Monday, December 31, 2007

LastDay

Final UFO count for 2008: Presently at 60; 59 TOTALLY possible!! See? And, need I add, I've managed to not start ANYTHING new, despite getting yarn *and* cross-stitch kits for Christmas!

Project #
for 2007
Project/Start Date
(if known)
CraftLikely?
30Britney Handbag (10/13/07)KnittingReally Freakin' Close!!!
33Set of 8 Dice Bags for GamersSewingDONE

I'm gonna finish the bag tonight. I'm also over the halfway point on the Lilly of the Valley shawl; carrying it around has magically made it grow. And I seem to have more yarn than I thought I did; I'll have most of the "body" of the shawl done off the first ball of yarn, so I should actually be able to do some edging. (Now, of course, I'm wondering why I took the extra seconds to make a Very Perfect Edge on my shawl, since I'm going to hide it with edging... but I suppose the join will be all pretty, and that'll be worth it.)

For any knitting Browncoats out there, here's a pointer to Adam Baldwin singing 'The Hero of Canton' while wearing the original Jayne hat.

In other news, I joined the "Resolutions 2008" group Hazy started on Ravelry. I made lots and lots of resolutions... and I may actually be able to commit to some of them. Starting, for example, a DeviantArt account or Etsy store will be cake. I didn't say I had to have anything to put in either one, mind you! Shipping out "Escape from HappyWorld" will be a bit more traumatic, however.

Here's the full list of Things This Gryphon Will Attempt in 2008:
Craft related:
  1. Get under 50 UFOs. I’ve got 60 as of today, and this year's was "under 60". Given I've started thirtysomething things, and finished another thirtysomething things in 2007, this is actually a much bigger challenge than you might think.
  2. Start working on the publishable patterns and publish (free or for money) at least two.
  3. Start etsy store (dice bags?).
  4. Start DeviantArt account for art.
  5. Start regular publication of comic strip.
  6. Ship manuscript out to at least 20 publishers.
Life related:
  1. Lose at least 30 pounds.
  2. Go to Curves at a minimum 3 times a week.
  3. Get up to moving-faster-than-walking for 5k.
  4. Become friends with vegetables at least once a week.
  5. Drink water, just straight water, at least five times a week.
House related:
  1. Pull all the books off the shelves and catalog.
  2. Eliminate duplicates via sale or donation.
  3. Eliminate all excess electronics via sale or donation.
  4. Find floor in craft room; attempt to keep same visible at all times.
  5. Conquer fear of sewing machine to allow it into craft room.
  6. Finish final touches on all the shelves.
Kids, if I get through all of this, 2008 will be a VERY good year!!
And to end 2007 on a bizarre note, I present you with the knitted chandelier that's hanging in a display case on the second floor of the Georgetown Park Mall:


Okay, so it's actually just been wrapped in something that must have once been a sweater... but it looks ghostly. Like Knitting of Christmas Past, or something. Spoooooooky!

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

TGIF!

Some people are just idiots, y'know? Vandals hit our house again last night and trashed our little light-up polar bears. As in "ripped off heads and legs". They probably would've done more, but we had them staked at multiple points in case of high winds, and they were chained (and locked) together. Why do people bother? Yeah, it was probably kids... but I grew up in this neighborhood, and there would've been hell to pay, with every parent making sure it wasn't *their* kid (and heaven help the kid it was) when I was growing up. We've made a police report, of course, but that won't do much unless someone actually knows who did it. I swear, some of the people with kids in the neighborhood now won't even admit they have them. *Sigh.* Stupid vandals.

As if that wasn't enough to deal with, I have to work on Monday. There's a party Saturday night, and gaming all day Sunday (well, most of the day) - and that's been enough fun that I don't actually get much knitting done. I need to start the conversion-for-construction furniture moving at some point. Plus, Saturday morning I need to go pick up my Spice Girls tickets, and hit a couple of book stores. And maybe even mail off my nieces' & nephew's Christmas presents... So, realistically, I don't think I'm actually going to finish any knitting before the end of the year - let alone all the OTHER stuff I have to do.

However, since I live in my own little universe, and reality doesn't often hold sway there, let's check the list of possibles one last time.

Project #
for 2007
Project/Start Date
(if known)
CraftLikely?
  7Peacock Mandala (4/17/07)CanvasworkOh HECK no. This is not anywhere
near as far along as I thought.
I thought I was about to start
the beading... uh, no.
  9Stained Glass Peacock Kit (6/??/01)CanvasworkN
16Set of Six Williamsburg OrnamentsCross StitchN
17Lilly of the Valley ShawlKnittingIt could happen. If I call in sick,
forget about the Spice Girls, and
leave my dungeon-crawling compadres
in the lurch. Then they'd kill me,
which while it would solve the problem,
it wouldn't be in a way I'd like.
20The Cat Sweater/"Kitty Love"KnittingHAHAhahahahaha!!!
Yeahright. No way.
22Peacock ScarfKnittingN
25Rose Romance SweaterKnittingN
26Secret of the Stole Mystery ShawlKnittingN
29Margo & Ian's Sampler (10/06/07)Cross StitchManaged to lose my overlay.
It's in the house, somewhere.
Thankfully, I've got a while.
30Britney Handbag (10/13/07)KnittingThis just needs to be put together.
This Should Happen.
33Set of 8 Dice Bags for GamersSewingDue Sunday, dammit.
I've even got the goodies for inside.
36Pretty as a Peacock Shawl (11/27/07)KnittingN


Now, if I sew the two sewing projects, that at least gets me to 60 UFOs, since I've managed to not-start anything else. The goal, however, was to go UNDER 60. So, looking at the master list, there's an Irish blessing (the "May the Road Rise to Meet You" one) that, no lie, I haven't actually laid eyes on since 1994. That was two moves ago. When (and a big "IF") I find it, I'll put it back on the list, but for now, it's leaving. Everything else on the list, with the possible exception of the latch-hook leopard rug, I've seen in the past five years. (Once the contractors are done, I'm tearing the house apart and getting everything in Its Place, wherever Its Place is. I think it might be the crawlspace over the addition...) This still, mind you, leaves three other cross-stitch projects started in 1994 and not yet done. Thankfully, my oldest (Theresa Wentzler's "Castle Sampler") is, I just found out, from 1992, not 1991 as I had believed... turns out it wasn't *released* until 1992. *Phew!* (Other TW's on the list are Day, Peacock Tapestry, Tropical Dream and Night Watch/Unicorn (which will be for my husband. I got him a signed print of the original artwork last year for Christmas, as a placeholder). I have to point out that I *have* actually finished a TW, Harvest Sampler, and got a ribbon at Woodlawn (although that's the 2007 calendar, the show is *always* the entire month of March). Yay!

So, right this second, I'm at 61 UFOs, with two that could be finished Any Second Now. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It doesn't feel like Thursday already...

Look ye, and learn to fear:
This is a photo of SIX ROWS of garter stitch. 104 stitches per row. The penny is to show you the scale.


This is what happens when I get the brilliant idea for knitting a snowflake lace scarf from Lacey Lamb on size 0 needles. I was saved, fortunately, because on the third row of the lace pattern, I messed up. I tinked out carefully to the error, almost managed to fix it, and noticed that my yarn had broken at some point (something about the ball having rolled under my husband on the couch, and the yarn having decided that the best way to escape was through the handle of his penlight. You know, the one with the serrated edge inside the clip for cutting things). Taking it as a sign, I pulled the critter out. I may start again at some point, because I *would* like that scarf... but maybe on size 2s. Or better yet, size 8s, with acryllic worsted.

More things I'd like: This beautiful Hello Yarn Corroded Hand-Dyed Alpaca DK Weight Yarn. In lovely earth tones, no? Perfect for Secret of the Stole II, which is starting Really Soon Now. Well, I *think* it's perfect; part of the fun of a mystery stole is following - or not - the suggested colors to see what you get. I know I'm going to love what I chose for SotS #1, once I get past Chart #2 again. I'd also feel better about spending $100+ for the yarn for #2 if I'd already finished SotS #1. *sigh*. And I'd still like the "Farn" Wollmeise. *sigh again*.

As the Snowflake Scarf ain't happening, I had to go over to weloveholidaysweaters.wehatesheep.com myself. Here's my lovely holiday sweater, all knitted up and finished. Like I said before, this is the ONLY sweater I'm finishing before the end of the year.


Sadly, I really like this. This probably says something about me.
I also liked one of the "worst" of 2006, too...
the
Light Tree, Launch!

On the knitting front, progress gallops apace on the Lilly-of-the-Valley shawl. At least it's snagging on the velcro closure of my messenger bag more often than it used to, so I'll assume it's actually getting longer. Thanks to a really, really slow train this morning (as in "half an hour late to work, when I'm usually about half an hour early"), I've almost finished today's repeat. Yay?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Notes on the Day After Christmas...

Today, we have a guest-plug from the Lovely L:
"...since you're always so good about spreading the word about great shops and service providers, I'm passing one on to you. KnowKnits bags are fabulous little ripstop nylon pouches with nylon tabs that let you attach the bag to your belt or in my case my briefcase. they're so sturdy that my sharp little size 0s have a very hard time poking through, and everything stays safe and clean.

What's even better, after 6 months or so of battering mine broke. I wrote to the company to let them know where the flaw in the design was, and said that I loved the bag and that I'd be buying another (I do, and I will), and the owner of the company wrote me back to say that she'll replace the bag for me. How great is that!

So if you know of anyone in the market for a knitting pouch, I can highly reccommend KnowKnits pouches (www.knowknits.com)!"
Now, I have to admit that I actually have a bright yellow tinyproject bag (the GoKnit Pouch, small, blazing yellow). It's wonderful; I got it a Stitches East the first year I went. It's currently got a nascent scarf in it... and has since last February, when I lost it in my house (cleaning for the SuperBowl Party). Hopefully, I'll find it before *this* February!!

And now, a picture a a pretty dress I want:

And here's the only way I'm finishing a sweater before the end of the year: weloveholidaysweaters.wehatesheep.com
Design and finish your own holiday sweater - in minutes! Without actually knitting a stitch! (If only the real sweaters were this easy, right?)

Now, a few more random pictures:

Bundle of tiny Ty Beanie Bears
aka the decoration this year on my Mom's tree
and

Blurry electric polar bears outside my house!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pattern Update

Just a quick note: There's a *much* better edit of the Simple Top-Down Mitts up now, thanks to L. Yaaay, spontaneous editors!!

Knitting Fiercely

Okay, so I'm sleep-depped and punchy, but the OT check will be nice. Thus, when confronted with my metal DPNs to start another set of Simple Top-Down Mitts for myself, I determined that I had a wonderful place to store my extra DPNs while I was waiting to bring them into play:
This, of course, led to the idea of alternate conformations for DPN-storage.

Rawr!
Yeah, I need some sleep. At least it's Friday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday from Heck

Working v. late the last few nights. No new stash, despite gift certificate to Stitch DC. No knitting whatsoever.

Am v. sad.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Something for the crochet fans...

If you can't get that new Target Christmas Jingle out of your head, here's the song it was based on: Jim Noir's 'My Patch'. I played a couple of his other songs, too... I'm gonna have to track down some of his albums. I ♥ electronica! And as long as you're over on YouTube, the Spice Girls did a cute Tasco commercial.

I've been working on Cup-O-Shawl, aka the Lilly-of-the-Valley Shawl from Lace Style (allegedly for the knitalong). Here it is, peeking out of its stylish designer carrying case (aka my purse):

Best license plate of the week: Seen on a MiniCooper...

And for the crocheters out there: Nezumiworld Filet Crochet of all sorts of stuff. (And wire crochet, and basic crochet, and yarn/bead conversions, etc. It's a site chock-full of cool free things!) I'll be doing this squirrel, for sure!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pattern: Simple Top-Down Mitts

Fun Fact I've Noticed: Every "Finished Project" I've got listed over on Ravelry is some shade of orange. (Except for the mitts below, of course.) There isn't anything left in the queue-of-things-to-finish that's orange. This may be bad news for my attempt to finish three more things in the next two weeks.

If I relax, and give myself time to eat knit before work, and eat at lunch, and I can sit down during my train ride home, and I watch one hour of TV in the evening, I can get a repeat of LotVS done in a day. This means, theoretically, I could have the "body" done in a week. I may go for it. (I may also be distracted by just about anything that catches my eye.)

I've presently got four repeats done - this means 6.5 to go. Oh, did I mention I probably don't have enough yarn to do the edging? At least probably not all of it. Then again, I might. I have a little ball of yarn in a cup (Cup-o-Shawl)... its other skein still has its label. And it's somewhere that I've seen it recently. Which, given that I was diving for surplus yarn Tuesday night, doesn't narrow it down much. And I'm supposed to be knitting black mitts, but that probably won't stop me. I seem to do much better knitting at something when I'm not supposed to be working on it.

SotS II: The swatch pattern is up! "Earth Tones" are called for... and I saw Farn Wollmeise. I totally want some. Wendy is using some deep-blues for the shawl model she's knitting... the richness of the colors is amazing. No, I don't konw if I can actually touch the stuff, which is why I'm not just coughing up 26 Euros the second I see some available. *sigh*

Now, the promised Mitt Photos:

Knitting from both ends of the ball
taken to extremes.

See the dark red line?
That's all the yarn that was left
between the ends of the ball!!


But they came out nicely, I think.
V. simple pattern, too.
PATTERN, a CraftyGryphon OriginalTM:
Really Simple Top-Down Mitts

Notes: One skein Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn should make four mitts for small hands. My palm is 3.25" wide; gauge in pattern is roughly 20st per 3.25" the way I knit. Adjust size as needed, depending on how you knit. Sizing up or down involves math, so I'll leave that to you. Needles used: Size 3 DPNs and size 1 DPNs.
  1. On size three DPNs, using long-tail method, cast on 40 stitches (This is the top of the palm, the bit of the mitt nearest the tips of your fingers).
  2. Join, being careful not to twist stitches
  3. Place marker to indicate start of row (on little finger side of mitt). Slip marker on all rounds. Make ribbing, k2-p2, for 24 rows. Set aside. (24 rows)
  4. From other end of ball of yarn, using long-tail method, cast on 20 stitches using size 1 needles.
  5. Join, being careful not to twist stitches.
  6. Make ribbing, k1-p1, for 16 rows. This is the thumb. Cut long (at least 6") tail.
  7. Join thumb to palm by knitting 20 palm stitches, knit 20 thumb stitches, knit remaining palm stitches on size 3 needles, [PHOTO FORTHCOMING], making certain the thumb is pointing the right way. Yeah, I know, it shouldn't be a problem, but if it's really late at night, it's possible to get confused. Trust me on this. put size 1 needles aside. (25 rows)
  8. Knit 2 rounds following rib pattern - k2p2 on the "body" of the mitt, k1p1 on the thumb. (27 rows)
  9. On the next round knit to the first thumb stitch, SSK, follow pattern to last thumb stitch, K2Tog, follow pattern to end of round. There are now 18 thumb stitches and 40 body stitches remaining (you have decreased the Thumb stitches by 2. (28 rows)
  10. Next round and odd numbered rounds henceforth: follow rib patterns.
  11. Even rounds: decrease as above at first and last thumb stitches. At the 42nd round, you will have four thumb stitches left. Re-distribute stitches on 4 needles (11 sitches per needle). You now have 44 body stitches.
  12. Work body in k2-p2 rib (see how those extra four stitches just go right along in there?) to desired length. This is about an inch past the bottom of the palm if you want two pairs of small mitts out of your ball of yarn.
  13. Bind off and Weave in ends. Use long tail in thumb to weave together thumb-body join snugly.
Now, I'm a pretty slow knitter, so you've still got time to knock out a couple of pairs of these for Christmas, if you need to! (and a huge Thank You to the lovely L, for editing the above!)

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mitts!

Managed to *not* start anything with the OMG-it's-on-sale Khartoum I accidentally bought on Friday. Somehow finished off my skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock "Country Christmas" - with about two inches to spare (pics tomorrow). Picked up two sets of metal size 3 DPNs and a skein of supersoft black acryllic for mitts for my dad and husband - that's what I'll be frantically knitting the next four days.

Have noticed I'm in a slump. I haven't written, drawn, or come up with an interesting original pattern for a month now. (I've come up with a couple of uninteresting patterns, like for tomrrow's mitts, but nothing that's a departure-from-basic.) It's like my creativity switch has been turned off. *sigh*

So, as long as I'm not coming up with new stuff to do, let's see what old stuff I've got left:
Project Number
for 2007
Project/Start Date
(if known)
CraftLikely?
  7Peacock Mandala (4/17/07)CanvasworkY
  9Stained Glass Peacock Kit (6/??/01)CanvasworkN
16Set of Six Williamsburg OrnamentsCross StitchN
17Lilly of the Valley ShawlKnittingM
20The Cat Sweater/"Kitty Love"KnittingM
22Peacock ScarfKnittingN
25Rose Romance SweaterKnittingN
26Secret of the Stole Mystery ShawlKnittingN
29Margo & Ian's Sampler (10/06/07)Cross StitchM
30Britney Handbag (10/13/07)KnittingY
33Set of 8 Dice Bags for GamersSewingM
36Pretty as a Peacock Shawl (11/27/07)KnittingN

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yankee Swap Results

I'm now convinced that Lauren knows everything. Honest. If I have a question about anything yarn- or tech-related, she knows the answer. And those are usually the only two areas I have questions about, so that pretty much covers my world.

Speaking of yarn, which I usually am, the Sweet Life Yankee Swap was last night. There was some *great* stuff... I'd've been happy with either of the things I got (my first got stolen). What I got was:

A gift bag, with THREE presents inside!

Vogue 2006 Holiday Issue...
which I *almost* bought, but didn't! Yay!



Pattern: Trellis, April 2007 "Pick Up Sticks" Sock-of-the-Month Club


Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden "Spring Garden"



Oooooooo, pretty!!

I would like to note that I haven't started these socks yet, despite AMAZING temptation!!

And now, something seasonal. If you wish, copy & play in you own blog! I've set it up as a table, so you should just be able to copy the questions only.

1.Wrapping paper or gift bags?Depends. I have cool gift bags with pictures of Knitted Flowers on them this year.
2.Real tree or Artificial?As artificial as possible. This year's has a music-syncrhonated light show.
3.When do you put up the tree?As early as possible. This year, I'm hoping it's December 16th.
4.When do you take the tree down?As late as possible... barring construction on the house. This year, it'll be down the 29th.
5.Do you like egg nog?Ik, no.
6.What is your most favorite Christmas gift ever?Oooooo, that's tough. I've gotten a lot of wonderful things over the years.
7.Do you have a nativity scene?Several. Eventually, I plan to cross-stitch one.
8.Hardest person to buy for?My husband.
9.Easiest person to buy for?My mother.
10.Mail or email Christmas cards?Mail!
11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received?Clothes, when I was little. Now, of corse, I love getting clothes.
12.Favorite Christmas Movie?Tie: Muppet Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life.
13.When do you start shopping for Christmas?December 26th of the previous year.
14.Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?I don't think so...
15.Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?Cheese!
16.Clear lights or colored on the tree?Colored M&M lights.
17.Favorite Christmas song?Tis the Season from Muppet Christmas Carol
18.Travel at Christmas or stay home?Both.
19.Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?Yes. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph
20.Angel on the tree top or a star?An angel, sort of. It's Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, dressed as an angel.
21.Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?Morning!
22.Most annoying thing about this time of year?Wham's Last Christmas
23.Favorite ornament theme or color?"Pop Culture" is the theme for our tree (if the lights and angel hadn't clued you in)
24.What do you want for Christmas this year?A floor-scrubbing robot! And one actually exists now!
25.Who is most likely to respond to this?Don't know - but if you do, leave a comment with the link so I can read your answers!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Becoming a Ravelry Designer?

Here's a question: How do I get an original pattern up on Ravelry? I'd like to get Hot Tamale and my version of the HP Scarves up for free, and the Orange Celtic Shrug up for cheep, once I write them up a bit better. I poked around a bit and discovered all the fun info about once-its-up and guidelines, etc. Just not the actual mechanics. I realize it's probably Right There... but if someone could please tell me Right Where?

News on the Door Front: the installation appointment has been made for January 3rd and 4th. They could do it before Christmas, but there's no way I can get off work (we've got a huge deal coming through, and this is our bad time of year anyway. I'm going out on a limb to take Christmas Eve Day off). But doors! We get new doors! And there won't be a HOLE IN THE WALL IN THE SHOWER UNDER THE WINDOW anymore... imagine, showering without freezing my kiester off! Woohoo!

News on knitting, since that's supposedly what I write about here: Here's the modified Britney Handbag blocked out on its little board.


I'm not blocking the handles, since afghan stitch makes a pretty danged tight weave, and I've pulled them as much as I can. Considering going back and getting two more buttons for the handle, and just have it triple-buttoned - it WOULD be more secure. Will spend five times in gas the price of the buttons. Is probably worth it, if I get the rest of it sewn together. Need to carefully measure a piece of cardboard to cover with the lining material, so the bottom holds its shape better. Ooooh, this will be so cute!

Since I finished all the handle-bits for the Britney Bag, I got to do a few rows of the Pretty as a Peacock Shawl, too. See picture from entry a few days back; not much has changed. You'll get a new picture when I actually finish Chart B. Also finished a repeat on the Lilly of the Valley Shawl. I'm getting very comfy with lace knitting.

So, what next? I need to go through my list of projects again, and see what else I can finish up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tagged!


Knit-R-Done tagged me. She thought I'd been tagged before, but nope, not here, so here goes:

THE RULES:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

BENT RULES: Now, I'm going to bend the rules a bit here, because I don't know if I know folks over here well enough to tag them yet. If you read this, please comment with a random fact about yourself!

About me...
  1. I'm ambidextrous. This means I knit "left handed and backwards", but it's what's comfortable for me. Fine detail work (writing, drawing) is in the right hand, because I was trained to write in schools in a part of Georgia where it was just barely becoming okay to let boys write with their left hands, NOT girls. Shooting, fencing, skating and throwing, though, I do left-handed.
  2. I have a tendency to choose my family. I'm an only child, but I've got two sisters and two brothers I picked out myself, and several other relatives of varying degrees... not counting any of my family by marriage.
  3. I'm an Army brat, thus will never understand why people can't pack for a week in a carryon suitcase.
  4. I would be absolutely horrified to meet any of my favorite celebrities in real life. They wouldn't measure up to the image I've got of them - they'd just be people, like everyone else. With the exception of the one I've met, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, who is exactly as you'd expect her to be. I guess we just need more "real" celebrities" like her!
  5. My picture was on the cover of every major newspaper when I was a kid - I happened to be standing in the right place at the right time for an adorable AP/UPI distribution.
  6. The first label I usually put on myself, when someone asks what I do, is "Cartoonist" - but I usually remember that's not *exactly* the case before replying. Eventual life goal: make this the case!
  7. In February, I will have held my current job for 10 years. Another 15, and I'm retiring (wayearly) - because all the boys will be hitting 65, and *they'll* be retiring. It's a nice plan.
Required yarn shot of the day:

Alli is collecting "spare yarn" for a good cause. My best friend M gave me a huge bag of yarn last Friday, because she knew I'd find it a good home - and then I get the message about Spare Yarn. I added another bag to it, so it will be going off to its Good Cause on Thursday. Yay!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Off the Blocking Board

Okay, I was wrong - Clover Hill Yarn *is* trading hands (eventually), but will stay in operation; likewise, Springwater Fiber Workshop is realigning its hours. Nothing's closing. Yaaaaaay!! Thanks to the L for the heads-up.

About those projects...
Well, I finished the armlets and a sweater, which brings the UFO count down to 62. That's just three more things to finish, and I'm under 60!

I got the body of the Brittney Handbag (once again, departing somewhat from the actual bag-as-designed, because that's what I do... bloody miracle I actually followed the pattern for the sweater itself!) onto the blocking board, but didn't have time to dampen it. I'll do that tonight. I've finished the straps, too; I just need to make a couple of little poke-the-strap-through-so-it-doesn't-flop-around loops to attach to the strap-side that has the button on it so the buttonhole strap-side won't flop. Then I just have to figure out how to put it all together.

What *was* on the blocking board was my Racing Stripe Vest. This is called "there was a sale on Rowan Cotton Glace so I bought a bunch and this is what I did with it, no there isn't any left."

Front

Back

Close-up of cool lace-like pattern
with the absolutlely PERFECT buttons I found

I really like the way it came out, and it'll be fun to wear when it gets a bit warmer out... and once I find my stretchy white turtleneck tee, which is what's supposed to go under it. But it was fun to make, and it's definitely the sort of thing I wear, all bright-and-shiny as it is!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rainy Monday

Alexandra totally made my day on Friday by telling me I have pretty hands. *Squee!* As compliments go, this was as timely as it gets - given that the night before, I'd been whimpering to myself and wondering when my hands had started looking old. (As it turns out, I just needed some Jergens... who knew that knitting with Superwash Wool would dry out my hands? Better yet, that WINTER would? Yeah, I know, it's a miracle I survived living in Alaska for three years. Thankfully, I had Siamese Cats taking care of me; they had much more common sense than I at that age.)

Anyway, here's more pictures of my hands, because I finished the Mitts!!

Spliced together, since I need one hand to hold the camera at a time!

MITTS!

I also got the buttons on the Unnamed Sweater, which is done. It's a pain trying to get a good picture of myself with the (small) mirrors in my house, but it was VERY rainy outside. *sigh* Anyway, it's done. And you can sorta tell its a deep scoop neck with a collar that flips down in front. It's hard to get a good look with one of my arms in the air, I know.

Mirror A

Mirror B

My favorite buttons, and they're finally on a sweater!

And in other close-to-finishing news, I worked quite a bit on Pretty as a Peacock (I'm done with Chart A, and I've threaded my lifeline):

OMG, I love this colorway: Claudia Handpainted "Ocean Depth"


I've also finished the body of the Brittney Handbag. I found GREAT buttons for it (and giant snaps, since I'm not making a button-hole for this one), and a lovely matching green lining. I'm making the strap using afghan stitch (thick, durable), and my husband had the idea of having buttonholes on the strap for my extra button. I'm not quite sure how to *make* the buttonholes, but I'll figure something out. Alternatively, I have three extra jumbo snaps... hmmm. Anyway, that should be done soon, too. Yay! Pics tomorrow of what I've got so far.

Friday, December 7, 2007

End-of-Year Resolution

              When I have my website up and running (which, of course, includes figuring out why, exactly, I HAVE a website in the first place), I really like the layout this orthodontist has. I like the collapsible film thingys, etc. Fortunately for me, the source code is viewable, so I can eventually figure out how do do one like it. Yay!

              In other news, even though I *think* I'm tied into the local knitting community, I'm really not, since I have really only just done my first survivable wool project, and most of the knitting community is wool-based. I hadn't realized that Clover Hill Yarn Shop is up for sale, nor that Springwater Fiber Workshop is closing its doors. The former I usually hit twice a year during my Triple Threat run (Clover Hill is nestled in a small strip with The Stitching Post (cross stitch) and Seminole Sampler (quilting) - and a comic book store went in a few doors down. It's the most dangerous place on earth for my poor little credit cards!); I've never actually been to Springwater, as it is (was?) animal-fiber-based yarn heaven. It's sad to see stores closing and changing hands. So many cross-stitch stores have been closing due to the economy in the past decade, and now the yarn begins. *sigh*.
(It's my personal theory that the better the economy, for longer, the more cross-stitch stores pop up. Cross stitch and embroidery are the Luxury Time crafts; usually, the finished product is frequently purely decorative, expensive to frame, and wildly time-consuming. Knitting, on the other hand, gains speed in more stressed economic times, as the finished results, while just as beautiful, tend to be practical and fast(er). Really stressed economic times, and even the knitting stores have problems. I don't care what the news says; we're thisclose to a recession. The Signs Are There.)
              I just noticed on Ravelry that I have two projects 95% done. The first is the Unnamed Sweater. All the finishing is done but for the buttons. That's SO happening this weekend. The other are the Braided Armwarmers - I've got about 8 rows plus tucking-in-of-ends on the second one, the first being completely done. I'm going to try to score another ball of this yarn at lunch today... not necessarily in the same color, either. I really like these little mitts!

              Now, from yesterday's picture, I did some frogging. I decided to rip back to the thumb cast-off, and actually do a k1/p1 ribbed thumb. It worked really well, and makes the whole thing snugger, if even more wildly divergent from Wendi's original pattern. (Thankfully, the woman getting these as a gift has slightly smaller hands than I do; they should fit her perfectly.) If I'd actually managed to finish them during lunch, there would be a photo here. On the upside? I'm all of five rows and some finishing away! Yaaaaaay!

              So, I'm trying to work on my UFO numbers for the end of the year. Here's the chart of the things I've started this year that I have yet to finish. I've started 37 things, the last of which are the mitts pictured above. Of the rest, I've got to figure out which I can reasonably finish before year's end.

Project Number
for 2007
 
Project/Start Date (if known)
 
Craft
7Peacock Mandala (4/17/07)Canvaswork
9Stained Glass Peacock Kit (6/??/01)Canvaswork
16Set of Six Williamsburg OrnamentsCross Stitch
17Lilly of the Valley ShawlKnitting
20The Cat Sweater/"Kitty Love"Knitting
22Peacock ScarfKnitting
25Rose Romance SweaterKnitting
26Secret of the Stole Mystery ShawlKnitting
29Margo & Ian's Sampler (10/06/07)Cross Stitch
30Britney Handbag (10/13/07)Knitting
31Unnamed Sweater (11/07)Knitting
33Set of 8 Dice Bags for GamersSewing
36Pretty as a Peacock Shawl (11/27/07)Knitting
37Christmas Braided Armlets for DebC (12/4/07)Knitting

  1. The liklies are the Peacock Mandala, which I seem to remember being almost finished, the Armlets, and the Unnamed Sweater. These I will try to finish this weekend.
  2. The Britney Handbag just needs two more repeats, a cute strap, a fun button-close, and some lining. The dice bags just need side seams and some hemstitching (and I've got to find some cool gold or silver elastic drawstring). These are possible, but just barely.
  3. The Peacock Pillow (canvas) - no way in hell; ditto the six Christmas ornaments, only one of which is finished. The Cat Sweater is possible, but only if I carry it around, and it's too heavy. The Pretty as a Peacock and SotS shawls are, well, lace. Ditto my lovely beaded Peacock Scarf. Not gonna happen. Rose Romace swater is just barely started, and I'm not COMPLETELY insane.
  4. This leaves the wild cards: the Lilly of the Valley shawl and Ian & Margo's sampler. I am carrying around the LotVS, and getting stuff done on it, so it could happen. Ian & Margo's sampler is allegedly just backstitch... but I know I'm gonna try to get a bit fancier with it, which will probably mean they won't be getting it next weekend.
  5. Plus, there's always the chance I'll find and finish something I started pre-2007. It's been known to happen!
The upshot of all this? I CAN get under 60 UFOs for the end of the year, and by gum, I'm going to!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Light Dusting" - my Aunt Fanny!

We got snow in DC yesterday. It was actually coming down at a furious (for here) rate, accumulating on cars and grassy areas, and turning to ice the second it hit the roads.

Naturally, this made for a very light, easy day at work, due to most of the lawyers being unable (or smartly unwilling) to venture into the Traffic Hell that is DC when anything but sunshine is hitting the pavement. (And yes, I work in an office that has bars on the windows. We've been told it's to keep outside people out, but sometimes I wonder.)

Today, much the same: only we got more snow than expected. This is not a "light dusting on grassy areas". Our lawn needed a final mow... and the snow covered even our six-inch fuzzy clover carpet. At least (some) people have a sense of humor about it; someone built a tiny snowman on the Canal wall behind Dean & Deluca this morning!

This is NOT a "light dusting" of snow!

On the knitting front:
I'm so close to finishing Deb's wristwarmers it's scary. Working each pair on two needles is going *really* well; any time I reach a major stopping point, I just switch to the other armlet and bring it up even. I've just cast off and joined back one thumb gussett, and I'm about two rows from doing the same on the other one. Yes, I know, Wendi's pattern doesn't have thumb gussetts, and she used a larger gauge yarn, etc. so they're really only "kinda based on" her pattern... but they're still cool, and without her pattern, I wouldn't have thought of making these. Anyway, pictures:

These pics give a much
better idea of the lovely
Country Christmas colorway!

See? Mostly done. Pics of the finished items should be up tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Plenty of willpower; no WON'Tpower.

Wendi Dunlap, of Slumberland.org has *the* coolest idea for her patterns: "Postcardware". It's like shareware for software - OK to use, just if you like it, let the author know. In Wendi's case, she asks that if you like her pattern for the Warm Braid Cable Wristwarmers Pattern, you send her an Interesting Postcard.

I'm hoping I can find an interesting *enough* postcard... and I'm also hoping I knit faster than all-get-out on the LotVS, since I'd like to do a pair of Wendi's wristwarmers for one of the girls in the office for Christmas - THIS year!

Speaking of LotVS, I checked the directions, and you can imagine my delight when I discovered that I only have to do 10.5 pattern repeats total - NOT the twenty-three I thought I had to do!! Mind you, each full repeat appears to be 28 rows... but I've finished three, and now that I'm actually working on the bloody thing, I think I've done in the last four days as much as I'd done since I started working on this shawl. (Darn that KnittingDaily.com newsletter - that's what got me sucked into Lace Style in the first place. And darn Stitch DC for having the book in stock, and the perfect yarn for it!)

In other news, those darned armwarmers. That darned knitting store. The UFO count is now at 64, which is what it was on January 1, 2007. This is NOT GOOD. Despite having actually finished 22 of the things (thus far) that I've started in 2007, plus finishing another 14 things (so far) that I'd started in prior years (note, that's 36 projects finished in 2007!), I'm at a net project completion of ZERO. Gah. And, as you may have noted, I cannot, in fact, just knit on one thing until its done. I don't think I made it five days. On the other hand, five days may be some sort of record in and of itself.


ANYway, I'm using my five little DPNs to knit two little armlets at the same time. I'm not *exactly* using Wendi's pattern, but close enough, I think, to give credit. I'm going to try my own pattern for the second pair (if I get that far), and put that up here for free (assuming that whatever it is I think I've figured out actually results in wearables).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New York!


New York, New York!

It was a fun trip! The basic ideas were to (a) see the Rockettes, and the 75th Anniversary Gala at Radio City Music Hall and (b) shop. We got to watch movies (and knit!) during the trip - by the time we got home (at 2am on Sunday), we'd seen not only New York City, but "Christmas with the Kranks", "Deck the Halls", and "Invincible". The first two were fun, with a lot more heart than I expected from the commercials, and the third is one of my favorite movies, period.

Once we actually arrived in the city (four hours to get to New York City, one hour to get from the Tunnel to 50th & Madison!!), we snuck in a trip to see the orignial Winnie-the-Pooh and friends....


the Real Deal!
and Mary Poppins' umbrella (and other things donated by the author).


The other stuff in the case is IN the original illustrations/descriptions in the story!

We met Santa Claus

Is it just me, or does Santa look skeptical?
... and if you've ever been on the streets around 30 Rock this time of year, you realize how long we waited to snap pics with no other people in the way!! OMG, the sidwalks were SOOOOO crowded! We shopped for a bit - mostly in the subbasements at 30 Rock, where it was warm - and saw a few odd things, like the Grinch and Elmo without their heads on:


Elmo is a cute Hispanic guy with dreadlocks - who knew?

Shopping somehow kept coming back to the NBC store and 30 Rock. Cool art & architecture outside; cutouts of famous people inside.

Atlas in front of 30 Rock

St. Patrick's Cathedral. Amazing!


Mom & Matt Lauer

Me & Jim Cramer



Then, of course, we got to the show! There was a 3-D portion (Santa flies over the crowd!), it SNOWED inside the theater, the music was wonderful, the dancing AMAZING... if you get a chance to go to New York, this is definitely worth the price of admission. Just a fun, magical time - and for an hour and a half show, it just zoomed by!

Santa & his 36 Dancing Reindeer!



Infinite dancing Santas
(to explain how he can be
so many places at once!)


The Living Nativity - just WOW.
Then back outside, to see the Big Tree all lit up. This photo just doesn't BEGIN to tell you how tall this thing is. I'm over a block away from it, and it STILL looks huge!

The Tree from TV!

Snowflake lightshow set to music!
All in all, a fun day out, and yes - I *did* get to knit the whole bus ride!