Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noel

Yep, it happened. Terribly sick right before the holiday. Now DH has it too. We both sound pitiful. We both feel pitiful. Lots of hot soup, cough medicine, alka seltzer plus cold medicine, and Sucrets. I like Sucrets because it numbs the throat a little, lasts longer. So, I've been home sick from work. I will not make it to the grocery for Christmas, luckily my pantry and freezer are both full. I will not prepare a traditional holiday dinner, but it will be yummy nonetheless. I was able to spend about 30 minutes spinning on my 3lb bag of fiber yesterday before I had to go have a lie-down. It's really been fun but I'm just not able to sit up for long.

I'm gathering my thoughts for inspirational ideas for 2015 as well as my recap of 2014.

So, all that said, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.

Spinning round and round in color heaven

It has been a little while since I sat down to spin. I had purchased some fiber on Etsy and rather than it being a 4 oz braid, I purchased some leftovers. Leftovers consisting of mixed BFL and merino. They are all kinds of different colors: yellows, blues, reds, purples, greens......the list goes on.  I had originally planned to place them on my blending board but then yesterday thought that I would just spin them woolen as I usually do. So I sat down with the big bag in front of me and I started spinning and picking colors somewhat randomly. I spun for a couple of hours and then had to stop because hubby and I were going to see A Christmas Carol. It was fabulous!  So, back home by 10:30ish and I thought I would go ahead and 2-ply what little I had spun to see what it was going to look like.  I love it!!!

So here is the 15-gallon tub of fiber remnants:


 















Here is the 86 yard 2-ply sample.
 
I'm having fun so I think I'll continue.  What do you think??

On the road again

I'm heading out to southern Georgia today to see my brother and his family. It will be a nice long drive, perfect for listening to my audiobooks in addition to a little satellite radio time.  Unfortunately, I'm driving alone, so no knitting time.  I'm taking my knitting with me but I rarely have the opportunity to do any knitting while I'm there visiting.

I do have some FO's though. Some of the ones I mentioned in this post.  So I finished the triangular shawl and the Chevron blanket and gave those to Christina for donating to Hospice. It was great to get those WIP's turned into FO's and outta the house. The picture of the shawl doesn't do it justice. The yarn is a thick and thin and very cushy. Someone will like it I know! 

The chevron blanket was originally started to be a car seat blanket, but it can be used otherwise. The pattern was easy. I did a 5 stitch garter edge on the sides, then this pattern repeat across: (KFB, K4, [Slip1KW, K2 tog, PSSO], K4, KFB).  Purl on the wrong side except for border stitches.

The One Plus cardigan was knit with Katia Jamaica. It was the perfect yarn for this as it retained the striping in the cardigan. I really like it. It just needs a button now. It's for a friend who wanted to give it to her granddaughter for Christmas, she's 18 mths old.

I've also started the Sweet Memories Cowl in the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed. So far I'm enjoying it. I think it's the perfect pattern for the yarn.

 
 
Linking up with Ginny and others who have linked up.
 

Pinterest, Ravelry, Etsy and other time suckers

Why is it at this time of year I start feeling even more craftsy? As in, I want to do something other than knit or spin. I want to make a few handmade Christmas cards as I've done in the past. I want to make or buy some handmade gifts. So what does one do when one feels this urge????  Go visit Pinterest of course. After hours upon hours of sifting through all those items of interest......am I any closer to having anything made? Nope. lots of ideas though. :-)  Then the next step is to go look at Etsy or even Artfire. Both of those are time suckers. Then of course, there is Ravelry. Handmade gifts??? lots to pick from.............fingerless mittens, cowls, shawlettes (all perfect gifts). You can stalk Rav all day and never reach the end. Did I cast on anything? well, yes, but I frogged it. So back to the drawing board so to speak.


OK, so yesterday while everyone was enjoying their turkey, I was in my hobby room.  Still working on organizing my stash and stuff. It's not really organized, it's just better contained in Rubbermaid clear bags so it's easier to get out of the closet. So, I was digging around on a top shelf that I thought was just some cotton yarn and some other stuff I don't use very often. It's amazing what gets hidden over time.  I found this....

I'm pretty sure the pattern is probably from Charlene Schurch Sensational Knitted Socks, but I have no idea which one. I have one sock completely done and one more skein to do the second sock. yeah right!  The other question is, do I really want to do another sock?  I've really been enjoying knitting socks with Raggi, using size US4-5 needles, not size US2.  Maybe I could use the finished sock as a handcover in the car on these cold mornings?
Whaddya think??

I also found more Wildfoote (really nice yarn).
2 more skeins to make another pair of socks. Love the color!!!








More digging through stash and I found some more yarn to give to Chris' prayer shawl (browns, tans, etc). In addition, I came across some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed. A cotton/silk combination which I think would make a nice decorative cowl.  (This is what I cast on with but didn't like the pattern I chose.)  Does that mean I need to stalk Ravelry some more? heeheeheee possibly.   I have 2 skeins of the light gray and 3 skeins of the burgundy.

While stalking Rav yesterday I also came across another Advent Scarf KAL. I've always wanted to do one. Question is...would I stay caught up? If I do, then what happens to the other projects that I already have on the needles? I don't have any extra hours in a day so when do I think I would get those done? Well, in the event that I do get time, I decided to use up more stash yarn and knit it in a laceweight. I love the hues in this one.  If you want to do the KAL too, here is the linky for the English version. The webpage will be updated daily with that day's pattern. It starts on Monday December 1 and there will be 24 days worth of patterns. It can be knit with or without beads.  The beads are placed in the sections between the daily patterns.  Come join me if you like.

The last thing I need to knit is the One Plus cardigan pattern. I've decided to knit it with Katia Jamaica. This is for a friend's grand-daughter. I'll be casting this one on today. Such bright colors, I love them!

Meanwhile, I've been enjoying going through my stash and deciding what I can do with the yarn I find. It's almost like going to Stitches without the crowd.  Speaking of Stitches, it's in Nashville this year, at Opryland. I'm ambivalent about my feelings that this event has moved to Nashville rather than being in Atlanta.  No more road trip. No more chatting and laughing in the car together. No more stacking and packing in the hotel room. Do I take days off from work or just manage Saturday and Sunday? Do I take a class so I can get into the market for free?  Class cost $80, market cost $15 per day, plus there are usually coupons. It would be cheaper just to pay to get in the market. Do I drive in to Nashville or get a hotel/motel room? My roommates of days past are not staying at a hotel, so do I get one and treat it as a retreat of sorts? See my dilemma? It's not until April, so I have some time to decide.

Thanksgiving

Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month since I've posted. I've had true intent on the weekends, but somehow time gets away from me.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and a time for giving thanks. I have a small list of what I'm giving thanks for:
  • Life, breathing, living
  • My dear husband, who I cherish with all my heart
  • My family and friends
  • my health and my job and the ability to help provide for my family
  • my job provides the ability to feed my passion (knitting, spinning, etc) and having a 4-day weekend to spend time on my passion
  • ability to see so that I can read and play with needles and spindles
  • the use of all my fingers and toes
  • ability to connect to the internet even though I'm out in the middle of nowhere
  • the list goes on........
I have been getting some knitting done and some finished projects.
I think I mentioned in the last post that I finished the Yoked Cardigan. The adult size for me. I hadn't posted any pictures of it and these aren't the best, but all I can come up with.  There is no pink in the middle of the sweater, it's just the lighting. It's a baby blue color in Queensland Bebe Cotsoy. It's very soft, it flows well and it sheds a lot.  It's all over my black slacks by the end of the day, but I love it.  My first finished sweater just for me.


The next sweater top I've been working on is the Mudita. I'm making a few modifications to it, but the top of the pattern (raglan shaping) I've kept the same. I've changed up the 2x2 ribbing so it wouldn't hug my middle section.  I'm probably 3/4 of the way through it now. This yarn is Berroco Touche which I believe has been discontinued.
As I was pawing through my yarn stash, in addition to finding some yarn to donate to Chris' prayer shawl ministry, I found a WIP bag. It was holding an almost finished triangular shawl on the needles (wondered where these needles were) and 4 balls of yarn left. No time like the present to finish up a WIP, right?  I decided to pull 2 of the balls out and make a Wham Bam Cowl. The shawl itself I'll probably donate to Hospice. I'll post a pic of the shawl once that is completed.  I just started the 2nd ball for the cowl so it won't have much more to go.  This is knit with Plymouth Expressions which is also discontinued (according to Ravelry)

So this weekend I'll finish the shawl and the cowl and will also work on the Mudita. I'm also going full speed ahead on the log cabin blanket with my project leftovers and handspun.  I'll try to post of it's progress sometime over these 4 days. 
 
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and turkey with all the fixins'.

Gotta love 3-day weekends

I love October!! We would typically be having cool weather by now and while we had a little bit of it a couple of weeks ago, we are back to warm and humid. It's rained all weekend and it's been gray, but there have been little spurts of dry where you could go outside (stick to pavement, concrete or deck) and enjoy the fog.  It's been a perfect weekend to do some maintenance and updating.

So what have I done?  I've uploaded my knitting, crochet, weaving, quilting, sewing and embroidery books to Ravelry.  What a wonderful database Ravelry provides.  Now when I'm out and about and stalking more knitting books and or patterns, my Ravelry will tell me I already have that book.  It's divine.  Another big project to come, is to go through my pattern containers and indicate on Ravelry that the pattern is in my library.  Why do this???  Perfect example from last week.  I'm at work stalking perusing patterns on Ravelry.  There's one that I've had my eye on for a little bit, so I added it to my cart and bought it.  I was going through my container of patterns yesterday to see what I could upload to Ravelry and I found the same darn pattern. argh!! So I paid for it for no reason. OK, so it's only $5-6, but that's really not the point.  However, that project is a larger undertaking than the books, so it'll be another time.

Knitting?  I finished the Yoked Cardigan for me. I started this over a year ago in May 2013. It went pretty quick initially but then it languished when it was time to do the sleeves.  Then the sleeves were done and it languished again waiting for the button bands. So, Saturday I sat down to do it. It was perfect to do while watching baseball.

I also started the Mudita this week. I had to frog and start over. I didn't like the needle size I was doing.  We'll see if this stays on the needles. In theory I like the pattern, just not sure it will work for my body style. We'll see.  I was looking for a top-down raglan top to make (knit in the round) and it's a little difficult to find one.  Assuming it stays on the needles, I may make some adjustments when it comes time to knit the body.

I need to try on the Charybdis socks so I can determine if I'm at the heel yet.  I've got some things to block and some more things to cast-on.  Chat with you later!!!

Go check out Tami's blog for some WIP's and FO's as well.  There are some great links to see what others are doing.

Fall is in the air

Cooler weather is finally here, at least this weekend. I think we're supposed to have some warm weather again this week, but this weekend has been fabulous.
I had to go into town yesterday to get new brakes, yep, actually had to start my car on the weekend, which I rarely do. Anyway, it was brisk when I left, so I put on the poncho that I finished earlier this year and it was PERFECT!!!  Why did these articles of clothing go out of style?? I don't think I ever wore them in the 70's when I was a teenager, but realize now that I really like them. I may have to make another. let everyone think I'm geeky and out of style.  The best part of being 55 is that I don't care. :-)  Anyway, the poncho was just warm enough on my shoulders and upper back, not confining around the arms like a sweater or a jacket, it was perfect. It will be worn again!!

While waiting on the brake job, I was working on my Charybdis socks. I think I'm at the heel now so I stopped working on them. I need to try them on to make sure.  I left the project in the car, so I don't have any updated photos.

I finished the knitting on the In Threes baby cardigan. It needs blocked, ends woven in and buttons, but it's adorable. It's knit in the Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino, so it feels fabulous anyway!

I started another Criminal Knits KAL. This one is called Obsession and it's a 3-triangle shawl or 2-triangle kerchief. I started it in some of my handspun, but I only have enough for the kerchief. It's not feeling as soft as I would like, so I may end up stopping this one and casting on with Chiara and making the shawl size.


 
Another project that I finished is what I call the Titans Blanket. Titans is the Nashville pro football team and these are pretty much their colors. I used only 2 balls of the Bella Chenille.



 

At the time I started this I didn't really have a recipient in mind, however, I just found out that my cousin in France is having another baby and while the Titans would mean nothing to her, a blue/white baby bankie may be right up her alley. I don't typically buy this kind of yarn, but I gotta tell ya, it's fluffy and soft. It's a perfect size for a little nap or even a car seat.  The pattern was the granny dishcloth pattern where you start with 3 stitches and increase.....well you know the rest of it.

The other project I work on sporadically is the Kumi Loom.  This particular one came in a kit with the thread and the pendant.  The bobbins are just to keep the threads from tangling.
 

 The only decision I had to make was he necklace itself, did I want a spiral look or a speckled look.  You get this by how you place the thread on the Kumi Loom.

I opted for the spiral seen below.

This is what the speckled would look like.
(different colors of course)

KAL Knitting and other projects

The Addiction Shawl was my first real KAL.  I've done some KAL's with friends, but this shawl was an organized KAL with the designer and all that.  The clues arrived weekly on Wednesday and I was able to get the clue done by Sunday, so I was usually eagerly anticipating the next clue. The last clue (#12) arrived and it was a 2 row pattern that you repeated at least 5 times, but could do more.  It was funny how I wasn't as diligent about finishing that clue as I had been when I had deadlines with the other ones. The brain sure does play tricks on you.  Anyway, last night I decided I was going to do it, I was going to finish the knitting. We had been watching the US Open and had recorded the Federer/Monfils match as well as the semi-finals matches that were played on Saturday. So......I knit!  It's a little harder to knit and watch tennis than it is to knit and watch baseball, but it's doable.  Although it was very hard to knit during the Djokovic/Murray match. Holy cow!!! That was edge-of-your-seat tennis. Awesome match!!!! 

So I did a total of 6 repeats of clue #12 and bound off.

Just so you know, there have been 576 stitches since Clue 8, so I've had lots of stitches to knit for a zillion rows. I don't think I want to even go back and count how many rows that would have been. :-)
 
So here it is pre-blocked. I'm looking around my house to see where I can lay it down to block. I don't have an extra bed and not really the floor space to block it, but I'll figure it out.  It's almost 34 inches across pre-blocked.
 
The other FO that hasn't been blocked yet is the Claire. I've turned it into a scarf rather than a stole.  For as easy as the pattern was, if you didn't pay attention, it was easy to mess up and it's not an easy pattern to frog. So, I shortened its life and it will be perfect as a neckwarmer with my black coat.  Some items you just have to put to bed early and I have the authority to do that!!!!
Again, this is pre-blocked.
 
 
An update on the much-stalled Yoked Cardigan. I bound off the last sleeve and all that's left is the button band.  I may work on that today. we'll see how the day goes. Not ready to take a picture of this one yet.
 
I've also started that other Log Cabin scrap blanket with my leftover project yarn. This one is definitely for me. 
Another project I started is the All in Threes pattern.  I've made a mistake and will have to frog it and start over. I just haven't had the gumption to do that yet.  The mistake is obvious but I've highlighted anyway so hopefully I won't do it next time.
No, there shouldn't be a garter stitch row going all the way across. ARGH!!!!
 
Last but not least, a new pair of socks on the needles.  This yarn is delicious and I have Christina to thank for enticing me to jump off the no-buying-yarn wagon. This stuff is a delight to work with.  You really need to buy some. Don't let the name of the yarn fool you (Angora Lace), as it is not lace-weight. It is sock yarn weight.

I debated on whether to do a vanilla-sock so I wouldn't have to think about it, but then found this pattern (Charybdis) and I really like it.  It doesn't take away from the automatic striping of the yarn.  It's not an overly hard pattern to follow and it adds some texture.
 
Whew, that's it for today. A long post I know but I've been a busy bee.  Been at the new job 2 months now and all is well.  I'm loving my new commute, no more driving downtown. The distance is almost the same, it's just an easier commute. I am totally missing my friends and lunch buddies, but we make time outside of work and that's just what friends do, right??
 
It's till very hot here and I'm ready for some fall weather!!!



 


Blanket of many colors

I finished the Lap Blanket and I love it. It's a mish-mash of colors and different types of yarns.  It's Yarn of the Month samples, Elann monthly samples, leftover project yarn, handspun, leftover yarn donated from friends and samples from Stitches events.  Worsted weight, fingering, dk and lace weight. Some frilly, textured ribbon yarn, scratchy wool, cashmere, cotton, acrylic......a mish-mash.
I had no rhyme or reason as to the next color, I just picked one from the bag. All garter stitch.
Not sure what I'll do with this one yet. Is it donatable to Hospice?
The next one I start will be for me with just leftover project yarn and handspun yarn.  This way I can remember my projects and my handspun while I'm keeping warm.

Summer in full swing.....meaning it's HOT!!!

Yep, hot. I think the heat index today is over 100 deg F.  That's just hot.   Of course, we are spoiled. We have houses that are cooled in the summer and heated in the winter, so why does the outside temperature affect us?  It just does, that's why.  I do thank God every day for enabling and allowing me to work inside during the week, so I'm not subjected to the extreme temperatures all day long. Weekends, I can choose to go outside or not. Thankfully, my hobbies (knitting) can allow me to stay inside.

So I've been silent on my blog. Not sure why, just haven't gotten around to it.  Well, there is the Tour de France which started 3 weeks ago yesterday.  That sucks up my non-working time and I don't get enough sleep during the Tour as it is. It's been a great Tour this year and with 2 Frenchman standing on the podium today (first time in 40 years), I wish my mother was around to see it.  I'm very proud of them!!

Another thing I couldn't really talk about in advance is I have a new job. I've completed 3 weeks and I love it. I'm busy and I'm utilizing my skills that frankly I haven't used in a while.  Also, after 14 years of working downtown, I am finally away from it.  I did enjoy working downtown, but there were many aspects I didn't like about it. So, we'll see how much I miss it. At the moment, I don't miss it, but I doooooo miss my lunch buddies. (you know who you are) So I miss you guys!

Yes, I have been knitting. The main things I've been working on:
  • a circular shawl through the Addiction Ravelry group.  We just finished Clue #8 and they  come out weekly. Not sure how many more clues there will be.
  • One Baby Sweater.  This pattern was wonderful. It's for newborn-3 months. I would like to upsize it and  may play around with that.  The information on my sweater can be found on my Rav page.
  • Lap Blanket.  This one I've talked about before. Any leftover yarn, sample yarn, etc, gets added on to this blanket.  I have no rhyme or reason as to the number of rows I do on each side (log cabin style), I just continue to knit, bind off, add rows, etc. It's been a lot of fun.  I may finish this one up with sample yarn and start another one with just left-over project yarn and maybe several yards each of handspun yarn.
  • Claire stole/scarf - I'm still working on this one, just not as often. I'll get to the end of it soon though. I'm at least half-way already.
The Circular Shawl - thru Clue 8
 
One Baby Sweater
 
I was at my local drycleaners last weekend. They had 4 garment racks full of clothing for $1 each.  I assume these were clothes left behind and after a period of time, they have to get rid of these clothes so they have room on their racks for active customers. Anyway, I didn't hold up any hope for something for me to wear but I usually keep an eye out for any blouses or shirts that may have some unique buttons on them. Yes, I do this at Goodwill too.  Anyway, I cane across this pink cardigan that is lambswool and angora. It looks like someone may have washed it and maybe it shrunk a little.
Do you see what I see???  yep, there must be over 50 buttons on this baby. Are they the best quality buttons? no, not by a long shot. but they would be perfect on a little girl sweater that would be worn maybe once. I will make use of these buttons, not to worry. and for $1????? suhweeeeet.


Wrapless turns. Have you guys checked out Ysolda's Technique Thursday blog yet.  The link for the wrapless turn is here.  I can't wait to try this out. I've watched the video it several times and I think it's similar to the Japanese short row class I took, just not using the safety pins.

And lastly, I've been spinning. This is the fiber I purchased in New York last June from The Yarn Company. I ended up with a fingering weight and approximately 720 yards.



 
Joining Ginny for the Yarn-Along

Vacation

Yep, I've been on vacation and it's been a much needed one. Not that all vacations aren't needed, I just felt I really needed it. When I scheduled it, I remembered I hadn't had a week off since I returned from knee surgery and that was mid-October. So it was definitely overdo.

I have some updates on knitting projects as well as a few other things.  To start, an update on the reusable dryer sheets that I posted about here. I would say that it's a success, at least for me. They each still have some life to them even after 20 uses, however, for me and the aroma strength (and continued softness) that I like my dryer sheets to be, I would say 12-14 was about their limit. So, I will re-soak them and start over because I will continue to do this, I like it that much.

At Stitches, I bought some thick and thin yarn to make a cowl. The premise is you knit in the round and you knit the thin yarn and purl the thick.  This allows the stockinette portion to be the thin yarn and the thick yarn to stand out extra with the purl bumps.  It will be fun to wear.


 
 


The next item finished is the Triangular Poncho.  This one is made with Tranquility from Universal Yarns. I know I have a color pattern going on here and that is the teal/aquamarine colorway. I have always loved it.  This yarn is a little slubby, in that it's not a perfectly smooth yarn. It has imperfections. That's why it's perfect for a poncho. Started with 3 stitches, increased one stitch each row until I reached 150 stitches.  I made 2 triangles and then attached them at the shoulders with a whip stitch. I crocheted a chain around the neck to strengthen and smooth out the stitches. It'll be perfect to throw on this fall.
Many years ago I had a subscription to Yarn of the Month. So every month I would receive 4 little bags of sample yarn.  This was a great learning experience for someone who had limited knowledge of the different yarns. (yes, that was before I became a yarn snob)  So I made swatches with some of the yarn, kept the list in a spreadsheet, bought some yarn online based on some of the swatches I liked, etc. I would say overall it was a good experience. I finally stopped the subscription a few years ago, but the dilemma was, what to do with all those little bags of samples. There are a lot of bags.

Well, I've started 2 blankets, all done in garter stitch, so it's cushy and mindless knitting. It stays beside me on the couch and I'll do several bags per night. This is just one of them which is knit in a modified log cabin.
There's no rhyme or reason as to the next bag I use. There's a mixture of cottons, wools, rayons, funky fur, and I've even added some leftover project yarns, from handspun to sock yarn. I think I'm using a 7 or 8 needle and I use the same needle for all yarns. I'm making my way through the little bags of samples, then I'll move on to the sample yarns from Elann.com like this one below. I probably have 20+ of these cards, so it won't take too long to get through them.  I've also used the Elann and the sample bags of yarn on my Zoom Loom and that worked pretty well too.
Is this blanket project diminishing my stash? No, but it feels good to use the yarn in the bags nonetheless. Do I need another blanket for the couch? No.  But if I decide to continue to make these with leftover project yarn, then I may decide to donate them to Hospice and if I do that, then I want to make sure that they will be worthy of donating. If nothing else, maybe smaller versions for donation to the animal shelters. We'll see. Meanwhile, I'll continue to work on the 2 I've started.
 
I'm still working on my Claire stole, although it's become more of my Wednesday lunch group knitting. While I'm working on the blankets by the couch, my WIP's can seem to languish, although I did finish the cowl and the poncho.  I do have a bit of startitis though. I bought this at Stitches and I'm itching to cast on for it. Not sure which yarn I want to start with. I bought this from Miss Babs. Love her yarn!!!
 Both yarns are from her Sojourn line.  It's a 2-ply of 65% cashmere and 35% silk. yummmmmmmy. 

This one is named Berlin.


This one is Shaken, Not Stirred.
 
My plan is to make the middle cowl and it's called Benton, a pattern by Veronica Parsons.
 
I think that's it for today!!