Sunday, August 29, 2010

Catching up!

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Well, I always have good intentions. I think, "This is it - today I'll blog. For sure. Today." One day, I actually built the photo mosaic and got it added to blogger (the jury is still out on whether or not you can see it!) That day looked promising. But alas, the day gets away, and I'm falling asleep at the computer, and it isn't done.

I had a wonderful time at Stitches! It was so great to see you and catch up in person. We don't get that chance nearly often enough.

As you can see, I've worked on some small projects this summer - booties and bracelets, some socks and stuffed animals - even a hat! I still have a second sock to finish of the Norwegian Rose Socks, and I have seven more hexagons to finish that pair. That's my goal for this weekend - our County Fair is at the end of this month, and I'm gathering/finishing projects to take.

There is a picture of one of the Teddy Bear's with his stuffing hanging out.....I got that back for a second repair job. I had sewn up a hole in its bottom once before, and they assured me that the dog hadn't been around it since. This time they discovered the true problem. When I made the first few bears, I was unable to locate the poly pellets that it called for, so I substituted a little bag filled with uncooked rice. Turns out they had a mouse, and the mouse liked rice! Oh my. Anyway, it is now stuffed with poly pellets, and has a patch and some embroidery and is all set to go!

Also shown are some purchases from Stitches! I love my green Namaste bag, and as soon as I finish my February Lady sweater, I'm definitely starting Kauni. I'm also completely besotted with the Adventure bag pattern and handles - I picked up the yarn last night. I debated about the color; I love the harvest gold that I saw at Stitches, but I was worried about dirt. I plan to use it as an overnight bag, and I've had enough bags get grungy in the trunk or when someone tosses it on the ground that I was concerned. I found a lovely purply-brown called "Midnight Lake" by Shepherds Wool, and so now I'm very anxious to get started. It's bulky crochet, so it should go quickly!!

It's cooled down here, so the holiday weekend should be great! Hope you have a great weekend there - and I'll talk to you again soon!

Keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stitches Midwest 2010 edition

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Can you name the two people in this photo, taken at Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg IL?
So, let's review some of the hotel room amenities. Can you identify the $4.00 bottle of water in this photo? (HINT: It is in a CLEAR GLASS BOTTLE, and it doesn't even hold as much as the metal water bottle I generally haul around with me...)
Find the TV hidden inside the bathroom mirror:
Weird to turn on the bathroom light and have the TV automatically turn on at the same time... I have never seen anything like it before...

Okay, so onward to the business at hand. My goal, to accomplish before next summer, is to complete the two shawls I have on my needles right now AND knit three of the projects I purchased materials for at the Stitches Marketplace.

First up, a necklace/bracelet wire/bead knitting kit. I've never knit with wire before, and the store samples were just sooo pretty. I selected a kit having silver wire and beads that are pearl and quartz:
Since it was way too hot to be wearing hand knit sweaters or socks today, perhaps next year at this time I will sport my new necklace, just so that I am wearing *something* handknit to the big show :-)

Next up is four skeins of Kauni yarn to knit the Kauni Cardigan which was so popular a couple of years ago. (As is typical, I'm a little bit behind the craze...) I selected colors which were a little more subdued than the rainbow version, and you can't see how the color changes within the skein by looking at this photo, but I'll wind them into "cakes" and then show you the grays, blacks, and lighter blues which phase in and out throughout the lengths of yarn. Also note my new shawl pin in this photo:
I also selected another triangle shawl pattern, which uses a construction I haven't tried before. I like this pattern because it starts at the tip of the triangle at the bottom of the shawl, and works up from there in horizontal rows. That way, I can use a skein of sock yarn (which I already have in my stash) and just stop knitting when I am about to run out of yarn at the top edge:
Finally, a copy of the Cassidy pattern. It is unlikely that I'll make this sweater during the coming year, but I prefer to have the pattern in this hard copy, card stock format (versus purchasing it online at the Chic Knits site and receiving a pdf file of it to print out on separate sheets...).

So, great companionship (and was fun to meet your knitting cronies), fun shopping, and a nice change of scenery for me yesterday and today! Now, back to reality and putting together a grocery list so that I can go shopping and get ready for the coming week... I hope that you have a great week!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

We have a Winner!

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

Just a quick post today... I apologize for the delay in announcing the winner to my little contest about guessing what this mug represents:
Congratulations to Sus (a temporary citizen of Milwaukee when she was going to school there, but now no longer in God's Country), whose winning entry of a "lumbar vertebra" won her some, er, spectacular prizes...

First, a sample of Malibrigo Silky Merino which I picked up today at the Stitches Midwest Market:
Second, a pamphlet for making five different sock styles, each in three different yarn weights:
(Picture is blurry because I had to turn off the flash to avoid big white blobs on the shiny booklet cover while taking the photo...but you get the idea...)

And finally, a book of scarf patterns:
Thank you to all of you who either commented or sent an e-mail with your entries for the contest!!

I apologize for the delay in announcing the winner... I once again feel a little bit behind in everything, as I am now on a full time clinical assignment, and I am finding it challenging in several ways.

First, adjusting to a full time schedule and keeping things at home running smoothly has presented some challenges for me and my family, though this should ease up after the boys are back in school very soon.

Second, I am reminded of the discomfort of being less than competent. When I first started my engineering job fresh out of college back in the 1980s's, there was quite a learning curve, but I eventually became competent at what I was doing and comfortable in my decision making at work. Now, at this stage in my life, I feel like I should *still* be competent, though in this new field of PT, I once again find myself on the steep part of the learning curve, and I really, really miss the feeling of competence. I have been daily reminding myself of a quote from Kristin Armstrong's blog, in which she says, "If we want to get better, we have to deal with being uncomfortable." Very true. Not easy for me right now, but time for me to step it up....

Coming soon - a report from our experiences at Stitches Midwest!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ene's Scarf...and a contest

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I mentioned that I thought the gauge on my Ene's Scarf was running a bit on the tight side, and the "holes" weren't "popping" the way I hoped they would using the size 7 needles specified in the pattern..., I ripped the whole things out and used the "S" word --> SWATCH...with size 8 needles, and this is what it looked like:
Also yuck. Actually, I decided to stay with the size 7 needles and work to consciously reduce my tension. (I've noticed over the past several months that I've been holding my working yarn much tighter, and I think it is because of all of the 2x2 ribbing I've been knitting on socks -- keeping the yarn especially tight, to avoid the "loose" column of stitches common at the transitions from the knit stitches to the purl stitches in the ribbing...) Now I'm finally getting somewhere:
Charts 1 and 2 completed - 32 rows done out of 179 total, started with 375 stitches on the needle and already down to only 313! Each successive row takes less time to work than the previous row -- LOVE THAT! And, only 147 rows to go...

So (abrupt transition), in the category of "what's not getting done at my house since I started 'working' full time on my first clinical assignment...I used to sort of have an inventory in my head of the food in our house. I had a sense of when we were close to being out of milk, and had a rough idea of how many eggs were in our fridge. Yesterday, I started making lunch for the boys and realized that we had one slice of bread in the whole house... (I remember having three loaves of bread in the freezer about a week ago -- what happened to all of those?) I rummaged through the freezer and found an assortment of bun packages, each having a couple of buns remaining from when it was initially opened a month or two ago:
Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? So, I made grilled cheese sandwiches out of buns, using the "inside" of the buns for the "outside" of the sandwiches:
Unconventional, definitely not gourmet, but my seven year old told me, "Hey, these are really good," as though he was surprised that I could make something he liked...

And in the category of really fun, my mom and dad gave me this mug:
Correctly identify what it is (as specifically as you are able to), and I'll randomly select one winner from the correct answers and send out a (modest) prize related to knitting...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)