Sunday, December 31, 2006

New (Knitting) Year Resolutions!

Yep, that time of year again. I've been thinking about my NKYR and have tried to think about them more 'globally' (as opposed to: 'figure out what to do with the fair isle sleeve sweater' and 'finish the damn aran afghan'. So here are they are:

1. Knit from Stash. I've talked about this before on my blog, and I'm a strong believer in stash knitting. I want to do more felting...and there's a lot of good felting wool in my stash right now. I love starting new products...so I want to do more smaller projects, that start and end quickly. Interestingly enough, many such products are felting projects. In addition, I have a lot of 'one skeins' that will result in small projects. And what will those small projects be? Well, that leads us to resolution number 2.

2. Do some designing. Now that I've been knitting for a while (Super Bowl Sunday is my three year anniversary) I have a very good idea of what I'd like to make and a relatively good idea of how to make such things. Plus, I have a lot of single skeins that I'd like to work up into something I like. So, I'm going to be working on some designs for my stash. I've already started on this...I'm currently working on a sweater called the "Cotton-Easy" sweater because it's easy and it's made out of cotton-ease. But you probably figured that out. I also have charted out a scarf pattern for the one skein of Sea Silk in the stash. And then there's the round felted box that I want to make. I'll be sharing these on my blog if they're successful.

3. Do some charity knitting. I could probably knit kitty pi beds til the cows come home. I want to do more charity knitting because in all honestly I'm not that good of a citizen...I don't do any volunteer work other than donating blood every few months (and you know how well that goes). So charity knitting seems a good way to give back.

So there you go, my New Knitting Year Resolutions (NKYRs). Notice nothing about learning to love lace knitting. But also keep in mind there's a lot of laceweight in that stash. And I just got "Victorian Lace Knitting Today".

I also have a New Spinning Year resolution; and that's to do more spinning. I haven't spun seriously in a while and I want to get back to it, especially in preparation for the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival and the spinning class I'll be taking.

SO there are mine! How about yours?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Real Knitting Content!


cabernet ribs
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Here is the almost-done Cabernet Ribs sweater, done in crystal palace mohair/wool laceweight and black wool/alpaca yarn from Webs . The body is done with both yarns held together and the sleeves and insert done wtih just the cp. It all seamed up pretty well, but I haven't finished the sleeve seams yet. I fear the sleeves are a wee bit narrow and am trying to find a seaming technique that maybe adds a bit to the size of the sleeve as opposed to taking up a bit. Maybe a crochet seam? I'm probably just being a bit paranoid...I actually think it will fit ok, just closely, but if you have any suggestions let me know.


This is one of the first things that really seems to fit (fear of tight sleeves aside)...it's the right length, it isn't too oversized, and even though it's not the best look for ANYONE with a decent size chest I still like it. I'll wear it for things that are a bit 'dressier', mostly because I'm scared to death of destroying the sleeves, knit in such a lacey yarn.


one monkey
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
AND I finished one Monkey sock last night...I haven't worked on this for a while as I was trapped in a Sleeve Vortex but now that those sleeves are done I happily returned to the monkey. You may have to click on the picture to see the pattern a bit more clearly.


Monkey is a good pattern (available at the Knitty.com web site). I didn't follow it exactly, doing my own familiar heel flap and turn combo, which works for me. I've realized that this year one of the things I thought I'd never be able to do: pick up stitches on a heel flap...is now second nature to me. That's one of my big knitting achievements this year. Add to that finally getting what mattress stitch is, and also getting the whole sewing in seams thing, and I think I've had a good knitting year. You know...you just need to do stuff enough so you the feel for what it needs to look like. I know that sounds like I'm stating the obvious, but it's true...I think sometimes I need to just stop overanalyzing instructions and just LOOK at my knitting and figure out what needs to be done. And it's the understanding of just what a knit stitch is that makes this skill possible. And that just takes lots and lots of knitting.



Maybe I'm just trying to rationale all the crap knitting in my closet, but maybe not.



Knitting Resolutions tomorrow!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Notice Anything New?


restashing
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Well yes, I did do a re-design on the blog, thanks for noticing. I sort of like Blogger Beta...it gives you a lot more flexibility with the sidebar, which I tend to neglect. And look what else is new! I went to the wonderful Ben Franklin store (can you believe, the only place in Eugene to get Cascade?) the day after Christmas to see if they had any yarn on sale. Well yes, indeed, they did...all yarn was 20% off, and much of it was marked down. I got the 12 skeins shown here for about $70: here is what I got (from the top, going clockwise):

-2 skeins of navy heather Cascade 220
-2 skeins of grey heather Cascade 220
-2 skeins of black tweed Cascade 220
-a skein of Magic Stripes (I think the only Magic stripes I haven't made)
-a skein of Fisherman's wool (love this yarn)
-2 skeins of Brown Sheep lamb's pride in Sapphire
-2 skeins of red Cascade 220

I've been thinking about my Knitting resolutions and while they'll be detailed later, I want to do more felting, so thought I better stock up. Especially since I'm planning to do a lot of knitting from stash in 2007. If you read a lot of blogs, you've probably noticed that Wendy knits and others are spearheading a 'knit from your stash' movement. I've been doing quite a bit of knitting from stash for the past year, and I'll continue this in 2007. Here's the thing, though:

Last year, I donated $1 to Heifer International for every sock I knit. This year, I'm going to donate 50 cents for every ball of yarn from stash that I knit to the same organization. So you'll be able to see the tally over there on the sidebar.

Several people have said that 'knitting from stash' is a death toll for LYSes, but I'm not worried. We knitters love to try new things, and the siren song of a beautiful pattern made with a special yarn (not in the stash) will never go away. I'm not going to NOT buy yarn,but continue to focus on using up what's in my stash to the best of my ability.

But more later. They'll even be (gasp) knitting to show you! I finished the sleeves on the "Cabernet Ribs" sweater (sleeve vortex really sucked me in) and that's ready to assemble (oh joy).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Festivilicious


Tim's surprise!
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
We had a lovely Christmas even with Evan and Jen and Steve ; Evan was (and is) a charmer and it was really special sharing Christmas eve with him. He enjoyed the menu: the pear salad, the tenderloin, the roasted root vegetables, the bread, but he particularly enjoyed Fritos and Christmas cookies. He got along famously with all the animals, including the notoriously shy Louise the rabbit. He really made Christmas eve special.

As faithful readers of my blog know, I was working on a surprise gift for Tim and here it is: his hot water bottle cozy. He was very surprised (thus I guess it worked) and likes it a lot! I made it with yarns from handpaintedyarns.com that have been in the stash forever.


knitting gifts
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Apparently I was a good girl this year because I received numerous lovely gifts (more on what Tim gave me later this week...he is so talented!) but I did want to share three knitting gifts. Steve, Jen and Evan gave me the Knitting Pattern a day calendar...have you guys seen that? It is, truly, a knitting pattern a day. I love it. Ii'm so excited to paw through it! Tim gave me the book "In Sheep's clothing" about different types of wool for spinners. And my SIL and BIL gave me the cow tape measure that you see in the Tiffany's box! Tim and his sister have a tradition where they give each other cow themed gifts for Christmas. It worked to my advantage this year.

I hope your Christmas was wonderful and that you enjoy the final days of 2006. Do you have resolutions, knitting or otherwise?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Not a Creature was Stirring...


christmas_cody
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Merry Christmas a few days early! One of our holiday traditions (oh heck, really one of the only ones, we're a bit fluid here tradition-wise) is to put ribbons on all of our pets (rabbit and bird excepted. I think we tried one year to put a ribbon on Louise and it lasted about four seconds).

When I was a little girl, my beloved Uncle Joe told me that animals talked at Midnight on Christmas eve. At dinner on Christmas day, he would tell me everything that his dog (always named Muffin, there were three of them over the years) told him and my Aunt Mary Jane. It usually had to do with places Muffin liked scratched and how much he enjoyed his naps. Anyway. Here are our animals with their bows and my guesses on what they would say at midnight.

Cody, our wonderful pup who is spending his 11th Christmas with us, would say "is there anything to eat around here?"


christmas_shasta
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Shasta, our beautiful old girl, has probably been with us for six or seven Christmases....it seems like she's always been here. Note that she has gathered two bones around her on the pillow. At midnight, she'd say "pet me, don't pet anyone else" and "get away from the bones, red dog."


christmas_stella
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Here's Stella, our little seizure kitty. This is a pretty good picture of her, I must say (even with her butt cut off, sorry Stella). Stella would say "can I bite your toes? I'm quite mad." Then she'd go nibble on the branches of the Christmas tree.


christmas_jessie
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Jessie Cat would say simply: "Get this &^$%# ribbon off me. And don't take my picture. I love you!"

May your Christmas be full of wonder and politely talking animals at midnight.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"And We Find Magic Everywhere"

Happy Solstice!!

I'm so happy to welcome Solstice this year. It has been a dark, dark December and I'm ready for a bit more light!

And it's almost Christmas! I was doing pretty well, pretty ready, until I pulled a muscle in my lower back yesterday. Ouch! I still have gifts to wrap and cookies to bake, but that will be done in a frenzy on Friday and Saturday with Tim to do most of the heavy lifting. Hopefully I'll be pretty back to normal by tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

2006 xmas socks


2006 xmas socks
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I'm thinking that I"ll make myself a special pair of socks every year for Christmas...something sort of special and holiday-ish that will always remind me of Christmas. So these are the first ones...knit in Cherry Tree HIll Glitz in Cherry Red. The leg is a purl rib that I screwed up (instead on k2 p2 on the first row and k on the second, I did k1 p1 and it isn't very ribby or stretchy. But it looks good). They sparkle.

The other knitting, well, I would love to show you but it consists of black sleeves for a black sweater and the charcoal back of a sweater that I'm making up as I go along (and just cover your ears if those warning bells are a bit too loud for you) so honestly, nothing visually interesting at this point. And my monkey socks but those are pretty much where they were the last time you saw them.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holiday Meme

I found this at Concateknit's blog and while I'm usually not big on memes this one has enchanted me. Let me know if you do it too!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
I love the idea of Egg Nog but the carton we get tends to curdle in the fridge and is thrown out in January. And I have to say a Peppermint Mocha is my idea of holiday heaven.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
Not sure wht this question is asking: does Santa leave the presents for someone else to wrap? Heck no!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Ah. Those of you who read our LED saga know the answer to this one. Colored lights on both tree and house, although this year our tree lights are white.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
I did this year. We keep forgetting it is there 'tho.

5. When do you put up your decorations?
We don't have a particular ritual on this...our tree this year was up two weeks before Christmas but we've had times where it has gone up a few days before and once (I think...before we were married) we put it up when we got home. The rest of the decorations live in the ornament boxes, so nothing is done until tree.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Probably Christmas cookies and peppermint ice cream. We also have a tradition where I make an awesome stuffed beef tenderloin sometime over the holidays (this year it will Christmas eve, when Steve and Jen and Evan come over.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
There are two. One year (maybe when I was in sixth grade) I got a carom board which I thought was just the neatest thing in the world. Also...my german great-aunts used to make these great anise cookies in these antique anise cookie molds. They were the most delicious cookies I've ever had, and I've never found a recipe that duplicated them.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
No idea. I had an older brother so my guess is that I grew out of it one year.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
When we were kids we opened most of our gifts on Christmas eve (the story was it was a German tradition, I think it was more that my mom wanted to sleep later on Christmas day). Now Tim and I open one gift on Christmas eve.

10. What kind of decorations are on your Christmas Tree?

They are a mix of ornaments made by Tim's mom, made by Tim as a boy, ones given to us by my Mom, and ones we've purchased together or that Tim gave me (our favorites). There are one or two that I've made too, and a few old ones from my family.


11. Snow! Love it or Dread?

Love it, since we almost never get it in Oregon.

12. Can you ice skate?
why yes, yes I can, thank you for asking.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

See carrom board, above (what a nerd I was).

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

Spending time with Tim and all the beasties in our house.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

One time a friend brought over a Yule Log, and that was awesome.

16 What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Hmm. Probably that Tim and I make each other a gift every year.

17. What tops your tree?

It varies every year, but Tim's favorite thing is on top of the tree this year...a red and gold spire like thingee.

18. What is your favourite holiday book?

Little Women. "Christmas won't be Christmas without any Presents"

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
"Oh Come, All Ye Faithful" for several reasons: I can sing the harmony on it, and I can also sing it in latin which makes me feel very smart. I also like "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel" since it is so spooky and "The Holly and the Ivy" since it has lots of beasties in it (although given what I've written, I'd like it better if it was "Oh Come the Holly and the Ivy".

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yummy?

In a mocha? Divine.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Meet the New Cotton Ease!


c-e
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Same as the old cotton ease!

My six skeins of the 'new' cotton ease in Charcoal arrived last night. A label comparison shows that nothing has changed except the colors: the 'new' is even made in Turkey, just like the 'old'. The color charcoal is very saturated...in some light it looks blue gray, in other light it looks almost blue brown, if that makes any sense at all.

In myhand I'm holding three strands: from the left, 'old' licorice, 'new' charcola, 'old' cherry red. The twist on the 'new' is a bit tighter than on the licorice but pretty much the same as the red. They feel exactly the same. So buy the new cotton-ease with confidence, my friends.


str
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And how much do I love, absolutely love, being a member of the Rockin' Socks club? The last mailing of the year not only had a great new red mix, mustang sally (on the bottom) but also a bonus skein called 'rare gems', purportedly a booboo by the dyers but incredibly beautiful! I may try a fair isle a la Blue Moon with these two colors.

Finally, I did want to let you know that my re-sock-lution is complete, with a donation of $50 to Heifer International . I know I didn't keep up the count too well on the sidebar (understatement) but I did keep track and fulfill my promise.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Best Laid Plans (don't read if you're squeamish) (Bonnie, this means you)

I try to donate blood every two months, but sometimes life gets in the way. But when I got the desperate "it's the holidays and we're low on blood" phone call of course I made an appointment.

It didn't go too well. Keep in mind that this was my 24th donation since we've lived in Eugene, so I should have the drill down. First off, my iron was low and the nurse lady seemed unsure whether I should donate or not. Finally, the all clear! Off to the comfy chair (which I truly do love). So I was poked and hooked up and was squeezing my rubber pickle (oh stop) like I usually do.

Gross part coming up.

I look at my arm and blood is spreading under the bandage thingee and starting to flow onto the arm. I say "um, excuse me, is this right?" (understatement) and two nurse ladies jump into high gear and get me cleaned up. I ended up donating about half of what I was supposed to, and I feel badly about that. But I can't help but think nurse lady #1 was not as diligent in her needle work as I think she should have been.

Back to knitting tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

SIPs


one xmas sock
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Or...socks in progress.

The first one is the one I refer to as my christmas sock...it's red Cherry Tree Hill with a little bit of gold bling in it. The pattern is my own....the cuff is garter rib (row 1: k1 p1, row 2: knit) and the foot is stockinette. The basic flap heel deal. This makes a thick and cozy sock, and I love it so far.


one monkey
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Next up is my first monkey sock from the new knitty, designed by Cookie (whom I emailed, and who emailed me back, so I'll add that to my collection of Famous Knitters Who I've Emailed With...I think I now have three, including Cookie there's awesome Cat Bordhi and Everyone's Favorite Knit Blogger .

Love this pattern. Love the yarn: STR lightweight in Smoky Topaz (NOT thunderstorm). And you know what? It's technically LACE! Yes, a lace sock I can do, a lace anything else I totally destroy. Why? Why?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Decking the Halls for Dummies, pt 1

We started out to deck the halls and it began very nicely: we went to get the tree, picked out a nice one, brought it home, got it in the back yard (note to self...forcing the hatch closed may result in slight dents to said hatch. No big deal though). Then, since the rain had abated for a bit, Tim went out to hang lights on the outside of the house. Now, for the past few years, we've been replacing the obscentiy-generating cheap Target lights with brighter and energy efficient LED lights. We decided this year to use our LED light stash on the front of the house and then venture out to the hardware store to pick up more LEDs for the tree.

And now Chapter 1: Buying Lights. When the stores start stocking Christmas tree lights on, say, Columbus Day, take it as a sign and BUY THOSE LIGHTS. Because if you wait til December 9, here is what you will find:

Hardware store #1: big horkin' pine cone shaped LEDs in green or blue (we like our lights small and multicolored)
Hardware store #2: correct sized LEDs in either red or blue, or really ugly LED garland type light which looked like a 4-year old's block set with lights inside. (mild panic starts to ensue).
Sad Little Shopko Store: correct sized LEDs in white. Given ensuance (is that a word) of mild panic, we bought the 5 boxes on the shelves. Had a fleeting moment of joy when we realized that the boxes were priced at half off.
Mammoth Crazy Costco Store: no LEDs. But if we wanted Santas that you stick into the ground around your walkway that start singing whensomeone walks by, we could have had armfuls of them.
Neighborhood Variety Store where I swear I saw LEDs on Thursday: no LEDs.

Two hours, yes, two hours of shopping (or not) for LEDs.

Anyway. Not much other Decking of Halls happened yesterday as we sunk onto the couch and watched Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest and called it a day.



fleece artist socks
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And meanwhile, in Knitting Land, I finished Tim's fleece artist socks. Here they are on his feet...he likes the. I love Fleece artist. They almost look like they match, don't they?

I also started not one but two pairs of socks for me: a pair out of the sparkly red Cherry Tree Hill (I'd like to finish these by Christmas, given that they're sparkly and all) and a pair from the new knitty: Monkey . I'm doing these in STR from the stash in thunderstorm (I think, not sure). But I've only cast on so there's not a lot of excitement to show you there.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fair isle Saga


fair isle without clothespin
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Just to catch you up:

I knit the fair isle sleeve sweater from the most recent Vogue Knitting. I used a yarn that didn't give me the appropriate gauge but I figured out if I knit the sweater according to the directions for a small it would give me the fit for a large.

And I blocked it. And I wove in ends. And the cat peed on it. And I washed it and put it in the dryer for a bit to sort of shrink it up.

So. The cat pee smell is gone thank heavens. But as you can see, the fit is still off. There is no assymetrical neckline. It's very droopy in the front and in the back. but the body fits pretty well (that is, bustline on down.

Don't I look like a mannequin?


fair isle with clothespin
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
So. Here's what happens if I take in a bunch from the back to give it a bit more shape. The back is being held together with a clothespin, hence the title of the post. Look at my happy face! And do you like my new rockin' specs?


back with clothespin
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Forgive the artsy fartsy photo, but here is the back with the clothespin holding a bunch of excess knitting to make the thing fit. Do you think I should take in the neckline a bit in the back? It might make it look a bit smocky but sort of like a poets shirt (making lemonade here, I know). Anyone have any other thoughts on how to make this fit better?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fair Isle Sweater: still too big

I wove.
I blocked.
I tried on.

The Fair Isle Sweater is still too big in the top. It's a little closer, but still too big. IE it falls off the top of me.

The only thing I can think about doing is washing it and then drying it to shrink it up a bit.

Thoughts? I really need help with this one!
Update
I decided to wash the sweater again and then run it through the dryer on low. So I went to get it from the guest bath where it has been air drying since the last attempt at blocking. And guess what?

One of the cats peed on it.

So now smelly sweater is being washed and we'll see what happens. Cats. Luckily they're adorable.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Contact Lens Update

I'm wearing lens #2 in my left eye and lens #3 in my right eye, and things look pretty good. I'm obsessively closing one eye then the other to see how the vision is, and while far distances are a bit on the soft side, everything else looks good. To increase the scrip to sharpen the far distance will mean I would always have to wear glasses for using the computer, so for now I'm going to stick with these contacts and see how it goes. If the far distance thing becomes an issue (for example, if I'm going to be doing a lot of driving up to Portland) then I can get glasses for distance for driving, but we'll see.

The good news for the future is that the brand of contacts that I'm trying is going to come out with progressive lenses within the next few months, so I'll be able to get a range of corrections from far distances to reading. Pretty cool, although crazy to consider. With these lenses, you have to replace them every six months so by the time I need a replacement the new ones may be available.

Knitting wise, I'm finishing Tim's Christmas gift, so no pics to show you!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Catching Up


IMG_0223.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
It's been a bit of a busy weekend, but I have managed to finish the back of the Cabernet Ribs sweater from the new IK. THis is in alpaca/wool from webs and black mohair-silk from CP. I can't tell if there's a row that's 'darker' than the rest or it's just a trick of the light. Hope for the latter.

And no, I haven't woven in any ends. Maybe later today. Friday night I went to a wedding shower, and last night was Tim's office Christmas party (the theme=order the most expensive stuff on the menu). Yesterday we spent most of the day wrapping and packing presents for family. So not a lot of knitting time.

I have, though, somehow managed to read two good books. The first is the new book by Laura Zigman, called "Piece of Work". Light and frothy. The second one, which I'm almost done with, is "The Doctor's Daughter" by Hilma Wolitzer. It's sort of dark, about a woman about my age who is dealing with an ill father with secrets, a husband with secrets, and authors with secrets. Interesting.

Slowly getting back to normal