Sunday, September 7, 2008

Nearly instant

An e-mail from a wonderful friend on Saturday morning was just the excuse I needed to cast-on that immediate gratification project I'd been looking for! My friend, who was out of town visiting her daughter, couldn't wait to share the good news - her long-awaited first grandbaby is on the way!

A quick search for a pattern and an even quicker look through stash resulted in a likely combo - purple is a good, gender-neutral color, right? And if I double-strand the Malabrigo worsted, then I'll pretty much have a bulky weight - perfect. This is the Jacinto colorway - fluffy soft and gorgeous to work with. The hat is blocking now, and needs a big fat pom-pom on top, but otherwise it was less than 3 hours of knitting, start to finish. I'll be having lunch with my friend on Friday, and I hope she'll love it - at worst, she'll appreciate it as it's intended - a goofy, can't-wait-to-celebrate gift.

Quick note to self - by counting the strands in the hank before winding, then carefully re-counting to divide the hank in half, I came within inches of rolling a perfect, doubled ball, with the 'fold' buried in the middle, so I may have 30 or so yards left - enough for an Ipod cozy or some other teeny thing. Sometimes things work out!

Another bit of e-mail good news received Saturday was word that my SFS package arrived safely, and that my socks had been pronounced 'perfect' by the group's founder, organizer, and cheerleader, Kim - otherwise affectionately nicknamed 'Sarge.' I'll admit to being a little intimidated by her at first -she seemed awfully picky and at times, quite stern about insisting that knitters get things right. The more I've read from her on the Yahoo group site, though, the more her generous heart shines through, and it's clear now that she just wants to provide items that are of consistently high quality for our troops. I can't imagine being in her place - trying to manage hundreds of knitters of varying skill levels who are all working remotely, plus collating and packaging piles of socks, beanies, other goodies of all kinds - what a woman! Her praise and appreciation really mean a lot.

Guess it's back to the single-digit needles now, though it will be a while before I get back down to 0's, I'm sure. I'll get there eventually, but maybe not just yet.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Just a few pictures to commemorate my first-ever finished pair of socks! I've made plenty of baby booties and Christmas stockings in the past, and I've also started but then frogged a couple of other pairs of socks before these, so they really shouldn't have taken so long to finish. If I'd been using a beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn instead of desert tan (could've been worse - some knitters have to do black!), or perhaps if they'd been a little smaller, instead of needing 12" legs, 10" feet & a diameter large enough to fit over a 2-liter bottle . . . or maybe if the yarn & needles had been a little larger, say sport weight
on US 3s & 4s, instead of fingering on 0s & 1s. Perhaps then I would've gotten more than this one pair completed in the last three months!

Oh well, they're done, and they're in the mail, along with a few other 'care package' goodies, including six balls of sock yarn donated by my very generous LYS - I figured someone else in the SFS group could use it up a lot faster than me!

At this point, I'm feeling very grateful that the next pairs I do (and yes, despite the whining, there will be more) already have the legs complete. Many thanks to Lisa for machine-knitting these and sending them to me from Texas!

Now that I have my studio somewhat together again, I can say with confidence that the only other thing still on my needles (besides two very quick & sorta secret gifts) is this felted bag, which will be fun to get back to. Not bad! Guess a little more stash-busting is in order between now and the end of the year. Hmmm . . .

Friday, August 29, 2008

Catching Up

I'm determined to get one more post in before summer is 'officially' over - wait, one more? How about just one??

The primary reason I haven't been posting is, well, that I haven't actually been knitting . . . at least not on anything new. But I do have progress to report - these are before and after pics of my studio, which, along with the rest of our house, got new flooring and baseboards this summer. (We'd had this poor carpet for more than 16 years, and I think it used to be blue, believe it or not!)
This little project involved way more moving and cleaning and storage and painting than anybody wants to hear about (wanna guess how many DPNs I found behind the furniture and in the couch cushions?) but we are thrilled with the results.

I spent a good chunk of today painting the last bookshelf for this room, and before this Labor Day weekend is over, I am determined that the final six (or maybe twelve) boxes, including my knitting books & stash, will be unpacked. Before the summer ends, we will be DONE! Finished. Finito! Free time, how I've missed you!

I guess I do have one other accomplishment to report - my first pair of Socks for Soldiers are actually finished - I kitchenered up the 2nd toe last night, and, per instructions, they've been machine washed and are in the dryer now. I'll be sure to get pictures before I send them off to be bundled with many others like them & shipped to either Afghanistan or Iraq. I may need to pick up a few goodies to add to the package, as well.
Meanwhile, I received two pairs of machine-knit legs last week from an amazing woman in Texas, who understands completely what it takes to get 'er done! So I guess I have my next project all lined up . . . except, I might have to take a small break and work on something that involves a bit more, shall we say, immediate gratification . . .

I signed on for a couple of swaps on Ravelry - just easy little ones, and I'm really looking forward to making a couple of fun, quick things to exchange.

Guess that's it for tonight - more SFS pictures before the weekend is out, with luck. Here's one last 'end of summer' shot - our cosmos have had a great season!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Almost there . . .

Seems like it's been way longer, but I've actually been working on my first pair of SFS for just three weeks. They've been pretty much everywhere I've been, every day, and I was making pretty good headway for a while - this picture is of the first giant sock passing it's two-liter stretchiness test. But, I kinda lost momentum for a minute or two after giving in to a new, impulse cast-on (mine is about as far along as this one, but no FO pictures seem to be available anywhere, not even on Ravelry - isn't that amazing? I could be the first person to actually finish knitting this!?) In my own defense, I have to add that though the project was totally spontaneous, I had all the yarn in my stash, so I clearly had no choice, right? My colors are more like the original Mags Kandis design, with a pale yellow rather than bright green base.

Anyway, back to the socks ... thought I'd try to get back on track by setting myself a little challenge last week, aiming to complete 4 inches of ankle (over 72 stitches on size 0 needles - ugh) and turn heels on both socks by the end of this past weekend. I came SO close - if I hadn't kept messing up the heel flaps I would've been there!
I did get the complete heel turn done on one, though I know it's hard to see in this pic, and the flap is finished on the other. It took a lot of help in the form of podcasts (so many fun ones out there!) and a great book on CD, but I'm still amazed that I got this close to my goal. If these weren't for such an incredibly good cause, I know I would've given up already.

On another front, just had to show off my mini-swallowtail-altar-shawl, all prettied up for Sunday . . . it was a bit small, but a big hit all the same, with several requests for a return engagement. It's very nice to feel wanted!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Blocking Breakthrough

So, who needs wires or pins for blocking?? Well, maybe I do - this picture will undoubtedly display my lack of skills, but even so, the transformation of this piece from wrinkly blob to defined lace is pretty remarkable!

I am completely in love with the
colors and the changes in the patterning throughout this shawl. It's small - about 36 inches at the top end, and 18 from top to tip, but it's perfect for the small altar we use for the kid's Sundays at church.

If you know this pattern and are looking carefully, you will see that I skipped the nupps and did not indulge in beading - there was enough going on, for me, with just the colors in the yarn. This was a pleasure to knit, start to finish.
And now, it feels so good to have 'broken through' my fear of blocking and to have this beautiful finished lace to show for it!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Just a few

Time for my monthly post! :^) Actually, I have a few actual FO's, and some almosts, too, that I want to document here before they go anywhere else.

First, and definitely cutest, are the puppy slippers - I just love these! It took months, for some reason, to get the cuffs on and the little faces done (had to take a needlefelting class at the lys, of course, to figure that part out) but they're completely finished now. It's going to take somebody pretty darn special to make me part with these!

This shawl is finished - it's an abbreviated Swallowtail - small 'cause didn't think I could get another repeat out of the bitty bit of yarn that's left. But it worked out, since this beautiful yarn was hand-dyed for me by my buddy Hunter, from church (one of his first attempts, but then, he's only 13!), and it needed an extra-special project.

I think this will be the perfect size for an altar cloth. We'll see, once I get it blocked ... still procrastinating on that front! I think he would be excited to see it there, though.

My sorta FO for today is this 'swatch' - I added the loop thinking it might double as a potholder, but it's actually a test for the grazing sheep bag that I first spotted here. Fell in love, got the book, and started sorting through stash late one night ... as I suspected, I think I'll have to use a different white yarn (I had heard that the Lamb's Pride white was a little fussy), but the others felted great - I love it when that happens!Of course, I have a new cast-on, too ... started these Socks for Soldiers last night at choir rehearsal.
Heard about the group on the Knitpicks podcast (they provide a lot of the recommended sock yarns), and decided to order a complete package, including this very cool medic's bag with great pockets for knitting gear, and lots of other goodies. I really like the fact that this group doesn't let politics enter their discussions, they just do what they can to make sure that our troops, who are working so hard, so far from home, know they are cared for.

Feels like such a positive direction to send some of my energy, rather than focusing on the more negative aspects of the war, since those never fail to make me feel frustrated and sad. You'll find the group on Yahoo or on Ravelry - in addition to socks, they collect hand-knit beanies, hand-knit washrags and hand-made soap, snacks, and toiletries. All in all, an amazing bunch!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just a little

Just a little ways to go on my Leafy Lace Scarf, that is. Made great progress (for me, anyway!) over a couple of weekends, now just need to push on to the finish line. For symmetry, it's knit in two halves, and I'm thinking about blocking one half to see how much it grows. I don't have wires or rustproof pins, though, so that gives me another excuse to procrastinate ... or to go shopping, I guess!

My first (and favorite) excuse is still spring ... it's been too beautiful outside to get much of anything done indoors. Our tomatoes & basil are in, the strawberries are getting ripe, and the roses seem especially happy this year - here's just a little glimpse of some of their first blooms - such a pretty time of year!