Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Walking on Sunshine

Today was a very enjoyable day. I finally made it back to Tuesday Morning knitting and received a very very warm welcome. All day long people in the middle of a conversation would stop and exclaim "Cute Shoes!" I had a glowing 30 day review at work today and I apparently broke a customer service record last week, although it's not like they actually keep records to break.
Something else that I'm enjoying now. Knitting a baby sweater out of sock yarn while watching Dr Who. I'm completely smitten with both.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Globe Trotting

Thorpe the second is finished.

I also finished the socks I knit on my lunch breaks at work.I started a new pair of socks for knitting on my breaks. I love Fleece Artist yarn. Just looking at it makes me happy.

Last weekend was at the Ethnic Festival. I have a feeling that I'm not remembering it's real name. Ethnic Festival doesn't quite have the right, I don't know, the right PC ring to it.

Whatever the name the was food from around the world. I spent my day eating my way around the globe. I started in Pakistan with a mango drink and ended in Bolivia with Flan.
...that needed stamping.
Plenty of music and dancing too. The tambourine dance to entertain the men working in the fields.
The scarf dance...
Picking mushroom dance...
Moon dance. I want bells to wear on my ankles too.
Fan dance...
This was a very photogenic dance but hard to actually get a good shot.
Butterfly dance...

I love how they had their hair braided into antenna.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The Denim Silverbell has split for the sleeves and I'm knitting endlessly down the body. The Gaenor is still coming along at one repeat a day. I needed something fast with instant gratification.
I cast on another Thorpe. This time I'm making the solid colored version. I love everything about this pattern. I might make a third and use up the last of this yarn. It's so fast and I like to think that I'm knitting some of the heat of august into the hats for January.
The herb garden changes daily. Little black eggs hatched into tiny caterpillars. Within 48 hours the tiny caterpillars had demolished the dill and the fennel plant. That's when they moved to the parsley and I snapped the photo. They aren't so little anymore.
Just 24 hours later the parsley was gone too. There was a little munching on the sage and then they moved on and are gone, ignoring the basil and other herbs.

Next year instead of one dill plant there is talk of planting a package or two of dill.
Watching the butterflies is almost as fun as watching the caterpillars change and grow.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oops! I did it again

Well, that didn't last long. I bought yarn. I made it 15 days and zero projects into my buy a project only after finishing 5 goal. However, I have a whole ton of rationalizations. First, I must start with the back story.

Saturday mornings I knit a nice yarn shop which frowns on people knitting with other store's yarn. It's their prerogative. Coffee shops aren't fond of people taking in their coffee from home and parking their behind in a comfy care and using the free wifi for hours on end. It's the same thing. I treasurer the LYS that doesn't mind but understand the ones that do.

So I had picked a up 8 skeins of linen yarn that I'm knitting in a lace top down sweater that will take me a few years of Saturdays to finish.
I love the yarn M&K Linen. It's so crisp and nice yet not as wiry as other linens I've knit with.
Lace always looks like ramen noodles before it's blocked.

So I'm knitting with the Linen and loving it. When the owner asks me how I like it and I say I love it, she laughs and says I'm the only one then. As I'm leaving and at the register with a pattern and the person in front of me is returning the same yarn. Owner turns to me and says It's going strait into the clearance bin. I waffle a bit. I really really want it but I want to hit my goal too. I like not breaking goals, it makes me feel in control and I like being in control. I crumbled when the person returning the yarn said she would just give me the two balls she already knit and can't return. I now have enough linen to knit a summer top in the fabulous shiny smoke blue linen yarn for $18. I love that yarn. I look fabulous in that color. $18!

So, now to decide what to do. Do I have to knit 10 things before I buy yarn again? Ha! I think not. 6? Pretend it never happened? Pretend it never happened is my favorite. After all, I haven't finished a single project of my 5. So nobody will know if I just start all over again today with a blank slate. That's what I'm going to do. No yarn buying starting today until I finish 5 projects. Then I can buy one project with total yardage of no more than half of what I just knit. So there.

I'm still knitting on my Denim Silverbell. I spent all of Friday reknitting the three days worth I unraveled. Right now I'm slogging through the largest part of the yoke at 360 stitches.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Step Forward Three Steps Back

Today I ripped back 3 days worth of knitting on my Denim Silverbell. The shoulders fit but just barely and the whole thing wasn't hanging right.

I like top down sweater because I can try them on as I go, but I find they make me lazy and I don't do the math before hand to make sure the changes I do on the fly are a good idea.

With this sweater I cast on for the size extra small, a very good idea. Then when the increases came along I fudged it so it was sort of small-mediumish. Yea, that worked about as well as small-mediumish implies. So I ripped back to the second set of increases and figured out so I now have a true medium with the same stitch count as the pattern again.

I want to finished something in August and since Silverbell isn't a sure thing I went to my basket and pulled out Gaenor.
I'm going to knit one repeat a day before I knit on anything else. With a little dedication it will be done before August is over.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Win Win

I went to the fair again. The knitting entries was way down this year. I feel a little responsible since I took in 12 entries last year, 5 of my own the rest for other people that didn't want to make the drive. This year I haven't been able to go to my groups so the fair sort of snuck up on me and I wasn't motivated to enter my own stuff.
I learned how milk is made.
An angry turkey.
Fewer bunnies this year too. None of them had a For Sale sign. That might be my favorite part of the fair is dreaming over the rabbits. This one wanted to come home with me. I can see it in her nose twitches.
Cutest pigeon ever.

So between my spreadsheet and discussing it on my favorite stash group I have learned that the yarn I buy because it's pretty or on sale or just because I fall in love is the yarn that I'm most likely to knit. The yarn I buy to knit a particular project only gets knit if I cast on within the week. After that it gets stale and moves to the bottom of my never ending list.

So at LYS Saturday while I was knitting and not buying yarn one of the new pattern booklets from Classic Elite came in, 9115 Magnolia. I feel for the cover pattern hard. I bought it even though I was sure I didn't have the right weight yarn in my stash that wasn't already linked to a pattern in my queue. I worried about the pattern going stale on me too. It's going to be a while before I buy yarn again.

When I got home I looked over my spreadsheet and then gave my stash a good tossing. I was reluctant to look through the yarn that was slated for projects but now knowing my knitting style I made myself look at old potential project yarn with new eyes.

I chose my Rowan Denim yarn, took a deep breath, and cast on right away. I got the same excitement of the buying yarn and starting a new pattern without the buying yarn part. If I still want to knit the pattern that this yarn was slated for I'll have to pick out and buy a new yarn making it all fresh again to. This is truly win win.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

No Money Miracle

Time for another SP swap.

This one's premise was to spend no money while spoiling your SP crazy with things you made and some yarn too. Boy Oh Boy! Was I spoiled crazy!
There is a jar of Peppermint Oatmeal Milk bath. That muslin cover is also the tea bag to keep the herbs and oatmeal from messing up the tub. It's brilliant. The scent is uplifting and refreshing.

There is a wool wrapped bar of soap which is such a gentle way of scrubbing garden dirt off my hands. It also looks good and smells good and the Olive Oil soap is good for the skin. It's been a few years since my last wool wrapped soap so I was very pleased to get this one.

Next to that is 3 felt ball suitable for juggling, if I could juggle or get them away from my pets. I loved the little note that showed how I could massage my back with them against the wall. Sorry I didn't get a photo of that. It was so cute and maybe just a little silly. That is, until I tried it. It really works! It's the exact opposite of silly, it's amazing! Some tight pain in my lower back and between my shoulder blades just relaxed away. I'm now a believer in felt ball back massages.

The yarn is a stunning hand spun Polworth wool in my favorite purple color. My SP did an amazing job with picking colors for me. It's like she took a peak in my stash to see exactly what I like. The baggie is some fantastic spinning fiber 60% Romney 40% Clun Forest.

There is a stack of recipes I can't wait to try, but Tomato Soup Cake? Is that really food? I might need some handholding to try that one. Not so with the Hot Cheese Hors d'Oevers. I'm thinking about not even waiting for a party and baking up a whole batch just for me.

It didn't make it into the group shot but there was also a cat toy.

Sumi-e loves it.
really loves it.
Joey had his own good time shredding the paper.
Such a nice party in a box.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Running A Sweatshop in My Own Livingroom

The last of the projects I knitted in July
Thrope knitted out of Manos and Cascade Jewel each held double. The braids and tassels really make this hat.

The yarn is beautiful. I was able to get stitch gauge but not row gauge. I never do. Because of that I had to stop the pattern early and it's still longer than most hats.

My third pair of Thuja's this year. Yarn is Cascade 220 superwash. Men's size so much much too big on me.

Baby Hat from One Skein. I love that book. Because the lace pattern wasn't grafted this hat was harder than it should have been. The yarn is Minnow Merino and I found it a bit hard to knit with too. The fabric it makes is very plush but the knitting the whole hat was irritating. I'm glad it was a small project. However, now that I've knit it once it would be super easy next time.

And that is the last of the projects that I knit to reach my goal of knitting Half of My Stash. I was feeling all happy and complete when I went looking in this blog for a project I knit a while back. I had forgotten I reached this goal last August right before a yarn sale. A very nice yarn sale. Some of the yarn was 75% off yarn sale.

But so I don't have to knit a full year just because of one purchase I have set up a new rule. I can buy one project for every five I finish. That one project can't be more than half of the just knit yardage. I don't want a repeat of last year.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Stash Buster

This took 8 balls of yarn out of my stash. I knit it because it's hard to wash dishes in a sweater so I would wrap my shoulders up in a blanket last winter. Not the easiest way to wash dishes. That's when I decided I needed a capelet. I never guessed it would be so cute. Everyone at the LYS said so and when I went to the washroom to look in the mirror they were right. I look super cute in it. It don't show so well in my self portrait there. But it's cute.
The pattern is Nordic Light from Wrap Style. The yarn is mostly Ella Rae Classic Wool. I knit the whole thing in the round not bothering with the part that called for knitting flat and seaming. On the upper rows I just did enough K2Tog to make the number of bound off stitches the pattern called for. Easypeasy and no seams.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Knit Half The Stash

I did it! I knit half of my stash. I noticed I was close in June so July was my big push and I did it. That's why the blog was so silent.

I'm baking a chocolate flowerless tort for to take to work. I'm part of a 3 week training class and tomorrow is a food day to celibate before class winds up and we all move to working nights. I wish I was sleeping instead of cooking so I'm going to roll out the July knits slowly, starting with this

Emerald knit in my favorite yarn Beaverslide, the old discontinued 2 ply. Seriously, yarn makers should call me up and ask my permission before closing out a line of yarn. The world would just work better if I had more say in it.

I bought the very last batch of the 2 ply fisherman weight and there was only 4 skeins and I bought them all. Because I was nervous about running out of yarn I knit the sweater small to the point I had at least half a ball left over. It's a perfect fit as a sweater but this pattern makes a lovely jacket. I like the pattern so much I'm thinking about taking the pink Beaverslide I have from the furry cat/moth fiasco and knitting it all over again so I can have a jacket too.

Good. The torts done. Off to bed now. Good night.

Monday, August 02, 2010

A while back Redshirt Knitting said that talking about gifts received from blogging "seems like either bragging, shilling, or fishing"

She is totally right. I'm bragging here. If I can't brag on my very own knit blog where can I?

I have some washcloths knit by the very hands that knit the Tree Sweater!

They are the first hand knit washcloths I've used and they are a joy. I know there is a cult following out there for knitting and using knit washcloths but I didn't really get it. I have now drunk the Kool-Aid and I dream about a run to Joanne's with the coupon to pick up a load of Sugar N Cream yarn. They soak up so much water and are just right for washing dishes, wiping up spills, wiping down the counters, using as coasters, and just all around enjoying the fact that I'm cleaning with knitting.

So I've started knitting my own washcloths as gifts. Right now I'm not buying yarn so I had to knit from the stash.

“I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.”

Leaf On The Wind Wash Cloth knit out of Euroflax 14/2 Linen held triple since 14/2 is a lace weight. I love the cute little cones the yarn comes on. I found the pattern to be too short. Everything I did came out very squat so I had to add rows to all parts of the pattern. I've never been able to achieve row gauge so I'm sure that is some of my problem. I love how the leaf looks and I may knit up a stack of them without WASH along the bottom. Can you read it? I can't read it. I hope after washing and drying it pops better.

Some mystery stash yarn, 100% cotton almost a rick rack almost a chenille yarn bought at a yarn shop 'n' swap before I even knew how to knit. I held this yarn double to make it thick enough. The velvety feel of these washcloths are amazing. Christmas knitting is well on it's way.

After digging out the flower bed (I won't mention the poison Ivy rash I got from that) I was able to do my ritual of buying herbs late in the season at reduced prices. I put in the herb garden as a surprise.

Because it's a surprise I had to get it all done at one go before I was found out. Not my brightest idea every. But 6 hours later I had this.Tia Basil has the prettiest purple flowers. Isn't the little stone birdbath the sweetest thing?The purple basil is a surprise to me. I picked it up because of the pretty purple leaves. It's now my favorite basil to grill with steak. It has a sharp sweet anise flavor that really brings out the flavor of the meat. Add some sprigs of rosemary and it's perfection.I also like to wrap a leaf around a tomato before popping it into my mouth. It's so much better than plain tomato. Yum.

I've tried doing the same thing with the other basil's. Sweet Basil doesn't work well that way. Tia Basil is almost as good. Spicy Globe Basil has a black pepper note that works great with tomato. Tomorrow I'll try the Lemon Basil. Because I tasted Purple Basil, Tia Basil, Purple Basil, Spicy Globe Basil, Purple Basil, I stripped my tomato plant clean before I ran out of basil flavors to try.

I love the basil so much I might stop buying the sickly reduced price plants in July to watch them bounce back with a little TLC and put them in correctly in the spring. It's agonizing to wait for them to grow enough leaves to make a single batch of pesto much less the endless batches I'm yearning for. Does Purple Basil make good pesto? I'll find out. But I think the traditional Sweet Basil is traditional for a reason. Good thing I planted both.