Total Change of Plans…

Just as I was settling in to the knitting and purling of the Gansey Sock pattern, I get the uncontrollable and completely ridiculous urge to knit for Christmas. Lmao. I am a glutton for punishment. 
Here’s the new list of wips (pictures of yarn, progress etc. to follow):
The Bubble Haze Shawl I’d almost finished. That will be done in time, no problem.
Pinstripe Shawl : Found this gem on Ravelry tonight. Was looking through the color combinations, saw the black w/ pink striping and I knew it had to be knit, inmediately.
Maddy ‘ s Hat: Quick baby sized knit. This will be my first attempt at faire isle.  I’m feeling ambitious.
Brad ‘ s Socks: I have to frog and redo sock #2. The heel went wonky somehow. The problem is that I started these almost three years ago. I want them done and gone, but I dread working on them. I will finish them though.
I need two more relatively quick and easy knits still.  I’m thinking hats and/or fingerless mitts for gaming. Any suggestions for either of these for boys/men would be appreciated.
I also discovered a shawl called Tattered which I will talk about next time. 

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WendyKnits MKAL…yes, STILL!

I am a profoundly slow knitter. Actually I don’t think I’m slow so much as I don’t put enough time in.  I try to get in at least 2 hours a day of “needle time” in before bed, but I want to put more time into it.  Knitting is one of the few things in life that I’m passionate about; I’m passionate about fiber arts in general; and I want to accomplish more.  I have more yarn and fiber than I will ever be able to use but still I want, nay need, more. Lmao.
I’m still working on the MKAL.  It’s an exclusive project. The first one I’ve ever worked on without an extra project to break up the monotony.  I’m at the beginning of clue #3. Another week or so and it will be donw.

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I wasn’t sure about the colorway but I have come to really like it. It will be hard to see it go, but it’s a Christmas gift. After this I’m going to finish Brooke ‘ s scarf (because it’s so close to being done I could scream), and then move on to other small gifts to knit.

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I particularly like the lace pattern on the edge.
Next time….NOT AGAIN…or how lifelines saved my sanity this summer/fall.

Knitting, knitting, knitting

Gee, can you tell what this post is going to be about? LOL
I went on a wonderful yarn crawl while on my way to CA this past summer and I discovered so many new and wonderful yarns. I’m in love with MadelineTosh yarns now. I have a ton of Pashmina but can’t wait to experiment with the lighter weight yarns. The Alamitos Bay Yarn Company in Long Beach, CA is the ultimate in yarn shopping and enabling. LOVE THEM!! I bought so much yarn from them that I had to make 2 trips to the store. I’ve really gotten in touch with my love of fingering wt and lace wt yarn after months of obsessing over just sock yarn ( which is mostly fingering anyway). I also discovered this amazing yarn by Araucunia called ruca or runa can’t remember exactly but it’s made from 100% sugar cane and it’s one of the softest, drapiest yarns I’ve held. So I bought a bunch…LOL I’ve fallen in love with the concept of making new things and trying that which seemed impossible a few months ago. I can do anything I put my mind to.
Christmas knitting has begun. Only two or three projects this year, but big ones for the people who are getting them. I”m also working on a project for me (Picture coming when finished)for the first time in a long time and I’m just crazy for it. I love working with Pashmina yarn; the hand is great and the colors blow me away. YUM!!
For the first time in years I’m doing a swap. A Christmas/Winter Holiday themed swap. I can’t wait to start “stalking” my recipient and putting together the most amazing package for her. I can’t wait to see what my person puts together for me. 🙂
I just love knitting and all that goes with it; especially this time of year. 🙂

Don’t Post Nearly Enough, but At Least I’m Knitting Again

I don’t post nearly enough about life, the kids, knitting etc.  That’s because I’ve been lazy, lazy, lazy.  Since getting my IPad and IPhone I so rarely actually turn the computer on.  Bad Shannon.  So bare bones update:  I’m seeing a therapist and taking Prozac for my depression and it’s helping me so much that I feel almost like a different person.  I’ve still got a ways to go but I’ll get there.  Connor just turned One a few weeks ago, which boggles my mind – it seems like just yesterday that I was giving birth (way to early) to the little bugger.  He’s adorable as ever and so much fun.  Jacob is finishing first grade today.  Time flies.  I swear I’m going to turn around one day and he’s going to be leaving for college.  My quest right now is to spend more time on getting healthier – going to the YMCA and losing weight and doing the things that I love that I’ve let go in my depression.

Right now I’m on my 3rd attempt at a Baby Surprise Sweater (Thank you for having a daughter Jimi D.) after the first two failed spectacularly.  The first one, I didn’t like the color so I changed it.  The second one I was about 1/2 way done with when I realized that I had missed an important increase back at row 9.  ARGH!!!  It was supposed to be for Jake’s 1st grade teacher who is pregnant right now and I was hoping to give it to her today.  So much for that.  So now I’m making this one for Jimi’s newborn daughter with a yarn that is a gorgeous pink (I’m not positive it’s just right for the pattern, but the color is perfect, so I’m willing to give it a shot.)  I guess I’ll know pretty quickly if it works or not.  Wish me luck.  Will update with pictures periodically.

Back from Cali, knitting socks and staying off my feet…fun times!

Been awhile again since my last post.  I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t seem to find the time or the energy for the computer these days for some reason.  I can’t remember the last time I actually checked my email.  If anyone has sent me anything and I haven’t responded, sorry.  I’m more apt to see something you send me on Facebook or Twitter than I am in an email…LOL  Kind of sad, huh?!?!

So I went to California on June 9th and stayed for 3 weeks.  Seeing my mother is always so great for me; if you know me and my mother, though, you also know that it’s a hugely stressful time for both of us.  We are both very strong personalities and we tend to clash in a lot of ways.  There is so much love there, though, that the happy moments always far outweigh the stressful ones.  This trip was about going to see David Cook with my favorite family member in the world, Krista and taking Jake back to Sea World to actually touch the dolphins.  The rest was all up in the air.  Spending time with Krista is always one of my favorite things to do.  We have the sort of relationship where we don’t really have to be doing anything special, we just like to be together.  One of our favorite group activities is, believe it or not, just sitting around with coloring books and colored pencils and coloring.  We both have these stupidly expensive Disney Princess coloring books that have really high quality paper and we guard them jealously, not letting anyone (no, not even Jacob) color in them but us.  Kind of sick, really, but it’s really so much fun to just stop for an hour and do something so simple and so rooted in our childhoods.  Oddly enough,though, neither of us really color at all when we aren’t together.  Krista gave me another new hobby this trip, though.  The Lakers were playing in the NBA championships against the Orlando Magic and K is a HUGE Lakers fan.  So the first night we hung out together game 4 (I think) was on and she said she had to watch it.  Anyone that knows me well at all knows that I’m absolutely not a sports fan in any way, shape or form.  So we got out coloring books and I got out Mom’s laptop and settled in for what I thought would be a boring television event, but still time with K is so rare b/c of the distance, so any time at all is priceless to me.  About halfway through the game, though, I realized that I was watching the TV almost as much as I was reading posts on Ravelry.  By the last five minutes of the game I had put the laptop down and was watching the action raptly.  By the time the final game rolled around a few nights later, I was all about the game.  I cheered and I booed and I jumped up and down.  I was almost hoping the Lakers would lose so that there would be another game.  They didn’t lose, though, and the victory was amazing.  So now I’m a basketball fan. A Laker’s fan at that.  Looking very much forward to pre-season.  Of course, knowing me, it may not last.  We’ll see.  I was a “hockey fan” for awhile when the Wings won their first Stanley Cup in however many long, long years.  That lasted about half of the next season and then I got bored out of my skull with it all (I think I just committed a sacrilege as far as my mother – a RABID Wings fan – is concerned).

I finally got my own copy of New Pathways for Sock Knitters, so I can finish the second Spiraling Coriolis sock.  I’m about 2/3 of the way done with it, maybe a little less.  I got so excited about sock knitting that I joined the 52 Pair Plunge III @ Ravelry.  Of course I haven’t even finished pair #1 so I’m WAY behind…LOL  I think , though, that once I finish the WIPs that are outstanding gifts I owe to people (the Moderne Baby Blanket for Fran’s new granddaughter and the Anouk dress for Lisa’s new baby due any time now) I’ll throw myself a little more into sock knitting.  I’ve just ordered matching sets of fixed circs. from Knit Picks: one each of the Harmony and the Nickle plated in sizes 0-3 (which is actually 6 needles in each material b/c there are 2 different sizes of 1 and 2 b/c of the metric measurements) in the 24″ length.  I was going to just order the sizes in the Harmony wood in the 24″ and 32″ lengths so that I could differentiate easily when using 2 circs (which I really do like for socks) but I thought that the different materials for the tips would make the distinction even easier and I really have found that I like the nickle more than I thought I did.  I have the Options sets in both materials so if I need longer than 24″ needles I’ve got that covered as well.

I love shopping at Amazon, btw.  I just ordered and received the newest version of the Kindle; it was an early birthday gift from my mother.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!  I’ve already got five or six books and several blogs on it.  So nice to have choices in such a slim and light container.  I always want to take something to read with me, but can’t ever decide what so I end up schlepping three or four hard cover books with me on vacations or when I know I’ll be bored for awhile.  Great for choice, but heavy as all hell.  This is much nicer!!  I also ordered a whole slew of knitting books:

  • A Treasury of Knitting Patterns Volumes 1 & 2:  I’ve always wanted to have a great stitch dictionary collection and I like these the best so far.  I’m not big on designing things myself – I’m still too chicken to even play too much with changing elements in patterns that I’m following.  Just looking through these books, though, has inspired me a bit.  I found myself thinking ‘that would make a great cuff or edging on a sweater’ or ‘that would be a great cuff or leg pattern for a sock’.  It’s a step in the right direction.  I WILL get braver with my knitting before the end of year.  My goal is to design one thing, no matter how simple it is – maybe I’ll design the scarves I’m planning to make for TJ and Jake this year rather than following a pattern.
  • Elizabeth Zimmerman’s  Knitting Workshop, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Almanac and Knitting Without Tears:  I’ve  heard so many great things about E.Z. and I thought this would be a great time to “get to know her”.  I thought I ordered The Opinionated Knitter as well, but I guess not.  It’s something for the future.
  • Lace Style:  You can never have too many lace knitting books
  • A Gathering of Lace:  See above….love the lace knitting!!
  • The Intentional Spinner, The Spinner’s Companion and Spin Control:  I’ve been spinning for a little more than a year and a half now and I still kind of feel like I’m working blind.  I can spin a decent yarn but I have very little control as to how it comes out.  I’m still not sure about the different kinds of drafting and how to do them.  I’m in love with spindle spinning, which I feel like I have a lot more control with, and I love my wheel, but I feel like I’m always playing catch up when I’m using the wheel.  I rarely, if ever, get the yarn that I expect to get from it.  I want to learn more and to get better.  I really need a spinning class to get me on the right track.  I need someone to teach me all these different “draws” and how they work and what I’m doing wrong…
  • Teach Yourself Visually Hand-dyeing:  I love hand dyeing and another book on it can only be good.
  • Sock Innovation:  I’m all about sock knitting these days and I’m a big fan of Cookie A.’s designs even though I’ve never knit one.  The chapters on design are really a big selling point for me.
  • Toe Up:  This is the WendyKnits book.  I didn’t actually order this one, I bought it at Barnes N Noble while I was in CA.  I found I really like the toe up method of knitting socks and there are really cute patterns in this book.  I’m looking forward to knitting some of these for the “Plunge”

I’ve had a lot of time to look through my book and play with the Kindle in the last few weeks.  Here’s a big TMI warning if you don’t want to know more than you ever dreamed about my cycles and periods….

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I’ve been undergoing the very beginning of fertility treatments since late March.  50 mg. of Clomid from days 3-7 of the cycle.  Only did one cycle and it didn’t work.  I got my period 50 days into the Clomid cycle and it started with spotting that lasted for almost 2 weeks, which was annoying but tolerable.  When I was out in CA the real period finally started and was heavy (which I expect) and irritating – it got bad the same day as the David Cook concert, of course – but it wasn’t unbearable.  Now that I’m three weeks into this period and I’m bleeding like a stuck pig half the time with HUGE clots and not bleeding at all the other half, I’m irritated.  It’s gotten to the point where I have to stay in bed or on the couch most of the time b/c any real activity or straining myself makes the bleeding horrible.  For example I got out of bed on the 4th to hang out at the bonfire in the yard b/c my mother-in-law and TJ’s Aunt Nancy were there.  Just sitting out there, walking around and playing with Jake a bit was the most I did and when I got back inside I ended up having to change my pajama bottoms twice in 30 minutes.  I’ve been feeling dizzy, foggy headed, crampy and just plain yucky since this started.  Saw the doctor today, had an ultra sound and am going to meet with a new fertility specialist tomorrow morning.  So nervous!!  I am terrified that I’m going to find out that I can’t have another baby and that would break my heart.  TJ and I are not necessarily in agreement about fertility treatments.  I’m all about doing whatever it takes to have another child and TJ isn’t sure if he’s on board for getting really into the infertility treatments.  He’s terrified by the though of higher level multiples and he’s afraid that my body won’t deal well with “forcing” pregnancy.  IVF is still a long way away, I hope, but he’s so against the thought and while it’s not my first choice for a way to have a baby, if it’s my only option, I’m totally on board with it.  This is going to be a long process, and it’s going to take a lot of talking and figuring out what is important to us and what our priorities when it comes to family are.  I’m scared!

96 Yards of Handspun lace/fingering weight

I just finally (I actually finished spinning and plying the yarn in December) skeined up and finished the singles that were left after spinning and plying my Girl Insane top.  The colors in the top were light to medium pinks, shades of grey to black, light to dark purples and white. (Don’t have a picture of the top, so here’s the link to the original listing in etsy: Girl Insane Top.  I split the colors into lights and darks, spun the singles fairly thin (I’m still terrible about figuring out things like what drafting method I used or how many twists per inch etc.) and then plied the two together.  It came out really pretty.  When I was through, I had just under 100 yards of singles left from the dark batch, so I skeined it and finished it tonight – it’s drying right now.  Pictures to follow once it’s dry and I get off my lazy ass and take the pics.

Any suggestions on what to do with just about 100 yards of light fingering to heavy lace singles?  I’m stumped, but this came out so pretty that I want to use it.  I thought about plying it with itself after it finishes drying, but then I’ll only have 50 or so yards and I know there’s not a lot I can do with that.  Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

The Coriolis socks are coming out beautifully.  I’m back on track after the frogging incident and I’m really enjoying these socks.  I’m going to buy the book (I’ve had it out of the library for two renewals now and I don’t want to keep it out of the hands of others who might want to read it) before I leave for CA (on Tuesday) and work on the last sock on the plane ride.  It seems like a good, portable project for the plane.  It’s either that or my Clapotis and that thing is pretty big and bulky for a plane ride at this point.

As for my two baby gift projects:  I’ve hit a wall with the Moderne Baby Blanket as the book is still packed up in a box somewhere in this house (I swear we’ll never be fully moved in) and I was able to find the pattern as a freebie through Ravelry, but it’s a scan of the book and doesn’t include the border, so until I find the book I’m kind of stuck.  I know I could just come up with my own border, but I’m just not feeling that creative with this one.  I draw a blank whenever I try to think of a good border pattern for this…again, suggestions are welcome and appreciated.  The Anouk pattern is coming along nicely.  The baby it’s for is due in July and I’ve got the first half done and am ready to start on the second.  The first went really quickly so I’m hoping the second will be as swift.  These are the only projects I plan to bring on the trip, along with some needlepoint that I’ve been working on for awhile on and off.  I figure if I don’t have many choices I can’t get caught up in “startitis” and might actually finish a few things on time…

Bob Ross, I Love You!!

Now there’s a title for a blog post…LOL.  Being sick and forced to sleep whenever I can, I’m catching a lot of TV that I wouldn’t normally pay attention to at all.  So I’m flipping channels a few weeks ago (before I was really sick, but when I couldn’t sleep) and I caught the last few minutes of “The Best of The Joy of Painting” on PBS.  I remembered the “happy trees” from my childhood; I guess I must have seen the show when it was originally run way back then…maybe before or after Sesame Street, I don’t know.

So now that I’m having tons of trouble sleeping for more than a few hours at a time; the latest drug to help me sleep that we’ve tried, Elavil, didn’t do me a whole lot of good; I’ve been DVRing and watching the daily episode of “Best of…”  I’m hooked.  There is such a calmness to Bob Ross’s voice, it’s so soothing.  He seems to be totally at peace all the time, is he on qualudes?  And the afro, what can I say about the afro…so crazy.  I love the way he makes painting those gorgeous outdoor scenes seem so easy, so effortless.  Watching him, I keep thinking, ‘I can do that’.  There is a DVD workshop set that comes with the paints that he used and instruction for a bunch of his works that I’ve thought about getting.  Even better, though, Michael’s has Bob Ross Method classes regularly.  I definitely plan to take one of those one of these days.

It’s funny, I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly artistic person, but since I picked up knitting, and more importantly spinning and dyeing, I find myself reveling in creativity.  I want to explore as many different mediums as I can.  I’ve played with digital scrapbooking and I LOVE it.  I haven’t done it in quite awhile, but I have disks and disks of digital elements and backgrounds etc.  Now that I’ve written about it, I’ll probably find myself drawn back in for awhile.  I’ve never actually paper scrapbooked, but I have boxes of paper, stickers, elements and some tools; more than enough to get started and make several albums.  I have no pens, though.  Odd, that I forgot that after buying all the rest of the stuff.  As you all can see, I get obsessed with crafts and then frustrated when I’m not good at them from the get go.  I’ve dabbled with embroidery and cross stitch (I have a cross stitch project that I have to finish for TJ’s family.  His Uncle’s 2nd wife passed away early this year and she was an avid cross stitcher, they’ve asked me to finish the cross stitch she was working on when she passed.  What a great honor to have them have so much faith in me.  It’s VERY slow going, though, b/c I want to do it justice, I want it to be absolutely perfect).  The one needle art that I haven’t tried, but will eventually, is needle punch.  That looks like a lot of fun and fairly simple.

Sleep is still eluding me, but it’s giving me a lot of time for working on the X-mas scarves.  I was working on the one for my MIL and I realized something:  I’ve been using the chart for the first three or four repeats of the scarf, in fact I’ve been using charts rather than writeen directions ever since I learned how to read a chart, but last night, the way I was sitting made it difficult to read the chart.  Being lazy and tired, I started using the written directions instead of reorganizing all the things I had around me – being bed-bound is really annoying at times – and I got through the row much more quickly.  I think that I learn by reading much better than I do visually.  For some reason, when I read the charts, I don’t see the bigger picture, which is kind of funny.  For example, when I read (p3, k5) 3 times it’s simple for me to know what to do with the next 24 stitches, when I see the same thing on a chart, I take each part as a single entitiy: e.g. p3 then look at the chart, k5, look back at the chart etc.  I don’t know why I can’t see that it’s a repeat and take it as such from a chart.  Oh well, at least I can work with a pattern that has no written directions and follow the chart even if it does make me work slower.  I’d kill for written patterns for some of the mystery KAL’s that I’ve done.  I’m obsessed with mystery KAL’s.  I’ll actually finish one one day, I swear it!!  LOL