Monday, March 28, 2011

There's A Big Pink Thing Blocking On My Floor

A Sneak Peek...




  • Tune in tomorrow to see the above item!


  • Hint - the yarn is handspun, and now that I've done a project with my handspun I feel like chucking all of my store-bought yarn in favor of only working with handspun from now on.


  • Just kidding!


  • I have some nice yarn...yarn which must be used.

Moving On




  • Confession time.


  • After managing to stay on my allergy diet for six weeks following the diagnosis, I made the very poor decision to eat what I wanted through the holidays. I will not bore you with the details of my struggles since then. Honestly, I am fairly sick of the whole topic myself!


  • The one thing I will say, though, is that I feel like I've been grieving. After all, I lost a lot.


  • But I gained a whole lot, too, and I'm happy to report that I've been 'clean' for the last week, and I feel amazing!


  • I have learned some things. I now can pinpoint which foods cause which reactions, and I fully understand why I'll never be able to cheat on this diet. I also have a new found sympathy and understanding for people who fight addiction problems.


  • There will be an essay soon..and then I promise to shut my trap and not mention any of this anymore!


  • One last thing -I went looking for a food allergy magazine, and discovered one called "Living Without."


  • You've got to be kidding me.

Spring Break!




  • I live in a college town where Spring Break is practically a religious institution...right up there with Christmas.


  • Normally, this annoys me.


  • However, this year we are planning on going to see my parents so that we can play with the lambs all week.


  • I have to admit that the thought of a week where someone else is mostly in charge is a fabulous thing. I see lots of knitting, spinning and reading.....


  • My poor husband has to stay home and work.

  • The wrinkle - my parents both came down with some sort of nasty bug last week and are currently trying to fight it off. We were supposed to leave today, but are now in a holding pattern until they are well enough for company.

  • Vacation curse on our family? I think the facts speak for themselves.

All for now!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Socks!

First, a wee bit of stash enhancement - thanks to True Blue Fiber Friends. I had no intention to buy any more sock yarn, BUT when the opportunity to gain a whole bunch of store credit arose I decided to spend it on this happy bunch. (I had an old skein of ugly what-was-I-thinking silk laceweight that I traded in. They needed it so that knitters preparing for a lace knit-along could swatch and practice with silk. There will be more on that later.)


From left to right - Frog Tree Pediboo, Dream In Color Smooshy and Ellen's Half-Pint Merino. There has been no change on Fiesta Feet since last we met. Half way through the first one I knew these were potentially going to take all year. No Worries! I did start another pair of Opal Memory basic socks. Why? I simply cannot exist without a basic pair of socks on the needles. It comes in handy in so many ways! Besides the pink is beyond gorgeous.
My March socks have stalled a wee bit. (Scent of Lavender) No reason, I just got distracted by the shawl I showed you the other day. I still should be able to finish them by the end of the month to stay on track.
I did take a moment to do my mini's for the two most recently completed pairs of socks. I have realized that the most important thing is to preserve the yarn - and not the pattern - so I may give up trying to translate the difficult patterns into miniature.

Next up - Cookie A's Monkeys. Those of you who are knitters will understand how odd it is that I - a dedicated sock knitter - have never tried a pair. There's a reason for that. The original pattern is done in a gauge that is too loose for my liking. When Cookie A. republished the pattern with new sizes (in her new book Knit.Sock.Love.) I rejoiced. Monkeys would be mine at last! And because I am in a mood...I'm shooting for TWO PAIR this month! Note - the sock yarn on the left is the brand new skein from above, and the sock yarn on the right has been in the stash forever. It's just good balance.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Karly - 6.25 lbs
Kollin - 6.75 lbs.
With proud Mama Katrina!

Friday, March 25, 2011

All Socks And No Play...

Make Kristin a dull knitter!
Ok, not really. I'm having enough fun with the sock project to keep both myself and the Green Woman occupied for a long while to come. However, that doesn't mean that I don't need a break once in a while to do something completely different.
Right now that something different is in the form of Jared Flood's Juneberry Triangle, knit with some of my very own handspun. What could be better?!
You might remember that I had attempted this shawl once before, completing the entire center portion before realizing that I had barely touched my handspun. I frogged it and decided to go up two needle sizes for the next attempt. To my intense delight, the yarn is MUCH happier with a size 9 needle than it was with a 7. Whereas the first time the yarn and pattern were fun but the knitting was hard on my hands and very slow....now the triangle is flying by with great joy.
Who knows...perhaps I'll even get it done before Spring Break!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jan and Janet


The turquoise ball of sock yarn on the right came from Jan, a guild friend who we unfortunately don't see that often. (She's a lot of fun!) Once upon a time Jan and I attended a knitting class taught by a very well known authoress and teacher who proved to be one of the most cantankerous women we've ever met. (Seriously...when asked which knitting teachers she had learned from, she informed us that she didn't believe in learning from others because you got too much of their own opinions. Instead, you should get your info from books.) We laugh about it each time we see each other.
The rust colored ball on the left comes from Janet, who is one of our regular crowd at our monthly guild meetings. Janet is amazing, and she has a collection of handspun/handknit sweaters that is to die for! As I sit here thinking about it, it seems as if she has so many that I rarely see the same one twice..... (Fun fact - Janet's husband taught my parents how to shear sheep a couple of weeks ago! When I was home last weekend, they raved all weekend about how wonderful the man was.) The poor woman is probably tired of hearing me go on about my sheep - but she's my resident expert, and I love talking to her about all things woolly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Socks...And A Bit Of Random

Ann Budd's Basic Sock Recipe
Opal Memory 2490
2.0 mm Knit Picks Harmony
July 1, 2010 - March 19, 2011
These were my mindless knitting project, kept in the background for random times when I needed something easy to work on. That's why it took so long to finish them!
I would like to add that I NEVER attempt to match the stripes on self-striping sock yarn. I prefer to conserve yarn and have mismatched socks. I think it's more fun that way, and am therefor completely kerflumoxed that I managed to accidentally knit matching socks. Weird.
  • Drumroll, please.....
  • I named my cat Opal after my favorite brand of sock yarn! (Honestly, it's the only brand of yarn I consistently return to.)
  • Also, she's a torty, and her colors remind me of the layered, mottled look of opals - which have long been a favorite gem of mine.
  • My husband thinks this is great because he can still call her 'Yarn Ball' and be accurate.
  • To arrive at this decision, I took my top three names and tried them out last weekend. Opal is the one that ultimately felt right and stuck!
  • Opal is oddly camera shy. Every time she sees the camera come out she takes off....so I'm still working on getting some good pictures of her.
  • What I haven't told you is that we also got a kitten for the Princess. She's about four months old and her name is Shamrock. Pictures are forthcoming for her as well, and when I have them I'll share the story of how we wound up with two new cats.
  • Tomorrow we will be discussing the sheep and what I'm doing with the wool. It will be fun!
  • After buying a copy of War & Peace for a read-along, I wish that I could just buy my iPad right now. It certainly would have weighed less!
  • I've started regular sessions with my acupuncturist again.
  • Amazing how much that helps!
  • Lynn is better than a therapist in some ways...and she always leaves me with something to think about.
  • A big shout out to my allergist this AM...last week I started to get sick with my traditional spring allergies. It only lasted 48 hours, though, and then disappeared almost completely. Usually I'm sick for 2-3 weeks. Those drops really do their work!
  • The Pixie and I are going to ride bikes this morning. Doesn't that sound like fun?!
  • My exercise schedule in general is completely shot right now. I'm going to have to restart after Spring Break.
  • I seem to have lost my drive to run right now. Not sure if it'll come back or not. We'll see.
  • My acupuncturist would really prefer that I found a sport/activity that was less troublesome for my joints.
  • Hmmm....

It's too nice of a day to stay on the computer any longer!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Power In A Name

I have read entirely too many fairy tales to indiscriminately name my new cat.

I know better.

Names, after all, have power.

My children think I'm nuts because I won't "Just pick a name already, Mom." (Imagine much rolling of the eyes accompanying this statement.) My husband insists on calling the cat by the leading contender just because he's tired of 'kitty kitty.' Clearly, none of them understand

At any rate, here are some of the options and their pros and cons. I've promised to pick something by the end of the day....but then I've promised that for the last few days.
  • Jane (as in Austin and Yolen...two literary heros of mine) Problem - my SIL's name is Jane, and I'd really prefer not to duplicate family/friend names.
  • Meg (Murry O'Keefe) Madeleine (L'Engle) is way too long for an animal and I've always held Meg close to my heart. The kids hate it.
  • Cleo(patra) Excellent choice as it carries the weight of generations upon generations of queenly cats...but for the wee fact that my BKB also has a Cleo.
  • Yarn Ball. Not seriously, but it has already become a nickname.
  • Charlotta Bella - Lottie Bell for short. One of my ancestresses, and I've always loved the music of her name. It's not quite dignified enough, though.
  • Jillly (Coppercorn) I've always wanted to bestow that name to a dog, though. Something about Charles De Lint's fabulous character that needs the sweetness of a dog.
  • Sorcha - Juliet Marillier's matriarch of the Sevenwaters clan. This is my favorite thus far.
  • Other literary ideas I've tossed about have included George (Elliot) any of the Bronte sisters and (Lousia) May (Alcott).
  • May could also be for my Great-Grandmother. Would that be weird? No matter, the dog's nickname is Mea, which is too close.
  • She's vocal, so I've considered names from Glee.
  • I've also considered names from yarn companies - like Opal or Claudia.
  • A friend suggested Starbuck as I spend so much time there...ha ha.
  • She also suggested naming the cat after some of my sweets that I can no longer have - Mocha or Caramel or something of that nature. This would irritate me.
  • I loved my Tynan's Irish name, and St. Pats was this wee, so I hit the internet yesterday and reminded myself of a few favorites - Maeve being just one. Just for fun, check out this website which has recordings of Frank McCourt pronouncing the names as they should be

What a decision!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Old Dog Just Learned A New Trick

I'm not entirely sure what triggered this whole process.



Perhaps it was the stack of 15+ large plastic bins of books in our storage area.....



Could have been the fact that I listened to multiple podcasts discuss the topic in the last week or so....



Probably combined with the growing list that one of those podcasts has created for me....



Or the conversation I had with my BKB....



Certainly the call for feedback that I put onto Facebook was very influential...



As was the craziness surrounding packing for the failed vacation...



And a recent discovery on my library's website.



Irregardless of the reasons, in the last week I have completely changed my mind about something I once held sacred.



Friends, I want an e-reader. Specifically, I'm going to start saving up for an iPad.



I love books. I love everything about them - from the smell of the paper (which is why I can't do used book stores - they smell of old and unwanted) to the artwork on the front to the words inside. The physical presence of a book has always only meant good for me. I confess that when e-readers came out I scoffed. Why on earth would anyone want to sacrifice their reading pleasure for the sake of a gadget? I even laughed when Mom bought Dad a kindle for Christmas. Those silly things could NEVER take the place of an actual book.



Oh, how silly I was.



When I found myself starting to research the options a couple of weeks ago I knew that one thing stood in the way of me taking the leap...and that was serious doubt as to how I would feel actually reading a book in such a format. Thanks to my parents, who loaned me that kindle, I now have an answer to that. I had expected - hoped even - to hate it. To my great surprise, I discovered that not only was the experience undiminished by the switch, but in some ways it was even better. A world of possibility is starting to open up.



To keep a long story short, I have spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks researching my options. When I started, my husband made the comment that if I bought a Kindle or a Nook I would quickly regret it because I would want so much more. He was right, and that's why I've decided that the iPad will be the way to go for me. This isn't going to happen anytime soon. (Seriously, we have to fix the kitchen floor and get a new dishwasher before any fun stuff can even be considered!) However, I am getting excited thinking about the fun I will someday have...and I'm also going to stop buying books until that can happen.



Now I just have to start saving!



PS. There is a caveat. I will always feel the need to own some books in physical form...and that's ok, too. This is meant to add to - not take away from - my reading life.

Monday, March 14, 2011

As It Would Turn Out

I am a cat person after all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In The Knick Of Time

Yesterday morning I went to put on my beautiful Kai-Mei socks, and as I took my first few steps in them I heard - and felt - a popping noise. Sigh.
Then I went through my sock drawer, and realized that I had 4 pair that needed to be sent to the recycling bin. Truth be told, I wore holes into the bottom pair years ago, but as they had been favorites I never had the heart to get rid of them. The pair in the middle and the pair on the right aren't quite gone yet...but the soles are getting awfully thin.
Which is why it's so spectacular that I finished a pair of socks today!
by Cookie A. in Knit.Sock.Love
Size - Large
Dream in Color Smooshy - 1 skein Petal Shower
Knit Picks Harmony DPNs - 2.5 mm
Feb 17 - March 13, 2011
These are my February socks, and I followed the pattern exactly as it was written. I took a chance on the needle size, guessing that I needed to go up to a 2.5 to accommodate the twisted stitches. Fortunately, I was right, and they fit beautifully! They are - perhaps - a bit taller than I like, but oh well. Variety is good for me.
Kudos to Cookie A. for such well-written instructions and beautiful charts.
But the big win here goes to Dream in Color. This is my first pair of Smooshy socks, and I can't say enough nice things about the yarn. Absolutely lovely!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daybreak




Daybreak - pattern by Stephen West
Malabrigo Sock - 1 skein Chocolate Amargo, 1 skein Primavera
Addi Turbo, US 6
Oct. 18, 2010 - Feb. 26, 2011
20 inches from center point to tip, 84 inch wingspan (size L)
It's pretty...but it was also one of the most boring knits projects I've ever knit, and we won't discuss my wonky gauge issues with this one!