Thursday, February 28, 2008


So short a trip but so much to remember. I like many other pedigree cat enthusiasts am rushing to finish up the last minute packing as I prepare to embark on a whirlwind adventure in the city of the Indy 500. While their checklists involve things like litter pans, grooming wipes, cat food, and cats, mine looks something like, DK weight handspun wool for scarf, Bainbridge scarf pattern, size 2 needles, Wendy Knits generic toe up sock pattern, etc.
My partner in crime, the lovely seven month old, Nessa Rose. I’m not really worried about as I know our little star is well looked after by her mother. But as the two of us (Nessa and I) head into the world alone, I will need a dash of courage and a bit of luck, oh and some of my stash yarn as a security blanket to calm my nerves.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Challenge Yourself nearly complete

Time flies when it's straight garter stitch. I spent about four hours on Sunday sitting at the kitchen table, listening to SKK podcasts and sewing the Baby Girl Alpaca Soft Blanket squares together. I did however have the help of my two lovely assistance. With the sewing complete it's just a matter of picking up stitches for the boarders and doing 7 rows of garter stitch on each side. Last night I bound off the last stitches on the last side so I'll complete the February Challenge with time to spare. Assuming I can weave in those ends and block it before the month is over.

This brings me to thoughts of the March 5SKSO Challenge. I will be knitting 5 one SKein projects as well as attempting my first pair of SOcks. Hence the 5SKSO Challenge! I'm not so worried about 5 one skein projects. That's about 4 Saturdays and a Sunday but I have no idea how long socks take. I'm anxious to start and glad that there will be a quasi knit-along with the girls from the Webs trip as we all bought the same OnLine Pink Sock Yarn. Although the socks will be different sizes and patterns we'll all be doing socks.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I Could Be First Lady

Tonight at our Cast Off knitting group, amongst talk of the political candidates and how difficult it must be to be the significant other of the president the following side bar ensued.

Steph: “I could be the wife of a president. I’d make a great first lady, knitting all the time. Saying ‘I don’t really have an opinion on that whenever a dicey topic came up in interviews’ Steve would be off running the world coming home late at night to see me happily knitting away. I’d pop up from a pile of yarn and say ‘you’ve been busy at work but see what I’ve done today’ with a glowing smile. And Steve would lovingly pat me on the head and say ‘that’s nice dear’.

Kara: “I can see it now, they’d come to interview Steph and ask her opinion on current events , and she’d say “I don’t really know about that, but look at my stash” with a wave of her hand proudly showing the many skeins of yarn that surround her. And then she’d say “Oh and see this lovely skein of angora it came from the President of Turkey, and this one over here, it came from the Prime Minster of Australia, oh and this alpaca came from the President of Peru .” And then Steph would say, “What’s that, President Steve, you want to help developing countries, well I think yarn mills are an excellent solution to their economic problems.”

Daphne: “Stephanie would say “Iraq, forget about Iraq, there’s no yarn in Iraq. Get out of there. I love this Peruvian yarn, can we go back there for another summit?”

At this point we were howling with laughter at how dead on this impersonation of Steve and my relationship is. I closed with “See I told you I’d make a great First Lady.”

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Welcome to Mecca

That's what she said as we walked in the door. I laughed at the time but in retrospect it really was true. After a three hour car ride, an excellent Japanese lunch, and a bit of parking frustration, we arrived at what I believe is the closest place to heaven on earth.

Webs...So much yarn, so much was a sensual overload. My eyes were overwhelmed; my fingers were inundated with the deluge of textures, and my ears ringing with the sounds of happy knitters discussing colors and patterns. Time stood still as we wandered dreaming of the possibilities. We circled through the store several times, each time finding new delicacies to press against our checks and necks. Malabrigo, Cascade Pastaza, Araucania Limari, and Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran. I could not ask for anything more.

My perception of Webs today is far different than it was just five short months ago. I enjoyed it then too but I was not the same knitter that I am today. At that point I would have thought Malabrigo was soft but would not have felt the $12 price tag was justified. Now, not only do I recognize it’s worth but I will happily shell out the money to bring home as much as possible. I did not understand that the beauty of a Fair Isle was worth the time and energy it would take to make it. But mostly I was still an isolated knitter, just beginning to realize that there was such a thing as a knitting community.

The entire shopping experience is altered by the presence of friends. The delight of finding a scrumptious yarn is amplified by the ability to share it with another knitter who will also appreciate it. The excitement of finding the perfect yarn and colors for that pattern you’ve been dreaming about is intensified when another voice chimes in, and agrees that those colors, in your hands are the perfect colors for that pattern. And on the ride home, as you fantasize about casting on a hundred new projects, that joy is expanded as those around you share in your visions.

I learned a few things about myself. I really do love alapaca. If it’s not wool or alapaca I’m not interested. Purple may have surpassed red as my favorite color. And most of all, it feels good to have friends who are as crazy about knitting as I am, who walk into the largest yarn store in the country and say “Welcome to Mecca ladies!”

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Snow Delay

It snowed last night! It snowed a lot! 8" worth. This may not sound like a lot but when you get up and look out the window to see the snow piled up to the nose of your car it's surprising. So naturally I raced back up stairs at 6:02am, bleary eyed and avoiding the cats that love to try and trip me on the stairs. I ran into the bedroom and proclaimed "It's snowed!" My hopes were high. My heart was racing. Could it be, could today be a snow day!

It may be worth noting that my development stopped at 5 years old in relation to the snow. I am still delighted to see it and thrilled by the sound of plow trucks. Once, during the summer Steve taunted me, saying he'd heard a plow truck. I raced to the window. I still marvel at the snow and the joy of a snow day. Where most adults despise shoveling, cleaning the cars off, and driving in the stuff, I am anxious at the hope of an unplanned day to myself, completely unexpected and wholly mine.

Back to this morning, I hurriedly dialed the Cancellation Line, to see if it could be one of those special days. The message is different, something has happened, it could be something special..."Due to weather conditions...delaying operations until 10am" heart sank just a little. At least a delay is better than nothing at all. The boyfriend was not amused by my early morning antics which disturbed his last few precious moments of sleep.

The February Challenge is... well time is passing and I'm knitting but just not as focused as I'd like to be. This photo is a few days old. I've knit two more cream squares. So there are really only 3 squares to go and then on to the boarder of 8 rows of garter stitch on each side. I'd thought I could finish a square a day this week and then start the boarder this weekend, giving me 13 days to complete it.

But as you can see, the squares are not the same size. Should I block them now, before sewing? Or later after I've put the whole thing together? I'm leaning toward now in which case I should block the finished squares this week so that they are dry by this weekend. I'm hoping blocking will help the designs in each square show more.

Perhaps with a delay I can finish two squares today....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Great Day At Work

Driving home from work today I realized that my new job is good. Today was the first day that I actually got to use my analytical skills and flex my brain muscle. It felt good and I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed my boss who thinks through things the same way I do which I know will make us a great team.

When I started I was worried that she was not as social or explanatory as Flip-Flops had been. Flip-Flops was an excellent boss, personable but professional and intellectually challenging. I wished I could've worked for her longer. The Colonel is another story, I would never want to work for her again. The Colonel had trust issues and was insecure about my ability to out perform her. Then there was Texas, she was another fun boss. Texas had realistic expectations and knew her stuff. Plus she was hilarious. The Old Maid was one of probably my all time favorites. She inspired loyalty and expected nothing but the best from me, and in tern I gave some of my best work to The Old Maid.

Last year at the time I was stressing over feeling like I had to find a new job or I would go insane working for The Colonel in that smothering environment. When did the shirt ship? Then the layoffs, and I decided it was a blessing in disuse. Then more layoffs, and I felt like I should've been grandfathered out of them. Now I'm in a University environment discussing Medicare. A year ago I never would've seen this coming. It's funny how things work out.

And to keep this knitting related, I just had to show off my newest purchase. Seacoast Handpainted yarn that I got this weekend. It's called Raspberry Mocha and is a purple, lavender, beige, grey, pale blue color. 400 yards of this yummy yarn that I have to display on my body and not in a bag. I’m seeing stripes with a beige color. Or perhaps I should use this for the top portion of my Alice sweater. The leaves might get lost though.

I could use it for one of the diamonds in the Off Center Argyle by Teva Durham but I can’t find a photo of it anywhere online except on Ravelry. That would probably be the best use and the other 4 diamonds could be colors that are in the yarn. I’m getting a vision….

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

January's done now onto February...

With the January challenge of Knit a mile of stash yarn in a month being completed a day early, I had a little time to think about the February challenge.
February's challenge is, Challenge yourself. I’ve been thinking hard about what I can set for a reasonable challenge for the remaining 24 days in February that will be both challenging and achievable. I know I want the challenges to be about working through my 38+ miles of stash as opposed to my Works in Progress(WIPs) which don’t need any help getting me inspired to work on them. At the same time I don’t want my Ivy League Vest of the Shell Tank to fall to the way side.

I think a reasonable goal would be to either to do one or all of the following….

*Complete the Baby Girl Alpaca Soft Blanket that has been hibernating for 7 months and is 45% complete

*Complete my second Jacobean Felted Floral Bag that has been hibernating for 4 months and is 5% complete

*or Complete my Ivy League Vest (yes, I know this is a current WIP but if I could wrap it up in the next 25 days, I’d be happy)

Oh and the offical count for January was 1838 yards which is 1.04 miles!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ripping back

Thursday I realized that the teal diamonds and Xs on my Ivy League Vest (ILV) were not showing, in fact they were looking muddled, so my stitch pattern had been off through that section. Unfortunately, I was about 2 inches past that point. So after a glass of wine, for courage, I ripped back. Then I found a renewed interest in the vest and have been furiously knitting it. While it is nice to be inspired, it isn't helping my mile in a month progress as the mile had to come from stash yarn not WIPs. I still have 3 days to make up that quarter mile so there's hope.

I've done 3" or so in two days on the ILV in the two nights since the ripping. There are about 8 rows in an inch. So 3 inches in two days is awesome considering I was struggling to get in two rows a week, let alone two rows a day.

I'm at the point where bust increases begin but I'm thinking I might want to lengthen the armhole to edge portion. We'll see, I need to measure a few of my favorite sweaters to get a sense if the 14.25" that the pattern dictates will be long enough to wear comfortably. I sometimes find my finished garments are shorter than I intended if I just follow the patterns.

Finally I wanted to add a little more to the "Poor Boyfriend, gets another cat" story. As you can see The Boyfriend and Linus are two peas in a pod. I think of this as my two favorite boys doing their favorite Saturday afternoon pastime.