Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year::New Promise::New Fun

I love, love, love New Year's Eve! Like most Americans, the promise of a fresh start is just too much to resist and I always make resolutions. I think it's such a great thing, because how often do we really sit down and take inventory, decide to make changes, and often, document them in some way (even if it's just on the back of the bar matchbook while swigging down champagne).

I had a pretty good year in 2007, and kept a lot of my resolutions. I had a goal to knit more, and I sure did. Wow, what a great year for getting back to my knitting! It really started during my kayaking trip to Lake Powell, Thanksgiving 2006, when I took a couple of balls of yarn and some random needles to make a hat and scarf. Then, during our honeymoon in January I knit the Sunrise Circle Jacket and some fingerless gloves. After a mini-hiatus during the spring semester, things really took off. I even designed my first pattern, Powdered Courage. So, yeah, the New Year brought some great things.

I have so many things I want to do in 2008. Knitting, is of course, at the top of my list, as well as more designing (so hard to find time for both!). I'm starting to gett into my coursework for my MBA, and I want to start the advanced certification for Pilates (having taught mostly matwork for two years, and really getting into the equipment). I also want to write more, and start some other crafts like woodworking and yarn spinning and dyeing. Speaking of spinning, I also want to get in great shape now that my knees are finally healthy again, and my husband and I are talking about starting a spinning class together. There's also a Pilates studio in Pocatello that has a spinning studio that is geared more toward mountain biking, and even my physical therapist is talking about joining me. Oh, and behold: my surgeon is impressed with the Pilates and wants private lessons starting in January. Wow.

One of the biggest knitting projects I have planned for the New Year is my Elizabeth Zimmermann Almanac project. After reading the book and seeing how brilliant the projects are, not to mention wanting to expand my own skillset, I kept wanting to start a year long project. I hemmed and hawed for quite a while, but when I saw others on Ravelry wanting to do the same thing, I went ahead and made the jump. Our group is here, if you're a Raveler, and to date we have over 160 members, just chomping at the bit for January to start!

There are other things I want to do, specifically travel, and I'll start that out with a bang spending the New Year holiday in the Bahamas. I'm also planning an October trip with a woman I met in Thailand--we're going to Bhutan. I can't wait for that trip--we're already starting our planning, and I'm reading a lot of books. And I've got a few knitting projects lined up for the trip, natch. Among other things, I want to change or improve certain areas of my life, such as:

I need more sleep. Going to be at midnight and getting up at four probably isn't good for anyone. My goal is to go to bed at the same time as my husband (around 10)

I need to take my contacts out each night. Supposedly. In eighteen years I haven't had even the slightest hint of an eye infection, and I wear them 24/7/90-ish, but nevertheless, it's not a bad idea to take them out (or will my eyeballs go into shock?!)

I need to get my VMO's and knees in shape for trekking the Himalayas. Lots more Pilates, lots more biking.

I want to get over my perfection streak with knitting, so I can actually get some projects finished instead of constantly ripping them out because I find a little mistake.

I want to reduce my level of consumption (sounds so earthy-trendy, doesn't it?) and start making many of the things I normally buy, and start buying services instead (thinking specifically in regard to housekeeper and masseuse...)

There are other things too, which I'll have to get to later. I've already blown the "go to bed earlier" and "take out contacts" resolutions. But hey, it's officially 11:40 pm on December 30...I've got a whole day and twenty minutes to get it right!

Have a wonderful New Year, and I'll see everyone in a week!

Hot and Cold

Or maybe that should be cold and hot...anyway, those are the adjectives of the week for my vacation! We spent some very cold days at my in-law's cabin with seventeen (17!) of his closest relatives. My heavens, it's a lot of people. There are two things that constantly confound me when we have these little (big?) get-togethers: first of all, how little food they eat. It's not as if everyone is on a diet or anything, and I'm sure it's just that I'm used to feeding, two people, four at most, so I imagine that we need some kind of medieval banquet table set up, but it's still somewhat amazing to me, nonetheless.

The second thing that I just don't get is how much hot water is in that place! Showering 17 people takes an amazing amount of hot water, I would think, and with half of them being teenagers --what is it with teenagers taking 45 minute showers, anyway? Never mind, I probably do NOT want to know-- well, anyway, it's pretty cool that I was able to get hot showers.

The best part about the cabin trip this time was that my niece wanted to learn how to knit. I brought some sock yarn and some other wool and needles to start the swatch cap for my Elizabeth Zimmermann Fishtrap Aran, but Katie asked if I could show her how to knit, so I gave her the wool for it instead (I mean, who wouldn't, after all!). I worked on my sock.

I didn't have a pattern book with me, so she got to learn the "real way." I had her start a swatch, and she did both knit and purl, to test her mad knitting skillz. She actually did really, really well and seemed comfy with it, so I went bold and after we measured her test swatch and head, had her do a little cabled hat. Cables! In the round! Look at the girl go!

It took her two days, and we stayed up until about midnight, finishing it with a twisted rope and tassle (both her idea, because she wanted the rope to repeat the cables--brilliant!)

When we were just about finished, she looked at me and said that she hadn't been this excited by something in a long time. Woot! A knitter is born!
Kodi, meanwhile, spent nearly all his time outside, completely in his element. He even stayed the night outside (he wouldn't come in at night--although I suspect he didn't sleep, and hasn't gotten up since we came home last night!). He even caught a Pine Grouse, much to the admiration of the other three dogs (don't worry, it got away and only left a couple of feathers behind).
Here he is, waiting for the kids to come out so he can chase them down the hill on the sleds. I love it when he gets all squinty-eyed in the snow. Such a handsome boy. He was actually even sleeping--not under any shelter, mind you, but in the snow, with more snow falling on him. The other dogs are a bit more fair-weathered types, and stayed indoors as much as we'd let them.
So on to the hot part...tomorrow, we're off to the Bahamas! Yea! I picked up a couple of new swimsuits and some sunscreen today at Tahr-jhay, and have been frantically trying to find my shorts, tank tops, and sandals. I'll post some sun-and-sand when I get back, since the resort doesn't have wireless Internet. I kept joking that the best part about a trip to the Bahamas is that all you have to do is run home, grab your bikini bottoms, throw 'em in your purse and you're off! My husband laughed and said that as long as you have your passport and a credit card, all you have to do is get on the plane. Good point, I suppose. But what about lip gloss? Hmmm...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One More Day to Go...

Just one more day, then I get holiday vacation until January 7! I can't wait. Work just killed me today--same old mundane, annoying stuff, but I felt like I almost couldn't take another problem. Everyone pushes everything off until the last minute. I remember last year, working on Christmas eve for two rush issues, trying to call people and finding out that they were on vacation. Ha! That won't be happening this year.

I also have my Econ final tonight (at 8:00 pm...strange time). I'm halfway not even really studying. I'm tired, I'm pouty, and I'm tired. But just one more day...

My fabulous husband is trying to find a little vacation for us, since we can't ski or snowshoe or go snow camping or anything fun right now. Might as well go lie on a beach. The travel agent just called and is trying to find us a nice little bungalow somewhere, so our fingers are crossed. My ultra-white body could use some sun anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sometimes I just crack myself up...

I was thinking about something I wrote the other day, about making Christmas ornaments for everyone at work. Huh? Who do I think I am? Did I honestly believe that I could make little miniature stockings, hats, sweaters, and mittens? Now?

Oh yes, I did. I even bought the yarn for them. Which was promptly exchanged today for sock yarn...for a marvelous sock pattern that I thought of last night. But I have plenty of time for those.

You know, Elizabeth Zimmermann was right: Christmas "Fiddle Faddle" should be made in August. Mittens should be made in April. It's just too stressful to think about making something when you actually need it.

Which brings me to my Bird in Hand Mittens. They haven't been worked on in at least a week because I've had to write two term papers, work, teach Pilates, study for two tests...what else? Oh, my husband has the flu, so I've been on soup-and-crackers patrol, too (not that it's too hard). And I thought I'd have time to make Christmas ornaments! Boff!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mitten, Mitten, Who's Got the Mitten?

I lost my mitten! Actually, I think I know where it is...

Today was my first day back at work (boo!), and so I had to go to medical to make sure that my leg hadn't fallen off in the past two weeks, and that I was truly fit for "light office duty." Apparently, I'm only fit to do it 4-6 hours of it per day, which is terrific, because I have so much more knitting to finish before I will allow myself some new projects! And so, I took my mitten with me because I knew I had a two-hour wait to see the doc, and I think I left it there in the exam room. At least I'm pretty sure. Hoping. That mitten is almost finished, so it better be there.

But I started working on my stripey sock again, and I love it this time! The ribbing gave it that "K-Mart" quality (not that there's anything wrong with that), that didn't quite accomplish what I had in mind, but straight stockinette is much better:
I'm a firm believer in having two projects going at all times: something interesting that takes some concentration, and something mind-calming that you can do it the dark, if need be. Ah...socks in stockinette. Perfect.

My only problem right now is that Ravelry can really cause some sensory overload! I'm going bananas thinking of all the projects I want to do (and I haven't even taken pics and posted the ones I have done!). So many little time. And it's about to get littler, for the next couple of weeks, too. But then we get our Christmas break (17 days! Woohoo!).

This week is about to turn crazy-busy, too. I have to run a board meeting tomorrow morning, Christmas parties Thursday and Friday, birthday party out of town on Saturday, then Saturday night is a fundraiser for a new climbing gym on the OTHER side of the state. We'll be driving about 550 miles Saturday, all told. Oh, and I need to make cookies for the annual Christmas cookie/ornament exchange at work. I'm planning to make little tiny mitten ornaments for everyone, but I have a back-up plan to buy stuff, too.

The Christmas exchange cracks me up. Every year, we all make these grand plans at around Halloween to have a handmade cookie/ornament exchange. Then every year, almost everyone buys their ornments and a few even buy their cookies. Two years ago, I was up until 3 am, making Petite Pains au Chocolat, after having driven to the store for the fourth time buying more ingredients and glue (for the ornaments). My then boyfriend (now husband), just looked at me the next morning, all bleary-eyed, and asked, "Why on earth are you doing this?" I screamed, "Because it's FUN!!!!" We still laugh about that.

Congrats to Marsi for naming Ferris Beuhler's Day Off! If you email me your address, I'll send your prize!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Oh, the Temptation...

Oh, look! My Beaverslide wool came today, and it's luscious!
I so want to start a new project right now. I've been petting and smelling it all afternoon (it smells so good and wooly). The brown with that very light green is amazing...and the yarn is so soft and so light for being so rustic and tweedy. "If you have the means, I highly suggest it." (name the movie that belongs to that quote and I'll send you a prize!). And then go here and get yourself some of this luscious tweed.

Is That a Frog in Your Pocket?

I've been in a bit of a frogging mood lately. Actually, I've been making a lot of mistakes lately! Remember this sweater? With the really difficult braided cables? Guess which part I kept messing up? The basketweave panels on the sides. The heathered yarn really covered it well, but then it started bugging me, and when I did get one of the cables wrong in the second big repeat, well, I frogged the whole thing. I guess I just want it done right.
And then these socks...sigh...I loved the yarn. Loved it! Until I started knitting it...I put some ribbing in, just a little subtle rib, but it completely messed with the yarn striping. I'm one of those people who just doesn't like color verigation with pattern. For me, it's either/or. I started noticing the problem right away, but figured it wouldn't bug me, until I finally did get to the straight garter stitch on the heel and sole. and really loved how that was turning out. So, I asked some opinions (it looks fine! all that work!), took a picture, and will be frogging this afternoon. There's not all that much work in it, and isn't it better to have something I actually like instead of something that "could've been?"
And not only that, but I actually LIKE knitting! It's not a race for me to see how many things I can finish, it's a process that relaxes and inspires me. Ripping something out, in a way, is like a fun "do-over." And it's sort of like getting a yarn freebie. Besides, I just found out that I don't have to go back to work today! Yea! It was supposed to be my first day back after knee surgery, but darn it, the medical department is booked and can't schedule me for a re-entry interview. Rats. What will I do?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bird in Hand Mittens!

Yea! Kate Gilbert's new "Bird in Hand" mitten pattern is ready, and not a moment too soon. We've had a skiff of snow for the past couple of days, but man, is it cold outside! Brrr.... Aren't they cute, though? I love the colors and the graphics, and they're fun to knit, too. I've heard a few comments about people wanting to make them but being put off by the colorwork, and I have to say, with worsted yarn at this gauge, it's nearly impossible to get it wrong. The stitching is super-tight, so you don't have to worry about gaps between colors, and the interchanges are close enough that you're not carrying colors forever across the back, either. Just be sure to keep it loose on the "corners," if you're using DPNs, and you should be fine.

Another great thing about the colors and the gauge is that these mittens will be warm and toasty! And they're so fun too look at, too. I can't wait until I can start my blue/white pair (as if I need another project, what with finals coming up and all).

But I've also been working on more of these:
Aren't they fun? I love all the colors and the wooly-felty-ness about them. I'm trying to make five each day so I can make some necklaces out of them. They're just the kind of thing you need to warm up a grey, mid-winter day when the snow starts to get all bleh. They should be ready by then.

I'm going to cozy up tonight and drink some Wassail. If you want to join me, here's the recipe:

2 cups apple juice
2 cups apple cider
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
1 whole allspice berries
dash mace

Mix everything in a saucepan and heat to simmering. Ladel into mugs and sip while sitting under blankets, knitting and/or watching movies. Or snow fall.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


So, it's really hard to be patient, though, when you have all these colors just begging to be these mittens! Aren't they cute? I love them! I can think of about ten of my friends/family who would love them, too. Kate says she'll have the pattern ready soon, and thank goodness because we have a long, grey, snowy weekend ahead of us here. Perfect weather for knitting!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Her Loss...My Gain!

A woman who takes my Pilates classes mentioned the other day that she has a bunch of yarn left over from when she used to weave and would I be interested in any of it? Um....that's like asking Kodi if he wants a chewy! Yes! So, I got to go over to her house last weekend and peruse the stash. I picked out a few things:

Really rustic, pretty tweed wool. The color is sort of a greyish-brown, and the yarn is very coarse. I do think it will soften up a lot with washing, because just swatching it made it softer. I think it might make a nice hat or something.
And this gossamer silk is so beautiful. It's handspun, and just gorgeous. I have no idea what I might do with it, but I love it.
She had a few skeins that would be perfect for some raggy-wool socks, too. It's handspun, from a company in New Hampshire that I have no idea whether it exists anymore (this stuff is about 20 years old). It smells soo good, though, with all the lanolin. This is the forest green:
And then there were a couple shades of purples, this one being a true purple:
And a little bit bluer purple with tweedy flecks:
Not only that, but I have two shipments of yarn coming, one from Beaverslide and one from Bare Sheep. Yikes!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Powdered Courage! A Felted Chalk Bag

I just finished the pattern notes for this project and have to share--it's a felted chalk bag I like to call "Powdered Courage." I was sort of out for the climbing season this year, but I went along and took my knitting with me, and came up with this little bag for next year!

I made it so the draw cord also becomes the loop to attach the bag to your harness. Pretty convenient, huh?
The size is perfect for anyone's hand, and the inside is all nice and felty so you don't even need a fleece liner in it.
It knits up pretty quickly, and is also a great stash buster/scrap buster. Perfect for a little Christmas gift, too--just stuff some passes to the local climbing gym inside and voila! No Black Friday 4 am shopping for you! If you want the pattern, I'll send it to you for free. Just email adventurista_knits AT yahoo DOT com
(And for the Paul Harvey fans, here's "the rest of the story." So, I had knee surgery in May, which completely blew out my climbing or just having fun for the season, but I went to most of the climbs and just took knitting along. Hence, the knitted chalk bag. Okay, so I wanted my husband to model these pics for me, and we went to the Pocatello Pump, which is a local climbing competition, for the shots....the DAY after he completely tore his shoulder out of the socket. So, climbing fans, there's no rope and it's not because he's free climbing, it's because he's about a foot off the ground, probably screaming inside, while I'm trying to get my "bad" knee into position on the ground so I can take the shots. Not too heroic, but pretty funny. Finally.)

Cables in Tweedy Shetland

I've started a new project, something that caught me a little by surprise. I was getting some fabric cut a few weeks ago and was browsing through a Patons booklet. I found the most adorable cabled vest. I didn't buy the booklet, but thought about it several times and finally went back for it. I want to make the vest into a little tee, adding some sleeves, and I found the perfect yarn waaaay back in my stash for it:
I love the tweedy/heathery color, and it's sooo soft (real Shetland). I have a couple of Aran sweaters that I bought when I visited Innismore and Innisfree in 2000, and I remember watching the Aran women knitting, completely impressed not just by their skill, but their speed! These women rivaled machines! I like Aran sweaters and Aran wool, but I wanted something a little softer and more colorful for this project. So I cast on last night.
It's a tricky pattern. In an effort to save printed space, the directions are a little more than "pithy," as EZ would say, but you really have to wrap your head around the five panels, two with four-row repeats, two with eight-row repeats, and one with a thirty-two row repeat. So I get through the first four "set-up" rows and THEN I read that you're supposed to decrease on row three. Screw it, I'll decrease on row five (being constantly bugged by this fact, of course), and then when I got to about row seven or eight, realized I'd done a cable backwards! Aggghh! So I frogged back to the ribbing and now things are going better.

I started making notes on each row, then just on the odd numbered rows (since the evens are just reverse of the previous row). I just set up the start of each so I know which row of each of the five panels I'm doing, because it's pretty easy to forget. But I'm getting the hang of it, and also starting to memorize the patterns, which makes it a lot easier.
So far, I'm totally in love with it, and can't wait to finish. I'm debating on the sleeves though, and how to do them. There's a great article in the Winter IK about set-in sleeves that I plan to use, but I'm still trying to decide whether to do cables on them. Hmmm....something tells me I have a while to think about it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oh, hi....

So it's not like I forgot I have a blog, it's just that I've been busy. Doing stuff. Doing stuff, like:

1. Taking care of my husband who had shoulder surgery
2. Having knee surgery
3. Trying to revive choking Kodi because neither of us could carry him to the car to take him to the vet....okay, it wasn't totally that dramatic, but there was a point where we were looking up the vet's phone number at 10:00 at night, imagining how it would look for one family to have all members in the hospital in one month!

But I've been doing lots and lots of knitting (since there's not much else to do with a bandaged up leg!) and lots and lots of Ravelry-ing. I love Ravelry!

I've made a little knitting-circle of friends already at the physical therapy office, one of which owns a sheep/goat farm and has invited me out, and another to who it going to teach me how to steek sleeves! This is totally cracking my husband up and impressing him at the same time.

I also took a bead-felting class the other night, which was so much fun. I love the bright colors and the perfect little balls of felty wool. I just ordered some more roving to make a bunch for a necklace.

I taught my mom to knit (and purl) while we were in pre-op for my knee. DH wanted to take pics of me knitting in my hospital gown, IV quite firmly inserted into my hand (ouch!), but darn it all, we didn't have the camera. Anyway, my mother, who "couldn't knit," is now knitting. She wants to make baby hats, so I'm sending her to these cute Kate Gilbert patterns. And for whatever reason, I've been making lots of socks. Socks look funny without feet in them, but right now they'd look funny with my feet in them. Note that all were photographed in my little cocoon-world of brown quilt.

Red Cables and Ribs (BFF Socks by Cookie A)

SexyTweed Socks of my own design--I really like this, and they do look really kinda sexy on a guy's foot. I'll post the pattern if anyone's interested.
Stripey socks that are now much further along than this. I love the blues and browns of this self-striping wool. Gorgeous!

And that's about it for now. I'm swatching a bunch of new things, and I started one other pattern that I'll post maybe tomorrow. Until then...happy knitting!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Importance of Being Decisive

Here's a quote I found a couple of days ago, which seems particularly poignant right now (and from what I've been reading on others' blogs, not just to me):

Because we don’t know what is really important to us, everything seems important. Because everything seems important, we have to do everything. Other people, unfortunately, see us doing everything, so they expect us to do everything. Doing everything keeps us so busy, we don’t have time to think about what is really important to us.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

That was fast!

I can't believe it--I just got my Ravelry invite! Wow--wasn't it only...yesterday...that I was 1200th in line? Woot!

I have a couple of new projects I was going to post, but I'm going to play on Ravelry instead. If you want to see me there, I'm AdventuristaKnit (the "s" didn't make it). Woohoo, woohoo, woohoo!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Holy Hectic!

My gosh! I just realized how long it's been since I've posted. The last couple of weeks have been crazy--mid-term exams for my MBA, working like a dog, at least three trips to the yarn store(s), two new pets...oh, and big huge shoulder sugery for my DH, which turned out to be a lot bigger deal than expected, so my knee surgery is postponed for a couple of weeks (thank goodness!).

The surgery stuff did mean a couple of days off playing nursemaid (and lots of knitting!). I started some socks, finished a present for my swap partner, and swatched up a ton of stuff. I've got a few new designs I'm working up, which is so much fun to watch something take shape. I actually love the swatching process---it's almost like painting or sketching, just in yarn. I also like how the ideas change and evolve during swatching--something I thought might work suddenly doesn't, while something else magically takes shape. And the yarns I've been finding lately are deee-vine.

Oh, and I found out that I'm still in the Ravelry queue. The bad news is that there are about 1200 people ahead of me. The good news is that there are 11,510 people behind me! Holy COW!

More's nearly midnight and I should be sleeping!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fall Inspiration and Stashing

My husband and I went for a gorgeous fall hike yesterday near the Teton Range, on the Idaho side. The colors on the drive up were amazing, and nearly all the trees are in full-fall-force. The sky was cloudy and a little grey, which set the muted colors off against the hills, and really highlighted the brilliant oranges, yellows, and reds of the aspens and maples.

Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons: the colors, my birthday (and now my anniversary, too!), wooly sweaters, tall boots, the smell of bonfires and the crispy-sweet taste of freshly picked apples. Mmm. It doesn't get much better than fall.

On the way to our hiking destination, we stopped at Mountain Knits in Driggs. I promised just a half-hour, but probably took a whole hour. It's not the biggest yarn shop, but it does have some wonderful treats, including some gorgeous cashmere sock yarn that I kept picking up, squeezing, and then putting back down again. I can't really justify $88 for a pair of cashmere socks right now! As it is, I kinda spent the grocery money for the week on yarn...ooops. I'll have to forgo my morning coffe shop lattes for a couple of weeks to make up for it! So, here's what I found: This incredible merino is spun very nicely--solid, almost springy. The colors were to die for, and I was able to find these and some others for swatching out a few projects spinning in my head right now.
These colors reminded me of the aspen trees we saw on the way there. The taupe looks like the trees that have already lost their leaves, while the orange and green are the leaves going and almost gone. I love the play of the colors against the neutral.
This sock yarn is very soft in wool and polymide, and looks just like the fresh persimmons I saw at the grocery store yesterday. I love, love, love corals, oranges, greens, yellows, and vibrant blues, and this orange is to die for. These socks are going to be mine, just have to find the right pattern.
And this, from Mountain Colors in Montana, looks just like the evergreens that set off all the colors around them. The wool is very soft and kissed with just a hint of mohair, making it ever-so-slightly halo'd. I love it, and hopefully it will make some nice socks for my dad.
There were many more beauties, of course, but I have to limit myself to projects that are do-able right now. I have too much "wishing yarn" laying around that I thought I'd have a project for, but once I've finally gotten around to it, I've realized that it's not my thing anymore. eBay, start your engines...we gotta make room for the new stash!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lazy Friday and My First Swap!

Today was lazy, lazy, lazy. I didn't have to work (yea!), except to teach one Pilates lesson first thing this morning, and I've mostly been just sitting around knitting. There are about a million things I should be doing, but...

I did run a few errands: went to the LYS to get some Bambou Soft I ordered, and then grabbed a skein of Trekking XXL, too. The fall colors (which don't show up so well in the photo) are very inspiring right now, and so luscious. I immediately cast a sock on, and the color knits very nicely, too.

We did a little shopping today, because we found out this week that DH will also be having surgery (on his shoulder). His is two days before mine. I'm kind of excited because if we both have a good recovery, it could mean a lot of fun free time together, but I'm also kinda could be a very exciting test of a very young marriage! Can you imagine? Don't worry, I'll keep ya posted on how this progresses...

I also made my favorite things tonight for dinner--Thai roasted pork and sticky rice. I remember in Thailand, when we were getting ready to go out to the sea for five days, our guide had a bag of food. I asked him what it was and he said it was lunch for "the guys," meaning the crew. I asked again what it was and he showed me: roasted chicken and sticky rice. I was very jealous of the crew that day, even though our meal was excellent. I love, love, love sticky rice, and after so much trying, I've finally learned how to make it properly. You just need one of these cool rice steaming basket things, which I tried to find all over Thailand, and ironically enough, had to buy at the Asian market back home.
So, I'm also doing my first swap! I am so excited! I've always been so jealous, reading other people's blogs and seeing all the fun things they've sent (and received) from their swap partners, and finally, I'm in! I found Chara Michele's blog last weekend and saw that she was having a swap sign-up, so I joined. I can't tell you how happy and inspired this makes me...I'm already thinking of what to make and send. Woohoo!

So, the sock is really coming along nicely. It's been a while since I've worked with sock yarn, and at first I was getting frustrated with how slow it was, but it seems to really be taking off now. The colors are amazing; they remind me so much of our sea kayaking trip to Lake Powell last year, which I've been thinking about a lot lately. It was amazing--I'll have to dig up the pics and post about it (that was pre-semi-regular posting for me, and actually right about the time my knitting flame was re-ignited).

Tomorrow should be an exciting day. First, I heard it's going to snow (again), which will make three Saturdays in a row with snow. We're tentatively planning a hiking trip with Kodi-Woo in the Tetons, which includes a yarn scouting trip for me at Mountain Knits in Driggs. I can't wait! I need to find some really wonderful cashmere or something cuddly and soft for a project I'm planning. The sock thing is going pretty well, too, so I might find something lovely for another pair. Happy Friday! We're off to drink wine at our LWS!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Some inspiration, please!

For the past several years (maybe ten years, actually?), I feel like I’ve gotten away from my creative side and much more into my analytical side. Both are “good” sides, I think, but it’s been interesting to look back and see how they haven’t really been working in concert as much as one-or-the-other. The creative side definitely overpowered anything else for the first twenty-five or so years of my life, but gave way, I suppose, for a need to have a job with a 401(k), benefits (hello...two knee surgeries in one year ain’t cheap, y’all), etc. My art buddies gave me a lot of flack about this, as you can imagine (who needs a 401(k) when you’re young and your soul is hungry?), but in recent months, many of them have confessed that they’d sell those souls for some retirement stability. However...

I’m feeling a need to feed my creative side these days. I’m not sure what or how this happened, but I’ve been feeling a little restless lately. Maybe it’s travel that inspired this, or maybe it’s been my recent bout of frenzied knitting in as a desperate need to unwind and de-stress, but the creative sparks are starting to come out of hibernation.

I’m sure my old art buddies back home will be thrilled (and gosh, it’s a hard question to answer all the time, “So, what are you doing creatively, though?).

So, what am I doing, creatively? Well, I’ve been knitting and thinking and dreaming and designing. When I first started knitting, I was about six years old. Knitting was dorky, and it was even dorkier when I was a teenager. I would knit on and off throughout my teens and twenties, but the patterns were nothing if not dorky—well, we call it retro now.

Then this big knitting emergence/renaissance thing came, and I refused to join in—hell, I already WAS a knitter, and I didn’t need to prove how “cool” I thought it was by naming myself something edgy, I guess, and I just kinda stood back and watched for a while. Yowza.

But I can say that I was delighted at the fantastic, modern, and exciting patterns coming out of this rennaisance. Then I started a blog that I never kept up with, then I joined a couple of email lists (not specically about knitting), and then ...well, I started talking and meeting other knitters and I discovered that you can buy yarn –really cool, gorgeous yarn—and it didn’t have to come from a mass-chain retailer or a knitting shop that had inventory from the ‘70s. Wooohoo!

Then I started noticing how all this women who started knitting, like, ten minutes ago were designing really cool, wonderful stuff, and well, why couldn’t I? I guess it never occurred to me in all the more than 25 years of knitting that these patterns didn’t just land on earth somehow, that someone had to actually create them. So, why not me?

It’s strange, because I think that once you open the door, the flood just starts pouring in. My head is full of ideas, my brain is soaking up techniques, my hands are knitting furiously. It’s almost as if there’s too much going on (well, with school, work, teaching Pilates, and now, knitting, there is just way too much going on!), but that’s not really the problem—the problem is how to get it all down—how to start without forgetting. How to knit the patterns I want to knit and at the same time create the stuff I want to create, and frankly, how to get my brain to control the scroll bar on the computer so I can read blogs and knit at the same time (I’m trying now, but it’s a little awkward, LOL!).

So, here I am with my little knitting blog, joining a few groups, and trying desperately to find out certain things, such as:

It’s a “blogosphere,” not “blogland”

What the heck “frogging” is (I now know, but can’t tell you how dumb I feel in retrospect, thinking it was some technical knitting term)

What the heck “Ravelry” is (and now I know that, too, and just signed up for my invitation, Lord only knows how long?)

How to do a KAL, and how to sign up

How to take really great photos of my stuff (obviously, the fact that we’re now moving to winter isn’t helping with actual daylight)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I'm in the WSJ!

Woohoo! I have a quote in the Wall Street Journal about kayaking! A couple of months ago, the writer emailed me and asked me a bunch of questions about kayaking in Asia. Only one of my quotes made it in (and none of my pics) but how cool is that?

Check it out: Anna's Thailand Kayaking Adventure

(Almost) FOs

I've got a few things that are just about finished and ready to wear. It always seems like I have a few things going at once, but nothing totally done! I've also been hard at work on a lot of swatching and sketching for some of the ideas that are going on in my head.

And then of course, work, school, and teaching my Pilates classes gets in the way of knitting every time! (Housework, you ask? Pah! We don't have no time for no stinkin' housework!! LOL!). Thankfully, I'll have all the time in the world in a couple of weeks, because I'm having knee overhaul number two! I was so freaked out and scared for the first one, but it wasn't bad at all, and I'm just relishing the knitting time.

So, here's what I'm working on today (which is a good thing, because it snowed again today. As in inches.) I love, love, love this sweater, the design, the yarn, everything. Love it! The original pattern had 3/4 sleeves that kind of rolled on the ends, but I really wanted long sleeves that repeated the decreasing rib at the top. It's almost finished! Just a couple more inches at the neckline, then just have to sew the sleeves. I love knit-in-the-round stuff for that reason, and this is my first sweater I've knit this way.

Here's kind of a closeup of that ribbing. I wish I could explain how soft the yarn amazing and just makes you want to....sleep in it!
I finished the Sunrise Circle Jacket and entered it in the Eastern Idaho State Fair (and got a stinkin' honorable mention!!!), but then after I blocked it, it was fitting a little bigger than I wanted it to, so I reblocked it...and now it's a little wonky! I'm not sure if I should just wear it and see if it works out, or re-block again. Hmmm...
And so I finished the Coachella in time for...yeah, the snow. Lovely. So, she really needs her ends woven in, but I'm in turtleneck mode, so she may go into storage with the rest of the summer clothes!
Here's the back. It's such a cool design, and I can't wait until next summer!
So, that's what I've got going on now. My LYS called to say that the Bambou Soft I ordered is in, which is for something I'm designing, and then I've got to find some other yarn for another idea I've got. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pass the mittens, please

Winter comes early here...and by early, I mean September 29! Holy cow, it's real snow. Thursday and Friday were in the 70s, and today we have knitting mittens weather.
We've been meaning to make a coldframe for the salad garden, and so today's the day! DH has made two trips to the hardware store already today...
We'd better hurry!
I tried to get some pictures of the little husky boy running around in the first snow of the season...
...but he was just too excited!
Today's obviously a great day to catch up on some ironing, knitting, and for making some spicy Italian sausage soup and beer bread. Mmmmmm.....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Power Weekend!

I had a total power weekend! I can't believe how much I got done. It started off pretty slow, actually. I had a hell-day at work (I am so tired of being so constantly crazed/pushed/rushed that I could scream!), and so I came home at 4:00 on Friday and just slept...until my husband woke me up around 7:30 or 8.

We went to our favorite wine store/bar and had a glass of wine and a beer on the patio (just about the last night we could do that!) and then went to a little sports bar a few blocks down for dinner. It was all I could do to drag myself home and get to bed! But I was also feeling kind of wired and wanted to work on some knitting or something. Thankfully, I just gave in and went to sleep.

Saturday was fun: went to the Farmers' Market for some grape-starter bread, sausages, and fingerling potatoes (I still have no idea if the ones in my garden actually made it), and then I passed around some flyers for Pilates for Pink. My studio is hosting a few classes to raise funds for breast cancer research, and if you are so inclined, check out this link to see if there's a class in your area: It's great, and all the money for the classes goes to the foundation.

Then I started cleaning like a mad woman! I got so much done: about 10 loads of laundry (apparently I haven't done laundry in a while), srubbed the bathroom top to bottom, completely reorganized the linen closet (and DH made new shelve), did a bunch of grocery shopping, made a King crableg feast for dinner, made cookies, and made--yes, actually made food for our doggie, Woo. Oh, yeah, I'm the housewife-hellion!

We also went to my B and SIL's for dinner last night and had a great chat with them and with my other BIL, who was visiting from Alaska. We had breakfast with the family today, too, which was really nice.

So, on to some knitting news: I finished the little mittens, but I was going to put fun cables on them and then in the middle I realized I'd just been knitting away (stress):

I think I might tuck them into the felted bag I'm planning to make for my sister as a birthday present. They were fun, and they gave me the inspiration to try a braided cable around a chunky hat:
I love the hat! I'm going to make some fingerless mits with the same braid. So fun and bright, and will be perfect for skiing at Targhee this year.

And then I finally started making some progress on the body of my cashmere/merino sweater (which is just like heaven to work!). This is probably the third attempt, and I put a little 2x2 ribbing at the bottom so that it wouldn't curl up. It's supposed to curl, but for some reason, I don't like the curling.

I also made a few swatches for some new designs that are swirling in my head. And now I see that it's 10:30 and I have to get to bed and go to ...ugh... work tomorrow!