Friday, January 23, 2009

Knitting... remind me ...

what exactly is that and how do you find time to do it? [laugh]

How is it that time just seems to disappear on you? Work expands and fills up every moment of your cognitive existence? When you get home, you're like jello? Even knitting seems like a bit of a challenge? Such has been my tale of late.

Poor, poor, pitiful me hmm? [laugh ... don't give me any sympathy... I don't deserve it].

In the almost two weeks since last I posted, I have squeezed in a *small* amount of knitting time, mostly on MLK day (a giant blessing!). My cabled hoodie is slowly coming along, but is getting minimal attention, I have to admit. I still seem to be distracted and wanting to do something else.

My most recent distraction, another square for the cabled afghan I started years ago.

That top square represents the end of square 6 of 16. A funny thing happened after square 6 though. I got all excited about starting another square, pulled out a stitch dictionaries to come up with my own square, cast on and knit about 8 rows, and then asked myself the fateful question "why are you doing this?".

You see, even I had to recognize that the 6 squares I had completed were never going to go together into an afghan. When you look at the picture up there closely, you'll see it too. The far left, far right, and top squares are all nice and large (these are the three most recently knit squares). The three squares in the middle, the ones I started with, not so much on the large size.

I deluded myself for awhile that I could block them into the right size, but you know what, just a delusion. I could have blocked to the right length OR the right width, but there was no way physics was going to allow me to get to both the right length and width simultaneously.

Really I had three completed squares and three objects with no practical use. How much did I really want a 16 square afghan? How many more months would I spend on this task.? Was this the task which was most worth my knitting time?

Does this picture answer the question for you?!

I looked myself squarely in the face, admitted that the early squares had been a good learning experience (this was how I taught myself to cable and how I learned that you don't knit through the back loop normally ... something that never occurred to me when I taught myself... something I only discovered later when watching knitting on television and someone made the distinction between knitting normally and knitting through the back loop), and did the frog dance.

The most recent three squares I've saved and I think I'm going to turn them into throw pillow shams. The first three squares... dust. Let's just say they now rest in the stash, ready along with a number of companions to find another use in the future.

I feel a great unburdening and I've just decreased my "knitting in progress" list by one.

Now if I can just escape the vortex of work and not get distracted into frogging any other WIPs around here.... [grin].

Monday, January 12, 2009

First FO of 2009

Yesterday, inspired by both Kay over at Mason Dixon and Ellen at LA is my Beat, I felt compelled to cast on for a new project -- Calorimetry, to be specific. And really, truth be told, it was Ellen's fault suggestion that led to my choice. She participated in this really great idea, cast on with wild abandon. I love that idea! Don't worry about what you have in progress, what you think you "should" be working on, give into your fancy. And that's just what I did.

I printed out out the pattern for Calorimetry, pulled out the perfect yarn from my stash (and trust me that rarely happens, so it must have been meant to be) and off I went.

The best thing, it's already a finished object!

S and I have been keeping up our morning runs and this is going to be perfect for a cool morning. I find that I get a little too hot with a hat, but think this headband will fill the bill. Keep the ears toasty while letting a little steam out as well.

I used Plymouth Yarn's Boku for the first time to do this project. I actually bought the yarn at my LYS's closing sale thinking I'd knit up a tea cozy (and then I promptly stopped using the tea pot ... I'm much more a 'one cup at a time' girl -- probably because the tea gets cold in the pot which is why I need a cozy... grrrr). Let me tell you, I love the colors. It's very similiar to Noro and I'm starting to understand why people love Noro so much.

Boku is pretty much like Noro in terms of its feel too ... a bit on the scratchy side. It's 95% wool, 5% silk, but honestly you don't feel the silk. But the colors... pretty. I love the transitions. I'd definitely put this on the list to use again.

And gold star for the project that can be finished in a few hours of dedicated knitting!

Plymouth Yarn Boku (95% wook, 5% silk)
< 1 ball Color 7 Lot 37 (a mix of blues and greens)
US 4 circulars
Cast on January 11, 2009
Finished January 12, 2009

Modifications: None, just dropped to a smaller needle to get gauge with this yarn.

Ravelry details here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

What's better...

than knitting with friends! [rhetorical question... of course]

Since my LYS closed, my knitting group hasn't met. Last night we all got together at my house for a night of fun, laughter, and knitting!

There really is nothing like having fun with friends! And to end the evening, we here in California like a little rock 'n roll....

Yep, nothing like a little tremblor to shake you up and get the adrenaline rushing. At least no one will forget knit night at my house!

I can't wait for next week to see everyone again.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My newest start

Hey everyone ... thanks for your feedback on the ribbed cardi. I'm going to take your advice and leave it as is.

Of course, with one sweater off the needles, it was time to cast on for something new. Next up, the Cabled Pullover with Hood (it's from a Paton's brochure).

With the new found realization that yes, texture is my friend, I'm going to do another all over cables pattern. This one should keep me busy for awhile I think. Fun, fun!

Monday, January 05, 2009

So what's up for 2009?

2008 was a good year... busy but good.
Last January I set some goals for myself and didn't do too badly on the list. Let's review shall we.

1. More quality knitting.

Check ... I came up with several projects I really enjoyed and a number of finished objects I'm quite happy with. Not everything was a winner of course, but on the whole, a successful year. I did knit one pair of socks... I love having the finished pair but still think that socks take an awfully long time to finish.

2. Higher quality blogging.

Hmm... well I think I get a mixed report card on this. My posts have become more infrequent so there is less "trash" post, but the visuals haven't improved tremendously. I still struggle with sharing alot of quality information. Something that can still be worked on I think.

3. Spinning.

Oops... failed this goal. No spinning at all this year.

4. Live within a budget and save money.

Well this always seems to be an area for improvement doesn't it?

5. Live healthier (eating healthier foods, exercising).

I finished 2008 having walked or run 616.4 miles, exceeding my goal of 540 miles solidly. I also began running. Now this my friends was a crazy thing; I have never run. Not even when I was a kid. I used Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5K podcasts and, OMG, now I can run. I got up to 5K and then dropped down to what I think is most reasonable for my knees... about 2 miles per run.

6. Learn Spanish.

Excellent progress here... I've now completed two semesters of college spanish and have learned quite a bit. Still couldn't carry a conversation in a bucket, but man oh man do I feel like I have accomplished something.

7. Increase my research productivity at work.

Well it didn't go down... does that count? This year was a crazy busy year with too many other work demands. Research didn't get the time it deserved. I'll try again on this goal.

8. Commit to being more present and positive with people at work.

I'm going better with this but will continue to work on this. We can't ever be good enough to the people around us.

9. Work on being more outgoing, less introverted, with others.

OK... I'm still just as shy and introverted as ever. Honestly, I'm not sure how important this goal is for me. The costs still seem to outweigh the benefits.

10. Appreciating what I have, being mindful, managing my work-related stress, enjoying nature.

This I did well with. Of course there were crazy moment, stressful moments, but on the whole I managed to keep my sanity. Morning walks go along way with this as does being surrounded with such a great group of handsome boys.

2009 should be a pretty busy year.
Always more to do than time to do it in, right? To get off to a good start, S and I have come up with a few new resolutions. Here's my new list.

1. Appreciating what I have, being mindful, managing my work-related stress. I've decided to move this one up the list. It's what gives me quality of life -- got to give it priority.

2. More quality knitting.

3. Live within a budget and save money.

4. Live healthier (eating healthier foods, exercising).
  • 630 miles by 2010
  • run 2 miles, 3 times per week
  • watch my diet, eat at home more often, cook healthier foods
5. Contine to learn Spanish.

6. S and I have committed to taking a nature trip and going to the movies at least once per month. With mountains, desert, and beach all within a short drive, we need to take advantage of the bounty around us.

Seems like a pretty reasonable list, right? I'm looking forward to the year. Hope your's is off to a good start and you're optimistic too.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Off the Needles in 2008

It's always a very rewarding feeling to look back over the past year and to see what's been accomplished. Shall we take a walk down the 2008 memory lane? I think I'd like that.

From right to left, starting on the bottom row:

Not bad for a year... 7 sweaters, 4 cowls/scarfs, 7 hats, 2 bags, 1 pair of booties, 1 pair of socks, and 3 pairs of fingerless mitts.

All and all, and enjoyable year of knitting. My favorite init this year was definitely the cable luxe tunic. I must have been slow on the up-take, but it has finally dawned on me that my love of texture extends to knitting. I'm a cables girl.

My second favorite knit of the year was the Doctor's Bag... no suprise, another textured object. Love that herringbone texture on the bag. I also love the fact that it's big and can hold big knitting projects.

I'd put both of these projects high on the to-knit list.

Hope everyone else had an equally enjoyable knitting year. Next time, I'll do a bit of planning for 2009.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has been having a great holiday season! The picture above is from my flight last week. The plane flew right over the tops of the mountains close to where we live. A beautiful parting shot of our warm L.A. home, I have to say.

S and I spent our holidays with family and then moving him back home from Indiana.

With family, we of course ate generous meals and had very good company. We then had two days of very pleasant, if not cold, driving through Oklahoma (where the family lives), New Mexico, and Arizona on our way back to California.

It is good to be home though and to have S back here as well.

Best wishes to you all from us both!