Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Achtung! Sidebar Under Construction

In an effort to update the sadly neglected sidebar, everything went straight to hell. Bear with me whilst I figure out this new template thingy.

Top Ten Reasons I've Been Absent Forfreakingever

Post idea shamelessly stolen from KnittingJones, a really neat knitigator type specializing in family law, and who was also gone from blogdom for way less time than I. D'oh. In no particular order...

10. My beloved has gone back to school. This. Is. HUGE. He is doing SO well!! He actually started last January, but this semester is considerably harder/more intensive than last. His school operates on trimesters, which I'm still not accustomed to, so classes tend to be longer & a wee bit more demanding (at least in my opinion, anyway). He's delcared his major, which has a longer, more official name, but basically boils down to Music Education. On top of school, homework, practice, and learning multiple new instruments (flute this week, who knows what's next), he's also holding down two jobs, plus still occasionally playing in a couple different bands. The boy just amazes me. As for my part, I've been getting up before dawn every day to make his lunch & see him off, which may not sound like much, but omg, I'm a night person! It's hard to crawl out of bed at that hour! I've also been fussing with numbers, trying to make sure I can still buy groceries every month after the bills are paid. This is a tricky thing. Given that my sweetie's school is 35 miles away, and one job is 35 miles away, and that he has to come back into our town after morning classes to work job #1, & then leave town again in the afternoon to work job #2, well...he's driving about 560 miles a week, give or take. That's a little more than a tank & a half of gas each week, and at $40 or so per fill-up, it's REALLY sucking the money out of our accounts. Unfortunately, this is the only way to juggle work & school for him, so it's a necessary evil, but it suuure sucks when it's time to pay bills! As a result, yarn buying for me has come to a complete halt too. I'm not complaining, though...it's hard as heck, and SO BLOODY STRESSFUL, but oooooooh, is it WORTH it!!! We only have a couple years of this to get through, and then he'll get his degree, and a job that he actually enjoys (well, he enjoys one job, but the main one rather bites), and then I'll have my tiny little farm! Yay!!

9. I've rediscovered cooking. Summers & cooking don't really go together for me, because I rarely turn on the air conditioner, and any sort of cooking winds up making the kitchen *so* hot. It's just not fun if you're gonna roast while you're doing it. However, the weather has taken a rather glorious turn lately, what with autumn arriving & all, and I am really jazzed for all the good autumnal foods, like beef stew & muffins & pumpkin pie & roast chickens & such. Besides, the better I do in the kitchen, the happier my husband is, given that most things wind up in his lunchbox eventually.

8. Christmas knitting. Yes, I started some time ago, and even finished a silly hat for my ma. Nothing exciting, but it doesn't need to be. It just needs to keep her ears from falling off during chores in January. It's made from a skein & a half of KnitPicks Cadena, which is just Sierra, renamed & with more colours. The colour I used is called Peat, and really, I like this yarn. It's pretty bulky, which makes for quick knits, and it's got a hefty dose of alpaca, which should help keep her head from freezing to death.

Also for my ma, Plum Tree Socks.Mountain Colours Bearfoot, Moose Creek colourway, more brown/less purple in reality. My photography skillz are questionable at best. Size 1.5 KnitPicks dpns, which I adore beyond all reason. I'm actually past the gusset decreases on these, but this is the most recent photo I've got of them. Mother's made it quite clear that she expects at least one pair of socks for Christmas this year, and probably every year from here on out. Fortunately for me, her feets are exactly the same size as mine, so it's not too hard to get the length right.

For my dad, we have the uber-geek Binary scarf.KnitPicks Swish Superwash, which rocks, in black & green. I hand-dyed the green myself, and it turned out rather nicely, if I do say so. The binary code says "geek" every four lines, on the front & the back. I love it. My dad actually reads binary, given the nature of his work & the extent of his geekdom, and I'm betting more than a couple guys at his office do too, so I'm looking forward to seeing his reaction on Christmas. It's the first thing I've ever knit for my dad...he's not really a knitted item kinda guy, but he's been awfully patient about listening to me rattle on about yarn, so I'm betting he'll understand the effort that went into this scarf. Even if he's not fully aware that this is only the second stranded knitting item I've ever done.

For the beloved, a superplain, rather boring hat.My darling is nothing if not predictable. It's in RYC Cashcotton, and it's just a plain stockinette skullcap with a 1x1 rib around the edge, in black, natch. The fabric this yarn makes is quite nice, but I'm not sure my hands like working with it all that much. The cotton content makes it rather unstretchy, and the fact that it's a light DK weight, plus the extreme ginormousness of my sweetie's noggin, all sorta adds up to slightly unhappy hands. It's worth it in the end, though. I'm just working on it in small doses, so as not to get too annoyed with it.

In addition to all these projects, I also have the Placed Cable Aran sweater from the latest Interweave Knits magazine on the needles, in KP Shamrock, Fitzpatrick colourway. This is for my mom, who probably won't remember picking it out of the magazine & saying how cute it was. Her memory is worse than mine, which is a frightening thought. I'm about 7 or 8 inches into the front, and I do like how this yarn is working up--very tweedy & pretty. I'd love to have a sweater's worth in the Dougherty colour (green, of course). The best thing was the cheep factor...the whole sweater cost about $37, which is pretty darn cool, iffn you ask me. Which you didn't, but it's my blog, so there.

Not to leave the weasels out, each kid is also going to receive a pair of socks this Christmas. Anne very generously gave me the perfect sock yarn in a recent swap (plus a HUGE amount of killer good chocolate)(thanks, Anne!!) for my boys, though I can't quite decide which kid gets that particular pair. I've not started the boy sockies yet, but it will be interesting when I do. Since I homeschool, they're with me all. the. time. I'll have to wake up an hour earlier than usual every day so that I can work on them before the kids wake up. Fortunately, the weasels are *really* appreciative of hand knitted items, and really make quite a fuss about anything I make, so it's sooo worth the extra loss of sleep.

Once I'm done with aaaaall of that Christmas knitting, if there's time, I'll make a scarf out of the leftover Cadena from Mom's hat. Don't know what sort of scarf, though...it'd match best if I just did a plain rib, but I don't know if I can stomach *that* much ribbing.

7. Non-Christmas knitting. I finished my Plain Vanilla Sweater (no photo yet), which was a big ol' deal, as I'd not seamed anything before this. Seaming was really tricky, as it's a boucle yarn, so I couldn't see the freaking stitches to save my life. On the brighter side, though, boucle means no one else can see your mistakes, so it all sort of works out in the end. I quite like this sweater...it's soft, comfy, easy fit, matches my pretty new Mustang Sally socks (product of another sock swap)(thanks Nicole!!), and the best part by far--it cost $14. Seriously.

I'm also working on the Hourglass Sweater in burgundy Malabrigo ('scuse me whilst I drool a moment), my second Clapotis in Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb, Safari colourway (LOVE this yarn!!), and the infamous Lizard Ridge. I've finished five squares thus far (only four pictured, and all rolled up into purty little tubes), and ooooh, lawdy, is it an addictive knit! Short rows are just all kinds of fun, and I do adore Noro & all the freaky colour combinations.

I've also finished who knows how many socks & other items this summer, but that's all for another post. This one's long enough as it is.

6. Homeschooling. I've been trying so very hard to get back on track with the weasels, and I have to admit that I'm failing miserably. Their education is scattershot to begin with, and I'm not getting much better, either. This is something that I truly cannot afford to mess up, and that weighs heavily on me.

5. Meeting incredibly cool new people. I was lucky enough to join some kickass knittyheads on a camping trip this summer, and it was such a great time! Elizabeth, Kathy, Seiding, Criosa, Pumpkinseed (blogless, sadly) & I all met up in southern Wisconsin for a fabulous weekend of knitting, yapping, laughing, and marvelling at Elizabeth's amazing organizational abilities. I had more fun than should legally be allowed, and I cannot wait for next year!

4. Stitches Midwest. There aren't words to describe it. I came home, of course, with a near epic haul of yarny goodness, and had a great time at the knittyhead meet-up at lunch. Shanelle joined me again this year, and it was wonderful. There was also a smaller, but no less detrimental to the budget, fiber fest in Crystal Lake a few weeks prior to Stitches. Yep, I got a pretty great haul there too. I'm just rolling in the fiber bliss right now.

3. Ravelry. Again, there aren't words to describe the awesomeness that is Ravelry. Casey & Jess are gods among men (well, Jess is a woman, but whatever). It's a massive timesuck, which can be a problem at times, but oooooh, so COOL!! I'm CelticCoyote on there, iffn ya wanna poke around at my (rather extensive) queue.

2. Baseball. I spent the first half of the summer juggling baseball games, because each kid was in a different league. Conveniently, both kids often wound up playing at the exact same times, on completely different fields. There was much running from point A to point B, and considerable guilt on my part that I couldn't be in two places at once. Both weasels had a blast, though, and can't wait for next season. Recently, the baseball has been of the vintage variety (1859 rules, uniforms, gear, lingo, everything). I adore vintage baseball, and really, there's no better way to spend a sunny afternoon than knitting on the sidelines of a sod field, watching the Regulators stomp the Ganymedes or Plowboys or Marauders. Good times.

1. Inertia. The more I don't blog, the more I don't blog. There's just so much to say that it's overwhelming...where to begin? Top ten lists are handy for that, though my loquatious nature does sorta stretch it out a wee bit. Heh. Anyway, hope to change that, and all that optimism. It's cooling off, and next week promises to be about twenty degrees cooler than this week, so I expect to be inside a bit more then. I've spent nearly every single day this summer at the park with the boys. It's been great fun, and the weasels have certainly enjoyed it, but I look fondly forward to a day when I can just kick 'em out the back door into a real yard, and I can blog from my own porch (because my lofty dreams involve wireless laptops and other fun toys). Thanks to my darling beloved, that day may yet come. Yay!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Christmas Around The World Swap Questionnaire

Christmas Around The World Swap Questionnaire
1. Are you religious? Religious no, spiritual yes. I don't consider myself a Christian, but I do agree with and believe in many of the same ideals.
2. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced? I've been knitting for two years this coming January. I'd definitely consider myself an advanced intermediate...the skills that I have learned, I'm pretty darn good at, but there is still plenty more out there yet to discover. Such is the beauty of knitting. :-D
3. Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting? I love to read, especially mysteries or short stories. I'm a history nerd. I also enjoy cross stitch and embroidery, though I've not had much time to devote to it as of late. I LOVE antique samplers, and collect cool sampler patterns. Eventually, I'd like to work up a number of reproductions to hang on my walls. I love antiques, especially anything from the 20s-30s or earlier. And, I'm married to a musician, so I'm sort of a music geek by default.
4. Favorite color(s)? Green! I love greens, especially olive tones. I'm fond of jewel tones, like deep ruby red & sapphire blue, and I look best in neutrals & earth tones, like camel & olive & such. The only colours I *don't* like are neons, like hot pink or lime green.
5. Do you collect anything? Sock yarn! :-) Sock patterns, too. Um, I likes me some socks, iffn ya couldn't tell. Hee!
6. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? Nope, not actually allergic to anything, but I am highly sensitive to cigarette smoke.
7. Do you have any pets? One crazy kitty that likes to supervise my knitting. She doesn't shed a huge amount, but the occasional hair is rather inevitable.
8. Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, mostly, or hot herbal tea. I don't do caffiene, so black teas are out. I love a good hot chocolate, though, especially with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream in. Yum.
9. Cookies or Sweets? Um, yes? :-D I've a serious sweet tooth, so there is no "or" here. Chocolate is my friend, especially in fudge form.
10. Do you knit socks? Well, one does have to justify all the sock yarn, doesn't one? Indeedy I do knit socks! Loff them. I'm working on my 20th pair right now, actually.
11. If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits) I like knitting most anything, really. I love a good challenge, so Fair Isle and lace rock my boat. Cables make me incredibly happy (married to an Irishman, so it fits). I've made a number of nice sweaters, hats, scarves, & such over the last two years. I'm not as fond of scarves, because it seems like they never end, but I do make them if the occasion fits. (I'm making a geekcentric scarf for my dad for Christmas right now, actually.) I make weird stuff for my cat. There's not much I won't make, really, if I have a use for the finished object. Can't stand ponchos, though...
12. Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do? Heck yeah!! As soon as possible after Thanksgiving, the tree goes up. I adore the Christmas season, and like to wallow in it as long as I can. It's much harder for me to get sick of it than it is for most people, as I don't work in retail (so I don't have to have all the unpleasant aspects, like long lines of cranky customers, muzak that won't quit, etc.), and I don't have television, so I don't get bombarded with commercials & jingles & holiday specials. It's not as up my nose as it is for most folks, and as a result, I can more easily filter out the less amusing aspects of the season, and keep the ones that I enjoy. Life Is Good. ;-)
13. Favorite holiday treats? Every year, I make several different varieties of fudge. My peanut butter fudge ROCKS, thankyouverymuch. I've also a nice butter cookie recipe, with little dots of raspberry & strawberry jam, and dusted with confectioner's sugar. I sometimes make my mom's old Christmas cookie recipe, which isn't particularly sweet, but flavored with nutmeg, and then frosted & decorated with the kids. I like to make spiced almonds & pecans (my mom is addicted to them--they're just like the ones at the fair), and frankly, I even love the non-treat holiday foods, like the roast turkey & stuffing & such. Mom usually gets some Godiva truffles for the table, too, which is always a nice treat. Loves me some Godiva!
14. Favorite holiday smells? Oooh, I'm really sensitive to smell, so this one is important to me! They say that a large part of memory is directly related to the olfactory sense, which seems right on to me. I LOVE spicy scents like cinnamon & cloves, and pine, and spiced oranges, and apples & cinnamon. I really love some of the Yankee Candle Company fragrances, like Brown Sugar & Spices, or Mistletoe. I always like to set out a lot of candles at the holidays, and make the whole house smell nice. It just sort of makes everything seem cozier.
15. Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate. Pretty traditional, I think. We tend to repeat ourselves year after year, and I quite like it that way. There's something very comforting in tradition, in knowing that no matter what ugliness rages on in the world outside, that things will always stay sane & comfortable by your own hearth (even if the hearth in question has to be metaphorical, like in our teeny little apartment). Christmas Eve is spent at home with my sweet little family, watching The Night Before Christmas (it was the Alistair Sim version when I was a kid, but now it's the Muppet version, which is my all-time favourite Christmas movie ever). After dinner, each person gets to choose one present to open, then the rest has to wait until morning. Christmas morning, I whip up a batch of muffins or cinnamon rolls, and we pretty much tear into the presents first thing. Stockings are always last, and then after the wrapping paper has been cleaned up, we head down to my parent's house for the rest of the day. Mother's tree is always quite a sight, very Victorian & beautiful, and she makes it a point to wrap all the gifts beautifully. (She even makes her wrapping paper match the color scheme of the tree & parlor...she's weird that way.) Dad's got a fire going in the fireplace, and the dining room table is heavy with cookies & truffles & thin sliced ham & onion rolls & all sorts of tasty things. We find it's easier to just graze when the mood strikes, rather than spend all the time preparing an elaborate sit-down dinner on Christmas. It's also a lovely excuse to get out my great-great-grandmother's fine china, which just makes the whole table sparkle. We generally stay at my parent's farm until nighttime, and then pack up the car (my folks love Christmas shopping for our boys) & head home. The weeks leading up to Christmas are spent watching all the cool Christmas videos we can get our hands on, baking, wrapping, and all the other assorted fun traditional Christmas stuff.
16. What are your favorite holiday traditions? Well, I suppose I got a bit carried away in the last question, so there's not much else to say. :-P I love piling the kids in the car & driving around to look at the Christmas lights. I love snuggling up on the couch & watching Charlie Brown's Christmas special for the fifteenth time. I love putting up the tree, hanging ornaments, and pondering all the happy memories they hold. Aside from wrapping five million oddly shaped items for my kids (why does everything they want come in really weirdly shaped packages?!), there's not much I *don't* like about Christmas.
17. Finish the sentence: “For me Christmas is all about....” Family. Watching my little guys' faces, knowing they're still young & innocent enough to fully believe in all the magic the world can hold. Seeing my beloved husband, who's really not much more than an overgrown kid himself. Happy memories, and connection with a timelessness that we don't often experience.
18. If you were a Christmas ornament you would be…….? Probably a slightly shabby, but well loved patchwork angel. Just a small one, with a muslin face & yarn hair (hee!), embroidered black eyes, & a little patchwork calico dress fraying at the edges. Not much to look at, but well loved, and watching over the whole family every year.
19. What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given? A couple years ago, when I was first learning to knit, my insightful husband realized the addiction was coming even before I did, and decided that what I really needed was a comfy corner all my own in which to feed that addiction. He gave me the most beautiful chair for my corner of the bedroom, super comfy & really attractive to boot, and a really bright lamp so that I can see the stitches. That was just the most thoughtful thing EVER. Of course, last year he made a large blocking board fitted into the back of a huge picture frame (so that it can have an out-of-the-way place to live when not in use), so he's pretty good at the whole thoughtful thing. I gave my youngest son a pair of socks last year that he still wears all. the. time, even though he's long since grown out of them. (The heel is in his instep, but he doesn't care. He just loves 'em to bits.)
20. When do you start your Christmas? Well, I start the season immediately after Thanksgiving. I get my husband to haul the decorations & tree & stuff out of storage the day or two before Thanksgiving, and then first thing in the morning the day after, I start putting everything up. I'm really lucky that he'll humour me so. He works in retail, and gets pretty darn sick of things most years.
21. Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them? Ha! Every year I have grand plans of actually getting Christmas cards out, but in nine years of marriage, I've only actually succeeded two or three times. Oy. I always bought them, when I did actually do them. I've sort of given up on them recently, not because I don't want to send them, but because I don't want to stress about it. I've got enough to worry about, they're not very high on the priority list. Hopefully when I get older, I'll be able to do 'em again with more regularity.
22. What is your favorite Christmas dish? Well, like I said, we mostly do a buffet-type Christmas dinner, with little finger sandwiches & such that everyone can grab at their leisure. That said, the turkey or ham on my mom's onion-dill rolls, with a thin spread of english mustard...oh my. SO good.
23. Carolers are at your door. What do you do? Good heavens...I don't know! I've never had carolers at my door! I live in an apartment now, and before that, I lived in the country. I went caroling a time or two, though, and several nice ladies offered us hot chocolate or hot apple cider, which was lovely.
24. When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning? Like I mentioned before, one on Christmas Eve (helps with wiggly children, you know), and the rest on Christmas morning.
25. Do you celebrate with family or friends or both? Christmas & Christmas Eve, in my opinion, is a time for family. I love doing things with friends in the weeks leading up to & just after, of course, but those two days are just for family, to me.

I'm really looking forward to this swap, and I'm hoping that this post marks the beginning of my return to blogging. I've taken the summer off, and truth be told, there's just SO MUCH that's happened over the summer that I don't even know where to begin! It's hard not to be super wordy, too, even though that's my personal m.o. We'll see...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sock names, freaky knees, and sniper rifles. Fun!

It seems I've gotten the virtual thwap for the Seven Weird Things meme. The odd thing is, while most folks consider me plenty freaking weird, I feel perfectly normal, so I'm not sure which seven things to single out as being odd. Mother, for example, thinks the simple fact that I knit is weird. This coming from a woman who owns six horses. Anyway, on with the sideshow...

1. If y'all have read this blog for more than five minutes, you'd know this one, but anyway...I name my socks. Not the machine made ones, of course, or the weird kitty socks my mom gave me for Christmas, but the ones I've knit myself. I figure that I spend 12-16 hours with them, personally creating every single one of the ten thousand or more loops that make up their whole existence, and I enjoy the process & the yarn so very much that they become like weird fibery friends. Besides, I've got *lots* (LOTS)(really, you have no idea) of sock yarn, and saying "the Caoimhe socks" is so much nicer than saying "the 342nd pair of blue socks".

2. My knees bend backwards. Yup, they're more or less double jointed, and can bend backwards like the hocks on my cat, though not *quite* as far. Entertaining for me, creepy as heck to most other folks.

3. I've got an unnatural attachment to my books. I'm not at all the type of person to reread books, since I pretty much remember everything (and it's not much fun to know the ending right from the start), but I can't bear to part with them, even though I know I'll probably never pick them up again. They're my friends too, they take me places I've only dreamed of, and I hope that one day they'll take my children for a ride too. In the meantime, I've got many (MANY) hundreds of books in a 900 square foot apartment. Fortunately, my beloved is a patient man.

4. I don't particularly like my food to touch each other. I don't go so far as buying plates with separators in them, but I really prefer to keep things segregated on my plate. The idea of everything smushed up together is nauseating.

5. I took a class at Northern Arizona University when I was fifteen. As a result, I have a boatload of continuing education credits in the field of education that I'll probably never do anything with. Needless to say, I was the youngest person there.

6. I'm a hardcore hermit at heart. If I had a billion dollars, I'd buy a nice huge chunk of land in the middle of nowhere, lease a part of it to farmers so it would be useful, and live in the center with my sweet little family and NO NEIGHBORS. I never used to be this bad...its the idiots who live near me who've caused this extremism. Really. I have wild fantasies of sitting in my bedroom window with a high powered sniper rifle. Heh.

7. Okay, maybe the seventh weird thing is that I can't think of a seventh weird thing! I'm sure those of you that know me can think of a dozen more, but nothing's really standing out as odd to me. Ooh, I just thought of something bizarre...I'm allergic to grass. Yup, regular ol' grass. Actually, I believe it's technically the chlorophyll that I'm allergic to, but whatever. Basically, I break out like crazy on my elbows & knees, and it's kind of itchy, but it's not respiratory, so I more or less ignore it. I've never taken any medication for it, and while it's definitely all kinds of weird looking (I got made fun of like crazy in grade school because of it), at this stage in my life, I just don't give a hoot any more. I'm grateful that that's all it is, rather than some of the awful respiratory allergies I've seen in other folks. I'm also seriously allergic to wasp stings, but since I generally try to avoid those, it isn't really an issue.

Yup, my weirdness seems like a colourful brand of normal to me. I imagine at least a few of you are backing slowly away from your computers by now, but that's okay. I like being me.

*Fyi, a meme, so far as I know it, is a weird internet-based thingy that gets passed around from person to person. Some of them are cheesy or lame, some are really insightful, and some are just plain bizarre. It's usually a questionnaire sort of thing, or a fill-in-the-blanks sort of like, like the above. You post it on your blog, and then tag other people so they'll post it, and their respective answers, on theirs, and so on & so forth. Some folks are downright obnoxious about them, but I try not to be. Um, even though this is the second one in a row...ahem. At any rate, I try not to tag specific people, but for this, Christine, I'm making an exception. Hee! Consider yourself tagged. Now go fly your freak flag, girl. ;-)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The official meme cop-out--now with 100% more knitting!

Yeah, I owe y'all a real post, but in the meantime, have a meme. Don't read if you're fussy about such things...it's more for my own entertainment anyway.

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do eventually and normal for stuff you don’t intend to do ever.

Garter stitch (who hasn't, I'd like to know?)
Knitting with metal wire
Shawl (I'm assuming lace here)
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk (I've used all kinds of silk blends, though no 100% yet...*yet* being the operative word here...)

Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns (Ahh, Clapotis, how I love thee!)
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns (I've got one OTN right now, actually)
Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (Like miters? Sure, sooner or later I'll get there.)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with Bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Cardigan (again, on the needles right now!)
Toy/Doll clothing (nothing spectacular, but I've knit a good deal for the boys' stuffed animal collection already)
Knitting with circular needles (as often as possible!)
Baby items (I've got all kinds of patterns picked out for the grandbabies already, too)
Knitting with your own handspun yarn (oh, that's hilarious...my handspun currently looks like teal cat yak. Someday, though...)
Graffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental Knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (LOVE anything cabled!!)(so smug that I married an Irishman)(rather wish he weren't a *huge* Irishman)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book (maybe possibly someday?)
Teaching a child to knit (Eldest Boy learned to knit, Boy the Younger will soon, plus all my paid students)
English knitting (my preferred method)
Knitting to make money
Knitting with Alpaca (oooooh, soooo nice!! especially an alpaca/silk blend...yum)
Fair Isle Knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors (someday when I have my farm, this might be fun to try)
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars (this method REALLY didn't agree with me)
Olympic knitting (finished on time, and it's my favourite scarf!)
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn (I've got some lovely stuff in the stash, just waiting to find the right pattern for it)
Knitting with dpns (always!)
Holiday related knitting (seems a rather silly question...)
Teaching a male to knit (Eldest Boy & several male paid students, who, interestingly enough, picked it up WAY faster than their female counterparts. Go figure.)
Bobbles (so not a fan...I've crocheted bobbles, though, and still not enthused)
Knitting for a living (well, sort of...I taught knitting for a while, though I sure couldn't have lived off of it)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking (meh...maybe if I find a striking pattern, but otherwise, smocking just reminds me of the late 70s)
Dying yarn
Steeks (eeep!! Scary scary, but I will do it someday)
Knitting art (depends on your definition...personally, I consider all my works to be art. Some are better than others, but they're still artistic expressions, and yeah, I consider myself an artist. Not that I'm going to rent a loft or wear angst like a cloak, but still...fiber artist all the same.)
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously (I couldn't stand the 2 circs thing long enough to bother with two at a time...but I do two socks on two sets of dpns all the time!)
Knitting with wool (heehee!)
Textured Knitting
Kitchener Bind Off (ADORE Kitchner!! SO cool!)
Knitting with beads
Swatching (not as well as I ought, but I do swatch mostly)
Long Tail CO
Knitting and Purling Backwards (weird, but I'll figure it out eventually)
Machine knitting (bleh...unless I start churning out tons of sweaters for sale, I don't see the point)
Knitting with self-patterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn (ooooh, variegated sock yarn! Best thing on the planet!)
Stuffed Toys (oh, heck yeah!)
Baby items
Knitting with Cashmere (sooon, my pretties...sooooon...)
Darning (I have no problem darning a beautiful sock in order to prolong its life. I also have no problem knitting so bloody many socks that none of them ever get a chance to wear out. Heh.)
Jewelry (I knit a lovely beaded bracelet for a SP last year. I rather wish I had another one for me...and I just might do it sometime soon, too.)
Knitting with synthetic yarn (I prefer to avoid it if possible, but sometimes it really is the best choice...like, for example, a sweater for a five year old boy.)
Writing a pattern
Intarsia (Y'know, this just doesn't really have much appeal. Maybe I've not seen the right finished pieces with it...)
Knitting with Linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows (SO freaking cool!!)
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine (omg, with things like Knitty & Magknits around, how could you NOT?!)
Knitting on a loom (eh? how the devil does this work?)
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets (my very first project was for my Crazy Kitty. Hee!)
Shrug/Bolero/Poncho (um, not so much...)
Knitting with dog/cat hair (intentionally? no...)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public (ha!! every freaking chance I get!!)

Gee, I've tried more than I thought. There's not much I'm not planning on doing, too, which is kinda cool. I'm so glad I taught myself how to knit!

Friday, May 04, 2007


Oof. Okay, public service announcement time: Ben & Jerry's Americone Dreams is really, really good. Vanilla ice cream with thick caramel swirl & fudge-covered waffle cone chunks. Yowza. However, eating 3/4 of the pint in one sitting is *not* quite so good. Well, it's good at the time, but lordy, do I feel blorpy now! Everything in moderation, my friend. Sage advice, let me assure you.

Well, as it's been almost two months (!!!) since my last posting, this will be pretty darn random. I'm sure y'all are SO surprised...me, random? Never! But anyway...

1. The sock lust groweth. The Louisa socks from the last post are finished, as are the Chloe socks. Chloe's not been mentioned here yet (bad blogger!), but I used Fleece Artist Merino in the Parrot colourway, toe up with a twisty cabled leg from MSKS.

For some reason, Chloe didn't agree with my feets. I think I started the ribbing too late or something, but either way, the socks didn't suit me, so they went to live with my mom, who grinned like a Cheshire cat upon receiving them. Chloe was my April Socktopia submission, for the Bumblebees & Butterflies theme. I chose the theme, and the name, because of a story I'd read many years ago about a little girl named Chloe who had an orange kitten and a magic garden. It's sorta hard to explain, but it sure made sense in my head, screwy as that may be.

Also in the Department of Feetlike Coverings, I knit a plain stockinette pair of socks for Eldest Boy. Sadly, something went horribly wrong (don't know what...I've never made egregious gauge errors before!), and Eldest Boy's socks barely fit Boy the Younger. Eldest Boy is SOL, but Boy the Younger is thrilled to pieces. Thus, I've got yet another pair to cast on soon, as Eldest is miffed at his lack of new sockies. His feets are growing dangerously close to being the same size as mine, though, and that's just all kinds of disturbing.

2. April 1st was Flash Your Stash day. My whole stash got flashed here, if y'all wanna go gawk. Just because I think it's gorgeous, here's my sock stash, sans notes.

Isn't it purrrty? It makes me happy just to look at it. Just imagine the possibilities! Actually, though, the sock stash has grown even just since these pics were taken last month. Pardon me, my addiction's showing. Ahem. It's not so bad, though. Most of my purchases were paid for with the help of the Destash Blog. I unloaded some yarns that didn't really suit me, and was able to replace them with yarns that truly make my heart sing. Yay! New sock yarn p0rn in a future post, hopefully.

3. See that gorgeous blue STR in the top sock stash photo, bottom row, third from the left? It's lightweight Socks That Rock, Sapphire colourway, and I LOVE it! Anyway, it's been cast on using the Waving Lace pattern from IK's Favourite Socks book (yeah, the cover photo). It's turning out beautifully! It looks like water rippling down over rocks in a little stream, and I'm just having a blast with it.No flashing or pooling yet, just gorgeous liquid blues. Size 0 needles were required to get gauge, for those of you technical types who care about such things. And, can you see that tiny, tiny little stitch marker on the left hand needle, about five stitches in? It's an Entrelac stitch marker, and it is SO perfect! They're incredibly affordable, and so bloody cute that once I had this set, I had to go back & order two more. Heh. Really just perfect for socks & lace, though.

4. See that gorgeous reddish dropped stitch thing that the blue sock is sitting on? That would be my finished Clapotis. I found a killer sale on Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs & Butterflies, and while it's not the much-coveted Lion & Lamb, it was still a really nice yarn for this project. It's the Tuscany colourway, and it was way too much fun to make! I can really understand why some people make many different versions of this wrap. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a good Lion & Lamb sale. I'll wind up with at least two of these, maybe even more. Dropping stitches on purpose is surprisingly satisfying. 5. The blue STR isn't the only thing on the needles right now. My BPT cardi is still moving along, though not as fast as before. It got sidelined completely while I made the Clapotis, but it'll be put back in the regular rotation this weekend. I actually managed to get a decent picture that wasn't just a dark blob, too!

The sleeves are on waste yarn, and I'm working down on the body. Sleeves will be picked up later, as will a hood. There's a zipper involved, too, but I'm ignoring that until the last minute. Sewing my knitting sorta freaks me out a little.

Also OTN, my first Kidsilk Haze project: the Party Lace scarf, with swarovski crystals at either end. The colourway is called Villain, but it's more of a walnut to me.

Well, it looks purple in this picture, but whatever. Such is the fickle nature of my camera.

I'm all smug that I was able to snag some June Carter Cider Moon from the Loopy Ewe recently, and it's gonna be cast on yet this evening. Cider Moon is my latest love. It's sportweight (they do have a fingering weight, but I've not seen it yet), it's super soft & squishy, and the colours are absolutely to die for.

It just screams "springtime", doesn't it? That's just a gauge swatch, mostly because I'm *still* debating on what stitch pattern would be most flattering to the yarn.

6. There's loads more to say, but I'm going to cut it short for now. (Aren't I hilarious? Like this is a short post. Ha!) I've participated in some wonderful SPs, found an awesome new KAL or two, and have loads of gorgeous yarn p0rn to talk about next time (assuming my camera will cooperate). In the meantime, apologies for the extreme lack of blogging. Everything in moderation, including time off from ye olde blogosphere.

In the meantime, enjoy this Circle of Stripey Fur, served with a side of Random Paw.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The good, the bad, and the ugly

First, the good. Y'all know I'm in the Favourite Colour Swap II, right? I have been SO BLESSED in this swap! I've been corresponding with my upstream for a while now, and she is just the neatest person. We seem to share many of the same interests, and she even turned me on to this blog, which is fast becoming one of my favorites. Sadly, Alice (my upstream) is currently blogless, but I'm hoping to pester her into changing that soon. Alice is also lucky enough to live in London, so when a box arrived stamped "Royal Mail", I knew just who it was from. (Does it really show my dweeby side to say that the Royal Mail stamp was really really cool? I'm easily entertained, I guess...) I'm telling y'all...words cannot even begin to describe the coolness of this package. First off, everything was wrapped beautifully, in pink tissue paper & tied with satin ribbons in a beautiful dove grey. If I'd had a brain, I would have photographed the wrapping, because it really was lovely! Where to even begin? Well, there was some fabulous chocolates ("was" being the operative term here--they're long gone already), white chocolate with lovely Spring-coloured pastilles on them & some fabulous orange flavoured white chocolate wafers. The orange ones are squirreled away, so that they'll last longer...they are SO good! There's some cute-as-heck little sheepy soaps from Get Knitted, and a kickass gift set from Lush (I've never tried anything from Lush before, and now I see what all the fuss is about!! LOVE the body cream! Mmmm...), and a really yummy smelling tin of lip balm, which is going straight into my knitting bag so it can be with me all the time. There's one of those neato WPI tools, and yeah, I admit to going around & measuring every skein of yarn I can find, just because I can. Heh. (Note certain edible items missing from photos...some family members "helped" me with the disposal of same. They're lucky they're all so cute.)

This is where it starts getting REALLY cool, y'all...we'd discussed my love of antiques & books & all things early-20th-century, and dang, but she must have really been taking notes! There's a Christie's catalogue of first edition books, which is SO cool!! Firstly, because I'd never even seen a Christie's catalogue in person (Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels hardly counts), and secondly, because it's just so bloody neat to look through. It contains many books from the personal collection of Lady Ottoline Morrell, as well as a brief account of her life, and it's truly just fascinating. That's not all, though...there's three MORE books to read, too!! One is a really cool looking mystery (I'm so weak for mysteries!) set on the Welsh border, one is a really sweet copy of a book that Alice herself enjoyed tremendously as a child, and the third is a copy of Kitchen Essays, by Agnes Jekyll, originally printed in 1928. Talk about interesting!! I've already started reading this one. It's really fascinating, as the author includes recipes as well as her thoughts about all things domestic, which is really one of my main areas of interest in history. I seriously squee'd out loud at that one. OH, and let's not forget the yarn!! It's freaking cashmere, people!!! Not just one, but TWO skeins of Posh Yarn, in the most gorgeous shades of tweedy green & autumnal reds & greens! I'm soooo in love with this yarn! I'm looking forward to sorting out a proper pattern worthy of such a luxurious fiber. I'm telling you, this was a fabulous package! Just what I needed this week, too. (WAY prettier in person--my camera is somewhat less than one would hope for for yarn p0rn purposes.)

There was also a lovely long letter, and even a Union Jack for my boys, too! (My five year old especially gets a huge kick out of hanging the Irish flag in his room, since his Da is Irish, so now he can hang the English flag as well, for the other half of his heritage. Yes, I have slightly weird kids.) Alice, I truly cannot thank you enough. You really went above & beyond, and I am just overwhelmed with how perfect everything is. Even the print on the card was perfect (1930s travel poster!!)! And it came at such a perfect time...

Also in good news this week, I've finished Boy the Younger's green sweater. It's cute as the dickens on him, though I did have to rip out the collar bindoff & redo it to accomodate his ginormous noggin.

Again, this is a really washed out & somewhat crappy photo. Something about the light levels that day washed out the blanket that the sweater was on, making it look like the Amazing Floating Sweater, and really hosing up the colour. Believe me when I tell you that it's cute. Green suits Boy the Younger very well, too, though next time I'll go with a more tweedy shade, rather than one quite this kelly green. Not that one could tell by the picture, of course. Argh.

Also finished--the Caoimhe socks! They're all purty, iffn you ask me. The feets aren't really as long & narrow as they appear here...they just didn't wanna sit right for the photo. I've *really* got to get a set of sock blockers, so I can take pretty sockie pics like all the other cool kids do. Caoimhe was done in Interlacements Tiny Toes, Irish Heather colourway, using the Laburnum stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. Gourds, but I love that book.

Currently on the needles, we have the BPT cardi for me in KP Swish Superwash, Truffle colourway. I'm loving the fabric this yarn makes! Super soft & squirshy, and really quite nice to work with. I'm not too far into it, which is why there's no picture, but that's okay...I'm in no hurry. Also OTN, my March Socktopia socks.

I chose the What's On TV? theme this month, and because what's most often on *my* tv is History Channel-type stuff, I picked a pattern that was originally printed in the year 1900. This is the Fancy Silk Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush, in Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sock. I believe the colourway is Glenwood, and while it's really not colours I'd usually pick out for myself, it is nice & springtimey, and that makes me happy. I hope to finish them tonight or tomorrow, if all goes well. And yeah, this pair got a name too...this is Louisa, in case anyone's wondering. Yup, weirdness abounds at the Front. Also still on the needles, though rapidly veering into UFO territory, is the huge cabled guy sweater for Wonder Husband & the Elizabeth I scarf. They *will* get finished one day, but lord only knows just when that day will be.

In the Stash Enhancement department, we have the results of a trip to Wheaton, IL...

Top skeins are Koigu KPPPM, unknown colour (who actually pays attention to those weird alphanumerics, anyway?). It's a GORGEOUS colour in person, though...reminds me of violets under the apple trees in the spring. Bottom is Great Adirondacks Soxie, in Paprika, I believe. Pretty colours, but I've not heard anybody talk about knitting this yarn up before, so we'll see how it goes. This was a really big purchase for me, as there's been NO extra money for yarn for quite some time. This was paid for out of the Stitches fund, actually.

Speaking of being broke, Wonder Husband has officially finished his first trimester at school. He had several great performances in the last couple weeks that I got to see, and he really seems to be enjoying himself. His teachers like him, and he even won a performance scholarship last week (though we're unsure as to the amount yet). I'm SO FREAKING PROUD OF HIM!!! Ahem. Anyway, it's only going to get tighter around here, as he's hoping to go full time next fall. Yipes.

On to the bad part...well, aside from the whole impending poverty of doom thing. March has been a helluva month around here thus far. Eldest Boy turned 8, which was wonderful, in a scary my-baby's-growing-up sorta way. After his birthday, though, things sort of went downhill. My last remaining grandparent, my mom's dad, seems to have developed cancer, among other ailments. He's not your average old guy, so this is very weird to me. He's only sort of retired (he owns a large company, and they can't seem to kick him out of the office for love nor money), and he's never been even remotely frail or sickly. He's a big brick wall of a man, very much in control of his business & the world around him, and is still as active & everything as he's ever been. Unfortunately, he's also not got the best relationship with my mom, and while he & my mother are trying to rectify that situation, his new wife seems to feel threatened in some bizarre way by it, so she's sort of making things difficult. At any rate, he was admitted to the hospital last week for surgery to remove a kidney, and only barely made it through. His heart is not so great, so it was pretty iffy that he'd live through the surgery, and even though he did come through successfully, he's still in the hospital, and not looking very good. My mom was able to go visit him, though I couldn't, due to irritating financial issues. There's just generally been a huge amount of heartache & worry over this whole thing, and the surrounding weirdness with his new wife, and other assorted family members, and it's really worn me down.

On top of all that, my mother's beloved mare, who she's had for 15 years, colicked and died this week. Mozette was a wonderful quarter horse, and very much a part of the family. It really came as quite a sudden shock to us. Basically, in a nutshell, March has sort of sucked lately. Add to that the general depression I've been dealing with, and it's just not a pretty picture (hence, the ugly). BUT, the weather has been turning for the better, and I'm trying really hard to maintain a positive outlook. Things will get better, dagnabbit! At the very least, I've got some kickass yarn & books to carry me through. :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Such a sock yarn addict

So I've been doing pretty good with the New Year goals thus far. I taught myself Fair Isle a couple weeks ago, and knit up the Faux Isle hat in Noro Kureyon 157 & Patons Classic Merino.

Purty, huh? Too bad I didn't think to give extra length to the floats until *after* I'd finished the hat. The two colour parts are considerably more snug than the single colour, so it doesn't fit my head at all. Granted, I've got a freakishly large head, but still. As I've already woven in all the ends & everything, there will be no frogging of this puppy...it'll just go with the rest of my decorative hat collection. I don't know how many hats I've knit so far, but only one of them has actually worked properly. Argh.

Also in keeping with the goals thing, I finished my February Socktopia socks. These are the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road, by the amazing Nancy Bush.

I used Socks That Rock for the very first time with these socks (Ruby Slippers colourway), and dang, it's nice stuff! It's soft & squirshy, and the colours are gorgeous. They did turn my hands pink as I knitted them, but that's no big deal, I guess. It sure as hell won't keep me from using STR again, that's for certain.

Speaking of my adored Socktopia, I thought I'd clear it up a wee bit for y'all. Socktopia is a year long KAL, basically. Each month, the lady running it posts themes (Bed of Roses is the theme I chose for the Conwys, for example) on the website. Your job as a Socktopia member is to choose a theme, and knit a pair of socks based on your interpretation of that theme. When you're done, post pictures of your socks to our Flickr group. Everyone who posts their socks in the allotted time frame gets entered into drawings for cool things like sock yarns & other goodies. There's also other random prizes, and weird games, and just a general fun community of sock knitting addicts like myself. I really like it there...you get to see tons of pictures of gorgeous socks, and get new ideas for patterns you might want to try, or yarns, and hear other knitters reviews of such as well. And, at the end of the year, you wind up with twelve pairs of socks! You can't argue with that, imo. I'd wanted to knit a pair a month anyway, and the themes just make it all the more entertaining for me.

Since I did finish my February socks already, I went ahead & cast on for another pair at random. This is the beginning of a toe up sock in Interlacements Toasty Toes.

It's a totally crap picture, but trust me, it's GORGEOUS yarn. I'm using the Irish Heather colourway, and have decided to name these socks Caoimhe, in honour of my friend's lovely daughter. Yes, I'm geeking out like crazy & naming all my projects from here on out. Partly because it's otherwise hard to tell the difference when I'm talking about "the blue toe up sock", because I've made *many* blue toe up socks, and partly because I just like naming things. So there. And yes, I know that some people will undoubtedly laugh at me and think me weird, but that's hardly anything new, so there you have it. The Caoimhe socks are coming along quite nicely, and I'm REALLY digging this yarn. It's pretty thick, nearly sportweight, I think, and soooooo soft & sproingy! The colours, since you can't really see them worth a shite here, are deep blues, greens, & purples, and really saturated & pretty. I pulled this yarn out of the stash as a break from all the red socks I've been doing lately. Don't get me wrong, I adore my red socks, I just wanted a change for a while. The Caoimhe socks are working up quite quickly, which is also nice for a change, after all the superhigh stitch count socks I've been doing. (I'm using size 2 dpns on these, and they feel huge.)

Also on the needles, with a wee bit more urgency, is this sweater...

This is a simple raglan rollneck sweater for Boy the Younger, in Plymouth Encore worsted. The urgency comes in when you realize that February is half over, spring will be here soon, and Boy the Younger is growing by the minute. I did make it a bit on the largish side, but I'll be sad if he doesn't get to wear it at least a few times! I finished the body last night, and will pick up the sleeves today. There's a rolled edge at the cuffs & waist hem, and I'll pick up for the collar shortly too. It's pretty mindless, as it's entirely stockinette in the round, but that's okay. Sometimes mindless is good.

When this sweater is done, I'll be casting on for BPT, using KnitPicks Swish in a gorgeous deep brown, appropriately named Truffle. I'm looking forward to this one, though the sewing in a zipper thing sorta scares me.

I'm still enjoying the swap thing beyond all measure these days. I was in a "lightning round" VD swap (heh) via the knittyboards recently. Basically, it was a Valentine's Day themed swap, one package, superfast & really fun. My upstream sent me a fabulous package! There were two really interesting books, a pattern-a-day calendar, lots of chocolate & yummy goodies, and the most GORGEOUS bag of merino & silk fiber!!! It's a lovely shade of plum, and omg, it's soooo soft! I'm waiting to spin it up, though, until I'm better at drafting. I'd cry if I took that beautiful fiber & made it into a skanky looking mess (which is about all I've made thus far). It's great motivation to improve my spinning, though! Thank you so much, KnitChick07! Sadly, no picture, as we sort of fell onto the contents of the box like wolves. :-D I'll definitely be posting pics of the fiber, once I'm worthy of it, though!

Also in current swap news, my KnittySP8 ROCKS. I received a package just the other day, and let me tell you, it really picked me up!

It's been really cold here lately, and in all honesty, I've been terribly depressed. It's partly seasonal, partly otherwise, but at any rate, this package really brightened my day. There's three different kinds of Jelly Bellies, two different kinds of chocolate, treats for my goofy cat (smelled creepy, though most cat food smells creepy...the cat disagrees, of course), the COOLEST air freshener ever (I can't drink coffee anymore, due to the caffeine, but I love the smell...it's a little takeout coffee cup, and it smells fabulous! I love it!), and omg, be still my beating heart...Socks That Rock!!!! It's absolutely stunning!! It's lightweight, in the Tide Pool colourway, and oooooooh....I loves it. Thank you SO much!! Holy overuse of exclamation points, Batman!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

First Finished Objects of 2007

Okay, so actually I finished these things a couple weeks ago, but we all know how frequently I post here, so there ya go. First item finished was a lovely Booga Bag in Noro Kureyon colour 172, and it's for me!

I may re-block it sometime, though, because when I felted it, I didn't have anything to block it on, so it's sorta shapeless right now. My sweetie bought himself a pair of enormous shoes last week, so at least I've got a suitable box now! I love the colours, especially the band of rusty red. Currently, this bag is holding extra balls of yarn that are waiting to be cast on. Unfortunately, I won't let myself cast anything new on until I finish at least one project that's already in progress. I've got five things on the needles right now, and while that doesn't bother me in the least, I can't cast on any more because there simply isn't enough room on my little knitting table to put them down when I'm not working on them.

Second thing completed this year:

The most gorgeous pair of socks EVER!!! Mountain Colors Bearfoot, colourway Sierra, on size 1s with a baby cable rib on the leg. These were done toe-up with a short row heel. This yarn is so wonderful...it has small shots of olive greens & burnished golds in there, and it just makes me so happy. On the instep, the olive green wound up with a plummy colour right next to it, and that made me really want to get my mitts on a skein of Puck's Mischief STR. I'm not generally a fan of purple, but the green next to it really made it lovely. These socks were also done as my January Socktopia socks, in the Blue Monday theme. Little explanation of how I got red socks for Blue Monday here. I have my own weird rules in my world. So pretty!!

On the needles right now, we have a non-photographed pair of socks for my Sockret Pal. My lovely downstream Sockret Pal is into pink in a big way, so I'm using a pretty pink/blue Koigu with the Crusoe pattern from Knitty. (Geez, I'm just all kinds of link-happy today, aren't I?) It's certainly not my colour, but it is nice to step outside my personal box, as it were, to do something different. The pinks range from pale cotton candy to bubble gum to hot pink, with bits of blues & purples, and I'm really liking the way they're turning out. The pattern is way too fun, and I hope to make another pair someday for me. It's also my first time working with Koigu, and I really think I love this yarn! The twist is really nice, and it makes a pretty fabric. I'm down to the toe decreases on one, and halfway through the instep on the other, so I hope to finish in the next couple days. I may, however, make a second pair of socks for this lady...she recently had the most adorable baby girl, and since it's a sock-themed swap, I thought it'd be nice to have a pair for the wee one, too. We'll see how much yarn I've got left over, though.

Also OTN, my beloved's giant sweater. I'm a few rows farther along, but I don't work on it often, so it's nothing too impressive yet.

I didn't take a picture of the whole thing, since it just looks like a lump of black, but here's the cable & rib detail. It's some 220ish stitches across, so I only get to do a couple rows at a time. Not the fastest knitter, I. My sweetie loves it, though he's very realistic about how soon he might actually get to wear the thing.

Also in the realm of unphotographable lumps of black is a hat I'm making for myself. It's just a plain ol' roll brim stockinette hat, but it's in black Malabrigo, and it's the first hat I've made for myself. Lord knows I could sure use it right now! It's freaking AWFUL outside! Well, okay, it could certainly be worse. It's sunny, which is a big deal for me, and it's not terribly windy, and it's not dumping big piles of snow on me, but oooh, it's cold! I don't like cold all that much. Anyway, I'm looking forward to finishing this hat. It's painfully soft, the first Malabrigo item I've made, and verra warm. I loves it already.

The last item on the needles (aside from the Elizabeth I scarf, which hasn't made hardly any progress at all) is a weird antimacassar thingy of my own design. See, I've got this beautiful chair that my beloved gave to me last Christmas, and it's my knitting chair. I adore this thing! It's gorgeous, it's comfy, and it's the nicest piece of furniture we own. Unfortunately, due to my poor kitty's neurological problems, it's getting damaged already. Tipsy has a lesion on the right side of her brain (I think I may have mentioned this already?), and it messes with her balance something fierce. She has good days & bad days, and while they don't seem to upset her too much, it's wreaking havoc on my poor chair! She stands on the arms of it to cry at the closet door (she wants IN, make no mistake), and occasionally falls off, dragging her hind claws all across the finish as she goes.

As you can see, she's ruining my beautiful chair!! That's not the only gouge in the wood there, either. It's really breaking my heart (and making my husband mad!), and I certainly can't tell her not to sit there. So, I pulled a couple skeins of chestnut Wool of the Andes out of the stash, killing whatever project I'd intended them for, and started knitting up a superthick antimacassar pad to go over the arm of that chair. I'll probably felt the thing when I'm done, hopefully making it all the harder for her claws to get through to the wood. Cross your fingers for me that this works...I love that chair! Poor Tipsy, too. She sure can't help it, and it does make me sad that she has to go through such un-catlike indignities.

So that's what's on the needles as of right now. I'm really hoping to finish up at least the socks & hat within the next week, because I'm dying to cast on my first Fair Isle project, and also a pair of socks in some Socks That Rock. I've not decided yet which colour STR, or what pattern, because I'm waiting for our next Socktopia themes, but I'm really excited about it. I've had a couple skeins of the much-coveted STR in the stash for a while now, and haven't yet had a chance to work it up. I'm also dying to get my hands into that Fair Isle stuff...it looks really fun! In a challenging sorta way, anyway.

Oh, and while I'm in the posting zone, a big ol' HI to my Knitty SP8!! I'm crap at remembering to reply to comments, though I read each & every one of them and love hearing what y'all have to say. I think that should be another goal this year...to remember to not just read the comments, but respond as well! Oy...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year, and all that rot

Hello, Aught-Seven! This promises to be an interesting year, here at YLF headquarters. Firstly and most importantly, the hubster is back in school. This is a Big Deal, as not only is he a bit older than most of his classmates (he'll be 34 in a couple weeks), but it's been a looong time coming. I'm so very, very proud of him, and SO FREAKING EXCITED. He'll have his BA in Music Education in about two & a half years, and then I can finally (FINALLY!!!) start looking for a house. Yup, a real house, one that I can actually own & paint & love. Have I mentioned that I'm a wee bit jazzed about this?? His first day of classes was today, and things went quite well, from what I've heard so far. He's only in a couple classes this semester (trimester actually, but it sounds weird to say that), due to financial aid stuffs, but next se(tri)mester he'll be attending full time. Unfortunately, this does mean that the next couple years will be incredibly hard around here. Not only will I never see the boy, between two jobs, school, practice, homework, and the bands, but we'll probably have about thirty cents to spend at the end of each month, if we're lucky. We've always been poor...we've lived below the poverty line for years, so I'm rather used to it, but it'll be even MORE tight than it already is, which is a very scary prospect. SO TOTALLY WORTH IT, though!! Pardon my hollering. I'm just so damned excited, and not just a wee bit relieved. This is a massive step forward in our lives, and I'm just so proud of him, and so grateful, that I could freakin burst.

Sadly, this does mean virtually no expendable income for yarn this year. Or next year. Makes me almost feel faint... Thus, I'll probably join the whole Knit From Your Stash thingy, though I've not thought out parameters yet. I'll figure that out in a future post. The good news is, my beloved does recognize & respect the joy that knitting brings me, and so he is doing everything he can to help add just a wee bit here & there to the Stitches Fund. Oh hell yes, there is a Stitches Fund. I flatly refuse to put my life on a credit card, so the only way I can go to Stitches & not just burst into tears is if I save like a crazy woman all year. I just had so darn much fun last year, and I'm sooo looking forward to having Shanelle up & doing it all over again this summer!

I've been thinking a good deal lately about goals & things I'd like to accomplish this year. I'm not much one for resolutions per se, the cheese factor always sorta put me off. I do have a considerable amount of goals, however...

2007 Goals & Aspirations, Knitting and Otherwise

Complete the ginormous man-sweater for dh, and not fuss about the fact that it's black & cabled. I'm making it because I love him, and love doesn't fuss about piddly details, especially when it's the details that make the beloved happy.

Complete the Elizabeth I scarf, gaining some level of semi-proficiency in lace along the way. This has been languishing on the needles way too long, and it's far too pretty to sit there gathering dust. Also, one must be worthy of the huge honking cone-o-Zephyr one snagged off of Ebay last summer before one goes tangling it into knots.

Teach myself Fair Isle colourwork. Nothing too huge or fancy here, I just want to learn how it works, and get a respectable level of competence with it. Elaborate beautiful Fair Isle sweaters are planned for later years...this is just a learning period.

Knit more for ME. I certainly don't mind knitting for others, I rather enjoy it, actually, it's just that I hardly have anything handknit for myself. I mean, I've knit probably eight or nine pairs of socks so far, and only two of them are mine! There's something seriously wrong with that...

Learn to spin *properly*. I tried last year, with the most beautiful drop spindle ever, but my drafting is hideous, and I wound up getting caught up in a million other things & haven't had a chance to play with it since. I'm lucky enough to live within half an hour or so of The Fold, so it's not like it's hard to find fiber or someone skilled at spinning to guide me. Unfortunately, there's no way in hell I can afford lessons, so it's trial & error for me!

Knit sweaters for each boy. I bought some yarn early last year with that intention, and never got around to it. They're growing like freaking weeds, so I really ought to get on it before they're too darn big for me to want to knit for 'em. Boy the Younger adored his purple Chrimmas sockies, btw, and that's wonderfully encouraging.

Knit at least one pair of socks per month, with the amusement & assistance of Socktopia. This is such a cool idea...basically, it's a KAL with themes each month, and cool contests & drawings & such. I'd planned on knitting a pair a month (at least!) anyway, so this is a neat way to get ideas & share patterns. Yay!

Save a wee bit of money every week for Stitches Midwest. Try not to squee too loudly when doing so. It freaks out the cat.

Blog more frequently. Granted, the holidays really louse all kinds of things up, but I've not been so hot about blogging regularly anyway. Also, take more pictures. Yes, my camera isn't so great, and I'm no Ansel Adams, but at least some photographic content is better than none (which is what you're getting this post, I'm sorry to say).

Get more on top of regular schedules, especially when it comes to homeschooling the weasels. It's been pretty scattershot thus far, and though all my contemporaries assure me time & time again that it's perfectly fine, and the boys are still learning adequately, I'm just not satisfied with the situation as is. Those boys and their education are my highest priority, even more important than yarn, if you can imagine such a thing.

Take more time to just enjoy the now. I spend a good deal of my life looking forward, waiting excitedly for what's next, whether it be an event, a season, or whatever is upcoming in our lives. I really really want to slow down and just be grateful for what is, and not miss it in the anticipation of what will be.

And yeah, knit more socks. Because honestly, what better goal is there?