Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Did It!

I couldn't wait until tomorrow, so I started tallying my yardage this afternoon. It took counting yardage used in some WIPs, but I got the total up to just over 10 miles for the year. Yeah! Anything I use up this evening will just be gravy. Now, next year, I'm going to try again for a mile a month. Just add that to my list of challenges for 2009.

And speaking of the 2009 challenges, I completely forgot this morning about Winter of Lace. I really don't have a clue how I'm going to keep that many balls in the air, but I intend to have fun trying!

I'm Kind of Stunned!

I just went through all of my 2008 posts and tallied up my FOs for each month. The final numbers have me a bit stunned. So far, I have finished 122 items this year. (If I get off this computer soon, that number might yet increase.) I made 12 items for me or my dh, and I made 2 gifts. That means that I made 108 items that I either donated to charity or to sell to raise money for nonprofit groups. And I wasn't even trying to reach a particular goal. (I should add that these numbers are the best I can come up with. I really kind of lost track this year.) Wow!

2009 Challenges

Ok, so there are a lot of challenges that begin tomorrow, and I need to get them organized in my mind. There's the 100 skeins challenge, which I'm ready for, and the Personal Sweater Club, which I am also ready for. Then there's the 52 small items in 52 weeks challenge, which I had forgotten I had signed up for until I was just going through some of my older posts on Ravelry. That one I'm not so ready for, although I always seem to have smaller items I am working on for charity or the guild, so I should be ok there. Then there's the ongoing challenges: the Bridge Project and Homespun Helper's WUA square drive in January and chemo hats/preemie blankets/items to sell in April for the crochet guild. Whew!

Then there's the new biggie that I haven't even blogged about yet. I noticed a new Ravelry group last week - 52 Books in 52 Weeks. My first thought was that I would join and follow how the group does, but I couldn't possibly read 52 books in a year. Then, as I started reading posts and posting there myself, I decided that even if I didn't make the goal, if the group got me to read more, then it would be a good thing. And now I seem to be plotting strategy to see if I can accomplish the whole goal. The group is extremely enthusiastic and friendly, so I am really excited about reading again, which feels really good.

The strategy I am going to use includes identifying short books in my collection, to fill in when I bog down in a longer book, and audiobooks. With my Christmas money, I bought a new iPod Touch, and I have already downloaded 2 audiobooks onto it. However, I also intend to read from my stash of books, instead of bringing stacks of books home from the library and ignoring them for 3 weeks. There are a lot of books that I really should try to read, because they are popular and the patrons want to talk about them. So those will be a priority.

The first 3 books will be: The Daughter of Time by Jacqueline Tey (I'm thinking about leading a book discussion on this book in April, so I need to read it and see if it will work); The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (the library's January book discussion book, so why not); and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (I want to see if she's as whiney as everyone says she is). I have 2 audiobooks on an mp3 player (that I can no longer download to, hence the new iPod): My Life in France by Julia Child (which I started sometime this year and want to finish); and A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. And yesterday I downloaded The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan and The Rosewood Casket by Sharon McCrumb. That should carry me well into February! And definitely expect more book blogging around here in 2009.

So I am very excited for tomorrow and a little bummed that I am entertaining the family and so won't be able to really get started on my challenges until Friday. (It will be wonderful to see the family tomorrow, but still!)

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. See you all in 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

End of the Year Blitz!

I hope everyone had a happy holiday last week! I guess things got a little crazy in my life, since it's been 2 weeks since I posted. I was actually fairly well organized about Christmas, and we had a very nice day with the family. I was tired last week, though, and I am only now starting to feel rested out. I don't go back to work until Saturday, so I am enjoying some R & R this week. This is a good thing, because my string of good news came to an end the week before Christmas when we found out that my mom is facing 2 surgeries in the new year. So the round of tests and doctor office visits and flexing my hours at work will begin again on January 2nd. I'm happy to say that she is not facing anything life-threatening, but still, surgery is pretty serious, so I am a bit worried.

On a happier note, my quest to reach 10 miles of yarn used in 2008 is continuing. I have made 2 preemie blankets from one skein and 3 baby hats and a pair of baby booties from another skein. The two skeins combined totaled over 900 yards!

However, my quest has also given me a rather bad case of startitis. I wanted an easy project to work on in the evenings, so I started a rectangular granny afghan with another large skein I want out of the stash.
I will finish the afghan off with a couple of solid color skeins, and I will probably donate it to Project Linus. Right now, I am just enjoying the crocheting.

I also seem to want to work with soft, luxurious yarn here at the end of the year, so I pulled out my one skein of Malabrigo, and I'm making a pair of mittens for myself.
They are going to be soft and warm. I am going to try to finish these up this week.

I'm also frogging some scarf WIPs and starting new scarves to replace them, but I'll post more about that later, when I have things a bit more organized. I'm also going to try and finsh my Eva's Shawl. So I am going to be a busy girl this week, while I am at home!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Good News Keeps Coming

We had such a good time yesterday at the crochet guild's December meeting/holiday party. Lots of good food and company, and lots of goodies to bring home. I came home with a new pattern booklet, a new project that our president, Grace, put together for us for a body scrubber soap pouch, a grab bag gift that included cappuchino, chocolate and small crocheted doilies, and 7 skeins of yarn that I won in a raffle. Here's a picture of the yarn, a yummy silk/acrylic blend. I'm hopeful I have enough for a shawl.

Over the weekend, I finished the skein of yarn left over from the shawl by making a couple of hats, and I was finally able to add the 2 skeins of Homespun to my yardage total. That brought me to a point where I only need to use up 127 yards a day to reach my goal of 10 miles for the year. So when I got home yesterday, I started a preemie blanket with some bulky yarn in my stash, on the theory that it would work up quickly. I worked on it all evening while I watched a showing of the original "Poseidon Adventure" (I don't have a clue why I am so taken with that movie, as well as the 2 remakes), and the blanket is more than half done.
I'm using Joann Sensations yarn in Rainbow Classic. It's 100% acrylic, and so soft. I'm going to use the entire skein (615 yards total) for preemie blankets. I didn't really want to start another project, but there is no way I will meet my goal with my existing WIPs, all of which are using fingering or laceweight yarn. And at least preemie blankets are useful and needed. (Of course, the guild really needs chemo hats in January, but I will make a few of those as well, I promise.) I'm really becoming quite fond of bulky yarns in my old age!

Oh, and the good news from this post's title? I found out on Saturday that we are going to my in-laws for both Christmas and New Year's Day. We will help out a lot with the cooking for both days, but it means that I don't have to do a lot of intensive cleaning before the holidays. And less time spent on cleaning means more time spent on stash reduction. So my goal becomes more and more attainable. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

2nd Ripple Afghan Done


I was a good girl last night (especially considering it was Friday), and I sat down and finished weaving in all the ends on dh's ripple afghan. Here it is, in all its glory. He used it this morning and pronounced it perfect. It is smaller than the one I made for myself. It turned out approximately 41" X 48", but that is what he wanted - a lapghan. And do you know, it only used 1,437 yards of Simply Soft. So it didn't make near the dent in my SS stash that I had hoped for. Oh well, I will just have to keep coming up with projects that use SS!

So, as of this morning, I have used up 8.5 miles of yarn this year. Only 1.5 miles to go to reach my informal goal of 10 miles for the year. I have to do some serious thinking today about which projects might help me meet this goal in the next 3 weeks. It's probably not possible, especially with the holidays upon us, but I just can't resist trying. Have a great weekend, everyone!

ETA: I just ran the numbers, and I only need to use up approximately 140 yards a day to reach 1.5 miles by the end of the year. Suddenly, this seem eminently doable!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good News Post

First good news - Mom got the cast off her foot yesterday! As soon as we fix her dead car battery, she will be a free woman again, and I can stop being her chauffeur. I'm really looking forward to working normal hours and shorter days again. Maybe I can even get back to blogging on a regular basis.

Second good news - I have finished crocheting dh's ripple afghan, and I am now in the process of tying in all the ends. As soon as I get that finished, I will post a picture. I am so happy to get to the end of this project! It feels like I have been working on it forever, even though it really hasn't been that long.

Third good news - the dh is spending tomorrow with his parents, getting their Christmas tree in and doing some chores for them. So I get the day to myself at home! Besides the usual laundry and a little housework, I intend to spend the day finishing the afghan, fixing a few problems with some of the scarves I have been working on, and finding the next project to be finished.

Fourth good news - Sunday is the crochet guild's December meeting/holiday party. I have not been entirely sure I would be able to go, but now that I know what's happening this weekend, I will be there with bells on! I just have to put together a grab bag gift tomorrow, and I will be all set.

Now I just have to finish getting ready for Christmas next week, and I will be in very good shape indeed!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shawl is Finished!

I actually finished my Easy Triangle Shawl (that I started on 11/30) on Sunday, but I haven't had a chance to take pictures or post until today. The shawl took 1 and 1/2 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun, and it came out nice and big. I have hardly stopped wearing it since I finished it.
It is soft and warm. Even better, it is very lightweight, considering I used a bulky yarn to make it. And I love the way the yarn striped all by itself.

Finishing this project quickly has made me anxious to finish something else soon. So this week I am busily working on my dh's ripple afghan. I'm hoping to finish it this coming weekend. I'll post pictures when I do.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

New Charity

I know that I haven't done much charity work lately, other than a few hats here and there. But I did want to post about a new charity that Sandy, a friend from Homespun Helpers, is starting. It's called The Bridge Project. She is trying to collect handmade hats and scarves to give to a group of (mostly) men living under a bridge near her home in central Ohio. She would also welcome gloves, mittens, vests and sweaters. There is no deadline for the project. She would like to have something to donate every week until the cold weather has ended in April or May. I'll have to check my stash for some good "guy" colors and try to make an item or two to send along.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

2009 Sweaters

As promised, here is the post about my planned 2009 sweater knitting. I have picked out 4 patterns, one for each season. I planned this for seasonal knitting, not necessarily seasonal wearing. So if I finish all 4 projects, I might have to wait a while to wear each one of them.

Winter/Spring:
I'm going to start with the February Lady Sweater. It's top-down and seamless, so what's not to like! It seems like the best place to start, since I am new to sweater knitting. I've chosen Plymouth Encore in a heather colorway. If I get that finished, my Spring Sweater will be the Triple Cable Sweater from the newest issue of Cast On! magazine. (Sorry, no link for that one.) I'll use a grey Colorado Yarns Durango that I bought at Webs last Christmas. It's a nice tweed yarn that is a wool/acrylic blend.

Summer/Fall:
Assuming all goes well, my summer sweater will be the Checkmate Cardigan from Cabin Fever. I have 13 skeins of Berroco Touche, a cotton/rayon blend, that I bought specifically for this project (probably several years ago). And finally, my Fall sweater will be the Nantucket Cardigan from Interweave Knits Winter 2006. I bought Elsbeth Lavold Classic Al, a yummy alpaca yarn in a dark blue, for the project (again, several years ago).

And since we are keeping track of number of skeins for next year, this represents 50 skeins that will be used up. That's half of my 100 skein challenge right there. As a warm-up this week, I have been diligently working on my new shawl. I only have 2 1/2 pattern repeats to go. Boy, those rows are getting long, though! I still haven't finished the first skein, so I know I will have some yarn left over. I would take a WIP shot, but since it really doesn't fit on the circular needle by now, it just looks like a lump of knitting. I can't even tell how big it truly is. I won't know until I cast off. I'm still hopeful I will finish it this week, so watch for an FO shot over the weekend.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cleaning Can Be Dangerous!

So, after spending 2 days last week with the family, I told my dh yesterday that I really needed to spend some time alone up in the yarn room, getting ready for next year's projects. It didn't take long for me to decide that straightening up the yarn room is rather like rearranging deck chairs on the Titannic - completely pointless. I can shift things around, but the bottom line is that there is just too much yarn for the bins I can fit in the room, and the only thing that is going to help is using more of it up. It was just a little discouraging to find that, after a year of stash busting, I am still in this position. It wasn't all bad. I did find one drawer that was almost empty, and some of the bins do have some breathing room in them. But there is still too much yarn in bags on the floor. I seriously am looking at a 10 year plan as far as the stash busting goes.

I did put together patterns and yarn for 4 sweaters for next year, which makes me feel more organized. (I'll talk about which sweaters in another blog post.) However, while I was doing that, I found 2 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun in a plastic bag, with a shawl pattern (Easy Triangle Shawl from Lion Brand) and knitting needles, which I had completely forgotten about. And that's why cleaning is dangerous. Despite my vow to myself to not start any more projects right now and to focus on my WIPs until the new year, I just couldn't stop thinking about that shawl. So of course I started it, around 12:30 this afternoon.
It is about 1/3 of the way done already. I'm not convinced the shawl will take 2 full skeins of the yarn, but if it doesn't, I can always make a chemo cap with the leftover yarn. I think that the attraction of the shawl right now is that most of my other projects are using fingering or lace weight yarn, and so they are growing slowly. A project using bulky yarn will grow so much faster and will just be a nice break from the finer yarns, even if it's no my favorite yarn to work with.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting Ready for Next Year's Challenges

First of all, I want to thank Knitika for being my cheerleading section as I get ready for next year's challenges! I will take all the encouragement I can get.

One of the requirements of the "100 skeins in 2009" challenge is that we can only count full skeins towards the total. Happily, I spent a lot of time this year finishing up my partial skeins, so my stash is in good shape for the challenge. However, I am now trying to stay focused and finish at least some of my WIPs, since I am in the middle of skeins with most of them. Unfortunately, this includes 2 shawls and an afghan, as well as 3 scarves that I am knitting with fingering weight yarn and 2 second socks. Yikes! For some of these projects, I might be able to finish the skein I am currently working on and then put the project down until next year. I haven't accomplished much this week, what with the holiday looming, but I have every intention of getting organized this weekend (and cleaning up the yarn room again). I'll try to post some WIP pictures over the next few days so you can see what I am talking about. And on the upside, if I do get some WIPs finished now, I can start several new projects in January. I'm really looking forward to that!

For everyone who celebrates it, have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2008

100 Skeins in 2009

Well, I'm sure you will all be glad to hear that my stashdown efforts will continue into 2009. They kind of have to, since I haven't really made much of a dent in the stash this year. Hey, when you have over 100 miles of yarn in the stash, using up 7.5 miles of it is barely a drop in the bucket!

But, never fear, over at the Ravelry stashdown group, we are making all kinds of plans for using up stash in the new year. And I have managed to sign up for at least 3 of the challenges. The one that has a lot of us excited is the "100 balls of yarn in 2009". We are going to see if we can use up 100 balls/skeins/hanks of yarn in the year. That translates into approximately 2 skeins a week, which somehow seems doable. So I will be keeping track of my progress here on the blog. It will be fun to count something other than yardage next year (although I will probably continue to count yardage, too).

Then there is the "Personal Sweater Club". This idea grew out of the sock yarn clubs that some yarn companies offer online. You get a surprise skein of sock yarn each month, and if you keep up, you knit a pair of socks a month. Well, this year, some members of the stashdown group made up their own sock club. They packaged up 12 skeins of yarn from stash with patterns, and then opened up a new package every month. It made the stash seem more exciting. So, for next year, we are extending that idea to small items and to sweaters. Now, I'm not crazy. I am not going to try to knit 12 sweaters next year. I am going to try for 4 - one for each season. It will be a miracle if I actually complete 1 sweater, but I am going to try. Hopefully, next weekend, I will finalize the 4 patterns and the yarn for each.

And then, yesterday, someone suggested trying for one small item a week, or 52 in the year. At the risk of overextending myself, I went ahead and signed up. I know that I can crochet a hat or a scarf in a week and still have time for larger projects. So those will be my charity items for the year.

And yes, I am going to have to be very organized and disciplined if I am going to have any hope of keeping up with all this!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Two Hats

In my quest to finish up some WIPs before the end of the year, I pulled out a baby hat I had begun knitting over the summer and finished it up last weekend. I still had about half a skein left over, so I went ahead and crocheted a baby hat as well. That just about finished the skein. One more skein out of the stash, woohoo! Anyway, here are the two hats.
I used Plymouth Dreambaby, a really soft DK weight yarn. The knitted one, on the left, came out a bit small. It's long enough, but it's not really wide enough. Even given that the pattern is ribby, it still doesn't stretch quite enough. But it should fit a newborn. These will be donated eventually, but for now, they are just going into the donation box until I decide where they are going.

Not much else going on. We are in the throes of cleaning the house for Thanksgiving. While it would be sensible to keep up with the cleaning and do a little bit every weekend, we seem to subscribe to the theory that it is a much better idea to leave a room alone for years and then half kill ourselves cleaning it completely in one afternoon. Yesterday we tackled the family room and study in the basement. The study isn't really used as a study, though. It is more of a catchall room for junk, which is why we have left it alone for such a long time. It looks much better now, although I am still coughing from the dust we stirred up. But I am beginning to have hope that the house will be clean and fit for company by Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Long Time No Blog Again

Things have been a tad hectic in my life recently. A couple of weeks ago, my mom woke up with a sore foot. Well, it turned out that she had broken a bone in her foot. No injury, just wear and tear. So she's in a soft cast and a boot, and she can't drive until it's healed. Of course, she still needs to get to all of her medical appointments, and she still needs errands run. So I have been flexing my hours at work like crazy, and going in early to make up the time I am taking off, which has eaten into my blogging time. She sees the podiatrist again next Thursday, but I have a feeling that she will have the cast on for a few more weeks yet.

On the plus side, all this waiting in doctor's offices with her has given me some extra knitting time. I've been working on my vacation scarves, but I haven't managed to finish one yet. I did manage to weave in all the ends on Mocha Roca last week, so I can finally show you a picture of me wearing the sweater.

And here's a close up of the buttons, which I just love.
I wore the sweater to work yesterday and got all kinds of compliments on it. So I am jazzed to both knit and crochet more sweaters for myself in the coming year.

I also finished up another chemo hat, which will probably be donated next year some time to the local hospital.

Other than that, I am working away on some WIPs, trying to finish up some projects to clear the decks for those sweaters next year!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I Know, I Know...

...I only posted 4 times in October, and here it is November 2nd and I'm posting twice in one day. But I am so excited! I just finished the crocheting my Mocha Roca sweater.
I still need to weave in ends and make a button. Hopefully I will get that done later this week. But in the meantime, I am going to relish having one fewer WIP!

Recent Acquisitions


(Sorry about the title - sometimes I am such a librarian!) Last Friday was my birthday, and I just couldn't resist getting myself a couple of birthday gifts. Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush was published last week, and my pre-ordered copy arrived just in time for my birthday. It is a beautiful book with gorgeous patterns that I just can't wait to start knitting. Then, yesterday morning, I decided that I just don't have good lighting in the 2 spots that I do most of my crafting and that it was time to do something about this situation (especially since I can justify the purchase as a birthday gift). So I took myself over to my local Joann's store and purchased the new Ott Light with a rechargeable battery. (I also don't have room for either a table or floor lamp that has to be plugged in near either of my crafting spots.) I tried the new lamp out yesterday and it makes such a difference! I can actually see the stitches when I am using lace weight yarn. I might actually get Eva's Shawl finished now that I can see the stitches. And it is completely portable, so I can take it with me to crochet guild or wherever.

Now, speaking of lace weight yarn, the yarn in the picture is not a new acquisition. I dug it out of my stash yesterday and balled it up just before I took the picture. I have to love lace weight yarn. Those 3 innocent looking balls contain 1,320 yards of yarn in them. I am going to use them for my Fan Stitch Half Circle Shawl. I actually started the shawl yesterday. I got 16 rows in and already I have to frog back a few rows because one of the edge stitches is wonky. However, the shawl is a lot of fun to knit, so I'm happy. I think it's going to be a good project for getting used to working with such thin yarn, which right now seems to be my biggest challenge with lacemaking. I'll post a picture when it is a little bigger and actually looks like something.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where does the time go?

This month is seriously flying by! I'm not at all sure where the time goes. We have had some fun. We have gotten out to enjoy the fall colors on the weekends. On a more serious note, our pussy cat has been having a bit of a hard time, so we have been to the vet a couple of times. The cat turned 13 this month, and all of a sudden we are dealing with some old age issues. He is on medicine now, and he seems to be doing much better, though. And on top of everything else, I have been fascinated watching history unfold day by day, between the economic crisis and the presidential election. I have become a news junkie, and I have been spending entirely too much time reading political blogs. Unfortunately, that's where my computer time in the mornings has been going to.

However, I do have a couple of fiber related items to share. First up, in addition to working on Mocha Roca, I have managed to finish 2 hats and 1 scarf for Dee's 60 Scarves in 60 Days challenge.
I used Red Heart Soft for the turquoise hat and Simply Soft Tweed for the hat and scarf set.

I also won a prize from Seasons of Lace! I won in the Newbie Lace Knitter category. I feel just a little guilty, since I didn't manage to finish one project I started this summer. However, I have a feeling I am really going to enjoy this DVD - Knitting Lace with Meg Swanson. There are 3 patterns discussed in the DVD, and I already have my eye on the neck scarf-sized version of a Faroese shawl pattern. Hopefully this weekend I can sit down and watch a little bit of the DVD. And I am definitely signing up for Winter of Lace. I am not giving up on my attempts as lace knitting!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Apologies...

...to everyone coming over here from the Everything Hewitt website. Clearly, this is not Priscilla Hewitt's blog/website. My first name is Priscilla, and I do crochet, but that is where any resemblance between myself and Priscilla Hewitt ends. I will work on having the error corrected. (And, yes, I also think that her designs are stunning!)

And to those of you stopping by to see what I am up to, I am still crocheting away. Life has been a little busy lately, and will be for the next few days. But I will try to post some pictures of what I am working on (including an almost completed Mocha Roca cardigan) by the end of the week.

Monday, October 06, 2008

More Catching Up

I finally got off my duff this morning and took some pictures of some more projects that I have been working on lately.

I started knitting preemie hats this summer, and I got 4 done before my attention drifted.
I came nowhere near finishing the skein of yarn I was using, however, so now I might start a preemie blanket with the same yarn to try and use it up.

I also crocheted a "One Skein Scarf" at the end of September. This one will be donated to my crochet guild for their November sale.

And finally, over the past few days I have crocheted 2 hats and another pair of wrist warmers.
I intended the purple hat to be a chemo hat, since the yarn is soft. However, the hat and wrist warmers look so nice as a set that they might also go into the crochet guild sale. The red hat is toddler sized, on purpose this time since I wanted to finish another partial skein and there was only enough yarn for a small hat. It will probably also be donated to the guild sale.

All this, and my big bag of acrylic yarn still isn't getting any emptier. I may have to rethink this particular stashbusting strategy, because the big bag of yarn is starting to discourage me a little bit! However, it is certainly convenient to have so much yarn sitting right next to my chair, so the big bag of yarn will stay put for now.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Total Yardage for September...

...is 1,463.5 yards. I didn't quite make my goal of using some yardage everyday (thanks to that nasty cold I caught), but I am pleased with the number nonetheless. I will set myself the same goal for October and hope it goes even better. Goodness knows I have enough to do, what with the various charity projects I want to work on.

I have a couple of things that are finished that I will photograph and post about soon, but I haven't gotten anything finished over the last week. I think the lingering cough from the cold is wearing me out a bit. So, in the meantime, I want to post a couple of pictures of items I made this year that, for whatever reason, I never blogged about.

First up, another hat that will be sent to Warm Up Winchester. I made this back in February from a wool/camel blend from the stash. Not surprisingly, it came out toddler size. (I really need to expand my hat repertoire!)

And here are some baby booties that I finally finished up earlier in September and donated to my mom for the craft sale her apartment complex is having this month.

I will have plenty more items like these to show you over the next month!

Posting may continue to be a bit light over the next few days. Tomorrow is my dh's 50th birthday, so I still have some preparations to finish. We will go out to dinner tomorrow night, and then I think we are going take a road trip on Saturday and just have a play day. But hopefully things will be back to normal next week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award


So I have been thinking quite a bit about the "I Love Your Blog" award I received last week from Sandy. I am still pleased that she nominated me, but I am supposed to pass the award along and that has created a bit of a dilemma for me.

Here are the rules:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog. 2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you (as shown above). 3) Nominate at least seven other blogs. 4) Add links to those blogs on your blog. 5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

And here is my dilemma. I have 43 blogs that I read on a regular basis (not including the group blogs that I belong to or follow for possible charity donations). Like everyone else, my time online is limited, so if I am reading a blog regularly, then I am doing so because I love reading that blog. I receive so much inspiration and motivation from each and every blog I follow that I can't pick just 7 to receive the award. So, if you are on the list on my side bar, please consider yourself to have won this award from me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finally Feeling Better

Well, last week did not go as planned. I was very happy on Tuesday evening when I called the court and found out that jury duty had been cancelled. I was all set to go to the Big E with the crochet guild on Wednesday. In the meantime, however, I had been fighting a scratchy throat since Monday, and I woke up Wednesday morning to a full blown head cold. So I had to cancel going to the Big E, and I ended up home sick Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On top of the congestion, I had no energy to do anything but read. I read through 2 1/2 books in 3 days. I started to feel better on Saturday, which was a good thing since my dh came down with the same cold Friday afternoon. I had to quickly switch from being the sick person to being the caregiver. He's still home sick today, but I think he is starting to feel better.

While I was sick for those 3 days, I had no interest in going near a crochet hook or knitting needles. But once I got my energy back, I was right back at it. I managed to make a toddler sized hat, a pair of fingerless gloves, and a scarf over the weekend.
(I also finished one other scarf last night, but I don't have the ends woven in yet, so it isn't quite ready for its photo shoot.) I didn't really use a pattern for the hat and scarf. I did use a pattern for the fingerless gloves, and I have to thank Deneen for her pattern. It is a great but simple pattern, and I intend to make more of them in the future.

I haven't forgotten about the "I Love Your Blog" award, either. I'm still mulling it over, and hopefully I will be able to pass the award along tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

2 More FOs from the Weekend

Well, I finished up the scarf I mentioned in my last post, and I made a hat yesterday during the crochet guild meeting.
The scarf came out 53" long and 6" wide. The hat is the same size as the previous 2.

In other news, Sandy nominated me for an "I Love Your Blog" award. I am just pleased as punch that she received the award and that she in turn nominated me. I will be nominating 7 other bloggers for the award later this week. Unfortunately, the next 2 days are going to be a bit busy for me, which is why I won't be able to pass along the award until the end of the week. I have an early morning staff meeting tomorrow, and then on Wednesday I am either going to jury duty or the Big E. I won't know which until I call in to the court Tuesday night to see if they need me on Wednesday. As you might guess, I'm really hoping I get to go to the Big E! That will be a whole lot more fun than hanging around a jury room all day. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Big Hooks & Bulky Yarn...

...equal quickly worked up projects! Yes, I spent yesterday holding 2 strands of yarn together and using a P hook to make 2 child sized hats.
This got 4 partial skeins of yarn out of the stash. I used my favorite hat pattern, and I enjoyed myself immensely. Since I had yesterday off from work, it probably would have been more sensible to work on a bigger project, but I just wanted the satisfaction of using up some yarn quickly.

I also started a scarf using 2 strands of yarn and a Q hook. I should have that finished tonight, and then hopefully I can make another 1 or 2 tomorrow. Once I get through these partial skeins, I will be able to start on some hat/scarf sets.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Post-Vacation FO!

One of the moderators of the Ravelry Stashdown group has set herself a goal of knitting up 10,000 yards of yarn in September. She has been blogging about her progress and sharing it with us in the Ravelry group. I have really found her efforts inspirational this week, even though I can't hope to approach that sort of yardage usage this month. Given how much I want to accomplish this fall craft-wise, however, I have come up with a resolution for myself. I am resolved to use up some yardage from stash every day. And at least until yesterday, this worked very well. I spent last Sunday reorganizing yarn and patterns, and then I worked on a hat and scarf set Sunday, Monday & Tuesday evenings. I tied in my ends yesterday morning, and voila, two FOs!
This used up about one and a half skeins of Lion Brand Wool Ease. The scarf came out longer and skinnier than I intended, so I think this will go into a charity sale rather than becoming a donation. (Dee, I promise the next scarf I make will count for the 60 Scarves challenge!)

So, what happened yesterday? Well, I seemed to be busy all morning (still catching up online). And by the time I got home from work in the evening and ate dinner, it was almost 9:00, and I just wasn't in the mood to work on anything. Plus, Wednesday nights, BravoTV shows Project Runway and Top Design, and those shows require more of my concentration than most other TV shows (because that late at night, if I want to remember the designs, I have to pay careful attention to them). But I promise to get back to my resolution this evening. I feel another hat and scarf set calling my name!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fall Crafting

While I was on vacation and had time to think, it occurred to me that I have some deadlines coming up this fall. It's time to get back to some charity crafting. I'm trying to limit myself somewhat this year, though. I can't do everything, so I think having more of a focus will keep me from getting too crazy.

First up, the crochet guild will be once again donating hat, mitten & scarf sets to the Salvation Army in December. I have 1 set made so far. So that is a top priority this fall. And just in time, Dee has launched her "60 Scarves in 60 Days" challenge again this year to help spur us all on. This year, there's a Ravelry group as well, and so far, the challenge seems off to a good start.

Second, I would like to donate to Warm Up Winchester again this year. I already have some hats and mittens made for them. I need to inventory what is already made and then plan accordingly. I think that donation needs to be made by October 31st. The nice thing about this group is that I can send baby items as well as hats, mittens, and scarves, and some of those items are also already finished.

And then there are 1 or 2 craft sales coming up. My mother lives in senior housing, and they will be having a craft sale in October to make money for their Sunshine Fund. So I am planning to donate some baby items and maybe a few other little things to her. One of my friends at work has already given me some baby sweaters, and I have the baby hats and booties I made this summer, so that donation is also coming along. And I heard a rumor that the crochet guild might be having a sale later in the fall as well, so I am keeping that in mind as I work on projects.

The nice thing about all of these donations is that they all take similar items. So I can make whatever I feel like, see how items turn out, and then decide where to send them.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

All the Road Running

Towards the end of last week, while driving around central New York state, I put on the Mark Knopfler/Emmy Lou Harris album "All the Road Running". It occured to me that the title summed up our vacation to a certain extent. We seemed to be in the car a lot driving around last week. Towns are rather spread out there, although not really knowing where I was going most of the time made the distances seem longer than they actually were.

But we did go to interesting places when we were driving around. We visited some of the wineries and tasted some wines (brought some home as well). We visited several used book stores and had fun browsing. We went to the Corning Museum of Glass and learned quite a lot about the history of glass making around the world. (I have a collection of depression glass, so visiting this museum was a high priority for me.) As usual, I carried the camera around with me most of the time, but ultimately, I didn't take very many pictures.

And then there were the yarn stores. We only stopped at 4 of them - Homespun Boutique in Ithaca, The Yarn Bin in Skaneateles, Patchwork Plus in Marcellus, and The Knitting Connection in Syracuse. I managed to buy something at each shop, and I ended up bringing home quite a bit of yarn.

The Yarn Bin had a sale room, and I was able to stock up on some acrylic and acrylic/wool blends.

2 of the stores, Homespun Boutique and Patchwork Plus, were mainly fabric stores, but each one had a quality yarn section as well. At Patchwork Plus, I found Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama (on the right) and Sirdar Escape, another acrylic/wool blend (on the left).

At Homespun Boutique, I found some hand dyed Misti Alpaca worsted weight (on the right), and at The Knitting Connection, I found Blue Sky Melange, a sport weight alpaca.

After I added all this yarn to my Ravelry stash, I decided to add up the yardage. I brought home 4,493 yards of yarn, which translates to approximately 2.5 miles of yarn. Talk about sabotaging my stashdown efforts! I think I bought more yarn last week than I had this entire year (which does make me feel good about my yarn diet prior to vacation). But it is fun to shop on vacation, when I have the time to enjoy it, and I figure this is just the start of next year's stashdown efforts.

So vacation was fun, but I am glad to be home again and back to my routines. Next up, my plans for fall crafting.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back from Vacation!

Unfortunately, I'm running out of time this morning to write a really detailed post about vacation. I will say that we had a great time, and I did come home with some yarn (of course!). I will fill in the details as the week wears on. I also want to say that I am still working through all the emails, blog subscriptions and Ravelry forum posts that piled up last week in my absence. So I will try to stop by blogs and leave comments, but it is going to take me some time to truly catch up on everything.

For this morning, let me leave you with a picture of the view from my motel room last week. We had a balcony that looked out over Seneca Lake. It was incredibly peaceful and quiet and relaxing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Light Posting This Week

Work is still insane, although school starts today in my town (yeah - I'm doing the happy dance over that fact!). Vacation starts on Saturday, and I'm not really ready to leave yet. And to top it all off, I'm working away on my various projects but not really accomplishing much. So I probably won't be posting much this week, and I won't be able to post at all on vacation. But I'll be back sometime around September 8th with stories of my travels and hopefully an FO or two. Take care, and have a great Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why Scarves?

It wouldn't surprise me if some of you have been asking yourselves why I am so in love with scarves right now. I've been wondering the same thing myself. I do wear scarves a lot in winter, really almost every day, but still, how many scarves does one girl need?

However, I do have a couple of (hopefully good) reasons for focusing on scarves. The sad truth is that my stash will never be knitted or crocheted down unless I make a lot of scarves. I bought a lot of yarn in small amounts over the years for the purpose of making scarves. It seemed like a good and inexpensive way to try out new yarns and stitch patterns. So if I am going to get a handle on the stash, I need to make scarves in quantity. (And in case you are wondering, the stashdown is going to continue into 2009.)

I have also come to realize that I will never be addicted to sock knitting. I am glad that I know how to do it and that I have been able to pass some of those skills along to friends. But I don't think I will ever be the sort of person to churn out sock after sock. So scarves are my preferred small projects, especially for travelling. And at least some of the sock yarn stash will work for scarves, furthering the stashdown attempt.

As far as what I am going to do with all of them, right now I am considering them "stock". I would really like to find a way to sell at least some of the scarves to raise money for MS research. I'm still pondering the best way to go about that. While I ponder, I am going to put the finished scarves aside so that when I am ready, I will actually have something to sell.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Crocheted Scarves

You know, I really do have a lot of scarves going. I keep losing track of them! That's why posting about them is helping me to keep them straight.

Ok, in addition to the scarf I started crocheting for the MS Walk, I started two more crocheted scarves last weekend. The first is a simple V-st pattern.
I'm using 2 skeins of Elsbeth Lavold's Hempathy. It's interesting to work with a "new to me" fiber. I like it, but I think it will need some blocking when finished.

For the second scarf, I found a stitch pattern in Super Stitches Crochet that incorporates double crochets worked over chains to create an arched effect.
In the book, the stitch pattern is called "Arch 1", which is not terribly descriptive. I'm using a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Glitter Alpaca that has been in the stash forever. It is softer than my pussy cat (and that's saying something, since I have the best groomed cat in Christendom), and I just love the autumn colors. The yarn is fingering weight, and that fact along with the colors led me to search for a stitch pattern that was dense and yet open at the same time, and I think that Arch 1 fills the bill nicely.

If I ever make significant progress on any of them, I'll let you know. Except for today, I haven't been able to work on them at all this week. Ah, well, vacation is coming soon!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Knitted Scarves

I thought I would talk about the knitted scarves I started last weekend first. Tomorrow I will post about the crocheted scarves. I didn't take new pictures of Montego Bay and the Opera Scarf because they don't look any different than the first time I started them, which you can see here and here.

The first new scarf I started was the Mini Horseshoe Lace scarf.
I was looking for some sort of chevron stitch pattern, but most of them need multiples of too many stitches to be useful for a scarf. But then I found the "mini horseshoe lace" pattern in a book called The Knitter's Bible by Claire Crompton. It's worked over a multiple of 6 stitches plus 5, so it's perfect for a scarf. The yarn is a fingering weight merino that I got at Rhinebeck last October. Unfortunately, the yarn didn't come with a label, so I don't have any other info about it.

The second scarf, (which I said I would start Sunday and actually did) is the Japanese Waves scarf.
For this scarf, I am using a skein of Dream In Color Smooshy, in the Deep Seaflower colorway. I just love the colors in this yarn! I have a feeling that this scarf is going to get a lot of love.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm Having So Much Fun!

Man, have I developed a bad case of "startitis" this weekend! And I am enjoying every minute of it. So far, I have resurrected the crocheted scarf that I started in May (the one I took on the MS Walk - I put it down after the walk and haven't worked on it since, shame on me). I have started 2 more crocheted scarves. I found a pattern for a knitted chevron scarf (not exactly a "feather and fan" pattern, but close enough) and cast on. I have also restarted both Montego Bay and the Opera scarves, and both are going better. And I am fixing to start the Japanese Waves scarf when I finish this post. I think 7 scarves should keep me busy on vacation! But it has been so much fun to look through stitch pattern books and become reacquainted with the stash. (Yes, all of the scarves I have started come out of stash.) This was just what I needed to re-energize my knitting and crocheting.

I haven't taken any pictures yet because I've only got a couple of rows done on each scarf. I will post pictures and more thorough descriptions of each scarf over next week. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Time to Myself

It looks like I am going to have some time to myself the next week or so. I am off today because I am working tomorrow. The DH is working on Sunday, so that's another day to myself. I will be off next Wednesday until 4:30 in the afternoon, so that's more time to myself. And next weekend is the library's booksale, so the DH will be busy from Friday until Monday. This is very good, because we are leaving on vacation the Saturday before Labor Day, and I need to decide what projects I want to take with me. We are going out to visit with my BIL & SIL in central New York state for a few days, and then we are going to spend 3 days exploring the Finger Lakes district. My BIL has a big old goofy black labrador dog, so I need to factor Sambeau's antics into my project selection. (He just loves to steal anything that isn't nailed down. He really is a hoot!)

So today will be spent making decisions. Do I work on existing projects and try to finish a couple before we go? Or do I start something new to take on vacation? I really have a hankering to make a knitted Feather and Fan scarf out of some sort of variegated yarn. The last one I started curled so badly that I ended up frogging it. And I really would like to make at least one lace piece so that Summer of Lace isn't a total failure. I still have over a month for that KAL, so I should be able to finish something. I'll be back tomorrow to let you know what I decide.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cakewrecks

No fibery news today (although I did manage to start an adult hat yesterday). So instead, I thought I would share a link to a blog that I just discovered this morning - Cakewrecks. I have been reading through the posts and literally laughing until I had tears streaming down my face. I mean, who can't relate to decorated cakes gone terribly wrong? And the commetary is delightful. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going back to finish reading through the archives.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Think I'm Back!

At least, I am going to try to get back to blogging on a regular basis. Wow, this summer was tough. I feel like my life has been completely shut down except for work. I have missed every crochet guild meeting all summer, and this month, I didn't even make it to our Borders get together. I was just too tired. I'm sure it has to do with the high gas prices, but in 10 years at the library, I have never seen a busier summer. We have struggled to keep up with the most basic tasks every day. The only bright spot has been the incredible team of teen volunteers working with us this summer. I have been grateful that I haven't needed to worry about the shelving and the date due card stamping, since I have had to worry about just about everything else. (But then, that's why I'm the manager and get the big money - to worry!)

So, as you can imagine, not much has been happening on the crafting front. I have spent a lot of time on the weekends staring at my projects and thinking about working on them. But then I just couldn't bring myself to actually pick them up. But since I couldn't stop crocheting entirely, I did something I almost never do. I found 2 easy patterns, and I have been making them over and over again. First up, I have been making baby hats.
I think I have made one more hat since I took this photo. (I found this pattern on the web not all that long ago, but the URL isn't working at the moment, so the pattern may not be available any more.)

And then I have been making baby booties.
Again, I think I have one or two more pairs made since this photo. I am absolutely cringing at the amount of sewing I have to do on these, but I will get it done. (This pattern is my modification of Bev's Very Easy Booties.)

The hats and booties will be donated either to a couple of charity sales booths coming up in the fall, or to an actually charity (probably Warm Up Winchester). I will do a final tally before I donate them. I will say that this is a great way to use up partial skeins of sport weight baby yarn. And things must be getting better, because last night I actually comtemplated moving on the adult sized hats.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Bathroom is Finished!

It took a little more effort than we anticipated, but the bathroom is finally finished. However, it really took over our lives this past weekend. I didn't make it to crochet guild, and I didn't manage to start or finish anything. So I'm still working a little bit on a variety of projects. (I haven't even tried to photograph the bathroom. It's such a small room that I'm not sure I can capture many of the details.)

So far, this week is going about the same as usual. I had plenty of time to blog on Monday morning, because we were just hanging around waiting for the plumber. But then my internet connection died. And then I intended to blog yesterday morning, only to get a phone call at 7:30 from my mom, telling me she didn't feel well. So I had to rush into the shower early, call and get her a doctor's appointment, and go to work early to work out the desk schedule. (I should add that Mom is ok. They think she is having a reaction to one of her medications, so she may have to talk to the doctor who prescribed it and get off it.) So I was finally able to post this morning.

Maybe, just maybe, with the bathroom finished, I might have something to show for myself over the next couple of days, fiberwise. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Time to Regroup

My weeks seem to have taken on a pattern lately. I get rested and refreshed over the weekend and feel enthusiastic about my projects, and then as the week wears on, I accomplish less and less in the evenings. The last couple of evenings I have been hot and tired and supremely unmotivated to work on anything, which is why I have nothing to show for myself yet again this week.

However, the weekend is right around the corner, and I have every intention of regrouping again and maybe even trying to finish something. I might possibly start a new project as well. I really have to get going on Seasons of Lace. Other participants have completed projects already. And Sunday is my crochet guild meeting, which always inspires and motivates me.

Have a great and productive weekend!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Knitting Olympics

Lately, I have been contemplating joining the Knitting Olympics. (The link takes you to the rules from 2006, but it will be the same this time around.) I have been thinking about a project that would be challenging and yet doable in 17 days. Over at the Ravelry stash knitdown group, there is a team forming. (And for a chuckle, check out the group Ravelympics. I love the names of the various teams and events!) I've been torn between trying a sweater and attempting a difficult lace project.

And then last night the dh informs me that he really doesn't like watching the Olympics on tv, and all my plans pretty much went down the drain. I mean, there's no point trying the Knitting Olympics if I can't watch the real thing while I do it. And it will be too hot to knit anywhere but in the basement family room, where I have to share the tv. But perhaps it is for the best. I probably don't need that kind of stress in my life right now anyway! Maybe it would be better to wait for the next winter games, when it will be much more comfortable to knit a big project and I won't be in the throes of summer reading at work. And I will have 2 years to plan out the perfect project. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Back to Crocheting

The other thing that happened this past weekend was that I decided it was time to try crocheting again. My left thumb, while not perfect, is much, much better than it was. I am still wearing the brace at work, to keep myself from doing anything dumb that could potentially reinjure the hand. It still twinges once in a while, but over all it is fine. So over the weekend, I picked up Mocha Rocha again and worked a bit more on the band around the body. (No pictures because it doesn't look that much different yet.) Once I finish the band, I am going to weave some ends in and then start on the sleeves.

I also picked up the Eva shawl again and got part of one row done. (It would have been more, except for the durned bathroom.) I really want to get that project finished, because I have decided that I want to enter it into the Big E. I think having a goal that involves a deadline will help to motivate me to get it finished.

And last but not least, I hauled 2 bags of yarn down to the family room last night. I am getting tired of just sitting in front of the tv and not doing anything. So now that I can crochet again, I am back to working on hats and other small items for charity, just to keep my hands busy at night. I'm not setting any goals. I'm just going to see what I can get done.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm Back, I Think!

The last two weeks have been stressful for sure, and I really needed the break from blogging. But things are looking up, and I'm hopeful I can get back to a more regular blogging schedule (with or without FOs). Work has settled into a dull roar, but in another 6 weeks we will be winding down towards school starting, so I think I can make it. We are also currently redoing our downstairs bathroom. This was supposed to be a one day job, so of course it will take the rest of the month to get it finished. Murphy's law has really taken over the project! But it is going to look great when it is finished.

Thanks to the bathroom, I didn't have as much time for knitting as I would have liked. This is probably ok, because most of the knitting projects are not going very well. I will finish the sock, but I am sure it is going to be too big. I think I will have to rethink the second sock. The Montego Bay scarf is going to be frogged. One long side is just wonky, and I don't think anything is going to help that. And I tried and failed to start the Flower Basket shawl. The only thing that is going well is the Opera Scarf.
I went down to size 6 needles and I am very happy with the fabric I am creating. This is an easy, one row pattern, so it is my travelling knitting for now. It looks like I am going to have a couple of weekends to myself in July, so maybe I can try again to work on a more complicated lace pattern then.

Since it is Monday, let me leave you with a link that put a smile on my face this morning - Yoelknits' korknisse adventure. Have a great day!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Deadline Knitting Again

This weekend, I occupied myself with 2 projects that need to be completed, at least "to a point", by next week. First up, I restarted the sock, and this time it fits. Yeah!
Right now, it is just about 3.5" and it needs to be 8" by next Sunday. I have a lot of knitting to do this week.

I started the second project yesterday morning. It is the Montego Bay Scarf from IK Summer 2007. I'm using a skein of Tofutsies for this scarf.
Right now, I have 2.5" done. I would like it finished by July 3rd. I have a whole lot more knitting to do this week! If I get this finished, it will be my first Seasons of Lace project.

And wouldn't you know that today is the official start of the summer reading season, and I will probably be exhausted until September. This summer is shaping up to be even more stressful than usual. We have one part timer leaving next week to take a full time job at another library. And we are facing very significant budget cuts in the next fiscal year. So I think that I am only going to blog over the summer when I have FOs to show off. Hopefully, that will happen fairly frequently, but you never know.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Feeling a Bit Scattered

After I posted yesterday, it occurred to me that I seem to have a serious lack of focus going on right now. I mean, over the past week, I have gone from being all about hats to being all about socks, and now I seem to think the summer will be all about lace. However, it's not as bad as it seems. The sock has to be done by June 29th. I will frog and restart it tomorrow, and once I get past the increases it will become a mindless knit. I will continue to work on hats over the summer. These will be my travelling projects (as well as more mindless knitting) and probably the only charity work I will do. That should free up my quality knitting time for lace. Then, hopefully, by the fall, I will be back to crocheting, and I will ramp up the charity work then.

As a warm up to the summer of lace, I pulled out most of my lace patterns to get them all in one place. I still want to go through my issues of IK and a couple of books, but so far, I have 13 scarf patterns and 5 shawl patterns that I want to make. I was thinking about the 52 Pair Plunge because one of the moderators over at the Stash Knitdown group is participating, and I had this crazy idea that maybe I could make a scarf a week over the summer. I have 13 patterns and about 12 weeks in the season, so it's perfect! (Once you have stopped laughing, just remember that a girl can dream, can't she?! And at least I'm not crazy enough to try for a shawl a week!) I do still have to match yarn to each pattern, although I can already tell that I have plenty in the stash. All I can say is this is going to be a summer of alpaca as well as lace.

It's a good thing I have the sock to keep me busy tomorrow on my day off, because I have to wait until Sunday to start a lace project or it won't count for the competition. And, man, am I ready to cast on!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Think I Might Be Crazy!

The urge to knit lace simply won't go away, so this morning I decided to take the plunge and sign up for Seasons of Lace. I must be crazy to think that I will be able to knit lace this summer, but I am bound and determined to try. And it gets worse. I also signed up for the "most small knit projects" competition, too. Not that many participants have signed up for that competition (apparently preferring "most yardage knit"), so I might actually have a chance if they keep the competition open. (Apparently, if not enough people sign up, the competition won't fly, which is one reason I did sign up - to keep it going.) Small equals 350-700 yards, so I am hoping to use up some of my stash of one and two skeins. Wish me luck! (And if anyone has favorite patterns for lace scarves and small shawls, I would love to hear about them.)

In other news, the sock that I was so excited about on Monday will need to be frogged. Once I started up the foot, my gauge relaxed to 7.5 stitches per inch. While that is still a fine gauge for a sock, I have too many stitches on the needles at the moment, and the sock is too big. So I will have to start over with fewer stitches and fewer increases. I will get this right eventually, and I will have this sock done to the heel by June 29th (which is when I think our class is going to be held).

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Sky's the Limit Now!

So, Saturday afternoon, I was starting yet another preemie hat when it occurred to me that I needed to start a pair of socks immediately. I am teaching a second sock class to some members of my crochet guild at the end of June. This class will focus on heels, so I need to have a sock done up to the heel for demonstration purposes. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that it was also time to confront my gauge issues head on and make this pair of socks out of fingering weight yarn. So I ran upstairs, grabbed 2 skeins of Regia Crazy Color (bought on sale at Webs at the end of last year, so perfect for experimentation), and a size 0 40" circular needle. Crossing my fingers and toes, I cast on a toe up sock.
And lo and behold, as I started to work the toe increases, I got a gauge of approximately 8.5 stitches per inch. Can I get a big, boisterous WOO HOO?! If you have read this blog for a while, you might remember that I made a sock with a sport weight yarn on size 0 dpns (and that was so demoralizing an experience that I may never make its mate). But my sense has always been that the Magic Loop method does tighten up my gauge, and apparently I am right. (I'm using Janet Rehfeldt's method, which unfortunately hasn't been published yet. I learned the technique at her class last July at the Knit and Crochet Show.)

I have made 2 pairs of socks in worsted weight yarn (in addition to the sport weight debacle), and I enjoyed the experience. I learned some new techniques, but I have to admit that it wasn't addictive for me the way it is for some people. But now, using fingering weight yarn, I can already feel an addiction growing! Yes, these socks will be plain vanilla, but I already have plans to try out some of the great sock patterns out there. I have a feeling that from now on, there will always be at least 1 pair of socks OTN at all times.

**OTN=On the Needles

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hats

Inspiration is a funny thing. After I posted yesterday, I got possessed to root around in the yarn room and pull out 2 bags of partial and single skeins. I also pulled out several knitted hat patterns. Apparently I am going to knit hats for the foreseeable future. I really wasn't intending to do this, but inspiration hit and that was it. I cast on a baby hat before lunch. Hopefully I will have some FOs soon.

On another note, today is my 15th wedding anniversary. I can't believe how quickly the years went. It feels like just yesterday that I was a blushing bride. But they have been 15 terrific years, and I am just as much in love today as I was 15 years ago. Since it is only Thursday, we will keep the celebrating low key, but we are going out to dinner tonight to commemorate the occasion!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rediscovering the Joys of Knitting

I'm happy to say that my hand is feeling a lot better, now that I am wearing the thumb brace consistently. I take the brace off to eat and to knit, but I intend to continue wearing it at work for quite a while. It has actually been kind of fun to rediscover knitting. I've really been enjoying the feel of the needles and the rhythm of making stitches one after another.

Here is the scarf I finished on Sunday, with the ends finally woven in. It still looks more blue in the picture than it does in real life, but at least you can see the stitch pattern. It came out to be 48" long, which is a little shorter than I usually like. But I didn't want to use only part of the second skein. Now I have to decide what to do with that second skein. I'm contemplating a pair of fingerless gloves to match the scarf.

I've also made a couple of preemie hats. I have a third one OTN already. These just knit up so fast. I'm going to try and finish this skein of yarn and see how many hats I can get out of 372 yards.

I'm having so much fun knitting that now I am fighting creeping startitis. I really want to start a larger knitting project. I'm itching to knit some lace, although my intention was to finish the crocheted lace shawl first before I started knitting a lace shawl. Or a sweater that would use up some stash. However, reality intrudes into these thoughts, and I remember that school is out next week and summer reading (and my season of exhaustion) begins the week after that. So I think I will try to concentrate on charity work this summer. I already have some items ready for Warm Up Winchester, but I want to make more. And I really need to get going on hat/mitten/scarf sets for the crochet guild's Salvation Army donation this fall. I only have one set made so far. As my hand continues to feel better, I would also like to start a pair of socks for me, and maybe finally conquer my gauge issues with fingering weight yarn. So there you have it - my summer 2008 goals!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Back to Work Today

So my week off is over, and I am going back to work today. I enjoyed my week, but I am ready to feel useful again (especially with all the bad economic news last Friday - it feels good to know I have a job to go to today). I didn't accomplish quite as much as I wanted to, mostly because by the end of the week my left hand/thumb really hurt again. I finally decided that I was reinjuring the hand every time I used it to do anything and that I needed to immobilize the thumb to let it heal. So Saturday afternoon I went to CVS and bought a thumb brace. It is helping already, but it is seriously curtailing my crafting for the time being.

At the moment, I can do the knit stitch and that's about it. Even purling is difficult. Crocheting is not even an option at the moment (and believe me, I tried to do it with the brace on). Last night, I finished the drop stitch scarf I have been working on (pictures to come), so now I need to find/start another project that uses garter stitch as a base. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mocha Roca Progress

I'm done with the body, and now I'm working on the band around the body. Next up, the sleeves!

ETA If you want to see a picture of me working on the sweater yesterday morning at Border's, go visit Dee today.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Introducing...

...Mocha Roca! (Ravelry link)

Since I am off from work this week, I decided that I wanted to do something somewhat impressive that I could conceivably finish in a week. Something from Doris Chan's Everday Crochet came to mind. I started this late Monday afternoon, and by dinnertime yesterday I had finished the yoke and joined the armholes. Now it is straight crocheting until I get to the bolero shaping at the bottom of the cardigan. So I think I have a shot of finishing this in a timely manner. I am using Caron Simply Soft Brites "Berry Blue", and I will use white and yellow in the body and sleeve bands. I did have to go from a J hook to an L hook to get gauge, but so far it fits me perfectly.

If this continues to go well, I will post updates over the next few days to show my progress. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Where did May go?

So I am shaking my head, wondering where May went and marveling that it is already June. Between my sore hand, family events, my mom being under the weather, and then me fighting a cold the end of last week, I really didn't accomplish as much as usual in May. However, I do have a few things to show for myself.
A knitted baby blanket that will be donated over at Homespun Helpers. I used a diagonal garter stitch pattern, and about half a skein of Lion Brand Pound of Love. Now I have to figure out how to use up the rest of the skein to get it out of the stash!

I am off from work this week because I had some vacation time to use or else lose it at the end of the month (which is the end of our fiscal year). So yesterday, I took the time to embellish a child's sweater and hat that I had finished earlier this year.
So this project is finally completely finished!

Since I am on vacation this week, I couldn't resist starting something special for myself. Hopefully I will work on it some more today, and I will post pictures tomorrow when it should look a little more impressive.