Ravelry Queue

I’m finally getting around to going through all the fine pattern suggestions you guys left on the contest post. I’m not even close to being finished looking at them, but here are a few of my (mostly) new-to-me favorites so far.

2011 KALendar shawl, by Carmen Oliveras. I linked one of the finished shawls, since there isn’t a photo on the main project page.

Claire’s Shawl, by Amanda Gill. Being an Outlander fan, I’ll have to make this one. I do think Claire would likely have worn something more practical and warm, however.

Recess for Grownups Mittens, by Annie Watts; very cute!

Sugared Violets shawl, by Rose Beck. I’m saving up patterns for fingering weight small shawls. It’s a great way to use up all that sock yarn I have.

Firmaments Lace Shawl, by Bonnie Sennott. I actually have the pattern for this one already. And y’all know I have the yarn.

Occhielli Cowl, by Connie Seibert. This would be great to use up those oddball skeins of yarn I collect.

Ok, that’s enough of those for one day. That’s only from about a half dozen of the comments. I’ve added all of those to my Ravelry favorites, which is getting very long indeed. I just need to plan to live to 140.

I am SO ready for nice weather to really get here. We had a lovely day yesterday, I think it actually hit 70 for a few seconds, and it was sunny most of the day. Today it’s back in the 50′s, we had a moment of sunshine, and now it’s cloudy and probably going to rain again. Again. I am so sick of rain, we had the wettest March on record around here. But the tulips and daffodils have bloomed, and the ducks have paired up on the lake and baby ducks can’t be far behind. Willie found his first baby bunny of the season yesterday. He has been cooped up inside all winter and is just getting owly about it. We really did try to make him be an indoor cat, but we finally caved and put in a cat door after he literally tore holes in every last one of our screens digging out. A few dead baby bunnies is a small price to pay, and we’d actually be overrun by bunnies if it weren’t for their few predators.

That’s all for today. I worked the weekend, so had yesterday and today off, I head back to work tomorrow. Here’s what’s on my agenda this afternoon:

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I’m still taking a weekly flute lesson, which I absolutely adore. It’s challenging to find the time to practice, but I am making it happen. One of the local universities has a Community Music Program to teach music to non-credit students. Most of my teacher’s students are high school age, though the program overall teaches everyone from little kids to retirees. Oh, here’s a link. It’s a fabulous program for our community. I’m off to practice! My lesson is tonight, my etude is a mess, and the duet sounds experimental at best. And forget the solo, I sound like a screech owl. But I am having fun, so that counts, right?

WIPs, Weekend, And A Winner!

Wow! I know those “Free Yarn” posts always get lots of comments, but you guys just overwhelmed me! If you haven’t gone back to the prior post, please do and read the comments. There are lots of terrific pattern ideas in there.

So, you all want to hear about the winning entry, right? First you get to hear about my WIP* Weekend. I REALLY really want to start knitting with that fabulous red lace yarn that I posted a couple weeks ago. But I already have 3 shawls on the needles, including two that are years old. So I dragged out one of them this weekend to work on it.

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This is Morning Glory. It’s a rectangular shawl in two parts, grafted together in the middle. The first part is done, though I have quite a bit of yarn left. I’m tempted to make each half one repeat longer. We’ll see. I’m a couple repeats away from finishing the second half, and I’m pretty good and sick of this. The yarn color is Froot Loops, though I think it looks like a Tequila Sunrise.

Now, on to what you all came for: the yarn prize winner. The Random Number Generator chose: MK, otherwise known as Merry Karma, you win the reward challenge! Congratulations! These were the four patterns she recommended:

Elphaba (the pullover), Ishbel Shawl, Honey Cowl and Storm Water Shawl

You will recall the rules: you get to pick ONE of those four prize packages in my last post. Let me know what you choose, and I’ll get the prize off to you!

Thanks, everybody, for playing along. Eventually I’ll get around to making a big list of those patterns, but there are some gems in there, so really, go check them out.

*WIP= Work In Progress, for you non-knitters

Ten Years! Free Yarn!

That “free yarn” in the title always draws out the lurkers!

So it’s been a whole decade since I’ve been sharing my knitting, spinning, goofy knitting mistakes, cooking, and traveling, along with a lot of other fun along the way. It’s actually fun to go back through and read old entries to remind me of all that’s gone on around here in the last decade.

In honor of all of you sticking around for so long, there will be free yarn. LOTS of free yarn. I mentioned cake before, but couldn’t figure out how to upload that, so you “just” get yarn.

The contest rules? All you need to do is tell me your top FOUR knitting patterns. It can be for shawls, one-skein wonders, socks, whatever. It doesn’t have to be something you have knit before, it could be on your “want to do eventually” list, or even “love it but will never knit it” list. Go crazy, surprise me!

I’ll let this run until the end of the weekend, so let’s say you have until Sunday March 30th at midnight Pacific time. Then I’ll draw a winner at random. Your entry has to have FOUR different knitting patterns mentioned in order to qualify.

Want to know what you’re playing for? I thought so. Here’s a selection of My Pretties from the stash.

Door Number 1:

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First up is a skein of Jitterbug sock yarn in Lagoon, a skein of Yarntini sock yarn in Gin, and Zauberball sock yarn in Cranberries. Each is enough for a pair of socks.

Next:

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Behind Door Number 2 is a package with the following; a skein of Online Supersocke in Sierra, a skein of Yarntini sock in Sangria, and hiding behind those two is a skein of Lorna’s Laces Solemate, in Christmas at Downton. Each of these is also enough for a pair of socks.

Door Number 3:

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This is a whole big pile of Ironstone Infinity ribbon yarn. The color isn’t named, but the photo is pretty true on my monitor. There are 9 skeins, a total of about 1400 yards.

Last but not least, Door Number 4:

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Two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Bambu, this is 800 yards total, 100% bamboo in the color Henpecked.

The winner will get to choose ONE of those four packages! And I get to put the other three packages back in the stash (my precccciiiooouuusssss).

As a disclaimer, all of these are complete skeins and have been lovingly stored, but they do live in a house with assorted cats, dogs, and dust bunnies. If you are deathly allergic to any of those pets, take this as your only warning.

In Which Knitting Actually Occurs

Oops. Forgot to blog again!

I have been knitting some, though the other hobbies have sort of overrun things around here (fluting and spinning for example). I still have all the same projects on the needles, let’s just highlight one for today, OK?

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OK, so maybe that’s really highlighting Will more than the project, but I couldn’t get him to move. There was one little square of sunlight on the floor and he was not about to get off it just so I could take a photo. He gave me the stink eye, licked his butt, and then just stayed there, so I decided he might as well be in the picture.

Color Affection is coming along. So far it’s just oatmeal grey and off white, but I’m so easily entertained that oatmeal grey and off white delight me to no end. This is another one of those projects where you sail along for a while, gaily thinking “If I keep up this pace, I’ll finish this soon!”. Then you realize that for the section you are on (the grey and white stripes), it’s a 4 row repeat and with every repeat you add 10 more stitches to each row. I’m now at 187 stitches on the needles and have 8 more of those grey/white stripe sections, which means 267 stitches per row by the time I get to add that zingy red. I’ll be good and sick of long rows of oatmeal and white by then.

All the other projects look pretty much the same as when you last saw them. Socks are bigger by a bit, and I haven’t touched Evenstar in weeks. I did get quite a bit of John’s Peace Fleece sweater done at Wintergrass, but it still looks like a big purple-blue rectangle, so I’m not getting up to show you a photo.

On the Cold Sheep front, I had another little slip off the sheep last week. Peace Fleece got in some lovely lace yarn hand spun by women in Tajikistan. They had a nice little story to go with the yarn about how these women spin yarn to help feed and clothe their families. One skein provides enough money for them to buy a chicken, a loaf of bread, or a kilogram of potatoes. Tell me you could resist that.

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Let’s just say I bought enough for a nice chicken dinner complete with potatoes and bread for the whole family. When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad, right? Here’s another photo to help you decide.

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That’s a pretty accurate representation of the color in that last photo. It’s the color of beautiful glowing rubies. Ruby Slippers, perhaps. So I’m now back at Day 8 of the No Yarn Buying, and not a bit sorry. This will be a very pretty shawl for me me me.

Last but not least, this week marks a special anniversary around Chez Knitting Doctor. I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade, can you imagine that? There might be cake and prizes later this week, so stay tuned.

That Time Of Year Again

Or,

Wintergrass! Of course we have weekend festival passes. The bluegrass fun starts tonight, though my husband double booked us with Seattle Symphony tickets for tonight, so we’ll do that tonight and switch to bluegrass tomorrow. Some of my favorites are back this year, including Väsen, a terrific group from Sweden. But every year there are always new-to-me groups that soon become favorites as well.

I haven’t showered yet today, my office is a mess, I haven’t figured out what I’m taking to Seattle with me, I have paperwork left to do from yesterday’s clinic*, but I do have my knitting packed. Why would you even ask that?

Speaking of knitting, of course I could not resist the siren song of the Color Affection.

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Just in case I’m the second-to-the-last person on earth to have started one of these (over 11,000 listed on the Ravelry pattern page!), this is knit in 3 sections plus a solid edging. The first section will be grey, the second section will be stripes of the grey and white, and the third stripes of all three colors (the red is hiding up there). The edging will be red. I have enough of this started that it should be mindless plain garter stitch for the most part. And I have two pairs of plain plain socks in progress, and that plain plain plain Old Friend sweater for John that is still in progress. That should be plenty of plain knitting for the festival.

I also did get that crazy mitten restarted and knit back up to where I had to rip it all out. Here it is.

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I doubt this will be festival knitting, but it might be morning coffee knitting for the weekend.

And on a melancholy note, today is the first anniversary of the date we lost our sweet Riley. We still miss her terribly, though letting Lewey be an only pup has been the best thing that’s happened to him. He’s turned into a real sweetheart. He cracks us up daily with his goofiness. I suspect Wintergrass will be a little more fun this year for us than it was last year. Great Big Fun, as one of John’s grandkids says.

Off to get packing for the weekend. I might post from the festival, if not, I’ll be back after the last banjo (or nyckelharpa, or whatever) is hung up for the weekend.

*I normally get my clinic work done while I’m actually in clinic. Yesterday after lunch we all got tossed out of the building after there was a chemical (phenol) spill across the hall from us in the family practice clinic. We all got evacuated and sent home for the rest of the day. Weird way to get a half a day off.

 

Oh Damn It

I’ve been trying to get some of these WIPs done before starting anything new. I worked on Evenstar yesterday and got a couple repeats done on the edging.

Today’s project is the Dog Mittens. This is my oldest WIP, started back in 2008. Good grief. I finished the first mitten not too long ago, and had knit about an inch on the cuff of the second. I spent most of the morning today knitting off and on, and finally stopped to take a photo.

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Pretty, eh? I’m all the way to the point of putting in the waste yarn bit where the thumb will go. I thought to myself (with some hubris-beware of the hubris, the knitting gods hate that) “I might even finish these this weekend!”

You can see where this is headed, right?

Then I had the bright idea to haul out the first mitten to compare.

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Click on that if you can’t tell what’s wrong. I had to dig back through my blog archives to figure this one out. On the first mitten, I held the white yarn in  my left hand and the dark blue yarn in my right. I apparently missed this point when I started the second mitten and switched them around. There is enough of a difference that it would bug me forever.

Damn damn damn. Out it came.

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And here we go again. White on the left, dark blue on the right. As it should be.

Is it too early in the day for whisky?

Alexandra

AKA, I actually finished something.

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Project Details:

Pattern: Alexandra, by Dee O’Keefe
Yarn: My own handspun. The fiber is merino/silk/firestar, Abby’s Batts. There was about 600 yards of it, I still have a bit left.
Needles: 3.25mm Chiaogoo Lace circulars
Started: January 5 this year
Finished: February 17 this year
For: Me!

What I Learned: My handspun isn’t bad to knit with! This was spun back in 2009, and I wasn’t a very experienced spinner. It is mostly fingering weight, and there were only a few places where I had to splice out a bit that was too weird to knit with. It blocked nicely.

I also learned that it needn’t take me 4 years to finish something. This is likely the only thing I’ll finish during the Olympics, but I still have hopes that one day I’ll finish Evenstar. Here’s what it looks like today. As usual, click on the photos to embiggen.

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For those of you keeping track, I started this in 2010. It’s a huge circular shawl, with an attached knitted on border (knitted perpendicularly to the main shawl body). I have 34 repeats left. Each repeat is 20 rows and has 50 beads knitted in. The edging is dead simple, but of course I have to pay attention because of the beads.

In other news, I fell off that no-shopping sheep this past weekend. I sort of knew it would happen. There was a big fiber festival in town (Madrona). My friend Dorothy came to visit and we took a couple of classes, which were fabulous. We also shopped. I probably would have held out if it weren’t for the Toots LeBlanc booth. They had some of their lovely lace weight jacob/alpaca/mohair blend, which can be hard to find. And it was HALF OFF people. Tell me you wouldn’t have done the same. There might have been a few other things that fell off the shelf and landed in my shopping bag. Then I slipped and on the way to the floor, my credit card went through the card reader. It was totally an accident. I’m not taking photos of any of it to show you.

So now we’re back to square one. It’s now THREE days since I last bought yarn. I made it to 125 days last time. Let’s see how long I hold out this time.

Back to Reality

I have to say, it’s good to be home. Even with work, and chores, and no rum drinks, it’s always nice to get back home. Hawaii was lovely, but so is where I live.

I’m madly trying to finish up a few things before the Ravellenic games begin, coinciding with the start of the Winter Olympics. I almost decided not to participate this year. The original 2014 Ravelry group for the knitting version of the Olympics blew up rather spectacularly in mid January. It always amazes me how a bunch of apparently intelligent adults can act like such spoiled middle schoolers. Admittedly I didn’t read the whole gazillion-pages-long drama, but I can’t imagine people acting like this in real life.

Anyway, I’m pretty much going to be knitting WIPs during the Olympics. I want to try to get as much of that Evenstar border done as possible, and as a reward, I might just cast on something new. We’ll see. I have Color Affection in my sights for the next big thing.

And a dilemma. I have yarn in two separate color combos that I bought for this pattern.  Here they are:

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That’s option 1. It’s Swan’s Island Merino. Cream, Oatmeal, and Garnet.

Here’s Option 2:

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Those three are Verdant Gryphon Eidos sock yarn. Jade Emperor, Medusa, and Wen Chang.

Decisions, decisions. I’ll do both eventually, but which first? Any votes?

In other news, I’m working away at my newest shawl. Never mind that I should be working away at one of my ancient WIPS. I’m all about new and shiny.

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I figure I’m about 40% done with this. I’m hoping to have this finished by the time the Olympics start. A nice long football game tomorrow might help.*

Last but definitely not least, I’m still on that Cold Sheep plan. 112 days without yarn buying. I got a lovely email out of the blue from the Three Irish Girls yarn people. I used to be in her sock yarn club, but quit after awhile when it was apparent that her plan of sending me yarn for a new pair of socks every month didn’t match up with my plan of knitting two pairs of socks a year.

Anyway, I followed the links to her website. Pretty! New colors that I don’t have! Wow!

Then it occurred to me that I probably still have some Three Irish Girls club sock yarn in the stash. Here is a screenshot of that page in the Bento Database That Never Lies. Click to get your Three Irish Girls fix.

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Enough Three Irish Girls yarn for 23 pairs of socks, as well as over a thousand yarns of that pretty wine colored stuff in the upper right, destined for a shawl.

Whew. That was close.

*Go ‘Hawks!

Airport Knitting

Waiting for a plane…

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At last check, temperature at home is 49 degrees. It’s 75 here. I really don’t want to leave, but all this sun is starting to get to me. I guess we’re used to that grey and drizzle at home.

See you on the flip side.

Kauai!

We’ve been in Hawaii all week, but I just haven’t gotten around to posting about it. I have been taking photos, though. We’ve had a great time, it’s good to get out of the gloom that is the Pacific NW this time of year. We leave for home and reality tomorrow. For today, I’m going to enjoy every moment of this tropical paradise. Here are some photos.

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A nice sunset, one of several.

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That’s a monkey pod tree. I think the canopy against the sky looks like lace.

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John just having fun, drinking something that looks radioactive.

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Jurassic Park! Actually it’s the Allerton Botanical Gardens, but this is the tree in the movie where the little girl found the dinosaur eggs.

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The Spouting Horn.

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And of course some knitting! Aloha!

Holy Moley!

Or,

337,666 meters is a lot of yarn!

Those aren’t actually the exact words I used this week, but I figured I’d try to keep the public swearing to a minimum around here.

I mentioned my Just Knit It campaign a few posts back. As part of that, I joined a Ravelry group called Stash Knit Down. I got inspired to update my yarn database, and have spent the past few weeks digging through boxes and reorganizing a bit, deleting yarns I’ve used or given away, adding a few that hadn’t been accounted for.

Then I copied the meterage into a spreadsheet and added it all up.

337,666 meters. That’s 201 miles of yarn, people.That includes about 11,000 meters of handspun, but STILL.

Holy Moley, indeed.

So I’m not only in the Stash Knit Down group, I’m Cold Sheeping, meaning I’m buying no yarn for awhile. I’m at 89 days so far, and counting. Tomorrow I get my 90-day badge.

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And I’ve started a few new things to celebrate. (From stash!! Go figure!!)

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This is my Alexandra Shawl, a pattern by Dee O’Keefe. The cool thing is that yarn is my handspun, vintage 2009. Please ignore all the dog and cat hair on my carpet.

Here are a few old photos of the yarn in progress and done.

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There’s about 550 meters of that, which will definitely help decrease that big number up there.

And I started another sock. No, I haven’t finished the last pair. Sue me.

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Mountain Colors Weaver’s Wool Quarters, in Crazy Woman, which I find somewhat fitting.

How about all of you? Anybody else dare to post their yarn meter/yard totals? Anybody else need to go Cold Sheep on buying yarn?

22 Little Clouds, Finished!

Well, this one’s been finished for awhile, I just never got around to getting a photo of it. Here you go.

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All pinned out!

And done!

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Project Details:

Pattern: 22 Little Clouds
Needles: Chiaogoo circulars, size 3.75
Yarn: Classic Elite Inca Alpaca, deep olive brown, 4 skeins. From Deep Stash, Bin #1. I used almost all of it
For: Me.
What I Learned: I’m discovering the joy of small projects. Instant gratification! I started this on December 8th and finished on the 13th. It’s actually a few more than 22 clouds around the edge, since I made it a bit bigger to use up as much yarn as possible. This is a terrifically easy pattern, perfect for knitting in a meeting where you are supposed to be paying attention. It would be good TV knitting. I’ll wear this one a lot.