Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quickly Quickly

Quick post before I start a busy morning: I've been pretty good at knitting ten minutes a day on Hanami until I woke up this morning and realized I FORGOT yesterday! Yee! I had sort of a busy day with a speech to a local Rotary and then some stuff at school, followed by an outing to our local AAAAAAAAA baseball team's game but I FORGOT.

I feel a bit guilty.

But not that much. The 'ten minutes a day' rules say that you can't make up a day, but since it is knitting and there are no rules, I'll go easy on myself.

Today: working out, errands, teeth cleaning, and then making up the knitting that you're not supposed to be able to make up.

Pictures soon. Lots to show you. Can I just tell you: I love DiCentra Designs!

PS. My friend Kim in Georgia is thinking about opening a 'knitting business' that may or may not involve selling products. What else could a 'knitting business' entail, do you think? My only suggestion was a 'knitting movie night' where people come and watch a movie and knit, and pay you for the pleasure. What ideas do you have?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Perfect Summer


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
Sometimes Summer in Oregon can be breathtakingly beautiful. We've had a week of Perfect Summer: blue sky days, with the high of maybe 75, the lows at night going down to 45 or 50, perfect sleeping weather. We're so lucky to have this weather, and we've been enjoying it!

Tim and I are trying to get into a little better shape this summer. We've been 'power walking' every other day...doing a 2-3 mile walk in the hills around our house. Today, on an in-between day, we did a glorious paddle on Fern Ridge Lake. We started the paddle in the wetlands, where we saw countless birds, then went out in the open lake where a breeze was blowing little waves our way, and then finished on the canal: a straight shot in the sun through to the take out point. We've paddled a few times this summer but this was the first real tough paddle we've done, and it felt great....even my unintentional 'wet exit' at the end (and yes, it is what it sounds like).

I've also been knitting, of course...I finished this sock which I started mumblemumblemumbel ago...I think it is from the book 'Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn" or something like that...I have to say this sock is a lot of effort with not a whole lot of payoff, so it has been slow going.

I've been knitting on my Hanami shawl too...I do at least four rows a day, more if I'm in the mood, and I'm almost done with the basketweave part (which means I'm almost halfway done).

Also on the needles are a pair of plain jane socks and a top from the new Debbie Bliss book. And the lace leaf top is done, but needs ends woven in.

I'm reading a book about the Gardner Museum theft...well written but I keep sort of dozing off. But now I'm off ot knit some Hanami so that should wake me up!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Socks


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
These socks look a bit washed out, I know, but they are/were a good summer knit because of the high amount of bamboo in the fiber. Nice and light. The yarn is from Posh Yarns in the UK, which is a lovely company owned by a lovely lady and I'm sad to say I won't be buying any yarn from her for a while.

Nothing personal to Posh (or to any of the dozens of sock manufacturers represented in my stash), but my stash organizing? It is sort of suggesting to me that I have enough sock yarn. For a while.

How much you ask? Well, I finished organizing the sock yarn into the file cabinet. If I knit a pair of socks every two weeks, let's just say I have enough sock yarn to keep me busy for maybe 4 or 5 years.

But then that doesn't count the solid color yarn in the newly-christened solid color yarn bin.

Or the box of Koigu in the closet (it is a little box, honestly).

Or the big bag of Wollmeise in the closet.

So let's just assume that I don't need sock yarn for a while.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brilliant!


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
So last night, Tim had an awesome idea.

We had a four-drawer metal file cabinet in our office. We've recently transferred everything out of this to a nicer wood file cabinet in our office. The idea was to either get rid of the metal one or move it into the garage.

But for whatever reason, last night Tim said "Why don't you use that for yarn?"

Now, dear readers, yarn storage at our house is, um, interesting. It started off quite well with two hanging baskets in the guest room closet. Then expanded to four or five (or ten) plastic bins. Then to various bags scattered around the house. Recently, 'storage' has been 'throw it on the guest bed and take care of it later.'

Later? It's now.

So: I have four drawers: one for purples, one for blues, one for reds, one for multicolors. The rare oranges go in the red drawer and the greens go in the blue drawer. No yellow to speak of. Here is a shot of the purple drawer (some things are in plastic).


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
This is great in so many ways. It really gets me organized, as opposed to 'find places to put the yarn so we look like we live a sort of normal life." Even better, when I get a hankering for, say, red-pink-gold yarn, instead of going online to see where I can buy some, I can open the red drawer and see that oh, I have one two THREE skeins in that colorway!

And to make myself even more organized, I've been writing down an inventory in a little notebook, and starring the yarns that I think I might want to work with in the near future. The little book was part of a Woolgirl sock package, is a great size and come with a little pen that fits in to the book. And of course..

First thing this morning, i lost the little pen.

At least I get a thumbs up for trying!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Wonder of Books

One of the best parts of my job, and I'm the first to admit I'm a pretty lucky person for this, is that I get summers 'off'. 'Off' in that I don't teach, I'm not expected to attend meetings, and (of course) I don't get paid. But there's a lot to do: summer is the best time to get research done, to think constructively about changes to classes, to do manuscript reviews, and to just sort of catch up on all the stuff I let lag during the school year.

But I can do that all on my own time. The best part is that I can curl up and read for hours at a time. And not read manuscripts or tests or reports or proposals but thick, rich, wonderful novels. That's what I've done for a lot of this past week, my first week 'off'.

And I'm on a roll. Last weekend: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. This week: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruis Zafron, who wrote Shadow of the Wind. And this weekend, I've started The Secret History by Donna Tartt....an old book, but one I've never read.

All these books take you places, present you with mysteries, and introduce you to characters that get under your skin. I have to put their books down and get up and do something just to extend the pleasure of reading their words.

I think sometimes when I read during the regular school year I have such a 'get things done' mindset that I don't take the pleasure in a great novel that I should. So this summer I'm going to try to, well, wallow in the wonder of a great book. Join me?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

BSG


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
I went to BSG at opening time yesterday and spent a little bit of money. Just a bit though :-). Here are my overall thoughts on BSG.

1. I love these two colorways from Dicentra Designs. I've heard of this dyer but I don't think I've bought anything from her. The one on the left, Pellenor, is very reminiscent of Wollmeise imho. The one on the right, Colorwheel #7, is her 'nova' yarn. These are both 100% superwash wool, and have 383 yards. And guess the price? Go ahead guess.

2. $16. YES!


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
3. I made a promise to myself not to spend more than $20 on a skein of sock yarn, and I was pretty surprised at the number of indie dyers...that I've never heard of before...that were pricing their yarns at $28. Not sure if that is a good strategy or not.

4. Lots of natural colored rovings, but I went for this purple roving from Oregon Trail Natural Fibers in Clackamas. Believe it or not, I have no purple roving in my stash.

5. To the left is 3 hanks of hand dyed spun silk in a purple that matches very nicely. This is from The Fiber Addict in Donnelly, Idaho, and the owner (Mary) recommended spinning the silk in with wool. Which I love as an idea.


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
6. Mary at The Fiber Addict was also selling these 350 yard hanks of superwash. I think what I might do is hold two strands together while knitting, for a sock...so it would go from solid red to red/purple to solid purple to purple/blue to solid blue. Could look great. Great price too: $4.25 per hank so pair of socks for less than $13.

7. Fewer vendors, I think, and many vendors seem to have brought less product. There were more vendors outside in tents, though, so maybe I'm wrong.

8. I do think there were fewer animals being shown though.


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
9. Of course the busiest booth was the Socks the Rock booth. What I love about the BSG is that the STR ladies bring mill ends...skeins with little boo boos, that they sell at a greatly reduced price. HEre are two medium weights in two purply colors (that have to end up as some type of sock, don't you think? together?) and what I think might be a mill end of their flamingo colorway, but that could be Lorna's Laces.

10. I didn't even look at the rest of the booth at STR, because I was trying to keep to my '20 or under' rule.

11. There was a lot of alpaca stuff there. Not so tempting when you have your own source.


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
12. I've bought stuff from Stitch Jones online, but was excited that she was there as a first time vendor. She's lovely, with great yarn at good prices.

13. This tomato colored yarn is called 'Salmon Dave' and is 400+ yards for the magic price of $20. I hope she has a good show.

14. I think some of the vendors were a bit worried about crowds, but I saw lots of out of state license plates in the parking lot and hopefully that bodes well for the Gathering.


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
Finally, I had a great visit with Sheila and bought a new orifice hook, as I've given all of mine away as thank you gifts to various people. So I bought a new one, think and sleek and just gorgeous.

Sheila and I are cooking up a surprise for the Sock Summit!!! Sheila and Michael will be vendors and want to do something really, really special for the Summit and I agreed to help. I won't spill the beans but will give you little hints as we move through the summer to the Summit!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Growing!


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
The lace leaf top is going along just fine. I have finished the waist decreases and now am doing the 'middle' part, followed by some increases and then it should all come together! I do love this method of construction...who does not love seamless knits?

And the color, while not my first choice of colors in any situation, is growing on me too. I have my colors done *&^ years ago and this color is actually one of my 'swatches'...so I know it will look good on me. It is a good color for summer.

I knit some yesterday on the Hanami (yes, I am absolutely going to finish that this summer) and then was distracted because: we have a Wii! Yesterday was our anniversary and I gave Tim a Wii. He gave me a beautiful watch and necklace. I clearly got the better end of the deal.

So we have the Wii sports disc and we also have Mario Cart...what else do you recommend for the Wii? I don't think we're Guitar Hero type people, and no first person shooter games, but let us know what you've found that you like!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Open Letter to Summer


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
Dear Summer,

I know we've just recently become re-acquainted, but I was just wondering, do you want to be my new BFF?

I can't remember a time when I've been so eager for you to arrive, and so happy to be able to have you here. I'm not sure why (well, I can figure out some of the why's, all I have to do is reread my blog) but I'm ready to embrace you with wide open arms. Even on a day like today, when you're cloudy and you might get rainy but you might not, I want to just give you a big ol' hug.

Maybe it is because I read one of the best books ever over the past week (The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton) and it felt great to just get immersed into a book. Maybe it is because today I spent two hours knitting Hanami...look...here it is held up to a window....and I felt in control of the lace. (And just as an aside, why does every one promote sock knitting in summer? Because lace? It rocks.) Maybe it is because I've found the best creamsickles (sp?) at the grocery. Maybe it is because of some great talks with some good people over the past few days. Maybe it is because I think I could feel, literally feel, my blood pressure return to normal today. Who knows. And does it really matter?

Summer. I have a bit of a crush on you. But I think you could tell that.

Love from your friend,

me

Monday, June 15, 2009

BSG!

For some reason, I thought the Black Sheep Gathering was the weekend after this coming weekend, but what do you know, it starts on Friday!

Any ideas on what I should keep an eye out for?

Looking forward to seeing Michael and Sheila!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

How many socks


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
are too many socks?

I love knitting socks. I love knitting socks for me. I love knitting socks for Tim, but I don't knit quite as many for him as for me since I tend to pick out yarn I would like, and not yarn he would like (I do sometimes though honey!).

I don't make socks for family because there have been some negative comments about knitted socks. I have knit socks for my students when they graduate.

But mostly they're for me.

So how many socks are too many? I probably don't wear the first pairs I made...should I give them away? Should I switch to making other fun things using sock yarn, like gloves? And then how many would be too many of those?

Oh, the dilemma!

Socks: basic socks in Yarn Pirate yarn. That's all I got.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Lace: And I'm not Yoke-ing!


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
OK lame title. Apologies.

One thing I've always wanted to knit was a top where the yoke was knit first and then stitches picked up for the body. I just think it is a cool type of construction. So when I saw the pattern for the Leaf Yoke Top in the new issue of Knit 1, I knew that I had to give it a try.

The pattern in Knit 1 uses a charcoal yarn with metallic in it, because nothing, NOTHING, says summer like dark yarn with metallic threads. So I had this green CALMER in the stash that I bought very cheap from Janette's Rare Yarns in the UK because the color is discontinued. I'm no designer, but I can't help but think that light green is a better color for a. a summer top and b. for a leaf motif.

So I finished the yoke.... it is a thirty row LACE pattern and can I had a woot woot for me since I knit a whole lace thing and didn't complain once?

I can't hear you! I have all day.

OK then, thanks. Anyway...it turned out good (not great...it is Lace after all and there a few little errors, but I think those errors can be in the back of the sweater). Now comes the picking up of stitches and then it is stockinette a go go til it is done.

I'm looking forward to it. And it also opens up a lot of nice design possibilities with that yoke (I'm thinking cables. Who's with me?)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Classes Over

One final on Tuesday and then hello summer!

It has been a busy, stressful but good week. Lots of grading, one final master's defense, a really hot week where the University 'water cooled' buildings could not keep up and so hot hot hot in all the classes, some great talks with students, some good grant news and best of all, news that a dear dear friend will be inducted into my school's Hall of Achievement in the fall.

There is some knitting...the wedge sweater is blocked and almost dry, a new pair of socks cast on for as a pair is done, and a new sweater with Blessed Rowan Calmer on the needles. And the promise of good good knitting time coming soon.

I haven't felt this happy and at peace for quite a while. Of course I have a faculty meeting this afternoon which should shoot it to hell. But let's enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Over the Rainbow


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Originally uploaded by kbshee
I used to belong to lots and lots of sock clubs.

And then I sold a bunch of those socks in a Rav destash.

Important lessons learned: we sometimes share taste with another person, we sometimes do not. Tread carefully in the Sock Club waters.

So now I belong to the Woolgirl Sock Club and to the just-finished Wollmeise Sock Club (I wonder if she'll do another). I also signed up for some of Woolgirl's "Wizard of Oz" inspired kits, and now I really wish I had signed up for them all.

This is "Over the Rainbow", filled with rainbow yarn, a journal, and various other 'over the rainbow' themed goodies (including Skittles!). So fun...and such a nice happy thing to find in the mail today.

It looks like the Oz kits are sold out, but check out other clubs from the amazing Jen at Woolgirl.