Thursday, August 28, 2008

FO: Amber Hat

I finished a Christmas gift in August. How gratifying.

Details:
Mary Jane's Pithy Hat, cabled version, by Theresa Belville
Yarn: Wool of the Andes, Amber Heather, 1 skein
Needle: Knit Picks Size 7 circular
Time: 7 days
Thoughts/Mods: I only knit the hat to be about 7 inches, while the pattern called for 10-11". It's still looser than some of the hats I've made, which I like, but I didn't want to be as floppy as the pattern suggested. I also used a more subtle cable than suggested. I did C3B (sl1 back, k2). I like the way it turned out, and it fits nicely. I'm tempted to keep it for myself, but really, how many hats do I need in Houston? (Answer: as many as I want!!) I already have a couple of recipients in mind, so we'll see.
Artsy photo time:

Oooh, the effects of sunshine.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big news about Jill

She's back. Jill is back in the states. She arrived safely in Kazakhstan last week, but decided that the peace corps wasn't for her. It was a difficult decision, but after way too much traveling in such a short period, she arrive back in Houston last night. I just talked to her, and I'm really glad she's back. I'm proud of her for being brave, and being able to admit that being so far away from family for such a long period was too much for her; she's very brave.

<3

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To do list for the week

-finish amber cabled hat done 8/27
-get to heel on sock
-undo bind off on Something Red (and yellow) and re-bind off more loosely
-clean freezer/fridge
-drop off books to Half Price
-finish cleaning closet
-take bags of clothes/misc items to Goodwill
-organize fabric stash
-grocery shopping (regular items and for the grill this weekend!)
-pet store shopping

Who wants cheese?

I starred this recipe in my blog reader a few weeks ago, and I made it this weekend. Sunday, to be exact, so it wasn't ready until yesterday. I ate a bite last night (after a big dinner, but who's counting calories?), and couldn't wait to wake up and spread it on an english muffin for breakfast. Seriously, it's so good. The recipe only has four ingredients, you mix them all up and stick it (covered) in the fridge to become cheese for 24 hours. How easy is that?

And how GOOD does that look??

I'm already dreaming up variations. Instead of sweet ingradients, I'm thinking some red bell peppers, and maybe some garlic. Dean suggested a version with orange chunks and peel, for a less-jellied version of marmalade. The possibilities are endless, my friends.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Process vs. progress

I've thought a lot about the difference between process and progress knitting. There are times when I need to churn out a fast knit: a hat, a pair of fingerless gloves; something to satisfy a need for accomplishment or a gift. More often than not, however, I'm more interested in the process: selecting a project that challenges me in some way, working with some yarn that I've been holding onto; something that satisfies during knitting, although it may mean not finishing something for much longer. I've heard myself express frustration before over a lack of FOs, but, it's always a temporary feeling.

This preface might explain my lack of direction in the past week. Not only have I worked a bit on two of my current projects, I've also cast on for three additional projects. I've realized this is my pattern in knitting. I churn out a few projects (like lately, and they were predominately for Jill), and then I return to searching for new stimuli. Two of the projects I started this week are gifts-a baby sweater (my first EZ February sweater) and a hat (destined to be a christmas present: for whom, I'm not sure).

The third project is one I cast on for today. I wound up a skein of sock yarn, Three Irish Girls' Adorn sock yarn, in the colorway Kelly this morning, and I instantly wanted to try my luck again at socks. I've had one sitting on the needles for months, and I've not been interested in finishing, as it felt like it was taking forever to finish an inch. After some ravelry searching, I found Sandra Park's Bloody Mary pattern.

I've already got a couple of inches done. I'm thoroughly enjoying the pattern. It's easy, but challenging enough to keep my focus. The colors of the yarn, different shades of green, yellow and tan, are lovely.

I'm also knitting them on wooden needles, which is a first for me. I think I like them better for socks and here's why:

1) They force me to relax my hands a bit (which is imperative, since I'm used to knitting with larger needles),

2) It's more difficult to split the yarn with blunt ends,

3) The ladders seem to be less noticeable (probably because my tension is more even).

Friday, August 22, 2008

New favorite

I don't watch much television, but thanks to Sarah, I'm hooked on 30 Rock. She let Dean and I borrow Season one, which we finished last night. Oh, it's so funny. I know I'm a little late, considering they'll be starting season three next month. Better late than never! If you haven't watched it, give it a chance, but I recommend starting from the beginning; the jokes are better if you know their roots.

Tina Fey is obviously funny, and I have to admit, I really like Alec Baldwin. Not only is he brilliant in 30 Rock, he was also really enjoyable in Running with Scissors, which I also recently saw and loved. Jane Krakowski is another great addition; I loved her on Ally McBeal back in the day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Admitting defeat

Like most of you, it's hard for me to fess up when I can't handle a challenge I've set for myself. Over the past week, I've been feeling that weight, as I debated whether I could complete Juno Regina for my friend, Angela. She didn't ask me to make her a shawl for her wedding; I offered. I wanted to do something nice for her, and knit her a beautiful shawl she would enjoy for years after her wedding day.

After lots of guilty thoughts about the shawl, I called her last night to tell her I had bitten off more than a mouthful. As expected, Angela was tremendously gracious, and said she understood. I know I'm being harder on myself than anyone else will be, and I did feel as if a weight had been lifted when I was able to remove it from my list of impending obligations.

So there you go: no lace for ravelympics, no deadline of November 3, and most importantly, a resolution to avoid overcommitting myself. Who knows if I can keep that self-imposed law, but I hope I can.

I would like to try lace again soon, because I feel as if I'd really take to it, but not with so many expectations, and perhaps on a smaller scale.

FO: Sunny Beaufort Hat

Talk about instant gratification. I finished my hat last night. I really enjoyed the pattern. It's a four row repeat, and it's fairly intuitive. Once I finished one round, I didn't need to refer back to the pattern to see where I was.

Details:
Beaufort Hat, by Angela Hahn
Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, Daffodil, approximately 85 yards (I'm really not sure how much I used. I finished off the skein from my Something Red (and Yellow) and then used some of a second skein.)
Needle: Knitpicks, Size 7 circular
Time: 4 days
I will probably make a few of these for Christmas presents. The pattern is enjoyable, and I think the hat is impressive.

Yep, I like it. It gave me the sunshine I needed. Houston's forecast for the next seven days is rain, by the way.

Monday, August 18, 2008

In need of sunshine

I'm working through all the miscellaneous life events that are occurring, and part of what's keeping me afloat is my new sunny hat I started last week.

I'm using this pattern (rav link) in Wool of the Andes, Daffodil. Wool of the Andes is certainly a go-to worsted wool for me. I've got drawerfuls of it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

On reaching limits

My grandmother passed away last night. She's my dad's mother, and honestly, for most of my life, we weren't very close. I am sorry for him, but I feel as if we said goodbye a long time ago. Jill leaves Sunday for the peace corps. Work is a mess. Ugh.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

FO: Peachy hat

I finished the hat to match Jill's cowl for Kazakhstan on my vacation. I really thought I was going to run out of yarn, but I ended up with about a foot left over.

Details:
Stella's Hat, by Knitting School Dropout
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, Dusty Peach, .5 skein
Needles: Size 7 Knitpicks circular
Time: 2.5 weeks
This is the second time I've made Stella's hat, and I love it. The pattern is fun and interesting (and definitely more intuitive the second time around). It's definitely one of my go-to patterns for a ball of variegated Malabrigo.

And it looks cute on Jiller, too.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ravelympics

So, if you're not a knitter, or, if you're not a raveler, let me tell you a little about the ravelympics. It's a knitting event that takes place during the Olympics. There are different events, based on what you intend to knit, such as the Bag-and-Tote Backstroke, Hand-Dyed Hurdles and the Itsy Bitsy Bikini Backstroke. The object is to complete an object for whichever category you choose from the time the Olympics start to finish.
Since I am apparently really presumptuous about my knitting abilities, I signed up for two events: the Shawl Relay and WIPs Wrestling. For WIPs Wrestling (that's works in progress wrestling for you, mom and Jill) I'm hoping to finish two projects that have been sitting for months.

The majority of Something Red (and Yellow) was completed this spring, including on my New Mexico trip. All that's left is the collar. You knitters know that's a pretty intimidating portion, but I'm hoping I can knock it out. I'd really like to wear this in the fall.

The other WIP I'm hoping to wrestle is my Zig Zag Pillow. I started this last year (I think it's my oldest WIP). Since I'm only doing a pillow front (and then I'm going to use fabric for the back), it's possible that I could wrap it up during the Olympics.

And finally, to really prove my insanity, I'm hoping to start AND finish Angela's wedding shawl. Har. Considering I've never done a full lace project (unless you count Square Cake). The plan is Juno Regina in this yarn:

So, these are the things I'll be focusing on in the next few weeks. Hopefully, I can accomplish at least one of these three outlandish goals.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beachy

Last weekend, Jill and I took a little road trip down to Corpus Christi. We wanted a relaxing vacation, and a chance to spend some time together before she leaves (10 more days).
I knit so much in the time we were there, that I finished the back and left front of my Central Park Hoodie.
I'm knitting it in Cascade 220, which I bought in Austin earlier this summer. I love the color, and am feeling really accomplished as I zip through the rows.

I came back feeling refreshed, even after such a short time.

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