Saturday, January 31, 2009

No New Nanners

So, I had this nice post all written about how I was dyeing some sock yarn to make Nanners socks (the plurk exclusive pattern.) When I rinsed the yarn and, um, yeah, it's crap. It will have to be re-dyed. Probably tomorrow.

Until then, I'm gonna go sulk and knit something else.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Yarn and a Red hat.

The last couple of days have been really strange. I feel like I've been walking around in a kind of fog.
Yesterday hubby was home from work which means that I get absolutely nothing done and he's always in the way. I mean, I love him but if you could learn to not knock my books on the floor or mess up the bed I just made, that would be great.
To top it off, I wasn't feeling super great yesterday. I think I may have been walking around with a teeny, tiny bit of the stomach flu bug that much of my family has had. I'm hoping that my body will fight it back before it becomes the full-fledged thing. uck.
Anyway, because of the weird days, I haven't gotten a whole heck of a lot of knitting done. I managed to finish my first thrummed mitten and I discovered why I don't knit many pairs of mittens. It's extremely difficult to knit while you are wearing the first mitten.
I won't bore you with pictures since the second one will look the same. At least until they are both done but instead will show off something I got in the mail this morning.

A few days ago over on A Few Stitches Short. She did a yarn sale of some lovely sock yarns. I was one of the happy recipients of this beautiful yarn. (I believe she will do it again for a few weeks so check out the blog on Saturday if you are interested.) It's Spunky Eclectic Tough Sock in "Nightshade" A color that I guess was exclusive to her fiber club in May 2007. I am in LOVE with it. It's soft and squooshy and lovely and it makes me so, so happy. (Okay, after I found that link for Spunky Eclectic I went and checked out her yarn. HELP ME! I want EVERYTHING!!!)

The only thing that is keeping me from winding it up and casting on RIGHT NOW is the knowledge that I have no idea what I will knit with it. (Yeah, the fact that I'm waiting for the Lim & Violet Sock Marathon to start, not even in my mind right now.)
The best thing about it, in my opinion, is that it reminds me of the skein of Fleece Artist that I saw at The Yarnery when my mom and I went down to hear the Yarn Harlot. I didn't get the skein but I've thought about the summery colors ever since and this is even better because alongside the red and green there's a lovely, violety purple (that doesn't photograph very well.)

Last night as my frustration with all my projects grew and grew, I decided to cast on something else and went searching through my yarn for something different. What I pulled up was a skein of yarn I tried to dye with beets a year or so ago. It came out a kind of dusky red, not at all the color I was going for so I haven't used it for anything. I asked hubby if he liked it and would like something from it. Pretty soon I had this:

It's the start of a hat. I knit it on fairly small needles so it would be extra warm. (These are Size 5s, 3.75 mm) I started at the top because I didn't want to swatch and when I move it to a circular as soon as I have some more stitches, I will be able to have him try it on and see if it fits.

Well, I don't have much more to say today. I'm going to head off and knit. Enjoy the sun even though it's only 2 degrees here. (What is up with that? Grrr.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Strange, I don't usually feel so lost.

Today was a strange day. Hubby went to work an hour early and I tried to get some things done around the house.

I didn't manage to get anything noticeable done at all.

Then I wandered around feeling sort of lost for about 10 minutes.

That was when I realized that I didn't have any knitting in my hands and had barely touched it all day.

Um, yeah, problem solved.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Waiting for a thumb

Last night I spent a couple of hours making a mitten.

It looks pretty good so far, doesn't it?

You can clearly see in this picture the waste yarn where the thumb will go and as I am nearly to the top of the mitten, I am hoping to have one whole mitten done by tonight when I will meet up with my knitting group at the coffee house.

Even hubby was impressed. He couldn't believe how soft it is inside.
I giggle every time I do a thrum round because it looks so funny.

I have crochet class tonight and that comes before knitting group so I have to go get ready.
(And knit a mitten.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thrumming Along

(It just kills me that thrumming along sounds so much like humming along. ha!)
Anyway, last night's babysitting went fine. No hitches and the great thing about babysitting for someone from your knitting group?

You might get paid in yarn. I did.
This is two lovely skeins of a yarn I haven't tried called ON line. It's really pretty and although it says it's made in Italy, some of the writing appears to be in German so I'm not really sure. Each skein is 100g and says its 420 meters though so they should make two pairs of socks. I'm excited to cast on but I joined the Lime & Violet Sock Marathon 2009 on Ravelry so I'm waiting until February 1st to cast on new socks.

It's killing me actually since the only ones I have going (which I'm trying to finish before Feb. 1) are the Monkeys that are ALMOST done (they need part of a toe and that's it) and the Green Lantern socks that are just plain knitting in green and are taking forever.

To take my mind off of that, today I'll be doing something completely different.
I'm following the Yarn Harlot's Thrummed Mitten pattern.

I've assembled the following:

A printout of the pattern,
A very beautiful roving dyed by local knitter. (Blog, Etsy Shop), note that I made one thrum to make sure it would work. I like it.,
A skein of yarn to knit the base of the mittens with. (I debated the color quite a bit but decided the beautiful roving would look best and stand out the most against black.)
My dpns and
A bottle of wine in case things go south (The Lovely Stephanie's pattern calls for Screech but I don't have any and don't know if I can even get it here, so I'm substituting wine.)

Hubby's headed off to work soon so I'll have the place to myself and some quiet. Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Home Alone

Today's thoughts are pretty random so bear with me please.

1. Hubby came home from work and immediately turned around and went out the door again to go to see some friends. I'm staying home because I have a babysitting thing this evening. Somehow it feels different that he is out of town rather than at work. I don't know why.

2. The house is really quiet. It's really strange. It's almost too quiet. I need some music or the TV on or something.

3. Since the house is quiet I can hear every little noise any neighbor makes in the hallway. I don't like this.

4. Yesterday some friends came up to visit and we went to lunch and a couple of stores. They are crafters but I somehow didn't think they would understand travelling sock pictures so I didn't take any. (This usually doesn't bother me.)

5. We ate lunch at Olive Garden and our waiter was weirdly excited when we ordered dessert. It was too funny.

6. I managed to score a half a pound (what is that, like 12,000,000 yards?) of laceweight wool for $3.25. It's really fine and black and wonderful. Someday I will find the perfect pattern for it.

7. We cleaned up (pretty much) the whole apartment in case the ladies wanted to come up to the restroom or whatever. No one did. Oh well, at least it's clean now.

8. I will not mention the other things I bought. Spent too much but had a blast.

9. I did clean the crafting area but it still needs some help. It will get there eventually. I may post before and after pictures one day.

Well, I'd better go make something to eat.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Told You So

Apparently the threats on the blog don't work so...

The white cotton is being implemented. (Don't worry, I didn't knit this much in one day. I had this awhile ago and got more of it and picked it up again since a cousin of mine is producing a new baby in a few months and I knit something for her first one.)

As you can see, it's just seed stitch knit in a square right now. I cast on one stitch and increased one each row until I had 125 stitches, then I started decreasing one stitch each row (by working a ssk in the first two stitches of each row. When I'm done, I'll pick up stitches and knit some kind of border on it. I'm thinking something like the Yarn Harlot's Baby Blankets (that link only takes you to the month. Scroll down to the twentieth and think the pink one.) But I haven't completely settled my mind yet. We'll see.

I may have also accidentally knit myself a calorimetry but let's not talk about that until the ends are woven and the button is sewn on.

The green socks are finally getting somewhere. I am knitting the heel flap. I finally got there while watching Marie Antoinette last night SUCKED! I hated it. (sorry.) I would recommend you read The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette instead of watching that movie. Ugh.

Well, I'm off to go clean now. Maybe I will have some pictures of a neat and tidy crafting area for you tomorrow. (Don't hold your breath though.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chastising the projects

Dear Current Projects (especially the green socks and the Monkey socks and the kinda teal and yellow thing),

I don't know why you are persisting in being so darned unproductive. I've put every effort into working on you as much as possible but sometimes, you have to make dinner, or wash the dishes or fix your closet.

I understand Teal and yellow thing that there was some frogging last night and restarting ensued. You have been somewhat better behaved but tell me this, if I move up a hook size (or two) shouldn't I be able to get MORE done? hmm?! In the same amount of time with about the same amount of distractions?

The green socks too. Yeah, you, hiding over there next to the printer. I've been working on you every single time I sit down at the computer to read blogs or play Molehill Empire or Plurk (I warn you, those sites are extremely addictive. If you click, don't blame me when whole days of your life are spent planting virtual lettuce.) Why aren't you any bigger? I should have been at the heel flap long before now! What's going on?

I can't take much more of this duplicity. Don't think I'm not above shoving all of you in a basket and finally casting on Vivian or working on that new white cotton. I will.

Show me some love or you get the boot.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just Try Harder

I had thought that if I tried pretty hard that I could have something finished to show off today. How did it go?

This is the second of the Green Lantern socks. Not even to the Heel flap. In all honesty, I didn't really think there was a chance of these being done.

So what did I think I could finish?

My Monkey socks. These are for me and I want so badly to finish them. I'm on the gusset decreases and I'm plugging along although I'm having some pretty serious project ennui right now.

I finished my Versatility and since then, things have been a little weird. I swatched for Vivian and washed the swatch. I pretty much just let it dry then and have been waiting to measure it. I think I'm afraid that I won't be getting gauge and at that point, I will have to do some mondo math and probably knit another swatch. It scares me. I so badly want it to turn out that I can't stand it!

Well, you might be saying (oh, who am I kidding, you aren't being that nice to this slacking crafter.) what about Tuesdays being for Crochet?
This has been a very strange month for Tuesdays are for Crochet. One week the store closed early due to the weather so I missed Crochet night, then I went the following week and started something:

Pretty huh? I've been debating about the gauge I'm getting though. I think I'm going to rip it and go up a hook size or two. It isn't very big at least and no, I'm not going to tell you what it is yet, although I will tell you that it is Jiffy yarn. (I'm too lazy to go look at the label. I think it's from Lion Brand)

Then last week we were stuck at my parents because my poor old vehicle would not start in the ridiculously cold weather. So I missed Crochet night again. (So frustrating.)
Tonight, I'm all set although I thought I had all the crochet hook sizes I could ever want/need. I don't. I have only through size I then I have two P hooks. I need a K. Wouldn't you know it.
Guess what I'll be buying then.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Home from the last Christmas. Until December at least.

I've been racking my brain all morning as to what I should tell you today. Something interesting is certainly in order, something that is yarn and/or craft related is also good.

I have nothing.

We got back last night from my lovely cousin's house. We had a fun time despite the very little sleep we had. I learned that one-year olds with chicken pox don't mind if you tease them by calling them "spotty, spotty, polka-dotty".

We learned that three-year olds can get a little too wound up and smack their older cousin with a golf club. It was a plastic toy golf club but it still was not well received.

We learned that little girls who are 5 don't understand when an adult is called "Princess" (my real name is Sarah which is Hebrew for Princess so my husband calls me Princess sometimes.)

We learned that dice games are a fun way to do a gift exchange. Even though it was pretty chaotic.

We learned through the card game "Would you Rather..." that my future sister-in-law is afraid of bees because we don't know if she's allergic.

We learned that if Santa Hats are on clearance that some cousins will buy them in lieu of gift bags and fill them with funny adult gifts. Like Beano and a denture bath and a pregnancy test. We further learned that no one will want the pregnancy test and it will get passed from person to person by hiding it in their purse when they aren't looking. It ended up going home with my mother who had a hysterectomy many years ago and so has no possibility of needing it. Never fear, she's mailing it back to my cousin. It's fitting really since her three-year old colored on the box for us.

Much fun (and overeating) was had by all.
There was even some knitting in the car done by me. (Just for the sake of safety I will mention that I was not the driver.)

Nothing got finished though so there isn't anything new to show you. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Packing again

Every once in awhile I get sort of deep. I start thinking about something and my brain delves deep and comes up with these sort of insights that I didn't know were there. I'll give you an excellent example.
This weekend we're going up to my cousin's house. (yes, I'm packing again, arrrgh!)

Now, I may be 29 years old but in my family we divide ourselves into sort of loose age brackets. Although all of us (my 6 cousins, brother and I who are all pretty close) are adults now. My youngest cousin turned 18 in September, we still call our parents the "adults." What's really strange to me is that my cousin Sam (short for Samantha) is hosting Christmas this year. She's hosted before and she and her husband live out in the country now so they have plenty of room for outdoor winter sports that some people participate in. What's strange is that she and I as well as our cousins have become the adults. Time has slipped on and now we are the ones that our children will remember as hosting and baking and such.

What sparked all this is that my aunt requested that I make some Angel Food Candy (some people call it sponge candy) and bring it along because she and my uncle are so hungry for it and to buy it in the store is ridiculously expensive.

Growing up my mom was the one who always did all the baking. She made all these wonderful cookies and candies that everyone would eat way too much of. My grandma might do a few things here and there but it was my mom who did the majority. We also hosted Christmas for many years there.

What struck me today is the shift in responsibility. Yes, my mom still bakes quite a bit and as a matter of fact, I have it on good authority that she baked some chocolate chip cookies to bring along but I'm starting to have my own requests put in for things I make. I try my hand at recipes that my mom makes but she usually still makes her own of those. But I'm the only one who makes the Angel Food Candy and usually the fudge and shortbread cookies and I am definitely the only one who makes the Homemade caramels that have become quite a favorite.

It just seems so strange to me that I am becoming what I remember my mother being when I was growing up. Except I'm just the fun auntie, but you get the point. Time is marching on, whether we want it to or not and I'm becoming more and more the adult. It's a scary, scary thought.

Makes me want to lie down on the floor and kick and scream and beat my fists on the ground, shouting, "I don't wanna!!!" but I won't.

To get off my serious topic, I'm packing knitting (of course). We leave tomorrow morning, drive about and hour and a half and then spend the night and drive home again on Sunday afternoon.
I'm planning to pack:
The Monkey socks I'm knitting for myself,
The Green Lantern socks I'm knitting for hubby,
Something else that I'm not sure what it will be yet but this:

is calling to me from the stash. I think (I got it on clearance at the yarn store and it didn't have a label) that it might be a Lorna's Laces and there's tons of yardage, my arm hurts from winding it but I'm not sure yet what it wants to be.

P.S. I looked on Ravelry and I think it might be Lorna's Laces Fisherman Solid. 500 Yards! Whoo hoo!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Still trying to finish

I've been pretty quiet about what I've been knitting lately. I just feel like I should have more finished things to show off so here goes.
Two whole finished things!

Thing the first:

Please excuse how awful I look in this picture and note that I have cropped out my face. Hubby took it at my parents' house and while he loves me and thinks i look nice all the time, I do not. I am also wearing my pajamas. A cute flannel set given to me for Christmas last year.

Here it is from the back too. Again, ignore how bad I look. I am only wearing it the one way in these pictures because I like it like this. I'm pretty happy with it so here are the specs:
The Pattern: Versatility
The Needles: I used Bamboo Size 11 circulars. I believe they are 29" long and were plenty big. I also used a size 10.5 dpn as a cable needle.
The Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Charcoal (an inexpensive yarn found on sale, bringing the cost of this project WAY down)
The recipient: Are you kidding? ME!
Other Stats: I bought 32 buttons about 1" wide. They work pretty well but when I wear it like above, I button the front button and the back button for more stability. I just grabbed a ribbon I had lying around to try it out. I'm not sure what color I will "really" use when I wear it.
Notes: I was concerned that a "chunky" yarn would make me look more chunky than I already am. It actually looks pretty good. I also have to say that I could completely see myself knitting another one out of a regular worsted weight and modifying the pattern accordingly. I just think it's so useful.

Thing the Second:
Autumn Colors Scarf

The color in this picture is not accurate though so check out this one:

The Stats:
The Pattern: One-Row Homespun Scarf from our illustrious Yarn Harlot.
The Yarn: Patons Decor in Autumn Varg (almost two skeins)
The Needles: Knit on US size 6 bamboo straights
The Recipient: This will be going to my lovely cousin and best friend Samantha this weekend.
Notes: Not much to say about this. I like the pattern a lot and like the colors too. I made it 37 stitches wide (I think, I fiddled around until I was happy with the color changes.)

My attempt at an artistic shot.

Ah, lovely. Makes me feel like I'm actually getting somewhere.

Back home.

Sorry for the blog silence folks.
We went out of town on Saturday for the weekend and planned to come back Monday evening after my sister's wedding. The weather was bad so we stayed another night at my parents' then we got up on Tuesday morning and the car wouldn't start. They were at work so we tried to make do until they got home.
Honestly, I don't blame her for not starting, it was -12 when I looked at the temperature. We charged the battery and got going again but not until the evening so it was late. Since it was later by the time we got home, yesterday was a weird day. I was tired and didn't get much done but lying around the house. Not many household chores I mean. I did get some knitting done.
Today it's -23 and that's before the windchill.
Today I'll weave in some ends and take some pictures and post something interesting but for now, know that I'm still alive and well (despite the cold.)

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Super Secret Project

Today let's discuss how to make a Christmas present for your brother.
First come up with an idea. Last year he loved his gift. So, I decided to make him something similar this year.

Step 1. Come up with an idea. We love the Pirate Movies. So I decided to do something with that. I thought a hat based on Jack Sparrow's Sparrow Tattoo would be appropriate so I made some scribbled ideas on a piece of paper and got out the yarn.

Pretty soon I had something started and with all the Christmas knitting I was doing, it was kinda pushed to the side but I knew I had to finish it.

Step 2: Finish Knitting it, making little changes along the way. It's double-knitted just like last year's hat so I tweaked a little here and there, tinking back when appropriate and I have to say that it was a learning experience to ladder down stitches and do them back up in double-knitting. (I like the double-knitting for hats for him because it makes it extra warm, keeping his ears from freezing in the Minnesota winters.) Finally:

Success. The knitting was done but it wasn't quite ready to gift.

Step 3. It's time to block it.

The hat is shown here with my "blocking tool" It's a coffee can (full size) with a hand towel wrapped around it and secured with a rubber band. I wash out the hat in the sink with a little of my natural laundry detergent and wrap it in a towel, walk on the towel to get the majority of the water out and put it on the coffee can.

I try to put it somewhere where it will dry fairly quickly because I'm impatient and if it's a bit snug I will sometimes pin it to the towel but this time it was plenty big.

As a matter of fact, I thought it was far too big and stretchy so I ran it through a washing machine cycle on warm so it shrunk just a bit.

I still wasn't quite happy with how it looked so I did a little backstitching on it to make the bird's head and tail look a little bit better.

Now it was ready to gift so I made a tag and wrapped it up.

Here's my brother, right after he opened it. (That's my mom's arm. She was anxious to see it too!)

(Notice please that he's wearing the hat from last year.)

He must really like it because when we went to my grandpa's house a few days later for Christmas with them, guess what he was wearing?

Please excuse my poor attempt at an artistic shot of him playing pool.

Glad to have finally shared that with you. So what's on the agenda for today?

Well, that and my coffee cup means my day is pretty much set.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Not Much

Since Christmas and therefore Christmas knitting is pretty much over, I find myself with little to say on the blog. I mean, I want to have something interesting to say. I think about it while doing other things (like knitting or cleaning) but since I've mostly been spending my days trying to put the house back in order after the amount of time I shirked housekeeping in favor of finishing gifts, There isn't a whole lot of interest to knitters.

When I do take a break for a few minutes, I've been knitting the aforementioned Monkey socks as well as these:

They are just plain green socks right now but they are called the Green Lantern socks because eventually they will have a Green Lantern Symbol stitched onto the side. They are (obviously) not for me. They are for my large-footed husband and sadly I made the mistake of knitting them on size 1s so they are taking a loooooooong time. For anyone interested in those things, they are knit out of Knit Picks Essential Sock Yarn in Grass.

I keep thinking I will finally finish something and therefore have that to show you but I just don't find the time to sit down and finish. I really should though. I would hate for the blog readers to get bored. I mean, two pairs of socks in two weeks. Yawn, I bore myself.

I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Yesterday morning I got up and realized I have somehow managed to pinch a nerve somewhere between my neck and left shoulder. It is not a happy place in there right now.
That coupled with the fact that hubby kicked me in his sleep last night (which woke me up) then I got back to sleep and he bonked me on the head with his elbow in his sleep (That woke me up too.) means that I'm in kinda of a bad mood today.
I pretty much cannot find any comfortable position no matter what I do so knitting is kinda on hold which is super annoying because I have several things I'd like to finish.

This is a Monkey sock. I'm knitting it just for me.

That's one nice thing about knitting for the holidays. When it's done you're so grateful to just be able to do something for yourself.

Over on Ravelry I joined the Lime & Violet Sock Marathon 2009 group so today I will be calculating how much sock yarn I have. In miles. Any bets?

Monday, January 05, 2009


Today (well, and yesterday) are kind of melancholy for me.

Hubby was off work for 5 whole days and I knew I'd be ready for him to go back to work by the end (please don't remind me that in 30 years or so he will retire. I will cry, seriously.)
It happened just as I thought. By last night I could have made him go sleep in the car. I didn't but I kinda felt like it. Just too much close quarters.

Then, today hubby went back to work and here I sit. Missing him. It's so strange. He drove me CRAZY yesterday. Bugged the heck out of me and now it feels weird that he's not just in the other room listening to his new ipod or watching TV. It's too quiet.

Yesterday hubby's friend from work and wife came into town and we went out to eat and to see a movie. We saw Marley and Me. I would like to say that I heard somewhere. A commercial or something that while this seems like a simple famiy movie about a man and his dog that it is really a story for anyone who has ever given their heart to a dog. (I don't remember where I heard that, a commercial I think.)

I couldn't agree more. I haven't really talked about our love of movies here but honestly, we love the movies! We could only rival that with our love of books and we own more movies (and books) than is probably healthy but given the fact that 2008 was kind of a hard year for my family in regard to pets, (1 & 2) this movie touched me in many ways. The ending made me cry for literally over an hour. I left the theater crying and didn't stop even when we got home. I still cry about it if I think about it too much. (I'm kind of a sap that way though.)

I have a list as long as my arm of things I'd like to get done today but I will probably just sit down and knit and have a nice long remember about my pets and cry. Then sun is shining and it's cold as anything outside but I'm just gonna take my day and then tomorrow, I will get up and get back to that to-do list.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Ringing In the New Year

It's an ironic thing, the new year, isn't it?

We had plans last night to go over to a friend's house for the New Year celebration that seems obligatory. We weren't feeling great. Waaaay too tired and worried about the fact that at the warmest part of the day was -3 and our van is 13 years old and it would be at least a half an hour drive there made us decide to stay home.

Hubby spent the evening playing on the computer and I watched my Netflix DVDs. (Lost Season 2. Don't tell me what happens. I haven't been watching that long.) Ironically, we were both up late. I'm tired today but feeling like this year is a good one. Full of hope and promise.

With the government and financial analysts going on about the economy (rightfully so) it's uncertain for many people but I think it has a lot of potential too.

I set down some goals for myself yesterday. Things I want to accomplish in 2009 and so today I'm focusing on those. Although I have found a few minutes to knit (I'll share another day.) I think this year will be a year of personal growth in several areas. One important one will be my health which is a focus this year. I intend to lose some weight so please bear with me if I tend to focus on it a little bit. I'll try not to make it a focus here but it's something I've been wanting to change for quite awhile and now is the time to turn over a new leaf and do it.

Enough about that, the most important thing, the thing I really want to say today is:

Happy New Year from Chez Kalkette to you and yours. :)