Thursday, December 30, 2010

Commitment 2011

I don't like New Year resolutions.  Last year I ran across someone that suggested that we set intentions or a theme for the coming year.  My husband and I set down the intention to be more adventurous with traveling.  Despite grad school, the death of my father and a whole lot of upheaval, we did it.  We took big trips - San Francisco and Arizona, and we took a lot of little day trips, unexpected road trips and enjoyed ourselves.  I also brushed off my crochet skills and worked a lot on it.  Then fulfilled a many year longing to learn to knit.  Oh boy did I!  Most of my holiday projects were knit!  Knitting has added so much to my life.

It looks as if 2011 is going to be adventurous as well.  In 2011, my husband will graduate and he is currently in the middle of a job search.  His job search is broad - we can and are willing to move anywhere.  So we are likely to have to pack up, sell our place and venture off.  It is thrilling and a little mind boggling as well.  Because of a possible move, our garden plans for 2011 are not forthcoming.  Perhaps a potted tomato and some lettuce, but nothing in the ground that isn't already there or volunteers (tomatoes I'm looking at you).  Hopefully in 2012 I can do a garden in a big proper way and chickens too.

Here is my personal intentions/commitments for myself.  What do you plan to do?

2011 Intentions
  • Knit socks.  I tried my hand this year and worked one almost to completion.  I don't like the yarn and I've made a few errors in switching from one person's pattern to a recipe (thanks Yarn Harlot - so much easier first time out of the gate).  I plan to photograph my toeless sock and then frog it.  I can use the yarn for a scarf, hat, etc.  This will be my year of socks.
  • Complete the Loopy Ewe's First Quarter Challenge 2011.  I've started cabled socks.  If they don't work out I have back up projects.
  • Knit a sweater
  • Knit something Fair Isle - what is Fair Isle - feast your eyes here
  • Do a project with mitered squares - what the heck is a mitered square?
  • Clean, sort and GET RID of crap in basement, closets, etc.  We we're gonna move it has to be done, but even so I've feeling the need to go minimal.
  • Continue to expand our network of healthy, supportive, awesome friends
  • Begin writing down every book I read in the coming year.  I used to do this, but fell out of the habit.
  • Find something I really love to do vocation wise (where we end up will have its effects) - find a job I love, go back to school, develop a serious business or a business plan based one what I already do
  • Walk the dogs at least four times a week.  More is better, but I have to start somewhere.
  • Take a photography class
  • Take time at least three times a week to work both dogs.  Both old and young dog love it.  Old needs it for stimulation and the young needs it for energy output.
  • Be more conscious of spending time with Trinket (more on her in another post)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Merry Knitting!

Happy Christmas and a few more day after.  I've slid into a holiday slump.  Yesterday it felt like my head was still full of wine.  I swear I only had half a glass for Christmas dinner.  I did manage to cast on and begin my first project post Wollmeise shawl.  I'm knitting a Claudia hat for myself.  I'm making mine out of My Family yarn which I've had in my stash for a time.  Casted on 108 stitches and using size 8 needles (pattern calls for smaller needles).    I've also casted on for the One Row Lace Scarf for my niece in beautiful Mini Mochi left over from a crochet project.  It is such a simple pleasant knit.  I'll save the bulk of it for an upcoming car and conference trip.

I've been trying to be very conscious about my knitting.  Use only yarn from my stash and put off projects that call for needles I don't have.  Since we are living on poor grad student and in between job money we are being extra careful with finances.  Plus soon we are taking a road trip so I'm scrimping everything to save for some souvenir yarn.  I love going places and picking up yarn were I go.  I'm planning on solving my needle lackage once and perhaps not for all by picking up Addi's Lace Click needle set in the coming months as well.

Sheri from the Loopy Ewe has announced the First Quarter Challenge of 2011.  The challenge is to push yourself and work a project with cables from yarn available at the Loopy Ewe.  I have two such yarns in my stash - Dream in Color Baby in Cloud Jungle and Cascade Heritage Sock yarn in spruce.  So far I have a few patterns in mind - gloves, scarf or fingerless mitts.  Decisions Decisions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Shawl

Butterfly Bush Shawl by Joyce Fassbender
Link: Ravelry
Yarn: Wollmeise 100% Superwash, Blaue Tinte

Pattern Modifications:
Chart A - one time 
Chart B - Four times (as directed for shawlette) 
Chart C - Four times (directed for two for a shawlette size) 
Charts D & E - one time

I wanted to photograph this shawl in the butterfly dome of our local zoo.  Well it was closed for the day so I hat to settle for the mural outside of it.  That is a lot of butterflies in that picture.
VERY enjoyable knit. I learned a lot and I’m just so in love with the color.  I enjoyed working with Wollmeise, but the best part about this yarn is wearing it.  Soft, sumptuous and eye catching.  One can't help but feel pretty in this shawl.  Happy knitter!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Butterfly Bush Shawl

Remember that shawl I started back in October?  The one with the Wollmeise yarn? Remember it here, here and here

Internet - it is finished.  It is having a relaxing bath now then off for blocking.  Pictures and reflections soon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December projects

It showed for the first significant time here today.  I took the day to do a bit of nesting and cooking.  I made breakfast, lunch and dinner will soon be underway.  I fired up the trusty bread maker too. We have a beautiful loaf of rye bread cooling right now.

For lunch I was hankering for vegetable soup with the thought of attacking some of the stores in the freezer.  Here is what I came up with - please keep in mind that I didn't measure quantities - I let my taste by my guide.

Snow Day Vegetable Soup

one small onion
two stalks of celery
two cloves of garlic
one carton of vegetable stock
two carrots - peeled and chopped
10 or so cherry tomatoes - (ours were frozen right out of the garden) I added them still frozen and let them cook down. Canned tomatoes may also be used
one can cream of mushroom soup
red wine
Herbs: basil, oregano, parsley
Frozen green beans and peas
one cup uncooked pasta

Saute onions and celery in olive oil.  When the onions became translucent add garlic.

Add in stock with one cup of water (or so), carrots, tomatoes, cream of mushroom soup, splash of red wine, basil, oregano, parsley, salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer letting the tomatoes cook down and fall apart.  Add in frozen vegetables and bring to a light boil.  Add in pasta and cook until done.  Turn down heat and serve

This improvised soup can take whatever veggies you throw at it.  I wanted to use up some partial bags of frozen to help clear the freezer.

I finished a sewing project yesterday.  I finally tackled making a needle roll case for my set of double pointed knitting needles (DPN).  I found a set on Amazon for $19.99 and jumped at them.  US sizes 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11, 13, 15 were included in the set.  I was concerned about the quality, but I'm currently using the 7s to make fingerless gloves and they are wonderful - smooth strong and just the right amount of pointiness.  I already had sizes 1.5, 5, and 8.  So I made myself a needle case to contain all my tools and labeled them.

I saw cases online that I liked, but I don't really want to spend $42 right now.  Etsy has some really nice ones as well.  I considered many designs, didn't work from a pattern and improvised while I went.  What I ended up was this:  A long thick roll that holds all DPNs, labeled pockets with a permanent fabric marker.  I also inserted some extra pockets here and there for extra storage.  The fabric was found in the remnant bin at the fabric store, ribbon form my stash, and lined with quilt batting for more protection to my tools.

Next up a case for my circular needles.

Update: Holiday Knit List

Holiday knitting is drawing to a close and I can now share pictures of gifts.  The majority of my gifts have been delivered.

Holiday Knit List

  1. Crochet spiral scarf - finished
  2. Crochet round star ornaments (4) - finished
  3. Crochet mohair scar - finished
  4. Winter Flame Scarf - finished
  5. Crocheted Scarf - finished
  6. Broken Spiral Rib hat- finished
  7. Stuffed Dog ornament - out of my first handspun yarn - finished
  8. Child's pink cabled hat - finished
  9. Woman's cabled hat - finished
  10. Cowl (new add on) - will gift her with beads instead
  11. Gift for mother in law? (new add on) - Alternative selected
  12. Hat for husband - he knows about this one, as he picked the pattern. - on the needles now
  13. Crochet dove ornament for gift for hostess - making a shawl pin instead
  14. Five stuffed bears (if I have time) - looks like these will come when they can

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A REAL Knitter

So I completed my first project with cables today.  There is something about knitting an item with ribbing and cables that just made me feel like I've arrived.  I feel like a real knitter Knitter.  I can't think of anything more representative in knitting than the combo of ribbing and cables.  They are everywhere, but most people only get to experience them in factory made knitwear.

Holiday knits are being completed almost daily!  However, I'm also adding to the to be knit list almost as frequently.  Will I ever complete my Wollmeise shawl or socks?!  Perhaps they will be the perfect thing to work on when Christmas day arrives.

I wish I could show pictures of completed gifts, but that will have to wait.  I never know who is reading this blog so I want to keep the secret.

Holiday Knit List

  1. Crochet spiral scarf - finished
  2. Crochet round star ornaments (4) - finished
  3. Crochet mohair scar - finished
  4. Winter Flame Scarf - finished
  5. Crocheted Scarf - finished
  6. Broken Spiral Rib hat- finished
  7. Stuffed Dog ornament - out of my first handspun yarn - finished
  8. Child's pink cabled hat - finished
  9. Woman's cabled hat
  10. Cowl (new add on)
  11. Gift for mother in law? (new add on)
  12. Hat for husband - he knows about this one, as he picked the pattern.
  13. Crochet dove ornament for gift for hostess
  14. Five stuffed bears (if I have time)

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Great Holiday Knit Off

With times being lean, a banked up stash, and my knitting prowess growing - handmade gifts are the way to go this year.  I've been working with a vengeance since the beginning of November (some where finished months ago) on projects and instead of shrinking my list - it keeps growing.

  1. Crochet spiral scarf - finished
  2. Crochet round star ornaments (4) - finished
  3. Crochet mohair scar - finished
  4. Winter Flame Scarf - finished
  5. Crocheted Scarf - finished
  6. Broken Spiral Rib hat- finished
  7. Stuffed Dog ornament - in progress out of my first handspun yarn
  8. Child's pink cabled hat
  9. Woman's cabled hat
  10. Hat for husband - he knows about this one, as he picked the pattern.
  11. Crochet dove ornament for gift for hostess
  12. Five stuffed bears (if I have time)
I'm enjoying making each item.  I find that while I'm working each one, I'm thinking about the intended person.  During the whole black Friday crazy parade - I was at home knitting, watching movies and enjoying family time.  Handmade holidays - it is a good thing (sorry Martha).