Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dream to reality

Let's see what is going on at my house? After Jack's early morning wake up call the other day I have Terminix scheduled to do a service. All I can say is that dude better have a truck full of traps cause I am catching some mice.

I've finished a couple of knitting projects but I don't have any pictures so I don't want to talk about them yet. I can tell you that I am feeling less self inflicted pressure. I guess I did have a bout of finish-it-upitis. As I was starting the toe on the pair of socks that I am wearing now I realized that I only had one other sock on the needles. I started worrying about what I would knit. I had a couple of sets of needles free, my project bag was empty and I started thinking about winding up some new festival yarn. What to knit, what to knit?

I started playing with this yarn in my recently acquired Rhinebeck yarn stash. You'll remember I bought it to make a very special set of stockings. Stockings that I have been in love with since I rediscovered knitting, Cookie A's German Stocking. My very own ultimate knitting endeavor.

Here are the sample socks from Cookie's book knit. sock. love. I still cannot believe I was in the same room with them. Yes I am a bit of a fangirl.

I cast them on Sunday night. As I was telling D what this project meant to me, he questioned how long I've wanted to do them. I've been thinking about these stockings for years. Wouldn't it be cool if I could really knit those? What color would I make them? What if I did it?

D's reply to my going on and on about really starting my pinnacle knitting project was Oh they're your half marathon! Yes Honey they are. Something I've dreamed about doing but was not sure I would ever accomplish or even start. They are my half marathon. I think I have trained enough now, time to head to the event.

See you at the finish line! (One way or another)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jack's Tale

I was awakened sometime between three and four this morning. You know how sometimes you awake gradually to a noise and you're not sure if it is real or something from your dreams? Today was one of those days. My noise was something between a squeak, a chirp and a click. You see where I am going with this don't you?

Well because I was still groggy I did not. I flipped on the light in the hallway and saw Jack. You remember my cat Jack don't you. Sweet lovable Jack.

Well this morning's Jack was not sweet, lovable Jack, at least not to the mouse he was holding in his mouth. To the mouse Jack looked a bit crazy, like a cat that would wear a hat. See what the mouse means?

No wait he looks Amish in that hat. The mouse saw him more in a predatory pose. Closer to this one.

Jack proceeded to take the mouse to the dining room and play with his food. He was performing acrobatic maneuvers that would put the Blue Angels to shame, catching the perkier and perkier mouse each time.

I told Jack he needed to kill the mouse and he disagreed with my moral code. Eventually he got bored, tired and laid down watching the mouse. He would pop up to catch it but you could tell his heart was no longer in the game.

D and I tried to catch the mouse but we are no cats, the mouse ran under a piece of furniture. (Dang you misplaced ottoman.) And it got away with one heck of a story to tell. I am hoping that the fear of Cat was sufficiently placed in him so that when he made it home he packed up and left Yarnkettle land.

I did learn an interesting fact about myself this morning. In spite of being a "Tough Farm Girl" I will squeal like a little girl when the mouse is running my way. The reaction was repeated enough times to remove any doubt from my husband's mind that it was a one time thing, I am officially a squeal when the mouse comes at you kind of person. Sigh.

So the mouse is still running around the house and Jack?  He slept like he was coming off an 18 hour shift.

Cat you better kill it next time or else...No Tuna!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mistakes I've made a few

In the arena of being a new knitter and not understanding how to properly match yarn and patterns I give you this story. You know how it is when you're new to anything, you don't know the rules, why the rules are there in the first place, or how and when to break the rules. 

There are some rules in knitting that I did not learn right away, cables show up best on light colored items, fuzzy yarn causes a halo effect so you lose stitch definition, and so on. I was making a pair of Fetching Mitts for my sister as a beginner and broke way too many rules. I blame ignorance.

Luckily I am a reasonably smart sister and realized when they were done that I had made a huge yarn choice mistake. So they became my practice mitts and I went back to the store and found some appropriate yarn to make a gift. Then my dog niece decided that one of the mitts should be dissected with her mouth and that was the end of that. Dog nieces what are you going to do? It is rumored that she really enjoyed taking the mitt apart.

Anyways I kept the practice mitts, let's call them the mistake mitts and used them from time to time myself. Last winter I realized they are the perfect transitional hand warmers for me. My issue? I made most of my mistakes on the first mitt and that was back when I would not rip anything back to fix it. I can not rip back do you know how long it took me? OK fine a couple of hours but that is the way I knit it that must be the way it remains. Who knew I could be so rigid?

Let me show you the problem. The mitt pulls away from my hand. 

The mistake riddled one

The reasonable one

Good - hugs my hand 

Bad - rolls away from my hand - cold

I could fit a car in there!

So now instead of just complaining about it, I vow to fix it! See the pile of yarn in the upper left corner? My weapon of change. The left mitt should look like the right mitt when I am done. Well except I have more cables on the left mitt, how did I make that mistake? Oh right new knitter!

And so I can report to you that the surgery was a success. I now have two reasonable mitts. One even has extra cables. Mistakes are not so bad, I like to think of them as learning experiences. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Poor Neglected Socks

You know how it is when you finish a project? You're so excited to show it off to the world. You think to yourself Dang I am super cool I made that. You're walking around thinking you're cool cause you have spiffy new socks in just the right shade of blue. Yay new socks.

Then you go home take off your socks, send them through the wash and promptly forget about them till a couple of weeks later. You think Hey where did my new socks go I only wore them once. You find them in the laundry room and think Hey I get to wear new socks today! Then you remember you never managed to get pictures of the new socks for the blog and oh yeah you wanted to get a picture of how different ribbed socks look from your regular socks. So you put them down and choose another pair to wear.

Yeah I have those days too. Introducing my Araucania Ranco Multi socks. This yarn charmed me from the get go. I loved how plump it is. I loved the color variegations. How thick the socks feel, nice and sturdy. I will definitely be getting some more of this yarn for some socks for D. You know once I knit up some of the yarn acquired at the recent festivals.

See what I mean about the color? Somehow it reminds me of stained glass. I am looking forward to wearing them again and for a long time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Trotting

Well folks I am officially a Turkey Trotter! If you don't know a turkey trot is a 5K race/walk held Thanksgiving morning here in the US. D did his third straight one this year although he sacrificed for me and chose to walk with me instead of running like in years past. Thanks D!!

It was a nice crisp November day and luckily the previous day's rain had moved out of the area so it was dry but coldish. As a knitter I chose my warmest layering creations and suited up, all mismatched and whatnot. 

D thinks I look like Rocky Balboa and I agree somewhat. Adriene!! Sorry Adriene it had to be done. Watch now that is probably not even how you say your name. Anyways back to the trotting.

We took a pre-walk picture while I was still smiling. D has on his Iowa hoodie and he got cheered on a few times. Go Iowa! I think we have some closet Iowa fans out in this neck of the woods. I know two years ago I wore my Iowa hoodie as a spectator and got free coffee at Starbucks. The barista (if it is a man do you still call him a barista?) told my friend and I that he loved us as we walked in the door. Then we had a pleasant time talking about home in the midwest. Nice thing to do on a day that we tend to miss our homes and family the most.

D walked around and got some shots of the festivities. He takes nice pictures.

We started off and I was working my hardest to walk slow enough to not cramp my legs, which I managed to do, mostly. At one point in time I realized we were dead last but I figured doing it was more important than going faster and hobbling. I was a bit frustrated with myself and was trying to talk myself out of the funk when we were passed by the race leader going the opposite direction.  This guy.

I don't know it that encouraged or discourage me but I kept on going, D at my side helping me along.

You may notice here how my technique differs from the race winner above.

I can tell you my knitwear was way more unique and plentiful than his. So ha ha I win that race.

This was the best sign of the day! Made me laugh and laugh and only partially because it was on the final home stretch.

I don't know if you can tell but I was picking up the pace here. See how my arms are pumping a bit more. OK fine you can not see, trust me I was warmed up and headed for home. See how I don't even pause for D.

Know why I don't pause? Because I know this sign is in the distance .

My first 5K and first active Turkey Trot. I can report that I feel good and sore today. D is laughing because I say Owww every time I stand up. But it is the good kind of Oww.

Oh and I have also picked up the green sweater to knit on again. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wine and Dark Chocolate for Everybody!

I finally finished something. Whew, I was starting to worry about my ability to finish anything after that one post. Wine and Dark Chocolate for Everybody! Did I say for everybody? I meant Wine and Dark Chocolate socks for me! 

Adriene this heel shot is for you. Since I now know someone likes them as much as I do, I think you may see more heels on this blog. 

This is from The Sassy Sheep from a farmer's market in Idaho Falls, Idaho. You remember D brought it home from a business trip. It is always fun for me to try new yarns, especially ones I can not find locally.  I love to see the colors that D picks. Keeps me from going into a green rut. And I must admit to liking the color and the name (Wine and Dark Chocolate) of these especially. 

These just might be my Thanksgiving Day socks this year. Oh speaking of Thanksgiving, I am participating in my first ever Turkey Trot 5K walk/run. D will be running and I will be walking. If my legs do not cramp I will even try to trot the final stretch. The other day I managed to do an 11:45 minute mile on my elliptical machine. I've been walking on it for 15 minutes in the morning at least 4-5 times a week. I know it is not much but it is a start. Who knows maybe I will be ready for some 5Ks next year. 

Well I'm off to knit on something else that needs finishing. I hope I don't get struck by startitis till I get a few more things done. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Poor Hubby

Poor D he requested vegetarian chili tonight. Not a problem, I have several vegetarian cookbooks including a recipe called Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili. I've made it before and really like it but then again I really like sweet potatoes in any form.

Only after I had made the recipe did I realize that he meant my normal chili recipe without meat. Did I mention that D has no great love for sweet potatoes. Poor D

And this after he made me lasagna last Friday. His first ever lasagna and it was a solo event. I am so proud. I called him from the car to get the oven started and he was oddly blunt and seemed to want off the phone. The reason why? The oven timer was going off and he was afraid I would hear it. Do you know how good unexpected lasagna smells? I do! And I can report it smells heavenly after a tough day at work.

Nice job D! You can go ahead and keep it up if you would like.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I may have fallen and I can not get up?

Since I am still feeling like I am getting nowhere fast in my knitting, it is time to do a WIP (Work In Progress) report. And since the weather is turning towards winter I will be showing you all recycled pictures.

This is my current purse and non purse project. I think it is because I am more than halfway done now and I really want a flashy new scarf to show off. Well that and it is garter stitch so it is mostly mindless knitting, which we all know is good for the brain occasionally.

My wine and chocolate socks are more than 75% done too. But they got bumped out of the purse by the scarf and are waiting patiently for me to come back. Poor socks.

I finally sucked it up and decided to just finish these up as socks and not worry about colors pooling. It is very liberating to make a decision sometimes. They are my go to couch knitting, if I sit down and forget to bring my purse over, I pick these up. They are around the 60% marker. A couple of good bursts and I will have new fall colored socks, just in time for winter.

I am proud to report the guilt, I mean green sweater got some love in the form of a cast on front side, that made it almost to the end of the ribbing of the bottom hem. I am sad to report that it has been tucked away since that time so that Gus does not drag all over the house. That cat loves my yarn. The only thing I can not figure out is why he keeps trying to deliver it to D. Do you think he is trying to rat me out to my own husband? Look Dad, Mom is playing with more yarn, do you know how much she has? It is a lot I can tell you that! Let me go get another one or two. I'm sure she will share.

Now I do blame Big G for my loss of motivation on D's socks. He carried it into his Dad in the middle of the night and Dad stepped on and broke two needles. Totally not his fault and luckily he did not embed any pieces in his feet.  Now I am waiting for some needles to arrive. Poor me.

This one got the holding needle ripped out of it to make a hat that has not even been photographed for the blog yet. Just make some button holes and knit the other side to finish it and I will have a new cowl. I don't even think there is three more hours work. I just need to sit down and do it. Arrgh!

Really? Another thing on the needles? When was the last time I knit on this? I even had to return the book to the library. Just make a heel and get on with the rest of the knitting! It is not rocket science. Which I am pretty sure consists of "what goes up must come down" theory.

Don't even get me started how far my knitting journal is behind. I don't think I ever finished my Rhinebeck entry. Well at least I am keeping better notes on Ravelry and here, well sort of.

I think I may need someone to give me a good talking to. What is that you say? Go knit on the scarf and finish something before I go crazy. Well if you insist.

Happy Knitting Y'all!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Round One

It is that time of year again the the blog suffers for its pictures. I will have to talk my professional...something guy into taking a couple more since I have a new hat but I think the photos are doomed to be a weekend only activity again this winter.

So what does Round One have to do with anything? I am fighting myself again. Sometimes knitting will make us do strange things. I want to knit a sweater since it is turning cold here. The problem? I've been "knitting" a sweater since early this year. In this case "knitting" means it has had parts that have been done for a bit while the rest of the sweater is still yarn. I have not touched it in months. Bad knitter.

Remember what it looked like? Yeah me neither. Well that is not true since I've been walking around with a mental image of it since I started it. And I have been continually taunted by Kisknit's various progress posts, including one that roughly said "I can't wait for the weather to cool down so I can wear my new perfectly fitting, beautiful, gorgeous, awesome sweater."

OK she really did not say that but it sounded a lot like that through my guilt ridden ears. Self applied guilt is so much more stupid. Somewhere along the line I convinced myself it is hard to make a sweater in pieces. It may be harder for me since I am a project knitter that only sees the pieces not the finished sweater. I still even have the back blocked and put away in the closet so I can not mess it up.

Now that looks like it could be part of a sweater at least. The worst thing is once I finish it (yes that really is going to happen) I know I will love it and never want to take it off. If that is true why am I dreaming about this yarn?

It keeps telling me that I could have a new, no problems, no guilt sweater, in a month. It has read my blog, it knows I am capable. If only I wound it up and put aside the socks for a bit. If only.

But I am a good girl, I already pulled out the guilt, I mean green sweater and am planning my attack. I think instead of working on something I've been knitting on, I should just start a new area like one of the front sides. You know something fresh that I have not already dwelt on a few times.

So all you knitters out there give your yarn a bit of a pat for me to have some good luck, this sweater may just need a bit of it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

For Mom

A summer or so ago I was home in South Dakota visiting my family and our flight was delayed so we got to spend and extra day at home. Mom and I used the bonus time to visit a yarn store and pick out some yarn. 

Mom chose purple Jaggerspun wool silk blend. A fine choice if I do say so myself. It marinated in my stash for a bit and Gus may have even brought it in to D and me while we were sleeping. He is quite the yarn snob. "What? Grandma picks nice yarn, we have similar taste. Except I am the only one that really tastes the yarn."

Anyways, you know the tale of Mom's hat, well her mitts did not have the same pitfalls. Now that could be because I have knit this pattern five or six times now. What? They are quick easy and really useful in my opinion. Oh and did I mention I think they look lovely too?

And just to let you know I test my knitting before I give it away. I was nice and toasty. No, I don't really test my knitting before I give it away, we were headed out for a walk and oddly this was the only hat I had. Time for me to make some hats. 

I don't know how a lace pattern hat is going to hold up to SD wind but maybe she will wear it for light duty. 

So my knitting is pretty much like me, a bit eclectic. I choose cables for one thing and lace for another and call them a "matched" set. At least the yarn matches itself.