Monday, December 31, 2012

New tools

You know I don't think Christmas is all about the gifts, but I certainly do like getting presents, especially knitting related presents. Shhh I even spent a touch of bonus money.

First a book each from each of the Moms. Now I was a bit of a bad girl this year because I can not say with certainty who bought which. I do know that I still owe Thank You notes to both of them. 

These were the two knitting books I was hoping for this year. I'v already used the Cast On Bind Off book on D's green toe up socks because I forgot some of the nuance of the knitting class I took. But now I have a handy dandy book to help me out.

I am looking to do more sweaters in the future and while I love the top down pattern I have, it will be really nice to expand my understanding. All my current sweaters are raglan construction but I really want to try some different looks. I've been eagerly reading through the four different constructions in the book just biding my time till I can start one. Top Down Sweaters by Ann Budd

While I was busy shopping for others I took a wee bit of a Ravelry break and found an ad that intrigued me. Magnetic line keepers, now I'd heard of these but I've never been truly in love with any of the designs till I saw these. 

Keep calm and carry on, with a teacup and saucer? Yes please I will take a set. So thanks to Slipped Stitch Studio for inspiring me to make my first etsy purchase. I may have bought the last one of this particular set, you should have seen me typing in my data hoping to get the last one.

Then on Saturday I had a hair appointment so I figured since I was up, dressed and out the door I should probably see what the yarn store looked like. I know my basket overflowith but really I wanted another set of needles and look they had yarn too.

I bought a nice big bottle of eucalan, that smells all eucalyptus like. (I really like that smell and it protects the wool.) My current favorite set of sock needles Knitter's Pride Dreamz in my standard 2.25 mm needle size. I lost my self made knit kit on our camping trip in May, so a new tape measure is a handy thing to have around. I am still hoping to find the kit somewhere but I am afraid it is truly gone. The yarn is from a local dyer The Raggedy Cat. It is BFL Bamboo sock in the colorway sunflower. I know it is totally out of my normal color palette, but apparently I am growing. Don't worry it is more orange than yellow and I really like it. I thought I would make D socks but he says I need a bright pair myself, and I agree with him.

That is my new stuff, that should tide me over for a while, right?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Well who would have thought?

When you actually knit on things they show progress. I now have two finished first socks and two starts of second socks. Looks like I can stick to a goal once in a while. Especially when I'm not writing papers for my ASL class. 

Now normally I am against knitting deadlines, knitting is happy fun time, not a time to inflict stress upon oneself. But really this is not a deadline, but a goal to finish somethings before I allow myself to be distracted by the pretty yarn. I like having new things and giving D new things too. That is really my knitting goal. I like learning new things but really I'm in it for the stuff I can make.

I do believe there is a shawl quaking on the needles, over in the time out corner. It is thinking "Crap I am next on the list!"

So January will be a month of accomplishments not things holding me back. I kinda like that feeling, you know what I mean?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking back and looking forward

So I've been looking at my project page on Ravelry that tells me how good of a knitter I've been this year. I can tell you I am an excellent sock knitter, other items can just bugger off. No that's not really true.

D scored heavily in the sock arena, more than any other year. In fact there was a pair of socks wrapped for him under the tree. He promised to act surprised and I'll say he did an OK job. He has five more pairs of socks this year, with another pair on the needles. He must have been a good boy this year.  And by good you know I mean showing proper sock appreciation. Although I do have one sock without a partner waiting in the wash. Hubby you might want to start looking for his pal!

I even found a way to repair one of his favorite pairs of socks. Mending is still a skill that eludes me. Well, the finesse of mending eludes me. The hole is technically covered, but the mended fabric is at least twice as thick as the rest of the sock.

But you know what? The hole was on the back of the leg not on the portion that you walk on so it should not bother him too much. 

I even managed to knit my Mom a pair of socks, finally! I thought about sending them for Christmas but I didn't want them to get lost in the packages or snow storms so they'll go home after the new year. We shall see if they fit and if she likes them.

I (as a good selfish knitter) scored big in the knit wear department. Ten pairs of socks, yeah I think I may have that particular pattern down. One sweater, one cowl, a pair of mittens, a Kindle cover and a hat that fits me, mostly. I made a lovely shawl that looks completely awkward on me, so I still need to find it a good home. 

While looking at my works in progress page on Ravelry, I decided to let some things go. Things that no longer feel right. Time to frog them and come up with a new plan. I need some bigger needles for my over stuffed thrummed mittens, and a new sweater pattern for the Central Park Hoodie yarn. 

On the flip side I decided to keep some ongoing projects and give them some time that they deserve. My toe up socks for D have 2-3 more inches on them than they had last week. My shawl that irked me so badly over the summer will see some of my up close and personal time, and I'm bringing a bunch of stitch markers to the party too! Plus I bought myself a nifty new magnetic pattern marker, so I will be able to follow the pattern better. A pair of socks that I adjusted too much from the pattern for me will have a simple plain foot and like it. That ought to get them off the needles, too. 

No more casting on till my knitting pitty party projects are all done. Good thing I have a sly sock (cast on just before the no new projects rule hit) on the needles that has not yet given me any problems either or whoo, January could be a frustrating month. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hat head

I can tell you that my new winter hat worked pretty well when the snow hit today. It survived shoveling and walking behind the snow thrower. The snow thrower has the added danger of snow blowback. Which we all know is a tough challenge for a hat. 

This is my rendition of Hannah Fettig's Early Morning Beret, made out of Malabrigo worsted yarn. You don't have to tell me it does not much look like a beret but it fits me better than any other hat I've made, all three of the others. Now you know why I don't like making hats. Bear with me I am trying to get better. My first socks don't fit like the ones I make now either.

Looks like she reworked the pattern and it is now available in three gauges. Mine is the worsted but you know how much of a tight sock knitter I am? It transfers to my other knitting too so I don't think this is quite the intended design. But again I like it, so as long as I am happy it is all good right?

I finally gave in and took some less than stellar photos of things I have been longing to show you. So if you will forgive the lack of pizzazz the blogging will continue, most likely tomorrow

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Mommy, can we leave the tree up all year? No seriously the tree stays and Jack goes, I command it!

Gus just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas with his laser beam eyes.

I have two new knitting books to show you, one from each of my Moms. It is good to be the knitting daughter who likes books.

I did not get any yarn this year from the Hubby even though I made one of his favorite pairs of socks from last year's Christmas yarn. Do you think it could have anything to do with last week's conversation about my overflowing yarn basket? I think a goal for next year will be using some of my oldest yarns. I don't have that many but I do have at least one from 2009 that needs to be socks.

Oh Amazon has the movie Friendly Persuasion on streaming. It is my Dad's favorite movie and now one of my mine too. If you have not seen it take a look sometime. It is an old one but an excellent one.

Merry Christmas to All and to all a good night.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

I don't know about you, but I plan on winning some games in the next couple of days. Thanks Adriene for giving me the idea of spending some quality time with the Hubby. I'm two pegs behind in the scoring, I may have to resort to using new math to get ahead.

Me competitive? Nope not me, I don't have a competitive bone in my body. I may however have a few competitive muscles, and my spleen and gallbladder have a pact but other than that I'm good.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Deep Breaths

This week I was forced to acknowledge again that I am not a good writer. I've been writing papers for my ASL class and the final paper kicked my butt. Only three pages long and I still struggled with it. Struggled might be an understatement, we may have gone out behind the woodshed. (That is where the whuppings take place.)

What can I say I have a one track monosyllable mind. I figure if I can't say it in a page or two, it is just me blabbering on. Once I get my main thought(s) out there I have a hard time thinking of anything else to say. 

Anyways that is over and what is done, is done. I can tell you that I missed my blog. It is so nice to sit down and just talk and think about knitting. Not what am I trying to say and how to say it. Yarn heals all wounds. 

So tomorrow is the shortest day of the year and my photography can prove it. I have some things to show you, but no pictures so I'll save it for another day. 

D and I have given the gift of special time with each other. We have spent it over a cribbage board learning to play. The first game I skunked him, but we had a few thing to learn about scoring points. Once we straightened that out, D has taken over the lead, and we've started keeping track of who has one the most games. Hmm I wonder how that started? I noticed my win peg is still set to zero. I contend the a the first game counted since we were both working under the same scoring system. We may be scoring differently from the later games but we were not scoring my hands differently from his hands. 

Well honestly it does not matter, it is not like who does the dishes is riding on the outcome. I do know that I am enjoying our time together, now if we just had some cookies.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I can certainly tell the end of the year is upon us. My ASL class wraps up next week and I need to write a paper by Tuesday. I choose of course to write a blog post instead, because they are sorely lacking lately too. My knitting however is still moving along and I am truly thankful for it since it keeps me sane.

I have not even begun to Christmas shop, unless you count the new furnace downstairs. But I don't. Not even started how did that happen?

Gus and Jack went in for their yearly check up and we're fine now. Except that Jack vomited two days after the appointment and lucky me found a worm in it. I guess Gus was getting all the attention and Jack had to do something drastic. So that was a fun trip back to the vet's office to pick up meds with a frozen worm in a baggie on the seat next to me.

Friday night was my company Christmas party and poor G went back to the vet's for boarding. I don't think he thinks that was much of a Christmas present either. I'm sure he will be leaving a very special "gift" for me in my shoe. "Take that Mom!"

Laundry is slowly being converted from dirty to clean down stairs and I really want to make some cookies but alas too many other things to do.

Life is good when these are the most pressing problems that I have. I think maybe I should go pray for more peace and understanding too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Well that was fun

We had a cooking fest here at Yarnkettle's house this weekend. Hey when I make multiple batches of chili and cornbread I call that a fest. Now we were not hosting a party at our house but taking the food to one. Let me explain

We got rid of cable TV a while ago and have found the perfect way to watch football on Sunday. We go the American Legion. When we started going we noticed a sign up sheet. Each week someone brings in "snacks" and this Sunday was ours.

Now we had a couple of months to prepare so we discussed what would be easiest since we've never done anything like this before. 20 to 30 people is not beyond my skill set, but I've never been the sole contributor before. I am much better at pot luck.

We decided on chili because it is pretty darn hard to completely screw up. Yes, you can burn it but even that takes some doing. And of course what goes with chili? Fritos! We had those too but something more homey is corn bread.

Once you decide what to make, then you get to decide how much to make. I tried looking on line but I don't know how much some people are eating but I don't think two pounds of meat only feeds 4-6 people. Maybe that is because I like a chili with as many beans as you can fit into it. I thought I would stick to three bean chili; pinto, kidney and black beans. 

But still how much do I make? Once I relaxed into the idea of if we run out, we run out. Most likely that would be the second or third bowl for people. So I realized why they call it a snack and not an official meal, then I was OK with my plan. 

Earlier in the week I had cooked all the meat up, then froze it. So Saturday morning I started in making batches. It still seems like I cooked chili all day long, because I sort of did. I'd make a batch and let it simmer for a few hours before starting the process over. I wish I had remembered to add in a touch of liquid smoke, but hey I got all my beans in there. 

Poor D had to make an emergency milk run on Sunday for the corn bread. I had enough to make one batch the night before but on Sunday I was a cornbread machine!

After we arrived at the legion I heated two batches together and put them in the crock pot to keep them warm. They filled the crock with just a tad left over. That was round one. Round two and three came later and were a bit smaller but still tasty. 

Our spread went over pretty well. But heck they were just happy they were not back in their military days eating rations (MREs) or on KP duty. They know how to be grateful for what they receive.

Thanks guys for taking it easy on me!  I am already thinking about next year.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Time off?

Our furnace went kaput, so I was forced to take a day off to have a new one installed. Woe is me forced to take a day off and putter around the house with my kitties. (And two strange men?)

Tell me, do you do the same thing I do in anticipation of a day off? I mentally make lists of all the things I could do that day. Since this day I had to stay at home, I thought of baking muffins, writing a blog post, maybe making cookies, making a really nice dinner, writing my paper for ASL class, registering for my next ASL class, paying bills, and a little knitting. The list kept growing and growing.

Then a thought occurred to me, a day off is not like a two for one sale, I was only taking eight hours off not sixteen. The day was so filled with possibilities that it was overstuffed with them. There was no way I would be able to do everything and not want to call into work sick the next day from exhaustion.

So some things were cut, but I did not sacrifice kitty comfort time, my two guys were glued to me while the furnace men did their job downstairs. While I worked in the kitchen they stayed there to have breakfast. When I moved to the couch to knit and watch a show, they came with me. All three of us stretched out on the couch.

So all in all it was a good day. I now have a furnace that does not wake me up at night with its banging. The installers enjoyed some fresh baked muffins, and so did Hubby and I for the rest of the week. I had some nice time with my knitting and my cats. My ASL paper got written. And chicken enchiladas qualify as a nice dinner right?

Now if I could just get my Christmas shopping started!