Tuesday, January 31, 2006

KAL Report

I've got nothing much of interest to report about my knitting progress other than to say, the first sleeve of Twist is an evening away from doneness, the jaywalker has a heel flap, and the mitten mate has been started. I do, however, have a couple things to report on the KAL front. I joined up with Socksalpaloooza as a beginner and am very excited to be getting my match tomorrow. I really like the whole idea of a knitting swap. It's fun to learn about someone new and knit something with them in mind, and have someone do that for me. It makes the knitting even more meaningful. I also joined in with the Project Spectrum fun that Lolly has set up. I see this as more of an exploration than a KAL. We're starting to play with red and pink shades in March. I have the perfect project to do, of course I reserve the right to change my mind and do something else. The yarn for the Angelica sweater has been languishing in my knitting bag. I bought some lovely red handpainted cotton/rayon blend from Over the Rainbow yarns. It's begging to be knit, and Project Spectrum makes the perfect excuse. I'm finding that I really do enjoy KAL's but I'm more apt to stick with one if it doesn't focus on one project. Sometimes, ok, many times, I just don't feel like doing the same project as everyone else. I'll sign up for a KAL, take the Kepler KAL for example. I love the sweater, have the yarn, and then lose interest. I think more general KAL's are more for me. How do you feel about KAL's and your participation in them?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Welcoming the Year of the Dog!

Gung Hay Fat Choy everyone! When I realized that this year is the Year of the Dog, all I could think about was the 90s band Temple of the Dog. Remember them? I also thought about how this summer would truly have the "dog days of summer." I could go on, but I'll spare you. As you can see, I did get together the oranges lai see, and candy out. I was also able to get some CNY stuff together for SWB's school. I think I'm good. I'm also going to make some dumpling soup this week, so the family is looking forward to that. Enough of New Year's festivities! On to the knitting!

I have managed to complete a project this weekend. Meet Ruffles, my new favorite scarf. I started her way back in October when I needed a travel project for my plane trip to San Diego. I didn't get very far on that trip, but another trip to San Diego and several nights of CSI, and a few movies later, we have scarfage. I have to say that after a while this pattern got well, repetitive. Since I kept getting bored, it spent large amounts of time alone in its little knitting bag. Now that it's done I'm in love with it. It looks awesome, and the Calmer is so comfy. It's a perfect scarf for California weather.

Project stats:

Pattern: Ruffles from the Scarfstyle book, designed by Amanda Blair Brown

Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Joy

Needles: Clover bamboo size 6, 16 inch circ

What I learned: When a pattern starts getting a bit boring, yet the results look so good, soldier on. The FO will be so worth it.

I have also completed my first Hermione glove for my mitten swap pal. I love this pattern; I love this yarn. I'm using Cascade 220. I love this color, but am a goof and now can't find the ball band. I think it's the same color that Laura is using for her backyard leaves scarf. I think Laura will agree with me, that this color would make a fantastic sweater. (Must find ball band.) This pattern is very fun and relatively quick to knit. I finished this glove in a week which, believe me, is quick. The really good news, is that the glove came out quite big for my hands. I've got rather small hands. You know those stretch gloves you can get at Target? Yeah, my hands barely stretch them out. I think these will fit my pal perfectly with minimal blocking. Yay!

I wish you all a fruitful and prosperous year full of fun and fiberly goodness!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fear of a Pansy Jaywalker

I'm up to knitting the heel of my first Jaywalker and find myself paralyzed with fear. I've read so many knitbloggers out there who have had to frog the sock and start over because of sizing woes. Everyone seems to discover this sizing issue around the heel. I'm afraid. I'm very afraid. I'm also a bit stalled on my Twist. I have the sleeves to knit next, and I'm not a big fan of the tours to sleeve island. Sleeves are kind of like Gilligan's Island. It's supposed to be a three hour tour, but it ends up being days of boring. So the only way to counteract knitting fear and boredom is to work a lot on another project. I'm very happily knitting away at the Hermione mittens that I'm doing in a blue-green Cascade 220. They are coming out so cute! I've finished up the thumb on the first one and hope to be done with the first mitten by the weekend. I'll have pictures up later this weekend. So what should I do about propelling myself forward and breaking through the knitting inertia that I find myself in when it comes to the Jaywalker and my inevitable trip to sleeve island? Eat cookies of course! Don't you love how SWB likes the feast or famine approach to sprinkle placement?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ever had a holiday kinda sneak up on you?

Well, Chinese New Year has broadsided me. Things have been humming here in Craftylilly Town. SWB's two schools are keeping me busy. I've been knitting away on four projects, and been sneaking in reading next month's selection for Knit the Classics. I've been thinking about some design ideas, and keeping up with the regular day-to day stuff of life. Frankly, I've been enjoying the calm after the storm of Christmas and the New Year's wedding I was in. I've been lulled into a false sense of security. Chinese New Year festivities start THIS weekend, people. Do I have my oranges? No. Do I have enough red envelopes (lai see)? Barely. Do I have candy? No. Red flowering plant? No. New money for the red envelopes for the children? No. No, no, no, and wait a minute... No. For future reference for any of you who celebrate the holiday, don't go to your local Asian market expecting to find red envelopes the week before New year. They won't have any, and will enjoy telling you that they had a lot a couple of weeks ago, but are fresh out now. Sheesh.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Thank yous are in order

I want to thank everyone that made it through my last post and left such kind and encouraging comments. I'm feeling much better now that I've made my peace with the inner joining demon. After writing that post, I actually have felt pretty good about my knitting and have been making steady progress on all my projects, mitten notwithstanding as I will cast on for it tomorrow. I'm close to working on the heel of my first Jaywalker, will be finishing up the right side of Twist tonight, and am about 2/3 of the way done with Ruffles. I'm doing well, I think. As far as the mitten is concerned, I've picked out a lovely blue-green color of Cascade 220 to knit them with. I'm excited to get started as I bought a pattern specifically with my mitten pal in mind. I don't think she reads the blog, so I'll share the pattern. I'm going to be knitting the Hermione mittens for her. Pioggia tagged me with a meme, so I thought I'd share my 5 strange and unique habits with all of you, although I think I revealed a lot of neurosis with my last post. Don't want to scare any of you, after all. ;) 1) I always end up reading the last chapter of a book well before I've gotten to it. I just have to know how it ends, or it proves too anxiety producing for me. 2) I love to do laundry. I could do laundry everyday for the rest of my life. It doesn't bother me that laundry is neverending. I just love the process, the smell of clean clothes, and the satisfaction I get from folding them and putting them away. 3) I oftentimes will trust that my subconscious mind will work out a problem or a project idea. I will tell myself that I'm going to set aside worrying about the issue and will go on with my week. I often find that within a week, a solution will make itself known upon waking up or as I'm working on a mindless chore. 4) I have to sleep on the right side of the bed, or it feels really wrong and I have trouble sleeping. 5) I learn best when I have music or something going on in the background like white noise. For some reason information just sticks with me longer if it is paired with music or some sound. I've also had a discussion with my little guy as to what he'd like to be referred to on this blog. He's decided that he like the alias "Star Wars Boy" which considering the post I did a couple of days ago, fits perfectly. So Star Wars Boy is it, SWB for short. Now, I just need to figure out a name for little girl.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I need a plan with some flexibility

I, along with hundreds of other knitters, joined up with Stephanie's Knitting Olympics. Now I've got some serious buyer's remorse. I've always been a person who feels compells to join activities. In high school I got seriously overextended and ended up really sick for a month because of all the stuff I got involved in (Church youth group leadership which included planning and attending retreats, my high school dance group, a full load of courses that included some honors work, some clubs, you get the idea). I didn't learn my lesson and spent college and my working life involved in too much stuff. Apparently I still haven't learned and am in several KALs, a couple knitting swaps, a SP round, have four things on the needles, am trying to design a sweater, keep up with bloglines sub, want to update the blog, plus the home duties of a SAHM mother of a toddler and preschooler who a coop with at a preschool. Then I sign up for the Knitting Olympics... Obviously I was out of my mind. Now there are several other options out there right now. Margene writes about the Eddie along where we all relax, knit what we want and enjoy the process of the three weeks. There's the UFOlympics where people can finish up things languishing on the needles during the three weeks. There's the Homer Simpson Olympics where we just knit or not knit for three weeks. Margene's Eddie along is probably the closest fit to how I should try to be when it comes with knitting, or with life for that matter. Do what you enjoy, make decisions as they come with intention, enjoy the process, and how life unfolds. For someone that runs to the anxious and the overbooked, I could take a page from that book although the idea both liberates and terrifies me. What I really think I should do though is to not join any Olympics in all of their forms. I think I need to sit out of this one and concentrate on working out what I've got on my plate. I need a plan with some flexibility. I can't give up on the idea of a plan as I'm finding that without a plan I feel a bit scattered and none of my projects get worked on or enjoyed. I need to knit what I've got on the needles, with purpose and intention. I need to not think about the next project but enjoy what projects I'm working on (which by the way, I'm in love with all of them). I need to enjoy expressing myself on the blog and enjoy reading and celebrating/commiserating with my blog friends. I need to not let the idea of KAL translate into pressure. So here's my tentative plan with a full understanding that this can be changed at any time due to a variety of reasons not limited to illness and life. Ready? I will work on Twist everyday as my goal is to wear her to Stitches. I will start Mitten 1 for the mitten swap on Monday. I will alternate between Ruffles and Jaywalkers as time and interest permits. There you have it. Ah, I feel better now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Trust in the force

I vaguely remember seeing the Star Wars, A New Hope at the local drive-in with my parents when I was my son's age, 3. I think I fell asleep. (Ah, remember the drive-in double features? There's nothing like eating candy and popcorn in your car with a device hanging on your window with tinny sound.) I grew to love Star Wars over the years. My favorite is Empire Strikes Back. I'm a sucker for the darker stories. My cousin, G, was wild about Star Wars. He had the sheet set and all the toys. RM has similar stories about his childhood. As an adult, I went to see the older three movies rereleased and remastered in the theater, and have been disappointed the most recent three as most of the other Star Wars fans. Little did I expect that I would give life to THE biggest Star Wars fan I've ever met. Little Boy is crazy for Star Wars. Crazy I tell you. He has tons of Star Wars toys, he collect Star Wars trading cards, he watches the original trilogy, he loves the animated Clone Wars. He taught little girl to make realistic light saber sounds. He uses the force every day. RM and decided that we'd give in to the mania. We all now own our personal light saber, mine's purple. A family that duels together, stays together, right? I also have been meaning to mention that I won first place in Laura's "Ugly Ball of Yarn" poem contest. I think all the winning poems were quite clever, and was flattered mine was chosen! I thought this contest was wonderful way to celebrate her 1 year blogiversary. Now, I just need to come up with one for this blog for next month. Hmmmm...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Creative Minds

After reading what many of you had to say about your *memories* of me, I'd have to say you all are very creative! Stephanie may actually know me and my predilection for making up dumb dance moves. Laura has been in my kitchen. Some of you (Donni, Amy, Heather) have some of the most wonderful memories I never had. *Sigh* If only all of those things did happen. Christie and Jess have the kind of *police show* memories where no one can agree on the details. Carrie, Candsmom, and Laura hold the memories of my *forgotten* college days. Ah, yes... And Rincaro and Whit, Shhhhhhhh! Elspeth tagged me with another meme, so I thought I'd play along. 4 Jobs You Have Had in Your Life: Deli Counter Sandwich maker After hours Church receptionist Medical Equipment Manual editor High School Teacher 4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over: Jaws Vertigo Benny and Joon Napoleon Dynamite 4 Places You Have Lived: Atlanta, GA Vallejo, CA Walnut Creek, CA Petaluma, CA 4 TV Shows You Love to Watch: House, MD Project Runway The Wire Rome 4 Places You Have Been on Vacation: Yellowstone Seattle Vancouver San Diego 4 websites you visit daily: Bloglines and the knitting blogs therein Knittyboard Yahoo news Craftster 4 of your favorite foods: Sushi Several Dim Sum selections Banana Cream Pie Salami 4 places you would rather be right now: Las Vegas Hawaii Victoria San Diego 4 Bloggers You are Tagging: I'm going to say, whoever wants to play along can! P.S. Jaywalkers have been started, Ruffles is growing slowly but surely, and I've finished the back and Left Front of Twist. Pics soon!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The first FO of 2006

I finished up the prayer shawl I've been working on a couple of nights ago. Somehow it feels fitting that this is my first FO of the year. I'd like 2006 to be a year where I knit for others outside my immediate family and for charities. I love knitting for my family, and of course enjoy knittng for myself, but adding intentional knitting for people I may not know but who need the warmth and care of a handknit has become important to me. This prayer shawl is for the neice of a dear friend of mine, who was in a devastating car accident right before Thanksgiving. She had severe head and brain injuries and has been in a coma. My heart hurts for my friend and her family. Her neice had just gotten married this summer, and her husband has had many difficult decisions to make in the past couple of months. Once I heard about the accident I looked through the stash for an appropriate yarn and cast on. These past weeks I've steadily worked on the shawl, trying to be mindful of why I was working on it. As it's grown I've received updates on her progress which has steadily improved, although the doctor's still don't know how far her recovery will take her. I hope that this shawl can bring her and her family some comfort, or at least warmth this winter. Project Stats: Pattern: The standard Prayer Shawl Pattern from the book Knitting into the Mystery Yarn: Red Heart Light and Lofty in Navy Grape. I chose an acrylic for ease of care, and to completely eliminate the itch factor. The pattern calls for a textured yarn, and I think the finished fabric is light yet warm and very soft. In other news, I won third place for the Knit the Classics Classic Knitting photos contest. Although there was no way I could compete with a couple of other members who had so many wonderful photographs that they found to share, I was able to find over 20. If you like check out all the photos that were found here All of them are beautiful and very interesting for those who enjoy learning about the history of knitting. My contest winnings included two lovely balls of cotton blend sock yarn. As this has become sort of the year of the sock, I was thrilled!! Elspeth tagged me, so I'll be back tomorrow with my answers to that, and some other knitting news!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

My name is Ashe, and I am a slave

Many of you have *met* Ashe by now. He's the pic in my blogger profile, and he is featured in a few of my FO pic on the blog. Pictures can be deceiving. I'm going to reveal to you today the essence that is Ashe. It is his turn to be featured, and he's been pestering me about it endlessly for the past week. Ashe and Wiji, the black cat featured last month, are siblings. RM and I adopted them together from the Animal Rescue Foundation when we got into our first apartment that allowed pets. When we adopted them, they were already 9 months old, and a bit neurotic. They had been owned by a homeless couple who gave them up for adoption, or so we were told. ARF had given them the enviable names of JoJo (Ashe) and GiGi (Wiji). We decided that those names must change. We decided to name him after the main character in the movie Army of Darkness. It's a cult favorite of ours, and the main character bears some resemblence to his feline counterpart. They are both quirky, leading men who are kind of dopes. The first thing Ashe did when we got him back to our home was hide, perched on the side of the tub between the shower curtains. We kept hearing him thump into the tub and then scramble back up to his perch. As we got to know him better, and he grew to enjoy our company, he let his true self loose. Ashe, my friends, is a prankster, a comic, an acrobat, a friend to children, and a lover of knitting, not so much the yarn (as my other cats are partial to), but the movement of the knitting needle. I get ahead of myself. One of our first glimpses of his nature occured when we bought them a cat condo. He would spend hours jumping off of it doing strange and wonderful acrobatic feats. We also noticed that he thought of himself as the Big Cat of the house, strutting around and trying to boss his sister about. Don't be fooled by his bravado however. Ashe is a "scaredy cat." Every time the cat is taken in his carrier in the car, he cries and defecates. I think the vet has a special notation in his chart of that fact. He's a smart one too though. He taught our youngest cat how to open closet and cabinet doors. Now since this is my knitting/beading blog, I'll fill you in on his love of the knitting needle. Whenever I settle myself to knit, I usually have my three feline friends come to visit. The other two are looking to snatch some yarn, or to rub themselves all over some merino wool. Ashe, is a cat of a different ilk. Ashe likes watching the knitting. He enjoys watching the movement of the knitting needles and yarn, and can watch for quite a while before getting bored. He also loves to be in pictures involving FOs, thus his inclusion in this blog. I think he thinks that the yarn is where the action is. How wise he is. In other news, the prayer shawl will be complete tonight. I will be Jaywalking by tomorrow! Submitted to The Carnival Of Knitting 2

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Video killed the Radio Star

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. RM is a techie. He doesn't have the budget to be a true techie, but he generally loves tech gadgets. Case in point, the man is spending some of his Christmas money on night sight goggles. Yes, you read that correctly, night goggles... For camping... Now take my feeling about technology. I love my laptop and see the wisdom of the cell phone, though I use it only for emergencies. I like TV and appreciate the remote. (Especially since my father refused to upgrade to a TV with a remote and made me change the channels until I went away to college.) I like the power windows and junk on my car. I've gained an appreciation for DVD ROMs, DVD and CD Burners, and have downloaded MP3s on my computer. I use a digital camera. I have a blog. For the most part though, I can be a bit resistant. Here's some evidence of that: RM practically told me that he would stop dealing with my computer unless I got more RAM to make it go faster. My laptop's battery is toast, yet I'm having trouble coughing up the dough to replace it. RM downloaded some awesome software to make banners and buttons for the blog, but I haven't done anything about it. Now why do I really hate technology sometimes? Because sometimes the stupid stuff that's supposed to make your life easier is the bane of hell. It's taken three days to figure out why my new ipod shuffle (a bridesmaid gift from the wedding I just was in) and itunes wouldn't work on my computer. It's fixed now, but I now have problems with my firewall interfering with the use of MSN Messenger and Outlook. ARGH!!! I want to scream, I really do. So to distract myself from my technology woes, I present you with this meme that I've picked up. I actually saw this and played along on two other blogs, Laura's and Jess's. I'd love to hear what you guys come up with! It's lots of fun. If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME. It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you're finished, post this on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

"Please don't take a turn to negative town."

Right, well, I've been knitting a lot lately, but not on the ruffles scarf or the prayer shawl (which I really should be trying to finish). I've been working a lot on Twist and loving it. I should be finishing up the back today and can't wait until I get to work on the front with all the lovely cables. The cables on this sweater will be the most complex I've worked on to date. I think they will show up really well with the yarn I'm using, Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Cranberry. I think I've sensed a potential snag though. I have 10 skeins of the WOA and I'm making the smallest size which calls for 1100 yds of yarn. My bag of 10 skeins works out to 1090 yds, which is a smidge short. I'm hoping I make it. So, here's my question: do you think Twist needs the collar fringe? I'm thinking if I omit the fringe I'll have enough yarn to finish it. I may be worrying a bit too soon, but I would just like to prepared with a plan B. I do really need to clear Ruffles and the prayer shawl off the needles. At least that's what I'm telling myself I must do before casting on for the Jaywalkers. I'm thinking that my will power isn't that strong, so I'm making a deal with myself. As soon as I finish one of those two projects, I may cast on for Jaywalker... I'm thinking the prayer shawl is closer to completion, so I should concentrate on that for a week or so. Ah the wheeling and dealing I must do.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Can you imagine having a roomie that looked like this?

After reading about the horrendous avatars being created after reading JenLa's blog, I had to make one. Can you imagine showing up to college and finding out you have to room with this? I think I'd immediately put in for a roomie change.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

We've had a break in the monsoon...

It's rained a lot here. I think the word "monsoon" may only be a slight overstatement. Imagine the kids' and my pleasure and seeing the beautiful sun today! We've already been out playing in it twice. I actually don't mind the rain so much unless it becomes dangerous, which is sometimes does. There's been a lot of flooding here in Northern California. On the positive side, we shouldn't have a drought this summer. Another positive, I'm all about knitting wool right now. I've started on my Twist cardi, although swatching took a while. I finally got gauge using 9's. I guess I've become a tight knitter. I've also got out my Knitpicks sock garden in Pansy to try my hand at Jaywalkers. Yeah! Like I've mentioned before, I'm supposed to be knitting Angelica with my lovely handpainted cotton/rayon blend yarn, and picovoli with some lovely cotton I've got, but I'm just not feeling the cotton right now. I'm still working on the ruffles scarf with the Calmer, but hey, it's Calmer. It doesn't matter that it's cotton, knitting with it is a joy! To distract you from the fact that I have no pictures of yarn, I'll leave you with a picture of the beach down in Carlsbad. I love walking along a beach and listening to the waves. So relaxing... Oh, and I've added a couple of things to the bargain bin!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Ringing in the New Year!

RM and I haven't really celebrated New Year's since the birth of my son. Face it, we're tired and would rather sleep. Well, even though we were down in San Diego for a wedding on New Year's, we didn't make it to midnight. Since we had a morning flight back home, we left the party around 10 and were fast asleep by 11. Maybe someday, right? The wedding was beautiful, and it was wonderful to see my best friend from college get married and to be a part of it. Congratulation R and M!! Many long years of married bliss to you both! I did get to work on my Ruffles Scarf while traveling. I'm almost through the first skein of Calmer. I also decided to switch needles. I was using my Denise set, but now have switched to my Clover bamboo circ, and am zipping along. I've decided to start another pair of socks after the scarf is completed. I think I'm going to cast on for the Jaywalkers. I also want to start a new sweater. I'm in the Angelica KAL, but the yarn I've chosen is a cotton blend. It's stormy and ugly outside, so I don't feel like working with cotton. I do, however, have 10 skeins of Knitpicks WOA in a beautiful Cranberry color which is just begging to be knit. I'm thinking Bonne Marie's Twist. I'm going to swatch for it today. Exciting! Oh, and remember that Mexico yarn I spun up from the roving the Boy and I Kool-Aid dyed? Well, I finished spinning it, and plied it. I used my Zebrawood Bosworth midi to spin it, and then plied it with my Cascade Little Si spindle. What do you think? I think I'm going to knit a hat out of it. I like how it turned out, though I think I've got a lot to learn about making my spinning even.