Thursday, August 31, 2006

Picture Pages? Not today!

I admit it. I'm in my office early and avoiding going to work out. I'm also taking tomorrow off, so today needs to be an efficient day. Wish me luck with that!

All of my digital photos are at home, so this post will be picture-free unless I edit it later. I've been a busy little knitter this week. I finished both sleeves for my green pocket sweater and have been cranking on my Cherry Tree Hill short-sleeve sweater. What I think is going to be the back is knitted to 13.5" and sitting on a holder. The front is about 2" farther along than that.

Why is the back sitting on a holder? Because as many of you know I have been shrinking steadily for about 6 months. (intentionally, and with medical supervision. Thankfully, I"m almost done!) Right before I left on vacation, we figured out how many stitches I needed to cast on for the new smaller me, but didn't have time to figure out all of the arm-hole decreases.

This leads me to my next issue. I've been knitting another shell with Evita yarn. I had a lot of problems with this yarn until I put it on my addi turbo needles, and now it's much less cranky. The problem is that I knitted about 12" on this sweater. Months ago. Which means that if I keep going on this pattern, I will swim in the sweater when it's finished. So I need to bite the bullet, frog the damn thing and start over. *sigh* I have so many projects waiting for me! The worst part is that this particular project is on a 7 needle, the smallest size I can stand, so it's going to take me quite a while to re-do what I'm going to have to rip apart. And, Ii'm not 100% convinced that this yarn will be in re-use shape once it has been frogged, but it's useless to me in its current state.

When I was at Beach Knitting on Sunday, I bought one more skein of sock yarn. Why? Because they're having a sock knitting class starting next Saturday, and they prefer that you buy your supplies at the store. I think that's a perfectly reasonable policy, since that preference is front-and-center on all of their literature. Anyhoo, I have another sock pattern that I got from Jen who is the author of one of my favorite knitting blogs (thank you!) so that might be the project I take to football on Saturday.

Well, I need to suck it up and go sweat. I'll try to post pics of my pretty sock yarn from Beach Knitting later tonight, and if I get ambitious, I'll post the Cherry Tree HIll pics. As with any hand-dyed yarn, the front and back are looking quite different. Apparently, I grabbed one skein that is much more white than the others, and the white skein has been knitted into the back of said sweater. It will work out. Now I just have to figure out which project is going with me to the Rose Bowl as a time killer on Saturday! Oh, and go work out. Buh-bye!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yep, It's a Monday!

After a relatively scary weekend (starting a new wardrobe from scratch with my cousin. It was fun and it was necessary, but this is NOT my regular cup of tea!) that was somewhat light on crafty stuff, I faced a Monday in my office.

On pretty much an annual basis, there is one moment between August 15 and December 15 that makes me want to quit my job and walk out the door. What scares me is that today was that day. I don't want to get into exactly what it was, but those of you who know what I do for a living can probably decipher what I'm talking about. I was up at 6, in my office by 7 and got cranking on my "Monday stuff" so I didn't get over to the gym until about 1:30. Threw some weights around, showered, went back to my desk. Finished the one last thing that HAD to be done today. Then what did I do? Went clothes shopping to finish out Saturday's expedition. Ugh. The good news? I tried on a size 6 pair of pants at J.Crew and they FIT. I can't believe it!

The bad news is that I didn't get home until 9. I'm probably going to finish off the second sleeve for my green pocket sweater then go to bed. But, I wanted to blog a bit since it has been a while since I've been online.

On Friday night, I went to Bearly Stitchin' for my 6-midnight Finish a Project "class." I did a lot of cutting out for my halloween row robin that I'm doing with Carol, Lisa and Beth, then got stitching. I'm making the Duck Tracks block off of Quilters Cache. "center" color is the orange pumpkins. Green fabric is the "background" fabric and the small squares are in the black fabric in the second photo. I'm using Thangles to make the half-square triangles. You can see those in the top photo as well.

Once I finished doing the Thangles for the halloween block, I put that aside in favor of the blocks for my M&M mini-group. 8" finish blocks in black and white with one color. I really wanted to do something to extend myself a little bit for this exchange since I have more time than on the previous two projects, so Beth showed me how to do a type of paper piecing using freezer paper. It's awesome as long as your iron is hot enough (mine wasn't) and your presser foot doesn't get gummed up on the resulting freezer paper wax residue (mine did). I'm really going to get my quilting cabinet dug out from the foot of crap that's on top of it and get sewing. These blocks are FUN! It's the Best Friends block, also from Quilters Cache. First photo is of me needle-punching the freezer paper. Second photo is of my very first "test block" that turned out just peachy.

I wound up going to Beach Knitting on Sunday, but I'll save that recap for later in the week. Hope all of you had a better Monday than I did! :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Knitty UFO's

So I promised a look at some of my knitting UFOs (Un-Finished Objects). This is just a small sampling. I have another pile of stuff needing various stages of finishing, as in sewing pieces together, picking up button bands or necks or whatever. I'm getting better about learning how to do that stuff, thanks primarily to my friend Beth (a knitter who quilts) and our awesome friend Irma at Beach Knitting.

The #1 thing I'm currently working on are my Rowan Pocket Sweaters. Both knit in Rowan's All-Seasons Cotton yarn. One in blue (denim, on the right) and one in a really awesome seafoam green(left), both vareigated. The pics are both just of the "trunk" of the sweater. Both sleeves are done on the blue, and I'm halfway through sleeve #1 on the green. The rib feels like it takes for-ev-er, but it looks pretty great, huh?

The project I cranked on over the weekend was my Sirdar purple denim. This is ultra-uber-mega chunky yarn, so it goes QUICK. US 13 needles. This pic is of the in-progress front, which has since been finished and attached to the back via a three-needle bind-off. Once I get the sleeves finished, I'll whip that thing together. I have a blue vareigated in this same yarn that is currently on display at beach knitting. Somehow my measurements got SNAFUed when we did the sweater wizard pattern for the blue one, so it could fit three of me in width and is about 4" shorter in length than I'd really like, but it's still a fun sweater.

After letting this project "age" for most of the winter, I am now once again chipping away on my black cashmerino. It's a simple slip-stitch pattern that will grow up to be a cardigan. This is one of the front pieces, and still the first (and only) piece I have started on this sweater. Black Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran with soiree yarns as the "sparkly stuff." Looks great, but I swear that the soiree is ALIVE. US 8 needle if I remember right. Sweater Wizard pattern.

The one that's really starting to call my name is this green beauty. It's a really simple cable sweater and I'm knitting it in Debbie Bliss merino. Can't remember the weight, but it's on a 10.5 needle. LOVE IT!!! Both fronts are finished. We made some sizing adjustments, so this is probably going to be kinda big on me, but I don't care. The problem with the sizing adjustments are that it changes the decreases, which is what stalled me on this project. Oh, did I mention that I have amazing buttons lying in wait for both the black cashmerino and this sweater? Boo-Ya!

Next on the agenda is this Tahki cotton colors vareigated short-sleeve pullover. All the pieces are knit, so yes. It's just waiting to be sewn together and have the neck picked up. *sigh*

I have more UFOs that I haven't photographed yet, but figured it was worth starting with this bunch since it was handy when I had my camera fired up on Sunday. I have other things that are closer to being finished, not to mention three sweaters on display over at Beach Knitting. I'll get more photos soon.

I'm also planning to take some pics of what I'm up to on Friday Night at Bearly Stitchin. Maybe tonight I'll have the energy to get my quilting cabinet cleaned off, since that sure didn't happen last night. Instead? We watched "Pride of the Yankees" and I started cranking on sleeve #1 for the green pocket sweater. An OK trade in my book!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fiber Festival Fun

So last Friday, my friend Lisa was taking a five-day class at the "Fabulous Fiber Fest" in Santa Monica and I met her during her lunch break from class. If I ever mention this plan again, please feel free to remind me that this is a BAD IDEA unless I have recently won the lottery. The following are some of my various "goodies" from my 2.5 hours of drooling.

But first, a side note! The last time I had attended an event at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, it was for the Barenaked Ladies holiday concert. Needless to say, the venue looked quite different last Friday! :)

So I started "small" with two AWESOME pairs of socks produced by Socklady. OH-MY-GOSH! I've been wearing these every single night since I bought them. MOST comfortable socks EVER and the cotton is the perfect weight for out here. I want to get some wool ones as well, but that will have to wait. If you're looking for a GREAT small gift for me, HERE'S YOUR HINT! :)

Next, Lisa and I found a yarn sale. Beautiful Kid-Silk-Merino yarn on closeout. I bought three skeins since Lisa convinced me it would be good sock-knitting yarn, even though it's a heavier weight than what most people use for socks. This is good for me, since needles smaller than a US 7 give me hives. Top is a blue-green vareigated. Middle is a really great forest green. Bottom is a green-purple vareigated.

Before I forget, anyone who has sock patterns for idiots (or sock-knitting novices), please feel free to speak up!

Next, I found a glass jewelry place. I know I don't wear much jewelry, but this particular piece jumped into my hand the second I walked up to the booth and I was totally unable to put it down. I sent Lisa back to get the third small bead to go with it, and will re-string the whole ensemble once I get that. It's hard to tell the scale of this photo, but the "main" blue piece of glass is about 1.25" wide/high

After running out to my car to put more quarters in the meter ($8/car/day for the official lot? I don't think so!!!!), I returned to that evil place and started dropping more money. The worst damage was done at the Carolina Homespun booth. Backpack. "Notions." Lantern Moon DPN's. I was standing there minding my own business and making a final decision on the super-cool knitting backpack when I was acosted by a very nice knitter with three skeins of Mountain Colors superwash wool in her hands. She wanted me to talk her out of getting all three skeins. YEAH! RIGHT! She bought all three skeins. I bought one, then had to buy teeney-tiny DPN's to knit said sock-weight yarn. But it's yummy and is the photo with the single skein.

I hope all of this looks OK on the actual blog post. I'll get to my knitting UFO's tomorrow. Tonight's project? Cleaning off my quilting cabinet so sewing will actually be an option!

Monday, August 21, 2006

OK, so I'm going to give this a try!

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I’m still learning, so please bear with me. I started reading blogs over the summer when I was hoping to move back to the east coast and closer to my family – a good way to find new knitting and quilting shops based on my intended destination(s). I figured this would be a fun way to keep my Los Angeles quilting and knitting buddies up on what I was working on.

Sadly, the move east fell through when I didn’t get either of the jobs for which I interviewed in July. [Note: I totally understand the decision of the “northern” school, but am still shaking my head about the decision made by that “other” university. I’m over it. I guess.] Sooo, here I am doing a blog so my techno-challenged mother can see what I’m up to, and I can share with other primarily work-related friends who don’t live in Southern California.

So who am I? I’m 35. I’m married. I work in college athletics doing PR work. Most of the time I love it, so I guess I’m head of the game. We live in Redondo Beach, Calif., but we hate Los Angeles and can’t wait to move back east. That will have to wait until the end of the upcoming school year. I have a lot more free time now than I will between February and June, so you’ll have to bear with me when I go a while between posts.

I started quilting in the summer of 2000. I got lucky and when I threw a dart at a board and purchased my first sewing machine, I hit the bulls-eye when I bought from Bearly Stitchin’ in Pasadena. I now own four sewing machines (Bernina 150 QE, Brother PQ 1500, Viking Designer I and Brother 400D) and a serger. My quilting area has been under three feet of crap for six months, so I’ve primarily been sewing on Friday nights at Bearly. The top of this inaugural post features a pic of my most recent project: a snowman row-robin made from the Clothworks “Let it Snow” line of fabric done with my bestest quilting buddies Lisa and Carol. Beth joined the bandwagon for the Halloween row-robin that’s up next. Look out!

Since I travel a lot with my job during the aforementioned “busy season” between February and June … and because I think “hand” is a four-letter word when it comes to quilting, I also knit. Much easier to take with me on the road! I’m working on about two dozen sweaters at the moment and just went a little nutso at the Santa Monica Fiber Festival last Friday. Pics of that adventure to follow. I didn’t get around to downloading the photos I took last night off of my camera. Instead, I finished picking up so our cleaning people could do their thing this morning. Yes, I know it’s nuts to clean for the cleaning people but hey – everyone does it! :)

So, that's my opening salvo. Hope you enjoy my blog!