Monday, July 27, 2009

Mission Control, We Have FOs!

I spent Sunday finishing some WIPs, and that feels really good.

First of all, I made myself some sock-blockers and mitten-blockers for two dollars!

I bought laminated placemats at W*lm*rt for a buck each, then cut out a pattern shape from it, and added a punched hole at the top. Voila!

Now for the items I'm blocking on them. Here is a pic of my Bird in Hand mittens, blocking in the dish strainer:

I charted out a copy of the birdie that Natsuko (rav name) put into hers, and put it into my mitten palm also--very cute. I love these mittens, but to get gauge in my chosen worsted weight yarn, I had to use size 1 needles. That was a very tight knit, and hard on the hands. No wonder I put it down for 6 months!

The other project I finished was my Jaywalkers socks. My second pair of socks ever.

These have a wierd fit, that yarn is really stiff and has it's own mind. Not sure I'll make these again--I mean, I like the stitch pattern, but I prefer to work my socks toe-up. Plus, I need to tweak the stitch count because I have such a narrow foot. These look awful saggy on me. But glad to be done!

And, in other news, my March Lady Sweater is more than half done! This pattern rocks!! I finished the body of the sweater today, will be working sleeves next. So excited! And, even better: I might have enough yarn to finish it after all! AWESOME!

Here's a pic I took yesterday, with antler buttons I had on hand. I think they work well with this knit. Love that yarn....

I am gearing up to cast on for another new project, but I should really finish last years Summer Sampler Lace Shawl--I have 1/3 of the edging to do to complete it...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sweater Lady

Don't you just want to hug this guy?!

My February Lady Sweater (which I am dubbing March Lady Sweater) is coming along so fast I can hardly believe it! Sweater body is halfway done, and it's only been 4 days since I started!!! This is a really fast spite of stupid frogging incidents, like knitting in the round this morning, when the whole sweater has been knit back and forth! Can't believe I did that, but it WAS 4:30 in the morning and still dark out and my coffee hadn't kicked in yet. Heh. I knit in dangerous times.....

I am disappointed to see that I didn't buy enough yarn for this project. I only have 2 skeins left and will need at least one of them for the sweater body, and still have to knit both 3/4 length sleeves. Grrrrr, I hate that. And how many times have I done that?! (I still need to order more Cascade 220 Heather for my cabled wrap sweater that came to a halt last fall. Pretty soon they'll discontinue it and then I'll really be stuck!)

Swatching mystery linen project has stalled while I ENJOY the FLS knitting. Aaaaah, so nice to knit easy!

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What next?

Yellowstone at Mammoth Hot Springs. Click to see how amazing up close!

Swatching lately for a s'prise project. I mentioned the linen yarn I bought (Euroflax sport). It already has incredible drape, and I'm still swatching! I plan on measuring the swatch before and after washing, to plan for any shrinkage. Looking forward to this project, but at times the planning and technicality are annoying. At times that lace chart makes me want to rip my hair out. That's when I need some easy knitting...

Enter the February Lady Sweater. I cast on this morning; I already love this sweater and I'm only on row 14!! The yarn I'm using is a wonderful caramel color purchased at the Midwest Folk and Fiber Festival yesterday.

I was thinking about NOT going to the fest this year, especially as I heard a bunch of people at Knit night grumbling about the first day of the fest. But I realized that they had grumbled about it every year, and I had LOVED it every year so far. I am very glad I went this year, too. Lots of fun vendors, and as much of it for spinners as for knitters. I had to bring home at least one bundle of fiber to spin--it'll be my first time spinning a blend (merino + soy). And best of all, I got to see alpacas in person and up close! I really thought they would be bigger, but are they ever cute!

The crowd is all talking, but if you listen closely, that "crying baby" sound you hear is the alpacas!! The dark one is 10 months old, the lighter is 3 yrs old. They are less than 6 feet tall--funny that they could look me in the eye. My pup woulda loved them.

I also got some pink mohair/silk/merino yarn to knit up a Lacy Kercheif Scarf with. Been eyeballing that pattern, and I was able to score the back issue of IK that the pattern is in at the festival! Woohoo! Lastly, I also purchased this book: Spin Control, by Amy King. This is going to help my spinning a lot! I knew as soon as I saw it that I needed it.

Oh, my final fiber fest memory for 2009--deep fried Twinkies! Yum! (I didn't have enough money left after yarn purchases to buy the BBQ pork sandwich I wanted, so I opted for that fried delicacy.) They even sold deep fried Reese's, Snickers, and pickles (done the pickles before, those rock too! Everything's better deep fried)

Other patterns I'm planning with all the knitterly ADD I can muster, include Baktus with some of my sock yarn stash. I'd love to drape that around my neck in cooler weather....And a pair of Double Diamond Socks. B/c, ya know, I'm such an advanced sock knitter. (ahem!)

I also want to make the Textured Shawl. Don't know when I'll get to that one, but I love how it looks so tailored and warm. Lots of surfing fun on Ravelry lately.

I need to go bake a cherry pie--see ya later!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Smile Today and Then Go Knit!

Yeaaaaaaaah, baby!

I might as well post this pattern. Unless I do it today while it is fresh on my mind, it'll probably be more months before I get around to it!

Okay, don't laugh guys. I'm a beginning designer, and really only an intermediate knitter. My patterns reflect this.

This is my version of Grandmother's Favorite Washcloth. I wanted big picots on mine, so here goes:

CO one stitch.
K one, turn.
KFB, turn.
KFB, KFB, turn.
KFB, K2, KFB. (6 stitches)
K across for 2 rows.
KFB, KFB, YO, K across.
KFB, KFB, YO, K across.
BO the first 2 stitches (using up the first 3 stitches), K1, YO, K across.
BO the first 2 stitches (as above), K1, YO, K across.
Repeat these last 4 rows until the diagonal of piece is the size you want--I knit mine to 50 sts.
Then K2, YO, K across, turn.
Repeat last row.
KFB, KFB and slip the second stitch you made back onto the left-hand needle. Now, K2tog (the one you just slipped with the next one), YO, K2tog, then K across. Turn.
Repeat this row back in the other direction.
BO the first 2 stitches (using 3 stitches total), K1, YO, K2tog, K across. Turn.
Repeat this row.
Repeat the last 4 rows until you have 9 stitches left.
BO2 as nml on picot, then K2tog, YO, K2tog, K across. (6 stitches)
K1, K2tog, K2tog, K1. (4 stitches)
K across.
K1, K2tog, K1. (3 st)
K1, K2tog.
K2 tog.
BO last stitch.

And there you have it! Easy peasy, right? (p.s. please let me know if there are errors in the pattern cuz I'm still new to pattern writing)

I culled this from the stalled alphablogging "Letter K" post that has been sitting unfinished since April 21! But I'm not done with alphablogging, I just need to get my mojo back.

Other news: I baked me a pie. Blueberry, to be exact.

My top crust is homemade-looking, but this thing tasted divine. I make pies a lot, but this was the first time I used my new stoneware for it. It worked great, I didn't have to make a foil "tent" for the crust, it never came close to burning! YAY for less fuss!

I went to the Haeger Pottery Outlet near us several weeks ago--I'd forgotten this place is so close, and it has some really good buys. Since I didn't need any new lamps, vases, or plant pots, I couldn't resist this baking-stone type cookware. (I have a pizza stone we've been using for 10 years, that thing makes the best pizzas on the planet. I love it!)

Next up will be either a cobbler or lasagna in my new casserole dish! Yum.

Happy knitting, and watch the road for those notorious babies on skates!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rockin' the Time Off

Female and kid Bighorn Sheep, Yellowstone.

Ah, the luxury of three days off in a row! I'm feelin' good here.

I wasted the first day, laying around as I mentioned. Yesterday I opened up a can of Whoop Ass (Chili) and made cornbread b/c it has been COLD and rainy around here. Yeh, I know. In July.

I anticipate finishing the Simple Knitted Tee today! Woo hoo! Then that cotton sucka is going into the hottest washer setting and then the drier. After that pre-shrink, I will wet it again, and block it (that's if it looks like crap coming straight out of the drier. I think it will.)

I had some reflection time yesterday while knitting. Still dealing with my grandfather's death. His birthday was the 4th of July, so every year I will be reminded sweetly of him and my grandma, and their lovely influence on my life. I miss them...

I didn't let on, but last weekend I finally acquired some much-lusted-after Louet Euroflax in the Goldilocks colorway. I think I might cast on for a linen sweater next. I don't have a linen sweater, but I love the linen pants I've had forever, and the drape just keeps getting better with each washing. I have plenty of wool sweaters on the needles, but it's not wool-knitting weather, ya know? (At least mentally....)

While on the subject of linen, I remember seeing an article in Martha magazine (or maybe it was on her first show) about linen sheets. I am lusting after those, too. I can only imagine how crisp, soft and luxurious they are to sleep on--but it must be a high thread count. I hate sleeping on coarsely woven bedding.

I am nearly finished processing (uploading, cataloguing, captioning, organizing) all 4,000 or so photos of Yellowstone. Don't worry, I would not dream of boring you with all of them. The beauty of a digital camera is that the more photos I take, the more GOOD ONES I've captured. So I'll keep sharing some of THOSE. (I've probably ditched about 200 completely useless pics....)

Here is a photo of as close as I got to a black bear in Yellowstone

You can see the police car there--this was required to KEEP PEOPLE MOVING! It took us about 15 minutes to get past there, and by the time we could see what the fuss was about we were not allowed to stop. Grrrr. But look how cute they look (from a car!)

p.s. did I mention I love Yellowstone?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Good Day for Reading

Sedated doggies finally asleep (the older dog, JellyBean, got into the bathtub she was so scared by the neighborhood fireworks), crockpot going with pork shoulder and chick peas for tomorrow, a tummy full of "Whoop-Ass" Chili and fresh cornbread, cool air and a drizzly rain have all combined to make me very very drowsy =D

I was gonna curl up and knit on my leather chair, but first, I think I'll take me a nice nap. I started reading a new book "Tracking the Spirit of Yellowstone" by Orville E Bach, Jr. This is a memoir of a 31-year veteran ranger of the park, and I'm enjoying the inside look at life as a ranger. That was my first love in high school, I wanted to be a forest ranger, and to go to smoke-jumping school in Missoula MT. Obviously however, my life took a different course!

So, knitting will just have to take a back seat right now. Naps are higher on the priority list.

p.s. You didn't hear that from me.


Like clockwork

Poor pups. My doggie is terrified of fireworks. Sigh, every year it's the same thing, I feel so bad for him.

In years past, my vet had me give him first Benadryl, then some doggie sedative, and now Xanax. He is inconsolable this time of year; now it is July 3rd again, and even 2 doses of the Xanax is not enough. So I had to refer back to this dosing of puppy benadryl, and give him some of that too. I hope he can relax soon! I stayed home from knitting to be with him but my presence only does so much.

And because he is such a FREAK about this stuff, our older dog is starting to act nervous about it too. Sigh.

I spent a marvelous lazy day reading, laying around, eating ice cream and processing my vacation videos and photos. Yay for time off! I have finished 2 books about Yellowstone: one is called "Death in Yellowstone" and chronicles deaths of all kinds in the national park. When you think about it, it has not been that long since that area was made a National Park (1872). That is really a short time, as history goes! It was fascinating to read about bear attacks, boiling hot springs, freezing to death, falling over cliffs, etc. In a strange sort of way. I've never read anything like that before!

The other book I finished today was called "37 days of Peril; Lost in Yellowstone" and is a true account by one of the first explorers of that area, who got separated from his party and whose horse ran away with all his tools, clothing, and supplies! This guy had to survive on thistle roots and keep warm during snowstorms by sleeping next to hot springs! Very interesting reading (from the comfort of my armchair with plenty of food and modern conveniences at my beck and call!)

I'm fascinated with the Mountain Men of American History, and have 2 more books to read about Yellowstone from their eyes. Should be fun =)

Have a happy holiday weekend, and enjoy your freedom--it is hard-earned.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th!

Bitterroot flower on the alpine prairie. These look divine and smell even better!

For those who have not seen Yellowstone and are contemplating a visit, here's one of the best videos I took of formations at Mammoth Hot Springs (p.s. that's the place to stay if you go there!)

Hope you'all don't mind I keep going on about Yellowstone. I've never seen anything so amazing in my life.

I got a haul at the library last night after work, lots of fun knitting books. More ideas and WISTs--my head's gonna bust I want to try so many things. It was an intense work week, and that was a nice end to it; also DH and I walked to our neighborhood restaurant for dinner, then rented the first Transformers movie (I'd never seen it. That rocked!)

We are still having the wierdest weather ever around here. You cannot plan hot-weather meals or cold-weather meals. I had to wear Meinstein to work the first day of July, b/c it had to be 40 degrees in the office. The maintenance guys can't keep up with the weather shifts--last week it was putrid hot and muggy around here. If the weather would just S T A B I L I Z E, for crying out loud....

My new WIST: have you all seen the gorgeous Cathedral Sweater that one of the Rainey Sisters knit recently?! OMG I aspire to knit that pattern. I'll have to get that book. Those Japanese sweaters are the bomb, I totally love them!

Am still plugging away on the knit tee. Kinda losing steam, but I have to finish it. I have way too many WIP and this needs to be done so I can wear it in the warm weather (whenever that comes!)

I'd like to go to knit night tonight, but my dog is deathly afraid of fireworks, so I'll either have to heavily sedate him and make sure someone stays home with him, or stay home myself...I thought about trying to bring him, but don't know if he'd behave in a yarn store. He's a bit bigger than most people are used to, so it's not the best option!