Monday, April 30, 2007

Birthday Prizes!

one jacobs coat
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
THANK YOU to everyone who visited and posted a birthday wish! I wish I had 45 balls of sock yarn to send out to each of you....well, I guess I do but I need to keep some of it for my fiber fun, don't I?

I used a Random number generator to generate two numbers and I used those to correspond to the posts (the first poster was number 1, etc). I'm happy to announce that the prizes go to one person who I've known in the blogosphere for a while, and one brand new blogging friend.

The STR goes to Minh in Boston who is a KR person and a donor to my on-the-back-burner-sock-yarn afghan.

The Mountain Colors Bearfoot goes to Beverly in South Carolina whom I don't know but I assume will be a frequent visitor to my blog now :-).

And can I tell you, I love knitting socks in worsted weight yarn. Yes, it is heavy but what a quick sense of accomplishment! This is one sock made out of merino/soy from Rabbit Ridge in Alaska that I purchased at skeins in Juneau. The colorway is called "Jacob's Coat" and it is bright, cheerful and springy. I did the sock toe up using Judy's Magic Cast on and the directions in Sensational KNitted Socks and I like how it looks more than any of the other toe ups I've tried.

Anyway, thanks again for visiting and for your best wishes. I'll have another contest around my blogiversary in August. Mark those calendars!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Na Na Na Na Na Na

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
They Say it's a Contest!
Na Na Na Na Na Na
It's my birthday too yeah!
Na Na Na Na Na Na
They say it's a contest!
Na Na Na Na Na Na
I'm gonna give a WAY yarn!
Na Na Na Na Na Na
Are you glad that you came by?
Happy Birthday to Me!

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
The details: next Monday (4/30) is my birthday, and you get gifts! I'll randomly select two names from everyone who leaves a comment to this post between now and Monday morning (9am pacific time). Winners notified and announced here on Monday!

The prizes: first is a skein of Socks that Rock in the Smokey Topaz colorway. I bought two skeins of this colorway and knit my monkey socks with them. I was going to knit a pair for Tim but have a similar colorway with a bit more color in it called Downpour which I'll use for his.

Second is two hand-wound balls of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in a colorway that I can't remember (it might be Red River or something like that). I also have knit socks with this colorway and have other MCB in the stash so I thought I'd share this great yarn with my blog readers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

FO and Contest Sneak Peak

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I finally finished off the Flame Wave socks from the new IK book. THese used Elann Esprit which is the Poor Knitters Cascade Fixation. I like these socks a lot, particularly because they knit up fast with EE and the pattern was complex enough to move beyond 'mindless knititng' but easy enough to do during, say, The Sopranos.

Hey! Check out my 'used from stash' total!

Finally, I wanted to let you know that I'm going to have a blog contest. Rules will be posted Friday, contest ends Monday! The Prize will be a skein of Socks That Rock in the Smokey Topaz colorway. It's my little way of saying thanks for visiting my blog!

And yes, I have replaced the period key with the exclamation mark key.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Gotta Love a Guy Who Loves His Socks

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I finished these koigu socks for Tim over the weekend. There were my 'download' socks (ie I worked on them when the computer took its sweet time to access something). I've also been toting them on the bus to work for the 5 minute ride to campus. But long enough is long enough, and now they're done. They were a basic sock pattern, done with a really pretty colorway of koigu. I do love me the koigu.
We had a rainy Saturday (good knittin') and a pretty nice day yesterday...nice enough to get the dogs out for a pretty good walk. I worked on these socks, as well as on a new tank (yes, I'm still trying to use up all that cotton ease) and those light green socks that I've been working on for a while (and they're almost done). I feel like I got a good bit of knitting time which I really need these days, as school is a bit on the hectic side (but all GOOD! All GOOD! She said, workin' the positive energy thang).

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And so of course I need a new 'download' sock, and didn't want to start on something with teeny tiny needles (which honestly, I have lots of in the to do list). So I wound up this yarn that I got in Alaska last's from Rabbit Run farm in Anchorage, the colorway is Jacob's coat, andit's very soft and dk weight. I'm doing these on a size 3, toe up, since I worry that I won't get the socks even. IT's 98 grams, so I'llknit on the first sock til 49 grams are left in the cake and then start #2. I'm using the toe up pattern from "More Sensational Knitted Socks" since I haven't found a toe up sock that I like the looks of.

This yarn is so pretty, isn't it?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Red Tank

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I knit, I seamed, I saw red. As in this red tank, from the new issue of VK. IT's cute! I like it a lot. It is snug fitting as promised, but I think it will work well here in the warm Oregon summers.

The back is ribbed, the front is ss wiht a cable on either side. The cable is not set off by purl stitches which is a different look, sort of a more natural look, and I like it.

I used cotton ease on size 4 needles, and got a gauge of 16 stitches and 28 rows per 4 inches. IT's a crazy gauge, but it works.

I just received a couple new books: one on knitting sweaters sideways, one on spinning (the new JMM book) and an older Mission Falls pattern book called "IN Living Colour". I think I'll make one more tank with my ce stash and then use all the leftover ce for a sideways sweater. Did you check the stash total on the sidebar? I'm doing well. I haven't bought any yarn this year other than sock yarn and some discounted brown sheep cotton fleece that someone onKR was selling (and yes, I need to show you pictures of that).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

When VK says close fitting..

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
..I think they mean it.

I finished the back of the red tank from the new's number 3 or 4, the red one, you know. I'm using cotton ease from the stash, and got gauge using a size 4 needle (you cotton ease lovers will probably be gasping a bit at this, as the recommended needle size for c-e is 8). Anyway, it is ribbed (sorry you can't see that) and I got gauge and everything, so I guess it will be a bit close fitting.

The front isn't's stockinette with two cables on the sides, so maybe it won't look so, um, small. But we'll see.

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And it is stretchy.

HEre I am using my feet to stretch the back out. What a freakish people this turned out to be. What is wrong with my big toes?

I've been a bit frantic catching up from the trip, but I feel like things are in a bit better control right now and I can br-ea-the- a bit.

A bit.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Careful what you wish for!

In my last post, I mentioned that I had been stuck in the conference hotel for most of my visit to Burlington.

It all changed Friday night.

I had some trouble getting to sleep after a pretty busy day with a bothersome meeting at the very end (all other parts of the conference very positive though). I probably didn't get to sleep til 1:30 am or so. Then, at 3 am, I woke up to a disembodied voice saying "an emergency has been reported. Please leave the building. An emergency has b..." and it cut out. It was silent for a moment and I figured it was a false alarm. Then another minute or so later, the most annoying alarm starting sounding. You know the ones. Weeeeeeeeeeeep ending in a shrill eeep. I'm still sort of asleep and very cozy, so I stayed in bed waiting for this to cut out too. After two minutes, I gave it another minute. After four minutes, I started hearing doors closing in the hallway. I got up, felt the door (yes, girl scouts taught me something), and after finding it was cool I got dressed and gathered up my cell phone and computer and contemplated whether I should take my knitting for about thirty seconds (it's a small hotel, I felt pretty confident I would get out OK). Then down outside to the 40 degree Burlington rainy night. I gathered with some others from the conference and we wandered over to where the fire engines were parked (no activity with ladders or hoses etc). We were on the side of the hotel, the fire engines in the front, and when we got to the front we saw half the conferene attendees in the lobby. There's nothing more frightening than the sight of a bunch of academics in their pjs at 3 in the morning, trust me. SOme people I didn't even recognize!! After about half an hour the all clear was sounded, and I heard on fireman say that someone pulled the alarm.

The irony is that the gas fireplace in the hotel lobby was blazing away as we all gathered around.

Many pictures were taken, and our keynote speaker on Saturday started by saying "I heard that this was a good conference, but no one told me about the pajama party!" It will go down in the lore for our conference, which is sadly lacking in good lore.

Whenever I go to this conference, I make a pledge to myself that I will meet and have significant conversations with at least three people. I probably got up to ten at this conference, and I really enjoyed that. I'm really a shy person, but now I feel I can walk into the lunches or dinners at this conference and sit down with someone I don't know and actually enjoy myself. This is pretty much of an accomplishment for me.

The travel back was fine, got home at 10:30 last night and it was a long trip but as long as you get home OK it's all good.
Waiting for me was my confirmation for the Black Sheep Gathering...I got into Judith McK McQ's class on 'three wild downs' spinning yak, cashmere and bison. Should be cool.

Little knitting was done, even on the plane. But I will have some things to show you eventually.

How was YOUR weekend?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Shawl we dance?

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I'm blogging this today from snowy Burlington Vermont. I arrived Wednesday to 40 degree weather, it started snowing at about 8 am yesterday and hasn't really stopped since we've got here. No biggie, since I haven't stepped outside of the hotel since I stepped foot on Vermont soil. I might have to just walk outside to see what it is like. The conf. is going well, I've been incredibly busy but it is all worth it to see the fruits of the labor of the all of us who have worked on the conference.

Here's a picture of the shawl that I did with handspun in linen stitch. I think it turned out well. I call this my 'America's Next Top Model" pose!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Blurry Blue Bobbly Bag

blue #4
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
In retrospect, I would have been fine with one fewer row of bobbles on this bag.

But isn't that what the journey is all about?

Anyway, here tis. The bobbles were all made with beer bottle caps, so there is some consistency in how it looks. It ended up being a good shape, and I'm pleased with it. Not sure what I'll do with it but pleased anyway.

I'm off to Burlington, Vermont (brr) til the end of the week!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bobblety Bag

red bag 3
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Here's the red bag after it was felted. It looks pretty cool, actually.

A few more shibori thoughts:

1. I prefer making small 'knots' rather than putting objects in to make the three dimensional fabric. YMMV.

2. However, putting objects in really speeds up the felting process. I have a front loader, and it can take 4-5 cycles of 20 minutes each to get something felted the way I like it. This red bag was felted in one cycle. The blue bag in a cycle and a half.

3. I put this in the dryer, which closed up some of the 'webs' on the tumors. Which is a look I like.

4. I think the 'random' placement works better than a 'planned' placement, since felting pretty much has a life of its own.

I wish I knew what kind of mohair I used. I think it was Paris mohair. YOu can get that at Smiley's yarn, or at least you used to be able to!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Nothing Says 'Easter' Like Shibori Felting

blue #1
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Happy Easter! Although it seems a bit, um, Christmas like in much of the. US.

I knew we would have a pretty laid back Easter, with little on the agenda after enoying our new chocolate stash and making vegetarian eggs benedict (portobello mushrooms instead of Canadian bacon). I also wanted a 'quick' project after so many socks and the shawl (which I will show you soon). So I quickly (seriously, 4 hours) knit up this bag using double Brown Sheep worsted; I cast on 17 stitches, knit for about 12 inches, then picked up stitches all the way around and knit til I ran out of the sapphire blue.

blue #2
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
On a few of the rows, I increased the number of stitches by 1/4 to accomodate the magic of shibori, to wit: place little objects in the knitted fabric (from the back) and rubber band it onto the purse. I wanted to try to make the bag in a way that the shibori didn't make it look too uneven.
(There's an article in the Winter 2006 Knitty so check there if you want to know more about shibori).

Anyway. On this piece I used bottle caps placed in a somewhat strategic way, although with felting who knows what will happen.

red #1
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
So I had some black mohair in the stash and picked up stitches around the top to make a handle. On this one, I just wanted to do a little free form shibori. In addition to tying objects into the fabric, you can also make little knots in the fabric that will come out as bobbles on on the fabric. The shape of this bag will end up being a bit odd, but it will probably make a nice tote for a bottle of wine or a caddy for straight needles (definitely liking that last idea).

red #2
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Here's the red bag once I got all the knots tied in. TIm thinks it looks like knitting covered in tumors. However, once it is felted it will all probably look pretty cool. Here is the pattern for the wine tote/needle caddy: cast on 70 stitches with red mohair, join in the round, knit for three feet, bind off. Pick up 70 stitches with black mohair, knit four rounds, on next round bind off ten, knit 25, bind off ten, knit 25, on next row cast on ten, knit 25, cast on 10, knit 25 and then knit five more rows. Bind off. Place shibori pieces in and felt!

Friday, April 06, 2007

I Call This the "Download" sock

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
'cuz I work on it when I'm at my desk and things are downloading.

And now, on the five minute bus ride into work (blessing 1: living within a 5 minute bus ride to my job). I can get about two rounds done during that time...three if the bus arrives early and hangs out at the bus stop for a minute after dropping off the hoodlums and the local School for Hoodlums.

A week is over (blessing 2: 10% of the spring term is over) and I made it through keeping my Happy Zen mindframe (after much reminding of myself). This after one student told me that having readings on reserve "would not work now or for the rest of class" and another student said "and HOW do you know anything about the advertising industry" to me (after I talked about my 12+ years experience in the industry). On the plus side, though, I've met a lot of really terrific new students who are energetic and creative and fun (blessing 3: remember these kids when the first set of kids loom). I've said 'no' to some people (blessing 4: finding the voice to say 'no'.). Life is short. Life is what we make it. Mine's good. And I'm keeping it that way.

And hey, I finished the shawl...but I'm wearing an orange-red top today and it doesn't look good with it, but a pic this weekend I promise.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Almost Done!

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I've been working pretty much exclusively on the shawl. Right now, it is a little over 15" wide unblocked and will turn out to be about 17" blocked. It needs a few more inches, but it is really getting HEAVY! Linen stitch is a pretty dense stitch. I am really pleased with this, and want to finish it just so I can wear it before it gets too hot out! Although we always have the promise of cold evenings in Oregon, even when it is July and August.

But. I just want it to be done.

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Here is a close up of one side of the of the cool things about linen stitch is that it looks different depending on which side you're looking at. I have been doing so much linen stitch that I dream about it at night. I think that's another reason why I need to finish it off!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Power of Positive Energy

At the risk of sounding all zenned out, I made an agreement with myself to be more positive when I went back to work. To not let the typical student stuff get to me like it did last time. To be the professor that people chose to attend the class, not to be the professor who could only get people to come to class based on threats and punishments.

And to say 'no' to things that waste my time or annoy me.

So far (after two days) it is working. Working well, as a matter of fact. WHen I feel something start to bother me, I've stopped myself and thought "do you want to create negative energy over this, or do you want to keep the positive energy flowing?" And I've gone with the postive energy every time. And it is good!

Let's see if I can keep it up!!!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Control: It is All an Illusion

Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I return to work tomorrow, and have been thinking a lot about control...having it, losing it, finding it, being OK without it. I'm a bit (gross understatement of the year) of a control freak, I guess one would say, and having been in pretty much complete control of my life for the past 45 weeks is going to be hard to give up. Hence, the ruminations on control.

My WIPs were a bit out of control, but finishing the Tina top and then these socks (from the IK Favorite Sock book) puts me in a bit more control on that front. These were made with Sundara's yarn, and I could have used a few more stitches...they're pretty snug. Maybe some blocking would help?

Another control thing...the refrigerator started 'acting up' on Friday...and a call to a repair guy listed in the yellow pages as 'low cost' and 'available same day' resulted in Scott the Appliance Guy coming over at 10 pm Friday night and telling us we need a new relay. It should be put to the rights by Tuesday or Wednesday. Tim, bless his heart, cleaned out the refrigerator and got salvageable things in coolers. We don't miss the fridge that much, but I am startled every time I look into the kitchen and think "who left the fridge doors open"?