Thursday, December 25, 2008

Big Ass Yarn Sale!

Don't forget to stop by Knit Wit's in Olathe, KS on 12/26/08 to spend some of that Xmas cash!

30% off all yarn
Tons of $3/skein closeouts
20% off glass case, designer handbags, antiques and misc goodies.


Anyone remember me talking about not buying any more yarn about 3 months ago? Yeah. Me neither.
I'll be there.

Knit Wit
1815 S Ridgeview Dr
Olathe, KS 66062


5:30pm Xmas eve, sewed in last of the tons of ends. I truly hate weaving in cotton yarn. Give me a good spit splice of wool any day.

5:45pm threw sweater into a box, gave it to Jeff, he loved it and put it on.

6:00pm left for Christmas Eve party at his folks' house.

6:30pm Christine ate, drank, was merry and NO LONGER KNITTING BLACK COTTON YARN. It was a good night.

Pictures soon.

Someone promise to smack me upside my head if I decide to make another Christmas sweater in less than a month, ok?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec 23rd 9:25pm

One sleeve and neckline done. Half a sleeve and tons of ends to weave. Still knitting and the countdown goes on...

Monday, December 22, 2008

All I want for Christmas is a pre-Christmas space/time continuum

One and a half sleeves to go. Stupid Christmas sweater. Stupid knitter. Thinking, "Oh, I'll knit my husband a sweater for Christmas and it's now DECEMBER 6th!" Cripes almighty.

Turn the square hat completed and delivered. (no pics as camera's batteries were dead.) It rocked. Black cascade 220 with the taupe colored part of a ball of noro kureyon for the brother in law. He loved it and wears it already.

Mom's THIRD and FINAL red hat. Also delivered with no pictures. I really need a new camera. That whole bouncing-on-concrete-and-puddles-of-beer isn't so good on digital cameras. This one she seems to like. Pattern was el capitan and yarn was lambs pride bulky. Gorgeous. I'll get a pic sometime and update it.

Sorry no links to patterns posted, I'm using every spare minute to knit those damn sleeves. I really want Jeff to open his sweater on Christmas Eve afternoon before our family parties, but we'll see. Stop light knitting, bathroom knitting, elevator knitting, you name it, I'm doing it.

I did absolutely NO Xmas knitting last year. I'm thinking that wasn't a bad idea. I'll spend next year doing the "Oh, here's something I knit for you just BECAUSE, not because it's Christmas." Christmas knitting can't be healthy. Seriously, I found myself trying to convince myself that Jeff would really appreciate 3/4 length sleeves to save on time. Yeah. Good thing some of those voices in my head have sense, huh?

OH, to save myself from black cotton yarn stockinette coma (rowan calmer, but STILL cotton, ugh) I made a mini project just for me. (We selfish knitters have a really hard time knitting for just for you, one for me...). Chickadee cowl (free pattern on ravelry) knit out of my hand spun alpaca. LOVING it. Again, I apologize for the crappy pictures. It does stop the wind and is sooooooooo soft and snuggly. I can't wait to make a hat to match out of the other alpaca I spun up. It WILL have to wait until after the Xmas sweater is done. The close-up picture freaks me out a little, as it resembles a bee-hive full of bees all thronging around their queen and bees scare me. Ick. Seriously, it's gorgeous in real life. An action shot will come soon hopefully.

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! Happy Hanukkah too! Happy Festivus for the rest of us. Whatever floats your boat, hope it's a happy one filled with friends, family and good, warm knits.

May all your holiday knits be completed on time and may you get to SLEEP at some point in the next four days...I'm not sure I will be.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So, after you get your spinning wheel, you won't have to buy any more yarn, right?

Me " THEORY......that is.......welllllllll,"

Him "Oh........So, it's just your thing, then? I should just get used to it? Like I do with the knitting thing?"

Me "Yeah. It's just my thing."

Him "Ok then."

Damn I love that man.

SO, I'm on a search. A search for my wheel. My very own spinning wheel. A very long search. A search that includes using every possible form of wheel I can get my hands on. It's a hell of a fun search. This search also includes a massive amount of fiber.

Is there anything cooler than that? That's MY DAUGHTER winding yarn spun by me onto a niddy noddy. Neither of us had a clue of how to use the damn thing. I mean, I've seen it used. In THEORY I know what it's supposed to do, but in practice it's a whole other world. God bless the internets. Youtube to the rescue. We watched a little clip, she sat down, and cranked it out. I was still trying to figure out what went where and how and she had it cranking out! The girl has a gift. She's got the Fiber Gift. But she doesn't much care. Ah well. She's 12. Maybe she'll pick things up for real when she's older. She is working her way through the Harry Potter books now and is excited about each part she comes to, so there's hope.

Yes, that's the migraine scrap blanket in the background along with a big ass bag of fiber. And yes, the migraine blanket actually DOES match the babypoop green colored 60's chair in the corner. Yes, it scares me a little bit too.

So, over the last week, I've quite literally spun my ass off. I can say literally as I've lost about 3 pounds in the last week and I think it's because all my spare time has been spent either spinning or prepping fiber instead of snacking. While I can knit and still snack, I'm not coordinated enough to snack and spin. NO FIBERS OR SPINNING WHEELS WERE HURT IN THE FOLLOWING STORY!!! I actually tried to lick up a piece of air popped popcorn (no oil or butter and no touching with the fingers to slime up said wheel) and it didn't go too well. Let's just say that having both feet moving up and down and fingers pinching and gliding and drafting all at the same time work ok, but sticking the tongue out was just one body part too much to handle and the whole thing exploded into a mess. Popcorn, fiber and ME went everywhere. It wasn't pretty. I actually had to pick myself up off the floor. Again, the WHEEL WAS NOT HURT IN ANY WAY. The fiber didn't even split off. I don't have many gifts, but one is an ability to fall down a half flight of stairs and not spill one drop of beer. This must translate to falling off my chair while spinning and not breaking the fiber. See? I didn't kill all my brain cells in college! I saved the important ones.

I've not taken the time to soak and hang dry the yarn yet and am posting pictures much like a naughty knitter that posts pictures of unblocked lace, but dammit I wanted to finally POST something here! I promise to be a good spinner and take proper pictures soon.

Here's what it looked like before.....

And here's what it looks like now...

Orange and Blue hand-dyed corriedale X fibers from yarn school Fall 08. The orange was spun as singles and plied from bobbins as usual. Beautiful. The blues were actually pit plied, but that's a whole other story. I'll post about that another day. Also beautiful. Next is two more bags' worth of the heavenly alpaca from Alpacas in Wildcat Hollow that I bought from Settler's Farm and some wool from Daisy, a sheep owned by Settler's Farm's owner, shown grazing in the picture above.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll be busy cooking, eating and knitting away! Hope you will be too!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Elvis has left the buiding...and that building...and that one...

Trick-or-Treated with Elvis, a devil girl child, a rapper and a freak, none of whom had to wear coats, so it was a great candy-fun-filled night. At each and every house Joey did his Elvis impersonation shown above along with "Thank you, thank you verah much". At each and every house I laughed my ass off. Yes, I have the sense of humor of a 3rd grader. It's sad. I've learned to live with it. Those around me have learned to ignore it. Pictures of the rest of the gang didn't make it due to tequila technical difficulties with the digital camera.

Let's see, what has happened since my last post? Wow. Here you go:

Did not get chewed on by anything while snorkeling in Mexico. Did have a few schools of fishes swim right around me and slightly freaked out, as they were EATING as they went and I figured if they were eating (there were at least 50+ fish about a foot long and 6 inches tall) something even bigger than them would be looking to eat them too and I didn't want to be in the way. At one point they were all bumping into me and I freaked out so much I picked my head out of the water and just didn't look any more. Yeah, because fish with teeth magically go away when you no longer look at them, right?

Did try to knock my husband off the kayak into the Sea of Cortez. Did not go through with it. I didn't stop because he's the love of my life and my true soulmate. I did it because when I leaned around to swing my paddle at his chest we swayed and I almost dumped my own ass into the water. You can't judge me. You weren't there. You would have tried to knock his ass off the boat as well. Ok, maybe you wouldn't have, but you sure would've thought about it. They don't call it the "divorce boat" for nothing. Later that night (after said husband kissed my ass all night for being such a jerk) this other couple was laughing about how they had "a little tiff" on the boat. Then the wife said to me, "what was that funny name you called Jeff as we paddled by?" I said, "um, well, most of my names started with fuxxing asshole....." "OH!" she said, "No, I think it was something like 'there's no wussies allowed on the sea' or something." I said "OH, yes, that was at the beginning of the adventure." (I think the word I used started with a P, but who am I to argue?)

Did not knit a damn thing on the whole trip. Did actually get a sock out on the trip home, but slept for both flights.

Did learn that digital cameras don't do well after they bounce upon concrete floors after being dropped from the height of about 15 feet in the air while dancing with company bigwigs on a bar. That's why the pictures you'll be seeing here for the next few weeks will most likely be total crap. I can take pics, but can't see anything, if it's focused, if it is centered in the frame, if it's even in the picture. Taquila Technical Difficulties. Enough said. crap.

Did complete yet another sleeveless turtleneck while on my trip to Minnesota. Because a girl this girl can never have too many sleeveless alpaca and wool creations. It keeps me warm and toasty while not making me burst into flames. Pattern is from Stephanie Japel's book Fitted Knits, my most favorite book of all next to the EZ stuff.

Did start a knitting project that has nothing to do with the gift knitting I'm planning on doing this year for Christmas. It's like my brain is in a little time warp all its own. Cassidy from Bonne Marie Burns in cascade 220. Amazing so far and I can't hardly put it down. I've finished the back and am trying really hard to not start the fronts and sleeves until I knit something for SOMEONE ELSE.

Did survive turning 40 years old. Do any of you remember that post long ago of how I treasure each and every white hair I've got because I earned them? How each wrinkle on my face was from a story in my life? Yeah. It's all bullshit. Getting old sucks. But I also did spend a wonderful evening with some dear friends whom I love even more than the amazing knitterly gifts they gave me! Knitting friends rock. They help you celebrate the good, deal with the bad and knit along through everything life throws at you. I love you guys.
I missed you people. Good to be back in blogland again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is there a ten step program for orange addiction?

See, I NEEDED an orange sequined cowboy hat. I have yarn to match it! Oh, and there's only a few rows of sequins along the edges. It's not total tackiness. The pictures will have to wait as I brought the camera along on the trip, but no camera cord. Just wait until the next Sunflower Knitters Guild meeting. I'm going fully corrdinated, baby.

It totally freaked me out seeing all these yarns together in one place. I had no idea I had that much orange. Orange glasses? Orange cowboy hat? Orange socks, sweaters, scarves and yarn to become even more sweaters, scarves, hats, socks, gloves and headbands? Does that scare anyone else but me?

Being an extremely anal woman, I've got to have some sense of schedule in my life. I could get used to the whole laying-on-the-beach-sipping-margaritas thing, but there's a part of me that's going nuts because I'm not living from my franklin planner system. Yes, it's sad. I realize that. I figure in order to not lose my mind or end up in too many hasta-la-wego-blue-drinks hangover again (not pretty) I should set myself a goal or two per day while here.

Goals for today:
#1 Do not fall off kayak into the ocean.
#2 Attach both sunglasses and ziplock bag of knitted socks to floaties for when rule #1 goes to hell.

Good plan. (Thank GOD Jeff got us changed to the kayaking/snorkeling/laying on beaches adventure instead of the rock climbing/ziplining MORE rock climbing thing. Me? Rock Climbing? With taquila involved? (there's a nice little drink/snack break in the middle) Nope. Not me. I fall off rocks WITHOUT taquila and that sounds like entirely too much work. I'll leave that kind of stuff to Stacey. Ah well. Sock knitting on a remote beach? Now that's my kind of adventure. (I can knit very slowly today. Hand is better but a bit touchy).

Monday, October 27, 2008

only in mexico

So, since there's not an abundance of yarn shops, it's totally understandable to buy an orange sequined cowboy hat if it matches the silk yarn you brought to work on a shawl and the Cascade 220 yarn for the February Lady Sweater waiting to be knitted, right?

Damn margaritas.

From the tip of the Baha Penninsula

I must say, this whole sales training thing is pretty sweet. Jeff's company has a training session and teambuilding event in San Jose del Cabo, at the tip of the Baha penninsula in Mexico. Thank God for frequent flyer miles. Basically the trip cost us $30/night to add me to the room. Period. Yes, life rocks. SO, we came down a day and a half early to spend some honeymoonish still early married lovey dovey time together. It was very sweet, very romantic and filled with the occasional dumbass moments as well.

Apparently because we're at the tip of this landmass in the Pacific ocean, we've got a serious riptide/undertow thing going on. Each and every piece of information the hotel has uses ALL BOLD TYPE to tell you about the three lovely pools and the safe protected public beach down the way, and says "DO NOT SWIM ON THE BEACH OUTSIDE THE RESORT" in really, really big letters. On signs. On paperwork. Apparently big ass riptide and rougue waves means "good time swimming" to my little outdoor man. Oh hell. Well, I made it in to about my knees, and was just getting used to the whole slamming waves/sucking your feet out from under you thing, when WHAM BAM NO THANK YOU MA'AM I get hit by a SIDEWAYS riptide. nice. After getting rolled and tossed around like a ping pong ball in a blender, I came up sputtering for air and dragged myself the last 2 feet to the shore. My ocean swimming was done. Apparently they call that a "Mexican facial." sweet. I have to say my face and about half my body is nicely exfoliated. The scary thing? He's not even the only dumbass down here. There were a bunch of these people out crashing in the waves. At least he agreed to only go out to the 3rd set of big crashing rolling waves. There were those going out further, dumbass, dumbass, dumbass.

SO, one would think that three days of Jeff attending meetings would mean some serious knitting time for me right? Plus all that airline time? Yeah. I had some freak hand cramp thing where I COULD NOT KNIT. NOT ONE FREAKING STITCH. Waiting in the KC airport? no knitting. On the plane to Chicago? No knitting. On the plane to Cabos? no knitting. NO KNITTING while sitting by the pool. I have such sympathy to those knitters out there dealing with arthitis and other ailments. I just had this freaky ache in all my finger and knuckle joints that I couldn't knit or even hold onto anything. It was freaky and really frightening. It wasn't like a normal knitting cramp, it was almost like a weak paralysis thing. Scared the snot out of me actually.

I was prepared and at least had knitting and spinning magazines along so could READ about knitting. I decided to treat the ailment with NO KNITTING for two entire days, and keeping the hand wrapped around a cold drink. I felt strawberry margaritas were the best treatment, but one day of that didn't make a dent in the poor crippled hand. After moving to the "hasta la wego" (totally don't know how to spell that drink), it means "goodnight!", my stomach and head are a bit shaky today, but the HAND is ABLE TO MOVE!!! There will be some very gentle sock knitting today! WOO HOO! But I think no more hasta la wego's for me.

Another 91-95 degree day awaits. There's always a constant breeze and not too much humidity so it's absolutely fabulous to sit and knit. Life is good.

OH, and I think I talked Jeff into getting us switched from the whole rock climbing, cliff jumping, zipline riding adventure into the kayacking over to the beach near the arch above and snorkeling. OK, Jeff's snorkeling and I'm sitting my ass on the beach knitting. Gotta love those ziplock bags. Cross your fingers for the kayack trip to have 2 spots open!

We need a knitting superhero

Can't you just see it? Able to shoot icord out of a project bag hanging from her wrist? Swinging along from building to building?

Another superhero prop? Wool socks. Serioulsy. A pair saved my butt last week in Minneapolis. WHAT kind of a car rental company doesn't put an ice scraper in their freaking cars in MINNEAPOLIS? Early morning hard frost. Me, driver's license and wool socks on my hands. It worked fabulously.

I got to attend the Minneapolis Knitting Guild while there and it was such fun! WOW those ladies and men are organized! Tons of activities, charity programs and I got to mee THE Kiki from the new book Kiki's Hats, who was an amazingly charming and modest lady that was the subject of this book. She's made thousands of hats and given them away with the charge that you must take 2, one to give to someone else and one for you. Then she asks people to write, email or call and tell her where they went. The hats have gone around the world. The author came and read the book and it was just a wonderful evening.

I also got to reconnect with my yarn school roommate Deb! That woman loves fiber and fiber shopping as much as I do, it's quite scary actually.

I guess we're all knitting superheroes. Don't you ever feel like you change a little bit of the world when you give away a knitted gift? *sigh* Too bad knitters don't run the world. Yet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What kind of a knitter am I? Pathetic. Just pathetic.

So I travel to Minneapolis 5-6 times a year now. Not really a problem as this state has more than its share of two of my favorite things, yarn shops and liquor stores. Reeeeeeaaaaallllllllly long winters. You'd think I'd remember that fact and pack something warm. Wouldn't you? It's freaking COLD up here. I know, I know, OCTOBER. Yes, I sometimes am a dumbass. What kind of a knitter goes to somewhere COLD and brings no warm knitted clothes? No hats. No gloves. No wrist warmers. No shawls. No scarves.

At least I brought a leather blazer. I did actually check the weather before I came up here, it said lows of 48-50's and highs of 60's. I thought I'd be good. Yeah. It's 30-something outside. AND I have to be at work at 7-freaking-O'clock in the morning. When it's cold outside. Ah well.

Only good thing is that I got a TON of knitting done on my 2nd sleeveless turtleneck sweater. Made out of frog tree merino, I figure this under the leather blazer should keep me toasty if I can get it done by Wed. evening for my Christmas dinner. Yes, Christmas dinner. In October. Apparently it was the only way they could work out getting the KC team together with our bosses here in MN. Being one of those people that starts singing Christmas carols the day after Halloween, this seems to fit somehow.

Wanna know how to really freak out someone on an airplane? I mean BESIDES just sitting quietly knitting? Why is it that still freaks people out so? Try spit splicing some yarn. I guess I didn't even think about it. I'm knitting quietly, listening to my ipod. Knitting with circular needles so I'm not even scaring the guy with a possibility of any random poking from double points. Run out of the ball of yarn, pull out the next one and after splitting the ends into different lengths, breaking the bits (never ever cut the ends for the splice), lick my hands, and quickly rub together. Ta Da, a perfectly joined piece of yarn. I hear a gasp (which must have been pretty loud as I had the "baaa da daaaaaa's" on that 500 miles song "I'm gonna be" from the Proclaimers (remember it?".....and I would walk 500 hundred miles and I would walk 500 more....just to be the man who walked a thou sand miles to fall down at your door baaa da daaaaa....baaa da daaaaa...." ANYWAY, to this loud gasp I look up thinking, WOW! Here's a man that appreciates a well joined yarn. Yeah. Due to the look of supreme horror on his face, this was not a man impressed by the spit splicing abilities of this knitter. Ah well. Good song, though.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

At least they're wollemeise

This is how my boy went to school the other day. In public. With a green shirt on. And dark blue shorts. And red crocks. And hand knitted blue socks.

I did actually point out that um, well, NOTHING he was wearing matched. "That's ok mom, I like it. It's my woolly style."

I think I like that. Not enough to wear something like that, but I still like it.

Looks like I have another hat...

ME: Here honey, try on the hat I just finished. It's the Goin' to the Barn Chore Hat from that kit I bought you.
JEFF: It itches
Snatched off his head. I love it. I've not got a finished pic yet, will get around to it sooner or later. The hat-in-progress shot is modeled by my daughter. (who never said ANYTHING about it being ITCHY, being a good daughter who appreciates knitted wool hats) The outer hat is a bit rough, but there's a lovely alpaca lining that is against your ears, so NONE of the itchy touches any part of your body that should itch.
*sigh* Guess my man's destined for superwash wool sweaters or cotton. I did the cotton one once as the boyfriend sweater. To his credit, the man wears it all the time. (And is still quite proud of his "solution" to the bleached spots he got on it. A sharpie marker. A not-quite red but actually a bit hot pink sharpie.) Well, I love my hat. Warm and snuggly. I look forward to breaking it in during the cold months to come.

Speaking of the boyfriend it is in action. Driving our NEW BOAT! Ok, new-to-us boat! It's a 1988 Cobalt, which they call the Cadillac of the lake. It's just exactly what we needed. The last few summers we've borrowed other motor boats that were monster speedsters and basically beat the crap out of us while we tried to just stay in the freaking boat. While Jeff enjoyed it, the rest of us....not so much. This baby is HUGE, heavy as hell and just cruises through the waves. Love, Love, Love it. The only drawback is that we had to sell the camper. *sigh* I know we only used it twice and all, but DANG I loved camping in it. I was so far above the dirt and bugs and such and had screened windows and doors and a TOILET IN A CABINET. That's my kind of camping. Back to the tent in the dirt with the whole dang group piled on top of each other. *sigh* Freaking family closeness and all that crap. Ah well. We'll get much more use out of this boat. PLUS I can actually KNIT while riding on it. I am not exaggerating when I say I've always had to hold on to the boat and my kids with all my strength before, so this is going to be great for our summer fun.

Some of my hand dyed goodies all wound up. They're even more fun this way. I'm going to have to get knitting! I want to see how they turn out! (sockyarn and then my cormo laceweight)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Excuse me, but could you spare a pair? Yarn School, Commando Style

So, being the utterly anal knitter that I am, I was all packed for Yarn School an entire week before I left. I was so prepared it wasn't even funny. I had my no-thinking knitting project (square number 2 from my itty bitty sockyarn blanket) for knitting while talking, I had my moderate thinking knitting project in a nice pair of 3x1 ribbed socks. I had an intricate thinking knitting project in case I totally didn't get spinning and had to find something to get lost in (never made it out of the bag). I had shorts for if it was hot, a sweater and FOUR pair of wool socks in case it got cold (it really didn't). I had magazines, books, yarn for selling at the yarn shop & swap. I had my camera, battery charger, snacks in case I didn't like the food (I really REALLY did) and even brought a bunch of extra bags for the extra goodies I'd be bringing home.

The only thing I forgot? I realized it at about 12:30am the first night. UNDERWEAR. Yes, I had NO underwear. Cripes almighty. Now that might be a cute, funny thing if the pair I was wearing was even slightly hang-in-public-worthy. Nope. Blue, so old and worn that the elastic was hanging out in bits and there were HOLES and quite possibly the ugliest pair of granny panties I've ever owned. Rags in my house are in better shape. Nice start, huh?

SO, not sure how to ask an almost total stranger if I could bum a pair of panties, and Harveville possessing only one shop that sold 3.2 beer but no undies (I checked, you never can tell what you'll find in a small town stop2shop), I was left with two alternatives... learn to spin while going commando or wash the undies and find a discrete spot to hang them dry. Yeah, I was freaked out enough about being able to spin without just falling over (which almost happened at one point) that the idea of doing that in a more natural state? Not gonna happen. SO, there I am at 1am, washing my ugly undies in the sink with shampoo. I even dropped them on the floor once when someone came in for a night-time trip to the commode and surprised me. After rewashing and wringing them out, I went wandering around the elementary school looking for a place to hang the ugly undies to dry. You'd think there'd be more places, wouldn't you? I finally found a side door handle that was hidden behind a ping pong table. As I'm leaning waaaaaay over to hang them up, I look up and see two ladies looking at me like WTF is she doing? So I lean in an even stranger angle and say, "pretty sky tonight, huh?" and run back to my room. Next morning the undies are still a bit damp, but packing a hair dryer (SEE how well I packed?) I quickly took care of business.

So, Friday and Saturday night let's just say "rinse and repeat." Sure I could have driven myself to Topeka to find a wal-mart, but that would be losing precious fiber creating time. No freaking way.

After hearing the story and laughing her ass off, Teri told me she would have driven me out some underwear. Man, that's the sign of a good friend. I'd drive you underwear too!

ALL photos were taken with me WEARING my undies. No worries.

My very first ball of yarn. Made from a gorgeous corriedale dyed by the amazing Adrienne from Hello Yarn. Is it wrong to want to buy even more fiber when I have no spinning wheel?

Closeup of my alpaca yarn that I still haven't put away. It's sitting by my bed. Waiting patiently to become something amazingly soft to wear around my neck. Maybe a cowl?

My before and after pics of the thick/thin singles I spun to create a big ass felted bag. Wish me luck.

And finally some of the most beautiful yarn I own. I dyed some heavenly cormo wool gifted to me from Chery, who is also the one that encouraged me to learn to spin! I'm so very pleased at the depth of colors of the red oranges and rust oranges and ooooooohhhhhhh I have to pick a really good project for this stuff!

Oh, and I didn't just dye pretty stuff, oh no! Nearing the end of the extra dye session, it was about 215 degrees in the science lab, roasters were roasting. Crockpots were crockpotting, women were SWEATING. I was getting hot and cranky. Instead of using the dyes I'd mixed to make four sets of fibers of each of my favorite colors, I decided FUXX IT I'll just put them all together in one big batch. Yeah. It would've been cool if I'd dyed it so that there were long bits of each color, but I was in FUXX IT mode, so dumped it all in. SO, whenever I get a wheel and get ready to spin, I'll be spinning a whole lot of short bits of colors. Each color is lovely individually. Together they make my eyelids twitch.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl all year (mostly). Can I please have a spinning wheel under my tree?

In a nutshell, Yarn School Rocks. Unbelievably.

Bunnies, Goats and Alpacas, Oh My!

I've got fiber from some of the angora bunnies to spin later, a purse made from Chewbacca the goat's fibers and made my first yarn from two of the alpacas there. Yes, made my own freaking yarn. And it's heavenly. Absofuxxinglutley heavenly. (See Santa? no cursing! well, mostly) It will soon become a scarf that I may or may not ever take off.


After......(the big fluffy orange fiber amazingness is MINE, it's the one that looked a lot like poo in the crock pot)

I've still got 8 plastic wrapped beauties on my back porch that need rinsing and hanging out. Another dear yarn schooler is bringing even MORE of my fiber/yarn home that was too hot to take after the extra dye session. The yarn hanging with the shoes is a buttload of wool I spun in fat/thin singles to dye up to make one of my funky spiraling purses. It'll be neat to see how they turn out, if what I pictured in my head will become the project I intend.

The food? Fabulous. Absolutely fresh, healthy, yummy, unbelievable. The company? Also fabulous I learned so much from EVERYONE. I was actually so in awe of the whole spinning phenomenon that I hardly talked. Yes, me. I was walking around the corner when all the dyed fiber was hanging on the line. I overheard the following....

"who dyed the orange one?"
"who's Christine again?"
"the quiet one. from KC"
"Oh, yeah! Christine!"

Yeah. Probably the only time in my life that description would work.

I really, really, really, REALLY need a spinning wheel now. Really.

Yarn School. Just Do it.

Oh, and I totally have a fiber stash now. A pretty significant start on a fiber stash thanks to Yarn School! Another stash habit is born.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yarn Harlot! Bee Barf! And YARN SCHOOL!

I've got no pretty knitting pictures. I suck. I also have knit and frogged and knit again so much knitting since I last posted. Again, I suck.

Anyway, The Yarn Harlot is coming to KC and I get to go! WOO HOO! I missed her Wichita, KS appearance a while back and great shopping and pizza and roadtripping with knitters. Man, it doesn't get any better than that. OK, if there were beer, then THAT would be the ultimate day. (Not while on the road trip, I may knit while I drive, but I don't drink while driving.)

Call Rainy Day Books at 913-384-3126. You get a book and two tickets for $16.99 or something like that. Quite a deal. Yarn Harlot will be speaking at the Unity Temple in KC, MO on Monday, Oct 13th at 7pm. And I'm gonna be there. How cool is that? Unbelievably.

OK, the beautiful yellow silky wool ribbed sweater? The one I knit and knit and frogged and frogged and knit more, then frogged more then knit away yet again? After completing the body and one sleeve I tried it on. Yes, I actually DID try this on in progress a few times. It fit. It fit perfectly. I got gauge. It was just the way it was supposed to be, but I forgot the cardinal sin of the sweater knitter. Pick out a sytle that actually looks good on you. I forgot what I looked like. I somehow saw myself as the cute models in the picture, not as the flat chested, slightly hippy woman that I am. I'm happy with how I look, I look fabulous in many styles of sweaters. This was not one of them. It was so horrid that I couldn't even take a picture. I took it off, set up my "yarn baller" as my husband calls it, and immediately turned it back into yarn.

The only thing I could think as I stood there looking in the mirror at this perfectly lovely sweater that looked perfectly horrid on me was "Bee Barf." It looked like 28,361 bees barfed up pollen bits all over me. But mostly in a drawing-the-eye-to-the-widest-part-of-the-hips way of pollen barfing. Horrid. Knitted Bee Barf.

What else? Oh I made the migraine blanket bigger and it's already getting lots of use from various children. How do they pick the funkiest, wildest blankets out of all that we have in the house? Ah well. It makes me happy that a bunch of scraps turned into something warm and used.

Also knit half a hat, frogged it and knit again on larger needles making adjustments as I go now and it's making up a lovely hat now. I am using a kit bought from Maggie's Farm I got at the Knitting in the Heartland vendor market last spring. It's called "Barn chore hat" or something like that. Pretty yarn, but the hand spun natural and the colored part were such different gauges that I needed to frog back and change stitch numbers. It's working up well now and has the softest alpaca knit up to fold under for a lining for the ears. It's supposed to be for Jeff, but I have a feeling I'll be wearing this one a lot this winter. Goal to self: WEAR HATS this winter. A knitter should wear hats. Even if she/he looks stupid in them. Guy knitters are so lucky. They always look good in knit hats.

I've also cast on for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Longies, from the September month of Knitters Alamanac, my favorite book of all time. I should be doing this two at one time on circs, that would make so much more sense and ensure that both legs actually match, but I just can't seem to do it that way. It irks me. I don't know why. I'm working away on two sets of dpns a little at a time back and forth. Cascade 220 in grey, or what I've knit half my wardrobe out of. So far, so good. That woman was a genius.

OH OH OH and the coundown to YARN SCHOOL has begun. TWO DAYS baby and I'm hitting the road. THURSDAY after work I'm heading to Harveyville, KS to Yarn School, where I get to learn to spin, SHOP for fiber and yarn, dye fiber and yarn, eat yummy healthy food and hang out with other yarnies just as crazy as I am! Nothing makes for a better day than hanging out with others just as fiber crazy as you are! I've been packed for a week now. Just keep changing what yarn I'm bringing along.

I promise to take lots of pics and try to remember what I learn. There's still a few last minute spots open, click away and come with me! I'd even drive (but I may or may not knit on the long, straight non-traffic filled highways, so take your chances.)

And the last bit of family news is that the beautiful camper is gone. My valentine's day present camper. The camper that had a TOILET in it plus screened windows, kitchen and slide out area so you could actually hang out indoors while in the outdoors? My way to handle the family camping trips? Yeah. We sold it. Damn. Damn, Damn, Damn. We were offered three times what we paid for it. And found a wonderful speed boat. A good boat, great shape, big hull which means nice traveling instead of beating us to a pulp like the speed boat we borrowed last summer. An open front, so the kids can all hang out all over the thing. Our family will get much use from it and we'll all enjoy it but it still sucks. Now when we go camping I'm back to bug level with no toilet. Freaking bugs. I should just cover myself in honey to better draw them to me to eat me. Anyway, I'm being a good mother, so we'll have much more days like this.....

Ah well, what do I care? I'm going to YARN SCHOOL!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The prodigal sock returns!

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OH how I missed you! That sock, the one on the right? With the extra thick brown stripes? He's come home to me! I have to admit that you really DO love the one that left even more than the one that was trusty, loyal and stayed in the sock drawer where he belonged. See those thick brown lines? I always liked the other one better as I thought those looked a bit like poo.

ANYWAY, last Friday was a nice cool, almost cold day. I broke out the wool socks. YEAH! Thought my wollemeise sockenwolle would be just the thing for the first wearing of the season. As we had a busy evening of lots of places to go, I also was lugging the big ass Migraine Blanket around in a tote bag. I had picked up another skein of Schaefer Elaine yarn at Knit Wit's a while back and thought I'd like to make the blanket big enough to actually USE. As we walked around an outdoor carnival, the sun came out. It got a bit warm. I'd have been ok, except the wool socks on my feet were bringing my heat level up to 10 degrees below bursting right into flames. Actual flames. That's why I knit so many alpaca and wool sleeveless sweaters. My body can't take the whole wool immersion thing unless it's seriously cold. Apparently 65 degrees isn't cold enough. Socks went into the bottom of the tote bag.

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Through the night I yanked and stuffed that big ass blanket in and out of the tote bag. Yes, you guessed it, the next morning when I got home, only one pretty wollmeise sock was in the bottom of the bag. OH the horror. I don't mind losing a regular sock, but this one was knit on my honeymoon on a sailboat in the Sea of the Bahamas. It was WOLLMEISE for God's sake. Why couldn't I have lost an opal sock? Or a Lorna's Laces one? (not that I don't love both of those yarns, but seriously? WOLLMEISE?) Damn.

Well, let me just say that people look at you really REALLY strangely when you show up asking if their lost and found happens to have a sock that looks almost exactly like THIS ONE RIGHT HERE but with thicker brown stripes. Yes, next time I will absolutely use the phone. The school where my youngest step son goes is a bit, um, stuck up and pretentious and rich. And they just don't appreciate the gravity of good wool socks being lost out on their soccer field. But then, apparently neither do gas station attendants and snotty high school girls that work at volleyball arenas.

Jeff came back from getting his van detailed yesterday and Guess What!?! My little lost sock was stuck way up underneath one of the seats! YEAH! Now the happy pair are right where they belong. All is right with the world. Or at least with my sock drawer.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I think I'll change my name...

So, I originally named this blog the Knitting Virgin because I was so amazed that once you understood the one stitch, ONE STITCH of knitting (purl is the back side of knit, so to me it's different sides of the same thing), you could do ANYTHING. Manipulating yarn and sticks. Simplicity. Beauty. All that crap. Well, I have made a lot of amazing things, some very early on before I heard that beginners won't supposed to do anything but garter stitch scarves, and all that crap. If I found a pattern that had something in it I didn't know how to do, I'd either find a knitter to help or go on Knitting Help's Website or find a book and just do it. Anything was possible. I made some amazingly beautiful things. I made some amazingly horrid things. It was all creative, so I loved it.

Lately, I've found that I'm seriously screwing up even the most basic of items in quite spectacular ways. Ways that make my dear knitting friends shake their heads and ask me "What the HELL were you thinking?" "How did you POSSIBLY do that?" and otherwise just laugh. It's ok, I laugh too. I mean, how many knitters can make a strange appendage on a ciruclar shawl? You knit AROUND a circle in stockinette. KNITTING. No strange purling or anything funky. I don't know how I do it, but I just do it.

SO, this last weeked we had a serious road trip. A six hour each way road trip. You know the theory of three steps forward and one step back? Yeah. Well, at the beginning of the six hours for some UNGODLY reason, I decide to follow the part that says "FOR SIZE LARGE ONLY" and it's written in LARGE BOLD LETTERS on the pattern as well on the sweater front of Slinky Ribs by Wendy Barnard. She wrote it in bold loud type. I was not knitting size large. Ah well. So I then proceed to knit around 4 hours or so and am halfway through the ribbing charts and something's not quite right. Hmmmmmmm could it be that I added 2 inches on the BACK ONLY and it's seriously fuxxed up? Yup. Guess what I did on the trip back? REKNIT the damn thing and then some. Got home and then found that I'd dropped a stitch FOUR INCHES back. And it's on the front. So, knowing how to fix almost anything, I picked that stitch right back up to where it was supposed to be, only it stuck out like a bulletproof ridge. On the front. See? It actually looks worse than the picture.

So, more frogging. Now I'm actually on the last few rows of the body. Going to knit those damn sleeves, neck edging, buttons and wear it. I do love the sweater and the silky wool in its sunflowery color, but I think I've knit the entire thing at least 3 times now. Getting ready to get them the hell off the needles. That's my weekend goal. Get this off the damn needles!

My other goal? Not to have to change this blog from the Knitting Virgin to the Freaking Knitiot, although I'm sure some already has that name.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Frogging is ever so much fun

Ok, so I actually don't mind frogging. I've knit entire sweaters and frogged them with no qualms. Frogging can be healing, inspiring, even fun. I've already frogged the pi shawl's with horrid edging. But the fun's not there in this one. This one just pisses me off. I should've known better. I saw the pictures, knew something wasn't working out right and kept on knitting. AGAIN. Just a few short months after the pi shawl incident. See those 12 rows of ribbing above the cables? Yes? They shouldn't be there. There should be cabling from the very start. damn damn damn. Well, all I can say is God Bless Ravelry and God Bless Ravelers! A very sweet raveler messaged me that she did the same thing it looks like I did, misread the pattern to think the first 12 rows of ribbing in the pattern meant an actual 12 rows of ribbing instead of the first 12 rows of the pattern as it really did. Damn. Thank God for her as this saved me from knitting cables and increasing and such through the yoke and THEN finding out something wasn't working right. A few evenings' work is much less to frog than a few week's worth.

I know it's hard to imagine, but I'm a diehard optimist. I ALWAYS see the good in things. It can be quite nauseating, actually. It's this little voice that tells me if I just hang in there and stay positive, things will work out. Things always work out, right? I think it comes from a love of disney movies. I still freaking cry at each cartoon. Yes, even stupid non-disney ones like Kung Fu Panda. I can't help it. Even though I'm looking right at something not quite right (like an appendage on a shawl that does not call for such a thing) I keep knitting. Just keep knitting, just keep knitting. Believing it will work out. It must be a "ta-da" moment at the end, right? Kind of like the magic of the EZ baby sweater. Ta Da! I am GOING to realize that most patterns are NOT baby surprise sweaters. If something doesn't look or feel quite right, it's probably NOT quite right. I'm going to take my patterns and my knitting to a knitting friend (it's not like I'm not surrounded by amazing knitters, you know) and ASK SOMEONE's ADVICE. That's my resolution. My August 25th resolution. My New Year's resolutions never stick. Maybe my Aug 25th one will.

So, tonight it's off to the ball winder, or yarn baller, as Jeff calls it, to unknit this beautiful cabled masterpiece. Thank God someone got to me before I got through the rest of the yoke and then had to frog the whole thing. Ah well. Live and Learn.

On a brighter point, my aunt from California is coming to town! She's the one that said she retired to become a "knitress." I love that. Of course, she now travels the world to knit and live life to the fullest. She's off to Italy for the SECOND TIME for a knitting class. MAN I've got to get myself retired soon. I'll be bringing my aunt Dot and my KC aunt out to MisKnits on Wed. night for their UFO Night. Come out and say howdy if you're in the area.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Can you spare a square? Or give me back my sockyarn?

OK, so I know it looks like the earlier pictures, but it's BIGGER now. It's now officially baby blanket sized. If I were a good aunt, I'd gift it to my niece-to-be so that the child can grow up chewing on fabulous wool sockyarn. But, I'm not giving this blanket up yet. It's a memory keeper of all the socks I've knit. When I go over it I can tell you what sockyarn each is, where I bought it, when I knit it, whom for, and usually a story of what was going on in my life at the time of the knitting. Of course I can't tell you where I put my keys and have lost my wallet IN MY HOUSE again. I've done that 4 times in the last 3 months. cripes almighty. Hey, I can't put gas in my truck, but I can tell you what yarn I used to knit Joey's sk8er boi socks. Yes, that's helpful in everyday life. Ah well. I have decided the baby girl to be needs a garter stitch blanket, and have one in progress. I've started on my 2nd square for this sockyarn bits blanket and hope to make 4 and seam them together with possibly some more blocks around the outside of the whole whopper once it's almost couch potato lounging sized.

Anyone catch the Elaine Spare a Square Seinfeld reference? Yes, bathroom humor at its finest. SO, a couple of weeks before the dancing incident, I was taking a creative knitting break. On super stressful days with monster deadlines hanging above my head I need a little help to calm down and tackle the work. I take a break. I knit. Stall knitting. Hey, we've not got a nice lobby or anything, and this whole working-full-time thing is seriously cramping my knitting time. Knitting is my prozac. You won't like me when I'm not knitting. You work with what you've got. If Bathroom Knitting a few rows keeps me from killing people, I think that's a small price to pay, don't you?

ANYWAY, I'm quietly sitting and knitting. The sockyarn ball had a little snag of a knot in it, when I gave a tug, it popped out of my bag and rolled over to the lady sitting next door. There's a little "uummmmmmmm, is this yours?" and the ball is handed back to me under the stall wall. I say "thanks." She says, "You're not crocheting in there, are you?" laughing nervously. I laugh back and say "of course not, I'm knitting." Laughter stops. Dead silence. Welcome to my world.

I've also been working on this and that when not knitting away on my sockyarn blanket and daughter's K State socks. Lady February Sweater in orange Cascade 220, the neck of Wisteria in cascade 220 heaters, from the Twist Collective, have you SEEN that site? Oh I am in love! Also bought the new book from Wendy Bernard, Custom Knits, which I had to call all the bookstores in town to find. The Barnes & Noble in Town Center in Leawood, KS had a few copies when I snuck out for a "quick break" and hauled ass across town to get my book! Cast on for Slinky Ribs last night with some sunflower yellowish silky wool from the stash. OH MAN I love this book. It's right up there with my love of Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel.

Speaking of Stefanie Japel, you know a woman just can't have too many sleeveless wool sweaters. Right? Well, a fabulous YARN SALE at Knit Wit in Olathe, KS is now the reason I'm knitting matching sleeveless mock turtlenecks from Fitted Knits for my daughter and I. Scored some purple frog tree worsted wool at half price, HALF PRICE I SAID, and as soon as I can get some knitting done on these projects they will be the next to be cast on. Measured my daughter and think making the body skinnier will be easy, no real waist shaping needed, but will have to figure out how much to shorten her diagonal armpit to shoulder raglan seam.

Knit Wit has apparently lost her next door storage space, so is putting a LOT of yarn at half off. I saw Frog Tree, Nashua, cashmere, all kinds of goodies. Get out there and check it out if you have a chance. She's also got a ton of plastic tubs full of yarn for $3/skein as well.

I also felted up some bags. I made four of the little bitty ones that still need icord straps knitted and felted.

Happy weekend, happy shopping and happy knitting everyone!

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