8

Farewell To Warms

29 weeks 3 days!


 
Hard to believe that Christmas is over already.  It went so quickly and I never felt I got the chance to really enjoy it.  Could be that my cold from hell is still getting me down (come on Booger King – you’ve been in there well over a week already, it’s time to clear out dammit), or that R. Darling had to work Christmas Eve so it felt like just any other day, or maybe I’m just feeling a teeny bit sad knowing that this is our very last Christmas with just the two of us and we really didn’t do much to make it seem special.  Or maybe it’s those pregnancy hormones (get a load of that belly up there!)?  Whatever the reason, I’m feeling a little bittersweet over this holiday.  So maybe I’ll stretch it out just a little bit longer, watch my favorite movies one more time and bake that Christmas cake I never got around to.  It’s still December for another few days….
 
This December also marks the end of another aspect of my knitting life that I’ve been working on nearly as long as I’ve been knitting.  Warm Woolies has officially shut its doors as of December 24, 2009 and will no longer be operating or receiving donations any longer.  As most of you know, I’ve  been contributing to Warm Woolies for quite some time now, and I truly believe in the great work that they do.  It’s been a pleasure to knit for them, knowing that one garment at a time, a whole army of knitters has been able to keep children here and abroad just a bit warmer each winter.  Though I understand that good things don’t always last, I am sad that this wonderful charity won’t be able to operate anymore.   Unfortunately, I didn’t make my goal this year of contributing to their 10 for 10 challenge (knit 10 items for children ages 10 and over) since morning sickness completely derailed my knitting efforts for close to 5 months, but on December 18 I did send off a final batch of 3 pairs of socks, 2 vests, 1 sweater (sized for approximately 6 years old), and 2 sweaters (sized 10 years old and up).  It felt good to mail off that last set of items, even if a little melancholic too, knowing that it’s the last time I’ll be doing it.  I wish all of the people from Warm Woolies the best of luck wherever they head after this endeavor!
 
And so, my final 2 projects for Warm Woolies (and probably for 2009):
 

Comfy Socks


 

  • PatternComfy Socks from Knitscene (Ravelry link here, My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn: Twilleys of Stamford Freedom 100% Wool; Color #408; 3 balls
  • Needles:  Size 10.5 dpns

 
This pattern was super simple and instantly gratifying (super bulky wool + big needles = turbo knit).  I actually loved these so much I considered keeping them for myself, but that kinda defeats the purpose of charitable knitting ;)  Good thing I have more of this yarn left (thanks Troy!) so I could make myself a pair if I really felt like it.
 

July Mystery Sweater for Warm Woolies


 

  • Pattern: Mystery Sweater KAL for the Warm Woolies (now Wool-Aid) group on Ravelry; for the pattern, you’ll have to look through the archives for the July Mystery Sweater at the group and collect all the “clues” (My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Bulky; Color “Scuba” #I141; 6 hanks (?)
  • Needles: Size 10.5 circular

 
This was such a wonderful pattern!  While I was knitting the neckline I was absolutely confused as to how what I was doing would produce something like the photos I’d seen, but it turned out beautifully.  I opted for the “easy” version of the sleeves as I was sort of down to the wire finishing this on time, but I still think they turned out nice looking.  I won the yarn for the sweater in a contest on the Warm Woolies Group back in July and knitted faithfully along with each clue up until about clue #4, at which time I started incubating a bun in my oven and was so sick I could hardly stand to look at yarn for the next 5 months.  But when I found out Warm Woolies would be closing up shop and wouldn’t be accepting items past December 24th this year, I knew I had to get on it to finish this.  Not only for the little one who will be kept warm in it, but also out of obligation to the pattern designer and her generous gift of yarn to me.
 
So farewell Warm Woolies!  I will certainly miss you.
 
As for Christmas, I’ll miss you too.  I dearly hope that each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday and got to celebrate each moment to its fullest!!
 
And now, I think I heard someone say cake?

13

Snow In July

The morning before last, I awoke at 4 AM with an insistent bladder.  No, I thought.  It’s too earlyGo back to sleep. I tried to roll over, but it was no use.  So I got up and took care of business, then snuggled back into my warm bed to get another couple hours of sleep.  Except that’s not what happened.  I tossed and turned, snippets of stupid songs I hate and to-do lists swirling around in my mind.  I even tried counting, which works on rare occasions for me, but to no avail.  Then, as luck would have it, I finally fell asleep.  My alarm would go off 15 minutes later.  Ugh.  But not before I had a dream that it had snowed overnight.  Like, a foot of snow, in July.  And in my dream I was so excited that I’d have something to blog about that I ran outside, took a photo, and wrote a blog post titled “WTF”.
 
So, it didn’t snow for real.  But if it had, I could have whipped out this sweater I made for Warm Woolies (my second for the 10 for 10 Challenge) that I finished over the weekend and it would have kept me nice and toasty.  Instead, I hope it will warm some other girl who really needs it in an orphanage somewhere.  That it will cheer her up on cold days, and that she’ll know someone somewhere far away cares enough to send her a woolen hug.  She might even have snow in July where she lives.
 
mystery sweater back1
 
mystery sweater front1
 

Pattern: Mystery Sweater by Christiane Burkhard (on Ravelry here)

Yarn: 7.4 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Seconds in “RPM Pink”

Needles: Size 9 – 24″ bamboo circs and size 9 – 40″ Knit Picks Harmony Interchangeables

Mods:  None really, except taking some liberties with how many stitches to pick up around armholes and neck opening (my numbers didn’t match those established in the pattern)

New Techniques: Zip. Zero. Nada.  Although this is my first time knitting a sweater in the round, 3 needle binding off the shoulders & then picking up stitches around the armholes to knit the sleeves in the round from the top down.  It’s an interesting design.

Time Lapse: May 24, 2009 – July 11, 2009

Comments: I really enjoyed knitting this sweater and I put as much care into it as I would have if it was going to be mine.  The decorative trim at the hem, sleeve cuffs, and bust area kept my attention but didn’t make me crazy with too much chart reading.  The pattern was straightforward and easy to follow and I’m really happy with the result.  I might even make one in the next smaller size down (this was the adult small size) as my next 10 for 10 sweater.  A really great knit!

11

WIP Wednesday – The Rule Of Three

I decided something recently.  I should never ever ev-er be allowed to have more than 3 WIP’s going at one time.  That’s not to say I haven’t indulged my bad habits in the past, but I’m attempting (emphasis on that last word) to change my evil ways.  I’m turning over a new leaf in my desire to simplify my life because, ultimately, simplicity is what I’m seeking and needing most right now.  Though I absolutely abhor odd numbers, 3 seems like just the right amount: 1 test knit (that rchrispy is a busy girl writing her patterns & such!), 1 Warm Woolies project, and 1 WIP which should most preferably be a UFO that needs finishing.  It’s the perfect amount of challenge, mixed with simple but karmically fulfilling, mixed with the sense of satisfaction that only comes from finishing a project (finally!).  So three it is.

And the current roundup?
 

A Pretty Hem

A Pretty Hem


 

#1:  Pink Fluffy a.k.a. Bell-Sleeved Scoop-Neck Top from Glam Knits by Stefanie Japel (on Ravelry here).  I’m using the suggested yarn – Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri – and it is oh so soft I swear I may never take it off once I put it on that first time.  If I could marry a yarn, this would probably be it.  Except it’s such a little bitch sometimes that I almost broke off our relationship, but luckily I came to my senses.  The body is finished and it just needs sleeves and a neckline.  I wanted to magic loop the sleeves but I didn’t have the right length and size of circs so I ordered a few interchangeable needles from Knit Picks which are in the mail as I type.  This will also give me a feel for their interchangeable needles and help me decide if I want to buy a whole set or not.  The gal at my LYS suggested I borrow them from somebody before committing to the whole set, but I don’t know anyone that has any.  Then Maryse posted about buying a couple needle tips and a couple cables to go with them and I figured – genius!  So I totally copied her :)  Thanks Maryse!

 

Another Hem Shot!

Another Hem Shot!


 

#2:  Mystery Sweater for Warm Woolies (on Ravelry here).  I’ve finished the hem pattern and am now in the straight stockinette portion.  I love the color of this yarn and I almost wish it was going to be for me (are you even surprised?)!  Sometimes mindless stockinette can be so soothing and I’m really glad that I have something in this stage right now so I can just pick it up whenever and knit a few rows without thinking too hard.

 

#3:  Secrety Squirrel Test Knit for rchrispy.  Sorry guys, no Ravelry linkies or pics to show.  But it’s in rotation and I’m working on it.  You probably won’t see it for a year (that’s my deadline) but I’m sure I’ll bring it up now and then.  Just ’cause I can.  ‘Nuff said.

 

Our New NordicTrack Treadmill

Our New NordicTrack Treadmill


 

And because I’m the biggest work-in-progress of all, here’s our new toy (if you think it’s cool to call instruments of torture, toys).  Yep.  We gots us a treadmill.  I took the inaugural run last night (and then proceeded to bike 4 miles with R. Darling while he ran some trails) and spent some more time on there this afternoon.  My bikini better appreciate all the hard work I’m putting in.

 

So what are you working on?

11

Ocean Waves

So check it. I finally finished my first sweater for the Warm Woolies 10 for 10 by 2010 Challenge.  I decided, for now, that I don’t like how small the clickable pics were in the last post, so I’m back to the what you see is what you get images I had before.  I will probably try to mess around some more with the formatting, but I’ll keep you posted.

Maybe it’s the holiday weekend, or maybe it’s just that I’m so bone-tired these past couple weeks that I can barely stay awake long enough to go to work and go home, but I’m not feeling super chatty.  No funny vignettes to report or kooky goings on to share.  But I figure, I got an FO, so I should totally post it before I forget to.  Then, maybe I’ll go get myself some more coffee and try to make myself useful.  Laundry and dishes await.
 
 
ocean waves1a
 
ocean waves2a
 

Pattern: Ocean Waves by Peggy Boisvert (on Ravelry here)

Yarn: About 4.6 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky in “Blue Heirloom”

Needles: Size 10.5 – 24″ & 16″ bamboo circulars

Mods: Hmmm….. this pattern is more of a “recipe” so I guess that I probably kind of modified it a lot in the sense that I just did whatever I wanted to the whole time; magic looped the sleeves

New Techniques: This was a Percentage System sweater which was totally new to me, so I learned a lot about that as I went along

Time Lapse: April 5, 2009 – May 13, 2009

Comments: This pattern was definitely “pithy” as it is self-described by the creator.  I had to do quite a bit of math and figuring out of the Percentage System (this article was invaluable), as well as guesstimation of what size would fit a 10-15 year old (How long to make the body? How long to make the arms?  Would it fit?).  Though I found that sort of annoying at first (I’m very much a “tell me exactly what to do” kind of gal) it was also sort of liberating once I’d figured out how to do it myself.  And when the sweater turned out to be something that actually looked like a sweater that might kind of fit someone, I felt just the wee-est bit proud of myself.  I might actually make another sweater using this system in the future as it was kind of fun to go patternless once the initial fear was over.  This will be my first sweater for the Warm Woolies 2010 challenge and I’ve got to make at least 4 more to qualify.  When I connected the sleeves to the body, I knit about 1.5″ straight before starting my decreases which kind of elongated the body and placed the cable further down on the sweater than I think is aesthetically pleasing. But I did it because Warm Woolies requested extra room in the underarms so the kids can wear many layers underneath their sweaters, and not enough room in that spot could cause the layers to bind up uncomfortably. I guess it won’t matter if the sweater fits with extra length since they practically wear them as coats anyway, but I’m not sure I like how it looks visually. But that’s just me. On a side note, I bought this yarn as seconds from a site I found a while back and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised.  I expected tons and tons of knots, and out of the 5 skeins I used only the first ball had any knots at all.  Granted, it had like 3 or so, but I expected them all to be like that.  Just sayin’.  I will probably be more likely to buy yarn from there again next time now that I know what to expect.
 
And, because I got nothin’ else to say and it’s always fun to do, here’s the Friday Fill-In a day late:

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday Fill-In #125
(get yours here)
 

1. Moving is always a great time to get rid of things you don’t need or want anymore (including old boyfriends).

2. Love is free.

3. My best quality is modesty? Or maybe sympathy for others.

4. Don’t sweat the details.

5. In nearly 10 years, I will be way older than I even want to think about.

6. Another massage and some soft serve ice cream is what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to hanging out with my man, tomorrow my plans include maybe going to Seattle with Miami and Monday, I want to knit knit knit!

 

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!  Eat an extra grilled food of your choice for me :)

 

And… an outtake!  No makeup, wet hair, gah!  It’s so scary I can’t believe I’m sharing :)  But check it out – my sweater fits!  Even if the arms are a bit short……

 

ocean waves outtake1

9

Warm Woolies 2008 Finale

So, the holidays are over.  I always get a post-holiday blueness the first few days after Christmas, so you’ll have to forgive me if there’s not much sparkling commentary on the bloggy today.  It’s not like there’s a huge holiday build up for me like there is when you’re a kid, but I still feel sorta sad when it’s all over.  Winter has only just begun and really, there’s not that much to look forward to.

Overall, we had a really nice holiday.  We had the first white Christmas since I can’t remember when, and though the roads were hard to navigate, we were still able to take Christmas dinner to my snowbound parents on Christmas Day.  On Christmas Eve we took time out to build a Snow Slug in our front yard (wish I could show you a pic but R. Darling has the camera out kayaking with him today so it will have to be another time), and snuggle together on the couch.  Hope all of you had a lovely holiday too!

Now that the year is winding down, and my stamina is too, I think it’s about time I recap my Warm Woolies goal of knitting 100 items this year.  It didn’t go so well.  I knit quite a lot of stuff, but didn’t make my goal.  I think perhaps I could have, if that was the only thing I knit all year long, but there were other responsibilities that needed attending to.  I know I shouldn’t feel guilty about that, but I do anyway.  If you look at my accomplishment in terms of grades, I’d only get a C.  I passed, but barely (this would be funnier if all of you were Jack Black fans like I am ;) .  But since I’m laying it all on the line here, these are the final stats for my year of Warm Woolies knitting:


* Knit 70 items total

* Knit 55 pairs of socks, 5 Hats, 5 Vests, 1 Cardigan Coat

* Completed sections of 3 Oddball Baby Blankies

* Seamed 1 Blanket of 36 squares

* 22 squares for the Knit a Square, Join a Swap Group on Ravelry.  However, I’m not counting these in my final total because it takes 36 squares to make one blankie and therefore, these do not count as one item :(


ww-seamed-blankie1a

My 1st Seamed blanket for the Knit A Square, Join A Swap Group on Ravelry


ww-crocheted-cuteness

Crocheted Cuteness: My last contribution to the Warm Woolies Baby Oddball Blankets Group On Ravelry


I met so many wonderful people this year working towards this goal, and among them was my blog-free pal Kathy, who sent me a ginormous box of yarn to use for WW projects.  What a generous and thoughtful gesture, and I’m so glad to have gotten to know you this year Kathy!  I promised that I would post a few pics of items I’ve made from the yarn Kathy sent, so here are the last 2 vests I’m mailing out this year.  The blue/grey/black one is made entirely from yarn she sent, and all the brown yarns in the second vest came from her stash as well.  Thank you again Kathy!


ww-blue-vest1


ww-orange-vest1


My knitty friend Troy, also contributed to my endeavor with 10 adorable hats that he knit for me to send to WW.  He tells me that I should count them in my total, as he knit them for me to do so, but it just doesn’t feel right since I didn’t knit them myself!  But I would love to claim them as Troy uses only the most beautiful fibers and gorgeous colors for his hats :)  Thanks so much for your generous gifty Troy!!  Here’s a pic (which just doesn’t do them justice):


troys-hats1


With that, my Warm Woolies goal draws to a close for this year.  I’ll keep contributing in the years to come but I think I’ll try less to focus on a number for 2009, and more on the joy I experience in the projects I do.  It’s not supposed to be work, right?  It’s supposed to be fun and make me feel soft and fuzzy inside to be able to warm up cold little munchkins.

Thanks so very much to each and every one of you who has cheered me on during this year as I worked towards this goal!  It means so much to have all of your support and good wishes and I can’t thank you all enough for that :)  Hope your 2008 was joyful and that 2009 brings you all that you could wish for!

14

What’s The Word?

 blue-hair1

 

  • Blue – Had a little fun at the salon on Friday.  Is this the new anti-aging solution? I expected R. Darling to hate them, but he surprised me by telling me I should have had more put in.  Be very careful what you wish for…..
  • Exercise – Totally doing it.  Totally having absolutely no effect other than to make me extremely exhausted and still muffin-toptastic.  Apparently working out, doesn’t really work at all (at least not yet).
  • Racket – As in, our fridge decided to crap out last week and we had the repair guy here on Friday to fix it.  Fixed one problem, but discovered another that resulted in an ongoing deafening rattling for hours at a time, occurring at least 4 times a day.  What did you say?  Oh.  I couldn’t hear you over the colossal noise coming from my fridge.
  • Warm Woolies – O.k.  So that’s really two words.  But you get the idea.  I’ve found myself a leetle busy with this.  More than I had planned.  But it’s a good thing.  I’ll elaborate later this week hopefully.
  • Knitting – For Warm Woolies obviously, but also secrety things that I just can’t reveal right now.  Too many projects to count and not enough time.  But rest assured, I’m still here and I’m still stitching.
  • Rats – As in, R. Darling saw a huge one underneath our shed on Saturday.  Eeewwwww……  He says it might be time to get an outdoor kitty.  I know he was joking, but one can still hope.
  • ReadingAbundance by Sena Jeter Naslund.  Um.  I’m no expert, but this book is snoozeriffic.  Unless you enjoy maximum description and minimum action.  In theory, this should have been riveting, but in execution it’s absolutely charmless.  I’ve been slugging through it since August and the end is barely in sight.
  • Malabrigo – Thanks a lot Chrispy.  I’m now hooked on this yarnie crack!  And if you haven’t tried the Silky Merino yet, beware.  You might start meeting “contacts” in dark alleys to get your fix.  It’s just that good.  

 

malabrigo-silky-merino-azul-azul

Azul Azul in all its glory

 

************

 

Happy Monday Bloggy Peeps!

5

Back In Training

Even though it’s totally the wrong time of year for this, my malevolently multiplying muffin top has forced me back into the Body For Life shackles once again.  Goodbye treat size chocolates, goodbye sour patch goodness, goodbye iced caramel mochas. Sniff.  I’ll miss you.  But the muffin top has spoken, and it says I can’t afford bigger pants.

Whenever I mention to Miami (my work buddy) that I’ve started working out again, he never fails to say something like: Oh yeah?  Back to training for the cage fighting circuit again?  And I always say, Yep.  Gotta get back to my fighting weight.  I don’t know why, but this somehow makes me feel better about the whole thing.  Like I’m not just sweating it out in my workout room to lose a few pounds, but that I could actually be doing something powerful.  Yay fitness!

Anyhoo, more workouts means less time for other stuff, so I just wanted to let you know that I’m probably going to be more distracted than usual until I get back into a regular routine with my cage fighting program.  That means, less knitting, less bloggy posts, and I’ll just go ahead and apologize right now for being slow with correspondence and visits to your bloggies.  I haven’t been good at that last bit for a while now, but I expect it will be worse before it gets better.  That’s not for lack of love for all of you though!  I swear!  Just wanted to keep you in the loop :)  It’s only been a week and a half so I’m still figuring out how to fit everything into my schedule, but I expect to be able to catch back up after a few weeks of this.  And then I’ll be back again!

So….  The knitty stuff!  I’ve been doing a lot of Warm Woolies work the past couple weeks and haven’t had time for a proper update.  Here’s the quick and dirty report:

 

Pretty In Pink Oddball Blankie

Pretty In Pink Oddball Blankie

 

Here’s the second blanket I completed for the Warm Woolies Oddball Baby Blanket group I joined on Ravelry.  Mine is the section of seed stitch on the far right.  I also, the day I mailed it off to the next knitter, received my next blankie (a crocheted one) in the mail to work on.  I am halfway through my section of Crochet Cuteness and just purchased yarn yesterday to finish the last half.  I have also become addicted to knitting the 7×7 inch squares that the Knit a square, Join a swap group (run by the same mods) collects to be made into baby blankets for Warm Woolies.  So far I’ve made 9 and they are the perfect small project to work on here and there while stirring dinner or watching commercials during your fave show, and a fantastic way to use up little acrylic scraps of which I have tons.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:
 


Squares for Warm Woolies baby blankets

Squares for Warm Woolies baby blankets

 

I had a fun surprise on Thursday, running into my knitty pal Troy on my way out of the grocery store (hey dude!).  He just happened to have a bagful of acrylic bits and bobs for me for squares in his car and that orange one you see in the far right, is totally from his stash.  Thanks Troy!

In other projects, I am steadily working on Baby Cables and Big Ones Too for the current SKC KAL.  It’s going well & I’m determined to finish this so I can wear it this winter.  I need winter clothes that fit and look nice and don’t itch!!  I finished my Dad’s Dashing mitts and they are blocking on top of the washing machine as I type.  Finally got the perfect yarn for Betty’s prize from my bloggyversary contest, and will be swatching for another secrety squirrel project of Chris’ later on today.  Busy busy busy.

The good news is, we thought my SIL was coming up this weekend to stay with us so we scurried around all week cleaning up, only to discover that she is too sick to come up for her soccer game as planned.  This means, the house is clean and I am free to wallow in my knitstonage all weekend long!  In between cage fighting sessions of course….

 

Hope your weekend is fantastic bloggy peeps!