Monday, December 29, 2008

Yardage for 2009

I just totaled my stash yardage. As of today, including Christmas gift yarn and not subtracting yarn used in WIPs*, I have 42,236 yards of yarn. I did adjust the spreadsheet for those skeins of yarn that for some odd reason will not subtract out yarn used on projects. (I have posted about this and I think the threads always get buried because no one ever tracks it or replies. Sigh.) Using the yard to mile calculator, that is 23.997727273 miles. My foal for the year is to get the stash to under 20 miles. I would love to get it down to about 15, but that is probably a little too optimistic.

As I have mentioned before, I am not much of a Knit-a-long person. I did decided to participate in the Stash Knit Down 2009's 52 in 52 projects. It really isn't that you have to complete a project each week, but the goal is to have 52 new finished projects in your project notebook by December 31, 2009. It sounds like a lot, but really, when I started planning it out it went fast.

I am making my own monthly dishcloth club this year. I went through free on-line dishcloth picture patterns and picked one out for each month. This is of course very much like the Monthly Dishcloth Club found on Yahoo groups which I did for awhile, but I think this will work better for me. It is only one pattern a month and although the picture won't be a surprise for me, I know I will like it. (I was never so glad I didn't knit something as I was the month the dishcloth picture was of the 3 crosses. Even though that is my faith I don't like to decorate with religious symbols and using a dishcloth like that would feel sacreligious to me.) The other thing is that I spread the instructions out over 7 days instead of only 5 like the MDC usually did. I need fewer lines of pattern each day for something like that.

I am also going to knit a baby bib a month. At this rate I should really burn through my cotton yarn stash. Also in baby knitting, there are a few sweaters I have my eye on.

I have a number of single skeins of wool or alpaca. I think I will make some more hats. I used to think I had a lot of hats, but the truth is that I don't have nearly as many hats that I like as I thought, and I would like to make a few for charity as well.

Of course I also have my 2009 shawl picked out too. The Large Rectangle in Leaf and Trellis is in my queue with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2009. I hope to knit myself a sweater this year, but I need to finish Mark's sweater before I am allowed to even think about that.

That is where I am at the unofficial beginning of 2009. After all, I do not think I will finish any of my current WIPs prior to Thursday morning.

*This is mostly true. Whole skeins of yarn used for Mark's sweater are being recorded on the project page as they are used, so those are already subtracted out of the totals because I can't keep track of how many balls of yarn I use otherwise. In addition, any partial balls of yarn finished off because I am using them in the log cabin blanket have been subtracted out already.

Christmas Gifts Part 1

If you look at my Ravelry activity right now it probably looks like I just went through and favorited every pattern from the new Mason Dixon Knitting book. I could tell you that is wrong, I only favorited the patterns I really like and want to make someday, but that is pretty much most of the patterns in the book. As you might have guessed, this was a Christmas present:

My sister-in-law gets me good knitting books. A couple years ago she got me a Vogue Stitchionary.

I was also really excited with what my mother-in-law gave me:

Uptown Fibers in Sylvania let me make a wish list to keep on file there, and so I got some beautiful Cascade sock yarn (it is very soft!), Knit Klips to assist with seaming, and some more darning needles because I am always loosing those. The beautiful shawl pin below is from Mark's grandmother:
Next up: I can finally show everything I made for Christmas this year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Case of the Mondays?

For whatever reason I am incredibly cranky right now. Nothing has happened to put me in such a foul mood, but I cannot shake this. It may be that as much as I am trying to clean up the place and make it feel neat, clean, and organized there is just a never ending list of things to do and it makes me feel overwhelmed. Really I am doing pretty good, but underneath the basement stairs there is a mountain of cardboard to be recycled and until that leaves I cannot make much order between boxes that are meant to stay in storage and be placed there and the boxes that actually need unpacked. Maybe I will feel better if I work on finishing that mitten.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Organization Overload

I've been playing around on Ravelry tonight and finally have my queue in good order. For a long time I was just queuing any pattern I liked that I thought I might possibly like to make someday. It was a nice collection, but things got lost. The organization options on the queue improved, but I felt a little overwhelmed with where I should even start. Then a few months ago I noticed that you could actually favorite patterns not just individual finished objects. Now most of my queue is actually residing in the favorite patterns tab, and I only have 5 items in my queue, all of which I have a "due date" on and yarn and pattern in possession. This really make me feel much calmer.

In the past there have been discussions on Stash & Burn and some other places about favorites vs. queue. Finally I have figured out where I stand. I will favorite individual projects any time I want because I love seeing little hearts next to my projects and I imagine other knitters and crocheters feel the same way. Those hearts are compliments really. Patterns that I mark as favorites are kind of an extended queue. The things in my queue are soon to be on my needles. (I believe that organizing my queue was one of my new year's resolutions in January, so technically I have achieved that goal since it is still 2008.) To be completely honest, I'm not sure I really get the favorite option for stash and yarn brands. Perhaps that could work like a wish list or to remember an indie dyer. The favorite designer option is kind of cool, because especially with mittens I do have a few favorite designers and this way I can periodically go check on their designs to see if there is something new that I just have to knit.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fun new things

This morning I logged into Ravelry to find a notification message regarding project organization. Now I can make tabs in my notebook (kind of like in forums) for whatever I want. For example, I have a tab for Christmas presents, one for mittens, anther for socks. I like still having all projects on the main tab, but it is really nice to click the socks tab and see what socks I've knit. Casey added another sort option too. This one puts WIPs first, and then the projects are arranged in order of most recently completed instead of happiest first. I love this. I knew you have them organized with most recently completed first, but that put all the WIPs at the bottom, and when you have nearly 150 project entries like I do that can take awhile to get to the bottom of the page to update progress bars. I know not everyone really uses their project and stash sections, but I really do and this helps a lot!

I have also decided that literature has been consicously absent from my life for far too long. What is the point of having a library if I never read my books? I know knitting is a large culprit but so is the internet. In my opinion, the logical solution is to create a reading time in the evening, so now we are instituting reading time every evening after Jeoprody. I would like to read at least a chapter a night, although I guess that really depends on whether the chapters are super long or super short. Our first selection (oh yes, the plan is for Mark and I to take turns reading aloud) is My Antonia by Willa Cather. I just did a quick glance and it looks like the novel is divided into five books, and each book has several relatively short chapters. We may do two chapters a night.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I found my camera card!


As you can see, Amelia was a big help assembling "her" tree.


Will it make it?

I fully expect the Christmas tree to come toppling down any minute.

We put it up the other night finally, and wouldn't you know it, Amelia thinks it is all for her. This comes as no surprise and this is precisely why we didn't put any breakable ornaments on the tree this year. It is actually rally funny to watch her climb the tree and bat at ornaments. Right now she must be playing a game to see now many she can knock off. I count at least three, although I should look under "her" chair and see how many she has stashed there. The red armchair is hers too you see. It makes a lovely place to curl up and nap, and it is really the only furniture that she can crawl underneath and hide.

The "10 Things to do Today" list is history. It is keeping me from finishing my Christmas knitting. My goal today is to finish a mitten. That was also my goal Wednesday when I decided to scrap the to-do list, but it didn't happen. I keep seeing things that would be easy enough to do and I do those things instead of knit. I have my kitchen completely organized now, the TV stand is up and everything is hooked up and relatively untangled there, the living room furniture is arranged, the rug is down, the end tables and coffee table have been cleaned and arranged, the baker's rack is where it belongs with the proper items stored on it, the vanity mirror is reattached, the twin bed downstairs is assembled as is the desk, and (obviously) the Christmas tree is up. I also made rum balls last night. Today I want to make cookie dough for cut-outs and gingerbread men. Actually I should do that now because the dough for those needs to chill and it can do that while I knit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will it ever end?

Today I went back to my parents' house to get some stuff we left there. We received a few things in the mail over the last few days, including ANOTHER BILL for Emergency Room services after Mark's accident 10 1/2 months ago! >:-| I cannot even begin to express how annoyed I am with this. The hospital has been so incompetent with this whole thing. We are receiving the bill because the insurance claim was rejected since they had "incorrect insurance information." They probably tried to bill our car insurance again despite Mark having called half a dozen times now to make sure they have the correct insurance information and send it to Blue Cross/Blue Shield with the correct group number on it. They have previously sent it to the temporary insurance we had in Illinois for the month of June. I'm surprised they haven't tried to bill it under the temporary insurance policy we have since moving back to Ohio. Maybe they did. I just do not understand what is hard about sending the bill to the correct place. So angry and annoyed about this. /end rant

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

While I have a few minutes

I'm trying to squeeze in a post before Mark comes home from work. I think I blog most when I am alone for a period of time, which explains why I did a lot of blogging when I lived on my own in Toledo, and when I lived in Illinois before I got married, and why I am actually blogging again now. When I am around Mark he gets to hear everything and then I've been through it and I don't feel like typing about it. Not that communicating with your spouse is bad thing, but I will admit it can make blogging suffer.

I am doing pretty good with my list today. I need to vacuum, figure out where I want the baker's rack, and then I will be able to unpack the pots and pans because a few of them go on the bottom shelf of the baker's rack.

When I returned from the grocery store today one of the maintenance guys came with an actual drain cleaner person to fix the basement washer drain. I did a load of laundry without any problem, so I think everything will be good with that now. It is really refreshing to live somewhere that actually cares about maintaining their buildings and will hire outside people to do things right if it is beyond what their staff can or should do.

I also have the best setup I've ever had for unloading groceries. Street parking is allowed in front of my building (and it is just a little street back into the complex, so it isn't very busy) and we have our own entrance, so I can pull up and take a couple trips getting the groceries from my trunk directly to my kitchen and then park my car where I actually want it. I can do this on my own, unlike at my last place. It was a real struggle if I didn't have help and sometimes even if I did. Those canvas grocery bags really help too, besides being good for the earth they are so much easier to carry and much less likely to break.

My only complaint today is that I really want to knit and I haven't for days now. There are just so many other things I want to do and that feel kind of urgent to do I haven't had much chance to sit down and relax. I will try to remedy that this evening. This is all I have time for today!

Monday, December 15, 2008

This entry brought to you by Amelia

Seriously, it is.

I was out in the kitchen on the step stool trying to to arrange the mugs and glasses in the cupboard and suddenly the was a warm furry animal up on the stool with me. I kept working for awhile but Miss Amelia made it quite clear that I was going to pick her up. She hasn't been especially cuddly lately but apparently she changed her mind this afternoon. So now I am typing with a sleeping cat curled up on my lap.

It was time for a break anyway. I made my list of ten things to do today and I've accomplished about half of those things. A couple I need Mark to help me with, one was to be here for the cable guy to install the phone and it is 4:25 PM and he hasn't shown up yet, and the other two I just haven't got around to doing. On the plus side, I have done a few things that weren't on the list and a couple of things that came up and just had to be done.

For instance, calling the appliance guys back after they hooked up the new washer and dryer. I put a load of towels in and went upstairs. I could hear the water up here and it just didn't sound right, and sure enough, I went downstairs to find water all over the floor. Now the portion of the basement that the washer and dryer are in is just concrete and there is a drain in the floor that all the water went to so nothing was damaged. This is actually one of the major reasons I wanted them downstairs instead of upstairs. That would have been a lot more disastrous in the hallway closet where the hook-ups are. After I stopped the washer I called the appliance store, they called the guys, called me back and gave me an estimated time they would be back. They were very efficient about the whole thing. Anyway, turns out the drain that the water should go out was plugged up (so not their fault) but they did their best to unplug it for me and suggested I let the apartment office know, which I did, so maintenance should be coming sometime tomorrow probably. I did allow the washer to finish the load then (under careful supervision) and there wasn't a problem again. When everything is checked out and taken care of I will feel a lot better about doing laundry.

Tonight I am making Sausage gravy over biscuits for supper. I know it is really a breakfast thing, but I think it works well for supper too. I'm not really crazy about it, but Mark loves it and the only other time I have ever made it was for him after his first day of law school orientation. It just felt right to make it for supper after his first day on the job.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A loss and some gains

A moment of silence is needed for my dear Foliage hat. As far as I can tell, it fell out of my coat pocket in the mall today. I will check the lost and found at the mall, but I am not hopeful. Maybe someone who needs it will find it and wear it, I could be happy with that. The fortunate thing is the pattern is readily available at knitty.com and I can buy the yarn and knit another one just like it. I loved that hat too, so I probably will.

This is a very happy home this evening since the Blackhawks game is actually on TV in our viewing area! I think we can see it because we have both Cleveland and Columbus stations here. Even when hockey (Bluejackets) is supposed to be on Fox Sports Ohio in the Cleveland viewing are it wasn't on, so until now we have been out of luck. Right now the Bluejackets are up 1-0, so it would be even better if the Blackhawks scored, but just hearing the United Center horn makes me happy. The hockey is definitely one of those things we miss about Chicago, especially because this year WGN is supposed to carry a bunch of the Blackhawks games and we were so excited because we could still see them, but then the cable here started giving us some weird WGN America instead of the real WGN like we used to have a few years ago.

My major accomplishment today has been organizing the bathroom. It is the only room in the house that is in order, but it is a start!

I am going to have to take a picture of the top shelf in my pantry. Before I left, my mom and I divvied up the canned goods. (Yeah! Power play goal! Sorry, I said I was watching hockey.) My top shelf is very colorful and reminds me of how much we accomplished this summer. It is now 8:30 so it is time for me to get back to unpacking or organizing or something

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A New Beginning

I decided awhile ago I would begin blogging again once I was settled in wherever we were going to end up. As of today I'm moved. That is not to say anything is in any order, so "settled" might not be the best description but whatever. Actually Mark just went out to pick up a couple things at the store and I really needed a break. I love that the cable was installed yesterday, it means I can type this and have it published.

In the category of major life changes that have occurred since I last made a real entry, the most obvious one is that Mark and I are finally moved into a new place. It is technically an apartment, but we have basement and a large patio and our own entrance, so it is actually more condo-like. We were finally able to leave our temporary residence because Mark passed the bar and very soon after interviewed for and then accepted a job. He starts Monday. (Monday I get to hang around and wait for the cable people to install our phone and wait for our washer and dryer to be delivered.)

Then there are the family additions. In September my parents decided they were ready for a dog, and they brought home Sadie. She is a Lab/Border Collie mix and sometimes I think my entire month of October was spent watching her. Sadie is now about 4 1/2 months old and she is very high energy, very intelligent, and like most puppies she is a little ornery too.

My parents take her for walks a couple times a day, which is how they happened upon our new addition, Amelia. In early November a very friendly little black kitten just would not let my parents pass by without begging them to take her with them. They resisted for a couple days and just left food instead, but when the weather started to get nasty, my mom picked her up and brought her home. I think Mom figured she could be an outside cat, but Mark and I fell in love with her, so now she is here with us. Watching her explore all the new furniture and weave in and out of all our boxes is quite fun. The vet initially told us she was probably about 7 weeks old (that was a week after we adopted her) but yesterday he said he thinks she may be slightly older based on how much weight she gained in the last month.

Everyone keeps asking what I am going to do now. After New Year's and once I feel like I have things in order here I will start looking for a part-time job. I'm not crazy about working full time at this point, but I can keep that as an option too. I don't know how much is really available where we are now. Maybe I'll find some creative talent and start selling things on Etsy. I'm not really sure.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How did I miss this?

The Loopy Ewe now has a wishlist option. This is completely awesome and very helpful for Christmas. I love wishlists, whether they are for on-line stores or brick and mortar yarn shops. I'm working on mine now: here is the link.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Debate isn't an Olympic event

I'm completely up in the air about whether I want to participate in the Ravelrympics or not.

I didn't do the Knitting Olympics back in 2006 because I was starting a new job and didn't really have the time, but right now I'm not working and even though I have lots I want to do in August I should have plenty of knitting time.

I looked at it earlier today and decided against it. Too much work to sign up, and I'm not really sure what I want to make or if I want to finish WIPs/UFOs.

Besides that, KALs and I do NOT get along. I'm really enthused about it and then after the first day or so of knitting it is like a curse. Someone on a podcast once said that seeing everyone else post their pictures, especially those from speedy people who are way ahead, made her feel like she already knit something before she did. The element of looking forward to the next step was gone, and worse, if you feel so far behind that you'll never catch up, why keep going? That is part of the problem I have. I mostly get really grouchy when I'm told what to knit (not like someone saying "it would be really great if you could make one of these for me," more like being assigned something) because for me knitting is supposed to be fun. I really hate being told I have to knit this, or I have to knit with that yarn, and I should knit it in this specific time frame.

The Ravelrypics was out for me. Then they changed it. Now there are these cool tags and I can sign up myself and it is looking like fun. No one is telling me what to knit either. I can choose anything I want, out of whatever I want, or I could just work on finishing up old projects. So now I'm thinking about doing it after all. I still have some time to decide what I want to do. If it doesn't work out for me, so what? If it does, well I have another FO and less stash. I can also look at it as an excuse to start a completely new project (hehehe) without feeling guilty about the lingering WIPs and UFOs I have.

I'm thinking...maybe I need to go browse some of my books I didn't pack away

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Currant Jelly

My parents have red currant bushes in the back yard, and for the last two weeks, Thursdays have been jelly making days.

This week I thought to take some pictures and share.

On the left you will see what red currants look like, in case you aren't familiar with them. They are tangy and juicy and sort of resemble other berries that happen to be poisonous, so obviously, don't just assume berries that look like this are red currants.

To make a batch of jelly (that would be 4 8-oz. jars) you need at least 2 1/2 quarts of currants. You gently wash these, and then smash them up with berry masher. This works best if you mash a single layer of berries at a time. Jelly is made with juice only, so mash them up really good to get as much juice as possible. Once all the currants are mashed, you bring them to a boil with 1 cup water and cook them for ten minutes, stirring constantly so they don't stick to the bottom of the kettle and burn.

The next part is a little tricky. Since you only use the juice to make jelly (you use the fruit too when you make jam- that explanation is forthcoming) you need to strain the cooked berry mixture. You can do this with several layers of cheesecloth to form a bag, or you can buy a "jelly bag" and stand like my mom and I did. This was available in the canning section at RKO (that would be Rural King Ohio, it is all right if you laugh at the store's name, I think it is funny too) but I imagine you could probably find such things at hardware stores too since they usually have canning accouterments. Incidentally, that stand we bought for the jelly bag can fit over most standard sized mixing bowls or pans. Like I mentioned, a cheesecloth bag would work too. Apparently my grandma used to use that and hang it up on a hook from the ceiling of the back porch for it to drip into a bowl. The thing that is most important - DO NOT SQUEEZE THE BAG. This will cause the jelly to cloud (which I guess is bad).

Let the juice strain through for 2-3 hours, or longer if you like. To make a batch of jelly there needs to be 4 cups of juice. If there isn't enough, add unsweetened apple or white grape juice, but the flavor will not be as strong. We didn't need to do this with either of the batches we made.

The next part gets a little complicated and works best with two people, but at any rate, you do need some preparation.

We used 8 oz jelly jars, which need to sterilized prior to starting the jelly. It is also helpful to keep the jars in a bowl of hot water since the jelly will be very hot when you fill them and this will greatly reduce the risk of thermal shock. The lids and rings should be treated this way too.

It is also good to start a hot water bath since the jars should be processed right after they are filled. This is not my strength because my mom keeps doing it. She has a small canner (not a pressure canner for this) she keeps simmering. There is a rack in it and she has tongs especially made for picking up the jars. All this would be available in the canning section. She also has a funnel specifically made for filling wide mouth jars. Once everything is set up for canning, the jelly making can begin.

Heat the juice. Add an envelope of fruit pectin and stir. From now on you keep stirring constantly. Once the juice reaches a hard boil that cannot be stirred down, add 2 cups sugar. When the mixture returns to a boil cook for 3 minutes and then immediately remove from heat. We figured out 3 minutes was the right time for our currant jelly, but there is this "metal spoon test" too, and when the juice slides off the spoon in almost a sheet rather than in drops, that is the jellying point.

Then you skim any foam off the top (tip: add 1/2 t butter to the juice when it is boiling to reduce foam) and quickly fill the jars, place the lids, and tightly screw on the rings. (You might want a hot pad for holding the jars.)

The jars go in the hot water bath, increase the heat and bring to a full boil, and process for 5 minutes. Remove jars and place on a wooden surface (to avoid damaging the counter) and let them sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

Oh, and if you have more jelly than fits in the jars (leave head space!) just put it in a bowl and enjoy! Tomorrow I will show you the other berries I've been working with this week.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Flowers






Just because I like to wander around the back yard with my camera sometimes

Cover Crazy?

The other day I was sitting on the couch knitting and my mom came into the room and asked if I had any old dishcloths I'd be willing to part with. She was also holding her swiffer mop. I put the two together and guessed that she was looking for a solution to those expensive disposable pads for the mop.

I knew patterns for this existed since Luscious Luka knit a couple, so I was off to Ravelry to search some patterns.

Here is what I've come up with in the last 48 hours. I'm working on a second crochet one now.

There is also a crochet pattern with loops to create a dust mop or sorts. I'm going to have to figure out how to do that too.

The first picture is my mom's mop. It actually has a spray mechanism thing and the mop head isn't flat like mine (see bottom two pictures) but the covers fit her mop head with no adjustments.

I think I'm going to need to make a couple of these for myself now too. It is great stash busting too!

I totaled my yarn again the other day.

Here is what I had:

7/1/08 yarn total is 47,586.5 yds = 27.00375

7/6/08 yarn total is 45,186.5 yds = 25.67415 (see how much yarn that afghan ate!!)

Goal: Reduce stash to < class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_5">yds by January 1, 2009

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I don't get to subtract yardage from my stash until a WIP is completed.

Oh, and I visited the new yarn store in town today. They have a pretty nice selection of yarn, it is similar to what the old LYS had. There's a lot of Rowan, Brown Sheep, and Cascade, also a nice selection of sock yarn; I noticed Regia Bamboo, Schaffer Anne, Jitterbug, and Koigu. There was another brand I wasn't familiar with that had a lot of alpaca in it, that looks interesting. On a disappointing note, they don't seem to have a lot of patterns/books/magazines just yet, and there needle selection appears to be exclusively ChiaoGoo. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think people had some problem with that brand of needles. I bought a crochet hook to check it out, I thought maybe that would hold up better than needles, I guess we'll see, but so far so good. Anyhow, when and if I need something I will check them out, but my stash is nice enough right now I don't feel like I'm missing out too much.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Afghan!

In the last week and a half I've barely picked up the knitting needles. This is partially due to the packing/moving/driving things, but mostly it is due to this:

For the last week and a half I've been sort of obsessed with crocheting a giant granny square. This measures 65" x 65" and used nearly 2,400 yds of yarn. It all started because said yarn didn't fit in my yarn storage bins and I didn't want to pack it. I had initially planned to knit a log cabin-style blanket with this yarn, but that got tedious very fast and I wasn't too excited about having hundreds of stitches on a needle. By the time I got to the last 10 rounds of the afghan that was tedious too, but at least all I had to do was move the crochet hook along the outside.

Back to knitting for me now, which I'm very happy about. I've missed it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ughhhhhhhhhhh

This blog entry brought to you from a much needed break from cleaning/packing. Here is a peak at the disaster area that is our apartment. I'm not even touching that today. Right now I'm attacking the kitchen, and that involves packing and cleaning. I'm waiting for the floor I just mopped to dry. I'm also in the process of cleaning the oven, but it will be another hour and a half until I can wipe that out.

I would actually like to make other entries, perhaps showing off the nice gifts from SNBWB, or maybe about my sister-in-law's wedding, or my current knitting, or my latest computer drama. I have five days to get this apartment into boxes and clean, so none of that is going to happen right now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Books

Reposted from miss luscious luka,

These are the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by Library Thing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you’ve read and italicize the ones you own but have not read.

*I'm adding one category, I'll bold and italicize the ones I own, and have only partially read. I have an embarrassing number of those, but I don't feel it is fair to say I've "read" a book I didn't complete.*

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
1984
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved
Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spring Yarns

See what I finished? But wait, it isn't just one sock, it is two!

This is the second fastest pair of socks I've done (but the fastest was a pair of ankle length socks from STR medium weight on size 3 dpns while I was in the car for hours traveling to and from our honeymoon, so I'm not sure that counts really)

I knit these a little shorter than I've been knitting my socks lately because I realized that once I get maybe 3" past the ankle length just doesn't make much difference to me until we're talking knee-highs.

I have lots of nice things to say about this yarn. As you can see, the pooling was minimal and I ended up with nice stripes mostly. Pooling doesn't particularly bother me, but I think it speaks to the dying when the socks end up as nice as this. This yarn is great to knit with too, it is soft and springy. In case you don't remember, this is Simply Sock Yarn in Cherry Blossom from Rock Creek Yarns. Hey MB, I saw an ad for it on Ravelry today, cool!

This, on the other hand, is the scarf of two years. It is important to note that it is actually on the needles again instead of on stitch markers- proof that I am actually working on it now.

I started this two years ago and worked on it on and off during the summer, got sick of it, and for the last year and a half it has been solidly qualified under the "UFO" category. I needed some deeper color this weekend and picked it back up. Maybe it is because I'm used to knitting with fingering weight yarn for socks now, or maybe the humidity just isn't as bad yet, or maybe I finally have the right needles for this, but it is going MUCH better than I felt like it was a couple years ago.

Finally, this is next in my sock yarn queue. The colorway is called "Blueberry Jam" and it is Classic Merino Supersock from Knitting Notions, but it reminds me of irises. From this picture you should be able to see why. I've been wanting to knit with this since I bought it last year, but I was waiting for the right timing with the color. I definitely need to swatch first for this one since the recommended needle size is US 0-1 for 8-9 stitches per inch, which is a little finer gauge than I knit socks at most of the time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

FREE!

I came home this evening and saw this tacked to the bulletin board next to the mailbox. I love it! We've had all kinds of stuff up their lately- sofas, maid services, childcare, Avon. Whoever put this up has my stupid sense of humor

Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring?






Today is cold, wet, and I hear we have even had a few snow flakes. Just to prove we have had spring, here are a few pictures from the last couple weeks.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stash Sock Club

My sock yarn stash isn't too crazy, but I have a few potential pairs, so I've organized my own personal little sock club. I like to knit socks with yarn that is representative of the season, so here is a look at my line-up.

The socks for the last month were knit with Schaefer Anne in a pretty blue-green colorway. I thought it was appropriate for early spring as we were seeing more blue sky, and some rain, and the green leaves budding out.

I've been using New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi, and for this pair I used the "Riverbed Master Pattern." This pattern has the increases on the sole, which I think you can kind of see from the picture. I also tried the reinforced heel this time. I think it gives a nice cushion, but I'm not sure I'm crazy about the look. Maybe I just need to wash these though, I haven't done that yet. The socks are for my mom, who prefers ankle-length. (This makes knitting socks for her pretty enjoyable, because as soon as I am done turning the heel I'm almost done!)

I really like this book. I'm not much of a pattern sock knitter. I've done simple things on the instep and leg a few times and although I like the way it can look, I find I prefer just plain knitting. For one thing, if the socks are for me, I'm going to wear them in boots where no one will see them. I wear them around the house too, but I cannot stand to wear thin store-bought socks with my boots anymore. My point is that most people won't be able to see that work anyway.

The other issue is ease of knitting and portability. My socks usually get stuffed in my purse to work on at lunch when I'm on the phone, or when I'm in the car, or when I'm waiting for something. I don't want to reference a pattern constantly and I like to be able to knit without thinking for long stretches. I've tried cabled socks and even though they look beautiful, to me they are just too fiddly. I think I'll keep my cables for hats and sweaters and maybe mittens. I'm not a lace sock person either, so basically that leaves knit/purl stitch patterns. I'm fine with those if they are simple enough to memorize easily. Anyway, since I'm so picky about what will and won't work for socks for me, I need to have more basic patterns to go to.

New Pathways for Sock Knitters does have actual sock patterns in it, but for me I'm having more fun playing with the different versions of increasing on toe-up socks. I also really love the method of making the heel, especially since it doesn't involve picking up any stitches along the edge of the heel flap. One word of caution though: if you don't like math and having to plug numbers in to figure out a pattern this is not the book for you. I like math though, so all is fine.

My current socks are knit from Rock Creek Yarn's Simply Sock Yarn in "Cherry Blossom." I shouldn't have to tell you why I think this is the perfect colorway to be knitting right now, but check out the picture I took yesterday, it isn't a cherry tree but I think it is just as pretty.

This skein of yarn was the last I bought before imposing my moratorium on yarn purchases. This yarn is hand dyed by my friend MB and apparently I was her first customer! I love the way this yarn is knitting up too, it is soft and smooshy and totally not splitty.

I got to the part where I need to start increasing for the gusset on the first sock and decided to start the second one. Once I have the second one knit that far I may try doing the two socks on two circular thing, but I'm afraid of tangling the yarn. Mostly I just find I do better with my socks by doing them sort of at the same time. That way I don't forget what I did and they turn out better.

The rest of my sock line-up includes Iris colored yarn (actually the name is "Blueberry Jam") I bought at the Great Lakes Fiber Show last year. (Sadly I have to miss that this year since someone graduates from law school that weekend. I'm trying to get over it. After all I'm not supposed to be buying yarn now anyway.) Next on my list is Trekking XXL I bought on our honeymoon (for June when the roses that are similarly colored are blooming), followed by a skein of Jitterbug (the colorway reminds me of a swimming pool, appropriate for July I think), and finally a skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that reminds me of late summer flowers.

That isn't all my sock yarn, but it takes care of the skeins I most want to knit with.

Stash

I've gone a little nuts this weekend playing with yarn. I decided that it was time I finally put everything into my "Stash" on Ravelry. The big stuff was easy, most of it was already there. I'm down to remnants now, which I debated about entering at all. Here are my rules:
  1. Sock yarn under 100 yds doesn't need to be entered
  2. Other yarn 25 yards and under doesn't need to be entered
  3. If I have less than 25 yards of something I used in a project, it can be moved to "All Used Up" but I should still note how many yards I have left, just in case I want to use the scraps for something
I'm not really sure why I'm doing this, other than I am on a cleaning/organizing kick since I'll be packing up soon. That and with the moving and temporary unemployment that is going to follow, I really can't afford to be buying any more yarn for the next few months, so I might as well know what I have. (Don't feel sorry for me, I've spent the last 2 1/2 years preparing for this so I'll be fine. If you are tempted to feel bad, take a look at my stash on Ravelry and you won't anymore.)

I did have a thought about the yarn and moving though. I'm going to use it to cushion my plates and glasses in the boxes. I suppose it could be a problem if something did break, but with that much cushioning I doubt it is a huge risk.

I'm not done with the shoe box of remnants though, so back to the ball winder and yarn meter.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

One of the things I love about Ravelry is the forum. It isn't just the knitting, it is the discussions that occur in some of the groups I belong to. For instance, I really like to read through the discussion board for the "This is what a feminist knits like" group or the "Puck This!" group. Another favorite is "Knit. Hook. Cook." where someone posted a link to CookThink.

You know when you are really are in the mood for something with mushrooms, or something "gooey" or maybe just something European but you really aren't sure what you should make that would satisfy your craving? With this website you enter the ingredient, dish, cuisine, and/or mood and the website will pull up recipes that match your criteria. The recipes I've seen so far look pretty good, I think I will have to try some out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A post that should containt a lot of links but doesn't

While I am thinking about it I am going to actually update. Work has been super crazy and not much fun lately, so I come home and knit. I knit about 5 different projects and I teach myself new things and do whatever I can to enjoy the time that I do own. The learning hasn't been limited to knitting either. (Details on knitting below) Netflix has a great inventory of documentaries, many of the available for instant viewing. This weekend it was a documentary on Emma Goldman (who I found out is buried in Chicago!) We also watched one about the Weathermen. I guess we were kind of revolutionary. The weekend before I fed my artistic side. See the little creamer I painted? I've wanted to do that pottery painting for a long time, and I'm glad I did. Since I moved to Illinois I really haven't painted. It is sort of the set-up I have in this apartment, the light carpet is a factor, and then there has been the knitting which receives most of my creative energy. When we move maybe I will fix that.

Speaking of moving, there has been much watching of HGTV. Along with that I must admit there has been a lot of dreaming about future homes. When we go back to Ohio we will rent at first, but buying a house is definitely a goal we would like to accomplish within a few years. I want a yard.

Earlier I alluded to learning some new knitting things. I am still intermittently working on Quant, which is my first entrelac project. In the past few episodes of Craftlit Heather has talked about New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Borhdi. The book has patterns, but it is more about new ways to construct socks. For the most part I am a lot more interested in trying new sock techniques, deciding if I like them, and if I do integrating them into my "perfect sock" pattern inside my head than following a specific pattern for a pair of socks. For one thing, socks are often my portable and "mindless" project so I prefer something simple that I don't need to refer to a pattern for. Another thing is that I like the creativity of pulling something together myself with what I know about sock construction and the help of a stitch dictionary.

Cat has two "practice"socks to knit first, and then she says you should be able to jump in anywhere. I am very anxious to jump into a couple new constructions, but I am being good and knitting the practice socks first with scrap yarn. As you can see in practice sock #1 above I ran out of scrap yarn #1. That was not a planned "design element." I just started practice sock #2 last night. I think I will continue on with it now.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Enter the busy season

I had trouble getting to sleep last night, and I figured out it was because I was anxious about work. There is a certain procedure we can only do so much of a year, and after we hit that threshold, every request for that procedure gets rejected with an explanation and the investor is told they can resubmit the request after January 1 of the next year. We reached this threshold in early March last year.

You can probably figure out where this leaves me on January 2 (being that Jan 1 is a holiday after all.)

I am super busy at work, which beats having nothing to do, but it still makes me a little crazy.

The strange thing is that my way of coping with the crushing weight of my inbox is apparently to cast on a ton of projects and plan meals to cook for the next month. You would sort of think that being busy all day at work would make me want to come home and either do nothing or only do the most simple projects. It doesn't work that way I guess. Maybe I just really want creative worthwhile things to do after 8 hours of data entry type work. Or it could just be that with the "fresh start" of the New Year I think it is the perfect time to get startitis.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New year, new projects

It is sort of fun reading other blogs today and seeing what goals everyone is setting.

I have a few vague ones for 2008, but I've never been much for setting New Year's resolutions. I also have this strange fear that if I write down a list of things to do I will never actually do any of them because I will fear restricted and rebel. I'm weird like that.

As for new in the sweater drama I wrote about last night, I think I may have found my solution. I will just ditch the contrasting color completely. I have 7 skeins of yarn, and the size I am knitting and the next up calls for 7 skeins of yarn, so I am hoping that I will still be all right with yardage. I cast on for a sleeve and so far I like the look with the solid color.

I am also gearing up to cast on for my next lace shawl. The Victorian Lace Today group is doing a KAL with a couple options, two of them being for shawls I want to knit. I haven't completely decided which one I am going to cast on, but right now I am leaning towards the Myrtle Leaf shawl in the Blackberry Ridge laceweight I got for my birthday last year. Anyway, it is decision time for me.


::Edit::

There is one New Year's resolution I will make: I want to ultilize my Ravlery Queue more. I think it could really help me organize upcoming projects. For the last six months I've been using it to add patterns that I would like to knit so that I don't use them. Now I want to take it to the next level and assign yarns and an order to my knitting to-do list.