Thursday, January 31, 2008

Knitting for fun and profit?

Quick Note: CraftyGryphon Knits is now available on LiveJournal as a feed.

I don't feel bad about not having a picture for today, since I've been really good with the pictures lately. Instead, I will point out fun stuff and ask a question.

Fun stuff: Okay, I'm totally getting the Yarn Harlot 2009 Calendar. (Like I'm not gonna get the new book the second I see it on the shelves! See, I badger my local Border's to get such things, so I buy 'em there when I have a coupon (which, thanks to being on the e-list, is pretty much constantly).

And now, the question: KnittyDragon asked, probably rhetorically, if there was a way she could spend her life knitting, writing and other good stuff... without starving in the streets. I, of course, tried to think of some. This is what I have so far; any other ideas most welcome.
  1. Win the lottery, preferably over $2.3 million after taxes. Assuming you're over the age of three, that should do it.
    Downside: You'll need a financial planner, and they ain't cheep. Then again, you're rich now.
  2. Find a YarnDaddy or YarnMomma... someone who's willing to support you whilst you do this stuff.
    Downside: He or she will probably want something in return, and it could be ooky.
  3. Become famous knitblogger - it's worked for Wendy, the Yarn Harlot, Crazy Aunt Purl, etc. Why not you?
    Downside: Breaking through is tough... but once you do, you're golden.
  4. Find a job you *also* enjoy, and teach everyone there to knit. (This is my method until I win the lottery, btw.)
    Downside: Some actual work has to get done.
  5. Realize that eventually, there will be retirement, and if you've planned well, you get to write and knit as much as you want.
    Downside: "Retirement" can be decades away, and not everyone is that patient.
Anyone have any other (legal) methods to add to the list?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The rest of the loot from the weekend - see, sometimes I do get pictures in a timely manner!

First, the Aylin's stash. I don't know if I've seen "Bouton D'Or" before, but I'm wondering why I haven't. I really like the stuff in it, and hey, two of them were on megasale! Naturally, the one that had the thing I Simply Must Start Soon wasn't on sale. But it's such a *cute* little sweater, and I'll be getting all this nice orange cotton in a month and a half, and it'll all go together so nicely...!

what I got

what I'm gonna knit from it

Next, the new Knit 'n' Style is out. Thus far, this is the only magazine that I've actually finished things out of - and it's all been Diane Zangl patterns. Which, of course, is still holding true. Now, I'm not actually following her pattern for the front panel, oh no... I have some yarn that *automatically* makes cute little ribbon flowers that I've been looking for a front-panel sweater to use with. This is *so* that sweater!

what I got

what I'm gonna knit from it

Next, we have some Other Loot... mind you, I went in for the sock patterns (left) and some stitch markers. You see why I can't be trusted in Yarn Stores.

what I got

what I'm gonna knit from it

I also got some cool stuff from the Library. You may notice (bottom left) a copy of Lace Style peeking out. I had to renew it, because, as you may or may not be able to tell from the lavender lump in the right photo, I've picked up all the stitches around the edge of the Lilly of the Valley Shawl, and I'm ready to start the edging! FINALLY!

This may look like a lump of purple yarn.
Okay, it
is a lump of purple yarn.
But it's a shawl, I promise,
and it's getting closer to done
every day! Woohoooo!

This weekend, I'm going to attempt to Not Buy More Yarn. Which isn't going to work, since there are all the really good SuperBowl sales happening!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sometimes, I have no willpower.

Stash, stash and more stash.

Last Friday, I accidentally bought two balls of shiny copper-colored stuff, planning to make a Travelling Rose Scarf from it.

[Remember, this was followed by Saturday's excursion that resulted in more balls of Paton's Rumor (now completely turned into an Amanda Hat, Scarf, Neckwarmer and Ear-Warmer) and the first ball of Paton's Lacette for the Travelling Rose Scarf.]

Thursday night, I accidentally bought a ball of Karabella Aurora 8 that matches my new winter jacket.

Friday night, giving up on any hope of getting past Stitch DC without more stuff, and since everything in the store is 20% off, I got: A second ball of Karabella Aurora 8 (I'm making another few Amanda things, eventually), the last ball of shiny-copper colored stuff (I'd missed it the Friday before), the last two Lorna's Laces "Country Christmas" skeins, and a set of size 2 Addi Lace circs for Secret of the Stole II.

Saturday morning, A.C. Moore had 25% off everything that wasn't on sale, so I got four pound-bags of Orange Cotton and four pound-bags of "unknown content" green boucle that looked exactly like Bernat Baby Boucle. I've already got the sweaters picked out for each, but I've not started either, since I'm not getting the yarn until my birthday. Then, off to Michael's, to get two more balls of Lacette for the Travelling Rose Scarf, since I seem to get just over 3 panels from one ball... and I need 13 panels (supposedly). I think it'll be plenty long enough at 8 or 9!

Saturday afternoon, since we were very, very close, my husband let me stop in at Aylin's Woolgatherer, and I found this:

It's eyebleed neon yellow, the exact color of the winter hat my husband wears. It's gonna be a very fluffy eyebleed hat, I think. (I'm super amused, because when I put it on the counter, one of the girls called to another: "I WIN!!" I can only guess that there'd been a bet as to whether or not that the two balls of eyebleed neon fluff would actually ever sell, even at the bargain price of a buck a ball.)

Lots and lots of yarny loot!! And this doesn't cover the pattern books I got, either. More on that tomorrow!

Monday, January 28, 2008

More Amanda Goodies

On Friday, I finally ordered my yarn from Sanguine Gryphon. I decided on "The Gorge" colorway (Gaia) over "Moss on Bark" after consultation with my fellow knitters at the office. The hint-of-yellow/orange in "The Gorge" was the clincher. (And yes, I would've gotten "Turks' Cap", but I really, REALLY wanted to be sure I had enough yarn for SotS-II... I was really squeaking the yardage on SotS-I before I found another skein of Claudia Handpainted Silk Lace Pistachio (in the same dye lot!!) out at Knitty-Noddy in Washington.) Even better, I was able to get a Money Order in the main First Thing on Saturday... which means "no credit card involved"!! Yaaaay!!! (I sent it priority mail so (a) I could track it, since I'd really like it to get there so I can get my yarn and (b) so it would get there so I could get my yarn SOON. Very excited about this yarn!!)

Saturday was Doing Errands and Stuff, which somehow turned into buying tons and tons of yarn at A.C. Moore... some cotton I'd been eyeing for some time, some worsted for a sweater for Mom (that she'll be knitting, I know better), some green... and I'm getting a full set of Crystalite circular needles for my birthday, although I'm not supposed to know about those yet. And some Hello Kitty safety scissors. Photos of all the yarn and stuff some time this week... for now, photos of my FINISHED Amanda Scarf and Headband!!

First, the set:

Awww. How cute. It actually *is* really warm and fuzzy!! Here's a close-up of the scarf, so you can actually see there's stockinette sections and the lace-from-the-Amanda-hat section. Ditto on the ear-warmer/headwarmer/not-hat.

See? Little bits of lace
with purl rows.
This is closer to a true
Amanda thing than
the Scarf.

I have all of four inches of yarn left; I had to use the long tail scraps from the other three pieces (the Hat, the Neckwarmer and the Scarf) to finish the ear-warmer, but it worked out just fine.

UFO count now down to 59 again, with 5 projects started in 2008, four of which have been finished, with one project from previous years done. Averaging 5 projects finished a month so far in 2008, which isn't bad! And I have four snuggly Amanda knitted things!

Mmmmmm, toasty!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

(Feel free to comment. I don't bite.)

I was looking at my Get Things Done journal, and found my first entry for 2006. It's both sad and scary; I have the same goals, more or less, now, that I did then. All the stuff on the house for that year *did* get finished, and all the stuff on the 2007 also got finished (albeit in early 2008, but it's done now). Finances still scare me (but I'm closer to being completely out of debt than ever), I have started exercising yet again, and the needlework is getting ever more under control-ish.


Hey, I'm at 60 UFOs right now, and that'll change over the weekend for sure. I'm almost done with the "Amanda Scarf", and I'm under 1.5 away (officially now) from the end of the body of the Lilly of the Valley shawl. That shawl is actually starting to look long enough to be a shawl; sometime in the last repeat, it crossed from "this isn't gonna work" to "oooooo, this is gonna be pretty!". Have faith in the shawl; the shawl knows what it's doing.

I should also mention that soon after that first entry in 2006 (she says, jumping between subjects with wild abandon), I discovered I had gallstones. HUNDREDS of them, little tiny rocks filling my gall bladder. I *did* promptly lose 25 pounds, because I couldn't eat anything with even a trace of fat in it without pain. The one time I did, I keeled over in my boss's dad's office (the basis of the "nobody dies on my couch!" rule; that was a good thing, as my other boss keeled over the following week (she's fine), then me again the week after that - we're both fine now). I kinda regret that I didn't keep to the very low fat diet after my surgery that year; instead of gaining back the 25 pounds plus an extra five, I might have lost another 25 by now. I'm trying to go back to a much lower fat eating plan, and it's working - and much cheaper than eating out in the Very Expensive Chi-Chi neighborhood where I work!!

But you're here for pictures of yarn, so here they are for today:

The Amanda Scarf, on last ball of yarn - 2 pattern repeats left.

Close-up. Wow, this yarn doesn't lend well to seeing the pattern in a cameraphone photo.
It looks really good in real life, though.

I really like my size 9 acryllic needles. They're very shiny and happy!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Actually posted *ON THURSDAY*!!

Thursday Report

Naturally, I wanted a scarf with all the extra yarn I got for the Amanda hat, so I'm doing a thing with the crossed-lace pattern, then a block of stockinette, then another block of the crossed-lace. Even with garter-stitch edging, the stockinette makes the scarf curl towards the back a bit, which is wonderful, since the back just doesn't look as cool as the front. It doesn't look *bad*, of course... just more randomly nubby. I think it's going to be a seven or nine panel scarf; I've done four.

The Yarn, of course, kept trying to roll around the floor. Normally, it would sit next to me on the couch, as would my husband. Our couch, however, due to home repairs (see here), is inaccessible at present. We trade sitting in the accessible wing chair and hard metal folding chair. The yarn has nowhere to go... or at least, it didn't.

Let's hear it for (a) good ol' American ingenuity and (b) husbands that will sit still for being used as makeshift yarn minders.

I should add that this worked really well, and I got two more sections of scarf done last night!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

100th Post!

Wednesday Report

(Having already posted over a dozen pictures today, I don't feel too bad about "today's" entry not having any. It has other fun stuff.)

Finally got back to my desk this morning, to find several Knitting Dailies and a pile of Daily Chum in my inbox. Weeding through it all, several items caught my eye. While I have bookmarked the bulk of them, I'm sharing two:

First, some lovely Toe Warmers from the Yarn Lover's Room (with a conversion to crochet, too!). I'm going to have to do these, since I usually fail to sleep properly due to cold feet. And anything restrictive around my ankle WILL get kicked off, so regular socks, slippers, what-have-you just don't work.

Also mentioned was the Beginner's Guide to Charted Lace Knitting: here. If anyone is thinking about trying one of the lovely lace shawl knitalongs, and is thinking they *might* be up to it, but isn't sure about the whole "reading lace charts" thing, this is a wonderful resource that explains everything in nice clear terms, with GOOD illustrations. You! Go try lace!!

Seeing that reminded me that I need to download the pattern for Secret of the Stole II, even though I haven't bought the yarn from The Sanguine Gryphon (I *really* need to do that this week).

*That* sent me over to DK's site, where she mentioned Just Such An Animal... in other words,
LibirVox(pointer from DK). Lots of free books to load onto my iPod, yay!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday (posted Wednesday)

Tuesday Report

One of the other wonderful patterns I downloaded was the Travelling Roses Scarf, and during Saturday's Yarn Haul (I did mention I got a Michael's gift certificate for Christmas, right?), I got some lovely fluffy soft pink yarn, one little ball. Here is the first of thirteen repeats for this scarf (although given I'm doing it on size 8 needles, I think seven or eight will suffice).

See the tiny rosebud?

I *really* like the fact that I can see the little rosebuds in the knitting! This is gonna be just beautiful!! (And I'm just at 60 UFOs again now, which isn't bad, since I've started only four things this year and I've already finished two, and another two soon!) Blocking is gonna make this little scarf-thing ROCK.

The pattern repeats over 44 rows, so it's not one I'm going to memorize any time soon. It's a nice time-to-sit-and-concentrate or I-can't-actually-move-so-complicated-knitting-is-okay pattern. Also, watched some TV. Brett Sommers (from Match Game '75 - yep, I watch ancient game shows when I'm sick) had a sweater I just adored, and would wear today, if only I knitted it up. It's the first thing from the 70's I've seen in some time that I really, really like... which probably says something about my taste, but hey, I was sick:

Okay, it looks like Candy Corn, but that's actually a plus on my planet.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Amanda Hat!!

Monday Report

Felt pretty awful, and couldn't move much. Unlike last week, however, I could move both arms at once without triggering nausea, so I knitted. During the Much Running Around on Saturday, I'd gotten yarn to make my Amanda Hat. During the games on Sunday, I managed to start *and finish* a hat. It was, unfortunately, too big.

Monday, my mom manage to unpick the intricate and very, VERY secure knotwork that held together the crown of the hat, and I brought the stitching back to the top of the garter stitch rows. I did a couple more rows of garter stitch (to match the bottom)... and viola! I had an Amanda Neckwarmer!!

The Amanda Hat

Me wearing same

Matching Neck Warmer!!

Amanda Hat and Amanda Neck Warmer

I still wanted the hat, though, so, given my gauge with Bulky Yarn on the first "hat", I cut the cast-on stitches to 63, and killed one repeat everywhere but the middle garter stitch rows. The result: lovely hat that fits perfectly!! (Plus, I'm halfway done with a matching scarf, too!)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend (posted Wednesday)

Weekend Report

As you may have noticed, I've not been posting. This is due to Illness. I'm not sure I should be at work today, but here I am anyway.

Ended up having a Very Quiet Weekend, in many respects. Had birthday celebrations for my Mom (she got lots of Peter Rabbit stuff, which she adored), painted trim and re-put shelves. Didn't, however, get the decorative film on my new French doors. Got to sit and watch football games a lot, but didn't listen to my Book on Tape (Cecelia Ahern's "There's No Place Like Here", which is a great listen; the reader, Sile Nic Fheorais, has a lovely lilt. And somehow, I wound up with an unabriged copy from the library... I can't see how they'd successfully abridge this book!)

Most fun blog found over the weekend: JenLa from People don't kill people. People who knit ponchos kill people. I can attest to this:

See the hot-hot-eyebleed-pink poncho? The one that's so bright the poor little camera wasn't quite able to make the image of the cables resolve? I made that. People run in fear... and I haven't gotten hit in a crosswalk yet. Not sure what the bodycount as a result of this poncho is as yet. Anyway, started feeling poorly on Sunday, and didn't make it to work on Monday.

Did get some shopping in on Saturday, though. Okay, a LOT of shopping. Saw several cute things that I didn't buy, but will probably make for myself at some point, pictured here.

My friend Christine has one of these in gold.
If it had been just a *bit* bigger,
I totally would've bought this.

This pic is from December.
Saturday, it was on sale, in my size.
It is now MINE.

Cute Red Satin Vest. I really want this, but just can't justify it.
Modeled by Mom.

This was a plain shell, but I just adore the lace pattern!

They didn't have this in anything CLOSE to my size.
But I want one, so I may (try to) make it. At least I'm better at lace now!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Accidental Extra Knitting Time (see end)

       Yesterday, I updated my UFO tracking sheet. It was the oddest feeling - I don't think the "Projects Started in 200X" column has ever still been empty this far into a new year! Not only that, but I already had a project finished left over from the tail end of 2006. 58 UFOs, and no real way to start a new one!

       See? NO new projects started in 2008, and one finish. (And yes, some of the entries at the bottom in the Tracking List do have "1992" and "1996", etc., as start dates. Sometimes, things just don't get finished for a good, long time.)
       I'm still chugging along on the Lilly of the Valley Shawl, and if I can just get across the row I'm working now (or, rather, the one I had to stop in the middle because it was time to scoot upstairs to my desk), then I can join in the next ball. I think the middle-sized ball of the three that came out of Skein #2 will be enough - I've already knit 15 (7.5) repeats, and I've only got 6 (3.0) left. Yeah, I know, I thought I was closer than I was - *starting* set-of-repeats #7 means I have 4.5 sets left. Now that I've finished the first half of repeat-set #8, NOW I'm three sets from the end of the body.
       I've also picked up a pillow top for a pillow I'm making for my Dad. It's canvas, but it's old-style kit canvas. While this goes quickly, it's missing some "pizzaz" and "oomph". I may not get too fancy with the fish beyond colonial knots for the dots thereupon... but I've GOT to fancy up the lures some. Nifty stitches and patterns, SOMETHING. Right now, it's just boring, and I can't have that!
       Still doing a bit on my Pocahontas piece, too, although that's hit a dull patch. The excitement of filling in large blocks of colors wanes after a few thousand stitches, go figure.
       I'm hoping this weekend that I'll finally get enough unburied from our back room (which is still being painted and fixed) that I'll be able to get to yarn for my Amanda Hat. I'm not expecting to get anything from the contest, of course... but I would like a pretty hat!

       Also: the yarn I got from Alli is going to turn into a pair of Falling In Love Socks. They're gonna be really, really bright... but fun. Little brightly-colored cascading heart socks! Yay!
       Now, of course, I just have to have a hellishly productive weekend so I can either find yarn or finish projects to the point that there will be Less To Do.
       Yeah, like that's gonna work...

This Just In: Commute from Heck this morning. I got Trapped on a Train. (Not "from Hell", though, since I got off the train in less than an hour from the time Metro realized They Had A Problem.")

Thursday, January 17, 2008

UFO count: Now 58!!

Out sick yesterday (and not up to even posting a tiny "I'm sick" squeak from home). Sort of better today; we'll see how long I last.

The tiny upside was that yesterday evening I was finally able to sit upright without whimpering, so I got about an hour of stitching in. Very slow stitching. And a touch of beading and embellishing. Thus, I finished my friend Deb's wedding sampler (only about a month late at this point! Woohoo!):

Now I know this isn't knitting, but knitting doesn't work so good with radiating neck pain (from the lovely almost-migrane). As long as one shoulder isn't moving, though, I'm OK, so cross-stitch won out for the day.

Back to knitting tomorrow. I'm thisclose to being finished with the first ball of yarn from LotVS!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Books, books, books!

This weekend, I managed to locate knitting books. The first was the one I was actually looking for: Knitting Bones, by Monica Ferris. (It's number... 7? 8? in the Needlewoman Murder Mysteries series.)

Next was the fabulous Runway Knits. Honestly, I think there's only one thing in the book I *wouldn't* make!

After that, there were actually two copies of Lace Style. The first was at the bookstore, where I quickly jotted down the next step for the Lilly of the Valley shawl (which, as it turns out, is a lot farther away than I thought). I couldn't quite justify buying another copy of the book, since it's probably not all *that* lost in my house.

The second was at our local library (!!!) - and it was slightly mis-shelved. I don't know how I spotted it, but it's mineminemine for the next three weeks. Needless to say, I'm now REALLY trying to finish the Lilly of the Valley shawl, so I don't have to re-check the book... someone else probably needs it!

There was also a copy of something I've never seen before: "The Peter Rabbit Knitting Book". I just managed (well, my husband just managed) to track down - in Sussex, England - a copy of this, since my mother loves all things Peter Rabbit.

Linda K. Long's son Michael, at much younger age,
models a lovely Peter Rabbit Sweater she made.
Image (c) Linda K. Long.

Pretty good finds for one day!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I do NOT have partially-crocheted bacon in my house.

Lovely stop-motion animation by Yves Geleyn. A "textile and string" short film, bringing new meaning to the phrase "the way the fabric moves". I can't recall who posted the link where I saw it, but thank you, whoever you were, for pointing it out.

And while I may never do the Spinning Bunny Sock Hop due to the "shouldn't play with wool" thing, I have a toolbar link to it on Firefox, since seeing a tiny bunny at the top of my screen makes me happy. See? Cute, and it doesn't take up any space on my desk.

Anna at Knit & Knag pointed out the solution to my "I can't get to my swift" problem: Building one out of tinkertoys! The Tinkertoys, I can find!

And, by some miracle, I'm still at 59 UFOs. Now, mind you, there was a surprise Yarn Sale at A.C. Moore when I went there on Saturday, so I bought enough Fashionista to make my own Bacon Wrap. And I started one twice, and ripped it out. So, presently, it is not a project. See?

It was a close-run thing, though. And once I buy the pattern, things will probably go much more smoothly....

Friday, January 11, 2008

.... so how'd the *tiny* ball get there?

Well, I now have an account at Sanguine Gryphon. Hopefully, in another week, if my don't-spend-money plan goes well, I'll be able to buy my three balls of Gaia for Secret of the Stole II. Wheee! Yes, I know, I need more yarn like I need five kidneys, but I really like the cashmere/silk I'm doing Lilly of the Valley in, so I know I'd like it for SotS2. ...besides, it's pretty...

My boss-who-knits can be dangerous. She let me play with her Amazon Kindle. Yep, it's expensive. Yep, I'll have to save up for it. The timing of the "page turns" is about right for my reading speed, PLUS it does audiobooks, PLUS... and this I should've know but didn't... you can put KNITTING PATTERNS (*.pdf format) on it! I mean, there's over 200 Regency romances, at least half of which I don't already own (and don't have room for more!); mysteries for under $1, histories for under $1... and did I mention it's SD-card compatible (a must)? OMG. I totally have to get one of these. And there's heresay that *.pdf knitting patterns (of which there are many free, lovely examples on Ravelry) can be uploaded to the device, too. Just imagine... I'd know where my knitting patterns were. The mind boggles!

And I *am* still working on the Lilly of the Valley shawl. Less than 3 repeats left now (yaaaaay!), and there should be a S&B on Sunday (that should give me at least an hour, right?). I got the second skein of yarn balled up, and was somewhat disenheartened to discover it was actually THREE balls of yarn. The big one will be the edging for the shawl; the middle one will take over the bits of the body that skein #1 doesn't finish, and I guess I'll keep the teeny-tiny one for repairs. I understand that sometimes a ball will be the one that gets the first bit of one x-amount-of-yarn and the start of the next, but I'm having trouble figuring out how the itty-bitty third ball fits into the picture.

Cup-O-Shawl runneth over

Clearly, I'm going to have to follow the Yarn Harlot's suggestion and upgrade to a Mug-O-Shawl. Cup-O-Shawl just isn't big enough any more!

Thursday, January 10, 2008's BACON!!

Firstly, Knitted Bacon Hat! Oh, the things that the Fry-Up Knitalong is responsible for. (Then again, I totally want a knitted or crocheted bacon wrap.) I mean, THIS IS COOL.

images (c)Monster
Pattern available for sale here.

Water, water everywhere... sort of.
I forgot about the cold.
When you start actually hydrating yourself, after you haven't done so properly for, say, a year and a half, you will spend the first half of the first day absolutely, positively FROZEN. Not that you're actually cold, of course. You body just suddenly has more fluid rushing through it than it's used to heating up to a comfortable level. (Especially if, like me, you forgot about The Cold, and put extra ice in your sugar-free decaf 9-parts water to 1-part cran-grape bottle.) By three o'clock, The Cold finally went away, my kidneys had remembered what they're supposed to do with 'extra' water, and I'm feeling much better, but for the exhaustion. I *have* had caffiene today, since I actually wanted to function and have a job tomorrow (I'm not a complete idiot unless I'm improperly caffinated cold-turkey. As a complete idiot, the brain/mouth filter is just GONE... and that's not a good thing in my line of work. This is why I decaffinate gradually over a two-week period. Yes, this is the voice of experience.)

Saw this on the way in to work: the panel on the side of the bus (an ad for Burger King) says "Wake Up Happy". A large cup full of shiny ice and sparkling Dr. Pepper is depicted.
They know me so well.