Friday, February 26, 2010

The Six Balls of Cento

My knitting goal for 2010 is to not add anything to my stash. That does NOT mean that I'm not going to buy any yarn! It means that any yarn I buy or use, I must use up completely. I must add NOTHING to my stash bins this year. In that spirit, I present you with...

The Six Balls of Cento (With my deepest and most sincere apologies to Frederic Austin...)

With the first ball and a quarter of Cento, I knit myself for me...
The Knit Picks Sideways Hat!

With half of the second ball of Cento, I knit myself for me...
a wristwarmer that is now a pencilholder cover
and the Knit Picks Sideways Hat!

With the third ball of Cento, I knit myself for me...
The knitty Edgar Scarf (first half!)
a wristwarmer that is now a pencilholder cover
and the Knit Picks Sideways Hat!

With the fourth ball and a couple yards of Cento, I knit myself for me...
The knitty Edgar Scarf (second half!)
The knitty Edgar Scarf (first half!)
a wristwarmer that is now a pencilholder cover
and the Knit Picks Sideways Hat!

With the fifth ball of Cento, I knit myself for me..
The knitty Edgar Scarf (second half!)
The knitty Edgar Scarf (first half!)
a wristwarmer that is now a pencilholder cover
and the Knit Picks Sideways Hat!

With three-quarters of the sixth ball of Cento, I knit myself for me...
a pair of Earthy Wristwarmers
The knitty Edgar Scarf (second half!)
The knitty Edgar Scaraf (first half!)
a wristwarmer that is now a pencilholder cover
and the Knit Picks Sideways Hat!

With about a quarter of the sixth ball of Cento, I knit myself for me...
a condom for my digital camera
a pair of Earthy Wristwarmers
The knitty Edgar Scarf (second half!)
The knitty Edgar Scarf (first half!)
a wristwarmer that is now a pencilholder cover
and the Knit Picks Sideways Hat!

and this is what I have left (14.5 yards - I measured it). I think I should burn it before it starts multiplying again! Unless...anyone know what I could do with 14 yards of Cento???

My photographer's assistant says, "Are we done with this yet? I want lunch and a bellyrub!"

More later...recovering from Cento overload (I really do love this yarn, but I swear it breeds in knitting bag!)...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ravelympics: Day WOOOOO-HOOOOOO!!!!

At 12:30am Sunday, while watching a fabulous documentary on Mahalia Jackson, I finished the Long Forgotten Yarn Scarf. My medals are duly posted, and no, I don't expect anyone to kiss them (VBEG!!) It was a lot of fun making this scarf, and I feel downright diva-ish wearing it. It is one substantial scarf, even though it looks more like a pair of bizarre bell-bottom pants in this pic... Ruffles, folks, think ruffles...

I still have about four balls of the mystery cotton left and am trying to figure out what to do with them...some kind of little shawlette, I think.

You'll notice I changed the background pattern. I decided it would be a cool, fun thing to have the background of my blog reflect the stitch pattern of whatever project I'm working on. However...this is NOT the project I'm currently working on, it's a scarf I designed and made for P back in 2007. More info on the Don't You Dare Lose This Scarf can be found on my Ravelry page by clicking the link. Since I wasn't able to get a good closeup of the stitch pattern for my new project, I decided to use this one as a placeholder. Love the scarf. Love the fact that Mr. Loses Every Scarf He's Ever Owned still has this one three years later! Is he a great guy or what?

Last night, I joined the small but welcoming group of Knorthside Knitters. We had a lovely time knitting and chatting. My newest project is the Edgar scarf from the Fall 2005 Knitty. I'm using the Cento I had left over from the Sideways Hat and calling it "Edgar Cento". Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Here's a picture, but it really doesn't do the colors justice. It's a dark, gloomy, rainy day here, so natural light is pretty dim.

I am also making another attempt at the Pretty Thing Cowl using the Serenity yarn I picked up a JoAnn last week. Only two rows in, it is already going better. I may end up loving this pattern after all. I think me and Mini Mochi just aren't meant for each other, sad to say.

We are experiencing our "spring thaw" here in Ohio...PRE-spring thaw is probably more accurate since we can get ice and snow all the way into April. P and I took Wilbur to a park near our house to try out his snazzy new harness and get some fresh air for all of us. Here are some pics (The hat and cowl I'm wearing are knit from some Jaspe Wool I had left over from a shawl. You can click on the links for more info on my Ravelry page). Oh, and thanks to P for taking the pics of Wilbur and me. You rock, Dude!

And a couple pics of the creek running along the path:

There is also good news on Wilbur's tummy! I am cautiously optimistic that we have finally solved the problem of the acid reflux - and without giving him a lot of medicine! I spent all day Friday researching home cooked diets and the problems he has been having and got the great idea to give him a small meal right before he goes to bed and immediately when he wakes up in the morning. We are on the third day of this regime, and my pupster is happy, energetic, and non-urpy again! WOO-HOOOO!!!!

This will be a busy week for me. I am planning to get together with two knitting groups this week, plus my Tuesday night choir rehearsal.

And...if I didn't need any other reason to want spring to arrive, I want to show off my Aerosmith toenails!

"Aerosmith toenails?", you say...well...what would YOU call them? The name of the color is..."Jaded"!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ravelympics Day Whoknowswhat: Raindrops On Roses...

HA!!! There were a few raindrops when Wilbur and I were out today, but the roses are deeply buried in snow. After my massive post-a-thon yesterday, I'm a little short on material today, so I thought I'd give you a list of my Top 20 Favorite Things (in no particular order...)

1. Knitting and all things knitting related (yarn, rosewood needles, patterns...)
2. Gordon Lightfoot
3. Pizza
4. John Hartford
5. Lilacs
6. Mavis Staples
7. Genealogy (tying ancestral holes together...)
8. Gothic architecture
9. Old time fiddle tunes
10. Yoga (tying myself in knots...)
11. Border collies
12. Connie Smith
13. Snow (but not 30" of it all at one time!!!)
14. Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Ale
15. Singing
16. Anne Tyler novels
17. Gene Kelly movies
18. Blues harmonica
19. my Scion XB
20. Coffee (this should probably be #1 on my list...)

Yesterday, I ventured out for the first time since the latest snowstorm hit. It was a challenge getting out of my neighborhood (snow removal is notoriously spotty around here), but once I did get out, the main roads were clear.

My first stop was JoAnn where I went on a small yarn-buying binge.


I went with the purpose of buying 3 skeins of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick to make the Knitted Scarf and Hat that was on the labels of the yarn I used to make the 3-Season Sweater Jacket. I love how the jacket turned out, and decided I wanted a scarf and hat to match.

I found my Thick & Quick...then I saw the Lion Brand Jiffy and fell in love with the color. I bought the last four balls they had. Luckily it should be enough for what I plan to make, the Snowy Triangle Scarf and Hat from Handknit Holidays Handknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice. I might even have enough for a pair of wristwarmers to match!

The Serenity Garden Yarn was a true impulse purchase. It was on sale, there was one skein of green left, and I loved it. Believe it or not, I may make another attempt at the Pretty Thing. The one I made with the Mini Mochi is just a wee bit scratchy on my neck. I'd like to give this gorgeous pattern one more chance, sizing it down a bit to fit me better. We'll see how that goes!

Today, Wilbur and I headed out to Pet People, the world's coolest pet supply store. Since he still is having issues with the reflux, I decided to buy him a harness. I figure anything that takes stress off of his trachea and esophagus is a good, good thing. He enjoyed being made over (we're regulars there, so they know him well), and adapted to the new harness very well. We took a little walk in his favorite park before heading back home. All in all, a nice couple of days.

The Ravelympics scarf is almost 75% done.

I'm pleased with the way it's turning out, though I do have to keep a close eye on the pattern. I've frogged sections of it several times for stupid careless mistakes. Must count every stitch, even though the patten is very easy. I'm hoping to be done by tomorrow night...and might launch into that Pretty Thing as a second event. Who knows?

What are a few of your favorite things???

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ravelympics Day 3: She Knits!!!!

It's a brand new day, and what a difference one day can make!! Woke up this morning to a hungry, happy, NON-burpy Wilbur who snarfed up some rice and chicken breast then went off to play happily with his toys.

We got about a foot of new snow from yesterday's storm, and snow showers are still passing through. Could get another couple inches before morning. How much snow do we have? Here's a picture of the crummy old junk table that we should throw away but I keep hanging onto because it makes a fairly good potting bench. Check out the snow depth!

We also have some serious ice damming in our gutters, as evidenced by the view out the side window in the living room. YIKES!!!

P worked from home today because of the weather. Wilbur spent the afternoon snoozing in his chair in P's room while he worked, happy and burp-free (Wilbur, that is. I can't vouch for P's happiness or burp level.).

And me? I got some serious knitting done today on the Long Forgotten Yarn Scarf that I'm working on for the Ravelympics. I think I got about 40 rows done this afternoon between loads of laundry. I'm really enjoying this pattern now, and my yarn is doing a Sally Field routine as I knit: "You LIKE me!!! After 25 years crammed in a plastic bag in the basement, you REALLY, REALLY LIKE ME!!!!" Yes, blue slubby cotton yarn, we've had our issues to work out, but I DO like you!

Here's a closeup of the stitch detail:

The beef stew is simmering on the stove, and I'm headed out to do a little shoveling while I mull over tomorrow's post - How I Became A Knitter.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ravelympics Day 2 (and maybe Day 3 as well): Knit? I'm supposed to knit?

I'm going to try to update with some pics, but I'll be lucky to get this posted between wiping up doggie grossness. LSS, the bodacious Wilburbeast has been struggling with acid reflux for the past couple of months - we literally share the Prilosec. He's been doing very well, so we tried him on a new food - when I say "tried him", I mean I gave him 2T of this food at breakfast this morning...and now he's in major gastric distress again. I've dosed him with the Reglan and the Carafate with some improvement...but he's still a messy, uncomfortable boy, and I'm a dogmom with serious pangs of guilt for giving him those 2T of what is supposed to be the best darned dry food out there. Here's Wilbur and P yesterday...Wilbur was having a good doggie day.

Valentine's Day was quite nice, though very low key. We ate out at our favorite Chinese restaurant and got each other nice cards. We were both wiped out from the band gig Saturday night. Lots of friends, a great time was had by all, but getting to bed at 3am, even when you haven't had anything stronger than soda water to drink, makes for a very tired knitter next day. I brought my camera but, since I was wedged back in a corner without much of a view except profiles, I didn't take any pics. Next time!

I tried to knit yesterday...I REALLY tried! I ended up doing two pattern repeats...and messing both of them up badly by adding an extra row. It's a little tricky...the beginning triangle has a six-row repeat, but it's rows 2-7. The main body of the scarf is a very similar pattern, but it's rows 1-6. In my sleep deprived state, I was thinking rows 1-7. Oops. Started frogging...I really figured I'd have to start the whole thing over again. But the knitting gods were smiling down on me, and when I got to the beginning of where I'd started messing up, there was my k2tog, yo row perfectly intact! I carefully put the stitches back on the needles and knit a few more rows (kind of like falling off a gotta get back on and do it right!) before going out to dinner. Here's my progress on the #11 needles and a comparison of the cardboardy little scarf I was making with the #8s.

And since it's Monday...yes, we have another snowstorm! We'll have probably close to 30" of snow on the ground after this latest storm. Here's the view from my living room window as I'm writing this:

Thanks to everyone who has dropped by and especially those who have commented! I'm really learning this blogging stuff as I go, so it's especially thrilling to hear from y'all! And as I head off to cook up a pot of beef stew, I wish everyone happy knitting (or whatever your choice of hobby may be), safe travels (especially if you're in the midst of this new snowstorm!), and much love and happiness.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ravelympics Day 1: Where's My Porridge?

I feel like frickin' Goldilocks!!!

My bag was packed, I was ready to knit...and knit I did! I only looked up from my work during dramatic moments in the opening ceremony...kd Lang's glorious version of "Hallelujah" and the mechanical malfunction. Couldn't they have crushed up a few of those little blue pills and poured them in the mechanism to get that thing to...rise...??? I knit about 11" of my scarf with the old, old yarn. Then I put it down and went to bed for the night.

I got up this morning all excited to photograph my amazing progress...until I picked up my knitting. all came back to me...why this yarn had been frogged from a sweater I made with it and hated, tossed into a grocery bag with nothing more than a label with the needles recommended for gauge (#8) and crammed into the bottom of one of my stash bins.

The yarn looks lovely and blue in the ball...kind of like faded denim once knit. The colorful, shiny slubs help somewhat, but it just doesn't look as good once knit. Worse...if you knit with the recommended needles, size 8, the knitting is heavy and hard as a rock, with no drape. This is a scarf...I NEED drape!!! It was also so tight that the yarnovers were pretty much invisible.

I photographed my work, made coffee and headed off to read the paper and stew about this a while.

After much stewing, breakfast, and a shower, I got out bigger needles, size 13, grabbed another ball from the knitting bag and started knitting. This was much better, nice drape, but the yarnovers were too big, so I frogged again. I got a pair of 11s and tried again...SUCCESS!!! As Goldilocks would say, "It was just right!" Nice drape, visible but not honkin' big yarnovers...even the color looks nicer. I reknit about 6" of the scarf before having to head off to other things, and I'll be a much happier knitter for my troubles. Granted, it will probably be the world's widest scarf, but a scarf with nice drape it will be. It won't weigh my shoulders down to wear it. YAY!!!!

If any folks from Columbus, Ohio, are reading and looking for something fun to do tonight between 8pm and midnight...come on out to the India Oak and catch my husband's band, The Subterraneans. Great obscure and not-so-obscure rock covers, and a lot of fun at a neighborhood bar with fabulous subs and chili. No...I won't be doing any knitting tonight...but if I remember my camera, I will post pictures.

Friday, February 12, 2010

No, I haven't been buried in the snow...not quite, at least

Color me embarrassed for letting my brand new blog sit idle for an entire week. It's not that I've been swamped with other activities. Ok...Tuesday...I went to the grocery at 6:30am to buy stuff to make vegetable beef soup (my husband's Hungarian grandmother's recipe), came home, cleaned the house, including vacuuming and mopping, did 7 loads of laundry, made the soup (one hour just chopping vegetables!), and shoveled the front porch, driveway and sidewalk and cleaned off the car after the five MORE inches of snow we got on top of the ten inches that fell a week ago. Yeah...not much time for blogging that day, though I did finish the Knit Picks Sideways Hat and wore it outside for the snow shoveling - it kept me toasty warm!!!

Saturday morning, my husband and I went out to dig out from that first ten inches. Here are a few fun pics of me, sweet Wilbur, and my bodacious snow angel.

Also on Saturday, I finished the Pretty Thing. It ended up being both too long and too wide to be a true neckwarmer thingie, but it folded over nicely into a cute little collar. Good thing, too, because I hated knitting this thing. Don't know wasn't difficult, I liked the yarn I was working just didn't click for me. The very cool thing is it perfectly matches three cotton sweaters that I never wear. It's like they've been hanging out in the closet just crying out for that little knitted lace collar to go with them. Gotta love it!!!

Since I'm new to this blogging thing and haven't figured out all the ins and outs and etiquettes, I want to thank Jo Ann from JoKnitWits Funky Life for stopping by to comment. Hope you and that gorgeous Sawyer boy are doing great!!!

And...since I know he pops in here to read about what I'm doing now that I don't talk yarn with him as much anymore, here's a shoutout to my beloved hubby, Pete. His birthday was Monday, and we celebrated very low-key this year, but that doesn't mean that he isn't the light of my life, the parmesan on my spaghetti and the catalyst for every good and wonderful thing that has happened to me since the day we met. Happy birthday, sweetie, I loves ya!!!!

Tonight I will be casting on for my first ever Ravelympics. I'll be competing with Team Knitgang in the Scarf Super G and the Stash Compulsory Dance, making a lovely lace scarf using yarn that has been in my stash since about 1985 (really!!!!).

So...what's on YOUR needles?????

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh, the weather outside is...

whiteful!!!! Snow, snow, and more snow, up to a foot or more here in the middle of Ohio. Every winter, the weatherfolks predict a snowstorm or two...the buildup goes on for days, the news anchors are breathlessly dramatic. It's a farce. A central Ohio snowstorm is usually three days of dire heavy snow predictions followed by one inch of snow, about a half-inch of freezing rain, and another half inch of plain old rain...maybe another half inch of snow on top of that. Rarely do we get clobbered. Today...we are getting majorly clobbered!!!

A few hours ago, it looked something like this...bear in mind, it's still coming down hot (relatively speaking...) and heavy and isn't supposed to stop till tomorrow evening. This is just the beginning, folks...

Wilbur is singularly unimpressed with the white stuff. You know, dogs like to...umm...sniff where they've been. He wanders around the yard looking confused as if to say, "Dude...where's my poop?"

This should make for a very nice knitting day, right? However, I haven't knit a stitch. I've cleaned the house, I've taken pictures of the snow, and I've played on the internet all day. Supposedly, we are having a friend over for dinner tonight, however, I'm just waiting for him to cancel. Can't imagine him making the drive, even for my famous Pesto Roast Chicken. We'll see...if not, Pete and I will have a yummy dinner tonight, and I'll get that Pretty Thing finished.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Recipe for a Migraine

Take 1 happy, friendly dog
add 1 cable TV technician who is clearly uncomfortable around dogs
put them together in a very small house for 3 hours
Owner of house and said happy, friendly dog will develop migraine within one hour.

Such is my day today... I tried deflecting my stress by knitting away on the Ten-Stitch (Knitting Around Corners is a Blast!) Blanket, telling myself, "Yes, I'm having FUN knitting around these corners! There's NOTHING to be stressed about not a darned...hey! Wilbur!!!! Leave him alone!!!".

By the time the cable dude left, I had supposedly finished the blanket (at least I was finished with the last skein of yarn). I ate some lunch, took a very long nap (3 hours long!), stumbled back downstairs and looked at the blanket...and decided it was too small. No decision, really, it's only about 32x36. So I ordered two more balls of Marble Chunky from Paradise Fibers...and how awesome are these people????? I'll tell you - the yarn is ALREADY ON ITS WAY!!!! I should be back to knitting around corners in less than a week.

In the meantime, I've kept my promise to myself to work on the Christmas Tree Skirt. This is a fun project, but it doesn't have to be done till, there's no rush. I'm going to complete a set of red/green wedges between projects till it's done...or till I have to panic and madly knit in time to get it under the tree.

Then...I'm grabbing the gorgeous Crystal Palace Mini Mochi yarn I just bought a couple weeks ago and start working on The Yarn Harlot's Pretty Thing. I figure I can probably at least get an inch or so done tonight, and it will be a welcome relief from the blanket and tree skirt.

I had planned to join the Clintonville KnitGang for their weekly get-together this evening, but the post-migraine fatigue and the "is it coming back?" anxiety are keeping me holed up in the house, pot o' chili simmering on the stove, snoogly puppy at my side, knitting my troubles away. Tomorrow should be a better day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Early Spring???

This morning, we woke up to snow. Not much, maybe a half inch. At the same time Buckeye Chuck, Ohio's official groundhog, did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring. I could handle this. It's been a mighty cold winter!

So I found this nifty little tool that tells everyone how many yards I've knit so far this year. What would be an even niftier little tool is one that tells how many yards of yarn I've PURCHASED so far. Yesterday I made my maiden voyage to Wonderknit and increased my stash by...oh, about 1,000 or so yards.

I picked up two skeins of Cascade Yarns Rustic in the olive green colorway. I love the shimmery effect of the linen. Then the Aslan Trends Santa Fe in the World Oceans colorway called to me, and I grabbed four skeins. I'm now waiting for the yarns to decide what they want to become as I continue working on my Ten Stitch Blanket which is probably close to 75% complete...unless I decide to buy another ball of Marble Chunky and make it larger (a distinct possibility...).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oh, what a tangled tale...

It seems that life keeps cutting into my valuable knitting time lately. The most recent intrusion...researching home-cooked food for my dog. Yes, Wilbur the Wonderbeastie has developed a terribly sensitive tummy and, after a huge vet bill and a week of feeding him prescription food and having him STILL burping and shooting gross stuff out of his nose, I decided to take matters into my own hands. It's sad that my dog and I are sharing the Prilosec these days, but that's the fact of the matter. I'm boiling up brown rice and stirring in some boiled chicken breast, he's gobbling it down and, most importantly, keeping it down...but I know I need to do more. He needs some supplements to make this a complete diet. So...I'm researching...Pitcairn...Strombeck...Messonier.

In the little bit of knitting time I did have yesterday, I had this thought...which came first...the yarn or the pattern? In my younger knitting years, I would always find a pattern I liked, go buy the yarn and start knitting. These days I'm much more likely to grab up a yarn that catches my eye, bring it home and let the magic happen...what does the yarn say it wants to be? Sometimes it takes days or weeks to make its decision but it never fails. One day I'll look at it, and it will say "scarf" or "blanket", and I'm on my way to find or design the pattern. Intuitive knitting...let the yarn speak. What comes first in your projects, the pattern or the yarn?