Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in review.

Well my peeps, another year is coming to a close. It has been a hectic year in some ways, and a relaxing year in others. Gotta love the roller coaster ride of life!

I took a look back at my entry from last New Year's Eve, and I was very disappointed in myself. This is what I wrote:
I want 2008 to be the "year of peace". Of course I want world peace - don't be silly - but I really want to strive to be at peace with myself. We care all critical of ourselves in some way, I just want to try to minimize the criticism I lay on myself. I get enough of that crap from other people at work. To that end, I will try to go to the gym regularly, and therefore feel like I am making progress on my physical outlook. I will take better care of my kidneys. I really want to start evaluating why I choose to do things. I want to choose events to attend, projects to design, and even what to eat for dinner based on what I want, not on what I'm expected to do. My 2008 goal is to be happy in my skin and thankful for having the skin to be in.
Part of being at peace will be to keep learning and experiencing, like always. When I "pull up the learnin' stool" this year I want to come away with at least one Intarsia project, finish poor DH's Sweater of Doom, enter a lace piece in a fair, and learn to use the weight machines at the gym. I still want to go to Vermont. I want to continue to develop existing friendships and maybe create some new ones. Maybe this year I'll cross to the dark side and try spinning on a wheel!

ok. I did good at the first paragraph. I really feel like I've made progress in all of those areas. I haven't been perfect, but nobody is perfect. The second paragraph, however, I didn't do so well at. I went to Vermont, made some new friends, made tighter bonds with existing friends, I learned to use the weight machines at the gym, and um.... that's it. No Lace project entry. No Intarsia. The sweater is still in the bag, unfinished. No spinning wheel spinning either. Sigh.
On that note, why bother makng resolutions? I suppose it's to at least partially motivate us to do well and be better people. SO once again, I will make a list. Once again, I will try to accomplish the things on my list. Maybe this time I will succeed...
In 2009 I want to:
* Do a freaking Intarsia project
* Keep participating in Socktopia
* Go to another place I've never been
* Deal with the falling apart furniture in my apartment
* Design a lace something for me

This is not a big list. I just be able to do it!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Recap

I love going home to my parents' house! It's not because of the gifts, or the food - it's for the years worth of stories. This year was no exception in the story department!
My hand knits were well received, and much gushed over by a few specific people. I, or course, failed to get many FO with recipient pictures. I did get Mr. Ship with his socks though!

He is such a dork. Mr. Ship also received an "Emergency Jail Kit" since he is so "bad-ass". Included was a doo-rag, candy cigarettes, nail file/shiv, harmonica, metal cup, soap on a rope, "prison approved porn" (Victoria's Secret Catalog), and a mirror - among other things. Since we open our presents on Christmas Eve at about 1 am, the family is usually pretty slap happy by the time we get to the funny gifts. It isn't hard to get your brother to try on his Prison Survival Gear at 2am.

It also isn't hard to get your Dad to try on the "Learn to be a Princess" accessories from the joke gift you got your Mom.

Then you stop taking pictures because you are laughing so hard you think you might die when your other brother puts on his new "old fashioned" motorcycle goggles with his half helmet, that just happens to have a red Mohawk down the center. When the laughing subsides, you start to relive the evenings events for brother #1, since he was at his Fiance's house earlier. This year he missed going to Grandma R's. It is too bad because this year is the year my family decided to cause trouble.
Uncle Gene's family sits on the only couch in the basement every year. They ALWAYS sit on it. My family decided to see what would happen if we infiltrated the couch. Mom went first. Then I took another empty spot when one of them got up to get food. On and on it went. The whole night we were giggling like kids, gene's family was wandering around trying to decided what to do, and The rest of the people at the party were completely confused. You had to be there to truly appreciate the chaos we caused. It was great.
Now we are all wide awake, and our sides hurt from laughing, so we decided to make popcorn in Dad's new Popcorn cart. At 3am. Yep. All of us watched the second half of A Christmas Story and ate popcorn until 4am. Then we got the Christmas dinner ready so we could go to bed. Nothing beats sleeping in until 11am when guests are coming at noon! All we had to do was pop in the side dishes, The turkey was already cooking, all the sides were prepared to go in the oven, the potatoes needed to be cooked and mashed. It was awesome. Sleep deprivation makes everything funny - even Aunt Florence.
I received some very nice gifts this year, especially from Evad. He rocked the gift giving world with an Immersion Blender, an Aero Garden, and YARN! He also gave me two knitting books I have been lusting over - GlamKnits and Knitting Lace Triangles. Then the yarn kept coming! Princess Evangeline gave me yarn too! There is nothing like the scent of Christmas balls and cones!

The two cones of lace weight and the teal lace weight bison (!) yarn are from Evad. The rest is from Princess Evangeline. I am one lucky knitter!
All in all, we had a great Holiday this year. The gifts were great, but the laughs and fond memories will be what endures.
Till tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2 Days late...

...with my last Christmas Gift. I almost made it. Oh well, better late than never I suppose!

Name: Colbert Socks
Pattern: Stephen Colbert Socks: The First Amendment as Expressed by Socks
Yarn: Fibranatura Yummy
Needles: KnitPicks classic Circs size 2
Notes: I knit these crazy socks for Evad. They were supposed to be for Christmas, but, I missed it. It's just how things go sometimes, I guess.

The pattern is really more of a "recipe" in which you cast on, work in 2x2 ribbing, and cable at will. You cable as much or as little as you want. Then you work a heel (or not. your choice), do the foot, then do a toe. I forgot the pattern when I got to my first heel so I made one up. Hey, these are my First Amendment socks!!

I am proud of myself that I managed to complete sock two with a relatively similar amount of cables to sock one, and didn't resort to just ribbing the whole damn thing. I think I am over the cable needle for a while.

When I saw this pattern in Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, I knew I HAD to knit it for Evad. He is majorly into politics, and loves the Colbert Report. The red yarn is a little subtle compared to the pumpkin orange ones I knit him last, but still vibrant enough for him, I think.

Now that I have knit two "man sized" socks in a row, I am eagerly awaiting my next pair of me sized socks. And the panic of "am I going to have enough to finish the second toe?" is soooo much less when knitting a pair of small women's socks. I squeaked in with this pair. I might have 10 yards left. That is plenty, but it is still a bit disconcerting when you are knitting away on the toe and wondering with every row wether you are going to make it.

I just realized how well travelled these socks are already! They have been to FL,CT, NY, PA, MA, and NJ. Huh. Pretty good for one pair of socks!

Up next, a Christmas update!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Packin' up gettin' ready to go

Packing up gettin ready to go. I'm packin up gettin ready to goooooo.

Don't know that song? It's in Black Nativity, if you so desire to hear it.

Anyway, Evad and I are packing the car, shortly, to leave to PA. I'll attempt to take some "FO on recipient" pictures while I'm there. I'm bad with the pics though - as ya'll know.
Happy Holidays everyone! Drive safe! Be kind to your fellow man!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fishy Hat update....

It was a success. I lost count, but I think it was stolen 8 times! Two of the people that had it stolen away from them really want me to make them one. I guess I'll be doing a little "after Christmas" gift making this year....

(Oh, I got a security whistle, in case you were wondering...)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bad Santa!

We do a Bad Santa swap at work every year. Basically, you bring in a gift you don't want, wrapped up. Everybody draws a number out of a hat, and you choose a gift from the pile in number order. The catch is that each person can choose to steal someone Else's gift, or to open another one from the pile. If someone steals your gift, you then get to open another gift. It gets to be quite crazy.
All manner of crap, er... I mean, "treasures" are entered into the swap. What I find amazing is that one person's trash is an other's treasure. I decided to skip the random knickknack this year and make a swap item. When I saw the new Knitty, and the Fish Hat, I KNEW I had to enter it in the swap. It's just insane enough to be fought over!

Pattern: Fishy from Winter 08 Knitty
Yarn: Leftovers - Knitpicks WOTA, Rowan Magpie, and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted
Needles: Knitpicks Options, size 7
Notes: Super Fast Knit! My parents were up visiting this last weekend, and I still got it finished. I started Thursday night, and finished on Sunday Night. It could be a one day project if you had a whole day to just sit and knit. Frankly, it took longer to deal with the eyes than it took to knit the hat!

I didn't modify the pattern at all, except to 3 needle bind off the tail instead of sewing it up. Oh, and I used buttons for eyes instead of felt. I Russian joined the whole thing so as not to have ends to deal with, since I am the laziest finisher EVER. (smarty smart)

I do hope that the staff members fight over this hat. It's fun to have a few things in the mix that are "interesting", yet also desirable. Oh, and early reactions by those who have seen it are very positive!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dirty Mittens of Pride!

6 months, 4 testicle references, 3 penile references, and 1 rainbow of color later... you get the Dirty Mittens of Pride!
I finished up the last pair last week, and passed them all out to my peeps at work! (to many happy smiles and such, I must say)

the last pair details:
Name: Woolly Strawberries
Pattern: Wool-Stuffed Mittens from Favorite mittens
Yarn: Reynold's Lite Lopi
Needles: Vintage Size 4 and 5 Dpn's
Notes: WOOO HOOO! Last Pair!!! No mods from any of the other pairs. I think I have burned this pattern in my brain forever though....
Speaking of Holiday Gifts.... Check out my "to wrap" pile on Sunday.

The only thing missing is the socks OTNs, and the fishy hat. The fishy hat is finished, btw! It is drying right now. It is freaking hysterical, IMHO. I'll post more about that tomorrow. In the picture is 4 pair of socks, 2 blankets, 3 shawls, and 7 pair of mittens. Sheesh! Oh, and I did all but the one pair of socks since June. That's a lot of knitting, my friends!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Winding down the Gift knitting

Well, dear readers, it is about that time of year again. It's that time when all good knitters start weaving in the ends of their gift knitting, dreaming of projects intended just for them, and trying to guess what size sweater to make while calculating in the expected extra holiday poundage. (eh-hem) The bad knitters (I personally don't know any one like this) start saying things like, "I could knit one more scarf for Aunt Betty," and "I can easily knit a sweater between now and December 24 for my size 54 chest Grandfather!" There is nothing like having a deadline and next to no time to knit to drive a knitter to drink, which only slows down the knitting more. It is a vicious cycle.
I never succumb to this type of pressure.
I'll wait for you to stop laughing.
This year I am doing really well. I am half way through my last pair of mittens and have one more bib that only has to be completed before January - PLENTY of time. So I of course decided to make one more itsy-bitsy gift.... socks. Cabled socks. I am insane. I realize it. No need to point it out, thank you.
I did finish the last bib I was working on, like 2 weeks ago, but whatever.

Name: Giraffe Bib and cloth
Pattern: Baby Bib O' Love
Yarn: Sugar and Cream cotton ombre Summer Splash
Notes: um... it's a bib. It was awesome tech knitting though! Not much to say, really.

The last pair of mittens is underway:

And the aforementioned last minute gift that may, or may not be completed in time. I am going to try not to stress about it. I'm not very good at not stressing, so this could be interesting, to say the least..

Some year I will be a good knitter. Some year....

Monday, December 08, 2008

Furry Carrots

One more pair of mittens to go!
I finished number six last Thursday, at SnB. Hurray!!

Name: Furry Carrots
Pattern: Fleece-Stuffed Mittens from Favorite Mittens
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Worsted
Needles: Vintage US 4 and 5 DPN's
Notes: As if any one is reading these still.....

I cast on for the last pair last night. I can't wait to sew in the ends. Also on the needles: a pair of socks, a shawl that is mostly done, and hasn't made it to the blog or Ravelry (I suck), and a baby bib. I vow to do some blog catch up this week!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Christ on a Cracker!

I actually finished something! It has been way way way too long since I did a real post, and I haven't had any time at all to knit, so I am lucky I finished anything! But, I did!! WOO!!
Saturday afternoon I kitchnered the last toe on my Dad's Christmas socks!

Name: Classic Dads
Pattern: Classic Socks from the Knitting Man(ual)
Yarn: Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband, 2 skeins
Needles: KnitPicks Options, classic circs, size 2
Notes: It took me 2 months to complete these socks. Not because the stitch pattern was hard, or because I got busy, or even because I got distracted by another project. I simply did not enjoy knitting these socks. I like the finished product, but, DAMN, I hated the knitting part. The stitch pattern is four rows long, so every pattern repeat feels like it doesn't get you anywhere, and it is the kind of pattern that you have to pay attention to - at least a little - since you have a semi-fancy maneuver to accomplish every other round. Therefore, not good movie knitting, and not good "in the dark" knitting.
I also forgot to photocopy the pattern out of the book, so I didn't have heel instructions when I got there on my first sock. I opted for my standard short row heel instead. I also opted to not do the stitch pattern on the foot. I would love to say it was because my dad wants smooth socks in his shoes, or something like that, but really, it was because I am lazy, and I could knit the foot at the movies if I did it in SS. Pure laziness decision.

The second sock started out promising. A few SnB nights and I would have the leg finished. Then I got stuck in heel land. I didn't want to start the heel until I knew I'd have enough time to finish it, and that time didn't present itself for a week or two. Finally, I made my heel, and in only a few short days I finished the second sock!

Whew. I tell you, it was quite the slog to finish these up. The very exciting grey yarn might have something to do with the boredom that became these socks, but I mostly blame myself. I know that socks with short pattern repeats are boring to me. I know that socks I have to "look at" while I'm knitting them bother me - unless they have big complicated repeats. Why I picked these socks to begin with is beyond me. But, I can say, my Dad will love them! I do wonder if he'll appreciate the Yarn Harlot conection though?

This was my first time using Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband, and I found it enjoyable. It seems as though it will be pretty rugged, and it comes with heel and toe reinforcement yarn. I did use all but about 10 yards of each ball, so if you have a bigger than men's size 9 foot, you might want three skeins for a pair of socks.

So, another Holiday gift finally comes off the needles, after ONLY two months. (eye roll) I only have two pair of mittens left to go! I almost can't decided what to knit next!