Monday, December 29, 2008

Playing Catch Up

I only have time for a quick post because I'm busy, busy, busy! But it's been a while and I've finished a few things so I wanted to try to get back in the swing of things.

With Christmas successfully behind me (whew!), I have turned my attention to a myriad of abandoned projects and am trying to conquer a few WIPs before the year ends. What can I say... I'm definitely a wait 'til the last minute kinda gal. So with the assistance of my annual sinus infection which requires me to do lots of nothing, I've been knitting! Finally.

The pictures aren't the greatest because, well, I'm not a good photographer to begin with, but I've had problems with the lighting and I don't want to show my sick face either. But I figured if I kept waiting for great pics, I may never blog again.

First, my Wavy Feathers Wimple knit with The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in "Horned Beetle" that I knit in just a few days last week. (It was my pre-Christmas de-stresser.)

Wavy Cowl Cowl

This was a really fun knit. It was like knitting the leg of a sock without having to worry about the heel or matching sock. It's also a very warm variation on a regular scarf. I plan to carry this with me to our spring baseball games with the unpredictable evening winds.


Next up is one I started a few months ago but just pulled out to finish for the beginning of the winter Seasons of Lace KAL. It's a Finnish pattern called Hyrna Herborgar. I don't remember if I mentioned here before or not (and don't have time to look, sorry) but it was a great lace knitting experience.
Hyrna Herborgar
December 2008 004
Hyrna
I used 1 skein of Handmaiden's Mini Maiden in Cedar. I am thrilled with the results! Unfortunately, I haven't really been able to capture the color and I can't get a son to properly model it for me. (Go figure.)

I'm also determined to finish this sweater, Baby Cables and Big Ones Too (Ravelry link) before the end of the year.

Baby Cables

I'm using the wonderful Rowan Calmer and I think I may actually get quite a bit of where out of this sweater. Unless, of course, I spill something on it right away.

Now I must go begin the sleeves. I have a pair of socks to finish this week too! Then there's the planning and sorting of what WIPs I'm going to finish and what I'm going to frog and forget... not to mention planning what I'm going to start next. Lots of plans... lots of ideas... and I promise to do better about sharing!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

40 Degrees and Raining!

And yes, that is big news for a Southern California afternoon. We even live high enough above sea level that we have an actual possibility of snow tonight. Snow! Here! It's rare, but it has happened. I woke up to snow one morning about 20 some years ago and nearly fell over at the sight. It was a pretty decent white coating too... definitely enough for a fair snowball fight. It was pretty much gone by noon, but I'll never forget it.

Anyway, it never made it out of the low 40's today and has been raining off and on all day. I can't remember the last time we had cold weather and rain at the same time. I got a chance to throw on a handknit scarf for more than a touch of style but I do have a question for you cold weather dwellers...

How do you manage shopping when you're wearing a winter jacket? What a pain.

Anyway, I had to take my teens out because their youth group was having a formal Christmas party and they needed some new pants.


(Ignore the short sleeves... they always wear short sleeves.... we're in So Cal. And I had to go on YouTube to learn how to tie a tie.) Don't they look sharp? Don't they look like they can't stand being near each other? They can't. It's sad really, but I figure they'll outgrow it. Someday.

Maybe it's their different personalities?


Maybe. We got a new youth group leader at our church about 4 months ago... he didn't even know they were related until last week. Niiiiice.

Anyway, I whipped up these mitts out of a hank of Noro Cashmere Island. Wonderful stuff.


They don't match at all though. I was going to buy a second hank to try for 2 matching pairs but I kinda like the mismatched look. They were super quick to knit so I may grab some more of the yarn to have on hand for gifts.
Well, DH just got home and we have a date for some internet gift shopping. Gotta run.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Good Start

Today was an extremely lazy day... but I did manage to engage my youngest in arranging our first and most important Christmas decoration.




Then he told me the story and acted it out over and over again... very gently with the ceramic pieces. The tree will wait another day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Throwing in the Needles

I'm gonna be up front and tell you all a little something about me. I'm not a fan of big holidays. I especially don't like the big ones that slip up on me when I'm not looking. I found myself at a loss for words today when trying to explain to a friend how I could not know that Christmas was only two weeks away. But such is my life.

I was chatting with one of my son's teachers this morning (one that I was going to knit up some cute Koigu mitts for) and became painfully ashamed of my empty hands as her other students traipsed in the room with gifts. Today was the last day of classes before Christmas! I re-lived this experience 3 more times over the course of the day. The last being when I dropped off my youngest for Awana and realized that we never did make the cocoa-in-a-jar gift that we were going to make together for his leader. (Actually, I think he has one more week of Awana so I may be okay here.)

Anyway, I have managed to knit one gift. But aside from that, if you think you might be getting something handknit from me this year... think again. I give up. I tell myself every year I'm not going to knit gifts and then I get all crazy and go for it anyway. But I'm stopping the insanity now and returning to the relaxing, selfish knitting that brings sanity and justice to my world.

And since Christmas is only 2 weeks ago, I'm thinking we better get a tree. I'm pretty sure there's no way around that one.



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I'm Old... and more Knitting

So, I took my oldest son to the DMV last week to get take his written permit test (don't ask)... and while I was there I discovered that I am no longer able to pass their vision test without my glasses on.

Actually, I think it's time for a new prescription because mine are starting to give me a headache. This time I want to get a pair Kawasaki 704s... otherwise known as the Sarah Palin glasses. Not because I'm a fan... but because I love rimless glasses and I'm just that much of a dork.




I generally only wear my glasses when I'm reading or knitting (or driving or on the computer too much), so I usually leave them in my knitting basket. If I'm lucky. If I'm not then I leave them wherever I happen to take them off which then results in much searching the next time I want to see something.

However, I made a terrible mistake the other day and wore them into the bathroom where I saw myself in the mirror. I did not look like I thought I looked. For starters, my complexion is not quite as smooth as I thought and my eyebrows needed to be plucked. But even worse... much worse... were the stray hairs growing where I didn't know I had hairs growing. I mean, sure I remember plucking a stray hair off my chin at one point some time ago. But I did not know that more had joined it and were taking up residence.

I feel old.


On a lighter note, I started a new sweater. The pattern is Baby Cables and Big Ones Too (Ravelry link) and I'm using Rowan Calmer. I'm hoping that a cotton sweater will get more wear than my wool ones do. The sweater is knit from the top down in the round and is fun, fun, fun so far.

Vanishing Cables

Vanishing Cables
But now I must take a break for a wee bit of Christmas knitting (which, truth be told, I'm doing mainly to justify buying some yarn).
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
Go Longhorns!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I truly can't believe that it's Thanksgiving al-ready!

I woke up feeling so thankful for my family... and have spent the rest of the morning trying to remember that I'm thankful for all these noisy little boys. All here together. Watching football and taunting each other. Throwing footballs (in the living room) and leaving dirty dishes everywhere. Ahhhh... I suppose these will someday be the good ol' days.

I sent one out to clean out a car... and he has mysteriously attracted all his brothers to follow so they are now chasing each other down in the front yard with a nerf football. Sixteen down to six. The older ones teaching the younger ones. And there is laughter. (Of course, I know how this goes... soon there will be tears and wrestling... but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.)

Anyway, I finished a sweater last week but have been slow to post it because I'm so disappointed that I didn't measure better. Or at all.



The pattern (Opulent Raglan) was wonderfully written and a pleasure to knit. I'm sure if I had bothered to check my gauge or pay heed to that nagging feeling that the underarms were a bit snug, it would be perfect. Or maybe if I had a better understanding of my body shape and adjusted the waist shaping accordingly, the waist shaping wouldn't start at my bustline. I'm thinking all these things would've made a difference. But I didn't do any of them so I get what I got so to speak.

Actually, I think this sweater was doomed before I even started. My real problem began in the LYS when I found the yarn I liked (Lana Grossa Cool Wool) but chose a shade of purple that I wasn't completely comfortable with. Don't ask me why. I do things like that quite often, and the LYS owner laughs at me because I'm always exchanging colors the day after I make a purchase. But this time I cast on right away, and spent the next few weeks convincing myself that I liked the color... which was just a bit too plum for my liking.


It's certainly not unwearable, but it's such a great sweater that I wish I had gotten it right. I suppose I could frog and start over, but uh, yeah... that's not gonna happen. It's just not. I'll re-knit the whole thing with a color I like before I do that.

Plus, I've decided to actually learn from my mistakes on this one and use it as a reference for future sweaters.

Oh, and I didn't do the ruffled sleeves because I didn't know if I could pull them off (especially in plum). I'd also like to add some length to the sleeves (but I probably won't do that either). Sigh. Truth be told, I was counting on some major stretching during the soak and block process that just didn't happen. Such is life.

Well our impromptu football game has come to a peaceful end (which never, ever happens so I'll be thankful for that) and they have all crashed back here in the living room... for more professional football. What joy.

Later we will go feast with my family. I'm in charge of bringing bread. Fortunately, my mother is quite aware of my limitations in the kitchen.

I hope you all enjoy your day... and if you have a moment, please share with me what you are thankful for today. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

And more knitting...

I actually finished these socks a week or so ago, but was trying to pace myself with blog fodder.

Alana Toe-Up Socks

Pattern: Alana Socks by Wendy Johnson
Yarn: Tempted Yarns fingering in Moonlight
Size 0 needles

It's a toe-up pattern which I'm starting to like but it still doesn't come as naturally to me as the traditional top-down. I really like the style of the socks and think they'll look great with my black mary-janes. The yarn was wonderful. Of course, I rarely meet a sock yarn I don't love.

Ironically, I am finally getting around to posting the finished socks on a day when we are experiencing the same smoky skies that motivated me to start them. We are experiencing horrible dry, hot winds with temps around 90! Fires are raging again and unfortunately quite a few homes have been lost. Pray for our firefighters... and the many who have come in from other states... as they battle these fires. They are just an amazing group! And pray for the families who are in the fire zones. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Good Doctor

I love this picture!




Did any of you see this episode? When Wilson takes House to his father's funeral?

It was so good! And House was superb in this scene.

And remember the scene when the two of them got arrested? Do you?

Less than 5 miles from my house. Seriously!

We recognized the location right away. And you know if I'm going to stalk sets and dress my children like the man, I would've been there... I would've walked there... if I'd had any sort of clue.

The real kicker is that I just found out that a friend of DH's new they were going to be filming there that day... AND... saw... the man... himself... when she got home from work.

Now, I have barely been able to live with the fact that he was so close... but to know that somebody my husband knows, knew, but didn't know to tell him... to tell me. Well, it's just too much for me to handle.

So all I have now is this picture.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I knit something!

I have two new loves... Handmaiden yarns and Knitspot patterns by Anne Hanson!

Rivolo

This is her Rivolo scarf.

Rivolo

The yarn is Handmaiden Casbah in "Smoke"... knit with size 5 needles.
As you can see, there was no pooling, just gentle transitions in color.

Rivolo

Now we just need it to cool off a bit more.

Monday, November 03, 2008

So here's the thing...

I'm rather obsessive by nature and can easily become completely consumed by items of interest. Now, for the better part of the last 3 or 4 years, knitting has been able to feed this obsession. Shopping for yarn, choosing patterns, blog reading, casting on and, of course, actual knitting has kept my pretty busy. Until lately.

My rather neurotic, yet peaceful fibery world has been interrupted in the most dramatic of ways by, of all things, politics. I have become completely, intolerably captivated by this election. It has dominated all my waking thoughts and has manifested itself as an unnatural preoccupation with all forms of political media and discussion.

So since I have a brain that is incapable of easily shifting gears... and since I refuse to fill blog pages with political ramblings... I have been unusually absent from my little bloggy home.

I will be glad when tomorrow is over. I have extremely strong views on many aspects of this election, but I'm ready for it to be OVER. I know after tomorrow (hopefully after tomorrow... I would be in agony if this went on like the 2000 election did... serious agony... and my family will probably leave me) half the nation will be sincerely disappointed (whew - I sure hope I'm not in that half) but we need to remember how privileged we are to vote... and we need to respect the voice of the majority with dignity and give our new president our earnest support.

That said... looky here...
grey skies

Grey skies! The socks aren't done... but we've been blessed with cooler temperatures and even some rain lately!

And who doesn't love football in the rain! Huh?!

football

I was actually a bit surprised that I was expected to grab an umbrella and attend the game. We southern Californians don't go anywhere in the rain. Well at least this one doesn't. Plus, I've never owned an umbrella that I haven't lost. But I went. My son's out there on the field. The one in the black jersey and helmet. Yeah... could be that one. I'm never sure.

Okay... I'm going to FiNiSh a scarf tonight!! Woo-hoo!

And tomorrow I'm going to go VOTE. And you'd better go VOTE too!

Then go to Starbucks... they're giving out free coffee if you vote! Really!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hellllooooo!

I'm just dropping by to amuse you with some knitting, wit, and charm!

Actually, that's a lie. It's been hot (98 today), dry and windy which means I have itchy eyes, a runny nose, and want to take a nap in the worst way.

But I have yarn!!! And new bags!!!

I've been really drawn to these beautiful autumn colors (probably because they're sorely lacking in my natural habitat).
PA240001

The multi-colored one is from Earthly Hues and the other is a cashmere blend from Sanguine Gryphon. I'm seeing some handknit cowls in my future for possible Christmas gifts. (Shhh... I haven't told my inner self that we're going to consider knitting gifts again. I'm still pretending it might happen.)

I've been working on my cloudy grey socks...

PA240002

It's a good thing I'm pleased with them because they aren't doing much for our weather. The pattern is Alana by Wendy Johnson. The yarn, bags and pattern are all from The Loopy Ewe.

Apparently the heat interferes more with my actual knitting than with my shopping.

Today was our annual Harvest Carnival at the Roller Dome (forgot camera) and tomorrow morning my 14 year old is participating in a mock presidential debate for his American Government class. He has taken on one of the main presidential roles so that has been taking up alot of our time. He'll have to deliver a speech and take questions from the townhall (his classmates) on different topics so he's had to watch the various debates with me (ha-ha) and gain an understanding of the issues. I'm looking forward to seeing what he and his classmates have learned about politics through the process... and hopefully I'll remember my camera!

Now I must go stand in front of the air conditioner and imagine what autumn feels like in more normal places. Hopefully, I'll be inspiring another day. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Knitting Clouds and Saving Texas

We have been fortunate... the winds have kept the smoke away so we only have to deal with the itchy skin and eyes from the hot dry winds. To lift my spirits, I am knitting my own clouds with some lovely grey Tempted Sock yarn, and imagining cool grey skies.

PA170005

So I watched the final presidential debate last night... I think at this point I would've been fine if they had just flipped a coin at the end to determine the next president. It's not that I don't care, because I really do. But I'm also very cynical and know that only a small portion of promises made will ever see the light of day.

I'm admittedly a small government kinda gal and have no faith in the government to manage or redistribute my money. This is clearly not a job they're good at. I think experience is essential and what I'd really like the President to do for me... is less. I'd like the federal government to get back to their constitutional purposes...

'We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.'

(How many of you can still sing that?)

I think the biggest rub for me is being out here on the far west coast in a state that's so blue we practically have frost bite. We always know which way the state is going to go so no matter who I vote for I feel irrelevant. So I end up running to the polls first thing in the morning so I can at least vote before they tell me who has won. Someday I'm going to move to a "swing state" just so I can feel more relevant.

Anyway, the highlight of the debate for me, came not from one of the candidates, but from my 9 year old son who was bouncing around the room waiting to watch the new Indiana Jones movie. As the post debate pundits talked about taxes, Daniel stopped dead in his tracks and said,

"Texas?! I don't think they should cut Texas in half! Why do they want to do that??"

A-ha! Something we can all agree on!
Then we made popcorn and put on his movie. It was much more relaxing.
PS... I didn't know how to spell relevant. Bummer!

Monday, October 13, 2008

October Skies

Unfortunately, here in Southern California, we only get to see the colors of autumn in the sky.

PA140014

As if the dry, pollen-filled Santa Ana winds weren't enough... fires, whether intentional or accidental, are always a part of the season as well.

If there's any question about the efficiency of wind source energy, talk to me... because nothing energizes a child more than some gusty wind. Unfortunately, the itchy eyes and accompanying smoke make it too miserable to play outside. So they stay inside. With me. (This is when all the rules about TV and video games go out the window.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Science the Homeschool Way

With a little inspiration from The Big Bang Theory last night, we took on a bit of a science project today.

2 parts corn starch to 1 part water...

PA080005

Plus 1 speaker...

PA080007

And turn up the bass.

Ta-Da! Dancing Goo!

(It's a liquid concotion that changes between a solid and liquid as it's handled... and will entertain the kids for hours.)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Two of My Favorite Things

First of all, I must thank all of you who reassured me that I'm not alone in my spellcheck joy. I feel much better now. So on to my 2 things...

New books...
PA070003

*A thick book of patterns from Classic Elite (that I haven't had time to look through yet)
*A new Agatha Raisin book (the latest in a mystery series featuring the abrasive middle aged Agatha set in the English Cotswolds)
*The House of Lanyon (recommended by Laura on her blog)

And finished socks!

Firestarters


Firestarter socks
Wollmeise Campari Orange
Size 0 & 1 circular needles

Firestarters

These more accurately represent the color.

Firestarters

I had to relax my knitting a bit to work the cables on such small needles, but once I got the hang of it, it was fun. The Wollmeise yarn is wonderful. The colors are deep and vibrant, and the yarn is very smooth and pleasant to work with.

And I could eat Cheetos while I knit them!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

It's All a Matter of Perspective

Look at these beautiful sweaters...

Interweave Crochet fall 2008

Can you believe these are both crocheted? I couldn't!

Interweave Crochet fall 2008

Now some people may consider it foolish to acquire a collection of crochet magazines if you don't actually know how to crochet...

Interweave Crochet fall 2008

but I like to think of it as being optimistic. And as soon as I figure out what "ch2, dc in 3rd ch from hook, dc in next ch, *ch 1, sk next ch, dc in next ch; rep from *" means, I think I'll be off and running. Actually, I already understand the "rep from *" so the rest shouldn't be too hard.


And while it's probably true that I don't really need more sock yarn...

K1C2 Tye-Dye Socks
(New K1C2 Tye-Dye Socks.)

Castle Fibers sock
(Beautiful hand-dyed by Castle Fibers on Etsy)

It is getting more expensive, which means it's increasing in "value". I'm thinking it's a much better investment than the stock market right now.


There's a possibility that I might finish a pair of socks over the next couple of days... so that would be exciting. But it's also possible I'll simply remain non-productive couch decor. I seem to be quite good at that lately.

I think it's good for my self-esteem to stay positive and focus on my strengths.

PS... Does anybody else feel a sense of pride when they click on spellcheck and it says "no misspellings found"? No? Just me? Well then... never mind.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Knitting Mason-Dixon Style

So I teased with a book review yesterday. Have you been so waiting anxiously for my next post? Here goes...

Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines

I haven't finished reading it yet (yes, it's a knitting book you'll want to read) but Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne provide many creative and funny perspectives throughout. While it is reminiscent of their previous book, it is more colorful and much broader in variety. Since I'm not the most eloquent book reviewer, I'll use more pictures than words here.

The book is divided into 5 chapters:

1. Decorating Yourself (a variety of patterns from jackets to socks for you)

Mason Dixon

Mason-Dixon
Besides loving the color of both of these, the second sweater is knit top-down in... Rowan Calmer! A soft, comfy cotton sweater that will be perfect for my So Cal climate. I am in love... and I have the right amount of Calmer in my stash! But it's not green. It's off-white. Which would be good too. Almost as good as green I suppose. Maybe. Hmmm...

Mason Dixon


2. The Fairest Isle of All (technique, steeks, and more great patterns)


Mason Dixon
Mason-Dixon
Mason Dixon
All fair isle worked in the round with steeks. I'm feeling tempted...


3. Covering the Small Human

Mason-Dixon
I think I could actually get away with knitting this for one of my younger boys!

Mason Dixon
I know... say it with me... "Awwww" (or is it "Ahhhhh"?)

4. Occasional Knitting (Christmas stockings, totes, etc.)

Mason-Dixon
I really like this... but somehow I don't think it will look the same with school papers and spilt coffee all over it. But it would be a great gift I suppose. If I were to knit gifts.

5. The Sophisticated Kitchen

I'm gonna admit right up front that this is where they lost me. I'm quite realistic in my limitations and anything beyond a hopefully clean kitchen is far beyond my reality. So, keeping in mind that I'm certainly not the best person to evaluate this chapter, I will silently present you with these unique ideas.

Mason Dixon

Mason-Dixon
Okay, who am I kidding. I'm not gonna be silent. I love this picture... right down to the purple Crocs. And I pass no judgement on anyone who chooses to spend their time knitting a versatile mop cover/doggy coat. But... If I personally ever embark on such an endeavor... I fully expect to be committed.

But that's just me. Not you. You knit, you mop, and I will praise your efforts. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Anyway, it's a fun book. And you should get one too.