Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Knitting Wrap-Up

This has been an adventurous year for me, knitting-wise. I've tried new techniques - knitting with beads, mitred squares, steeks, spinning on a drop spindle, to name a few. The report is positive - I learned new things and enjoyed the experiences. Some things took longer than others to learn, lots of them aren't perfected, but I'm very pleased with the experiences I had this past year. (Note: I'm only referring to knitting and spinning here, in many other areas this year is one best forgotten. I say this while hoping that my kids' college funds will magically regenerate themselves before they're out of college!)

So I will share a few photos and wish everyone a happy, safe, healthy new year.

Buddy sings when the Princess plays his favorite song. I need to get a video of this soon....

The kids all got jammie pants for Hanukkah. Aren't they cute?

My last FOs of 2008: Sorry for the photo quality. Darkness and hurried photo-taking make for dark and imperfect photos.

Socks for Mom
Pattern: Southwestern Socks by Wendy Johnson
Yarn: Zen String Serendipity Sport, Jay Colorway

The Amanda Hat
Yarn: Hand dyed, handspun yarn from Etsy shop, UnderThe Plum

Waterfall Scarf
Pattern: Waterfall Scarf from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Hand painted Worsted

Here's some spinning that actually is starting to look like yarn! It's some Interlacements Wool and Silk fiber that I got from my friend, goatlady (Ravelry name). It's really beautiful fiber, and I'm finding it easier to get it more consistent than what I've tried before. I'm using my pretty stone whorl drop spindle that I got from Zebisis designs on Etsy, and I like it a lot. I've plied some of this and I think it will come out fine when it's all done.

Our holiday card photo, complete with kids and snow. Life doesn't get much better than this!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter Wonderland Part II

I like snow as a novelty, but if I wanted to walk around with snow up to my knees, I'd move to North Dakota. Hello, this is Seattle...... Today it's finally warming up to the mid 30s, so the heavy snow sitting in all the big fir trees is starting to melt and drop. Sometimes the limb drops with it. I'm going to stay inside the house.

Here's the snow on the roof. It's tile and steep, so no one's going up to shovel it off.

Collegeboy and the Princess agreed to pose.

Buddy has to leap around like a rabbit. He likes it!

It is pretty, I have to admit it.

Time to shovel a little bit of the driveway!

Buddy, did you catch that rat yet?

The sun came out for awhile one day.

But not for long.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Here in Seattle, we normally have very moderate weather, but not right now. In keeping with much of the country, we are living with snow, ice, and cold temperatures. In fact, I'm looking at icicles hanging from the gutter outside my window. They're quite pretty. And right now, I'm looking out at snow; falling from the sky in small, gentle flakes, blanketing the trees, shrubs, and driveway. I like it. I don't have anywhere I have to go tonight. The Princess is gnashing her teeth since she'd like to be with her friends and unfortunately for her there's to be no more driving today.

This is what I've been looking at the past few days:

I love the powdered sugar look of the snow on these seeds, which are still hanging on the strawberry tree.

I've been working on some knitted gifts. I finished the first a few days ago and presented it to its recipient. She seemed to like it.

Aran Scarf from the booklet, Knitting Scarves
Yarn used: Misti Cotton
Needles: Size 9 US

I've made this scarf before with Cascade 220 Superwash, and I like how it looks. This one is very soft.

I also finished my Forest Canopy Shawl in record time. DH told me we would be attending his office holiday party, so I cast it on. Barely a week later, I had my shawl finished and wore it to the event. I made three extra repeats, and it was nice to wear over my shoulders and tied slightly off center. It also worked well with my winter coat.

Forest Canopy Shawl
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, Wild Cherry colorway
Needles: Size 7 US

Remember this?
My tiny, first bit of yarn that I spun in the drop spindle class I took. Well, I went back to the LYS and got a couple more ounces of this BFL so I could practice. I got it all spun up (no photo documentation) and I decided to make something out of it, even though the yarn was so incredibly badly made it was almost funny. Thick and thin is one thing, but when some of it was the consistency of sock yarn and some was bulky, then it was all plied together....Well, it wasn't too pretty. I didn't have enough to make much of anything, but I managed this headband.

Not the most attractive item of apparel, but I wore it on a 5K walk I did last weekend and it worked just fine. I'll keep this to gauge how far my spinning has come when (if?) it improves. Actually, I am doing better but I am definitely not a natural. I'm working at it.

All for now. I plan to knit by the fire tonight and enjoy the view. I hope the gnashing doesn't get too loud.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Too Many WIPs, Not Enough FOs

Too many ideas, not enough time. Too many beginnings, not enough endings. You can see where I'm going with this.

I've never really gotten frazzled by the idea of holiday knitting. There haven't been that many people who've requested hand-knit items and I sure don't want to go to all the trouble to have my hard work underappreciated. So, unlike the lovely and talented Yarn Harlot, I don't tend to get into a frenzy.

Until now. I'm threatening to frenzy, just a bit.

Here's the scorecard: I decided to make a few items for gifts. I won't be too specific, but I had planned a couple of weeks ago to make three things. They are in progress. Then the Princess "sort of" asked for a scarf in Seahawks colors, since she works at the football games and it's getting really cold. So I put other things aside and made her scarf.

Then I got caught up in the Noro scarf craze, and found some Cash Island on closeout. It feels a lot softer than the Silk Garden does. Maybe DH would like a scarf? That's waiting to be cast on.

Then, after saying that we wouldn't go to the annual company holiday party, DH announced last night that he decided it was okay to go after all. Well, last year I wore my MS3 Swan Lake stole to the party and thought I needed another appropriate knit wrap for this year. We're being a little more casual this year, so I decided black pants, black blouse or sweater, and red shoes would work. For over my shoulders? I need a red scarf or shawl. My flower basket shawl is purple; won't go with red shoes. Answer? Cast on for a Forest Canopy with a skein of Cherry Tree Hill in the Wild Cherry colorway. Perfect, but now this has to be on the front burner because it has to be done in just over a week. Will I make it? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, spin, spin, spin until decent yarn is made. Still not perfect, but getting a heck of a lot closer.