Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Zipper Schmipper

I just finished putting the zipper into Eris. It is officially, 100% done. I'm not absolutely sure I love the cardigan, but I enjoyed knitting it. I'm afraid I look a little dumpy. Maybe it's the color. Maybe it's because I have this delusion that my torso is longer than most people's so I added approximately 3 extra inches to the length - That may have been a mistake. For those interested in technical details: I made size E which gave me a generous amount of ease (3 or so inches). I used KnitPicks Merino Style in Nutmeg. It took around 13 skeins (that's with the added torso length). Bottomline cost: $6 for the pattern, $30 for the yarn, and $5ish for the zipper. The pattern from GirlFromAuntie.com was so well written that I never felt lost and I am no longer fearful of the beautiful Rogue.

Ah, the final countdown...Am I referring to the cheesy 80's song? Not this time. No, I am referring to the end of the line for all those knitting projects that aspire to become holiday presents in 2005. I am officially finished. The list was trimmed slightly towards the end, but overall I was successful. The big top secret project was finished with a marathon knitting session on Sunday. I did end up having to knit in front of M, but he is not 100% sure what I was doing, so I will wait until after the holidays to post a pic. As for the 80,000,003 scarves I made, they are all either wrapped, drying, or not going to happen:)

I realized this week that I never took a photo of my ruffled scarf that I finished during Turkey time. (The pattern name is Ruffle Scarf (050). I love this scarf so much and wear it pretty much everyday. The alpaca sure keeps me warm. I've made 1 fingerless mitt to go with it, but I need to order a little more yarn to complete the pair.

So, I'm going to take a couple week hiatus from blogging, but I will return shortly after the holidays - with pictures of finished socks and a few other projects I will be knitting during the next couple weeks.

To wrap up my wonderful experience with Secret Pal Six I wanted to let you all know who has been spoiling me for the past few months. It was Elizabeth at www.elabeth.blogspot.com She did a fantastic job and I feel truly and happily pampered. I encourage everyone to check out her blog and say hello! (if you want to do the next secret pal, go to www.secretpalseven.blogspot.com -- the sign-up deadline is soon, so, if you're interested, don't dawdle).

And a final note....5 months non-smoking!

Happy Holidays to everyone and I'll see you in 2006!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Kate the Cat

This is Kate the Cat from the latest Knitty online magazine. She took just a few hours to make and was given to my darling little niece this past weekend when we visited. Kate was immediately taken by my niece to her crib and apparently that is the mark of acceptance by a two year old. I followed the pattern entirely except I used size 7 needles because I tend to knit a little loosely. The yarn I used was some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride that I had left over from other projects -- this is a great stashbuster! (The specific colors are Lemon Drop, Victorian Pink, and Coffee(?) ). Before her arms, legs, and ears were attached, Kate looked a bit like Mr. Peanut wearing a striped sweater:)

As we were away this past weekend, I did not get much knitting done. The final skein of yarn for the scarf I was knitting (where I had run out of yarn) showed up yesterday so I finished up that scarf last night (mistake rib is so easy and KnitPicks Decadence is so lovely). I'll post pictures soon.

The zipper for Eris arrived yesterday too. I'm readying myself mentally for my first zipper installation -- there is a good chance you'll see a picture of a completed, zippered Eris by the end of the week (no promises, though). The big top secret project I'm working on is stressing me a bit as it is not as far along as it should be with only 11 days until gifting time....Wish me luck!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Nearing Completion

What's this? Eris has two sleeves? Yep! That's what I did this snowy weekend. Finished the second sleeve and wove in a bazillion ends. I have ordered a zipper and once that arrives I will then steel myself for the final step -- sewing a zipper (which I've never done before). I'm just so glad Eris is nearly done-- maybe I'll get to wear her for the holidays!

Here's a little picture of the lovely items my fantastic Secret Pal sent me shortly after Thanksgiving Day. Some delicious chocolate and some sock yarn that I've been wanting to try out! Thanks again, Secret Pal!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

No more sun....

Another pictureless post that I will blame on the lack of sunny natural light not my laziness. I did want to post a "thank you" to my fabulous Secret Pal. She sent me the perfect antidote to all the turkey and family from last week -- sock yarn and chocolate! Of course, I'll take a picture of the yarn soon...not sure if the chocolate will make it until the photo shoot. It is wonderful dark chocolate with orange. Mmmmm, chocolate:) Thank you!

I finished up my Ruffle Edge Scarf during the holiday -- a pic will be forthcoming. I'm getting a little nervous about the larger secret project I am knitting for M's holiday present...He hasn't been going into the lab at night as much as usual so I'm not getting very much top secret knitting time. Oh well, I'm sure it will work out -- It's simple stockinette so it should go quickly.

So, we've been watching the first season of Lost. I can't believe we waited so long to watch it! Now I'm bummed we have to wait for the DVD of the 2nd season...At least we have two seasons of 24 to catch up on:) Anyone else watching some good tv? Is it the weather that makes me want to do nothing but watch tv, knit, and eat comfort food?

The comfort food thing must stop soon though. I was measured the Saturday after Turkey Day for my bridesmaid dress for my sister-in-laws May wedding. As I have put on a few pounds from quitting smoking, I am ordering a smaller dress than what I currently measure. I ordered the dress that matched my pre-quitting-smoking measurements. Not sure if any healthy eating/exercise will occur before the holidays are over. At least I'm starting to consider the idea:)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Here Comes the Sun!

As promised, here are some fairly decently sunlit photos. First up is my Ravenclaw Harry Potter Scarf. I modified the pattern from Atypically.Knit by casting on only 60. I used Caron Simply Soft in Dk. Country Blue and LionBrand Glitterspun in Bronze. I wore it to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Friday night:) Yea! The movie was fantastic and I want to go see it again already.

Next up is my completed Vintage Velvet Scarf from the Scarf Style book. I used the recommended yarn, Muench Touch Me. It is the most glorious yarn! Extremely pricey, but absolutely worth it for the lovely knitting experience. I love this scarf and it is doing a great job keeping my neck warm already. The book suggests I wear this scarf with either a little lingerie top or a fitted tweed blazer...ummmm, as I don't have either those items, I think I'll wear it with my coat:)

Then I have a couple more scarves in progress. This one is Froth which is from the kit Rowan sends you when you join Rowan International. It's my first time using Kidsilk Haze, but I know I'm addicted already! The color is Dewberry and I am really enjoying the easy, fun pattern.

Finally, we have another scarf I'm working on ('Tis the Season). This is a Ruffle Scarf pattern I got from PurlSoho.com - The yarn is KnitPicks Elegance in Lilac. Right now I'm working on the mindless ribbing, but the yarn is so lovely, I'm not bored at all. I also bought more Elegance in Coal to make a second one of these.

I am also working on a larger more interesting project, but as it is for M and I think he reads the blog, I'm not going to post about it for a while.

Thank you to everyone for sharing with me what your favorite projects have been in the past. Personally, I really love my Dublin Bay Socks. They were my second pair of socks ever and I knit them in the sock yarn that inspired me to even learn how to knit socks in the first place.

Now, the next question is: If you could knit any project (regardless of cost of pattern or yarn or time) what would it be?

Non-smoking update: We passed our 4 month quit-versary last week! We are doing well with being smober and can't imagine smoking again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

No Photos

So, I was just reviewing the photos I took today of current works in progress, my finished Ravenclaw scarf (yea! Harry Potter on Friday!), and my recent yarn acquisitions. Well, you won't be seeing those pictures today. They are truly, truly terrible. I think it is the lack of natural light. Chicagoland saw it's first touch of snow today and with it came more overcast skies. I hate how washed out and ugly things look in all the pictures I took. I promise the first day we see sun or at least a weak light, I'll post pics.

The official knitting update is as follows:
Harry Potter Ravenclaw scarf (love it!)

Working on:
Super Top Secret Holiday gift for M (pictures will come after the winter holidays)
Vintage Velvet Scarf for me from the Scarf Style book (I finally bought the Muench Touch Me yarn - I am in love)
Um....Eris cardigan....I swear the 2nd sleeve will happen someday....
Some socks....haven't really been working on them lately...

There you go....my photoless post. To keep it interesting how about I ask everyone a question. Of all the things you've knit, what one finished item do you love the most and why?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Here is a little scarf I knit up from some LionBrand Moonlight Mohair in the color glacier. This is 70% acrylic/30% mohair -- not too bad for LionBrand. It's an interesting yarn made up of two plys - one ply is just fuzzy mohair type yarn, the other ply is a stiffer shiny yarn. I'm a sucker for shiny things:) So, I had bought this yarn over a year ago and I got bored with my current projects last week so I whipped up this little drop stitch scarf for myself. It was a great 2 day project worked on size 11 needles.

Sorry about the picture quality of these photos...sunlight is becoming a very rare commodity in Chicagoland these days, especially the few minutes I have before work to take pictures.

This is just a progress picture of my Ravenclaw Harry Potter scarf. Earlier this summer I had completed the neverending Gryffindor scarf for M and then started the Ravenclaw scarf for myself. Well, I got distracted with other things and kept thinking to myself that the November release date of the next Harry Potter movie is so far away. Well, last week I realized that that late release date is less than 2 weeks away! So, I took a long hard look at my Ravenclaw scarf, decided to frog what I had because it was just a little too wide, and then cast on (this time 60, not 90). I'm using Caron Simply Soft in Dk. Country Blue and LionBrand Glitterspun in bronze (it's so shiny). It is strange I'm working with so much acrylic right now....it's not my favorite, but I feel like I should use up whatever acrylic yarn has crept into my stash. I'm natural fiber only for any future purchases (unless the yarn is shiny).

Speaking of future purchases....there should be a some wonderful new yarn heading its way to me soon. I'll post pics as it arrives. I just realized I didn't get a pic of one gift scarf I'm working on (the penultimate gift scarf - yippee!)...sadly, for the first time ever, I did not order enough yarn and, of course, the yarn I need is now backordered for a couple weeks. I'm hoping it ships soon and that the dyelot isn't way off....I hope, I hope. Oh well, worst comes to worst, I'll frog the scarf and make a hat and mittens:)

I wanted to thank everyone for their thoughtful responses to the news of Kilby's diabetes. To answer Karin's questions....Kilby was always a bit of a butterball, but never overweight -- stout:) Well, all of a sudden in the course of just 3 or 4 weeks she lost her butterball! We decided to take her in just to be on the safe side. She had been more active than usual so we thought she may have just lost the weight naturally, but as the blood test revealed there was more to it. It was funny because the signs of diabetes were there and if she were human I may have been faster to realize something was wrong-- she was drinking water all the time, peeing whenever she was not drinking, and then the weight loss. Oh well....she's doing very well now. Unfortunately we do have to give her insulin 2 times a day now which is a little inconvenient, but we'll adjust. We aren't big partiers and M's in grad school so he's in the labs at night a lot so I'm around to give the shot -- aren't I the lucky one? :) The other kitties are getting used to scheduled feeding times -- another couple weeks and I'm sure this will all become routine.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Scarf, a Mitten, and a Penguin

This past weekend I finished up another gift scarf. This one is in Mistake Rib again using Malabrigo in Marron Oscuro. It is snuggly and soft. I hope the recipient loves it.

Then, I made a mitten. As of now it is a lonely mitten. I hope to make the other soon. I used the mitten pattern in Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns with KnitPicks Ambrosia in Night Sky (this is the same yarn I used for the Celtic Cap). Very soft and warm.

I then made a Pasha Penguin. She is a gift for some friends of mine. I plan on making another as a gift for someone else as well. The next one will probably be pink though:) This pattern was very easy and it took me just Sunday afternoon and evening (that's what I did with my extra hour from the time change).

In sad non-knitting news, my dear little Kilby (the tabby cat) has been diagnosed with diabetes. We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to keep her happy and healthy. The initial cost is a bit overwhelming, but once we have her glucose levels under control the financial scene should improve. There are some big changes to our routine now. Our cats have always been self-feeders, but now we have to do scheduled feedings. Kilby gets special food while the others will get their regular chow. Also, Kilby will now get an insulin shot every morning. Every morning. Ugh. It would feel like a life sentence except that Kilby climbs onto my chest every night while I read and purrs and sticks out her tongue. She loves me so unconditionally and I can not imagine being without her. I know some people will think we are nuts, but we made a commitment to care for our little furry creatures and that is what we will do.

Now, to end on a less morose note, I recently bought a mini-Kacha Kacha row counter off of ebay and I love it! So cute. I also ordered some sock yarn on Friday from Simply Sock Yarn and I got it Monday -- wow! Fast shipping! I got Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Birches, Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn in Jester and Moss. I love them all -- now, if I ever finish holiday knitting maybe I'll get to knit some more socks:)

Today I went downtown to report for jury duty. Unbelievably, I was selected for a jury for a trial that starts (and hopefully ends) tomorrow. More details once the case is settled. All I know for now is that I'm taking home the big bucks! $17.20 a day -- oh yeah!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Secret Pal Strikes Again!

A dreary drizzly day was brightened considerably by the arrival of another package from my super Secret Pal. The box was packed with Halloween goodies! The package contained the following:
An adorable Secret Pal Halloween card, a cute Halloween bag with a black cat on it, some little plastic cups with bats (always fun to have), Black Cat Peeps (didn't even know they made those), a cute little box of fortune telling cards, some black cat Halloween socks (I love holiday themed socks!) and two balls of Tahki Murano (one in black with gold and silver and the other in purples). I love it all! Thank you, Secret Pal -- you definitely are spoiling me:) Now....what shall I make with my new yarn...Maybe a stripey hat? Ummm, for now I think I'll just pet it! Thanks again!

Let's Do The Twist....

I really need to stop looking at patterns online. My future project list long ago passed the unwieldy stage and has now taken on a life of its own (it seems to grow even when I'm not around). But Chicknits has a new design. It's wonderful (though I'm not 100% sold on the fringe, yep, fringe). I need to make this sweater: Twist. I am already considering yarn choices...I'm thinking Cascade 220 Superwash in a nice dark blue. Right now I'm just thinking, not buying. For right now at least:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2 Months to Go until the Holidays.....

With around 2 months to go until the start of the gift-giving season I have been concentrating my obsession, I mean attention, on holiday knitting projects. This weekend I knit like there was no tomorrow. I knit all Friday night. I knit all Saturday afternoon and night (I sleep in so no morning knitting will ever be reported). I knit all Sunday afternoon and night. The fruits of my labor:

A mistake rib patterned scarf using some of the Brooks Farm Four Play yarn I got at Stitches Midwest this past August. This scarf used 2 hanks (270 yards each) and was knit on size 5's. This is my first time knitting mistake rib, but it most definitely will not be my last. (Cast on a multiple of 4 plus 3 extra, then k2p2 every row). The pattern is wonderfully well-suited to the slight variegation of the yarn. It gives interest without being fussy. I'm tempted to keep the scarf for myself, but I know, in the end, it will be given to the person it was knitted for and s/he will give it a proper home.

Next up, we have the beginning of a second mistake rib scarf (told you I would be making more). This scarf has actually been frogged two times already, but I am really thinking third time is the charm. First time it was frogged I was doing a simple pattern of k1p1 one row, knit the next, then just repeat. The stitch looked awesome in this lovely Malabrigo -- I got a foot in and realized it was curling like stockinette. I tried to ignore it for another few inches. I finally realized it was not going to magically uncurl so I had to frog. Second incarnation was mistake rib, but this time I got in around 6 inches when I looked more closely and thought that the scarf needed a little more width. Frogged again. Now, third time, proper pattern, proper width, and fantastic yarn -- smooth sailing, uh, knitting.

Finally, I have a little cap I made last week. It only took a couple nights. I bought the pattern from the same designer who designed Eris (let's not talk about her languishing with only one sleeve). This is the Celtic Cap made with one of the new KnitPicks yarns - Ambrosia in the color Night Sky. Wonderful feel, a little splitty, but so soft I didn't mind (the ingredients of this yarn are: 80% Baby Alpaca, 20% Cashmere). My only hesitation on this project is that I made this for a man (not Papa Smurf, though he looks dashing) and I am concerned it might not be masculine enough (whatever that means). What do you all think?

(It does match my jacket....:)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Quick Update Post

As proof that all the time I'm not blogging, I am accomplishing some things here are a couple finished objects. First, a holiday stocking for my little niece Skye! I am very proud of this stocking -- it only took me a couple nights, but it was my first real foray into two-handed Fair Isle knitting. While I had a little trouble with the short row heel (that seems to be a problem for me whether the sock is foot-sized or stocking sized), overall this was a very fun project -- Hope my sis-in-law is not reading my blog! I got the pattern from the online store theknitter and the yarn is, of course, KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Grass, Cloud, and Cranberry.

This next project was something to amuse myself last night. I didn't want to work on anything hard and I had seen this pattern online. I'm thinking Bobbles the Sheep may go live with someone else, but we'll see -- Laska liked using him as small cat blanket last night! The yarn is just good ol' Sugar & Cream cotton.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Swear I'm Not A Slacker!

It has been close to a week since my last post. Eris is exactly as we saw her last week. My sock is still singular and unfinished. What on earth have I been doing? Well, the pressure to get a holiday gift done finally got to me (and I was distracted with a fingerless glove pattern for myself:) ) The Here and There Cable Scarf from Scarf Style is complete! I really enjoyed the pattern once I got into the rhythm of it.

Official Stats for the project:
Pattern: from Scarf Style book, Here and There Cable Scarf
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay - Stellar
Needle: U.S. size 7

Eris' final sleeve shall be completed soon and I ordered a color card from zipperstop to select a zipper (I read Jen's comment right after I ordered it! I'll be sure to check out Vogue Fabrics as soon as I have a chance). I think I'll cast on for another holiday project tonight. My plan is to always have the following on needles:
a sock;
an easy, no-thinking holiday gift;
a more complicated holiday gift; and
something random for me (sweater, bag, etc.)

I keep looking at my list of holiday knitting...I hope I didn't over do it!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another Package!

I got home today in a terrible terrible mood, but that all went away when I saw another package from my super Secret Pal. Inside an adorable bright blue mailing envelope was a copy of the much-desired Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears, some cute knitting notecards, and a cheery card from my SP. Thank you so much! I've already perused the book and can't wait to get started on my first EZ sweater. You have impeccable talent for making bad days into great days-- Thank you:)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

One Sleeve To Go

Eris is nearing completion. I finished the first sleeve last night and just need to do the other one (unless I want to make an amazingly strange fashion statement). Then I have to order a zipper and sew the hem. And weave in the ends....So, looks like I'll be spending a little more time with Eris -- it's ok, I like her:)

Other toe-up sock is going well -- I turned the heel. This time my short-row heel looks much better.

Holiday knitting is going nowhere right now. I need to keep moving on it. The list is quite long and I don't want to be rushed during the holidays. I think I'll try to work out a schedule to keep me on track. Of course, once Eris is done, the other projects will probably start getting more attention -- she's a demanding project!

I am very upset that it is hot again here in Chicagoland. We had a few lovely days of cool weather, but it's gone! I hate humidity. I hate heat. Bring on Autumn!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wednesday Update

We were away for the weekend so I feel like it has been ages since I posted last. I didn't get a lot of knitting done while we were gone. I'm working on a certain present that I don't want to reveal because someone may know who it is for blah blah blah. Not very exciting for you, sorry.

So, I have gotten a little work done on my new sock. I'm giving up on the other toe-up, but since I didn't have the heart to frog it yet I just started the new sock with the 2nd ball of yarn. The recap on this sock is as follows...
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Grays Corner using the instructions from Sensational Knitted Socks for toe-up socks on 5 needles with a 5 stitch beaded rib pattern. I love this yarn. Mmmmm, Lorna's Laces.....

Next up we have the continued work with Eris. I have just turned a corner with her -- literally! I just completed the first "corner" of the front. I lengthened her a couple inches (I always find things too short waisted), but now I'm afraid she might be a little long! Well, I won't really know until she's finished and blocked....just have the other cabled corner, the hem, two sleeves with cabled cuffs, and the zipper (gulp!) to go:) Where the heck do I get a zipper? Hmmmmmmm.

So my super fabulous Secret Pal sent me an e-postcard today of a shark! Yea! Sharks! Thanks -- it brightened the rainy day:)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sensational Knitted Socks!

Carol (from "group") mentioned to me last week that there was a new sock book coming out that was getting a lot of buzz. I, of course, had the instant and undeniable need for this book, so a quick trip to Overstock and it was on its way. Well, I got the book last night: The title is Sensational Knitted Socks (by Charlene Schurch). This truly is a sensational sock book. The premise of the book is to provide a template for sock knitting which gives the knitter countless potential sock patterns. All of the patterns are cleverly arranged to include instructions for 4-needle, 5-needle, and 2 circular sock knitting. You just pick the basic form of sock you like (e.g., toe-up, cuff-down, short-row heel, heel flap), the size you want (there are numerous charts and tables to assist the knitter), and then the stitch pattern you like (stitch patterns are arranged by number of stitches per repeat -- very handy). Voila!

I have a poor toe-up sock languishing in a state of incompleteness due to the fact that it is my first toe-up sock (and first short row heel) and I did a poor job on both the toe and the heel. Now this sock yarn (gorgeous Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock) will be reborn with the help of Sensational Knitted Socks! I have already cast on using her "easy toe-up" instructions (much easier than the craziness I went through on the last one) and I anticipate having an easy time the rest of the way -- I will get some pictures on here once I finish up the sock and show you the results!

Eris is coming along beautifully, but, due to the high temps (and humidity-blech!) the last few days, working with a heavy merino sweater has not been an attractive enterprise. So, until the weather breaks, Eris will be on a short vacation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Holy Koigu, Secret Pal!

I was walking up to our house after work today and was thrilled to see I had gotten a package from my secret pal - WOW! I ripped open the box and was floored to see two skeins of lovely lovely Koigu -- how did my secret pal know that I have been lusting after this wonderful yarn? Ah the colors, the beautiful colors...And two books! I cannot wait to read them. Secret Pal, you made a blah Tuesday into a wonderful Koiguday:) Thank you so much!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Life is Good

First of all, our new couch and chair arrived. I love them! The couch is actually a kind of daybed so it is nice and deep. The chair is squishy and comfy. I am so happy with them. Sorry about the terrible pictures. I don't know why they look so crappy (and look-- orbs! Our apartment must be haunted:) ) Ignore the stupid cat scratching thing on the front of the chair. It is no longer there as they do not appear to want to ruin our pretty new furniture -- hooray! The wall color works pretty well with the red so for now we will leave it alone. We luckily sold the old couches the next day so our apartment feels so open and stylish.

Friday not only brought our lovely new furniture, but a postcard from my Secret Pal - So exciting! I am having a lot of fun coming up with ideas for my person that I'm spoiling and of course I am thrilled to receive such an adorable piece of mail --Thank you Secret Pal!

So, I spent all weekend knitting with my butt on the new couch. It was great! M and I did take a break and go shopping on Saturday afternoon as we are going to a wedding next weekend and had nothing good to wear. (I am terribly lucky that my husband loves to shop as much as I do). We both found great outfits and then went out for some sushi. Another terrific Saturday with my guy:)

Then more knitting.... Here is the progress I made on Eris. She's looking fabulous and I am enjoying knitting her every step of the way. The pattern is just challenging enough that I need to pay attention, but it is so clearly written that I never feel lost. I'm having so much fun making the cardigan, I'm thinking maybe I should make a pullover too -- or maybe even tackle Rogue!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

To "Eris" is Human....

I just finished the collar! Looky looky! To recap: this is the Eris pattern. I am using KnitPicks Merino Style in Nutmeg. I used size 4 needles for the collar and I will be using size 6 for the body of the sweater. I'm very excited to have gotten this far with no mistakes. The collar took me just around a week with various other knitting going on.

I couldn't resist modeling the collar on Laska as I have become addicted to the site www.stuffonmycat.com (if you need a laugh, go check it out).

Secret Pal Six has begun and I'm already having fun. I have contacted the person I'll be spoiling and my secret pal has contacted me! I've become so preoccupied with what to get my pal -- so many possibilities, such an urge to go overboard:) As for my secret pal, she (or maybe it's a guy....) asked me if there was anything I really would like and honestly I would be happy with lots of different things. I am hankering for an Elizabeth Zimmerman book or some Southwest Trading Co. Bamboo yarn (Carol has been knitting with some at "group" and it is lovely)...but shiney things or chocolate makes me happy too:)

The fabulous new couch and chair will be delivered tomorrow! I. Can. Not. Wait! Yea! Red furniture! It will be hard to concentrate at work tomorrow knowing that the new furniture is there without me. At least the cats will be there to cuddle with it until I get home.

Smoking Update:
Time Smoke-Free: 61 days, 21 hours, 43 minutes and 6 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 743
Lifetime Saved: 5 days, 16 hours
Money Saved: $204.96

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Weekend Update & Secret Pal 6 Questionnaire

This weekend I did not get as much knitting done as I had hoped to -- pesky housework got in the way. At least I am no longer scared of our bathroom:) Official status on current works in progress is as follows:

Eris: I have nearly completed the collar -- I am loving the cables!

Ruffles: All done and I made a matching Kittyville hat (from Stitch 'n Bitch) too.

Irish Hiking Hat: (based on the basic cable hat in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, but with adjustments as detailed by KnitChick). This hat almost ended in tragedy as I ran out of yarn an inch from the end (see first photo), but I bravely ripped back just enough so that I could decrease earlier and complete it. It looks really good and M asked if he could have one too!

Here and There Cables Scarf: I looked at it....that's about it.
Toe-Up Sock: I think I hate this sock. I like cuff down. My short-row heel looks crappy. The yarn is too great to be treated so poorly. :(

Since secret pal assignments are going out in a few short hours, I now give you my answers to the Secret Pal 6 questionnaire....

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

I am mostly a yarn snob. I pretty much avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand, but I am currently using Caron Simply Soft and Lion Brand Glitterspun for a Harry Potter scarf. However, I'm also using merino wool for a few projects right now too. Overall, I would say I'm 95% yarn snob (I have a real weakness for shiney yarns...).

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I do not spin nor am I very interested in learning -- it would cut into my knitting time! I am a reformed crocheter... I spent years avoiding knitting and only crocheted because it seemed so fast. Well, I never really loved the end product of crochet so I have now focused all my attention on knitting. I can now knit as fast as I used to crochet -- yea!

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

Nope (but I am recently a non-smoker, so I'm a little sensitive to the smell of smoke).

4. How long have you been knitting?

My mom first taught me how to knit when I was 7 or 8. However, aside from many malformed scarves and cat blankets I never really progressed until a year or so ago when I became completely and utterly obsessed with knitting. So, 20 years going on 1:)

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes -- I even have a knitting wish list in my Amazon wish list:)

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I love coffee, vanilla, cherry, cinnamon, lemon. Pretty much everything except raspberry. I don't like raspberry. Blech.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

I have more than one:)

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

Not too much aside from knitting. I read, watch movies, and play videogames.... Sometimes I cross-stitch. Not so much any more.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I love 80's music. Huge fan of new wave, e.g. Depeche Mode, Morrissey, the Pixies. I also adore Cat Stevens. And Phish. And the White Stripes.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

That is always such a tough question. I really love all colors. I'm drawn mostly to earthy vibrant colors, like forest green and chocolate brown. I love pinks and purples too. I guess I'm not a huge fan of orange. Well, I like orange....just don't know what to do with it:)

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I'm married to a wonderful man and we have three cats (our furry children).

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

My life's dream (in no particular order) is to be a great wife, a great mother, and an overall good human being. I want to go to sleep at night with no worries beyond what shall I knit next:)

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I love all the KnitPicks yarns I've tried so far and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. Rowan is great too. Malabrigo....mmmm....Malabrigo.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I'm not a huge fan of most cottons. Cotton needs to be blended to make me happy:) Acrylic is generally also on the no-no list (except for the previously mentioned Harry Potter scarves).

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Socks and sweaters. I have a million future projects for both and just as much yarn! I'm really into cables right now.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Socks. I really like knitting most things. I try to always have projects going that demand different levels of attention so that I have one thing I can work on while watching TV, one thing I can take to knitting group, another that needs my full attention, etc.

17. What are you knitting right now?

Numerous holiday gifts (mostly scarves from Scarf Style) and I have just started the Eris cardigan. Oh, and a Harry Potter Ravenclaw Scarf.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

I don't think of them much.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

I tend to knit everything on circulars and double-points. I started knitting a scarf recently on straights and after a few inches switched to circular.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I love bamboo and I have a denise set (plastic) which I'm quite fond of.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

Yup, and I'm a bit addicted to it (and the lovely yarns). I've only just started though, so I'm still learning.

22. How did you learn to knit?

My mom taught me the basics. The rest I learned from books and the internet.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

Well, I have a crocheting UFO that has been ignored since I became more of a knitter than a crocheter. It's a massive afghan that I'm half-way through....I'm really not sure if it will ever be finished....I haven't touched it for at least 6 months....

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

I have many, to name just a few: I love Hello Kitty, the Smurfs, Bucky and Satchel from Get Fuzzy, and the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I'm a huge Simpsons fan too. And Wallace and Gromit. As for animals, I love cats and sharks. I'm also rather fond of penguins and sheep.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

All of the holiday time surrounding the winter solstice:)

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Shark things...yarn...cats...books....:)

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Interweave Knits

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Any of the Elizabeth Zimmerman books, Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, a good stylish kid's knitting book (I have a new nephew and a 2 year old niece).

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??

I love Rogue (but I'm scared of her too)...Hopeful....Hermione's Cable and Bobble Mittens....

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Look What I Can Do!

I proudly present the the first half of one half of the collar for Eris!

Eris was the winner of the informal vote and since she was also my first choice I just jumped right in. So far so good. By the end of this evening I was even comfortable enough with the charts to watch a little Daily Show while I completed chart C. This is only 3 of the 6 charts for the first half, but I think I should be done with the collar by the end of this coming weekend. This pattern is so well written -- I can actually follow the charts! Of course, I had plenty of "help" with this project and now a little photo essay:

Nemo (the cat) came along looking for attention....

I was trying to follow a very complicated chart...

I convinced him to stay at one end of the couch...

He started to cross the line....

He exploded with kitty cuteness all over my pattern! (Shortly after these pictures were taken Nemo was evicted from the couch otherwise you would not have seen so much of Eris).

This past 3-day weekend I got a lot of knitting done. Here are a couple of the scarves I'm working on for holiday gifts. Both of these were very difficult to photograph due to the colors and textures...I'll try to get better pictures once I finish them up.

We got a call today -- our new couch and chair are in! Over a month early -- Hooray! They'll be delivered a week from Friday. I'm so excited:)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Future is so bright....

Amidst the holiday knitting, I have grand plans to knit some wonderful sweaters and cardigans for myself. Only trouble is I can’t decide which of the following I should knit next. The options are:

Eris in KnitPicks Merino Style Nutmeg
Ribby Cardi in Cascade 220 Brown and Blue
Cheesylove in Cascade 220 and Kitten Mohair, Dk. Gray and light blue respectively
Heather in Jaeger Shetland Aran in Sage Green
Veste Everest (Interweave Knits Fall '05) in Jaeger Luxury Tweed in Lavandula (purpley)
Mariah in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Evergreen

What do you all think? I just can't decide!

So, the Easy Peasy Scarf is completed and blocking. I really like how it turned out and I hope the recipient finds it as soft and cozy as I do.

I started two more holiday scarves last night. Unfortunately, the reason I started two was because the first one was just not working. I’m using the Here and There Cable pattern from Scarf Style. I have plans to use it for numerous gifts this year because it is such a neat pattern. I started the first one last night using this awesome hot pink and black yarn from Uruguay (ebay seller 100purewool). I went to extra trouble to get the necessary yardage as this scarf pattern apparently eats yarn. However....the variegation destroys the pattern. Destroys. Blech. M and I agreed that this yarn is better suited for another pattern --and I just thought of what I’ll do with it! I’ll make Ruffles from Scarf Style! I shall call this new scarf Fawkes (the phoenix in Harry Potter) as it will rise anew from the ashes of its former self!

Then I cast on for another holiday gift scarf using Manos de Uruguay (gotta love Uruguayan yarn J ) and the Here and There Cable pattern. So far, this variegation appears to be subtle enough to work. I think it will be fabulous!

The toe-up sock is progressing...I'm loving loving loving the Lorna's Laces! So springy and the color is so saturated. This photo also is photographic evidence of the brutality of a siamese cat on a midnight race around the aparment...my foot (which was on my bed, minding its own business) was apparently in the way of the 6 1/2 pound flying siamese cat. Ouch!