Thursday, July 31, 2008

So how much can one obsessed woman knit in one year?

Apparently a LOT! When I looked back over my little obsessive compulsive spreadsheet for the last year, I found that I had completed 79 projects. Did I mention I also work 60+ hours a week, have a family with small children and am president of my local knitting guild this year? Obsession is the only way to explain it!

The totals broke down as follows:

  • Hats: 18
  • Pairs of Socks: 16
  • Dishcloths: 13
  • Scarves: 7
  • Afghan Squares for the Great American Afghan: 6 (some might not consider these each a project, but the ones I knit are very complex and took several days each, so I'm counting them)
  • Lace Shawls: 3
  • Pairs of Fingerless Gloves: 2
  • Pairs of Mittens: 2
  • Christmas Stockings: 2
  • Children's Sweaters: 2
  • Lace Baby Blanket: 1
  • Pair of Baby Booties: 1
  • Small bag: 1
  • Pair of Felted Clogs: 1
  • Toy Owl: 1
  • Neckwarmer: 1
  • Helmet Liner for Marines: 1
  • Adult size vest: 1

Whew! What a year!

This means the winner who guessed closest to the number of projects was Ikkilala. She guessed 71 items, which was pretty close! Ikkilala, I have already sent you an email requesting your snail mail address. When I receive it, I will be sending you the following:

That's two skeins of Brown Sheep's Wildfoote in colorway Ragtime, along with a copy of the Brick Rib Socks pattern from Gardiner Yarn Works. Hope you like knitting socks as much as I do!

For the question of which item I knit the most of, Kitten with a Whiplash was the only person to correctly guess hats. So, Kitten, I will be sending you the following:

That is two skeins of Plymouth Suri Merino in a lovely rose color, along with the Frequency Hat Pattern from Gardiner Yarn Works. This should be enough yarn to knit 2 kids hats or one adult hat, if you hold the yarn least that's my theory. Oh, and I've also sent you an email requesting your shipping info.

Thanks again to all who participated! It's been a wonderful year. I have really enjoyed this first year of blogging and look forward to many more!

Now, I'm off to work on a certain almost 5 year old's birthday party...If all goes well I should have some fun pictures to post this weekend.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Just a quick note to say WOW and thanks for all of the great comments. How fun to have so many visitors!

I've really been enjoying your guesses for the contest. It's interesting to see what people think is doable in a year of knitting.

I also have decided on what I am going to give for prizes, but am going to wait to tell you about them until Thursday evening because they relate directly to the "What have I knit the most of this year" question.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Socks, yarn and a contest

I guess I will go through my topics in the order suggested in the title. First, I finished another pair of socks this week:

Pattern: Eleanor, (sorry this is a Ravelry link. Not sure where else the pattern is available) Yarn: Woolarina BFL Wool, Colorway: Forest Turquoise

This was one of my favorite knitting projects ever. I love the yarn and the pattern. Together they are even better.

I bought the yarn at Twisted in Portland. However, when I looked it up on Ravelry, I couldn't find this particular yarn. So, I sent a message to Woolarina asking her if it was listed on Ravelry. She said no, it was something she was trying out and had decided not to go with. The only place you can (or could) get it was Twisted. Too bad because it is fantastic. The BFL makes the turquoise glow. The pictures do not do it justice.

For those keeping track, this is pair #5 for Summer of Socks. I have 3 more pairs on the needles, so hopefully one of them will end up finished some time soon.

On the topic of yarn, today I went to a yard sale advertised on the local Stitch and Bitch message board. It was in SE Portland and had only yarn and knitting/crochet magazines. You never know how these things will be, so I did not have high hopes. I was pleasantly surprised. The owner had LOTS of yarn and not one bit of acrylic, as far as I saw anyway. Most of her prices were pretty good too.

I bought a couple of things. First, some Tiny Toes from Interlacements. I think the colorway is "Crocus", at least that's what it looks like it says on the label.

Second, something labeled "Fluffo". Not sure what it is...actually it might have some acrylic now that I look at it closer. It doesn't matter because I am absolutely in love with the color! I plan to make a special Christmas gift with it, if I get enough time after SOS.

Finally, I bought this gorgeous sock yarn. The label says the brand is Lydia's and it is wool. The woman selling it said it was from Australia, I think. I could not find it on Ravelry or Google.

Isn't the color crazy? I love it! It consists of 4 strands of very thin yarn that are not plied together. Here's what it looks like wound into a ball.

I haven't been too excited about trying Yarnia yarn because I did not like the "unplied" idea. Well, I guess I'm giving it a try anyway. I'm telling you, the colors are the motivation. Here's what it looks like when it is the beginning of a sock. Did I mentioned I bought this today? I'm predicting these are going to be done fairly soon...

So, if you have read this far, you must be looking for the contest. When looking through my archives, I noticed that not only is my blogiversary coming up next week (July 30), but I am also very near my 100th post! I cannot believe it has been a year already. Amazing!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I would like to have a little contest. For those who don't know, I am a bit obsessive when it comes to tracking my stash and my finished objects. I only post part of my completed objects here on the blog or on my Ravelry page. However, I do track every single one in an excel spreadsheet...because I'm obsessive like that.

The contest is to guess how many knitting projects I have completed since starting this blog. I will give you a hint in that I seem to like to knit lots of little, quick things and a pair of socks counts as one project. I will plan to announce the total, with a breakdown by type, at the end of the day July 31. Add your guess as a comment on this post before then to be entered. The winner will be the person whose guess is closest. Oh, and I'm still thinking about the prize, so more on that later.

ETA: I decided to add a second contest. As I was looking over my spreadsheet of completed objects, I thought it would be fun to have you also guess which type of project I knit the most of. For example, you might guess I knit more adult sweaters this past year than anything else. By the way, you will be wrong if you guess that!

So, there are two ways to win which means there will be two prizes.

Good luck!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm a Lumberjack and I'm O.K....

Well, I'm not really a lumberjack, but we had some at our house this week. It all started with the other tree incident I recently blogged about. The morning after the other tree came down, I received a phone call at 7:00 from the "tree guy" we had tried to get hold of the day before. He was calling from our front yard and what he said was "I'm in your front yard. Yes, this blue spruce is really bad, we should take it out right away". Unfortunately, the blue spruce was not the tree we had called him about!

We knew it was bad because it was brown, ugly and swayed in a scary way whenever it was windy. Recently, it too had started to lean a bit, only this time it was toward the house! So, out it came, before the next wind storm could knock it down.
You can't see how big the tree is in this picture, but you can see the power lines. It was surrounded on all sides with power and phone lines. I'm not sure who thought it would be a good idea to plant a tree there!

Here's a nearly "after" shot. It was really interesting to watch the lumberjacks trim all the branches off first, then drop down the pieces of the trunk. They were really fast too!

I will admit that I always thought that tree was ugly and was not too sad to see it go. However, we had the "tree guy" look at another tree in the back yard that, I am sad to say, he confirmed needed to go too. It was a very old willow tree that was completely rotten in the middle. We were very lucky it had not fallen down, especially since it probably would have fallen on the neighbor's house. Again before:

And after:

I will admit, this one brought some tears to my eyes. I have to keep reminding myself that it had a nice long life and I would have been much sadder if it had smashed the neighbor...sigh. Of course, these were the only two trees that actually shaded our house. It looks so naked now.

On the plus side, we had three cute young lumberjacks running around the place for most of the day...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Socks, Socks and more Socks

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I blogged last! I had all of these great plans for July and they are just not happening the way I wanted. Ah well, today is a new day, right?

So, I finished another pair of socks last week. I added them to the Summer of Socks group on Ravelry, but haven't gotten around to putting them up on the blog until now.

Pattern: Basic, cuff-down socks with short row heel Yarn: Regia Crazy Colors

Little V. has been asking me to knit myself a pair of socks to match hers, which I blogged about here. It seemed like a good time to oblige. Not much to say about these other than they were a pleasant enough knit and I liked watching the stripes change. With this yarn, the stripes never quite match, so it is always interesting to see how they turn out.

For anyone keeping track, these are pair number 4 for Summer of Socks. My goal is to knit one pair per week and so far I am on track.

Since I am well into 2 other pairs at the moment, I thought I would show their progress, just so you don't think I'm going to some magic hand-knit sock store and buying all of the finished pairs.

One down, one barely started. In this case, I did not start the striping in an intelligent (i.e. easily reproducible) way. Not sure what I was thinking, but I am now having a hard time motivating myself to get sock #2 going. The stripes are so regular, I HAVE to try to get them to match...sigh.

One down, the second well under way. These are one of my favorite sock projects to date and I am loving every minute of them.

More details on both pairs when I get them finished.

In other knitting news, I have been asked to knit a "yellow duck with blue feet and a blue bill" by a certain small animal lover around here. She actually purchased the yarn herself with her kitty sitting funds, so I feel obliged to comply. We'll see when I can bear to put the socks down...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A non-sock FO!

So, remember a couple of posts back I said I actually had a finished object to talk about that wasn't socks? Well, here it is

Pattern: Gardiner Yarn Works, Kid's Stripey Raglan, Yarn: Bollicine Maxi by Cascade

You will note that this sweater is not stripey, as the pattern name would suggest. I decided that this yarn was busy enough without stripes.

I bought the yarn when I was in Los Angeles for the January TNNA and knit most of it on the show floor at the June TNNA. And no, I never miss my children when I am away, why do you ask?

I loved this pattern, by the way. It is a super easy, quick knit. It's even seamless, so the only "sewing" involves grafting a few stitches under the arms.

The yarn is great too. Very soft. It is a Merino/Acrylic blend, but I think the Acrylic is manageable in this one...not really "plasticy" at all. Of course, it's washable, which is a huge bonus!

And my little one loves it! It's been warm since I completed it, but she still asks regularly if it is cold enough to wear her "new pink sweater" yet. I didn't really think about how knitting it in June was going to be such a problem for her!

Oh and by the way, today is my baby sister's birthday. She recently discovered my blog through Ravelry...I had kept it a secret from the family until then. Now that she knows about it though, I might as well use it to wish her a happy birthday! I can't wait till this weekend sis, I have a ton of fun stuff planned for us!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Our weekend, so far

I have decided not to post anything about knitting today, but instead to talk about what we've been up to the last couple of days.

Apparently, there are a bunch of Lavender Farms in the greater Portland area who have all gotten together and created the Oregon Lavender Association. This weekend, this new Association is hosting a Lavender Festival. I saw a poster for this somewhere around town and decided it would be great fun to drag the family out to it. I think I was right.

There is an Art Festival in Yamhill, which had an art show full of gorgeous paintings. There were also lots of interesting vendors, live music, yummy food and a killer play ground. The girls had a great time!

Additionally, twenty-one local lavender farms open their doors to the public, with smaller on site events. You can walk through the lavender fields, cut flowers to take home, make lavender themed crafts, listen to more music and buy plants.

This picture was taken at one of the two farms we managed to visit today.

Gorgeous, huh? It was really hot, but luckily there was plenty of shade at all of the places we went. Otherwise I might not have had such positive memories.

Here are the girls, enjoying the flowers. One thing I can say for this event, it smells fantastic wherever you go!
We love all of the little festivals and fairs that happen around rural Oregon every year and this one was no exception. I think we will likely plan to attend again next year.

The other thing keeping us occupied this weekend is Mo:

Sorry for the blurry picture. He doesn't hold still much, so this was the best I could do. And no, we didn't get a new kitty. Our old lady cats would never tolerate that, especially not a male kitten!

Mo is actually our neighbors newest family member. However, they are away for the weekend and actually asked A. is she would like to babysit for them. She calls it her "job" and is absolutely thrilled with the task. She's doing a great job too. She even reminded me this afternoon that she needed to clean Mo's litter box, which she did on her own. I asked her if she would be sad when the neighbors return on Monday. Her response was "No, because I'll always be able to remember this weekend and all of the fun I'm having". How did she get so grown up?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More socks

Look at me, posting two days in a row! I finished another pair of socks this morning and thought I would just pop them up onto the blog.

Pattern: I thought I was knitting something original, but when I was finished I discovered I had knit Blueberry Waffles at a smaller gauge. Since I don't recall ever seeing the pattern before I finished them, I think it was particularly talented of me.

Yarn: Mystery yarn from the stash which had no tags. I bought it at the Guild's yarn swap last year from Chrissy. At the time, I assumed it was Interlacements because the color was similar to a skein I had seen. Really though, who knows what it is - not Chrissy because I asked her!

The first photo shows the color better. I actually really enjoyed knitting these, except that the yarn was a little scratchy. I guess I have become a bit spoiled, with all of the Socks that Rock I have been knitting with lately.

Oh, and yes Katrina, those are sock blockers. I finally gave in and bought some in my size, but only because I have found the short row heals a pain to block otherwise. They look soooo much better after having a turn drying on the blockers.

Next time I am going to write about another knitting project I completed recently that is not socks. I know, crazy huh? I do have two more pairs of socks on the needles now though, so never fear, there are more socks in the near future too.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Big Excitement

So much has been going on at our house since the last time I blogged. Let's see, I spent nearly a week on the East Coast for work, which was so much better than the last time I had to go to the East Coast for work...with the old job. Travel time means extra knitting time and I do have another finished object to show for it, which is later in this post.

But, even more exciting than that is the big tree that is now lying across our back yard.

Today I learned that it is absolutely impossible to get a decent picture of an 80+ foot tree when it is sprawled across my lawn. Good thing we have a big yard!

Why is there a huge tree just lying about, you might ask? Well, it all started yesterday when the hubby came in from the backyard and said "Honey, I think one of the trees is leaning a bit". Master of the understatement, that one!

Let me just say that we have a lot of trees in our yard and most of them have one issue or another - some are planted too close together, others are growing at odd angles, one has some sort of bug infestation that makes it look really ugly, etc. However, before yesterday none were leaning quite like that.

Anyway, the hubby spent the morning today calling around trying to find a "tree guy" to come and take the tree down before it fell. None were available...who would have guessed. So, the hubby called our very talented and handy neighbor to see if he had any ideas about how to handle the situation. Next thing I know, the hubby comes into the house and says "Honey, I think you might want to come see this". Again, master of the understatement. When I walked outside, the tree was on the ground, just like that.

This picture shows the bottom of the tree, which hubby and the handy neighbor had denuded before the big chop down happened.

Turns out that the neighbor's chain saw was on the blink, so hubby got out his little hand saw and just started sawing. He says he sawed for just a minute when he heard a loud crack and the whole thing fell over. It was definitely time for that thing to go. Thankfully, somehow, they managed to miss all children and other trees, landing the thing in the only open spot big enough on the property! It did smash my very favorite rose bush, but I am told it should recover by next year. Overall, not too bad, all things considered. Now comes the fun job of cleaning it all up...

On the knitting front, I finished another pair of socks.

Pattern: Lava Flow Socks, Yarn Plymouth Happy Feet, Colorway 15

Nice simple pattern, perfect for travelling. They were my first short row heels and I think they came out well. I used Cat Bordhi's technique for hiding the wraps and can not recommend it enough!

The yarn was actually great too. I will be interested to see how it wears. The final fabric is very light and soft. It is very reasonably priced too, which certainly adds to the appeal.

It did pool very oddly on just one of the socks though...looks a little like a tie-dye. By the way, these are the first gift for Christmas 2008! I am so pleased with myself. I hope to get lots of Christmas gifts done this summer, but we'll see how it goes...