Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Finally, a FO!!

Before I get blathering on about my finished socks, I wanted to take a minute to thank each and every one of you who left me a comment and sent thoughts, prayers and energies to me, Pea and Charlie. I admit to taking a moping day last Friday, but since then we've been able to see that things aren't so bad. I'll continue to take the best care of myself that I can, do even more research on diabetic eye problems, and work pro-actively with my doctors to keep my eyes as healthy as possible. Pea is working hard to look for a new job, and we are continuing to hope that either a lay-off never happens or that he finds a new job before it comes to that. And Charlie is getting better. He seems to be having a bit of a set-back today, but I'm hoping it was just the damp and rainy weather making him feel a bit, well, under the weather! The sun is now back out, so hopefully he'll be his, well, sunny self again.

Now, what you've really come to see. A new pair of finished socks!

Basic Ribbed Socks
Pattern: My own generic 3x1 ribbed socks, 56 stitches
Cast on: 30 September 2007
Completed: 20 January 2008
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Multieffekt
Needles: Knit Picks US 2 1/2 (3mm) DPNs

What can I say? I love them. They almost match, except for a little part on the heel, which is because I fiddled a bit with my pattern on the second sock. Yes, it bothers the OCD part of me. Yes, Monk would reject them. But I guess I'm okay with the minor imperfection. See, I'm growing as a person (and a knitter!).

Monday, January 28, 2008

Knitter Found . . .

When I reported myself missing in my last post, I never intended to be gone for so long. But life gets in the way sometimes. They say bad things come in threes, and we got hit with three scary things in the past week. Now that I've wrapped my head around them, I know they could have been much worse. But it took me some time to work through them and see the silver lining in each cloud.

Our first bit of bad news was a major lay-off where Pea works. Luckily, he was not one of the employees to go. If he was not working on a big project right now, we may not have been so lucky. Consensus among all remaining employees is that his branch may end up closing for good, with all work transferred to the headquarters in Baltimore. So while we know we are safe for the next few month, we are very unsure of what the future holds. Luckily, we can start to prepare now. (And yes, that huge yarn stash is a blessing, considering we may not have yarn money for a while!!)

The second blow hit when Charlie stopped eating and started sleeping more than usual (which didn't seem possible, given the amount of sleep he gets on a good day.) A blood test showed that the problem is not his thyroid, as the vet had thought, but is his kidneys. He also shows signs of infection. The vet gave us antibiotic drops, but didn't sound hopeful that they would work. 27 hours after his first dose, our weak and sleepy kitty began jumping on the couch again, all bright eyed and strong!!!! He's starting to show real interest in his food again. And he's getting harder to hold down for his antibiotic drops. We are so relieved and thankful that the medication seems to be working, and are hopeful that once the infection is gone, we can manage the kidney problem with diet and medication.

The final blow came at my eye doctor appointment Thursday afternoon. She found signs of a leaky blood vessel in my eye. This is the first sign of a common diabetes complication. To say I freaked out would be a major understatement. Now that I've wrapped my head around it, however, I can see how much worse things could be. The eye doctor is not very concerned yet. She said it's quite common, and since it is just one small leak in one eye, we don't need to go into crisis mode right away. She will check again in six months, and if things have not gotten any worse, there is no need to proceed with anything. And if they have, we have caught it early and a specialist should have good success in fixing me up.

Phew!!! Are you still with me? I wouldn't be surprised if every one's eyes have glazed over and you've moved on to a more interesting blog!! For those of you still with me, how about a little knitting content? On the upside of diabetes, look what I got in the mail a few weeks ago? Two free books!

I've had these on my Amazon wish-list for a while now. How did I get them for free, and how is it diabetes related, you ask? Well, in December, I received an e-mail from the makers of an insulin pump, asking me to take a short survey. Compensation was a $25 gift certificate to! Hurray, free knitting books. Finally, being diabetic has it's advantages!

Now that I'm back from my mini-crisis, I have lots to share and will try hard to post regularly again. What to look for soon? A couple of FOs, a resurrected UFO, some new socks, and a comforting new knitting project. And no more moping around feeling sorry for myself!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Knitter Missing . . .

A knitter/blogger has been reported missing since last updating her blog over a week ago. She was seen last weekend at an area yarn store that is going out of business. She was clutching a gift card in her hand, wandering around with glazed eyes, and muttering "20% off entire inventory". She was seen grabbing this:

and an obscenely soft ball of baby llama and silk yarn that looked like this:

According to reports, she was also spotted yesterday at another area yarn store. Allegedly, she did not break her yarn diet, since although she petted and drooled over many yarns, none were seen being added to her stash. However, witnesses said she left the store with a bag pattern (while chanting "master color-work in 2008, master color-work in 2008") and several small buttons for a baby sweater.

This knitter is considered armed (with pointy sticks and a credit card) and a danger to herself (financially) and others (who may make the mistake of grabbing a skein she has set her sights on). If seen, please try to sooth her with soft lace-weight and call Pea and Charlie, who miss her very much.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's dark, it's gray, it's rainy . . . .

and my mood today can't help but match the weather outside. So, what is a knitter to do when she needs cheering up? How about dream of the new yarn she's about it acquire this weekend?

What??? I'm not supposed to buy new yarn until Rhinebeck? Well, I have no choice. Really, I don't. I swear!

Remember I mentioned the LYS gift certificate my mom gave me for Christmas? My plan was to hoard it until I got really desperate for new yarn, and then use it as my Stash Diet Loophole. That plan got changed drastically when I came across the news that the LYS is closing in March. Their inventory is already 20% off. As I see it, I need to use this gift certificate before it's too late - what if they were to close earlier than March? Or even worse, what if I got there to find nothing left but eyelash yarn in day-glo colors!! (My apologies if you are into day-glo eyelash, of course, it's just not my thing.)

So, what do I do? Buy lots of versatile, work-horse yarns - like Cascade 220 and such? Or splurge on some really luxurious yarns I would never buy otherwise? Hmmm, I guess I'll decide when I get there and see what they have.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Charlie sleeps with the fishes . .

Don't worry, it's not a Sicilian mob message against my little cat. He's just gone to the mattresses (literally, not figuratively) with a little project I've kept hidden from the family my WIP list.

The little fishes you see are the beginning of a very long term project, a Tessellating Fish Blanket. Because everyone needs a multi-colored blanket of fish, right?

Seriously, I expect this blanket to take me forever to complete. I'm going to knit it with all my spare scraps of worsted weight yarn (because I can't throw anything away).

And how did I get Charlie to put up with me arranging knitted fish on him while he slept? Why, I made him an offer he couldn't refuse, of course. Hey, at least I didn't pose him with a knitted horses head!!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy Who????

Do I need another hobby to distract me? No, I most certainly don't. So how did this follow me home from Borders last week?

What can I say. I've heard every knitter should know how to do some crochet - at the very least it's great for edgings and such. (In fact, my Perfect Pie Shawl will have a crocheted edging.) I've heard crochet is much faster than knitting - so that's good for a knitter like me who gets bored with scarves and blankets, right? I've also heard crocheting can help you stash-bust - and I certainly have a stash in need of some busting!

Given all those reasons, and the fact that Stitch n Bitch played a huge part my learning to knit, how could I not bring this book home?

So, which pattern should I try first??

Friday, January 04, 2008

Owning up to The Stash . . . .

As I mentioned last time, one of my resolutions is to knit from my stash and not buy any new yarn until Rhinebeck. Now I feel it's time to really own up to how huge my stash has become. Those of you on Ravelry can view my shame stash here. That's right, 190 items. Crazy!

Since not everyone is on Ravelry yet, here are a few pictures that show my stash in all it's glory.

Monster Stash

On the top row, left to right, we have my best yarns (which are the centerpiece on my coffee table), my sock yarns, and miscellaneous "nice yarns" in the back with (mostly) lace weight yarns in in the little baskets in front. In the second row we have wools yarns in front and sweater yarns in back (plus a little un-dyed sock yarn), lace-weight yarns, and a big old bag of Lion Brand yarns along with some old acrylic from my grandmother's stash.

Yipes, that's a lot of yarn! I'm not sure how this happened. It's not like I went on yarn binges. I guess it's like gaining weight - a nibble here and a snack there, and before you know it your pants are all tight. Same with the yarn. A skein here and a ball there, and before you know it, you have 46.88 miles of yarn in your house. That's right. Almost 47 MILES!!!!

Maybe my yarn diet should last until 2015!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year

So, we all made it through the holidays. I don't know about you, but it feels good to get back into the old routine. Of course, I'm not quite there yet. I'm still a bit under the weather with that evil cold, and Pea is home sick with it too. Oh well, at least I got the Christmas decorations down, and all my gifts put away. Tomorrow I'll tackle Pea's gifts, and over the weekend the tree is going too.

Now we all get to savor a new year. It is motivating, isn't it? All the things we are going to do differently. I love the feeling of a fresh start we get this time of year. I've already come up with my new knitting plan for 2008.

I will only have three active projects on the needles at any given time:

1) One of my current WIPs, which I will work in until it's done.
(Right now I'm still plodding along on the Perfect Pie Shawl - just a bit more than one wedge left, then the edging). Once all the WIPs are done, I will start one "large" project at a time.

2) Socks. First up are the ribbed socks I started in November. Once they are done, I will draw a sock yarn at random and knit it up.

3) A gift: I think I will start with another pair of socks.
(I'm in a bit of sock withdrawal.)

Also, I am knitting everything with stash yarn. (I just finished logging ALL the rest of my yarn into Ravelry - the yarn from Rhinebeck and from Christmas - and I could easily knit for years without buying any new yarn). So, no new yarn until Rhinebeck, except for yarn I might happen to get for my birthday and yarn I buy with the gift card my mom got me for Christmas.

Do you have a knitting plan for 2008?