Sunday, January 1, 2012

And We're Off!

So I did manage to finish up the second sock last night, but that left me with total yardage of 15,835.55--short of 16,000 yards but not by too much.  (And I'm not sure if I really thought this was going to work, but I did start this
last night "just in case.")  It was still my second-best yardage year ever.  Not to mention, it allowed me to end the year with 117 projects--exactly the number I made last year.  How weird is that?

Now, on to 2012 and the "12 12s."  To jump-start the year, I'm leading another basket stashdash on Ravelry--this time back to the fill-the-basket and knit only from it, and this "dash" ends Valentine's day at midnight.  That's a month and a half, so I need a sweater and a half--or a sweater and half a shawl.  Or,
I could finish this poor, neglected Pi shawl so I can finally see how the darn thing looks, and have shawl/sweater #1 done without too much effort, then I can start on number two,
which will actually be a cabled vest for a good friend for Christmas.  You might remember this yarn from the earlier attempt at a vest which was so far off gauge that I could have skipped rope with the ribbing.  I'll be designing this one myself.  Also in my basket, I'm adding yarn for the 1 and a half washcloths I'll need to make:
 yarn for two hats (who makes half a hat?)
The green to make another men's mock aran hat to go in the gift bin, and the pink to make another Bernat beret--though I'm afraid that the yarn is probably not listed in my stash because it's leftover from a sweater, so no stash-reduction on Ravelry.  And speaking of stash reduction on Ravelry...............
my dem fischer sin fru shawl is nearing it's 4th birthday--and without making much progress.  It isn't that I don't love the design--it's quite nice, really--but it really isn't ME.  Nor do I seem to like it well enough to finish it to give it as a gift.  I do love the yarn, so after several deep breaths--I have started frogging this monster.

Now the thing about old projects is that they might predate whatever methods or systems one has decided to use to track stash or stash progress.  Not only did this shawl involve a LOT of knitting--it involves a LOT of yarn.  How much yarn?  I don't know exactly.  I have at least one hank wound but not started
and I know there's at least one more hank in the lace yarn bin.  The thing is--none of it is on Ravelry.


It isn't that my stash ACTUALLY grew overnight--but it feels like it.  Wanting to face the worst, I decided to look it up on the spreadsheet I was using to keep track of stash before discovering Ravelry, and found I had 7.5 hanks listed.  7 and a half??????  Since I'm pretty sure Knitpicks has never sold half hanks, I am thinking this means I didn't add it to the spreadsheet until I was already using it.  The question is--does that mean I had already started this shawl?  Did I make something else?  Was I more than half a hank into this shawl?  Could there have been more than 8 hanks of this stuff at some point?  There's nothing in my project pictures on Ravelry, but there are a lot of earlier projects that have no picture and no record, so I guess I will have to finish frogging this thing, count how many individual hanks turn up, and check the laceweight bin to see what else is in there.  Just to be on the safe side, I have listed it as 5 hanks on my stash now.  The fact that there were at some point more than 7 is a bit unnerving, but at least it's a color I really like.  However, I think I'll put a stop to the rummaging around in the sewing room--if there's STILL more yarn not listed, I can happily live another year without knowing about it. Really, REALLY happily.

 And---drum roll please---I have sewn something!!!!!!
Sitting is still very hard on my back, so this actually took 3 whole days to do, but
I finished one gift bag on Friday and two more today, so I have now used up my first 1/2 yard of fabric for the year, and get to count 2 of these for the 12 bags on my list.  This should be a very interesting year.  2 down--142 to go!!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011


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.

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


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........