Sunday, December 9, 2007

Swimming Upstream

I hate how commercialized the holidays have become. I hate that I feel obligated to or guilty if I do not give thoughtful gifts to my friends and family who already have too much stuff. Every year I try to be as minimalist as possible and more and more, I try to give handmade gifts.
Still, it is very challenging to think of an appropriate handmade gift for many on my list, men especially....
I made the above for my Piscean mother this morning and then proceeded to go on a jewelry making tangent.

I love how these turned out, simple but fancy at the same time (ignore the fingerprints on the crystals for now).
I think Christmas may be especially minimalist this year....I cannot seem to focus.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Birds of a Feather

My friend Sarah and I both LOVE birds. She made me a beautiful bird card for my birthday. I wanted to return the birdy birthday wishes so I made her these (this morning).

I am still hammering out the details of beading and I think my construction needs work. I hope she will be pleased with them despite their flaws.

Knitting of the sweater has been slightly on hold as it is a bit bulky for commuter knitting and I have been working tirelessly back and forth between several socks. More photos on that soon.

Happy Sunny Saturday!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hourglass Sweater

The Hourglass Sweater is coming along nicely, my first skein of yarn is considerably darker than the rest, which I did not notice until I started with the second. I'm OK with it though, I am one of those seemingly rare knitters who actually likes pooling in variegated yarns. I am easily entertained by the changes in visual texture ...

My parents are in town for the weekend and mom and I had fun in downtown Portland this morning, visiting Saturday Market and other old shopping haunts.
They now live in sunny So Cal and all this coldness and sweater knitting has them a bit stumped, not to mention the trudging through the half frozen mud of the off leash park every day for the dogs benefit. Portland certainly is a divergent culture from many places and I'm very glad to call it my home!
My folks had a birthday party tonight and I'm going to see some stand up comedy with some of the No Po Ladies Auxiliary (i.e. my friends).
This having a nursing student for a husband stuff is pretty fun, almost like being single again without all the idiocy of dating :) The best of both worlds!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Winters Day

Another Icy Morning

Another long, sunny day of knitting and dog walks in the park

Can you identify this SIP by its field marks?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Four Days Off!

I am really, really, really enjoying four consecutive days away from work.
I like my job, I love my co-workers but it is so nice to have a break.
We had a wonderful meal with friends on Thursday, went out for a lovely brunch on Friday and I still can't believe I have another day and a half to relax and knit.
We got some house cleaning done and took the dogs to the off leash park yesterday afternoon and I still managed to whip up a pair of these:

This pattern is so easy and relaxing and satisfying to knit. I cannot believe I haven't made it sooner. Such a great use for all those single balls of yarn bought impulsively just because.

The Naked Sheep Knit Shop, my LYS had a black Friday sale and I went early for some great deals and a new knitting bag.

I won this yarn in a raffle and also went home with a new Naked Sheep coffee mug!

I grafted the toe on Lenore #1 and finished the first Christmas Monkey

and started another pair:

I think my favorite strategy for sock knitting is to make a whole gaggle of singles and then start over and make the mates. It keeps the yarn and patterns more novel.

I enhanced my stash further with this:

Three skeins of Malabrigo Worsted Merino in Indigo. What should I do with it?

Back to knitting! Happy Saturday!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

Sweet Potato Pie...mmmmm

Yes, there is bacon on this alder and hickory smoked, maple glazed turkey. I think it was the best I've ever had. The bacon was like some crazy meat candy. We cooked it on a Traeger grill and I am getting one of these when I can afford to.

My crazy husband will not pose nicely for family photographs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Socks and Showers

The cold fall weather and BMFA Stash Sale have finally brought me out of my sock knitting slumber. I started this Monkey in BMFA 'Christmas Balls'.

I finished (ahem, except for grafting the toe:) one Lenore. It fits well despite changing needles and sizes several times.

I finally blocked Shetland Triangle #2. It is huge and lovely but the edging isn't very pointy and I'm not sure why as I did all the edging rows, maybe a second blocking will do the trick, it made #1 pointier.

I made this hat for myself for cold mornings waiting for the bus. It is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flamme which is Alpaca/Silk/Wool. I wanted a more neutral colored beanie so my outfit on cold days did not have to match my red cabled hat.
I'm not much of a fashionista really but for some reason I like my accessories at least to go well together (not clash too badly).

Last but not least, our water heater is dying and we will be spending some time over this holiday weekend installing a new one. This will cut into my knitting time but hot showers (and baths) in the winter are important to this crafter.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Break (Yarn) Fast

To reward myself for slaving endlessly on the above project, I broke my highly unsuccessful (and mostly imaginary) yarn fast and went to the Blue Moon Stash Busting sale.

It was fun identifying all these lovelies!

Left to right: Mesa, Dixie Chick, Fred Flintstone, Watermelon Tourmaline, Falcons Eye, Christmas Balls, and Titania.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Stay safe everybody!

The holiday where men can dress like Wonderwoman and be celebrated.

I love it!!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Inspiration..just in time..Whew

I have been in a tremendous knitting (and blogging) slump. My grandmother, my favorite and last living grandparent died last week. It was not entirely unexpected and in some ways a great blessing but still my heart aches.
The bag of blue yarn that was slated for her Christmas afghan has been staring at me as a painful reminder all week.
I have been forcing myself to finish a blanket I started almost three years ago. It's a boring, miles of stockinette affair that I thought was a great idea when I started knitting again because well I was a novice and in the manner of all who are uninitiated and un-jaded I did not comprehend the immensity of the tedium I was embarking upon.

It is however, mindless and virtually passionless so in some ways a good numbing project.
I have also been staring down a completed Shetland Triangle that simply needs it's ends weaved in and blocking. It is very unlike me to get so close to the finish line and not go bounding over it even if it means working into the wee hours.

My salvation came yesterday in a small priority mail package on my front porch. The new sock kit from Blue Moon. I'll be honest I was only mildly excited until I opened the package. Many (most) of the patterns this year have been toe up, no disrespect but I am still not a convert to this method. Some of the patterns also have not done justice to the yarn in my opinion and have been rife with tribulations if the accounts of knitters out there attempting them can be trusted.
This months installment was designed by no other than the Yarn Harlot herself. I am not a groupie but I love Stephanie's no nonsense approach to knitting, especially sock knitting. The pattern is gorgeous, Gothic and Halloween inspired and I was confident that I could dive right in without fear of multiple froggings.
It is also lace which has been my knitting muse for the last many moons.
I'm sure photos will not do it justice but those of you out there who have received the same package know exactly what I'm talking about.

Thanks for the inspiring project ladies. I really appreciate it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

Holiday Crafting Begins (in earnest)

The second Hemlock Ring Blanket was finished and blocked this weekend.

I went to Collage with my friend Sarah who knows a lot about paper crafts. I bought supplies to make my own holiday gift tags.

I have avoided this store up until now because I knew it would be dangerous. They have such beautiful craft supplies and lots of things with bird motifs which I absolutely cannot resist.

The second Shetland Triangle is almost finished! I wish I had another three days to knit and be crafty and have lunch with friends.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monsoon Season is Upon Us

A bountiful fall harvest this brisk and rainy morning.

Our side garden is really enjoying this weather!

Finally a proper blocking for the Shetland Triangle, now it is clear to me who is recieving this shawl for Christmas.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Uh oh So Fickle

The postal carrier dropped this box of yarn on my front porch and just like that, I'm on a tangent, a delightful, silky, wooly, teal tangent!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vagabond Hemlock Ring Part 2

Row 88! The rows are getting much longer, it is getting much bulkier (and ungainly) and I am almost through the first skein. Will the jokes about it being a big 'Rasta Hat' never cease? Sometimes knitting in public is really annoying.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Spinning Into Fall

This is an amazing tapestry that was an entry at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this year. All of the yarns were dyed with plants. Isn't it gorgeous and inspiring?

A gratuitous photo of my Hemlock Ring Blanket, in natural light(finally)!

My new toy!
I purchased this Clemes and Clemes wheel from a woman named Sonya on Craiglist (the best way to shop and the only way I could afford to get into spinning). Sonya bought this wheel new in the 70's and it has been used and loved but she moved on to a newer wheel and the Clemes and Clemes has found a new home with me.
I have never spun before and need to do a little research and give the wheel a bit of TLC before I start. Fall is here and I look forward to many cozy nights of spinning while the hubby studies.

Of course I picked up some magnificent roving at OFFF. Wish me luck with my new hobby!

I started a second Hemlock Ring Blanket yesterday in Cascade Eco Wool 'Mocha'. It is much easier with stitch markers. The Eco wool in natural colors is much finer and softer than the dyed Eco Wool + of the last HRB. Pedro modeled the HRB, much to his displeasure.