Monday, December 31, 2007

The last project of 2007

The Peerie Brocade Cardigan with Class designed by my previous knitting workshop instructor, Charlie Hada, is DONE!!!! I started it last January and was determined it would greet January 2008 as an FO and not my oldest WIP.

Just like I suspected, it's wonderful and it will get lots and lots of wear. I used just over 20 skeins of Knit Picks Telemark yarn in Colonial Blue. I had purchased 21 skeins. It's a dense sport weight, so each 50 gram skein had only 103 yards. I was discouraged for a time, thinking I would not have enough yarn to complete it, then worried about mismatched dye lots after so much work. I started the last skein just as I began working on the garter stitch section of the second cuff.

It was a 'hard' knit. Each peerie pattern was graphed over a 16 stitch repeat. I definitely used markers because it was easy to get off track with the knit and purl designs. It was not a portable or mindless project. I did enjoy working on it and really like the end result of a seamless project. Yet, as it got larger I had some issues managing the monster. For example, I had a lot of good knitting time this summer when other workshop projects were not vying for my time. But I couldn't stand having this afghan sized sweater on my lap. Due to our mild weather in coastal San Diego, my old house does not have air conditioning. Being wrapped up in mass quantities of Peruvian wool was just impossible. It's heaviness also led to my hands getting tired, especially during my marathon home stretch.

I really do love it, just as I knew I would when I first tried on the sample my instructor brought to class last year. It was a long journey, but I'm happy to have undertaken it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pre- New Year's Resolution

In January, I will be starting two new projects as part of my knitting and crochet workshops. The knitting class will be doing the Adult Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I had already started the Baby Surprise Jacket back in September, then put it aside. I'll complete the Baby version to learn the techniques and to build up my supply of baby items, often needed at short notice.

The crochet class will be completing a crochet sampler afghan. I'm really excited about this. We'll be doing 2 largish (8 to 10 inches) squares a week and expect to be done before the summer break. This one the instructor/designer made is in cream and greens Patons Decor. Mine will be in Dark Horse Fantasy in cream, taupe and brown.

Meanwhile, I've been working furiously to bring my WIPs down from a high of 12 actively in progress to 3 before the New Year. Right now the count is 5. I've started the second sleeve of the Peerie Brocade Cardigan I started last January and will be done by the weekend. I'll post pix then.

I did finish a workshop knitted triangle shawl I started in March from Kid Merino. Between one thing or another, it also got pushed to the back burner. Blocked, it ended up nicely huge. About 44 inches deep and 100 inches from corner to corner. It took 6 skeins. Before the edging I was at 545 stitches per row. It's a stockinette with eyelets every 10 rows and can be made to any size. The garter stitch edging was knitted on and took 3 evenings to complete.

The crocheted Short & Sweet cardigan from Panda Cotton initially intended for my Mom's Christmas present now resides happily in my closet. It was all done save the button bands, but I couldn't gather the umph to finish it. Luckily, she called from the East Coast requesting some Barry Manilow CDs. When I got on the phone with my brother to make sure he did not get the same thing for her, he advised me she was no longer the size I was making the sweater in. Saved by Barry Manilow! I did the plain single crochet button bands and 'tho a little big on me, I love it and have already worn it.

My quest to finish the Peerie Cardigan was interrupted by this Falling in Love Scarf, a Fiber Trends pattern by Evelyn A. Clark. I made it in GGH Soft Kid. I had special ordered the pattern from my LYS and suggested it would be a good Valentine's Day project. Next thing I know, I'm slated to teach it on Jan 12th. A terrific excuse to pause my completion marathon for some fun. It took 4 evenings. I messed up a few times through inattention and learned the hard way that mohair is a booger to frog.

I'm off to finish my second sleeve, then the second sock to my Aran Sandal Socks.


That's 'greetings' in Spanish. It's been an eventful couple of weeks. Here we are in all our finery for a Victorian Christmas celebration at the Hotel Del Coronado. The Lamb's Players represented a family [the Marshalls!] enjoying a Christmas dinner with all their friends [all of us in the audience]. Both in costume and character, they mingled among their guests singing and telling stories of the time, 1907. It was really well done and quite elegant. All of our men donned jackets and ties, so we had to properly document the event. Our oldest and her husband spent Christmas with his family back east, but I'm leaving in a bit to pick them up at the airport. We'll do Christmas, part two this weekend.

Bob and I have been married entirely too long. We've been dubbed 'cute' when we went to the dentist earlier in the month for oral surgery. Seems like teeth have an expiration date. What are the odds we would both need THE SAME TOOTH extracted and prepped for an implant? A few years back, we both got crowns on the same tooth at the same time. It's a bit of togetherness I could do without. Our stitches were out in time for Christmas and my bone graft seems to be taking. I'm still limited to chewing on one side, but things are healing up nicely.

Got to go to airport. More about holidays some other time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wash Day

Unpacking from a Vegas trip means dumping everything in the laundry whether it's dirty or not. Even when it doesn't seem overwhelming in the casinos, the smoky smell permeates everything and is quite noticeable once you get home to a smoke free environment.

I took advantage of filling the washing machine [cold water and Euclan] and threw in the yoke sweater I had not wet block when I finished it. I soaked, then spun for a bit before laying it out to dry. As you can see, we have no pets, or this would be impossible.
It's that happy time of year in San Diego when I get to wear my sweaters, socks and shawls. Yay!

Monday, December 10, 2007

I love Vegas

Gambling is such a small portion of why we love Vegas and visit frequently. This is the 3rd year in a row we have gone during the first week in December to kick off the National Finals Rodeo. We do not attend the rodeo, but really enjoy country music. Downtown at the Fremont Street outdoor stages, there were free concerts and lots of people in Western Wear.

The first night we were there was also the first night of Hanukah, so there was a ceremonial lighting of a menorah at sundown, before the first concert. In the distance under the canopy, you can barely make out the Christmas tree being set up.

In conjunction with the rodeo, there's a huge shopping venue set up at the convention center by the Hilton called Cowboy Christmas. Here you can buy any and everything you could ever want to fulfill all cowboy related needs.

Bob said he finally figured out why he could never lasso anything as a kid. Real cowboys use stiffened ropes.

The super sized pick up is for hauling the luxury RVs with room for people and horses in extreme comfort. The price tag on this rig alone was $200K.

Cowboy folk have an outlook on life I quite appreciate.

How can you not like a town with a mayor like Mr. Goodman who shows up for most events flanked by two showgirls with a martini in hand?

We don't have our reservations for our next trip yet, but we are aiming for February around Valentine's Day. We make a game of counting all the brides and grooms.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

One for you, one for me

Retailers must love me. Other than yarn and supplies, I don't do all that much shopping. So around Christmas when I'm looking around online or in the mall for presents, I invariably find a bunch of things for myself I cannot live without. This shirt is a perfect example. I would have never come across it had I not been searching for a specific item for DH. The only trouble I had was limiting myself to just one knitting themed item. I got it at CafePress Just search for knitting, or whatever, and you'll get a dazzling array of tempting options. My birthday's coming up in January and I have a wishlist to compose....

Here's the new mixer, since I knew you were waiting with bated breath to see what a modern one looked like. DH said he needed a second mixing bowl for when he makes pies, so I got that at the Navy Exchange with my scratcher coupon (15%, woo who!) I always encourage his cooking endeavors.

It's 60 degrees in San Diego and it rained yesterday for the first time in months. Break out the parkas! It was raining so hard yesterday, I wimped out from driving the 20 miles to my beloved knitting workshop. There were over 360 accidents around town yesterday, up from the daily average of 50 or so fender benders. Traffic was often at a stand still.

Anyhow, with the chilly weather, I have been wearing socks every day. I have about 50 handknit pairs. Fun ones and those I had a great time making. But the reality is I keep reaching for the same few pairs because the colors complement what I'm wearing. Last year at this time I bit the bullet and made myself 2 pairs of plain black socks. I wear them every single week during sock wearing season. I wear a lot of jeans and I wear the blues a lot, but I don't have many socks with blue in them. So here's my after holiday sock to do list. I should also probably make some for DH in the boring colors he prefers. At least he's branched out to the wide muted stripes in the Austermann Step colorways.

Lastly, a little holiday imagery. This is the nativity set we got for our 1st Christmas when we were stationed in Rota, Spain. The mud dolls were made by local prisoners and are all less than 2 inches tall. These tiny treasures are celebrating their 30th Christmas with our family.