Thursday, January 31, 2008

Knitting? Not So Much

We got slammed with car troubles again-- hopefully resolved by now.

The Son's transmission croaked, so $3600 and a new transmission later, we are back to a full complement of vehicles.

It's been a bit of a pain this week, with trips to Winchester to play musical cars, dropping The Husband off at work and picking him up, or vice versa, and dealing with what was, while not a catastrophe, hugely inconvenient. To top it off, I worked 4 nights over the weekend which is a story in itself.

I was particularly distressed that the 2 trips to Winchester coincided with Sister #3's visits to the area for work. When she's traveled before, we've made opportunities to meet for drinks or breakfast. This time it could not be. And she lives halfway across the continent! I can only hope that she'll be back so we can get together.

All this transiting, and associated schleppage also prevented Late Night for me this week. I'd been looking forward to it, but it was not meant to be.

So, I look forward to the return of some normalcy.

I really need to make progress on that second mitten!!!

Random Picture du Jour

Statue of John Wayne at the Orange County airport.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

All Right!

I hit Late Night on Wednesday. It had been awhile since I'd seen some of my friends. As always, conversation was lively (hint-- Andrew Morton's new book)and the work of these talented women was beautiful, as always. Stef gave a rundown of the TNNA excitement, and a wonderful verbal preview of the incredible new yarns and products we'll be seeing in The Shop.

I finished the first of my new mittens. It's a take on a peekaboo mitten, but with more overlap in the back. It's knit in Lorna's Laces 100% Alpaca in camel. Not sure where I got the yarn-- I think it was an eBay purchase, and it's the same yarn I used for my Mom's Branching Out shawl in teal. I have a couple of skeins in a bright-ish pink.

Now I need to do the other mitten.

So What's With The ADD?

And why do I have to work so hard to keep from casting on a new project before I finish what's in progress?

I really need to/want to finish the Tilted Duster, but I'm nervous about the shoulders. I simply need to get out the tape measure, focus, and just jump in and do it.

Part of it is the stash situation, I think. I have some wonderful yarns screaming to me to be knit. There's a beautiful grey and white handspun wool/angora I got at MSW. There's a sweater's worth of Jaeger Aran in teal from Knit Happens. There's one of those huge skeins of Mountain Colors from Hunt Country. I have lots of incredible sock yarns from lots of places.

I imagine there are worse problems to have.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Headin' South

For the weekend, that is.

The Daughter is going back to school, and I'm driving down with her. The Husband will join us this evening, because we have tickets for the Hokies/Terps basketball game tomorrow.

The Daughter and I went grocery shopping yesterday, and I'm pretty pleased with our purchases. We've both decided to get serious (again, for me-- the constant battle)about eating healthy. So as we were checking out, I looked at what we'd purchased, and it was nearly all lean meats, chicken, fish, lots of veggies, soup, fruit--- all the stuff we should be eating.

We loaded up The Husband's car with the canned goods and some of the hearty veg. The proteins are in the freezer getting ready for the transit. We'll stop for dairy on the way out of town.

Quite an accomplishment.

Random Pic of the Day:

One of the resident parrots at The Salty Dog in Hilton Head.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Daemon

Spontaneous, sociable, inquisitive, outgoing- yep, that pretty much does it. Not sure about the modest part though...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Taking a Break

Both Offspring are home from school, and I had the foresight to put in for vacation time. In our field, you really have to plan ahead for time off-- at least 2 months in advance.

Because of my less-than-stellar organizational skills, I frequently found myself forgetting to put in requests for time off except for vacation trips. This put me in constant danger of losing vacation time. So I've started taking time when I'm not going anywhere. It's a good thing. Gives me some time in the house, and this week, some time with The Kids.

I started knitting a pair of mittens with some Lorna's Laces Alpaca that I got somewhere. Can't remember where. I'm using the Magic Loop technique, since I can't find my shorter needles to use 2 circs. There seems to be a lot of this going on. I'm going to try using a short row toe technique to make a finger opening.

Worst thing that could happen is that it doesn't work, and I'll have to frog it.

Random Pic of the Day:
These are some of the gingerbread cookies that the Older Cousins decorated during the annual Cookie Bake at Sister#2's house in December. Aren't they pretty? (They tasted mighty fine, too.)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

OK--Happy New Year Already

I've been trying to get around to blogging (other than acknowledging the Orange Bowl sadness) but just couldn't get it together.

I need to jump-start 2008.

How about some resolutions? I've grown weary of the usual ones that fall by the wayside-- not that I won't try...

This year, with a knitting focus (not necessarily in order):

-Empty the needles. Finish the unfinished.

-Either knit up the orphan socks, or frog the first one.

-Complete the uncompleted, and put together all the pieces of things that are otherwise done.

-Be creative in using stash.

-Admit defeat. If something's not singing to me while I'm working on it, call it a day. Figure out the problem (wrong yarn? wrong project for the yarn?), and start over.

-Organize stash, needles and toys. Get rid of yarn I don't love.

That should do it.

Happy Stuff-- FO's

Mom's Rosebud Shawl

From This..
(Note about this colorway of Lion & Lamb-- The red bled. A lot. I did 4 complete washes and rinses before it stopped bleeding. I've never used this yarn before, so I can't speak to the other colorways.)

...To This: I gave myself some Blocking Wires for Christmas. They're from KnitPicks. They are a tad more pricey than they need to be, imho, but I love the heck out of them. For a blocking board, my old standby is a corrugated cardboard pattern board that I picked up years ago for about $7.00 at a fabric store. It has lines on it-- most handy, I must say-- and it works great for me. It warps a bit during blocking, but after it's folded up and stored in its handy plastic wrapper behind the piano, it works great the next time. The shawl was too long to fit on the board, and I just happened to have a long cardboard box from a shelf I just put together last week. If you look toward the fireplace, you can see where the box takes over. Handy, huh?

To This:
Now, I tried doing one of those glamour shots that Elspeth is so famous for, and it just ended up looking utterly ridiculous, so the recliner in the family room is sitting in for what would otherwise be me.

Project: Rosebud Shawl (free pattern from Briar Rose Fibers)
For: My Mom
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb; Tuscany colorway; won in contest- 3 skeins
Needles: Denise 10-1/2 (from Knit Happens)
Started: November 2007
Finished: December 2007
Blocked: (see resolutions above) January 2008

Impressions-- I love knitting with the yarn-- it feels good, it has wonderful drape, and the color changes keep things interesting. The pattern is a dream. If I were to do it again, though, I'd probably make it wider by adding one or two more rosebud lines. There are 3 in the pattern as written. The tradeoff is that there wasn't enough yarn to make it this long if it were wider. I wouldn't have chosen this colorway if I were purchasing the yarn, but I like the way it turned out. I didn't notice until I took the picture, that it looks like it's trying to be plaid. Interesting.

Dad's Grey Scarf

You can see it being blocked above, next to Mom's Rosebud Shawl. How appropriate, since they've been by each others' sides for nearly 60 years. (Go Mom & Dad!!!)

I was really happy when Dad said he'd like for me to knit him a scarf. After a bit of discussion, we determined that the color couldn't be flashy (dark green would be too flashy), and he didn't want tan. As I was considering how to knit it, it occurred to me that the cables I had in mind might fall into the "too flashy" category, but I needed something that wouldn't bore me to tears while knitting .

I fondled miles of yarn at KnitHappens, zeroing in on the Rowan Cocoon-- a Merino/Mohair combo, in an acceptable shade of light charcoal grey (Rowan calls it Slate). I designed a pattern, loosely based on a mock-cable I saw in a stitch book.

Project: Dad's Grey Manly Man Scarf- my own pattern
For: My Dad
Yarn: Rowan Cocoon from KnitHappens; Slate; 2 skeins
Needles: Susan Bates circular size 9 (donated by Bates to the Hokie Healing Project and used by me to knit Hokie Squares. Thank you, Bates/Coats & Clark)
Started & Finished: December 2007
Blocked: with Mom's Rosebud Shawl January 2008
Impressions: I really liked knitting with Cocoon. It occasionally splits, but not so much that it's annoying. I was a bit worried that it would be stiff and scratchy-- it felt soft in the skein, but firmed up a bit during knitting. After washing in Eucalan, it's very nice and soft. If I were to do it again, I'd probably go up a size on the needles to improve drape, especially if I were doing something similar for a woman. I was a bit worried that it might look a little lacy.

And Finally:
Random picture of the day:This is lunch at a restaurant in Hilton Head that was used as Bubba's shrimping place in Forrest Gump. That oyster clump there had 8 oysters in it!!!

Friday, January 04, 2008