Friday, December 21, 2007

So happy to have a minute to blog

Can you believe its almost Yule!

And to start the Holiday season my daughter and her choir class got to sing for us. She's the curly headed one in the middle top row. They were very good. The orchestra was painful but the choirs rocked.

In my house we have a bunch of different Winter Holidays. My ex and my son James do Hanukkah, sometimes he takes the other kids out to his Mom's too. Then my husbands family does Christmas Day. My family has always done Christmas Eve and Yule. But this year... no Hanukkah because Great Grandma and Grandpa are both in the hospital, and I can't find Jamie's menorah. No Christmas day with my husband's family because of health issues with his Mom, see the above mention of hospitals again. And my husband is working Yule and Christmas Eve. Time for plan B.

We are doing Yule, without the Husband, on Saturday. Sad, but still, he never does ritual with us anyway.

My Mom works Christmas Eve and just found out that her daycare is closed, so we will have Quinn all day. Not a worry but all the prep needs to be done before hand. Chasing toddlers and doing last minute present wrapping don't mix. Pass the eggnog!

Christmas Day, which Husband does have off, we are going to my soon to be new home Shelley's. There we will play games like Munchkin Cthulu and Zombie Flux. We will eat and talk and see what happens if you mix the Stoner Flux deck with the Zombie Flux deck. We will also play Last Day On Earth and Haunted House 1, 2, 3 and 4, Illuminati and Empire Builder. Ok, so we're gamer geeks....

As for Yule knitting, some of the fabulous people on my list are getting Knitting Promissory Notes. This is basically a card and a box with yarn in it an a promise to make the knitted object in question. My Husband is getting a Hat Promise. Hat promises are also going to a couple of friends. My kids (who do read this blog) are getting surprise promises.

Quinn's sweater is still not finished. I sewed the sleeves on and found that despite measuring twice, and counting the exact number of stitches, twice, that I had arsed it up completely and had to rip out the whole sleeve and start again. I had to do this on one of her previous sweaters to. So the sleeves are still not sewn on and the whole thing is waiting for me to be less irritated at it.

Ryan's socks are, but the pic for them is at home.

I cast on for a new pair of gloves. I gave the last pair I knit to my Mom.
I'm making Deborah Newton's Twisted Stitch Gauntlet's out of Interweave Knits Holiday issue. These will be for me. If I ever get enough knitting time to finish them.

That's my holiday wish to every knitter.

May your days be filled with love and joy, and more time to Knit!

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's the Most Busiest Time of the Year... come on, you know the words

Shopping and Wrapping and snow on car, it's the most Busiest time of the Year!

I've also been making ornaments and trying to finish UFO's to round out the Yule gifts. The sheep ornaments are to cute for words, and came out so well that later I'm going to put up a step-by-step tutorial.

Sheeps in Space. It's a sheepy constellation.

Baa, a whole sheepy galaxy.

Ok, so the light from the chandelier doesn't help a whole lot.

But aren't they cute with there little roving faces and their little roving tails and their wild arse colors.

I like me some Bright colors in the winter. For those of you unfamiliar with the great Pacific North West, especially the Puget Sound region, we don't actually get to see the sun for six months of the year. I doesn't rain the whole time, despite popular media myth, but it's overcast and gray. From October to April the Puget Sound is a big bowl of storm clouds, drizzle and fog. The only color we get out of nature is the green from the trees, if you can see them. It also gets dark at about 4:00 pm and doesn't get light until 8:00 am. I drive to work in the dark. I drive home in the dark. I combat this with bright screaming color.

And chocolate. And wool. And technocolor sheeps.

Tomorrow, or later today, the Saga of Quinn's Sweater...

Monday, December 3, 2007

I want to be Stephanie Pearl-McPhee when I grow up.

She's my hero. She's funny and fiber addicted and can manage to blog almost every day. I want to be able to dedicate my life to knitterly pursuits like that. I just love her and she makes me laugh.

I, like many of you knitters out there, have taken to having poor helpless people hold my knitting to have their picture taken. We can mostly all blame this idea on Stephanie. But the cake must be taken by this fabulous knitter, Tracy, who got Barack Obama to hold her sock in progress for pictures. She has way more balls than I do.

Yarn Balls! I meant yarn balls. Really. :)

As for me, I'm back to teaching knitting at Michael's. As if I needed more to do with my Saturdays, but I figure teaching knitting is a public service. If everyone knew how to knit just imagine how much better the world would be. Everyone would be a lot warmer for one thing.

If every one in the world knew how to knit...
... no one would freeze to death because they did not have hats, scarves, sweaters, gloves, mittens or blankets.
... you could get yarn at your local stockists and there would be more yarn shops than 7-11's.
... no one would question your need for alpaca.
... no one would ever walk up to you and ask if that's knitting or crochet.
... no one would just assume that you could whip them out a sweater in a couple hours and that it was reasonable to offer you $20.00 for it.
... no one would be offended if you said 'could you wait until I finish this row' or 'just a second I'm counting stitches'.
... there would be knitting contests and knitting awards and more knitting shows on TV.
... you could get more yarn in more fibers in more colors.
... kids would pay attention to math in school and stop asking the teacher 'am I ever going to need to know this?'
... it would solve world hunger, improve the world economy, end illiteracy and promote world trade.
... there would be peace on earth and good will towards men because everybody would be to busy knitting to go out and kill each other. It would damage your needles and mess up your yarn, not to mention seriously cutting in to your knitting time.

So some day the world will be a better place because more people know how to knit. And I'm helping.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

...and then I got sick.

First of all, Thanksgiving was fabulous.

I love having a whole day dedicated to being with family and friends and eating a metric ton of turkey. Ok, maybe not quite that much turkey, but the bird was over 20lbs. We stuffed it with fresh cut oranges, onions, carrots and rosemary and thyme. It's a good thing I'm a beefy girl or I never would have gotten it in the oven by myself. It was a very tasty bird.

After the sleepy coma turkey induces I got a sinus infection, and an ear infection, and then my eardrums ruptured. Which just sucks. I didn't even get back to work until today.

So this is one of those "I'm not dead" posts. With no pictures, because I am humble, and can't find the cord for my camera... Tomorrow we will have more posts, with pictures.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yes, you can plan a whole vacation around yarn!

My friend and adopted sister Shelley and I went on a pre-holiday yarn crawl. We generally do this twice a year and our favorite destination by far is Port Townsend.

Port Townsend, Washington is a picturesque little Victorian town on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

We always stay at the Palace Hotel.

Port Townsend is a great get-away spot. In the off season the room rates are really low, the restaurants are open and not to crowded and the two yarn shops get in there winter wool. Did I mention the yarn shops are only a block apart. And just to make it even more tempting Port Townsend has fabulous restaurants.

The first place we invaded was Diva Yarns. The ladies there are always so happy to see us.

We shopped and then went to the adjoining bead store

and the store that sells trim. There was a lot of shopping going on.

The fabulous lady at Diva even held up my traveling scarf.

Then she made me hold it up and took my picture. Sneaky woman. Apparently , as I am a large woman, stuffing a lot of things in my pockets and then looking down makes me look like a pear with triple chins. Did I mention I'm not keen on having my picture taken.

After the shopping fest at Diva we took ourselves to lunch at the Fountain Cafe, another favorite place. One of the best things about them is the total lack of a deep fat fryer in the kitchen. They have great soups, great salads, and incredible grilled sandwiches. Try the turkey rueben.

Then we went to the Twisted Ewe, and got more yarn.

And candles.

This is Shelley going 'why are you taking my picture, monkey?' She learned that look from my cats.

The very nice lady at the shop did not hold the traveling scarf for me.

But I got lots of pictures any way.

I love yarn shops.

After an amazing dinner at Fins and some much deserved rest, to sleep off the amazing dinner, we set out the next day for Bainbridge Island and Churchmouse Yarn and Tea....

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Joyful Hallows!

Merry Samhain!

Here's a bunch of cat pictures. Sorry no knitting content today.

Why do cats like to sleep in the sink?

Kitten in the kitchen. Isn't she to cute.

This is Crystal. My beautiful hairy white menace. She's gone. I lost her. She hasn't been home in 10 days. I'm hoping one of our neighbors took her in and loves her as much as I do. I like to think that she is safe and warm and happy and not part of some coyote's digestive system.

OK not a lot of knitting content.

I have to finish Ryan's socks by tomorrow so she can take them to Fall Encampment this weekend. This is the second sock! It's not as bad as it looks, I just need to do the toe.

I still need to block my shawl and I need to finish Quinn's sweater before her next growth spurt so she can wear it for more than two minutes. Girl grows way to fast. At least I finished the back, now I need sleeves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What was I thinking

Just because your work is getting ready for an audit is no reason to not blog. I am a bad bad knitter.

Warning: this will be a very long post, and it will have many pictures. Go get some coffee.

This is my baby sister Quinn. She is to darn cute for words.

This is the blanket that I made for my Mom for her last birthday. It's hard to tell but that is actually a big mitered square blanket done in an ombre dyed boucle. It's also very soft. You can tell how much Quinn appreciates it.

Mom and Quinn just got back from a trip to Oregon to see the family. Mom tried to get some good shots of her and various baby cousins in some of my hand knits but she hasn't gotten all the film developed yet. Yes, she still uses a regular old film loading camera. Sigh.

She did send my the first lot online though. Go Mom!

My favorite picture is of Quinn watching the cows. She has this total fascination with cows. She even tries to walk up to them and pet them. Mom says it is damn funny to watch. Like a chase in slow motion. Quinn walks up, they take a step or two back, Quinn walks up, and so on. Apparently it's funny watching a toddler herd cows across a field.

In other news.

I finished my shawl! It is not blocked yet to show off it's true beauty. That lump in the back of the picture is actually the top of my husbands head. He was kind enough to hold it up for the picture. My husband is also a large man so the distance between his outstretched arms is 72" to give you an idea of size. It should block out nicely.

I don't think I'm going to dye it after all. It's just to pretty.

also just had to torture my cat. He's such a lump. This is his "What the hell do you think you're doing monkey?" look.

I started a new sweater for Quinn. Here's the front. It's done in Lion Brand's Organic Cotton, dyed pink, so not so organic anymore. They have the pattern free online. I made pants to match too.

I'm still working on the back but it is the serious boring knitting only good for standing in lines or watching tv, all garter stitch to the neck.

We got a new kitten. Her name is Rio, because I had to fish her out from under a Kia Rio to bring her home. My cat Sentry found her and would not come in the house until I went and got her. Probably just as well, when I got there she was hiding from a family of five raccoons.

This is her snuggled up in between my knee and Sentry's butt.

We have nicknamed her Raccoon Bait. She's only about seven weeks old.

There is lots more to tell but I have to get back to work.... My lunch is over, that's always so sad.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Picture Day (Catching Up)

I rembered to bring my cable with me this time. Go me.

So here are a few pics from the last 2 weeks or so to prove to you, me and everybody that knitting has in fact occurred. And there are some cute cat pictures too.

Here's the finished top section of the Icelandic Lace Shawl.

Here's Pixel being totally unconcerned that he is interfering with my picture.

Some goodies I took up to my Mom. That yellow thing in the middle is actually a very cute baby sweater that I wrote the pattern for myself. I'll get pictures of Quinn actually in it soon. Hopefully before she grows out of it.

Here's some sock progress. Yes, I know they are not identicle socks. But I really like how self striping yarns make fabulous fraternal, twin socks.

And last for this morning, my fierce new knitting bag. Which I'm using as a purse, because mostly what goes in my purse is knitting anyway.

It's suade. I love to just pet it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Gainful Employment Interferes With Knitters Ability To Blog!

More money, yeah! No time, boo...

This is just a quick post to try and catch up and ease my guilt for not having posted in, gasp, two weeks. More than two weeks actually, but I'm trying not to think about it. Some day I will be like my blogging idol Stephanie Pearl-Mcfee and post almost every day. But today is not that day.

I have been so busy. Work went from part-time to full time. My husband switched from graveyard to day shift. School started. But knitting has occurred. I'm to the heal turn on the second sock I was working on at the baseball game. I'm very nearly done with the Iceland Lace shawl. I'm having such a good time with lace knitting that I even bought Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.

I even took pictures of all my projects and everything. And next time I bring my camera to work to post before work starts I'll remember to bring the darn cable to plug the darn camera in too..... Argh.

Work officially starts in 3 minutes so as I said, just a quick post....

Saturday, September 1, 2007

How much sock can you knit in a baseball game?

I can knit this much.

If you want to get all technical it's 4 1/2 " using Opal sock yarn on size 1 double points. The pink and purple and blue in this color way is very pretty, but the orangey brown and black stripe mixed in to the colorway begs a question. What the hell were they thinking?

I've been avoiding this preticular sock for this very reason. I finished the first one in June. It is not second sock sindrome at work here. I have never before hessitated at making a second sock. The pattern is very nice, it's a plain 1 by 1 rib for an inch at the top and a 1 by 3 rib the rest of the way. I just can't stand the colorway. And size 1 needles take longer than size 2.

In my real life, yes I have one, I've been busy at work and haven't had a lot of time for knitting. I always get quite sad when I don't have time to knit. It makes me want to go and buy yarn, um, more yarn. So I did. Yesterday I popped in Michael's and picked up some of the new self-striping Sugar and Cream, and Paton's has some new colors of SWS. So I got some of that too.

Funny how yarn just jumps out at you when you haven't had enough time to spend with it. And all I really needed were some clasps to fix a bracelet. I got those too.

In other news the shawl is coming along fine. I've finished the first ball of yarn and I was going to do a big 'I Finished the First Ball' post. But I was working and got busy and couldn't stop knitting on it so finishing the first 437 yards became a non-event. Bad me, these things should be celebrated.

It's hard to see in the picture but the center bit of lace is shaping up nicely. Now that I've knit on it a while I'm getting to like it. I'll never use this pattern again but it looks pretty cool now that I'm knitting more than 2 rows an hour. Funny how when the work goes faster the patterns starts being less irritating.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Knitting With Cats

Or perhaps it would be more acurate to say knitting around cats, because cats do interfere with your knitting. So here are some simple rules I have found that help me cope with catly interference.

1. Your cat loves you, and he will express this love by laying on you while you are knitting. Especially if he can manage to lay on the yarn ball and or a strategic corner of your project making it neccessary to move him before finishing or starting a new row. There is really no way around this one. Your cat has the upper hand here. You love him, and would never lob him across the room for snagging your very delicate and complicated lace shawl. He will also feel free to sleep on any pattern, book, or charted design you're working from. Making it neccessary to shuffle the cat from your knitting, off your lap, off your pattern, off your working yarn ball and hopefully off your couch. He may or may not get the hint at this point. Sometimes I resort to locking him out of the house or briding him with catnip.

2. Your cat loves your yarn, especially if it is expensive or impossible to replace. If you bought a silk/mohair yarn on a special trip to Portland for half price, because they don't make that size skein in that colorway anymore, that is the yarn your cat will want to make his very own stuffy. Fortunately this problem has a simple solution. Bag it, box it, or stick it in a cupboard. If you have an open work basket, shove it under an endtable or lock it in a closet. Never under estimate the yarn thieving abilities of your average cat, or you will wake up with yarn balls strung a round your dining room table, into the living room and down the hall to the laundry machines. Ask me how I know.

3. Completed or semi completed knitting projects make perfect cat beds. If your project is complete and just needs to go in the wash this isn't as much of a problem. If your project is still on the needles and becomes you cats favoritest place to sleep, there by knocking stitches loose, and making you swear a blue streak as your try to pick them all up again, it's more of a problem. But then you really can't blame the cat for sleeping on afgans you made for sleeping on in the first place.

4. As far as your cat is concerned yarn is a toy. You love yarn. You love the way it feels, how it flows through your hands and on to the needles, the texture, the color, and even the smell. So does your cat. Only he likes to bat it around your whole house and pack it around like a dead rat. If you're very unlucky he also likes to eat it, or at least chew on it. How do I know this?
I have yarn loving cats, all four of the little beggers. Pixel, Crystal, and Bugaboo all love wool. I cannot even count the number of times I have had to start a new ball of yarn because they've gnoshed through it, usually in mid-row, usually while the little darling was laying on my lap. Sentry, on the other hand, likes cotton. Only he likes to eat it. Now actually digesting yarn is bad for cats. It won't go through and you have to have the vet surgically remove what ever won't pass. This scares me a bit to think that my yarn could kill my cat, so when I see him snacking and he has a big ol' strand of yarn hanging out of his mouth I pull it out. I once pulled 2 1/2 yarns of dishrag cotton, dripping kitty spit and all slimy, out of him mouth. Yuck. I do not have pictures of this and I don't ever want to do it again. I keep my cotton locked up now.

5. If you blog about knitting your cat will become obsessed with walking on your keyboard. The picture says it all. It once took me five minutes to figure out that the reason a page wasn't loading was because he was laying on the esc key.
6. Who ate my double points? Cats have a hard time resisting wooden needles. Who can blame them, so do I. I however, do not chew on the ends. I now have two sets of double points that used to have five needles a piece and now only have four. Darned cat. Again the solution is to hide them from your cats. I have special bags for my needles and after they're bagged I put them in the cupboard. So far this has worked, because I'm a needle snob and I'll be damned if I'm going to use aluminum needles because of the cats.
I hope you've found these rules helpful. Or at least entertaining. I'm sure there will be more catly interference with my knitting and I'll need to come up with more rules. But my cats and I have reached an understanding and if they claw up my shawl while I'm blocking it I refuse to be responsible for my actions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A sneak peek at the Stash

Almost every person I know has a stash. Not every stash has yarn but the erge to stash is very human. My huband stashes snack foods and scrap booking supplies. My friend Lisa has a yarn and fabric stash. My friend Shelley has a profound yarn stash. I thought folks might like a little peek at mine.

I have a yarn cupboard. It's double layered, there's more yarn behind the bit in the front. Most of this yarn is sock yarn.

I have yarn under the bed. This is mostly wool for felting. Some of it I dyed myself.
This is not the only box of yarn under the bed, but we will not take pictures of all of them. We do not want the Husband to ever really know the full extent of the stash.

I have yarn in the closet. Husband insists on hanging his clothes in the bottom part, I get the shelves.

I also have knitting books. And an alarming tenedency to leave my knitting projects 'all over the damn house' quoth my husband. Whom I dearly love and tolerate his alarming tendency to leave books and empty soda cans all over the damn house.
I also have some less tidy corners with baskets, bags and, well more bags of knitting projects and yarn. But they were somewhat less picture worthy.
I love my stash.
And I needed to blog on something that was NOT the shawl...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lace knitting: the Shawl Saga

This picture should be titled 'I Love My Cat and Will Not Kill Him'. He knows this, of course. He also knows that he is a black cat and I am knitting a very delicate white shawl. If he did not kill mice for me and keep my feet warm at night I would wang his little kitty head against a wall.


As you can see, around the cat, I have been working on my shawl. I've progressed to the last panel of lace that forms the center of the triangle. It sits right around the top of the shoulders and the base of the neck.

I'm not sure I like it. The lace is formed by an alternating K3tog (knit 3 together), k1 p1 k1 into the next stitch, row and plain knit rows. Because of the decreases you end up knitting the 3 (k1 p1 k1) stitches on the next pass. The resulting lace looks a bit like moss stitch with holes in it. It does not lay flat, because it's kinda fancy garter stitch.

It's not an amazingly difficult pattern, it's just time consuming. The K3tog's are touchy and you have to be really careful to not lose a stitch or split the yarn or only knit 2 out of 3. (Of course some of this is my fault for knitting super slippery alpaca lace weight yarn on super slippery Addi Turbo's. But i will over look that.)

I just don't know if I like the look of it. It looks OK in the magazine picture, but is somewhat distorted by the drape of the garment. So I'm left with questions. How will it look in real life once it's knitted up? How will it look once it's blocked? If it's ugly will my hair be long enough to cover it? Well, probably, my hair goes past my waist. Will it look good enough to not need long hair?

And most importantly, can I keep my cat off it long enough to even answer these and other facinating questions?

(Que dramatic music.)