Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Penny for Your Thoughts!

kr pal reveal
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
As in Penny, my KR secret pal.

She finally revealed herself in this terrific Christmas package which included a hand knit stocking, a Christmas cracker, candycandycandy, a Knit 1 magazine that I don't have and has a pattern for the sweater I want to make for Tim in it, and some mysterious plastic thingees that are bobbins for knitting intarsia.


And Fleece Artist.

Yes. My alcohol, my crack, my opium, my chocolate (OK not my chocolate)....Fleece Artist. In these incredibly spring candy colors. It is the favorite soft mitten/sock kit (and I'm making the socks) in a 'multi mix' colorway. It is awesome. My toes are wiggling in delight.

Thanks Penny. You were a great secret pal!

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And in other news....

What do you do when you're supposed to go snowshoeing but you wake up with a nasty sinus infection that prevents reading and knitting? Well, you make a wreath. Not an original idea...the fiber store in Oak Ridge, TN had one hanging on their wall...but I've been wanting to do something with all the bibs and bobs of yarn I've had lying around. It's fun to see stuff I've knit 'enshrined' in the wreath. I topped it off with a pair of cheap lion brand knitting needles that look great. So. Up on the door it goes as soon as the greenery wreath comes down.

So that's what is up with me. Gave up on Wedding in Winter, it was not compelling at all. May have to start on Dragonfly in Amber this afternoon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Holiday Reading

I'm catching up on reading over the break. As I mentioned, I "re"-read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Much of it was very new to me (due to reading it the first time under the influence of Percoset)..SPOILER ALERT! If you are the only person left in the US who is planning to read HP and the HBP then just stop now, please. OK.

I didn't remember who the HBP was, or that Harry hooked up with Ginny, or that the Horcrux that HP and Dumbledore found was a phony. Anyway. It was a good book, although I still think #4 is my favorite.

Then. I read "Outlander". Many of the knitters at KR rave about this book, ney the entire series, so I went ahead and read the first one. At first, I wasn't that taken by the book...I zipped through the book pretty fast, especially the last 300 pages or so (yes, the last 300 pages, the book is like 900 pages long) because in all honestly I was getting a bit weary of the "Claire about to get raped...Jamie saves her" "Jamie about to die, someone usually Claire but occasionally someone else saves him" plot devices and the "I dinna ken ye as a witch, sassenach" dialogue that was on every page. But now that it is finished, I just can't shake the characters. I want to know what happened next...did Claire go back to the 1940's? Did she stay there and go to Rome with Jamie? Rarely do characters get under my skin like that. So. I have the next 800+ page book, Dragonfly in Amber, waiting for me.

I read "The Lost Painting" by Jonathan Harr, which is the story of scholars who found a lost Carravagio (sp?) masterpiece in the 1990s. Harr expanded an article he wrote (for the New Yorker?) to book length, but it really would be better suited for a long article. It was an interesting story but not enough to pad it out for an entire book. Anyway. I learned a lot about Carravagio (sp?) and it was a nice break after reading Scot dialect in "Outlander".

Now, I started "Wedding in Winter" by Anita Shreve. She's a good writer, that Anita Shreve. She knows how to craft a good story. It's a short one too, so I'll probably be finished with it in a day or so.

So that's what's up with me and my reading. And you?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Gifs, Surprises, and More

the backgammon board
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
We had two lovely days of celebration and peaceful times....lots of phone calls to relatives, lots and lots of good food, lots of fun times with friends and with our little family, and lots of surprises under the tree.

Here's the surprise gift I made for Tim last summer and gave him for Christmas...a backgammon board. There is a pattern in "Knitter's Stash" and I knit it in a larger guage and felted it down. It looks great, if I do say so myself. Those little glass pebbles for vases will serve as the pieces, and I also bought two navy blue die (no doubling cube, does anyone use that?).

evan et al
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Steve, Jen and Evan came over Christmas Eve for our 'traditional' tenderloin dinner, although my guess is that we could have just had artichoke dip and called it a day. Afterwards we exchanged gifts (we got a terrific picture of Evan with a frame he made himself!) (ooh, and chocolate pretzels yum). Evan was mystified by his first gift, although Shasta clearly doesn't really care as long as it is food.

finished fishies
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And what to his wandering eyes did appear? A fishy afghan! Evan seemed somewhat impressed with it, as he immediately put it in his mouth. I think it turned out great...instead of sewing the fishes together I used a three stitch i-cord which sort of sets the fish off from eachother. Then there's an icord edging all the way around. Hopefully it will be baby proof!

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And under our tree Christmas morning? Three books from my mom and a book from Tim. Tim gave me 'Beyond Wool" as he knows I want to learn more about the different fibers out there...and this looks like a good book. From my mom (at my request)...Oddball Knitting, Vogue Felting, and Knitting Vintage Socks. This last book, by Nancy Bush, is absolutely fascinating! I can hardly wait to get into some different sock patterns.

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And finally, it just wouldn't be Christmas without yarn, now, would it? My mom sent me Baby Alpaca Grande, enough for a gorgeous hat that I'm designing in my head. Three balls of Baby Alpaca Branch, which might become a branching out. And a 54-yard hank of Llama from a farm in Arizona. Very cool. Not sure what I'll make with it but definitely something good.

So, a lovely Christmas. Tim has the week off (we yell 'yay' whenever we hear NPR announce that the stock market is closed) and we're having another relaxing day today. I hope peace is with you this season!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

doncha hate this?

When you (I) cast on 226 stitches for an in-the-round square for the Aran Afghan and after 5 rows (ie 1000+ stitches) you (I) realize there is a twist in the round?

I do.

Yeah, so I frogged the 1000+ stitches. And I"m doing the fish square instead. Fie on you, round square!

I've been reading "Outlander" is sort of time travel-y but not really (where did this interest in time travel come from?).
I finished "Harry P and the Half Blood Prince" and yes indeed, there were several parts that were totally and completely new for me.

The kitchen is clean. Three out of four types of cookies are baked. Presents are wrapped. Christmas can come.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"We Find Magic Everywhere"

Tim's hat
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Happy Solstice! I've felt solstice coming on this whole week as the days have started to get dark sooo early, almost around 2:30 or so...but now the days will start to be brighter, and that makes me happy.

I haven't posted any knitting pics for a while so I'll catch up now. First up, Tim's alpaca hat, that I knit while curled up on the sofa with food poisoning. It looks like it needs a weeee bit more blocking on that right side, eh? But. He likes it. The stripes look cool. It should be toasty warm. The wool was that alpaca wool that's the house alpaca at Elann . Very slickery, the alpaca. But it's for my honey so it's worth it.

I've tried to do some spinning with alpaca and woah, it's hard. But I'll persevere.

square 12
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
It is taking a bit of time to finish this afghan square, I think I have about ten rows of the pattern then 6 edging rows to go to finish this. Lots of cables on this puppy. I like makes for pretty concentrated knitting but that's OK. I hope to finish two more squares during the holiday, but we'll see.

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
The Flickr police are going to come and arrest me today for taking a picture of this sock on our burgundy sofa. Whatever. This is the Koigu yarn I received in the KR Sock Round Robin from lovely Lella that I'm creating into my own designed sock. I've never knit with Koigu before, and it is a bit different than other sock yarn and oddly empowering (it has so much strength!). Anyway, instead of a 2x2 rib, I'm doing a 1/1 LC for the knit part of the rib. Trust me, it looks cool.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Eggnog Free Zone

We went to an open house last night and I had two glasses of egg nog. By the time we got home, I was doubled over in pain, and have basically spent today holed up on the sofa. I used to love egg nog. Now even typing the words makes me woozy.

But in good news, I have Tim's alpaca hat nearly completed. Pics tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


This happens to me every few months or so: indecision on what to start next, knitting wise.

I finished the Ruby Red Socks for Tim. They were a bit snug so I tried to block them longer. We'll see.
I spent much of yesterday weaving in ends on Evan's Christmas gift, and it looks good. I'm about 3/4 of the way done with the Afghan Square.

So, the indecision is: what next?

I cast on some alpaca for a hat for Tim (his request), but the vast quantities of stockinette has me yearning for something more comlex. I have some koigu from the Sock Round robin for some socks for me. I also want to start on a cabled purse with dowel handles, but can't decide whether it should be a winter or summer purse. I am in the mood for little things, but little challenging things. Thus is the problem.

Maybe the creel pattern bag from Folk Bags? I started it once but didn't quite get the pattern going. I have the wool for it. I have some deep grey cashmere that I thought I'd knit a pair of gloves, but I don't think I have enough double points (but could, of course, venture out and purchase some). Just....can't.....decide.

I tried a little wire knitting yesterday, and it looks like a disaster. I'd like to wire knit bracelets for Christmas next year...and it has become evident to me why wire knitting always includes beads...because it looks like garbage without a little bling.

So, what do you do when indecision strikes?

In other news....

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...our tree is up, the animals are all decked in their holiday bows, and there's a little bit of an ice storm happening outside right now (hey, next best thing to snow, especially on a Sunday). We have a holiday open house to go to this afternoon. I will probably try to wrap a few gifts for Tim today, but nothing goes under the tree when you have two nosy dogs and two crazy cats living with you. The Christmas mix is ready on itunes. Bring on Christmas!

I'm re-reading the 6th Harry Potter....the first time I read it was after we returned from CR and before I had my clavicle surgery, so I read it whilst taking very strong drugs. Needless to say, reading it now is like reading it for the first time. Lucky me! I haven't read much else decent in the past month (Jane Fonda's autobiography comes to mind) but I have a stack of paperbacks (Outlander, And What About the Dog, Middlemarch) to get through over Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wheely Good Fun

I love the new wheel! I've been spinning on it for the past several days and so enjoying it. Here is what I like about it!
1. No wobbles. The Kiwi, being a 'beginner' wheel, was not too balanced, and if I got a bit of speed up it would start wobbling. Once I put the fast flyer on, it wobbled pretty much non stop. No wobbling with the Matchless (that I think is named Maya, did I say that once?)
2. No muscling the bobbin out of the maidenl. Maya has a knob you turn and it loosens up the maiden (I think that is what it is called). Not so the Kiwi.
3. Double drive. Love it. I love Scotch tension too, but the double drive seems to work well for me.
4. The tensioned lazy kate. No more bobbin flopping when I'm plying.
5. The wood . It is so beautiful to touch. It is really a work of art.
6. Yarn. Good yarn. Happy spinster.

I finished the majority of Tim's socks and now I just have the heels to do, which I will probably start today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm a Sucker for a Quiz

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can't imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Woh oh oh it's Magic

hat b4
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I love felting.

OK. I mostly love felting. I've made some great felted bags. I've done a very very clever Christmas gift for Tim that I can't post here. But I've never had success with hats.

One of the cool things about felting is that you have to give up basically all control over the finished project. So I've had a few hats just get too small to be of any use. And I did a beret that just sort of sits at an odd angle on your head. Fine. I learned.

So when I started this hat (made from leftovers from mario from my blackberry) I knit it up knowing that it probably wouldn't work, and figured if it shrunk down too much I could save it for Evan. I found a pattern with a flat top which was the look I was going for. The pattern was designed with a much thinner yarn so I finagled the pattern a bit (cut out half of the stitches and about half of the rows) and it knit up quickly.

hat done
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Yesterday I threw it in the washer for about half an hour (forgot to set the timer, but it's a front loader so that's not a problem) and the pulled it out..plopped it on my head (yes, while wet) and was surprised that it fit. I blocked it over a Crisco can to get the flat top look and now that it is dry, I can't believe it turned out pretty much exactly like I wanted. Flat top, rolled brim, and covers my ears. And very heavy, and since it is wool, it should be very warm. The thick thin yarn gives it a little texture, which is interesting to see. On the whole, I must say, I love it.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Remember the Aran Afghan?

another square
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I took a break for fall term from working on the Aran Afghan...I had finished all the 'easy' squares and the remaining squares require a bit of attention. So now that I have a few weeks off I thought I'd try to get a number of squares done. Here is number 12, which is sort of a celtic cross pattern. It will look better blocked, I think.

new wheel
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
My new wheel arrived Friday night and it took Tim about ten minutes to set it up. It spins amazingly. I thnk its name is Maya, which is the first name which popped into my head as it came out of the box.

My Kiwi had scotch tension, and this has both, but I've been using the double drive and am getting used to it. I plan to spin the rest of the yarn for a sweater for Tim on it first, plus I have to spin some for the KR spinning exchange.

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
It has been a cold December here in Oregon...we usually have relatively mild winters, but we've had frost every day this week which is unusual. Tim and I can't seem to warm up. Jessie found the best way.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Quick Stella Update

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I took Stella into the vet today...she needed a rabies shot and I wanted to chat with the vet about her seizures (she's had a few in the past weeks). We decided to try her on some anti-seizure meds (probably phenobarbitol). The biggest concern is that she'll injure (is that spelled right?) herself when she's having a seizure...biting her tail or something like that.

She had a miserable time at the vet, letting out the most miserable howl while they were giving her a shot. My poor kitty.

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
She absolutely adores Cody. Here they are snuggled up together (I think Cody could take or leave her presence, but as long as he gets some room on the sofa then he'll tolerate her). At one point during this snuggle she had her front leg resting on his neck.

I know this is a little hallmark-y, and I rarely venture into such mushiness, but you have to admit it is pretty cute.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Matchless on Its Way!

My new Schacht wheel is 'in the mail'...and scheduled to arrive on the 9th. More than a whole week early.
I am very excited.

So, if you're thinking about buying a wheel...or starting spinning...and want a good deal on a used Ashford Kiwi...let me know.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I *Am* the Christmas Sock!

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
See post below.

Flickr doesn't want to rotate photos today, so here's an odd view of the current progress of Tim's latest pair of socks. I finished the first one Saturday was the Nasdaq Christmas party, and Steve and Jen didn't have a I stayed home with Jen and Evan, while Tim and Steve went to the Christmas party. Jen and I yakked all night while I finished the first sock.

It is Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Ruby River or something like that.

I'm also working on an afghan square and 'thinking about' casting on for a felted hat.

We finally got around to watching the 'finale' of Prison Break last night. See, Mafia Guy is NOT dead! He'll be back.

But, can we say dissappointing? Oops, can't break out. Sorry guys. See ya in March for the execution. If you don't watch Prison Break, you're thinking right now I've lost my mind. Apologies all around.

My students have their final projects due tomorrow and then some serious grading commences. TOday I spent a good half hour shredding old papers at our office at home. It felt good. How weird is that?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Secret Knitting and Penguin Thoughts

I spent most of my knitting time yesterday finishing off a Christmas gift, and discovered a great way of joining pieces for a quilt: using 3-stitch attached icord. It looks great and should hold pieces together well. I'm very, very happy, especially since I hate seaming and am not good at it at all. Now, if only sweaters could be seamed with icord. Anyway. Pics after Christmas.

We watched "March of the Penguins" last night on was such a sweet movie with lots of 'awwww' moments. It did, however, bring back a bad Penguin memory for me. When I lived in Boston I was a docent at the New England Aquarium. As a beginner docent, I didn't get a lot of 'good' assignments and mostly spent my time telling people not to throw stuff in the Giant Ocean Tank and pointing out bathrooms.

Anyway. when you walk in the Aquarium you see that the first floor is taken up by the 'penguin tray', a giant open pool-like area for penguins that's about five feet below the floor, and the Giant Ocean Tank rises above it. Anyway. I was on Penguin Tray Duty (see spitting and bathroom info, above) and noticed that a large group of special needs youth were visiting. The group had about one chaperone for every ten or twelve kids. I was just wandering over to them to see if they wanted to learn anything about Penguins, when the next thing I of the kids has hopped over the barrier and jumped in the penguin tray.

My reaction? Yell: "someone is in the Penguin tray' and hope someone hears me who knows what to do. I then ran into the adjacent gift shop and got the workers there to call up to the scientists. At the same time, one of the chaperones then climbed over the barrier to get to the kid (the penguins had all hurried off to the far corners of the tray). A scientist then opened the gate and went in to get them.

Then I got yelled at. The basic gist of the yelling was "do you realize what this could do to the penguins?"

Um, yeah. Poor penguins. Penguins that are treasured by hordes of visitors ten hours a day, g are fed popcorn and soda and other treats, and basically have grown up surrounded by people. Penguins that get nasty with the feeders when they run out of fish. Penguins that while adorable are, yes, a bit spoiled.

Anyway. I mumbled something about how gross it would be to be covered in Penguin-lived-in-water and went back to my post. And I pretty much stopped being a docent that day. I love animals, and I know the penguins were frightened and their lives disrupted (although they immediately went back to that part of the tray once the people got out). But to yell at me about the penguins, when I really felt bad about the poor folk covered in Penguin affluvia, and to yell at me when my job was to TEACH PEOPLE about penguins, not to be the SPIT POLICE, well, that was pretty much it.

But. Anyway. It was a good movie. Go rent it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Giving and receiving

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
My Holiday Elf, Emy received her Gift Elf package, and I think she likes it :-). Happy Holidays Emy! It is fun Elfing with you.

Today I received sock yarn in the KR Sock Round Robin. This beautiful Koigu is from Minh...thanks Minh! Minh sent some charming little beaded stitch markers too...I've never had any like this and I'm so afraid I'll lose them, but I'll give them a try.

Some wildfoote handpainted is off to Lella tomorrow.

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And here is a gift on multi-levels...the moebius cool stuff scarf. It is a gift from me to me (like most of my knitting). It is a gift to be able to create another beautiful thing from Cat Bordhi's book. And it is a gift to be done with knitting with this @#$%^ yarn!