Monday, January 29, 2007

Still Snowing...

I, for one, really didn't mind (much, except for the mud) the non-winterness of November, December and part of January. Let's face it, you don't have to shovel rain. I just checked on Accuweather and it has snowed for the past 17 days around here. No big storms, no big amounts, just some snow every. single. day. There is snow in the forecast for the next 8 days, too.

To cheer things up a bit, I knitted up a pair of mittens to coordinate with the Branching Out scarf from Knitty. They are Elizabeth Zimmermann's mitered mittens from Knitter's Almanac. Nice pattern. The little leaves on the back are from Nicky Epstein's Knitting On the Edge.

Bubba is unimpressed with the monotony of the weather. It continues to amuse me that this cat, who has many, many softer options for snooze locations, has chosen to sleep in a too small box.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bad Blogger

Yes, I've been a bad blogger lately, haven't I? Let's add another good intention for the new year and try to blog 1-2 times per week. Surely I can manage that.

I could use some good mojo sent this way, though. I had a phone interview that I think went pretty well. Please keep your fingers crossed that something comes of it and a job gets offered.

I did get a pair of mittens done, but I haven't blocked them yet, so you'll have to wait. Good thing, since winter has finally decided to arrive. Remember that freezing rain we had awhile back? Well, it has continued to be quite cold, so we often have to let our firewood thaw out in the utility sink before using.

I saw the most humungous grapefruit in the grocery store the other day. Just beyond the giant one are standard, normal-sized grapefruits. You really have to like grapefruit to get one of these!

I'm pretty sure that many of us spinners and knitters tend to put domestic-type things off so that we can pursue more interesting, fibery activities. Has anyone else seen fruit get quite this furry?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Diamonds in the Sky

Normally, when we have freezing rain, it gets warmer the next day and all the ice melts away. Not this time, today it got colder (much colder, it's down to 16 F, -9C).

In between lake effect snow, sometimes the sun would come out, turning the landscape into a sparkling, almost blinding wonderland.

When the wind blows even just a little bit, all you can hear is the ice creaking and branches knocking together.

From the weather forecasts, it looks like winter has finally arrived. There is snow in the forecast every day for the next 10 days or so. I guess I'd better get knitting on some mittens!

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Thyme for Ice

The ice storm that's been messing with the midwest finally got here today. We've had about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of freezing rain. It can be mighty inconvenient, but also mighty beautiful.

However, no amount of ice can improve the looks of some of my "so ugly that they're cute" garden occupants.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Must. Have. More.

In the spirit of stash reduction, or as I prefer to think of it, making room for more stash, I have finished a scarf for myself. I've got to say, I have been absolutely in love with this project from start to finish.

To begin, I bought this Fleece Artist merino/silk blend last summer. This souvenir fiber was one of the best spins I've ever had. The ease of spinning, the wonderful feel of the fiber, the colors...they all added up to a wonderful experience. I chose to navajo-ply to keep the colors separate, then happily started to look for the right pattern.

I found it at, the Branching Out scarf from Spring05. Lace is often a love/hate relationship with the look, hate tinking (lace often tries to defeat me...but this time all went well. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow. I think I would even use it again.

The picture is a bit dark, but then it's been a bit of a dingy kind of day. It really doesn't do justice to the richness of the colors and the sheen from the silk.

There is enough yarn left to make a pair of mittens and possibly a hat or headband. I'm searching about for a motif to run up the back of the mittens so that they coordinate with the pattern in the scarf. Yet more enjoyment out of my souvenir!

I must. have. more. of this stuff. I looked at Fleece Artist's website and, to my budget's dismay, found that they have a retailer very close to me. My only hope is that they are carrying only the yarn, which is likely. I might be able to resist that. Maybe. Oh forget it, you know I'll cave.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Good (possibly) Intentions

Many of my fellow bloggers have been writing about their New Year's Resolutions, or, in Mamacate's case, intentions. I rather like intentions better; it doesn't seem quite so cast-in-concrete to me. I often don't have any resolutions, er intentions, but this year, I do.

1. Keep on going to the gym. I don't seem to be losing much weight as yet, but I do feel better. I guess that counts for something.

2. Try to eat a bit better. I'm not holding my breath on this one, but I will try to eat a bit less of the high calorie goodies.

3. Get rid of that big pile of ebay candidates in the corner. I have started this activity; there are currently 17 items listed.

4. Get a job. I work at this one every day; hopefully something will pan out soon. As much as I love puttering around the house, it is time to get out into the working world again.

4a. Try to stay optimistic while job hunting. Definitely a tough one.

5. Try to be a bit more organized at home. I'm working on this one...see #3. I do have all my yarn and fiber stashed away in bins, so this is more concerned with other areas, like the kitchen and pantry.

That'll do. Too much improvement can't be good for me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Little Mittens

It continues to be unseasonably warm around here, so perhaps knitting small mittens is having an effect? At any rate, I have made definite progress in small mitten land. The pink ones are for the girl and the blue ones are for her younger brother. Mitten strings have been crocheted and are ready to use if Mom wishes. The pattern is pretty much (with the addition of ribbing) the one from The Mitten Book. I really like this little book. The basic mitten patterns are straightforward and the stitch patterns are really charming.

Along the way, I've learned a few things (See, I can be taught!). I knitted the pink mittens on a set of 5 double-points. I often use only 4 dps as that is how I learned. Adding the 5th needle makes a huge difference when knitting with 2 colors and virtually eliminates any laddering, too.

I used the Magic Loop technique for the blue mittens as I was really getting a little tired of needle wrangling. Let me tell you, that Magic Loop technique is just tailor-made for knitting small things for even smaller people. It was, at least for me, much easier to work with the fewer number of stitches on these little mittens. I still have to practice a bit more to smooth out the transition between the 2 sides, but most of that blocks right out.

What is this third pair of wee mittens for? Well, I had thought that I could do a little stash busting by knitting the mittens from some leftover Trekking sock yarn. I knit the body of the mittens in eye-of-the-partridge to make them thicker. Great idea, but, alas, I did not have enough yarn to complete them. As I had knit (and reknit) this little pair more often than I care to admit (It seems that there are many days when I am unable to count to two.), I am now totally uninterested in knitting them yet again. For now, I'm regarding them as an alternative method to store leftover yarn.