Friday, September 6, 2013

I got lucky!

I follow a lot of knitting blogs. I mean a LOT. Google's discontinuation of Reader last spring left me panic stricken. What would I do when they took away my "Next" button for paging thru all those blogs? I procrastinated, in denial that Google would actually be so heartless. After all, isn't their motto "Do no evil"? And taking away Reader was definitely evil.

As the July 1 execution date approached, I faced facts that there wasn't going to be a last minute reprieve for Reader. So I did some research, and finally migrated over to Feedly. Surprisingly, after all that angst, I've adapted well and am actually fairly happy with Feedly.

I've continued to follow way too many knitting blogs.I might listen to/watch a lot of knitting podcasts too.  A lot of these blogs and podcasts do giveaways, and yes, I shamelessly enter all the giveaways. Well, not all. I don't spin, so I usually pass on the fiber giveaways. Though sometimes I enter those too because spinners occasionally appear on my gift list. My luck seems to come in spurts. I won't win anything for ages and then, bam, I win several things.

This held true a couple weeks ago. I was feeling like I never win anything (not true, but reality isn't always a big influence on my feelings). I've been playing with dyeing yarn and had dyed a skein of yarn for the summer dye-along of The Dyer's Notebook video podcast. This is a wonderful podcast from Laura of Gynx Yarns. You should definitely check it out. My skein came out lovely and really was it's own reward.

But Laura had lots of prizes for the dye-along, including some yarn I was really hoping to win. The odds of winning something were like 1 in 4, so I was hopeful. I watched the episode where she announced the winners late one evening and didn't win anything. I went to bed with a "Hrumph. I never win anything". So not true. I had already started knitting a pair of socks with the yarn I'd dyed.The pattern I'd chosen was The Uncanny from Teresa Gregorio's Ghosts ebook. Which I'd won a year or so earlier from the herrlichkeiten blog, so yeah, never win anything. It's a lovely pattern - I''ve finished the first sock.

So I wake up the next morning, check my email and my luck had changed. I had won two blog contests! Knitting The Uncanny must have given me good karma, because the first was from Teresa Gregorio's Canary Knits blog. I won a gorgeous skein of Bijou Basin's Tibetan Dream sock yarn, 85% yak and 15% nylon. It's oh so squishy and soft and such lovely colors.

It came with a nice sock pattern too, Woven Socks by Jill Wright. Though this yarn might be too lovely to become socks. I might have to use a plainer yarn to make the socks and use the yarn for a shawl or cowl. It's one of those skeins that's almost too wonderful to actually knit with. I think I'll admire it as a skein for a while until it tells me what it wants to be. (What, your yarn doesn't talk to you? Mine does.)

The second contest I won was from Stephannie Tallent's Sunset Cat blog. She has a pattern, the Arrows mitts and hat, in KnitPicks' Wool of the Andes 2013 Collection. I won a copy of the book and 4 skeins of Wool of the Andes to make the hat and mitts. I chose the Spruce and Haze Heather colors. Wool of the Andes comes in so many nice colors, it was hard to choose, but I think I picked well. Purple and green, pretty much my favorite color combination.

I can't wait to knit these. I'm not sure if I'm going to make them for myself or maybe give them as a Christmas gift. There are a couple people on my Christmas list who might really like those mitts. There are a couple other patterns in the collection I'm tempted to knit too, particularly the Insulate cardigan by Christina Harris.

That was a really lucky day for me. I haven't won anything since, but I'll keep shamelessly entering all those contests. I'm bound to have another lucky day sometime...

Joining in on Fiber Arts Fridays over at Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I'm knitting Grace by Jane Richmond out of Kollage Riveting cotton in a lovely teal color.

The sweater is knit top-down seamlessly. The first part was challenging, getting the lace pattern right while including the raglan increases. I had to rip partway back a few times. Now I'm into the endless stockinette body, although it is nice to have something mindless to work on like earlier this evening at Stitch Night at my LYS.

If you want to see more Work-In-Progress posts,  check out Tami’s Ami’s Blog

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Last fall I knit these fingerless mitts out of Shibui Sock in the periwinkle color.

I liked them and wore them a fair bit this winter, but I never wrote up the design. I just wasn't happy with the way my i-cord bind-off curled under. It's hard to stop reverse stockinette from curling under like these do. I played with the i-cord bind-off and think I have a version that won't curl.

I also wanted the pattern to include versions with a longer cuff and with fingers (you can't really see in the above photo, but that cuff ends pretty much right inside my jacket). Over the winter I knit this version out of some lovely Knitted Wit Rambouillet fingering in the thistle color.

Now I'm working on an updated version of the short sample with no fingers, again in Shibui Sock, this time in the Kiwi color.

Joining in with Tami's Amis for WIP Wednesday.

 Join us!

What are you working on?

Monday, April 22, 2013

4KCBWDAY1 The House Cup

It's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week again!

A bit like Harry Potter, but not quite, this year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is split into 4 houses. Don your favourite knitted or crocheted hat and let it guide you to which house you will be in.

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

The House of Manatee: Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet.

The House of Monkey: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

The House of Peacock: Peacocks take something good and make it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details – like a Peacock's Tail.

Which house am I? Aspects of the House of Bee fit me. I sometimes flit from one interesting project to the next. Without necessarily seeing a project through to the finish. Like all those designs I haven't written up the pattern for yet, like these shawls:

The House of Manatee isn't a bad fit either. I like traditional, oversized, comfy sweaters like my Irish Fisherman's Sweater.

But the pictures above show which house I fit best in: The House of Monkey.  "Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting." That's me. There's no such thing as too many cables in a first knitting project:

Complicated lace: bring it on.

 And don't forget that finicky picot cast-on.

 Fair Isle: a pattern that repeats would just be too easy:

Yup, that's me, always wanting to try a new technique. The more complicated, the better.

Friday, April 19, 2013

RIP Tuft

February 14, 1996 to April 12, 2013

He was a good cat and I miss him terribly. He'd been in decline for the last year, not eating enough and a bit wobbly on his feet. His vet hadn't been able to find anything specific wrong with him, he was just old. Last week it reached the point where he was miserable so I had to say goodbye to him. It was a really hard, but I know I made the right choice, not prolonging his misery.

The last week has been rough. My apartment seems so empty without him, I find myself looking for him when I come home. And I keep running into his adorable face all over the internet. See, I'd used the picture above as my avatar on all sorts of sites: Ravelry, Craftsy, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, I keep logging in somewhere I haven't been and his little face breaks my heart all over again.  It seemed like a good idea, having a single picture that would identify me across various platforms, but in the last week I've been regretting it. I'm replacing Tuft's photo with various photos of my knitting designs, because I just can't take seeing him everywhere.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Favorite Things Friday #1 and #2

The last couple of weeks I've noticed Alex Tinsley posting Favorite Things Friday on her blogs, Dull Roar and Classy as F***. Vivian of Spindleshanks recently started Favorite Things Friday with Star of Keep on Knitting in the Free World and Lee of talkin' under water also joining in. I really liked today's categories, Favorite Modern Convenience and Favorite Discovery. Alex said on her blog to email her if you want to join in, so I did. Now I've got a whole long list of categories in which to find favorite things for future Fridays. Today I'm catching up with last week's, favorite animal and favorite superhero/superpower, and this week's, favorite historical discovery and favorite modern convenience.

Favorite Animal

Without a doubt, the sea turtle is my favorite animal.

Snorkeling Sea Turtle
Photo by:

They're so graceful in the water. They get to live on coral reefs and bask in the sun. If I believed in reincarnation I'd want to come back as a sea turtle. Presuming, of course, that we don't drive them to extinction before I die. Hmmm... maybe a donation to the Sea Turtle Conservancy is in order.

Favorite Superhero/superpower

This category is a bit harder for me. Comics superheroes like Batman and Superman have never really interested me. I like tv shows and novels with supernatural elements though, so maybe I'll go that way. Let's see. It'd be nice to be immortal like a vampire. Oh, but there's that slight problem that I have been known to faint at the sight of blood. And I get to craving the sunshine during Oregon's gloomy winters. Perhaps vampire isn't that good a fit for me.

How about magic? One of my favorite book series is The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, especially the audiobooks read by James Marsters (aka Spike on Buffy/Angel). The hero of the books, Harry Dresden, is a wizard in Chicago. One of his oft-used spells is fire. Wouldn't it be fun to be able to shout "Fuego" and throw fire from your hand? Though I hope I'd use my power more for starting campfires rather than for taking out enemies like Harry does.

Favorite Historical Discovery

There's a lot of contenders in this category. This is, after all, a knitting blog, so I could pick knitting, but that'd be a bit trite, wouldn't it?

I feel obligated to go for at least a little originality or I'd copy Alex's pick of natural selection, which is what made me decide I needed to play along with the Favorite Things Friday meme. One of my favorite tumblrs is WTF, Evolution, which describes itself as "Honoring natural selection's most baffling creations. Go home, evolution, you are drunk." 

“Do you ever think that maybe there’s something more out there?”
“What do you mean, evolution?”
“I don’t know, like, that there’s some greater purpose for all these animals I’m making, other than just eating and pooping and having little animals.”
“I guess I hadn’t really thought about it.”
“I just wonder what the point is sometimes. What’s stopping me from going off the rails and making this sage grouse look completely absurd? Why don’t I just give it demon eyes and ridiculous inflatable chest balloons? Who cares? What difference does it make?”
“Aw, come on, don’t talk like that.”
“Why not? Seriously, I’m going to do it. See if anyone stops me. Bet you they won’t.”

Over on Keep on Knitting in the Free World, Star chose cave painting as her favorite discovery, and boy, could I second that, though I'd go for the petroglyphs. I do love petroglyphs and have even knit them, like my Hawaiian petroglyph sweater. 

Cave painting and petroglyphs got me thinking of basic discoveries, and suddenly I knew what my favorite discovery is - written language! Imagine a world without writing. Communication would be so hard. No novels, no newspapers, no blogs, no Ravelry. It doesn't bare thinking about.

Favorite Modern Convenience

This one's a no-brainer. Contact lenses. I can't imagine living without them. I haven't been able to see at a distance without glasses since I was a small child and these days I can't read or knit either. I wear these multifocals.

I even sleep in them so I only need to remember I can't see naturally once a week or so. 

Except when I read or watch a time travel show like Primeval or read a post- apocalypse novel like The Dog Stars. Then I realize I'd be worthless in these situations. Within no time I'd be blind as a bat. Seriously, why isn't anyone on The Walking Dead the walking blind?

The Twilight Zone at least got it.

And those are a few of my favorite things.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

WIP Wednesday

It's still Wednesday here in Oregon for another hour, so I'm gonna sneak in a late-day WIP Wednesday post.

I'm working on some fingerless mitts:

I designed these with an i-cord cast on and twisted stitches. I'm knitting my sample out of Knitted Wit's Rambouillet fingering. It's a lovely soft yarn which I highly recommend, although I'm a little worried how well it will hold up to the hard use I give gloves. It seems like a delicate yarn and may have a tendency to pill. (What, me, knit, frog, and reknit a design-in-progress a bajillion times? Never, I say. Well, okay, almost always. And definitely this time). I'll have to keep an eye on how the mitts wear and maybe reserve them for Sunday best.

I also have a double-knit wrister in progress. I'm taking Alasdair Post-Quinn's Craftsy class Adventures in Double-Knitting (Full disclosure: I was given free access to the class to review it). So far I've only had time to watch the first few lessons, but I'm really enjoying it. I've done a little double-knitting before, so these first lessons have been more review for me rather than learning new skills.

The first class project is a little swatch:

I made mine out of some Lion Brand Fisherman's wool I had in my stash.

The next class project is a wrister I'm making out of some Kid-n-Ewe from stash. This is an old discontinued worsted weight yarn that I made myself a sweater out of back in the nineties.

I actually took this photo this afternoon and finished  the wrister this evening, but there's no light now to take a new photo. Maybe I'll give it a bath and do a FO Friday post :^)

The next few lessons cover increases and decreases, cables, and other more advanced techniques. I've only ever done straight double-knitting without even any increases or decreases, so I expect I'll learn a lot. I'll post a full review of the class once I've finished.

You can get the class for $19.99 (50% off the usual $39.99) here. Alisdair Post-Quinn is the author of the book Extreme Double-Knitting and is very much the expert on this technique, so it's a great opportunity to learn from someone who knows his stuff. Check out his website at

Linking this post up with Tami's Ami's WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone's year is off to a good start. I'm not quite sure about mine. I was reading The Yarn Harlot earlier today. She talks about including in your New Year's Day the things you'd like the next year to hold. I'd like to get outside and walk/hike more than I have in the recent past. Oregon put on a sunny face today, after 2012 was our 4th wettest year ever, so I went for a walk at my neighborhood wetland.

So far so good. As is common at this time of year, sunny = cold in Oregon.

Yup, so cold there was ice. That boardwalk? Fine in the sun. Not so fine in the shade. In fact, very icy and slippery in the shade. My feet slid out from under me at one point and I landed on my butt. I do hope that doesn't mean my year is going to include a lot of falling, because I've always been way too prone to tripping on a flat sidewalk.

Outside of the fall, it was a nice walk. Oregon's furry trees are at there best on a sunny winter's day. No leaves to hide the fur and the sunshine brings out the green tint to the fur.

Hope you are having as nice a day, minus the slip-sliding on ice!