Posted in Knit Ramblings, Life

ChiaoGoo RED Needles

Recently, I’ve mentioned that I’ve tried out the new ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Circulars. I’ve had a few people ask what I think about them, so I thought I’d do a little review.

ChiaoGoo RED Needles (original & lace)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Original on the left, Lace on the right.

There are two types of ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Circulars: original and lace. Initially I bought the original in US 8’s in a 24″ and 40″ circular since I wanted to use them for Eadon. I bought those from Grandma’s Hand Knitting on Etsy. They are relatively inexpensive (similar in price to HyaHya Stainless Steel circulars) and they arrived within a few days of ordering. The cable is the most unique I’ve ever seen in any knitting needle to date. It reminds me of the type of cable you’d use to lock up your bicycle with. The cable has no memory at all, unlike the plastic that most circulars use which have to be stretched out or used to lose some of the memory it has from being packaged. Straight out of the package the cable can be straightened easily. The size is printed lightly on the side, which you can kind of see in the picture below if you look closely at the bottom needle.

ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel (Original)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Original

Later, when I placed an order at The Loopy Ewe, I decided to order a few of the ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Lace Circulars. I ordered a US 0, US 1, and US 6, all in the 40″ size.

The original tips are the same as their Stainless Steel Circulars which have now been discontinued. The biggest difference between the original and the lace is that the original has a bend at the base of the tip near where it joins the cable. The other difference between the two is that the lace tips are sharper. I’d say that the lace are similar in sharpness to the Addi Lace needles. As for the sharpness of the originals, I’d compare them to Knit Picks Nickel circulars or HyaHya Stainless Steel circulars. Not as sharp as Addi Lace, but not dull like Addi Turbos are. Here are the Original and Lace needles side by side.

ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Comparison (original & lace)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Comparison (top: Original, bottom: Lace)

I like both the Original and Lace ChiaoGoo RED needles. The bend at the base of the Original ones don’t bother me at all, but a knitter I know who has a few of the ChiaoGoo RED needles said she doesn’t care for the bend in the Originals. I like that the Lace are pointy which are great for, well, lace! The Originals are nice to knit with, I like the bend, and they aren’t too dull (not a fan of Addi Turbos personally – too dull). While I like both the Original and Lace needles, I really do not like these needles for magic loop. I know there are knitters out there that have said they use them for magic looping socks, but I am just not at all a fan. I bought the US 1’s and US 0’s for magic looping socks. I tried it and frankly, I hated it. For reference I use Knit Picks Nickel needles for magic looping socks right now. Their cable does have a curl in it. It just stays out of my way by curling down and away from me. The ChiaoGoo RED needles twisted a bunch, curled a bit up, curled a bit towards me, and just generally got in my way. The cable got in my way so often that I felt like I was fussing with it constantly instead of knitting! I had to switch back to my trusty Knit Picks needles. I will give them another try sometime for magic looping socks, but I just wasn’t that fond of them.

Overall, I’d recommend that you give these needles a try. If you like HyaHya Stainless Steel or Knit Picks Nickel or Addi Lace needles, I’d recommend giving these a try. They’re great needles for a good price with a very unique cable!

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Posted in Current Projects, Life

Sweaters, Weight Loss, and Rhinebeck

There’s good news, bad news, and an annoying thing that happened with Eadon.

The good news is that the yarn arrived on Thursday to finish Eadon, I’m now done with all the knitting of it, and it’s been blocking since Saturday morning. The bad news is that the skein of yarn that arrived for me to finish it was a tiny bit darker and much more of a solid then the rest of the yarn. I’m hoping once it’s all sewn up it won’t look horrible. The annoying thing that happened when I started working on the shoulder seam part of the second sleeve was that I realized I didn’t bind off enough stitches on the first sleeve and I had to rip it back Friday night to fix it. At least I realized it, wasn’t too bad to fix, and didn’t take long! I started seaming Eadon Monday night, but it’s taking me a while to do. The way the prices go together is different from every other sweater I’ve seamed up until now. I’ve started seaming parts of it only to not like the way it’s going and starting over again. I’ll get it done tonight, though. Only one more sleeve to sew in!

Eadon Blocking
Eadon – blocking!

Since I finished knitting Eadon Saturday morning just before we went out of town for the weekend, I decided to try and work on the socks I have on the needles. Sadly, that hasn’t really worked out very well (I’m glad I brought a non-small-needle project with me, more on that below). Small needles still really bother my wrists and I can only knit a few rows before having to put it aside. No real progress on socks to show right now. Knitting Eadon didn’t bother my hands or wrists at all which makes me think it’s the needle size that’s doing it. I want to get at least one of the pairs off the needles, but after that I think I’ll take a break from knitting anything on small needles for a while. At least there’s always plenty of other things I can knit!

Last week sometime I got this idea in my head that I needed to knit a Rhinebeck sweater. Yes, I’ve got a sweater I’m nearly done with, but it wasn’t knit with Rhinebeck specifically in mind, so my brain reasoned that I should start something new with about a month to go until Rhinebeck. I was looking at DK and sport weight patterns initially. Even decided on two to pick from. One out of the yarn I bought at Rhinebeck last year and one out of the yarn I bought at the Spring Fling last year. Then I realized this was all rather crazy talk. I’d be stressing myself out trying to do this on a deadline when I’ve spent the summer working on deadline projects for Camp Loopy and haven’t really enjoyed it. So, I took a step back to think about it.

I looked at my stash. No worsted or bulky weight of yarn in a sweater quantity. I looked at sweaters I’ve knit that no longer fit me since I’ve lost over 60 lbs since I knit some of them. Even after I lost about half of the weight, I think I was still knitting to those heavier measurements and some things ended up not fitting that well. The difference in measurements wasn’t that big. I think I was just sizing up the way I did before and ending up with oversized sweaters rather than ones that were fitted. Anyhow, I now have a pile of sweaters that look like I’m swimming in them when I put them on and it makes me sad. While looking at my stash and my finished sweaters, I saw Seneca. I knit this earlier this year. When I finished it, it did end up a little too big. I loved the yarn and the pattern, though, and when I started losing more weight, I decided I would re-knit it later.

I’m still about 20 lbs from my goal, but it’s later enough and I decided I’m close enough to goal that I can reasonably start re-knitting Seneca with Rhinebeck in mind. Last week after deciding this, I frogged the Seneca I finished in February. After finishing Eadon on Saturday, I started Seneca. I’m knitting a smaller size, still adjusting for the gauge like I did the first time around. This time it should end up about 40″ across the chest, which is a bit less then my current chest measurement. It gives me some room to “shrink” into it! Even if I don’t end up losing any inches in my bust, I think it will still fit well with a bit of negative ease. I’ve managed to make my way through the cable on the bottom of the body and I’m currently working on the waist decreases.

Seneca Take 2
Seneca Take 2

The last two years I’ve gone I’ve had a new sweater to wear, one that was finished with the intention of wearing it to Rhinebeck. Earlier this year I had planned to not knit a sweater for Rhinebeck because I had taken a break from sweaters since I was losing weight (and still have a way to go, so I still am). I may or may not have Seneca done and if I don’t, I’ll probably wear Eadon along with the hat and mittens I plan on making. I think it’s kind of fun to have something new to wear that was made/bought just to wear at Rhinebeck, though I know a lot of people don’t bother with new things and wear things they’ve knit/crocheted without Rhinebeck specifically in mind.

Planning on going to Rhinebeck this year? Knitting or crocheting anything specifically for it?

Posted in Crochet, Current Projects, Knit Ramblings, Life

Still Not Knitting

Still not knitting here, but I have been able to do a little spinning and this weekend I managed to start and get a good way into a crocheted scarf. Not quite up to where I can knit (still hurts a bit to knit) and I can only spin or crochet for short periods of time before I take a break (don’t want to overdo it!). At least I feel like I’m finally seeing some progress! For a while I was getting rather frustrated because both wrists were hurting a large part of the time, but this last week seems to have brought some improvements.

The scarf I started this weekend is a pretty simple pattern to memorize. The pattern is Spring Ripple Scarf (Ravelry link), which I’m fairly sure is just a generic stitch pattern that is likely in some book somewhere, but seeing as I don’t have many crochet books and I was looking to start something right away, I paid the $2 for the pattern and went looking in the stash for some yarn to use. I chose the pink/white/green Zauberball I had and thought it was appropriate for the name of the scarf.

Zauberball - Pink/Green/White
Zauberball colorway 2079

I don’t have a picture of it yet, but it’s about 8″ long now. I really need to get some pictures of my Elektra shawl and now of the scarf! I like to do a bunch of knitting related photography all at once and with not knitting, well I just keep putting it off. Soon I will rectify this.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m not knitting, I’m often thinking about knitting (you could also substitute crocheting or spinning in there). I haven’t been knitting for over a month now. At first I didn’t think to much about it and tried to focus on other things. Slowly I was thinking about it more and more as the days turned into weeks and I still wasn’t knitting. This year has become one full of sweaters up to this point. Knitting sweaters, thinking about which sweaters to knit, planning and pairing patterns with stash… even thinking about what sweater I’ll knit for Rhinebeck. Up until about 2 weeks ago now, I was on the fence about going to Rhinebeck because of some things going on at work in October, but I reserved a room a few months ago “just in case.” Then I found out that Amy of Stash, Knit, Repeat will be doing her Fit to Flatter class there and I’ve been really wanting to take her class. That sealed it for me – I’ll definitely be there this year! So… last week I started thinking about a sweater for Rhinebeck. After a lot of thinking about what I wanted this year’s sweater to be and pattern searching, I found the pattern and yarn (from stash!) that I wanted to knit. I was all set to start swatching it as soon as I’m able to knit again.

That’s when something dawned on me.

Rhinebeck is 5 months away. That’s PLENTY of time for me to knit a sweater, but these last few days I’ve been frequently mentioning something to people: my clothing is no longer fitting me very well and soon I’ll have nothing to wear. Before any one gets any crazy ideas, NO, I’m not pregnant. I’ve been losing weight. For the last few months, I’ve been following Weight Watchers and working out. I’m finally fitting back into clothing I haven’t been able to wear in 3+ years, but it seems that just as I’m getting into those smaller sizes, I’m shrinking right out of them just as quickly!

Overall, I’m really quite happy about this, since that’s the point of WW and exercising, plus I’ve been feeling a lot better physically with regular exercises and some changes in my diet. With that said, though, the downside is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to continue to make this the year of sweaters if by the end of the year (or fall when I could wear them) most of them will be too big on me. And really, what’s the point in knitting yourself a bunch of sweaters you can’t wear? I did consider knitting smaller sizes, but I don’t really know what size I’ll be once I get to my goal weight or how long it’ll take to get there. I also considered just knitting to fit me (possibly tightly) now, then frog later and make into a new sweater. Typically I would be fine with this, but I rarely knit a pattern twice and frogging a whole, finished sweater seems like a giant pain to do. I’ve frogged sweaters 2/3 finished and that was difficult enough. Definitely not up for that task.

So, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I am going to stop knitting sweaters for the time being. No Rhinebeck sweater for me this year. After thinking on it a day, it makes sense and I’m a bit less sad about it. On the up side, I think I’ll get a lot from the Fit to Flatter class and get even better fitting sweaters when I’m ready to get back to knitting them!

I think I can safely say that the 12 sweaters in 2011 that I was working on is no longer a goal for this year. I will definitely give this another go next year, though, as it’s still on my “bucket list” of things I’d like to accomplish. I’ve put the two sweaters (Slipped Hours and Shibuya) I’ve been working on in hibernation until I’m ready to knit sweaters again. They will likely be frogged, but I’ll decide that later.

At the moment I keep thinking “Well, what now?” There’s so many patterns out there and in my queue that aren’t sweaters, but it’s difficult to shift my focus so much after planning a lot of sweater projects (or potential projects) for the year. I’ve been looking around at what other knit-a-long type things I could do instead and Summer of Socks 2011 is about to start! I was all set to knit socks last summer, then I got sidetracked and didn’t knit very many socks. I think that was about the time I got bit hard by the sweater bug. I have loads of sock yarn, there are tons of patterns out there, and with sweaters set to the side, I’ve started looking at what socks I’ll knit this summer.

First thing I want to do is get Maelstrom and the PDY Stripey sock finished. Hopefully before Summer of Socks officially starts on June 21st. Not sure what I’ll start after that yet. Thinking I might do a few Cookie A. patterns and maybe some colorwork socks. What’s you’re favorite sock pattern? One you’ve been wanting to knit? Socks you’re planning to knit for Summer of Socks 2011? Go ahead… make my queue grow! hahaha 😉

Posted in Knit Ramblings, Life

Not Knitting

It’s been a while since I updated, nearly a month it seems! I haven’t updated because I haven’t been knitting for going on 3 weeks now. 😦

Since my last post on April 20th, I managed to struggle through the wrist pain I was having and get Elektra finished in time for our vacation. I still need to photograph it. It’s been raining like crazy here and I keep forgetting I need finished photos!

I took NO knitting at all on vacation with me. My wrist was feeling better after a week of barely using my left hand for anything. When I got back home, I tried to knit and my left wrist started hurting before I even finished a round on Slipped Hours. Went to the doctor and was told it’s tendonitis. He gave me some anti-inflammatory medication, told me to keep it in a brace and it should feel better in a few weeks. A little over a week later, it’s not hurting as much, but then again I’m trying not to use my left hand at all which turns out is REALLY hard (it wasn’t nearly so difficult when my right hand was the problem last August). It’s not feeling much better overall and I’ve noticed some tingling in my ring fingers that started today. Sigh.

Since I haven’t been able to knit, crochet, or spin, I’ve been reading a lot of books on my Kindle. I finally finished Girls of Murder City, then breezed through Water for Elephants in a few days. The story completely sucked me in and I could barely put it down. I tried to read Everything Illuminated because I absolutely loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but I just couldn’t get into that book at all. Now I’m reading Bossypants. Matt kept telling me I should read it, so I downloaded the sample and got sucked in. If you’ve got any book recommendations, send them my way! I like a very wide range of books and since I seem to be flying through books at the moment (okay, fast for ME since I’m not a very fast reader), I’ve already got my eye out for the next thing I’ll read.

So… I know this isn’t much of a post since I’ve not been knitting, but I hope to have some photos of Elektra to share soon. I also hope I can get back to knitting soon since it’s kind of killing me to not be knitting right now!

Oh! BTW, anyone going to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this coming weekend? I’m planning on being there on Saturday. Any locals that want to carpool with Diana & me are welcome to and if you’re going to be there, maybe we can meet up! Hey, if I can’t knit, at least I can go visit pretty yarn and fiber, right? 😉

Posted in Completed Projects, Knit Ramblings, Life

Two FO’s and 2010 Year End Wrap Up

This New Year’s Eve definitely hasn’t gone as expected, but I think that it’s turning out to be a good one anyhow! We originally had plans to go hang out with Matt’s friend just outside of Louisville, KY. He had been having some issues with the network at his work which ultimately lead to a part being shipped early this afternoon, arriving this evening, and currently being installed so that everything is up and running by Monday. I’m bummed that we aren’t able to make it, but Matt is a rock star at his job and has to play Super IT Guy instead. Just life how life goes sometimes!

Much to my surprise, I was able to get two more projects done just before the end of the year.

The first thing I finished was the Picot Edge Hat. I saw this on Grmperina’s blog earlier this week and knew immediately I needed to make it. I’ve been trying to figure out just the right project for this yarn and I finally found it!

Picot Edge Hat (Front)
Picot Edge Hat

Pattern: Picot Edge Hat (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: December 28, 2010
Completed: December 31, 2010
Yarn: Squoosh Fiber Arts Merinio Cashmere Sport, colorway Seaside, approx 3/4 of a skein
Needles: US 4 bamboo circular and DPNs
Notes: No modifications. Followed the pattern for the medium size, though I think my gauge was a bit off. Love the way it fits and it comes over my ears and is just what I need for winter.

Picot Edge Hat (Side)
Picot Edge Hat – Side

Craig, who runs Great Northern Yarns, was kind enough to offer to send me a skein of the mink/cashmere DK yarn that I need. I thanked him repeatedly, but I am just so blown away by his kind offer! The fiber community is such a great one and I’m so happy that I get to be a part of it. 🙂

The yarn arrived today and in a short amount of time I had my Juneberry Triangle finished! I didn’t think I’d get this one done before the end of the year. I’m glad I was able to, though. It’s officially off the needles and currently blocking. I’m waiting to do the full FO post once it’s dry and I have more pictures of it, but here’s a little peek!

Juneberry
Juneberry Triangle

It’s that time of year again! Time to recap the projects I’ve completed this year. I have less projects then I did last year, but last year I had a month off work after having surgery to do all the knitting I wanted and I did smaller projects last year compared to this year.

Project breakdown for 2010:

– Eight pairs of socks
– Seven sweaters (which includes the baby sweater I knit)
– Six hats
– Five shawls
– Three scarves
– Two pairs of fingerless gloves
– One iPhone cober
– One chicken bag
– One toy alien
– One pair of baby booties
– One tree

Completed Projects in 2010
Projects Completed in 2010

Overall, I’m happy with the projects I’ve completed this year. Less then last year, but last year I had a whole month of recovery after having surgery that I spent knitting. I knit more sweaters and more shawls, but less socks. The things I like to work on are always changing and I notice it most when I do this review each year!

I had a few goals for this year. I have to make a confession… I kinda forgot about those completely! I met my goal of knitting five shawls this year, just barely. I decided I didn’t want to knit Little Birds, so I didn’t meet that goal. I didn’t get around to the exercising goal until late in the year (around September), so there’s another miss. Eat Clean diet was a miss as well (life, it gets in the way!). I think my goal of “knitting with more luxury fibers” was a bit lofty, but I think I did alright there with my sea silk shawl, my mink cashmere shawl, and my Bugga sweater. I’m sure I could have met some of these better had I not forgot about them. I guess I just wasn’t as committed as I thought I was!

For the new year I have some knitting specific goals and some other ones, but I’ll share that in the new year. 🙂

2010 has been pretty good overall. There were a few down spots, like my dear beta fish, Fred, passing away (who I had for 5 years and was a surprisingly attentive, playful and a fish with his own personality), but life is pretty good. I know that some of my friends have had a rough year and I hope that 2011 brings better things for everyone.

Happy New Year!! May the new year be great for all! 🙂

Posted in Current Projects, Knit Ramblings, Life, Spinning

Not Knitting, Upcoming Projects, and a SAL/KAL

Since my last post and my mention of my back hurting a bit, I’ve had some further injuries. My right wrist started hurting suddenly and I was getting a very sharp pain when I moved it. Along with that pain, I started having some pain in my right shoulder as well. After a few days and it not improving, I decided to haul myself to the doctor to get it checked out. Doc told me it was tendinitis, gave me a few prescriptions to help, and told me to rest my wrist and shoulder as much as possible. Since the pain in the wrist started, I put aside the knitting, crocheting, spinning, and limited my computer use. I’m right handed, so at work I started using the mouse with my left hand and using my right hand as little as possible and really just trying to do nothing while at home so I didn’t further injure myself. I’m not entirely sure what caused it other then overuse/repetitive motion. I had been using the mouse more at work since a particular program I use can really only be navigated by mouse or special voice software (which I don’t have), so the repetitive motion of that for 4-5 hours per day for 3+ weeks is likely what put me over the edge into the “wow that hurts and it’s not going away” territory. Before the wrist pain even started, I did have some on and off shoulder problems, but it wasn’t sticking around until after the wrist really hurt.

Anyhow… all of that to say for the last two weeks I haven’t been knitting which leaves me with very little blogging content! I have been reading, but I’m a fairly slow reader. When I put aside the knitting and spinning, I picked up a copy of Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross at the book store and I’m now roughly 70% through it. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. My book queue has grown quite a bit in the last two weeks, that’s for sure!

I do have a little bit of knitting to share. Before I wasn’t knitting, I started the Fresh Mint tank top out of NatruallyCaron.com Spa yarn.

Fresh Mint
Fresh Mint

I’ve already attached the top edges together where they should be to make it easier to try on as I go. I’ve also modified it a bit by doing the garter stitch border on the edge, doing a different increase in place of the yarn over increase row, and doing more increases after joining the front/back together to account for my 45″ bust (I’m knitting the 44″ size and there is no ease in the pattern). I also plan on adding waist shaping to it. This is really the only thing that saw any progress that I hadn’t yet showed on the blog! Both the socks I’m working on haven’t really seen much progress. The Jaywalker sock is slightly longer and I’ve done 5 rows of ribbing on sock number two of Maelstrom.

This “knitting break” has given me some time to think about the next things I’d like to knit. I’ve even started considering my Rhinebeck sweater for this year. I’m still not 100% decided and I think that the amount of time it takes to get back to my regular knitting will decide what my choice will be.

The two sweaters I’m looking most at knitting next are: Cottage Garden and Jumper Cardigan.

Sweaters
Cottage Garden and Jumper Cardigan

One of these will likely be my Rhinebeck sweater. I already have yarn in mind for both sweaters. For Cottage Garden I have two colors of purple from Brooks Farms Solo Silk.

Brooks Farm, Solo Silk
Brooks Farm Solo Silk

The Jumper Cardigan is a vintage pattern that only comes in one size, but I think I can upsize by adjusting the gauge and using a bit heavier weight yarn. I’ve decided I’d like to do it in this fantastic pink and green combination. I have 4 skeins of Vesper Sock Yarn “Quick Sock” in the Ivy League colorway (this was a club color, which I received, then collected 3 others from Ravelers destashing) and 2 skeins of The Plucky Knitter MCN in the Ellen Arden colorway (also a club colorway from The Plucky Knitter Classics Club, which I got in a destash on Ravelry – from my Spring Fling roomie, Lauren). When I got both of these colors together, I KNEW it needed to be a sweater.

Possible Sweater
Vesper Quick Sock in Ivy League and The Plucky Knitter MCN in Ellen Arden

I’ve even knit a swatch and it looks like a gauge change will be just what I need to upsize the pattern.

Sweater Swatch
Swatch for Jumper Cardigan

Currently I’m leaning towards the Jumper Cardigan because I’m really in love with the color combination. Still trying to decide, though, so any thoughts are always welcome! 🙂

Along with the wrist/shoulder thing, I also seem to be getting some tingling in both hands and both feet. Not really sure what’s going on, but I did get blood work done yesterday and have some doctors appointments scheduled to try and figure it out. Because of the tingling in my feet (which is pretty continuous, in the left foot more then the right), I’ve limited what spinning related things I do. I did try a little spinning yesterday. It seemed to be okay on the right side (I have a single treadle wheel), but when I switched to the left side, it caused some pain in my lower back. At that point I stopped spinning trying not to over do it. I was just happy to get in some spinning time after almost two weeks of no knitting or spinning!

After that I prepped the fiber I’m going to use for the SAL/KAL that’s going on in Zarzuela’s Fibers Junkies group on Ravelry. The SAL/KAL is to spin a specific weigh of yarn (your choice) then incorporate it into a sweater (also your choice). You can even combine what you’re spinning with a commercial yarn. I thought this would be a great challenge for me since I’ve never spun enough yarn for a sweater before! I recently purchased 8 ounces of two different colors from Zarzuela’s Fibers. It was tough to decide which to use because both are really pretty!

Targhee from Zarzuela's Fibers
Targhee in Orange Dream and Emeralds

I decided to spin the 8 ounces of Targhee in the Emeralds colorway, aim for a fingering weight yarn, and knit the Featherweight Cardigan. So far the first 4 ounces of fiber are prepped (pre-drafted). Now I just need to decide if I want to finish the current fiber on the wheel (Cheviot in DC Sunrise from Zarzuela’s Fibers) or to put that aside and get started on the Targhee in Emeralds. I’ve never worked with Targhee before, so I’m looking forward to trying something new. It’s really soft! Reminds me a little bit of merino when I was pre-drafting it.

Time to get off the computer for now and enjoy the weekend! Hope everyone has a good weekend 🙂

Posted in Completed Projects, Life

End of Year Wrap Up and a Final FO

In preparation for this year end post, I took a look at my Ravelry notebook and realized that I’d done a lot more knitting then I thought this year. I completed 42 knit or crochet projects this year!

Project breakdown for 2009:

– Thirteen pairs of socks
– Five sweaters
– Five hats
– Four doll clothing items
– Three amigurumi toys
– Three shawls
– Three pairs of fingerless gloves
– Two scarves
– Two cowls
– One pair of gloves
– One par of mittens

Projects Completed in 2009
Projects Completed in 2009

You’ll notice one project is missing from this picture. That’s because the recipient of that item hasn’t received it yet and I don’t want to spoil the surprise by posting a picture too soon. I knit more everything then I thought I had this year! Last year I knit a total of 19 projects, so in comparison, I knit over double the amount I did in 2008 and felt like I knit less in 2009 then I did in 2008. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?

As for the one goal I set myself last year about reading 12 books… I didn’t come close. I read 4: Fun Home, Enchantment, The 19th Wife, and Fordlandia. All of them were good, though. I had a hard time getting into a number of books and I don’t think it helped that I didn’t really have a set time for reading aside from lunchtime during the work week. I’m going to try and read more this year by giving myself a set time to read before bed. I won’t set a goal for it, just going to do it and see how it goes.

I did, however, do quite well with 365 this year! Today is the last day of it, so it’s not complete yet as I haven’t posted a picture for today, but I’m really pleased that I was able to keep up with it. I learned a lot about taking pictures throughout 2009 and even have a DLSR now, thanks to Matt. Here’s my Flickr set for 2009’s 365.

I think I did so-so with knitting goals. I wanted to do more fair isle, but aside from the Rainy Day fingerless gloves, I didn’t do much. I wanted to knit more sweaters and I finished a total of 5, so I’m happy with that. I wanted to try steeking, but didn’t get to it because I ended up not being too thrilled with the colors I picked for the Little Birds cardigan and didn’t get around to ordering new colors until pretty late in the year. I wanted to wear more of my handknit socks and I have. Not too bad overall.

I don’t think I mentioned this much on my blog, but paying off my credit cards was a big goal and I did manage that this year. I’m really pleased that I got it done and I don’t think I could have done it without Matt’s help and encouragement! Thank you, sweetie. 🙂

I’ve been thinking of this upcoming year and things I want to set goals for. I already know two big ones that are non-knitting related and a few knitting related things that I’m still working on figuring out. I’ll post about those tomorrow.

One last FO before the new year! My long sleeved Liesl.

Long Sleeve Liesl
Long Sleeve Liesl

Long Sleeve Leisl
Long Sleeve Liesl, folded

Pattern: Liesl (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: November 12, 2009
Completed: December 20, 2009
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, 2.5 skeins in Spring Tickle
Needles: US 10.5 bamboo circular and DPNs
Notes: Making the same modifications as the first one. Cast on for the wide neckline. Knit 4 rows of garter stitch then started row 1 of the wide neckline, working the first buttonhole on this row as knit to 4 stitches from the end, k2tog, yo, k2. Tried to go for 3/4 length sleeves, which ended up more like long sleeves, but I’m still happy with how it turned out. I haven’t decided on buttons or a clasp yet. It does have button holes, though. I’m still calling it done since I don’t usually button up sweaters when I wear them anyhow.

Last blog post of 2009! Hope everyone had a good year and has a safe New Years Eve celebration. See you all next year!

Posted in Current Projects, Life

Veteran’s Day, Project Plans, and Weekend Plans

I’m going to be serious for a moment here. I know I don’t get very serious about any sort of issues here, but this is one that is close to my heart. Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. I don’t talk about it a whole lot, but I’m a Navy veteran and serving in the military really changed me in ways I didn’t expect. Now, on Veteran’s Day, I feel rather emotional. I feel a deep loss for those who have lost their lives during wars, I feel for the friends and families that stand by their soldier’s, sailor’s and airman’s side while they are away, and I feel for the friends of mine still in the service. Yesterday, on NPR, they talked a lot about veteran’s, the recent shooting at Fort Hood army base, military personnel currently serving or recently back from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and various veteran’s issues. I had a hard time listening to some of it and at points had to turn it off. Regardless of what you believe about the wars currently going on, please support our troops and veterans as much as you can. Volunteer with veterans organizations, host a soldier/sailor/airman for a holiday (there are many “adopt” programs if you live near a base. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to spend the Christmas I was in boot camp with a host family.), and do what you can to show our military that we care while in the service and while out. Trust me, you will touch their lives, even if they never tell you so. I’ve been the recipient of kindness of strangers while in the service and as a vet and I try to pay those kindnesses forward to others whenever I can. I hope you will (or do), too.

That said, I don’t know about you, but holidays mid-week really screw me up. I feel a bit out of sorts today! (I’m sure yesterday’s emotional roller coaster didn’t help much.) Anyhow… on with the knitting stuff. 🙂

Since Sunday, I’ve finished two projects I can’t talk about (gifts). I have one more secret project I’m going to start very soon (another gift). Looking at my projects, I feel like I need something else on the needles. I’ve lost momentum on the colorwork socks because I’m not sure how to work the next part of the design, plus they take quite a bit of concentration, so they have been put aside until I figure out what to do next. I like the Spooky sock I’m working on, but I think that the colors aren’t really doing it for me right now since Halloween has passed, so I haven’t been working on those much. Multnomah is seeing some progress because I absolutely love the yarn, though pictures aren’t showing much since I haven’t reached the edge pattern yet. I need something that will catch my attention again like the two projects I can’t show here did.

I looked through my stash and there was a yarn that caught my eye.

DIC Classy - Spring Tickle
Dream In Color Classy in Spring Tickle

I bought this yarn with the intention of making another Liesl since I enjoyed knitting my first one so much. I think I’ll cast on tonight. 🙂

After that, I think I’ll get back to Waves of Grain since I finally bought bigger beads yesterday and I have plans to knit some pillows for our living room. The dress I showed my last post is now dry and I’m pretty happy with how it looks after blocking. Still needs buttons before I take pictures, but I’ll have some soon. I know what I’ll be changing in the next version and hope to have the pattern up once I knit a revised version.

Plans for this weekend include Game Day at our place with some of my knitter friends, possibly going to Jungle Jim’s wine festival (which was featured in The Wall Street Journal), and lunch with family. Should be fun! Do you have anything planned this weekend?

Posted in Life

Rhinebeck 2009

It’s been about 2 and a half weeks since Rhinebeck, but earlier this week I finally got all my pictures uploaded. It took me so long because we’ve been having internet issues at home (a significant amount of packet loss), so try as I might, I couldn’t upload anything. Anyhow…. Rhinebeck photos!

I stayed in NYC (and DC) with some fantastic knitter folks. (Wishing we had a group shot… maybe some day!) A lot of traveling overall, but a great time was had.

Of course there was a lot of yarn…

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Yarn!

The biggest whoopie pies I’ve ever seen…

Whoopie Pie, close up

Which Larua and I thought were the most delicious thing ever!

Om Nom Nom Nom
“Om nom nom nom!”

I met Sharon and Sairy (it was great to meet you both!)….

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Sharon (left) and Sairy (right)

And a little while later, I met Jessica!!

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Me and Jessica (Picture from Laura)

After all the time we’d spent chatting online before my surgery, during my recovery and then when she had surgery not long after me, it was great to finally meet her in person. At the Ravelry meet up, I got to meet a lot of other folks (who I sadly didn’t get pictures of, I think I might have been a little overwhelmed seeing so many folks I’ve talked with on Ravelry in person). It was so great to meet everyone and put so many faces with names. I really wish that I could have had more time with each of you!

One of the best things at the Ravelry meet up (besides all the awesome people I got to meet) was Bobsolda. Ysolda designed, knit, and wore this Bob costume.

Bobsolda!

There were all kinds of animals there, of course. After all, it is called New York Sheep and Wool!

Sheep, Alpacas, Goats, and Bunnies
Sheep, Alpacas, Goats, and Bunnies

You know I came home with yarn, right? I will say that I was pretty selective with my purchases, but I’m very happy with everything I bought. I tried really hard to stick to things that I can’t easily get online and to pick things out with a pattern in mind. I think I did pretty good on both counts. My one splurge was the angora/silk/wool blend that I bought 2 skeins of with no real plan on what to make. Didn’t take long to figure out what to do with it once I got home, though!

Here’s the whole haul.

The Loot
Everything I came home with from Rhinebeck.

Rhinebeck Yarns
Top: (L to R) Brooks Farm Solo Silk for Cottage Garden, Brooks Farm Solo Silk for a hat,
and Wild Apple Hill Farms worsted
Bottom: (L to R) Sheldrige Farm worsted merino in pink and teal for hats and
Oasis Farm Fiber Mill angora/silk/wool

The Wild Apple Hill Farms worsted yarn has since been given to someone else because I had a bad reaction to something in or on the yarn that didn’t go away after washing. I had intended it to become the Oblique cardigan, but it seems it wasn’t meant to be! Karen now the new owner of the yarn and is turning it into a Central Park Hoodie. The yarn from Oasis Farm Fiber Mill is currently being knit into a hat and fingerless gloves for me, which I’ll blog about soon. The rest is still waiting to be knit!

Speaking of knitting, I do have some finished things and some new projects to show you. I think I got a little out of the habit of blogging for a bit because life got all crazy and busy for a while, but I hope to start posting more often again.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

PS: You can see all my Rhinebeck pictures here.

Posted in Current Projects, Life

Housewarming, Starlight, and New Yarn

Friday, we made the final big grocery store run before the housewarming party Saturday.

275/365: Fridge Full
Fridge Stuffed Full

Saturday morning, I had to do the final run to the grocery store for ice and when I returned, the first guests had arrived. It wasn’t long before we had a house full of people, though! In the end, we had a lot of food, a lot of company, and a good time. I think Rock Band was being played most of the party!

276/365: Housewarming Party
Rock Band: Matt and Jerry on vocals, Caitlin on bass, Andrew on Guitar, and Billy on drums

I haven’t had much interesting knitting going on. I’m still working on Starlight and have pretty much put everything else aside to work on it. I’ll be leaving for Rhinebeck in a week (wow, time flies!), so this takes priority over all other projects at the moment! I’m working on the second sleeve and I’m about 2/3 of the way through it. This weekend I’ll be sewing it up and blocking it. That reminds me… I still need buttons!

279/365: Still This Sweater
Starlight Sleeves

Since I don’t have that much knitting to show, how about I show you some lovely yarn that arrived recently? Laura gave me a Loopy Ewe gift certificate for my birthday (it was last Friday) and I purchased a skein of Sea Silk (150 g) in Sangria.

Sangria Sea Silk (150 g)
Hand Madien Sea Silk (150 g) in Sangria

I’ve already decided what I want to do with it, too. I’m going to make the Waves of Grain scarf. I still need to pick out beads for it, but I’m considering not doing beads at all or maybe contrasting beads instead of matching ones (maybe teal?).

First weekend in who knows how long that we have no plans! And it’s a three day weekend! Hoping to get some sewing done and finish the sweater up this weekend. Next week is a 2 day work week for me… then RHINEBECK!! 🙂