Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gearing up for 2010

I originally started this blog to feel connected to other knitters and to keep a journal of my knitting projects. Then Ravelry came out and I really don't have a use for the blog anymore. I'm going to keep it going for the free patterns and comments I've made on past projects but I need to figure out what I want this space for.

Speaking of space . . .

My yarn is running out room. I have a beautiful yarn cabinet with class doors that is very full of yarn. Not just any yarn either. Beautiful, hanks of alpaca, silk, wool and cashmere just waiting to be knit up into something fabulous. I have a lifetime supply of lace weight yarn now thanks to 3 Knit Picks lace sampler packs from my parents for Christmas. I have 4 Shakespeare in Lace kits (still untouched) and 4 more on the way for 2010.

It's quite necessary for me to declare a moratorium on yarn purchasing. Specifically, I need to stop buying yarn to knit other people stuff so that I can use the yarn I already own to knit myself stuff. It's not that I don't like knitting for others, I do, I really do. The problem is that my gorgeous stash just isn't getting knit up and my hands are just itching to work with all of it.

So no yarn buying in 2010. With the only exceptions being sock yarn purchased from the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival in September and Rhinebeck in October. I'm going to have to be strong the next time a baby is due and just hop on over to Target instead of the yarn shop. Too much guilt lies in that yarn cabinet just staring at me day after day.

First step - accept there is a problem
That would be me purchasing yarn whenever I go on a trip. I like visiting local yarn shops but there's no need for me to buy yarn when I go. I can still browse the yarn but maybe buy a pattern or a set of needles instead.
Babies don't always need hand knit items. Sometimes wipes and baby wash make great gifts too and they'll probably get used more.

Second step - create the solution
This will be a work in progress but will start with a revamp of my current To Do list. I do have a couple deadline projects that I already have the yarn for so I want to make sure they're accounted for. The trick will be to not add any more deadlines and take breaks with projects that are for me.

Third step - be realistic
I will probably not work on the Great American Aran Afghan this year so it makes no sense for me to add it to my To Do list. Even one 12 by 12 square is too much to do if I don't feel like doing it.
Also, knitting up just one Shakespeare in Lace project would probably take me a couple months so it giving myself a goal of knitting all 4 in one year doesn't exactly work.
It's going to take me a couple months to knit up a sweater that I already have the yarn for so planning this project will be key. I need to make sure I'm not working on it in the middle of summer but I also don't want to get overwhelmed and crank it out ASAP. I'm thinking about working in a pair of socks after I finish each section of the pattern to break up the monotony .

I'm going to also work this week to get all of my yarn photographed and uploaded into Ravelry to help with knowing what I have and finding the perfect patterns.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finished Object - Cable Blanket

I finished the cable blanket last night with about a month to go before the baby shower. YAY! It's so nice to be able to finish early and not have to rush. I'm glad I was able to cast off last night because it was getting so big that my fore arms and wrists were starting to hurt after knitting each night. I'm excited to cast on another pair of lightweight socks next!

Pattern: Cable Blanket by Debbie Bliss in Simply Baby
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in almond
Needles: US 6 & 3 circulars
Time frame: April 24 - August 19, 2009

Love the yarn, love the pattern - love making baby blankets as long as I have plenty of time!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Power Knitting

I have nothing exciting going on lately in terms of knitting, other than I can't wait to get started on some of the projects on my To Do list. I've been able to get down to 4 WIPs with one of them as my main project, the Cable Blanket. It's very relaxing to knit and I barely have to look at the pattern. I'm on my second to last ball of yarn and it feels good to be able to get this one done well in advance of the baby shower (not even scheduled yet).

I re-organized my stash yarn again this week with just a basic "airing of the stash" to remind me what I have. I like to do this often as it keeps me from buying more. I think my organizational pattern in my cabinet fits just like how a bartender sorts his liquor. My top shelf yarn is exquisite, total luxury and demands nothing but the perfect pairing with a pattern. Second shelf is good quality, durable yarn for my functional knitting needs. Third shelf is all acrylics for specific charity projects, just a hodge podge of yarn - and I like it that way. The bottom shelf is my left overs, oddballs and Great America Aran Afghan yarn. This is the spot where I put stuff that doesn't quite have a purpose yet but isn't ready to go to my mother-in-law for her weaving projects.

So, while I work diligently on my Cable Blanket I'm daydreaming about my top shelf yarn and how I'd really like to expand that stash with a nice sock club this year . . .

Monday, August 10, 2009

Isn't It Lovely?

Last month I braved the ridiculous heat of Austin, Texas for a work trip. On my way there I met a lovely knitter in the airport and we had a very nice conversation. She recommended that I visit Hill Country Weavers shop while I was there. I'm so glad that I did.

That shop was actually the closest one to my hotel according to my research on Planet Purl's site. I researched all the shops right after I found out that I had to go. The store didn't look like much from the outside (plus I was just trying to concentrate on breathing - not quite used to that heat) but when I stepped in it was a treasure trove of goodies.

One of the ladies gave me a tour of the store after I told her I was brand new. That store just kept going. Every time I turned a corner there was another room, then another and another. I ended up planting my feet in the lace section and then wandering back over to the sock yarn. I must have walked back and forth several times before settling on my final purchase.

1460 yard of Prism Lace Wool in smoke. This colorway is so cool, so unique, I can't wait to find the perfect pattern for it. It's a combination of black, blue, purple and grey - I've never see anything like it. One big hank of yarn probably for a nice shawl or stole. The best part is that it would look great with a simple black dress or with something more colorful. I'm having fun just looking at my possibilities on Ravelry already.

Yes, I didn't need any more lace yarn but I braved the heat just to get to the shop and I'm proud of the reward that came home with me!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Finished Object - Dad's Tampa Bay Socks

I finished Dad's second sock while on a conference call on Friday (yes it's allowed because they track which screen I'm viewing so if I can't multi-task I knit, plus it helps me focus on what they're saying). It's hideous and not what I originally had in mind but he will wear them anyway and loves them just the same. Maybe that's why I love knitting for him. He's honest and still appreciates the hard work that it takes to create a finished item.

Pattern: Gridiron by Anne Hanson

I LOVE this pattern. It's very manly and functional, easy to understand and memorize and very well-written. I don't knit too many socks so I don't remember everything that goes into knitting socks. This is a great pattern and I plan to use it again, and again, and again! I also plan to purchase more of her patterns for men.

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock, 2 hanks

The yarn felt wonderful and knit up like a dream. 80% superwash wool and 20% nylon make it a very durable, machine washable yarn. I only found 1 or 2 thin spots in each hank - nothing to complain about. I'll definitely go back to this brand again for socks.

Yarn Color: Team Spirit #19

I make a separate note here for the color. While I love the yarn, the color didn't work out like I had hoped. It was the closest that I could find to match the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and I didn't think the amount of white would make it look as "candy cane-ish" as it did. I take this as a learning point next time when shopping for colors.

Needles: US 1 metal DPNs

I had to purchase a multi-pack of metal DPNs at my local AC Moore for these socks and I really liked working with them. I even had a coupon, yay!

Time Frame: 6/22/09 to 7/31/09

This is mis-leading because I had several charity knitting projects come up AND I worked on my Cable Blanket for a weekend once because I originally wanted the socks to be a surprise. I bet if I was monogamous to them it would probably be closer to 3 weeks or so.

So with Dad officially in possession of his socks they know have a nickname "Dad's Lightning Bolt Christmas Socks". They fit him very nicely and he loves them. I couldn't be happier!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tour de Fleece

Right now the Tour de France is running and spinners around the world are engaged in the Tour de Fleece challenge. I'm envious. This is the second year that's gone by that I knew about it and didn't participate. So I joined the group in Ravelry to keep it fresh in my mind and added it to my calendar as starting next year on July 3rd.

I'm thinking it will be a great way to improve my technique by focusing only on spinning for about a month. Also, I can work through my existing stash and make room for new purchases at Rhinbeck next year. I have several pound of roving stashed away and I refuse to buy anymore until I start spinning again on a regular basis.

The challenge will be making the Tour de Fleece a priority and sidetracking any deadline projects (and keeping the cats away from my wheel).

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So Proud!

Last night, William asked me to sing a new song to him before bed. I had no idea what the new song was so I asked him to sing it to me first. I quickly called for Gerald to come back into the room to listen as well. This morning I brought my camera with us on the way to school and asked him to sing it to me again:

This is after just one day at the new school. We are definitely happy with the results so far. Plus, he actually came home CLEAN yesterday afternoon - a first in a long time!

I'm sure his old school taught him this too as did I and other family members but after learning several new songs in class yesterday this is the first time he sang it to us. We're so proud!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Finished Object - Kansas' Purse

Thankfully I have a wonderful mother-in-law with amazing sewing skills, otherwise this purse would never have been finished.

The yarn called for is ribbon yarn (Berroco Glace) and I will never, ever knit in ribbon yarn again. I'm documenting this just in case I see something pretty online and think that it won't be that bad. It was a nightmare to knit with and just twists and twists. Maybe I just have just knit it from the hank. I don't know. It took twice as long as it should have to knit and then required sewing skills.

I think I might have the sewing skills but just not the sewing patience :)

So, this purse was loving knit by me and sewn by her Grandma. Just look at that button - just perfect! Thank goodness I was using my Rosewood luxury needles . . . it dulled the anger and kept me from hurling it across the room! I love my niece Kansas but I was this close to just sending her a gift card and letting her go shopping. I hope she loves it and I can't wait to hear from her!

Pattern: Girly Bag by Amy Polcyn (free Ravelry download)
Yarn: Berroco Glace (thankfully discontinued)
Needles: US 6 rosewood straights
Time frame: June 5-20, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just a thought

Sitting at my computer this morning working, no shoes on and the AC on. I thought to myself "man, it would be really nice to throw on a pair of hand knit socks right now"

Yeah, imagine that.

Knitting for all these years and still no socks for myself. What a shame! I'm going to remember this for my next "me" project . . . not that it will be happening anytime soon though.

Monday, June 8, 2009


It fit and was determined to hot to wear right now but was a success!

We were at camp so this was just a fitting for later this fall when the cooler weather comes in. Very nice pattern, yarn and experience overall!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Finished Object - Dad's Vest

It couldn't have been finished with any later and still be a present for my father. His birthday was this past Tuesday but I got a few extra days since I won't see him until tomorrow. It's currently blocking/drying in our spare bedroom.

I would say that while the pattern is beautiful and very well made, it's short. I tried to add length to it here and there hoping to make up for it since I read others knitters opinions on the Ravelry project page claiming it ended up way short for them. My Dad wanted it longer than what the pattern stated so I definitely kept that in mind the whole time. I'm hoping that by blocking the wool strongly it will give me another couple inches in length. We shall see when he tries it on tomorrow . . .

Pattern: Zipped Vest by Veronik Avery
Yarn: Patons Classic Merino Wool in charcoal
Needles: US 4 (Knit Picks Options were awesome)
Time frame: 3/23/09 - 6/5/09

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mid Year Update

It's June 4th and time to gauge what I can do this year and what is probably impossible to accomplish. First step is to make a list of project with deadlines:

1. Dad's Vest - Knitting is done and the zipper will be sewn in tonight! Deadline is this Saturday when I see him at camp.

2. Kansas Purse - Haven't cast this on but it should be quick and I bought the clear purse handles yesterday while I was at AC Moore looking for a zipper for Dad's Vest. Deadline is July 11th, her birthday.

3. Football Socks - Team colored yarn was purchased and patterns have been queued up in Ravelry. I'm really liking the looks of Gridiron and School Sock. Very manly. Deadline is August 9th, beginning of NFL pre-season.

4. Cable Blanket for Baby Craig - One ball knit and 4 to go. Very enjoyable project to work on so it shouldn't take long to finish if I work here and there on it in between other projects when I need a break. Deadline is pre-October 17th, her due date but most likely given as a shower gift.

5. Duke Dog Sweater - Measurements have been taken for the pattern calculator, colors have been selected but design elements are still being debated between a dog bone motif or skull and cross bones. Deadline is this fall, before it gets too cold.

6. Manly Socks for Christmas - Requests came in from my husband, father and father-in-law for more wool socks in specific colors. I purchased several balls of yarn already from AC Moore when they had a ridiculous sale on Paton's Classic Wool (and later retracted the flyer costs). I'll probably use my patterns from Knitting Pure and Simple. Deadline is this Christmas.

Ah, that doesn't seem so bad. The problem is that it doesn't include my current WIPs:

1. Mystery Stole 4 (aka Serendipity Stole) - I've got the first half done and about half way through the second half. Since I started this project as a learning experience for larger lace projects there's no intended recipient at this time and no deadline. It will sadly have to wait for the deadline projects to get finished up first.

2. Dainty Bess lace scarf - This is my travel project and perfect for airport/airplane/hotel knitting. Absolutely no rush on this one either.

That's not too bad either. It's nice to have true pleasure projects to work on with no pressure for finishing. But then there's the Shakespeare in Lace club that I joined. Now that's true pleasure knitting. I had initially hoped that I could finish all 4 shipments this year but realistically I'd like to just be able to cast on for one before the end of the year. The first two shipments are beautiful and will make great presents some day:

1. Desdemona Shawl - The yarn is a pinkish peach and super soft.

2. A Midsummer's Night Dream Lace Shawl - The yarn is again very soft and the blue has great depth to it from being kettle dyed. Plus, it came with BEADS! Good thing I know how to knit with beads after working on the MS4 stole!

So, while I feel good about organizing my To Do list and that I only have to buy yarn for one project (Duke's Dog Sweater - Caron's Simply Soft won't be expensive at all) I do have some anxiety about finding enough time to get everything done. I only knit a couple hours each night. Plus there's that nagging feeling about not knitting on my GAAA at all this year and all of the other gorgeous yarn in my stash that I'm excited to work with.

Maybe I just need to schedule a few "mental health" days and just knit all day. Yeah - that would be nice . . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Knitting Karma

This past weekend my parents had a massive garage sale and thankfully they let us put a ton of stuff in with theirs. I took this opportunity to sort through my stash and found two boxes of yarn that I would never use.

They were my husband's grandmother's stash and kept very nicely over the years. It was chunky acrylic yarn in colors that didn't fit my taste. Back in the 1970s this must have been her best stash. There were balls from Sweden - very cool but still too rough for my taste and I love acrylics. After 3 years of keeping it in this house I decided to part with it - which was hard but it felt good too.

My father set out the yarn for me and told me how it sold:

An elderly lady and a couple of her friends got out of the car early Friday morning and started looking around at the offerings. She came to the first box of yarn, "Excuse me, how much for this box of yarn?"

My father replied, "One dollar for the box."

"One dollar?" she asked.

"Yes, a dollar for the box."

"The entire box?" she asked again.

My father assured her that it was marked to sell at exactly that price. She quickly snatched up the box and dug through her purse for the dollar. Then she spotted the second box . . .

"Sir? How much for this box?"

He said one dollar again and she was just tickled pink with her find. She quickly paid him, beamed to her friends and just gushed about what a great deal it was. My Dad explained that his daughter was a knitter and that I was just clearing out my yarn. It was perfectly good yarn but just didn't fit with what I liked to make, I didn't have room for it anymore, etc. My Dad had a conversation on yarn with her. Love it!

When Dad told me this story it made my day and I completely felt the great karma from not just tossing the yarn into the trash. I hope she enjoys the yarn just as much as I enjoyed passing it along!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Knitting

This weekend I finished my first ball of yarn for the Cabled Baby Blanket that I'm making for friends that are expecting their first baby. I'm amazed at how quickly it's going but then again I'm comparing it to Dad's vest that has double the number of stitches in one row.

The color is a rich almond and should fit in nicely with their home decor. The pattern is one that they picked out from my Debbie Bliss Simply Baby book. At this rate I should finish it well before the baby shower. It's perfect knitting for when family is visiting or when we have a short road trip.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stash Organization

The other night I had a dream about my acrylic yarn that I use for charity and I was trying to get Clara Parks to write reviews of the yarn available in big box stores, their pros can cons and the best uses for each.

Yes, I need to do something about the growing size of my acrylic yarn stash.

I ended up pulling all of my stored yarn out of bags and either putting it in my yarn cabinet or my drawers. I had yarn from my husbands grandmother that will be perfect for the HAP rectangles and I had yarn purchased a while back for a couple Project Linus blankets. I also had knitting bags all over my closet and office with no real organization.

I ended up cleaning out my entire office and it felt really good. I rearranged my furniture and completely cleaned out the closet with an emphasis on accessing the things I need easily. I've got a laundry basket of clothes to garage sale now and a good sense of the yarn I own. Needless to say I don't plan on making any purchases anytime soon :)

The first shelf is my nicest yarn including lace weights and festival purchases, second shelf is sock yarn and Project Linus blanket yarn, third shelf is charity yarn for Oddball blankets and the bottom shelf is my GAAA yarn and the yarn I have in my Ravelry trade/sell category for easy access.

My stash drawers include finished objects, tools and notions. I also have leftover balls of yarn for charity knitting, dishcloths and for teaching people how to knit when they ask. I feel much better about having everything organized and knowing exactly what I have. By no means is it excessive but by organizing a couple times a year I can keep it from getting out of control. I have some really nice stuff and can't wait to use it all. Now it's just a question of finding the time to knit . . .

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I have recently admitted to myself and to my family that I have an addiction. It's powerful and intoxicating. I'm addicted to knitting bags. Now that it's out in the open I'm hoping to shop more :)

Below is the Namaste Clutch that I won from Planet Purl.

I was so excited to get the charcoal version since out of all the colors that would have been the one I would pick for myself. Love. This. Bag.

Perfect Size for my lace scarf projects with spots for multiple needles.

Perfect sections for practical items needed that are non-knitting related.

Perfect price for my budget (ahem - FREE)

On Monday we took a lunch break with my parents and went to Cracker Barrel. Most of their items are over priced but I love to look. I found the cutest black bag with pick flower that was perfect for knitting (see - the addiction is always there) and at $15 I thought it was worth considering. By the end of the meal, I decided to save my money since we're in a recession and my husband just recently had to trade in for a new truck for safety issues. Next day it was waiting for me on my desk, thanks to my father who thought if I liked it that much I should have it.

So yes, not only is my husband the ever vigilant enabler - he's converted my father too. Do you think they have rehab for this?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Planet Purl Rocks!

I just got an email from Planet Purl stating that I won the Namaste Cali Clutch in their latest drawing! Holy crap! I thought it was spam at first and then I was just about in tears when I realized it was real. I never win anything - seriously - my father is the lucky one in the family.

I sent a reply with my address and my sincere thanks. I love that site and their travel guides save me a ton of time when I'm getting ready for my trips. I haven't explored the other areas of their site as much as I would like but just their yarn shop reviews are valuable to me.

This Cali Clutch is so cool! I can't wait to see which color I get and figure out which project to use it for next. I'm thinking a travel project would make sense based on the size and where I'm getting it from.


I have been steadily knitting along on my projects and haven't felt a need to update my WIPs or FOs on this blog since the same information is captured on my Ravelry Projects page. No need to duplicate work. Instead I'd like to explore future projects and current knitting dilemmas.

Currently I'm working on a ginormous project. My father's vest is in XX-Large with 280 stitches so I'm able to get about 4 rows a night done in the main pattern.

I'd like to finish it up by his birthday in early June but it will take some dedication and serious monogamy. I can do both but I plan to work in a few small projects to break it up a bit.

Awhile back I received a free bag of yarn, I organized it by weight & color, and then wound them into small yarn cakes for storage. I'd like to use these up and make more room in my yarn cabinet for nicer stash that I still have stored in a large bag. It's all charity yarn but I'd like to use up the older stuff first. My plan is to finish the skein of yarn I'm working periodically on for the soldiers rectangles and then color coordinate my old stash for a couple Project Linus blankets for my local chapter. It should make a great car/road trip project and won't take forever to do. I've got a couple stitch books with patterns I've been wanting to try so I'm hoping to find something that fits and works well with the sizes I need to make. The only problem I see with this is that I'm not very good at coordinating colors so I may have to take a pictures of the yarn available and get my sister-in-law to help with that part.

Work has been crazy busy and my travel has increased. This means less blog posts but hopefully more money for me in the long run. I'm planning my summer/fall festival now so that the time is blocked out way in advance. I've decided against the Knitting & Crochet Show in Buffalo this August because we think we'll have a wedding to attend that same weekend. But I would LOVE to take that Russian Lace Knitting class that's all day on Friday. That would be worth the trip alone - but with traveling for work it's hard to take a full day away from my family right now.

So far my only definite festivals are the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival and the NYS Sheep & Wool festival in Rhinebeck. The first one can be a family day trip for us with about a hour each way in the car. Rhinebeck will most likely be just me going alone. I can't imagine my husband and son wanting to go to that.

Very realistic goals for me now that it's April. I'm trying to work in 30 minutes on the treadmill every day and not purchase anymore yarn until the festivals. They're both a challenge for me but I can do it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Finished Object - Pirate Hat

This was a crash course in Fair Isle. I had never learned this technique before but when my niece's birthday was coming up I felt the urge to knit something fun for her. After sending a few ideas to my sister-in-law the overwhelming response was the Pirate Hat from Hello Yarn. They are very much a Halloween family so it made perfect sense to me.

The problem was picking out the yarn for me. I wanted something light and soft so I didn't have to knit the cotton band but the white in the store didn't look good to me. I went with a blood red instead. Loved it.

She immediately put on the hat and didn't take it off the entire night. I think she liked it. Next time I will do a different ribbing though because without the cotton band lining it did curl more than I liked. Overall - great project.

Pattern: We Call Them Pirates by Adrian Bizilia
Yarn: Bernat Satin Sport Solids, 1 ball each of black and red
Needles: US 2 & 3
Time frame: 3/15/09 to 3/28/09

Monday, March 9, 2009

ISE7 - My Package Arrived!

My ISE7 package arrived over the weekend. Once again I was spoiled rotten.

I was very lucky and got a great pal again this time. The scarf is simply beautiful! It's a reversible pattern and the yarn is 80% baby suri alpaca and 20% silk. It feels wonderful to wear and looks very nice on me. The blue is a great color for me.

On to the goodies:

2 magnet notepads - I can never get enough of these
March 2009 Creative Knitting - just flipped through it once & already found 2 patterns I love
Knitters Hand Handmade Lotion Bar - never used this but I can't wait to try it
Notions bag filled with stitch markers, needle gauge and stitch holders - so useful!

My favorite is the stitch markers from See Jayne Knit Hand Dyed Yarns. I love the color and they are the perfect size for my lace projects. So thoughtful! These came as a separate package and I think I gave a yell when I opened them.

Thank you so much Dorothy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No Begging Allowed

My husbands wool socks have finally worn out. We think he snagged it on something and the whole just grew.

Since these are the only pair he has I had to make an emergency trip to AC Moore for yarn. That morning I got a circular stating that Patons Classic Wool was 2 for $5. Knowing that one ball was normally $7.99 I high-tailed it to the store before the best colors were sold out. Of course, they said that the circular was incorrect and the sale was actually 2 for $9. There was no retraction printed and after my husband pleasantly argued our case with the store manager I got 8 balls of Patons Classic Wool for $2.50 a piece. I felt very guilty but I can't help it if they made a mistake in their advertising. The worst part was that there was another lady in the aisle that wanted the same deal but the store manager said that we'd be the only ones getting that price. So not fair! You print the ad, you honor the price!

Anyway, progress has been very fast on these since my husband doesn't like the socks to be very tall. I cut 5 inches from the length on each sock so I may be able to get 2 socks out of one ball of yarn. It will be close but I'm definitely curious. The pattern is Men's Heavy Boot Sock #998 from Knitting Pure & Simple and I it's my stand by for quick, warm socks.

I have two more business trips coming up so it will be lace knitting for me to stay sane. Plus I have a couple baby blankets headed my way for charity. Oh - and the first shipment of Shakespeare in Lace is scheduled to go out the first week of March. No rest for the weary!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feel Good Knitting

I've simply got too many projects on the needles for my liking so I'm focusing on finishing my MS4 stole. Nothing exciting to photograph since the first side looks the same as this one. I just started Clue 3 on the second side and it's flying off my needles. I love knitting lace.

My trick for concentrating without going crazy has been listing to Brenda Dayne's Cast On podcast. She mixes up knitting talk with great music and it's thoroughly entertaining. I started from the beginning so I think I'm at around episode 37. Eventually I'll catch up and be disappointed that I can't hear a new episode whenever I feel like it.

To make sure I'm not getting bored I'm mixing it up with a few charity projects. I've started another set of rectangles for the HAP project and I'm diving in head first with a new round of Northeast Oddball Baby Blankets with my peeps on Knitting Help. I haven't done much charity work lately and it's just feels good. My MS4 doesn't know it's purpose yet but I balance that out with the charity projects.

[Oh - I uncovered an entire stash of charity yarn that I forgot about. That makes my charity knitting "recession proof" since I won't have to buy any yarn for a long time to participate!]

Monday, February 9, 2009

Finished Object - la novia

I have loved Anne Hanson's designs for a while now and with ISE7 I was finally able to knit one. I choose la novia for it's open design and paired it with my Sublime yarn that I had stashed away for a special scarf.

My pal should receive her package from me sometime tomorrow I figured it's finally safe to post the finished pictures. With it being a deep navy blue, it photographed horribly:

But it's beautiful, soft and smooshy. Perfect for the warm weather climate that my pal lives in. I hope she enjoys it - it was lovely to knit.

Pattern: la novia by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Sublime Yarns Cashmere Merino Silk DK purchased from Sheep Thrills
Needles: US 8 straight bamboo
Timeframe: 1/12/09 to 1/27/09

Friday, January 16, 2009

Finished Object - XOXO Blanket

This is my first finished project for 2009 and it surprised me how fast it knit up. I really, really overestimated the time it would take to complete the blanket. My friend from college is due in February and it's already in the mail!

I knit this baby blanket because I was able to make it very meaningful. Scarlet and Brown are our school colors from college. XOXO may mean hugs and kisses to some people but to us it's the Greek letter for Chi Omega, our sorority where we met.

I'm very happy with the two colors but the strangest thing happened. I bought 2 skeins of autumn red and 2 of chocolate for the blanket. While I ran out of the first Chocolate skein before starting the last strip I never touched the second autumn red. I even had plenty left for seaming. I've heard of manufacturers varying the length of yarn in a skein but this was a huge difference. Good think I love the color and will use it in something else some day!

I did end up deciding not to attach a backing to the blanket since it's going to a warm climate. That meant an entire night just seaming in ends. Pure torture but it looks wonderful. I've gotten great compliments from anyone who's seen it. I'm definitely going to save the pattern for future babies since it was such a quick knit. There are some good color combinations out there to try and Caron's Simply Soft is perfect for the quality, price and durability.

Project Details:
Pattern: XOXO Blanket (free Ravelry link)
Yarn: Caron's Simply Soft in Autumn Red and Chocolate
Needles: US size 9 straight
Time frame: 12/24/08 to 1/11/09

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free Bag of Yarn - YAY!

I was going through my emails Thursday morning last week and decided that I didn't need to get the Freecycle daily digest anymore for my county. I used it to get rid of stuff but there was never anything I ever wanted. I was just about it click to join my group and edit my preferences when I saw a listing for a free bag of yarn and not much more information than that. I jumped right on it and replied to the lady.

She still had the yarn and our times for pick up matched. Then we got snow, lots of lots of snow. My husband and I picked up our son from daycare and then braved the weather to drive a half hour. This was treacherous weather and we just giggled the whole way. No one can ever say my husband didn't support me with my knitting.

I ended up with a big bag of older acrylic yarn.

Perfect for my charity work with the baby blankets and HAP rectangles. I sorted out the stuff that was unusable, balled up everything else then sorted which was worsted and which was sport weight.

Overall, very good for a free bag of yarn.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday Book Night is Back!

With the insanely crazy holidays over we're finally able to get back into our routine. Last night I started Brisingr (Inheritance, Book 3) . . . love it! Even though the story line and characters remind me of The Lord of the Rings I'm caught up and want to see how it all ends. Do Eragon and Arya end up together? Can he save Murtagh from his oath to the evil dude? I could have sat there and read the book cover to cover if I didn't have to work the next day. It's so relaxing to put the XM channel on and just snuggle with a blanket and read. I look forward to Wednesday night every week now.

It is difficult to not get my knitting out that night. I feel like I'm almost cheating or just not being productive with my time. But it gives me a good break so that I can dive in again on Thursday night and not get too bored with what I'm making.

Speaking of which - my XOXO Blanket should be done this week, at least the knitting part. Then comes the hard decision as to whether or not a backing should be added. I may chicken out and just weave in my ends and be done. I'm not sure if I'm up for learning something new and having it turn out horrible. This is a gift that I really want to send out right now. I haven't responded to my friend after getting her Christmas card announcement of the pregnancy so I'm chomping at the bit to talk to her.