29 April 2008

2 Years!

Thank you all for your kind words about the wedding purse. I was very pleased with how it turned out. I just love patterns that look complicated, but are really easy, and gave such pretty results.

So, today marks our 2 year wedding anniversary. That wonderful man of mine had roses sent to me at work. I meant to snap a picture before I left work, but I was pretty fried by then and completely forgot. We went to dinner after work, at the restaurant where we had our first date almost 3-1/2 years ago. It was nice to sit face-to-face and have a meal. We usually eat dinner at different times, and in the living room while watching tv. After dinner we stopped at DQ for an ice cream cone. Yum!

Anyway, Happy Anniversary Dear! I, too, love you more now than the day we were married. I feel very fortunate to have my best friend as my partner through life.

27 April 2008

Beaded wedding purse

Picture heavy post (now that I've finally figured out the macro function on my camera).

The little beaded purse was completed Saturday morning and gifted Saturday afternoon. The recipient seemed to really like it, as did the other guests at the shower. I think it turned out great!

beaded purse2 042608
beaded purse1 042608

Most of the beads are clear, with some sort-of-randomly-placed pink and gold beads.

beaded purse closeup pink 042608
beaded purse closeup gold 042608

"Sort-of" random because I originally had a plan to have the colored beads spiral around the bag, but I didn't take into consideration the fact that the bead placement moves within each pattern repeat. Duh. Instead, the placement looks a little random. The pink beads are on one side and the gold on the other.

The most interesting part of knitting this was the lace top.

beaded purse gathered top 042608
beaded purse top 042608

The top is worked back and forth, then seamed to join. Stitches are picked up from one of the long ends and the bag knitted in the round down from there.

The last 3 rows in the pattern repeat were the most interesting. The instructions had me wrapping the yarn 3 times around the needle for every stitch worked. Then on the next row, all of those extra wraps were dropped to create elongated stitches. Those stitches were all knitted together on the last row. The effect is quite pretty:

beaded purse lace closeup 042608
beaded purse lace1 042608

I really love how the drawstrings came out.

beaded purse cord 042608

So nice looking and so easy to make. You just tape one end of the strands of yarn to a table and twist until the yarn twists onto itself. Knot the ends, trim them up, and there you go. So simple, and it looks so much nicer in this project than i-cord.

You know, for inexpensive yarn, it was perfect for this project. I found it at Hobby Lobby for less than $5. I don't have the ball band anymore, but I think the brand is Sinfonia. It's a mercerized cotton, DK weight (I think). It was very soft stuff to work with and didn't hurt my hand the way cotton usually does. It had just the right amount of sheen for this project, almost like silk.

I did something with this project that I haven't done in over a year - used DPNs! I didn't have a size 4 circ long enough to magic loop these, so I had to use DPNs. It took a little while for my hands to get used to the feeling of them again. Not my favorite method for knitting in the round, but I didn't mind it so much. Oh, and can I just say that kitchener stitch is magic? That's another technique I haven't used in a long time because I've been knitting sock toe-up for the last year. I could have done a 3-needle bind off for the bottom of the bag, but the kitchener looked so much nicer.

Here are all the details:
Pattern: Beaded Wedding Purse (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Sinfonia mercerized cotton in cream
Needles: US size 4 Addi 24" lace needle for lace top; Boye aluminum size 4 DPNs for body of purse
Notions: size 6.0 seed beads
Started: second week of April
Finished: 4/26/08
Mods: None

beaded purse &ampb Abbey 042608
The Booger helped me with the photos - mostly because I had to interrupt her nap to use the backdrop (a.k.a. our bed).


FO pictures of the RPM socks will be coming in a couple of days. I have just the bind off to do this evening.

16 April 2008

Too much on the needles

I'm a bad blogger. I promised WiP pictures in my next post, which was supposed to happen last Saturday. Then the weather got crappy, and you know, when the sun doesn't shine, I go into hibernation mode and that part of my personality that is a big procrastinator takes over. So here it is 4 days later and I finally was able to take some pictures. So, here we go...

First up are the RPM socks.

RPM 041608

The first one is finished (the one that took me only 10 days--woohoo!). I haven't been able to work on the second one much in the last couple of weeks because of the next WiP.

The Moss Grid Hand Towels from Mason Dixing Knitting.

hand towels1 041608

I'm making 3 of these as a wedding gift for a friend: a red one, a yellow one, and a white one. I'm finished with the yellow one and have started the red one. The wedding is 3 May, and I'm not sure I'm going to make it. Because...

I started this thing Monday night:

wedding purse 041608

It's a little beaded drawstring purse for the same friend that is getting married. I received an invitation to her bridal shower and knew I had to whip up a quick and pretty gift for her. My goal is to have it finished by the end of the week. I have the lace edging finished and have strung the beads. The rest is straight stockinette, so it shouldn't take but a few hours to complete.

The other 2 things on my WiP list have no pictures this time. The Flower Petal shawl hasn't progressed recently because of my rush to get the aforementioned wedding gifts finished. And, I tried taking pictures of the Five Alarm Bag, but my camera and the lighting in my bedroom didn't cooperate. Maybe next week I'll get better pictures.

So I have way too many projects going on right now. I'm feeling a little scattered. I really need to get those wedding gifts finished so I can get back to my regularly scheduled knitting program. I figured out today that if I knit 2 of the 14 row pattern repeats a day, I can get the towels done in time to wash and block them before the wedding. Then I realized that by doing so, I wouldn't be able to finish the RPM socks in time for them to be my April socks for SAM5. So I'm not going to stress over the towels. I'll just mail them to the recipient when they're finished. I'd rather be able to finish my April socks.

10 April 2008

Then again, maybe not

A close friend of mine is having job problems. She is being pushed out of the job she currently has, and is looking for a new position in the same company, where she has been for 15+ years. I feel horrible that I have to sit by and watch her go through all of this, and I can’t do anything to help her except be an ear for her to bend.

In hearing all of what is happening to her, and looking around me at the news of our crap economy, and the housing market being a mess, and gas prices being ridiculously high… I am very thankful that Shane and I both have stable jobs that pay enough for us to live relatively comfortably.

And I am extremely thankful that we own our home. This year was going to be the year that we sold the house and bought a bigger one for our (hopefully soon-to-be) expanding family. But the chances that we’d make any decent money on the sale, or even be able to find another house that we love enough to stay in for the next 10 to 15 years, are pretty slim.

So after talking about it for a while last weekend, we have decided to stay in the house for at least the next two years. We’re going to get the house ready to sell (there is a crap-ton of stuff that needs to be done), so that when the housing market turns around, we can put it up for sale right away.

Of course, this means that I am getting ready to do the purge to end all purges. The house is still too small for us (960 sq ft w/3 bedrooms & 1 bathroom, for me, the 6’4” husband, and the rapidly-growing 9yo boy), much less us with a baby (no, I’m not pregnant – yet). We have too much stuff, and it all must go. This is going to mean making some sacrifices and getting rid of some things that we just do not have space for (there may be some yarn destashing going on in the next few months). It also means that I am going to have to get creative with storage solutions in the house. The anal retentive in me is actually looking forward to reorganizing to create more space.

Hopefully, in a couple of years, we’ll be able to sell the house for what it’s actually worth, and buy another one that we absolutely love. In the meantime, we’ll just be packed like sardines in our little rancher and be thankful everyday that we have it.

WiP pictures to come tomorrow.

04 April 2008

Random Friday

Why? Because it’s Friday and I haven’t posted since last week. So many random thoughts have been running through my head this week, but I haven’t had the energy to blog them. Here goes...

1. BB’s 9th birthday was Wednesday. Since we had him last weekend, we took him to a movie (Horton Hears a Who?), to Applebee’s for dinner (his favorite restaurant), then to my parents’ house for cake. The original plan was to go to Science City in Kansas City (one of those hands-on kids’ science museums), but Wendy and Pete came down with a nasty flu, and so could not go with us, so we changed the plan and went to the movie instead. I think BB had a good time. We got him a couple of games for the PS2 and a couple of books. He’s been reading a lot lately. Oh, and he made the honor roll again this past grade period.

2. I knit a sock in 10 days. I haven’t blogged about them yet (see aforementioned lack of energy), but I started a pair of RPM socks two weeks ago, and finished the first one this past Monday. I am only halfway through the toe increases on the second sock, which I started Wednesday night at knitting group. The second one is going to take much longer than the first one because I have a deadline project I started on Tuesday, which is...

3. Moss Grid Hand Towels (Ravelry link) from Mason Dixon Knitting. Late last week I received an invitation to a coworker’s wedding, which is on 3 May - too soon to make an afghan for her. I spent a couple of days searching and came up with the hand towel pattern. I’m planning on making three of them. I ordered the yarn last Thursday evening and received it Tuesday. I chose Knit Picks CotLin. At first I really wanted to use the Euroflax Originals called for in the pattern, but then I saw the cost — nearly $20/skein. That would end up being $40/towel. Uh, no. This coworker is a friend too, but not that good a friend. So, after doing a little more digging, I decided that CotLin would do. I haven’t used it before, and it’s reasonably priced. As of last night, I have finished 3 of the 11 pattern repeats of the first towel. And let me tell ya, this yarn is pretty nice. It doesn’t make my hands hurt the way cotton usually does. I’m not sure if it’s the linen content, the fact that it’s DK weight instead of worsted (which is what most of the cottons I’ve used have been), or that I’m using bamboo needles, but I’m not having any pain, even after knitting for close to 4 hours last night. If I can keep trucking on like this, I may just finish these towels by the wedding date.

4. Speaking of Mason Dixon Knitting, has anyone else noticed the inordinately large number of projects in that book that call for Euroflax Originals? Off the top of my head, I can think of five. It’s a good thing that I almost always substitute yarn when I make a project from a pattern, or I’d be screwed. That yarn is just too expensive for me.

5. Petty little rant: I’ve been reading the Wendy Knits blog for probably the last 6 months. Not for any reason really. I heard it was popular so I put it in my bloglines to see if I liked it. It’s not the best blog in the world, but it’s not the worst either. I like seeing the projects she works on, and her kitty is cute. But she did something this week that I thought was a little odd. Her 6-year blogiversary was this week, so she held a contest. The contest consisted of a bunch of questions to which only her avid readers would know the answers. Questions like: What is her brother’s first name? What was she knitting when she bought her first car? How many iPods does she have and what are their names? Now, is it just me, or do these questions seem a little self-involved? I guess one could argue that writing a personal blog is in itself a self-involved act. But should the writer assume that her readers are so caught up in the blog that they remember all the details of every blog entry written? And if some readers do (there were 5 who got all of the answers correct), should the writer be a little concerned that maybe she has acquired some stalkers? I don’t know. The whole contest quiz thing just struck me as strange. I guess maybe if I had 8,000 readers, I would think differently about them. As it is, I just figure what I write isn’t so exciting that thousands of people would want to read it, much less memorize it.

6. Why, oh why, do people have deeply personal phone conversations at work? If I were having a personal crisis, say, my doctor called to tell me that the ultrasound on my unborn child showed that a critical artery was not developing normally, I would not take such a call at work (what kind of irresponsible doctor gives that sort of news over the phone anyway?), cry at my desk, then call my husband at his place of business and talk about it for 45 minutes. I heard the whole thing in my office not 4 feet from this coworker's office. If she were someone I was closer to, I would have approached her and tried to comfort her. But I don’t know her very well, and didn’t feel like I should intrude. I don’t think she realizes just how much we all can hear. I never have really personal phone conversations at work for this very reason.

7. And finally, I would like to take this time to officially state my opinion about the final four game happening Saturday evening between Kansas and North Carolina, because I know y’all are burning to know. I hate basketball. I don’t care that KU is my alma mater. I have no school spirit — didn’t when I was attending college, and certainly don’t now, 10 years after graduation. I don’t care if they lose. Hell, I sorta hope they will so that we can go back to real life in my household.

Hmm... I might be a little cranky today.