Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Cast-on Curse

Oh yeah, I'm going to talk about it.

I know I am not the only one who has a few *cough cough* things on the needles. There are a select few who only do one project at a time, but I think most of us like to have a little flexibility with our knitting projects.
Yeah, that's all fine and dandy..But I think I may have taken it to a new level people.
In the last month, I have gone out to buy row counters and stitch markers a total of 4 times..Some of those visits consisted of buying multiples of afore mentioned items. I knew I had a fair amount of things on the needles.. So much in fact that my many, many row counters were getting used on multiple projects with me making notes each time I switched the counter from one project to another..And that my WIP's have accumulated into multiple bags and it has gotten difficult to find the particular WIP I want to work on at any given time..Thus I just cast on for another project..And the cycle continues.

I have gotten to the point where I am embarrassed to cast on in front of B, and I try to hide my new WIP's from him. LOL. I feel like an alcoholic hiding my booze around the house and taking swigs when no one is looking. Seriously, I think I may have a problem.
A while back I posted about my WIP's...Well the list has grown since then. So I decided the other day to sit down and plan out how I was going to finish all this stuff, and then make a vow to not start anything else until I had made a good dent in getting some of these projects finished.
I decided I would work on 2 projects at a time..One for home and one for commute..Until they were all finished.

So here, for your enjoyment, is my list..Read on if you dare.

Projects are listed in order of priority and commute vs. Home knitting.

1) Baby Blanket for niece Amber's new arrival (due in January) HOME
This thing has been OTN for about 2 months now, and its half way finished. Plan on finishing it in three weeks, (mid-January).
1) niece Heather's Monkey socks (last post) COMMUTE
One sock just past the gusset, one not even started..Plan is to have them done by January 7th....Not sure that's gonna happen.
2)Peapod Baby set..Again for Amber's baby. HOME
Sleeves done, body started..Giving myself 3 days to get it done..So we will say end of January.
2)Argosy scarf. COMMUTE
About a 1/4 of the way through. Fast knit..So I will say about 5 days to finish...So around the 12th of January.
3)Flower Basket Shawl HOME
Again OTN for a very long time..Seriously I should have this done by now.
Allowing myself 2 weeks to finish this one up..So early Feb. For this one.
3) Malabrigo My So Called Scarf...COMMUTE
Only just started..Estimating 3 days..hah! A girl can dream can't she? So we will say Jan. To finish this as well.
4)Fairly Easy Fair Isle..HOME
Started this during the blackout..It's on large needles with chunky yarn and I have about 6 inches week...Mid February finish
4) Irish Hiking Scarf COMMUTE
Again barely started...But going to give myself a week to finish.
5)Shetland Triangle..HOME
This baby is barely even started..Think I have done one pattern repeat..I will say February as well and 2 weeks time to finish it.
5)Elfine socks..COMMUTE
Got the toe done on one pair..That's it, but man do I LOVE the yarn (Claudia's Handpainted) and the pattern. On 000 needles..2 weeks...Finish in February sometime
6)Kimono Shawl..HOME
Again, this is just started as well...3 weeks, finish in March
6)Linen Scarf..COMMUTE
1 week, finish in February.

What do you think? Is it doable?

All that, plus I got to find time to knit up 5 things for Dulaan..
and I am a part of the Sexy Knitters Club and our KAL is starting the first of the year and I am dying to make Wicked..

And then this happened..

The Hidcote Garden shawl KAL

oh yeah...Im screwed.

Edited to add: OMG! I forgot about the mitered sock blanket...which is ongoing..and needs a lot more attention! As soon as the baby gifts are out of the way (and the Hidcote is complete..there is a prize for the first one done =)) I will be working on this regularly as well. Geesh!

I guess we should all ignore my last post about the Holiday gift knitting, apparently I am that nuts all the time!

Friday, December 29, 2006

I may be crazy.....

..But I'm not insane!

When it comes to Christmas gifts, some people go all out on the handmade stuff. And although I admire those people and think they are amazing, I don't go for that craziness.
don't' get me wrong, right after Christmas (like now) I think of how awesome it would be if I made handmade gifts for everyone on my list next year..Back when I was a x-stitcher I envisioned making Christmas stockings for everyone..That never happened. Last year I thought I would try to make scarves, hats, or socks for everyone...Nope.
The reason is I live in this fantasy world for about 2 weeks, and then I forget about it until mid-November, and then realize there is no possible way to get it all done. Trust me, I have tried.

So when mid-November crept up on me again this year..I told myself there was no way no how I was going to stress myself out this year by trying to make a gazillion presents..Again, like some people do, and do very well I might add... But then I remembered how I had promised my landlady something hand knit ages ago, and she is so sweet to us, and so helpful..And then, I walked into a LYS, and found the perfect yarn, and the perfect pattern, and well..I just couldn't help myself...

And of course, the close up shot...

This was my first finished cable project, and I did it all without a cable needle, thanks to Wendy's and Grumperina's tutorials. It was SO easy, if you have not tried cabling 'cuz you were intimidated, (like me) do yourself a favor and just DO IT already! I promise you, you can do it! It is so easy..Especially without the cable needle.

Pattern: Alchemy Lace and Cable Scarf
Yarn: 2 1/2 balls Rowan Cashsoft DK in "Ballad Blue"
Needles: size 2 (I'm a loose knitter remember?) Knit Picks Options
Started December 12th, and Finished December 23rd

Yeah, so anyways..I was working on this scarf and then I thought of my niece..And how I would like to give her something handmade...And then Knitty had to come out with their new issue...And I saw Monkey...and then this happened

I know, I know they are not finished...But she won't be back form her Holiday vacation until next week...And besides, she'll understand, she's a knitter as well.

Maybe this handmade gifting to a few select people each year is the way to go...I think I am on to something here...Or maybe that's just the "fantasy" speaking again.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

From B and me to you!

I hope Santa brought you everything you wanted. And I hope you have peace and happiness today and always.

Me? Oh Santa took VERY good care of me. Much fibery goodness, yarn shop gift cards, a spa package, and a Tivo! Woot! Boy do I love Santa, he rocks!
Of course, I take good care of him too. I bought my Santa a new guitar..and I don't think he will ever put it down! I LOVE It! There is nothing better then getting someone a gift you know they will love, and seeing their face when they recieve it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


For those of you that don't know, Seattle and its suburbs experienced a massive wind storm last Thursday. Horrible damage, everywhere. Over a half- million people lost power. I was one of them.
Today, at around 6:00 pm, I got my power back. Yes, that is right. I went 6 days with no power. That means no heat, no stove, no light, no blogs, no nada.
I seriously felt like I was living in a war zone, there were times I thought Armageddon was upon us.
Everybody was affected by this. Hotels are full, gas stations are out of gas, stores are completely out of fire logs, batteries, flash lights, etc."Do you have power yet?" is the most popular sentence of the week.
Imagine no Starbucks, no mall, no grocery store, no work. The day after the storm only three places were open to eat in Bellevue. They were Subway, Jack in the Box, and a Thai restaurant. We stood in line at Subway for well over an hour. I felt so sorry for those poor employees working there butts off for minimum wage (or close to it) and having to put up with cranky people. I made sure to thank all of them and threw a 20 in the tip jar. Hell, they deserved it!
I heard that the food story I just told you made the news. The Thai place did over 3000 people (or some number outrageous like that) on that day.
It was extremely eerie to drive through a city..And not see it. This is the first "emergency situation" I have been through, and boy was it a doozie.
I am thankful. Thankful for the hard working people that have been pulling 20 hour shifts day in and day out to rebuild practically the entire power system of Western Washington. I am thankful for the many kind and wonderful people whose positive spirits helped through this ordeal. I am thankful that I am finally warm after a week of freezing temperatures. I am thankful that I get to write this blog. And I am thankful for so much more that I cant think about right now because I am still so overwhelmingly emotional that I have been given back so many things I took for granted before.
I am thankful for my B..He really helped make the whole thing livable. He always made sure there was a fire going...He covered me with extra blankets every night and every morning...He pulled out the itty bitty book light (awesome invention by the way!) and read to me every night..And when nothing else was to be done...He made sure I had a drink in hand =).
It's good to be back.
Now it's time to knit.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What a Week Will Get You

For quite some time now I have been working on the Flower Basket Shawl. It is my first attempt at lace knitting..And I fell in love with it instantly. The tiny needles...The changing patterns...The simple/yet challenging way of it.
Right now I am into the 2nd chart and 6th repeat. My plan is to make this in the large shawl version..So I need to get 17 repeats on this chart before I get to move on to the next.
I promised myself I would not start another lace project until I finished this one..Even though I have about 15 projects in mind and I want to cast on for all of them right now!
Do you think I kept that promise?
See, it all started because I joined the Lacevember KAL..And I really wanted to have something done by the end of the month for the KAL..And considering I did not join up until the 18th of the month...I pretty much figured there was no way for me to get the FB finished in that amount of time.
What's a girl to do?
In my case, find a new project.
I had been lurking the Swallowtail KAL for a while..And so I decided it was time for me to make one.
And I did. Funny thing..I actually had the exact yarn in the exact shade sitting in my stash. See it was fate..It had to be done.
Time for the pics! =)

We have all heard of the magic that happens when blocking lace, here is my example of this phenomenon.

This first picture is before blocking..Sorry silly me did not get the exact dimensions..

And a pre-block close up:

And now, the after pics.

I love this shawl. It was so fun to make..Kept me interested the entire time.

And it was a fast knit as well. 7 days from start to finish

Nice butt shot huh? I do think it looks nice over the black though...

So specs (what I can remember off the top of my head anyway)

Yarn: Misti Alpaca, 1 ball in the sea mist colorway.

Needles: Knit Picks Options Size 3. (I LOVE these needles, they are awesome!)

Did pattern exactly as directed, except for the nupps. Instead of purling 5 together (yuck!)..I slipped 3 purled 2 and then slipped the slipped stitches off the needle. It looks exactly the same and was so much less of a headache.

Started Nov. 19th and finished Nov. 26th..Oh yeah I was a knitting fiend!

Alas this shawl is not for me...I am going to give it away at my knitting groups holiday gift exchange..I hope they all fight over it. LOL.

But even though I don't get to keep this one..I do have 2 more balls of that yarn in my stash...=)

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Sizzler

AS we all know my blogging is sporadic. There will be times you get 5 posts a week, and then there will be times where you get a post a month.
Well, I am trying. =)
See, the thing is, I have a bit of an obsession called knitting. Not like most people..I MUST do it in all free time afforded to me. I used to play online more. I used to read a novel (or more) a week..Not so much these days.
Knitters Anonymous was made for people like me. I really am an addict. KA actually has a patch...You know like the smokers patch?..And B said he was going to make me wear it. LOL.
But I consider this a good addiction. I have not smoked a cigarette in over a week (I'm not saying I am quitting 'cuz every time I do I end up lighting up again..In fact Im craving one right now!), and I cannot remember the last time I was at a bar. The truth is, I'd rather be knitting. Yes, maybe with a beer or wine close by..But Im finding that "hanging out" and drinking is not so much fun anymore.
I just wrote a big schpeel about drinking and restaurant workers.. But I don't really want to get into that right now.
So yes, I am an addicted OC knitter..And I am proud of it.
I have a heck of a lot of things on the needles right now. Some have deadlines, some do not. But for me I guess all my projects have deadlines..cuz I am a freak that way. I set goals and try to meet them with my knitting. LOL.
So currently on the needles (and trying to be knit ) is:
Baby Blanket
Peapod Baby Set
We Call Them Pirates Hat (for the Stranded KAL)
Irish Hiking Scarf..Not sure where this is online..I think Hello Yarns.
Branching out scarf (from Knitty)
Flower Basket Shawl
Kimono shawl
English Lace scarf
Elfine socks
Mitered Sock Blanket

I think that is it. Wow that is a lot. Maybe I have a bit of attention deficit disorder as well.

But with all this going on, I have managed to finish a few things, and I am now FINALLY getting to the point of this entry.

That would be Sizzle by Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic fame.

I started it on 11-5-06 but had to frog 'cuz it was too big..Even though I thought I had gauge.

So I restarted on 11-7-06
and finished on 11-15 06 with most of the knitting done in about 4 days time.
The yarn is Plymouth Suri Merino and it is lovely.

The pattern was clear and easy to follow..And I am VERY pleased with the results. Do yourself a favor and knit something by Wendy today. She's got some great patterns. I have yarn for 3 more projects from her (as soon as I get some of that stuff above off the needles I am casting on!)

And yes...I do have another FO to show you..My first finished lace project ever! Some of you may have seen it already if you checked out the lace KAL's. Hopefully I will post about that tomorrow!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

To Spin or Not to Spin.....

That IS the question.

I think at some point in every (guess I should not say "every" ok most) stick and/or hook addicts life, there comes a time when they ask themselves the afore said question.

When I last blogged I told you I had a beginning drop spindle class planned.

Well, I did, And I went, and I tried to spin, and I think it was fun...But all in all I was just frustrated and a bit disappointed.

Now, before I go any further, I think it is important for you to know that I am a tad bit of a perfectionist. I am also very linear in my thinking. I also think I am a darn quick learner.
If you were to give me some yarn, some sticks, and a pattern..Let's say the most intricate, complicated thing you ever saw..It just needs to have semi-clear directions..And said "make this" I would do it. I would delve right in and go for it, and further more, enjoy every step of the process.
But if you said, "here, make up something with this yarn and don't follow a pattern", I would just fall to pieces.
I need directions, I need clear cut rules, I need concrete!

Now that you have that bit of information about me..I think those of you that spin are getting a good giggle at me right now...You will soon understand why Spinning is causing me such grief.

I have been thinking, dreaming, desiring, needing to learn how to spin for almost a year now. I have been a bit obsessive about it. And I really thought that it would just come naturally and be the best thing I have ever learned since knitting. NOPE!

Poor B has been putting up with my incessant spinning blabber for all this time, and now that he has made a lovely gift of it, I am less then thrilled with the whole deal.( I feel like a real jerk.)

The reason Im not thrilled is that spinning (decently anyway) is something that "comes" to you. It just "feels right". AAAAAAAGH!
But it's not only just learning how to draft the dang fiber, how to hold the darn spindle, and how to give the yarn enough..But not too much twist, oh no. Then you got to soak it and weight it and ply it. And God knows what else. Oh, and every fiber is different. So just cuz you got wool down pat, don't think you are going to rock out the silk blend you got on your first time.
Enough of my moaning already..Here's some pictures of my pathetic attempts. It's ok to laugh and ridicule..I know it's bad.

So this was my first attempt. This was on my own before I ever took the class.

Abso-friggin-lutely gorgeous stuff huh? You know you want it.

This next pic is the roving I got in class, and underneath my second attempt at making yarn. Oh, and my silly attempt to try to wind it and put it in a hank.

The stuff is like glue now, it wont come apart. A more experienced knitter told me she thinks this is because the yarn is trying to ply itself. Oh joy! Maybe if I soak it....

This is attempt # 3:

The stuff looks a bit better, and it's kind of fun cuz of the multi-colors..But still it is pretty horrible.

The class did teach me a few things...Like never switching your hands..And about different way's to spin (S vs. Z) and how different spindles make different yarns.

It is fun..But I just cant "get it". I cant wrap my brain around the fact that there are no real "rules" for it. That it is just a "do it your way" kind of craft.

Who knows..I hope to get together with a spinning friend after the first of the year (Hi Dawn!), maybe she will help me change my tune.

Maybe I am destined to be a wheel spinner..Yeah that's it..I need a wheel! That's my problem!

(Great idea Mel...Plunk down $300 or more on something you don't even know if you will like..And at the rate your going..You will probably hate it!)

Until then....I think I will stick to my knitting.

But maybe, just maybe..I will get a wild hair and try again.

Stranger things have been know to happen around here......