Something new

April 28, 2010

I just couldn’t do it.

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I couldn’t be project monogamous.  I had to start a new project.  I really like Coraline.  I love the cashmere scarf.   But I just really had to start something new – I missed that new project feeling.  You know, the feeling when you rummage through your stash, look at Ravelry and find just the right pattern, the right yarn and start something new.   I used to have a lot of projects going at once but then I realized the more I started the more I didn’t get done.  So I tried to have one at home project, and one commuting.   Which worked for a long time.  But last week I just needed something new.  And I’m really happy with it.

The yarn is Ellen’s Half Pint sock yarn – my Ravelry stash shows I bought this at Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I haven’t gone to Maryland in at least three years, so this is old stash.   I picked it out for a simple reason – it was already wound up.  When we painted our bedroom I put my swift and ball winder away in a box and I haven’t unpacked yet.  So when I was rummaging through the stash for something new, I didn’t want to pick something that I’d have to wind up since I’d have to do it by hand.   I had started a pair of socks for Dan with this yarn but it was too pink so I put it back.  But its perfect for now and I’m enjoying it.

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The pattern is Sunday Swing Socks from Knitty – a very very nice pattern, especially for variegated yarns.  My cast on is 64, and it worked out perfect for this yarn; no pooling and just nice little stripes.   I really love how the pattern looks and I think this may make my “have to make it twice” list.  They are top down, and I’m really enjoying the knit.  I’m just about done the first sock and I think this will be a quick pair.   In fact, I like them so much that I didn’t sleep on the train at all yesterday and knit all the way in – very unusual for me as I normally pass out half way there in the morning!

We have had a little bit of change in the house recently.

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Last Saturday Dan (on the left) moved into his own apartment, and we got our office back.    We are very happy for him, and I know he’s much happier in his own place.   I will miss seeing him every day but I have Facebook to harass him with!   

Larry and I painted the trim in the office on Sunday, and today Larry painted the walls.  We picked out a color we thought was close to what was there which is a dark gold.  Going on the paint looked like a something between 70’s appliance gold and carrots – I was a little scared.  But it dried into a very pretty color  – sort of like a dark butternut squash (I know – sounds weird but it is pretty) – and I’m very happy with it.  We have to move our desk back in and get it all setup as an office/guest room again (we had everything in our bedroom while Dan was living here).    It will give me more room in my bedroom and a place for my Mother to stay with us when she gets here next week. 

I was planning on going to Maryland Sheep and Wool this weekend – as I said, I haven’t been in a few years.  But I don’t think its going to work out.  We have a lot of things to do this weekend to get ready for my Mom’s visit – we still are getting our bedroom back in order, and now the office.    Plus we have three graduations coming up and it’s just not the best time for me to have that much temptation to spend money.  I really went back and forth on this – Maryland is my favorite fiber festival – but I know that I wouldn’t be able to go and still get everything done I need to – and I certainly can’t go and not spend money.  So I think I’m going to skip again – but I may go through my stash and remind myself that I’m really not all that deprived!  But I’ll enjoy seeing all the pictures and reading all about everyone else’s good time.  Maybe Rhinebeck!

OK, time to go play with Penny.  She’s harassing Ruby (who is feeling better by the way) so she needs to be distracted.  Have a great week (and weekend!)

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Socks and stuff

March 20, 2010

Thanks for all the nice comments and wishes about my 4 year blog anniversary!  I thought I better get the giveaway over first before the rest of my blog post – so without further ado…the winner (picked by Random.org) of the Wandering Cat Yarn certificate is….Lorraine!  Lorraine – I know you just posted about having too many choices…but hopefully you won’t mind picking just a little more yarn! 

I finished up a couple of projects this week – yes, I finally finished Citron!  I haven’t blocked it yet, so it will get its own post when its ready, but I thought I’d show you the socks I finished.

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Pattern:  Basic Gusset Heel Toe Up Socks (Wendy Johnson pattern)
Yarn:  Poems Sock by Wisdom Yarns, colorway 952
Started:  January 26, 2010
Finished:  March 19, 2010

OK, first off – these took forever.  I have to admit that I really love the colorway, and the color changes.  I love the pattern – just a basic stockinette sock.   I love the fabric of the yarn – these are superwash but just very wooly feeling.  Very perfect winter socks (just in time for the first day of Spring!).  But I hated knitting with the yarn.  It’s a single ply and extremely splitty.   I can’t tell you how many times I had to tink a stitch back because I had knit with half of the yarn.  So although I like the finished product, I don’t think I’d use the yarn again. 

I also screwed up the cast off on the second one – I used a cast off I found on Knitting Daily  – Version A – I usually do a sewn cast off for toe up socks but that takes forever so I thought I’d try something new.  I thought I did the same cast off on the first one (I really should start keeping notes on projects) – but if so I messed up the second and they are really hard to get on.  I thought (briefly) about ripping it back and doing it again – but I’ve spent almost two months with these socks and I think I’m done – I just can’t bear to spend any more time on them.  Poor Larry – he’ll be fighting to get them on from now on!

Since I finished the socks, I had to start new commute knitting.  I’m really sort of tired of socks, so I started a Traveling Woman with my Wandering Cat Yarn Top Cat – this yarn is so amazing!  So soft, so pretty – I’m enjoying every minute of the knit.   And the colors are perfect for Spring! (I think this would be a cute colorway/yarn for a baby sweater)

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I didn’t get a lot done on this shawl this week because I haven’t been commuting – I came home sick on Thursday and stayed home yesterday too – just a cold but so irritating that I’m sick.  I don’t get sick often so when I do I just hate it – I have to admit to being a little whiny.  So instead of getting my work done, and having knitting time on the train, and golfing on the first day of spring, I’ve been stuck inside – sleeping, coughing and sneezing (and whining). 

But last night Larry gave me a gift to make me feel better (he really has amazing timing!)

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He bought me a Hiya Hiya project bag from The Loopy Ewe.  He really is a great guy, isn’t he?  The bag is beautiful – I’ve been wanting it for months and every time they restock I drool over it.   The fabric is gorgeous, and the handle is part of the zipper and it just so cute!  And its the perfect size for a small project…

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Isn’t that nice?  It’s so well made and the little pocket is a nice touch.  Thanks, Larry!

I’m starting to feel a little better tonight and hope that I’m over the worst of this cold.  Tomorrow we are starting to clean out our room – the painter is coming a week from Monday and we have to have everything out of there (including all the closets).  Yikes!  I moved all my yarn out today – and that was enough to make me take a two-hour nap.    I can’t wait to get the room done – it’s going to be so nice.    I still have to buy new curtains and all that but I’ll get there.   Cleaning out the room has made me realized how cluttered it was – we are not going to be putting everything back in, and I’m hoping to figure out a way to keep it simple.   

OK, I’m off – we are watching New Moon tonight (I know, embarrassing but I loved the books!) and Larry and I made a crumb cake (3.5 sticks of butter – so unhealthy – but so good!) to eat while watching the movie.    I think I’ll knit the shawl too – I’m going to start the sweater tomorrow, but for tonight I think I’ll keep it simple.   I don’t want my stuffy head to lead to a bad start on the first sweater I’ve made in years!

Have a good weekend!


Delusional

December 16, 2009

Or just very optimistic?  I’m not sure yet  – its too early to tell.  I finished Cieara’s second sock last night on the train home  (ok, I still have to cast off but that’s just a couple of minutes, right?).  I was so pleased that I finished my Christmas knitting a week in advance – actually, almost a week and a half (I round up!) in advance.  I started my knitting all the way back in October with Dan’s endless socks, and here I am now – 3 pairs of socks, a cowl, scarf and hat (not to mention a shawl for me!).  No last minute freak outs, no stress – just enjoyable knitting and happy thoughts.  And as I sat there, I started feeling bad that I made something for everyone but Larry.  I told him that I wouldn’t be – and he was ok with it since he gets things more than anyone else all year round (see previous comments about his being a sock pig).   But I just felt sort of bad – no hand knits for Christmas?    I sat there on the train, thinking about what I could make for him that was fast – fingerless mitts (made him some, he never wears them), hat (made him one, never wears it), scarf (never have seen him wear one)….the only things he likes are socks – and I didn’t want to deal with trying to get a pair done in a week.  But then I thought about a pair of socks I saw recently on Cookie’s blog  – worsted weight – perfect!

So this morning, while I was on a boring conference call, I cast on for a pair of Christmas socks for Larry – and I mean Christmas socks! (Sorry – terrible picture – its dark here and I’m rushing to take this before Larry gets home).

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I decided to use some stash yarn – I had some Knit Picks Swish worsted leftover from a couple of years ago when I made a bunch of  hats and fingerless gloves.   Perfect for socks – very soft and squishy but washable.  I had two skeins of the green, one red – and I decided to play it safe (he likes longer cuffs) and use the red for heels and toes.  Plus it just looks like Christmas!  This is a standard toe-up – 48 stitches and I’m doing a 3×1 ribbing.  Boring but fast.

I think he’s going to be surprised and happy to be getting something – as long as I can finish them.  What do you think?  I’m thinking good thoughts on finishing them at this point – but I can only knit them when he’s not around, or when I’m on the train.  Or I’ll have to lock myself upstairs and tell him I’m wrapping gifts! Worst case, he’ll get one sock for Christmas with an IOU! 

So much for no stress Christmas knitting!  Why didn’t I start in June?


Berry Hill Socks

November 27, 2009

I can’t show all of my knitting projects right now since they are gifts, but I thought I’d show you one – since I know that the person that is going to receive these doesn’t read my blog.  I finished these up earlier this week, and I’m very happy with them.

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Pattern:  Berry Hill from Wandering Cat Yarns
Yarn:  Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering, Electric colorway
Started:  November 6, 2009
Finished:  November 21, 2009

I posted about these socks before when I started, and I was happy with them all the way through.  They are knit from the cuff down (which was weird after doing so many toe up socks) and they just flew.   The pattern is very easy to remember, and it is a perfect pattern for solid (or semi-solid) yarns.  I love the cuffs and think its really cute  – and really unusual – most sock patterns just start with ribbing.  I made the cuff 4″ because I don’t know how the recipient likes their cuffs and I figured 4″ was sort of middle of the road (I like mine longer).

I really liked this yarn too – originally I bought it to make a Chevron scarf but I think this is a much better use of it.  This is really nice sock yarn – tight twist but soft.  The color is really pretty – very bright and I hope that the recipient likes it.  Since this was a stash yarn, I’m going to call these my November socks of the month too!

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All in all, very nice pattern, very nice socks.  I think I’ll have to make myself a pair after the holidays!

I’m done with four gift projects, and am just about done with the fifth one.  That means I have one official one left, but I’m thinking that I may try and squeeze in a pair of socks for Larry (he doesn’t read this blog) – I originally told him he wouldn’t get a pair for Christmas since he gets so many during the year but I think I have time to finish something for him.   And it would be a surprise then – which is hard since he usually knows who I’m knitting for.    I’m going to be very glad to finish all this holiday knitting – its time to make something for me! 

Thank you for all the nice comments about Cieara – we are just taking this day to day, and trying to keep a link to her so she knows she always has a fall back.  Its very stressful though, and isn’t making for a good family dynamic right now.    Even so, we had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday – lots of food, family and a little fun.   I ate too much and today feel just sort of out of it.     I can’t decide on whether I want a day at home to lie around and relax, or if we should go to the movies.  We are going into NYC tomorrow to go to lunch and to check out the Shops at Bryant Park so I think maybe a do nothing day would be in order.    

OK, off to do a little laundry, and a little knitting.  Have a great weekend!


Nice gift!

November 8, 2009

Valerie of  Wandering Cat Studio and her Mom of KnitObsession, started to dye yarns a few months ago and opened an Etsy shop – Wandering Cat Yarns.  I read both their blogs and was excited for them about the shop – and then when I went to check it out – sigh…so nice.  I love their yarn and have bought a couple of skeins (and I’ve sent Larry a list of a couple of other skeins that would be nice for Christmas!).    

The other day I got an email from Valerie – she sent me her pattern for Berry Hill socks as a gift.  How nice is that?  I was really touched  – and happy since I knew I was starting a pair of socks this week.   So I found the yarn, started them up and….

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These socks are flying!  This is a great pattern, and its one of those patterns that just seems to go fast.  I started these Friday morning, and I’m halfway down the foot – not bad for me since the last socks took me weeks and weeks to make.  I think I’ll have the pair down by next weekend.  The pattern is a cuff down – I haven’t done that in a while so it was sort of an adjustment (pick up the stitches?  what?) but I suppose its good to have balance – some toe up, some cuff down.  I actually think I could do these toe up, but wanted to knit them as written the first time.    The pattern is available on Ravelry – I know its going to be one of those that I make over and over.

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I love the pointy cuff – so pretty!  The yarn is Claudia Hand Paint Fingering weight – I bought it a few years ago to make a chevron scarf, but frogged it when I just couldn’t stand the project anymore.  I think this is a better use of the yarn – very pretty socks! 

I have been using a small project bag for my commute knitting.  I love the bag – its so tiny and fits well into my briefcase.  The only problem is that its so tiny.  If I have a large ball of yarn, or am almost finished a sock, there isn’t a lot of room.  And I have to really angle and fight to get the needles in – which always results in stitches off the needles.  So I decided to look for something a little bigger.  I found it on Wednesday, and ordered it – and it was here by Friday – amazing! 

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This is from Piddleloop – isn’t it nice?  Its a little larger than I expected, but I think it will still be fine for my briefcase.   Its 9″ long, 7″wide and is very roomy.  I used it yesterday, and had plenty of spare room after I put my sock in.  I think this could hold a large ball of yarn, a sock, or a scarf or cowl.  Its really nice, and I’m glad I decided to get a new one.  I have my eye on a couple of their other bags – very nice shop!

Life with Penny is starting to get a little less crazy – we are starting to train her and define some boundaries.  We really need to figure out a way to have her stop hassling the cats, but she’s learning that biting us is “no” and that going to the bathroom outside is “very good!”.  She is so much fun, and such a cutie.  And her ears are standing up now!

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Don’t let that sweet face fool you!  What happened right after this was Larry put her down and she raced around like a maniac for 5 minutes, harrasing Ruby and the cats.  She’s learned to not harass Duncan – he is the alpha dog, and he has no problem telling her that.  He’s also the grumpy old dog that is still recovering from knee surgery so we don’t let her harass him often.

We went to Westfield (NJ) yesterday – I wanted to go to one of my favorite places yesterday – Trader Joe’s.  Have you ever been to one?  Such a great store – and we bought an amazing bottle of wine for $6!  After we filled our bags with some really good food and wine, we went over to Crumbs and got some cupcakes (so bad for me, but soooo good!).    I even popped into Knit-a-bit to see what it was like (I was there less than 5 minutes – its small, but they were really friendly).  I love Westfield.  Larry and I are starting to think about what we want to do once all the kids move out – this is a big house for two of us with a lot of upkeep.   We have been talking about moving closer to NY so my commute isn’t as long – and I think we are going to put Westfield on the list of places we are going to look a little closer at.  Its such a cute town, with a great downtown, beautiful houses, and it would cut my commute from 2.5 hours to 45 minutes.  We have a little while to wait on this – but always good to start thinking about things!

Its going to be a nice day here – warm and sunny.  We are planning on taking the dogs for a nice long walk so we can get some Penny energy out.  Then its just relaxing and knitting.    I’m halfway through a Christmas present, but it will be hard to put down the socks and work on that.  I love projects that I can’t put down, don’t you?

Have a great Sunday!


Van Dyke Socks

October 4, 2009

I don’t know what is going on, but I’ve finished three projects this week – the beauty of small projects…

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Pattern:  Van Dyke Socks, Socks from the Toe Up
Yarn:  Studio Sport, Neighborhood Fiber Co. Cooper Circle colorway
Started:  July 22, 2009
Finished:  October 4, 2009

I know – over two months to finish socks?  In my defense, these were the socks that I started and then realized I needed another skein to finish – and that I didn’t have another skein.  It took me a while to find it – the dyer had changed the yarn, and the skeins now had a lot of yarn – and I didn’t want to pay for 2 times the yarn I needed.    I finally found it on a destah on Ravelry.  Project attention span problems also added in some time here – I was working on everything but these socks until this last week.  But they are finally done, and I’m pretty happy with them. 

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The yarn is a sport weight, and its really nice – beautiful colors, and I like the feel of it.  I got this yarn in a swap a long time ago, and acutally made Cieara a pair of Fetching with it that she loves.     I really enjoyed this pattern – another winner from the book.  It was an easy pattern, and yet kept me interested enough that I loved working on it.  And sport weight socks are perfect for the colder nights we have been having – I’m looking forward to wearing these.

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The only problem with the socks is that on the first sock, I used a normal cast off, trying to keep it really loose and stretchy.  I wasn’t completely succesfull, and have a little bit of a hard time getting them on.  So on the second, I used the sewn cast off, and they are perfect.  Lesson learned.  I’m very happy these are done, and that another long term project is out of the knitting basket.

I also finished the hat, but need to weave in ends, sew on buttons and all that.  I didn’t get a chance to get to the yarn store, so I bought a boring button for it.  We’ll see – I may hold off on putting it together until I get a better one.  I may start another hat, or mittens – but I’ve also been looking at shawl patterns too.  I am torn because there are projects in my basket that I really should finish…and yet….I just feel the urge to cast on for something new – Girasole – isn’t that gorgeous?  I think in a fingering weight….so hard to resist a new project!

It is a beautiful day here – sunny, warm, and a perfect day for golf.  We are heading out in a few minutes, and I’m looking forward to being outside.   This has been a really long, stressful week –  and  I have a busy week ahead of me, but next weekend is a long one, and Andrew is coming home, so I’m looking forward to that.

OK, time to golf – have a great week!


Yoga Socks

September 30, 2009

I didn’t have them done in time for yoga last Sunday, but I finished them the next day so I’m ready for next weekend!

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Pattern:  Twisted Rib Yoga Socks
Yarn:  Plymouth Earth Oceanside Oraganic
Started  September 21, 2009
Finished:  September 28, 2009

I talked about these last post, but to recap – liked the pattern, love how they came out, hated working with the yarn.   So much so that I put the other two skeins I had back in the stash so I get a bit of a break from it (does someone want it?  I’d be happy to trade!)   I really do like the fabric it makes though – its so silky/cottony.    I loved how fast this was –  DK weight socks go so fast! 

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I really like the stitch pattern – I think I may use it for a pair of real socks sometime.  I wonder how it would look in a fingering…

So I really liked yoga – I can’t wait to go next weekend.  It wasn’t hard, but at the end I was really relaxed.  I was sort of surprised I was so relaxed – I’m generally pretty wound up, and have a very hard time turning off my brain.  But at the end, we did shavasana (basically just lying there) and by the end I was just completely boneless.  I don’t know what it is, but I felt good for the rest of the day.     I wish I had done this years ago!

Its getting cold here – today was only in the low 50’s (Farenheit).   And the cooler it gets, the more I start thinking about hats, scarves and mitts.  I know – I have enough projects going, but I just like having small projects to knock out in between all the bigger ones.  I think I need the motivation of a finished project to keep me slogging through the slower ones.   So I kept on looking on Ravelry, looking in my stash….and today I really needed the lift of a new project (kids – grrr!  don’t ask!).  So I started this with this yarn.   I’m really happy to use the yarn – I bought it on vacation in Maine, and I’ve always loved it.  And I think its perfect for a hat – very warm, and I have just the right yardage.    I am really enjoying the pattern so far, and hope to finish it this weekend.   I am already thinking that I may make my sister one  –  or maybe I’ll just make another one for me!  I need to find a great button for it though – so maybe I’ll take a quick trip to the yarn store this weekend…

I got the Joji’s Premium Lllama yarn yesterday – so nice!  I’ll have to get a good picture of it but I can’t show you how soft it is – its amazing.    I’m thinking of making Willoughby with it (and it would be nice with my new hat).   I just have to resist the urge to start something new before I finish something in the basket (my poor vest is crying at the neglect!)

I’m off to work on the hat – don’t you love the excitment of working on a new project?

Have a great week!