Friday, December 30, 2011

I GOT CHRISTMAS YARN!!!!

This arrived in a Christmas package yesterday:
YAY!!!!!!!  The maroon is a lovely wool/angora blend, and the pinks are merino/silk/cashmere blends.  I'm just going to pet them for the next few weeks.  They're amazing.  And since they are a gift, they are guilt free new amazing yarn!  Totally made my day.

And, there is one more skein of yarn used up for the year,
and in one last mad attempt to make it to use up one more ball of yarn before the year is over,
the second sock is now in progress.  Admittedly, it's a really stupid choice as it's fingering weight yarn AND size one needles AND 253-yards rather than a more intelligent 100-yard skein in worsted might be, but I am nothing if not completely delusional in these matters.  I think it's because some teensy, tiny completely insane part of me really thinks I could still make it over 16,000 yards knit for the year, and the sock is moving rather quickly as it's just rounds of knitting, but 450 yards in 2 days does perhaps seem a bit.........insane.  But if I finish the socks, I will also start 2012 with one less WIP, one less ball of yarn, and 253 yards less yarn.  And I AM just 15 rounds from the heel shaping.................

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Only 1000 To Go!

The mohair scarf is done!!!!!
It's the longest scarf I've ever made, but with the European scarf-tying look being so popular right now, I thought long might be best, though I'm now worried I made it too long.  Maybe I'll block it a bit wider to shrink the length just a bit.  BUT, 245 yards of yarn from my recent yarn order have been used up and won't have to be accounted for on my start-of-year yarn tally that I am going to make myself do.  Another 1000 yards by the end of the year, and it will be like that 1375-yard hank never happened............

I started to cast on the second sock for this pair
because it's the closest to being a Finished Project in my huge pile of WIPS, but then I remembered:  I made it to 111 finished projects already.  Now I'm after yardage for the year.  (Knit just for fun?  What???)  So, I have dug out my birthday socks, because if you look really closely:
this sock is really close to being done, and when it IS, I get to count another 230 yards.  Never mind that I will then have 2 single socks and no pairs--with 3 days left in the year, this is not the time to bother me with rationality.......


(Side note:  RobinH had asked about the wonderful hat pattern for the orange beret.  It's a free pattern from Bernat, which you might be able to get to here.  Their website is a bit hard to negotiate because you have to log in to see patterns, so the Ravelry link is here.  It's a VERY cute hat in bulky-weight yarn, so it's a great fast knit and not very difficult.) 

Monday, December 26, 2011

So Now I Can Show You These

 Andy and I generally pick "themes" to do for Christmas gifts, but after all the fun we had last year with gifts for each others' hobbies, we decided to do it again this year.

For a while I had been planning to make Andy some fleece pajamas--probably more for lounging than sleeping, but something comfy and warm to change into after work, and since he started playing the mandolin this year....
I put a mandolin on them.  The design is a bit heavy for fleece, and his mandolin is actually a slightly different shape, but I did match the colors to his mandolin exactly, which was fun.

And this,
is the first project I made with my new yarn--I think the day after the yarn arrived.  I love to work with lace weight, but one does have to appreciate how fast bulky yarn can be knit up.  It's not exactly this vivid of a color, and it reports being happy in its new home--especially since there's a coat that matches it nicely.

Now, on to those 2012 presents!!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas


Season's Greetings from Château Sutton-Goar!

In case--after the year of the cat in a cast, the year of the broken toe, the year of bronchitis, or the year of the pantry moths--you were beginning to think that the holiday season is a bit eventful here at the Château, I can only say, "Why break such a perfect record?" Thus we are enjoying the holidays here during the Year of the Injured Back.. And let me just say, being rescued from the floor of the bathroom clad in crossword puzzle pajamas by eight paramedics really kicks off the holidays nicely. Since they brought along the ambulance AND the firetruck, it actually was a lot like our own personal Macy's parade. What could be more "holiday" than that? We are happy to report that the patient and her dignity are recovering nicely.

Square Foot Gardening
This year we decided to try the square-foot gardening method instead of whatever one would call my regular "shove plants in anywhere" method. It really maximizes our limited garden space, which provided even MORE opportunities for me to lose the squash wars. I planted spaghetti squash and got zucchini. I planted patty-pan and got acorn. I planted yellow zucchini and actually GOT yellow zucchini, but a squadron of squash bugs arrived to remedy the situation immediately, lest I start to think I had successfully mastered something in the squash family. As if.

Music
This spring, some good friends invited us to be part of a monthly music club. People sing, bring instruments, or both, and we have a really fun evening and occasionally perform at little "house concerts" held by members. Since so many people in the group are learning instruments, it has been the perfect time for Andy to learn the mandolin I gave him for his birthday about 4 years ago, and he has progressed so much that his flute/mandolin trio just played what might have been the world's fastest "Carol of the Bells" rendition ever. Everyone enjoyed the song so much that after the flutist was given oxygen, they played a slower version as an encore.

Year of Free Events
As we always enjoy new yearly challenges, this year we decided to explore the many free events Boise has to offer by attending something new each week. We attended films, art exhibits, clubs, lectures and book sales for several months, but finally had to desist when we became too busy.

Exploring Eastern Oregon
To celebrate Andy's birthday, my cousin Dustin joined us on a 4-day weekend exploration of Eastern Oregon. We caught the Walla Walla Onion Festival, Baker City's Miner's Jubilee, a street fair in Pendleton, a chainsaw carving contest in Milton-Freewater, enjoyed some fantastic museums as well as the old Union Hotel, though I think we'd all agree that the highlight of the trip was the Pendleton Underground Tour and the ability to spend the night at the old brothel the Tour runs as a hotel. Andy still enjoys telling everyone that his wife booked him a night in a brothel for his birthday. When he's feeling a bit less mischievous, he includes the part about it no longer being in operation.
This year I have learned.....
  • Trying to downplay the level of pain to the paramedics is silly--they have good drugs and they are willing to share.
  • If the ER nurse fails to listen to you when you mention you are getting dizzy, fainting in the wheel chair will make her MUCH more attentive
  • Apparently in medical paperwork terms, getting one's tail kicked by a turkey doesn't count as an "accident."
  • There are times in life when putting one's own socks on can make one's entire day
  • Being thankful to have lots of homemade soup available while one is unable to cook because of a back injury when canning the dang soup helped contribute TO the back injury is a lot like living in an O. Henry story.
  • When the doctor prescribes Valium for after physical therapy appointments, it's best not to dwell too much on why he thinks you might want to be unconscious after them. You'll find out soon enough
  • A fast way to add a bit of mystery to one's gardening is to label seedlings with permanent marker on masking tape, which is only permanent when it isn't exposed to sunlight.
  • I was only willing to try the "humane" route the first time we had moles attack the garden. I am now in the "death through smoke bombs" camp
  • I can kill any plant that someone says is really, really hard to kill, though in my defense, I will also have plants normally considered non-invasive try to take over the entire yard.
  • Even in Idaho, it is possible to harvest fewer potatoes than you planted
  • Finding out that the old electric guitar that you've had for 25 years and dropped on the gym floor at least once is suddenly a pretty valuable, much sought-after "vintage" instrument is a lot like finding out that your grandfather is actually a rock star.
  • It's really helpful to have at least one sedentary hobby, like knitting, that one can do while recovering from a back injury, but if pain pills are involved, one does risk ending up with a hat large enough to fit a walrus
  • Camping with friends is indeed a lot of fun, but I'm still really glad to return to plumbing
  • When canning recipes say silly things like "cook until reduced by one-third," it would be wise to prepare several more jars than the recipe suggests. No matter how hard I try, I cannot do fractions in cooked mustard.
  • Theo, my little side-kick kitty, takes his role as get-well kitty very, VERY seriously and does not appreciate being laughed at when he flops down on his back beside me as I'm doing my physical therapy exercises.
  • All the smugness of being smart enough to buy a restaurant-sized stockpot to use for canning season will be completely obliterated when one realizes one forgot to buy a spoon with a restaurant length handle.
  • When you have to check the dates to verify that it is already your 5th wedding anniversary, things are going well.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday and a healthy 2012,
Toni and Andy

Friday, December 23, 2011

That Makes It All Better

Even in my fantasy knitting world, having just discovered an additional 1375 yards of yarn, it didn't seem likely that I could knit up an additional 1375 yards by the end of the year to even things out, but I could knit up an additional skein of yarn, so....
Actually, this Mock Men's Aran hat used just about 130 yards, so I'm scaring myself with the mental discussion that if I could already have knit up one-tenth the amount of yarn I found, am I positive I couldn't knit up maybe half?  Two-thirds?  The entire stupid amount?  I am nothing if not stupidly optimistic.  So,
meet the new scarf.  It's on size 8 needles, fairly simple design, and in some of the new mohair yarn.  If I get it done by perhaps the 27th, that will be another 245 yards, then I would only need 1000 yards in the last 4 days of the year to reach 1375, which seems completely reasonable to me as I'm currently on my third cup of coffee this morning.  What could possibly go wrong.......?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

WAHHHHHHHHHHH!

So, I had the brilliant idea to get the rest of my yarn photographed so everything would have pictures.  None of the first laceweight yarn I bought had been photographed, so a little rummaging turned up this
so I took a picture, pulled up my stash on Ravelry, and..........

It wasn't on there!

This 1375-yard hank of cobweb yarn wasn't in my stash!  I have MORE yarn than I thought, and I'm not altogether positive there isn't another hank of this color somewhere.  I actually really like this yarn, and my very first shawl was made from this exact yarn, but my stash added 1375 yards and I didn't get the fun of buying anything!!!  

Dang!  Maybe cleaning the sewing room isn't such a great idea after all........

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

She Knits!

Some days I just defeat myself with my own optimism.  For the last THREE days I have been waiting to update the blog because I was just positive that this

was going to really be finished any minute, and then I could brag about using up another ball of yarn for the year.  That fingering weight yarn and size ONE needles could still strike me as "almost done" shortly after turning the heel probably explains a great deal.  SO, three days later, I have now used up almost 15,000 yards of yarn this year, making it my second-best year ever with 10 days left to go.

So, it of course made sense to find a really, REALLY large ball of yarn that I can't possibly knit up in 10 days,
and start on a toddler sweater that also can't be finished in 10 days.  In my defense, there is a bit of a baby boom happening around us, and my newest "honorary" nephew has already outgrown the sweater I thought I would be giving him for Christmas, and will be receiving a 4-year-old sized sweater at the ripe old age of 5 months because nothing else I have made is the right sex and probable right size at the right time.  This is a 2-year-old sized sweater, which will hopefully be an appropriate size for him at some point while it's cold enough for a sweater if I get it ready for Christmas 2012.  I can understand why more people make baby blankets than baby sweaters--one doesn't have to try to correctly predict the size at appropriate sweater-temperature times of the year.  Throw Global Warming in there, and I might never get a baby sweater size right again........

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Of Course

So, I figured out what to do about the mohair, decided how to adapt the monster hat to work with my yarn, and...
am working on the socks instead.  Part of it has been because I had a bit of a setback with back/hip problem after Tuesday's physical therapy and I don't care how experienced you may be at knitting--if you're taking pain pills or muscle relaxers, stockinette is your friend.  I'm happy to say that I have been yanked back into position and now just ache rather than hurt.  This is progress. 

Speaking of progress, want to see how the musical stockings look now that they're up and being filled?
I love how it all turned out! Well, except for the part where the cool "washable" music ribbon I found to make the stocking loops with faded almost completely when the stockings were washed.   That part irritates me to no end.  But the overall effect is still nice.  And I have learned to not waste my money on printed ribbon ever again, so there is that. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Problem Solved!

The yarn that matches beads I already have,
gets to be beaded scarves.  Those that don't get to be hats.  See how easy decisions are when one has spent their allowance on yarn?
I wish I had some brilliant amount of knitting to show off, but I do not.  Yesterday I wrapped gifts and even got a few sent off.  I'm still not entirely off pain medication--but generally down to one Aleve every 24 hours, instead of 4--but I'm slow and I get worn out pretty fast, and I think I was asleep by 9:00 last night.  So, not much knitting.  BUT, there have been two new ideas:

1.  Get the remainder of my stash photographed for Ravelry.  I think it's all on there, but there is a lot of yarn that didn't have photographs, and it's really easy to not pay attention to those yarns.  So, every time I'm ready to add photos to the blog, I go photograph a few missing yarns.  Interestingly, one of my friends on Ravelry wanted to know if I had robbed a yarn store, as I guess in the "friends' activity" setting, yarn is only "stashed" when a picture is added, so I have gleefully been stashing quite an insane amount of yarn this month.  As Lead Cold Sheeper, I can certainly understand her concern.  Not that there wasn't a bribing-myself-through-the-back-pain purchase, but it wasn't THAT bad.  If it were, I think I'd need to get that Valium prescription looked at........

2.  Keep a Projects To Do notebook.  The knitting projects are fine because I have my queue on Ravelry, but I have a lot of sewing or other ideas that can't be added, and if I don't write them down somewhere, I get sidetracked.  I think I'll make it a real paper-and-ink sort of journal, and maybe even attach fabric or pictures if appropriate.  I have an account on Pinterest, but that only works if I go look at my page, which so far I don't really do.  So, I'm hoping this idea might help me stay organized.  Ahem.....GET organized.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Think We Need A Vote

So, the big monster beret was supposed to look like this, or rather "sort of" as I'm using a totally different yarn because no matter how tempting the idea of angora was, I just couldn't see giving everyone hats in baby pink or baby blue.  With a slight bit of editing, I think I can make the pattern work with the mohair, or I could make mohair scarves.  Idahoans don't wear hats as often as they do on the east coast, I think, as we really don't walk anywhere in the winter.  Maybe one more hat and then some scarves?

Do you guys get more use out of hats or scarves?  And, I'm thinking of adding beads to the scarves, which I don't think I can do to the hats.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sometimes, One Really Needs An Open Mind

The mohair hat ended up, well....
really freakin' huge.  And did I check gauge?  Of course not, because I am a slow, slow learner.  It still works as a hat, but it's now a beret rather than the tam I was hoping for.  As it's mohair, it's easier to change expectations than change the hat, but I think in future hats, I will be casting on far fewer stitches for the band. 

My back continues to improve, though instead of leaving Friday's physical therapy session full of spunk and energy like I did on Monday, I was so exhausted that I actually came home and fell asleep--then slept another 10 hours that night, and might have made it to 12 if Theo had thought that appropriate.  I have been resting a lot this weekend, which has resulted in
the long-promised new sweater finally being cast on and currently resembles some sort of purple ramen-noodley mess that will hopefully be straightened out with some very severe blocking, and because I seem to love frustration,
this is what I think is now my third or 4th attempt at the free bow tie pattern on Knit Picks (which I do NOT recommend, by the way).  The pattern suggests casting on 40 stitches and knitting them in double knitting, but I don't think there is a needle small enough to get a gauge with fingering yarn that would NOT ensure that the wearer could lift off in strong winds.  I tried 30 stitches, and finally tracked down a free sewing pattern for a non-mutant bow tie, and found I can maybe make the pattern work with 26 stitches and basically working from the outline and deleting the Knit Picks pattern entirely from my computer.  

Probably because of my natural tendency to get insane ideas when frustrated, I have decided to try knitting a mitten ornament for each niece and nephew this year.  Thus today's mitten output:
As we have 8, this could be doable--though I admit I have been giving them away as gifts faster than I have been making them.  These were new ideas that I had.  Theoretically, the blue one (which somehow ended up with 2 extra stitches) has a snowflake on it (which it doesn't really resemble) and I got the eyelet and ribbon idea for the white one without getting the accompanying idea to figure out whether I needed an odd or even number of eyelets for the ribbon to work as intended.  

After so much unsatisfactory knitting, I felt the need of a quiet, easy project--sort of the knitting project equivalent of a hug, so I have started another toe-up sock:
Some days monotonous knitting is JUST what I need.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The New Plan

The new bribery plan:  I only get to play with the new yarn if I behave myself and don't "overdo"

The GOOD news is:  I feel a lot better after only one physical therapy session

The BAD news is:  Being me, and having been severely restricted in movement for over two weeks now......well, it was probably just a foregone conclusion that I would be a complete idiot at the first sign of recovery.  I'm probably lucky I didn't do anything completely insane, like cartwheels through the house.

I don't think I did anything that would involve a set-back or the need to take those darn Valium pills, but I will be resting for a while and behaving myself for the rest of the day.  And if I DO behave myself, I get to play with this:
This is one of the new gift hats I ordered yarn for.  I'm thinking that I might end up getting two hats per ball instead of one...which means I have a LOT more knitting ahead of me than I thought.  I'm enjoying it, though you can tell where I was knitting when the Valium kicked in last night.  The pattern is off a bit in one spot, though I don't think it's noticeable.  In any other yarn, I would rip it back and fix it, but mohair really hates to be tinked or frogged, and I can only find the problem because I know it's there, so there it shall remain.  

The box of new yarn is here on the bed beside me for inspiration/bribery purposes.  As I order new yarn so rarely, I am totally milking this for all it is worth.  When it first arrived, I was so overwhelmed by possibilities that my first project was
Yep--more mittens!  I got some get-well sparkly white to go with the sparkly blue, and so far the blue mitten ornaments have been the most popular, so I thought a few more wouldn't hurt.  The white one is mistakenly missing two rows, which is why it looks so stubby.  But as long as it isn't near the normal mittens, it will probably look fine.  Project 112 for the year--can you believe it?

I have not yet cast on a big sweater or shawl.  I got a bit overwhelmed by  possibilities and then decided to work on some extra Christmas gifts.  AND, I am currently at just under 15,000 yards of yarn and 83 balls of yarn knitted up for the year.  It's certainly not a personal best, but it is already my second best yardage year since I've been tracking, so I'm hoping to make it to 16,000 or 17,000 yards by the end of the year.  This probably helps explain why I didn't immediately cast on the fingering-weight sweater I have been lusting after.  :)

I am nothing if not a maniac...........

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm There!!!!

Meet finished project number 111:
which is what ALL the fashionable oatmeal containers are wearing this season.  What about project 110, you ask?  Shhhh--it's a secret.  It is Christmas, after all.

I have finished 111 projects!!!!

I am not yet willing to concede that there is anything good about throwing one's back out, but I will admit that it gives one lots of knitting time.  And speaking of, guess what arrived yesterday?
And the timing couldn't have been better.  Between the pain, the pain pills and all their side effects, Thursday's set-back, and the fact that I can never accept that things don't just heal quickly because I want them to, I have been a bit low the last couple days.  Being able to bribe myself with new yarn is helping--especially since it will be a while before I'll be able to sit enough to sew again.  I'm sure I'll be much more cheerful Monday evening once I've been to physical therapy and have learned what I can do to help my back heal, but in the meantime hitting my goal AND having new yarn to play with helps.

ON TO A SWEATER!  OR SHAWL!  OR ANYTHING THAT ISN'T SMALL!!!!!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Catching Up

This has been my view much of the last 2 weeks:
Theo has been quite a good get-well kitty, though I think he's a bit relieved to see me making enough progress that he feels he can leave my side--or my chest--for a while.   And I'm quite relieved that Andy headed him off with the live mouse get-well gift he found the other day.  Kitty nursing has a few drawbacks.

I had a bit of a set back yesterday so there were pain pills AND valium (though not at the same time, obviously), but after they wore off a bit I was able to finish project number 109:
and of course, I have immediately cast on another project.  This
will be a new hat with a doubled-over band, which explains the teal yarn used as waste yarn.  I'm almost there!

 And some pictures of past projects that haven't been on here yet.  The latest chemo cap:
and the red hat:
It's really a pretty cute hat, especially for a free pattern

I saw the spine specialist yesterday, and was thrilled to find out my treatment will be physical therapy.  To me, that means I'll be able to control this through whatever it is they have me do, and I'll never have to go through this again.  I was really unnerved when the doctor was surprised that the pain hadn't dropped me to my knees as soon as it happened or anytime since.  Obviously, that means there's a worse version, so I will be the most highly motivated patient the physical therapists have ever seen!