Friday, December 29, 2006

Oh, My!

If a hypothetical knitter were to have a stash problem (not that we know anyone with this) would it possibly be a symptom of that problem if that knitter were to find that the nice, new 32-quart plastic container purchased for stash organization did not hold all of the sock yarn for which it was intended? Would it be significant if yarn for 11 pairs of socks needed to be removed to enable the lid of the container to close?

This would all be a nice, hypothetical discussion except for one problem. As the knitter (oh, you know it was me) was working away organizing her stash and putting it into nice, sealed bags (Don't you love the 2-gallon zippered plastic bags? You can store all the yarn for an entire sweater and the pattern in one, handy location!), she was discovered! Mr. Engineer had to work this week (ahhhhhh), but he had announced that he was getting off early and would pick up Young Man from a play day. Working on the assumption that the two gentlemen would be home around 3:30, I was working to a 3:00 deadline. They came through the door at 2:45. There I was, surrounded by ALL of my stash!!! It was dreadful!

After much apologizing and hanging of my head, Mr. Engineer demonstrated one of the many reasons why I love him. He told me to stop beating myself up and he wasn't going to join in and Young Man was not to give me a hard time either. He realizes that many beautiful things come out of my stash and they make many people happy. He also knows that even my yarn habit is cheaper than therapy.

Still, it was a sobering moment to see my stash in all its glory. There were the early missteps and the luscious fibers for which I (im)patiently waited for sales. There were memories of trips taken and gifts planned. In all it was a reminder that I have much and should work with what I have for a time. So, I have resolved to take up the challenge offered by Wendy. I intend to knit from my stash (mostly) through October 2007.

No, I don't think my using stash will result in any LYS going out of business, but I know of three that may see a bit of a dip in their profits for a few months. I'm just really glad that sock yarn doesn't count for the challenge! Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006 is Winding Down

I fully intend to post again before the year ends, but good intentions oft go astray so I'm making sure that the last pair of socks of 200Sox is up before the end of the year.
Pattern: Gentleman's Socks in Railroad Pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks, by Nancy Bush

Yarn: Trekking XXL in 290 and KnitPicks Essentials in Dusk (for toes and heels)

Needles: US0 DPNs

Notes: Fabulous socks! My modifications were to go with solid heels and toes as I was worried about my quantity of Trekking. I also only decreased 5 stitches for calf shaping and made these a bit longer than the pattern. The recipient is a US size 11 so I needed a little more room. These went to my next door neighbor. He has been quietly watching his wife and others get socks from me. He didn't complain, but he was extremely happy when he saw that the latest pair was for him.

These are definitely the last pair for 200Sox. This makes 15 pairs started and finished in this year (and they are my 26th pair over all)! That is a few less than I had hoped, but I think my expectations were, um, over-eager. Considering that I also finished three pairs of slippers, two scarves, two shawls, two hats, and three sweaters (plus some miscellaneous items) this year, I am very happy! In the rush to finish these socks (they were still damp on Christmas morning, but ready for wrapping by early afternoon), I managed to slightly injure my right ring finger. This is the finger that steadies my DPNs and now the knuckles are very sore. I took two days off and now I can knit again with circulars, but I'll wait a bit before casting on the next socks.

In other news, Young Man's azalea is blooming! This plant was a gift from the in-laws when Young Man was born. I've never been quite sure why an azalea was picked. At the time, we had a plant-eating cat so the plant stayed in our bedroom until we could plop it into the ground. We planted next to some other azaleas and hoped for the best. A few years ago, two of our azaleas died and we thought that this one had also departed. On Tuesday, Young Man came in the house extremely excited by the really pretty flower that he found. We were all quite surprised by the bloom.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bringing Back the Light
Here in the land of sunny days, it isn't quite as obvious that the days are getting shorter. Driving home in the dark is the biggest reminder. It isn't like the seemingly endless darkness that I remember from Minnesota. Still, there is a difference and the Solstice is coming. I wasn't feeling at all holiday-spirited (whatever holiday you want to imagine) until I figured out the problem. I was giving to people who already have so much.

Thanks to Stephanie and Wendy, I remembered what was missing. Go ahead and join us. You'll feel better for it. Norma also gets a nod for reminding me to get my toys to a Toys 4 Tots donation site.

Maybe the sun is coming out after all....

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Saturday is a Saturday

Right? This is a Saturday Sky, it just happens to be the sky from last Saturday. The sky today is much the same, but the moon is no longer nearing full. The weather forecast is for rain tomorrow. I'm not so sure.

The forecast for inside is for smooth sailing to the holiday. The final touches went onto the handknits bound for eastern destinations. Mr. Engineer took care of packing and shipping and now the gifts are on their way. I am still working on some items that will stay closer to home and there is that FLAK. I am nearing completion of the second sleeve then it is on to the body!

This is my first needle felting project. It isn't so bad. It's even kind of cute.

The clogs ended up very cute. I used some Tulip puff paint to give the bottoms less slipperiness. The last question is will they fit?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Finished is the Happiest Word!

So many projects have come off the needles that I have had trouble keeping up with them. I have finally broken my streak of finished items. Still, the gift bag is looking very good. Here are the latest spread:

Pattern: The project that started the recent furious pace, Felted Clogs by FiberTrends
Yarn: Naturespun worsted (doubled)
Needles: US13 circular
Notes: So cute! A little fiddly, but a very quick knit. Another pair in green is ready for felting. These are for Young Man's cousin. I just hope that I didn't make them too small.

Pattern: Fuzzy Feet from Knitty
Yarn: Lambs Pride worsted
Needles: US 10.5 circular
Notes: Quick and satisfying. These should keep my mother's feet toasty warm this winter.

Pattern: Oven mitt is from KnitPicks, the hot pad is just a rectangle
Yarn: Lambs Pride Worsted (doubled)
Needles: US 13
Notes: I'm still planning on some needle felting on the hotpad. I also need to do some flattening. Felting in a front loading washer is a bit hit-or-miss. Some projects work better than others.

Pattern: Buttonhole Bag from Mason Dixon Knitting

Yarn: Paton's SWS in Natural Earth (doubled) Just over two balls of yarn were needed.
Needles: US 15 circular
Notes: Very fast and easy. I added some rows, but the finished project is still rather small. This one is all Susan's fault, but I'm very glad that she tried it. This yarn felts quite well. It does end up with some bumpies, but that just adds to the charm.

Finally, the long-awaited and now complete Arches and Columns scarf!!!!

Pattern: Arches and Columns Scarf from Crystal Palace Yarns
Yarn: Kid Merino from Crystal Palace (doubled), exactly two balls
Needles: US 7
Notes: A comforting, yet mindless knit. The result is wonderful. After blocking this is 11" by 51" and is light and fluffy. It is a little shorter than I would have liked, but I think it will be a fabulous gift. I started this one ages ago, but set it aside for other projects. When I returned to it, I found that it had a glaring error so I ripped back and then went to work.

Next up, I have returned to sleeve island on my FLAK and have finished the first sleeve. I'm not at all sure that it will be finished in time to ship as a gift, but I am trying. The horns are sprouting again at work and the next two weeks will be a mess. Who will win??? Tune in next time to find out.