Friday, December 31, 2010

Ten Mile Knit Down

I'm not really big on New Year's resolutions, because like most people if I make them I won't keep them. But this morning I had the idea of setting a goal for using my stash.

Here's the thing. I have stash. I have lots of stash. I have way too much stash (I'm currently selling a bunch of stuff on Ravelry: here . And so the plan is to knit down my stash this year.

As much as I'm attracted to shiny pretty new yarns, this won't be a problem for me. I've been sorting through my yarn this past week, and trust me, I have plenty to keep my fingers busy.

So here's my goal: knit ten miles of yarn down this year. Ten miles of yarn is 17,600 yards. When you think about it, that's like 40 pairs of socks or 15 (or so) sweaters. So I can do this!

Here's the rules:
1. Any ball completed as of 12:01AM on 1/1/2011 counts...so with the sweater I'm making now, the next ball I finish will 'count' but not all the previous balls that make up the sweater.

2. If I don't use up the whole ball/skein (like with socks), I'll use a scale to 'guestimate' the total yardage that I actually used.

3. If I fall off the wagon and buy yarn, I must add that in to the mileage goal. So if I buy a skein of sock yarn that's 400 yards, then my total 'goal' will increase to 18,000 yards.

4. My prize: if I knit down five miles by the Black Sheep Gathering, I can buy a mile a yarn.

I've added a running total box on to my blog, over on the right side, so you can see how I"m doing.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In which I read trashy knitting mysteries and knit on the same two projects constantly

Even though I have probably close to 12 UFOs, I find myself knitting on the same two stockinette projects this week: the rainbow socks and the top down pullover. Why? Not sure. But yeah. That's the knitting news.

And even though I have several serious novels to enjoy, I find myself drawn to trashy knitting mysteries this week. It is almost embarrassing to even write that but yeah, trashy knitting mysteries. I've read "Moon Spinners" about the mystery-solving knitters north of Boston and a new series about the Black Sheep mystery-solving knitters who live east of Boston. Both series set in small towns with active artist communities, handsome new men who move in to enchant the single women mystery-solvers in the knitting groups, and oh yeah, lots of MURDER. Love 'em.

I did do a bit of work on Monday, and had a breakfast 'meeting' with a colleague and then was at the eye doctor for two hours this morning, so it isn't like I'm a total slug. Just a partial slug.

And you?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Less of a mystery


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
Here's the top down pullover in "Purple Mystery". It's going really quickly, as the yarn weight is heavy worsted. I've already divided for the arms, and am a few inches away from waste shaping. This may even get somewhat done this week, and since classes for us start 1/3 that would be a good thing.

The weather is miserable...not east coast blizzard miserable but just so darn WET! There is a bit of snow forecast for tonight (perhaps at 500 feet) but as we are at 400 feet I doubt we'll see anything.

Not much going here other than eating and reading knitting mysteries from the library (and knitting of course). We are still working on Christmas leftovers although have change the food discussions to New Years Eve (current thoughts: dim sum).

Hope you're enjoying this week too!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jealous!


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
I'm totally jealous of everyone who lives east of here who is getting snow. Nothing like a holiday week for a snowstorm! And everyone probably has fairly full fridges and lots of new toys to play with.

All we have here is heavy rain...I can't complain too much because it has been fairly dry this week. Yesterday we took the dogs for our traditional Christmas long walk...about three miles...and stayed dry. That was just one part of loveliness on a very lovely day.

The dogs' gift is to sleep in our bed (with us) on Christmas eve; this was Pilot's first year to join us and the first time he has slept outside of his crate. Both dogs did pretty well and stayed with us till about 2am, when Juneau got too hot and jumped down and Pilot, well, let's just say it was time for him to return to his crate.

Christmas morning had presents and phone calls and home made sausages, followed by the aforementioned walk, followed by the playing of new Wii games, followed by dinner prepared by Tim with his new panini maker, followed by me following asleep during an episode of "Inspector Morse". Pretty much a perfect day.

Here is a sock I've been working on, sorry for the horrible picture, it is Sunshine Yarn in the "Lollipop Guild" colorway from the Woolgirl Oz Sock Club. I'll work on it more today, I think: today the celebrations continue with brunch with friends and the Colts game. It is Sunday, right?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Top Down!


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
First off, Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours! Thanks to you for reading my blog this year and I hope you have a restful and fiber filled holiday.

Second, I cast on for this yesterday---it's called Ginerva's Pullover but I will never call it that since it is one of those twee IK names that bother me. Why can't the designers just call it "Two Yarn Pullover" or something like that? Because honestly, it isn't Ginerva's pullover, it will be mine.
I hate to go all scroogy but I do feel that way.

Third, I love this yarn!! It is Malabrigo Twist, which is made from Baby Merino. Now, I know Baby Alpaca is the first shearing of any alpaca, and I'm guessing baby merino might be the same. It is so soft and squooshy! And it seems like it is knitting up fast, as it is a heavy worsted weight.

Fourth, and the best thing is the color, called "Purple Mystery"

Fifth, it is top down thus no seams. Love this.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

Cookies completed. Presents wrapped except for an emergency last minute gift I ordered yesterday from Amazon (please let it arrive tomorrow please please please). Dogs have Christmas bows on. As does Stella the cat. Jessie the cat had hers on but has already removed it. Bring on Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So it looks like nothing..


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
...but it is actually a very useful finished object.

This is a headband, made from Rowan Soft Lux. There's a bit of sparklies in it, which is nice, and it is a pretty dull purple color.What I did was knit a rectangle using k3p1 rib. Then I seamed it. Voila.

I had seen a sideline commentator at some football game wearing one similar to this, pretty wide, so it covers your ears and your forehead if you wish but you avoid complete Hat Head. Which is my goal.

I'll get a pic of me with it on so you can see that it is something. Not much, but something.

Christmas preparations continue: Tim and I made sausage today and I did most of the holiday dinner shopping that needed to be done. Cookies this afternoon!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Public Service Announcement


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
If you happen to lose a cat, be sure to check your drawers.

This drawer was open maybe five inches, and Jessie Cat got in and snuggled down amidst Tim's tshirts. We've also found her on the towel shelf in the linen closet, so maybe you should check there too. If you've lost a cat.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Home Stretch


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
So these socks: I have been working on them forever. Putting them down, letting them get buried on my desk, and then finding them while I was looking for something else. So I set my mind to finishing them and voila. They are finished.

They are for Tim, they are Panda Wool (which I love) and are so soft and smooshy. This is a good value yarn that knits up great.

I cast on for two projects yesterday (I WARNED YOU!) and I'm making a headband for myself as well as another pair of socks. And I blocked my placemats (they still need an edging). And I also vacuumed the house and washed the sofa covers since our most recent rainy spell and exuberant Pilot together have rendered them a bit, um, funky (we spread out a bale of hay last week and that helps immensely with the mud).

Left to do: wrap gifts, buy greenies to keep the dogs occupied on Christmas morn, bake cookies, and get groceries for Christmas meals! Certainly do-able.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mad DK Skillz


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
One thing I like to do during the holiday break is to try a new knitting technique. I taught myself to knit a sock one holiday, to do entrelac another holiday...I think I skipped last holiday but I started the tradition again with teaching myself double knitting.

With double knitting, one basically knits a two-sided piece of fabric...so for example, a scarf with the 'smooth' side of stockinette showing on both sides. One way to do this would be to knit two stockinette scarves and then sew them together. But I did it with double knitting.

Basically, you cast on with a two colors, alternating them (on this scarf, it is purple and pink). Then it is knit with color A, purl with color B across one row, and then knit with color B and then purl with color A back. After a few rows, the stitches arrange themselves so you can see that one side is purple and the other side is pink.



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Originally uploaded by kbshee
And the cool thing is that you do colorwork by changing up some of the stitches as you go along...where the purple bubble is seen is where I knit some of the pink knit stitches with purple, creating a pattern just like intarsia but it is reversible!

I didn't do a good job of explaining it, and in fact it is all kind of magical. I'm using Lucy Neatby's bubble scarf pattern ( here and apparently I forgot to do the ribbing at the start, oh well) and she explains the process very well.

Yarns: kauni effectgarn for one side, rowan calmer for the pink other side.

This one should be fun to watch. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lovely days

I've had two lovely days sitting on the sofa, knitting on Tim's sock, and reading a great book, "The Distant Hours" by Kate Morton.

Kate Morton is an Australian novelist who has written two other novels that are as wonderful as "The Distant Hours"..."The House at Riverton" and "The Forgotten Garden". I'm an anglophile, and the novels take place in large country houses (or in the case of "The Distant Hours" in a castle) in the english countryside, and in all the novels there is a bit of a mystery to be solved that involves someone in modern times doing some investigating into an earlier time (generally the ww2 era). The novels also focus on family relationships, good and bad, and what family really means. She writes just beautifully.

But I only have about 100 pages left, and I will be sad because I don't want this book to end! I haven't had a good novel for a while, and I'll miss this one when it is gone.

If you need a good curl-up-and-read book, find one by Kate Morton.

We've also had a few days without rain, so we've been out with the dogs and also went out to a brew pub with friends for dinner last night, so the days have been lovely all around.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quick Updates

1. Pilot finally showed interest in the tree, by taking down a ceramic Santa and chewing on it. Luckily it can be glued back together. Also luckily he has been avoiding the tree since then.
2. I went through my hated placemats and put them in the Goodwill bag. That felt good.
3. I've been working on current products for too long and I'm bored with them. Stay tuned for massive casting on.
4. Officially done with school for two weeks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Sock for Tim


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
So I have been knitting on this sock for a while, for Tim. The yarn is Crystal Palace something....probably Panda wool and the colors are nice and blended and these socks feel really good. I'm about to turn the heel on sock 2 so these will be done soon.

As I mentioned, the house is all Christmas-sy. You might recall that last Christmas, we were very worried about Pilot and the tree. To that end, we put up a low fence around the tree (that had previously served as our rabbit's outdoor pen) and he still nosed some of the lower down ornaments, but the season passed without incident. This year, he has not even seemed to notice that the tree exists. We hung some non-breakable and non-chewable ornaments down pretty far, but--nothing. The only issue we've had is that our little black cat, Stella, goes into the room at night and nibbles on branches.

We're very thankful that the rusty purple fence gets to stay outside getting rustier this holiday.

How do your pets react to trees and such?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Actual knitting content


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
So I've been playing around with mitered squares with the hopes of making placemats from the squares. And so I've knit up twelve of these squares, and made a surprising discovery.

Mitered squares? They're not really squares. They're really more like kites. So the challenge for me is to manhandle these into squares so the pieces actually line up.

So stay tuned for that.

We've had a Christmas-y weekend. We put the tree in the stand and Tim put lots and lots of lights on it. Still have the ornaments to go, but the lights are my favorites anyway. Yesterday I did a test run on pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. And right now Tim is working on the Christmas letter and I'm, um, blogging.

So Christmas is relatively under control at our house, at least for now. How are you?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gifts for Knitters

Yes, I've been a bad, bad blogger but I am just finishing up the term and things are a bit busy. There is a bit of knitting happening so stay tuned!

I thought I'd take a moment to share some thoughts on holiday gifts for knitters. Knitters love to get knitting stuff, but if you are NOT a knitter, how do you know what to get for the favorite knitter on your list? My hints: unless you have specific instructions, in writing, do NOT buy your knitter yarn or needles. Or honestly, even books on knitting (unless the books are out-of-print Alice Starmore books. And on second thought, just send those to me).

So what to get for your favorite knitter? Here are my thoughts:
-a knitting pattern-a-day calendar. I love these. Some have a pattern or a stitch on every day, and even if your knitter HATES half of the patterns, there is still a lot to like. Amazon has some .
-Puppy snips. My SIL had a pair this summer and they are adorable. And a knitter can always use a travel-sized pair of snips. If you live in the San Jose area check out Yarn Dogs (where said SIL works) or buy them online .
-stitch holders. I lose these a lot, and when you need them you need them, so having extras is always great. You can buy stitch holders anywhere: from low cost ones at Michaels to higher end ones at your local LYS.
--project bags. I used to think these were silly and now I love them. Della Q makes nice ones. Etsy also sells adorable handmade ones from a variety of sellers, including FlowerPie, KnitterBag, and RoseKnits.
--Chibi needles and needle holder. The cutest accessory holder and I love those needles for weaving in ends. And I lose them a lot, so having extras is a good thing.

So there you go. Happy shopping! And knitters out there....anything to add?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Nothing to see here, folks.

Yeah. No knitting here, did you notice? It was the last week of class this week, and right in the middle was a panel I organized and hosted in Portland (on FTC regulations for environmental marketing). And then I had full days on Thursday and Friday. But all that's left is a few hours of grading and an 8 am final on Tuesday and then a few weeks off to finish formatting a textbook and prepare a grant proposal and oh yeah, there's Christmas in there and

GO DUCKS!

Our Oregon Ducks football team are going to the National Championship game! I'm so excited not only because they're my team, but one of the students in the advertising sequence is a starting offensive linesman and so my colleagues and I are all thrilled for him. (He's #77, Carson York, in case you need a player to root for in January).

I have one sock for Tim sort of done, and then there's my little pile of mitered squares that I need to do something with, but little knitting this week, but stay tuned!

Casting on!