Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Down To The Wire....Or Past IT

So....I didn't get all my Christmas cards sent before we left for California, so today Theo helped me send out a few more


then watched while I shoveled the 3-4 inches of snow from our sidewalks and driveway.  Then I think he decided I was just completely crazy, because he left me for most of the rest of the day.  Taking advantage of the opportunity, I have kittyless pictures!  First, the finished scarf


the alpaca sweater with buttons,


which is a FABULOUS sweater.  I have already worn it about 10 times.  Love, love LOVE it!!!

Then......

Ta-da!  The December project of the month!!!!!  So far I have two wine bags and one little bag done, which I have managed to make a seriously bizarre shape which I attribute to sewing while under the influence of cold medication.  Same excuse for that last sentence.  The cold is STILL with me and is beginning to make surgery recovery look both pleasant and short.  I rested a lot yesterday that didn't really seem to help and I wanted to get my December bags done.  Largely because NOW I have used up 75.265 yards of material from the stash, which is more than I used up last year!  And as this is going to be the only big news for the 1009 stash-busting year, I just couldn't pass the opportunity up.

Tomorrow I hope to get the 4 remaining bags finished (they are partially done, just don't get to count until they are truly finished), then maybe get one more ball of yarn onto the tally before I begin the BIG challenge....

100 Projects in 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We Have Scarf!!!!

And it's even blocking without kitty assistance!  How did I manage this amazing feat?

It's on top of the ironing board!

Not that Theo can't or hasn't gotten up on the ironing board many, many times.  He is just unaware that there is knitting on top of it. 

Okay, I admit it....I REALLY enjoy it on those rare occasions when I can outsmart Theo.  It doesn't happen very often....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays!

We spent the holidays with family in sunny California, and at the last minute I decided to cast on an easy-to-do scarf to take with me instead of Andy's sweater, so I have this

 to show for my absence.  I'm doing a simple stitch--knit one row, then *K1, P1* across for the next row--which I really like because it makes an interesting reversible scarf.  I added a seed stitch border on the end & each side (3 stitches on each side) but the darn thing still wants to roll. I can't decide whether to be really annoyed with it or admire it's determination, but I'm hoping some severe blocking will help.

I took the lace scarf down as well, but there was one moment on the plane on Tuesday when I had the most horrifying thought:
I could run out of knitting

OK, I think this on every trip--which prompted me to take two entire sweaters along on my honeymoon even--but this time I was traveling and only had two scarves with me.  What would I do if I ran out of yarn?  I couldn't buy more--I'm cold sheeping!  The knitterly horror!!!!!!!

Of course, what I hadn't counted on is three children--ages 6, 4, and 2--who kept Aunt Toni so busy every day that I didn't get either scarf done.  (Those of you with small children may now scoff at my naivete)  So, today I am resting and trying to kick this dratted cold, sucking up to two lonely and angry kitties, and perhaps finishing one of those scarves.....................

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Knitting Rites of Passage

*  Deciding that the sport-weight yarn you found that you just love looks "small enough" for that lace-weight project you want to make.

*  Spending hours making one of your first sweaters for someone who will absolutely never wear it.

*  Presenting a mother-to-be with a precious, hand-knit baby sweater in a gorgeous yarn--only to have it meet it's death in the washing machine because no one with a baby has time to hand-wash anything except the baby

*  Not checking gauge "just this once" because you always get gauge and ending up with a cabled tent

*  Finding yourself with bags of the ugliest yarn ever that you just bought because it was more than 50% off

*  Creating the king of snarls before discovering that yarn in hanks must be wound into balls before knitting

*  Giving a knitted gift to someone (usually a relative) who feels the need to actually tell you that he or she doesn't like it

*  Discovering that you twisted the cable the wrong way at least 10 rows back

*  Working a lace chart only to discover that while you started the row on one chart row, you ended it on another

*  Trying to knit mohair on metal needles

*  Knitting mohair in general

*  Discovering that a cat can chew through your yarn in a surprisingly short time

*  Having a WIP that is so old you can either not remember what the pattern was to begin with or cannot locate the pattern

*  Starting at least one story with, "Back when I learned to knit......"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Second Mitten Syndrome

So, I have one mitten.  Granted, it's one really LARGE mitten and both hands would actually fit into it, but I think it still only counts as one mitten.  I can't get excited about casting on the second mitten.  I think it's the idea of felting--or perhaps that it is 40 degrees warmer than when I started the mitten, and 40 degrees makes a HUGE difference even to someone as naturally cold as I am.  So, I have one mitten.  It wouldn't even work for a golf-club cover as A) I hate golf and B) it has that little white part for the thumb trick, and even I know that golf clubs rarely have thumbs.  I'm going to give it a week, and if I can't get motivated to make the second mitten, it's off to the frog pond for the poor thing. 

Why do I never have this problem with socks?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Do You Think Santa Is A Knitter?

I've been thinking about this--which probably has a lot to do with the amount of cold medicine I'm taking--but I'm thinking Santa probably isn't a knitter.  I could be wrong, of course, but look at the evidence:

*  Santa has reindeer.  If Santa were a knitter, his sleigh would probably be pulled by a team of alpacas.  After all, what yarn does one ever get from reindeer?

*  Santa gives toys, not sweaters.  A true knitter gives sweaters to any small children that she can, because children's sweaters are small and fun to knit, and are about the only time a knitter can try out bobbles

*  Not a single part of Santa's costume is knitted.  Not to say there aren't knitters who maybe don't wear knitted gloves or sweaters or other specific knitted items, but generally a knitter will wear SOMETHING knitted, if for no other reason than having run out of other people to give them to

*  If Santa were a knitter, I think he'd hand out really splitty yarn or badly-written knitting patterns to bad little boys and girls.  I mean, a lump of coal is fine, but what kind of psychological torture can a hunk of carbon really dish out?

*  If Santa were a knitter, he would NEVER have started putting gifts in stockings as they hung by the fire as he would know this would stretch them out dreadfully.

*  If Santa were a knitter, I wouldn't have had to spend my formative knitting years with nothing but Red Heart yarn to work with.

So I'm thinking it might be time to cut back on the cold medication, don't you????

Finishing Friday

You know it's a bad cold when I don't even feel like knitting.

Thursday night I woke up in the middle of the night to find that the cold I thought I had gotten rid of had returned and brought friends.  When I was still working, I admit that I wouldn't have minded so much--maybe a free day to knit and watch movies, but now it's just a big bother.  I have things to do, parties to attend--I even missed Finishing Friday!  Why is it exactly that we can't cure the common cold? 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Yardage Sprint

So my goals for the year were to use up 150 yards of material & 150 skeins of yarn, and while I am nowhere NEAR being close to either one, I realized that I was really close to using up more fabric than I did last year, so yesterday--taking a break from the holiday party marathon--I rounded up and finished this

which looks a bit like a circus tent, to be honest.  I really REALLY thought the material was nice & light and drapey until I tried this on....which incidentally left me with an odd craving for salted peanuts in the shell.....

BUT Andy likes it, so I can wear it around the house, which is fine.  I used up 3 yards of material on it, so one more project finished should put me over the 75 yard mark--leaving me halfway to my goal and at least better than last year.  We've reached the "grasping at straws" part of my goals....

I think I'm going to try felting the mittens--largely because it would involve knitting 1 mitten and not 2, but we're enjoying a sunny day that might reach 40 degrees, so mittens aren't quite as urgent as they were.  And in my normal "never learn one's lesson" approach, rather than viewing it as a chance to get ready for the next arctic wave.....

I have been working on Andy's sweater.  I decided to add 4 rows of the ribbing pattern from the sides on the bottom to stop the rolling (and probably should have used 6 because it really, really, REALLY wants to roll even now), but it's a nice easy knit that I can pick up and put down at a moment's notice, AND........the skeins of yarn have only 109 yards on them!  The first skein is now officially used up, and tonight we're going to dinner at one of my knitting protégé's home, so I'm thinking taking the sweater along would be okay.  YES?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Have I Said Lately That I Am Not-So-Much a Genius?

So, the mitered mitten pattern calls for a gauge of 4.5 stitches/inch, and knowing that I usually get 5 stitches per inch with worsted weights & size 7 needles, I opted to try size 8 needles.  I knit a little swatch, got out my ruler, found that I had just knit 4 stitches per inch, and said to myself, "Oh good, it will be just a little snug."

????????????????????????????????????


What happened???  A week ago I swear I could do basic math & count and everything.  We get arctic temperatures and I start talking about knitting pastries & think that somehow 4 stitches per inch is smaller than 4.5 stitches per inch.

I hadn't realized that when people mention a "cold snap" that it referred to what happens to the brain when it gets cold.  I'm going to take my monster-sized mitten and go relearn the alphabet while hoping for spring......

Monday, December 14, 2009

Have I Said Lately That Elizabeth Zimmermann Was A Genius?

Well, she was.  I'm doing her mitered mitten pattern

and you know what that little bit of white is?  It's her "thumb trick."  When you get to where you want the thumb, you take a scrap piece of yarn and knit 1/2 the number of thumb stitches with the scrap yarn, then put those stitches back onto your left needle and knit them with the main color.  When you're ready for the thumb, pull out that scrap yarn & you have the live stitches to pick up for the thumb.  NO CUTTING INVOLVED!  I have survived steeks and will eventually steek again, but it's hard to voluntarily cut one's knitting.  It's just wrong and while I know EZ would never tell me to do something that wouldn't work, let's face it--the woman was tougher than I am.  She seems to have faced steeks undaunted.  I, on the other hand, am completely daunted.  I have spent a large part of my life trying to make sure that my knitting and sharp objects never get a chance to meet, and that's a hard habit to shake.  It's like someone telling you that Velcro and lace scarves are a good match.  I mean, it's just a tough idea to accept.

My little sidekick is having sweater blocking withdrawals...

I took the sweaters away from him, but didn't have the heart to take the towel.  Since he missed most of winter last year because of the cast & rehab issues and has never been overly fond of cold anyway, but last week he would go out and sit in the snow for a bit--just long enough for some of the snow under him to melt--then when he would get up, it was so cold that the water on his little "furry breaches" would turn into icicles really quickly, and he'd come tearing into the house convinced that some bizarre ice monster was attacking his rear end.  Okay, yeah, it was seriously funny, but I think one can laugh AND feel sorry for him at the same time.  I think he'll venture outside again after the spring thaw....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Forget The Sweater, I'm Making Mittens

Tonight while Andy and I were shoveling snow in the relatively balmy 23 degree weather and my fingers were tingling with cold, it occurred to me that as a knitter, I could actually make myself some warm items that might make such activities a little more bearable.  

Amazed by my own brilliance--and that it only took me about 30 years for this to occur to me--when we came in I announced to Andy that his sweater was going to be back-burnered for a while because I was going to make myself a baklava.  Andy gave me the sort of quizzical look that one would normally give someone who had just announced that they were going to knit a very rich pastry, and about that time my brain unfroze and I remembered that the word would be balaclava.  Of course, Andy really wants to see me knit pastry, but I haven't yet ventured into the world of knitted food.  Not that there's anything wrong with knitted food--I just don't think it's going to do much to keep me warm. 

So, I'm going to dig through the stash tonight for yarn to make EZ's mitered mittens and perhaps this, and hopefully I can knit really, REALLY fast because there's more snow heading our way on Monday.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Started And......

Frogged.  Twice.

As soon as I posted yesterday, I dug out the yarn for Andy's sweater and cast on.  Knit two rows, checked gauge, WAAAAAAAY off, frogged.  Dug out needles two sizes smaller and cast on.  The gauge is fine but

You know how stockinette rolls if it doesn't have ribbing attached?  Well, the designer doesn't.  I was willing to give the designer and Interweave Knits the benefit of the doubt here since there is ribbing on both sides of the stockinette patch, but NO.  Like ALL stockinette, it rolls.  I have frogged it for a second time, and cursing all designers

I cast on a lace scarf instead.  NO designer to mess things up or not double check.  Just a stitch pattern I like, a nonrolling edging, and I'm a happy woman. And it's NEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So....I didn't have the cast-on frenzy I thought I would, and technically am only at 11 WIPS right now, and I might just finish this scarf before having another go at the sweater.  If I keep having to do all the work to make patterns work as they should, why am I paying for them?  Maybe 2010 will be the Year of the Scarf......:)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Drum Roll Please.........



Two--count 'em, TWO--WIPS done, leaving me with.......

ONLY TEN WIPS LEFT!!!!!!!

(I realize that for some, having 10 WIPS would be a reason to start a WIP marathon, not the conclusion of one, but I've chosen to be realistic)

I have met the Double Dog Dare Challenge!!!!  I'm down to 10!!!!!!  And I'm off to cast on something new........

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Greetings From the Arctic

In the past, I haven't liked mittens because one can't really DO things when wearing mittens, and as a slightly hyperactive child (*cough cough*) the restriction drove me crazy.  However, as we woke up to NEGATIVE 3 degrees this morning, I think I can get over this problem.  The cats won't even go outside this morning. 

Now I grew up about 2 hours north of where I'm at now, and we did get lots of snow and subzero temperatures, which has quite a bit to do with why I don't live there now.  Normally we here in Boise get to whine about it being cold when it's in the 30s.  This week our high temperatures won't even REACH the 30s.  What happened??????

The one bright side--Andy and I each have lovely alpaca sweaters that are so dang warm that we rarely wear them in normal circumstances.  Today I would be wearing alpaca underwear if I had it (sorry for that visual).  And I'm feeling better about the 3 or 4 sweaters' worth of alpaca I still have in my stash.  I had a bit of a spree when Elann introduced their alpaca yarns and I didn't realize how much warmer it was than wool, so I've been regretting all that alpaca just a bit.  Oh don't get me wrong, I wasn't going to swap or sell it or anything......it just would have been permanent stash.  Later today I will be browsing patterns to perhaps find some good candidates for it.  I think it might be best to keep some sweaters in perspective, because a few more days of this arctic stuff and I might really consider that underwear......

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mittens

If I were not on a WIP marathon, I would be casting on 387 pairs of mittens right now.  Normally, I hate mittens and have never bothered to knit any, but it's currently 8 degrees (Fahrenheit, or NEGATIVE 13 degrees Celsius) and frankly, it's time to rethink my mitten stance. 

Of course, I really shouldn't complain because according to Accuweather, while it is truly 8 degrees, the "real feel" is NINE degrees.  Well, break out the bikini!  Why even bother to say that?  (Wow, Martha, I wasn't going to go for that walk if it was 8 degrees, but since it really feels like 9, I just can't pass it up!)  How can it really feel one degree warmer?  I just shoveled 3 inches of snow off our driveway & sidewalk, and I'm pretty sure it feels like 8 degrees.  Maybe 5.  When I regain feeling in my cheeks I'll let you know.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Big "Hurrah" for Elann

I know I have raved about their yarn & customer service before, but yesterday I received an email from Elann.com saying they had credited my account for the skein of yarn--bought TWO years ago--that I just sent back.  In my letter, I had even told them that I could completely understand if it was outside their time limit for returns and that it really was more about letting them know about a problem, but one of the reasons I am a devoted fan & loyal customer is their commitment to customers, and it's nice to see a company that recognizes that little things can go a long way.  In reality, it was only about $5, but they could have stuck to a "policy" and said it was too late.  Instead, they chose to spend $5 to make a loyal customer happy--how many companies do you know that would make that choice?

Of course, now I get to go through an entire year of Cold Sheeping knowing that I have a credit at my favorite yarn source........uh oh.......

Friday, December 4, 2009

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled "Finishing Friday"

Tonight is our Christmas party.  ORIGINALLY, I had planned to make little mitten ornaments out of felt for all the guests. 

HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

Thankfully, foolish optimism seems to be a character trait most people find rather endearing.  Or they're just waiting to see what crazy thing I'll do next......

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And The Project of the Month Is.....

Gift bags! 

Or, more accurately, gift bags to be!  This is some home decorating fabric I found on sale one day, and I actually did buy it to make gift bags (since I buy so much fabric without ANY idea what I'm going to do with it, I'm always rather amazed when something DOES have a purpose......and downright shocked when I eventually remember what that purpose was), which it should work really well for.  I haven't decided how many bags I'll be making, but considering how many gift bags I give away, the more the better.  Of course, I'll need to fit it in with making more of these

which I just love.  Two have now found new homes, and I think we're going to need the other 3 for Christmas gifts (have to go back to my spreadsheet to check), so thankfully I bought enough material to make 10 more, as it looks like WE won't get one otherwise.  I have decided to alter the pattern slightly--namely to leave a hole in the bottom lining so I can stick the trim ends inside of it, as I really haven't figured out a good way to have the ends be visible.  Yesterday I tried letting the cord unravel (or not screaming when it spontaneously unraveled 2 inches when I cut the silly stuff) then splicing two cords together, but not only was THAT not successful, I'm still not ready to talk about it in a manner that is fit for the public to read.  I finally resorted to the glue gun--burning myself twice in the process just to round out the joyous experience--so I'm thinking a little hand sewing in the future will actually be a comparatively pleasurable experience.  And since the pattern said the trim was "optional" anyway, I'm thinking I'll be opting to send a couple of these babies out without trim.  I always feel bad about swearing when making a gift--like it somehow it won't represent quite the right "gift" spirit when I have cursed it repeatedly.  I guess we'll test that theory as the quilt is now in it's new owner's hands, and I think my cursing might have reached an entirely new level with that one. 

And....the front and back of the baby sweater are finished, and the first sleeve has been cast on! 


I'm this far--now I'm having fleeting fantasies about meeting the Double Dog Dare Challenge--that of getting down to just 10 WIPS--by the end of the year! 

Must. Go. Knit!!!!!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Good News Is.....

I'm down to 12 WIPS.

The bad news is....

the green shawl is no longer with us.  See all those little bits of yarn that don't seem to be attached to each other?  Well, they aren't.  After my boasting about the first finished repeat last night, I noticed that the yarn had broken off.  No problem--sometimes that can happen when one isn't paying attention.  So I spliced and went on for another row....then there was another break in the yarn, and this one I was positive I hadn't done.  Unwinding, I found another--and there were ends sticking out of the skein in odd places.

When I made the retirement shawl for my mother this summer, I wound the ball too tightly with the ball winder, so I had breakage everywhere--which was totally my own fault, so though I whined a great deal, I was willing to splice over and over to get the project done.  This yarn, however, was in the original skein and call me grouchy, but I just don't enjoy playing "knit the crappy yarn" on a regular basis. 

It's Elann's Baby Lace Merino, and according to Ravelry, I may be the only person ever to have this problem, so that made me feel better--especially since I have quite a bit of it in my stash.  Having a bad skein here & there is probably unavoidable.  As I have said many times in the past, I have had great luck with Elann's yarns and customer service, so I am more than willing to cut them some slack if they have something inferior once in a while.  But then it occurred to me--having a relationship with a company is something of a two-way street, or it should be if we are going to expect more from companies than we have in the past.  What if there were a quality-control issue that they were unaware of?  So, I decided to package all the yarn bits, shawl in progress, and the leftover skein and send it back to Elann.  I bought the yarn more than 2 years ago, so I'd be shocked if they credited my account for it, but on their returns page it says to include the receipt or the order history from their website.  I couldn't figure out how to print just one order, so instead I got my entire order history--going back to 2003.  I stapled all SEVEN pages together and plopped it in the envelope as well as a letter explaining the problem & admitting that I was probably outside their return policy, but that I thought they would want to know about problems--and mentioning that it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they did an exchange.  :)  I don't know--I'd spring for a new ball of yarn for someone with SEVEN PAGES of order history, but I won't be upset if they do nothing. 

However, yarn out of the stash is yarn out of the stash, so tonight I'm down to 12 WIPS, I get to add another 600 yards to the tally, and NOW I'm just two WIPS away from that new yarn for Andy's sweater......

Theo shares my excitement.....






Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Plan......

As many of you know, my goal for next year is to FINISH 100 projects during the year.  Anyone who is quick with math will note that I will need to average 2 projects a week....which I have probably never really even come close to doing.  But, it is time to unveil my secret weapon......

A freakin' huge number of started projects I have never finished

Yes, there really HAS been a method to my madness all along!  I'm not just a flaky knitter with ADD who can be distracted by beads/new lace/basically anything except what I'm working on.  I have been stockpiling for the point when I would get so frustrated with trying to find yet MORE room for unfinished projects that I would strike out with a mad resolution!

As I write, I can look around at all my well=planned preparations:  Two Rubbermade tubs FULL of sewing projects that have kicked by arse yet to motivate me to complete them, a third tub containing long-languishing knitting WIPS that may date back to the first Bush presidency  a nice selection of knitting projects in advanced stages, and a counted cross stitch project that I will be staying far away from until sometime in 2015 at the earliest because who needs a hobby that is slower than knitting anyway????? 
This weekend, in honor of getting ready for 2010, instead of working on any of the more current projects that could easily be finished, I dragged out

which now has one FULL pattern repeat, which you would be seeing if A) I knew where my camera was right now, and B) if a white chocolate martini on an empty stomach HADN'T sounded like a good idea about 30 minutes ago.  Switching projects might seem like being a total knitting flake to the uninitiated....or the sober....but around here we like to call it knitterly preparation......

Hey, my blog, my rules.......

Friday, November 27, 2009

Things to be NOT So Thankful For In the Knitting World.....

*  Moths

*  The moment your husband finds out you've been storing yarn in the sleeves of one of his unused jackets....

*  Knitting a sweater as a surprise gift and mailing it off in time for a birthday, only to hear "Oh, I didn't like it" from the recipient

*  Moths

*  A rash fit of optimism that persuaded you to cast on a shawl on size ZERO needles

*  Really fabulous clearance yarn when one is "Cold Sheeping"

*  Discovering that the two sweater patterns that have given you the most trouble are from the same designer and you weren't paying enough attention after the FIRST attempt at her psychotic designs to avoid the SECOND attempt

*  Frogging anything made of mohair

*  Frogging in general

*  Moths

*  Forgetting that your purse has velcro until AFTER you have put your nice cashmere-blend knitting project inside the purse

*  Managing to lose your favorite cable needle in a freak lawn mowing incident

*  Second sock syndrome

*  Moths

*  The inability to knit in one's sleep

*  Anything one knit in the 1970s or early 80s

*  Moths

*  The gray hairs one gets from the first attempt at steeking

*  The first attempt at steeking

*  Gray hair in general

*  Discovering after hours and hours of knitting that you really hate the design of the mystery shawl you're making

*  Moths

*  Discontinued yarn

*  Deciding to knit up the really terrible yarn in your stash rather than just donating it or throwing it away

*  Patterns that are 20% short on their yardage estimates, even if one is getting gauge

*  Finding out the hard way that yarn can indeed be wound too tightly with a ball winder

*  That whether or not you intend it to, all untreated wool can felt

*  Forgetting to check the reviews on Ravelry before spending 3 hours trying to figure out why the pattern isn't working

*  Yarn that sheds more than your pets

*  Large chain stores that discontinue the beads you want to use the moment you walk out the door after purchasing not quite enough of the darn things, then ignoring your frantic emails offering to pay exorbitant prices if they will help you locate more of the damn beads so you won't have to redo the entire beaded bands

*  That New Project Euphoria never lasts as long as the project does

*  Moths

*  People who don't say "thank you" for gifts, which stinks in general, but gets proportionately worse the longer one has spent making the gift

*  That there isn't a second Franklin book yet

*  That one has been mostly just messing around on Finishing Friday and hasn't actually finished a single thing.........

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Things To Be Thankful For in the Knitting World

*  Express shipping

*  Circular needles.  Not that I don't prefer dpns for socks and such, but could you imagine doing a pi shawl with 15 pointy sticks?  ***shudder***

*  Ravelry--bless them!

The squashability of yarn, which makes one's stash easier to hide in say, the arms of a jacket that your husband never wears anyway.  Not that I would ever do that, of course.....

*  Knitting friends who completely understand that one could talk all day every day about knitting

*  Tetanus shots--those of us who have managed to impale ourselves with small knitting needles understand this one

*  That airlines have finally realized that a knitter allowed her knitting needles on a flight is much less dangerous than a knitter denied knitting for 6 straight hours

*  Husbands who like handknit sweaters, especially if they are relatively small in circumference.  If you ever see a large man wearing a hand-knit cabled sweater, there is no surer sign that his wife is very, very devoted.....or is curled up at home in a little ball muttering "50-inch chest....50 inch chest...what was I thinking??????"

*  Mohair yarn, which covers up the fact that no knitted item ever leaves this house without cat hair.  Some people believe everything I knit is made from mohair.....

*  Do-overs!  Not that frogging is much fun, but how many other things in life do you get a second chance at?

*  That a knitted gift cannot tell the recipient how much swearing was involved in making it

*  That if watching football on Thanksgiving is a national tradition, a knitting holiday can't be far behind......

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

13 And Counting!

With the kimono shawl finished, I am down to 13 WIPS....or 3 away from meeting the Double Dog Dare Challenge.  I have THREE projects that are really, really, REALLY close to being finished:

Fleur, which is down to sewing on the beaded band, and doing beaded neckband & cuffs--exactly where it has been for the last year.....

The alpaca sweater which needs a sleeve cap & some seams and a few buttons and I could actually be WEARING the darn thing.....


and one of the cutest baby sweaters EVER, which needs seams and maybe the neckband and one buttonband.  ALL of them could probably be wrapped up with 2 weeks of serious application. And what am I doing with myself?

Working on the baby sweater I cast on THE DAY BEFORE the Double Dog Dare Challenge began.  I have finished the back, and am zipping along on the front

but it still isn't as far along as any of the more "matured" WIPS.  The upside is that I am about to finish off another skein of yarn

but as this is just a Red Heart fingering acrylic I'm going to guess I didn't ever add it to my Ravelry stash, so it wouldn't be in that 128,000 number either.  I'll have to double check, but I notice I haven't been all that excited about 'fessing up to the cheap acrylic yarns roaming through my stash.  It's not that one can't knit with whatever yarn one wants to, but who really wants to proclaim to the knitting world that there's some clearance hot-pink Fun Fur lurking at the bottom of the stash?  Er...um...not that there's anything wrong with that........

And, my sidekick and I have started decorating for Christmas.

We're starting early because it's a big house and a pretty exhausting job--as you can see.  It's now exactly one year since Theo was hit, and his fur has finally all grown back.  His bad leg is still a bit straighter than the other, and he regularly props his back end against walls or doors, but he's still been able to catch an unfortunate number of voles and birds, so he seems willing to overlook it.  After this past year he has the unfortunate impression that I exist solely to entertain him--and one can hardly blame him all things considered.  I monitor when he can go out...he monitors when I can sleep--we have become quite interconnected this year.  Oddly, in spite of all the medications I gave him, I am so firmly established as MOST FAVORITE HUMAN that some days he will only consent to hang out with Andy if I have actually left the house.  I guess the bond forged when you have to help a cat pee is a very, very strong one........

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Neno Award!

A couple weeks ago, Qutecowgirl tagged me with the Neno Award:


The Neno’s Award Rules and Regulations:

1. As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.
2. To seek the reasons why we all love blogging.
3. Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.
4. Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.
5. Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.
6. Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.
7. Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

Aside from obviously missing that "as soon as you receive it part," I always like these (even though I'm about 5 behind right now).  I especially like this one because it is so amazingly positive.  So, why do I love blogging?

Because of the people I meet through it.

I wish Blogger would let me respond directly to all the comments--or I knew how to make it do so--because so many of them make me laugh out loud, or just give my day a lift.  Sometimes my blog friends have great ideas which they graciously share, sometimes they just help get me through insane projects, and sometimes it just saves Andy from having to hear about my knitting all the time.  I know there have been studies about the rise in hate groups because of the anonymity of internet, but there has also been a rise in a supportive, friendly, terrific knitting group as well.

So, passing it on to others who love blogging (and who didn't do this a month ago when it was actually sent out:






and anyone else who would like to play along.

:)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You might have been wondering where I have been for the last few days of my crafting week, and the answer would be getting my arse kicked by:

That's right--the kimono shawl, which upuntil this week has been a pretty well behaved project.  Being a gracious and loving knitter, I was willing to overlook the insane amount of time it was taking to finish.  After all, good things come to she who waits.....or so I've been told because being a very impatient person, I have never really tried that theory out.  But THEN it had the temerity to force me to cast off FIVE TIMES before it stopped puckering.

Okay, you can't really see it, but it was there.  This is a picture of the 4th cast-off using a needle two sizes larger than the 4 I was working with, and it STILL pulled the lace too tight.  On the 5th try, I made every stitch so large that I think Theo could have jumped through the darn things, and finally, finally FINALLY have a finished object!

AND I'm down to 13 WIPs for the Double Dog Dare challenge.

AND I got to add 1375 yards of yarn to the yarn used tally.....the thrill of which was slightly mitigated by finding out that I had never actually added this yarn (or the several other hanks of it) to my Ravelry stash, so that 128,000 is actually even lower than I thought, which takes a bit of the fun out of this

My yarn and blocking wires from Elann!!!!!

It actually arrived on Monday, but I have been trying hard to ignore its existence while trying to finish everything else, but you gotta love Elann.com's service.  I actually received the yarn BEFORE I received the email saying it had shipped--it was that fast.  AND they understand knitters, because this was stamped on the box:


A year without yarn........"extremely urgent" would be an understatement. 

And of course, the yarn is quite fabulous and very soft

so I'll be picking out the 3 fastest-to-finish WIPs for the Double Dog Dare Challenge so I can dive into this lovely stuff, but probably not tonight as my little sidekick and I have some dishes to do

and the fall decorations to put away

so we can start putting up the Christmas stuff.  YAY!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

There May Have Been A Few Victory Laps......

Washed, stretched (because it turns out that among its many other bizarre qualities is a tendency to pucker right after being washed), ironed, and de-furred, the finished bridesmaid's quilt:

So far I have even managed to keep the cats off of it and only laid it out for pictures when I knew they were both snoozing in another room.  

I'm thrilled to have finally finished the thing, and I love the colors.....and my friend is going to be totally and completely surprised when she receives it, being three and a half years later and everything....but I can't say that I'm overly pleased with it.  I made the border too large--even with the embroidery, the back is a different shade of blue than the front because I didn't write down what I bought in the first place and "looks like the same color" is not the same thing as "IS the same color," and the embroidery pattern looped a bit in the back even though the design is one I bought from the sewing machine's manufacturer and for the price should be @*$&% perfect, and now that whole pucker thing.....

---but I am choosing to move on.  Get over it.  Rejoice in its "doneness."  Embrace the 9 yards added to the fabric tally for the year.  Celebrate the dedication that it takes to work on something for THREE AND A HALF YEARS.  Recognize the personal growth that can only be gained through an AFLO (another f------g learning opportunity).  Enjoy that second glass of wine.  Possibly enjoy the third if I don't let it go......

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crafting Marathon - Day Two


THE QUILT IS DONE!!!!!
THE QUILT IS DONE!!!!!!!
THE QUILT IS DONE!!!!!!!!!!!




If I knew how to make it do it, my blog would be playing the theme from "Rocky" right now.......

Monday, November 16, 2009

Crafting Marathon - Day One

I have 5 days, so after dropping Andy off at the airport and running a few errands to make sure I actually had some food this week, my sidekick and I settled down to some serious crafting.

First, we flattened out the cool home-decorating material

though getting the pattern cut out proved a bit more difficult than I had planned....

I did manage to work around Theo without cutting his tail, but a small amount of fur was lost....

though as his winter coat is truly in now, it's pretty hard to tell.  Mercifully, Theo decided to leave the room while I spray-basted the pieces and the batting together

but he was back for the sewing

Honestly, if he could ever learn to operate the sewing machine without me, I think my status as Most Favorite Human would be in jeopardy.

What are we making, you might ask?

Cornucopias!

I still want to add braid or trim to the openings of each one, and I'm pretty pleased with the small braid here

but I'm thinking some sort of black decorative cord would look pretty sharp on one or two. 

Overall, I'm so pleased with these that I honestly wish I had done 10 instead of 5, but this will get us through our immediate fall gift needs.  I'll have to check a couple craft stores to see what sort of things they have to put in the mouths of the cornucopias, but overall, I'm VERY pleased and......

2 yards of material go up on the fabric tally!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let The Crafting Marathon Begin!

Tomorrow Andy leaves for a week for business, and I will be embarking on a crafting marathon (and obviously a week of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches as cooking is no part of my plan).  I have some gifts to finish, but I am really, really, REALLY hoping to finish both the quilt AND the kimono shawl while he's gone.  And, of course, I'm also hoping that the cats don't think I have been abandoned and feel the need to shower me with vermin gifts as they usually do when Andy is gone.  It's really cold here now, so even if they have the intention to do so, I'm hoping all the potential "gifts" have either flown south for the winter or are hibernating.  We haven't decided exactly what this says about the cats' interpretation of what Andy does around here.  Do they think he normally keeps me supplied with mice & birds, or are they trying to bribe me to let him come back or to keep him away?  Theo sulks if I'm gone for any length of time, but he doesn't bring Andy anything.  Being "Most Favorite Human" is not always a perk, but hopefully I can distract Theo with some major sewing this week.....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Finishing Friday & Embracing a Technicality

After much debate and hoping everyone else would think the same way, I decided that the yarn for Andy's sweater is actually overdue from my allotted purchases from January 1, 2009 and had already been "allowed" so it wouldn't be cheating.  So.......THERE IS YARN ON ITS WAY TO MY HOUSE!!!!

Being no fool--or at least not one right at that moment, I was flying through Elann's ordering process before I could be seduced by any other yarns so quickly that I didn't double-check the address and had to email them after I placed the order to explain that the address they had on file was no longer correct.  (And having a post office box where yarn can be sent so your husband won't see is a bad, bad idea....that isn't why I had one, but it's a bad idea nonetheless) I did allow a set of blocking wires, but I had been looking for a set so that was a little less of an impulse buy than one might think.  AND THERE IS YARN ON ITS WAY TO MY HOUSE!!!!

Since I am 4 WIPs away from being able to cast on the new yarn, the kimono shawl and I spent some time together first thing yesterday morning

which Theo only sort-of found acceptable.  But when the bridesmaid quilt came out




he was all over it.  I'm glad he likes sewing and everything, but I do have fantasies about giving gifts that are totally free from cat hair just once in my life.

I got 2 more sides embroidered, some of the binding sewn on, and

this morning I have the last side in the embroidery machine.  I still have some of the binding to stitch down, and then I have to do something about the open ends that the embroidery design has left on each side, but I think it could actually be done next week!!!  Watch for 9 yards (my estimate, of course, but I think it's probably close) being added to the "fabric used up" tally.  Technically, I think I should get another 50 yards just for finishing a 3 1/2 year old quilting project, but I don't want to get too smug.  I still have one more to do.

AND THERE IS YARN ON IT'S WAY TO MY HOUSE!!!!!