Saturday, 31 March 2007

Flash Your Stash. Prepare for shameful little stashing.

My first image - the remnants of a good time: this is my lovely heirloom knitting stand, and as you can see, lots of little, somewhat useless balls. Or at least, I have found no use for them yet. The Big Blue ones are recycled from a sweater my mom made in super jumbo. I wore it maybe 5 times over as many years. Little ones maybe RAK'd out at will.

Image number two: Stuff I'm proud to have in my home. Both courtesy of Aruni - my mellow SP. The SWS is earmarked for armwarmers. My house is really cold in winter. The cashmere laceweight on top of it is for dreaming about. There are 380 yards. A scarf, perhaps? Nothing is calling to be knit at this point.

And the final image. My shame. My horror. This stuff once made me drool in anticipation. I once thought it was amazing.
The brown is for doll hair, and the pink is being made into a blanket . . . the white? Well, I was planning on another pair of mittens or something . . . I don't know if I can do it! I just don't know . . . Wow, I used to think this stuff was so nice!

Yes, that's right. That's it! As my LYS says, I'm project oriented. I don't buy anything without having a project in mind and a pattern in hand.

Maple Syrup Festival!

The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.
Elmira is my place of residence. Today is our big town festival. We expect thousands of tourists over the course of the day. The festival - and the minor irritation - began at 7 am.
I was up until 2am detangling and winding a ball of yarn to be used this morning. I figured I would sleep until 10, and then get knitting!
It was not to be.
Normally, our little town is quiet, quiet, quiet. I can sleep all day if I want to! There is no traffic noise, the occasional barking dog, no sirens . . . the worst you'll hear is the clip-clop of horses drawing buggies through town. Today the usual quiet is punctuated by the frequent . . no, constant . . slamming of car doors.
I'm a very light sleeper.
There are cars parked everywhere.
I'm UP! I'm UP! I get it!!

Mr. Wonderful and I will be heading out this afternoon to check out the festival. This is our first year in town, and we've never been before. And so begins our vacation.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Woe is me

So here I am . . at home . . . having yet another sick day. Third one in three months. Not good.

I woke up with a vengeful visit from Aunt Flow this morning. At 10 I was in a bit of pain. At 11 I was standing in the shower, spraying hot water on my crampy bits. By noon I had tossed the house looking for Pamprin, laid all over the bed moaning and groaning, and considered calling 911 for emergency transport to the morgue. At Mr. Wonderful's suggestion, I went to the drug store and bought more Pamprin. Side note: obscene amounts of pain make me an expert parallel parker. First try, bang on!

At this juncture, 2 hours and three pills later, I feel nothing but sleepy and slightly sick to my stomach. Probably shouldn't have done that, but I was delirious! I swear!

And now I'm looking for things to do that will keep me conscious for another hour or two - until it's safe to sleep a bit. I've been knitting on my sock - I selected Hedera for the yarn from the last post. I love that yarn, more and more. It's got such great colours in it!

I photographed my miserable little amount of stash for this weekend's 'Flash Your Stash' event. I'm prepared, if not woefully short of stash.

I photographed my button hole bag. As Aruni noted, it's not up yet . . well, here it is! I got the lighter yarn from my LYS - it didn't felt as nicely as the stuff Aruni sent . . . also, I did have a small amount left over from the brown and green. Too bad I didn't push it a bit farther - that was some great yarn! I might have made it -- but it would have been scary close.
This is a great pattern.

And to up the AW! factor.

This is my cat. She has many names. Currently, she goes by Fatbert. I'm not kidding. Look everyone! Fatbert knows what pricey yarn is good for -- why knit it up when it makes such a yummy pillow?

And for Mr. Wonderful's sake, I maintain that $15 for 380m (415 yards) of sock yarn is not pricey!

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Hitting the knitting brick wall.

Well, I finally bit the bullet, and just bought a bunch of pregnancy tests. Every month, my period is late. Usually by at least 2 weeks recently. Used to be one week max. This go around, I haven't had one since January. I tested 2 or 3 weeks ago - negative. Right now, I'm either PMS-ing hard, or we're expecting. I don't have any tests on hand to check - and I probably wouldn't use one anyway - too expensive! Fortunately, has them for $1 each . . . much more affordable. Now I just have to tell Mr. Wonderful not to panic when the package arrives in the mail.

In knitting news: I seem to have been struck by a loss of knitting mojo. I'm working on a cardi that I just can't get right - it's the transition from fisherman's rib to cable that's really effing with me. My other projects on the needles, I'm just not feeling.

There are the pirate mittens. The wool I'm using is . . .well . . squeaky. It feels cheap, although it was not, and that bites my butt.
Also, the skulls look really mean, and that puts me off too. They're almost done.

Other projects on the go: worsted socks for Mr. Wonderful - meh. I'm at the boring, knit for miles stage - the foot. A horrible, acrylic bouclé blanket - clearing out the purchases from before my knitting renaissance - when I realized there were really nice materials to be had! I'm just not pumped about anything I'm working on right now. And that's a rough place to be.

So yesterday, I went to the LYS for a little inspiration. Now generally I don't knit socks. I feel like they take too long, and then the first time you wear them, they get a hole. For that, I can spend significantly less on a bag of socks in the department store. But then I also realized that I've only been knitting plain, boring stockinette stitch socks - I've never even tried any other pattern. Perhaps the joy of handknit socks is in the knitting. So I bought this. Now I just need the perfect, entertaining sock pattern.

I'm hoping it will bring my knitting love back. I've just really gotten back into it! I'm not ready to lose it again!

Sunday, 18 March 2007

RIP, last week.

Last week sucked. Like, truly sucked. Every day was a bad day. By Wednesday night, I was ready for the week to be over.
Customers at work were being A-Holes, and that can really kill off your day. I think people forget that when you call into Customer Care, you are speaking to a real, live human being - who is general not at fault in your concern, but most times can fix whatever it is. IF YOU CALM DOWN!

I can't make any change on an account, unless I have a customers express consent - so yelling at me and not letting me get a word in is not productive. ugh. work.

Even the knitting well ran dry. I don't have the yarn to knit the things I really want to, and then on the other hand, I have some fabulous yarns, but no idea what to make with them. Friday night I started up the buttonhole bag sent to me by my mellow sp. It's going well -- but I'm only a few rows into the body of the bag, and almost out of yarn already. The yarn she sent for it is amazing - 85% wool, 15% alpaca bulky. I love working with it - I bet I'll have a hard time finding a suitable sub in the LYS. Oh well. If I have to frog it and make something else, so be it.

I'm designing a new mitten pattern for myself to knit up. I really enjoyed the pink squirrels, but there is a definite lack of cool boy patterns in the same size out there. I'm going with skulls, although Mr. Wonderful wants me to do ninjas, or robots shooting sparks. I'm thinking these mittens will fit a pre-teen, or early teen . . . robots? Really? Although we did come up with a cool idea for another pair, which I may or may not pursue.

But thus far, the weekend has been refreshing. Yesterday, we blew off all our chores and futzed around all day. We went to the movies. We had Subway for dinner. We lounged in bed mid-day. Much better. Vacation in 2 weeks . . . I can make it! Can't I?

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

No, I didn't forget a part . . they're fingerless!

I finished Mr. Wonderful's Dashings on Sunday night. How does he feel about that? I'll let him tell you:

No sooner did I finish darning in the last end, than he seized them and hid them away. You'll have to excuse the poor picture quality -- I can only get photos at night with Mr. Wonderful. He works a day shift, I work afternoons.

Here's an up-close and poorly lit image - stitch definition and cables!

I like that the cable pattern makes x's and o's around the wrist. Cute.

I'm thinking about making more of these. They're quick and easy -- but I'm not sure. I don't want to get bored with the pattern. If I do make more, I would definitely use a sturdier yarn next time out. Alpaca has a little too much give. I have about 50 metres of this alpaca left. Not sure what to do with it . . .

I recently read that my downstream SP, BabblingStacey (who completely busted me last week) is going for surgery. I haven't heard from her since. Stacey, if you're reading this, What's Up?? I'm worried about you!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

I love comments

Really, I do, I love comments! So much so that I will risk my employment just to check the status of new comments on the blog. And I have.

Thank you everyone for your comments. You're giving me a complex -- and I don't mind one bit!
And holy crap, I can't believe PennyKarma read and commented on my blog!

So the new Knitty came out. Generally, it's a fabulous publication, and I can totally get down on the articles -- but I'm not loving the patterns this time out. That's okay - it's not like it's published just for me. It's also free - so I'm not complaining!
Mr. Wonderful loves and demands Dashing for himself. I purchased some lovely baby Alpaca and have dashed out one already. It helps that he's out of town for the weekend -- more uninterrupted knitting time. I don't even have to cook!
It's the other patterns that I'm just not feeling . . . which has lead me to ever so casually consider designing something that I do love for future issues. This, of course, leads to day dreams of ridiculous and astronomical proportions. In my day dreams, I am the next Jordana - creating a pattern that is universally loved and knitted - like Starsky. In reality, I'm sure if I were to design a pattern, I would never get past the sizing issues . . . I can make things in my own size only. And something tells me that just wouldn't work.

I think I'm addicted to baby alpaca. I love knitting with it, petting it, and just generally feeling it. I do not love some things about it. I forgive it though - it is the best wool ever!

I just finished a special project at work. I was involved with this project for about 10 weeks. It took half my days. It was ridiculous. 'They' (the proverbial powers that be) gave me half the day away from my regular duties to see to this project. Seeing to it meant making about 4 - 10 phone calls a day. They honestly gave me 4 hours a day to complete this. Seriously. It was quite likely the least amount of work I've done ever. Anyway, the project is over, and on Thursday everyone was patting everyone else on the back over this silly thing. Okay, that's fine, I can understand that. What I cannot understand is the emails I got from our National Head Quarters, cc'd to the company big wigs, stating things like: were it not for your efforts this initiative would not have been successful. Erm . . . excuse me, but I think taking any rep off the phones for half of their shift, for 2 1/2 months in a row is thanks enough. Additionally, I didn't do anything! Really, I didn't! The other reps I work with envy me for the lack of work I had to do.
The best part? Next time they send a pilot project to my centre, I'm first in line!!

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Yesterday, I had a day off -- because I get to work on Saturday . . . lucky me. What I need to know is this: Why is it that my days off start with such good intentions - and wind up wasted?

Yesterday's to-do list:
  • strip the beds
  • laundry
  • Go To The Gym!!!
  • check swatch for gage
  • knit some cardigan!
  • Visit LYS - try very hard not to buy anything
  • cave and buy something - preferably luxurious and expensive
  • have dinner on the table for Mr. Wonderful's arrival from work, keep lips shut about earlier purchase
  • bake bread
What I actually did:
  • surf the web for hours
  • review a pattern book
  • pieced 4 quilt blocks
  • visited electronics store with Mr. Wonderful - spent yarn money on DVD's and a new DVD player
  • watched a movie
  • made dinner
See?? SEE? It should have been a very productive day. Instead, it was not. But the quilt blocks are lovely. I just don't know what to do with them.
They were also free, and given that my credit card bill is astronomical, it's probably for the best. I can't help but be a little sad though. I'd rather be knitting a fabulous v-neck cardigan for myself. Or maybe that great vest . . .

My birthday is coming up -- just a little over a month. So now I am faced with the daunting task of coming up with a wish list. It seems to me that you reach a certain point in your life, and if you want it, you'll buy it!
Things that I haven't purchased for myself are either entirely too expensive to suggest, or just plain boring -- or a mix. I need new tires. Blech AND pricey.
And how do I tell people that I want yarn for my birthday . . oh, no, not that yarn. This yarn, and in this colour, and this amount, and make sure it's all the same dye lot . . .
I know, I know -- gift cards, but that's so anti-climactic. I'm thinking of making an e-list so there can be links. Or sending Mr. Wonderful to the LYS with a list of requirements and suggestions. Or just sucking it up and realizing that I'm bound to have another flat birthday full of uninspired 'you don't know me at all' and 'you don't know enough about my interests to get useful stuff' gifts. Sigh. Sometimes I wish we could just dispense with birthday gift giving altogether after the 16th birthday. Seriously. I still buy my 35 year old brother a birthday gift every year. Does he need anything? No. Does he want anything specific? No. Is it a waste of time and money? Most definitely. Same goes for my parents, and my in-laws . . . wouldn't a nice card and a lottery ticket do?

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Because I keep getting asked . . .

Here is the link to the mitten pattern!

For the last few days, I've been frogging. Yes, frogging. Not my knitting, my mother's. Years ago she made me this immense sweater. It was huge . . . you could fit 3 people into it. I think I've worn it 5 times, out of desperation . . . on laundry day. So I frogged it. What can I say - I need yarn to knit with and I have no $$. Now I'm in search of the perfect V neck cardigan pattern. I was going to do the Dollar and a Half Cardigan from the latest IK with it - but alas, it seems to be slightly too heavy. I mean, it's a worsted weight, and the pattern calls for a worsted weight . . . but it was SO stiff when I swatched it. Maybe I'll try again - more than one row this time. I really like that cardi. Is it the sweater I like, or the photo??

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Knitting Victories!

I'm discovering something about myself -- I'm a good knitter! My stuff is generally nicely constructed, and people usually think it's store bought -- may not be a great thing, but there it is. Of course, my point of comparison is my mom's knitting. Which is uninspired.

Thursday was a snow day for us, and Friday was a partial wash at work - our systems were down due to massive power failure. So I sat at my desk and knitted away. I was hammering out the second Squirrel mitten, when I was approached by a rather sheepish looking woman. Long story short, she asked me to help her with her partially completed knitting - she's stuck on the pattern. I told her I would love to! This is a first for me . . having someone ask for my knitting help . . . cool! And then the girls I sit with at work told this woman that I'm an amazing knitter (watch my ego grow), and the woman said 'I can tell - she's got more than two needles on the go'. They're 5 needle mittens. I feel so validated!
In the theme of pleasing everyone, I also went to work on Saturday at EIGHT IN THE MORNING to work some over time. With all those systems down on Friday, there is a major crisis -- so there I was to pick up some slack . . .

Speaking of squirrel mittens:

Here is my progress thus far. Right mitten completed, left mitten very much on the go. I'm surprised at just how much I'm enjoying this knit -- It's Dale of Norway Baby Ull and 2.25mm needles. Generally, I find tiny yarn and tiny needles tedious . . . this is a blast! Maybe because of the constant changes in the pattern. I'm really proud of myself for the way these look - and for not letting Fair Isle scare me anymore - and for teaching myself how to do it.

Want to see my stranding?? I'm showing it off anyway.

These mittens are fun!

Another knitting victory: My nine year old niece is learning to knit -- so that rocks my socks! We saw her - and her needles, and row counter, and point protectors, and all those dropped stitches - yesterday. It would sound crazy to most, but I know a knitter would understand when I say there was a great moment in there - sitting on the couch, next to my niece, both of us knitting. It was awesome! I hope she keeps at it!

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Pining for a stash . . . this is new.

Not much to report today -- I've made a little progress on the squirrel mittens, and I've decided what to do with them when they're done. My Aunt has a mittens for the needy program at her church - each winter, around Christmas, they give out mittens to families that need them. They may have a few mistakes on them, but now I have motivation to finish! Nothing like knowing there's a purpose to your knitting!

Regarding this stash business - I'm not a stasher. Every knitting thing I own, all my yarns, my accessories and tools, it all fits into one little paper box. Mostly I don't stash because I don't have the money to be buying the yarns I want. Skeins of silk, alpaca by the pound . . . you know it's just not feasible. There's been a lot of stir on knitty over this website, little knits. Well, today I went to just have a look . . . they have alpaca on sale -- beautiful colourways (the cranberry pink one really caught my eye!) for a reasonable price! Of course, once you factor in the rate of exchange, shipping and brokerage, it probably wouldn't be all that reasonable. This is why cross border shopping sucks. Of course there is the stashing deterrent of 'what would I do with one or two skeins of ____'.

Speaking of one skein of ______ , last week I got a fantastic surprise in the mail! A package from my upstream Secret Pal! She sent me some really great stuff - a pattern and wool to try out felting (can't wait!), some other things . . but the biggest surprise: a skein of lace weight Cashmere. Do you hear angels singing? I sure do. I can't even imagine what beautiful thing that cashmere will make. I'm waiting for it to speak to me. No luck thus far . . but I do have a lace book on my Amazon wish list that I'm hoping to get for my rapidly approaching birthday. Maybe there's something in there . . .