29 February, 2008

I (provisionally) Heart Fridays

This last week has been brought to me courtesy of the Conduit to Hell. I am apparently paying for my cosmic meltdown at Stitches West in spades. Five tests and three papers. Bella had her first kicking-and-screaming temper tantrum, lost her reading textbook, and revealed to me that one of her once-a-month assignments was due on Feb 14th. She's a lovely, sweet child 99.9% of the time, but when she melts down, hooo boy. Watch out!

In other news, I'm out of Garter Rib Hell and into the Land of Peaceful Stockinette. I'm sticking to my single project at the moment, but since I need size 4 dpn's for the sleeves - which I don't have - I may begin something else if I finish the sweater body soon. The color is a lovely russet red-brown, and I am in mad love with the feel of the yarn

Tangled Yoke Cardigan as of 2/27/08

Closeup - I like how the slight mottling covers up my slightly uneven stockinette

Sock Madness begins in the middle of March, and I'm fairly certain I have all the required sock yarn (hahahhahah!!). I don't know if I'll get very far in the competition, but it'll be fun anyway. I'm not yet sure about working solely from my stash for a year. Certainly the job insecurity means I won't be buying yarn or roving any time soon, and I definitely have enough in the stash to cover me until such time as I win the lottery, but I've set the last date I bought yarn as 2/24/08. We'll just see how it goes.

ManCandy's old friend Erin is coming in tonight and will be around for the weekend. On Sunday, I've classically over-scheduled myself by promising to help move a bookstore and take Erin and her bf to San Francisco. Fabulous.

Panza doesn't care as long as the squirrels don't taunt him and he gets his kibble.

24 February, 2008

Stitches West '08, a.k.a. How I Went Broke, Officially

So I went to Stitches on Friday and didn't fare too badly. I met up with BalletMommy from the Lime&Violet message board and we managed to keep each other marginally in check. Sort of.

Then I went back today. Despite warnings not to, I went a) alone and b) with my credit card. And it's going to show. Tomorrow may mark the beginning of my #54 goal: work exclusively from the stash for one year, not including things for finishing projects (like needles or buttons). Maybe it'll be March 1, with one exception a la Wendy. I dunno yet; I'll ruminate on it over night and let you know what I come up with.

But enough of impending frugality! Show me the goods, you say! Well, I'll begin by tempting you with a (blurry) picture of the bag I picked up at the Fibersphere booth. There's no link to Fibersphere because their site won't be live until Tuesday (muahahhaha!), but rest assured, their product is cool. I didn't get one for myself, however, there will be two squee-ing ladies somewhere near Omaha as soon as I can get a box to the post office. Heh heh heh. Anyway, for me I got this bag, which is apparently not a bag but a basket because it was woven of grass, not cloth:

Crimson Basket from Baskets from Cambodia, a la Fibersphere
It's perfect for sweater-size projects and the bottom is shaped like a kidney bean so it molds to my leg or butt or wherever it's resting at the moment and doesn't flop around. I have the strange feeling I've typed this before, so I'll move on.

I got a thingy that will apparently help me control my spinning:
Spinner's Control Card from Carolina Homespun
I figure I'll take whatever control I can get.

And the proto-yarn with which to have said control:
8 oz of 100% wool from Interlacements

4 oz of 70/30 Merino Tussah from Carolina Homespun

8 oz Sheep-to-Shoe kit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in Valkyrie

Why, yes, that IS over a pound worth of spinning fiber. And how much fiber have I spun up in, oh, ever? Roughly half a pound. That #54 is looking preeeeetty certain right about now.

I bought patterns!

Swirl Shawl pattern from Jojoland
3 new Cookie A patterns: Django, Trystero, and Stricken
Despite the current kibash on knitting socks, I could not in all conscience avoid these patterns.

But wait! Didn't you buy any yarn, Tika? Why yes, gentle reader, I did indeed buy yarn. Yards and yards of yarn. I bought, in no particular order:

Socks that Rock lightweight from BMFA, Bleeding Hearts colorway
This is my first STR. I don't know if there will be more, but I'm open to suggestion.

5 skeins of Melody by Jojoland
This is my first Jojoland. It will become the above-mentioned Swirl Shawl.
Cashlana yarn from Fleece Artist, 10/90 Cashmere/Wool
This is my first cashmere. I may pet it into oblivion.

3 skeins of Sea Silk from Hand Maiden, 70/30 silk/Seacell(C)
This is not my first Sea Silk, but I couldn't resist it anyway. I mean, really?

Whew. That's the whole of it. I also hooked up with Auntiesocial and CuteKnitter from Ravelry after today's buying binge and we chatted with a bunch of other Purlescence knitters for awhile. I like making new friends, especially ones with big stashes - er, hearts - and lots of entertaining anecdotes to share. I hope we all become good friends.

Oh, and one last thing I bought today. I gave Crazy Sarah - warning, tangent: isn't it weird how sometimes nicknames just stick? Despite the fact that Sarah is no longer crazy (neither am I, for that matter), I still think of her as "my friend Crazy Sarah" (to differentiate her from the OTHER Sarah's I know) and remember the good old days, complete with our attitudes and punk rockers and a golden tequila haze. Anyway, I gave Crazy Sarah back her Canon Rebel on Friday 'cause she needed it, so in my haze of purchasing I stopped at Wolf Camera on the way home and bought a little Nikon L2 and the sundry supplies that go with it. There's a 30-day return policy on it, so I'm going to play with it for a week or 2 then make a decision. So far, it's done okay. Considering I asked it to take color-accurate pictures with no flash under not-so-great lighting conditions at twilight in my room, I'd say it did pretty well. Some stuff is a bit blurry up close, but it's perfectly serviceable for blog work and should last me until I can save up for a Big Camera.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to try to shove all of this into my closet. Wish me luck.

23 February, 2008

C'est Finis!

Gentle readers, I give you (drumroll please...)

Faina! Knitpicks Bare in Kool-aid Grape, 462 yds.

Pretty cool, eh? I finished it on Wednesday but was struck by a sense of intense knitting ennui - is such a thing even possible?? - and haven't been interested in much of anything knitting-wise for a bit. It could be because I signed up for Sock Madness, thus necessitating a break from socks until the beginning of the... err... madness. It could be that I'm in a special Garter Rib Hell of Eunny Jang's creation. I decided to bust into my stash and begin a sweater since I seem to be procuring sweater-quantities of yarn at an alarming rate and have yet to make an adult-sized one. It's out of this scrumptious stuff, and I hearts both the yarn and the first name of the designer.

Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool, DK weight

Now, don't get me wrong - the Tangled Yoke Cardi is super-cute and I'm excited about the yarn, the pattern, and hopefully the fit. But for whatever reason, I can't wrap my apparently tiny little mind around a garter rib. I keep having to rip back and re-position stitches. It's maddening and I long for a little stockinette. I imagine I'll regret saying that later. The yarn, though... I am in lurv. It's a 50/50 silk/wool blend - surprise! I bet you though it was alpaca/cashmere! Ahem, sorry, little textile joke there - and it's lovely. It feels like old satin and is knitting up into a lovely fabric that should be perfect for summer evenings. Or mornings. Or anytime, really, since I seem to be an Ice Princess of the highest order and hardly ever get warm.

Oh, and that sweater-quantities of yarn I mentioned? Well, back awhile ago when the Yarn Harlot was making her Sunrise Circle Jacket, I picked up 3000 yards of this stuff from Webs:

2/4 Highland Tweed, Aran weight

And then I may have lost my head a teensy bit and picked up three sweaters-worth of this:

Valley Yarns Williamstown, Worsted (chocolate not pictured)

Ahem. So much for the 2:1 ratio of buying to knitting. However, I have been steadily plugging away at my projects and getting things done, so that has to count for something, right? Right. I'm glad you agree. And speaking of which, I passed the mile 1 mark on my 12-Mile Quest! Hurrah! I think I'll celebrate by going to Stitches West tomorrow. Again.

15 February, 2008

Finishalongapalooza, indeed!

Last weekend my dad, brother and I went to Squaw Valley so they could ski and I could snow bunny. I didn't get much knitting done on the mountain due to a sudden attack of shyness - those who know me well should please pick up their jaws off the floor, TYVM - but I did rip Faina back and finish up my first Hedera sock. The other night I knitted the last section of Faina, so now she is ready for ze blocking, woot! Maybe I'll get that done today and edit in some pictures. Right now I'm lazy.

I also finished up the Hederas yesterday during class!

Hedera socks by Cookie A. in Kool-Aid Valencia Orange, 268 yds.
(Yes, I know my legs are the same color as the table. It's winter.)

Reading for 6 classes has taken a serious bite out of my knitting time while I''m nannying for Bella, so I'm appreciating my in-class knitting more and more. These are the first socks I've knit just for me; bright orange really isn't part of my color palette, but they make me smile anyway. Maybe if I get a tan this semester - it could happen, shut up! - they won't look quite so out of place on my feet.

Ski slope and the gondola

Squaw Valley is a beautiful place. I took a billion pictures of the mountain in all kinds of light even though I know full well from growing up in Alaska that if you've seen one snow-covered peak, you've pretty much seen them all.

Point in case
I also realized that I need a night lens of some sort, because I really enjoy taking pictures of night scenes but can't seem to stop breathing for the 45 seconds it takes for my current lens. Don't know why that is...

Slightly blurry but still pretty!

Jer wanted his camera back, but my friend Crazy Sarah got a wicked cool camera for Christmas from her awesome man and loaned me her Rebel, which was totally sweet of her (thanks babe!).

I'm really close to my first mile in the 12-Mile Quest after finishing those Hedera's, so I think I'll man up and go block that shawl after all.

07 February, 2008

Faina: 2, Me: 0

I found Faina tucked into a backpack (don't ask) and knitted away diligently. I knitted during class and during Angel season 3; I knitted while Bella did her homework and while I waited for her to finish her dinner - always a lengthy affair given that she had been allowed to skip the vegetables on her plate in favor of dessert until I arrived on the scene (again, don't ask). Anyway, I worked hard and I was proud of it.

The scarf has two tapering end charts and a body chart that gets worked 4 times. Here I am, three pattern rows from beginning the last end repeat:

Here's how much I have to go:

And here is how much yarn I have left:

Kitty paw added for, uh... scale.

Sigh. So after talking to my mom, I'm going to rip back the 4th repeat and just work the end chart. Hopefully that will give me enough yarn left over for the fringe, since "it just won't look right without fringe!" And I must say, I agree.
In other news, I actually DID finish some things!

Egyptian Jungle Cardigan (sans buttons)
Smooshy and Bare, 203 yards

Cargo Pants
Classy, 158 yards
The Egyptian Jungle Cardigan is waiting on the buttons I left in Nadia's car the other day. Ironically, I also bought a little Forget-me-not plant to put on my windowsill... and forgot them. Ahem.

This weekend - or rather, today - I'm headed up to Squaw Valley with my dad and Little Brother. They're going to ski and I'm going to sit at home drinking hot tea, fixing the damn Faina scarf, and doing my reading for school. Oh, and taking pretty pictures of the snow!

Until then, SeƱor Sancho Panza, Esquire, would like you to know that he's watching you.

Why, yes, I am slightly cross-eyed. ¿Por que me pregunta?