27 January 2009

Book club fail

Back in mid-December, a bunch of my coworkers formed a book club and asked if I wanted to join. I figured it would be a great way to put myself on a reading deadline. I haven't finished a book in so long that I feel almost illiterate. This is tragic because I have an English degree. I spent 4 years of my life reading everything I could get my hands on (for credit!) and I have a massive collection of books.

Then I learned to knit. All of my reading was replaced with knitting. And I've never been able to get back to my regular reading habit.

So joining a book club was perfect. I could knit in the evenings while watching tv, then read after Shane goes to bed.

Wrong. I fail. I didn't finish the book. Not even close. I think I'm on page 75 of over 500, and the club meeting is tonight. Needless to say, I'm skipping it.

So, you knitters out there - do you read regularly? How are you able to knit and get any reading done?

I'll stay in the club one more month, but if I'm not able to finish next month's book, I'm giving up.


18 January 2009

Knitting skills

I'm feeling much better now. I have some lingering congestion, but nothing too serious. Thank you all for the get well vibes. They appear to have worked :)

Nicked the following from kemtee. Thanks, gal! It's interesting to see all my knitting skills inventoried like this.

Mark with bold the things you have knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest

Garter stitch (Just don’t like the way it looks, and it’s a total snoozer to work.)
Knitting with metal wire
Shawl (LOVE shawls. Anything that doesn’t really rely on gauge has my approval.)
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Hats: Top-down
Hats: Cuff-up
Knitting with silk (I have knit with silk blends, but not 100% silk.)
Moebius band knitting (Fascinating technique. I’ve used Cat Bordhi’s method for casting on, and it’s one of those things that you have to do with faith that it will come out right because it’s completely weird.)
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn (Not yet. I do have several sweaters in my closet that I’d like to frog and recycle the yarn.
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn (Never heard of it.)
Domino knitting
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting (Wish I could do more of this, but I end up having so many gifts on the needles that I am left with little time for charity knitting.)
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles (Almost always.)
Baby items
Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn (If I ever get that spinning wheel I’m lusting after…)
Slippers (I’d love to try the Fiber Trends felted clog pattern.)
Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Combination knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Participate in an exchange
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (And proud of it. Knitting continental seems to be the popular and preferred thing to do, but I like the way I do it just fine.)
Knitting to make money (This would undoubtedly suck the joy out of the craft for me. If I don’t like someone enough to knit them something for free, then it’s not worth my time.)
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting (Can’t wait to learn this one.)
Norwegian knitting (I guess? It looks a lot like fair isle.)
Dyeing with plant colors
Dyeing spinning fiber
Knitting items for a wedding (I made the beaded shawl I wore in my wedding.)
Household items
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars (The only way to go for me.)
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn (My aunt spun me some yarn to make a couple of small lacey handbags for my wedding, but I never finished them.)
Knitting with dpns (Blah.)
Holiday related knitting (Someday I want to make Christmas stockings for my little family.)
Teaching a male how to knit (Tried teaching my brother to knit, but it didn’t stick.)
Knitting for a living (Again with the sucking of the joy.)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn (I have the tools but haven’t had the time yet.)
Steeks (Definitely. As part of the fair isle learning.)
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously (Too confusing to juggle 2 balls of yarn. I’ll stick with 1 sock at a time on 1 circ.)
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener stitch (I actually like kitchener. It’s like magic!)
Knitted flowers
Purses/bags (My very first knitted object was a bag that I still use.)
Knitting with beads (Though I have to say that the crochet hook method of knitting with beads is much easier than stringing the beads before knitting.)
Swatching (Hate. Swatching.)
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards (VERY helpful when working entrelac.)
Machine knitting (I’m going to get flogged for this, but, what is the point?)
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Darning (Though I suspect I will have to learn how to do this as my socks get older.)
Knitting with synthetic yarn (Who hasn’t?)
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Free-form knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers
Pillows (I want to make a couple for the living room. Have to finish the afghan first.)
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine (I would seriously be lost as a knitter without Knitty.)
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift (I seem to do nothing but, lately.)
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public


14 January 2009


Just checking in. Dudes, I'm sick. Have been for over a week now. I'm feeling much better today, but I'm still very congested. The overkill with the phlegm has made it hard for me to concentrate on much except some socks I'm knitting for a friend.

So, I'm sorry to have been silent for a while. I'm hoping I'll feel like blogging again this weekend.

Stay warm!

04 January 2009

2008 meme

Nicked this one from Jo.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?

Guess I didn’t have a very adventurous year because I can’t think of a single thing I did in 2008 that I hadn’t done before.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I usually make new year’s resolutions loosely, i.e., I have things that I want to accomplish, but I don’t usually remember them much past January. I did the same in 2008. I know I had some things I wanted to do in 2008, but I can’t specifically remember what, and I don’t feel like looking back in the blog archives to remind myself. Might be a little depressing. Anyway, my somewhat resolutions for this year are for us as a family to eat better – less beef, more poultry and pork; more veggies; less eating out. Also, our house has a crap ton of things that need to be done to it. We are putting off trying to sell for another couple of years, but these things need to be done or I won’t be able to stand being here any longer.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A few coworkers, but no one really close to me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Heavens, no. Thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?

I visited no other countries (I don’t count the US because I live here).

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

A baby.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

It was a fairly uneventful year, just work and everyday life. Nothing of note that deserves the word “etched.”

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I successfully knitted a sweater for myself. I’m not much of a sweater knitter, so being able to make one for myself that actually fits and looks good is quite an accomplishment for me.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not getting pregnant. Not even getting close.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I’ve had a couple of colds, but nothing serious. I did have some back pain that caused me to have to cancel a business trip and miss two days of work.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A 37” LCD HD tv. Of course, that purchase started a chain reaction in our living room that resulted in a new tv stand, a new couch, and freshly painted walls.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Everyday life. Living paycheck to paycheck sucks.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our trip to Estes Park.

14. What song will always remind you of 2008?

No one song in particular. I was fairly obsessed with Coldplay after the release of Viva la Vida.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? About the same.
b) thinner or fatter? The same, as well.
c) richer or poorer? And again, the same.

16. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Cook. We eat out WAY too much, and it makes me feel like the worst wife ever (even though Shane could care less one way or another). I also wish we had done more landscaping in the yard. We did manage to improve the yard, but we still have nothing planted.

17. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Being lazy. Procrastinating.

18. How will you be spending Christmas?

We went to my parents’ house across town for breakfast and gifts, then came home and laid around the house.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Chuck. He makes me giggle like a school girl with a crush.

20. What was the best book you read?

I didn’t finish one whole book all year. Too much time spent knitting.

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Zoe Keating. Maybe not the greatest discovery, but her music is certainly interesting.

22. What did you want and get?

A 160GB iPod.

23. What did you want and not get?

A spinning wheel. I am a few steps closer, but not quite there yet.

24. What was your favorite film of this year?

Keeping in mind that we usually rent movies instead of seeing them in the theater, I would say that Michael Clayton was the best movie we saw.

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34. We didn’t do anything too exciting. I think we went out to dinner.

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A baby.

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

All comfort, all the time.

28. What kept you sane?

Knitting, as usual.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Zachary Levi.

30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

I have an amazing husband. I have a healthy and happy family. My husband and I have good jobs. And we own our home, small as it is. Life is pretty good, even if my spoiled self would prefer that things were different. The lesson I learned is to be thankful for what I have.

01 January 2009

2008 Wrap up


Guess I was a pretty busy knitter this year. Above are 25 finished objects. Not pictured is another toy I made for Riley that I forgot to photograph before giving to her last summer.

On to 2009!


Baby gifts

My niece Riley turned 1 yesterday. Her parents had a party for her, attended by adults. Unfortunately, the people she invited who also have kids were not able to come. So those in attendance were the 8 members of my family and 4 of Kevin and Christy's friends. It was quite interesting to watch all of these adults around the baby. She opened gifts with Mommy and Daddy while 12 adults stood in a semi-circle around them, taking pictures.

Anyway, for her birthday, I made her Kate. Only, this one is named Lil' Max, after Kevin and Cristy's cat, Max, who is also grey.

Lil' Max

Ri took it out of the box and immediately hugged it.

Riley & Lil Max

It was one of those "awwwwwwwwwww" moments.

Kevin thinks the cat looks strange, but Ri loves it, so that's all that matters.

I followed the pattern exactly as written, except for yarn choice. The original pattern uses Lamb's Pride. I didn't have any, so I used what I had on hand (Caron Simply Soft and Encore Worsted), which is not as heavy as Lamb's Pride. In order to get a tight enough gauge, so that the stuffing wouldn't show through, I used size 5 needles. This resulted in a smaller toy. He's probably about 9 or 10 inches tall, which is 2 inches smaller than the one in the pattern.

I already have the yarn to make a Lil' Pants - one that looks like the brown tabby cat that Kevin and Christy have, named Pants.


Since Kevin and Christy were in St. Louis for Christmas this year, the family got together today to exchange gifts. I made 2 things for Riley for Christmas.

First up is a pink hat.

Pink hat

The yarn is some handspun, hand dyed alpaca that I bought at the Estes Park Alpaca Market in 2007. The pattern is from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. This was sort of a last-minute addition. I wanted to give her a little something extra, and a hat seemed quick and easy.

The other Christmas gift I made for Ri is something that I'm particularly proud of: Ribbed Baby Jacket by Debbie Bliss.

Riley's sweater2

I didn't keep track of when I started and finished this, but it only took a week or so. It is knitted in one piece starting from the back hem and ending with the front hem, with seams joining the sides and under the arms. Then stitches are picked up for the ribbed collar.

Riley sweater button

The pattern calls for a snap of some sort for a closure, but I preferred to use a button. I did a 2 row button hole and added this cute wood-like button.

Riley sweater closeup

The yarn is Dream in Color Classy in Good Luck Jade. I used about 1-3/4 skeins. I originally purchased the yarn (at My Sister Knits in Ft. Collins, CO - beautiful store and super nice people) with plans to make a baby blanket for my cousin. I realized a couple of months later that thinking 500 yards of yarn was enough for a baby blanket was a little stupid, and decided to make a sweater for Riley instead. I really love this yarn. The color variations are so subtle and pretty. I wish it wasn't so expensive 'cuz I'd love to make myself a sweater out of it.

So there you have it - just about the only Christmas knitting I did this year was for my niece. That made for a relatively stress-free holiday for me - at least with regards to Christmas knitting.

Riley's sweater1

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