Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Socks!

I'm so looking forward to the long holiday weekend.  I worked really hard last weekend to do the more difficult chores at home, carpets have been cleaned, storage room emptied and then reorganzied.  (No pictures, I couldn't do it to myself.)  I still have a few bins to sort out, mostly books the girls said they did not want, but from which they already pulled out several to read.  I can do the final cleaning this weekend and it will be ok.  Mostly clothes to sort and purge through.  The worst of it is done.

Which means, I can have more down time over the holiday.  Being a single working mom who also shares a home with my mom means I have a lot of things to take care of.  Most of the time it is ok, I can handle it.  Sometimes it can get overwhelming being the sole person that is responsible to manage everyone's appointments and care.  Which is where my knitting/spinning comes in.  That is where I pour me into.  Where I can find solace and peace.  I don't know where I would be without my knitting.  And I don't want to know!

So over the weekend, this is what I did,   I started the Latvian Wedding Socks as a Christmas gift for my mom.  While I'm following the charts as written, I'm letting the varigated yarn do its own thing.  I'm not cutting out sections of the self striping yarn as the directions suggested, I'm just going with the flow.  At first I wasn't sure about how it was turning out, but now I've decided they are simply Happy Socks.  And when things are dreary this winter, it may bring a smile to my mom's face when she pulls on these wildly colored socks.  Soon the color will change to a mustard yellow followed by a spring green....let happiness reign on our feet!

I'm also half way through a scarf, also for my mom for Christmas.  This is using the first of my handspun yarns I've ever knit up.  It is just a simple ruched pattern.  I realized after several sections I made it too wide, however, my mom commented she thought it being extra wide would be nice when the blasted winds start howling here laden with snow.  So even though she has seen it, I'm going to give it to her as a gift.  It is super warm as the gray/white blend is wool and mohair.  That is the yarn I spun up and it is working up so nicely.

I hope everyone is able to safely travel this coming weekend.  The girls and mom and I will be at our house, just the four of us.  I can not wait.  I plan on Thanksgiving being a day of just that, one of remembering to give thanks.  I'm incredibly blessed, I have my two girls, my mom is healthy and home with us, my job is stable, and I have enough yarn that I could knit for a year without having to buy more.  That is a bountiful basket of blessings in my book.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pretty Thing - Check Hemlock Ring - Check

Here is my Pretty Thing...although it isn't so pretty at the moment, this color is not true at is a pretty heathered blue with hints of lavendar.  Not the gray as it appears here, that is what you get when you take pictures in a flourscent light filled cubicle at work.  But it is done as far as the knitting goes.  Tonight it will soak in a bath and I'll pin it out.  Same goes for the Hemlock Ring.  The knitting is done, soaking and blocking await.  I sure hope the blocking cures the sad lumpy look it has now, it won't lay flat at all.  But I've seen blocking perform miracles before.  So no panic until after it has been pinned out...

I've decided to make Latvian Wedding socks for my mom's Christmas present.  I have the yarns at home all ready and will start tonight.

I'm looking forward to the Thanksgiving break coming up.  I'm tired of work and can use the respite.  I have plenty of work at home that needs to get done.  I'm cleaning out the storage closet, moving in an old dresser and hopefully filling it with things that just have no other place to live.  I need the upstairs more organized and soon.  While I believe in the lived in casual look, we have clearly crossed the line into a mess.  And with winter closing in and us being in close quarters for several months to come, I need to get the space more organized and cleared out.  So I feel some serious purging coming through.  If I get really brave, I will post before and after pictures.  not sure I'm ready for is bad people....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Battle of the Ninja is won

I'm not even going to think about how much time has gone into one pair of socks.  Nice socks, but they took more time than I usually spend on 2 pairs.  Of course that may be because I probably knit stitch for stitch equaling two pair, but so be it.

They are done!  And I will relish wearing them.  Even though the picture does not show the toes of both, rest assured I completed them in the same yarn.  And had this much left over. Not even enough to really save for darning or making any future repairs.  But they are done and complete.  I wish the cuff was a bit longer, but then looking at what I had left over in the yarn department, we all know that was not an option. 

So I'm moving on, I'm really ahead of where I normally am for Christmas knitting.  I have 3 rows left and Pretty Thing will be complete.  I'm about 75% done with the crocheted edging on the Hemlock Ring Blanket.  Which leaves me with a scarf for my nephew Kyle and has opened up the possibilites for my mom's gift.  I've decided to make a pair of Latvian Wedding Socks.  I can't figure out how to get a picture of them on here, but they are a cream background with riotous colorfilled fair isle patterns.  She will love them!

So the Christmas countdown continues, T minus 35 days.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ninja battles winding down

So the ninja socks and I have formed a truce I think.  I'm within 1/2 inch or so to where I start the toe decreases.  The small ball of yarn at the bottom of the picture may or may not get the sock finished.  I have the multi more turquoisey blue  yarn ready in the wings to finish the toe if needed, or I may just go with a straight white toe.  But in any regard, these socks will finally FINALLY be finished by the weekend.  And I can move on.  This has been a great lesson in sock knitting.  I've made so many pairs over the last couple years, I really stopped paying attention to fit as everything had been going so well.  Goes to show you, when you think you know what you are doing, that is the time you will trip and fall.  Such is life.

Christmas knitting is moving along, especially when you look at the calendar and realize Christmas Eve is 37 days away.  Thirty seven....not that long in knitting time.  But I'm doing reasonably well.  The Hemlock Ring blanket is done except for the edging.  I'm working on that each night until the boredom overtakes me and I pick something else up.  What I'm usually picking up at the moment is this, The Yarn Harlot's Pretty Thing.

I'm making this for Kyle's Anna.  I'm over half way done and I started it the end of last week.  So it moves very quickly.  Easy pattern with really nice results.  I'm hoping she will like it as much as I'm liking making it.  It also appears I'm in a blue yarn mood...but I think that is coming to an end, lately I've been drawn to orangey golden yellows...must be because our monochromatic winter world that is filled with white, gray and black is soon going to arrive.  I have plans for some new orangey yarn...but that is after Christams knitting is done.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ninja Socks 3, Me 3

You would think I've learned to quit waving the red flag in front of these socks.  Last time we talked, I realized I had forgotten to turn the heel and had blithley whipped right past that and was working on the gussets decreases.  I frogged them back to the heel flap, quickly turned the heel and once again picked up the necessary stitches for the gussets and I'm working on the body of the foot.  This is going relatively quickly when you consider I'm lucky to get 4 or 5 rounds knit during my short lunch.  I contine eyeing the steadily decreasing ball of yarn, so last night I weighed sock one, it came to 1.7 gr.  Weighed the second sock along with the remaining yarn, yup, 1.7.  EXACTLY.  So the good news is they weigh the same, which theoretically mean I should be able to finish them with the remaining yarn.  The bad news is they weigh the same, which will probably mean I will run out of yarn 3 rows from the end.  smile....

But the really good news?  I don't need my socks to match exactly to be happy with them, so I will not mind having a diferent toe on one sock, so I'm not going to rip the first sock back to make matching toes, I'm just going to knit until I run out of yarn and then deal with the fall out on the second sock.  So there ninja, take that!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas Knitting has begun

This year has been a total year of festivities already, my favorite niece was married in Florida in July to her Jeremy.  My favorite nephew was married in October to his Anna.  Both resulted in travel both near and far.  Which has impacted my pocket book.  But Christmas is coming...and gifts must be prepared.  Some will be bought and shipped.  Others will be coming out of my stash.  And after organizing it this weekend, my (at least to me) rather substantial stash made me see plenty of options. Looking at this picture it seems I have more deep dark colors, in greens/blues/purples than lighter pastelly colors.  I have an 3 drawer, 8 cubed unit that holds my yarn and various knitting gadgets.  (and boy do I like gadgets)  This weekend I bought a kitchen scale so I can more easily determine where I am in a project.  (Note to self:  weigh ninja sock one and compare to semi completed ninja sock two and remaining small ball of yarn and see if backup plan needs to be put into action.)

So with bugets impacted by weddings and travel, I started working on one Christmas present already, the Girasole afghan I made for Kyle and his Anna turned out very well and was met with lots of oooohs and aahhhs and my sister strongly "hinted"
i would really like one for Christmas Sharon that she wouldn't mind having one herself.  But I didn't want to make a second one so soon after finishing the first one.  So I pulled up another pattern by Jared Flood called the Hemlock Ring.  He and the Rainey Sisters made this popular a few years ago and the pattern is free on Ravelery.  So I started working on this for MK.  I can't get the color right in the picture, but it is a deep wine color.  I should have it finished around Thanksgiving.  Which then gives me plenty of time to go through my stash and figure out what I can make for both Kyle and Anna.  Knitting for Kristin is much harder, as wool and Florida don't really mix well.  Such is life. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Home Spun Yarn Explosion

This is what happens when you get a niddy noddy.  You grab all the handspun yarn you wound into balls and skein them up.  It felt like my yarn exploded!  Much like those little compressed sponges in the animal shapes my girls loved, you dropped them into water and they slow absorbed all the water and kept growing and growing and growing as long as you kept adding water.  Well I kept winding and winding and winding and discovered much to my amazement that I have a LOT of handspun.  Some good, some not so good.  Which I view as my training yarn. 
I have much more than I thought I had.  Which trust me isn't bad at all.  It just means I need to figure out ways to use it up.  And to realize that I don't need to get more roving at the moment.  And just maybe I need to focus on knitting what I have in hand.  Trust me, I won't be suffering at all.  I have many lovely colors to play with, a lot of white, which can be used in fair isle or even trying out dying.  Great, another new idea?  Stop, some one help me.  I bought my niddy noddy at the Midwest Alpaca farmers fiber festival held at the Hopkins High school this weekend.  I thought the vendors were all very nice and had such lovely things to offer.
 I decided to get some suri alpaca roving.  It was the softest stuff I've felt in a long time.  It is a pretty champagne color.  That is going to sit in my roving basket until I'm quite confident in my spinning.  And since I need to knit like a wild woman to wade through some of the hand spun stash, that may be a while.  But just having it to look at and fondle works for me. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sunny Days

There has been a dearth of sunny days here this fall.  It has been downright dreary.  And I realized something today, the news is equally dreary, doom and gloom, horrible tragedies, nothing but awful.  And that is why more of my discretionary time is spent reading knitting blogs instead of the news sites.  I'm tired of reading all the bad things going on in the world.  And while I'm not an ostrich with my head in the sand, I can certainly limit the amount of "hard" news I take in each day.  Instead I will focus on seeing new projects created from yarn and fiber, watch sunsets recreated into fair isle mitts, see how sheep wool can be transformed through spinning, dyeing and knitting to become well loved blankies, and to see how simple hats and mittens knit for charity can help those in need. 

So with that in mind, here is a simple earwarmer I recently finished for myself, another rariety.  I used two nameless sock yarns and a pattern from Selbuvettor and wound up with this.  I really need to do better on my pictures, like have a person in them occasionally.  but I think it turned out well.  And shortly when I'm out shoveling or scraping the car off I will appreicate it's double thickness.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gotcha Day - 12 years later

Twelve years ago today, I was in a tiny room in China, packed with anxious couples and me, waiting for an amazing gift that was going to change all of our lives.  A child.  In a matter of moments, I heard the Chinese name of my daughter called out.  I reached and was given this tiny, chubby faced China girl.  Who from the moment she was placed in my arms, beamed and laughed in delight.  We had been warned that the babies would be afraid of us and would cry when given to these crazy people who didn't look like, sound like, smell like anyone they had ever seen before.  All the 10 other baby girls were screaming and crying.  Not my Anna.  She was chortling with delight.  I was the one who was near tears.  I couldn't believe the gift that was in my arms.  My child.  My child with the fat cheeks, sparse hair on her head, dancing eyes, and the rail thin body.  This was my child.  Fast forward 12 years, and I look at my oldest daughter, with beautiful cheeks, long thick shiny black hair, still with dancing eyes, and a strong body.  Still my Anna.  We celebrate the days I received both my girls in China as almost a second birthday during the year.  They get a small present, I get to relive memories of the past years of our lives. 

I wonder if somewhere in China there are parents who wonder what happened to the baby they brought into the world.  How I wish I could let them know they are safe and loved and cherished.  That my two girls are the greatest gifts I have ever received.  Many people tell me that my girls are so lucky that I adopted them.  I simply reply that I am the lucky one.  I am the one who has been blessed to have two of the most wonderful girls in the world.  So wonderful there is no way that I could have created these unique creatures. 

So 12 years have passed, a blink of an eye at times.  I looked at my two girls getting ready for Halloween and realized that no matter how many gotcha days we celebrate, nothing will compair with that first moment in China when I held my child for the first time and blocked out the rest of the world to feel my heart melt into hers.