Monday, December 31, 2007

Me And My Shadow

Friday was a terrific day! To start with it was my day off, (sorta) what could be better! Then the gods were smiling on me and gave me a nice little snow storm to play in :)

I was able to get caught up on a number of things around the house, listen to a book for a while and play in the snow some with Bingo. He loves it as much as I do.

This is just me playing with my new little red camera!! Bingo likes to play sno plow as I call it, and he borrows his face into the snow and tosses it. He cracks me up but unfortuately I could not quite capture it on camera. You would never guess he is almost 10.

I even got to visit with my brother and his family for a belated Christmas. I got him a foot massager with heat for his poor diabetic feet and he got me a pedicure spa for mine. It is scary how we sometimes think alike.

I finished making the tassels for my shadow hat. I love this pattern, it has such a huge range of possibilities. I cant wait to make another one! The tassels are two Icords with fringies on the ends. I have plenty of other yarn to try it out again. It gave me a chance to try shadow knitting, which completely intimidates me, as well as trying a new stitch. I love that little braided thing it has going. Like I said before, those Canadians really have it going on!

Still stash busting I located four balls of a cotton yarn that I picked up a couple years ago at Stitches Midwest, and thought I would give Amys Everlasting Bagstopper a try. It is very like the bag I made a few years ago for my yoga mat. All y/o and knits.

Of course, since the yarn I bought was a bigger gauge, the bag came out wider, no biggie, but I only had 4 balls of it, Classic Elite, it turned out short and squatty. Just as I was about to sew the webbed handles on it, I changed my mind and decided to frog the whole thing and start over, decreasing the width of the bottom to make it taller. Maybe I will do that next weekend.

I also had this Shell Beaded Scarf kit laying around from Stitches. I was soooo afraid to try it because of the beads, but it was a must on on my list. The shadow hat inspired me to pull it out of hiding. What a dream to knit. Super easy pattern. The hardest part was picking up all the beads off the floor after I twice spilled a whole strand. The entire pattern is knit. The beading was so much simpler than I thought. I finished this bad boy in one day, Ok so I did nothing else but knit, but still. It was so much fun, I could not put it down, til I realized that I did not read the entire directions. The scarf measures 32 inches... who the hell wants a cool scarf like this to be 32 inches. Frogging again, and started over with only four repeats instead of 5. I want a much longer scarf. Teach me to read the whole page won't it....probably not, that would be me plunging in head long and suffering the consequences.

I don't mind really, I had so much fun making it the first time, and I am having fun the second time around too. I will definitely make another one of these!
Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's all about the Red

This year the Christmas Season seemed to sneak up on me. I struggled alot with my health this year and, curse those physical weakness', it made me realize I could not single handedly move the earth.

I did manage to finally get the stockings hung on the mantle.

And with Sarah and Ethan's help, I got the tree up and decorated, but not much else, I did manage to get the house looking somewhat festive, in one room at least, right before Christmas. and house presentable enough for the company coming over on Christmas Eve. As per usual, I worked both days! Christmas was a big buck day since I had to work 12 hours (oh darn) and rake in all that holiday pay (oh darn). The day after was a killer tho, another 12 hour shift. I was ever so tired when I finally met my pillow.
I did get to see a few family members on Christmas Eve when I came home from work. I was wished a HAPPY FELIZ NAVI KWANZAA as they were going out the door. (gotta cover all the basis, right?)

Santa really surprised me this year. We opened presents before I had to rush off to keep the North Shore safe. It was all about the red this year. He surprised me with the new Ipod Nano, (RED) and a new digital camera, the Olympus FE-280 (also red).

Even the jammas I got were red plaid! LOL

Expecting a slow day at work, and with my few holiday projects completed, my fingers were at a loss, so I rummaged around in the stash bag and Surprise to me...I found a kit I purchased at Stitches MidWest this year for this cute little hat that I had all but forgotten about. The T-4-2 hat. If anyone has this one laying around, get too is a must.
Those Canadians really have it going on when it comes to knitting. I find their patterns and colorways most intriguing. I think all Canadians must come from the womb already knowing knitting 101.

I started this on Christmas Eve, after everyone left. I did not have a clue what I was doing, just blindly following the pattern without trying to comprehend it ( I should try that more often). I have never done shadow knitting before nor have I done this braided stitch either. Two firsts for me. I finished the band on Christmas night. I was surprised at how quickly this pulled together.

Almost done, While I sat listening to my new Santa toy last night, I finished the crown. I have only the tassel left to do and it will be Happy New Hat To Me!

You can see here the braided portion (red arrow) I did a little ad-libbing of course with the pattern and added two more braided sections, my Virgo mind needed to tie all the colors together
The shadow part, ( white arrow) well that was hard to photograph. I must have taken a dozen pictures and this was the best I could come up with. Can you see the diagonal stripes at this angle? What a great pattern, I think I am going to make another one. It actually gives you a choice of fair isle band or the shadow band.

Quite fun, and the best part is that it was all about me!

I hope everone else and a Wonderful Christmas too!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Bag

Now that the recipient has her gift, I can post the pictures of the completed bag. This was a fun project, I find most felting projects fun, I guess because they knit up so fast, and take shape fast. Then the end piece is so much different than what you started out with, even in color.

Here is what it looks like per the pattern. Now, having made one, this is how I would change it. To start with, I have to have inside pocket, so I would have to add one on inside as well. The bag is roomy enough on the inside to accommodate an extra pocket. The felting instructions called for the bag and pocket to be felted first then sewn on. What a pain in the patutey! I have to use a tapestry needle with a point to get it through both fabrics, thing 2 to change, sew pocket first, then felt. I think given the size it came out, it would have been fine to do it this way.

Here is a shot of the inside and snap closures.

The striped part is actually a pocket.

There was an error in the pattern when it came to the trim, no biggie, I just had to add 10 more inches to the icord for the trim. I like my bags to hang off my shoulder so I would have made the straps much longer for my self and perhaps even thicker.

When I put the snaps on I went to the fabric store to get the kit since I did not have a tool to put them on with. Well I never dreamed it would be so damn difficult to get them on right. I think I ruined 3 snaps in my attempt to put them on.

Plus I smashed my finger and broke a nail. There must be an easier way to do them than having a stupid little "anvil" and hitting it with the hammer. Obviously JoAnne Fabrics did not have the easier answer.

To felt the bag in the front loader I did something a little different this time. My previous felts took for-ever to become felted. I zip everything up inside a pillow case cover to protect my machine (yes I know, that is a given) then I zipped myself over to Walgreen's and bought a pair of those spikey blue dryer balls for softening. Threw the bag, balls and a heavy towel for balance in the machine, used the Express Wash setting on hot/cold and went to work. I had to run it a second cycle, but it was mostly finished the first time around. I dry flat on my shoe rack in the dyer and that is that. Could not have been easier this time. If I had not been so pressed for time I would have turned the machine off mid-cycle the second time round.

All in all, I am pretty pleased with how it turned out, as was the recipient.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Just In The Nick of Time

Nephew Socks Complete!! Phew!! I was starting to think that I wouldn't make it! Right down to the wire I was.
Now, you may look at this picture and say...hmmmm are those two different colors? It is hard to tell in this picture but, ah, yah... weeellll.... It would seem that once they were knitted up., these two skeins of yarn (same dye lot I might add) have two distinct flavors. The second sock came out much darker. There is more of a color variation in the first one ( on the left).

You can see it a little better in this picture. Now, while I was not entirely happy over that, since they are a Christmas gift, they are for my nephew who happens to be somewhat bohemian (like his Auntie ) so I am sure he will not mind, if he even notices.

The bohemian streak in me doesn't care either, but the Virgo in me is disappointed. This is the first time I have had a Lorna's Laces be so different in the same dye lot. I am thinking it was just my luck grab the one out of the four that didn't quite match.
No chance of being able to whip out another pair before Monday.

Yesterday I spent a maniacal day wrapping gifts. What was I thinking... leaving them all for the end. And as per usual, once I had them wrapped, I realized just how overboard I went...again! I do this every year, and every year I say I will cut back. Raine is so spoiled by her Mimi!
My whole dining room was full to the brim. I kinda looked like a war zone.
Finally by mid afternoon I was finished, gifts sorted out according to their respective homes, bagged up and rready to go. Then the man of the house comes home with a $100 in doggie treats that need to be wrapped for the family pets. Bingo, gives treats and stuffies to his little cuz-er doggies and cats every year. I was so exhausted by the time it was all said and done all I wanted to do was take a hot bath and go to bed.
At the last minute today I decide, because of my schedule this week and lack of time, I packed up my truck with all the gifts, minus the ones for my home of course and take them to work with me. I had to laugh on my way in, because with all those packages piled up in the back seat, All I could think of was that my little red truck looked more like Santa's Sleigh!

Luckily my daughter took pity on me and she and the fam drove to my work to pick up all the gifts. Usually I make a midnight trip to her house and haul them up 3 flights of stairs. She did make mention of the fact there were so many packages ear marked for her house, and that she only had a two bedroom apartment...whatever.

I am now officially done! Signed sealed and delivered! Since I work on both Christmas and Eve, I won't get to join in the festivities but, I feel quite relaxed right now with only something to make for myself.

Now to finish that poor little stocking I started oh-so long ago.

I notice that Blogger-ville has been pretty quiet lately, and small wonder why, since I am sure we have all been on the same self impossed deadline with our knitting.
My Christmas wish to you all..... May all your projects turn out right, and may they all be complete by Christmas Eve night!

P.s. My thanks to all of you who posted on my little poll.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holy Crap only 12 days left!

Can you believe it? Only 12 days left until Santa comes!!! Well this Santa doesn't even have her tree up yet. I cannot believe how far behind I am in my usual self imposed Christmas schedule. I think maybe I will blame it on blogging...and give the Work Monster a break since, well...every year at this time is busy at work. Along with that mad dash around the stores to finish shopping, I still have to decorate the house, wrap all the gifts, and send out those cards!

I only got a little bit knit on my nephew's surprise sock (I know I am safe posting this since he doesn't read my blog) I'm going to have to knit fast to get these done in time. I was hoping to have time to make a pair for my brother too but that just isn't going to happen.
Surprise to me!
I funny thing happened on the way to the forum... I was checking my email the other night after work and there was an email from Cindy (?). When I opened it she said I had won a gift certificate for this post,(My Homeless Project) on 25 Things for Charity! Apparently I won the November contest she was having on that blog. Woo Hoo! I did not even realze there was a contest. Merry Christmas to me. $15 to spend at Amazon!!
Thank you Cindy for the wonderful gift! I will have to look and see what knitting book I have on my wish list at Amazon now.
Now back to my knitting...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Times a flyin'

Time flies when your having fun! It also gets away from you when the Work Monster has a strong hold! The Work Monster has had it's grip on me for some time now. What with all the prep for our re-accreditation and in addition to my other additional assignments, one of our own taking a powder on us a couple of weeks ago, all that has created an extra strain on everyone involved.

The assessors are now in the building, which means even more work and stress. To top things off, the closer we get to Christmas, the more demanding my job becomes, what with the area's lawless looking for their own peculiar type of Christmas cheer. Then Five minutes from walking out the door last night ( and I was soo ready, believe you me) I get an armed robbery call with two down. Of course that ensued a flurry of activity that was so adrenalin pumping that I had no idea how I was going to get to sleep when I finally got home just before 3 am.

Needless to say- I did not get to catch up on my show and knit last night. :( And with Christmas so close.
I did get my Knit Picks order (Yay) and now that I am finished with the bamboo socks, I have a set of size 1's that I don't have to be in fear of breaking! I also got this very pretty sock yarn in Grass to make those cute little anklets out of. And the I have cast on my nephew's surprise socks. Not that I got very far with them yet, I started them on the 1's and knit for about an inch when I decided nah, then ripped them out again and re-cast on the 2's.

Yesterday I made some real headway on the Blue Sky Bag!
The thing about felting is that it knits up real fast, when you sit down to do it. This was a fun one too. Easy and classic looking. I added the I-cord trim and handles the other night after work. The pattern had a misprint for the trim and was off about 10 inches, but there is really no guessing what is involved in this pattern so it was an easy adjustment to correct.

Since the Work Monster woke me up at the crack of dawn (so to speak) yesterday morning, I put that time to good use and worked up the pocket for the bag.

And this is the Pre-felt stage. I only have to weave in the ends and throw it into the washer. The pocket and bag are felted prior to sewing it on. My nice Sears repairman and I had a lengthy conversation about how I could control the felting process in my front loader. It should make it go faster this time.

I am so close to wrapping this one up I can practically taste it!

I just have to mention the wonderful gift that one of our residents dropped off at the station the other night. A gentleman and his son came in with several Croft and Barrel bags full of brand new toys and clothing for the needy. I am not just talking bout a few small bags, it was those large purchase bags. They each carried about 4 bags in full of items, then told me there were clothes also in the bags. They both made several trips from the car and brought in two boxes of toys as well.
When I removed the bags from the lobby, I could not believe the booty! Each bag was full of an assortment of toys, hats, gloves, and a variety of shirts and sweatshirts and several bottles of shampoo, all of it was BRAND NEW!! I separated the items, as the clothes will go to the homeless shelter along with the shampoo. ( We actually have two separate charities we are collecting for.) I can tell you, it brought tears to my slightly jaded eyes. I truly believe the human touch can make a difference in a homeless person's life.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A little Poll fo you.

I was on Knitters Review Forum the other day, and there was a discussion about how comments should be answered. The answers seemed to be pretty varied. What is the proper protocol for answering comments. Do people want their comments emailed to them? answered back on a comment? Or maybe they just don't care. Do people really go back and look at the comments to see if they have been answered. I know that you can subscribe to a comment, but there just seems like there should be a better way of going about it.

I am not very consistent in how I answer but I always try to answer some one who is kind enough to comment. (I love getting comments by the way so feel free).

So I thought I would place a poll on the side bar get the general opinion of how you would like to see comments answered back.

Feel free to leave a comment explaining your poll answer.

Happy polling!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A little this and a little that

The work monster had it's evil grip on me over the weekend, the Friday thru Monday part of the weekend that is, so no quality time was spent with anything but my laptop. Fun project with a short deadline, but still work none the less.
Tuesday was my day off which started with a conference call / webinar (more work stuff) but once that was over the fun started.

I was surprised my by an early morning visit from my daughter with my pseudo daughter in tow. WOO HOO! Lori has flown out from Washington to spend her 21st birthday with family and friends!!! I'm thinking along the lines of a night out at the Sugar Shack for her birthday ;) She looks TERRIFIC! It was so good to see her happy, when she first went out there she was very unhappy, but now that she and her new husband are in their own place, everything seems to be falling into place. Well at least until Kasey gets deployed in April.

As you can see Bingo is a happy boy too. We went for our weekly vet visit and they decreed he could have his bandages off! YAY!!!! And look...he still has hair on his head! He still has stitches in his ears but he doesn't have to go back for three whole weeks. Now I can clean the inside of my truck and de- paw print and de- fur it and remove the puppy nose prints from the windshield. Hmmm Maybe I should ask Santa for some seat covers.

A little winter weather advisory happened on Tuesday too. Mild blizzard conditions started while we were at the vet's. I am on of those freakish people that love this kind of weather. The more snow the more I like it. (it is the sub zero weather I hate)

So after the vet visit I drove over to the local P.A.D.S (homeless) site in the next town over (yes- in the severe weather) and dropped off my meager donation of 12 hats and 6 scarves, along with the new baby clothes someone had dropped off at the PD. Then I drove over to the Library to donate a crap load of books I had been hoarding. Out of the three bags full, one of them was all crafty books.

Here is Lori with the girls' shopping booty, wearing the hat and scarf that I made for her.

I love coming home from work and finding packages waiting on the table for me.
My mail lady brought me this nice package of yarn- Isn't she wonderful!! 4 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock yarn in Charcoal, for that last minute gift I decided was a must. (still waiting for my Knit Pick's order- it is probably in my mailbox but I did not want to dodge the traffic and cross the road to find out).

So Wednesday after a hard day of panic Christmas shopping I dragged out my two favorite toys and set to work winding yarn so that it is ready as soon as I finish Bamboo socky #2.
Which I plan on doing tonite after work.

I love solids that are not quite solid don't you?

Here is where I am at with the Bamboo socks. Socky #2 is almost done. I am down to the toe. As you can see I was not able to match the stripes. The two skeins are vastly different in that regard. I attempted to match them but the dark blue sections were much longer on the second skein and that was so not going to happen. No big deal in that, since I am a little off beat, so therefore should be my socks!.

The first skein had a knot in it. I was none too happy about that but I decided not to mention it in my last post. But one I got to the second skein... well, the second skein had not one but two knots in it. That is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to yarn. Nothing pisses me off more than to find a knot in the yarn while I am knitting. I had to stop, untie it and then continue with the new end. Just what I wanted...more ends to weave in! Then it happened again on the heel gusset! Grrrrr!
You would think that for the amount of money I paid for this fancy smanchy yarn that it would be all in one piece and not three!!!
Don't get me wrong. I still like the yarn but it just erk's me no end when I find it has been knotted.

Dawn asked How many stitches I cast on for these socks. 56 , it is the same amount I used with the size 2's. I was a little bit nervous about it since these were done on needles one size down. and considered that I might need more stitches or they would be too small, but they turned out fine. Socky #1 looks a wee bit bigger than socky # 2 but that is because I had to take it off my foot for the picture...hehe.

I still haven't worked on the bag, ok- I guess I have been a wee bit busy lately- but until I get the bag and the surprise socks finished I will not be able to relax. Plus- now I will have to force myself to go Mall shopping next day off to finish X-mas shopping since I could not find everything I was looking for this week. Not really looking forward to it - I don't like the holiday crowds, so I usually try to avoid it whenever possible. There were so many people out in the stores on Wednesday I am beginning to wonder if anyone has a normal 9-5 job anymore.

My Blog is Possesed!

Do you ever have one of those days where it takes you three times as long to finish a post because of some wonky stuff going on in Blogger-ville? Today is one of those days. I write, I spell check, I preview and then, BAM. All of a sudden Blogger has decided to add some weird-ass html code and shrinky dink everything I just wrote. Then in trying to fix it, I loose two of my pictures. WTF!!!
Not the first time this kind of thing has happened. Does anyone else have that problem? Or is it just me. Sometimes it seems like Blogger is playing a practical joke on me.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bamboo on Bamboo

Here is the scoop on the bamboo sock. (Notice I did not say socks-plural)
The yarn is from my crazy buying spree at Stitches Midwest. My goal this year was to buy only exotic yarns, which I did in abundance!
This particular yarn is from Southwest Trading Company (which, actually they all were), 100% Bamboo, 250 yards of color #154, what ever that means. Not an exciting blend of colors but still very pretty. Makes a very even striped pattern.
Softness? In the skein it feels like silk, very, very nice to the touch.
I notices that this yarn does not have the spring that traditional yarns have, and my cast on edge don't not have the give that am accustomed to, but it still fit comfortably.
The manufacturer suggest a gauge of 5 st to 1 inch on size 6.
I wanted a tighter weave in my socks so I knit it on size 1 bamboo needles (because I am still waiting for my Knit Picks order). I live in fear of breaking the needles and I kept stabbing myself with the points, not really a pleasant experience. I got about 8 st = 1 inch on them.
Bamboo on bamboo did knit very nicely and make a nice fabric, but when I split the yarn it was not very forgiving, I guess because it is chained and not twisted. And unfortunately it was all to easy to split with these needles.
Progress was slower going than normal, I am not sure if it because of the size of the needles or the type, or if it was the yarn.
The fabric seemed a little stiff and I was nervous about it but when I put it on my foot it felt very comfortable.
Sorry, no exciting lacy pattern or cables. All my socks have to be ribbed (for now) as I have evil diabetic feet now, and every thing else irritates the hell out of my feet and ankles. Fairly sucks too because I was the queen of the strange and unusual foot coverings! For now my basic foot wear consists of smooth hand knit socks ( no hardship there) and a pair of Crocks (which are heaven sent comfort) or combat boots, depending on if I am working or not ;). I am holding out the hope of being back in the footwear game some day and this is just a temporary situation!

You can see that I am down to the toe and that pesky grafting business. You would think that for as many pairs I have knit, that I would have this part down pat. But, as usual, I have my book on hand.
I think my feet are going to like these sockys. I will let you know how they are to wear in my boots when I get them done. I have a goodly amount left over from the first skein so I am thinking maybe when I am done I can squeeze a pair of booties out of them too. We'll have to see. Bamboo is supposed to be very cool in the summer and warm in the winter, time will tell.

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