Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Knitting Accomplished

Visions of Grandeur

I know I'm not the only one who makes lots of grand knitting plans. Who falls in love with a project before good sense kicks in and tells them to turn away. I've read too many blogs and seen too many knitters with that desperate look in their eyes. . . I know I am not alone. I am counting on the collective warm thoughts and happy knitting wishes to get me through this next project. (As well as the help of Deb, who I shanghaied at knitting on Wednesday night.)

I have accidentally committed to knit a sweater for my sister Katy. (Enthusiasm can be the damnedest thing.) A sweater that is maybe (oh just maybe) beyond my skill level. A sweater pattern that I showed to my mother and said, "Wouldn't that be pretty on Katy?" To which she replied, "We can give it to her together. I'll buy the yarn if you will knit it." Fundamentally, I think I am capable of knitting this sweater but I have certainly never accomplished anything quite so complex. And I do plan to spend some good portion of the month of December out on Aunt Mary's proverbial front porch.

What do you think? Can ya'll talk me through Oblique? I hope so, since my mama has already ordered the yarn. Someone send wine. (As an aside, if you are looking for a new or different yarn source, I would very much recommend you give California Yarn Co a look. Excellent selection and friendly service, not to mention the discounts offered on full bag purchases of $50 or more.)

Tiny Sweaters

So, it is now 3 days until Thanksgiving. I won't keep you in suspense: I got all of the tiny sweaters finished. I was worried for a bit toward the end of last week. I think it is a fundamental knitting truth: many a fine knitting project has been derailed by new yarn. It was a dangerous few days, when the 3 skeins of Socks That Rock arrived, but alas, I was able to tough it out. I will admit, though, that I did swatch enthusiastically on socks for Lori.

The Korppi is more beautiful in person than in the pictures. (The photo above doesn't do it justice.) I am slightly less enamored with the Count Cluckula. I'll take pictures soon. Count Cluck has a great big swath of bright sunshine yellow that isn't visible in the picture on the website. For the time being, I am letting it marinate in the stash and I'll decide later if I'm going to knit it.

Again, sidetracked by the new yarn....anyway, I've finished the sweaters. I finished the last one late Sunday night. You'll notice the pictured sweaters do not add up to 30. I got the three extras done but (irresponsible blogger that I am) forgot to photograph them before giving them away. Oops. Also, I decided not to knit a sweater ornament for me...I never give myself an ornament. duh. Which all adds up to: here are 25 finished little sweaters.

Without further adieu...I give you sweaters. (Ok a little more adieu...I apologize for my substandard photography. And my less than expert picture splicing to get them all in one frame.)

All Together

A Few At a Time

(Top to bottom) Peaches & Cream Cotton in Fiesta, Brown wool of unknown origins, Red Cascade 220.
Sugar n' Cream cotton, fantabulously soft Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK.

Rowan Calmer (leftover from the Daisy sweater), black Cascade 220

Green cotton Patagonia from Araucania, some something that I can't remember what it is and don't have any labels for even though I have three skeins of it milling about in the stash but that I think I picked it up while in Hawaii on my honeymoon.

White cotton from the LYS but I can't remember exactly what white cotton, Di.Ve' Autunno in Navajo.

Vanna White yarn (the only acrylic sweater in the bunch), Mango Moon recycled sari silk, more red Cascade 220.
Cascade 220 superwash, blue Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton Silk held together with light blue fuzzy something from stash, Di.Ve' Autunno in variegated gray.

On top we have the very first sweater from the advent of this project. The Papaya Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton Silk, Peaches & Cream cotton in Fiesta, Cascade 220 Superwash.

Di.Ve' Autunno in that gray again, Mission Falls 1824 Wool in a dark green, Di.Ve' Autunno in Navajo. (The Autunno is so wonderfully soft.)

Top: Tahki Cotton Classic in pink and green, bottom: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK held together with Cotton Classic duplicate stitched with the pink Cotton Classic.

Tegan requested pink and green sweaters for her and her roommate and here they are. On Thursday, Miss Tegan will be spending her first Thanksgiving away from home. Though she is terribly homesick, she is very lucky to have made wonderful friends at college and will be spending the weekend with her roommate's family.

This little white one is my mother's favorite.
And this little close-up shows the tiny coat hangers I made to act as ornament hooks for this years addition of the Thanksgiving ornaments. (Luckily, I had plenty of 22 gauge wire sitting around in my beading box, and thus these itty-bitty coat hangers were born.)

So there you have it. It is a red letter day in my knitting life: a project completely completed well ahead of its required time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

While I have every intention of posting again before Thanksgiving, realistically I know it might not happen. So while I'm here....I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday weekend. Whether it is restful or frantic or whatever, I hope it is exactly what you want in a Thanksgiving. May you each be richly blessed.

Today's Quote:

"Dear Lord; we beg but one boon more: Peace in the hearts of all men living, peace in the whole world this Thanksgiving." -Joseph Auslander

Sunday, November 11, 2007

All Sorts of Good Stuff


The internet is a treasure trove of crafty goodness. Not that this is news, I'm just sayin' is all. Earlier this week, I was reading Marit's blog, where I happened upon Silja Devine's blog. It was Wednesday when I first stopped by and this was the post at the top of the page. Gnomes!!! I immediately knew I had to have gnomes of my own. Luckily Silja posted her pattern. My mama agreed, so we went to Michael's and procured the Fimo clay. We decided they would make excellent Christmas tree ornaments and decorations for wrapped gifts. I made a bunch the size according to the pattern (all the ones on the lower shelf above) and then I made four small ones. I need to make more of the small ones. They are so freakin' cute, both sizes.I haven't put the beards on yet (other than the one) but I will.

Squares for Oliver
I took a brief hiatus from sweater knitting the last couple of days to knit squares for Oliver. One from the leftover yarn from my doctor's socks (top left), two squares from the Cherry Tree Hill in Peacock I used for my very first socks (top right and bottom left), and then one more from the yarn from Tegan's socks (bottom right). Now to put them in the mail to Kay.

Socks for Me

Speaking of Tegan's socks, you may recall that I was knitting socks for me out of that yarn, too. I finished the first sock on the airplane to North Carolina back in September and I thought I'd finished them both but yesterday afternoon, I went looking for my size 1 DPNs and found them in my little sock knitting bag...still in a sock. I had three rows still to knit on the cuff. So, while sitting by the fire on my parents' patio last night, I knit those three rows and - abracadabra - I have my very first pair of handknit socks all my own.
I used the Sherman Heel again and I'm really pleased with the look of them.
And they fit perfectly.
Now I really do need to knit some more sweaters.

Today's Quote:

"For it is in giving that we receive." -St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

In the Wool of the Night

I have never ordered anything from The Loopy Ewe. Not for a lack of fabulous things to buy and not because I haven't wanted to. I first started looking aroud at their place because of Susie. When she started selling her stuff through The Loopy Ewe, I started looking. So much fun stuff. I do a lot (a lot!) of window shopping there but thus far, that's all.

I have wanted to try needle felting for a long time. In fact, I have a needle felting tool that I got and used for putting eyes on hedgehogs last Christmas, but that is the extent of my experience with needle felting. I really want to do more but I haven't worked up the courage to try. (I hate when I suck at something and I worry that I am going to suck at the needle felting.)

Imagine my surprise when I was at TLE, innocently shopping around for a sock blocker keychain kit (which they were out of, by the way, and I finally found at Diva Knitting) when I happen upon this little guy.
(picture from The Loopy Ewe product page.)

I think I'm going to have to have this kit. I think I'm in love. Is $22 crazy for a felting kit? It doesn't say how big the finished ewe is, but from the pictures I'm guessing he's about 3 or 4 inches tall. He is modeled after THE loopy ewe in their logo. (actually....she, huh? Ewe. She. Anyway....)
I was thinking I would order this for myself but I didn't.... Instead of the felted sheep kit, I made a donation to Oliver's Fund. Did ya'll know that Michaela is putting together a blanket of donated 4" sock yarn squares and then raffling the blanket off? I have read Emma's blog for a long time and have such a soft spot for her Oliver. You don't have to knit a square to get in on the raffle. The raffle tickets are extremely affordable: £1 GB or about $2 US. You can pay via PayPal (that's the link above). I know there are at least a few of you who might be reading this who live outside both the US and UK so I'm providing you with this chart:

Raffle Ticket Costs in Currencies Other than GB Pounds or US Dollars.

Australian Dollar: 2.25
Canadian Dollar: 1.93
Euro: 1.43
Hong Kong Dollar: 16.19
New Zealand Dollar: 2.69
Norwegian Kroner: 11.16
Swedish Krona: 13.25

If none of those currencies apply to you, there are currency converters all over the internet and it is a small number. Barely more than a bottled water.

Why am I telling you all of this? Basically, because it is a cause that matters to me and I hate that they are having a slow time of selling raffle tickets. (As of last Thursday, only 17 sold.) If you feel compelled to buy a raffle ticket by making a donation to Oliver's Fund, click here and do it. I'll wait here. Then leave me a comment saying you did and I'll send beaded stitch markers or earrings (recipient's choice) handmade by me to the first five commenters to tell me they've purchased a raffle ticket. It only takes one to get in the drawing and get something from me but if you buy 10 tickets or more, I'll send you stitch markers and earrings.

A Bouncing Baby Skein

The new Raven Clan of colorways over at Blue Moon are very beautiful and did not disappoint. They are striking, actually. I love the usual beauties of Socks That Rock - the Cockamamie, the Loch Ness, the Fire On The Mountain - but I was struggling with finding the right yarn to knit socks for my sister-in-law (who has a birthday today.) I want to knit her socks that she will like but, more importantly, I want to knit her socks that she will actually wear. And the Raven yarns? They fit that bill perfectly. Beautiful, special yarn in colors with depth and dimension, but also suitable to wear to her office job. I decided on Korpii for her
and the Count Cluckula for me. (I'm short and therefore my pants are all long so I don't have to worry as much about loud socks. 5'2" has its advantages.)

So maybe I will knit socks while I am laid up. I have well and truly fallen in love with the sock knitting and the last few days of knitting sweaters, I have been longing for those tiny needles and the socks. Funny how our preferences as knitters change, huh?
I also want to knit this No Tie Hat that RC recently finished. The hat is cute and I love the nifty construction. There is a new baby that joins us frequently for Wednesday night knitting. Surely she needs a hat.

Today's Quote:

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, / Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before." -Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven

Monday, November 05, 2007

More of the Same

I'm still knitting tiny sweaters, with no other real knitting to speak of.

Finished count: 21
Knitted but not sewn up: 3
On the needles: 2

And I'd like to ask you to pause a moment and consider this: it is only November 5 - a full 3 weeks and 3 days until Thanksgiving. At this point, I am feeling very confident (though cautiously, of course) that I am going to have these babies done in time. I am even starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I won't be knitting on our drive to Oregon on the 21st. There is always the possibility that I will fall off the wagon in the mean time but I am actually not stressing about this project. (For now. Those sounding frighteningly like famous last words...)

An Apple A Day

Might keep the doctor away but, for me at least, only until December 11. That's when my ankle surgery is scheduled. This one is going to be a bit more extensive so I'll have to spend a night or two in the hospital this time around and I am ok with that. I have to weigh a couple of main factors, namely: being at home in my own bed versus IV pain medicine, and in this particularly case, that's not much of a contest.

Yarn Plans

I've been thinking about knitting during this time of not walking (at least four months). I have heard the siren call of the Chevron scarf over at Dr. B's. I have resisted for a long time (ever since I bought the book) but I'm thinking maybe this will be a good project for me.

Or maybe I will finally get my act together and knit up my Briar Rose yarn. I still plan to make myself a Cozy wrap.

I have been waiting patiently for Blue Moon to put out the Raven Series. That happens today. (as of the moment I am typing this, the front page of the website still says they will be up this evening, after 6 pm PST.) Something tells me there will be yarn there that I will love.

Pushing Daisies

Have ya'll seen the new show Pushing Daisies? I hadn't seen it and didn't really have any interest in seeing it until my SIL told me I needed to watch it and that she had saved the episodes on her Tivo for me to come over and watch it. (I love that SIL.)

So after watching the first several episodes all in one evening, there are about 1000 reasons I love this show but I will limit myself to 10. (Because Lord knows, I'm long-winded enough.)

Ten Reasons I love Pushing Daisies:

1. It is funny without being cheesy or overly obvious. Smart funny.

2. The characters are instantly endearing.

3. Emerson Cod. He knits when he is stressed. He has knitted himself a vest and handgun cosies.

4. Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth). This chick could easily be an annoying, grating character but she isn't. I particularly love that, as we learn from the Narrator "She feels she has an orchestra in her heart that can only be heard when it is broken and the orchestra 'spills out into the world.' "

5. Speaking of the Narrator - I love the Narrator. This show plays more like an old movie than a new television program and the Narrator has a lot to do with that.

6. The colors. The whole appearance of the show is lush and over-the-top and beautiful. Again, like an old movie. . . one that was filmed in black and white and has been dramatically colorized.

7. This conversation:
Emerson Cod: Sounds like you're a narcoleptic.
Ned: I suffer from sudden and uncontrollable types of deep sleep?!
Emerson Cod: What's the other one?
Ned: Necrophiliac.
Emerson Cod: Words that sound alike get mixed up in my head.
Olive: Me, too. I used to think masturbation meant chewing your food. [awkward silence]
Olive: I don't think that anymore.
(as quoted on IMDB)

8. Olive and Chuck's aunts (Lily and Vivian) sing one of my favorite They Might be Giants songs Birdhouse in Your Soul.

9. Vivian and Lily were the members of a synchronized swimming duo called the Darling Mermaid Darlings, who were forced to disband after Lily lost her right eye while cleaning the cat's litter box.

10. This conversation:
Charlotte (Chuck): Can't we just be here as concerned citizens of the world?
Emerson Cod: No. Big Daddy needs new yarn.
(That one I am quoting from memory so if you saw it and I am misquoting, please tell me.)

Here is the extended preview.

If you haven't seen the preview and/or haven't seen the show, watch this preview but know that the preview doesn't do it justice. You really need to watch the show. Set your tivo, clear your calendar....better yet, go watch a full length episode at abc.com.

Today's Quote:

"Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow." -Abraham Lincoln