Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm being discriminated against!

I just had a sudden and strong feeling of discrimination. It’s not fair at all that the skinny, short, tiny footed knitters of the world are so small. They get to finish items much faster than us larger girls. I even have a big head! I can’t catch a break.
At least The Boyfriend has reasonable sized feet, 11s. I’m torn about knitting him a pair of socks. I’m sure he’ll take care of them but after listening to me grouse about how much work sock knitting is, he’ll probably cherish them too much to wear them. Also, knitting socks for other people means working with colors that don’t necessarily spark my interest. I can’t knit every one bright teal socks, as much as I’d like to. I’m leaning towards simple stripes. That’ll serve multiple purposes…it’ll keep my interest as I watch the colors change, and mislead the recipient into thinking stripes are difficult and it’s an amazing piece of knitting, even if I do something simple. I need to Jaywalkers…but oh!
I’ve been working two pairs of socks using Cat Borhdi’s Riverbed construction. I’m NEVER GOING BACK TO A SHORT ROW HEEL AGAIN!! Using Cat’s construction I can get a toe-up heel flap! What more is there in life?

Oh and for those who are interested…Callie is a Devon Rex 4 month old kitten.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cat out!!

The next generation of cat show cats has begun. I went into the show hall warning Mum that Callie isn’t as good as our Nessa Rose and to be prepared to take second all day. Callie showed me and took first for the Devon Rexes and got a 9th and 10th best kitten (out of 50!) Ok, so not as good as Nessa but nothing to be ashamed of.
Callie really is a cool cat. She was happy to just lay around wrapped in a blanket. No desire to run. Well, not until she got wet, but that’s another story. Can you say "Cat out?!?!?!" Mum can!

Yes, the thumb is doing better and I was able to finish the Lulu socks that have been around since October. The pattern was fun at first but eventually the cabling on the left needle, not removing the stitches to a cable needle, became tedious and it made the stitches very tight and difficult to work with.

I also cast on the fifth 2009 Christmas gift. I’m still working on the fourth. As long as one of them is finished by next week we’ll be good.
I’ll give a peak at the fifth, it’s this pattern but in a different color. And no, I wont tell you who it’s for.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Wanna see something totally gross and disgusting?

Today I took a giant chunk out of my thumb. It bled for way too long and stopped me from doing all of my normal activities, knitting and typing.

We’re talking a massive hunk! ½” long by 1/4” wide at the widest point. Stop laughing! That’s gianormous! Espcially for a knitter. It’s right at the point where I pivot the right hand needle.

Why does this happen to me!!! Seriously, first it was the attack scissors on my index finger, and now this!!! Perhaps I’m a bit clumsy.

Oh and this is not a giant thumb gouge picture. Instead it’s a picture of me from another particularly clumsy period. When I was 9 and broke my arm riding my bike. We still went to Florida that year, cast and all. To this day my father laughs about my attempt to go swimming with a cast on (hahaha cast on!). Reflexes were stronger than will power at that age and within a few minutes I had a soaking wet cast as I had really tried to swim.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Somethings finished

We have returned from 28 below zero conditions. You can see the edge of the railing in this picture. The snow was about hip level. It was 90 degrees warmer in the house than outside. CRAZY! The car ride north was uneventful. I did some knitting of course.

Actually I finished off the Susie's Reading Mitts…part of the gift challenge. I immediately cast on another pair, which I finished last night. They have mitten caps, or whatever you would call the piece that is left off the regular fingerless mitts. I used Misti Alpaca Hand Dyed Worsted for the second pair. Wonderfully soft but a lot dye transfer onto my fingers while I was working with it. I'm hoping that it'll stop after blocking so that the recipient doesn't have a problem with orange fingers.

Saturday my mother and aunt spent some time talking, minus the phone. I had to laugh since they usually talk on the phone and each play computer games at their own homes. So while we visited they did that without the phone.

Later LT and I did some cooking…ok we took up space in the kitchen while my aunt cooked, but you know, we had the best of intentions.

And The Boyfriend, you ask. Yes he survived, but just barely. As you can see, he spent some time being a trophy, a head on the wall if you will.

I also finished the HoneyCowl. I knit mine flat so it wouldn’t have to go over the head. I just need to find a massive pewter button to fasten it shut and it’s ready to go. Well after it finishes blocking, it’s ready to go.

And finally, the the Cashmere Cowl No. 2 - Lace Rib…yeah, that was just not my cup of tea, too much chart work and too intricate. So instead I frogged it and decided to make another pair of Susie’s Reading Mitts. Everyone may just get a pair of these for Christmas since they’re so fun to knit (similar to a pair of socks) and functional.

That leaves me with 2 more Completed Christmas gifts, for a total of 3 down.

Oh and in other news, the Regia Stretch yarn arrived while we were away. It was a nice surprise to come home and find yarn waiting for me after an extremely stressful ride home. The weather was atrocious and instead of 7 hours it took us 9 1/2. I was so glad my Dad was driving his big SUV with 4-wheel drive. Anyway, I can now finish my second sock. I was feeling a bit guilty have a single lonely sock lying about.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thankful for the bucket

Folk Wisdom: The bucket goes down in the well every day -some day it won't come up. ~Virgin Islander

There are so many days that come, and I wake up and marvel at the chance to spend 8, 10, even 12 hours knitting. I know there are many who would love to do this and can not. I recognize that it’s a luxury to be able to do what I love and count those as among the best days. Then there are days which I watch hurriedly fly by when not a stitch passes through my fingers. I feel a small sense of regret at the supposed missed opportunity.

While I appreciate the time I have for knitting I seldom reflect on my physical ability to do so. I started young. Many people do not discover an intense love of knitting until later in life, after the families have grown and work has been retired. Often I assume that there will be another 40 or 50 years of knitting ahead of me, and count this as a blessing. But there is the distinct possibility that my concentrated knitting efforts may ware down the cartilage in my fingers early that my eyes may grow weak or some other unforeseen ailment may interfere with my knits and purls. Until such a time comes, I must continue to marvel at my knit-a-tunities (opportunities to knit) and be thankful for each one, as all things change with time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tomorrow we head to the artic (long and photo heavy)

Today I’m cleaning and packing. Why do they always seem to go hand and hand? I think it might be that old fear of someone having to enter your home while your not there and wanting to be sure it’s clean. Anyway, I’m packing for our trip to visit family on the border between Maine and Canada. Not the US and Canada, but Maine. That’s how I grew up thinking about it, as though Maine was the center of the universe unto itself.

Google Maps charts it as a 7 hour drive. The road trip will feature The Boyfriend, Mum, Dad and I. It’s always interesting ridding together. My parents and I have years of experience talking with Mum disputing Dad’s musical selections. The Boyfriend, who is normally quit verbose, tends to sleep through these situations, which is a foreign concept to Mum. Why wouldn’t you want to socialize since we’re trapped here for the next 7 hours together? While The Boyfriend enjoys their company, I think sleeping is his coping mechanism for dealing with the long hours in a confined space (he does the same thing on planes). Also, he didn’t grow up taking car rides this long, his family maxed out at 2 hours.

So tomorrow we head north to find -32 degrees and a complete lack of knitting stores. I’ll be bringing my Gravel Point hat and he’ll bring his Boy’s hat. Oh and did I mention that per usual, packing means spending the two days before fretting over exactly what to bring for knitting projects and the last twenty minutes stuffing clothes in a suitcase? At current count I’m at 8 projects, too many…

The dilemma is, road trips are an excellent time to finish small languishing projects that I lack the motivation to do under normal circumstances. The change in scenery and stimulating conversation offer enough of a distraction that my fingers can quickly work through the project when I’m not looking and I don’t even feel a thing. That’s not the dilemma, that comes with the knowledge that if I bring too many ‘chores’ I wont want to knit at all and the excitement of travel makes it easy to just pass up the knitting in favor of horse back riding or skiing (not likely to do either in this lifetime). So I must bring the right balance of chores and exciting projects (i.e., the latest socks). And herein lies the problem and why there are 8 projects being packed right now. Quick run down of who’s in…

The Cashmere Cowl No. 2 - Lace Rib…part of the gift challenge. The HoneyCowl…for spoiled me. The Callandor cowl…part of the gift challenge, and my own design.

The Steve Zissou hat to match Na-Ate Zissou’s. Susie's Reading Mitts…also part of the gift challenge.

The Ricky Morneaux socks, based on Dad’s sweater pattern using my hand dyed yarn. The Uptown Boot Socks, which have been waiting since we picked up Lulu back in October.
And the Sock Yarn Blanket, since it’s so portable and I’m behind on my squares.

Well the good part for you, is that after 14 hours in the car, I’m sure to have made some progress and have updates to show on a couple of these.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

30 Rock?

Without cable, we’ve been watching a lot from the 30Rock box sets.
I think they replaced Alec Baldwin with a robot for season 2 of 30Rock. In the first season he was singing “simply the best”, dancing, and making “you’re mom jokes”. In season two he looks different and is very forced in his jokes.

I’m experimenting with using two different sized needles on the same socks. The pattern is a slipped stitch and I didn’t want it to be too tight, so I went up to a size 3 on the top of the foot and kept the size 2 for the sole of the foot. Any experience with this? I was thinking slipped stitches would be a good way to avoid pooling. And it's a simple pattern so I'm not doing extra work that wont show. I'm taking Julie's advice on knitting with Hand-dyed yarns...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I see socks

Do you see socks everywhere you look?

I feel like the little boy in 6th Sense, whispering “I see dead people.” Except for me it would be “I see socks”

Honestly, it’s beginning to feel like a sickness.

We’re testing out all these potential new color ways at work and my rating system consist of a single thought process…”how would that look on my foot as a sock?” Nothing to do with the ascetics of the two colors together, just how would that look on my feet.

Do other people think like this?

Take this yarn for instance, I took one look at it and my eyes hurt. Its neon green. It’s so bright. Its amazing. But even more than that, I can see my feet dancing around in some lacey number created from it.

Hysterical and completely unrelated…(rated R)

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Christmas Gift for 2009

Here is the first completed 2009 Christmas Gift. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because the recipient often reads this. But I will say that if you’re on Ravelry and you can find the details here. Next gift, a cowl type object.

Want to hear my knitting blunder? I'll share it if you promise to laugh and point.

I bought a single skein of sock yarn. I was going to make ankle socks. The last pair of semi ankle socks used 228yards and they had 3” of cuff (now that I work at a yarn company determining yardage is second nature). So this 208 yard skein would be fine. Yeah it would, until I decided to throw cables on the foot to make it more ascetically pleasing. Here I am with ¾ of a sock done and only ½ a skein left (about 104 yards if you’re mathematically challenged). That’s definitely not enough to finish this sock and do a second. And on top of that, Webs no longer carries this color (I bought it at Thanksgiving with my birthday gift certificate form my In-laws, thank you again by the way). So now I’m in a mad rush to find some of Regia Stretch Color in color 86 Dye lot 67822. I know it’s a shot in the dark but if you have any of this yarn and could part with it let me know.

Later: I finished the sock and have enough left to make one (not even a pair) of baby socks. Talk about a total miscalculation. Hopefully I'll get some from a seller on Ravelry soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Pit

Folk Wisdom: When you fall into a pit, you either die or get out. ~Chinese

Very fitting considering the size of the yarn pit I’ve put myself in.

I could wax poetically on the topic of stash.

I could whine that it’s somehow not of my own creation.

I could spend hours searching for stash busting ideas and ingenious patterns.

But none of that takes the necessary action to get me out from under the stash pile or out of the pit. At this point, it’s simply a matter of ducking my head and working those needles. I’m hoping to empty out one of the bins before next Christmas. I’ll feel successful if I can do that. So right now, I’m going plug in my headset and “Knit like the wind”, until I’m out of this pit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Face The Music

Can you hear that? I sounds kinda like a flute. No wait, I hear the some other instruments now. It’s starting to sound like music.

Yes, it’s time to face the music.

And While we’re facing it, lets have a stash flash. It was making Linus a bit wary, as he thought it could be hostile, nevering having seen it all gathered together before.
First off let me tell you about the most interesting, the funniest, and the most ridiculous guesses received.

Most Interesting goes to….
Elaine who said, “I was just going in for a random guess, but then I saw the last post - I like that idea choosing a year of significance.88.19 miles of yarn. My goodness, that's roughly the distance from NY to Philadelphia a thought to ponder!”

Until that point I hadn’t really thought about the distance in terms of driving from point A to point B. I was envisioning walking laps, why should it make sense, we're talking about yarn in miles?

The Funniest goes to…
Kitten With a Whiplash, who said ”Hi, I'm going to guess 54.25 miles. I tried just once to catalog my yarn. Never again. I swear it multiplied, flew around room, disappeared and reappeared with total abandon, never allowing me an accurate count. When I lost the paper I'd written all my notes on, I just gave up. I came here from WiKnit's contest blog, and will post to mine”

I had tears of laughter imagining the yarn flying around the room with gogels and a helmet in a fighter plane.

The Most Ridiculous goes to…
Catiebell, who said “I can't even begin to figure it out mathematically, so I'm just going to pull a number out of the air - 41.9 miles of yarn. Where do you keep that much yarn?”

Ridiculous because it’s so small. I had that much before I became a sock knitter, and we all know that the sock yarn piles up deceivingly fast.

And finally, the grand prize winner, the person who came the closest without going over is
Rachel O, who said “65.04, a nice round number. I have to go figure that out mine now.”

The actual count is 65.1. So Rachel O you have your choice of either
· Socks That Rock: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Lightweight (Mill End) Dixie Chicks
· Cherry Tree Hill Suri Laceweight Wild Cherry
· Araucania Ranco Multy 318 Hot Pink
Rachel, please email me at knittingsamurai at g mail dot com, or leave a comment with your email address so we can work out details.

I’d like to thank you all for participating and making my confession enjoyable rather than a painful humiliating experience. And once more, just for your reference, this is what my 65 miles of stash looks like...there now I've shown it. Never again!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Linus wanted to show his version of the Sock blanket…

And now mine…don’t worry I wont post about it all the time but I’m just so proud of the color theme.
I’m going to try and do sections of color to give the blanket some interest and shading.

The contest turnout has been amazing! Thanks for all of the participation. To answer a few of the questions…

Why do you keep your angora in the freezer?

I bought the yarn at a fair, not a fiber festival just a summer fair, and felt nervous that there might be little critters in the yarn. I feared introducing the new yarn to the old yarn and having a critter attack. (So I placed it in yarn quarantine, the freezer, hoping to kill anything. Until Julie pointed it out, I had not considered that the freezer is much colder than the temperatures that bunnies are typically exposed to and may have compromised the fiber by freezing it. I should knit with it soon and see how it is.

Do we get pictures too?

That would be a big undertaking. But it’s definitely a possibility. If I show you mine, will you show me yours?

How are our guesses going? Anyone close yet?

As of yet, no one has hit the mark. A couple people have come pretty close. I’ll give you another hint. The total ends with _ _ .1 miles.

I think you should all be brave and face your stashes. I’d love to hear how much you have, and it doesn’t hurt that much. If anything it makes you appreciate what you have. It motivates you to use the yarn that’s been hiding at the back of the closet. Or even, part with something you can’t imagine what you were thinking when you bought it.

And you know, it feels like shopping when you go into your Ravelry Stash and flip through page after page. And even better, if you find something you want, it’s there instantly! How awesome is that?

Monday, January 5, 2009

From 7 to 4

When thinking up this month’s challenge, I consulted The Boyfriend for possible ideas…his thoughtful suggestion; “Knit all the yarn!” This comes on the heels of the living room reorganization which revealed the two giant duffle bags I’d been hiding at the end of couch in a corner of the room. Oops I forgot about those, that’s felting yarn and it doesn’t count in my 5 bins. Why I don’t know, but it just doesn’t.
Knit all the Yarn would be impossible, unless I attempted to make a hideous scarf on giant needles, holding quadruple yarns… no that’s just ridiculous!

This January I’ll be attempting to Complete 4 Christmas Gifts. As a knitter I feel it’s my responsibility to knit gifts for those I love. This year I only gave two knitted gifts and I think some people (parents and husband) would’ve appreciated something. I’m starting now while the Christmas spirit is still in the air, since I’m not usually motivated to knit gifts until 25 days before Christmas which doesn’t leave enough time to do something for everyone.

And to wrap up last months challenge…I needed to successfully complete 47 blanket squares by December 31st to finish the Seven Square Challenge. ON the 31st I had 48 and currently I have 51 squares so that was a successful challenge. It almost should be a sub-challenge for each month since I really need to stay on top of my square knitting if I want this crazy blanket to be finished before next Christmas.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas left our house yesterday

The Boyfriend does all of the holiday decorating. Typically, it’s sometime when I’m out of the house so I can come home and find a Christmas Cheer everywhere. And then after New Years Eve we take down the decorations together. This year was a real eye opener. Once packed as tight as humanly possible, we had enough boxes of decorations, wrapping paper, fancy gift boxes, and Christmas cards to fill a 6 foot by 6 foot space, about 4 feet high. It is insane! And that’s after we threw a lot away.

But before we finished our de-decorating, we decided to rearrange the living room. I don’t know if you know this, but we have a couch and a love seat and a patio door at one end of the living room. I know you’re saying to yourself, come-on, get to the point. Well, sometimes when the mood strikes me I’ll turn the loveseat around so it’s facing the glass door and the sunshine with its back to the rest of the living room. Antisocial, you bettcha! But I’m happy sitting there listening to an audio book, knitting, and watching the birds or chipmunks or the snow fly.

Being a social person, The Boyfriend finds this setup frustrating and embarrassing since we have to do a quick switch around of the loveseat if company is coming over. Or worse than that, they could come over and see how antisocial I am, gasp!!! Often he’ll switch it around only to come home from work to find that I’ve become antisocial again. Turn the love seat, be social, turn it again, anti-social, turn it back, turn it again, social, anti-social, you get the idea.

So yesterday we worked to come to a compromise that will allow all of the sunshine in and be more inviting. We canceled the cable and decided to no longer center our living room around the TV. Next we setup the couches in a sitting room sort of layout across from each other. We are both very pleased with ourselves. It doesn’t look at all like our house and I can see out the door from any seat in the room. Happy!
Mac & Linus are still getting used to the new layout and reserve the right to dislike it. Afterall their food dishes were moved from one side of the door to the other! How dare those crazy humans!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sneezing and Possessed

An hour ago I got up to get a soda. On my way I stopped in the bathroom and became possessed. That bathroom has never been so clean as it as this very moment. It’s so clean I would eat off the floor!

Up until the possession I’d spent the day grouchy and sullen from lack of sleep. A late dinner and family turmoil left me with indigestion all night long. This morning The Boyfriend headed off to work and I settled in for some knitting. What else does a Samurai do to entertain herself?

I started working on the Cashmere Cowl No.2. Mine is in J Knits Softee Alpaca in color NYC. It’s an intricate cowl and I was so focused on what I was doing (knitting and listening to The Wheel of Time), that when I looked up again it was 1:00 and I felt miserable, with sneezes and a headache from lack of coffee. I took some meds (including a coke) and set aside the Alpaca yarn thinking that might the cause of the soar throat and sneezing. You never know what will set me off, Lopi is the most common offender but perhaps this alpaca had it out for me today.

Next I was off to update the Curlfect website, I added several new photos of Sky and Joelee. She was such a ham during our Christmas celebration that I couldn’t resist sharing the photos. Usually she’s quiet and reserved, happy to let Nessa get all the attention. Sky is adorable of course. So much so that The Boyfriend was angling to take him home with us.

My Denna socks are moving along. I need to take more notes since I’ve added stitches to the leg portion. 66 sts on size 1 needles just looks stretched out over my ankles (size 11 feet) so I added 4 stitches to help make it look more relaxed.
I still do not have January Challenge. I'm feeling so inclinded to say, finish up the 3 pairs of socks on my needles. But that's not exciting...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Mileage Contest

With the New Year comes the desire to set new goals and measure last years progress.

Looking back at my “All Used Folder” I see that since the big reorganization and catalogue adventure (1/8/08) 7.25 miles of yarn have been knit. More than half of that was from my original stash, 4.9 miles. Think about that, MILES of yarn.

As with any great love, my stash continues to grow with each passing day. Knit as fast as I might I did not decrease the size of my stash. Sadly.
In fact, it has continued to grow and grow fast since I’ve become a sock knitter…ok an obsessive sock knitter.
This year, in the same amount of space, same number of bins and bags, so that should tell you how much finer and therefore more yardage each skein has as compared to last year’s yarn, I have a bit more yarn.
Last year I had 530 skeins in the stash, and this year I have 789 skeins. So yeah, they have to be smaller skeins to fit in the same space as 530 skeins.

I knit 135 projects in the past year by the way…I also track that too. Don’t laugh, ok you can laugh. I can’t help it. I love to be organized and have goals.

Anyone want to guess what the current yardage is? It could be a fun game. I could be like Bob Barker on the Price is Right, whoever gets closest without going over wins a skein of sock or lace yarn, or if they’re not a knitter maybe I’ll make them a neckwarmer instead…yes I think this could be fun. Let’s play, Guess the Mileage in The Samurai’s Stash...

I’ll give you a few more facts. I have 3 decorative baskets in the living room displaying yarn, I have 3 big bins in the closet with yarn and 2 more in the garage with synthetic yarn. I just took the angora out of the freezer. Last year at this time I had 39.8 Miles of stash yarn. Green and Purple are the most prevalent colors in the stash.

Let’s say, guesses will be accepted until January 10th. The winner can choose from either,
  • Socks That Rock: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Lightweight (Mill End) Dixie Chicks
  • Cherry Tree Hill Suri Laceweight Wild Cherry
  • Araucania Ranco Multy 318 Hot Pink

Later: Go ahead and take a shot at it. So far the guesses have been far too low.

Even Later: 123! My goodness I do have a little self control. A bit less yarn than that.