Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sometimes it's hard to focus on knitting

Last night our family dog passed away.  We were lucky that the entire family was able to gather on short notice to say good-bye, even though I doubt Rocky really knew what was happening.  We were also lucky that his system failure occurred so quickly that he didn't have a long painful end.

My husband and I went out to dinner on March 1, 1995 and came home with Rocky (totally shocked the babysitter).  An animal rescue group happened to be in a storefront near the restaurant, and a worker there convinced us to "just try taking him for a little walk on this leash".  We were instantly smitten with this little (~15 lb.) guy of indeterminate age and parentage and brought him home to be "Alex's dog".

We found out from the vet that he was at least one year old and was most likely a Sheltie/Jack Russell mix.  His fur and coloring were more Sheltie-like and his personality was pure Jack Russell.

Owning Rocky was like having a bright, inquisitive, mischievous, non-verbal three year old in the house for most of the 17 years we had him.  He was playful, affectionate, and everyone who knew him very well fell in love with him (including our vet and the staff at the kennel he went to when we were on vacation).  He slowed down quite a bit in his last year (and started to develop bald spots), but still enjoyed children and food.

This picture was taken less than a year ago, I think.  Pretty good looking for an old guy, wouldn't you say?
Rocky 1994(?)-2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Something Old, Something New

Today I am wearing my brand-new, just-finished-last-night, Ribby Pink socks and a sweater I knit 16 years ago.  The second sock was finished in one day (no second sock syndrome), and I am happy with the result.
Ribby Pinky Socks

I knit a lot (65-75 finished projects in a typical year), so it is unusual when I can remember many details of a particular project from the distant past.  This one was special, though.  I was less than a month from Justin's due date, sick of being pregnant, and had already knit him a mound of clothing.  I decided to knit something to wear after he was born.  Since he was due in February, I decided on a Valentines theme and knit a pink sweater with hearts all over it.  The pattern is called Pansy, and it comes from an Annabel Fox magazine called Summertime (published in 1995).  The pattern called for Rowan Cotton Chenille, but I used a Cascade 220-like yarn (no longer have the labels) that I bought from the sale bin on one of my pilgrimages to Straw Into Gold.  Looking at the sweater today, I think the design has aged pretty well.
Pansy Sweater
Pansy Sweater

Detail of Heart
Now I am back to working on the sleeves for Phinney.  At this rate (hope I don't jinx it), I may finish 10 items this month and half or more will be 2011 WIPs.

Phinney's Yoke

Sleeves in Progress
Just in time to start attacking the projects that I ordered online this week...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Now what...

I have finished sock number one from this week's start.  The design is from The Little Box of Socks and is called Shadow Rib.  The yarn is some well-aged Regia Color 4-ply in a mix of pinks and reds with a bit of gray, orange and brown thrown in.  I have used this pattern successfully in the past, and this first sock fits well and will look even better after blocking (some of the rib wales are a bit wonky).

Ribby Pinky Sock

My big question for this afternoon is should I knit sock number two or finish the Phinney sweater first.

The other knitting option, of course, is to start yet another project.  After all, I just found out that my pregnant friend has scheduled her C-section for next Wednesday (the baby was due about Valentines, but may pop out before Wednesday from the way she looks), and I haven't yet cast on my gift.

Better stop blogging for now...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Knitter, know thyself

First, pictures of what I've finished since my last post.
Lacy Rib Socks
Silk Garden Stripe Scarf

Brushed Suri Mitts
Close-up of Purple Passion scarf

January being a startitis month, I have interspersed my completions of last year's WIPs with small new projects.  So far, I have finished seven projects, four of which were started in 2011, the rest done entirely this year.

I've found for these "satisfy startitis" projects, it helps if they use less than 200 yards of yarn.  The Lamb's Pride Hurricane hat and the Brushed Suri Alpaca mitts fell into this category; they were both finished before I got the itch to try something new AND I had renewed energy to go back and tackle another of the nagging WIPs.

The Purple Passion scarf (a gift for my MIL, who loves bright colors and sparkly yarns) at ~330 yards was just a tad too long.  By the time I worked in the ends I was sick of the scarf and dying to try another new project (instead of finishing -- only two half-sleeves left! -- my Phinney sweater, the next WIP in the queue).

What did I cast on?

Socks...which means I might be able to finish one sock before feeling the need to move on.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good Start to the New Year

By the end of the 2nd, I had finished off two WIPs hanging over from 2011, the scarf for my nephew and a hurricane hat from leftovers.  Both came out well, I think.

Tweedy Cashmere Scarf

Hurricane Hat in Manos and Vintage
I met with a group of knitting friends (Carol, Sylvia, and Jocelyn, plus new-to-me knitters Helen and Sue) over coffee at Panera in Campbell Tuesday morning.  I cast on another hurricane hat, this time in Lamb's Pride left over from the blanket I knit for my brother and his wife.  I finished the rib and 1/3 of the pre-decrease section of the cap by the time we left (2 hours later).  The finished hat is below.  It is actually a slightly brighter green than it appears.
Hurricane Hat in Lamb's Pride
At our meeting, we talked about winnowing down our stashes this year, and also about Uncommon Threads sale that started that day.  

I went to Uncommon Threads in the afternoon and bought enough Classic Elite Waterlily in a nice raspberry to knit a Central Park Hoodie, a project I've had my eye on for some time.

So much for stash reduction...

I'm now trying to finish another WIP holdover, a Noro stripe scarf in two shades of Silk Garden (#252 and 268); 268 is the pastel version of 252.  It feels like a good companion piece to the scarf I knit in Kureyon (#258 and 259) in December.

I think I will try to finish my Phinney sweater next (body is complete including neckband, both sleeves are half done), and then move on to a new project.

Noro Strip Scarf in Silk Garden

Noro Stripe Scarf in Kureyon

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 By the Numbers

This year I finished somewhat fewer projects (65 versus 69 in 2010), but at least half a dozen 2010 projects were items needing less than two hours of finishing that had languished in the stash.  I more than met my goals on gift and charity knitting (goal was at least 12 in each category) and almost met my goal for socks (10 pair completed versus 12 as goal).  I made progress on (in some cases finished) some projects that had been in timeout for a while.

I did, however, buy more than I knit (once again).  I also started some projects in 2011 that are not yet complete.

Here are the scarves that are WIPs.  The scarf for Clay is now at five feet and should grow to six before I run out of yarn (and patience for the project).  The Noro King scarf is slightly over three feet long and about halfway done.  The linen stitch scarf is slow going (I may decide to be done at 6" wide).  The last two scarves are at the beginning stage.
Tweedy Cashmere scarf for Clay

Noro King Scarf

Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf

Noro Stripe Scarf (Silk Garden)

Kidsilk Stripe Scarf
 These Panda Soy socks should have been finished months ago, but for some reason they suffer from second sock syndrome.  The Rockin' Sock project is very complex and needs good light as well as great focus, so it has been in timeout for awhile.
Panda Soy Socks

Rockin' Sock Club Socks (May 2011)
 This hat will be knit from leftovers from my Phinney sweater (a WIP holdover from 2011) and Kerry's Manos Maxima cowl.
Hurricane Hat (leftovers from sweater and cowl)
I also have three sweaters in the works that I started last year:  Phinney from Berrocco Vintage yarn (I ran short of yarn and by the time I got another ball, Christmas knitting was upon me), the Rafik cardie (I stopped about halfway up the back), and the Mondo Cable cardie in Noro Retro (which has been hibernating since May).  Phinney's body is complete (including the neckband), and I have been working both sleeves simultaneously (they are about half done), so maybe I can have a new sweater soon!

Year End Wrap Up

 2011 ended in a flurry of knitting, mostly for Xmas gifts.  After the Noro King shawl, I finished a Moderne Log Cabin blanket for Robin and Karen (Xmas plus wedding gift -- since they eloped, it was okay to be late) that grew to roughly 4 feet by 5.5 feet.  I next made a sweater for me (Moravia from Berrocco yarns) that was a quick and fun knit.  After that, I made 4 cowls, 3 pair of fingerless mitts, 2 hats, 2 scarves, and 1 toy -- all but one hat and one scarf were/will be given for Xmas gifts!

Kidsilk Creation Scarf for Kerry
Moderne Log Cabin for Robin and Karen
One Cable Mitts for Mom

Simple Hat
Simple Hat for Dad
Fingerless Mitts for Joe

Fetching Mitts for Amanda

Manos Maxima Cowl for Kerry
Silk Garden Cowl for Anna
Paloma Cowl for Sable
Cashmere Cowl for Amanda