Sunday, February 28, 2010

On the Podium

Even though I have denied for weeks being a part of any Olympic knitalong, much to my surprise, I managed to pull off a hat trick. Thanks to being stuck in the car the good part of yesterday waiting for carpet to be installed, I finished my moose hat knock off.

My effort is not however, worthy of a medal because A: it is too small B: those dark blue floats are really yucky and C: I'm not even going to mention the puckering in all the long float areas. My first mistake was to use fingering weight yarn as the whole thing turned out very light and flimsy, not at all like the ski hats the USA Team wears. My second issue was not making sure the stitches were stretched far enough apart up in moose land. I have never done a fair isle with such large areas before and now I know you have to continually push those stitches on the right hand needle apart to get the knitted fabric to lie flat. I am planning to cast on the next one tonight during the closing ceremonies-if I am not blubbering too hard to knit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Stuff I Have Bought

I found this Paton's Classic Wool on sale for $2 a skein. Pink is not my usual color but I am thinking it wouldn't be so terrible in a lacy short sleeved cardigan type thing like the one in the spring Interweave Knits.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stuff I Have Bought

I decided it was time to get one of these since I never know how much of anything I actually have until it is too late. Now I just have to figure out how to use it.

While hanging out in Borders waiting for the lunch crowd in Panera to clear out, I found these. I NEVER spend big bucks on books but after sitting and reading them from cover to cover in the store, I just could not put them back on the shelf. They really needed to be mine.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The very first fleece I ever washed was a Jacob. I tortured that poor fiber into a giant ratty mess. I did however manage to get enough usable wool to spin a pair of socks that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Since then, I have learned a great deal about handling raw fleece correctly. Dumping it into the bathtub is NOT the right way, no matter who tells you to do that. Washing small amounts in net bags IS the right and ONLY way to manage it in a home setting without losing your mind AND ruining the fleece. Now that I have made myself clear on that matter, here is another pound of Jacob that will the first fleece I wash as soon as the weather is warm enough. This stuff will be treated with tender loving care because I really need another pair or two of Jacob socks. Thanks to those socks, I could wear my Crocs all winter, even in 30 inches of snow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The 4 Ounce Cure

My Russian Spindle has not been getting much of a workout these days. Right after it arrived I began spinning some stashed merino with no clear project in mind. That always guarantees a complete lack of interest on my part. I am hoping the cure is 4 oz of newly arrived fawn colored Alpaca that would love to turn into a nice soft lace scarf for next winter. NEXT winter, ya hear. This winter is so OVER.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Exhibit B

Another project I have lined up is the Vinterblomster Mittens. I fell in love with them after seeing them in this blog post over on And She Knits Too!. I am sure my winter weary brain is reacting to all this snow, but the flowers were just impossible to resist. I bought most of the heathered colors of Knit Picks Palette so I am sure I have enough colors to get started-as soon as I finish up my Olympic knits. When are the closing ceremonies?

Message to Kate: Since my email is STILL not working, I sent you the info in a Knitting Community message AND in a message over on Ravelry!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic Knitting Voyeur

I am not sure what my title is saying but what I meant it to say is that I have been spying on lots of people's Knitting Olympic projects and I wished I hadn't because I have come down with a bad case of the "I wannas".
Exhibit A: Citron, which EVERYONE seems to be knitting right now. I had to go right out and order some yarn for it even though this project is immediately going to the end of the line.

No matter, it reminds me of a cocktail served on a sunny beach and right now when everything around you is cold and white, a little color goes a long way.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympic Knitting Update

My attempt at re-creating the Team USA moose hat has been less than a gold medal performance. After 3 false starts I finally got a brim done but now I can't get the silly moose to line up using the chart. I am going to have to go back and figure out what I have done wrong-when I calm down. Right now I am at my limit of patience for something that was supposed to be my "easy" project.

Thanks to an entire week of 2 hour delays, Lillehammer has managed to get back to where I started before I noticed the big boo boo. My official "unofficial" Olympic knitalong is about as far as it is going to get before the closing ceremonies. Tomorrow it is back to business as usual which means I'll be too tired to do anything but man the remote control in the evenings. I envy anyone who doesn't have to be at work until nine. Getting up at seven and having the time to calmly get yourself ready for the day is nice, very nice.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Shiver Scarf Winner is Me!

After fighting with my email service provider all week, I decided to discontinue my service on the VERY DAY Knit Picks emails me that I have won the Shiver Scarf Giveaway! I was over on the site ordering the yarn for the Olympic Moose Hat last week when I left a comment and never even considered the chance that I might win. Good thing I checked out the community page tonight because there was my name posted as the winner! I never win ANYTHING and this was perfect timing. I am in the middle of a couple of difficult projects and was just rummaging around in the stash looking for something that would give me some almost instant gratification since the Lillehammer and the Swallowtail won't be blocking anytime soon. I can't wait. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that they get the message that I didn't get their message but that I really, really want to get my prize. I am so excited!

Just Awful!

This was supposed to be my Valentine's Day post, showing off my new cheerful pink and red scarf that I made out of some leftovers I had laying around. I should have known better. If you don't start with quality materials you usually end up with something pretty awful no matter how hard you work at it. Although I have used Lion Brand's Homespun on my little loom several times with fairly decent results, I just learned the hard way that if you do not pair it with a quality yarn for the warp, the resulting material feels as stiff as burlap. Since this thing is NOT going around my neck, I think I'll cut it up and practice hemming the ends since I am getting tired of everything ending with so much fringe. I would like to try some placemats or dish towels someday but those hemmed ends scare the stuffing out of me. Sacrificing this monstrosity should hopefully give me the courage to take the scissors to better things.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Arrival

My reward for making it through the blizzards of February was to treat myself to something to dye. I have been wanting to try some Merino and Tencel blend so I bought 4 ounces to experiment with. My usual method of dyeing is to mix and splash without much thought but this time I want to end up with something ultimately wearable. I am a bit tired of all the clown colors I usually make and would like to attempt a more sophisticated colorway.

Insert the sound of me laughing hysterically here after re-reading what I just wrote because we all know full well that this poor stuff is going to end up looking like the dog's breakfast.I have NO eye for color AT ALL.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finally Finished!

Those pesky Thermal Socks I have been working on since last August are DONE. I discovered that I hate knitting textured socks as much as I dislike wearing them. I started these in the Sock Innovation frenzy of last summer. While anxiously awaiting my copy of Cookie A's new book to get here, I started these. A definite UGH, but I am proud of myself for getting to the finish line. So proud that I am including TWO glam shots to show the wretched things off.

They were originally intended as guy socks but when put on they have a distinctly light and lacy feel about them in spite of their lumberjack colorway. I'm afraid these are going to the back of the sock drawer for those days when I need to remind myself I CAN knit more than plain vanilla socks. Can. Won't.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Venturing Out

All good things must come to an end and so has my week long "snowcation"-my self imposed exile from the snowy real world. There is still plenty of the white stuff on the ground but it's time to get out and get on with it. Getting in some groceries was a priority yesterday so on the way back I took a tour of the town.

Our little beach town looks strange covered in so much snow.

Before long I'll be walking along the boardwalk again and stopping in Sweet Sue's for some gelato while complaining about the heat. I can't wait.

Monday, February 15, 2010

There Had to Be a Reason Part 2

Once the shoveling was done there was not much to do last week so out came some of the old projects that were in need of a little attention and I re-discovered how much I liked them. I had to ask myself why I put them away in the first place and then I remembered that I HAD A JOB. It was just too easy to forget that I spend most of my time somewhere else than the place I really want to be. Sad isn't it?

Besides the flower garden English paper piecing quilt, I made a quick rummage through the stash and had fun passing a stormy afternoon warping up something rather ugly on the loom. No matter. It was just trash stash. I'll figure out a way to put what ever it turns out be to some good use.

I also re-energized my will to spin by dusting off those old batts. The little bit of sparkle I added by carding in some Firestar last summer is making me happy. Very happy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The One I Forgot

We have not had mail in a week but this managed to arrive yesterday from Daughter. Shucks. I never sent hers. I sent everyone else's. It is still sitting here on the table with her little box of candy hearts. Duh. Would blaming the Snowpocalypse work?

There Had to Be a Reason Part 1

I knew that all this junk I have been hoarding would come in handy one day. While I was locked inside for a week watching the snow fall during our back to back blizzards, I found plenty of stuff to keep me busy.

I especially took the time to add some February stitches on my calendar cross stitch. I'm NEVER going to forget this February.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Opening Ceremony Progress

Whoa! Three posts in one day. I sure have a lot to say all of a sudden. I suppose being pretty much alone for an entire week is taking its toll.

Now let me make this perfectly clear: I am NOT a part of any Olympic Knit-a-Long. None. I learned my lesson during the summer games. Having said that I AM in a competition with myself to see how far I can get on the Lillehammer before I pack it in for the spring. Thanks to tons of snow and hours of Olympic coverage I have managed to get it back up to the motif part of the pattern. I would have been farther along if I had not Twittered my fingers off during the opening ceremony. It's hard to say "did you see that!" when there is no one around so I sought some companionship with the rest of the world as the spectacle unfolded before our eyes. Seriously now, did you see those whales? How did they do that?

Desperately Seeking Pattern

Somebody who has one of those fancy knitting software programs PUH-LEEZE go knock off this pattern so we can all knit one for ourselves. At $75 (if you can find one) they shouldn't be flying off the shelves but they are.

Pattern Found!
Check it out:
Thanks Wendy!

Going Batty

Stuck in the house with all this snow is making me go a little crazy. As an antidote to the winter blues, I dug out those seven little batts of mystery wool I had so much fun dyeing and carding last summer to make a pair of sparkly socks. I don't have much of a plan but I just may see if I can get two socks that match for a change. Maybe. That's a lot of thinking and I think my brain cells are in hibernation. Even worse, on Tuesday the real world will come crashing back down when I return to work. I think am going to drag the spinning wheel in front of the TV, turn on the Olympics and hope for another blizzard to keep me snowed in until the closing ceremony. Now that I think about it, a little cabin fever is not such a terrible thing after all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

Too bad the Winter Olympics were not held in Baltimore this year. Who would have thought this would be the view out my back window on the day of the opening ceremonies?

Confession:I am a total Winter Olympic dork. Have been since I fell in love with Jean Claude Killy during the Sapporo games way back in 1972. I can't remember my phone number (true) but I can still sing Victory is Peace, John Denver's theme song written for the opening event.

Over on Twitter, I have been counting down the minutes since Torino and gee whiz does time fly. I can't believe it has been 4 years since I last bawled my way through those opening and closing ceremonies. Years ago I promised myself and Daughter that if the games EVER came to US or Canadian soil we would be there. Did we make Salt Lake? Uh, no. Are we going the Vancouver? Nope. Life got in the way of our dreams, I'm afraid. She grew up and I, well...grew old.

If I were there I would be wearing my handspun red Vancouver 2010 mittens and cheering on EVERYBODY from EVERYWHERE. AND if I were in charge of the world, all the parents of all the athletes would also be required to get up on that podium to receive their own medals. As a former figure skating/hockey mom I know just how hard it must be to get your kid to the level that causes a grown women that doesn't even know you to cry with joy over the success of YOUR kid. Good luck everyone. I'll be watching.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowpocalypse Update

I had to interrupt today's post once again to add a photo from this morning's big dig out. That was a lot of snow to move around. The cars are finally uncovered and the path up the long-ass driveway is somewhat clear again but seriously, how long is it going to take for all these ginormous mounds to melt?

Stash Control Part 2

The Mister made it to work for a full day yesterday so the conditions were ideal for some serious cleaning up around here.
First I tackled the cabinet and discovered that those Ikea storage things worked out better than I expected. I could cram in plenty of little bags of wool. The only bad thing is that I still have room left for more stuff now and I am tempted. Very tempted. I could actually add another whole storage unit in there so I've been doing some late night trolling over on Etsy for something pretty to make me happy. Sad, but true.

The stash room also needed an overhaul so I decided to give it a rearranging too. I also inherited another shelf from the move of #2 son, so after clearing some space and shifting a few things here and there, I found myself with an actual workspace.

I love it. I can actually walk through the room now. Quilting things are on the quilting shelf. Cross stitch things are on the cross stitch shelf, but wool....well, that's still everywhere.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seriously, This is My Front Yard

I know this post is supposed to be about cleaning up my stash, but I just had to add this photo I took early this morning of our 2nd blizzard in a week. Now we have even more snow than this shows but I'm not going out THERE again. It's not even funny anymore people. Someone make it stop.

Stash Control Part 1

Since I have been seriously snowed in since Friday afternoon, I have turned my attention to tidying up around here and making sense of my stash storage. Daughter left me this nifty cabinet after her latest move and I have been totally flipping out over how to arrange the contents so they can be more accessible. I am so sick and tired of moving a ton of other boxes because whatever I am looking for is always in the one on the bottom. I am in dire need a storage makeover. The big plastic bin thing is just not working for me anymore.

Walking through Ikea, I spotted these storage hangers that kid's use for toys. As soon as I get a moment when HE is not home, I am going to try to hang them in the cabinet and stuff them with yarn and wool.

I know the real solution would be to stop buying so much stuff but that just seems to be beyond my control at the moment. My cure for a hoo-hum job and a 2 hour commute is to have something really great waiting in the mailbox when I get home. Until the day comes when I have time to really USE all this stuff, this small bit of happiness will have to do.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want

My semi-slouchy hat turned out to be a bit smaller up top than I wanted. It is more of a beanie. When I put the bun in it I look like a bumpy, red cone head. Now I remember why I love my Calorimetry. Maybe I should try a Trinity Stitch headband with the leftovers. With more snow expected tomorrow it's not like I am going anywhere anytime soon.

Another screw up this week involves my mad dash to beat the blizzard. It seems I ran into AC Moore's without my glasses to pick up my emergency yarn supply. Imagine my surprise today when I took out the sock yarn I bought and discovered it was NOT sock yarn but small balls of worsted weight. Duh. I should have had least been able to FEEL the difference.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Cure for Cabin Fever

While sitting and watching the snow fall on Saturday, I got a pretty good start on that Trinity Stitch hat I saw on someone's head in Ikea the other day. I have made one before without great success as it turned out ENORMOUS. I have modified the original pattern to exclude the extreme slouchiness and hopefully will have just enough room in the top to fit my old lady bun/topknot. I hate wearing my hair down with a hat. Hate it.

I also managed to spindle up another bobbin of the Merino that I am in desperate need of to finish my Swallowtail. I am actually experiencing sore fingers from all the intense spindling on this project. I have been tempted to see if I could duplicate this weight on one of my wheels but so far I have not caved in to the temptation. If this turns out to not be near enough to finish however, that wheel may just get try. May 1st is right around the corner although it is hard to believe looking out the window right now.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It Wasn't Just a Dream

I woke up to my front yard looking like this.

My poor bushes and trees looking like this.

And the deck that had been shoveled at least 5 times looking like this.
That's a lot of snow out there and they say to expect more on Tuesday. They've got to be kidding.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Back In Line

My rather garish Palette Cardi has become my best friend during these cold, dark months of winter. The bright colors just make me happy. Slipping it on at the end of the day, just before throwing myself on the couch for the night, is like taking a trip to springtime. It has become my knitted bathrobe.
I never noticed that the front patterns were not aligned until I looked at the photographs I posted over on Ravelry. The patterns were way out of whack until I took advantage of a recent snowy Sunday morning to straighten them out. I had to take off the buttons-all 10 of them-and replace them in order for the horizontal patterns to meet where they should. I remember last summer counting the pattern stripes in the front bands and thinking how easy the button placement was going to be. Silly me.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Winter Storm Warning

I see a red trinity stitch hat, an alpaca scarf and a pair of soy socks in my future. While everyone else in the Washington DC area was standing in line for bread and milk tonight, I was standing in line for yarn. And I wasn't the only one.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Serious Bummer

Spoiler Alert: If you are the only person left in the world who has NOT read this book or the Harry Potter books yet, go away and come back later because I am about to totally ruin them for you.

I bought this book several years ago after hearing lots of good things about it but it ended up forgotten amid my bazillions of other knitting books. In my ignorance, this Christmas I downloaded the holiday sequel from audible and then went on to read the first installment so I would have a clue as to what was what.
For crying out loud could someone PLEASE explain to me how there are 2 more books in the series when the main character DIES in the first book? I am so bummed by Georgia Walker's sudden death that I have no interest in continuing with the rest of the series. I suppose someone will say that it is about the bond formed by the other knitters in overcoming their loss, but jeezy peezy the woman owned her OWN knitting shop. You just CAN'T kill off someone who owns that much stuff left to knit. It really shook me up.

That book should have come with a warning like this:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gathering Dust

My two spinning wheels are seriously in danger of becoming nothing more than objet d'art.

These two projects have been languishing on the wheels since LAST SUMMER.

Ugh. This pink and green Finn Top, that I bought at last year's Sheep and Wool Fest, looks more like someone's insides than wool. Why did I buy pink? I can't even remember why I started spinning this in the first place.

Even worse, my pretty little Merino sample is going to turn out to be not enough to do anything with.

This is all I have left from a 4 ounce bag of unwashed fleece that I had so much fun washing and combing this summer.

I suppose the lesson learned here is that I am not very good at spinning just for the sake of making yarn. Unless there is a specific project planned for the yarn-to-be it drops way down on the To Do list. It's a wonder the moths have not made a meal of it yet.