Monday, December 06, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
It has been an eventful start of the school year. Obviously, the big gap between posts should have clued you in that things have been a little busier than usual. One of the biggies is that Hockeyman is now a senior in high school. College visits, PSEO classes, hockey practices and a burgeoning popularity of his rock & roll band have all had me running around more than ever.
However, the biggest news is his enlistment in the Air Force Reserves. He officially became an Airman 1st Class this morning. He will leave for basic training right after graduation in the spring and, if all goes according to plan, will be a loadmaster within the following year.
In other news, I am furiously trying to finish knitting up Christmas gifts. I am still working on TUSKAUFOFE as well.
Oh, and by the end of the weekend, I hope to be certified as a Starter by USA Swimming.
See, I told you I have been busy.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Monday, July 05, 2010
Well, I'm off to finish packing. Have a great week, all!
Saturday, July 03, 2010
- Bust Stash! Going to use as much of my stash as I possibly can during the Tour de France.
- Learn to spin silk! I have several sets of silk hankies that I've been too scared to touch. But during the mountain stages of the Tour de France, I'm going to challenge myself to learn to spin silk.
- Attempt at least 3 different novelty yarn techniques I learned over a year ago at Shepherd's Harvest. I haven't decided which ones, yet, but I will as soon as I get back from vacation.
- Finish washing and carding the Coopworth fleece I've been working on. Of course, since this work will have to come after the spinning, it may or may not get done. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Friday, June 25, 2010
I spent some time re-designing my blog today. It is the first day I've actually been home for more than half an hour at a time, so I decided to take advantage of it. Hope the new design is as bright and happy for you as it is for me.
I started a new project this week, called the Drop St Pleated Tank. I figured that summer is the time to make and wear some summer tops. So TUSKAUFOFE notwithstanding, I decided to spend a little extra time revamping my wardrobe as well.
I'm using Ella Rae Silkience, which is a 41% cotton, 39% Modal, 12% silk and 8% rayon yarn. It has a silky hand and significant weight, so it should drape beautifully. The pattern is from the Early Fall 2010 Vogue Knitting magazine I just picked up. It was the back detail that really sold me on the pattern. I love little design surprises like this.
As usual, I'm a little nervous about the amount curl the bottom hem is exhibiting. However, I have a couple of redesign ideas to take care of that if strenuous blocking doesn't cure the curl. (Mwahaha - evil knitting genius laugh). I have also revised the pattern slightly by using a twisted knit stitch on the upper ribbing. This yarn has no memory, so I figured it would fit a little snugger and keep it's shape better if the ribbing included a little extra twist.
In other news, I'm just in one heck of a joining mood this summer. Not only am I in training for the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry (a group of teams who are spinning their way through the Tour de France in July), I also joined the Knitgirllls group and am participating in the 50 Skein Stash Down. The goal is to use up 50 skeins of yarn over the 3 months of summer. I joined a little late but am hoping to catch up with the group in a short hurry. The Ella Rae yarn has only 119 yards a skein and I'm using up a skein a day right now.
Well, I'm rather alone this morning, having 2 of my kids off at a camp, Hockeyman at hockey and Eldest Sister up in her room communing with all her friends via Facebook, so I'm going to head back out onto the deck to enjoy knitting, listening to a book on CD (Magyk by Angie Sage), and the temporary, blessed solitude I so seldom get to enjoy.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I'm just having so much fun here. So many fibery things going on so I'm going to play the random paragraph-ish/bullet post thing (with pics).
*TUSKAUFOFE #4/Dead Simple Lace Socks are now done. These are going to be gifted to a dear friend who is battling ovarian cancer and is starting an intensive round of chemo on June 1st. I figured some lovely socks would be just the think to keep her tootsies warm while laying around in a hospital bed.
*TUSKAUFOFE #5 is on the needles and going strong. Another super simple lace pattern, already memorized, so I don't need to refer to the book. However, I am mulling over the idea of re-printing the basic heel shaping instructions onto 3x5 cards and laminating them. The only time I have to refer to the book at this point is to memorize the chart and to turn the heels. Since I don't like carrying around books all the time (I already lost one copy of this book and had to buy a second), it would be a sweet and simple solution. Still mulling though. Haven't followed through. Too much other stuff going on.
*The Go Green Recycling Project has become my UFO project of late. I started cutting up old sheets a long time ago, with the thought of using it as yarn and making rugs. Well, I loved the Beach Bag I finished so much that I've started a Go Green Sock Tote. I'm nearly half way done now (further than the picture shows) and loving it, loving it, loving it. I have a huge pile of sheets to recycle and am on the hunt for more pattern ideas to use even more of this recycled yarn.
*I have also signed up for my first Tour de Fleece competition on Ravelry.com. From July 3 through July 25, you spin every day (except for 2 designated rest days). I have pulled out my full stash and started making plans so I'm ready to go on July 3. First step is to scour and card the fleece I bought at Shepherd's Harvest last year. Then I need to finish plying some bobbins of singles I have on hand so I can free up all my extra bobbins before July 3.
*I've joined 4 teams so far: Rookies, Stashbusters, Knitgirllls and Knitter's Palette. It's a lot of spinning to do but July will be the perfect time to do it all. I am so excited, I can hardly stand it.
*Besides all this fibery activity, I'm working on a plethora of other creative projects. I'm currently sanding and painting some old cedar deck furniture, planning on building a headboard for our bed with Hubby and preparing to create yet another huge flower garden bed in my back yard. And I'm trying to train for a Sprint Triathlon in my spare time.
*On a sad note, The Girl Formerly Known as Dancing Diva Who Has Yet to Find a New Passion So Will be Called Big Sister For Now participated in her last dance recital as a backstage helper last weekend. It was a highly emotional time as she said goodbye to her life as a dancer. She is still wrestling with the ramifications of the arthritis diagnosis and struggling to find a new passion into which to pour her very considerable talent and energy. Whilst I would love for her to share my passion for fiber arts, she is very different from me in temperment and personality. I am encouraging her to pursue acting and singing and music in some form or another, she has yet to latch onto anything yet. A few prayers sent in her general direction would be greatly appreciated, so she can move through this dark time into a new life path.
Am I a bit insane? Probably but I've decided that after the crazy year we've had that as a family, we are going to go for the joy this summer. Do what is necessary but find the time to go above and beyond the mundane and have a fabulous summer.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
I am also in charge of the Ravelry Bingo/Vendor Crawl for our Shepherd's Harvest Ravelry group. If you are a member and haven't checked out the group, click on the Ravelry link and check it out. We have a nice basket of goodies that will be given out to some lucky participant in the game.
In the meantime, have a very happy Mother's Day!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Well, I need to go get the oil changed on my car and start running kids everywhere again. The only advantage to all this end-of-year running is the extra enforced sock knitting time.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Case in point, computers.
Our home computer was infected by the most malicious and nefarious of viruses. Hubby spent days and days trying to track it down, kill it and immunize our computer against further infections. In the meantime, e-mail was not functional; internet was not available and even my online calendar was beyond reach. After a valiant battle, my beloved Hubby declared the old computer DOA and went shopping for a new one.
So, here we are, a week later, with a brand new computer, but without all my favorite blogs bookmarked. I had such a long and lovely list of favorite friends whom I would visit via blogdom and now I have to go out and recreate my favorites list.
If you haven't heard from me in awhile, feel free to pop in and comment. Then I can click my way back to your blog and re-enter it on my favorites list.
While I wait for long lost friends to check in, here is an update on the progress on TUSKAUFOFE. All three basic socks are finished and Dead Simple Lace Socks are on the needles. My plans to work on UFO's has not come to fruition, mostly because the weather here has been so beautiful that I've been out in the perennial garden, freshening and primping it for its annual spring bloom extravaganza. When I come back in, I'm just too tired to do more than knit a few rounds on a sock. Forget about figuring out where I left off on the pattern and finding energy to tackle a long dormant project. So, sock knitting is what is going to happen until the garden is all weeded and ready for showing off.
Then maybe I'll even find the energy to photograph all three pairs of the finished socks.
Now, I am going to take a couple pain relievers, put some cold compresses on my brand spankin' new sunburn and knit a few rounds on the socks du jour.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
The Good: We spent a wonderful 4 days in Chicago during spring break. We visited some of the best museums I've ever seen. The Museum of Science and Industry was spectacular, with the highlight being the tour of U-505. It was amazing to see a piece of WWII history up close and personal like that.
The best part of the trip was the fact that I found the Chicago City Pass. Not only did it allow us to see the sights we wanted to for a discount but it also gave us special privileges. On Good Friday, we went to the Shedd Aquarium. When we arrived, the line to purchase tickets extended for 2 blocks or more. However, because we had the City Pass, we were able to go to another line that allowed us to get into the aquarium within 10 minutes. And the wait at the Sky Deck (Sears Tower) was 1.5 hours for those purchasing their tickets there. We were able to pass to the front of the line - another 10 minutes wait for us. In time alone, we estimate we saved more than 3 hours. I'd definitely recommend looking into the City Pass if you plan on visiting any major city in the U.S.
The weather was superb and we all had a wonderful time.
The Bad: Just prior to leaving for Chicago, my upright freezer died. Not only did I have to throw away a significant amount of food that had gotten ruined, but I was frantically cooking up stuff that only partially thawed and was trying to squeeze still frozen stuff into the small freezer in our kitchen. The freezer had leaked stinky stuff all over the floor in the basement and I had to clean the floor and the inside of the fridge to prevent a nasty, stinky smell when we got home. Bah!
Also just prior to vacation, we found out that Dancing Diva probably has a form of juvenile arthritis called spondyloarthropathy. She had been battling fatigue and joint pain for several months. After exhaustive testing at our general practitioner's office for everything from Mono to Lyme's Disease, we were referred to a rheumatologist, who performed even more tests. Although he was unable to give her a definitive diagnosis yet, she did test positive for the HLA-B27 genetic marker. Since this is a particularly difficult disease to diagnose, we will be watching for additional symptoms and going back to the rheumatologist on a regular basis to follow-up. As a result, DD has had to withdraw from all her dance classes because it had become too painful to continue and the wear and tear on her joints was more than she could afford to risk. I now need to come up with a new moniker for The Girl Formerly Known as Dancing Diva.
The Ugly: TGFKADD returned to school on Monday to the news that one of her classmates had committed suicide over the weekend. It was yet another case of a young person who was not accepted by his peers and teased about his unconventional attitudes and appearance, who found his lot in life to be unbearable. This young man was a friend of a friend and, although TGFKADD never was unkind to him herself, she was shocked and devastated to find out how deeply the teasing affected this acquaintance.
For my part, I am deeply sorry for the family and friends of this young man and am praying earnestly for them to find comfort in Jesus. And for the entire High School, that this experience may serve to teach everyone how to be more accepting and tolerant of our individual diversity. To have them learn that everyone - EVERYONE - has value in the eyes of God and that teasing, bullying and unkindness has no place in this community.
May God forgive all of us for our callousness and unfeeling behavior toward those who are "different"!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Well, it is official - I'm off to the races with TUSKAUFOFE. The Short-row Toe and Heel Basic Sock is finished and Gusset Heel Basic Sock is on the needles.
I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the short-row heel. I have a high instep, so these socks tend to slip down under my heel. I had decided early on to make these socks into anklets, since the Patons Stretch Socks yarn is cotton blend and suitable for summer socks. This choice means that I may be pulling these socks up in back all the time. I am also wondering how they will stand up to multiple washings.
I am currently working on two other projects. First is the 2 for 1 Hat pattern by Ravelry friend SwordofaKnitter (Ravelry link). I am test knitting it for him. It is taking me much longer than usual because it is double knit and I can only work on it at home and in a quiet place because it takes so much concentration to make sure I keep the pattern straight. I am currently working on the decreases at the crown of the hat and should be able to finish it soon. It will be a very warm hat, having two layers and should be fabulous for skiing next winter. I have no photos yet, so you'll have to stay tuned for an update.
The UFO I'm working on is Arwen for Peeps. I am knitting the cable bands for the front of the hoodie. Then I only have the cable bands for the cuffs and this baby is finished. I don't have a current picture of it either.
I am way behind on photographing WIP's. With the beautiful, spring-like weather around here, we've been spending extra time outside. I have also been spending more time at our local pool, learning to swim. I have a secret yen to do a sprint triathlon and was most afraid of the swimming portion. So I started taking private lessons to learn how to swim and am now trying to build up my stamina. I can now do 500 yards of breaststroke without completely dying. Freestyle is still too hard for me to maintain for long distances but I'm pleased with the progress I've made so far.
Well, I'm off to finish school with the kids so we can take a quick shopping trip to buy a suit and new shoes for Hockeyman. He has a formal dance he will be attending next month. I assume he will also need a suit for interviews at colleges and other events in his upcoming senior year. It is hard to believe my baby boy will be 18 this year and graduating next spring.
Where has the time gone?
Thursday, March 11, 2010
After announcing to all of knitting blogdom the advent of my upcoming Toe Up Sock Knitting Adventure, little niggling thoughts began tickling the back of my brain. Doubts and fear began to creep into my subconscious, giving me crazy nightmares and random flashes of goose-pimply, gut-tickling shivers throughout the day.
First thought to rear it's ugly, guilt-inducing head was the list of unfinished projects cluttering up my normally spacious, but now dangerously over-crowded, craft studio. It whispered, "Wouldn't it be more prudent to knock off a few of those before attempting an epic journey through toe-up sock knitting that may well take a couple years. After all, Hockeyman's Blanket is so close to done; and that Center Medallion sweater you know you couldn't stand to wear because it is too itchy and plan to recycle into a tote-bag or pillow . . ."
Next, the overwhelming stash of yet untouched yarn began a siren song of lonely longing, calling me, calling me to, "Go ahead and cast on that Fair Isle cardigan, the lime green summer cardigan, the purple cotton hoodie . . . And what about the Fair Isle hat and mittens you purchased yarn for before going on Fiber Fast 2010 - it is so lovely and quick to knit. It's okay, go ahead and submit to startitis. It's what you do best."
Finally, stark and raving fear crept up on me. What if I run out of sock-knitting steam half way through the book; what if all my bloggy friends find out what a flaky, easily-distracted ditzy dame I really am . . . Oi, what have I gotten myself into?
After some serious soul searching and stern, self-directed lectures and very inspirational internal speeches, I decided to follow through on my original plan to knit my way through Socks from the Toe Up, with some minor alterations to the plan.
First of all, I will knit my way straight through the book, one pattern at a time, starting with the Plain Vanilla patterns before moving onto the more exciting lace sock patterns.
However, after each pair of completed socks, I will finish (or frog) one unfinished project. My goal is to finish one pair of socks and to finish one UFO per month. However, if the UFO in question takes longer than the remainder of the month, I will cast on the new sock and continue to work on two projects until one or both are finished. I will include other crafts in the UFO completion marathon, like the rug hooking project I'm half done with and some unfinished quilts in my sewing basket.
Once the UFO's are eliminated from my over-flowing craft room, then I will allow myself to cast on a new project after each pair of socks.
Another goal is to burn through some of my stash (hence, Fiber Fast 2010), so I will use up all my accumulated stash of sock yarn before purchasing any new. However, once I have run out of sock yarn, I will allow myself to purchase sock yarn, even if Fiber Fast 2010 has not concluded.
Henceforth, I will be referring to 2010 as the year of Toe Up Sock Knitting And Unfinished Object Finishing Extravaganza, or TUSKAUFOFE for short. I am taking the plunge and putting this commitment out into the blogging world with the hope that it will be motivation enough to urge me forward to meet the goal of unlimited sock exploration, endless UFO elimination and ending world hunger . . . okay, maybe I'm getting carried away.
In the meantime, I did have a couple of prior commitments to live up to before diving into TUSKAUFOFE full time. Therefore, I submit for your approval HABS 2010. Granted, they are a month and a half too late for Hubby's birthday but I figured I'd better finish them off before getting too wrapped up in TUSKAUFOFE. He's very patient but with the Hockey Expo and High School Hockey State Tournament this weekend, he really needed a new pair of warm wool socks to keep his toesies all toasty.
I also promised a Ravelry friend that I'd test knit a new pattern for her (Ravelry link). I am working on that at the moment and plan to finish tonight or early tomorrow.
Oh, and on a sock knitting note, I have been attempting the short-row toe used by the first sock pattern in Wendy's book and not having a great deal of success. So far, I've knit and ripped 4 separate toes. I understand the directions but when I start picking up the wraps with the stitches and knitting them together, I keep dropping stitches and getting things all tangled up. Grrrrr!
Perhaps my mistake was trying to cast on and knit short-row toes late at night, by the light of a small lamp, so I wouldn't disturb my sleeping hubby during my commitment-phobic, anxiety-induced insomnia last night. I'm hoping attempting this new-to-me toe pattern will go better in full daylight, and after a full and restful night of sleep. IF I can actually go to sleep tonight without dreaming of half-finished socks chasing me through crowded warehouses of whining UFO's and lovely, lonely yarn singing alluring songs in the background.
After all, I am a flaky, easily-distracted ditzy dame who gets all goose-pimply from time to time. Not a pretty picture but, hey, you all are likely to figure it out sooner or later.
Friday, March 05, 2010
I've lost my knitting mojo. Everything I picked up looked boring. "Been there, done that," became the mantra as I thumbed through books and magazines, looking for something - anything - that might get my blood pumping once again.
I was resolved that I'd have to explore some new craft - or resurrect an old craft to find inspiration. Not a horrible thing but knitting has become such an integral part of my identity that I was afraid friends and relatives wouldn't recognize me without my ubiquitous knitting bag and needles in hand.
Then, today, as I was teaching the sock knitting class at our local homeschool cooperative academy, lightening struck!
In front of me was Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up. As I thumbed through it and talked with my class about the different toe and heel configurations Wendy demonstrates in the book, I realized that I had barely scratched the surface of toe-up sock construction. Here in front of me was a recipe book for endless explorations into sock construction and design. I began to feel like Julie in Julie & Julia (which I just read recently) when confronted with Julia Child's monumental tome of French cooking.
Why not spend the next 12 months knitting my way through Wendy's awesome book? What is more, when her second book comes out, why not progress through that one as well?
That is not to say I won't be working on other projects along the way. After all, I do have a few other UFO's floating around here that could stand some attention. And Shepherd's Harvest is coming up and attending that always gets my spinning mojo back in gear.
But what a fun goal to have - knit my way through a book. A pair of socks a month would leave plenty of time for other projects, since I could knit a pair in a week if I really concentrate on it.
And it will be much less fattening than cooking my way through a Julia Child cookbook.
A Win-Win situation, don't ya think?
Monday, March 01, 2010
As for the Gold Medal Men's Hockey Game, all I can say is Sidney Crosby attended Shattuck-St. Mary Boarding School in Minnesota for a year during high school. Perhaps the U.S. (and Minnesota) had a little stake in that Gold Medal after all. Not that I'm biased about Minnesota hockey players but this is the "State of Hockey" after all!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
4 tickets to the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher vs. University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldog hockey game in Duluth on Saturday;
Oh, and a luxury coach bus ride with free food and beverages to and from the game;
AND a pre-game dinner party at Grandma's with Coach Doug Woog;
As well as 4 t-shirts for us to wear at the game.
Can you spell e-x-c-i-t-e-d!
Best part, long bus ride to and from to knit like a maniac so I might just possibly finish Cables and Lace before the Olympic Closing Ceremonies, as planned.
Oh, and Go Gophers!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
After all that soul searching, poll taking and decision making, you'd think I'd have a clear goal for the Ravelry Olympics. After all, I spent weeks agonizing over which sweater to attempt. I spent 2 weeks drafting and rewriting the chosen project's pattern. I even fussed a bit at my husband when he surprised me with a dinner invitation on Friday night, when I'd planned to cast on with the thousands of other Raveletes during the opening ceremonies.
So what did I do . . .
Started a different project and finished it - all before I was 6 inches into my Ravelympic project.
Granted, this is a special gift for a lovely little girl who invited Peeps to her birthday party on Friday. Being a American Girl Doll fanatic, it only made sense that I could whip up a sweater set for her favorite doll. And I certainly did whip through this project.
Cast on Monday night at about 5:00 pm. Finished knitting everything by 10 pm Tuesday night. I finished the buttons at 9:00 am this morning (Wednesday). I used some Deborah Norville yarn I had in my stash and made up the sweater pattern, hat pattern and scarf as I went. I also invented little crocheted flowers to embellish everything. I am going to put this project up on Ravelry as an Olympic project, too, even though it is going to be a last minute entry. After all, I did start and finish it within the required time frame.
However, now I am back on track with my original Ravelympic project. It is moving along fairly smoothly but I am concerned that 5 of the original 14 days has already passed. I am really going to have to buckle down and focus if I'm going to cross the finish line in time.
And pray that no one else has a birthday party invite for my girls in the next 2 weeks.
Gotta go for the Gold!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Whaaaaaa! And I have already committed to knitting Cables & Lace for the Ravelympics! (Ravelry link)
Alas, I have been working very hard on rewriting Cables & Lace as a top-down raglan pattern. Even though I can't cast on until 8:00 tomorrow night, I've been "training" very hard this week (i.e. swatching, drafting the pattern, calculating gauge, etc.).
I'm just about ready for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies tomorrow. A little more pattern refining, a little more measuring and I'm all set to compete.
Oh, and my new reward for finishing Cables & Lace before the Closing Ceremonies: Casting on Skew!
Talk about going for the Gold!
Friday, January 29, 2010
Option #3 received a total of 5 votes, with two people suggesting that I convert the Cable and Lace Cardigan pattern into a top-down version. This suggestion intrigued me quite a bit, since I've been making up sweater patterns lately anyway. This would be the most complicated stitch pattern to incorporate into a top-down version that I've ever attempted. Very Interesting!
Option #2 received 2.5 votes (the half vote coming from someone who chose to vote for both Option #1 & #2). Whilst this would be a fabulous sweater to work on while actually watching the Olympics, I'm just fooling myself if I think I'm going to spend a majority of my knitting time in front of the television. Life is just too busy and I'm out and about a lot. And straight stockinette is deadly boring to work on while waiting in the dentist office or at swim practice.
Option #1 received only 1/2 of a vote, with the comment that if I love color work, I should just cast on and enjoy the process and not worry about crossing the finish line for the Ravelry Olympics. A valid argument, if I ever heard one. However, when I attempt that little challenge, I think it would be better to have no deadlines or stress attached to the process. I want to focus and master two-handed stranded color work.
Now, simply because I reserved the right to veto any of the Options (in my head, if not in writing) for any reason I deemed valid (certain elected officials shouldn't have all the veto power in the world), I have still been weighing my options and doing some sincere soul searching.
My conclusion is: The people have spoken! If a majority (albeit a very small one) wants me to proceed with the Cable and Lace Cardigan, then who am I to disagree with the democratic process. And for those two lone voices who lobbied on behalf of pattern adaptation, well, they deserve to be heard and heeded as well.
Ergo, I will be proceeding with the Cable and Lace Cardigan pattern re-write immediately and shall make every effort to complete the entire knitting and finishing process within the time frame of the Winter Olympics. And if I finish it on time, my reward will be casting on the Colorwork Cardigan that has been wooing me with it's siren song of beauty for the past 6 months.
However, if I don't finish in time . . . hmmm, would it really be considered a punishment to knit the Daily Sweater first?
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
In my younger days, I'd done the "Finish all the UFO's in the house or you can't start anything new for the entire year", "Lose 50 pounds in 4 weeks and figure out how to look 10 years younger as well", "Exercise every day until you Puke before giving up on January 5th", and "Clean house then keep it spotless all the time, even if it means alienating your children and ending up in divorce court" resolutions in the past. You can guess how successful I was with completing those crazy goals.
With age, however, I've become a bit wiser and much more realistic about resolutions. And I've learned to have fun with it. It's my humble opinion that resolutions should be about improving the quality of your life, not altering your life beyond recognition. So, given my love of all things crafty, New Year's Resolutions have become fiber arts adventures for me.
Those who have been with me for awhile will probably remember the great Ravelry Puck This Hat Trick 2009 adventure, when I completed 9 hats in the month of January (6 adult/3 baby). The whole challenge seemed to fire my imagination and I had a total blast trying new techniques and churning out WIP's in rapid succession. However, since we still have a large box overflowing with hats in the closet, Hat Trick 2010 just didn't seem all that appealing this year.
I had done some mulling and meditating on the whole dilemma. January 1st came and went and I still didn't have a clue what to choose. Eventually, though, Ravelry came to the rescue - again.
The Ravelympics 2010 is gearing up to start and I have joined the Team Minnesota-Ravelryolympics Group. In keeping with the whole sweater obsession I've been enthralled with since the end of Hat Trick 2009, I have decided to try and complete an entire sweater during the course of the Olympics this year. One sweater in 16 days. That's the challenge I've set for myself.
However, having also suffered from compulsive shopping for the past year, each trip resulting in one or more sweaters' worth of yarn each time, I find myself with a plethora of choices for this epic Olympic event.
(I have also considered the whole "yarn diet for a year" resolution this year but decided that was even more far fetched than the "lose 50 pounds in 4 weeks" resolutions in the past. Let's get real, after all! No yarn for a whole year. Yeah, right!)
I have a couple weeks to choose, swatch and prepare to cast on during the opening ceremonies on February 12th. I've narrowed the choices down to three options.
Option #1: The Fair Isle Cardigan (on the cover) from The New Stranded Colorwork Book. I picked up the book and the yarn at the same time this past fall. This would be the most challenging project to attempt in the 16 days alotted. I would be trying to perfect my two-handed knitting technique while working on a fine gauge yarn and having numerous high quality finishing techniques involved, including steeking, picot turned hems and hand-sewn ribbon trim embellishments. Whist I may not be able to meet my goal of finishing it during the Olympics, it is the project I've been dreaming about most in the past few weeks.
Option #2: The Daily Sweater (Ravelry link) from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. This project would not be nearly as technically challenging since I've already made one sweater from this pattern. There is a chart to follow for the raglan increases, which takes some careful counting but after that, there is a lot of plain stockinette. It would be highly conducive to watching the Olympics but likely to become a bit boring otherwise.
Option #3: Cable & Lace Cardigan from the cover of the September 2007 Creative Knitting Magazine. I bought the yarn for this sweater shortly after purchasing the magazine in 2007. I love the combination of cable and lace and the yarn has such a soft appearance and silky hand that I've had this in my queue for a long time. It is a bulkier yarn and should work up very quickly. However, since I've fallen in love with top-down, seamless sweater knitting, I'm less than enthralled with the thought of having to sew this one up by the deadline. I'm notorious for finishing pieces and then procrastinating on the blocking and seaming. The challenge would be to follow through and actually FINISH it by February 28th.
Well, it's your time to help. Got an opinion? Let me hear it. I'm completely kerflummoxed, so I welcome input.
Oh, in the meantime, I'll be ripping out carpet. Been working on that "little" project (2000 sq. feet of carpet to remove - oy!) since Saturday. I have 2 rooms and the upstairs hallway/stairs left to finish before Thursday morning when the new carpet arrives and is installed. We saved over $800 by removing and disposing of the carpet ourselves but it's made for a physically grueling week. Especially since Hubby has a very bad back and has been unable to help as much as he'd like.
Let's hope my hands and forearms have recuperated from this massive project by February 12. Or else I'll be learning to paint with my toes during the Olymics instead.
Friday, January 08, 2010
For example, I HATE washing dishes. The fact that I spend 50% of my waking hours either dirtying dishes (meal prep and cooking) or washing dishes, it's a pretty strong feeling being evoked by the sight of yet another mountain of dishes teetering in the sink. Especially I've gone to bed, leaving a clean kitchen, and wake up to the mess caused by a group of miscellaneous children who have decided that they needed some bedtime snacks, and a teenager gets up at midnight for a little refueling and decides turkey bacon and eggs make a good snack and leaves the egg smeared pan and plate drying on the stove, and hubby gets up in the morning and fixes breakfast and leaves the cereal box, rice milk carton and cereal bowl on the counter. Can you blame me if I growl a bit about how much I hate dishes?
I also hate bitter cold weather. Winter is fine, as long as you can step outside with a reasonable amount of warm clothing protecting your body. However, when the temperature and wind chill combined dips into the double digits below zero and your teenage daughter asks you to drive her to school and you forget your mittens and the drive is too short to truly warm the engine enough to heat the car and your hands are so cold when you get home that you can hardly turn the key in the ignition to the off position, "hate" seems like a very reasonable word to use.
Alas, now I even have a knitting "hate." Nupps! Believe it or not, I am knitting nupps for the first time in over 30 years of knitting and now I know what all the fuss is about. I used to hate bobbles because I had to turn the work so many times. But I learned to knit in both directions and I no longer hate bobbles. They are a piece of cake. But nupps . . . grrrrr!
It seemed like a fun little pattern. I picked up some Land O' Lace yarn from Creative Fibers in New Prague. They had a lovely little sample scarf knit up from a Land O' Lace pattern. So scrumptious I just had to purchase the required two hanks and pattern. I cast on for the scarf and was rolling along merrily when I discovered that this was a two-ended scarf that needed to be grafted in the middle.
No problem, I cast on the other side, knit it to the same length as the first side, then transferred both sides to the same needle and started knitting both ends at the same time. Then I arrived at my first nupp. Argggh! I wrestled and fiddled, perspired and pouted, growled and grumbled. It was official, I joined the Nupp Haters of the Knitting World.
The scarf is now in time out, whilst I seek out a pair of Addi Turbo Lace needles in the appropriate size to see if the pointer tips will make nupps less objectionable or not. If they don't, I'll be heading directly to the frog pond and seeking a nupp-less lace pattern for a new scarf. Life is too short to spend precious knitting time HATING.
In the meantime, I've gone back to knitting Arwen for Peeps. I am working on the hood right now, then I will have the sleeves and the cabled band left to finish before sweater #12 is off the needles. I am also continuing to work on Hockeyman's Japanese-inspired Blankie whenever I'm sitting in my armchair, watching television. I am also carrying around Hubby's Annual Birthday Socks as my travel knitting project. Plenty of projects to keep me busy without returning to the dreaded nupps.
Feel free to send any tips for knitting nupps my way. After all, what we need is LOVE . . . especially in the knitting realm.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
I've been a busy little bee over the past 2 weeks. Having made the decision to stay home for the holidays made for a relaxed, quiet time with family (and a few friends). An uneventful holiday season had the added benefit of allowing a bonus of ample knitting time.
As you can see from the photo, I have been working on a number of projects. First of all, as soon as Amused Revamped was finished, I cast on a blanket for Hockeyman. Having made a blanket last year for Dancing Diva, I was not about to make the same mistake twice of making a twin-sized afghan out of worsted weight yarn.
This time, I opted for Lion Brand Wool-Ease, Thick & Quick, which is working up so fast, my head is spinning. The pattern is my own adaptation of Mason-Dixon's Modern Log Cabin blanket. (Ravelry Link) I am enlarging it enough to cover a twin bed and hope to have it finished in a few weeks.
Because of it's large size and weight, it has become my "recliner project". So, obviously, because we had a hockey tournament up in Hibbing this past week, I needed to find a more portable project for the car trip up and back. I decided to pull out a couple pairs of UFO socks.
Actually, it was decided for me because Hubby's birthday has snuck up on me and it is time to cast on the Hubby's Annual Birthday Socks (HABS). I needed to finish one of the pairs of UFO socks in order to free up a pair of needles to use. The first socks I pulled were the Peppermint Twist socks I started ages ago with yarn I won in a drawing. They are Tofutsie Sock Yarn and I have to admit it is not my favorite yarn to handle. It was a loosely plied yarn, which made it very splitty. It also has a fairly harsh hand. However, I will reserve judgement on whether I'll knit with it again after I've worn and washed them a few times. Some of the most delightful yarns to knit with do NOT wear well and I'd rather have long lasting socks that weren't quite as fun to knit than spend all that time knitting something wonderful to end up throwing them away after a couple wearings.
Knowing that the Peppermint Twist socks wouldn't take that long to finish, I also brought along another pair of UFO socks. I think the yarn is Trekking XXL Sock yarn but I wouldn't bet my first-born child on it. It was an emergency knitting project I picked up at Coldwater Collaborative when I had forgotten my knitting bag at home. Being the obsessive-compulsive knitter that I am, I was unable to go on without something to knit. Hence, another pair of socks was born. However, this little project doesn't have a fancy name yet. If you have any suggestions, I'm open to ideas.
Finally and of course, as soon as the Peppermint Twist socks were off the needles, I had to cast on the HABS. So far, I haven't done much more than start the toes. I need to dig out a knit stitch dictionary and do some hunting for a nice textured pattern.
The yarn is some received through Wool Girl's 2008 Sock Club. It is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock and is 90% superwash merino and 10% nylon. It has the beautiful hand of a nearly all wool yarn and I'm hoping that the nylon will make it a longer wearing sock yarn.
Whew! As if all that knitting time wasn't enough, I also managed to find time to finish a 500 piece puzzle with my hubby and parents AND a 750 piece puzzle all by myself. I still have a 1000 piece puzzle waiting in the wings but will wait to start that one after I finish the Yet To Be Named Socks.
Then again, I do have two more days of holiday vacation before homeschooling starts up again in earnest. And I absolutely love puzzles.
Hmmmmm . . .