off his girlfriend and watched TV. Then the winter came, and the grasshopper died, and the octopus ate all his acorns and also he got a racecar. Is any of this getting through to you?*
FirstCricketLoomScarfHowever, this is neither the story of a grasshopper nor an octopus, but rather, a cricket--My New Cricket. A while back, (the morning of Bruce's surgery, to be exact) I found an excellent deal on a used Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom. I love this little critter! It is portable, compact, I enjoy weaving with it, and the loom waste is minimal. While I have not had as much time as I would like to weave, I have managed to finish one scarf already. I thought I was going to be weaving a different pattern (weaving is still very much a learning adventure for me), but I really like what I wove. I might donate it to the Red Scarf Project, but as it is not superwash, I am not sure.

*I still believe Futurama to be the most quotable show, even though these are the kinds of quotes I tend to share.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

UM...Looking on the Sunny Side

With weather like we are having, it makes it much easier to keep a positive outlook. Here's hoping wherever you are, everything is wonderful, and (if it applies in your area) you enjoy your extra hour this weekend!



Distress :: Call
White lie :: Little
Costume :: Jewelry
Stampede :: Bull
Unappealing :: Meal
Idiot :: Relative
Correction :: Department
Resignation :: Defeat
Insipid :: Prattle
Celebration :: Party

Just Like Rudolph

I am currently red-nosed, too. It is nothing more than an annoying cold, but it has certainly done its part to disrupt life. It managed to mess with the car keys, and I came home from the grocery store with a rather odd assortment.

Still, the down time has led to a little extra knitting time, allowing me to make it to the heel turn on the sock, so that is good.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Bunnies are Good Luck, Right?

Oh, how I hope it is true, because I think we need some. Right now, my hope is that we have finally fixed a pesky plumbing problem. I look forward to the time when we will have hot and cold running water in our home all day, everyday. We are now into our third week of this, although we have been able to have water most of the time, so it is not quite as awful as it sounds. So far, it is looking like we have fixed the problems, (no, this is not the first time we have thought this) and it is finally time to put everything back together and repair what was done to reach the troubled pipes. I would cross my fingers, but that interferes with my knitting and spinning.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New Adventures in New Places

We have a new yarn store in town. I finally had the opportunity to stop in and see it for myself. It was great to see the vision Nina has for the store, and she even put on a pot of coffee so we could sit and chat for a bit. I had a great time at Fiber Art Work, and picked up a little bit of yarn for something I will probably knit after the first of the year.

Not only does she have lovely yarn, but she also has a wonderful selection
of spinning fibers. Some of those came home with me, and she included a bonus sample for me to try, too. To get the word out about her store, she is giving out samples of fiber or yarn each month to anyone who joins her Ravelry group and requests the sample. Then if you create something with your sample (spin the fiber or knit the yarn) and share a picture of it in the group, she will send you another sample the following month. It is open to both local fiber folks as well as those far away.

I love my sample batt, and cannot wait to get it on the wheel.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Socktoberalmost

It probably does not bode well for my NaBloPoMo goals that I did not finish my sort-of-Socktober socks. Seeing as this is just a plain pair of toe-up socks that I began well in advance of the start of the month, it is pretty sad that they are stalled at just one and almost one-half.

I do understand why they are sitting on the needles, just waiting for me to make the time for them. Since it is just plain stockinette, I can really zip along with them while not giving any thought or attention to what I am doing. However, they are quite close to the heel-turn, and that means I need to put my focus on what I am doing. No, intense concentration is not necessary for the heel-turn itself, but some is for making sure that I begin it at the right time. It is just too easy to zone out and keep going round and round without thinking. Once I get the heel started, the sock can return to its rightful place as anytime mindless knitting. It also promises to be a convenient excuse for avoiding some deadline knitting that I ought to be doing right now.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Just Us Chickens

Happy Halloween! I am back and it is not a trick. Then again, I would not be so bold to declare my return as a treat, either, so there you have it. I know it has been a while, and sometimes I considered not coming back. Blogging is more than a little bit weird to me when I think about it too much, but it is still good to take the time to reflect upon it. Perhaps it is not so great to think about it when I am lonely and not able to stay in touch with the many wonderful people that I have in my life because of the knitblog world. You have brought so much to my life. I have missed you all so much, and am looking forward to catching up as best as I can.

Along with my decision to return to blogging is the decision to do it big. While this little chicken is cute, (I love my new Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi book) being a chicken is not so cute, so I am playing NaBloPoMo. I figure that is a good way to get my blogging muscles back in shape. However, this is not the year for NaKniSweMo, for me, but I think I will go with NaFiSweMo. I am putting out a call to knitters near and far to join me in finishing a sweater. I am sure that I am not the only one who has a partial sweater waiting for its time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

UM...Nervous?

HidingPinkuI suppose that might be the right word for now. Bruce is going to have surgery (paraesophageal hiatal hernia repair and maybe another bit of patchwork) this week. I am not too concerned about the procedure beyond the fact that it is surgery and thus has its associated risks. Still, that moment when I take his wedding ring, put it on a length of yarn, and slip it around my neck is always tough.

Once we make it through surgery, we have recovery, and it looks like it could be a bit bumpy. He will be on a pureed diet for four weeks after this, so the blender is in for quite a workout. There will be some other restrictions, too, but we are trying to not get ahead of ourselves. Coming up with some good recipes will be a challenge, too, but I have been looking at some possibilities. Our son is going to lend his VitaMix to us, so that will be helpful.

Anyway, this is going to keep me away from the computer for a bit. Maybe I will have some scheduled posts ready to go, but I do have a few other things I need to attend to first. I have to pack for the hospital. That means deciding on some hospital knitting. I am thinking about hats, cowls and fingerless mitts, or maybe even some plain vanilla socks, but I really have not gotten much beyond those few stray thoughts. I am trying to not think about the lace shawl I agreed to knit for a stranger. That one is still a bit of a puzzler, and perhaps a story for another day.

In the meantime, I have been knitting a cowl, ripping it out, restarting it, having a little bit of the yarndage, and finally finishing it. I had intended this to be a gift, but am afraid it might not be good enough. The pattern is Kuusk from the current Knitty. I am not quite sure what brought me to the pattern, but it was a good knit.
I knew I might have yarndage issues, so I used beads instead of nupps. If I would have had (guessing here) another twenty yards, I would like this even more.
BlockingPinku
However, it is still nice, and I enjoyed knitting with my handspun. I also dyed the silk hanky before spinning it, so there's that, too. It was supposed to be purple, but the Wilton dye behaved differently than I had anticipated, so I ended up with pink. The little skein had been sitting around for months, and I am glad to have knit it into something. Since the modeled shot is a bit lacking, here is one of it blocking, and then a peak into my unconscious mutterings.

Bells :: Warning
Germs :: Warfare
Athlete :: Feet
Voice :: Concerns
Diamonds :: Cut
Hoarse :: Throat
Tempest :: Teacup
Hurricane :: Irene
Bumps :: Goose
Jazz :: Hands

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mitered Madness

A few years, ago the Mitered Square Sock Yarn Blankets swept across the kingdom of knitters. I saw them, admired them, and moved on with my life. While I think they are wonderful, I am not likely to knit one, but I probably have the yarn with which to make one happen someday. Somewhere in my mind, I do have an idea of knitting one of those blankets for myself one day, but not anytime soon.

Now I see the HexiPuff Pandemic infecting one knitter after another, and I am just sitting back and watching the little hexagons form from the needles of other knitters. My risk of catching this one is very low, but I will enjoy watching what happens with others.
Generally speaking, knitting blankets drains my already dwindling will to live.

SisterKindleCoversAlthough it is probably quite some time before I am likely to knit my own Mitered Square Sock Yarn Blanket, that does not mean I want to just let all of that yarn sit and wait. However, not having a project in mind meant waiting for a need to help me find one.

I got a Kindle, and it needed a protective cover. I searched on Ravelry and decided to make this one. My sister also has a Kindle, and hers needed a case, so I made one for her. I added i-cord to the top and as a button-closure. I also lined them with some fabric I had lying around.

I adore these little covers, and absolutely love my Kindle! I think I might need to make more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Take Two Tuesday

Seeing as this week's weather has already given us back-to-back <90F temperatures, (we'll not speak of the rest of the week) it seems like the time is right to knit mittens. I have been contemplating colorwork lately, and this is the perfect excuse to play. As I was going through my books the other day, I found several motifs that I would like to put together into mittens of my own (for lack of a better word) design. I don't know that I will ever get around to it, so for now I am knitting from a pattern.

It is already take two for this pair of mittens, as I did not like the way the colors were working together. You can see how some were just blending into the background, so I had to rip. I am not sure whether I like the re-start, but since I am having difficulty liking anything right now, I am going to keep going. The pattern is Sea Mineral Mittens from SpillyJane. I am changing the thumb because, although it is very attractive in this design, the peasant thumb is a bit uncomfortable for me.

Tomorrow includes time in the car and in the waiting room, so I would like to have my knitting settled and ready. I figure that if I can make it through the cuff and the gusset and place the thumb stitches on waste yarn, I will be set.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Challenging

Knitting the second Emily2 was more challenging than knitting the first. To begin with, there was the issue of locating a steel crochet hook small enough to add the size 11/0 seed beads. It also took some time to get used the unusual yarn I chose. I decided to use the copper/bamboo yarn I got at Habu Textiles last year. It is so very fine and light that it almost seems to be floating away while you knit with it. Not only is the yarn itself very thin, but the ply of copper makes for a very different knitting experience. Now, none of this is bad. I loved knitting this, and each of the challenging elements added to my enjoyment.

There are only two more challenges remaining. The first, I do not believe I can conquer with my current skills--getting a decent photo. That did not stop me from trying time after time.

The last challenge is deciding whose this is. Last month I met with other spinners at the lys. Someone mentioned a shawl I had once knit, and someone else asked what my current shawl project was. I got out the Emily2 in progress and handed it to her. Other people were interested to see it and feel the unusual yarn, so it made its way around the room. I said to the woman sitting next to me that I was not sure whether I was giving it away or keeping it for myself. She stated that no mortal alive was worthy of this shawl. I guess that disqualifies me, too.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tales from the Tour

There is so much to love about spinning. It is more than just the creation of yarn; that is only part of the story. There are so many opportunities for memories along the way. From fiber acquisition, to the time the yarn (in whatever form it might be at that time) has completed its journey, much can happen.

I remember when I bought this alpaca/silk blend. It was a few years ago at a tiny fiber festival in Tennessee. A group of us had gone up together, though I think I was the only spinner amongst us at that time. Some were there just for the trip, others were just on the lookout for bargains, I think there was a reluctant knitter, and a couple more curious about spinning. I mostly wandered on my own, finding little gems along the way, including this big bag of fluff.

Then it sat and waited. I admired it, but did not think I was good enough at spinning to use it, and I wanted to wait until my spinning skills were worthy. Fast-forward to Le Tour de Fleece 2009, and I was ready to challenge myself. One day, a friend invited me to her home to spin and watch the cyclists on television. We chatted, I spun, she took pictures, and she pointed out places in France from her past. When I left, I began to formulate a plan--I wanted to turn this fluff into yarn and then knit it into something for her.

I began thinking of the right pattern, and I found one I would like to knit for her. Then it was time to check the yardage, and I was short by a lot, so the yarn sat. My friend moved away, and it sat some more. Then, there was a knitalong, and the pattern brought the alpaca/silk yarn to memory, but before starting, I checked yardage again, as I have been burned in the past.

I was so pleased to see that I had enough yarn, and I began knitting Emily2. It was odd to be participating in an online knitalong while needing to keep the project private, but I was just glad to be knitting for my friend. The only stumbling block that remained was getting it in the mail, and that took months, but I finally did, and now it is with my friend.

Emily2ForLizzie

Friday, July 08, 2011

Why Did I Wait?

It is not as though my grandma is reading the blog, so I could have shown this gift when I finished weaving it.

LogCabiningForGrandma

My selvedges still need a bit of work, but really are better than this photo shows them to be. Anyway, I finally made my way to the post office this week, so she should have it soon.

Playing Tour de Fleece does cause the blog to suffer a little bit, but I am having fun. I even got my niece in on the action when she spent the night. Her first skein of yarn is drying.

video

Clearly, I have been neglecting the laundry a bit, too, but I am caught up on washing dishes. I suggest we fast for a few days so that I might bask in the glory of my accomplishment.

It is not just the Tour keeping me busy. I have also been playing with Google+. Some of you are already there. I have been sending invites when they are open. If you are not yet in, but would like to be, let me know. I am not quite sure what to make of it. Time will tell, I suppose.

Today is going to be a slow day, as my fingers are achy. So much for getting caught up on blogs, eh?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

On Your Mark, Get Set, Spin!

It is that time of year again, and I am ready for Le Tour de Fleece! Once again, I am a part of TeamCrankyPants! I love the relaxed, supportive, fun group, and pleased to be a part.

This year, I am spinning a selection from my Funky Carolina Pure Inspiration Club, the colorway is called, kind heart. This is a merino/silk blend, and is a new combo for me. I think the time is right for me to spin this very special fluff.

FunkyCarolinaKindHeartMerinoSilk

I have a few other ideas about what I might spin this year, but for now, this is my focus.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Evidence of Training

Since I began giving more attention to my Tour de Fleece preparation, I finished spinning and plying some alpaca. I received this from Diane in a Team CrankyPants exchange a couple of TdFs ago. It was great to spin and the skein is so soft and squooshy.

360YdsThreePlyAlpaca

107g Alpaca, Three-Ply, ~360 yds, ~14wpi



Monday, June 20, 2011

Try-a Hiya!

The HiyaHiya people were able to help me out, and I felt a bit stupid for not having thought of them in the first place. My friend was able to bring me this 0.5mm steel crochet hook, and it works with my beads. I am now making wonderful progress on the second Emily2 while my other lace cries for attention.

Speaking of HiyaHiya, when I got my new hook, I was also able to see a set of the new bamboo interchangeable needles. I think I know what I want for my birthday this year!


Monday, June 13, 2011

If It's June

That means it is, once again, Goat Trauma Awareness Month. The campaign has already served its purpose, as heretofore, I had been unaware.

June also means that July is likely to be here next, and along with it,
the Tour de Fleece. Things have been underway at Team CrankyPants Training Camp, but I just checked in this weekend. I hope to finish the alpaca yarn I have had on Kiwi for far too long. I spun for a couple of hours on Saturday, taking breaks along the way. Whenever I noticed the time allotted for spinning drawing to a close, I heard, "Annie says, 'No Injuries'," sounding off in my brain like a demented cuckoo clock.

Those words of wisdom followed me on Sunday when Kiwi, the pile of alpaca fluff, and I attended a bi-monthly spin-in at the lys. I had not been in so long, but I did well. I did not allow myself to get so nervous as to turn lovely fiber into a felted clump in my hand. I met new people, ooh-ed and aah-ed over so very many pretties, squee-ed over some precious little Kuchulu Spindles, knit a little, and even managed to spin some.

In fact, it seemed that I might make my way through all of the fiber I had brought with me. However, there was no need to think I would run out of fiber to spin. One of the women was giving away bundles of fiber she knows she will never get around to spinning, so I came home with quite a bagful of fluff, as well as a bottom-whorl drop spindle. I have plans for some of it for myself, know that some is for others, and the rest will speak to me in due time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mind Over Miter

I am at something of a standstill with my second Emily2, as I need a much smaller steel crochet hook to add the beads. My current method using the dental floss thingy has become more than a little trying, and greatly detracts from the joy of knitting this shawl, and there is much enjoyment to be had in its creation. My lys does not carry any as small as I need, nor do any of the chain, craft stores. It does trouble me somewhat to double or triple the price of an item through shipping, so I am looking at one other option before I order online. Well, there is another, but that involves undoing all of my progress and getting different beads, and I really do not want to do that, but I will if I must.

While working through the various solutions to the Emily2 problem, I have kept quite busy. I had a bit of mohair madness and wove a wrap for my nephew's teacher. I started it late Wednesday night, and needed to have it in gifting condition by Thursday morning.
I used Moonlight Mohair in the Rain Forest colorway. I stayed up all night, and had it dried just barely in time. I think Opal crossing her fingers was just the extra boost I needed to make the deadline. I did not even have time to take a photo, but it was lovely, and I was pleased to have been able to give the gift.

With one project on hold, and a gift on a tight deadline complete, I decided to play around a bit. I have not done much mitered-square knitting, but occasionally have been interested in the construction. I do have in my mind the idea to one day make the mitered square sock yarn blanket, but it is only a fleeting thought. With my hiatus from socknitting, as well as my aversion to knitting blankets, it has been quite some time since I last considered the project. Ah, but an opportunity to just play with leftover sock yarn and mitered square knitting, well, that has been fun. It is the opposite of much of the hurry and pressure of late, and I think I am making something good. It will just take a little longer to see if I have chosen well.

Monday, May 23, 2011

On One Hand

When I finished Emily2, I looked about for the next thing to knit. Our weather was wonderful and unseasonably cool. I was loving it, especially because I knew that the heat would soon be here, and that October or later is probably the next time we might expect to enjoy such temperatures.

Anyway, I was not quite ready to begin something new, but rather, I was of a mind to finish something that was waiting for its time to receive my attention. I first thought about Salt Peanuts, but I quickly let that go. I admit that part of the reason I did not finish it was the dreaded idea that I would have a new wool sweater just in time for hot, humid, oppressive weather to set in for the season.
EstonianHandPuppetHandSpun
No sooner had thoughts of completing my cardigan been put back into hibernation, did the answer of what to finish next pop into my head. Within a few minutes, I was retrieving my nearly complete Estonian Sheep Hand Puppet. All that this little creation lacked was ears, stuffing, a face, and the weaving in of ends and blocking. In the midst of much on-the-go time, I grabbed a few minutes here and there, and soon I was done.

After seeing just how little time it took for me to finish this, I could be a bit disgusted with myself for having put it off for so long. I recall what stopped me way back when. It was the missing portion of the directions for the ears.
It just put me off, and so I set the project aside until I was ready. I am so pleased to have picked it back up and put in the time and effort to complete my new little friend.EstonianHandPuppetWithLavenderBunch

Much of my knitting of late has been for others, but this is for me. At least I think it is. Sometimes I hear that small voice or the little tap on my shoulder that lets me know something I made really belongs with someone else, and ignoring that leaves me unhappy. For now, though, this is mine, and it I am enjoying this simple hand puppet very much, possibly more than any one person should.