Monday, February 26, 2007

Late again

Almost two weeks ago, I finally finished my Bejeweled scarf. I don't know why it took me so long to post it. I guess I kept thinking I'd model it and Pea could take pictures, but I never got around to doing that. So instead, why not let the neighbors see how really crazy I am. "Honey, look, that weird girl next door has wrapped a scarf around the front porch post and is taking pictures of it". "Yeah, isn't she the same one who hangs yarn on her clothes line?"

Cast On: 1 January 2007
Completed: 13 February 2007
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes - Cranberry
Needles: Clover Bamboo US8 (5mm) Straight

I have to admit, I like to wear scarves, but I don't much like to knit them. I get very bored very fast. However, once I hit the half-way point on this one, I managed some kind of zen and was happy to crank the rest out. I'm hoping the same will happen with the Clapotis I recently dug out from the depths of the WIP piles.

In addition to being a fun new accessory, this scarf counted in both the Bejewled KAL and as one of my projects for Not a Gift. It also helped to chip away at my stash miles! Not a bad deal for one scarf.

In the background of the "crazy lady's scarf on the porch" shot you can catch a glimpse of our first real snow of the season. Here's a better picture of the snow for you.

I'm not a fan of snow by any means, but this storm wasn't too bad. It's only a couple of inches, and was the light fluffy snow that shovels away pretty easily. I'll be very happy if this is the last snow we see though. I'm ready for spring.

I just want to end with a quick note about that skein of Socks That Rock. I did end up letting Blue Moon Fiber Arts know about the problems, even though I feel a defective skein is bound to happen here and there and I didn't want to be a complainer. They were glad that I had sent them the information, because it helps them with quality control and to insure the mills are accountable for the yarn they supply. They even offered to replace the skein, which I declined because the yarn itself is in good condition (aside from the breaks) and can certainly be knit up without a problem. I have to tell you, even with the "bad" skein, I'd buy STR again in a minute. We all love the yarn and colorways, and their customer service was the icing on the cake!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Socks that DIDN'T Rock

After I finished the misshapen dinosaur, I began to think about the next project that would make me happy. And I decided it was time to stop forcing myself to wait, and just cast on some of the Socks That Rock I've been hording. I even had the perfect pattern bookmarked.

I looked at my STR and decided I wanted to cast on Seal Rock. I carefully put it on the swift, and began to wind the ball. Spin, spin, spin. Suddenly . . . . SNAP.

A break in the yarn. That's okay, I'd have to divide it for two socks anyway.

Spin, spin, spin. And again . . . SNAP.

Another break in the yarn? What the heck is going on here???

Spin, spin, spin . . . . what was THAT??

Nope, not a break. This time, it's a KNOT!!! A KNOT!! Really, are you kidding me with this skein of yarn???

Okay, so, not quite what I was expecting from the yarn that everyone seems to love. But I cast on anyway, and soon all was forgiven. This yarn really is beautiful to work with. It knits up so nicely and the medium-weight I purchased also knits really fast. Kirsten's pattern was so much fun, and it felt like the sock leg knit itself. In a flash, I was ready to start the heel. But first, I took a good look.

YUCK. Since the color repeats in my colorway were different from the colorway Kirsten used, my sock didn't have the lovely stripey look that the Jingle Bell Rock sock had. In fact, I had pooling. I usually don't mind pooling, but this colorway pooled in the ugliest way I had ever seen. Even Pea admitted it didn't look good, and he never sees flaws in my knitting! So, here's what we have.

Four small balls of Seal Rock. I will still knit these up, and I know they will make a beautiful pair of socks when I find the pattern that is meant for them. And another skein in my stash will make a beautiful pair of socks using Kirsten's pattern. But for now, they are both on hold.

Instead, I pulled out some gorgeous Koigu and the Garter-Rib pattern I used for my Mom's Christmas socks. Now this is the perfect match I was looking for. I am in crazy mad love with this sock so far!!!!

Happy socks are under-way!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Getting Happy

This is always a very tough time of year for me. It's cold and gray out. Summer vacations are so far away, and there doesn't seem to be much to look forward to in the coming weeks. The doldrums launch a big attack. Luckily, Jessica came up with a great Knit Along to help us all combat these dark, wintry moods.

The rules are pretty easy, which is perfect when you're feeling down. First, simply work on a craft project that makes you happy. You don't have to finish by a certain time, and you don't have to feel guilty if you start yet another project - as long as it makes you happy. Second, and probably most important, do something to make someone else happy. It can be as simple as you choose, but I find doing something that will bring happiness to someone I love makes me really happy too!!

My first Happy Project also counts toward my Holiday Headstart. Recent posts by Minty reminded me that I had been wanting to try knitting one of these little dinosaurs for my godson. I perused my stash and decided that the skein of Wool of the Andes that ended up much brighter than I anticipated would actually work perfectly, since Zack's favorite color is blue.

Trice from Xtreme-Knitting
Cast On: 14 February 2007
Completed: 20 February 2007
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes - Blue Bonnet
Needles: Brittany US7 (4.5 mm) Straight

I always have a lot of fun knitting toys, but they always end up looking a little bit off - like they came straight out of the Rudolph movie. This guy has a funny looking "frill", a center horn that skews a bit to one side, and a tail with a weird curl at the bottom. Maybe a spritz with some water and a good shaping will help to straighten him out a little? At least he's blue, and he's a dinosaur, and hopefully that's what makes a 7-year old happy at Christmas time!!

Friday, February 16, 2007


Valentine's Day seemed to give me a full blown case of "Martha Stewart Syndrome" once again. I've decided to call this affliction "Marthitus", and I had it bad.

It all started when I had the idea to send a little Valentine's Day package to a wonderful blog pal so she'd know I was thinking of her on that special day. I dragged out my beading stuff and whipped up some pink stitch markers. Then, while perusing blogland, I came across a terrific post by Michelle in which she explained how to make some adorable little matchbook note-pads. I couldn't resist trying a few myself, and the first two are on the left with the stitch markers.

Click pictures to make bigger

After finishing those, I suddenly thought it might be cute to make some with blog buttons on the front. So I whipped up the two on the right, along with one more for Valentine's Day.

Next I decided I needed to make a couple of Valentine's Day cards. I found a little pattern somewhere for a knit heart, changed it around to make the center seed stitch, and whipped these two cards.

And last, but not least, a little secret present I've been knitting on. Before Christmas, Nat had the most wonderful idea that we should both knit "chocolate socks" for our husbands. Neither of us got them done for Christmas (actually, I didn't even get mine started) so we decided to push them to Valentine's Day. Meanwhile, Chrissy sent out a call for test knitters to knit up a new pattern called "Hubby's First Sock", which seemed perfect since I had never gotten around to knitting socks for Pea before. Luckily, the pattern is going up soon, so I have the go-ahead to show you what they look like!

They were a big hit and Pea wore them to work on Valentine's Day!! Be sure to keep an eye on Gardiner Yarn Works for the pattern!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Valentine's flowers from my Sweetpea

Valentine's brownies for my Sweetpea

The other Valentine's surprises I've been working on will have to be revealed later!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ebb and Flow

Life is all about balance. Give and Take. Ebb and Flow. Yin and Yang. Wax and Wane. And so, I am counting miles up and miles down.

The Miles Up are Runagogo miles.I'm more than half-way to the finish line! Woo hoo!! Although many people have already passed the 100 mile point, I'm trying very hard to pace myself. For blood sugar control, a couple miles each and every day works the best. If I hit my goal too early, I know I'll lose my motivation to get on the treadmill every day. Slow and steady will work best for me.

After my last post, I bet you can guess what my Miles Down are. YARN MILES!

(Yes, the total is slightly higher than the last post. I found a bit more that I hadn't logged into the stash spreadsheet.) I agree with everyone who commented that a good stash is nothing to be ashamed of. But the sheer mass of yarn is starting to make me feel nervous and pressured. And it's sad to think of it all sitting there, wondering when it will be turned into the beautiful project it was born to become. I know I'm not the only person out there who feels like this. Today, I was listening to a great new podcast, Stash and Burn, and Jenny and Nicole were discussing this very thing. Go ahead and check them out, you won't be sorry.

But I digress. While I am still not going on an official yarn diet, I have decided to always turn to my stash first and knit up some of the projects that I've had waiting in the wings before buying any new yarn. I plan to keep track of my Stash Miles in the sidebar, and put a real dent in it. We'll see how that goes!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Five secrets

More than a week ago, Kristie tagged me with the 5 Secrets meme. It may seem that I've been stalling on this one, but that's really not the case. The truth is, I'm having a hard time coming up with five things I haven't spilled to you guys already!! Some of these may be lame, but I don't have much to work with.

  1. I've talked about how Pea and I have been taking ballroom dance lessons for about three years. But did I ever mention that we actually did one dance competition? I don't have much of a desire to do another one, but we did have a really great time doing the one competition we did. I've never seen so many sequins or worn so much make-up in my whole life!! Our time on the dance floor went by in a blur. How did we do? We placed first in each event we danced!!! Are you impressed? Don't be! Most student's compete with their teacher as their partner. We chose to compete with each other as our partners, so we were in the Amateur Competitor's class. More specifically, we were THE ONLY AMATEUR COUPLE. I still consider it lucky that they gave us first place. They could have say "Yes, you are competing against no one, but we still don't think you're good enough for a first place medal!"
  2. When I did the Two Truths and a Lie meme, I made up a story of how Pea and I met for my lie. So how did we really meet? At a Singles Group. A friend had been bugging me for months to go to a singles group with her, but I was not interested. For some reason, I just didn't think that sort of thing was for me. Eventually another of our friends agreed to go with her, and they kept telling me what fun it was and that I should go. One week, they were meeting at a restaurant that I really like, and I went just for the nachos. Pea was there and I noticed him right off, but spent the evening talking to a guy that was sitting closer to me. I kept going to the singles group, and over time became more and more interested in Pea. I was too shy to talk to him and he was too shy to talk to me, but eventually the inevitable happened and we got to know each other. And the rest, is history. Side note: Those two friends I went the the group with . . . they are both still single. I'm sure they must hate me for being the one who didn't want to go to the singles group and the one that ended up meeting the love of my life there.
  3. I love my blog and my blog name, but there are times when I wish I had gone for something much shorter. Especially when I participated in Rhinebeck Blogger Bingo and had to walk around saying "I'm Karen from Musings of a (mostly) Self-Taught Knitter" all day long!! I'm sure it was a b!tch to get my blog name in that little bingo square too!! And I also wish I had thought of a snappy user-name, (like MissyJoon, Scout, or Jessalu) instead of just being Karen.
  4. Do you remember me talking about taking web classes some day? Well, my first on-line web design course starts next week!! I'm ridiculously excited about it, and dragged Pea to Target yesterday for a new notebook, binder, pens and highlighters. I probably don't even need them, but I was so excited about the class that I couldn't resist getting back to school supplies!!
  5. Hmmm, I'm having a really hard time thinking of one last secret. Okay, okay, I'm going to bite the bullet and admit to how many miles of yarn I have in my stash. Are you ready??
(hanging head in shame)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

So Frazzled

I'm not quite sure how this week ended up being so busy. I'm working on some secret Valentine's Day stuff. Hopefully Pea won't read my blog - but in case this is one of the rare times that he does, I won't say any more. I also had to babysit yesterday morning, and then had a surprise visit in the afternoon from my best friend. And her boys!! Which was so much fun, but also tiring. Zack was all wired up after eating a jelly donut, and the baby fell off the couch in the one second we took out eyes off him to look at my new mop. (I feel so guilty!!) He cut his poor little nose, but took it like a trooper.

So, before I run off again, I wanted to share this quick FO. When life gets crazy, there's nothing better than a quick knit!

Cast On:4 February 2007
Completed: 6 February 2007
Yarn: Crystal Palace Fjord in Sable
Needles: Knit Picks US7 Circulars
this was my first time taking a picture with the camera's timer!!

I love this!!! I am not a hat person, but I'll sure wear this and I won't have frozen ears anymore. I cast on 100 stitches and did 13 short rows, and it came out just the size I wanted it! Hurray!

Okay, I'm off to gobble down some dinner, then Pea and I are venturing out into the frozen night to see Dancing with the Stars!! It should be a lot of fun - especially since we take ballroom lessons every week.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Good things come in Threes

Last week, the Sock-a-Month KAL started it's third round. This time, I am fortunate enough to be one of the three hostesses, as well as a sock-alonger. Some great socks are already on, and in some cases OFF the needles. Why not join us, it's not too late!!

As it turns out, I've got three pairs of socks on the needles right now! The first pair is likely to take me three months to complete.That is the beginnings of my Rock the Stars sock. The yarn and pattern were the December Indie Swag, and they are gorgeous. The only problem is that the socks are knit on size 0 needles. SIZE ZERO! Have you ever tried to knit on these wisps of metal? The smallest needles I've ever knit on before had been size 2, so the zeros are a definite challenge. But you know what? I'm doing it! These may take me forever to complete, but the beautiful yarn and pattern are worth it.

Socks in progress number two are my Christmas Socks. The first is done, and the second is just past the toe.In case you've forgotten, the yarn is the new Step, with aloe and jojoba. It's very soft to knit with, and I really like the colorway Pea chose for me. I'm hoping I'll be able to get my stripes to match up on the second pair.

As for the third pair of socks, I'm afraid this is about all I can show you.These are a secret test knit of a great new pattern. I'm loving the Lorna's Laces that I chose for these socks. I'm using the Sport weight, so it's fast to knit and feels so smooth and silky. I'll be sure to show you more and tell you all about it once I can.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Winter Warmth

I recently won a contest over at Chrissy's blog. Okay, that's not exactly true. I recently LOST a contest over at Chrissy's blog because I got there nine minutes too late!! But, since Chrissy is an amazing and generous person, she decided to give away a second place prize also. It arrived over the weekend while I was away, and was waiting at my parent's house when we finally went over to pick up our mail. Look at the terrific stuff Chrissy sent!!!The theme of the package is WARM, and these lovelies will certainly help me stay nice and toasty!! The blue yarn is a beautiful skein of Rowanspun Aran. I think this is destined to become another pair of mittens, or a pair of gloves or a hat. The other hank of yarn is a really neat Fleece Artists Thrummed Sock kit! I've been noticing some Thrumming popping up on blogs lately, and wasn't quite sure what it was all about. Now I can learn it first hand! I'm really excited, since I'm usually the last one to try the latest craze. And to keep me warm while knitting up my winter garments, some yummy Raspberry Tea!! All of this for second place. Thank you so much, Chrissy, you are too generous.

Looks like this package arrived at the perfect time, because it snowed this morning!! See!!!What? You can't see the few measly little flakes that accumulated on the blue railing? I'd take a better picture, but that's all the snow we got. Fine by me, I'm staying in to knit my new warm yarn whether it snows or not!!