Monday, December 28, 2009

Pass The Catch-Up Please...

I feel as if I've been in a fog for the past month or so. Between losing Miguel, general holiday madness and work being all-consuming, I've completely lost track of the blog. I kind of woke up this weekend to realize that damn I'm behind...apparently on everything! Good thing I have some time off to catch up. First of all:


Slightly belated happy-whatever-it-is-you-do/don't-celebrate. I grew up Jewish but really like Christmas trees so I celebrate whatever I happen to feel like celebrating each season.

Christmas Eve day Brian an I took a drive to the Historic Orchard in San Jose to check out the lambs. They'd arrived recently to help with weed control and fertilization. I'm sure the cute factor helps improve the health of the trees too.

I even got to pat a few fuzzy noses; a nice way to start a long, lovely weekend.

We kept Christmas itself pretty simple; I made most of the gifts we gave and we traveled all of two miles down the road to spend much of Christmas day with the nieces (and their parents). We also took the dogs to the dog park, where they got to meet Tonka, our niece's dog and their new giant best friend.

I'm off for much of this coming week and if the activity level I've maintained so far continues, I should be able to churn out a ton of projects. Here's what I have so far:

I had some fabric from a previous life hanging around and decided to finally make use of it. I had Hannah come over for moral support as I'd never made a tote bag before. It turned out so well I had to make a second one. Here's Vanna - I mean Hannah showing off my first completed bag.

Here it is paired up with the 2nd, larger one. I really like them but now that I've used up all of the fabric, I doubt I'll be making more. I'd definitely rather knit than sew.

I also made a pair of fingerless gloves for a friend:

These are Staghorn Mitts by Tera Johnson made from some leftover Dream in Color Classy (Black Pearl color way). I also made some fingerless gloves for me:

These are Knit Envy knit with part of a skein of Koigu that I had in stash. Kathy had made some that were absolutely gorgeous and I got all envious so I had to make some of my own.

I'm in lurve and may have to make more.

I also made this:

A skull cap for my brother-in-law out of the last of the Dream in Color Classy; I finished it this evening with only a few yards to spare.

And this:

Yep. Another dishcloth. I did a bang-up job cleaning the kitchen (as well as the rest of the house) so I decided I needed a shiny new dishcloth to go with my (temporarily) shiny sink.

So...I have nearly 6 more days of vacation. I wonder what else I'll be able to make before I head back to work? It's definitely nice to feel productive again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another Goodbye

We had to say goodbye to our angry 20-year-old kitty Miguel tonight; it was time.

We actually thought we would have said goodbye quite a while ago. He was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2003. Four years ago our vet in Vermont told us he probably didn't have much time left. My husband was convinced he'd actually died a while ago but was walking around out of habit. This cat just kept hanging on, sleeping next to my leg on the couch every evening and near my head most nights, and trying to beat the snot out of the dogs several times each day. Even at 140 kitty years and pretty much senile, he was still loaded with attitude.

But he was ready; life was getting harder and it wasn't going to get better.

Goodbye old man. You were a good little buddy and I'm going to miss your grumpy old self.

Monday, November 30, 2009

No More Monkeying Around

Because they're done!

Monkey - by Cookie A.

From my own hand-spun - Superwash Merino from Crown Mountain Farms in the Aqualung colorway.

Cookie's patterns generally run a little big for me (I have a narrow, 6.5 foot) so I just knit at a smaller gauge and it worked out perfectly. I like how the subtle color transitions let the pattern show through.

Miele finds them fascinating!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Instant Gratification

The knitting ADD continues. I've mostly been working on my Lady Eleanor wrap and February Lady Sweater (what is it with these Lady things?), but I have strayed a bit for some instant gratification.

Remember this?

It's my Corriedale handspun from Grafton Fibers. Well I decided on short notice that a non-knitting friend needed a birthday gift so I made her these:

They're Fetchings, modified slightly with a longer cuff and more length in the fingers as well.

I chose this particular yarn because this friend and I went to school together in southern Vermont and Grafton Fibers isn't too far from there. So, a Vermont gift for a Vermont friend (even though she lives in CA). And super quick! I started them one evening and finished them in time to meet her and her husband for dinner the next day.

Last week it finally got a little chilly around here; enough that my feet were actually cold and I realized I didn't own any slippers. So I made some.

These are essentially socks, knit at a huge gauge and felted. I think the pattern is from Knitting at Knoon Designs. I have knit this pattern so many times that I barely look at it. I used less than a skein of Malabrigo in the Stone Chat colorway that I had left over from another project. Yay for stashbusting!

Holy cow could my legs be any whiter?

After I felted them I put some puffy paint on the soles to prevent them from slipping.

Would you believe the cashier at Michael's insisted I show my ID in order to buy this? Who knew puffy 3D paint was a controlled substance?

Back to (Monkey) Business

I've now picked up an old project that had been stagnating since the summer; my Monkeys made from my own handspun. When I started them I just couldn't get the pattern to flow in my head and constantly had to check the chart as I went along, which made for slow progress. That kind of surprised me as the general consensus on Monkey is that the pattern is pretty intuitive and moves along quickly. This time however the pattern stuck right away and I only have to check the chart every so often. Now they're moving right along and I love them.

I have finished one and have one more pattern repeat to go on the leg before I start on the heel flap. Here's the finished one on my foot. Again; holy crap I'm pale.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We just got back from Thanksgiving dinner; I'm still full and it has been a very nice, relaxing day.

I made cranberry sauce among other things. This one is easy; for every bag of cranberries you use one navel orange chopped (I use the food processor) and sugar to taste. Toss it all in a pot with a smidge of water, heat it until simmering and the cranberries are popped, adjust sugar to taste and then once it's cool toss it into the freezer. Let it thaw for a few minutes before serving. Delish.

I also made glazed sweet potatoes with bourbon (toss bourbon on anything and it's good) and a salad but never got around to taking pictures. I am lame. And stuffed.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope yours was as relaxed and enjoyable as mine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another California Invasive Pest Warning

Another warning from the California Department of Food and Agriculture: Beaglus Gluttonious.

She is so busted.

Damn dog didn't even bother separating the muskmelon from the vine before she dug in.

Here she can be seen teaching Miele the joys of really, really fresh produce.

Miele was busted recently too:

Is there a doggie reform school anywhere nearby?

Remedial February?

When not occupied with documenting the bad behavior of the resident hairballs, I've been knitting. Or trying to. I seem to have developed a severe case of knitting ADD. I have a whole list of new things I want to start - a couple of different lace projects, toe-up socks, gifts, some dish rags, an afghan and of course there are always a few sweaters in the queue. And that doesn't even count the things I have in progress.

Despite the distractions, I've managed to focus on two things. First, I started another February Lady Sweater. I'd made one about this time last year, but a combo of it stretching and me shrinking a bit made it necessary to come up with one that is slightly smaller. Then I started another February Lady Sweater. And after that, I started another February Lady Sweater.


Why when the first one was so easy do I keep on screwing up this one? The gauge in the swatch was different from the gauge I actually knit. So I frogged the entire thing. Then I found an error way back that couldn't be fixed any other way than frogging. Again - all the way back. Then I happily sailed two inches past where I should have put buttonhole #2. Oy. More frogging. My latest attempt seems to be working okay though:

This is Dream in Color Classy in the Lagoon colorway (I think). I lurve this color!

This the color in this one is probably a little more accurate.

I'm making the same changes I made on the last one - a stockinette stitch yoke instead of garter stitch, and I'm doing yarn overs for increases. I also don't do that row of eyelet increases - I just keep on going with the yarn overs on either side of the shoulder increase for a few more rows. At this point I probably have 2 -3 more plain rows to go before I start the gull stitch for the body.

I have also picked up the Lady Eleanor stole that I started in March. It's actually going to be more of a couch throw than a wrap and given the number of dog and cat claws around our house, I think I'm going to pass on the fancy fringe. It's just asking to be snagged.

This is Noro Silk Garden (Colorway 88) that I got from Webs a few years ago at a kee-rrrazy close-out price. Actually that's about the only way I will buy Noro. The color changes are pretty but there are a lot of knots as well as vegetable matter, and I think the regular price for what you get is outrageously high. On sale however - that's another story.

And they sure do know how to put colors together.

Closing Shots...

Look who got her first haircut!

She was traumatized only slightly by the scary clippers. Here she is being comforted by clipper-man himself.

Does this girl have long spindly legs or what?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Girasole e Finito


Design by Jared Flood

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Luscious Single Silk in Blech colorway.

I used a little less than 3 skeins.

Cast on August 21st, completed October 21st.

It would have been finished a lot sooner but I slacked off on more than a few occasions.

It's a big project but a really fast knit. I'm in lurve and hope more of my friends get married so I can have an excuse to make more.

Miele's not the most enthusiastic model:

Trouble's not too excited either:

Brian needs to learn how to be unafraid to express his true feelings: