Thursday, March 30, 2006

Happy Dance!

I cast off "Secret" last night! I have to weave in the ends and do some other minor finishing tonight, but it will be a completed project for March. There won't be any pictures of this project until the giftee has received it.

I have been working on my Rockin' Sock Club socks at lunch time. I was having difficulty keeping the stitch count right with the DPNs I was using. They are too long and because they are metal, they fell out when I got to the end of a needle - I kept dropping stitches and would have to pick them back up. I decided to pull everything out and start again with bamboo needles that were shorter. Things are going better and I'm almost back to where I was. I really love this Rainforest Jasper colorway!

Monday, March 27, 2006

If it's Monday, it means progress??

Actually, today it does! Of course right now, I can't seem to upload any pictures on Blogger...
  • I made major progress on Secret over the weekend. This is all I can show you for now:
  • On the Jaywalker sock front, I am now ready to start the heel.
  • OK, I know I wasn't supposed to start on my Rockin' Sock Club socks yet, but after reading all those posts at the Sock Club KAL site, I couldn't resist casting on and knitting a couple of rows.

  • Also, I realized that I had never posted a picture of the completed booties and baby hat.
  • And I have some obligatory cat pictures:

My two girls "helping" me knit "Secret."
Tica is lounging on the top of the couch.
Sombra is the couch potato on her back

"Did you flashy-thing us, mom?"

Edited to include the pictures!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Don't you just hate it when work gets in the way?

...having work to do is a good thing, but it's heck on getting any blogging done!

Secret is coming along - I'm about ready to add skein #3, so I only have a skein and a half to go! On the other hand, the sock is going much slower - still haven't hit the point where I can start the heel.

I now have too many things scheduled during the week to get any large amounts of knitting and stitching done. Tues night is Pilates; Weds night I have a standing IM date with my friend Jane (Hi, Jane!); Thurs night is Yoga; and Fri night is for my husband. Monday night is the only night I can really just sit and knit for a couple of hours. Most of my crafty stuff is done on the weekends. (Of course, we won't talk about the sad state of my house right now! Is that a cat or a dustball?)

Knitting has been my highest priority lately. While I love cross stitch, I have been doing cross stitch projects (interspersed with the occasional quilt project) since I picked up my first kit in 1984. I have been going to cross stitch festivals every year since 1992.

Beginning last year, I started losing interest. Maybe it's because I saw how wonderful Stitches West was, compared to the mediocre (IMHO) Cross Stitch Festivals in Burbank and Santa Clara. Some charts and projects were still calling my name, but not nearly as many as in previous years, (I'm still a sucker for a Mirabilia mermaid, or any mermaid project for that matter!) Or maybe it's just time to give cross stitch a rest.

I made the decision not to go to the Cross Stitch Festival this year - the only one in the West is in Las Vegas. None of the classes thrill me and if the vendor list is any indication, it won't be worth the plane and hotel costs to go to the Festival for 2 hours of shopping. If I feel the need to fondle stitching supplies, I'll just take a field trip to Needle in a Haystack! I know I'll get back to it eventually, but for now I'll consider any work on cross stitch projects a bonus.

I really enjoy the knitting process - finding a project I like, yarn that feels and looks good, and watching something spring to life in my hands. Making something I can wear or use is very satisfying. I have two knitted afghans on my couch that get nightly use, a pair of socks that are toasty, and several scarves I can wear with my coats. My mind is full of potential projects and color combinations.

I'm still struggling with the spinning process, but I'm determined that I'll figure it out. I did break down and buy a "training" spindle - Cascade's Little Si - and that seems to be going better. I love my Maggie spindle, but I think I need to get the process down before graduating to her!

I'm looking forward to spending some time knitting and spinning this weekend. Hopefully, I'll have some pictures on Monday.

(...guess I had a bit on my mind! LOL!)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Stash in the mail...

A few weeks ago, I read in somebody's blog that Blue Moon Fiber Arts was starting a Socks That Rock club. Well, it took me all of two seconds to decide that I needed to join this club! It's a good thing I jumped on it, because they closed the club to membership the next day. There are a lot of people who love this yarn!

The first club installment arrived today: A yummy skein of lightweight Socks That Rock in Rainforest Jasper, an emergency skein of STR (LOL!), a button, a bumper sticker, and a cool sock pattern. Since I ordered the club for a year, I also got a binder to hold the patterns and other handouts that come with the club.

Boy, it's going to be VERY hard not to start a another pair of socks with this yarn! But, I need to finish my secret project (aka Secret) before I can start another project. Once Secret is done, I can start these new socks and swap off with my STR Lagoon socks that are in progress.

Speaking of which, I have about 5 inches done on the leg of the first Lagoon sock.; just another inch to go and I can work on the heel. I'm making good progress on Secret, too - it's a 3.5 skein project and I have 1.25 skeins done. I did not work on my cross stitch at all this weekend as I'm feeling the crunch with Secret. I'll get back to stitching at lunch time when Secret is done.

Friday, March 17, 2006

YAY! We have a "new" car!!

My husband bought a used car today! After 2.5 weeks of dealing with one car, we are now a 2-car couple again! Not only that, we are now a 2-Saturn couple...he bought a 2000 Saturn station wagon in red (replacing his 1989 Toyota wagon that died). He really does need a car in which he can haul his skis, bike, and camping gear, so a station wagon is good. Whew! Now I can have my car back..I've missed it!

Not much to report on the crafty front...but here's a picture of my Jaywalker sock so you can see that I'm truly working on a sock. LOL! This is Socks That Rock in Lagoon--I really like how the colors are working up in this pattern.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yeah, there's progress...

The weekend report: I didn't get as much done on my projects as I wanted, but I did check out another yarn store in the area. (LOL! Like I need more yarn!)

Since my husband's car died two weeks ago, we've been sharing my car--I can't begin to tell you how many times, I've wanted to run an errand at lunch only to remember that I didn't have a car! I was getting some kind of cabin fever! On Saturday, I needed to go by myself somewhere, anywhere to feel "free"! So, I decided to drive to Los Gatos and visit Yarndogs.

OK, I love this place! It's a small store, but they have a lot of yarns I haven't seen elsewhere. And the people who run it are super helpful! They have all of their patterns in a separate room and they have a good selection of needles. I bought a pattern and the yarn for a simple sweater (a rich walnut brown).

After this, my car found it's way to Saratoga and Knitting Arts. I bought a couple of skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn (Wild Cherry and Spanish Moss) and a skein of Lorna's Laces Angel to make another baby hat.

With the rest of the day, I alternated between knitting my jaywalker sock, my secret project, and finishing up a baby hat using the remaining yarn from the booties and first baby hat I knit. (I know, I'm in a rut with these hats!)

On Sunday, I geeked out and started a FileMaker Pro database to track my yarn and knitting needles. I already have a database that tracks my cross stitch, needlepoint, and quilting stash, so adding yarn and knitting needles to it seemed like a natural extension.

So, some progress...but not a lot.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Gee, when did Friday sneak in?

I swear, I feel like it's still Monday!

Not much progress on the project front this week.
  • The jaywalker socks are coming along slowly, mostly because I find that the smaller needles make my hands hurt after a couple of hours and I have to stop.
  • The cross stitch lunch project is moving along. I only have about 20 minutes at a time to spend on it - I need to eat faster so I can work on this more!
  • I did start my secret project and want to finish that by the end of the month so I can send it to its eventual owner. All I can say is that it is a knitting project...
However, we did get our April trip reservations made. In this case, "we" is my daughter and I - she's going to Baltimore for Visitor's Day at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and has invited me to go with her! I'll fly down to LA and we'll leave from there. Our plane tickets are purchased, and the hotel and car are booked. She's very excited to be going and I'm just thrilled that she asked me to go.

I'm hoping to get some serious project time in this weekend since the weather is supposed to be rainy and cold. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, March 06, 2006

The old "two steps forward, one step back" dance

Sometimes things work out great in Craft-Land and other times not so great.

What's going great:
  • Officially finished with the baby booties: sewed them up and they are ready to be sent out with the hat.
  • Started a small cross-stitch project to do at lunchtime: "C is for Kitty-Cat" by Sweetheart Tree. It's a perfect lunchtime project because it's a sampler of cat motifs - it's easy to do one motif in a short period of time.
  • Played around with intarsia a little: I have an idea for a hat for my niece's kids and needed to figure out how it works.

What's not so great:

I'm having a terrible time keeping the right count on the Jaywalker pattern using the Trekking XXL yarn. I keep losing a stitch somewhere and have to frog back to find the error. It's really hard to "unknit" this sock at the decrease points. Since I kept making this error over and over (and I thought I was counting right), the only thing I could think of was that this yarn was not the right one for me to use with this pattern - it may be because it's a lot lighter weight than I've used before or simply because it's a dark color and hard to deal with at night; I don't know. Don't get me wrong; I like the yarn and I like the pattern, but I think that they don't blend together well for me. Maybe I'll try it again when
I have more experience knitting with the lighter weight yarns.

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled out what I had done and put aside Trekking XXL yarn (there's the one-step-back part). I decided to try the pattern in Socks That Rock (in Lagoon) to see if I have any better luck. I cast on with STR while watching the Oscars and managed to get through the ribbing and two pattern repeats. It's going a lot better in this yarn, so I'll keep at it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

February project recap

Wow! That was a fast month...

What I finished in February:
  • Aqua & purple scarf in Athena & Rowan kidsilk haze (knitting)
  • Santa Fe #2 (Woman with Pots 2) (needlepoint)
  • Teal and blue scarf in Moda Dea Cheri (knitting)
  • Baby hat in Lorna's Laces Angel (knitting)
  • Baby booties in Lorna's Laces Angel (knitting)
    (In the interest of honesty, I did finish knitting the booties, but I still have to sew the seams together!)
  • Reorganization of my sewing room
What I worked on in February:
  • Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  • Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  • Jaywalker socks in Trekking XXL purples
Not bad considering that two weekends were completely taken up by the reorganization project!

My plans for March include continuing to work on the Jaywalker socks and Peacock Majesty. I think I'm going to put Hopi aside for the moment and work on a couple of small cross stitch projects instead. There is also a secret project to start. (...and that's all I can say about that!)

Not-quite Eye Candy Friday...

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