NaBloPoMo Day 19: more books, progress photos

This morning, Cookie and I did this:

books books and more books

I think she said she had 240 books signed and padded and I put them in envelopes, she and I taped them and I labeled a few before I had to go off to pick up the kids. I think she said she could use my help for one more day of this kind of packing up and her preorders would be done. I have to say that I see the value in having someone else to do all of that for you! Although I think her having complete creative control over her book was a good thing. Have I mentioned that the book is gorgeous? I know I have.

As promised, I took progress photos. First of wedge.

wedge, moving forward!

I’m pretty close to the heel, I think. This yarn is turning out to go farther than I expected. Thanks to Jen C, I can whip out my cool tiny scale and weigh the ball at intervals to check how far into I am. I assume I’ll need slightly more than half of the ball for the foot. I guess I’ll find out the hard way if that is wrong assumption.

Next up is my younger nieces cardigan.

one sleeve, almost done

I cast on that sleeve this afternoon and knit most of it while watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with my older son. I had to stop knitting to comfort him at one point. Even though he read the book he was still sad! He’s such a sweetie.

Today my younger son asked me to knit him a baby doll friend for his other doll. We have a gorgeous Waldorf doll that I bought for my older son when his brother was born but no one loves that one. Poor ignored doll. Anyway, I’m thinking of making this baby doll for him. i don’t know what yarn to use, though. I love the Lion organic cotton for the hair though. So cute! I’m thinking this should be a birthday gift because I don’t want him to think that I can just whip up a babydoll at a moments notice. That gives me until mid-January. We’ll see how that goes!

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NaBloPoMo Day 7: cardis almost finished and started

Last night I started the second of two cardigans I’m knitting for my nieces for Christmas. (My brother and sister-in-law might read this blog but I assume my 8- and 6-year-old nieces are still too young to do so. Hoping anyway.) Anyway, the first one for the 8-year-old is all knit, I just need to sew the underarm seams, weave in ends, and sew on a button.

almost finished fresh picked cardi

The second one looks like this.

let's get this cardi started!

Now that I’m trying to photograph this yarn color I see why I was lead astray regarding the color. It is more of a raspberry pink but it looks orangey in these photos. The color is much more accurate in this old progress photo.

fresh picked cardi in progress

Well, I was also lead astray by the color being named brick/cassis. It’s very much not brick but it is a nice color for my nieces. I hope they like their sweaters!

monkey!

I went to another first birthday party today. (All the little knitter girls are turning 1!) This one was for Bella and her party invite and stuff were all monkey themed, so I decided she needed a crocheted monkey.

bella's monkey

The pattern is just called Crocheted Monkey and is from a Japanese crochet site (Ravelry link).

I couldn’t get the arms and legs stuffed in a way that didn’t make them too stiff so I added pipe cleaners to both to make them bendable and beans to the legs (since they were bigger they squished too much with just the pipe cleaners). She can kind of hang from a tree, so I think it worked pretty well!

bella's monkey

The skirt was my idea and I love how tutu-like it turned out to be.

I hope Bella loves her!

finished anhinga photo

I washed and blocked my Anhinga so I can really truly declare it done now. I'm happy with it but I still might put in a stitch or two to hold the tuck in place. I do think washing it helped that. We'll see how it wears.

It only took me four months to finish my one month sweater! (It did sit idle for a fair bit of that time but I'm still proud of finishing it!)

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NaBloPoMo Day 3: soup … and knitting

I just did something incredible: I made soup in five minutes. Those of you who know me in "real life", as they say, or just on Facebook know that I have a VitaMix blender and I have been known to blend odd mixtures, or at least things other people don't want to drink. I haven't used it in a while for some reason but I got some fresh red chard at the Farmer's Market on Sunday and I have a jar of fresh raw cashew milk so I decided that it was time for green smoothies in the morning again. This morning's creation was 1 cup raw cashew milk, 1/2 a small avocado, 1 apple, 4 strawberries, a couple handfuls of red chard leaves and a squirt of agave nectar and it was delicious and very bright green. Getting the blender out and making stock the past couple of days (vegetable one day, chicken the next) reminded me that one of the things that impressed me about the blender before I got it was that the demo guy made soup in it while I stood there so I decided to give it a try. Stefan was asking for tomato soup and the recipe book that came with the blender had a recipe for Tomato, Onion and Cheese Soup. So I made that.

It's 1 large tomato (I used 4 small ones), 1/4 cup onion, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1 Tblsp tomato paste and 1 cup low sodium broth (I used homemade vegetable) in the blender on high for 5 minutes. That's it. I may have used too many tomatoes (2 probably would have been enough) and the onion was a bit too much for me but otherwise it was good. I am definitely going to try it again. I will either reduce the onion, buy sweet or red onion or take the extra few minutes to saute the onions. I might actually use chicken broth if I did it again, to add more flavor. But… how awesome is it that I can put cold ingredients in and get out steaming soup in such a short amount of time? The only downside (other than me rocking some serious onion breath right now) is that the blender sure is loud running for 5 minutes.

In NaNoSweMo news I am up to 5 inches of my sweater. This sweater has an inset front panel but I didn't see any reason not to knit the two fronts and the back in one piece so that's what I'm doing. That makes it difficult to photograph. But here goes. (Plus, you're getting iPhone photos for the next little while until I can figure out why my iPhoto hangs up when I try to export to Flickr.)

I am doing some calculations on the back to add more decreases to the waist and then I'm going to go down to the instructions for one size smaller on the back. I find that if I do that I get a better fitting sweater that doesn't bag in the back. Not bagging is good! I think it's going to work but I need to remember to pay attention to the decreases and bindoff at the shoulder so that I end up with pieces that are the same width at the shoulder. Instead of paying attention to the sleeves from the pattern at all I'm going to do a top down set-in sleeve which will make it faster (no sewing it in!) and hopefully a better fit. My last Norah Gaughan sweater had very snug sleeves. I wondered why they were so slim and then I read a note from Norah on Twitter:

Paraphrased: A slim sleeve makes for a flattering garment. But! Knitter, know thyself =)


Well, I know myself and prefer a less slim sleeve! I'm glad it's not just me though.

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finished object: february lady sweater

It's finally dry and nice enough to get a couple of pictures of my February Lady Sweater on me instead of on tape-igail.

february lady sweaterfebruary lady sweater

I'm making progress on my Slipstream pullover. I don't have any pictures though. One sleeve is done and I am on the raglan decreases of the second. I'll be starting the back soon! That one will be a slog, lots and lots of stockinette stitch! Wish me luck.

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stitches ’09

Stitches West is over. I am sad to see Kristi go (and Jeni, but she's here for another week) but I am kind of relieved that it's all over. I didn't even go at all on Friday and it still felt like a packed weekend to me. I handed out a bunch of my business cards (seen below) to various yarn companies and designers. Hopefully some of them will need my services.

I had a class with Cat Bordhi today and aside from learning all sorts of things about sock design and lots of tips for perfect toe-up sock cast ons and how to make your SSKs tighter she gave me some advice for becoming a sought-after tech editor. I am going to follow her suggestions and see how that goes for me.

So, what did I buy? The first day, I bought buttons for  my February Lady Sweater. I walked up to the Button Lady booth with the sweater and said I needed buttons and she pulled out the most perfect green/brown horn button from her vintage buttons box. Fifty cents each!

Perfection. Thursday, I also bought the Woolly Thoughts book on modular knitting ideas from the Village Spinners and Weavers booth.

I was ogling Norah Gaughan Vol. 4 and the flower child sweater. Foolishly, I didn't pick up the yarn for it right then from WEBS. I did get the booklet and on Saturday I ordered the yarn (in a lovely teal color). The other yarn purchases happened at Bobbin's Nest Studio's after Stitches party. I got one ball of Panda Soy solid to coordinate with a variegated color that I have so I can use the solid for the toe, heel and cuff. My impulse purchase was ten balls of chocolate brown Vickie Howell Craft yarn. It's really pretty. I don't know what I'm going to use it for yet. I couldn't not take it though. I love that color.

After all of this my stash number is now at 44394.5 yards or 25.2 miles of yarn. I just finished a whole sweater, but that's still up a mile since my last calculation. That's somewhat disappointing!  Ah well, head down, keep knitting!

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sweaters in progress

I decided at the beginning of this month that is an ideal time to knit the February Lady Sweater, since it's February and all. I also seem to like to set an unrealistic goal of finishing a sweater for myself the month of Stitches. I don't know why I do that. In any case, I'm actually close to my goal this time. The body is all knit and I am close to being done with the first sleeve. At a suggestion from Mary I wet the sleeve and hung it up (on my new duct tape torso replica) to see if it would grow. I'm glad I did, the sleeve was 1 inch longer in the morning! I might atually finish it by Thursday. Or at least Saturday.

Since I couldn't knit on that sweater last night while it was hanging up, I started something new. I've been wanting to knit the Slipstream Pullover from More Big Girl Knits for a while, since the book came out. Last night, I finally cast on and started one of the sleeves. So far, so good!

Stefan wanted the baby tree kangaroo to be in the picture. I love this color of Hempathy. There are a lot of stitches in this sweater, at 22 sts to four inches, but it's going to be lovely and drapey, I am pretty certain.

Now, the only thing I need to remember is that I have homework before my Stitches class this weekend. I might have to use All Seasons Cotton for that, since it's the only sock-appropriate light colored yarn that I have in a heavier weight. I think it will work.

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lots of wips, no fos

I have been a bad blogger. Part of the reason for that is that I now have an abundance of projects on the needles and I am not being monogamous with any one project, therefore nothing is getting finished. So, we are going to have a parade of WIPs. First up is the project I started first, my Woven Ridge socks. I started them (and completed the first one) while we were in the Netherlands in the summer. I cast on right away for the second one but it's been languishing ever since.

I like these socks and I want to wear them, so I need to finish them! I have made some progress in the past couple of weeks, so that's good. Also, Cookie gave me some Sock Candy for catsitting for her cat and I am itching to cast on with that… or my Panda Soy. So much yarn, so little time. Anyway, I also got some Bamboo yarn from Jeni's going away, she was destashing. I had to tackle Lisa for it, but she was nice enough to give it up.

sock candy thunderYarn Place Vivace

You can't see very well in the picture, but that is four hanks of Sock Candy. So either I'm going to make two pairs of socks or I need another project. I was thinking about a scarf. I hope that two would be enough, because I do really want to make socks with some of it. The bamboo is from Yarn Place. Freecia (I think?) mentioned that they make socks from it but it's 100% bamboo with absolutely no give, so I'm not sure that is going to be my plan. We'll see.

Next up in the WIP parade is Niels' sweater. I finished the front and back and started the first sleeve but then I got distracted because I need to recalculate the decreases. His arms are much longer than the pattern size and I don't want to have all the decreases before the elbow and then the whole top straight or something. It's getting close, though! Other than all the ends to weave in, of course. Maybe I should focus on finishing it for Christmas. Maybe.

Last, but very muc not least is my Tapestry Cowl in calmer. I love this pattern, am entranced with the technique and I am loving how it's turning out. It needs a lot of focus though, to follow the totally non-repeating chart.

Also, the farther I get into the more the thought of having to kitchener stitch the front to the back looms over my head. That's 110 stitches of each color! I don't generally mind kitchener stitch, I have to say. I think that comes from having started my knitting career on diaper soakers. Theresa and Pam helped me to cut my teeth on knitting in a small, managable format. Theresa, by having very clear instructions in her patterns and Pam by being my friend and encouraging me as well as including me in all of her classes on her forums. I wouldn't be the knitter I am today if it weren't for them. Anyway, when you knit a soaker you have to kitchener the crotch closed. Luckily, though, you use large yarn and it's generally not very many stitches. I'm not sure I'd be so comfortable with the technique if I had started on sock toes with their tiny tiny yarn. This yarn is fairly tiny but it's the sheer volume of stitches to be sewn together that really makes me nervous. I should stop worrying and just knit, right? I'm only on row 20 and I have to do 64 rows of chart and then a few plain rows before the finishing starts.

So, since I got new yarn and have finished at least one project I thought I'd check my stash totals. I am currently up to 60889.6 yards of yarn or 34.6 miles. Um. Oops. That's up a mile since last time I calculated. I haven't purchased any yarn, it's just been finding me. Does that make it better? I didn't think so either. In the interest of decreasing the stash, I put my Regal Silk into my Sell or Trade Stash on Ravelry. I have five hanks of it that I was going to use to make a silk corset for myself. I've basically decided that if I do end up making the silk corset, It's not going to be out of variegated yarn. It's really pretty yarn, though, but I don't know else to do with it. I'm asking for $75 for the whole lot, plus shipping. You know you want to give this gorgeous yarn a home, right? If not, you must have a friend who does, of course. (Please buy my yarn.)

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