Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Onwards and sideways

I've been sooooo tired lately. I really need a good vacation with a lot of sun, close proximity to yarn stores, and several really good books. Since I've never had a vacation like that, I don't know where it would be, but I want it :)

I'm doing some swatching with the cashsoft, but I'm not sure on the needle size. It doesn't help that I'm a super loose knitter and need to go down a needle size or two for every project.

I'm worried about my youngest brother; my sister told me that he broke up with his SO, has overdrawn his bank account, and is delinquent on his loans. I hate that he's so far away, and that I can't do anything to help him. I wish he lived by us - it might be less fun, but I think he'd get some much needed stability and security in his life. I know he can take care of himself, but I wish I could do something.

I know I should wait for the patterns from the Art and Sole sock club before I start another pair of socks, but I might just have to dive into a pair for DP. I'm thinking of coffee colored socks with red heels and toes, and maybe of incorporating some slip stitch action (thanks to this month's SKA challenge, I'm interested in trying more). I also have a nice skein of bright orange-y yarn with some nylon content (thank goodness!) that I might use in some pattern calling for a semisolid. It's so bright; I know DP will just love it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I fought the law, and it was a tie

I had to go to court a few days ago to contest a snow citation for work. I got them to drop the citation, but I still had to pay for the city workers to come and spread about 6 oz of sand on the sidewalk. Blargh.

I had a relatively good appointment at the doctor; he seems like a very nice person, but I was crying all over the place, so he probably thinks I'm crazy. Whatever - as long as he can help me, I don't care. He wants me to go in for an hsg in a couple of weeks, which is kind of scary, since I've heard it can hurt really badly. We'll see.

I'm halfway done with the foot of the second SKA sock, so I should finish by the end of the month with no problem. I have to say, these are some of the ugliest socks I've ever made - I thought the colors would go well together, but in the final equation, I think they don't jive. DP hates them, which is good in a way, since he won't be stealing them like all the other socks I make :) My mom and sister like the combo though, so maybe I'm missing something. I dunno.

I'm happy that I've worked the socks up in about a month, because I'd really like to make a pair every other month this year. Like all my beginning of the year schemes, we'll see how this one goes, but it's not a bad start. I have enough yarn to make twenty pairs of socks, and I joined the Art and Sole pattern only sock club this year, so I should have some foot fodder coming down the pike. I also have two gift certificates to a local yarn store, but I need someone to take me there. Since my sister is tired all the time with her pregnancy and DP doesn't like yarn stores, I don't know what to do. Cab?

I'm currently trying to figure out what to make for an upcoming baby shower. I have four weeks, so I'm thinking a cardigan and a pair of socks. Since I have this issue of owning a million patterns but never wanting to make any of them when the chips are down, I bought this (Ravelry link) yoked cardigan pattern by Hannah Fettig. I think I'll use that cashsoft, since it's machine washable, and make a little tiny sweater with it. If I have time, and the inclination, I might also work up a blanket.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Whatta day

It has been snowing all day long - sometimes heavy, sometimes, less heavy - I'm so happy I didn't have to work today.

I spent the day working on my second mystery sock for SKA on Ravelry, catching up on my blogs, baking bread and reading romance novels. Sigh.

Here's a pic of the first sock:

jan mocks leg heel

Yes, I know it's blurry, but it's the best I could do :) Really - I took six pictures, and this was the best one. Eeep! I'm about a third of the way through the second sock, which will end at the end of the gusset (the next clue isn't out until next week). This is the first time I've done mosaic, and I have to say that I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. I love colorwork, but I'm not often in the mood to have to carry both yarns around - this makes that problem moot.

I finished the sweater/dress that I was test knitting:


I love how it turned out, and I'm going to give it to DP's sister's daughter. I think it will be a dress for her now and a sweater for her later, but it's just so cute I can hardly stand it.

I baked two loaves of bread today: a whole wheat sandwich loaf and a baguette. I use the recipes from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread Every Day, which I encourage everyone to run out and buy if you are interested in making bread. The two things I've brought away from the book that I think can be used elsewhere are the overnight rise and the stretch and fold. The overnight rise gives you a lot more leeway on when you make the bread, and it helps the flavors of the bread develop so much more than the usual countertop rise. The stretch and fold lets you make a dough with a higher hydration and less traditional kneading. You knead your dough for a bit, then stretch and fold it onto itself by quarters. You let it sit for ten minutes and do it again, usually three or four times total. It's an amazing technique. Sadly, I have to let my bread cool, so I haven't been able to dig in yet, but I have designs on the baguette at least for dinner. DP also mentioned that he'd like roti tonight, so I made end up making 3 different breads today.

I also got a bunch of pictures off my camera and onto flickr, so I can prove that I actually knit something during Christmas. Behold, my juerga mitts:

forest juerga


golden juerga

A coworker got the green ones and DP claimed the yellow ones.

And some One Scarves:

blue scarf

bronze one scarf

cherry cordial scarf

I love that pattern - obvious, I know.

Finally, two keyhole scarves:

golden scarves

Again, another great pattern from Anne Hanson. She's amazing.

I still need to make myself some more lip balms; I'm totally out, since I had to give several away to visitors who left their own chapsticks at home :) I need to finish filling out the h&p stuff for my doctor's appointment tomorrow (new fertility clinic), and I have a couple more chapters to read. Finally, if anyone knows of a great pattern for Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply (the fingering weight), let me know. I'm thinking baby stuff, since it's soft and machine washable, but I'm not sure which baby stuff. All the babies I'm waiting for the birth of are due April through August.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Deja vu?

I ended up giving my Juerga mitts to my sister on Sunday - she really liked them, and I felt like she needed a pick me up. With her pregnancy and my 2 1/2 yr old niece, plus moving into a new house, things have been pretty hectic for her.

I am working on the mystery socks for SKA, and I'm actually having fun! It's mosaic, which I have not done, and I'm using up yarn that I've had for over two years, so I feel virtuous. I did have to do the cuffs over because the STR lightweight I thought I had turned out to be STR mediumweight. I was using a 2.5mm and had to go down to a 2.0mm, otherwise the things would have been enormous. I'm halfway through the second clue on my first sock.

I'm also test knitting a sleeveless sweater dress like thingy for someone on Ravelry. When I saw it, I thought it was too gorgeous to be denied, and I had too many little girls I'd want to make it for. Since I couldn't wait for the pattern to be finished and set out for sale, I had to ask if I could test it. I'm using Louisa Harding silk/wool blend singles, dk weight. Exciting!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Almost there

I've finished the feather and fan section on the second of my "for me" juerga mitts, so I have only to knit the double eyelet rib and I'll be done with the pair. I love these, and I'm happy that I'll have a pair for myself :) The squash colored pair I'd been making for myself was appropriated by DP, and with all the Christmas knitting I had to do, I didn't get to make another set for myself.

I'm also trying to decide if I should make the mystery socks in the Sock Knitters Anonymous KAL this month. It looks interesting, and I said that I wanted to get back into sock knitting...we'll see how I feel later tonight. The cuff looks really neat, and I have some heavier weight sock yarn that would let me make the smaller stitch count in my size.

Once all of my house guests are gone, I really want to go through my craft room and rearrange it. DP wants it to be a combination craft room/library, so that the library can be a guest bedroom, but I have a small couch in my craft room that will need to go if we want to put four more bookcases in. I've not been up to moving furniture lately, and with all our guests over the past month, I didn't really have the opportunity. Next week though, I won't have any more excuses.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Professor!

Today is the birthday of JRR Tolkien, and fans all over the world raise a glass to his memory. Right now, I'm in the middle of a good deep mug of cider, but I'll probably raise another toast in ale later tonight :)

When I think of all the different things I've read, and all the ways they have influenced me, JRRT's works are some of the most important. In almost all that I do, I can find reflections to the Silm, or the LOTR, or even The Hobbit. I love his style, his stories, his choice of words, his imagery. If I got nothing else from that long ago, ill-fated relationship in college, I got introduced to Tolkien and his world. Thank you, Brian!

In other news, I did finish most of my Christmas gifts, but I didn't finish the mittens. I had some...trouble...so I'm still working on them. The cowl I made for my brother was too orange, so I made him a green one with Madelinetosh and Cascade 220. He loved the green cowl, but also liked the orange one, so he got both! My other brother liked the scarf I made for him; it was a heathered navy Cascade 220. He actually wore it to work, so I think he really liked it and wasn't just being nice. My aunt and grandma liked their keyhole scarves, and I think my other aunt and cousin probably liked theirs as well; at least, I didn't hear about how they hated them.

Now that 2011 is here, I really want to crank out some more socks for me, DP, and maybe some of the little nieces and nephews I have running around. I do want to finish my Uinen, and I saw a gorgeous sweater on Knitspot that I'll have to make for myself or DP as soon as Anne publishes the pattern. Last year I made several cardigans, but none of them were perfect. This year, I'd like to make one cardigan that fits really well, and one pullover that I can wear with no undershirt (if I'm so inclined).