November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've got so much to be thankful for this year.  Mainly that I still have a job so I can almost afford to do the things I want to do, even if I've had to cut back a bit.  I'm grateful for family, friends, gatherings whether there's a holiday or not, and for good health.

The festivities start at 3p so I have a little time to show you what I've done - just in case you stay awake after dinner and want to read a little.

The booties that I had to make 4 times are done.  I used little flowers instead of the lady bug buttons because I couldn't figure out which way the lady bugs should face.  It was silly drama, but the bows are cute anyway.

One Bacchus sock is done.  It was a little more intricate than what I'm used to so it required me to pay close  attention.  The sock is worked from the toe up, and the heel is wrap & turn.  I don't have a lot of experience with toe up because I find it fiddly, but I got through it.

The socks are right and left specific and I got the right sock done.  This is the view from the right side of the right sock:

Here's the left side of the right sock:

The only thing I have an issue with is the hole in the heel from the wrap and turn.  I'm sure I'll figure something out by the time I get to the second sock.

I love the 3D look of the sock.  I thought there was a bobble missing, but according to the pattern I'm right even if it looks wrong.  Bobbles get annoying after a while, but they're small and the effect is cute.

So I'm thinking that I'm also grateful for being able to read a pattern, execute a pattern and make my knitting look like the picture in the book.  I'm still working on my math skills, but if I had everything I'd have nothing to look forward to.

Off to finish my dish now (baked macaroni and cheese).  It's my only claim to fame as far as meals go.

Enjoy your day everyone!

November 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today is my 23 year anniversary at the job.  Let me just say at the outset that I'm grateful to have a job that lets me buy yarn so I can knit.

Twenty three years means that I'm only 2 years away from joining the Quarter Century Club which means free lunch once every year with the rest of the Quarter Century Club members.

It means that I can start looking forward to retirement and not behind at all the reasons and times I could have lost my job, like when the stock market crashed (twice), or when my whole department quit or was relocated to Canada (4 times).

And it means that I can keep my yarn habit for 8 more years before I have to start living off my stash and eating cat food, and potentially having a stash of only acrylic yarn.

My job allowed me to raise my son as a single parent and not have to skimp on the babysitter and thereby leaving him home alone in his crib with the warning not to open the door for strangers.  It allowed me to keep him in parochial school all these years (he's in 11th grade) and to keep him (an only child) in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed while my shoes come out of Pay Less.

It allowed me to buy this shack house that needs a million dollars in repairs.  It paid for the new boiler, oil tank, roof and some new windows.  It's also going to help me pay the plumber who is on his way here tonight to have a look see why my walls are crying and then make me cry when he gives me the estimate.

My job keeps me aware of time passing, and never fails to let me know that I forgot something, lost something, need to keep track of something and have enough money to do something.

All I have to do now is live to 'the day'.  I get all tingly inside thinking about all the things I will do after retirement.  Not to mention all the knitting/spinning I will get done.

So Happy Anniversary to me and Happy Thanksgiving (and knitting) to all!

November 23, 2009

I Got Nothing ...

I did a whole lot of knitting this week and last week. Believe me, I was knitting at full tilt and I was waiting for a finished object, hoping and absolutely sure I'd have something to show. And I ended up with a whole lot of ... nothing.

Last week I was working on a baby sock, the one on the right. A few days later I knit the second sock, the one on the left.

They are obviously two different sizes and I obviously forgot which size needle I used. No problem, they're a quick knit and I have the pattern memorized. So I set off to make the second sock (the third, actually) and got this:

Three socks in three different sizes is a feat that can only be accomplished by someone who thinks they know it all - me. This is why they teach math in school, so you'll know when the measurements are a little off.

Out of frustration, I watched my 'learn to use the charkha' DVD. The whole time I'm watching the video, I had my charkha all set up and with almost every sentence the teacher made, I realized I'd done something wrong. OK, got that wrong ... rewind ... got that wrong too ... rewind... oop! got that wrong for sure!

So I practiced. I spun and watched the I did everything the teacher said to do. When she moved her hand, I moved mine. When she drafted, so did I. And I turned the crank 1/4 turns just like she did. I watched, paused, cranked, play, pause, draft, pause - you get the picture.

This is what I got:

Don't even ask. Even the cat doesn't want it and she'll eat any fiber.

So I'm going back to the Seascape and the Bacchus sock and the fourth baby sock. If I'm lucky I'll finish something his month.

Oh, and did I mention that I've got NO holiday presents made? I've got streeeeeeeeeeeeess!

And let me not leave out that the plumber is coming because there's a leak behind my kitchen wall. Gee, I wonder if they're going to have to tear the wall down or what. The only way I can pay the plumber is with wool, so I'm praying he'll take some roving as payment.

November 11, 2009

Freaking Cat!

I had the world by a string, I was sitting on a rainbow of finished objects. I was content in knitting heaven when I finished my second bootie.

But I went to get the camera and I heard this thumping noise. It was Little Miss Kitty playing with something - banging it up against the wall. And the she was laying down with it. I didn't pay much attention.

And then I noticed it was green - and white - and OH MY GAHHHHH!!!! NO!

Are you kidding?! Nooooooooooooooooooooooo way!

Guess which one she got?

How'd she get the button all he way over there? Um ... I don't know ... maybe she pulled a stitch out while she held one half of the bootie in her fangs while she scratched at it with her back claws.

The only reason she's still alive is because I can knit pretty quick when I'm trying to avoid tying her to a brick in the middle of traffic.

Fortunately, the third bootie was done in record time and Little Miss Kitty managed to keep all 9 of her lives.

For now.

November 09, 2009

All In A Day's Work

On Friday night after work, I reached into my stash of inherited acrylic yarn, yeah. Thanks Mom. Anyway, I needed a baby blanket and none of the other yarns in my stash was enough to make a blanket with. I didn't have enough of one color and I had an idea about what I wanted to do. Something fast and simple that I could make in a day or two that wouldn't involve a crochet hook.

This is what I came up with:

Made with Bernat Super Value, size US #8 needles and more of a cradle blanket (24"x30"). I can't say I'm not glad to see the yarn go. It's alternate blocks of knit and purl. No pattern. I'm going to add a few embellishments just to spruce it up a bit, but I'm not sure what they'll be yet.

Then I found out that I actually have 2 weeks to produce some baby gifts, so I cast on Saartje's Booties:

Cute little pink hearts were an impulse buy, but so appropriate. I modified the pattern so that the buttons and straps are sewn on instead of making button loops. The baby is 6 weeks old, so I figured there would be some kicking involved and why bother with fussy straps. I used Bebe Lang in green and white. The buttons came from Michael's.

And while I was blocking, I found this scarf that had been hanging around waiting forever to be blocked:

The color is not so good, but it goes from a creamy white, to pink, to beige, to brown. This is the Kauni Multi Color yarn which was left over from a shawl I made my Nana. It's not so soft, but I hear it softens up with wear. Nice. Someone isn't going to have skin on their neck by winter's end!

I made this scarf so long ago that I don't remember what size needle I used, but I do remember that the pattern was free at the Knitting Daily site. You have to be a member to get the pattern, but it's the beginners entrelac scarf. I also have a pattern for an entrelac hat, so I'm going to make a matching hat if there's enough yarn.

After everything is dry and pretty I'll post more pictures. Since I'm on a roll who knows what all I'll make these next few days. Of course, I'll get back to my Seascape scarf this week. I usually work on it at lunchtime at work, and I'm going back to work tomorrow.

Oh the things I get done when I stay at home! I wish I could be home every day, but it's going to be about 3,650 and some odd days before that happens.

Too bad for me!

November 05, 2009

New Acquisition

I am going to freely admit that I have a problem with 'having', and once I get my mind set on something having to do with fiber, I just can't let it go. I'm also obsessed with spinning lace weight in the most expedient way possible.

So I went and bought myself an Indian Book charkha:

It's about the same size as a textbook and light as a feather. Once inside, there's lots to see:

Unfortunately, I don't know how the heck it works, how to make it work or how not to hurt myself trying. So far, I've spun crap and I'd show it to you except the trash went out yesterday.

All I managed to do successfully is cut my finger (not on a spindle) and stab myself quite a few times on the spindle. I'm at the beginning of the learning curve and if there was a test on setting the charkha up, I'd get a zero.

Anyone with advice or knows a teacher in the Bronx, please drop me a line before I kill myself.

Meanwhile, I've got a Saturday deadline to make some baby stuff, tomorrow is Thursday and I haven't even begun! Oy!

November 01, 2009

All Done

The Baltic Sea Stole is done and ready to go. I don't know what impresses me more, the fact that it's even prettier than when I made it last time, or the fact that it looks good even in ivory.

Usually, my stoles in solid colors look drab, but not this stole.

The pictures were taken in the last rays of light (there was no sunshine today), but the picture sure does show off the pattern.

I'm glad it's done. I hope my friend Audra will love it and send me some pictures of it when it makes it's debut at her wedding in Costa Rica.

Baltic Sea Stole, by Faina Letoutchaia
Exquisite Yarn by Fiddlesticks Knitting, 50% merino, 50% mulberry silk (soft!)
Size: 26x72 (approximately), Needles: US #7

The next thing on my needles is Seascape which can be found at Knitty's website. It's completely charted and I'm a bad chart reader. You'd know that if you ever heard me talk about my math skills.

It was ripped back once, some of the rows have been done at least 2 times (sometimes 3 times!). The only thing that keeps me from ripping my hair out is that I love working with my new Signature Needles.

I'm making this with one of the 2 skeins of Exquisite in Wisteria by Fiddlesticks Knitting. I doubt it'll take more than that, but I'm not sure. The only advice I can offer is prepare to count a lot of boxes, and make sure you use a stitch marker in the middle of the chart.

Well, on and off rain today kept me from raking the leaves today. I can only pray that a strong wind comes along and takes all the leaves out of my yard. But the bad weather made it a good knitting day.
Enjoy your week!