Friday, February 29, 2008

February's Other Project

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous,
unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience.
-Henry Miller

It's a good thing there's a bonus day in February this year, because I am so behind in my blogging. Here's hoping March is a little better . . . At any rate, I've gone 28 whole days without showing you my official February project.

Here's what it looked like on February 1st:Gerbera, from Dale of Norway. And now, on February 29th, it's up past the colorwork on the body, with a partial sleeve completed as well.
I bought the book several years ago for Ingeborg, but decided that I needed to warm up my skills a bit with this project first, mostly lace with a single stranded band around the middle. And several years ago, I bought the yarn (the Sisik the pattern called for). And moved it four times. This year is definitely the year for this sweater.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, February 24, 2008

February's Project is Full of Grace

Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.
It's a way to live.
-Jackie Windspear

The yarn of the month for February is a very special yarn to me. A yarn that needed a perfect project. It was a gift, as most of my "too special to knit" yarn is, but this gift in particular is irreplacable. Several years ago, my best friend's mom took up knitting. It was in the middle of the fun fur craze, and I remember her showing me her early scarves. She had clearly progressed in her knitting skills since, and around my birthday when I had first moved to San Diego, I got a surprise gift of three skeins of yarn. It's a beautiful silk-wool blend from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, and it was lovely to just have around. A few months later, she was diagnosed with brain cancer, and she passed away a few months after that. I just couldn't decide what to make with such a special yarn. Until I realized that Clapotis called for that weight, and precisely that amount of yarn. It was perfect. Designed for hand-dyed yarn, simple enough to show off its beauty, and a warm comforting final project.

February's Full of Grace
Pattern: Claptois, from Knitty
Yarn: Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, wool-silk blend, 3 skeins
Needles: US 8 dpns
Notes: No changes to the pattern. It was surprisingly entertaining to knit; I could barely put it down.
Best Thing About This Project: Using this gift.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bonus Time

It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he as seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans.
- Mark Twain

I had a great weekend. That I'm just getting around to blogging about it on Thursday should tell you something about my working week. But let's dwell instead on my Bonus Time weekend with my husband. He flew out for the long weekend - I got a whole 1 1/2 consecutive days off - and we went to Disneyland. It was truely the happiest place on earth on Sunday. A weekend like that goes far to boost a mood during a busy work week.

Early on when J and I first started dating, we developed a term "Bonus Day" and "Bonus Time." We both had difficult schedules, each working 6 days a week and rarely having that same day off. Everytime we both had that same day off, we called it a bonus day. And a half day, or an unexpected evening, bonus time. Now that we're geo bachelors (a military term for "geographical bachelors," service members separated from their spouses by geography), it's all Bonus Time. We still use the term, and it struck me recently as a little odd that it's remarkable, rather than routine, when I get to see my husband. Even before he had to go to Florida, a weeknight together was a bonus time. There's no doubt that we're jealous of all the couples who get to see each other every night, have dinner together, and even get a whole, regular weekend off. But it's struck me recently that it is not a terrible thing that time spent with my husband is a bonus. That we value it. And never take it for granted. In fact, I think that's actually a pretty good thing, in fact. (Plus, he'll be coming home pretty soon!)

On that note, the photos from Disneyland are still locked inside his camera in Pensacola. So, instead, we'll move onto the Time Machine Tuesday Thursday component of our blog. Several weeks ago, I promised to show photos of The Scarf That Took On New Orleans. On a prior Bonus Weekend, we went over to New Orleans for a great weekend away. It was cold, but I was packing light. Ene's Scarf was just the thing.

Ene's Scarf, circa 2005
Pattern: by Nancy Bush, in Scarf Style
Yarn: School Products hand-dyed cashmere, approx fingering weight
Needles: unsure
Wearing Notes: This very well may be the knit I wear most. It's a triangular shawl, but it's thin and drapey so I often wear it as a scarf. It goes with my fleece (see above), and also my fancy white wool coat. It keeps my shoulders warm in a cold restaurant. And it's held up to it's once or twice a season washings.
Best Thing About This Project: I was knitting it on a trip to Seattle when I found out that I'd matched in San Diego for residency. I had no idea I'd be wearing it on a weekend trip with my husband two years later. Gosh, that was lucky!

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 15, 2008

Birthdays Are For Socks

All weddings, except those with a shotgun in evidence, are wonderful.
-Liz Smith

You may recall from previous years that - being a man sound in mind and spirit - my dad is a fan of handknit socks. Earlier this year he dropped the subtle hint that he thought his socks collection was a little low. In particular, he requested bright socks. Think these will do?

I have it on good authority that he likes them:

The socks are the softest, smoothest I've ever worn. you have me spoiled.
I would like to wear them with my Tux on April 12. They are green and will match my Green vest, your Mom's dress, etc.
They are black and will match the Tux; they are Navy, and will match the rest of the bridal party.

Your Mom rightfully so, suggested that I run this by you for your permission, as it is your day, and the uniformity will be somewhat askew, if my socks aren't a BORING black. (PS-- even though I am asking, If you say NO, I won't follow your advice!)

Dad's Birthday Socks
Pattern: basic stockinette stitch
Yarn: Regia stripe I picked up in Germany a couple of years ago
Needles: US 1
Notes: None. Regia is by far my favorite of the "regular" sock yarns - soft, wears like iron, and comes in great colors.
Best Thing About This Project: They'll be coming to my wedding.*

*For those of you confused about my marital status, rest assured that my husband and I are happily, legally married. Due to the joys of being a dual military couple, the church-y-reception-y part is separated in space and time from the rest and is coming up in April.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spring is Springing

A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.
-Emily Dickinson

My apologies for missing Time Machine Tuesday again this week. The good news is that my eyes are healing (so saith my opthalmologist), and I should be in a position to get my new prescription (and the snazzy new frames I'm going to treat myself to!) in the next couple of weeks. The bad news is that I'm still on the wards. And it's pretty busy. At any rate, there's still the occasional knitting going on.

In spite of the woollen goodness that is my knitting these days, spring is coming into southern California in a really lovely way this year. I had the opportunity (and the day off!) to drive up into Orange County last Saturday to attend JayJay's baby shower (full of knitters!), and the drive was filled with orange and yellow wildflowers on the side of the road. It was a nice contrast to the snow-capped mountains to the East, and the palm trees and ocean coast to the West.
I do have one finished object appropriate for more springy-weather: The Chevron Scarf that snuck up on us all out of nowhere.

To answer some questions, well really, the question - how many leftovers did I use? I used the leftovers from 2 pairs of socks. I have small feet, so I'm guessing this is about 35g of each. The scarf came out about 60" long, a little shorter than what was called for in the pattern, but perfectly adequate for a nice thin spring neck wrap.

Can anyone recommend a good small scale that is accurate to 1 gram? All the kitchen scales I find are only accurate to 1 oz, which is 3+ grams and not a margin of error I want for knitting.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Bird in the Hand

It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.

I actually finished these a while ago, but it took nearly two weeks to be home at the same time as some sunlight. Too bad it's already looking like spring in San Diego . . .

Bird in Hand Mittens
Pattern: Kate Gilbert's incredibly well-written Bird in Hand
Yarn: Cascade 220 - French Blue (aka Cobalt Heather) and Natural
Needles: US 2 dpns - and they came out perfectly on gauge. I was a litlte worried about their length, but most of that is actually in the cuff. The thumbs and hands are perfect.
Notes: No mods. Who could pass up a gorgeous braid?
Best Thing About This Project: Maybe I say this too often, but these are definitely my favorite mittens.

Mittens have completely captivated me this winter - so many choices, so many lovely patterns. I still have two pairs in the works, and nary a hat in sight. . . . in spite of the plaintive cries of my poor neglected husband who doesn't own a single handknit hat. Don't we all feel so sorry for him? He does.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Stealth Project

The greatest pleasure I know is to do something by stealth and have it found by accident.
-Charles Lamb

It doesn't technically reduce the stash. It's not a mitten. Or a hat. It was supposed to be hanging out in the background for a while. I don't know what happened. But my basket of leftover sock yarn was calling. And it thought it could be a chevron scarf.
And now it's almost done. With plenty of yarn leftover for another one . . .


Monday, February 04, 2008

The Cruelest Month

April is the cruelest month.
-T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot must have never seen February. You know it's bad when you're at the hospital and your friends page you to wonder why you haven't blogged. (Hi Jen!) Reason #1 is that I'm back on the Internal Medicine wards, which means a lot of long hours. Reason #2 is that I've somehow developed a crazy corneal problem and it's interfering with my visual acuity. Especially computers. Hence, my relative lack of blogging. I just saw Optho again today, and we might be finally making some progress.

The good news about knitting as a hobby is that, with the exception of some colorwork charts, it's relatively easy to do with blurry vision. So, let's do a little recap of all the knitting in January, and what's in store for this cruelest month.

My official January project, Salt Lake City made much more progress in one month than I ever thought, especially with all the competition it had. I'm done both sleeves and nearly up to the colorwork on the body.

My January Yarn of the Month knit into Bearfoot socks, are making progress, about 1/2 done with the 1st sock. That's ok by me -they'll get done when I run out of sweater sleeves to carry around. And I'm totally in love with the yarn. So much so that I might have said I'd join a KAL for the Sweedish Heart-Warmer Shawl from Handknit Holidays. Egads!

And that other goal - stash reduction - is still on track:

Stash Tally
Skeins: 586.75
Yards: 117,198

Net negative:
Skeins: 15.5
Yards: 1,687

I knit more than this course, having finished my mile of yarn easily, but some of that is on projects still in progress with their yarn still listed as stash. And then there's a modest amount of stash acquisition, some as gifts, some Socks That Rock, and some Telemark, half of which has already been knit. So far, so good.

New Projects for February are coming up. I've started Gerbera from an old Dale of Norway book in discontinued Sisik (some of the oldest yarn in my stash!) for my February Project - I'm on a Dale kick, and working with it. As for my yarn of the month, I'm using a lovely wool-silk blend that was a very special gift to make a Clapotis. Having fun already. Photos to follow.
New February Yarn of the Month

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 01, 2008

More Mitten Mania

The most discouraging feature of the mania of book-collecting is,
that it grows by what it feeds on,
and becomes the more insatiable the more it is gratified.
-William Matthews

For the last day of January, mitten mania continued.

Bird in Hand is done. I'll wait until they are dry to show new pictures.

Last week my Selbuvotter book came and I just couldn't resist. Annemor #16 (oh, so romantically named) is just perfect for a friend of mine, who has been begging for mittens for oh, about 5 years now. How can you not love the fun Norwegian thumb?
And one last cast-on:
Kalev's Mittens from Folk Knitting in Estonia in KnitPicks Gloss. This yarn is loking fabulous in these mittens.

The tally for January's mittens is 4.5 completed pairs (waiting for the rest of the yarn for Annemor) and a new start with the last ones.

A full January wrap-up, as well as plans for February, comeing tomorrow. A Loose Knit Group has declared February for hats. Think I'll be as overcome as I was in January?